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Introduction to Alethea In Heart Ministries

A Critical History of Philosophy.

By Asa Mahan







GRECIAN civilization, religion, and Philosophy, as is well known, were all of later growth and development than those of Egypt and other leading Oriental nations. The former, also, though in certain important particulars peculiarized by the genius and institutions of the people, were all, in certain particulars equally important, determined by the latter.

The leading statesmen, literati, and philosophers of Greece, travelled extensively among Oriental nations, studied in their schools, acquainted themselves with their civilization, arts, literature, science, Philosophies, religion, and institutions, and, on their return to their native country, imparted to their countrymen the knowledge with which foreign travel and study had furnished them. Egypt and other Oriental nations were to Greece what Germany has for a long period been to the Anglo-Saxon race. The Anglo-Saxon who would perfect himself in any of the leading sciences very commonly finishes his education in some of the great universities of Germany. Grecian scholars, in like manner, finished their education in the schools of their Oriental neighbours.

The Greek scholar, however, was not, any more than the Anglo-Saxon, a mere copyist. Oriental thought, when subjected to the scrutiny of the Greek mind, took on, in many important respects, new forms and aspects. This was especially true of systems of Philosophy. When a given system passed over from an Oriental nation to Greece, that system most commonly stood connected, in the latter country, with problems unknown to Oriental thought, and disconnected from important elements with which it was originally associated.

In Greece, also, systems of Philosophy appear which have no place whatever in Oriental thought. In the study of the Greek Philosophy we shall meet with old systems connected with new problems and disconnected from certain old associations, and with new systems unknown to Oriental thought. The following facts and statements will present a sufficiently adequate view of the resemblances and differences which obtain between the Grecian and Oriental systems.


1. In the Oriental systems, that of Zoroaster excepted, the doctrine of God is either denied, as in the Materialistic, Dualistic, Subjective, and Pure Idealistic systems, or is affirmed but in the strictly Pantheistic sense, as in the Vedanta, Chinese, and Egyptian systems. In the Grecian systems we meet with not only all these forms of doctrine, but also with that of an infinite, perfect, and personal God, a God distinct from nature and exercising a providential and moral government over the universe. The doctrine of one supreme, personal God was, as we shall find hereafter, the popular doctrine of Greece.

2. In the Oriental systems, with the single exception referred to, we have the doctrine of creation in but two forms, that of natural law and by emanation. In the Grecian systems we find, in addition to these two forms of doctrine, that of creation proper, creation 'by the word of God.' This last form of doctrine was, as we shall find, the generally received doctrine of the people, and constituted the fundamental elements of systems taught by such thinkers as Thales, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

3. The doctrine of transmigration, which constitutes an essential element of most of the Oriental systems, seldom has place, but in a modified form, among the Greeks. Plato, for example, held the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul. The latter state, however, he held to be superior to the present, as the future will be. Transmigration, in the Oriental sense; was from human to brute conditions of existence. Plato desired death as the condition of restoration to pre-existing relations to the Infinite, the True, and the Good. The popular theology of Greece affirmed the doctrine of the immortality of the soul in its proper sense.

4. The method of philosophizing which obtained among the Orientals was almost, or quite, exclusively à priori. While this was adopted in many of the schools of Greece, in others the à posteriori, or inductive method, was adopted. In this country, indeed, the only true method was originated.

5. While the moral teachings of the Materialistic and Idealistic schools of Greece perfectly accorded with those of the same schools in Oriental countries, in the proper Theistic schools of Greece, the doctrine of Right and Wrong, Duty, Moral Desert, and Retribution, received a distinctness of recognition and fulness of elucidation totally foreign to Oriental thought, the system of Zoroaster excepted. The moral teachings of such men as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, though in many respects imperfect, were preparatory to the introduction of Christianity.

In Greece we have all the Oriental systems fully represented with their special methods of philosophizing, and with their Theistic doctrines and moral teachings fully developed, the doctrine of transmigration and kindred appendages being finally omitted. In Greece, also, we have what we do not find in the product of Oriental thought, the introduction of a new method in Philosophy, a method which, in the sphere of metaphysics especially, thinkers have been slow to appreciate and adopt, a method which, when perfected and carried out to its ultimate deductions, will dissipate the baleful fog in which false science has bewildered the human mind, and lead it out into the clear sunlight of absolute truth.



To understand the philosophy of any people, we must know their religion. To know their religion, also, we must understand their philosophy. To comprehend fully the genius and character of the people, we must know both their religion and their philosophy. Nor will the religion and philosophy of any people become fully developed and perfected until their religion assumes the form of real science, and their philosophy becomes, both in its spirit and ultimate deductions, really and truly religions. The philosophy of any people will either affirm or deny their religious ideas and principles, and in fundamental particulars their religious ideas and principles will take form from their philosophic teachings and deductions. Hence the importance of a distinct understanding of the religion of the Greeks, as preparatory to an elucidation of their systems of Philosophy.

Grecian Polytheism.

In common apprehension the religion of this people was exclusively idolatrous and polytheistic in its character. That they were idolaters and did 'worship and serve the creature more than the Creator,' and finally, 'that the things which they sacrificed, they sacrificed to devils and not to God,' are not only truths of inspired testimony, but undeniable facts of history. Not one of 'the gods many and lords many,' which were the common objects of popular worship, were, even in the regard of the worshipper, morally pure, or could be worshipped without morally debasing the worshipper. These facts were admitted and deplored by the best thinkers and writers of the nation. Nor were these multitudinous so-called divinities, in the regard of their worshippers, uncreated and eternally existing personalities. On the other hand, they were 'worshipped and served' as created beings, creatures of time, erring and sinful, like, and often more corrupt and morally debased than, their worshippers.

The worship of Venus, for example, was the worship of a surpassingly beautiful, but of an openly acknowledged prostitute. One of the Grecian moralists affirms that if he could approach her, he would thrust her through with his spear on account of her demoralizing influence upon the people.

'Could I but only seize Afrodite' (Venus), says Antisthenes, the friend of Socrates, 'I would pierce her through with a javelin, so many virtuous and excellent women has she seduced among us.'

Any one who will read Professor Tholuck 'On the Nature and Moral Influence of Heathenism' will be fully convinced that what Paul has affirmed in the first chapter of Romans and elsewhere upon the subject is but the shadow of the reality. The historians of the time, Petronius especially, give us such specific facts as the following: 'The temples were frequented, splendid sacrifices were made, altars were crowned, and prayers were offered to the gods in order that the gods might render nights of unnatural lust agreeable! that they might be favourable to acts of poisoning; that they might cause robberies of widows and orphans to prosper.' 'How great is now,' exclaims Seneca, 'the madness of men. They lisp the most abominable prayers in the ears of the gods; and if a man is found listening, they are silent. What a man ought not to hear, they do not blush to rehearse to God.' Yet Roman Polytheism was known to have been far less corrupting than the Grecian.

The Monotheism of Greece.

But were the Greeks simply Polytheists? Did they not, also, believe in one supreme God, the Creator of the universe? The gods of popular worship were, as we have seen, distinctly and definitely regarded as created and finite beings. Did they, also, recognize the being, perfection, creative energy, and supreme control of one eternal and uncreated divinity? The Scriptures affirm of the heathen that 'they know God, but do not glorify Him as God.' We have the most absolute historic proofs of the perfect and unqualified truthfulness of this testimony.

So universal and omnipresent among even the common people of Greece and Rome was the idea of one supreme God, that under sudden and unexpected perils they never prayed to any one, or to all their minor gods, but always to the one only living and true God; and they never turned their faces in prayer toward their idol temples, but always upward toward God Himself. This impressive fact is stated both by Christian and heathen writers. 'The common people,' says Tertullian, 'in the deepest emotions of their minds never direct their exclamations to their false gods, but employ the words, By God! As truly as God lives! God help me! Moreover, they do not thereby have their view directed to the capitol, but to heaven.' Aulus Gellius says, 'The ancient Romans were not accustomed, during an earthquake, to pray to some one of the gods individually, but only to God in the general, as the Unknown.' Lactantius dwells more extensively upon this, and remarks that 'it was in misfortune and danger that they made use particularly of the appellation Deus. After the danger and fear were over,' he adds, 'they then resorted to their temples.'

The concurrence of the learned and the ignorant throughout the Pagan world in the doctrine of one supreme God is thus affirmed by Maximus Tyrius, a celebrated heathen philosopher: 'If there were a meeting called of all the several trades and professions . . . . and all were required to declare their sense concerning God, do you think that the painter would say one thing, the sculptor another, the poet another, the philosopher another? No; nor the Scythian neither, nor the Greek, nor the Hyperborean. In regard to other things we find men speaking discordantly one to another, all men, as it were, differing from all men. . . . . Nevertheless, on this subject you may find universally throughout the world one agreeing law and opinion, that there is one God, the King and Father of All, and many gods the sons of God, and co-reigners together with God.'

The tragic and comic poets of Greece were among the educators of the popular mind in religion, and at the same time most distinctly and specifically represent the popular belief in respect to the subject now under consideration. In their writings the doctrine of one, and only one, supreme, all-perfect, personal God, is most distinctly and absolutely affirmed.

AEschylus, one of the oldest and most influential authors of this class, applies to God such expressions as the following, expressions which, as Dr. Cocker well observes, 'approach very nearly to the Christian idea of God,' to wit, ' He is the Universal Father,' 'Father of gods and men,' 'the Universal Cause,' 'the All-seer and All-doer,' 'the All-wise and Allcontrolling,' 'the Just and the Executor of Justice,' ' true and incapable of falsehood,' 'holy,' 'merciful,' 'the God especially of the suppliant and the stranger,' 'the Most High,' 'Perfect One,' 'King of kings, of the happy most happy, of the perfect most perfect for ever, blessed Zeus.'

Sophocles, the most celebrated of all the tragic poets, thus sets forth the doctrine of but one supreme God: 'There is, in truth, one only God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, air, and winds.' Other stanzas from the same author are thus rendered by one of our own poets:

Philemon, the comedian, thus speaks: 'Believe in one God and revere Him.' 'Revere Him continually as being and as being nigh thee.' Two Greek poets have given utterance to the doctrine cited by Paul, 'We are all His offspring.' The stanza from Aratus of Cilicia, Paul's native city, is thus rendered, a stanza especially noticeable as expressing both the omnipresence and all-presiding providence and agency of God:

Cleanthus, who was both a poet and philosopher, thus speaks:

The same doctrine we find avowed by the most eminent authors and philosophers of Greece. Longinus, for example, cites, not only as an example of the sublime, but with expressions of especial admiration, the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis, 'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.'

Zenophon not only avows a belief in this doctrine, but defends at great length, and with much ability, the views of Socrates upon the same subject. In a letter to AEschines he says, 'For that divine things lie beyond our knowledge is clear to all; it is enough, therefore, to revere the power of God, which is above all things.'

Plutarch, in the following passage, not only avows his own, and the common belief among all nations, in the doctrine of one supreme God, but also the distinction between this supreme God and subordinate divinities. 'We do not believe that there are different gods among different nations of men, the Grecian and the foreign, the southern and the northern, but as the same sun and moon and heaven and earth and sea are common to all men, though differently denominated by different nations, so in diverse countries there are different kinds of worship and different appellations fixed by the laws, while one Intelligence orders all, and one providence orders all, and subordinate powers are appointed over all.'

The leading Greek philosophers, while they admitted a plurality of inferior so-called gods, unitedly affirmed the doctrine of one, supreme, uncreated, all-perfect, and all-controlling, personal God. We refer, of course, to such individuals as Thales, the Father of Greek Philosophy, Xenophanes, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

'God,' says Thales, 'is the oldest of all things, because He is unmade and ungenerated.' 'There is one God,' says Xenophanes, 'the greatest among gods and men.' 'All things that are upon the earth,' says Empedocles, 'may be truly called the works of God, who ruleth over the world, out of whom proceed all things, plants, men, beasts, and gods.' This supreme God, he tells us, 'is wholly and perfectly mind, ineffable, holy, with rapid, swift glancing thought pervading the whole world.'

'He who raised the whole universe,' says Socrates, 'and still upholds the mighty frame, Who perfected every part of it in beauty, and in goodness, suffering none of those parts to decay through age, but renewing them daily with unfailing vigour—even He, the Supreme God, still holds Himself invisible, and it is only in His works that we are capable of admiring Him.'

The following quotation from the work of Dr. Cocker on 'Christianity and the Greek Philosophy ' presents all that need be said in this connection, in regard to the views of Plato, on this subject:

It were needless to attempt the proof that Plato believed in one Supreme God, and only one. This one being is with him "the first God;" "the greatest of the gods;" "the God over all;" "the sole principle of the universe." He is "the immutable," "the All-perfect," "the eternal Being." He is "the Architect of the world;" "the Maker of the universe;" "the Father of gods and men;" "the sovereign Mind which orders all things, and passes through all things;" "the sole Monarch and Ruler of the world."'

In the following passage Aristotle not only, as he does most absolutely elsewhere, avows his belief in one Supreme God, but also the great fact which we have so strongly maintained elsewhere, that the then-existing Polytheism was a corruption of the ancient Monotheism. 'The tradition has come down to us,' he says, 'from very ancient times, being left in a mythical garb to succeeding generations, that these' (the heavenly bodies) 'are gods, and that the Divinity encompasses the whole of nature. There have been made, however, to these certain fabulous additions for the purpose of winning the belief of the multitude, and thus securing their obedience to their vows, and their co-operation towards advancing the general welfare of the state. These additions have been to the effect that these gods were of the same form as men, and even that some of them were in appearance similar to certain others amongst the rest of the animal creation. The wise course, however, would be for the philosopher to disengage from these traditions the false element, and to embrace that which is true; and the truth lies in that portion of this ancient doctrine which regards the first and deepest grounds of all existence to be the Divine, and this we may regard as a divine utterance.

'In all probability every art, science, and philosophy has been over and over again discussed to the farthest extent possible, and then again lost; and we may conceive these opinions to have been preserved to us as a sort of fragment of these lost philosophies. We see, then, to some extent, the relation of the popular belief to these ancient opinions.'

The specific denials of this one doctrine, that of one, and only one, Supreme God, the denials which appear in all forms of the Atheistic and Sceptical systems of the Greek Philosophy, clearly evince the existence of that doctrine as an essential element of the popular faith among this people. Philosophers—we repeat what we have formerly stated—are not accustomed to deny what is not generally believed. Thus Protagoras, of Abdera, was, for his avowed Scepticism, banished from the city, and his books burned in a public assembly of the people.

We should here remark that the Supreme God of the popular faith of the Greeks was no impersonal essence like the God of Pantheism, but a free, self-conscious personality, the Creator proper of a created universe. Such was, also, the character of God as affirmed in the theistic and denied in the anti-theistic philosophies of that people. In one form the Greeks, with the Roman and surrounding nations, were idolaters and Polytheists. As far as the doctrine of one, and only one, supreme, eternally existing, all-creating, and all-controlling, personal God is concerned, they were, in the strictest sense, Monotheists. This great fact will be a central light in all our future inquiries and deductions.



ALL philosophers of all schools of the present era of science, with very few exceptions, agree, that actual knowledge in these two forms does exist in the human mind. An agreement equally universal also obtains in respect to the general and distinguishing characteristics of these two kinds of knowledge. Whatever form of knowledge has the fixed characteristics of absolute universality and necessity takes rank as knowledge à priori. Forms of real knowledge, on the other hand, which want these characteristics, are denominated knowledge à posteriori.

Ideas whose objects are apprehended as real, with the absolute impossibility of conceiving them as not being real, or as being, in any respects, different from what we apprehend them to be, we call necessary ideas, and our knowledge of such objects is denominated knowledge à priori. Ideas, on the other hand, whose objects are known to be real, with the possibility of conceiving of their non-reality, or of their being different from what we apprehend them to be, are denominated contingent ideas, and the knowledge we have of such objects is denominated knowledge à posteriori.

Time and space, for example, are apprehended as real, with the absolute impossibility of conceiving them not to be realities, or as being, in any respect, different from what we apprehend them to be, We accordingly designate our ideas of these realities as necessary ideas, and affirm said realities to be the objects of à priori knowledge. Matter and spirit, on the other hand, we know to be realities in themselves; while we thus know them, we can conceive of their non-reality, or as being different realities from what we apprehend them to be. We therefore designate our ideas of these realities as contingent ideas, and regard said realities as the objects of knowledge à posteriori.

The same distinction obtains in regard to judgments. Those judgments which we know to be universally true, with the absolute impossibility of conceiving them as not being true, we denominate necessary judgments, or judgments à priori. Those judgments, on the other hand, which we know to be true, with the possibility of conceiving of them as not being true, are denominated contingent judgments, or judgments à posteriori.

Such judgments as the following, Body implies space, Succession implies time, Events imply a cause, Phenomena imply substance, and Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another, are necessary, or à priori judgments. The reason is obvious. We not only know such propositions to be true, but know equally that they must be true, their non-truth being absolutely inconceivable, and, consequently, impossible. Such propositions, on the other hand, as Mind exists, Body exists, are known with absolute certainty to be true. Yet we can conceive that they may not be true. Such judgments, therefore, we denominate contingent judgments, or judgments à posteriori. The judgment Things equal to the same things are not equal to one another, for example, is false not only in fact, but self-contradictory, and therefore absurd. The judgment Mind does not exist is false in fact, though not self-evidently so. It is an untrue, but not an absurd proposition.

A fundamental distinction between necessary ideas here demands special attention. Those of time and space have absolute, or unconditional necessity. Their objects must exist whether any other realities do, or do not, exist. The ideas represented by such terms as substance and cause are only conditionally necessary. In other words, events and phenomena being given as real, substances and causes must exist. If, on the other hand, phenomena and events are not given as real, substances and causes cannot be affirmed to exist. The ideas of substance and cause are, therefore, not regarded as unconditionally, but conditionally, necessary. We have, then, two, and only two unconditionally necessary ideas, to wit, those of time and space. Such ideas as those of substance, cause, and personal identity, are, in all their forms, conditionally necessary ideas. Thus far we have gone over ground, for the most part, occupied in the general Introduction. Nor will the validity of the above expositions and elucidations be questioned by real thinkers of any school. The relations really existing between knowledge à priori and à posteriori have not yet been satisfactorily determined in any known school of Philosophy. Those relations must be fully determined, or we shall advance without clear insight in our future inquiries. What, then, are the fixed and immutable relations between the two forms of knowledge under consideration, to wit, knowledge à priori and à posteriori? They are among others the following:

Relations between Knowledge à priori and à posteriori.

1. As far as certainty is concerned, there is no real difference. Real knowledge, throughout its appropriate sphere, admits of no degrees as far as the element of certainty is concerned. I know myself, for example, as a personal being, exercising the functions of thought, feeling, and willing, just as certainly as I know time or space. Our knowledge of facts may be, and often is, just as real and certain as that of the necessary principles by which said facts are explained and elucidated.

Knowledge à priori and à posteriori, in all their real forms, differ as far as our modes of apprehension are concerned, but not in respect to the element of certainty. Apprehensions which have the elements of uncertainty in them are not forms of real knowledge. Our knowledge of the essential qualities of spirit, on the one hand, and of matter, on the other, is, in fact, just as real and certain, as is that of space and time. Great injury is done to the cause of truth when it is admitted that the characteristic of uncertainty inheres in our apprehensions of the essential qualities of these substances. It should be borne in mind, that all who impeach the validity of our knowledge of these substances do the same in respect to our knowledge of the objects of necessary ideas and principles. Those who affirm mere relativity of our knowledge of matter and spirit affirm the same thing of our knowledge of space and time, and of all necessary principles. There is no stopping short of the deduction, that knowledge, in all, or in none, of its real forms, has the element of uncertainty in it.

2. Knowledge à priori, in all its forms, is specifically given in the universal intelligence as directly and immediately implied by knowledge à posteriori. Hence, the principles and axioms: Body implies space, Succession implies time, Events imply a cause, and Phenomena imply substance. In all such judgments the subject represents the perceived or à posteriori element, and the predicate, the implied or à priori element.

We have here, as a careful analysis will absolutely evince, the fixed and immutable relations between these two forms of knowledge. The latter is always given through, and as implied by, the former. If we had no ideas of body and succession, we could have no apprehensions of space or time which are given in the universal intelligence only as the real or possible places of substances and succession. If we had no ideas of phenomena or events, we could have none of substances or causes. We know space, time, substance, and cause, but as implied by body, succession, phenomena, and events, and as the necessary condition of their existence and occurrence. If we had no ideas of events occurring in fixed order, we should have none of law. If we had no apprehensions of agents possessed of certain powers, and existing in certain relations to each other, we could have none of moral law, duty, desert, and retribution. Everywhere when the à priori form of knowledge appears, it is always manifested as implied by definite forms of à posteriori knowledge. In the latter we have the elements of perceived, and in the former that of implied knowledge. Unless the perceived or à posteriori elements were given, the implied or à priori elements could not be given. If no phenomena or events should appear, how could we know that substances or causes do exist? The same holds true universally. Without the perceived or à posteriori element, we could not have the implied or à priori element, and the latter is always given through, and in no other form but as implied by, the former.

3. In the order of actual development in the Intelligence, the à posteriori always precedes the à priori form of knowledge. In other words, body, succession, phenomena, and events must have been perceived before there could have been any apprehension of space, time, substance, and cause. This is absolutely evinced by the fact that the latter are, and can be, apprehended but as sustaining fixed relations to the former. If the à priori form of knowledge was developed in the mind prior to the à posteriori, the former could be apprehended without reference to the latter. But this is impossible. We cannot define space and time but as the places of body and succession, or substance and cause but as realities of which phenomena are properties and by which events are produced. We can, on the other hand, define body, succession, phenomena, and events without reference to space, time, substance, or cause. Nothing can be more evident than the fact that in the order of actual origination, the à posteriori forms of knowledge always precede the à priori and occasion and imply the latter. There can be no more fundamental mistake in psychology than is made by the assumption that the à priori form of knowledge does, in any case, precede the à posteriori.

4. While, in the order of actual origination in the Intelligence, the à posteriori always precedes the à priori elements of knowledge, in the logical order, the latter, as universally, precedes the former. In other words, if space, time, substance, and cause did not exist, there could by no possibility be any such realities as body, succession, phenomena, or events. The reality of the object of the à priori is always given as the necessary condition of the possibility of the reality of the object of the à posteriori form of knowledge. Science is greatly indebted to Cousin for having developed and evinced the logical and chronological order of these two forms of knowledge.

5. A careful and correct analysis of the elements which constitute these two forms of knowledge will, as already indicated, absolutely evince the fact that the elements of the à posteriori are all given by perception external or internal, or by both combined; while those of the à priori are implied by, and given through, what is perceived. We perceive body, succession, phenomena, and events. On occasion of such perceptions and through the same, we apprehend space, time, substance, and cause, as implied by what we perceive.

Necessary Deductions from the Preceding Analysis.

We now advance to a consideration of certain necessary deductions from the preceding analysis. Among those which might be adduced, special attention is requested to the following:

1. All the original elements of knowledge à posteriori are given, as we have seen, through perception external and internal. This fact implies two faculties of perception, that which perceives internal or subjective, and that which perceives external or objective phenomena. The former we denominate Consciousness, or more properly, perhaps, Self-consciousness. The latter we denominate Sense. The faculty of implied or à priori knowledge, we designate by the term Reason. Consciousness, Sense, and Reason are the primary faculties of the Intelligence, and furnish the original elements of universal knowledge in all its forms. The secondary faculties—the understanding or conceptive faculty, the judgment or logical faculty, the memory or associating principle, and the imagination or blending faculty—all do and must operate exclusively upon materials furnished by these three primary faculties.

2. The spheres and exclusive functions of these primary faculties are also, by the preceding analysis, perfectly fixed and determinable. The exclusive sphere of Self-consciousness is to give the mind itself in the actual exercise of its faculties. That of Sense is to give matter through its manifested properties. That of Reason is to give the realities implied by what is perceived through Sense and Consciousness, realities such as space, time, substance, and cause. Each faculty has absolute authority within its own sphere. Reason can merely give what is implied by objects perceived, and has no authority whatever in determining the validity or non-validity of perception. Nor has one perceptive faculty any authority in determining the validity of the dicta of the other. What, for example, has Sense to do in the determination of the reality or non-reality of facts of mind, or of the validity or non-validity of our knowledge of the same? Consciousness, also, can do no more than give the actual form of external perception, the fact that it is direct or indirect. With the validity of the perception, Consciousness has nothing to do.

How can the secondary faculties judge of the validity or non-validity of the affirmations of any or all of the primary ones? There can be no more absurd procedure in science than that in which an attempt is made to force one faculty into the proper and exclusive sphere of another, that the former may sit in judgment upon the validity of the determinations of the latter.

By some philosophers, Reason, the simple faculty of implied knowledge, has been actually deified as 'God in us.' Hence, all the other faculties have been arrayed at the bar of this divinity, and having been 'weighed in the balances ' there, have, of course, 'been found wanting.' All our world-knowledge and necessary ideas have been found to be nothing but 'unavoidable illusion which inheres in Reason itself.'

Hence, this same Reason has been compelled, through its direct and immediate à priori insight, to determine what realities do, or do not, exist.

From the multitudinous self-contradictory and absurd responses, which have been wrung from her under such crucifixions, she could justly be convicted of intellectual aberration. At one time she has been made to affirm absolutely the existence of two unknown and unknowable 'noumena' as the exclusive principles of all things; at another that matter alone exists; then that 'the I myself I' only has being; again, that the Infinite and Absolute is the sole principle of all things; and, finally, that no substances of any kind exist, that thought only is real, and that time and space are nothing but special forms of thought. All these responses are given forth as veritable revelations of absolute truth. Nothing is, or can be, more utterly absurd and lawless than Reason, or any other faculty, when forced out of its proper sphere and compelled to act there. When we refuse, in the construction of our world-systems, to accept as veritable truths of science all the real elements furnished by all the faculties of original intuition, and with absolute integrity, to incorporate into our building the materials thus furnished, and as furnished, we shall, and must, lawlessly construct nothing but logical fictions which scientific scrutiny will not fail to break to pieces.

3. We are now fully prepared to designate all the forms of real knowledge which can have being and place in the human mind. All must consist of what is perceived, of what is implied by what is perceived, and finally of what is combined and logically deduced from what is perceived, and from what is implied by the perceived. Here, undeniably, is the exclusive sphere, the extent and limits, of true science. If any of the original intuitions, whether empirical or à priori, are omitted, or any elements introduced not given by such intuition, we shall, with inevitable certainty, rear up structures of false science.

4. We have now an infallible criterion by which we can, with absolute certainty, discriminate between real and unreal forms of affirmed à priori knowledge. The objects of à priori knowledge in all its forms lie wholly out of, and beyond, the sphere of perception and of knowledge à posteriori. An object, or reality, is affirmed to exist, a reality affirmed to be the object of knowledge à priori. If a valid knowledge in this form of that object does exist, we shall be able to designate some object of actual perception, an object the existence of which necessarily implies the existence of the reality referred to. If no such perceived object can be designated, we may know with absolute certainty that the form of affirmed à priori knowledge before us is an illusion.

À priori knowledge, when its validity is not necessarily implied by some known form of knowledge à posteriori, does not and cannot exist. An individual affirms the existence in time and space of a certain reality which is not an object of perception external or internal, and affirms that reality to be the object of à priori knowledge. If he can designate no object of perception whose existence necessarily implies that of the reality affirmed to exist, we may affirm with absolute assurance that a fiction of a bewildered brain is obtruded upon us as a necessary truth of science.

If, on the other hand, this individual does designate a known form of à posteriori knowledge, a form the validity of which necessarily implies that of the form of à priori knowledge presented, we violate all the principles of true science if we do not admit the existence of the reality under consideration. Any form of affirmed à priori knowledge, the validity of which is not implied by some known form of real knowledge à posteriori, is undeniably an illusion. The criterion under consideration has equal validity in determining the claims of all forms of judgment affirmed to possess à priori certainty. In all such judgments the reality of the object represented by the subject of such judgment implies of necessity that of the object represented by the predicate of the same judgment. In such judgments, for example, as Body implies space, Succession, time, and Events, a cause, the existence of the object represented by the subject, in every instance, implies absolutely that of the object represented by the predicate. Such judgments have à priori certainty, and may be rightfully employed as principles of science. But whenever such relations between the subject and predicate do not obtain, and yet the judgments presented are set forth as having à priori, or self-evident certainty, we may know absolutely that mere lawless assumptions are being imposed upon us as principles or axioms in science. An individual, for example, lays down the proposition, as a principle in science, that but one substance or principle of all things does exist. We ask him to verify his proposition by proof. He not only refuses compliance with our request, but denies our right to demand proof, claiming for his judgment self-evident, or à priori, validity. Where is the ground for such a claim? Where is the necessary connection between the subject and predicate in such judgment? If an individual should affirm that two or three such substances do exist, he would, undeniably, have just as clear a right to claim for his proposition à priori certainty, as the individual before us has for his. Philosophers should be held to the strictest account when they require our assent to judgments, or propositions, which they urge upon us as self-evident, or à priori, principles of science.

5. We are also furnished, in the above discriminations and expositions, with an absolutely valid criterion by which we can discriminate, with perfect certainty, between all forms of valid and invalid claims of à priori insight. An individual claims, for example, that in the presence of all perceived substances, he is able, by Reason, to apprehend the realities, not directly perceived, but necessarily implied by what is perceived. On the actual perception of body, succession, phenomena, and events, for example, he does apprehend, as real, space, time, substances, and causes, and affirms himself to be actually possessed of such a power of à priori insight. We should give the lie to all the fundamental facts of our own Consciousness, if we should deny to this individual the actual possession of à priori insight in the form claimed. An individual, on the other hand, affirms, that having 'put himself into a state of not-knowing,' after having 'assumed all existing forms of knowledge to be uncertain,' and ignoring wholly all facts and objects of external and internal perception, he can, through à priori insight, look off into infinite space and duration, and determine, with absolute certainty, what reality or realities do, and do not exist, and then what are their relations, and from the elements of knowledge thus obtained, that he can construct a valid system of universal being and its laws. We should dementate ourselves, if we should give the remotest credit to the affirmed fact, or validity of such insight. The individual who claims to know through such insight what realities do and do not exist in infinite space and time does, in fact, claim the possession of absolute omniscience. None but absolute omniscience can determine, by such insight, what are their relations and laws.

We, as human beings, have our fixed conditions, and privileges of knowledge, and these, when rigidly adhered to, and rightly used, are abundantly adequate to all needful purposes of science and of life. When perverted and disregarded, 'the light that is in us becomes darkness,' and the Intelligence itself, under will-compulsion, lands us in the abyss of error. Each faculty of the Intelligence has a fixed and readily determinable sphere of activity. We can, if we will, determine the number of these faculties, the peculiar and special sphere of each, its authority within its own sphere, and the mutual relations and dependence of these faculties one in respect to each and all of the others. When scientific inquiry is conducted according to the fixed laws of the Intelligence, when each faculty, with the facts which it really furnishes, is duly respected, and no one faculty is forced out of its own proper sphere, our whole line of induction and deduction will be under the eternal sunlight of truth. But if we adopt assumptions instead of valid principles, and adduce 'imaginary substrata' instead of facts of real intuition, our inquiries will conduct us into the midnight of error.

6. We are also prepared, in view of our previous expositions, to determine fully, and with perfect certainty, the nature and spheres and mutual relations to each other of the à priori, or pure, and of the à posteriori, or mixed, sciences. The distinction under consideration lies here. All the real sciences are wholly constituted of principles and facts, and deductions from said principles and facts. In the à priori, or pure sciences, all the principles (axioms and postulates) and facts are furnished exclusively through à priori insight. In the à posteriori, or mixed sciences, the principles are à priori, or self-evident judgments, while the facts are objects of perception, that is, of knowledge à posteriori. In the former class of sciences, not only the principles, but equally the facts, are the objects of necessary knowledge. In other words, the principles and facts will, all alike, be given with the absolute knowledge, that they must be as we apprehend them to be. This we all know to be true of the principles in all such sciences, principles such as these, Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another, and The whole is greater than any one of its parts. In all such judgments, the subject implies the predicate. The same holds equally of the facts in such sciences. Said facts are given by definition, which has in all cases à priori, or necessary, validity. Space implies the existence in itself of points and figures, such as straight lines, triangles, squares, circles, and ellipses. In the elucidation of the nature, properties, and relations of such points and figures, we have the science of numbers and quantity, as the mathematics. In these sciences, the principles, definitions, facts, and deductions, all in common, have à priori, or necessary validity. They are given as valid with the utter impossibility of conceiving of their invalidity. In the à posteriori, or mixed sciences, the principles, all in common, have à priori, or necessary validity, while the facts, we repeat, are the objects of knowledge à posteriori, objects known to be real, but with the possibility of our conceiving of their non-reality. The pure, or à priori sciences, pertain to number and quantity which exist as properties of space and time themselves. The à posteriori, or mixed sciences, pertain to phenomena, and events, and substances, and causes, existing in time and space. Nothing can be more clear and distinct, than what obtains relatively to the spheres and nature of these two classes of sciences.


We can now determine with demonstrative certainty to what sphere, that of the à posteriori, or à priori, sciences, all questions of Ontology, of Being, its laws and relations, and of substances and causes, proximate and ultimate, exclusively belong. They pertain, we answer, wholly and exclusively, not to the à priori, or pure, but to the à posteriori, or mixed sciences. The reason is most obvious. Whatever is given as existing in time and space is, in fact, given exclusively as the object of contingent, or conditionally implied knowledge. We can conceive of space and time as occupied by, or as utterly void of, phenomena and events, substances and causes. As each state and relation is equally conceivable, and, therefore, possible in itself, we have no grounds whatever for an à priori determination of the question whether any, and much less what particular and specific causes, substances, phenomena, and events do exist and occur in time and space. One philosopher sets forth, as an à priori principle in science, the dogma that but one substance or principle of all things does exist. Another philosopher affirms, as a similar principle, the existence of two entities, noumena, as the principle of all things. How can we determine which is right, and which wrong, or whether both are not mistaken? As it is equally conceivable, and therefore possible in itself, that either one, as that the other, may be right and his antagonist wrong, or that both may be in error, we have, and can have no à priori grounds for the determination of any such question. One philosopher affirms knowledge to be possible and actual but in its subjective form; another, that it is possible and actual but in its objective form; another still, that no valid knowledge, in either form, is possible; and a fourth, that it is both possible and actual in both forms. There is nothing self-contradictory in either hypothesis. Either therefore may be true, and all the others false. What ground have we, or can we have, then, for an à priori determination of the question which is, and which is not true? None whatever. The question, which is, and which is not true, is a simple question of fact—a question to be resolved exclusively, not by à priori, but by à posteriori insight, that is, by an appeal to facts of Consciousness. No truth can be more demonstrably evident than this, that all questions of Ontology, questions pertaining to Being and its laws, and substances, and causes, proximate and ultimate, come exclusively within the sphere, not of the à priori, or pure, but of the à posteriori, or mixed sciences. In all our inquiries throughout the wide domain of ontological science, we are absolutely confined to facts of actual intuition, to substances and causes implied by such facts, and to the logical deductions which such facts, substances, and causes yield.

8. We can, also, determine with equal absoluteness what is the true, and only true, method of induction and deduction in the domain of ontological science. Two, and only two, methods are known to science, the à priori and the à posteriori or inductive. In the pure sciences, the former, and in the mixed the latter, exclusively obtains. In the former all principles and facts are given as necessarily valid and real. In the latter we have our necessary principles, while our facts are given exclusively through perception or intuitive insight. Suppose now that the à priori method, the method which has place in the pure sciences only, is carried over into the universe of facts and objects of contingent ideas, and an attempt is made through such method to resolve all questions of facts pertaining to Being and its laws. As a matter of course and necessity, we shall substitute lawless assumptions in the place of vale à priori principles, and imaginary facts and substrata in the place of intuitively known realities and their attributes.

All our deductions, consequently, will have no more validity for real existences and their laws than the wildest fables possess for historic verities. The report of an individual of his personal knowledge in regard to the visibilities of London or Paris, an individual who has merely passed through its streets with his eyes and ears and senses so closed that he could see and hear and feel nothing, would be just as reliable as are the à priori visions of the greatest philosopher in regard to facts of universal being and its laws. Conceive such a philosopher located in empty space, with an absolute oblivion of mind and matter, time and space. Require him, under these conditions and circumstances, to determine wholly by à priori insight what reality or realities do, or do not, exist, and what are their nature, relations, and laws. This, undeniably, is a far more favourable condition for such insight than a location amid the 'unavoidable illusions' and 'prejudices' and deceptive appearances of perception. All such illusions and prejudices and appearances can do nothing but darken à priori insight of absolute truth, if the power of direct vision of such truth exists in the mind. The Yogee, with the Transcendental Philosopher, does all he can, 'when he begins to philosophize,' to put himself into the very state above described. 'He puts himself into a state of not-knowing,' and 'assumes all existing forms of knowledge to be uncertain,' and 'by an absolute and scientific scepticism to which he voluntarily determines himself for the purpose of future certainty,' 'compels himself to treat such knowledge as nothing but a prejudice.' It takes a world of trouble to effect such 'a purification of the mind' as this, and while by this higher à priori insight the vision of the Absolute is being received, these 'unavoidable illusions' will return and force themselves upon the attention, and thus disturb 'pious meditation' and cloud the desired vision of real being and its laws. But let this state of not-knowing 'be perfected by an absolute oblivion of these otherwise unavoidable illusions'—an utter oblivion of matter and spirit, time and space. Nothing would then be left to disturb 'pious meditation,' or cloud the vision of 'the faculty of intellectual intuition.' Here, if by any possibility the end can be accomplished by à priori insight, and the à priori method of philosophizing in the domain of Ontology, we should obtain an absolutely verified system of universal being and its laws.

We lay this down as a proposition which no candid thinker who has comprehended the above facts and arguments will question, that every system of Ontology—a system developed and constructed in conformity with the principles of the à priori method of philosophizing—stands revealed as a demonstrated fiction of false science. The era has arrived when, but in the sphere of pure science, the mathematics, the à priori method of philosophizing in the domain of real substances and causes, and of universal being and its laws, should be left and for ever remain among the 'fossilized precepts' or illusions of bygone eras.

We have but one exclusive method left us for the determination and solution of all questions and problems pertaining to substances and causes, Being and its relations and laws, the à posteriori or inductive method. In conducting our inquiries, there must be, in the light of undeniably valid criteria, a careful discrimination between real principles of science and assumptions, and between mere opinions, beliefs, and conjectures, and forms of valid knowledge, and from such principles and knowledges our system of Being and its laws must, with rigid integrity, be deduced. Then, and then only, will such systems lay veritable claims to our regard as 'knowledge systematized.' Hitherto philosophic inquiry has for the most part been conducted without any proper determination of the distinctive characteristics and spheres of the à priori and inductive methods in science, without any proper determination of the question which method has exclusive place and authority in the domain of ontological inquiry, and without a scientific determination of the criteria by which principles in science are distinguished from assumptions, and forms of real valid knowledge from mere opinions, beliefs, and conjectures pertaining to facts and realities in the universe within and around us.

If the wisest philosophers of the age were required to give specific information on all these topics of fundamental interest, we venture the opinion that most of them would be at a loss to furnish it. If all philosophic inquiry into being and its laws were suspended until all the questions and problems above suggested were fully solved, and if from that time onward all forms of ontological induction and deduction should be conducted in strict accordance with the method and principles thus developed and verified, the fog and miasma of false science would soon pass away, and humanity would move on in the bright sunlight of real science.

9. Enough has already been said, perhaps, in regard to the claims set up by certain philosophers, that they possess a faculty of special 'intellectual intuition,' or à priori insight, by which they are able, independently of facts of à posteriori knowledge, to furnish us with absolute information pertaining to universal being and its laws. As we shall hereafter, as we have so frequently met in the past, meet with this profession, and encounter imposing systems reared up under its affirmed guidance, we shall be pardoned for a special consideration of this profession in this connection. We are now able to demonstrate this profession, with all its à priori systems of ontology, to be nothing but the eeriest and most absurd illusion that has ever appeared in the sphere of scientific thought. The well-known characteristics of à priori knowledge, in all its forms, are absolute universality and necessity. In other words, the objects of such knowledge are conceived of as existing with the utter impossibility of even conceiving of them as not existing. If these philosophers are really possessed of this à priori insight, the forms of knowledge furnished through it will have the two fixed characteristics under consideration. So of the systems of Ontology thus furnished. Such systems, in all their principles, facts, and deductions, will have all the forms and degrees of absolute and necessary certainty that the pure sciences have.

Now there is not a solitary form of cognition, a form which has ever been furnished by this insight, which has any such characteristics whatever. Not one principle, fact, or deduction thus furnished has even the appearance of universal and necessary certainty. On the other band, all the multitudinous forms of Being thus affirmed, as objects of absolute knowledge, have, in themselves, the fixed characteristics of objects of contingent knowledge, and the existence of every such object is absolutely incompatible with that of every other. Take, as an example, this affirmed à priori, or necessary, principle of science, the principle affirmed so to be such by Materialism and Idealism in all their forms, to wit, 'that but one substance or principle of all things does exist.' If this is, as it is affirmed to be, a real à priori principle, it would be just as absolutely impossible for us to conceive of its non-validity, as it is to conceive of the non-validity of the principle, 'Things equal to the same things are equal to one another.' Who does not perceive that the former has none of the essential characteristics of the latter? While we do, and cannot but know, that the latter is, and must be, true, without the possession of absolute omniscience, we cannot determine whether the former is, or is not, true, much less whether it must be true.

In the sphere of Materialism we have this absolute revelation of 'intellectual intuition,' or à priori insight, that matter is the only existing substance. In the sphere of Idealism we have, as the revelation of absolute truth, the dogma that spirit, or its operations alone, has being, a revelation given forth by this same 'faculty of intellectual intuition,' or à priori insight. In one of these cases, at least, this infallible organ of 'intellectual intuition,' or à priori knowledge, must have erred fundamentally. The faculty of real à priori insight, however, can, by no possibility, err in any case. All its revelations are absolute, and cannot even be conceived to be untrue.

If we take either of these propositions by itself, we shall find that it has not a single characteristic of intuitive, or necessary certainty. Nor, without the possession of omniscience, or a revelation from a being really and truly omniscient, could we know the proposition to be true, even were it true.

So we may take up, one by one, all the particular revelations of this faculty, and all the multitudinous, conflicting, and contradictory systems of universal being and its laws, systems constructed from elements furnished by this faculty, and demonstrate that not one of them presents a solitary element or form of intuition, or à priori knowledge. Not one of these philosophers can give us any more proof, or evidence, that he is, in truth, possessed of any such faculty, than he can that he is really and truly possessed of the attribute of absolute omniscience. A claim set up to the actual possession of such an attribute would be no more preposterous and absurd, than is the claim of an actual possession of such faculty. No human being can have any more real and valid à priori knowledge of the substances and causes, and forms and laws of Being, existing and acting in time and space, than he can, by mere à priori insight, determine the exact quantity of water which has fallen in any given shower of rain, or the exact dimensions and weight of the Earth, or of Jupiter. Whenever we shall meet, in our subsequent inquiries, with a philosopher claiming such insight, and with world-systems constructed by means of such affirmed insight, science absolutely demands that we shall regard the man as under a bewildering form of philosophic hallucination, and his system as constructed of materials as insubstantial as 'airy nothing.'

There are still other equally fundamental views which should be taken in regard to this claim of a power of à priori insight relatively to Being and its laws. By this insight a direct and immediate vision is had, it is affirmed, of the inner nature and principles of substances and causes. If this vision of the interior of such realities is had through the attributes of substances and causes, we have nothing but forms of ordinary vision, and no à priori knowledge at all. The character of the knowledge secured is wholly contingent, and not necessary, that is, à priori, in any sense. If these objects are perceived without, and not through, their attributes, then no knowledge of any kind, knowledge à priori or à posteriori, is obtained. To know realities without knowing their attributes is not to know anything about them.

By no possibility can the Knowledge affirmed be obtained of any such Substances or Causes.

There is a still greater absurdity and hallucination connected with this profession. By this insight certain philosophers profess to know, not only that certain perceived realities do exist, but that others not perceived do not exist. We have a direct perception, we will suppose, of some reality. That perception is valid for the existence of the object, and for nothing more. In regard to the question whether some other, and not incompatible object does, or does not exist, this perception has no validity whatever. This principle does, and must apply to à priori, as well as to every other form of insight. The insight can, say what we will, have validity but for what is actually seen. As against the existence of any other not incompatible reality, such vision can have no validity whatever. Now these philosophers profess to obtain, in all their à priori visions, not only a knowledge that what they see does exist, but that this is the sum of all existence, and that nothing else does, or can, have being. The disciples of Kanada and Compte, by à priori insight, perceive matter not only to be real, but to be the only existing reality. The disciples of Kapila and Kant, by the same insight, perceive and affirm the existence of two unknown entities, noumena, as the sole existences and principles of all things. The disciples of the Buddha and Transcendental Subjective Idealistic school, perceive absolutely by the same insight, that the finite, 'I myself I,' and that alone has real being. Those of the Vedanta and Pantheistic schools of all ages perceive absolutely, and by means of the same identical insight, that Brahm, or the Absolute, alone exists, and exists as the exclusive principle of all things. Finally, the Pure Idealists of the Buddha and Transcendental schools perceive, if possible, with still greater absoluteness, that thought is, and that nothing else is real. Each school obtains an à priori revelation of absolute truth, that a specific form of being is real, and that nothing else does, or can exist. Who does not perceive, at once, that the validity of such insight is an utter nullity, and that the professed power of perceiving any object, as not only being a reality in itself, but as being the only form of real existence, is the grossest conceivable absurdity?

When we perceive any substance, or cause, or form of being to be real, unless we can perceive, at the same time, that it so occupies infinite space as to render the existence of any other object an absolute impossibility, our perception that said object is a reality presents not the remotest degree of even probable evidence that nothing else is real. The positive and negative form in which this affirmed à priori insight always acts renders demonstrably evident the fact, that the idea of the existence of such a faculty is one of the wildest conceivable forms of scientific hallucination.

Taking as valid the result of the testimony of all these schools in its only admissible, that is, in its positive forms, what do we obtain? We obtain, we reply, an absolute proof of the validity of the hypothesis which they all, in common, deny, to wit, the reality of matter and spirit, and of time and space. All these are absolutely affirmed realities in these several schools, one in one school, and another in another, and in all are thus affirmed by the same form of insight. In one school spirit, and in another matter, is given as the object of absolute knowledge, and no philosopher can show why the evidence presented is not just as valid in one case, as in the other. We are necessitated to affirm either that these philosophers have no such insight as they assume themselves possessed of, or that we have both an à priori and à posteriori knowledge of space and time, matter and spirit, as realities in themselves.



IN the science of Natural Theology, we have very carefully defined, and distinguished from each other, the ideas represented by these two terms. The fundamental bearing of these discriminations upon our future inquiries will be our apology for introducing the same subject in the present connection. What, then, do we mean by these terms, and wherein do they differ the one from the other?

An absurdity involves a contradiction, and appears in two forms—affirming that the same thing is, at the same time, true and not true of the same object, or affirming what is palpably contrary to, or incompatible with, an absolutely known truth. The nature of the absurd in the first form designated is so obvious, that but a single example in illustration is required. A philosopher affirms that in all cases of vision the object really perceived is not an external form, but an image on the retina. He then employs vision itself to prove the existence of the image in the assigned locality, the image which is now an exterior object. According to the theory, the image itself cannot be seen, but only an image of an image. There are two absurdities in this argument—proving by an image which, by hypothesis, is not seen, that nothing but an image is ever seen at all, and inferring from the assumed existence of the image that it, and not the object of conscious vision, is seen.

An individual is affirmed to be blameable for not having done what is admitted to have been impossible to him. We recognise ourselves at once as in the presence of an absurdity of the second class, the possible being absolutely known to be the only conceivable object of moral obligation. The same form of the absurd appears, when an argument or objection is held to be valid in disproof of a given hypothesis, when the same argument or objection holds in all its force against another hypothesis known or admitted to be true. A philosopher proposes to give us real science in the admitted and affirmed sphere of the unknown and unknowable, or 'to demonstrate' for us 'a single physical basis of life underlying all the diversities of vital existence,' or that 'a unity of power or faculty, a unity of form, and a unity of substantial composition, does pervade the whole living world,' and then gravely informs us that 'it is certain that we can have no knowledge of the nature of either matter or spirit.' In all such cases, the absurd has reached its consummation. A fact, we will suppose, is known to us as an event of actual occurrence. The reason or cause of its occurrence is, to us, unknown and unascertainable. The event, in such case, would rank as a fact of actual knowledge, while the cause would be a mystery. It is thus that the known and mysterious everywhere lie out side by side before us. If we will admit no fact to have occurred, and no object to be real, the occurrence and existence of which involve a mystery, we shall for ever remain, in the strictest sense of the words, 'know-nothings.' No fact or proposition, falling within the proper sphere of the self-contradictory, or absurd, can be an object of rational belief, because that, by no possibility, can such an event occur, or any such proposition be true. The element of Mystery, however deep, on the other hand, is no proof whatever that a given fact has not occurred, or that a given proposition is not true. Almost no discriminations can be of greater importance in science than those just made between the absurd and the mysterious. Any fact, the possible occurrence of which is conceivable, is a possible event, and its occurrence may, on adequate evidence, be an object of rational belief, and a denial of its occurrence may be most irrational. Any form of being, the existence of which is conceivably possible, is a possible form of existence; and a belief in it as real, the fact of its existence being affirmed by adequate evidence, is most rational, and disbelief under such circumstances is equally irrational. Positive belief in the absurd, and disbelief in the presence of valid evidence, and doubt in the presence of real proof, are intellectual states equally credulous and irrational, and moral states of the greatest criminality.

Existence involves a Mystery.

Of all forms of the mysterious none are, or can be, greater than that involved in the idea of existence, that is, when we ask the question, not what is real, but why a given form of being or substance is real instead of not real. 'We way know absolutely,' as we have said in another work, 'that a certain substance does as a matter of fact exist. But when we attempt to go beyond the mere fact and to determine the question why the substance does exist instead of not exist, we find that we can discover neither in the fact referred to, nor in the nature or relations of the substance revealed as existing, any light whatever in regard to such inquiries.' Any conceivable, we repeat, is a possible form of existence, and any one such form is just as possible as any other. Belief in the reality of any conceivable form of being, when affirmed as real by adequate evidence, is most rational, and disbelief most irrational. The questions what realities do exist, and why they exist, are questions totally distinct and separate the one from the other. The depth of the mystery involved in the why of existence is no reason whatever for disbelief in the fact of existence. The belief in the reality of one form of being is no reason whatever for disbelief in that of another and not incompatible form of existence. As the why of existence is, in all conceivable forms of being, alike and equally mysterious, and we are of necessity confined to the mere and exclusive question, What is real? one form of conceivable existence is in itself and on à priori grounds just as possible and probable as any other; nor can we on such grounds determine at all what substances and causes are and are not real.

The law of rational belief and disbelief, in respect to being and its laws, is absolute, and may be thus stated—to wit, Whatever conceivable forms of being are manifested as real, and none others, must be admitted as actual, that is, all forms of being directly and immediately perceived to be real, together with all implied by and logically deduced from what is thus perceived, all these, and nothing more, must be taken into account as real in the constitution of our theory of existence and its laws. The conscious conceivability of any form of existence demonstrates it as a possible form of being, and removes utterly and absolutely all antecedent probability against its reality. The fact of its consciously direct and immediate manifestation as a real form of being must be to the mind, on scientific grounds, perfect proof of its real existence.

Bearing of these Conclusions upon our former Deductions.

As we have formerly shown, and as admitted and affirmed in all schools of Philosophy, matter and spirit, and time and space are actually conceivable and conceived forms of existence. Nor, as all admit, is the idea of the existence of any one of them conceivably incompatible with that of any other. They all, then, stand demonstrably revealed as possible existences with no antecedent probability against their being, all in common and all together actual existences, their united existence being utterly undeniable on à priori grounds. The simple question for science, then, is this, Are we conscious of matter and spirit as objects of direct and immediate perception, and of time and space as necessary forms of being whose reality is implied by what is consciously perceived? Numberless, impenetrable, and unsolvable mysteries may hang about the why of their existence and manifestation. The fact of both may be objects of absolute knowledge, and therefore real. If we shall hereafter meet with philosophers who deny the fact that we are conscious of a direct and immediate perception of matter and spirit as distinct and separate and actual forms of being, and of knowing time and space as necessary forms of existence absolutely implied as real by what we consciously perceive, we shall deny the correctness of the psychology of such thinkers, and shall sustain that denial by an appeal to the already absolutely pronounced judgment of the universal consciousness. If these philosophers shall deny the validity of such conscious forms of absolute knowledge for the reality and character of their objects, we shall deny the correctness of the logic of these thinkers, and shall sustain that denial by an appeal to the already pronounced judgment of the same tribunal as before. The undeniable fact should fully satisfy every friend of true science that the validity of our knowledge of each of these realities, in common with every other, cannot be denied without an absolute impeachment of the integrity and validity of the universal intelligence itself as a faculty of knowledge.

The Existence of a Power of Knowledge involves a Mystery equally profound.

Knowledge, as shown in the General Introduction, implies a power and an object of knowledge, and these in such relations to each other that real knowledge arises by virtue of the nature and relations of the power and object referred to. If we inquire for the reasons why such power exists, why such conditions are necessary to its action, and why knowledge does arise when these conditions are fulfilled, all is an absolute mystery to us, excepting what is implied in the statement above given. We know, and cannot but know, that knowledge, in any and every form, does and must imply a power and object of knowledge, and that whenever knowledge does arise, it must exist in consequence of the relations and corelated nature of said power and object. If philosophers are not satisfied with the why, as revealed in the above necessary and self-evident principle, then this why must for ever remain to them and to us a profound and impenetrable mystery. We have no means of knowing why any conditions are necessary to the existence of real knowledge, and aside from the reason above given, why knowledge arises when these conditions are fulfilled. By absolute necessity our legitimate inquiries are wholly confined to the actual conditions, objects, and forms of knowledge which in fact do exist, and to what is implied by the same. À priori we can by no possibility determine whether any power, and much less what power of knowledge, does exist, what are its objects, and what are the necessary conditions of its action. The existence of a power of knowledge can be known but through the conscious fact of actual knowledge. The nature of that power can be determined but through conscious forms and objects of knowledge. The conditions of the possibility of human knowledge can be determined but through the conscious conditions in which actual knowledge does, in fact, arise. The extent and limits of our faculty of knowledge are determinable but through the actual facts, forms, and objects of human knowledge and what is implied by the same. The absolute validity of all the above statements is, undeniably, self-evident. If neither philosophers nor anybody else can conceive how and why knowledge in any given form is possible and therefore real, that is no reason whatever why we, in the presence of the conscious fact of such knowledge, should deny its actual existence, the how and the why in the sense now under consideration being in all cases of real knowledge equally and absolutely mysterious to us.

No forms of philosophizing can be more absurd than is the assumption of certain schools in Philosophy that they can determine à priori whether any and what real powers of knowledge do exist, what is the nature of the human intelligence, what objects does it and can it know, and what are the specific conditions, extent, and limits of human knowledge.

Any conceivable is undeniably a possible form of knowledge, and any one actually conceivable form is in itself just as possible and probable a form as any other. How, then, can anyone determine à priori that this form does exist, and that that cannot, and does not, exist? and that this or that is the immutable condition of valid knowledge in all cases? On the assumed authority of à priori insight, the Materialist affirms that the immutable condition of valid knowledge is that the subject and object of knowledge shall be exterior to each other. On the assumed authority of the same insight, Idealists of one school affirm that valid knowledge is conditioned on a 'synthesis of being and knowing;' and another, on 'the absolute identity of being and knowing.' Sceptics, on the same authority, affirm actual knowledge impossible on any of these conditions. Realists, on the other hand, on the undeniable authority of consciously conceivable, possible, and actual facts of actual knowledge, affirm knowledge to be possible and actual both in its exterior and interior forms. Now, we affirm that the Materialist, Idealist, and Sceptic have just as much and no more power to determine à priori the specific number, form, and dimensions of all objects on the other side of the moon, as they have to determine the specific nature of the human intelligence, its objects of valid knowledge, the conditions of its valid activity, and the extent and limits of its sphere. Some philosophers affirm that the how and the why of knowledge are to them conceivable but in one specific form; others, that to them this how and why are conceivable but in another and opposite form; while others affirm that the same how and why, but as above stated, are to them equally mysterious in all forms. What shall we do? This only can we do. We can determine, through conscious facts; what we know, and what is implied by actually existing forms of conscious knowledge. We can thus, and thus only, fully meet all the real demands of science upon this subject.



ALL our world-knowledge, we are taught in certain schools, is merely phenomenal, and in no case has anything more than a relative validity. In what sense and form are such statements valid? The primary meaning of the term 'phenomenon' is appearance. An object is manifested to us. The form of the manifestation is called a phenomenon of said object. All the forms of its manifestation are called its phenomena. The question, and the only question, for science in this connection is this: In phenomena, are realities manifested as they are, or as they are not? Is perception, external and internal, what the Transcendental Philosophy affirms it to be, 'an unavoidable illusion inhering in reason itself,' or is it a source of real, valid knowledge?

In Phenomena, Objects are Manifested as they are, and not as they are not.

Let us first contemplate perception in its consciously indirect and mediate form, through sensation. A sensation, we will suppose, is induced in the mind. As an object of direct and immediate consciousness, we undeniably know the sensation itself as it is, and not as it is not. So far the phenomenal and the real are identical. With the sensation, however, a form of necessary and absolute knowledge arises—to wit, that this sensation had, and must have had, a cause. Two forms, not of illusory, but of real knowledge, are obtained by sensation: a real knowledge of the subjective state itself, and of the fact that real causes do exist—causes adapted and adequate to produce said states. So far our knowledge is undeniably not illusory, but real; and this is all that is given as actually known in the case. For all practical purposes we are able to determine, with sufficient accuracy, in what specific objects these causes exist. What is given as absolutely known, however, is the fact and nature of the sensation itself, and the actual existence in the universe of real causes adequate and adapted to produce the sensation. It alters not the reality or validity of our knowledge to affirm that if our sensibility was differently constituted from what it now is, our sensations would be diverse from what they are. Suppose that this department of our nature was changed, and that in each change totally new sensations were induced. In such case our knowledge of the possibilities of our sensitive nature, and of the nature of existing causes, would be enlarged, but would not be less real and certain than it now is. So far, then, we repeat, the phenomenal and the real are identical.

The case holds, with the same absoluteness, in respect to all forms of consciously direct and immediate knowledge. In all such cases, in the language of Sir William Hamilton, 'the object is conceived as perceived,' and to affirm 'that we perceive the object to exist, and know it to exist, is to affirm the same thing.' In all such conscious forms of knowledge, to affirm that we do not know objects as they are, and that the phenomenal and the real are not one and identical, is, in the language of the same author, to affirm 'consciousness to be a liar from the beginning.' It is, undeniably, a hallucination of false science to affirm that phenomena, or illusory appearances, stand between the Intelligence and the conscious objects of direct and immediate knowledge.

The Dogma that all our World-Knowledge is mere Illusory Appearance.

Let us for a few moments contemplate the dogma that all forms of world, and we might add necessary, knowledge is mere illusory appearance. This is the common doctrine, as Mr. Herbert Spencer rightly affirms, of all anti-theistic philosophers of all ages. At the same time, all these philosophers agree and avow that the Intelligence is so constituted that it does and must originate these phenomena, and also believe in their validity. We need not repeat what is quoted in the General Introduction from such authors as Kant and Coleridge on this subject. To the same effect we now cite the authority of Mr. Spencer himself. 'It is impossible,' he says, 'to get rid of the consciousness of an actuality lying behind appearances;' and 'from this impossibility,' he adds, 'the indestructible belief in that actuality.' The common doctrine of all these systems embraces the following essential items: 1. The Intelligence is so immutably constituted that, from its changeless nature and laws, it must originate these illusions. 2. For the same reasons, it must believe in the actuality of the objects of these appearances—that is, in illusions. 3. From its nature and laws, it finally discerns the unavoidable cheat which it necessarily perpetrates upon itself. 4. After the cheat has been discovered, the belief in the actuality of the objects of these known illusions remains as 'indestructible' as before. 5. To be philosophers, we must, 'by a scientific scepticism to which we voluntarily determine ourselves,' compel ourselves to treat these 'indestructible beliefs,' which 'cannot be removed by grounds or arguments,' 'as nothing but a prejudice.' Such, undeniably, is the real creed of these philosophers. This creed palpably embraces this dogma—that the Intelligence, from its changeless nature and laws, must believe in a lie, knowing and avowing it to be such.

On the supposition that the Intelligence is divinely constituted, we have here an infinite slander upon our Creator, to wit, that He has so constituted that faculty that it must originate a lie, then discover the falsehood, and finally believe in it after its character is known. It is undeniable that an infinite and perfect God might have constituted, in the stead of such a lying power, a faculty of real knowledge. What must be His character if, instead of a faculty of real integrity, He has originated such a monstrosity as these philosophers make the human intelligence to be? If, on the other hand, this Intelligence was not divinely constituted, we have, in the dogma before us, a slander equally monstrous upon nature itself; for we have here the doctrine that nature in her highest laws, those of the Intelligence, is throughout a blank lie, and nothing else. Such are the absurdities which we must embrace or admit and affirm the identity of the phenomenal and real.

The Real Relativity of Knowledge.

It is only to us as human beings, it is gravely affirmed, that our world-knowledge and necessary ideas have validity for realities as they are in themselves. To intelligences constituted intellectually, or even sensitively, different from us, there may be no such realities as matter and spirit, time and space, and no validity to the proposition 2 x 2 = 4, or to the axioms such as 'Things equal to the same things are equal to each other.' In reply we have only to say that if mankind alone can apprehend and comprehend such simple truths as these, human beings are the only rational beings that do exist. We meet with a human being who cannot be taught that 2 x 2 = 4, or that a circle is not a square. We justly regard and treat him as an idiot. So ought we to regard all beings who reveal similar forms of incapacity.

To affirm that there can be rational beings who can comprehend the axioms, numbers, and figures referred to, and not judge of them as we do, is one of the greatest conceivable absurdities. Knowledge is, undeniably, not relative in this sense, that it does not really and truly represent its objects.

The opposite dogma is certainly incapable of proof. No one will pretend that it has self-evident validity. Nor can any class of real intelligents be produced to whom matter and spirit and time and space are not realities, and with whom 2 x 2 does not equal 4, or things equal to the same things are not equal to one another. Nor can we form any conception of the nature of that kind of rationality to which 2 x 2 = 10, or things equal to the same things may be one of them twice as large as the other. In no such sense as that under consideration has our knowledge a mere relative validity. If the term relativity means that the extent of real knowledge with us is limited by the nature of our faculty of knowledge, that is, that we cannot know realities which we are not capacitated to know, we have before us a mere truism, a truism very needlessly uttered. 'A thing of which one has no knowledge,' as Professor Samuel Harris, D. D., has well said, 'is neither false nor true for him, but simply unknown. Philosophy would have been saved from a great deal of confusion on this point had it been kept in mind that false and true apply only to the knowable or the known.'

If the term relativity is assumed to mean that we can know, not substance itself, that is, substance without attributes, but only the attributes of being, we find ourselves in the presence of two essential errors, namely, that there may be substance or being without attributes, and that there may be attributes without substance. Pure being, that is, substance without attributes, is a non-entity, and the idea of attributes without a subject involves the same form of contradiction as that of an event without a cause. Substances and attributes are necessarily connected, and substances must be as their attributes. So far, therefore, as we know the attributes of being, we know being itself; and so far as we know the real attributes of being, we know being as it is. Our knowledge of being is limited because our knowledge of its attributes is limited. If we knew all the attributes of being, we should have a perfect knowledge of being itself. Limited knowledge, also, as far as it extends, is just as real and true of being as full or perfect knowledge. The idea that there may be something in what is called the ultimate essence of being which will invalidate our present knowledge of its attributes, or do away with these attributes, is a chimera of false science. We have quite as much reason to affirm that the ultimate essence is wholly embraced and revealed in its known as in its unknown attributes; and we have no reason whatever for either supposition. Ultimate essence is partially revealed by every known attribute, and, we repeat, it is fully revealed when all attributes are known.

Nor does the fact that only a part of the attributes of being are known invalidate the classification of substances in view of their known attributes. We may not know, for example, all the properties or relations of the circle or square. Notwithstanding this, we know absolutely, on account of their known properties and relations, that a circle is not and cannot be a square. We are also, no doubt, profoundly ignorant of many of the attributes both of matter and spirit. In view of their known attributes, however, we are as absolutely and rationally assured that matter is not spirit as we are that a circle is not a square.

Relativity of knowledge is, by some philosophers, affirmed to mean that we know merely the relations of qualities, and not the realities themselves. 'Every complete act of consciousness,' says Mr. Spencer, 'besides distinction and relation, also implies likeness. Before it can become an idea or constitute a piece of knowledge, a mental state must not only be known as separate in kind from certain foregoing states to which it is known as related by succession; but it must further be known as of the same kind with certain other foregoing states.'

Here we have quite a number of fundamental errors of the gravest character. Among them we specify the following: 1. The Intelligence has the capacity to discern the relations of things without knowing at all what these things themselves are, that is, in absolute ignorance of the numbers 2 and 4, we can know absolutely that 2 x 2 = 4. Without fear of contradiction we affirm that a greater absurdity can hardly be imagined. 2. Until after classification, and not even then, it should have been said, can we have any conception whatever of the realities classified. 'Before the feelings produced by intercourse with the world have been put in order, there are no cognitions strictly so-called.' In other words, Field-Marshal Maltke must have fully organized his armies before he could have known that a single soldier existed to be organized. The antecedent is here substituted for the consequent. Cognitions of individuals must exist before classification is possible. 3. According to this dogma, we have derivative cognitions without the primitive. The latter must in its original form have pertained to one single individual irrespective of every other. For the real cognition must have arisen, or the derived could not exist, unless the axiom, 'Ex nihilo, nihil fit,' is false. The idea that relations are discernible in utter ignorance of the things related is an absurdity than which none can be greater. In no such sense as this, then, can relativity be affirmed of human knowledge. When an object 'has absolutely no attribute in common with anything else,' Mr. Spencer assures us 'it must be absolutely beyond the bounds of knowledge.' Such an object, we reply, can be both known and classified. By intuition we could perceive and conceive its real attributes. On reflection we could, in view of the principle of unlikeness, separate it from all other known objects. According to Mr. Spencer, knowledge, in any new form, is impossible, such knowledge being unlike all existing forms. How, then, is progression possible? that is, in the language of our author, 'advancing from the definite homogeneous to the definite heterogeneous'



PHYSIOLOGY and other physical sciences among the Greeks, that is, in certain schools of Greece, did supplant metaphysics. The disciples of the New Philosophy in modern times affirm that 'as sure as every future grows out of the past and present, so will the physiology of the future gradually extend the realm of matter and law, until it is coextensive with knowledge, with feeling, and with action.' Thus we are informed that the halcyon day is near when the scalpel and microscope will supersede consciousness and reflection in the development of the science of mind. The time is come when the fundamental distinction between metaphysics and all other sciences should be distinctly understood.

Our hypothesis on this subject is this, that mental science proper is just as distinct, separate from, and independent of, physiology, as it is of the mathematics, astronomy, natural philosophy, or geology. The telescope of the astronomer, and the hammer of the geologist, have just as much, and no more, to do in the sphere of metaphysics, as the crucible of the chemist, and the microscope and scalpel of the physiologist. What are the real, and only real phenomena of the mind? They are, undeniably, all comprehended in these three classes—thought, feeling, and willing. If we will take into consideration any mental state or act, and ask ourselves the question, What is the nature of this state? we shall find that from no physiological fact, and from no state of the brain or nervous system, can we gain the remotest conception of this mental—state. There are, for example, physiological conditions of sensation. But when we ask the question what sensation, as a sensitive state, is, we can gain no more light upon this subject from the action of our physical system, than we can from that of a steam-engine. What if a physiologist should assure us that by a careful analysis, under a strong microscope, of the nerve of the tooth, together with the connection of that nerve with the other portions of the body, he had discovered the exact nature of that peculiar form of sensation denominated toothache? We should hardly hesitate to affirm, that the proper place for 'our new philosopher' is the Lunatic Asylum. Geology and rail-splitting throw just as much light upon the nature of all our sensitive and emotive states as physiology does.

The same holds true of all our intellectual states. External perception, for example, is always preceded by certain physiological conditions. In the analysis and study of these conditions, however, we can no more determine what perception is in itself, or what are its objects, extent, and limits, than we can in the study of chaos. Does the physiology of the eye reveal the nature and objects of vision? The conditions of vision are one thing, Vision itself is quite another. What resemblance is there between the brain and thought? The nature of the action of the faculty of Self-consciousness is no more revealed through the physiology of the human brain than it is through that of the trunk of an elephant. There is not a single state or movement of the body that reveals, in any form, the nature of any sensitive, emotive, or intellectual state.

The same remarks are equally and especially applicable to all mental states denominated will. Two individuals affirm themselves able to explain, and fully elucidate, the nature and laws of all the phenomena of this mysterious faculty denominated the human will. One of these men has gotten all his knowledge upon this subject in the profound study of the mechanism and workings of a windmill, and the other in a similar study of 'the house we live in'—the human body. We have just as much reason to expect real light from one of these individuals, as we have from the other. In metaphysics we have but one faculty for the determination of facts—Self-consciousness. All questions resolvable throughout the entire sphere of this science are to be resolved in the light of facts, not of external, but exclusively of internal perception. Metaphysics is wholly an internal science, and all its valid deductions have but one basis, facts of internal perception. Physiology is wholly an external science, and has its exclusive basis in facts of external perception. Physiology is as really and truly an external science as is geology or astronomy. We might as properly base our deductions in mental science upon geological or astronomical, as upon physiological facts. We might as properly determine the nature of thought, feeling, and willing, and consequently the faculties and laws of mind, in view of the properties and relations of a triangle, a circle, or square, as by means of an analysis of the brain, or the nervous system. The immutable laws of induction and deduction in the science of mind, laws as stated by Cousin, have absolute and universal authority, namely, Omit no conscious facts, and suppose none not given by Consciousness. The facts thus given are not to be moulded to meet the exigence of desired hypotheses, but are to be interpreted with absolute integrity. If metaphysicians would accept of the real facts of the universal consciousness just as they find them, if they would abjure all 'acts of scientific scepticism to which they voluntarily determine themselves,' if they would repudiate all assumptions, and honestly discriminate between facts of real and assumed knowledge, and with all integrity seek to know mind as God made it, and not as they would have it, the time is not distant when there will be as little difference of opinion in metaphysics as in natural philosophy.



ANTI-THEISTIC systems of Philosophy always take their points of departure and their specific forms from negations of particular kinds. In all ages and among all schools in which the reality of matter and spirit, and time and space, and the validity of our knowledge of the same, have been admitted, the being and perfections of a personal God have been affirmed. A denial of this doctrine has always been based upon a denial of the validity of our knowledge of matter, on the one hand, or of spirit, on the other, or of both in common. Idealism takes rise and form from the first form of denial, Materialism from the second, and Scepticism from the last. These systems have generally followed each other in the order above named. Anti-theism has never, for any considerable time, taken on any specific and fixed form, a denial of the doctrine of a personal God excepted, but has embodied itself in each system of unbelief as it and while it was an object of the popular faith. As God stands prominently revealed in the popular mind as the Creator of the visible universe, a denial of His being and perfections is most commonly in its first form, based upon a denial of the validity of our knowledge of said universe. Hence the rise of Anti-theism in the form of Idealism, which in succession takes on the form, first of Ideal Dualism, then of Subjective Idealism, then of Pantheism, and finally of Pure Idealism. For no considerable period can the mind in any age continue long within the circle of either of these systems, but passes successively from the first, through the intermediate forms, to the last, 'the driest place,' which 'the unclean spirit' of unbelief ever traverses. Finding less rest and assurance here than in any previous forms of anti-theistic thought, and pressed with the reality of the external universe, another class of thinkers arise—thinkers who affirm the validity of our knowledge of matter, and deny its validity of spirit. Materialism, and with it Atheism now takes on the form of popular belief. After reposing for a period amid the naked forms of a godless universe, the mind becomes oppressed with a sense of inward desolation and want, and also with the immutable conviction that it has precisely the same reasons for denying the validity of matter that it can have for impeaching our knowledge of spirit. Another class of thinkers now arise, denying the validity of knowledge both in its subjective and objective forms, and confounding the advocates of these antagonistic systems with the arguments which they have been employing against each other. As both parties are perfectly powerless against this new form of attack, Scepticism in its turn becomes ascendant, and commands the popular faith. During the freshness of its early espousal, universal doubt appears to the general mind as an angel of light. Absolute vacancy, universal doubt, and hopeless nescience, each and all are states so unnatural and repulsive to our necessary and irrepressible desires for real knowledge, that Scepticism never can, for long periods, hold the human mind under its barren control. Humanity, from its nature and laws, will believe in 'chimeras dire,' rather than in the impossibility of knowing anything.

Under such circumstances, the mind will accept of the doctrine of a personal God, or reaccept some of the forms of Idealism, the first most likely. Then the mind will recommence the circle of successive beliefs above described, and return finally to the sceptical form of thought. Ever since the commencement of the anti-theistic philosophy, as far as the mind has been subjected to its influence, Anti-theism has been moving in this one fixed circle, successively embracing and repudiating the same identical systems. Anglo-Saxon unbelief is now under the control of the oldest form of Scepticism known in the history of Philosophy—a form miscalled 'The New Philosophy.' We shall see hereafter that this affirmed new system is, in fact and form, as old as Protagoras and other Greek sceptics, now known as the ancient Sophists. The next great movement of philosophic thought will be in the direction of the doctrine of a personal God, and of creation 'by the word of God,' or a recommencement of the old cycles which have been so often repeated in the story of past ages, and which we are hereafter to elucidate. We state the above facts as preparatory to a distinct apprehension of the systems which we are to examine. In Greece we shall find the old Oriental systems, with the exception of Theism proper and Scepticism, repeated in fact and form. In modern forms of philosophical thought we shall find the Grecian repeated, the theistic and sceptical included.



PRIOR to the Socratic period three leading schools in philosophy arose in Greece, that of Ionia, the Italic, and the Eleatic schools, the two last named being located in what was denominated Graecia Major. As the result of the teachings particularly of the two schools last named, there rose in different parts of Greece a class of sceptics known under the title of Sophists.

After Socrates Athens became the great centre of literature and philosophic thought in Greece. Here various schools arose, such as were generally known as the Cynic, the Sceptical, the Platonic, Aristotelic, Epicurean, and Stoic schools. The general doctrine of members of these schools was identical, while each school was peculiarized by special moral teachings from which it received its special designation. After what is generally denominated the Socratic period had passed, the era of what is called the decline of the Greek philosophy commenced—the era in which the doctrines of previous schools, especially those of the Platonic, took on in important particulars new forms.

We shall accordingly comprehend our examination of the Greek philosophy in three general divisions—the Pre-Socratic, the Socratic, and he Post-Socratic periods or schools.

With equal propriety the Greek philosophy as a whole might, as has been done in some important works, be divided into two principal evolutions, the first extending from Thales to Socrates, the second from Socrates to Sextus Empiricus. For the sake of special distinctness, we have taken into account the three general evolutions above designated, and shall divide our examination of this philosophy into a corresponding number of chapters. The following extract from the epitome of the History of Philosophy will enable the reader to appreciate what will be found in these chapters:

'The Greek colonies of Asia Minor and of Italy connected by position, the former with Phoenicia and Chaldea, the latter with Egypt, were the double cradle of Hellenic philosophy. In this respect they were in advance of Greece proper. We might say that before throwing itself into the country which was destined to become the theatre of its great conflicts, Philosophy took its position around it and made as it were preparatory attempts at conquest. But the two tendencies begun in the former period were reproduced in this. The Italic school continued under the new forms the theological and the metaphysical speculations of the East. The Ionic school separated Philosophy much more from traditional science preserved in the sanctuaries. As the several schools of Philosophy—schools originally formed in Asia Minor—and the Greek portions of Italy were transferred to Athens, they brought with them, we would add, their special peculiarities of doctrine and methods of philosophizing, and thus imparted, by the collisions and interminglings of opposite principles and methods, a peculiar character and movement to philosophic thought throughout the Socratic and Post-Socratic periods.' Without a distinct apprehension of the facts above stated, it would be much more difficult to comprehend the diverse and opposite phases and methods of the Greek philosophy. The reader who has fully comprehended the statements and discussions of the present introduction, together with what has gone before, will readily understand and appreciate what is to follow.





THALES of Miletus, born about six centuries before the Christian era, and founder of the celebrated school of Ionia, is, by general consent, regarded as the father of the Greek philosophy. With him, unquestionably, commenced the first marked evolution of Philosophy among this people. In such regard was he held by his countrymen that he takes rank as one among the seven wise men of Greece. As a scholar he was not only acquainted with the literature and philosophy of the Eastern nations, but was 'learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,' having frequently visited Egypt for purposes of observation and study. With him originated also the maxim which has justly immortalized his name—to wit, 'Know thyself.'

Exposition of the Doctrines of Thales.

We shall with great care exhibit the ascertained views of this philosopher, because we shall thus obtain a central light which will guide us safely in subsequent and darker inquiries. All agree that he taught the reality of matter and of an organized material universe. All agree, also, that he held and taught a definite hypothesis in regard to the nature and state of the material elements prior to their organization as we now find them. Nor do any doubt that he held and taught definite views in regard to the ultimate and unconditioned cause of the change of the condition of these material elements from their primal chaotic state to one of which order is the 'first law' and all-controlling principle. At this point a difference of opinion arises. Some affirm that under Thales the Ionic school was materialistic, and consequently atheistic in its teachings and influence, while others maintain that he held and taught the doctrine of one supreme God as the Creator proper of the universe. Holding, as all admit and affirm that he did, to the real existence of matter and to its original existence in a chaotic state, he must have held and taught that the material elements were brought into a state of universal organization by a law of order existing and acting potentially in matter itself, or by a divine force or cause ab extra. As the writings of this author have not come down to us, we are necessitated to depend upon the records of his utterances and doctrines handed down by others living at subsequent periods. Such sources of information, as we shall find, are perfectly satisfactory. We will first consider the cosmological and then the theistic doctrine and teachings of this world-renowned thinker.


The common idea of all world-thinkers who hold the doctrine of material existence is that the primal state of matter is properly represented by the term chaos. Whether this chaos was in a fluid, nebulous, igneous, or aeriform state, here a difference of opinion obtains. What were the teachings of Thales on this subject? All authors, ancient and modern, agree that, according to this thinker, the primal state of matter is represented by the term fluidity—in other words that the material universe was developed out of water. Earth he held to be water condensed, air to be water rarefied, and fire to be rarefied air.

Hippo, of Samos or Regium, a philosopher who lived about two centuries after Thales, maintained the same doctrine, affirming moisture, or water, as embracing the constituent elements of the material universe. Aristotle suggests that 'Thales was impressed with the idea that water contains the constituent elements of all material forms, by observing the fact that all things appear to be nourished by this element, and that it is present in all.' We very probably have here one real cause of the idea under consideration. We suggest another equally probable co-operating cause, to which we shall subsequently refer. Thales, in his multitudinous travels and researches for information, could hardly have remained ignorant of such an author as Moses, from whose account of the creation Longinus subsequently cites. Had Thales not read or heard that, according to Moses, the material universe rose from chaos, because 'the Spirit of the Lord moved upon the face of the waters'? As we are now treating of probabilities, no material error can arise from either of the suggestions before us.

The Theistic Doctrine and Teachings of Thales.

We now advance to the consideration of a question about which a difference of opinion does obtain among modern writers on the history of Philosophy. We refer to the Theistic doctrines and teachings of Thales. The issue before us is this—Did this philosopher teach that the material universe took form from a law of order acting potentially in matter itself, or from the all-formative agency of God? To affirm that he taught the doctrine of creation by natural law is to charge him, without proof, to have held and taught a palpable absurdity. A law of order existing and acting potentially in matter, and thus existing and acting through no exterior cause, must, by hypothesis, have existed and acted there from eternity, and from eternity matter must have existed in an organized, and not in a disorganized, state. A primal chaos could by no possibility have produced order. This principle, as we shall find hereafter, early suggested itself to the Grecian mind, and gave peculiar and special forms to the doctrine of Materialism. The absurdity of the doctrine of organization from chaos by an eternally existing and acting natural law or cause is, we admit, no absolute proof that Thales did not hold and teach it; because, as it has been well said, no great absurdity can be named which has not for ages been a leading dogma of some leading sect in Philosophy. What we do argue is this—that without positive proof (and no such proof exists), no such absurdity should be charged upon this great philosopher.

While a difference of opinion does exist among modern historians about his views on the subject before us, no known ancient author, as we shall see, charged him with being a mere Naturalist. This is a very important fact to be taken into account in the formation of our judgment on this question. But what positive proof have we that he was, in the strictest sense of the word, a Theist? On this subject we invite a careful examination of the following facts and considerations:

1. From the known circumstances of his birth and life, and the recorded facts pertaining to his travels, studies, and habits of thought, the deduction is undeniable that he must have been fully informed of the nature and character of Theistic ideas and doctrines, and must have maintained definite views in respect to the doctrine of ultimate causation. We have no evidence at all, but positive proof to the contrary, that the doctrine of one Supreme God, the Creator and Governor of the universe, was ever absent from Greek thought. We have proof equally positive, as we have shown, that this was the common doctrine of all surrounding nations, barbarian and civilized. In his travels and studies in Egypt and other countries he must have become familiar with the doctrine of God as expounded by learned men among the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Chaldeans, and Persians. Nor could he have been ignorant of the doctrine of his near neighbours the Jews pertaining to the being and government of God. The fame of Solomon and the prophets, and especially of Daniel, his contemporary, must have reached Ionia, and have been known to Thales. The captivity and dispersion of the Jews by the Assyrians and Chaldeans, events which transpired prior to and during the age of this individual, spread the knowledge of the writings and doctrines of that people over all Asia Minor and the Eastern nations. To affirm Thales to have been ignorant of the doctrine of God, is to affirm him to have been one of the most stupid, unobservant, and ignorant men that Greece ever produced—and all this without evidence not merely, but in the face of positive proof to the contrary—and to affirm it from no other reason than to sustain a false and absurd modern theory pertaining to the origin of Theistic ideas. We have, in the above undeniable facts, a full refutation of the argument of such authors as Hegel and Lewes, that Thales could not have held and taught the doctrine of God, because the idea of God had, in his age, no place in the Grecian mind.

2. The testimony of Aristotle—testimony a part of which has been so often cited to the contrary—the testimony of Aristotle taken all together, we say, is perfectly conclusive that Thales was, in the proper sense of the term, a Theist. The statement of Aristotle so often cited to prove Thales to have been a mere Naturalist, proves, in fact, no such thing. The passage is this: 'Of those who first philosophized, the majority assumed only material principles as elements—Thales, the originator of this philosophy, taking water for his principle.' Had Aristotle said no more, there might be found in this passage conjectural, though not conclusive, ground for the inference that Thales, among others, was a mere Materialist.

Let us now contemplate the positive testimony of Aristotle bearing in the opposite direction. Thales 'is reported,' says Aristotle, 'to have said that the loadstone possessed a soul because it could move iron.' Here, then, we have a distinct statement of the fact that Thales held the old doctrine, avowed even by Newton, of the vis inertia of matter. So strongly did he hold to this doctrine, that he attributed the attracting power of the loadstone, not to a principle inhering and acting potentially in matter itself, but to the moving power of a spirit acting in that material object. We perceive, also, how clearly the ideas of matter on the one band, and of spirit on the other, were distinguished and separated in the mind of this philosopher. If this philosopher, as he undeniably did, held the doctrine of the inertia of matter in such an absolute form, that he would not admit the possibility of the attractive power of the loadstone, but through the moving agency of mind, much less could he have held the doctrine of the formation of the material universe from water through the exclusive influence of a law of material order existing and acting potentially in such a dull and inert thing as he held matter to be. If he attributed even the attractive power of the loadstone to the moving agency of spirit, much more must he have held the doctrine of the organization, by mind, of the universe from chaos to perfect order.

'Some think,' says Aristotle once more, 'that soul and life is mingled with the whole universe, and thence perhaps was that [opinion] of Thales that all things are full of gods.'

This 'perhaps' pertains merely to the origin of the belief of the universality of the divine agency in the universe. If we had no testimony but that of Aristotle, we should be bound to regard Thales as a real Theist.

3. But the direct and positive testimony which has been handed down to us from other ancient authors fully vindicates for Thales a place among the great Theistic thinkers of the world. 'Thales of Miletus,' says Cicero, 'the first who engaged in these inquiries, says that water is the original of all things, and that God is that Intelligence who from water formed all things.' Again, as recorded by another ancient author, Thales said, 'God is the most ancient of all things, because be is unmade and ungenerated.' Diogenes Laertius, after attributing to him the same sentiment that Aristotle does, 'that the world is animated and full of gods,' records another of the utterances of Thales in this form, 'God is the most ancient of all things, for he has no birth; the world is the most beautiful of all things, for it is the workmanship of God.' The author of 'De Placitis Philosophorum,' as cited by Cudworth, affirms, that in common with Pythagoras and Plato, 'Thales held the soul to be an incorporeal, self-acting, and intelligent substance.' No one who is guided by evidence, and no pre-formed hypothesis in respect to the origin of Theistic ideas, will doubt for a moment the fact that Thales held and taught the doctrine of the real existence of matter and spirit as distinct and separate entities, and of a supreme personal God, the Creator proper of the universe.

Anaximander and Anaximenes

Thales had presented, for all who admitted the existence of matter and of a material universe, the definite problem, what was the primeval state of the material elements, the state which preceded organization. The ancients almost, or quite, universally divide the material elements into four classes, earth, air, fire, and water. Hypotheses pertaining to the primeval state of the material elements would naturally take form from one or the other of these classes. As no one would suppose, that the primeval state was that of solidity, but four hypotheses would naturally present themselves, to wit, the fluid, the aeriform, the igneus, or the indefinite. Thales had adopted the first: Anaximander, who is generally reported to be the immediate successor of the founder of the school, adopted the last; Anaximenes adopted the second.

Anaximander assumed, that the primeval state of matter must have been a formless one. This state, he argues, could not have been a fluid one, because fluidity implies form. For the definite, he consequently assumed the indefinite, as representing the primeval state after which we are inquiring. Repudiating, also, the doctrine of God as needful to account for the organization of the universe, he affirmed that 'the Infinite is the origin of all things.' How this philosopher deduced the finite from the infinite, not enough is known of his system to enable us to decide. All that we know is, that through this thinker a kind of indefinite form of Pantheism, and that in an indefinite material form, was early introduced into the sphere of Grecian thought.

Anaximenes assumed a position intermediate between the undefined Infinite of Anaximander and the definite hypothesis of fluidity adopted by Thales. For the indefinite, on the one hand, and the more solid element of water, on the other, Anaximenes substituted air, as constituting the original substance. Air was without him and within, and was everywhere more widely diffused than water. All things visible, then, were developed out of this element. Generally, if not universally, among modern historians, but for what definite reasons, as Dr. Cocker has well observed, none can inform us, this thinker has been supposed to agree with Anaximander, in denying the agency of God in creation. If Anaximenes, in common with the founder of his school, was a Theist, the former would argue the question at issue between him and his predecessor, just as he has done, and the record, or accounts of this discussion, and not their points of agreement, might come down to us in their present form. We can perceive no good grounds, therefore, for charging him with Atheism, or for affirming that he was a Theist. When nothing positive is known, wisdom and integrity prohibit the expression of positive opinions.


The inquisitiveness of the Greek mind would not be long in apprehending the difficulty, or impossibility, of deducing by natural law the perfectly determinate from the absolute indeterminate, or universal order from utter chaos, whatever the form of the latter. It was in this state that Anaxagoras of Clausamenae, in Asia Minor (500-428 B.C.), took up the question of the origin of the universe. In early life he became so enamoured with Philosophy that his great estate which he had inherited was neglected and ran to waste. When reduced to beggary he exclaimed, 'To Philosophy I owe my worldly ruin, and my soul's prosperity.' Leaving his own country, he came to Athens and commenced teaching, having for his pupils such scholars as Pericles, Euripides, and the young Socrates. His great popularity and success soon begat him enemies, through whose influence he was tried and condemned to death, as his pupil Socrates afterwards was. The death-sentence of the former, however, was exchanged for banishment. In his banishment he remarked: 'It is not I who have lost the Athenians; it is the Athenians who have lost me.'

The philosophy of Anaxagoras stands at an equal remove from Materialism, on the one hand, and from Idealism on the other. No philosopher of any age has more clearly marked the distinction between matter and spirit and the material and mental universe, or more distinctly affirmed God as its author, than he. The primal chaos of the material elements he represented as an infinite or indefinite number of material particles diffused through infinite space. The power which organized these particles into the universe which now is, is the infinite and eternal mind. On all these subjects the teachings of this philosopher are perfectly explicit. Matter, as substance, he held to be eternal; as organized, to be an event of time. 'Wrongly do the Greeks,' he says, 'suppose that aught begins or ceases to be; for nothing comes into being or ceases to be; but all is an aggregation or accretion of pre-existent things; so that all becoming might more correctly be called becoming mixed, and all corruption becoming separate.'

His idea of God is thus expressed in a passage from him preserved by Simplicius: 'Intelligence' (Nous. or God) 'is infinite and autocratic; it is mixed up with nothing, but exists alone in and for itself. Were it otherwise, were it mixed up with anything, it would participate in the nature of all things; for in all there is a part of all, and so that which was mixed with intelligence would prevent it from exercising power over all things.' In another portion of the passage preserved by Simplicius, Anaxagoras says: 'Intelligence is, of all things, subtlest and purest, and has entire knowledge of all. Everything which has a soul, whether great or small, is governed by the Intelligence. Intelligence knows all things, both those that are mixed and those that are separate, and the things which ought to be, and the things which were, and those things which now are, and those things which will be; all are arranged by Intelligence.' The original term here rendered Intelligence is unquestionably employed by this philosopher to represent the idea of the Supreme God, and God is here represented not only as the all-formative and all-controlling power, but as the all-knowing Intelligence.

'The Nous (God) of Anaxagoras,' says Simplicius, 'as cited by Aristotle, is a principle, infinite, independent, omnipresent, the subtlest and purest of things, and incapable of mixture with aught besides; it is also omniscient and unchangeable.' God, according to the teachings of Anaxagoras, is neither identified with nature, nor nature with him. No modern Theist can more distinctly and clearly set forth the doctrine of matter and spirit, of creation and a Creator, and of God as distinct and separate from the universe which He created and controls, than is done by this ancient philosopher. The criticism of Aristotle upon the doctrine of Anaxagoras, while it confirms the fact that the latter did teach as above stated, is a just cause of the deepest reproach to the critic.

'Anaxagoras,' says Aristotle, 'uses Intelligence as a machine in respect to the formation of the world; so that when he is embarrassed how to explain the cause of this or that, he introduces Intelligence; but in all other things it is any cause but Intelligence which produces things.' Auaxagoras, in common with all men, spoke of two classes of causes, the proximate and the ultimate. When speaking of the former he did not, and when speaking of the latter he did, refer to Intelligence. The same distinction, as Mr. Lewes observes, Aristotle himself makes.

We cite one other passage from Anaxagoras, a passage preserved by Diogenes: 'Formerly all things were a confused mass; afterwards, Intelligence coming, arranged them into worlds.' Did not this philosopher receive his ideas of the creation, and of God as the Author of that creation, from the first chapter of Genesis?

To Anaxagoras belongs the honour of presenting the only possible solution of the problems raised by the Ionic School on the one hand, and the Italic or Pantheistic School on the other. The problem raised by the former school is this—how to deduce universal order from chaos, or unity from 'the many.' That raised by the latter school, which taught that but one absolute unity exists, as the sole substance or principle of all things—the problem raised by this school is this: how to deduce, from absolute unity, 'the many.' Materialism falls to pieces upon the first problem, and Idealism upon the second. Anaxagoras accepted of the doctrine of matter, as affirmed by the former school; and of one infinite and eternal spirit, as affirmed by the latter. Through the all-creative and controlling agency of the infinite and eternal Spirit upon matter or 'the many,' the latter becomes, from 'a confused mass' or indefinite and disorganized 'many,' an absolutely organized unity.

As the merits of Anaxagoras in developing the true answer to the great question of the origin and certainty of human knowledge cannot be more correctly or better expressed than has been done by Dr. Cocker in the work to which we have before referred, we most gladly avail ourselves of the following paragraph from said work on the subject before us: 'On the question as to the origin and certainty of human knowledge, Anaxagoras differed from the Ionians and the Eleatics. Neither the sense alone, nor the reason alone, were for him a ground of certitude. He held that reason (logou) was the regulative faculty of the mind, as the Nous or Supreme Intelligence, was the regulative power of the universe. And he admitted that the senses were veracious in their reports, but that they reported only in regard to phenomena. The senses, then, perceive phenomena, but it is the reason alone which recognises noumena, that is, reason perceives being in and through phenomena, substance in and through qualities—an anticipation of the fundamental principle of modern psychology, "that every power or substance in existence is knowable to us so far only as we know its phenomena." Thus, again, does he bridge the chasm that separates between the Sensationalist and the Idealist'

Mr. Lewes corrected.

We stop here for a moment to notice the attempt of Mr. Lewes to prove that Anaxagoras held the modern Idealistic distinction between phenomena and noumena, and confined our knowledge to the former. 'Noumena,' says Mr. Lewes, 'is the antithesis to phenomena, which means appearance. Noumena means the substratum, or, to use a scholastic word, the substance. Thus, as matter is recognized by us only in its manifestations (phenomena), we may logically distinguish these manifestations from the thing manifested (noumenon). And the former will be the materia circa quam; the latter, the materia in qua. Noumenon is, therefore, equivalent to the essence; phenomena to the manifestation.' Now, in 'manifestation' or 'phenomenon,' 'noumenon' or 'substance' must be perceived as it is, or as it is not. In the former case, phenomenon, as far as it extends, and noumenon, or substance, are one and identical, and our knowledge of substance has perfect validity. In the latter case, we have no manifestation of substance at all—that is, we have a manifestation which is no manifestation; substance, not revealed as it is, is not manifested at all. Further, in external perception, the percipient subject and the thing perceived (phenomenon) are perfectly distinct and separate the one from the other, or, in the language of Sir William Hamilton, 'consciousness is a liar from the beginning.' If phenomenon is distinct and separate from the exterior substance, as it is from the percipient subject, then we have three forms of being, all equally real—the perceiving mind, the phenomenon perceived, and the substance not perceived at all. In other words, we have existing without us real appearances which are realities in themselves, and which are the attributes of no substances, and real substances existing, it may be, without attributes. The doctrine of appearance in which nothing appears, of manifestation in which nothing is manifested, and of phenomenon without substance, is, in the language of Mr. Lewes, 'the greatest discovery of modern psychology,' and one or the greatest absurdities, we add, that ever danced in the brain of a crazy philosophy. Anaxagoras neither clearly, nor 'dimly and confusedly,' approached such a discovery. On the other hand, he affirmed, according to Sextus Empiricus, that 'phenomena are the criteria of things beyond sense.' Anaxagoras undeniably believed in matter and spirit as distinct, and separate, and known entities, and in the infinite and eternal Intelligence as the Author and Governor of the universe, and as 'clearly seen, being understood, by the things that are made.'


We here close our lengthened examination of the teachings and doctrines of this celebrated school in Philosophy. Other philosophers of eminence belonged to this school. As their doctrines are, in all essential particulars, represented through the systems above examined, no further examples are required. Diogenes of Apollonia (520-490 B.C.) might not improperly be ranked as belonging to this school. He agreed with Anaximenes in making air the principle of all things, and differed from him in regarding this element as endowed, not only with vitality, but even with conscious intelligence. He agreed with Thales and Anaxagoras in maintaining that order can result but from intelligence. 'Without reason,' he says, 'it would be impossible for all to be arranged duly and proportionately, and whatever object we consider will be found to be arranged and ordered in the best and most beautiful manner.' The philosophy of Diogenes, like that of his master, Anaximenes, seems to have been a kind of material Pantheism. The following observations upon the doctrines and teachings of the great masters of this school, deserve special attention.

1. The method of this school was for the most part inductive. It was this method which preserved the elements of truth within the circle of Grecian speculation, and rendered the Grecian Philosophy so influential as introductory to Christianity.

2. The most renowned of all the philosophers of Greece, so far as their teachings ran upon the track of truth, were indebted to this school for their method of thought and leading deductions. To the teachings of Anaxagoras in Athens, Socrates, and through him, Plato and Aristotle, were more indebted than to any other sources of philosophic thought.

3. We have, in the final deductions of this school, an example of one great central fact in the history of Philosophy, or better, perhaps, of two fundamental facts. They are the following: 1. Whenever and wherever the distinction between matter and spirit has been recognized, and these have been regarded as separate and known realities, the doctrine of one infinite and perfect personal God—the Creator and Governor of the universe—has been distinctly admitted and affirmed. The absolute validity of this statement is fully verified by all the known facts developed in the history of philosophic and Theistic thought, and nowhere in the present or past can a single exception to it be found. 2. In no age of the world, and in no system of so-called Philosophy, has that doctrine been denied but upon one exclusive basis—an impeachment, in fact and form, of the validity of our knowledge of one or the other of these substances, or of both in common. We do not affirm that all who have denied the validity of our knowledge, in either form, have denied the doctrine of a personal God. What we do say, we repeat, is that this doctrine has never, in any single case, been denied but upon the express ground of the impeachment designated. Admitting the reality of matter and spirit, and the validity of our knowledge of the same, and the truth of the doctrine of a personal God is so absolutely obvious that no thinker of any school would for a moment deny it. Hence the fixed persistency, in the present and in all past ages, of Anti-theism in all its forms, in its assaults upon the validity of the Intelligence as a faculty of knowledge.

4. In this age Theists should be distinctly aware of the only real and fundamental issue between Theism and Anti-theism. All is, in reality and visibly, involved in the one single question before us, the validity of the Intelligence as a faculty of knowledge. As long as the Theist will grant to his opponent that the Intelligence, either in respect to facts without or facts within us, is a lie, the argument will be with the latter. The dogma that we can advance through 'the palpable obscure' of an unknown and unknowable nature to a known God, is too obviously absurd to command the respect of scientific thought.




IN writing a Critical History of Philosophy, that, of course, cannot be a proper object of criticism which cannot be understood. These remarks have a special application to the system of Pythagoras (540-500) and of the Italic School, which he founded in Magna Grecia. If the founder of the school, or his disciples, understood what he or they taught, it is more than their ancient or modern readers and commentators have done. We have positive testimony that they did employ such language as the following: 'Number is the essence of things—everything is Number.' When the question is asked whether such language is to be understood in a literal or symbolical sense, here the highest authorities are at issue.

Aristotle is perfectly positive in favour of the former construction. 'They maintained,' he says, 'that Number was the beginning (principle) of things, the cause of their material existence, and of their modifications and different states. The elements of Number are odd and even. The odd is finite, the even infinite. Unity, the one, partakes of both these, and is both odd and even. All Number is derived from the one. The heavens, as we said before, are composed of numbers.' Again, 'The finite, the infinite, and the one, they maintained to be not separate existences, such as are fire, water, etc.; but the abstract infinite and the abstract one are respectively the substance of the things of which they are predicated, and hence, too, Number is the substance of all things.' Among the ancient authorities we look in vain for any specific statement of the Pythagorean system—a statement which is incompatible, in any essential particulars, with that given at length by Aristotle.

Among modern authorities of the highest eminence, some, with Mr. Lewes, affirm the correctness of Aristotle's statement; others, such as Ritter and Cocker, take the opposite ground, and affirm that the term Number, as employed by Pythagoreans, is to be understood in a symbolical sense. The reason for this construction is thus stated by Dr. Cocker. 'On a careful review of all the arguments, we are constrained to regard the conclusion of Ritter as most reasonable. The hypothesis "that numbers are real entities," does violence to every principle of common sense.' We do not perceive the force of this argument, for the reason that in this doctrine, as expounded by Aristotle, we can perceive no greater absurdity than is involved in the system of Pure Idealism as avowed by modern thinkers of the greatest eminence—to wit, that pure thought—thought without subject or object, is the sole existing reality and the principle of all things. We can perceive no greater difficulty in combining and consolidating a granite boulder from elements extracted from number, than from those extracted from mere thought.

Nor do we believe in the validity of the following fundamental canon in 'interpreting the philosophical opinions of the ancients': 'The human, mind has, under the necessary operations of its own laws, been compelled to entertain the same fundamental ideas, and the human heart to cherish the same feelings, in all ages.' If we should take this canon as our guide, we should never admit that in Philosophy such systems as Materialism, Idealism in its hydraheaded forms, and Scepticism, had ever been developed, and that in religion 'four-footed beasts, fowls of the air, creeping things,' and even 'devils,' had been objects of worship, and that in morals all moral distinctions had been denied, in short, that 'professing themselves to be wise, men had become fools.' The true canon is, to take systems as we find them, and determine the depth of possible human absurdity by the actual absurdities which men have avowed. Nor are philosophers to be exempted from a rigid application of this canon. Undeniable facts of the past render it à priori probable that of all human absurdities the greatest will be found in systems of false science.

Nor have any who have contended for the symbolical explanation of the language under consideration been able to tell us what the real system is which such forms of utterance do symbolize. The doctrines of the Pythagorian school are, by such construction, merely transferred from the palpable absurd to 'the palpable obscure.' If we were to hazard a definite opinion about the real system of the Pythagoreans, we should designate it as Pure Idealism. This is the identical sphere in the firmament of Grecian thought to which, after careful reading and reflection, we have assigned this school. Number is itself a form of thought. To affirm that Number is the substance and principle of all things is but another form of utterance in which pure thought under the laws of Number is the substance and principle of all things. As Anaxagoras selected the term, Intelligence, to represent his idea of God, so we judge that Pythagoras selected the term, Number, to represent the idea of pure thought, thought under the law of absolute order and harmony. In this conclusion, Dr. Cocker really harmonizes. 'Thus we have, in Pythagoras,' he says, 'the dawn of an Idealistic School.' For the validity of this deduction we have also the highest French authority. In the 'Epitome of the History of Philosophy,' from which we formerly made important citations, 'the work adopted by the University of France,' we find the following statements:

'Pythagoras took a point of departure opposite to that of the school of Thales, and followed a method the reverse of the empirical process of the Ionians. The latter set out from facts, and endeavoured by generalization to arrive at their principles. Their logical process was that of induction. Pythagoras set out with the most general ideas and proceeded by the method of deduction. The principle of things with him is absolute unity, which comprehends everything. He designates this by the name of Monad, synonymous with the originating being of God. The Monad includes spirit and matter, but without separation and without division. They are confounded together in an absolute unity of substance. From unity proceeds multiplicity, and this multiplicity is the universe, wherein that which exists in God in the state of unity is produced in the state of separation and multiplicity.'

Specific doctrines of Pythagoras, as well as peculiar terms employed by him, evince the fact that his Philosophy is of Oriental origin. Such terms as Monad and Dyad, the doctrine of transmigration, and of salvation by absorption into God, all indicate his Egyptian and Oriental scholarship. Nor was he the first to employ the term Number, to represent the principle and substance of all things. 'Reason,' says Lao Tseu, the Chinese philosopher, 'has produced one; one has produced two; three has produced all things.'

To us it is quite evident that while the Idealism of Pythagoras is really identical with that of Hegel, the method of developing the system adopted by the former has merit equal, if not superior, to that adopted by the latter. When thought, the only real existence, becomes self-conscious, it is, according to Hegel, powerless for self-development, until it apprehends, in idea, something and nothing, together with the relation of absolute incompatibility between them. From the perpetual recurrence of the idea of this relation of incompatibility, the universe, a mere ideal creation, rises up before us, as a reality in itself. When thought becomes self-conscious it apprehends itself as one, with an idea of its incompatible opposite, the many. From the perpetual recurrence of the idea of the relations of the one and the many, the universe, a mere ideal creation, rises before us as a real existence. We leave it to 'Chaos and Old Night' to determine which system has the highest merit in its form and principle of development.



Two schools in philosophy originated in Elea, a city in Grecia Major. The one first originated was denominated the metaphysical, and the other the physical school. The doctrines of the former were, in common with those of the Pythagoreans, Idealistic. The latter developed, in full perfection, the system of Materialism. We shall consider the teachings of these schools in the order designated.


The principal representatives of this school were three, Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno. The views of each seem to have been, in certain particulars, peculiar to himself, each of the two latter being in advance of his predecessors in the direction of Pure Idealism.

XENOPHANES, the founder of the school, was born in Colophon, in Ionia (569 B.C., according to Ueberweg, and forty or more years earlier according to other authorities). About the period 549 he left his native country, and after wandering for years as a rhapsodist, finally settled at Elea, dying at about 100 years of age. His doctrines have come down to us in fragments of his poems, which have been preserved to us by ancient authors, and in authentic statements of his utterances and doctrines, handed down through the same authorities. We have conclusive proof, we judge, that with Thales and Auaxagoras, he believed in the reality of an external, material universe, on the one hand, and in the doctrine of one supreme and personal God on the other, while he differed from both, and other great thinkers of Greece, and surrounding nations, in denying and repudiating utterly the Polytheism of all ages. Xenophanes was, in the strictest sense of the word, a Monotheist. A mature examination of the subject has removed all doubt from our mind in regard to the above statement, which we will now proceed to verify.

He affirmed that earth and water are the elements of all created things. 'All things were made from earth and water.' He also taught that the earth extends to an unlimited distance downward, and the air upward, a dogma disputed by Empedocles as being held by Xenophanes. Ueberweg has dispelled all doubt in respect to the fact, that Xenophanes held to the doctrine of the real existence of the physical universe.

The following stanzas evince with equal absoluteness his belief in the doctrines of one Supreme God:

Take the following, as an example of his opposition to the Polytheism of his own and of surrounding nations:

It could hardly be said that Paul, or any Christian, or Theistic author has given forth utterances more true, or appropriate than the above. Xenophanes was not a Pantheist, as Mr. Lewes affirms, nor a Polytheist, as other Grecian philosophers generally were, but a Monotheist, who believed in the reality of matter and spirit, and in God as the creator and governor of the universe, 'by thought and will.' If Pantheism represents such an idea of the universe and God as this, 'our heart's desire, and prayer to God' would be, that all men were Pantheists. Parmenides (B.C. 536, according to Lewes and Cocker, and 569, according to Ueberweg) succeeded Xenophanes, as the leader of the Eleatic School, and was the first among the Greeks to give form and system to the doctrines of Idealism. He set out with a fundamental distinction between 'truth,' real knowledge, and 'opinion.' The faculty which gives the former is reason, that which gives the latter is sense. He took no account of consciousness, a fundamental error in Philosophy. Reason, by direct and immediate insight, gives absolute truth, or being, that which is real, necessary, immutable and eternal. The objects of sense, on the other hand, depending as its insight does upon the ever varying organism of the individual, and varying as that organism varies, the objects of sense, therefore, are the mere 'seeming,' and not realities in themselves. The invalidity of sense-perception, he thus argues: An object either does, or does not, exist. 'The non-existent is the unreal. Between the existent and non-existent, there is no intermediate form of being. To say, that a thing is "becoming," and is not, is absurd.' So far, our philosopher was undeniably right. To say, as philosophers, whose doctrines we are hereafter to consider, did teach, that there may be a becoming which never becomes, is, undeniably, one of the greatest conceivable absurdities. All objects of sense-perception, Parmenides affirmed, were of this fixed character, ever varying and variable, always seemingly, and never really becoming. Such objects have a mere illusory, and no real existence. Thus, the reality of the universe of matter and finite spirit was denied. Nothing is left as real, but the immutable, the necessary and eternal, which is the object of reason.

In such reasoning, we hardly need to add, we have the vicious error of deducing the universal from the particular. Knowledge, through sense and consciousness, is in certain respects variable and changeable, and in others, as we have formerly shown, absolutely fixed and immutable. Our apprehensions of the particular states of these substances do vary, because such states vary. Our apprehensions of the essential characteristics of each, on the other hand, are, as we have said, as fixed and immutable as they are of a circle or a square. In these respects, therefore, we have the same grounds for affirming the validity of knowledge by sense and consciousness as by reason.

In developing his system of being, he has anticipated Schelling and Hegel in announcing the fundamental principle of Pantheism, on the one hand, and of Pure Idealism, on the other. The form in which this principle or assumption is announced in the German schools is, 'Being and knowing are one and identical.' As announced by Parmenides, it stands thus, 'To be and to know is identical,' or 'Thought and being are identical.' The final deduction from this principle, as affirmed in the ancient and modern school, is one and the same—namely, that 'The All is One,' or that but one substance, or principle of all things, does exist. When this deduction is stated in one form, we have the doctrine of Pantheism; and when in another, we have that of Pure Idealism. In one or the other of these categories Parmenides must he located—that is, he must be regarded as 'a spiritualistic or idealistic Pantheist.' Substituting that of the Hindoo Brahm for 'the One' of our philosopher, and we have the Oriental formula in the precise form announced in the Vedanta system—to wit, 'Brahm alone exists; everything else is illusion,' Substituting for 'the One' 'the Absolute,' or 'the All-One,' and we have the precise formula of modern Pantheism—namely, 'The self-existent One must be the only absolute reality; all else can be but a developing of the one original and eternal being,' or 'The absolute exists as the only substance and principle of all things.' If the words, 'Being and knowing are identical,' be understood in the Pure Idealistic sense, then the systems of Parmenides and Hegel stand revealed as being identical in fact and form, and neither thinker has any advantage over the other, with the difference that for ages the former anticipated the latter, while both were anticipated by systems developed by Oriental thinkers.

THE ELEATIC ZENO, the scholar and successor of Parmenides, was born about the year 500 B.C. With him originated a logic of dialectics, a form of argument much used subsequently by Socrates and Plato—a logic which develops the art of establishing truth by a refutation of error by the reductio ad absurdam. Throughout his whole public career he was a fierce polemic. Up to his time various and contradictory systems had been developed, with little collision between them. Now one system was to be verified, and all others refuted. The system to be verified was that of Parmenides; those to be refuted were the Materialistic, on the one hand, and the Theistic, on the other. The claims of the last two systems rested wholly, as the subject was then understood, and as it is now beginning to he understood, upon the, question of the validity of the perceptive faculties, Materialism affirming the validity of perception in its exterior, and denying it in its interior, form, and Theism affirming its validity in both forms. The position assumed was, that all our world-conceptions of every kind are, and must be, utterly void of validity, for the reason that they are all in common self contradictory, and therefore absurd. He thus, professedly, proved the doctrine of his predecessor of the real existence of 'the One.' The form of his proof of the former, and disproof of the latter doctrine, is thus given by Mr. Lewes: 'There is but one being existing, necessarily indivisible, and infinite. To suppose that the One is divisible, is to suppose it finite. If divisible, it must be infinitely divisible.'

There cannot, for example, be a straight line in space one inch long, because such a line is divisible, and infinitely so. Who would infer from such an argument that there can by no possibility be such a line! Yet we have here a fair example of the most important contradictions which Zeno or Kant ever found in any of our essential world-conceptions. 'But, suppose,' says Zeno, 'two things to exist, then there must necessarily be an interval between those two—something separating and limiting them. What is that something? It is some other thing. But then, if not the same thing, it also must be separated and limited, and so ad infinitum. Thus only one thing can exist as the substratum for all manifold appearances.'

By the same argument we will prove, with the same identical absoluteness, that there can be but one and the same appearance, and that appearance must be 'necessarily indivisible and infinite.' If the appearance is finite, it must be divisible, and infinitely so. But suppose two appearances to exist, then there must necessarily be an interval between the two—something separating and limiting. What is this something? It must be some other appearance. But then, if not the same appearance, it also must be separated and limited, and so on ad infinitum. Thus only one appearance can exist as the substratum for all manifold appearances. Is not the reader now convinced that there can by no possibility be but 'one being existing,' and but one and the same appearance, and that both must be in themselves, and both must appear to be, 'necessarily indivisible and infinite'?

If the first argument is to be regarded as valid, we may safely challenge the world to prove the invalidity of the second. Are not appearances, to say the least, manifold and finite? Why, then, may there not be just as many manifold and diverse and finite realities, as there actually are manifold and diverse finite appearances? Two finite objects, we will suppose, exist in space at a distance of ten miles from each other. What reality must exist between them? Space must be, and nothing else need be there. Separation does not imply that anything but empty space does exist between the objects separated. Where is there even the appearance of contradiction and absurdity here? Nowhere but in the brain of a bewildered and self-sophisticated philosopher.

Zeno and our modern Idealists would have us believe that real motion is an absolute impossibility, that is, that a body at one point can by no possibility be made to move to any other point in space. There may be apparent, but not real motion. The same argument which would disprove the latter would have equal validity in disproof of the former. Take also Zeno's argument on this point, as stated by Mr. Lewes, 'Motion is impossible, because before that which is in motion can reach the end, it must reach the middle point; but this middle point then becomes the end, and the same objection applies to it, since, to reach it, the object in motion must traverse a middle point, and so on ad infinitum, seeing that matter is infinitely divisible.' If this argument is valid, must not the following have a validity equally absolute?

Apparent motion is impossible, because before that which appears to move can appear to reach the end, it must appear to reach the apparent middle point; but this apparent middle point then becomes the apparent end, and the same objection applies to it, since to appear to reach it the appearance in motion must appear to traverse an apparent middle point; and so on ad infinitum, since that appearance is infinitely divisible. From this time forward let no apparent human being who appears to himself to be sitting upon an apparent railroad, and appears to see an appearance of a seeming train of cars appearing to be moving with great rapidity towards him, have any fear. That apparent thing can never, even in appearance, touch that apparent man; for that apparent object can never appear to traverse the infinity of apparent points between the self-apparent man and the apparent approaching object. Let no one affirm that there is, or ever has been or can he, an apparent universe, or apparent men, or apparent accidents to apparent men, in the same. For the same identical contradictions undeniably exist in all our ideas of appearances that can be found in those of realities. All the contradictions and antinomies of pure reason, of Zeno, and Spencer, and Kant, absolutely disprove the non-being of what they all admit to be real, to wit, appearances, or they have no validity whatever anywhere.


'Plato,' says Mr. Lewes, 'has succinctly characterized the difference between Parmenides and Zeno by saying that the master established the existence of "the One," and the disciple proved the non-existence of the many.'

When he (Zeno) argued that there was but one thing really existing, all others being only modifications or appearances of that One, he did not deny that there were many appearances; he only denied that those appearances were real existences. So, in like manner, he denied motion, but not the appearance of motion. Diogenes, the cynic, who, to refute his argument against motion, rose and walked, entirely mistook the argument; his walking was no more a refutation of Zeno than Dr. Johnson's kicking a stone was a refutation of Berkeley's denial of matter. Zeno would have answered: 'Very true, you walk; according to Opinion you are in motion; but according to Reason you are at rest.'

As a question of fundamental importance in Philosophy here presents itself, we shall be indulged in a full consideration of said question. Appearances (phenomena) are many, and they are real. 'The many' are not and cannot be real, because the idea of 'the many' is self-contradictory. By the same identical argument we will prove, and have proven already, that there are not and cannot be 'many appearances.' The reason is obvious and undeniable. The same identical affirmed contractions which have place in our ideas of 'the many' realities, as we have shown, appear with the same obviousness in our ideas of 'the many appearances.' But appearances, these seeming contradictions, to the contrary, notwithstanding, are real. This is admitted and affirmed by Zeno, Lewes, Kant, Coleridge, Spencer, Mill, Emerson, and Transcendentalists of all schools, and denied by none. 'The many,' therefore, notwithstanding the same identical seeming contradictions, are, or may be, real. This we must admit, or affirm that things equal to the same things are not equal to one another. It is, undeniably, no more self-contradictory to affirm that behind appearances which all admit and affirm to be real, diverse, and manifold, there may exist a corresponding number of distinct and separate realities, than there is in the idea that these diverse, distinct, separate, and manifold appearances are the diverse and manifold manifestations of one and the same reality. If the seeming contradictions, or antinomies, we repeat, demand that we deny the existence of manifold realities, they demand with the same absoluteness that we deny the reality of manifold appearances. When we shall come to consider Kant's 'Antinomies of Pure Reason,' and Spencer's 'Contradictions,' we shall render it demonstrably evident that if these 'Antinomies' and 'Contradictions' have any validity whatever in disproof of the validity of our essential apprehensions of mind and matter (nounrena), they have the same identical validity in disproof of the validity of our knowledge of appearances, or phenomena. The undeniable consequence will be that we must deny absolutely that these seeming 'Antinomies' and 'Contradictions' have any validity whatever in disproof of anything; or we must affirm not only that mind and matter are non-realities, but that neither they nor anything else even appear to be real, and that there has never been any conception of them, as existing or not existing. We must deny the reality of even thought itself, and the reality of that denial. There can be 'no thought, no being, none,' or these 'Antinomies' and 'Contradictions' are mere sophistical puzzles which are a disgrace to Philosophy in any age, and especially to the philosophic thought of the nineteenth century.


The exclusive method, both of the Eleatic and Pythagorean school, is the Oriental or à priori one. Both, in common, recognized but two primary intellectual faculties—Sense and Reason. The validity of the former, for facts, was wholly denied. Reason only remained as the exclusive organ of Philosophy, Reason, through which, in imagination, they obtained a direct, immediate, and absolute à priori insight, or knowledge, of real being and its laws. Nothing real was revealed through perception. All its revelations were appearances, or illusions. Reason, looking off into infinite space, and away from all phenomena, or manifestations of existence, directly and immediately perceived the Absolute, and affirmed the real, the necessary, and exclusive existence of 'the One.' As long as this idea of the sphere of Reason is admitted to be valid, Philosophy will, of necessity, be a chaos. The forms of the Absolute, or 'the One,' thus apprehended, will be almost as diverse, and manifold, and contradictory, as the appearances of 'the One' are now, even by Idealists, admitted to be.


The metaphysical speculations of Parmenides and Zeno were not long in producing their natural results in the same locality. When metaphysicians, dwelling in the sphere of pure thought, deny the validity of Sense, and through affirmed insight of Reason, resolve all being into spirit, thinkers whose speculations refer mainly 'to things without us' will naturally distrust the validity of subjective knowledge, and especially of that affirmed to have been obtained through the insight of a faculty of the existence of which no one is conscious, and whose revelations exist nowhere but in the brains of certain wild and lawless speculators. Denying the validity of Reason, and an affirmation of that of Sense, was a short, and easy, and not unnatural passage from 'the One' to 'the Many,' that is, from the ultimate deduction of Idealism to that of Materialism. This passage may also be made on purely à priori grounds. To Reason itself, assuming the existence of such a faculty, there is as valid ground for the assumption that matter only is real as there is, or can be, for the assumption that spirit alone exists, and that spirit 'the One.' Appearances which are multitudinous, and of an infinite diversity of forms, may on à priori grounds be as reasonably assumed to be manifestations of 'the Many,' as of 'the One.' This passage from 'the One' to 'the Many,' or from the ultimate deduction of Idealism to that of Materialism, was made by two physicians of Elea, Leucippus (500-400 B.c.), whose birthplace is uncertain, and by his disciple Democritus of Abdera (460-357 B.c.). The latter is said to have visited Egypt, Ethiopia, Persia, and to have communicated with the Djainas of India. The accordance of the teachings of these philosophers with that of their Indian predecessors referred to render it altogether probable that their system had an Oriental derivation. As these philosophers fully agreed in the doctrine, we shall speak of their system as their joint production. As they, first of Grecian thinkers, gave being and form to the system of Materialism afterwards perfected by Epicurus, and which with slight modifications has passed down through all subsequent ages to the present time, we shall be at special pains, not only to present the system as it came from these authors, but in some of its important relations to other systems of the same class, systems previously and subsequently developed.

Exposition of the System of these Philosophers.

For 'the one' of Parmenides and Zeno they substituted 'the many,' and for the one spiritualistic or idealistic form of being affirmed by the former, they affirmed an infinite number of material atoms. Their formula of being may, in their own words, be thus stated: 'Atoms and space alone exist,' or 'Atoms and vacuum (space) were the beginnings of all things.' The cause of organization and all attending phenomena is motion, which is represented by the word necessity. Speaking of Democritus, Diogenes Lactantius says: 'Motion, which is the cause of the production of everything, he calls necessity. Atoms they hold to be not only infinite in number, but to be possessed of an equal diversity of forms. Here they agree with Kanada, and differ from the Djainas and other materialistic schools of India, as well as from the materialistic doctrine of Anaxagoras. Atoms differed, they taught, as Aristotle informs us, 'in the three particulars of shape, order, and position,' and these differences, they held, are sufficient to explain all diversities of phenomena. Atoms also differ in size and weight, their weight being as their size. Originally all atoms existed separately in infinite space. If there was no space between, motion and, consequently, organization would be impossible.

Such being the original state of all material substances, the question arises—to wit, how shall all the changes and movements which we witness be accounted for? Why do atoms enter into their endlessly diversified combinations and bring forth the organic and inorganic forms which the world and universe present? The following is the account which Leucippus gives of the origin and cause of these wonders: 'Many bodies of various kinds and shape are borne by amputation from the infinite' (atoms being infinite in number and then in a chaotic state) 'into a vast vacuum' (how thus borne we are not informed), 'and then they, being collected together' (how collected is left unexplained), 'produce a vortex, according to which they, dashing against each other and whirling about in every direction, are separated in such a way that like attaches itself to like; bodies are thus, without ceasing, united according to the impulse given by the vortex, and in this way the earth was formed.'

Democritus affirmed, not only that atoms eternally exist, but also eternally and necessarily in a state of motion. This motion was in straight lines downward (just as if there is any down or up in infinite space). In their descent the motion of the larger and more heavy bodies being more rapid than the rest, collisions occurred, and the smaller bodies secured a lateral and upward motion. Thus a rotary motion was generated, and as this extended farther and farther the vortex was produced, which occasioned, in accordance with the principle of Leucippus, the formation of worlds. When the earth, which was at first in motion, came to a state of rest (the Copernican system was then unknown) by spontaneous generation, organized beings arose from the moist earth, and thus our world became filled with vitalized forms of existence.

Man has a material body and a material soul, the former being composed of the grosser, and the latter of the finer, the round, smooth, and fiery atoms. The psychology of these philosophers has certain noticeable peculiarities. To sensation or perception, they added not reason, but the faculty of reflection. This last-named faculty has a sphere, according to these philosophers, analogous to, if not identical with, that assigned to reason in the metaphysical school. Atoms are not perceived but apprehended by reflection, as implied by the aggregates which are perceived.

Neither do we have any direct and immediate perception or knowledge of any forms of existence around us. Hence Democritus has been understood by some as denying wholly the validity of our world-knowledge. All that he can be shown to have meant is that our knowledge, being not direct and immediate, was therefore, though real, not full and perfect. Perception he thus accounts for. From all organized forms of being there are constantly sent off images—ideas he sometimes calls them—of said forms. Thus images which can but imperfectly represent the forms from which the former proceed enter the body through the eye and other senses, and become present to the soul as objects of perception. Here we have the origin of the doctrine of exclusively representative knowledge of nature—a doctrine which has had a most controlling influence in the sphere of philosophic thought, from the era of Democritus to the present time. The moral teachings of these philosophers accord with their material principles. As there is nothing but perception in man, and nothing but atoms in the universe, there can be no place for an absolute law of right and wrong or duty. All must be a simple calculation, through the faculty of reflection, of prudence.

The highest good is happiness, and this is attained by avoiding extremes, and keeping within limits fixed by nature. Such is the system of Materialism, as first developed within the sphere of Grecian thought. We close our notice of these two philosophers with a few general reflections upon their system.


1. We have in our examination of this, and of systems before, noticed a striking illustration and example of what may be denominated the element of perfection which characterizes Grecian thought. The actual forms of Grecian architecture, statuary, and painting, have remained fixed ideals for all future generations. The same holds equally of their philosophical system. The system may be false or true. But each of its kind takes from the first a nearly, or quite, perfected for. The Theism of Anaxagoras, the Pure Idealism of Pythagoras, the Ideal Pantheism of Parmenides and Zeno, and the Materialism of Leneippus and Democritus, are the ideals from which systems of the same kind have since, in all essential particulars, taken form. It is only in non-essential details that the modern or any intermediate atomic theory differs from that which we have first considered. 'The modern atomic theory,' says Mr. Lewes, 'is the law of definite proportions; the ancient theory is merely the affirmation of indefinite combinations.' Here is an essential error in regard to both theories. Each theory in common holds the doctrine of definite combinations. The first holds to combinations in accordance with 'the law of definite proportion,' and the latter in accordance with a law acting from necessity, and which, by necessary consequence, must act in accordance with 'the law of definite proportions.' Thus we have a mere difference of statements, and not, as Mr. Lewes would have us understand, of essential principles.

2. We notice, also, a fundamental difficulty which the doctrine of Materialism encountered as soon as it was subjected to the searching scrutiny of Grecian thought. The fundamental principles and starting-point of the system in all its forms was a primal chaos of material forms or atoms, atoms eternally existing under an immutable law of order and universal organization as an event of time.

Both these conditions were distinctly present, and that from the first, to Grecian thought. The problem presented was this: How can organization as an event of time, be deduced from a primal chaos of eternally existing atoms under the control of an eternally acting law of order? It was at once perceived, that if, in this primal chaos, these atoms were at rest, the beginning of motion could not be accounted for. Motion was, therefore, assumed as an eternal and necessary condition of all material elements, and as the cause of law and order, and universal organization. Thus was Descartes anticipated in his memorable utterance, 'Give me matter and motion, and I will organize the universe,' that is, explain the fact of its organization. Grecian thinkers assumed both as eternally existing facts. Motion being given as the law and cause of organization, what must be its eternal form to account for organization as an event of time? This was the problem. The first assumption was the idea of an infinity of atoms eternally moving in parallel lines. To this, it was soon replied that in such case the atoms would never meet, and organization could never occur. To avoid this difficulty, Democritus assumed the eternally downward movement of atoms in such lines, and also that in consequence of the more rapid movement of the larger and heavier bodies, a final collision would occur, and hence organization. To this, it was replied that as this more rapid movement was from eternity, the collision of atoms and consequent, organization must have been from eternity, and not an event of time. In this desperate state of the problem, Epicurus took it up. He assumed the eternal existence of an infinity of homogeneous atoms, eternally moving in converging lines. To this it was replied that in such case, the concussion of atoms, and consequent organization, must have been from eternity, and could not have occurred in time. To avoid this fatal rock, the Epicurean physists, as we shall see hereafter, assumed the original motion of matter in straight lines, and their subsequent diversion and concussion by a spontaneous activity of the particles. Here the question arose, How can particles, moving under a necessary law of motion, spontaneously change the direction of motion in opposition to that law? Such, however; was the assumption, an assumption in which Mr. Huxley finds himself anticipated by a Grecian thinker who lived several centuries prior to the Christian era. Mr. Huxley finding that the theory of Mr. Darwin could not be defended at all, if the validity of the axiom affirmed as true by Mr. Darwin himself be admitted, namely, that 'nature does nothing persaltum,' denies the principle, affirming that nature does sometimes act by 'fits and starts.' In one of these periods of convulsion, a monkey begat a man. The Greek mind—whether from greater or less respect for science than appears among certain modern scientists, we will not now say—the Greek mind, we say, regarded the idea that the organization of the universe was occasioned by a spontaneous change from the line on which atoms had, under a necessary law, been moving for a whole past eternity, as equivalent to an event without a cause. Such an hypothesis was accordingly rejected, and Materialism found itself once more stranded upon a fatal rock.

As a last resort, the doctrine of free-will was affirmed, as a universal property of matter itself. Man is a material agent, and yet he is consciously free. The power to change its movements from one direction to another, and this from the action of no cause ab extra, inheres, as a fixed property in all atoms. By a volutionary deflection from straight lines 'the atoms strike against each other, and by the concussion new movements arise.' Thus was occasioned the organization of the universe. We shall make larger extracts to the same point when we come to a direct examination of the system of Epicurus. The great problem forced upon Materialists by the exigences of their system, the problem which must be fully solved, or the system itself suffer a hopeless shipwreck, was left unsolved by Grecian and mediaeval thought, and in that state has been handed down to modern advocates of the system. The problem is this, matter being given in a state of perfect chaos, and acted upon by no cause but its own eternally inhering laws, to deduce exclusively from such premises the universe as it is, and the origination of that universe as an event of time. Modern materialists have, in their manner of treating the subject, admitted their own necessary problem to be absolutely insolvable, as it undeniably is. They argue as boldly and fiercely for Materialism as Kauada, Democritus, or Epicurus ever did. But when pressed with their own necessary problem, they all in common dodge the issue by affirming an absolute ignorance of the subject matter about which they are arguing. 'It is certain,' they unitedly affirm, 'that we can have no knowledge of the nature of either matter or spirit.' Why, then, press upon us your Materialism? Here is the hopeless limbo into which this bald system has now fallen.

3. We now perceive the fundamental advantage which Materialism has in its controversy with Idealism. Take away Reason as defined by Idealists of all schools, ancient or modern, and their system is absolutely baseless. As they themselves have defined the term, Reason is represented as a faculty which acts independently of all others, and perceives no reality whatever through phenomena, but having affirmed all forms of perception to be illusory, looks off into infinite space, and by direct à priori insight, apprehends absolute and eternal truth. Now, no man living or dead ever did adduce, or can adduce, the remotest evidence that any such faculty exists. No man is consciously possessed of such a faculty. The multitudinous and contradictory forms of absolute truth, forms obtained through this affirmed insight, render demonstrably evident the fact that this boasted faculty is nothing but a fiction of false science. Besides, the affirmed à priori visions of the Materialists have all the marks of credibility that those of Idealists do or can possess. We undeniably have just as good ground for affirming the reality of 'the Many' as we have for affirming that of 'the One.'

On the other hand, the Materialist bases the claims of his system upon the revelations of a faculty, sense-perception, of the existence of which all men are absolutely conscious, and in whose validity they as absolutely confide. When the election, then, is between Materialism and Idealism, with good reason the former will command popular favour.

4. We have, in our examination of these Grecian systems of Materialism and Idealism, another illustration of the validity of a statement formerly made, to wit, that all these systems are built, not only upon mere assumptions, but upon assumptions all of which have the vicious characteristic of begging the question at issue. Had Democritus or Epicurus, for example, been asked for the reasons why they affirmed the existence of atoms of homogeneous or heterogeneous character, why they affirmed them to be identical or diverse in size, weight, and form, why they attribute to them such contradictory kinds of motion, and why, at one time, they affirmed them to be under the law of necessity, and at another as possessed of free-will, but one answer could be given, to wit, their assumptions were always determined, not by facts, but by the exigencies of their system. This holds true of the method of all the advocates of all such systems, in all ages and in all forms. We look in vain into such systems for anything in the form of induction proper. Whenever an exigency arises, a new form of absolute truth is presented, not because it is demanded by facts, but by the exigencies of an hypothesis. All issues are begged, and nothing proven.




WE notice these two individuals together, and rank them as belonging to a common school, not because they fully agree in their teachings, or taught in the same place, but because they were each of them, in important senses, eclectics, taking their positions intermediately between opposing systems, and attempting to reconcile or to develop the truth out of their differences. Of the system of Heraclitus, who was born at Ephesus, and flourished about the years 500-430 B.C., little that is intelligible can be said, because his contemporaries could not fully understand his writings, he being called 'the obscure,' and but a few fragments of these have come down to us. Of the book of this thinker Socrates said that 'what he understood of it was excellent, and he had no doubt that what he did not understand was equally good; but the book requires an expert swimmer.' We shall, therefore, attempt nothing more than to present a few obvious features of his system, if he had any fully developed system, features which may be of interest to the inquirer after truth.

In one of his utterances he gave a criterion of valid knowledge—a criterion by which, with absolute certainty, all forms of such knowledge may be distinguished and separated from all mere assumptions, opinions, and beliefs which are of no certain validity. In this particular he takes just rank as a foremost thinker of the race, no one before him having attempted to give such a criterion. 'Universal and divine reason,' he says, 'is the criterion of truth. That which is universally believed is certain, for it is borrowed from that common reason which is universal and divine; and, on the contrary, every individual opinion is destitute of certainty, this common reason being nothing but the picture of the universe. Whenever we derive anything from it, we possess the truth; and when we interrogate only our own individual understanding, we fall into error.' Had mankind accepted of this criterion and strictly adhered to it, the chaos of ages would long since have passed away, and order and harmony and unity would be as absolute in the sphere of philosophic thought and inquiry as they are in the system of external nature. As is too commonly the case, however, the thinker who first announced the principle was among the first to depart from it.

In his physics fire, not as flame, but a boundless ether, is assumed to be the substance and principle of all things. 'The world,' he says, 'was neither made by the gods nor men, and it was and is and ever shall be an ever-living fire, in due proportion self-enkindled, and in due measure self extinguished.' Here, undeniably, we have what is not 'universally believed;' and have consequently, by our philosopher's own 'criterion of truth,' 'a picture of the order of the universe,' which is not true. The same holds in respect to his doctrine of 'becoming' a peculiar doctrine, first announced, we believe, by Heraclitus, and which subsequently had not a little influence with leading thinkers. Permenides had affirmed that there is and can be no intermediate form of being between existence and non-existence, 'the ens and the non-ens.' Heraclitus held to 'a becoming' in which 'things are and also are not.' The ethereal fire was in a continual flux, an eternal flow in which there was a perpetual formation and transformation, and continuance was not real, but only an appearance. 'Into this same stream,' he says, 'we descend, and at the same time we do not descend; we are, and also we are not.' 'Unite,' he says again, 'the whole and the not-whole, the coalescing and the not-coalescing, the harmonious and the discordant, and thus we have the one becoming from the all, and the all from the one.' Ever since the days of Heraclitus, philosophers of certain schools have been engaged in a vain endeavour to catch this no-thing which stands intermediate between the real and the not-real, and to represent this becoming which never becomes as the real universe. Either the absolute 'criterion of truth' before us is false, however, or this doctrine of, at the same time, being and not being, is an error.

This fiery ether, according to Heraclitus, has spiritual attraction, of which intelligence is one. 'Inhaling,' he says, 'through the breath of the universal ether, which is divine reason, we become conscious.' Heraclitus therefore, like Anaximander, must be regarded as a kind of Materialistic Pantheist, both thinkers having apparently engaged in the vain attempt, as intermediators between Materialism and Idealism, to materialize spirit on the one hand, and to spiritualize matter on the other. It was against this doctrine of a becoming which never becomes that Anaxagoras arrayed himself in his teachings in Athens.

Empedocles, of Agrigentum, in Sicily, and who was born about fifty years later than Heraclitus, held but few principles in common with, and strongly combatted others of his predecessor. Empedocles, as we have shown, and that unlike his predecessor, held the doctrine of one supreme God, who is distinct from nature, and 'ruleth all things by reason and will' 'All things that are upon the earth and in the air and water may,' he says, 'be truly called the works of God.' We might make other citations to the same effect, but these are fully sufficient to verify for their author a right to a place among true Theists. When contemplating his doctrine of cosmology, we must bear in mind that he never refers to organization by mere natural laws, but as occurring under divine control. While Aristotle censures Anaxagoras for not referring to his first cause, Intelligence, but upon emergencies, he says, that 'Empedocles employs this more abundantly, though not sufficiently.' This shows that God was ever present to his mind as the first and all-controlling cause, to whom frequent and specific reference was had, as facts rendered such reference necessary. In opposition to Heraclitus, and in accordance with the principles of Parmenides and Anaxagoras, he denied the doctrine of 'becoming,' and affirmed with the latter that existing elements may be mixed and separated, but never destroyed.

The Ionian philosophers had reckoned but three original material elements, earth, air, and water. To these Empedocles added a fourth, fire. By the ancients he is regarded as the author of the doctrine of the four named primal material elements.



IN their attempts to explain everything, the various schools of Greece had left almost everything unexplained. The system which one school had set up another had demolished, while that of the latter had fallen to pieces under the heavy blows of its antagonists. Nothing appeared of which any man could say, 'See, this is true.' Hence a general or widely diffused sentiment obtained in the popular mind that real knowledge on any subject was impossible. Hence, also, a new class of thinkers arose, a class essentially diverse from any which before had entered the sphere of scientific thought. Oriental thinkers, and Grecian, too, up to that time, had all been positivists. In all schools in Philosophy, absolute truth, in some form, had been professedly obtained. Now, nothing seemed to have a real scientific basis but universal doubt, a sentiment thus announced by Metrodorus, of Chios, a disciple of Democritus, to wit, 'I do not even know that I know nothing.' The advocates of this doctrine of universal and absolute nescience assumed the favoured cognomen of Sophists, or wise men. So we have been informed by a modern thinker of the same school that himself and fellow-thinkers have attained to a knowledge of the fact that it is impossible for us to 'have any knowledge of the nature of matter or spirit,' and that all inquiries pertaining to religion and God, and the soul's eternity, are as foreign to the proper sphere of human thought and inquiry, as 'lunar politics,' that to all this utter and hopeless nescience himself and associates have attained 'by their wisdom.'

Common Doctrine of the Sophists.

The doctrine common to Sophists of all classes was the absolute impossibility of a real knowledge of any form of existence, if any reality does exist. Hence, all in common, while they denied the validity of positive system in all their forms, refrained from propounding any such system as their own.

The manner in which this doctrine of absolute and necessary nescience of all truths was assaulted by certain thoughtful Greeks presents a striking illustration of the subtlety of the Grecian mind. You affirm, was the substance of their reply to the Sophist, that a knowledge of truth in any form is impossible to man. You either do, or do not, know your own doctrine to be true, that is, you know, or do not know, that you doubt the possibility of knowing truth in any form. If you know that you thus doubt all things, something is known as it is in itself, and your doctrine is false. If you do not thus doubt, you have no ground whatever for affirming your doctrine to be true. In either case, we are bound to discredit your teachings. This argument has confronted Scepticism from that time to the present, and has never yet, even in pretence, been replied to. Yet that argument must be fully met, or we subject ourselves to the just charge of infinite folly and presumption if, for a moment, we accept the doctrine of universal nescience as true. The only reply to the argument ever attempted was that of Metrodorus recorded above. He fancied that he had placed the elements of doubt so far back, that nothing positive could be detected in it. The positive affirmation, to wit, 'I don't know,' appeared as before. It is absolutely impossible for the mind to take the first step in the direction of sceptical thought without perpetrating a palpable self-contradiction. The simple fact, which cannot be denied, that we can know one reality as it is in itself, to wit, our own doubt, implies the fact that we may know other realities as they are in themselves. The fact that doubt is known to be real, and is known as it is in itself, implies that the Intelligence is relatively to this fact a power, and that it is to the Intelligence an object of valid knowledge. On the same conditions, other realities may be to this same Intelligence objects of real valid knowledge. The question whether doubt, or any other reality, is to the Intelligence such an object, is a pure question of self-consciousness. We know that we know doubt, because we are conscious of knowing it. If we have a consciousness of similar absoluteness of any other form of knowledge, whatever its object may be, we must admit the strict validity of such knowledge, or displace ourselves from the sphere of valid science.

The Method of the Sophist.

In their general method of induction and deduction, there was an agreement strictly universal among the Sophists. Materialism had professedly demonstrated the absolute invalidity of all affirmed knowledge of spirit, whether through Consciousness or Reason. Idealism had professedly done the same thing in respect to all professed knowledge of material substances. The Sophist accepted the validity of this impeachment of the Intelligence as a faculty of knowledge in respect to matter and spirit both. To the Materialist on the one hand, and the Idealist on the other, they replied, You are both right, and both wrong, You are, each of you, right in the form in which you have impeached the Intelligence as a faculty of knowledge. Each of you have demonstrated his antagonist to be wrong in respect to the forms of valid knowledge of which each of you affirms himself possessed. The Sophist presented no form of proof or disproof of his own theory. He simply, through the mutually destructive arguments of positivists, each against the system of his antagonist, rendered it demonstrably evident, the validity of said arguments being admitted that no positive system can have any claim to be regarded as true.

Here the Sophist found himself within a citadel of impregnable strength, a citadel from whence he was able to hurl weapons of annihilating power against all positive systems around. When, however, he, was assaulted, not from without but from within his own fortress, when required to turn from outward positions, and to defend by valid grounds and arguments the truth of his own dogma of universal doubt, here he found himself the weakest of men.

Here, as we shall see hereafter, lay the secret of the power of Socrates in his assaults upon the Scepticism around him. When modern Scepticism is thus assailed, as it will be when thinkers have well considered the subject, their folly will be seen, as 'an unclean spirit gone out of man,' and 'wandering through dry places seeking rest, and finding none,' with no mind 'empty, swept, and garnished' to receive it again.

The Sources of the wide-spread Influence, of the Sophists.

Two facts then existing gave an extensive influence to the Sophists over the Grecian mind—the chaos into which positive systems generally in their destructive assaults one upon the other, had been reduced, and the fact that the Sophists, in public estimation, excelled all other thinkers in the presentation of forms of real knowledge which were most needful to the people. The Sophists excelled in general learning, and were the instructors of the people in whatever was generally deemed of public utility. 'Protagoras,' in the language of Schweghler, 'was known as a teacher of virtue, Gorgias as a rhetorician and politician, Prodicus as a grammarian and teacher of synonyms, Heppias as a man of various attainments, who, besides astronomical and mathematical studies, busied himself with a theory of mnemonics; others took for their problem education, and others still the explanation of the old poets; the brothers Enthydemus and Dionysidorus gave instruction in the bearing of arms and military tactics. Many among them, as Gorgias, Brodicus, and Hippias, were entrusted with embassies; in short, the Sophists, each one according to his individual tendency, took upon themselves every variety of callings and entered into every sphere of science; their method is the only thing common to all.' Scepticism was never boldly presented to the people, but was cunningly blended with what was really useful, and presented as if it was a necessary element of the same. The same thing is being repeated in our own age. The system 'has no root in itself,' but is everywhere visibly, like the mistletoe, attached to some other vital form of science, and appearing as if it was a branch or shoot of the same.


1. We notice, in the first place, the circumstances and influences under which diverse systems of Philosophy arise and take form in the human mind. They are among others such as the following: (1) In all ages and under all circumstances, wherever the integrity of the Intelligence is respected and each faculty is held as having within its own proper sphere, and in respect to its proper objects, absolute authority for the truth, there arises a fixed and immutable faith in the reality of matter and spirit, time and space, a personal God, duty, immortality, and retribution. We find, also, that the distinctness and absoluteness of faith in these verities is always in exact accordance with the fulness and distinctness of the recognition and respect under consideration. If any faculty is overlooked or its integrity is in the remotest degree questioned, there will be so far a cloud between the mind and these verities. We may refer to Thales, Anaxagoras, Zenophanes, and Empedocles as examples exemplifying and verifying the above statements. (2) If the integrity and validity of the faculty of Sense, or external perception, is impeached and denied, and those of internal perception, or of Reason as the faculty of À priori insight relating to being and its laws, are affirmed, then there arises a faith in the deductions of Idealism in some of their forms, and with that faith a denial of the doctrine of a personal God and other kindred doctrines. The Pythagorians and Metaphysicians of the Eleatic school are veritable examples of the validity of these statements. In no age or nation did the doctrines of Idealism, in any of their forms, ever arise but upon the one condition above stated. Why did Pythagoras and parmenides and Zeno, for example, assert the doctrine of 'the One'? Because, and for the express reason that they denied the integrity of the faculty of external perception for the reality of 'the many.' (3) Whenever the validity of the faculty of internal perception, relatively to mental facts, and of Reason, relating to being and its laws, is impeached and denied, and that of Sense affirmed, the system of Materialism commands the individual and popular faith, as in the examples of Anaxamander, Leucippus, and Domocritus. (4) When the integrity of all the faculties, as organs of truth, is impeached, then, as in the case of the Sophists, Scepticism has the place and dominion in popular thought. The history of Philosophy presents no exceptions to the above statements. We thus have an historical verification of the account given in the General Introduction of the 'Origin and Genesis of Various Systems of Philosophy.' There have been a few individuals in the history of the past who have denied the integrity of sense-perception and affirmed the validity of a so-called à priori insight of Reason, who have yet been real Theists. The reason is plain. When an individual imagines himself possessed of this power or faculty, he will obtain, through its affirmed insight, just those, and no other, forms of supposed 'absolute truth' which he previously regarded as such. Those who are in heart Theists may affirm the doctrines of God, and those who do not 'like to retain God in their knowledge' may deny His existence for mere imaginary reasons. What we maintain is that Materialism, Idealism, and Scepticism never, as a matter of fact, have place in human thought but for the reasons above assigned.

2. We notice, also, in our preceding criticisms of particular systems, a practical illustration of the fundamental fallacy involved in the doctrine of affirmed à priori insight in all its forms, to wit, its assumed positive and negative revelations. The Oriental Yogee of the Vedanta school, for example, in one and the same act of insight, not only, as he affirms, perceives that Brahm exists, but that nothing else does exist. The modern Transcendentalist, in one and the same act of 'intellectual intuition,' not only perceives that the Absolute does, but that nothing else can exist. The Idealist of Greece, by direct and immediate insight of reason, perceives not only that 'the one,' the I, exists, but that 'the many' do not exist. By the same form of insight the ancient and modern dualists obtain a revelation of absolute truth in an exclusively negative form. The modern formula is thus given by Kant: 'The things which envisage are not that in themselves for what we take them; neither are their relationships in themselves so constituted as they appear to us.' The ancient formula, as given by Kapila, is this: 'Neither do I exist, nor anything which pertains to myself,' the ancient and modern formula being really identical in meaning. Now, a greater and more absurd hallucination in science could not be conceived of, than we actually have in all the above cases. Direct and immediate insight has, and can have, nothing negative in it. Perception, empirical and à priori, gives its object as a real existence, and can do nothing more. With my face turned towards the south, I clearly and distinctly perceive a train of cars in motion. In the same identical act I affirm myself to perceive that no other train on earth is or can be at the same time in motion. The world would very properly regard me as demented. Yet this is a case of hallucination no more palpable and real than is true of all the forms of insight above adduced. The Materialists, for example, has a direct and immediate perception of 'the many' as actually existing. Such perception, granting it to be real, is valid for the reality of said object, and for all realities necessarily implied by the same, to wit, time and space. Nothing is, or can be, given in the act of perception itself but 'the many.' In the same perceptive act, however, our scientist professes to perceive that nothing but matter does exist, a palpable hallucination of false science. The Yogee, the Transcendentalist, and the Grecian Pantheist, affirm that by direct and immediate à priori insight they perceive Brahm, 'the Absolute,' or 'the One,' to exist. That perception, supposing it real, is valid for the existence of its object, and in itself is, and can be, valid for the existence or non-existence of no other reality. But these individuals affirm that in one and the same act they not only perceive Brahm, 'the Absolute,' or 'the One,' to be real, but that nothing else does exist. If the same form of hallucination was manifested in any other sphere of thought but that of philosophy, the subject would justly be sent to a lunatic asylum. Perceptive insight, we repeat, is valid for the reality of its object, and, in itself, is valid for nothing else. If the existence of the reality perceived necessarily implies the being, or non-being, of some other object, its being or non-being may be affirmed, not as perceived, but as implied by what is perceived. In the affirmed à priori insight of the Yogee, the Trancendentalist, and Grecian Pantheist, Brahm, 'the Absolute,' or 'the One,' is affirmed to be perceived, not only as real, but as the only reality. Unless we can begin with the intuitive perception, that the Absolute exists, as the sole and exclusive reality, that is, that the Absolute, and that nothing else, does exist, we cannot, Schelling affirms, 'take the first step in the speculative philosophy.' In other words, unless we can at the outset perpetrate the greatest absurdity that ever danced in the brain of a crazy philosophy, we cannot even cross the threshold into the high sphere of speculative thought.

The fact that matter is real does not, in itself, imply the non-being of spirit. The fact, then, that we perceive 'the many' to exist has, in itself, nothing to do with the question whether 'the One' does or does not exist. Nor is the idea that 'the One' exists, in any sense or form incompatible with the idea that 'the Many' exist also. Nothing can be more undeniably evident than the fact that Materialism and Idealism, in all their forms and deductions, are based wholly upon the grossest and most palpable forms of scientific hallucination ever conceived of, an hallucination only equalled by the sceptical formula, that we don't know that we don't know anything.

3. We have also, in our preceding elucidations, a practical illustration of the absolute impossibility of vindicating for any form of Materialism, Idealism, or Scepticism, even an apparent scientific basis. Such basis, to be really and truly scientific, must, undeniably, be either a judgment self-evident, or one whose validity has been strictly demonstrated to be true. We have already carefully examined every principle on which every such system rests, and have found every such principle to be utterly void of self-evident or demonstrated validity, while their fixed characteristics as mere assumptions have been absolutely evinced.

Each of the two systems first named has its positive and negative side. The positive side is this: one substance, or form of existence, is real. The negative side is this: no other substance, or form of existence, is real. Now, the validity of this negative side is neither self-evident, nor can it, by any possibility, be verified for science. That this principle has self-evident validity, no one will affirm. We have before us two absolutely incompatible judgments: to wit, that spirit is, and matter is not, and that matter is, and spirit is not, real. Have each of these judgments self-evident validity? Each or neither must be thus evident. Both cannot, and, therefore, neither can be self-evident.

Equally impossible is it to prove the one to be true and the other false, the positive evidence in favour of each, and against the other, being absolutely balanced. The identical form of evidence which can be adduced in favour of the existence of one of these substances, can be adduced in favour of that of the other; and every form of disproof which can be adduced against the reality of one, may be adduced, with equal force, against that of the other.

Neither of these systems, then, can, on its negative side, at least, have any scientific basis at all, and both together must fall to pieces.

Scepticism, also, in all its forms, has its positive and negative sides. It admits and affirms the absolute validity of human knowledge in one form at least. It admits and affirms that we doubt, and know that we doubt. 'It is certain,' we are told, 'that we can know nothing of the nature of either matter or spirit.'

Relatively to two fundamental facts, then, doubt and nescience, the Intelligence is a faculty, and they are to it objects of real knowledge. This is the positive side of the system. 'Now, here,' we say, in looking at the negative side, 'is a strange thing, that the Intelligence should be capacitated to know its own doubts and ignorances just as they are, and should be incapacitated to know any other facts or realities, as they are in themselves. That 'we know this only, that we nothing know,' is surely not a self-evident truth. How can the Sceptic prove his doctrine? The least, as we have shown already that can be required of him is, that he adduce facts and arguments of the reality and validity of which we can and must be more absolutely assured than we actually are of our own existence, and of that of material forms around us, facts and arguments which necessarily imply the utter invalidity of our knowledge of mind and matter. The Sceptic knows, and all mankind know, that no such facts and arguments can be adduced. No scientific basis, therefore, can be adduced for any one of these systems.

For the doctrine of spirit, matter, time, space, God, duty, and immortality, on the other hand, such a basis can be most readily verified. All the facts and principles which lie at the basis of our faith in all these verities, are affirmed as real and valid by the direct, immediate, and absolute testimony of the universal Consciousness. No grounds or arguments against this faith, can, by any possibility, be adduced of the validity of which we are, or can be, so absolutely and rationally assured, as we are and must be of the reality and validity of these facts and principles. When the Sceptic shall adduce against our faith in these verities, 'grounds and arguments' of the validity of which we are and ought to be more assured than we are of our own personal existence, and of the reality of material forms around us, then, and not until then, will we, or ought we, to admit that the faith under consideration has no scientific basis. The basis on which this faith rests is the conscious integrity of the universal Intelligence. If this is not a scientific basis, no science has such a basis.

Much is said in certain schools of the progress of our race, and very much may veritably be said upon the subject. There is a fundamental difference, however, between progress in government, civilization, the arts, and sciences in general, and real progress in ontological systems. In the particulars first named, progress has been visible and marked. In respect to those last named, Theism excepted, there has been no real progress whatever for the last twenty-five centuries. There is method, even in madness. So there is in error. When the mind diverges from the track of truth, it must diverge, as we have shown, from certain fixed points, and move from thence on certain determinable lines. If it shall construct certain systems of false science, it must construct them after one or another fixed form. There is but one system of truth, and there can be but a certain number of systems of false science. When that number is completed, error must conform to one or the other of these fixed forms, and thus, as ages roll on, repeat itself. In the General Introduction, we determined the number and forms of all conceivable and possible systems of Ontology. In our examination of the Oriental and Grecian systems, we have found every system we then designated, and in the exact form there represented. Hereafter we shall search in vain for Anti-Theism in any new, or more perfected form than we have already considered. Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Condilac, and Comte, for example, we shall find to be nothing more than unimproved copyists of Vyasa, Kapila, Kanada, Gautama Buddha, Pythagoras, Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, and Democritus. Messrs. Emerson, Mill, Spencer, and Huxley, will be found to be mere repetitions of Gorgias, Protagoras, Prodicus, Polus, and Metrodorus. Even Mr. Darwin will be found to be but a very imperfect edition of Anaximander. How our ancestors were nursed by their monkey parents, and how these ancestors afterwards lost their hairy covering and long tails, Mr. Darwin tells us very imperfectly. According to the Grecian sage, those ancestors, without any such covering, or tails, were begotten as veritable men and women in the bellies of fishes, and having been kindly nursed there until they were able to care for themselves, were spewed out upon the dry land, and sent forth to seek their fortunes. If compelled to make our election between the two theories, we should unhesitatingly prefer the latter. To us, there is more of dignity, and quite as near an approach to rationality, in the whale, as in the monkey. If nature can make a leap from the irrational to the rational, why not from a whale to a man? We must regard the Anglo-Saxon theory as a degenerate spawn from the Grecian.






THE object of Philosophy, as we have formerly stated, is not the science of mere facts, or of mere existences, but of the reason, the ultimate reason especially, why the facts of the universe are as they are, and not otherwise, and why real existences are related to one another as they are, and not otherwise. 'Philosophy,' says Schwegler, and rightly so, 'is never satisfied with receiving that which is given simply as it is given, but rather follows it out to its ultimate grounds; it examines every individual thing in reference to a final principle, and considers it as one link in the whole chain of knowledge.' Of all the sciences, Philosophy, as we have also formerly said, is the ultimate. The entire sphere of the admitted unknowable and unknown, Philosophy recognizes as such, and never attempts the elucidation of facts, or relations of existences, lying within that sphere. In the presence of real facts, the specific reasons for the occurrence of which are unascertained, or unascertainable, Philosophy recognizes the known on the one hand, and the mysterious on the other, and locates such facts within the sphere of the present, at least, inexplicable. In the presence of self-contradictory judgments, Philosophy recognizes the absurd, and locates the objects of such judgments within the sphere of the impossible. Explicable facts of real knowledge, and explicable relations of known existences, these, and these exclusively, fall within the sphere of Philosophy. Whenever we find ourselves in the presence of such facts and relations, and the question arises, why are said facts and relations as they are, and not otherwise, the great problem which it is the exclusive province of Philosophy to solve rises before us.


A question of fundamental interest here arises, namely, what are the fixed and immutable characteristics of all explicable facts and relations? A known fact, or class of admitted facts, are before us. A specific reason for their existence and occurrence is asked for. If these facts are of such a character as to be fully explicable on some one specific hypothesis, and upon no other, we find ourselves in the presence of explicable facts. If these facts suggest no specific hypothesis of any kind, they belong to the sphere of the mysterious. If they suggest a certain number of hypotheses, one of which must be true, and all the others false, while they are equally compatible with, and explicable by each, such facts are not fully explicable, but sceptical in their character. Explicable facts are always of such a character as to imply necessarily the specific cause or law of their existence and occurrence. When we inquire for such a cause or law, it is not sufficient to prove that the facts are merely consistent with a given hypothesis. When we have gone thus far, we have only proven that said hypothesis may be, and not that it is, true, much less that it must be true. Facts are really explained when, and only when, an hypothesis is found which is absolutely perceived to be not only compatible with said facts, but as necessarily implied by the same. In other words, it must be seen, in the light of said facts, not only that said hypothesis may be, but that it must be, true, and all other and opposite ones, consequently, must be false. The facts of the universe, material and mental, for example, are before the mind. The question to be answered is, what is the ultimate reason, or cause, why the facts before us are as they are, and not otherwise? Two, and only two, hypotheses present themselves. One of them, consequently, must be true, and the other false. That reason, or cause, as all admit, must be an inhering law of nature itself, or the agency of a personal God, acting upon nature from without. If the facts before us are of such a nature as necessarily to imply that one of these hypotheses must be true, and the other false, then, relatively to such cause or law, the facts under consideration are explicable. If, on the other hand, these facts are found to be equally compatible with each hypothesis, then they are not explicable, but inexplicable, or sceptical in their character. Explicable facts, we repeat, always themselves imply the hypothesis by which they are explained and elucidated, and not only imply but always reveal the hypothesis under consideration. In other words, real causes and laws, when ascertainable, are both revealed and implied by the facts which the former produce and determine. There can be no greater and more obvious hallucination in science, than is involved in the idea that causes and laws may be discerned, not through facts by which such laws and causes are implied, but by direct and immediate à priori insight. Suppose that in utter ignorance of facts the mind should have, were the thing possible, a direct vision of a cause or law, that is, a vision of such objects in se. What would such objects be to the mind? Nothing, we answer, but meaningless entities, and no real causes or laws at all. By no possibility can causes, substances, or laws, be known to the human mind, but through the phenomena, or facts, by which the former are implied, and known as thus implied.


We are now prepared to state definitely the great and exclusive problem, the solution of which devolves upon Philosophy. With existences in se, that is, with substances, causes, and laws, and relations of existence, not implied by, and known through, phenomena, and facts known to be real, Philosophy has no more to do, than it has in determining the specific size, weight, and form of objects on the further side of the moon. The, real problem under consideration is this: 1. In the light of valid criteria, to distinguish and separate forms and facts of valid knowledge from all mere assumptions, opinions, beliefs, and conjectures which may, or may not, be true. 2. To deduce the substances, causes, and laws and relations of existence implied by the real facts which are the objects of valid knowledge. Through the known, Philosophy is burdened with the single problem, to determine the existences, and laws and relations of existences, implied by the facts which are known.

Remove the phenomena and facts, and no problem whatever remains for Philosophy to solve. Assume that 'the things which we envisage are not that in themselves for which we take them,' and that 'neither are their relationships in themselves so constituted as they appear to us,' and we are left in the same condition as before, with no basis to stand upon, and no real substances and causes to inquire for. All problems are located in the sphere of the unknown and unknowable. If we should assume that appearances or illusions may be known as they are in themselves, we are in the same limbo as before. The same Intelligence which 'envisages' realities, not as they are, but as they are not in themselves, will 'envisage' appearances, not as they are, but as they are not in themselves, and so on for ever. We can never find a valid basis from which to reason about anything. If while we admit the validity of our knowledge of certain facts, we ignore, or deny a part of such facts, or include others which are not thus known, Philosophy is then deflected from the line of truth, and is started in the fixed direction of fundamental error, and is certain to land us there. The first problem for Philosophy, we repeat, is this—to wit, What are the facts known to be real, and what are the principles known to possess universal and necessary validity? The second is like the first, namely this, What are the substances, causes, and laws and relations of existence, necessarily implied by said facts and principles? Any departure from these fixed laws of induction and deduction, or any other method of philosophizing, is, and must be, 'vain wisdom all, and false philosophy.'


The real relations of Psychology to philosophy involve questions of fundamental importance in science, questions, however, which philosophers have seldom pondered at all, or wrongly resolved when inquired into. The end and aim of Philosophy, in its analysis of the human intelligence, is to determine the number of the intellectual faculties, primary and secondary, the exclusive sphere and objects of each faculty, their mutual relationships to one another, and their individual and combined relationships to science. If any one of these faculties is ignored, falsely explained, or displaced from its appropriate and exclusive sphere, Science will be made to rest upon a false basis, or will substitute vain imaginings for truth.

Intellectual Faculties, Primary and Secondary.

Facts or phenomena, as we have formerly shown, are exclusively known by perception, external and internal, and imply two such faculties—Self-consciousness, which apprehends mind in its operations, and Sense, which apprehends matter in its phenomena or manifestations. All the material and mental facts which lie at the basis of all deductions in the science of Ontology are given exclusively through the intuitions of these two faculties. Take away the facts thus given, or deny the validity of our knowledge of the same, and nothing whatever is left for Philosophy to elucidate or inquire about. Deny the validity of our knowledge of subjective or objective facts, and affirm it of one class exclusively, and Philosophy, with one eye put out, is sent off in the direction of Materialism or Idealism, as the case may be. Take these facts just as, by the Intelligence, they are handed over to Philosophy, let them be carefully separated from all elements introduced by the action of will and sensibility, let all realities be accepted which are necessarily implied by facts perceived, and all principles which arise from the necessary relation between said facts and realities; and finally, let all deductions necessarily arising from said facts and principles be given, and then we shall have a veritable and scientifically evinced Philosophy or system of universal being and its laws.

The original elements of all our knowledge, in all its forms, are constituted of facts perceived and realities, such as space, time, substance, and cause, directly and immediately implied by said facts. The faculty which gives these implied realities we have denominated Reason. The primary faculties of the Intelligence, then, are three—Self-conscious- ness, the organ of subjective; Sense, the organ of objective; and Reason, the organ of original implied knowledge. The sphere of Reason, then, is just as fixed and definite as is that of either of the perceptive faculties. Consciousness and Sense give us facts or phenomena, mental and physical. Reason apprehends the realities implied directly, immediately, or intuitively by the facts or phenomena which are perceived. The action of Reason is always conditioned on the prior action of the other faculties, and the nature and character of its apprehensions are determined by those of the other faculties. Reason cannot apprehend substances, causes, and laws but through facts or phenomena previously perceived, and the nature of the substances, causes, and laws, which it apprehends, is always and of necessity as is that of the facts referred to. If facts are not perceived, no substances, or causes, or laws are manifested, and none can be apprehended. Nothing can be more manifest. Reason, we repeat, apprehends substances, causes, and laws through facts or phenomena, and as implied by the same. The real and relative sphere of the three primary faculties is, therefore, perfectly fixed and determined. Reason can do no more nor less than apprehend the realities implied by facts of external and internal perception, realities such as time, space, substance, cause, etc.

Of the secondary faculties, the first which claims attention is the Understanding or conceptive faculty—the faculty which combines the elements given by these three primary ones into conceptions or notions, particular and general. When we analyze correctly any conception or notion which we have of any object of perception, external or internal, we shall find said conception to be constituted of two classes of elements—the perceived and the implied, or the contingent and the necessary. Our idea of body, for example, is constituted of two classes of elements—qualities perceived, and substance implied by what is perceived. Perception gives the former, Reason the latter. The same, undeniably, holds equally in regard to all our conceptions of all perceived objects of every kind, whether mental or material. Such palpable facts absolutely identify Reason as a primary intellectual faculty, and also as the organ of intuitively implied knowledge. The same facts as absolutely determine and evince the exclusive sphere of the Understanding, namely, to combine into conceptions the elements of original intuition—elements furnished by the three primary faculties designated.

The Judgment now intervenes and affirms the relations existing between conceptions, or the objects of the same. Judgments are of two classes, intuitive and deduced. In every judgment in which the subject implies the predicate, we have not only an intuitive but necessary judgment. The judgments, body implies space; succession, time; events, a cause; phenomena, substance: and things equal to the same things are equal to one another, are of this character. When, in any judgment, the subject does not imply the predicate, but the relation between them is directly and immediately perceived, we have an intuitive but contingent judgment. When this relation is discerned, not immediately, but through other judgments, then we obtain a derivative or inferred judgment. The judgment is the logical faculty.

We need merely to refer to the two other secondary faculties—the associating principles, as Memory and Recollection, and the Imagination, the faculty which blends the elements of thought, given by all the other faculties, into conceptions corresponding, not to realities as they are in themselves, but to ideas of the beautiful, the grand, the sublime, etc.

The primary faculties, then, are three in number—Consciousness, or the faculty of subjective knowledge; Sense, the faculty of objective knowledge; and Reason, the faculty of intuitively implied knowledge.

There are, on the other hand, just four, no more and no less, secondary faculties—Understanding, or the notion-forming or conceptive faculty; the Judgment, or the faculty which apprehends and affirms the relations existing between conceptions or their objects; the associating principle, including Memory and Recollection, and the Imagination, or blending faculty. A correct Psychology will not fail to recognize all these faculties, will never ignore or omit any one of them, will add none to them, and will never confound any one of them with any other, so marked and distinguished from every other is each by readily discernible phenomena, and so definitely fixed and determinable is the sphere of each.


All the above-named faculties, primary and secondary, the Imagination excepted, have their fixed and definitely assignable sphere and authority, in every valid scientific procedure. All the original elements which enter into every such procedure are furnished by the three primary faculties. The first step in true science is a full separation of all elements of original intuition from all foreign admixtures, and the adoption of the former as the exclusive basis of all scientific deduction. Every procedure into which none but such elements enter, and from which none thus given are excluded, has, so far, an absolutely valid basis, or we have and can have no such basis whatever.

Apprehensions represent two classes of phenomena, conceptions, and ideas. The former represent our apprehensions of objects of external and internal perception, our apprehensions of matter and spirit, for example; the latter represent our apprehensions of objects of intuitively implied knowledge, such as space, time, substance, cause, and personal identity. Ideas, in the sense under consideration, of course, have universal and absolute validity. Understanding- conceptions have such validity when, and only when, they embrace nothing whatever but the elements of original intuition, elements perceived and implied. If such conceptions exclude any elements really thus given, or include any not thus given, we shall, of course, arrange, classify, and elucidate objects, as they are not, and not as they are.

When, in the sphere of the Judgment or logical faculty—the province of the associating principles, as Memory and Recollection, being too obvious to require particular specification in this connection—when in the sphere of the logical faculty, we say, none but conceptions, and ideas which, in the sense defined, are really valid, have place, when all judgments pertaining to the relations to one another of conceptions and ideas, or their objects, have absolute intuitive or deductive validity, all mere assumptions, opinions, belief's, and conjectures, which may or may not be true, being excluded, then, and only then, we have true science. When we depart in any direction, from the line of induction and deduction above laid down, we are moving on the track of false science.


The above analysis of the intellectual faculties fully evinces the fact, that each one of them has a particular, distinct, exclusive, and readily definable sphere. While each acts in perfect harmony with all, and all with each, the functions of each are exclusive, and peculiar to itself, and furnish us forms and elements of knowledge impossible to every other. The faculty of external perception, for example, has a function and sphere which no other faculty can perform or occupy. We are necessitated to accept as valid for science the intuitions of this faculty, or to repudiate them altogether, such intuitions having absolute validity, or none at all. The same undeniably holds true of every other faculty. Its authority, within its proper sphere, must be regarded as absolute, or utterly repudiated. Its functions no other faculty can discharge, and hence, in all scientific procedures, it must be accepted as a valid organ of truth, or repudiated as 'a liar from the beginning.'

True science, consequently, will permit the validity of no faculty, within its proper sphere, to be questioned at all without the weightiest conceivable reasons. Suppose, that the validity of any one faculty is impeached. To what faculty or faculties shall the appeal be made to test the validity of such impeachment? No faculty can go out of its own and enter the sphere of another, and there sit in judgment upon the procedures of the latter. No faculty has, or can have, valid insight but within its own proper and exclusive sphere. No faculty, therefore, can authoritatively adjudicate upon the validity of the procedures of any other. Before any faculty can be impeached and its authority set aside, we repeat what we have often said before, a form of knowledge must be adduced of the validity of which we are, and must be, more absolutely assured than we are, or can be, of the validity of that furnished by the faculty under consideration, and the forms of knowledge presented must be absolutely incompatible with one another. Until, as we have often said before, the Idealist, Materialist, or Sceptic, shall adduce 'ground and arguments' of the validity of which we cannot but be more assured then we are of the fact of our personal existence, and that of material objects around us, 'grounds and arguments' which necessarily imply the invalidity of our convictions of the reality of the self and of the not-self, we should act most irrationally and absurdly if we should, for a moment, doubt the validity of these convictions.



THE name of Socrates is a household word among all who know anything of Greece, and to all such the memory of Socrates is 'as ointment poured forth.' As the Catholic is taught 'that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church,' so we, from childhood up, had been taught that outside of the circle of revealed truth, no one ever had attained to the real possession of moral virtue or eternal life. When in our classical studies, however, we, through the writings of Xenophon and Plato, came to know the man as he was, when his life, his character, and doctrines lifted their divine forms before our mind, the conviction forced itself upon us that Greece, in the midst of her crimes and vices and errors, had known at least one wise and good man—one whose home is now 'the bosom of God.' This fixed conviction we did not disclose even to our classmates; for why, when no good could be attained thereby, should we consent to suffer the imputation of heresy? Thus that conviction remained until, in the Theological Seminary, we came under the instruction of the venerable Moses Stuart. When speaking to us of 'the wise men from the East,' as we recollect, he turned aside to give us his impressions of Socrates. Up to a few years previous, he informed us, he had entertained the fixed conviction that no one, not favoured with the light of inspiration, had become morally virtuous or had been saved. Being aware that Socrates was one of the most perfect characters ever originated amid heathen darkness, he read all that remains on record of this man's life and teachings, and did this for the express purpose of being able to discover and designate the fundamental moral and religious defects in his character. Instead of finding what he anticipated, he was forced to confess to himself that Socrates was both a wise and good man, and that he is now, as he hoped to be when he was dying, 'among the blessed.' From that time onward we have not hesitated to avow the opinion which we here record.

The Socratic evolution in Philosophy produced three great central lights—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In a moral point of view, Plato, in our judgment, ranks with Socrates. Of Aristotle we cannot thus speak. Yet our heart is moved with melting hope towards him when we consider his dying exclamation—to wit, 'I was born in sin; I have lived unhappily, and I die in perturbation. Cause of causes, pity me.' Would that modern scientists, who have far less profoundly studied the problem of being and its laws than Aristotle, had his humility, wisdom, and integrity. When, from the moral standpoint, we contemplate the two men, Plato and Aristotle—while we are constrained to admit that the latter was far more correct in his method of induction and deduction, and taught, perhaps, quite as many truths and fewer errors than the former, we would rather err with Plato than hold the truth with Aristotle.

Socrates was born in Athens about the year 470, and died about 400 B.C. At the time when he assumed the functions of a public teacher, Scepticism was the prevailing belief of the people, of the most intelligent especially, and Philosophy, degraded by the flippant puns of the Sophists, had ceased to be a grave and serious matter of thought and inquiry. Scepticism, the fundamental principle or assumption of which is that the basis of all Philosophy is absolute nescience, and that the elements of the entire superstructure are wholly extracted from 'air nothing,' becomes and can become, in every department of thought and inquiry, nothing but a flippant trifler, and can do nothing for mankind but induce them to laugh at the infinite vacuity in which 'proud science' has located them. Years ago there appeared a series of fictions denominated 'Hogg's Tales.' The tales ran in circles. The reader would be started off in a certain direction, and that with appearances which would excite expectation that wonderful disclosures were just ahead. After being carried round a wide circuit with this expectation constantly increasing, he finds himself set down at his point of departure without really having been shown any thing at all. He would then be started off again under the same expectation, and after going a similar round, would find himself at his point of departure precisely as before. The final result was a reaction which induced a hearty laugh. The same holds true of sceptical thinkers of all ages, and never more so than with the self-styled Scientists of this age. They do now, as they did in Greece, present themselves to the world as alone possessed of 'the key of knowledge,' and as being 'the knowing ones' of the race. After laying down, as the basis of all valid scientific deduction, the proposition that we 'don't know that we don't know anything,' or 'that all our knowledge is mere appearance,' and 'that the reality existing behind all appearance is and ever must be unknown,' we are assured that now the problem of universal being and its laws shall receive a final solution, that the era for demonstrative certainty has arrived, that 'as surely as every future grows out of the past and present, so will the physiology of the future gradually extend the realm of matter and of law until it is co-extensive with knowledge, with feeling, and with action,' that 'matter and law will devour spirit and spontaneity,' and that 'thought is the expression of molecular changes in the matter of life.' After being carried round such a circle with expectation on tip-toe of attaining 'the revelation of absolute truth,' we are at length set down exactly at our point of departure, being assured that 'it is certain that we can have no knowledge of the nature of either matter or spirit.' The result is an almost irrepressible disposition to laugh at 'the trick played upon reason' in our sight. Just what existed in Athens at the time when Socrates appeared upon the stage, and existed as the result of the sceptical teachings of the Sophists, we are now witnessing, as the result of the influence of 'the New Philosophy,' in the prevailing flippant dogmatism, want of respect for truth and moral worth, the readiness with which the shallowest sophistry, if it bears against the doctrines of God, duty, and immutability, determines the popular faith, and the consequent appalling revelation of an utter want of trustworthiness in almost every department of life. The admonition of Socrates to his countrymen, relative to the Sophists of that age, has place relatively to the Sophists of our own, Sophists who commend themselves to our regard as the disciples and expounders of the 'New Philosophy.'

'Is not, O Hippocrates, a Sophist, a seller or vendor of the articles on which the soul is fed? He seems to me to be something of that kind.'

'What, Socrates, is the soul fed? Pray, on what?'

'On the lessons of teachers, and we must take care that the Sophist does not cheat us in selling his wares, as the sellers of food for the body often do. For they, without knowing what is good for the body, praise all their wares alike, and the buyer knows just as little, except he be a physician or a training-master. And just so these vendors of lessons, who carry their wares about from city to city, and sell them to every one whom they can persuade to buy, praise all the articles which they sell; but very likely some of these, too, know very little what is good for the soul and what is not; and the buyers know just as little, except any of them be soul-physicians. If, then, you are a judge of what is good in this way, and what is not, you may safely buy lessons of Protagoras or of any one else. But if not, take care, my good friend, that you do not run a dreadful risk in a vital concern; for there is far more danger in buying lessons than in buying victuals.'

It was in the midst of the trifling flippancy of a sceptical age, and just as a reaction against the influence of the Sophists had commenced, that Socrates appeared as a teacher of truth. The central peculiarity of his character was an absolute respect for truth, and a corresponding assurance that the human Intelligence is a faculty of valid knowledge. With him 'life was real, life was earnest,' and the questions, what am I?—where am I?—what ought I to do, and to become?—and what is my eternal destiny? were all solvable questions. Mind is not encircled with illusions, but realities, realities known and knowable, and through a known creation man may find God, as the known Creator and Governor of the universe. Socrates was not, as some represent, like Confucius, a mere teacher of morals, but of truth in all its forms, and of morality as the great central truth of all science. Up to that time Philosophy had concerned itself mainly with exterior problems, the maxim of true knowledge, 'Know thyself,' having been disregarded. Socrates recalled Philosophy to a consideration of the interior and weightier problems which the central facts of mind, those of its moral nature, especially, present. True Philosophy has its moral and religious sides, as well as its physical, and the former excel the latter, as the infinite excels the finite. So Socrates regarded and treated these two classes of problems.


Socrates was to his age what Reid, Beattie, Stewart, and Jouffroy are to our own, the veritable philosopher of Common-sense. This term or phrase, which for the first time appears in this Treatise, we will permit the individual last named to define for us. 'The history of Philosophy presents a singular spectacle: a certain number of problems are reproduced at every epoch; each of these problems suggests a certain number of solutions, always the same; philosophers are divided, discussion is set on foot, every opinion is attacked and defended, with equal appearance of truth. Humanity listens in silence, adopts the opinion of no one, but preserves its own, which is what is called common-sense.' 'Everybody understands by common-sense a certain number of principles and notions, evident, of themselves, from which all men derive the grounds of their judgments, and the rules of their conduct. But it is not sufficiently known that these principles are merely positive solutions of all the great problems which Philosophy agitates.' 'Common-sense, therefore, is nothing but a collection of solutions, to those questions which philosophers agitate. It is another Philosophy, prior to Philosophy properly so called, since it is found spontaneously at the bottom of every consciousness, independently of all scientific research. There are, accordingly, two votes on the questions which interest humanity, namely, that of the mass and that of the philosophers; the spontaneous vote and the scientific vote, common-sense and the systems.' 'If we compare the solution given by common-sense to any problem whatever with the different solutions which have been proposed by philosophers, we shall always find that the solution proposed by common-sense is more comprehensive than the philosophical solutions. This may be proved by examples. Zeno defined good, that which is in accordance with reason; Epicurus, an agreeable sensation; Kant, that which is obligatory. Common-sense adopts all these opinions, and for that reason cannot be confined to any of them. The exclusive Spiritualists affirm the existence of spirit; the exclusive Materialists, that of matter; but the former end with denying matter, and the second with denying spirit. Common-sense equally admits both matter and spirit, and places itself in contradiction to each of these systems. The empirics recognised no authentic sources of knowledge but the eyes and the hands; Descartes admits none but consciousness; Plato and Kant make reason and conception predominate over that which can be attained by the sense or consciousness; common-sense acknowledges the authority of conscious- ness, of the senses, and of reason, at the same time. If we pursue the parallel in regard to other questions, we shall always find the same result. We hence obtain this important consequence, that if common-sense does not adopt the systems of philosophers, it is not because those systems say one thing and common-sense another, but because these systems say less, while common-sense says more.'

Now, as long as Philosophy shall continue to place itself in open antagonism to the common-sense of the race, that is, to the spontaneous and necessary intuitions of the universal Intelligence; in other words still, so long as a voluntarily determined partialism shall control her induction of facts, so long will her proud creations be nothing but an endless and monotonous succession of dissolving views, chaos returning in orderly intervals, through the lawless and wildly destructive influence of the Sceptical Philosophy. Philosophic thought will stand revealed, as employed in the toilsome and senseless labour of successively, without improvement or modification, rearing up, and toppling over, the old and rotten systems of Vyasa, Kapila, Kanada, the Buddhists, Pythagoras, Zeno of Elea, Democritus, and Protagoras.

Partialism, if it creates anything, must recreate and then destroy these identical systems. When, on the other hand, Philosophy shall accept the entire facts handed over to her by the intuitions of the universal Intelligence, and shall accept of these facts as given, when she shall repudiate nothing thus given, and assume nothing not thus given, when she shall find the principles implied by these, and separate from the same, all assumptions of every kind, and when, finally, the entire deductions necessarily resulting from these facts and principles shall be presented to the world as verities of science, then we shall have a philosophy of being and its laws which will stand the test of ages, a system of such transcendent beauty and perfection, that even the infinite and eternal Mind shall have no occasion to be ashamed of it. Within the circle of the intuitions under consideration lies the rock of eternal truth. Every man-constructed system that 'shall fall upon that rock will be broken, and upon whatsoever systems it shall fall it will grind them to powder.'


It was, we repeat, amidst the decay and disappearance of grave philosophic thought among the Greeks, and when the reaction against the teachings of the Sophists had commenced, that Socrates appeared as the expounder and advocate of truth, the philosopher of Common-sense, the interpreter of interior as well as of exterior facts and principles. His first object was a refutation of the principles and reasonings of the Sophists, or Sceptics, and thus to destroy their influence with the people. Here we have what may be called his disproof, or the negative side of his system. Something, even the Sophists, in common with all Sceptics, admitted, may be known. In other words, the Intelligence, relative to some realities, to say the least, the fact of nescieuce, for example, is a faculty, and they are to it objects of real knowledge. This is the common postulate of all systems, the point from which they all in common take their departure. You, yourself, admit, Socrates would say to the Sophist, that something, your doubts, at least, are knowable and known verities. Why do you affirm these to be objects of valid knowledge? But one answer could be given, to wit, I am conscious of doubting. If you admit the fact of doubt to be real, because you are conscious of doubting, then, Socrates would add, you must admit the reality of any other fact or form of being, which is to you an object of the same conscious knowledge. In short, you must admit the fact of your own personal existence, as exercising the functions of thought, feeling, and willing. Nor can you stop here. You have the same absolute consciousness of knowing your own body and the universe around you, as veritable objects of actual knowledge. 'Man,' says the Sophist, 'is the criterion of that which exists.' Granted, replied Socrates. Look, then, into mind, and read its thoughts, feelings, and activities, especially the facts of its moral nature, and thus learn what the soul is. Read the forms of knowledge of which it is consciously possessed. Thus he not only silenced Scepticism, but brought back public thought to self-reflection, and to a proper consideration of the soul. Of all the philosophers, Socrates was the first who made the soul, its relations, duties, and destiny, one of the central problems in Philosophy. Socrates, in the beautiful and impressive language of Cicero, 'brought Philosophy down from heaven to earth, and introduced it into the cities and houses of men, compelling men to inquire concerning life and morals, and things good and evil.'


Socrates, also, first of all philosophers, popularized the inductive method of inquiry and deduction, the method of reasoning from facts to principles, from phenomena to substance, from events to causes, and from the conditioned to the unconditioned. In his argument for the being and government of God, for example, he has fully anticipated Paley, with the addition that Socrates did what Paley forgot to do: adduced the central facts of mind, as having a fundamental bearing upon the problem. We will here present an example of the reasoning of Socrates upon this subject, an example recorded by Xenophon, and thus translated by Mr. Lewes. Before giving the extract, we would direct special attention to a demonstrably evident postulate strictly common, and distinctly recognized in all the philosophical schools of Greece, those of Idealism not excepted. All recognized the fact of the origin of the present universe as an event of time. To this statement, as we shall see, Aristotle is an exception. The primal state of the universe was an undeveloped form of spiritual essence, or a chaos of material elements. This, we also observe, is the common postulate of all hypotheses ever presented by human thought, of the origin and genesis of the universe as it now is. All start with the idea of a beginning in time. The following is the statement of this postulate as given in the Timaeus: 'Let this universe be called heaven, or the world, or by any other name that it usually receives; and let us, in the first place, consider respecting it, what ought to be investigated at the very outset of our proposed inquiry about the universe—whether it always existed, having no beginning, or was generated, beginning from some commencement. It is generated.' Anti-theism, in our age, may and must take one of two positions—that the universe has existed from eternity, or took form and order, as an event of time. The first position is confronted by the intuitive convictions of the race, and all the palpable facts of the universe. The second presents, as we have formerly shown, for Antitheism, this great problem. Given the primal elements of nature, whatever they may be, in an undeveloped state, or in that of universal chaos, to explain from laws eternally existing in said elements, the universe organized as it now is. Universal order and development from such a cause is no more conceivable, or explicable, than is an event without a cause.

The argument of Socrates is this: creation from a primal chaos, or as an event of time, is explicable but upon one exclusive hypothesis—the creative agency of a personal God. Here, aside from the fact stated above, we notice the perfection which characterizes the argument of Socrates, and the fundamental defect in that of Paley, and all who follow him. Paley argues from mere facts of order, without basing his argument fundamentally upon the undeniable fact of the origin of order as an event of time. Socrates, in fact and form, argues from a universe, organized in time to a creative power out of and above nature. We now present the extract referred to:

'I will now,' says Xenophon, 'relate the manner in which I once heard Socrates discussing with Aristodemus' (a Sophist or Sceptic) 'concerning the Deity; for, observing that he never prayed nor sacrificed to the gods, but, on the contrary, ridiculed those who did it, he said to him'

'"Tell me, Aristodemus, is there any man you admire on account of his merits?"

'Aristodemus having answered, "Many"—

'"Name some of them," said Socrates.

'"I admire," said Aristodemus, "Homer for his epic poetry, Melanippides for his dithyrambics, Sophocles for his tragedy, Polycletus for his statuary, and Zeuxes for his painting."

'"But which seemed to you most worthy of admiration, Aristodemus, the artist who forms images void of motion and intelligence, or one who has skill to produce animals that are endowed, not only with activity, but understanding?"

'"The latter, there can be no doubt," replied Aristodemus, "provided the production was not the effect of chance, but of wisdom and contrivance."

'"But since there are many things, some of which we can easily see the use of, while we cannot say of others to what purpose they are produced, which of these, Aristodemus, do you suppose the work of wisdom?"

'"It would seem the most reasonable to affirm it of those whose fitness and utility are so evidently apparent," answered Aristodemus.

'"But it is evidently apparent that he who at the beginning made man, endowed him with senses because they were good for him; eyes to behold what is visible, and ears to hear what was heard, for say, Aristodemus, to what purpose should odour be prepared, if the sense of smelling had been denied? or why the distinction of bitter or sweet, of savoury or unsavoury, unless a palate had been likewise given, conveniently placed to arbitrate between them and proclaim the difference? Is not Providence, Aristodemus, in a most eminent manner conspicuous, which, because the eye of man is so delicate in its contexture, hath therefore prepared eyelids like doors whereby to secure it, which expand of themselves whenever it is needful, and again close when sleep approaches? Are not these eyelids provided, as it were, with a fence on the edge of them to keep off the wind and guard the eye? Even the eyebrow itself is not without its office, but, as a pent-house, is prepared to turn off the sweat, which, falling from the forehead, might enter and annoy that no less tender than astonishing part of us. Is it not to be admitted that the ears should take in sounds of every sort, and yet not be too much filled with them? That the fore-teeth of animals should be formed in such a manner as is evidently best for cutting, and those on the sides for grinding it to pieces? That the mouth through which this food is conveyed should be placed so near the nose and eyes as to prevent the passing unnoticed whatever is unfit for nourishment, while Nature, on the contrary, hath set at a distance and concealed from them all that might disgust or any way offend them? And canst thou still doubt, Aristodemus, whether a disposition of parts like this should be the work of chance or of wisdom and contrivance?"

'"I have no longer any doubt," replied Aristodemus; "and, indeed, the more I consider it, the more evident it appears to me that man must be the masterpiece of some great artificer, carrying along with it infinite marks of the love and favour of Him who formed it."

'"But further (unless thou desirest to ask me questions), seeing, Aristodemus, thou thyself art conscious of reason and intelligence, supposest thou there is no intelligence elsewhere? Thou knowest thy body to be a small part of that wide-extended earth thou everywhere beholdest; the moisture contained in it thou also knowest to be a portion of that mighty mass of waters whereof seas themselves are but a part, while the rest of the elements contribute out of their abundance to the formation. It is the soul, then, alone, that intellectual part of us, which is come to thee by some lucky chance, from I know not where. If so there is no intelligence elsewhere, and we must be forced to confess that this stupendous universe, with all the various bodies contained therein, equally amazing, whether we consider their magnitude or number, all have been produced by chance, not by intelligence."

'"It is with difficulty that I can suppose otherwise," returned Aristodemus, "for I behold not the gods whom you speak of as framing and governing the world; whereas I see the artists when at their work here among us."

'"Neither yet seest thou thy soul, Aristodemus, which, however, most assuredly governs the body; although it may well seem, by thy manner of talking, that it is chance and not reason which governs this."

'"I do not despise the gods," said Aristodemus; "on the contrary, I conceive so highly of their excellency as to suppose they stand in no need of me or of my services."

'"Thou mistakest the matter, Aristodemus; the greater magnificence they have shown in their care of thee, so much the more honour and service thou owest them."

"'Be assured," said Aristodemus, "if I once could persuade myself the gods take care of man, I should want no monitor to remind me of my duty."

"'And canst thou doubt, Aristodemus, if the gods take care of man? Hath not the glorious privilege of walking upright been alone bestowed on him, whereby he may with the better advantage survey what is around him, contemplate with more ease these splendid objects which are above, and avoid the numerous ills and inconveniences which would otherwise befall him? But it is not with respect to the body alone that the gods have shown themselves bountiful to man. Their most excellent gift is that of a soul which they have infused into him, which so far surpasses what is elsewhere to be found; for by what animal except man is even the existence of the gods discovered, who have produced and still uphold in such regular order this beautiful and stupendous frame of the universe? What other creation is to be formed that can serve and adore them? In this, Aristodemus, has been joined to a wonderful soul a body no less wonderful; and sayest thou, after this, the gods take no thought of me? What wouldst thou, then, more to convince of their care?"

"'I would they should send and inform me," said Aristodemus, "what things I ought or ought not to do, in like manner, as thou sayest, they frequently do to thee."

'"And what then, Aristodemus? Supposest thou, that when the gods give out some oracle to all the Athenians they mean it not for thee? Consider, my Aristodemus, that the soul which resides in thy body can govern it at pleasure; why may not the soul of the universe, which pervades and animates every part of it, govern it in like manner? If thine eye hath power to take in many objects, and these placed at no small distance from it, marvel not if the eye of the Deity can, at one glance, comprehend the whole. And as thou perceivest it not beyond thy ability to extend thy care, at the same time, to the concerns of Athens, Egypt, Sicily, why thinkest thou, my Aristodemus, that the providence of God may not easily extend itself through the whole universe?

'"As, therefore, amongst men we make best trial of the affection and gratitude of our neighbour by showing him kindness, and make discovery of his wisdom by consulting him in our distress, do thou, in like manner, behave toward the gods; and if thou wouldst experience what their wisdom and their love, render thyself deserving of some of those divine secrets which may not be penetrated by man, and are imparted to those alone who consult, who adore, and who obey the Deity, Then shalt thou, my Aristodemus, understand there is a Being whose eye passes through all nature, and whose ear is open to every sound; extends to all places, extending through all time; and whose bounty and care can know no other bounds than those fixed by his own creation."'

According to Aristotle, Socrates introduced the method of induction and definition, which, as stated by Ueberweg, 'sets out from the individual and ends in the definition of the general notion.' Had Plato and Aristotle strictly adhered to this method, the history of Philosophy would never have had occasion to treat of the decline of Grecian Philosophy.


Inasmuch as this renowned world-thinker first gave, to say the least, a distinct development and prominence to the method of induction among the Greeks, and stands before us more distinctly than any other ancient philosopher, as the great representative of the doctrine, or philosophy, of Common-sense, it becomes a matter of no little interest to determine clearly the most important doctrines which he did teach. To this inquiry we would, therefore, direct very special attention. In regard to this inquiry we remark:

1. We need not go beyond the extracts above given to evince absolutely that he clearly and definitely distinguished between matter and spirit, and regarded them as real, distinct, and separate entities. No writer, for example, more clearly and definitely distinguished between the soul and the body, and between the former and all visible existences and forms of material organization in the universe around us; equally manifest is the fact, that Socrates also held the doctrine of time and space, as realities in themselves. Our knowledge of the four verities he adduces as having absolute validity, and as the basis for scientific deductions pertaining to the distinct and opposite nature and destiny of the soul and body, and also in regard to the being, perfections, and government of God. Socrates, in short, in the strictest sense of the term, and in the sense in which we have defined the same, was a Realist.

2. With equal absoluteness, Socrates held and taught the doctrine of the being of one supreme, infinite and perfect, personal God. It would be entirely superfluous to verify these statements by any additional citations, citations which could be readily multiplied to any extent desired. We have here another very important example in verification of a fundamental fact formerly asserted, to wit: that, in all ages in which the validity of our knowledge of Matter and Spirit, and Time and Space, is admitted, the doctrine of a personal God is also affirmed.

3. No thinker, in ancient or modern times, has more clearly recognized the absolute distinction between moral right and wrong, the sacredness of duty, and ill desert of sin, than did Socrates. So prominent were his teachings on these fundamental subjects, that, by not a few writers on the history of Philosophy, he is regarded rather as a teacher of morals than of Philosophy. It would be more proper to affirm that, in his regard, moral virtue was not the only science, but the science of sciences. 'The name for the result of a right constitution of the body,' says Socrates, 'seems to me to be healthfulness, from which arise health and other bodily excellences. And, in like manner, the result of a right constitution of the soul is lawfulness (that is, law-regardingness) and law: and by this men are law-regarding and orderly: and this is justice and self-control.' 'I say, then, that if a soul which is temperate is good, a soul which is intemperate is bad. And a temperate soul, a soul under due control, will do what is right towards the gods, and towards men. It would not be under due control if it did not. Now what is right towards man is justice; what is right towards the gods is piety: and he who does such things is just and pious.' 'The good and the pleasant are not identical,' as Callicles argued. 'Is the good to be sought for the sake of the pleasant, or the pleasant for the sake of the good? The pleasant for the sake of the good.' 'Taking the two things, wrong-doing and wrong-suffering, we have to say that wrong doing is the greater evil of the two.'

4. Between virtue and happiness, and sin and misery, there is, even in this life, Socrates held, an inseparable connection, and hence taught that it is better to suffer death itself, rather than perpetrate the least form of wrong-doing. His doctrine on this point is thus stated by himself: 'A good and virtuous man or woman, I say, is happy, and an unjust and wicked one, I say, is miserable.' 'He who does well must be happy; and the bad man who does ill must be wretched.' Hence his prudential maxim, that it is better, more for our real happiness, 'to suffer wrong than to do wrong.' The wicked may be visibly prosperous in and through their crimes, and untold visible evils, even death, may come upon the virtuous on account of their virtues. Yet the former are miserable, and the latter happy, even in this life. The great object of the Dialogue entitled 'Gorgias,' is to enforce this doctrine: 'For a good man no event can be evil, whether he lives or dies, seeing his concerns are never disregarded by the gods.'

5. Another fundamental doctrine of Socrates was the immortality of the soul. This was a leading theme of all his discourses. When asked in what way his friends should bury him, he replied, 'Even as you will, if you catch me, and I do not give you the slip.' 'I cannot persuade Crito, my friends, that it is I who am now talking with you, and determining what to say. He thinks that I am that dead body which he will soon see here, and asks how he shall bury me.' 'When I have drunk the poison, I shall be with you no longer, but shall depart hence to the happiness of the blessed.'

6. Socrates not only held and taught the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, but that of future retribution. 'Those who have lived in eminent holiness are taken from this region as from a prison and placed in that pure upper region of the earth.' ' If I did not expect that I should go to the realms of the wise and good gods, and to the company of men better than those who are here, I should be wrong not to grieve at death. But be well assured that I do expect this—that I shall be among good, though this I do not feel so confident about, but that I shall go to gods who are good governors—be assured that if there be anything of this kind about which I am confident, I am confident of this. And hence it is that I do not feel sorrow, but am full of hope, that those who have left this life are still in being, and the good in a better condition than the bad.' On another occasion he said, 'I make it my aim that I may appear before my judge with my soul sound and healthy. I put aside the honours and objects of men in general. I aim at truth alone. I try to live, and I shall try to die, when the time arrives, as virtuous as I can.' 'But if the soul depart from the body polluted and impure, as having always been mixed with the body, and having served it, and delighted in it; and having allowed itself to be bewitched by it, and its desires and pleasures; so that nothing appeared to be real which was not corporeal, something that could be touched, and seen, and eaten, and drunk, and used for enjoyment; and having always hated, and feared, and shunned that which is invisible to the bodily eyes, the intellectual objects of which Philosophy aims, do you conceive that such a soul can be pure in itself, or fitted for a region of purity?


Of the Daemon of Socrates much has been written, and few seem to have attained to settled convictions in regard to his views upon the subject. The following is his own account of the matter: 'I have a divine Monitor of which Meletus in his indictment makes a charge in so extravagant a manner. This Monitor I have had from childhood—a voice which warns me, which constrains me constantly from what I am about to do, but never urges me on to do. This was what stood in the way of my undertaking public affairs.' Because he was not warned against it, Socrates, as he himself affirmed, adhered to the plan which he had adopted, relatively to his defence in the trial in which he was condemned to die, and to his course after that event. We perceive no evidence whatever that he regarded his divine Monitor as a familiar spirit. As one, also, who never had any form of experience such as Socrates professedly had, we would say that we see nothing superstitious or improbable in the above account.



PLATO, the central figure in the realm of Grecian world-thought, and that figure 'a thing of beauty'—Plato, who, without having himself given any determinable system of Philosophy, has imparted a more powerful impulse to philosophic thought than any other ancient thinker, was born in Athens or Aegina 428, and died in the city first named 347 or 348 B.C. Up to the time of the death of Socrates, one of his most devoted pupils and disciples was Plato. After the death of his illustrious teacher (399 or 400 B.C.), Plato, with the teachers of Philosophy, fled from Athens to escape persecution and probable death, spent some time with Euclid of Magara, then visited various countries, as Grecia Major, Cyrene, Egypt, and Asia Minor, and when about forty years of age returned to Athens where he remained, with short intervals of travel, until the time of his death. During this last interval his time was devoted to teaching and to the preparation of his world-renowned dialogues. The place where he taught was called the Academy—the 'Grove of Academus'—a gymnasium outside of the city, where was a garden which he had inherited from his father. From the Academy women were most rigorously excluded, unless stealthily intruded in the dress of men.


In all respects Plato, as a teacher, was diverse from Socrates. The latter spoke openly before the people, and 'in secret said nothing.' The former never, as a teacher, appeared in public, but the former imparted his doctrines to a select few, who by previous intellectual training were prepared to receive them. The teachings of the latter all could readily understand. Those of the former the best thinkers of the world have been studying for more than two thousand years without being able to agree upon their real meaning in particulars most essential. Socrates invited the aged and the young, the learned and the ignorant, all in common to listen to his wise discourse. All who approached the gate to the Academy saw over that gate a hand-writing prohibiting admission to all but those who, by prior mental training, were prepared to understand and appreciate the esoteric doctrines of Philosophy. Hence, as the philosopher of Common-sense, the doctrines of Socrates, in all essential particulars, remain as truths for all ages; while the doctrines of Plato, as the results of partial induction, were, in particulars equally essential, repudiated by not a few of his immediate disciples, and in their original forms were rejected in a subsequent age by the New Academy.

In particulars equally essential Plato differed from his early pupil and subsequent opponent, Aristotle. The method of the latter was, in fact and form, essentially inductive. That of the former was as essentially, to say the least, à priori. Aristotle deduced the general from the individual, and found all the elements of the latter in the former. Plato, as far as science is concerned, began and ended with the universal, or deduced the ideal individual from the ideal universal. Aristotle vindicated the validity of our knowledge of mind and the visible universe, and from facts of consciousness and external perception, argued the being and immortality of the soul, the sacredness of the law of Deity, and the existence of God. With Plato the universe of perception is a mere becoming which never becomes, or 'really is' a something intermediate between 'being and non-being, and which cannot be said either to be or not to be,' real existence in all its forms, as matter, the soul, and God as 'existences in se,' being the exclusive objects of reason or à priori insight. With Aristotle nothing really exists but individual forms of being. With Plato the necessary and universal are the real, while the individual is that which is always 'becoming but never is.' 'Raphael in his school of Athens,' as Ueberweg states, 'represents Plato as pointing towards heaven, while Aristotle turns his regard upon the earth.' We are indebted to Ueberweg, also, for the following impressive representation by Goethe of the characteristics of Plato. 'Plato's relation to the world is that of a superior spirit, whose good pleasure is to dwell in it for a time. It is not so much his concern to become acquainted with it—for the world and its nature are things which he presupposes—as kindly to communicate to it that which he brings with him, and of which it stands in so much need. He penetrates into its depths more that he may replenish them from the fulness of his own nature than that he may fathom their mysteries. He scales its heights as one yearning after renewed participation in the source of his own being. All that he utters has reference to something eternally complete, good, true, beautiful, whose furtherance he strives to promote in every bosom. Whatever of earthly knowledge he appropriates here and there, evaporates in his method and in his discourse.'

In the 'Phaedo,' we have Plato's reasons given through Socrates idealized, why the former repudiated the teachings of Anaxagoras. 'When I heard that Anaxagoras was teaching that it is Intelligence that sets in order and is the cause of all things, I was delighted with this cause, and it appeared to me in a manner to be well that Intelligence should be the cause of all things, and I considered with myself, if this be so, then the regulating Intelligence orders all things, and disposes each in such a way as is best for it. If any one, then, should desire to cover the cause of everything, in what it is produced, or perishes, or exists, he must discover this respecting it, in what way it is best for it either to exist, or to suffer, or to do anything else.' 'I thought that, in assigning the cause of each of them and to all in common' (the form of the earth, 'the sun and moon, and other stars, with respect to their velocities in reference to each other, and their revolutions and other conditions'), 'he would explain that which is best for each, and the common good of all. Great was my hope, and equally great my disappointment.' Anaxagoras inferred from the fact of creation as an event of time, and from facts of universal order everywhere apparent in it, that the universe is the result of contrivance and design, and is, consequently, the handiwork of a personal God, and then, as a Theistic Materialist, attempted to explain, not how such a being should create and order all things, but how, as a matter of fact, he did do it. Here was the cause of Plato's dissatisfaction with the teachings of his renowned predecessor.

Plato's Method.

We will now give Plato's method of induction and deduction, and do it in his own words. 'I was afraid lest I should be hindered in my soul through beholding things with the eyes, and endeavouring to grasp them by means of the several senses. It seemed to me, therefore, that I ought to have recourse to reasons, and to consider in them the truth in things. Perhaps, however, this similitude of mine may in some respects be incorrect; for I do not altogether admit that he who considers things in their reasons considers them in their images, more than he does who views them in their effects. However, I proceeded thus, and on each occasion laying down the reason, which I deem to be the strongest, whatever things appear to me to accord with this I regard as true, both with respect to the cause and everything else, but such as do not accord I regard as not true.'

Here we have a distinct and specific statement of the method of this philosopher as an interpreter of the facts of the universe, and in the solution of the great problem of being and its laws. In the interior of his own mind, irrespective of conscious and visible facts, he, first of all, determined how all things should be ordered, and then considered whatever things appeared to accord with this, 'both with respect to the cause of everything else, as true, but such as did not accord, as not true.' In fixed accordance, as we shall show, with this fixed and avowed method, Plato did attempt a solution of this problem. No one who does not explain Plato from this, his own definitely avowed standpoint, will explain him as he was.

That we may not appear to have deduced our idea of the method of Plato from a single passage, we present another citation, the meaning of which cannot be misunderstood. 'But what with respect to the acquisition of wisdom is the body an impediment or not, if anyone takes it with him in the search? What I mean is this: Do sight and hearing convey any truth to men, or are they such as the poets constantly sing, who say that we neither hear nor see anything with accuracy? If, however, these bodily senses are neither accurate nor clear, much less can the others be so, for they are all inferior to these. Do they not seem so to you?'—'Certainly,' he replied.—'When then,' said he, 'does the soul light on truth? for when it attempts to consider anything in conjunction with the body, it is plain that it is then led astray by it.'—'You say truly.'—'Must it not then be by reasoning, if at all, that any of the things that really are (any form of real existence) becomes known to it?—'Yes.'—'And surely the soul then reasons best when none of these things disturb it, neither hearing, nor sight, nor pain, nor pleasure of any kind, but it retires as much as possible within itself, taking leave of the body, and, as far as it can, not communicating or being in contact with it, it aims at the discovery of that which is?'—'Such is the case.'—'Does not the soul of the philosopher, in these cases, despise the body and flee from it, and seek to retire within itself?'—'It appears so.'

'Would not he, then, do this with the utmost purity?' (discover what does and does not exist) 'who should in the highest degree approach each subject by means of the mere mental faculties, neither employing sight in conjunction with the reflective faculty, nor introducing any other sense together with reasoning, but who, using pure reflection by itself, should attempt to search out each essence by itself, freed as much as possible from the eyes and ears, and, in a word, from the whole body as disturbing the soul, and not suffering it to acquire truth and wisdom when it is in communion with it? Is not he the person, if any one can, who will arrive at the knowledge of that which is?' To this question a most absolute and emphatic affirmative answer is returned.

It is undeniable that Plato borrowed his method of philosophizing from the Orientalists, and that modern Transcendentalists borrowed theirs from Plato. We are now prepared to consider the solution which Plato has given us of the great problem under consideration, that of universal being and its laws.


If we should form our judgment of Plato as a thinker and writer from the multitudinous expositions which have been given of his teachings, we should regard him as one of the most self-contradictory and least understood authors that ever existed. One class represent him as the 'great Idealist,' another as the great expounder of Theism, and kindred doctrines, while others still regard him as a mystic, and the author of 'a poetical philosophy.' In regard to doctrines which were, with Plato himself, of fundamental interest, and which he has most extensively discussed, authors of the greatest eminence give perfectly distinct and opposite expositions of his views. With one class of writers, for example, Plato's Ideas are archetypes in the divine mind, archetypes after which God organized the universe; with others the same 'Ideas are not the thought of God, but objects of his thought.' Some represent these Ideas, as in the judgment of Plato created archetypes, while others affirm that he regarded them as eternal and immutable. We shall not stop here to explain the reason for this diversity of exposition. It may be that Plato did in different dialogues unconsciously contradict himself. It may be, also, that at one period of his life he held one view, and an opposite one at a later period, and that in his successive dialogues we have a record of these successive changes in his own apprehensions. It may be, also, that in attempting, as an eclectic, to extract from existing systems the elements of truth which he supposed to dwell in each, he failed, as eclectics generally do, to construct a harmonious system of his own. 'The Socratic doctrine,' says Dr. Dollinger, 'of the absolute good and beautiful, and of Deity revealing himself to man as a kind Providence, formed the basis on which he started, as channels for the Heraclitic doctrine of the perpetual coming into being and flux of all things, together with the Eleatic of the eternal immutability of the one and only Being. The dogma of Anaxagoras of a world-ruling spirit was serviceable to him, and with it he had the skill to connect the Pythagorean view of the universe, as an animated intelligent whole, in a spiritualized form.' No wonder that an individual who undertook to construct a harmonious system out of such incongruous materials, should contradict himself, and should, as Dr. Hodge has well observed, 'speak at one time as a Theist and at another as a Pantheist.' While authors thus differ in regard to the real teachings of Plato on certain subjects, there are others of equal importance about which no such diversity obtains. We propose, in our own expositions, to begin with what is admitted to be plain and explicable, and from these to advance to a consideration of what appears to be obscure and of doubtful significance. Among the doctrines of the former class we specify the following:


1. Plato held and taught the doctrine of the real existence of spirit and matter, as distinct and opposite substances. God and matter he held to be eternally existing and separate forms of being. Matter, to be sure, as Plato defines it, is almost without properties, 'an invisible species and formless universal receiver,' or a mere receptacle of forms. Being 'itself imperishable, it furnishes a seat to all that is produced,' and must be 'somewhere, and occupy a certain space.' The existence of such a substratum is a condition necessary, according to Plato, to the organization of the visible universe. That Plato also believed in the soul, as a real existence, need not be confirmed by more than a single citation. The doctrine of the human soul as an immaterial and spiritual principle, distinct from the body and all material forms, is the leading theme of all his teachings. 'The Deity himself,' says Plato, 'formed the divine, and he delivered over to his celestial offspring the task of forming the mortal. These subordinate deities, copying the example of their parent, and receiving from his hands the immortal principle of the human soul, fashioned subseqnently to this the mortal body,' which they consigned to the soul as a vehicle, and in which they placed another kind of soul, mortal, the seat of violent and fatal affections.' The rational soul, he held to be, not only possessed of intelligence, but of the power of self-moved or free activity. 'Self-activity,' he says, 'is the very essence and true motion of the soul.'

2. Plato also held and taught the doctrine of the being and universal providence of an infinite, and perfect, personal God. The organization of the universe, he held, as we have before shown, to be an event which occurred in time, and implies creation through the agency of a supreme Intelligence. Having stated, that originally the elements of universal nature existed 'irrationally and without measure,' that is, in a state of total chaos, he adds: 'And let us above all things hold, and ever hold, that the Deity made them as far as possible the most beautiful and the best, when before they were in a totally different condition.' Plato was no Pantheist, though he sometimes speaks as if he were one. The doctrines of the eternal co-existence of spirit and matter, of the organization, by the power of God, of the universe from a primal chaos, and that as an event of time, and of a divine providential government over the realm of matter, on the one hand, and a moral government over a realm of free moral and spiritual agents, on the other. These, and other kindred doctrines, locate Plato and the Pantheist at an infinite remove from one another.

Nor was Plato, in any proper sense of the term, an Idealist. Idealism denies wholly the reality of a material creation, and resolves all existences into spirit, or its operations. While Plato fully believed in the ideality of the world of perception, he held, that behind the phenomenal there existed a realm of spiritual existences, and also a material creation, a creation not perceived through the senses, but knowable and known through Reason. We may dispute his psychology, but cannot justly deny that he was a Realist.

That Plato held not only to the personality of God, but also to His infinity and perfection, is perfectly manifest from the passage cited relatively to his theistic teachings, in the article on 'the Religions of the Greeks.' Nothing further need to be added upon this subject in this connection.

3. While Plato held that no man is 'willingly evil,' that is, chooses evil for its own sake, no ancient thinker ever taught with more distinctness and force than he did, the absolute distinction between the right and the wrong, the sacredness of the law of duty, the desert of virtue, and the demerit of sin. While he regarded mercy as an attribute of God, one of the problems which he was avowedly unable to solve, is the compatibility of the forgiveness of sin with the attribute of justice in God. In God every form of moral virtue exists in absolute perfection. Moral virtue in man consists in moral resemblance to God. 'This flight,' he says, 'consists in resembling God, and this resemblance is the becoming just and holy with wisdom.'

Sin, on the other hand, consists in the enslavement of the will to the lower propensities, a state in which 'pleasures and pains are unduly magnified; the democracy of the passions prevail, and the ascendancy of reason is cast down.' This doctrine of Plato, that moral evil is never chosen for its own sake, that the conscience is immutably on the side of the right and against the wrong, and that in their moral nature all men approve the right when they refuse obedience to the law of duty, and hate the wrong while they perpetrate it, is a doctrine most common, even among the heathen. Lactantius represents the heathen as saying, 'I prefer, indeed, not to sin, but I am overcome; for I am possessed of a fragile nature. I am, therefore, led on as one uncertain,' that is, blinded by passion, 'and I sin not because I prefer it, but because I am impelled (by passion). 'I knew,' says one, 'that it was becoming, but me, miserable! I could not do it.'

'I know,' says Euripides, 'that such things as I am about to do are evil, but my mind is better than my inclinations.' 'I perceive and approve the right,' says another, ' but follow the wrong.'

The leading aim of life, as Plato affirms, should be the purification of the soul from the dominion of evil principles and propensities, and the recovery of its lost likeness to God. 'If the soul is immortal,' he says, ' it requires our care not only for the present time, which we call life, but for all time; and the danger would now appear to be dreadful if one should neglect it. For if death were a deliverer from everything, it would be a great gain for the wicked, when they die, to be delivered at the same time from the body and from their vices together with the soul; but now, since it appears to be immortal, it can have no other refuge from evils nor safety except by becoming as good and wise as possible.'

4. A leading doctrine and theme of Plato, as all admit, is the immortality of the soul. While the main basis of his argument to prove the doctrine none now regard as valid, the doctrine itself is set forth in his writings with most impressive distinctness.

5. With the doctrine of a future life for the soul, Plato connected that of retribution according to moral desert. 'But when, on the other hand, the soul shall remain, having an intercourse with divine virtue, it becomes divine pre-eminently; and pre-eminently, after having been conveyed to a place entirely holy, it is changed for the better; but when it acts in a contrary manner, it has under contrary circumstances placed its existence in some unholy spot. This is the judgment of the gods who hold Olympus. 'O thou young man' (know) 'that the person who has become more wicked, departs to the more wicked souls; but he who has become better, to the better both in life and in all deaths, to do and suffer what is fitting the like.' The doctrines of immortality and retribution according to moral desert, everywhere stand out with great prominence and impressiveness in the writings of this author. So far, the teachings of Plato are so plain that very little, if any, difference of opinion obtains among historians and commentators about their meaning.


It is almost exclusively of the intellect that Plato gives any analysis of the mental powers. The idea of a mental faculty he has thus defined. To know any power, he tells us, and very correctly, 'I must look at the power itself, and see what it is and what it does. In that way I discern the power of each thing, and that is the same power which produces the same effect, and that is a different power which produces a different effect.' The question which now arises is this, What kind of intellectual faculties is the mind, according to Plato, possessed of? We shall, for the most part, answer this question in the language of Plato himself. 'He that knows anything,' asks Plato, 'does he know something that is or is not? Of course something that is; that which is not cannot be an object of knowledge. That which is universally may be known universally; that which is not anywhere must be universally unknown. But if there be things which are both to be and not to be, they must lie between that which is absolutely and that which is nowhere. And knowledge belongs to that which is; ignorance to that which is not; to that which is between belongs something between knowledge and ignorance, that is, opinion. And thus knowledge and opinion have different objects.' As the nature of a faculty is determined by that of the objects perceived, we have, according to Plato, two faculties of original perception—Reason, the faculty which perceives and apprehends realities in themselves, and Opinion, sensation, or sense perception, which perceives and apprehends that which 'is and is not.' 'Knowledge is concerned with that which really is, and knows it as it is.' 'Opinion,' sense-perception, 'deals neither with that which is nor that which is not,' but with that 'which is of such a nature that it is and is not.'

Intermediate between Reason and Sensation we have, according to this philosopher, a third faculty, the Judgment, the faculty of conceptions, the faculty through which we obtain a knowledge of the mathematics and kindred sciences. 'Conceptions' are mental apprehensions, not of visible objects, but such as 'geometrical conceptions of figures.' Conceptions, we repeat, as the term is employed by Plato, represent 'the definitions and postulates' of the sciences, our conceptions of a circle, triangle, and square, for example. The objects of these conceptions are 'one kind of intelligible things.' These sciences, according to Plato, have for their basis 'assumptions' for which 'no reason is given,' and reasoning from these assumptions, 'as evident to all,' we 'have the propositions which we have in view.' 'In dealing with these the mind depends upon assumptions, and does not ascend to first principles.' The knowledge obtained by means of these sciences has, consequently, as he affirms, a less degree of certainty than that obtained by Reason. Reason, on the other hand, regards the 'assumptions of the sciences as' (what they are) 'assumptions only, and uses them as occasions and starting points, that from these it may ascend to the Absolute, which does not depend upon assumption—the origin of scientific truth. The reason takes hold of this first principle of truth, and availing itself of all the connections and relations of this principle, it proceeds to the conclusion, using no sensible image in doing this, but contemplates the idea alone, and with these ideas the process begins, goes on, and terminates.'

'I apprehend,' said Glaucus, 'but not very clearly, for the matter is somewhat abstruse. You wish to prove that the knowledge which by reason, in an intuitive manner, we acquire of real existence and intelligible things, is of a higher degree of certainty than the knowledge which belongs to what are commonly called the sciences; such sciences, you say, have certain assumptions for their bases, and these assumptions are by the student of such sciences apprehended not by sense, but by a mental operation, by conception.

'But inasmuch as such students ascend no higher than assumptions, and do not go to the first principles of truth, they do not seem to have true knowledge, intellectual insight, intuitive reason on the subjects of their reasonings, though the subjects are intelligible things. And you call this habit and practice of the geometers and others by the name of Judgment, not reason, or insight, or intuition, taking judgment to be something between opinion on one side and intuitive reason on the other.'

You have explained it well,' Plato replies. 'And now consider these, four kinds of things of which we have spoken as corresponding to four affections (faculties) of the mind. Intuitive Reason, the highest; Judgment, the next; the third, Belief; the fourth, Conjecture or Guesses; and arrange them in order so that they may be held to have more or less of certainty, as their objects have more or less of truth.' To understand fully and clearly the psychology of Plato, we must obtain full and definite apprehension of the nature and objects of each of these faculties, as he understood and presented them. We begin with—

Reason and Judgment.

Reason, according to this philosopher, is the exclusive faculty of real or absolute knowledge, the only faculty which perceives and apprehends that which really exists. Even the real truths to which 'the assumptions,' as he calls them, of the pure sciences actually pertain, are apprehended not by the Judgment but by Reason. Knowledge by Reason, then, has greater certainty than that obtained through these sciences by means of the Judgment. Knowledge through the latter is indirect and mediate, through assumptions and conceptions of the same. Knowledge through Reason, on the other hand, is direct and immediate or intuitive.

Yet Reason in man, in his present state, has no direct and immediate knowledge of realities, or of absolute truth. In a former state, 'the soul, in journeyings with Deity,' had an insight of being in se, or of existences as they are in themselves. The knowledge which it now has of such realities 'is a recollection of those things which our soul formerly saw when journeying with Deity.' Souls which took no such journeyings, and never thus saw existences as they are, or who have perhaps lost all such visions, Plato abso- lutely affirms, can have no such knowledge. The apprehensions of all such are necessarily limited to the dark sphere of sense, and can but 'opine that which is of such a nature that it is and is not.'

While the minor faculties are common to all men, Reason—'the faculty divine,' according to Plato, has place as a faculty in but a very small number of human minds. 'Of true opinion,' he says, 'every man has a share; but of Reason only the gods and some small portion of mankind.' Those who do possess this divine faculty are, as our philosopher expressly affirms, 'inspired men,' and ought to rule the race. Those thinkers fundamentally err who cite Plato as authority for ranking Reason as a faculty of the human mind in its present state. The psychology of this philosopher is expressly, not the psychology of the human mind, but of that of gods and philosophers. The mass of men in their former state never 'journeyed with the Deity' at all, and never had any visions of existence in se, or have so absolutely lost those reminiscences that they cannot by any possibility be, in this life, recalled.

Sensation or Sense-Perception.

As we have already shown, Plato held and taught the eternal existence of matter as a reality distinct from God. In its primal state this substance was 'formless and figureless, but recipient of all forms. And as constituting all bodies this matter was divisible and of the nature of the manifold.' This originally formless and figurativeless 'substance God organized into a material universe which now exists in that form.' This really existing universe, however, is one thing—that which we seem to cognize through Sensation, sense-perception, is quite another. The latter is but the shadow of the former. It is the world of perception, and not the actually existing universe of matter, that Plato affirms to be 'of the nature of that which is and is not.' The opinions which we obtain through Sensation, according to the Platonic hypothesis, Plato is at great pains to elucidate and explain in Book VII. chapters i. and ii. of the Republic. We give what is essential to an apprehension of his meaning in his own words.

'"Behold men, as it were, in an underground cave-like dwelling, having its entrance open towards the light and extending through the whole cave, and within it persons, who from childhood upwards have had chains on their legs and their necks, so as, while abiding there, to have the power of looking forward only, but not to turn round their heads by reason of their chains, their light coming from a fire that burns above and far off and behind them; and between the fire and those in chains is a road above, along which one may see a little wall was built along."—"I see," said he.—"Behold, then, by the side of this little wall, men carrying all sorts of machines rising above the wall, and statues of men and other animals wrought in stone, and other materials, some of the bearers probably speaking, and others proceeding in silence."—"You are proposing," said he, "a most absurd comparison, and absurd captives also."—"Such as resemble ourselves," said I; "for think you that such as these would have seen anything of themselves or one another except the shadows which fall from the fire on the opposite side of the cave?"—"How can they," said he, "if they be through life compelled to keep their heads unmoved?"—"But what respecting the things carried by them—is not this the same?"—"Of course."—"If they had been able to talk with each other, do you not suppose they would think it right to give names to what they saw before them?"—"Of course they would."—"But if the prison had an echo on its opposite side, when any person present were to speak, think you they would imagine anything else addressed to" (that is addressing) "them, except the shadow before them?"—"No, by ——, not I," said he.—"At all events, then," said I, "such persons would deem truth to be nothing but the shadows of exhibitions."—"Of course they would."'

Such, Plato held and taught, are our relations to the material universe which really exists. Of it, or any realities in it, we have no real knowledge whatever. What we do perceive is but a shadow—a dimly reflected image of what really exists. Yet all but philosophers deem these shadows, which they do see the only world which does exist. Ourselves and the men which we think we see and converse with, are mere shadows—images of men, and not real men. So in all other cases. The only approach, as we shall see hereafter, that we can make, either by Reason or otherwise, to a knowledge of real material forms as they are in themselves, is to abstract from classes of individuals, whom we seem to perceive, the elements strictly common to all, and combine these common elements into a general conception. While individual conceptions most remotely, these general notions more nearly, resemble actually existing realities. The knowledge, however, which we obtain of these realities through these general notions, the only form of such knowledge now possible to us, is nothing but 'a bastard form of knowledge.' Three classes of realities exist—ideas, of which we are to speak in another connection, material forms, and the shadows which are produced by the two former. 'Thus the universe is constituted of Idea, Matter, and Sensible Objects, the offspring of the other two.' 'And these things, being three, are known in three ways—the idea, by Intellect, as science; matter, by a bastard kind of reasoning, for we cannot yet attain to discern it directly, but by analogy; and the product of these' [things which are and are not] 'by Sensation and opinion.'

According to Plato the entire race, a few philosophers excepted, are in a very pitiable condition relatively to all forms of real knowledge. Of ideas, those 'ungenerated and unchanged and permanent' verities, they can know nothing whatever, excepting through 'the reminiscences' or à priori insight of philosophers, whose revelations are as contradictory as those of 'Chaos and Old Night.' What they can glean through the Judgment has no other basis but mere assumptions, while, in their confinement within the low cell of Sensation, they are compelled to regard, as alone real existences mere shadows 'which are of the nature of that which is and is not.'


In regard to the psychology of this philosopher, we would remark in general, that there never was a system proposed more fundamentally defective, on the one hand, or erroneous, on the other. While essential faculties are omitted, not one that is given is located in its proper sphere, or has assigned to it its proper functions. There are no facts of mind that can be explained by this psychology just as they are given in the universal consciousness. These statements we will now proceed to verify, We remark, then:

1. The idea that there is, or can be, a something intermediate between real existence and non-existence, a something 'which is of the nature of that which is and is not' is one of the most palpable absurdities that ever approached human thought. As rendered demonstrable before Plato began to write by Parmenides, the Idealist, on the one hand, and Anaxagoras, the realist, on the other, we are necessitated by an immutable law of thought to regard every object as a real existence, or as not existing at all. To affirm, that there may be a something 'which is of the nature of that which is and is not,' a something which is always becoming and never becomes, is, undeniably, perfectly identical with the absurdity that the same thing may at the same moment exist and not exist. No philosopher can show the difference between this dogma of Plato and the absurdity before us. Plato's theory of sense-perception, therefore, cannot be true.

2. Facts and objects of sense-perception are not consciously perceived, as Plato affirms them to be. Every object perceived, on the other hand, stands before the mind as a real and palpable existence, and in no sense or form as a something which is always becoming but never becomes. Plato thought, or attempted to think, of these objects in that light; but they were never thus present to him, nor are they thus present to any body else, as objects of perception. Nor, as perceived, are these objects in appearance the fleeting, and ever-changing shadows which he affirms them to be. The substances which constitute all visible material forms are universally thought as permanent entities. These entities may from time to time enter into new combinations, but they themselves never change. Nor are the forms of material combination the ever-changing shadows which Plato imagines. In every visible combination the essential qualities of matter, extension, and form, are always present. Then, as Aristotle has truly said, there are objects, such as the stars of heaven, whose forms never change. The globe on which we dwell is, to the universal mind, and to philosophers as well as others, an enduring entity. On it are 'the everlasting mountains,' and 'the perpetual hills,' and the ocean, whose enduring permanence renders it the proper and impressive symbol of eternity. Everything about us, as perceived, is not a becoming which never becomes, but a definite existence. The honoured Presidents of Yale, Harvard, and our State University, for example, are philosophers possessed of Sensation and Reason. Permit us to ask them, in serious earnestness, whether they are to themselves, and their associate Professors are to them, not real men, but what Plato affirms all men to be, 'the shadows that fall from the fire on the opposite side of the cave'? Plato affirms that 'a proof that lacks anything, however little, of completeness, and is a proof in some measure merely, is not satisfactory. Defect is not the measure of anything.' Plato's exposition of sensation, or sense-perception, is not only defective, and therefore not the measure of the conscious reality, but, what is still worse, is false in fact.

3. Equally defective and erroneous is Plato's exposition of the sphere and the validity of the action of the faculty of Judgment. Mathematics and other kindred sciences instead of being based, as he affirms them to be, on mere assumptions, are, in fact and form, based upon universal, necessary, and intuitive truths, or principles. Every one of their axioms and postulates have both necessary and intuitive certainty. Are the axioms, 'Things equal to the same things are equal to one another,' and 'A straight line cannot enclose a space,' and, 'It is impossible for the same thing, at the same time, to exist and not to exist,' mere assumptions? Is it not perfectly evident that Plato never thought of the distinction between assumptions and real principles of science? Nor can we be more certain of any truths than we are, and must be, of the validity of the principles and deductions of all the real sciences. No greater mistake can be made in science than appears in the doctrine, 'that the knowledge which, by Reason, in an intuitive manner, we may acquire of real existence and intelligible things, is of a higher degree of certainty than the knowledge which belongs to what are commonly called the sciences.' Will some philosopher designate some truth of which we are, or can be, more certain, than we are of the truth of the axioms above designated, or of the demonstrated truth, that the square of the hypothenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of its two sides? Can there be a higher degree of certainty than necessary certainty? When Plato, therefore, placed the pure sciences, and that on the score of certainty, as 'something between opinion, on the one side, and intuitive reason on the other,' he fell into a fundamental error in science.

4. One of the greatest and most dangerous of all the errors of Plato, is the doctrine that Reason in philosophers and finite gods, or in anybody else, is a faculty which has, not through facts consciously perceived, but by direct, intuitive, and independent insight, a perception of 'real existence and intelligible things.' Plato's method of philosophizing, we have already fully explained. Facts of perception are, by him, not only ignored, but repudiated as clogs in the matter of intuitive insight through Reason. All the works of Plato are constructed in perfect accordance with this exclusive method. If our previous discussions have established anything, they have demonstrated the fact that the mind has no such faculty as that which this thinker professedly used when philosophizing. Whether any substances or causes, and what substances and causes, do exist in time and space, we can know but through facts and qualities perceived to be real. A correct analysis of all our conceptions and judgments, also, renders it demonstrably evident that all our ideas of substances and causes were thus derived. Our conception of body, for example, is constituted exclusively of qualities perceived and substance implied by what is perceived. All our conceptions of the self and not-self, are of this exclusive character. Every cause which we regard as existing and acting in time and space is given and known, and that exclusively as implied by events and facts perceived to have occurred. There is not a necessary idea in the mind which is not given in the universal consciousness as implied by facts and objects of perception, and known exclusively as thus implied. The ideas of space, time, substance, cause, duty, and God, for example, are given as implied by body, succession, phenomena, events, and conscious facts, which we perceive to exist. When we analyze our judgments which possess necessary and universal intuitive certainty, we find this relation to exist between the subject and predicate, that the former, as the contingent, or perceived, implies the latter as the necessary, element or object. Of this character are all such judgments as, Body implies space; Succession, time; Phenomena, substance; and Events, a cause. Such facts absolutely evince that the object or implied idea, is apprehended through that of the contingent conception. Space, time, substance, and cause, and all other objects of universal and necessary ideas, are not perceived directly and immediately, but through body, succession, phenomena, and events, and other objects of perception, and the former class of realities are always apprehended as implied by that of the latter, and as known through the same.

In no other sense than as implied by phenomena and events, are the ideas of substance and cause, in any form in which they appear, necessary ideas at all. Suppose that any substance or cause was directly perceived by Reason, or any other faculty; the idea of such object would, in that case, be a contingent, and not a necessary one. Why do we say that our conception of body is a contingent idea? Because we can conceive of its object as existing or not existing. If we should perceive, directly and immediately, any substance or cause to exist, we could conceive such object also to exist or not to exist, and we should derive from it a contingent and not a necessary idea. The conception, also, would be one of an individual object, an object which would have no element of universality about it. When we perceive 'existence in se,' we always do, and from the necessity of the case must perceive, not forms of universal, but individual being. It is only when we apprehend substance and cause through phenomena and events, and as implied by the same, that the element of universality does, or can, attach to our ideas of the former. To affirm that Reason, or any other faculty, directly and immediately perceives existence in se, or universal and necessary truths, is an nude: viable absurdity. The object of perception, whether through Reason or any other faculty, must, we repeat, be an individual object, and can be nothing else. Universal relations do exist, but a universal thing, or object, or substance, cannot exist. The cause of all conditioned forms of being, and events, may be and is, one and the same. The cause itself, however, as an existence, must in itself be an individual existence. It is only when apprehended as sustaining universal and necessary relations, that the characteristics of universality and necessity do, or can, attach to it. Suppose it should be said, that by Reason, we perceive directly and immediately universal relations. But relations can be perceived only through the objects related.

It is one of the greatest absurdities conceivable, also, that perception through one faculty has higher certainty than through another, when perception, in both cases, is consciously direct and immediate. The mind, with all its faculties, is confined within the body. We are conscious of a direct and immediate knowledge, through external and internal perceptions, of the qualities of matter and spirit. Suppose, now, that we do have, through Reason, a conscious vision of 'existence in se.' On what authority, we ask, can it be affirmed that vision, in this last form, is, and is not in either of the others, valid for the reality and character of its objects? If perception consciously direct and immediate is, in one form, valid for the reality and character of its objects, and not in another, then things equal to the same things are not equal to one another. From whatever standpoint we consider the subject, we must conclude that the faculty of Reason is totally mislocated by Plato, and that the faculty, as he has defined it, has no being at all. The dogma that mind, while in the body, cannot know itself or objects immediately around it, but can look off into infinite space and eternal duration, and discern absolutely what realities and events exist and are passing there, is an absurdity which ought never to have had place in philosophic thought, and never especially in that of the nineteenth century.

5. But mislocation and erroneous exposition of the intellectual faculties are not the only or the greatest errors in Plato's psychology. Omission of fundamental faculties is another error quite as obvious and important as any which we have designated. In this psychology the faculties of Self-consciousness and Understanding have no place. Yet without these, facts of mind as they actually exist, together with the processes of true science, cannot be correctly explained nor elucidated.

6. While existing mental phenomena and the entire process of real science are wholly inexplicable through the psychology of Plato, all are perfectly and readily explicable through that which we have given. The elements of universal knowledge, in all its forms and developments, can be demonstrated to have been furnished by the three primary faculties which we have designated, to wit: Sense, Consciousness, and Reason, and through these faculties acting in the identical spheres and relations to which we have assigned them. The most critical analysis of all our conceptions, ideas, judgments, memories, and creations of the Imagination, will demonstrably evince, that not a single element can be discovered in any one of these, an element not originally furnished by one of the primary faculties which we have designated. All the elements of thought, in all its forms, were furnished by perception, external or internal, or by reason as implied by what is perceived.

Through the elements thus furnished we can account for the entire action of the Understanding in combining these elements into notions or conceptions, just as they exist in the mind. In an analysis of such conceptions, the individual elements furnished by each faculty can be specifically designated, and no elements can be found which cannot be thus referred and accounted for.

Then, through the proper action of the Judgment, we can explain the process by which, first of all, these conceptions are analyzed and resolved into their original elements, and how from these, individual, specifical, generical, and abstract conceptions, together with ideas of reason in their universal forms, are obtained. Having thus explained and elucidated the origin and genesis of the phenomena designated, a ready explanation can be furnished of the entire process of classification and generalization.

An explanation, equally and obviously scientific, can then be given of the origin and genesis of all judgments, contingent and necessary, intuitive and deductive, together with the entire process of valid induction and deduction. The facts, principles, laws, and nature of all the sciences, pure and mixed, can be demonstrated to be perfectly explicable through the faculties presented by this psychology. Not a single element of thought, not a conception, idea, principle, or deduction, can be found in any procedure of any of the valid sciences, which will not be found to be perfectly explicable through these faculties.

Through this psychology we are also furnished with explanations absolute of the entire procedure of false science. We can readily explain the points from which error always takes its departure from the track of truth, the lines on which it must move, and the forms which it does, and must, assume. Absolute criteria can be furnished by which original intuitions, valid conceptions, ideas, facts, principles, and deductions, may be distinguished and separated from all assumptions, opinions, beliefs and conjectures, which may or may not be true, and from all inductions and deductions which have place in systems of false science. In short, true and false science, in all their characteristics and procedures, can be demonstrated to be perfectly explicable through the faculties furnished by this psychology. All the above statements we pledge ourselves to verify most fully at the close of this treatise. Our present object is to indicate with sufficient distinctness the reasons for which we reject wholly the psychology of Plato and others and adopt the one presented.


All who have at all studied Plato are agreed in the fact that all his teachings revolve about his doctrine of Ideas. When we ask the question, what this doctrine really is, here the highest authorities are divided, and irreconcilably so. These diversities, however, take on two, and only two, general forms. Ideas, as expounded by Plato, are, according to one school, 'the eternal thoughts of the Divine Intellect,' 'the types, models, patterns, ideals according to which the universe was fashioned,' and 'we attain truth when our thoughts conform with His' (God's), 'when our general notions are in conformity with the Ideas.'

According to another school, Platonic Ideas are not 'eternal thoughts of the Divine Intellect,' but objects which have 'real existence, colourless, figureless, and intangible Existence, which is visible only to mind.' 'Socrates,' says Aristotle, 'gave neither to general terms nor definitions, that is, to the objects represented by such terms and definitions, any distinct existence. Those who succeeded him gave to those general terms a separate existence, and called them Ideas.' In our discussion of the subject we will first consider what Plato has himself said upon it, then endeavour to show which of the above constructions is correct; and, lastly, present the consequences which necessarily follow from each construction.

In what Language and Form Plato has stated his own Doctrine.

The idea is a very singular one, that such a thinker as Plato should make a doctrine perfectly fundamental in all his teachings, should present it in every conceivable diversity of form, and should take, to appearance, all possible pains to render his meaning intelligible, and yet should leave his real views unascertainable. In the Phaedrus we have this description of Ideas: 'The region above heaven no poet has ever sung of, nor ever will sing of as it deserves. It is, however, as follows, for surely I may venture to speak the truth, especially as my subject is truth: for essence, that which really exists, colourless, formless, and intangible, is visible only to Intelligence which guides the soul, and around it the family of true science have this for their abode.' During its circuit above heaven, the soul 'beholds justice herself, it beholds temperance, it beholds science, in that which really is. And in like manner, having beheld all other things which really are, and having feasted on them, it again enters into the interior of heaven, and returns home.' 'There are many beautiful things, many good things.' 'But essential beauty, and essential goodness, and the like, which appear in these things, we regard as each a single Idea' [of which these things partake]; 'and referring things to this Idea, we call them by their qualities. And we hold that the things can be seen, but not conceived; the Ideas are conceived, but not seen.' 'There are two causes of all things: Mind, the cause of things which are made according to reason; Necessity, the cause of things which happen by force according to the power of bodies. And of the former the cause is of the nature of good, and is called God, and is the principle of what is Best, but the consequences and co-operating causes are referred to necessity. And thus the Universe is constituted of Ideas (things made according to reason), Matter, and Sensible Objects, the offspring of the two.' 'The former, the Idea, is ungenerated and unchanged, permanent, of the nature of the Identical; intelligible, and the paradigm of things created, which are in constant change. But matter is the impressible material, the mother and nurse, and is the source of generation of the third kind of being. For receiving the likeness (of the Idea) into itself, and as it were being moulded on them, it produces all created things. And this matter was eternal, but not unchangeable; and itself formless and figureless, but the recipient of all form. And as constituting bodies, this matter was divisible, and of the nature of the manifold.' 'And things, being three, are known in three ways; the Idea, by reason, as science; Matter, by a bastard reasoning, for we cannot yet attain to discern it directly, but by analogy; and the products of these by Sensation and opinion.' 'If those ideas really exist' ('Rightness, Goodness, and the rest'), 'our souls must have existed before we were born.' 'The Ideas which we spoke of a little while ago; the realities to which we refer in our discussions, absolute Equality, absolute Goodness, absolute Beauty, and the like, these are always the same, and do not suffer the smallest alteration.' The next passage to which we refer is of great importance in its bearing upon the question which we are now to argue. In a passage cited above Plato affirms 'Ideas to be ungenerated, and, consequently, eternally existing verities.' In the passage now to be cited these same Ideas are affirmed to be derived, that is, created entities. 'We may say, therefore, as to the things cognizable by the Reason' (Ideas), 'that they became cognizable not only from the good by which they are known, but likewise that their being and essence are thence derived, while the Good itself is not essence, but beyond essence, and superior to both in dignity and power.' In the Republic, Plato refers expressly to the 'creation of Ideas,' and in the Timaeus as expressly to the 'eternity and untreated nature of Ideas.' In the tenth book of the Republic we have a specific statement of the distinction between Ideas and visible objects, and of God's relation to the former especially. In respect to classes of objects which are 'embraced under one general Idea,' Plato thus illustrates his own conception of the relation between the former and the latter. 'Take anything you like. For instance, there is a multiplicity of beds and tables,' and the 'two kinds are comprised, one under the Idea of a bed, and the other under the Idea of a table.' 'The carpenter,' he says, 'makes one of these, and the artist paints another.' Neither, however, 'makes the Idea itself.' Each, in what he does, look to the Idea and imitates that. Both are alike imitators, and produce nothing real. The painter 'makes an apparent table; not a real table.' So of the carpenter. 'He does not make the thing that is, but only something that is like it. If any one says that the thing produced by any handy-craftsman has a real existence, he will be in error.' 'There, are three kinds of tables; the first, the essential, the ideal one, which God himself makes; and then the one which the carpenter makes; and then the one which the painter makes.' 'The one which God makes is single, unique; there are not, and will not be, more than one. There cannot be two or more,' and 'this would be the real Idea of table. And thus God is the real author of the real table.' All universals, as genera, are, with Plato, real existences, and are by him represented by the term Ideas. These are real 'existences per se.' Individuals are existences so far only as they participate of Ideas. That such is the language of Plato none will deny. Equally universal is the admission of all thinkers who study Plato, that Ideas, according to him, are the archetypes after which all generated objects are formed. But what is the nature of these Ideas? Are they the eternal thoughts of the Divine Intellect, 'or are they real existences distinct from God, in the same sense that 'things that are made' are distinct? On this subject the following considerations demand special attention.

Plato's Real Doctrine of Ideas.

1. In favour of the validity of the latter construction, we have the positive testimony of Aristotle, together with the fact of the origination by him of a school in Philosophy openly opposed to Plato relatively to his affirmed teaching on this point. We here adduce the passage from Aristotle, cited above: 'Socrates gave neither to general terms nor to definitions distinct existence.' 'Those who followed him gave to these general terms a separate existence, and called them Ideas.' None doubt shat here a special reference is had to Plato. Again says Aristotle: Intelligible essences he (Plato) called Ideas, adding that sensible objects were different from Ideas, and received from them their names; for it is in consequence of their participation in Ideas, that all objects of the same genus receive the name of Ideas.' The testimony of Aristotle, as we perceive, is perfectly positive on this subject. Nor does anyone doubt that Aristotle separated from his former instructor, and set up a school in opposition to him, on the ground that the latter did teach that the objects represented by general terms are real and separate existences. That Aristotle misunderstood Plato, none will affirm. A misunderstanding between them in the relations which they sustained to each other, was undeniably impossible. If the former misrepresented the latter, he did it deliberately, and founded his school upon a conscious falsehood, and palpable and slanderous misrepresentation. Can anyone assign, real character out of the question, any rational motive for such a misrepresentation, and for an attempt on the part of such a man as Aristotle, to found a school upon it, and to do this in Athens, in the very vicinity of the Academy? Above all, can anyone account for Aristotle's success in founding such a school under such circumstances? He must have been fully aware that the truth or falsehood of his representations would be 'known and read of all men.' The case was too palpable to admit of any doubt on the subject. Nor could disciples have been drawn off from Plato and gathered around him, were there no real and fundamental difference between the two, in regard to the doctrine of Ideas. Both believed in God, and taught that He created the universe in conformity to ideas pre-existing in the divine mind. If this was really and truly, and of course avowedly, Plato's doctrine of Ideas, two opposite schools could never have been formed under these philosophers, schools professedly divided in respect to a doctrine about which all avowedly agreed.

2. Neither Plato, nor any of his followers, nor any other ancient writer, charges Aristotle with the misrepresentation under consideration. Plato and his school accepted the issue presented by Aristotle and his school, in respect to the doctrine before us, and argued it accordingly. The silence of all ancient authorities, as far as any charge of misrepresentation on the part of Aristotle is concerned, presents the strongest conceivable proof that no ground for such a charge did exist. Modern authorities, who adduce this charge, support it by no citations from the ancients.

3. The origin and continuance for so many centuries of two distinct and opposite sects in Philosophy—the one having its basis in the teachings of Plato, and the other in those of Aristotle, sects the exclusive issue between whom pertained to the doctrine under consideration—the origin and continuance of these sects, we say, are explicable but upon one exclusive hypothesis, the correctness of Aristotle's exposition of Plato's real doctrine of Ideas. We refer, of course, to the sects known as Realists, and Nominalists. The former sect, as the world very well knows, originated with Plato, and the latter with Aristotle. What were the doctrines of these sects? 'The Realists,' in the language of Mr. Lewes, 'maintain that every General Term (or Abstract Idea), such as Man, Virtue, etc., has a real and independent existence, quite irrespective of any concrete individual determination, such as Smith, Benevolence, etc. The Nominalists, on the contrary, maintain that all General Terms are but the creations of the mind, designating no distinct entities, being merely used as marks of aggregate conceptions.' Did Plato and Aristotle divide philosophic thought against itself, and that in respect to a doctrine about which the former agreed with the latter? The world, we reply, has not thus misunderstood these men in regard to a single doctrine about which an issue was slanderously originated by one of them against the other, when no real difference of opinion existed between them in respect to it.

4. Our next argument is based upon the fact that language employed by Plato himself, to represent his own doctrine, admits of no other construction but that which Aristotle put upon it. Ideas, as thoughts in the mind, may be, and are, archetypes; but are they 'essences'? The universe is constituted after a model in the mind of God. But do they, with matter, constitute the universe? Do Ideas, as thoughts in the mind of God, exist by themselves, in a region above the heavens, and become visible there to the Reason, as the mind moves round in a circle? Do God's Ideas, or thoughts, exist there as 'essence,, that which really exists, colourless, formless, and intangible'? A 'colourless' thought! It is a slander upon Plato, even worse than that which some moderns attribute to Aristotle, to affirm that he thus expressed himself. Aristotle did not misunderstand, or misrepresent his former instructor. If he did, Plato alone was in fault in the matter. Let anyone carefully read over the passages which we have cited from Plato, and multitudes of others of the same character might be adduced, and then determine for himself what such language means.


Two, and only two, expositions have been given of Plato's doctrine of Ideas—that of Aristotle—and the modern one which affirms these Ideas, as understood by him, to be 'the eternal thoughts of the Divine Intellect.' Important consequences follow from each of these constructions, consequences to each of which special attention is now invited. We will first consider the construction last designated. Among the consequences necessarily following from this construction, we adduce the following:

Consequences resulting from the Exposition which affirms Plato's Ideas to be 'the Eternal Thoughts of the Divine Intellect.'

1. According to this construction, while we have no faculty by which we can know at all 'the things which are made,' or can apprehend matter itself but by 'a bastard kind of knowledge,' we have a faculty which, 'in an intuitive manner' looks off, not only into infinite space and perceives real existences as they are, but also looks directly into the infinite and eternal mind, and perceives 'the Divine thoughts' eternally dwelling there, the thought- archetypes in conformity to which God created the universe, yes, even the thought-models after which craftsmen and artists of all ages shape their productions. Further, the knowledge which 'Reason,' not by revelation, or through the Divine works, but 'in an intuitive manner' obtains of these thought-archetypes and though-tmodels in the mind of God, 'has a higher degree of certainty' than is, or can be, obtained of any forms of truth, by means of demonstrative sciences. Did Plato teach such a doctrine as that? and if he did, who will endorse it? If we know anything, we know this, that no one Intelligent can, ' in an intuitive manner,' know the thoughts which exist in the mind of another, and especially know these with 'a higher degree of certainty' than we can obtain of any truth in the pure sciences. We can know God's thought-archetypes and thought-models, not 'in an intuitive manner,' but by direct revelation from Him, or through His works.

2. The doctrine of the certainly of knowledge in all its actual forms, by Reason, does, and must, according to this construction, rest upon mere assumption. Reason, as the organ of necessarily and intuitively implied knowledge, was unknown to Plato and his adherents. Knowledge through perception is repudiated, as having no validity; while knowledge through Reason is affirmed to have absolute certainty. Suppose that we do have a consciously direct, immediate, and intuitive vision of the thought-archetypes and thought-models, in the mind of God, or of any form of real existence in space. We have, undeniably, and absolutely, and just as consciously, direct, immediate, and intuitive, vision of the self and not-self. On what 'grounds and arguments' is the validity of knowledge in the first form affirmed, and that in the last denied? We undeniably, in such a case, make a distinction without a difference. We lay down this proposition as having self-evident, or demonstrative, validity, that if the validity of knowledge, by Perception, is denied, that of knowledge, by Reason, cannot be vindicated.

3. According to this construction, thoughts, and not substances nor causes, have real being. Ideas, according to Plato, not only exist, but constitute existence, 'the things which really are.' Now, thought, undeniably, is neither essence, nor substance, nor being, but a state of mind. To represent a mere mental state as an 'essence,' as 'existence per se,' as the sum and substance of what 'really exists,' is a most palpable absurdity, an absurdity which never had place in the mind of such a thinker as Plato. This construction of Plato's doctrine of Ideas, which makes such Ideas 'Divine thoughts,' cannot be vindicated. But the opposite construction of this doctrine involves consequences which render it demonstratively evident that that doctrine in neither form can be true. Among these consequences, we simply designate the following:

Consequences Resulting from the Doctrine that Plato's Ideas are Real Separate Existences.

1. The universe is not only constructed in accordance with archetypes which have an eternal and separate existence, but is, in part, constituted of these archetypes. 'The universe,' says Plato, 'is constituted of Idea, Matter, and Sensible Objects, the offspring of the two.' The archetype must be one thing, and the creation, formed in conformity to the archetype, must be another. Plato makes the two, in part, at least, one and identical.

2. According to this doctrine, the real doctrine of Plato, objects possessed of colour, form, and tangibility, were constructed, not after thought-archetypes, or thought-models, but after real and separately existing archetypes and models, which are utterly 'colourless, formless, and intangible.' What if an individual should tell us that he had seen a visible model for a building, a real house, a model which had neither colour, form, nor tangibility? Plato was, undeniably, right in affirming it to be impossible for God himself to make more than one such model table, or bed. We sincerely doubt whether he ever did make any such.

3. We deem it important to notice but one additional consequence of this affirmed, and what we regard as the real, doctrine of Plato. It is this: Of objects utterly void of colour, form, and tangibility, and existing apart by themselves, away off above the heavens, we can have, by Reason, 'in an intuitive manner,' a more certain knowledge, than we can of demonstrative truth, while of palpable realities within and immediately around us, we can have, at best, but 'a bastard kind of knowledge.' This Reason, while utterly blind to things immediately before it, and with but a very obscure insight in the sphere of the demonstrative sciences, has real omniscience in respect to colourless, shapeless, and intangible entities existing somewhere in infinite space above 'High Olympus.' In every form and aspect in which this world-renowned doctrine of Ideas is rightly contemplated, it stands revealed as characterized by the greatest conceivable absurdities.


As our object is a criticism of the system of Plato, and not of his entire teachings, we omit all notice of that portion of his writings which does not strictly fall within our specific line of thought and inquiry. There are certain general reflections, however, pertaining to him, as a world-thinker, to which we deem it important to refer.

Plato, when in the Sphere of Socratic Thought, and when Philosophizing.

There were two distinct spheres of thought in which the mind of Plato, from time to time, moved—that of Common-sense, or the Socratic sphere, and that in which, under the affirmed insight of Reason, he considered himself as philosophizing. Nor does Plato himself appear to be aware, at all times, in which sphere his thoughts are moving. When in the former sphere, few men, if any, not under the light of inspiration, ever uttered more of truth, or clothed his utterances in better form, than did this wonderful man. Here we listen with the deepest interest and conscious profit to his teachings in regard to the soul, God, duty, immortality, and retribution.

When, however, he closes his intellect to all facts of perception, and, with the Oriental Yogee, and modern Transcendentalist, as 'he begins to philosophize,' 'puts himself into a state of not-knowing,' now he is one of the most unsafe and lawless thinkers the world ever knew. Take the following, as one example of his gravest utterances in The Laws; 'We say, then, that we ought not to search after the greatest good, and the whole order of the world, nor to be busy in explaining the cause (of things), for it is not holy. It seems, indeed, that if the contrary took place, it would take place correctly.'

In the Timaeus the Creator of the universe is, in reality, identified with Brahm of the Hindoos. First of all, each world is organized as an animal animated by a soul, and thus the earth, the sun, moon, planets, and stars became gods. Then were originated the various gods of Greece. Deity now delivers a formal speech to the various generated divinities, committing to them the government of the universe, and devolving upon them the responsibility of completing the work of creation and governing all things after that consummation should be reached. 'Three classes of mortals,' the generated gods are told, 'yet remain to be created. Unless these be created, then, the universe will be imperfect; for it will not contain within it every kind of animal, though it ought, in order to be quite perfect.' These Deity did not himself create, because in that case they would 'become equal to the gods.' Man accordingly, with the inferior animals, was left for the gods to create. We now come to the passage in which the Supreme Divinity is identified with Brahm. 'The Creator, after arranging all these particulars, then retired to his accustomed repose.' In the same dialogue there is fully set forth the doctrine of transmigration, and that, with very slight deviations, in a strictly Oriental form. The Timaeus, which contains these doctrines, is one of the latest and most strictly expository of all the productions of Plate. We have here, consequently, his most deliberate and material teachings. No writer ever was a more intense polytheist than he, and his theology, when he is philosophizing, is as strictly Oriental in fact and form.

Plato, as furnishing another example of the validity of à priori insight and of the à priori method of Philosophizing.

No philosopher was ever more avowedly and strictly à priori in his entire method of philosophizing than Plato. All facts of perception are expressly located by him within the circle of 'opinion,' and are as expressly repudiated as data for scientific deduction. 'The knowledge which by Reason, in an intuitive manner, we acquire of real existence and intelligible things,' of such truths only, he affirms, we have absolute certainty, and of truths thus acquired, we have, he also affirms, 'a higher degree of certainty than the knowledge which belongs to what are commonly called the sciences.' Among the sciences, Geometry is expressly specified by Plato. For forty years, at least, this philosopher was employed in developing and perfecting 'the knowledge which by Reason, in an intuitive manner, we may acquire of real existence and intelligible things,' and the results of his discoveries in this high sphere of affirmed absolute knowledge we have in his multitudinous writings. Aeneas affirmed that if Troy could have been 'defended, it would have been by his right hand.' The same Plato might have affirmed in respect to Reason, as the infallible organ of absolute truth. If such validity can be vindicated for it, this end would have really and practicably been accomplished by 'the divine philosopher.' We are now in circumstances most favourable to test, through Plato, the validity of this faculty as such an organ. We may in the first place test its validity by referring to the character of its actual revelations through him. We may then compare these revelations with those obtained by other world-renowned philosophers who have sought for absolute truth by the same method, and in the affirmed use of the same faculty.

For 'knowledge obtained through Reason, in an intuitive manner, of real existence and intelligible things,' Plato expressly claims, 'a higher degree of certainty than the knowledge which belongs to what are commonly called the sciences,' to Geometry, for example, a science to which he refers as illustrating his meaning. A peculiarity of demonstrated truth is this: when the demonstration has once been understood, that truth is never, and never can be, doubted in any subsequent age, but absolutely commands conviction for all future time. Now if Plato, or any other thinker, has given us real 'knowledge by Reason, in an intuitive manner, of real existence and intelligible things,' as he affirms himself to have done, it will be even more impossible for the mind to doubt the validity of the forms of knowledge which he has furnished, than it is to doubt that of any demonstrated mathematical truth. What are the facts of the case? Take Plato's definition of 'opinion,' and compare with it his affirmed revelations of absolute truth obtained 'in an intuitive manner' and 'by Reason,' and we shall find that they all belong to the sphere of mere opinion, and never approach that of absolute knowledge. Of these opinions, mistaken for absolute truths of reason, we shall also find that at least nine tenths of them failed to obtain credence in that age, have never since been accepted as true, and are now known to be false. Who now, for example, believes that the earth, the moon, the sun, and all the planets and stars, are real animals with souls, and consequently gods? Who believes that the earth is the fixed centre of the universe, and that the inclination of the ecliptic 'is the result of the inferior perfection of the spheres underneath the spheres of the fixed stars'? Who believes in the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, that after the work of creation had been advanced to a certain extent, the Supreme God 'returned to his accustomed repose,' and left his imperfect works to be finished by finite, erring, and rival divinities? Who believes that there is, or can be, a form of existence intermediate between being and non-being—a something 'which is and is not,' which is 'always becoming and never is'? Who believes that the beds and tables which we see and sleep and eat on have not 'a real existence,' but that somewhere above the heavens a table and a bed, one of each, exist which have real being? These and kindred absurdities, which nobody now believes, are the most of them, to say the least, absolute truths of Reason, according to Plato. Plato's own teachings of affirmed absolute truth, render it demonstrably evident that the idea, that Reason in him and philosophers, to say nothing of the gods—Reason, as he has defined it—is, or ever was, an organ of absolute truth, is one of the wildest hallucinations that ever approached human thought.

If we compare together the results of the action of this Reason in Plato and other world-renowned philosophers, the same conclusion will force itself upon us. Reason, through the same identical method of philosophizing, Reason through the Oriental Yogees, Idealists, and Materialists of all ages, gives, as the revelation of absolute truth, Brahm, the Absolute, the All-One, Pure Ideas, two Unknown and Unknowable Entities, and Matter, each one in particular as the sole existence. Through this same Reason in Plato we have as another revelation of absolute truth, God as the creator of all things, and a creation distinct from Him; a creation constituted of 'Idea, Matter, and Sensible Objects, the product of the two,' things which always are and are not. When we can affirm of systems of universal being and its laws, systems absolutely contradictory to one another, that they can all in common be at the same time true and not true, then we can, as rationally as we in such mental states can hold anything, regard Reason, as defined by these philosophers, as the organ of absolute truth. Until we have ascended into the high sphere of thought in which we can KNOW that the same thing may, at the same time, exist and not exist, we must, if we think rationally, affirm that Reason, as thus defined, has no existence at all as a faculty of the human mind.

The Faculty, or Faculties, actually employed by Plato and other Philosophers who adopt the à priori method when Philosophizing.

Every reflective mind must infer, we judge, from our previous discussions, that Reason, as defined by Plato and all philosophers who employ the à priori method in philosophizing, does not exist at all as a faculty of the human mind, and that Reason properly defined is not the faculty which they use when thus employed. A single consideration will render the validity of these statements undeniably manifest. Truths of Reason, when distinctly developed and apprehended, as in the pure sciences, command the assent of the race. Now no philosopher, or school in Philosophy, that employs this method, has ever yet reached thereby a single deduction which has thus commanded the assent of mankind, or even that of a majority, or a considerable minority, of philosophers. À priori thinkers are everywhere and in all ages divided into schools, and each school, in all its principles and deductions, is in deadly antagonism with every other. What agreement, but in their method, obtained, for example, between the schools of the Vedanta, of Kapila, Kanada, and the Buddhist schools of Subjective and Pure Idealism in India? What agreement had Zeno of Elea with Democritus, or either with Plato? What agreement have the schools of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, with one another, or either with that of Condilac or Comte? Every deduction of each school is repudiated, not only by the mass of mankind, but by four-fifths of philosophers. How absurd is the idea and pretence that these philosophers are employing Reason, as they define it, or as it should be defined.

What faculty or faculties, then, do they employ? It is, we answer, the Judgment, not acting in conjunction with the Understanding and primary faculties, the only faculties, together with Memory, with which it does or can act in real science, but the Judgment under the lead of the Imagination and Will. The Materialist imagines Matter to be the only form of real existence, and then compels his Judgment to construct a system of universal being and its laws from the data thus furnished. The Idealist imagines two unknown and unknowable entities, or spirit, or pure thought, to exist as the sole principle of all things, and then compels his Judgment to originate a system from which all material elements are utterly excluded. The Sceptic imagines this, that we 'don't know that we don't know anything,' and then compels his Judgment to construct a system from 'imaginary substrata.' Plato imagined the being of God as the Creator of a universe distinct from himself, then imagined that universe as 'constituted of Idea, Matter, and Sensible Objects, the product of the two,' and finally compelled his Judgment to give forth a system constructed from the materials thus furnished. In all cases, the Imagination and Will furnish the material and form of the building, while the Judgment constructs it accordingly. On no other hypothesis can the existence and form of these antagonistic systems be accounted for. The 'Divine Commedia' is no more a creation of the Imagination than are the systems of Vyasa, Kapila, Kanada, Gautama Buddha, Zeno, Democritus, Plato, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Condilac, Comte, and Spencer. The validity of these statements will become more and more manifest as we advance in our criticism.

Plato as a Logician.

One or two examples must suffice, as illustrative of the character of Plato as a logician. 'The universe,' he affirms, is constituted of Idea, Matter, and Sensible Things, the product of the two.' 'Idea and Matter' are with Plato actually existing entities, eternal verities. 'Sensible Things' are a something 'intermediate between existence and non-existence' Can any philosopher tell us how, or by what possibility, the resultant of the union of two such entities can be a tertium quid, which is of the nature of that which is and is not'?

The painter and craftsman originate productions which are mere copies, for example, of a single model chair and table which exists somewhere above the heavens. The models are really existing objects; the copies, because they are copies, have no real existence at all. 'If, then, he' (the craftsman) 'does not make the idea of the bed' (the real bed), 'he makes nothing real, but only something which represents that which really exists. And if anyone maintain that the carpenter's work has real existence, he will be in error.' That, then, which is constructed after no model at all, really exists; but that which is constructed after a model has no real existence. The universe, then, does not exist; for it, according to Plato, and according to truth, was constructed after a Divine model. There is, undeniably, no incompatibility between the idea of the real existence of a model, and of a bed, table, or building, constructed after a model.

'Plato's proof of the world being an animal,' says Mr. Lewes, 'is too curious a specimen of analogical reasoning to be passed over.' There is warmth in a human being; there is warmth also in the world. The human being is composed of various elements, and is therefore called a body; the world is also composed of various elements, and is, therefore, a body; and, as our bodies have souls, the body of the world must have a soul.'

The Doctrine of Innate Ideas.

The doctrine of Plato on this subject is very correctly stated by Dr. Cocker, to wit, 'There are ideas in the mind which have not been derived from without, and which therefore the mind brought into the present state of being.' According to Dr. Hodge, 'The knowledge of God is innate.' Such knowledge, he defines as 'opposed to knowledge founded on experience.' 'All that is meant is, that the mind is so constituted that it perceives certain things to be true without proof and without instruction.' 'The word innate simply indicates the source of the knowledge.' According to this definition, all our knowledge through perception in both its forms, external and internal, must be innate. 'We are so constituted that we perceive certain things' (all facts of perception) 'to be true without proof and without instruction.' Nor is a knowledge of these facts 'acquired by a process of research or reasoning.' Ideas of all kinds must constitute a faculty of the soul, or exist, if they exist at all, as actual forms of thought. If ideas constitute a faculty of the soul, perceptions, conceptions, memories, judgments, and imaginings, are not forms of thought, but constitute so many different faculties, and these last are just as innate as is that one constituted by ideas. No thinker, we are quite sure, will perpetrate the absurdity of confounding ideas of any kind with any original faculty of the soul. Nor will anyone affirm that ideas, as forms of thought, existed in the mind before it began to think at all. Equally absurd would it be to affirm that ideas of reason, in distinction from other forms of thought, necessarily, on account of the nature of the faculty of Reason, arise in the mind whenever the proper conditions are fulfilled, this being equally true of all forms of thought acquired through any other faculty. To affirm, then, innateness of ideas of Reason in distinction from other forms of thought, is to use words without meaning, or to involve ourselves in error. Either no forms of thought are innate, or all forms are equally so.

What is the truth in this case? Prior to the commencement of thought in any and every mind, the soul exists, and the world, time, space, and God exist, the soul, as a faculty, and all the realities designated, as objects of knowledge. All these realities in common, however, are to the soul, as objects of knowledge, as if they did not exist at all. The action of each intellectual faculty depends upon the fulfilment of the proper Conditions. When these conditions are fulfilled, said faculty must act, and the form of knowledge thus furnished will be as is the nature and character of the objects of cognition. The question, what are these conditions, involves inquiries of fundamental importance in Philosophy. The condition of the action of consciousness, for example, is the preexistence in the mind of some positive mental state, some thought, feeling, or act of will. When such state is induced, consciousness directly and immediately apprehends such state, and the mind in the same, as they really are. The condition of the action of Sense-perception is the immediate presentation to the mind of some external material substance, a substance to which the mind is correlated as a faculty, and it to the mind as an object of knowledge. When this condition is fulfilled, then a perception, or knowledge of that object as it is, necessarily arises. The condition of the action of Reason is the actual perception, through Sense or Consciousness, of some fact, or reality, the existence, or occurrence, of which necessarily implies the existence of some reality not perceived. When such perception occurs, Reason necessarily apprehends the reality whose existence is implied by what is perceived. When nothing is perceived, Reason cannot act at all. When any fact is perceived, Reason must apprehend the unseen reality whose existence is necessarily implied by the fact which is perceived. Through external and internal perception, we, as we have said elsewhere, apprehend body, succession, phenomena, events, and conditioned facts. Through Reason, on the occurrence of such perceptions, and as implied by the facts perceived, we apprehend Space, Time, Substance, Cause, and God, as the unconditioned Cause of all that conditionally exists. Thus, between the perceived and implied forms of knowledge, and, consequently, between Reason and the other primary intuitive faculties, relations perfectly fixed and determinable exist. Reason can no more act, but upon the condition of the prior action of those faculties, than there can be an event without a cause. 'Nor can it, by any possibility, give any more, nor less, nor any other forms of knowledge than those implied by facts and objects of actual perception.

Here we have absolute criteria by which we can distinguish all real from assumed forms of knowledge by Reason. The validity of the former can always be verified, as necessarily implied by facts of actual knowledge, as perception. The latter can be as absolutely shown to pertain to mere 'imaginary substrata' assumed to be objects of intuitions of Reason. There is not a solitary reality known through Reason, which cannot be demonstrated to be known as implied by facts and objects of perception. Reason has no independent insight of 'being per se,' or of 'being in se,' or of any other realities. Take away facts of perception, and Reason is as absolutely blind and unseeing as are Sense and Consciousness in the total absence of all objects to be perceived, and Reason, we repeat, can apprehend nothing more, and nothing less, of 'being per se,' or of 'being in se,' but forms of the unseen whose existence is necessarily implied by facts which are perceived. Ideas of Reason are innate in the same sense, and in no other, than knowledge through the other intuitive faculties is. Take any idea of Reason you please, and all the evidence that can be adduced to prove it innate, can be adduced in all its strength in favour of the claims of any other form of intuitive knowledge to the possession of the same characteristic.

As we are now upon the subject, we will merely allude to the conditions on which the Secondary Intellectual Faculties do, and must, act. When the elements of thought given by the Primary Faculties are present in the mind, the Understanding does and must take the initiative, and combine these elements into conceptions or notions. In the absence of such elements, this faculty cannot act at all. When they are present, it must act.

The condition of the actions of the judgment is the prior origination in the Consciousness of conceptions. When these are absent it cannot, and when they are present it must, act. The conditions of the activity of Memory and the Imagination are too obvious, and too universally acknowledged, to require specification or elucidation.

These are the real and the only real faculties of the human Intelligence, and these, also, are the immutable conditions of their action. These faculties, too, are possessed, though some of them in different degrees, by all mankind in common, philosophers among the rest. When philosophers claim, for themselves, the possession of any faculty or faculties not strictly common to the race, while 'some may think them wondrous wise,' the world ought to 'believe them mad.'


The ancient Yogees and modern Transcendentalists, in common with Plato, claim for themselves a special faculty denominated Reason, or intellectual intuition, a special faculty denied to the rest of mankind. We have already shown that this faculty, as these thinkers have defined it, has no existence in any mind. One great central fact in respect to Reason, as properly defined, we deem it important here to state. Reason is a faculty not only possessed by all mankind not demented or deranged, but equally by all. Other faculties are possessed by different individuals in different degrees. Reason, on the other hand, in all minds in which it exists at all, exists in equal degrees. Hence it is, that all mankind have common and equally absolute apprehensions and convictions in regard to time, space, substance, cause, personal identity, God, duty, immortality, and retribution. Truths of Reason are absolute truths, and when known at all, they are not known in different degrees, but absolutely known. All men know as absolutely as do philosophers, that every object exists somewhere and in some time, that every event has a cause, that phenomena imply substance, and that things equal to the same things are equal to one another. The same holds true in all other cases. When Plato proved, that in the mind of Meno's slave there existed the ideas of time, space, substance, cause, etc., proof was presented, not that the soul had existed in a prior state of being, nor that it brought these ideas with it, when it came into the world, or that it has any innate ideas of any kind, but that the faculty of Reason exists alike in all rational minds, and equally in all.

Three great Central Truths, for the first Scientific Enunciation of which the world is indebted to Plato.

The individual who first announces a great central truth, may justly be regarded as a leading benefactor to his species. Plato's psychology, his doctrine of Ideas, and his method of philosophizing, remain but as recorded errors of the past. There are three great truths, however, which, in a scientific form, he was the first to announce—truths which will ever remain as central lights in the firmament of science—truths, also, the enunciation of which distinguish him as one of the greatest thinkers of the race. Plato, as we have stated, is the first thinker who formally propounded the doctrine of creation as an event of time. This, as we have also stated, is the great central fact about which the whole argument for the being, creative agency, and providence of God must revolve, if that argument shall take on the real characteristic of scientific validity. Paley infers, from marks of design in a watch, that it was the production of a watchmaker. We will assume that the watch has existed from eternity, that is, that it was not made at all. How can we argue, from any facts in it, to the existence and agency, in its production, of a watchmaker? So, if we assume that the universe has existed from eternity, that is, that it was not made at all, whatever appearances of design may be found in it, no ground remains for our 'faith that the worlds were made by the Word of God.' If the world was not made, that is, if creation was not an event of time, there is no world-maker to be inquired about. The undeniable and demonstrably evincible fact of creation, as an event of time, absolutely evinces the doctrine of God as the Creator of the universe. Plato has the high honour of having first, in a scientific form, furnished to Theism this great central fact.

In his Tenth Book of the Laws, in an argument against Atheists, he first of all distinguishes two conceivable classes, among others, of objects capable of motion—those which are incapable of motion but from an impelling power from without, and can communicate to others motion but through the momentum thus received—and those capable of self-originated motion, in the first place, and then of communicating motion to other objects. Matter is a power of the class first designated. It cannot originate motion at all, and it cannot communicate motion but through the momentum which it has passively received. It becomes demonstrably evident that the originating cause of creation, which was an event of time, cannot have been a material one, it being undeniable that that cause must have possessed the power of self-motion, and through this self-originated motion of imparting motion to matter, and thus bringing order out of chaos. That cause, on the other hand, must have been spiritual. Mind only is conceivably capable of self-originated action in any form. He therefore, by whom 'the worlds were made,' must have been a mind, a free, self-conscious personality. Such is the sum of the argument presented in full detail in the work to which we have referred. In this argument, together with the great central fact above adduced, the argument for the being, creative agency, and providence of a personal God, attains, in its strictest and most scientific form, demonstrative certainty. To us it has long been a matter of surprise and deep regret that Theists have, almost universally, ignored the forms of the argument for the doctrine of God, in which Plato has presented it. As long as this form of the argument is ignored, the doctrine under consideration will fail to possess the appearance even of a truth of science.

The third great central truth, which Plato was first to announce in a scientific form, we have before stated. It is that of the human soul as capable of free, self-determined, and, therefore, of morally responsible activity. If man can act but through, and in the direction of momentum received from without, and can act upon others but by the momentum thus received, he is no more responsible for his own activity, or its results, than is a cannon ball for its motions and their results. If, on the other hand, the soul, God, and the universe are, as they actually are, what Plato, in his argument, affirms them to be, then God stands demonstrably revealed, not only as the Creator of a universe worthy of Infinity and Perfection, but as an all-wise and righteous moral Governor over a countless realm of moral agents, each and all 'created after his own image and likeness.' We honour Plato, not for his avowed method of philosophizing, for his psychology, or his doctrine of Ideas, 'things which can be shaken,' but for the great central truths of the science of sciences, 'things which cannot be shaken'—truths which he was the first to announce, and which will ever shine in the high firmament of scientific thought as fixed stars of the first magnitude.



ARISTOTLE, who originated a system which, in all its essential principles and deductions, was the opposite of that of Plato, was born at Stagira, in Thrace, 384, and died at Chalcis, 322 B.C. In his eighteenth year he became a pupil of Plato, and remained such for twenty years. After the death of Plato (347 B.C.) he spent several years in various countries; seven at the court of Philip of Macedon, and three as the tutor of Alexander the Great. He then returned to Athens, and founded, in the Lyceum, a school over which he presided for twelve years.

It is hardly conceivable that two such minds as Plato and Aristotle, in the age and circumstances in which they lived, should agree in the construction of a system of universal being and its laws. The temperament of Plato was imaginative, idealistic, and mystical. That of Aristotle was prosaic, dry, and practical. Plato naturally first of all fixed upon the general and universal, and hardly condescended to descend to the individual. Aristotle as naturally started with the individual, and by careful induction ascended to the general. The method natural to Plato was the à priori. The only leading method possible to Aristotle was the à posteriori. Each had powers of thought and industry which could not fail to render him a central light in the sphere in which he should choose to move.


At the time when Aristotle assumed his place at the head of the Lyceum, even leading thinkers had very confused ideas of any proper classification of the sciences, or of the exclusive sphere and real principles and method of each. Such separation and classification, with a consequent determination of the true and exclusive method of each science, was the first aim of this great philosopher, and here we find, if not the chief, one of his chief merits as a teacher and expounder of Philosophy. Hence the origin of his world-renowned Organon. In this one work Aristotle did more for science than in all his other productions combined. Of the science of Philosophy he made a three-fold division, namely, theoretic, practical, poetic. The object of the first is Ontology, the science of existence. That of the second is Morality, or rules for moral conduct, and naturally divides itself into two departments—ethics, or individual, politics, or social duties. The third, the Poetic, refers to the proper shaping of materials, or to 'the technically correct and artistic creation of works of art.' In another connection, he divides theoretical Philosophy into Mathematics, Physics, and the 'First Philosophy,' or Metaphysics. Whatever may be thought of the above classification, the merit of having first presented and developed the idea of classification itself belongs to Aristotle, and in that idea he stands revealed as a world-benefactor.


Where two systems stand over against each other as essential opposites, each will be best understood by a distinct presentation of all specific issues between them. There were five central doctrines in respect to which Aristotle took open issue with Plato—the doctrine of Ideas; the validity of knowledge through Sensation or Sense-perception; the Sumum Bonum, or the Greatest Good; the doctrine of pre-existing state of the soul, and of creation as an event of time. We propose, as a basis of our elucidation of the system of Aristotle, to contrast the teachings of each of these authors in respect to each of these doctrines, and that in the order above stated. Nothing can be more delicate or appropriate than is the manner in which Aristotle introduces the questions at issue between himself and his former venerated instructor.

'But perhaps,' says Aristotle, 'it would be better to examine the theory of universal good, and to inquire what is meant by it, although such an inquiry involves difficulties, because men who are our friends have introduced the doctrine of Ideas. But perhaps it would be better, and even necessary, at least for the preservation of truth, that we should do away with private feelings, especially as we are philosophers, for both being dear to us, it is a sacred duty to prefer truth.'

The Doctrine of Individual Existence as Opposed to that of Ideas.

Plato, as we have seen, attributed to generals, or universals, a real existence, and called them Ideas. Aristotle, on the other hand, not only denied this doctrine, but placed himself on the opposite extreme, affirming that nothing really exists but individual forms of being. Plato not only affirmed this doctrine of Ideas, but denied all reality to individuals excepting so far as they participated of the universal. Aristotle denied wholly real existence of universals, excepting so far as they were immanent in individuals. Even Plato's universals, as defined by himself, Aristotle affirmed were nothing but individual forms of being. Of the universal or general forms of being, for example, represented by the terms bed and table, Plato affirmed that there could by no possibility be but one of each, that is, his universal bed was nothing but a single or individual bed. Plato's doctrine of Ideas, therefore, if it could be true, implied merely an increase of the number of individual existences. General ideas, therefore, represent no separate existences; but only the common qualities immanent in each individual of the class which each general idea represents.

In favour of his own doctrine, and against that of Plato, the argument of Aristotle has, undeniably, absolute validity. Whatever objects exist must exist as this or that particular reality. Nothing is or can be real but individual forms of being and their relations to one another. Relations may be universal, general, or particular. Individuals alone can possess real existence. No idea can be more absurd than that of a universal man, horse, or cow, excepting that which affirms that the individual has real existence but by participating in the universal. Suppose that a something did exist represented by the true man, how can John and George become participants of this one universal man, and not equally so with one another? This one universal man is, undeniably, just as distinct from John as the latter is from George. In every point of light in which Plato's doctrine of Ideas is contemplated, it becomes more and more manifested as an hallucination of false science; while that of Aristotle, by the same means, becomes more and more distinctly revealed as an essential truth of real science.

The Validity of Sensation, or Sense perception.

Sensation, as the term was employed by the Greeks, represented not only the sensitive state now exclusively represented by the term Sensation, but also the exercise of the faculty of external perception, which we designate by the term Sense. According to Plato, the world of perception, that is, all objects of Sense-perception, have only an ideal existence. What we actually perceive are nothing but shadowy reflections of things really existing without us. Matter, and an organized material universe, really exist. Of these various forms of existences, we have no real knowledge, and of the material universe which exists behind the phenomenal, we have, and can have, but 'a boasted kind of knowledge.' Aristotle, not only affirmed the real existence of an organized material universe, but also affirmed and verified the validity of our knowledge of the same. 'Experience,' he says, in other words, facts, or phenomena, perceived, 'furnishes the principles of every science,'—and 'phenomena are more to be trusted than the conclusion of Reason.' Aristotle is here contrasting his own, with the doctrine of Plato. Plato asserted, as we have seen, that through Reason-intuitions, we have absolute knowledge of real being and its laws, and that through Sensation, we have no real knowledge at all. In opposition to this doctrine, Aristotle affirms, that through Senseperceptions, 'phenomena,' we obtain more certain knowledge than can be obtained through reason, as defined and affirmed by Plato. In the following memorable passage, Aristotle thus sets forth his own doctrine:

'Experience furnishes the principles of every science. Thus Astronomy is grounded on observation; for if we were properly to observe the celestial phenomena, we might demonstrate the laws which regulate them. The same applies to other sciences. If we omit nothing that observation can afford us respecting phenomena, we could easily furnish demonstration of all that admits of being demonstrated, and illustrate that which is not susceptible of being demonstrated.' When phenomena or facts fail us, he bids us wait for their appearance before deducing our conclusions. 'We must wait,' he says, 'for further phenomena, since phenomena are more to be trusted than the conclusion of Reason,' that is, than any deductions not based upon known facts. Sounder and more fundamental principles of induction and deduction were never before or since introduced into the sphere of science. Here, at a distance of about two thousand years, Aristotle anticipated Bacon.

The arguments by which Aristotle vindicated for the mind a valid knowledge of nature, we have stated in our remarks upon the opposite doctrine of Plato. These arguments, we would remark, have never yet been answered, and we are quite sure they never will be: 'They that depreciate sensible objects as perpetually changing, unstable, and unknowable, make the mistake,' he says, 'of confining their attention to the sublunary interior of the Cosmos, where indeed generation and destruction largely prevail. But this is only a small portion of the entire Cosmos. In the largest portion—the visible, celestial, super-lunary regions—there is no generation or destruction at all, nothing but permanence and uniformity. In appreciating the sensible world, philosophers ought to pardon the short-comings of the smaller portion on account of the excellencies of the larger; and not condemn both together on account of the smaller.' When philosophers shall cease their attempts to demonstrate to the Intelligence, by the Intelligence, that this same Intelligence is a faculty of nescience, and not of knowledge, philosophy, will be saved from its 'many blunders and foolish notions.'

The Summum Bonum.

There is one great central doctrine about which philosophers are yet in doubt, and have been ever since human thought was directed to it—the doctrine of the 'Greatest Good.' One class, under the lead of Plato, place this in moral virtue, moral resemblance to God, as this philosopher states it. The other class, under the lead of Aristotle, find this good in happiness. In determining this problem, Plato looks simply at the question, what ought we to be and to become? His consequent answer is, moral virtue. Plato does not overlook the necessary connection between virtue and happiness. 'Our object in founding the states is,' he says, that not a class, but that all may be made as happy as possible.' 'Happiness,' he says again, 'depends on culture and justice, or on the possession of moral beauty and goodness.' If by the doctrine, that 'the possession of moral beauty and goodness' should be the end of all our aims, Plato means, that absolute conformity to the law of duty should be the supreme and all controlling intent of all our moral activity, who would dispute with him? If he meant, as he obviously did not, that nothing but the possession of moral virtue should be regarded as a good in itself, none surely ought to agree with him.

The explanation which Aristotle gives of this doctrine is based upon an answer to the single question, ' What do all men desire?' To this question, he answers, with undeniable correctness, 'happiness.' Happiness, he hence concludes, is the 'Summum bonum,' and affirms, as his final deduction, that the question what is right and wrong in itself, must be determined exclusively from a consideration of the connection of the act referred to with happiness. If the meaning of Aristotle is, that happiness is a good in itself, and should, for its own sake, be thus regarded by us, and that it is our duty to will, and as far as able, to promote the happiness of all beings capable of it, he would find none to dispute his doctrine. If, on the other hand, he meant that the ultimate reason for duty, not in some, or many, but in all its forms, is found in a simple consideration of happiness as a good in itself, many would dispute his doctrine. If the question be asked, which theory, that of Plato or Aristotle, should be adopted, if we must adopt one to the exclusion of the other, as our exclusive standpoint from which to determine questions of moral obligations, and from which view does duty become most sacred in human regard, we should unhesitatingly decide in favour of the former and against the latter. If the question be also asked, from which standpoint is a system of moral duty most readily and safely determinable, we should still agree with Plato, as against Aristotle. If, as a final inquiry, the question should be asked, which theory shall be adopted to the exclusion of the other, we should unhesitatingly answer, neither. Duty in all its forms, is explicable from neither standpoint. There are, undeniably, for example, two classes of duties which we owe to God—the one class finding its ultimate reason in his moral perfections—and the other in his susceptibilities for happiness. The same holds true of our duties to all other moral agents. Willing happiness as a good in itself is virtue, but not all virtue. We please God just as fully when we esteem and respect Him for no other reason than His moral perfections, as we do when we will His happiness from respect to his susceptibilities.

A president of one of our leading colleges, who was himself the author of an important work on Moral Philosophy, gave some years since in one of the religious papers, a very lucid statement of the various conflicting theories pertaining to the foundation of moral obligation. After stating the one above indicated, his own being different from that, he remarked, 'This is the hypothesis of President Mahan, and the mass of mankind agree with him.' Had he asked for the reason of this agreement, he would have found it identical with that for which the deductions of Common sense differ from the systems of philosophers, the former including more real facts, and consequently being more true than the latter. When a philosopher affirms that duty, in certain specific forms, finds its ultimate reasons in character, we yield our full assent to his doctrine. When another philosopher affirms that happiness is good in itself, and should be willed for its own sake, we assent as before. But when each claims for his hypothesis exclusive validity, we dissent from both, and the common-sense of the race is, of course, with us. So will it be in all cases in which systems are based upon a partial induction of real facts.

Doctrine of Reminiscence.

All thinkers now agree with Aristotle, in rejecting Plato's doctrine of pre-existence, and especially in repudiating his hypothesis of Reminiscence. No facts of consciousness exist the explanation of which demands the admission of any such hypothesis. When we take into the account the entire facts of perception, together with the realities necessarily implied by said facts, the origin and genesis of all knowledge, in all its actual forms, receives a full and ready explanation. Had Aristotle and Plato both recognized the existence and character of contingent and necessary forms of thought, together with the manifest relations between the two, neither of them would have erred in Philosophy as he has done.

The Universe as an External Existence, and as Organized in Time.

Plato, as we have seen, taught the doctrine of creation as an event of time. Aristotle, on the other hand, affirmed the eternity of the present order of things. What is very remarkable here is, the fact that Plato, who was so exclusively à priori in his method of philosophizing, based his deductions in this case wholly upon facts of induction, while Aristotle, who is avowedly inductive in all his reasonings, based his conclusion exclusively upon à priori grounds. In such a case, as a matter of course, the former was right, and the latter wrong. The argument of Plato, we have before presented. Aristotle argues the eternity of the universe from the fundamental idea of God as a necessary activity. Hence, he draws the following deductions from that idea: 'Not at any time did God shape the orderly world; He conditions and determines the order of the world eternally, in that He exists as the most perfect being, and all things else, seek to become like Him. The world as an articulate whole has always existed, and will never perish.' In creation, also, God is not active, but passive, and 'acts by virtue of attraction which the loved exerts upon the loving.' We have here another form of 'absolute truth' obtained through à priori insight, a form irreconcilably contradictory to all other revelations ever obtained by the same infallible form of vision.

Such were the essential issues between Plato and Aristotle—issues from which the distinct and opposite systems of each took its specific form. We will now turn our attention to the diverse assumed forms of systematized truth which Aristotle based upon the principles above elucidated.

Aristotle's Logic.

Of all his productions, the Logic is the most complete in itself, and has had the widest and most controlling influence. For about two thousand years the logical thought of Christendom has taken form from this single production. Yet when contemplated in the light of the laws of thought in general, or of reasoning in its universal forms, none of the productions of this author were less perfect or complete. In this work we have the logic of classification and generalization simply, and not of reasoning in its universal forms. His celebrated dictum, when scientifically examined, is found to be applicable to but a single class of propositions—those in which the subject and predicate are related as inferior and superior conceptions, as in the judgment, All men are mortal. To such judgments the dictum, 'Whatever may be affirmed or denied of any term distributed, may, in a similar manner, be predicated of every individual who comes under that term;' to all such judgments, we say, this dictum is applicable. In converting universal affirmative judgment of this class, we have to change the quantity of the judgment from a universal to a particular—Some mortal beings are men. Hence the universal law of distribution, as given in all Aristotelean Logics of all ages, that 'All negative and no affirmative judgments distribute the predicate.' Now, with the single exception of that one class of judgments, in which the predicate represents a superior and the subject an inferior conception, all universal affirmative judgments distribute both terms. We may safely challenge the world to find an exception to this statement. Is not the converse, as well as the exposits, in the judgment, Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another—a universal proposition? The same, undeniably, holds true of all universal affirmative judgments throughout the entire range of mathematics, and in respect to all such judgments but those of the single class above designated. In the single sphere of classification into species and genera, Aristotle's principle of distribution and conversion holds true. Outside of this sphere, where a vast majority of all our judgments are found, his principle utterly misleads the student.

The same holds true of his laws of the Syllogism. In the first figure, we are informed, affirmative and negative conclusions, in all their forms, may be obtained, while in the second figure we can obtain only negative, and in the third only particular conclusions. This law has validity but in the single sphere of classification, when the conceptions, in each judgment, stand related as inferior and superior conceptions, that is, as species and genera. In all other cases we obtain the same kind of conclusions, affirmative and negative, universal and particular, in all the figures in common. We will give a single example in which we obtain affirmative conclusions of the same class in each of the figures.

M = X, X = M, M = X,
Z = M, Z = M, M = Z,
Z = X. Z = X. Z = X.

If the terms in these syllogisms represented inferior and superior conceptions, the conclusion would be valid but in the first figure. Representing, as they do, compared quantities, the conclusions have the same validity in all the figures. In the single sphere of classification, the Logic of Aristotle is 'perfect and complete, wanting nothing.' As a science of the Laws of Thought, and of reasoning in all its forms, it has misled Christendom for nearly twenty centuries.

The reason is obvious. 'Real existences,' according to Aristotle, and according to truth, are exclusively individual forms of being. General conceptions, therefore, can represent nothing but the qualities common to all the individuals which such conceptions represent. The question which here arises is this, How do we advance from the individual to the general? Plato's answer to this question has already been given. In a former state, he affirmed, the general, as a distinct form of being, was an object of mental vision; and in the present state, there is a reminiscence of those general forms which were there perceived. Aristotle denied wholly the reality of such separate forms of existence, together with the whole doctrine of reminiscence. To obtain the general at all, then, it must be deduced by induction from particulars. Induction he designates as the pathway from the particulars to generals, and denominates this process as an art. 'Art commences,' he says, 'when, from a great number of experiences, one general conception is formed which will embrace all similar cases.' 'Thus,' he adds, 'if you know that a certain remedy has cured Collias of a certain disease, and that the same remedy has produced the same effect on Socrates and on several other persons, that is Experience; but to know that a certain remedy will cure all persons attacked with that disease is Art; for Experience is the knowledge of individual things; Art is that of Universals.'

So far Aristotle was unquestionably correct. Wherein, and, why did he err? In the assumption, we answer, that all universals are obtained by means of this form of experience, that is, finding in many particulars their common qualities or characteristics, and then combining said qualities into general notions, and finally from these deducing our general judgments; as, All men are mortal, and, All men are animals. Not one of our universal ideas, such as that of time, space, cause, substance, personal identity, the soul, God, duty, immortality, and retribution, represent qualities common to individual existences, or were combined from qualities thus abstracted. The elements constituting these ideas were not given in perception, but represent realities implied by what is perceived. We do not, for example, find space in body, which we perceive, and do not abstract it from body, but apprehend it, as a separate existence whose reality is implied by what we perceive. The same holds true of all our necessary ideas. Nor were these ideas originated in the mind by the induction of any number of particular facts. The first time we perceived body we through Reason, apprehended space as the place of body, and as implied by the same. If the first facts of succession, phenomena, and events, did not induce, through Reason, the apprehension of time, substance, and cause, no multiplied perceptions of the same kind could do it. To obtain a general conception, a number of particulars more or less numerous must be perceived. To develop a necessary idea but a single fact need be given. If one single event does not imply a cause, an infinite number would not do it. If each phenomenon does not imply substance, all phenomena together do not do it. If each particular body and fact of succession do not imply space and time, the universe itself, with all events, does not do it. In connection with the first fact given, Reason must apprehend the reality implied by the fact, or it can never apprehend that reality.

At the basis of all the sciences, also, we find the axioms and postulates which, from the perceived relations between their subjects and predicates, have intuitively, absolutely universal and necessary certainty, a certainty, also, which can neither be increased nor diminished by the induction of any number of particular facts. An individual with a yard stick in his hand, for example, is present in a room with a philosopher, an uneducated man, and a child who has never before witnessed any such event as that which we are about to relate, but can perceive and apprehend the simple facts of the case. The individual holding the yard-stick applies it to a table there, and finds that they exactly agree in length. He then takes his company into an adjacent room, and applying the yard-stick to a table standing here, finds the same perfect correspondence as before. What, without a word being spoken, will be the inference of each of these four individuals from the facts under consideration? All will affirm, and affirm with the same absoluteness, the equality of the two tables, as far as the quality of length is concerned. The reason is, that every one does and must, in the presence of such facts, though perceived for the first time, apprehend, in the concrete, what the philosopher alone knows in the abstract form, the principle which lies at the basis of every such conclusion, namely, that things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another. So the first time the idea of an event enters the mind of a child, he knows as absolutely as the philosopher does, that it occurred somewhere, in some time, and from some cause. Neither universal ideas, as those of space, time, substance, and cause, nor intuitively universal and necessary judgments were derived from the observation of many facts, but are, all in common, given in each particular fact by which their validity is implied.

Here, then, we have a full explanation of the essential imperfection of Aristotle's Logic. Beginning with the idea of individuals as the only realities, he sought to deduce from what was immanent in them, all our general and universal conceptions and ideas. When he had thus found the general, that is, the generic conception, he assumed, that he had found all universal ideas. From individual, specifical, and generical conceptions, none but judgments whose subjects and predicates are constituted of inferior and superior conceptions can be obtained. With these, consequently, Aristotle constructed his Logic, and gave us, of course, the principles and laws of classification, and not of judging and reasoning in their universal forms. Classification is only preparatory to science proper, and all the sciences are based, as we have seen, upon principles, or judgments, fundamentally unlike those obtained in the sphere of classification, judgments not of mere experience, but having intuitively, universal and necessary validity. In judgments of this latter class, we have the relations intuitively perceived to exist between forms of perceived and implied knowledge, and hence we obtain intuitive judgments which have universal and necessary validity.

Aristotle, pressed by an apprehension of the want of universality in his system, did attempt to remedy the defect, by setting forth two universal principles—that of contradiction, and excluded middle. He gave these, not because they were implied by his principle of deducting his general from particular conceptions, but because he did have in his mind, what all other men have in theirs, ideas of Reason, and consequently could not but apprehend, in some of their forms, the necessary relations between perceived and implied forms of knowledge, and must have apprehended some at least, of the basis principles of the sciences. The two given by Aristotle, however, constitute but a small portion of the axioms and postulates of the various sciences, and these, as we have said, he obtained in contradiction to his avowed principles of deducing the universal from the particular.


The Logic of Mr. Mill is, in reality, only a new edition or reproduction of that of Aristotle—an attempt to restrict the science even farther than the latter did—to wit, within the sphere of mere classification. Mr. Mill has, in fact and form, endeavoured to invalidate the principle of contradiction, and the apprehended necessary connection between the subject and predicate in a given judgment as a test of truth. 'It must be granted,' he says, 'that in every syllogism, considered as an argument to prove the conclusion, there is a petitio principii. All inference,' he adds, 'is from particulars to particulars; general propositions are merely registers of such inferences already made and short formula for making more. The major premise of a syllogism, consequently, is of this description; and the conclusion is not an inference drawn from the formula, but an inference drawn according to the formula—the real logical antecedent, or premise, being the particular facts from which the general proposition was collected by induction.'

We are, then, to understand Mr. Mill to affirm that all his deductions, in his extensive criticisms on the doctrines of Sir William Hamilton, are simply and exclusively begged, and have no other basis than mere sophistry. We must also draw the same conclusion, in regard to his doctrine, that 'all inference is from particulars to particulars,' and affirm that what we have here is only another flagrant example of petitio principii—'a short formula for making more' baseless deductions of the same kind. We breathe quite freely when we take up a work of formidable dimensions, and which seems to lead only in the direction of fundamental error, to know that in the judgment of the author himself, in every inference deduced in it, 'there is a petitio principii,' one of the most vicious forms of sophistry known to the science of Logic.

In the interests of a certain hypothesis, pertaining to universal being and its laws, Mr. Mill has endeavoured to reduce all the self-evident, universal, and necessary principles which lie at the basis of all the sciences in common to mere general contingent judgments obtained by abstracting the elements common to certain particular facts in accordance with the example pertaining to medicine given by Aristotle. We believe, for example, that things equal to the same things are equal to one another, not because we perceive any necessary connection between the subject and predicate in such propositions, but because that, in many particular instances, we have first compared a given object—a yard stick, for example, with two others, and finding it equal to each, we have then brought the objects (tables in this case) together and found them to be equal to one another. We repeat such experiments for a given number of times, and always with the same result. We register these results in our thoughts as 'short formulas for making more,' that is, to guide us in judging in regard to what may be true in other cases. If we reason from the formula, things equal to the same things are equal to one another, as a valid principle in science, we reason falsely, involving ourselves in the vicious sophistry of petitio principii, or begging the question. So of all the axioms and postulates in all the sciences. As convenient formulas, having no other basis than connections which we have found to exist in particular cases of observation, they have their use. When regarded as valid principles in science, they are utterly fallacious, and deflect the mind from the track of truth. Now Mr. Mill, and all the race who know anything at all, can but know that he has here given an utterly false exposition of the necessary procedures of the Intelligence. Take, as an example, the case which we stated, and let it be presented in logical form. Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. The two tables designated are each in length equal to that of the same yardstick. Therefore these tables are, in length, equal to one another. Mr. Mill and all the universe of intelligent beings know, and cannot but know, that every such inference has absolute scientific validity, that it is, in fact and form, 'drawn from the formula,' and not 'according to the formula.' The same holds true of all inferences in all valid sciences. They all have their ultimate basis in self-evident principles which do, and must, have universal and absolute validity. All such principles, we repeat what we have often said before, represent, not what appears intrinsically in mere facts, but necessary relations intuitively perceived to exist between real facts and realities implied by said facts.

The exigencies of Mr. Mill's hypothesis of being and its laws require us to admit facts to be real, but to affirm that they imply nothing, and, consequently, that nothing but mere facts do exist. Now we know not only that facts are real, but that they do and must imply the existence of other realities also. We know body, succession, events, and phenomena to be real, and we know, with the same absoluteness, that these verities do and must imply the reality of space, time, cause, and substance. As a necessary consequence we know that the principles, Body implies space; Succession, time; Events, cause; Phenomena, substance; Things equal to the same things are equal to one another, and, It is impossible for the same thing at the same time to exist and not exist, etc., have absolute validity for truth, and do constitute a valid basis for real scientific deduction. We know, also, that when 'inferences are drawn from such formulas,' we have no petitio principii.


Aristotle is affirmed by many to have furnished for all ages the fixed formula of the doctrine of Materialism, a formula which we have never found but in its Latin form, to wit, 'Nihil in intellectu non prior in sensu.' When combating the doctrine of Plato, that all knowledge having absolute validity is through Reason, Aristotle might very naturally have affirmed the opposite doctrine, that all real knowledge is through Sensation, and that the elements of all ideas in the Intelligence were originally derived from this one source. If he did give utterance to such a formula, it is undeniable that he held it only as a general, and not universal truth; for he himself admitted the distinction between contingent and necessary ideas, and affirmed the reality of forms of being which are not objects of sense-perception, the soul and God, for example. Whether he was, or was not, the author of this formula, we shall not undertake to decide. As we here meet with it for the first time, and as it has constituted, in fact and form, the basis and principle of Materialism in all subsequent ages, we shall give it a fundamental examination.

The argument of Materialism based upon this formula, as set forth by Condilac, and all other Materialists, is this. The origin and source of all our knowledge is Sensation. The object and cause of Sensation must be matter. Matter, therefore, and it only, really exists. No philosopher ever set forth the Materialistic argument in any other essential, or stronger form than this. Let us give this argument a full and careful examination.

We grant the reality of Sensation, and of its object and cause as having real extension and form, and, consequently, the real existence of matter. Here, however, the argument, in this direction, comes to a final determination. Matter is real. This is undeniable, and this is all the deduction that the fact of Sensation does or can yield us. We have, as yet, found no basis whatever for the deduction, that nothing but matter exists, and here we meet with the infinite logical leap of Materialism. Matter does exist; therefore, nothing but matter has being. Can any philosopher show us the connection between premise and conclusion in this case? John does exist. Therefore, Thomas does not exist. The Materialist is welcome to hang his system upon such Logic as this, and he can find nothing else upon which to hang his deduction.

But the Materialist replies, we know that matter does exist, and do not know that anything else is real. We must, therefore, exclude from our theory of existence, all but the known, and, therefore, assume matter to be the only reality. Let us consider the argument from this standpoint. Sensation exists—that is granted on all sides. Now, Sensation implies a subject, as well as object and cause, and the nature of this subject must be as that of its phenomenon, Sensation. Sensation, as a perception, or sensitive state, has, undeniably, neither length, breadth, weight, nor colour, and does not permit us to affirm either of its subject. Feeling has no likeness whatever to extension and form. We have before us, then, two distinct and separate entities—the subject of Sensation—and its object and cause. The one entity is as undeniably real as the other, and between the two, not a single common quality can be found. Science, therefore, absolutely prohibits our attributing to them a common nature.

The argument, however, does not stop here. Sensation not only exists, but exists as a known fact. Were it not so, we could not reason about sensation as a fact, or about a subject, or its object and cause. Sensation, and the knowledge of the same, undeniably pertain to the one and the same subject, and imply in that subject a power of valid self-knowledge on the one hand, and a susceptibility of feeling, on the other. Thus, at a still greater, and more unapproachable remove from each other, do the subject of Sensation and its object and cause appear.

But this is not all. As this knowing subject reflects upon the self and the not-self, new forms of thought appear upon the theatre of consciousness, and these thoughts induce new feelings unlike Sensation. Thus, there is revealed in this subject new capacities for knowledge, and a great deep of emotive sensibilities in its inner being. In the midst of these new thoughts and emotions, other and still more mysterious phenomena present themselves—those of free activity; and mind, at length, stands revealed to itself as a self-conscious personality endowed with the powers of thought, feeling, and voluntary determination, a personality existing, not only amid material form, but other verities infinite and eternal. Now, these phenomena of thought, emotion, and free-determination, are just as real as Sensation itself, and the powers which they imply are just as real as are the object and cause of Sensation. When we compare the phenomena of the object and cause of Sensation with those of its subject, we find nothing whatever in common between them, nothing by which we can identify them as having a common nature, but everything to distinguish and separate them the one from the other. We must fundamentally violate all the known and conceivable laws of scientific induction and deduction, before we can identify mind and matter. That is, undeniably, a one-eyed Philosophy, and a blear-eyed Philosophy at that, which, in the presence of Sensation, inquires only for its object and cause, and having found that, affirms dead matter to be the only reality. For the same reason, that, also, is a one-eyed and a blear-eyed Philosophy, which in the presence of the same phenomenon, Sensation, looks only in the direction of the subject, and finding that to be spiritual, affirms that nothing is real but mind, or its operation.

Aristotle's Ethics.

In the department of Ethics the world owes very little to Aristotle. When all forms of activity are judged of from the single standpoint of their perceived adaptation to promote the most perfect happiness, we need the power of omniscience to determine specifically for ourselves what we ought to be and what we ought to do. When, therefore, he affirms that moral virtue consists 'in a perfect practical activity in a perfect life,' we are, in fact, no more morally instructed than we were before. Equally in the dark are we, as far as all morally practical purposes are concerned, when he tells us that the good 'is the end towards which nature tends.' Moral virtue, according to Socrates and Plato, is a science, revealing a standard of duty and rules for moral conduct which can be understood and defined. Moral virtue with Aristotle is an art, 'the habit of deliberately choosing, existing as a mean which refers to us, and is defined by Reason, and, as a prudent man would define it, is a mean between two evils, the one consisting in excess, the other in defect; and further, it is a mean in that one of these falls short of, and the other exceeds, what is right both in passion and actions; and that virtue both finds and chooses the mean.' It is an interesting fact, and one to be deeply pondered, that those who teach that actions are right and wrong in themselves, and that duty is to be respected for its own sake, give us more intelligible, safer, and more perfect rules of moral character and conduct than those who contemplate the subject from the Aristotelian standpoint. While we differ totally from Kant in the sphere of Philosophy, we are compelled to regard him as a far more correct and safer expounder of moral principles than Paley.


Aristotle believed in and taught the doctrine of the real existence of matter, the human soul, and God. In these general doctrines he agreed with Socrates and Plato. Matter, unorganized, exists merely as a passive susceptibility of being organized into forms. Of the human soul, as an Intelligence, and capable of virtue and vice, he speaks with perfect definiteness. Of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul he says but little, and teaches nothing with special definiteness, though he never denies the doctrine, but seems to accept it as a well-known truth. In respect to the doctrine of future retribution, we are able to discover nothing upon the subject in any of his recorded teachings. His avowed perturbation and prayer for mercy, however, as he approached eternity, clearly evince his intuitive belief in all these doctrines. So far, therefore, he may be safely affirmed to have substantially agreed with the two individuals above named.

In theology Aristotle in one respect differed in the direction of truth from Plato. The latter, as we have seen, was an intense Polytheist. While Aristotle does but incidentally recognize a plurality of Gods, the manifest tendency of his leading doctrines was the overthrow of Polytheism. It was probably for this, as one of the reasons, that he fled from Athens, after having presided with such wondrous success over the Lyceum for the space of twelve years.

In his teachings pertaining to the doctrine of the Supreme God, Aristotle, and that in the direction of fundamental error, differed not only from Plato, but from all other thinkers who believe in the existence of a material universe as a creation of God. In Himself Plato held that the Most High is a free activity, capable of self-originated action. The organization of the universe, as an event of time, was the result of the free act, creative fiat of God. According to Aristotle, God eternally exists as infinite, and all-perfect, and necessary, inactivity, 'the motionless cause of motion,' a being absolutely perfect, and happy, and yet utterly void of moral attributes. 'All moral virtues,' he says, are utterly unworthy of being ascribed to God.' Aristotle divides existences into three classes, that which is perpetually moved, that which moves and is moved, and that which moves all things and remains itself unmoved.' This unmoved and 'motionless cause of motion' is God. 'God,' he says, 'is absolutely spirit, which thinks itself, and whose thought is therefore the thought of thought. His agency as the cause of motion is not active and formative, but passive, for it remains itself unmoved.'

Aristotle's Proof of the Divine Existence.

Aristotle presents the argument for the being of God in what he regards as the scientific, on the one hand, and the popular form on the other. To him, in presenting the argument in the first form, the world is indebted for such proof in three distinct forms, the Ontological, Cosmological, and Teleological forms, kinds of proof which yet have place in Theistic teachings, as the only grounds of valid proof, although Kant has absolutely demonstrated them, each in succession as possessing by itself no scientific validity. From the nature of the case there can be but one form of valid proof in regard to causes, proximate or ultimate. We must first find a principle, or principles, which, of necessity, imply the being of God as the creator of the universe provided the facts of nature, material and mental, take rank under said principle, or principles. Here we have our major premise, or premises, in this argument. It must then be demonstrated, as the minor premise, that said facts do come under said principle or principles. The Theistic deduction then takes rank as a demonstrated truth of science. In this one form alone can the deduction have validity with logical thinkers. As long as the argument is presented in the Aristotelian form, it will not only fail to convince sceptical minds, but will be regarded as resting upon a basis, the invalidity of which has been fully evinced.

For the argument of Aristotle in the popular form, the argument as translated into our language, we are indebted to the translator of Ueberweg's 'History of Philosophy': 'Imagine men who have always dwelt beneath the earth in good and well-illuminated habitations, habitations adorned with statues and paintings, and well-furnished with everything which is usually at the command of those who are deemed fortunate. Suppose these never to have come up to the surface of the earth, but to have gathered from an obscure legend that a Deity and divine powers exist. If the earth were once to be opened for these men, so that they could ascend out of their concealed abodes to regions inhabited by us, and if they were to step forth and readily see before them the earth, and the sea, and skies, and perceive the movements of the clouds and the violence of the winds; and if then they were to look up at the sun and become cognizant of its magnitude and of its workings, that he is the author of day, in that he sheds his light over the entire universe; and if afterwards, when night had overshadowed the earth, they were to see the whole sky beset and adorned with stars, and should contemplate the chancing light of the moon in its increase and decrease, the rising and setting of all the heavenly bodies, and their course to all eternity invariable and unalterable; truly, they would then believe that gods really exist, and that these mighty works originate with them.'

In his scientific argument, Aristotle refers only to the one Supreme God. In his popular argument, no doubt in accommodation to public opinion, he employed the term God in the plural form. The theology of Aristotle, as well as his moral teachings, are strictly non-religious. God is represented as an infinite and perfect passivity. 'A necessary being,' and, by virtue of such necessity, 'the all-perfect being,' who creates and governs by a necessary law of his eternal and immutable nature. Being all-sufficient in himself, and dwelling eternally alone within the circle of his own 'thought of thought,' he is above all moral action, and without moral attributes, and unmoved by human weal or woe. Even inferior gods, if they exist at all, are without moral attributes. 'What moral actions,' he asks, 'can we attribute to them?' In his Ethics, consequently, no reference is had to piety as a moral virtue. As God has no care of man, man owes no worship or service to God. Nor is moral 'virtue any very serious concern with Aristotle; the happiness which arises from it, he tells us, 'occupies the second place in regard to happiness.' 'Moral virtue,' he adds, 'even seems, in some points, to be the consequence of our corporeal nature, and in many to be intimately connected with the passions.' 'Happiness, in its highest form, results from the exercise of pure thought. In giving ourselves up to thought, we are not only most happy, but most pleasing to the gods, if, indeed, they have any regard for man.' Such are the express teachings of this philosopher in Book x., ch. 8, of his Ethics.

As he consciously neared eternity, however, his philosophy failed him, and the acts of a sinful life, and the facts of his moral consciousness, became realities to his mind, and now he prayed. It is no uncommon event for philosophers to be godless in their philosophy, but like other men when the moral acts of their lives, and the facts of their moral consciousness, force themselves upon their minds.


Plato held and taught the doctrine of creation proper, that is, the organization of the universe as an event of time. Aristotle, on the other hand, affirmed the eternity of the present order of things. There remains but one other conceivable hypothesis, that of an eternal succession of dissolutions and reorganizations, the present organization being the last of the infinite series. Whichever of these hypotheses may be true, the ultimate cause of the series of past and present events must, undeniably, be an inhering law of nature itself or a cause ab extra—the agency of a personal God—there being no third conceivable hypothesis of ultimate causation. We propose to present the evidence of the being of God, first, from a general view of the facts of nature, without reference to the question which of the three hypothesis above designated is true, and second, as deducible from each of these hypotheses.

Argument in the most general form.

Contemplating the subject in its most general aspects, without reference to the question which of the three hypotheses above designated is true, the following considerations present themselves as having a fundamental bearing upon our present inquiries.

1. The doctrine of ultimate causation, through inhering, or Natural, Law, can on no conditions, actual or conceivable, be proven true. No one will claim for this doctrine self-evident validity, nor can a single fact be adduced which is not just as obviously and undeniably explicable upon the Theistic hypothesis as upon the one under consideration. If we cannot prove 'that the worlds were made by the Word of God,' no man can prove that they were originated by Natural Law. If order or facts of any kind are explicable by Natural Law, they are, undeniably, equally explicable on the opposite hypothesis.

2. For the reasons already stated, no form or degree of positive evidence can be adduced in favour of the doctrine of ultimate causation by Natural Law. All facts of every kind being just as explicable on the opposite hypothesis as upon this, the possibility of any positive evidence being adduced in favour of the latter hypothesis, as against the other, is absolutely excluded.

3. Nor can there be shown to exist any degree of antecedent probability in favour of this doctrine of Natural Law as opposed to the opposite hypothesis. To claim nothing more in this connection, it is just as antecedently probable that universal order is the result of intelligent foresight and design, as of blind and unconscious Natural Law.

4. The deduction is undeniable that the hypothesis of Natural Law, when held or asserted as a positive truth, has no other basis than mere naked assumption not self-evidently true, which is wholly unsusceptible of being proved true, and in favour of which no form or degree of positive evidence or antecedent probability can be adduced, an assumption which cannot be held as such a truth without a palpable violation of the immutable demands of science. In no other respect is the demand of science more absolute than it is in requiring for all positive opinions a strictly positive basis. We have here demonstrative evidence that Antitheism, in none of its forms, has any other basis than lawless assumption.

5. In favour of the Theistic Hypothesis, on the other hand, we have, first of all, the intuitive convictions of the race. The truth of this statement has been fully evinced in our former discussions. Here is positive evidence which demands the implicit faith of the race. Anti-theism impeached this intuitive conviction or faith of the race, and must verify that impeachment by absolute proof, which, as we have shown, is impossible, or itself stand convicted of holding positive opinion without evidence; on the one hand, and of fundamental error on the other.

6. This universal and intuitive faith is also verified by proof of the most absolute kind. The formula of La Place cannot be disproved or reasonably doubted, that in view of the nature of the order which pervades the universe, the probability stands as infinity to unity in favour of the hypothesis of Theism as opposed to that of Natural Law. This order accords throughout with laws and principles of Pure Intelligence. The order in nature, also, is throughout a wisely adjusted system of means and ends, the wants of rational mind being the end, and all other adjustments sustaining the visible relation of a means. Nor can anyone wisely study the mechanism of the universe without perceiving that one of the chief ends of universal order is the scientific education of rational mind. When, also, we profoundly study the principles, laws, and instinctive wants of the higher departments of our rational and moral nature, it becomes demonstrably evident that rational mind is immutably constituted as the fixed correlate to one exclusive idea of Ultimate Causation, that of an infinite and perfect personal God. When we worship, pray to, seek the fellowship of, and order all our activity with reference to, the will of such a Being, we act in as absolute conscious harmony with the immutable demands of our rational, moral, and spiritual nature, just as we accord with the laws of our physical nature in seeking food and raiment. Throughout all departments of nature, also, this principle holds universally, that for every want of sentient existence there is a corresponding provision, and for every essential adaptation a corresponding sphere of activity. Now, rational mind is no more the fixed correlate to the social principle than it is to the ideas of God, duty, immortality, and retribution. Universal nature, the universe, and rational mind especially, are a lie, or order—the order visible before us—is the result of the creative and controlling agency of a personal God. Such is the necessary deduction from the most general standpoint from which the subject before us may be contemplated. We have before us two utterly incompatible hypotheses, one of which must be true, and the other false. In favour of one, no form or degree of proof, positive evidence, or antecedent probability, can be adduced. In favour of the other, we have all the forms of proof, positive evidence, and antecedent and deductive probability which any question of causation, proximate or ultimate, admits of.

The Argument as Deducible from the Platonic Standpoint.

The doctrine of Plato, as we have before stated, is that of creation as an event occurring in time. If we grant the validity of this hypothesis, the Theistic argument assumes a character in the strictest sense demonstrative. Ultimate causation by Natural Law, implies, of necessity, either the eternity of the present order of things, or an eternal succession of organizations and dissolutions. A cause acting from necessity, must act as soon as the conditions of its activity are fulfilled. The conditions of ultimate causation must have been fulfilled from eternity, or that which fulfilled these conditions, and not the cause referred to, would be ultimate. A necessary cause, with the conditions of its activity fulfilled from eternity, must have acted from eternity. Creation through Natural Law, and such creation as an event of time, is inconceivable and impossible. In other words, creation as an event of time, implies, as its ultimate cause, a free, self-conscious Intelligence. No deduction can have more demonstrative certainty than this.

Such is the obvious character of the Theistic argument as deduced from the Platonic standpoint. If we should inquire for the validity of the doctrine of creation as an event of time, we should find that doctrine verified by evidence of the most conclusive character. Not a solitary fact of nature can be adduced in disproof of this doctrine, or which renders its validity doubtful. The validity of that doctrine, on the other hand, is affirmed by the intuitive convictions of the race, and by all the known facts and valid deductions of all the sciences bearing upon the subject. The statement of Locke that 'we have demonstrative proof of the being of God,' is capable of the fullest possible verification.


The strict eternity of the present order of things was, as is well known, the fixed doctrine of Aristotle. Yet he also maintained that God is the eternal Author of this order which, as he affirmed, had no beginning, and will have no end. If we grant the validity of this hypothesis; no positive basis, as we have shown above, is thereby obtained for the doctrine of ultimate causation by Natural Law. For aught that appears in the facts, an eternal order may be the result of the agency of a personal God, as well as of any law, inhering, and acting potentially, in nature. In favour of the latter, and against the former hypothesis, not the remotest degree of valid proof, positive evidence, or even of antecedent probability, can by any possibility be adduced. In favour of the former hypothesis, on the other hand, we have all the positive evidence deducible from the intuitive convictions of the Universal Intelligence, the peculiar and special nature of the order to be accounted for, and from all the higher and most fundamental facts of the universe, the laws, principles, and fixed adaptations of the rational, moral, and spiritual nature of universal mind. In the presence of such evidence, no evidence at all, in any form, existing on the opposite side, the best that can be said of Anti-Theism, in any of its forms is, that it presents a palpable example of science run mad.

When we inquire for the evidence of the validity of this hypothesis of the eternity of the present order of things, we find not only no evidence at all, in any form, in its favour, but such palpable proof of an opposite character, that no respectable thinkers of any school now advocate said hypothesis. The universally admitted deduction of all the sciences bearing upon the subject is the non-eternity of the universe as now constituted. So far, the Theistic argument has the strictest demonstrative validity.

The Argument as Deducible from the only remaining Standpoint, no other Hypothesis being Conceivable.

It is undeniable, either that creation must have been an event of time or that the present order of things must have been eternal, or that the progress of nature must have been an eternal succession of organizations and dissolutions, universal order and absolute chaos being the two ultimates towards which all things have been eternally tending. Under this last and only remaining hypothesis, the Theistic argument becomes even more absolute in its validity, than when deduced from the Aristotelian stand point. In both cases, the argument takes on the same identical form and force, with this difference, that, in the former case, the same argument is affirmed and re-affirmed, an infinite number of times. In both cases, we have the same absence of all proof, positive evidence, and antecedent probability, against the Theistic hypothesis, and in favour of that of Natural Law, and the same universal intuitive convictions and adamantine facts, material and mental, against the latter hypothesis, and in favour of the former.

In addition to all this, we have the same want of evidence on the one hand, and, on the other, the same form of proof repeated in each successive organization of the universe from eternity to the present time. Having no facts to reason from but those of the present order of things, and having no evidence to the contrary, we must suppose that each of these eternally successive organizations, supposing them to have occurred, must, in all essential particulars, have accorded with the present. We must therefore, postulate an infinite number of universes, each in succession originated from a pre-existing chaos—each organized in strict accordance throughout with ideas and principles of pure science as they exist in self-conscious Intelligence—each organized exclusively as a system of means and ends, the wants of rational mind being the final end, and all else a means to that end—each organized in palpable conformity to one idea, the intellectual, moral, and spiritual education of rational mind—each peopled by an indefinite number of rational beings, all in common intuitively affirming a personal God, as the ultimate cause of this order, and all, in the higher intellectual, moral and spiritual departments of their nature, being immutably constituted as the exclusive correlates of the Theistic idea of ultimate causation—a universe, finally, in which there is, undeniably, for every essential want of sentient existence a corresponding provision, and for every essential adaptation of such creatures a corresponding sphere of action. Conceive of an infinite number of successive creations of this character, each originated from a re-existing chaos, and the Theistic argument, with no evidence whatever in opposition to its claims, attains to a weight strictly infinite. To whichever of these three, the only conceivable standpoints, Anti-Theism turns itself, it is encountered with evidence absolutely destructive. Its condition is well represented by that of 'the man who fled from a lion and a bear met him, who went into the house and leaned his hand upon the wall, and a serpent bit him.' If we inquire for the proof of the validity of this last hypothesis, we find the total absence of all forms and degrees of evidence in its favour on the one hand, and the presence of the most absolute forms of disproof on the other. What is there, what can there be, in the idea of universal chaos, to justify the assumption of its origination from a previous state of universal order? Universal order, and universal chaos, are two distinct opposite and incompatible ultimates which have, and can have, no adaptation to produce, and reproduce, in eternal succession, one another. The hypothesis under consideration stands revealed, as a naked and lawless assumption, which is based upon no evidence of any kind.

On the other hand, this hypothesis is encountered by forms of disproof of the most absolute character. Nothing can be more slanderous upon the infinite and eternal Mind than the idea that He has been eternally employed as an organizer and disorganizer. The idea of such successive organizations and disorganizations by Natural Law, involves, undeniably, an infinite absurdity. It implies that Nature, acting eternally under the principle of necessity, fundamentally changes and reverses from time to time her own necessary laws. In a state of utter chaos, Nature, from necessity, acts under the law of universal order, and continues thus to act until order is 'the first law' of all things. Then she reverses this law, and acts under the law of universal disorganization, and so on from eternity to eternity. Further, when the worlds have been originated, and brought into a state adapted to sustain vital organizations, Nature now, by necessary laws, acts wholly as an originator, producing from the crude elements of matter the needful organizations. When this work of origination has proceeded to a needful extent, she reverses this law, and adopts that of propagation from pre-existing organizations. Finally, when, through propagation under the fixed law of natural and sexual selection, fishes have produced reptiles, reptiles mammals, monkeys men, she reverses this law also, and adopts, as her immutable principle, that in which vegetables, fishes, reptiles, monkeys, and men, all vital organizations in common, immutably produce their own kind. Such, undeniably, are the necessary procedures of Nature, according to the hypothesis of an eternal succession of creations and dissolutions by Natural Law. There is no sounding the depths of credulity and absurdity to which mind descends in the adoption of such an hypothesis as this. We oppose this and the Aristotelian hypothesis simply because they are false in fact, and not because they render the doctrine of Theism indefensible. From whatever standpoint it is argued that doctrine stands evinced, as an eternal verity 'which cannot be shaken.'



EPICURUS (341-270 B.C.), a pupil of Nausiphanes, a Democritean, after having taught Philosophy in Mitylene and Lampsacus, finally, when about thirty-five years of age, founded in Athens a school over which he presided until his death. Under his teaching Materialism, and with it Atheism, was so fully systematized and perfected in form and development, that in subsequent ages Epicureanism became a representative term designating Materialism, both in its ontological and moral deductions. Having assumed matter to be the only existing substance, he rigidly adhered to and systematized the deductions which necessarily follow from that assumption. He not only repudiated the Polytheism of his age, but denied the existence of a Supreme God, and all forms of the supernatural in Nature. The term 'pleasure' represents the entire morality of Epicureanism, the only moral problem which the system presented for solution being the single question, What form of activity will ensure for the individual in this life the greatest amount of sensitive enjoyment?—in other words, the greatest amount of pleasurable sensations. In our remarks upon the system of Leucippus and Democritus, we have anticipated most that need to be said as expository of that of Epicurus. We shall, therefore, confine our remarks in explaining the latter system to a few of its special features—the explanation of which may conduce to the end we are seeking, a full understanding of the true and proper principles of philosophic induction and deduction.

Perceived and Implied Forms of Knowledge.

Epicurus seems to have been the first ancient thinker who clearly apprehended the distinction and relations between perceived and implied forms of knowledge, and, in fact and form, applied the principle in the sphere of the science of Ontology. His first principle was, that body implies space. If what we call vacuum, or space, did not exist, he argued, 'there would be nothing in which bodies could exist and move.' Bodies do, in fact, exist and move. There must, consequently, be space. The idea of space, also, is always connected in thought, and necessarily so, with the apprehension that it is, and must be, infinite. Body, which is finite, does imply space, but not infinite space. In its own nature, however, space is, and must be, infinite, and is necessarily thus represented in thought.

The second form in which Epicurus presented the principle of the necessary relations of perceived and implied knowledge, is this—the compound implies the simple. Body, as perceived, is an aggregate, a compound. If the simple was not real, the aggregate, or compound, could not exist. The aggregate, which is perceived, is real. The simple, or atoms, which are not perceived, must therefore exist. Thus reasoned this acute thinker, and so far his reasoning has absolute validity. If he had rigidly adhered to his own principle of reasoning from the perceived to the realities implied by what is perceived, he would now stand before the world, not as the representative of fundamental error both in morals and Ontology, but as a central light in the firmament of true science. He would have perceived not only that body implied space, and the compound the simple, but that phenomena imply substance, and perception a subject as well as an object; and that the phenomena of the subject and object, being fundamentally unlike one another, imply the actual existence of two distinct and dissimilar substances, matter and spirit. He would thus have apprehended as actually existing four instead of two realities. He would have recognized as real, not merely atoms and space, but spirit and matter, and time and space, and the facts of the universe as necessarily implying, as their ultimate cause, the agency of an infinite and perfect personal God. With matter as atoms and with space, however, Epicurus stopped, and, consequently, with other errorists, built up his theory of existence and its laws upon a partial induction of actual facts.

Test of Valid Knowledge.

One of the fundamental aims of Epicurus was to vindicate for perception an absolute validity for the reality and character of its object, matter. His argument on this point was based upon the undeniable principle that the burden of proof lies with those who impeach the validity of our knowledge of 'things without us,' and that this knowledge must be held as valid until its invalidity has been fully demonstrated. Science knows no sounder principle than this. The validity of our knowledge, he argued, cannot be disproved. Perception can be proved false but by other perceptions or by Reason. To suppose that perception can invalidate itself is self-contradictory. To suppose that this can be done by Reason, is to suppose that forms of implied knowledge can contradict and invalidate that by which they are implied, and from which they borrow all their authority. Such, in fact and form, is the substance of the reasoning of Epicurus on this point. 'No perception,' he says, 'can be proved false whether by other perceptions (whose authority cannot be greater than that of the perception in question), or by Reason, which is simply an outgrowth of perceptions.' We may safely challenge the world to produce sounder arguments on any subject than this. We commend this argument to the serious consideration of Mr. Spencer and others who impeach the validity of Sense-perception. How, permit us to ask these gentlemen, can you sustain your impeachment? Undeniably, you cannot do this through perception itself. If this faculty is 'a liar from the beginning,' you cannot torture it into a confession of the fact. Nor will it furnish you data for its own conviction. If you appeal to consciousness, it, as we have shown, will simply give the facts of perception as they are in themselves, and then leave them to speak for themselves. If you apply to Reason, it will simply present you with the realities implied by the facts of perception, and will and can do nothing more. If you turn to the secondary faculties, they can and will do nothing more nor less than combine into conceptions and judgments, just as given, the elements furnished by the primary faculties, and leave these conceptions and judgments to speak, also, for themselves. Do what you will, you will find it absolutely impossible to bribe, even, any of the intellectual faculties to give a solitary utterance against the perfect integrity and validity of Sense-perception. If, as a last resort, you should affirm, that our conceptions of material forms are all self-contradictory, and therefore invalid, you would be at once confronted and contradicted by the most palpable facts. All our conceptions of material objects pertain, without exception, to said objects, as compounds constituted of simples, or aggregates constituted of atoms. No philosopher, however 'minute,' can discover, as we have demonstrated elsewhere, even the appearance of contradiction here. All the affirmed contradictions which Zeno and Kant, and Spencer and others, profess to find, exist, as we have also shown, in fictions of their own formation, and not at all in our world-conceptions, as they actually exist in the Universal Intelligence. To prove perception false is, therefore, an absolute impossibility. The deduction, that it is, or can be, false, can have place in the human mind, but as a sentiment of will, that is, through 'an act of (assumed) scientific scepticism, to which the mind voluntarily determines itself,' and thus 'compels itself to treat as nothing but a prejudice, innate indeed and connatural, yet nothing but a prejudice,' 'the intuitive, unavoidable and irradicable faith,' of the race in 'the reality of things without us.' Here, however, we meet with mere assumption, and proof in no form. The validity of the deduction is absolute that the faculty of Sense-perception cannot be proven false, or shown to be self-evidently so, and that all impeachments of its validity have, and can have, no other basis than mere lawless assumptions.

Epicurus undeniably started upon the track of truth, and demonstrated the fact that he did so. Had he continued true to his own method of induction and deduction, he would have been of the most renowned world thinkers the race has ever known. Failing to do this, his name is, as we have said, synonymous with error in its worst form, and even the name of the garden in which his celebrated school was held, the garden then called a sty, now represents the filthiest spot known on earth. 'A lie that is half a truth is often the blackest of lies.' So, the most 'disastrous twilight' known to human thought is 'shed over' the mind by those forms of error in which half-truths are imposed upon the world as the sum and substance of all that is real.

The General Psychology of Epicurus.

Epicurus clearly recognized in the human mind three distinct general faculties: Intellect—Sensibility—and Will. In respect to the nature of the faculty last named, his school differed fundamentally from all other Materialistic schools, ancient and modern. To the Will he distinctly attributed the power of free, in opposition to necessitated, choice and activity, and as definitely based moral obligation upon such power of choice. 'Virtue,' he taught (we quote from Mr. Lewes), 'rests upon Free Will and reason, which are inseparable; since, without Free Will our reason would be passive, and without Reason our Free Will would be blind. Everything, therefore, in human actions which is virtuous or vicious depends on man's knowing and willing. Philosophical education consists in accustoming the mind to judge accurately, and the Will to choose manfully.' The doctrine of Epicurus, as expressed by himself, and attributed to him by Cicero and Diogenes Laertius, is thus summarily stated by Ueberweg: 'There is no fate in the world. That which depends on us is not subject to the influence of any external power, and it is our power of free self-determination which makes us proper subjects of praise and blame.'

So far, also, we find our philosopher moving upon the track of truth, and revealing himself as a very profound analyzer of the facts of Consciousness. In his doctrine of the nature of the soul, however, the central error of his whole system makes its appearance. The soul, he taught, is distinct from the body, but yet material, and constituted of a combination of atoms, 'exceedingly diminutive, smooth, and round, and connected with or diffused through the veins, viscera, and nerves.' The combination of such particles, he admits, is 'not adequate to generate sensible motions (sensations), such as evolve any thoughts in the mind.' A certain fourth nature or substance must, therefore, necessarily be added to these that is wholly without a name; 'it is a substance, however, than which nothing exists more active or more subtle, nor is anything more essentially composed of small and smooth elementary particles, and it is this substance which first distributes sensible motions through the members.' If our philosopher had been asked the question how he knew that this 'fourth nature or substance,' 'that is wholly without a name,' is material at all, he would have at once found himself in the same 'paradise of fools' in which all Materialists find themselves when confronted with similar inquiries. We must admit the mind to be possessed of the powers of Thought, Feeling, and Free Will, or impeach the integrity and validity of the Universal Consciousness; and no man but a very great philosopher can conceive and digest in his own mind, and then seriously propound to the faith of mankind, such a monstrous absurdity as is involved in the dogma that thought, feeling, and Free Will can exist as properties of such a thing as matter. Why a material aggregate, constituted of 'round, small, and smooth particles,' and it alone, must possess the powers of thought, feeling, and Free Will, Epicures has failed to inform us, just as our modern Materialists—the advocates of the New Philosophy—fail to explain to us how and why matter, in any form, exercises all mental functions, and how and why the existence of a monkey accounts for the origin of man. Nothing but will-power can salve such problems.

Epicurean Doctrine of Creation.

Two, and only two realities, according to Epicures, namely, matter and space, exist. With this assumption he connected the doctrine that no new form of being can be originated, nor any existing substance be annihilated. The first principle he designates in two forms—to wit, 'Nothing which once was not can ever of itself come into being,' and 'nothing is ever divinely generated from nothing.' The second principle he thus announce: 'The universal whole was always such as it now is, and always will be such.' The term 'universal whole,' here refers, not to the universe as now organized, but to the original elements of which it is constituted.

The primal state of matter was a chaos—an infinite number of atoms diffused through infinite space. The only qualities possessed by atoms are form, magnitude, and density, of which qualities each one is possessed in degrees diverse from all others. The world-problem presented was this. Matter, as a chaos of atoms, and infinite space being given, to account from such data for the organization of the universe, as we now find it. Undeniably, the cause of this organization cannot be found in space, that being mere vacuum, and no cause in any sense. Nor can this cause be any power exterior to matter—matter by hypothesis being the only existing substance. From 'the faultiness' which he perceived to exist in the universe, he affirmed that 'it cannot be the work of a divine power.' The cause, then, of the organization of the universe must be found in the nature and relations of the atoms themselves. The following is the Epicurean exposition of the great fact before us.

If atoms infinite in number were diffused through infinite space, and in a state of rest, no one particle touching any other, organization would be impossible. If the contact of the atoms was eternal, the consequent organization of the universe would be from eternity, and not an event of time, as palpable facts affirm it to have been. These atoms must have been, from eternity, in a state of motion, and their contact, one with another, an event of time. If motion were from eternity, and the atoms moved in converging lines, or the motion of certain particles was more rapid than others, and thus their contact, as affirmed by Democritus and others, was occasioned, such contact and the consequent organization must have been from eternity. Every such hypothesis, therefore, must be abandoned. So reasoned Epicureans. How, then, can motion be eternal, and the consequent organization be an event of time? The following are, as we showed in another connection, the Epicurean solutions of this problem. All atoms, by virtue of their own weight, had, from eternity, a downward motion, and all moved with the same rapidity and in parallel lines. At an unknown period of the past, there was a spontaneous deflection of certain atoms from the lines on which they had been moving from eternity. Thus one particle impinged against others, and thus were produced 'movements from high to low, from low to high, and horizontal movements to and fro, in virtue of this reciprocal percussion.' Thus the universe was organized, and finally peopled, as we now find it.

A fundamental difficulty in this exposition soon suggested itself to Grecian thought. How could atoms, moving under a necessary law of motion, and having moved so from eternity, spontaneously, and of their own accord, change the direction of that motion? To avoid this difficulty, a power of free activity, which undeniably belongs to the human mind, which was assumed to be material, was attributed to all matter. The deflection, and consequent collision of particles referred to, was occasioned by voluntary acts on the part of certain atoms. 'The system of Nature,' says Lucretius, 'immediately appears as a free agent, released from tyrant masters, to do everything of itself spontaneously, without the help of the Gods.' If the reasoning from man to matter in all its forms, the form of reasoning adopted by Epicurus and his followers, has validity as far as the power of free activity is concerned, then all matter must be possessed, not only of Free Will, but also of Intelligence and Sensibility. We do not see how this conclusion can be avoided. We thus, as in all 'the twistings and turnings' of error, find ourselves freed from one difficulty by being shoved into another infinitely greater. Thus the materialistic world-problem, unsolved, and to all appearance of impossible solution, is banded over for solution to the advocates of 'the New Philosophy.' The problem handed down to them is plainly this: Matter and space, and duration, if you please, being given as being alone real, to demonstrate the validity of the doctrine of the absolute eternity of the present order of things, or to account for the organization

of the universe as an event of time. We honestly believe that not one of them will even attempt the solution of this problem in either of these forms; that its solution in any form from the materialistic standpoint is impossible. On the other hand, when pressed with the difficulties of their system, and confronted with their own problem, they will, unquestionably, as we have formerly stated, after boldly asserting matter to be the only real substance, and affirming themselves able to demonstrate for life, and thought, and activity in all its forms, an exclusively 'physical basis,' they will finally dodge all real issues by affirming that 'it is certain that we can have no knowledge of the nature of matter and spirit.' What will they do, we ask, when it shall become demonstrably evident that, while the Sceptical hypothesis cannot be defended, the facts of the universe, as actually given by the Universal Intelligence, are equally inexplicable both from the Materialistic and Idealistic standpoint? They will, no doubt, continue, first of all, to dogmatize, as knowing all things, and, finally, 'when sorely pressed,' will dodge all issues by affirming an absolute and hopeless ignorance of all realities about which they have been so proudly dogmatizing, and that in the name of absolute science.



ZENO (about 350-248 B.C.), born at Citium, a city of Cyprus, founded in the Stoa, or Porch, at Athens, a school over which he presided for quite half a century. This school took its name, Stoic, from the place where it was founded. The Stoics classed themselves among the followers of Socrates, though they differed from him in fundamental particulars. This school numbers among its teachers and disciples not a few thinkers of eminence, such as Zeno, its founder, Cleanthes and Chrysippus among the Greeks, and Seneca and Marcus Aurelius among the Romans.

Philosophy with the Stoics culminates in, and is ancillary to, morality. To understand their morality, however, we must know their Physics or Ontology. Here a difference of exposition obtains among those who have studied the teachings of the Stoics. That their doctrines were essentially Pantheistic all agree. But whether their Pantheism was in its nature Materialistic or Idealistic, here the highest authorities are at issue. Perhaps clear light will be shed upon this question as we proceed in out expositions.


The Stoics and Epicureans were the thinkers who first made the question, by what criteria shall truth be distinguished from error, a fundamental problem in science. In the former school this problem had a wider place than in the latter. The question, what is the test of truth, Aristotle treated with contempt. With the Stoics and Epicureans, the former especially, and the Post-Aristotelians, this question was regarded as of fundamental interest. The Sceptics denied the validity of the intellectual faculties entirely. That error, in some form, had place in the human mind, all had to admit. The question, then, by what criteria shall we distinguish truth from error, became one of fundamental interest.

The test proposed by the Stoics was really identical with that set forth by Sir W. Hamilton, and that to which we have so often referred, to wit, Knowledge consciously direct and immediate, must be accepted as valid for the reality and character of its object. They designated this form of Knowledge by such phrases as 'certain and incontestable apprehension,' an apprehension by which the soul 'grasps the object of representation,' a representation 'impressed and sealed on the mind, and incapable of existing without the existence of the object.' 'In our perceptions of external objects, and also of internal states,' says Chrysippus, 'the originally vacant soul is filled with images, and as if with written characters. In modern scientific language this criterion of valid knowledge may be thus expressed: Knowledge, consciously direct and immediate, with all that it intuitively and deductively implies, must be accepted as having absolute validity for the existence and character of its objects. The validity of this criterion, which the Stoics undeniably intended to express, has the same claims to scientific recognition that any other axiom has. Had the Stoics stated the criterion in this form, its validity could never have been doubted. In the light of this criterion we distinguish between our knowledge of the primary and secondary qualities of matter. Our knowledge of the latter qualities being consciously indirect and mediate, has only a relative, while that of the former, being consciously direct and immediate, has absolute validity for the reality and character of its objects. So far we find science in its most important form among the Stoics.


The doctrine of Physics, as taught by the Stoics, included both Cosmology and Theology. The criterion of truth which they have set forth implies, undeniably, their belief in the real existence of matter. Were they, in the strict and proper sense of the word, Materialists? As neither Zeno, nor his immediate successors, left any treatises of their own which have come down to us, we are necessitated to rely upon the fragmentary testimony of ancient authors who did know what were the real doctrines of this school. Schwegler, among the moderns, gives the following account of the doctrines of the Stoics: 'Matter is the passive ground of all things, the original substratum for the Divine activity. God is the active and formative energy of matter dwelling within it, and essentially united to it; the world is the body of God, and God is the soul of the world. The Stoics, therefore, considered God and matter as one identical substance; on the side of its passive changeable capacity they call it matter, and on the side of its active and changeless energy, God.' 'The Stoics,' says Ueberweg, the latest modern authority, 'teach that whatever is real is material. Matter and force are the two ultimate principles. Matter is, per se, motionless and unformed, though capable of receiving all motions and all forms. Force is the active, moving, and moulding principle. It is inseparably joined with matter. The working force in the universe is God.' While the justness of such representations of the views of the Stoics is questioned by other modern authorities of the highest order, by Dr. Cocker, for example, we have been wholly unable to obtain from them, or from any other source, any intelligible account of any system which the Stoics may be supposed to have held differing from that presented by the authors above referred to. The Stoics held, according to Cicero, as cited by Dr. Cocker to disprove the exposition of Schwegler, that all things are 'contained by one Divine Spirit,' that reason in man is 'nothing else but part of the Divine Spirit merged in a human body.' They say,' says Diogenes, as cited for the same purpose by the same author, 'that principles and elements differ from each other. Principles have no generation or beginning, and will have no end; but elements may be destroyed. Also, that elements have bodies, and have forms, but principles have no bodies and no forms.' To perceive the hearings of this passage, we must determine the meaning of the term 'Principles' as here employed. Principles may be conceived to exist independent of matter, and to act upon it as an exterior cause, or as inhering in it, and acting potentially as such an inhering cause. That the latter is the true meaning of this term in the passage before us seems quite plain from the following passage, cited also from Diogenes. 'God is a being of a certain quality, having for His peculiar manifestation universal substance. He is a being imperishable, and who never had any generation, being the Maker of the arrangement and order that we see; and who at certain periods of time absorbs all substance in Himself, and then reproduces it from Himself.' Matter, then, and God, as 'a being of certain quality,' must be one and identical. 'The Stoics,' says the same author in another place, 'defined the passive principle as unqualified substance, or matter; and the active principle as the reason immanent in matter, or Deity.' 'Chrysippus teaches,' says Plutarch, 'that at certain periods the whole world is resolved into fire, which fire is identical with the soul of the world, the governing principle, or Zeus; but at other times a part of this fire, a germ, as it were, detached from the whole mass, becomes changed into denser substance, and so leads to the existence of concrete objects distinct from Zeus.' Again, 'That part of Deity which goes forth from him for the formation of the world is called the seminal reason of the world, and is resolved into a plurality of seminal reasons.' We are compelled, therefore, to regard the Stoics as Pantheists of the Materialistic School, fire, and spirit, and principle being, with them, synonymous in their meaning. That they should speak of this omnipresent, all-formative, and all-controlling fire as having intelligence and other analogous attributes, accords with common usage among the ancients.


Among the special doctrines of the Stoics we notice the following. The human soul they held to be an emanation from God, and destined to final absorption in Him. All souls, according to Cleanthes, exist until the general conflagration. Chrysippus affirmed that all but the wise perish, or are absorbed, at death. Others denied the future existence of all souls in common. The universe, they regarded as limited in extent, and Space and Time as infinite; in accordance with the modern exposition. All moral actions they held to be, of necessity, of an unmixed character. Every man, for the time being, is either perfectly virtuous or vicious. In this doctrine they agreed with Aristotle. Zeno divided men absolutely into two classes—the good, and the bad. The sage differed from Zeus but in non-essontials. Chrysippus, according to Plutarch, affirmed that 'Zeus is not superior to Dio in virtue, and both Zeus and Dio, in so far as they are wise, are equally profited the one by the other.' In opposition to the Epicureans, the Stoics affirmed the doctrine of universal fate. Evil actions were by some, as by Cleauthes, in his hymn to Jupiter, excepted in a certain undefined form from the law of absolute necessity, 'but that which is evil,' he adds, 'is overruled by thee for good, and is made to harmonize with the plan of the world.' Absolute fatalism, as controlling all events, and all actions human and divine, is the avowed doctrine of the school of Stoicism.


The Summum Bonum, with the Aristotelians, is happiness; with the Epicureans, pleasure; and with the Stoics, virtue. In this doctrine the Stoics and Platonists agreed. They differed fundamentally, however, in respect to the doctrine of Free Will, and the consequent moral desert of human action. With the latter, the doctrine of moral obligation, moral desert and retribution, was prominent in all their teachings. While in the teachings of the former virtue has supreme prominence, obligation, desert, and retribution, have almost no place.

Moral virtue, as taught by the Stoics, took form from their ideas of the fatal necessity which absolutely controlled all events. All things must be as they are, and cannot in future but occur as predetermined by necessary law. The absolute consent of Will that all things shall be as they cannot but be, that is moral virtue, that is the absolute perfection of the sage. 'Endure,' 'endure,' 'this is the whole duty of man.' The universal formula of moral duty, Diogenes Laertius expresses in this form: Live conformably to Nature—that is, to Reason, or the will of the Universal Manager and Governor of all things.' 'Dare to lift thine eye to God, and say,' says Epictetus, "'Use me hereafter to whatever Thou pleasest, I agree, and am of the same mind with Thee, indifferent to all things." To place all good in virtue, that is, in being stolidly 'indifferent to all things,' to regard pleasure and happiness as not real good, and pain as no evil—this is living according to nature. External objects were classed as things to be preferred, and things not to be preferred. 'As life belongs to things indifferent, suicide was permissible, as a rational means of terminating life.'

Among the teachings of the Stoics, a few utterances of such men as Marcus Aurelius excepted, we search in vain for any features or elements of moral virtue which correspond with the true or Christian idea. In difference to what may, because it must occur, acquiescence in the Divine will, as a decree of 'fate which neither divinity nor humanity can change,' is one thing; and loving God with all our power, because He is love and first loved us, placing an infinite value upon our own and our neighbour's good, and for that reason loving him as ourselves, regarding pain as real evil, and seeking to remove all the remedial 'ills that flesh is heir to,' acquiescing in Providence because infallible Wisdom and perfect Love has determined our state—here are forms of real virtue to which Stoicism is an utter stranger, and which it has no tendency to induce. It is no matter of wonder that a long-continued attempt to conform, by a proud and self-reliant dint of will, to such a cold and soul-desolating ideal as Stoicism presented, rendered such minds as Zeno, Cleanthes, Cato and Seneca so intolerably weary of life, that they escaped from it by acts of suicide.






WITH Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Zeno, the Stoics, and their immediate successors, Grecian Philosophy reached its consummation. With the disappearance of this constellation of great thinkers, the decline, or better, perhaps, the eclipse of this Philosophy, commenced—an eclipse which continuously grew more dim and deep until 'darkness all, and ever-during night,' seemed to surround the human mind. We know of but one expression which properly represents the state of philosophic thought, both in Greece and Rome, at the time when 'the Sun of Righteousness rose upon the earth with healing in His wings'—to wit, 'chaos has come again.' Under the teachings of false science Greece had lost her liberty, her forms of sober thought, and her morals. Under the same influence, associated with the pride of conquest and superabundant luxuries, Rome had descended to a state in which, in the impressive language of Tacitus, 'she could neither endure her vices, nor the remedy.'

If we should inquire for the cause of this decline, we should find it in the state in which the great problem of universal being and its laws was handed over by these thinkers to their successors. In the Academy, the Lyceum, the Garden, and the Porch, in each school, the problem under consideration was presented to the world as fully solved. Yet the solution presented by each was, in essential particulars, perfectly antagonistic to that presented by every other. The phase in which each school contemplated this problem, together with its method of induction and deduction, was, in important respects, special and peculiar. At the same time no generally recognized criteria were then known—criteria by which truth could be distinguished from error. Each school had its own exclusive method of induction and deduction, and its own peculiar and special tests of truth and error. Yet there seemed to be a necessary connection between the method and criteria of each school and its final deductions. In the then existing state of science the best thinkers found it very difficult, or impossible, to determine why the method or deductions of any one school should be regarded as less valid than those of any other. But one alternative seemed left for those who were seeking truth—an unqualified adoption of the exclusive system of one of those schools, and a repudiation of those of all the others—a procedure for which no even apparently good reasons could he offered—or a repudiation of all systems in common, and that by a general impeachment of the Intelligence itself as a faculty of knowledge—an impeachment seemingly sustained by many apparently valid reasons, as presented in these various schools. The Platouists, while they affirmed absolute validity for à priori insight through reason, utterly repudiated the validity of Sense-perception, and affirmed a more 'bastard kind of knowledge' of matter. Aristotle, while he impeached, and for undeniably valid reasons, the validity of knowledge through Reason, as far as Platonic Ideas are concerned, affirmed that knowledge, in no form, is more certain than that obtained through Sense-perception. The Epicureans and Stoics, while they verified by criteria of undeniable validity the absolute truthfulness of knowledge through Sense-perception, denied utterly the validity of knowledge in all other forms. The same diversity and antagonism obtained relative to the teachings of these schools in respect to fundamental morality and the doctrine of the Summum Bonum. The Platonists and Stoics affirmed a necessary and immutable distinction between the right and the wrong, and, for morality, an immovable basis in the nature of things. The Aristotelians and Epicureans affirmed, for the right and the wrong, no other distinction, and for morals no other foundation, than what is found in a perceived tendency to insure happiness or misery, pleasure or pain. All these antagonistic hypotheses had advocates of the highest eminence, and were sustained by reasons of equally apparent validity. The only seeming alternative, we repeat, which remained for thinkers, was either to repudiate all hypotheses in common, and that by a denial of the possibility of valid knowledge, in any form, or to adopt some one exclusive system which was verified by no reasons of higher apparent validity than was each of the others. The Greek mind would not long remain in such a dilemma. Nor in human thought, in that era, did the idea obtain a place that all these schools were essentially right on the positive sides of their systems. Plato and Aristotle, for example, unitedly taught the fundamental distinction between spirit and matter, and the real existence of each form of being. The Epicureans and Stoics both verified, by undeniable criteria, the validity of Sense-perception for the reality of 'things without its.' Here we have the positive teachings of all these schools, and so far we find essential truth. Had these positive teachings been accepted, and with them the validity of the distinction between matter and spirit, and of our knowledge of the same, Philosophy would, from that time onward, not only have moved upon the track of truth, but would have permanently commanded the faith of mankind. Greek thought, however, naturally took the direction of Scepticism as its prevailing movement. Hence, in Greek and Roman thought, doubt became the prevailing faith of the schools especially. In addition to the above, which may be regarded as the chief causes of the decline of the Grecian Philosophy, other and incidental causes acted with great power to induce the same results. Among these incidental causes we would specify the following:


1. One of the main causes which incidentally led to this decline, was the almost boundless sphere professedly occupied by Grecian philosophic thought in its different schools. In Grecian thought, in its positive forms, as we have before stated, there was no place for the mysterious. Universal being and its laws were, throughout all departments of real existence, knowable, and all its facts were equally explicable. The philosopher affirmed himself, and that before the world, possessed of universal knowledge in all these forms.

Plato, for example, professed to know that all forms of Sense-perception are illusory, and that all the realities thus apprehended are 'of the nature of that which is and is not,' and that matter, which he affirmed to be real, is the object of a mere 'bastard kind of knowledge.' At the same time, 'through Reason in an intuitive manner,' he professed himself possessed of a universal and absolute knowledge of 'being per se,' that is, of all that really exists, together with all its relations. In his multitudinous productions, he professedly unfolds to us 'all mysteries and all knowledge,' on all subjects pertaining to 'being per se,' its relations and laws. He, accordingly, gives us, first of all, what is the nature of matter, its primal state, and its absolute subjection to Necessity. He then informs us how that God, wishing to make the universe as perfect as possible, 'persuaded Necessity to become stable, harmonious, and fashioned according to Excellence.' Then we have a minute and detailed account of the entire process of creation, the form and location of the earth, and its relations to all other planets, and the principle which determined the distances of the earth and planets from one another, how far the Most High did himself carry forward the work of creation, the identical speech which he delivered to the inferior gods when he committed to them the completing of the work commenced, and the perfecting and final control of the same, and how he then fell back into his usual repose. This is only a mere example of Plato's absolute and universal revelations pertaining to 'being per se.' Now when an individual attempts to fill out such a boundless sphere as this, he will of necessity, to say nothing of his method, set forth numberless forms of readily detected error and absurdity, the exposure of which will throw serious doubts, to say the least, over the validity of all his teachings. No system excited such antagonisms as that of Plato, and none ever presented so many sides where it could be successfully assailed. Hence no system sooner fell under the shock of criticism. In a very short time the Old Academy was wholly supplanted by the New, in the latter of which the teachings of Plato received fundamental modifications, and finally were utterly subverted.

Remarks perfectly similar apply to the teachings of Aristotle. In method he professedly differed in fundamental respects from Plato. While the latter took positions in the sphere of 'existence in se,' the former located his standpoint within the circle of facts of perception. In this sphere, however, Aristotle really attempted an exposition of universal science in all its forms. Hence, he 'made nothing perfect,' and so intermingled important truth with manifest fundamental error, as to induce a general doubt of the possibility of science in any form.

Similar remarks are almost equally applicable to the productions of other schools. One of the most multitudinous of all the ancient writers was Epicurus. Yet no author was more obviously inconclusive than he in his endlessly diversified deductions. When the undeniable errors of such pre-eminent thinkers become known and read of all men, the popular mind was, almost of course, thrown under the power of Scepticism.

2. The character of absoluteness, which was attached in all these schools to their varied deductions, was another very efficient cause which operated to induce the general Scepticism of the succeeding era. The deductions of each school were in open antagonism with those of every other, and many of these deductions were manifestly false. Yet each deduction, however grossly absurd, and manifestly false, and however contradictory to others coming from authorities of equally apparent validity, was given forth as absolute truth. Nothing but an almost resistless reaction against the idea of the possibility of science itself is to be expected under such circumstances. When Plato, for example, affirmed that 'the knowledge which by Reason, in an intuitive manner, we may acquire of real existence and intelligible things, is of a higher degree of certainty than the knowledge which belongs to what are commonly called the sciences,' of which mathematics are specified in illustration; and when, through this affirmed insight of Reason, he gave forth, as forms of absolute truth, enunciations which, in other schools, were demonstrated to be nothing but absurdities and errors of the grossest character, it is no matter of wonder that mankind, at length, doubted and denied the validity of Reason-insight in all its forms.

3. The high personal pretensions of philosophers in all the schools, pretensions which stood out visibly associated with demonstrated forms of gross absurdity and error, were another cause which powerfully operated to induce a general distrust of the possibility of valid knowledge in any form, and to render doubt the prevailing faith of the race. Plato, for example, claimed for philosophers, not only inspiration, but the possession of a faculty of absolute insight pertaining to 'real existence and intelligible things,' a faculty possessed only by the gods and a very small portion of mankind, and claimed, finally, that none but these philosophers were qualified to rule the human race. In all schools in common, philosophers unblushingly claimed, that 'they were the men, and that wisdom would die with them.' They only were Philosophers (lovers of wisdom, and possessed of the same), Sophists (wise men), Sages (men of gravity and universal knowledge). They held 'the key of knowledge,' and were alone possessed of power to teach the truth. Now, when men of such high pretensions will convict each other before the world of the grossest errors and absurdities, will agree in nothing among themselves, and never unite but to dispute, their combined influence tends in but one direction—universal Scepticism.

4. We refer to but one other incidental cause of the decline of the Grecian Philosophy—the absence of any generally admitted criteria of valid knowledge. Aristotle, as we have seen, ridiculed the idea that such criteria exist. Plato makes no allusion to the subject. Heraclitus, the Epicureans, and Stoics, recognized and affirmed the importance and necessity of such criteria, and did set forth, as we have seen, criteria which, when clearly defined, must be admitted to have absolute validity. Outside the individual schools themselves, the validity of these tests was denied. In their endless disputations neither party could present any criteria by which truth could be distinguished from error—criteria the validity of which the opposite party admitted. Such disputations, consequently, could settle nothing. The final result of such disputations could hardly be anything else than general doubt of the possibility of knowledge in any form.



WE have, perhaps, on former occasions said all that need be said in refutation of the Sceptical Philosophy. As we have now approached the era of its full and perfect development, the era in which it commanded a wider assent from the race than ever before, or since, and as we have before us all that modern thought has developed in connection with this system; further, as we have in Mr. Lewes' statement of the doctrine the exact issue between Scepticism and Realism, the issue as presented in ancient and modern times, we shall in this connection give to the subject a special consideration, craving indulgence for a necessary repetition of some forms of thought formerly presented. We will present the issue as stated by Mr. Lewes himself.


"What Criterion is there of the truth of our knowledge?

The Criterion must reside in Reason, in Conception, or in Sensation. It cannot reside in Reason, because Reason itself is not independent of the other two: it operates upon materials furnished by them, and is dependent upon them. Our knowledge is derived from the senses, and every object presented to the mind must consequently have been originally presented to the senses. On their accuracy the mind must depend.

Reason cannot therefore contain within itself the desired Criterion. Nor can Conception, for the same argument applies to it. Nor can the Criterion reside in Sense; because, as all admit, the Senses are deceptive, and there is no perception which cannot be false. For what is Perception? Our Senses only inform us of the presence of an object in so far as they are affected by it. But what is this? Is it not we who are affected, we who are modified? Yes, and this modification reveals both itself and the object which causes it. Like light, which, in showing itself, shows also the objects upon which it is thrown; like light also, it shows objects in its own colours. Perception is a peculiar modification of the soul. The whole problem now to solve is this: 'Does every modification of the soul exactly correspond with the external object which causes that modification?' We give the above passage as we find it, italics and all. Now, there are in the above passage more errors of even a fundamental character than we shall have space to notice. Among the most important of these we specify the following


1. There is no such 'problem now to solve' as he has presented. No thinker now affirms, or ever did affirm, that 'every modification of the soul exactly corresponds with the external object which causes that modification.' All admit and affirm that Sensation, as a sensitive 'modification of the soul,' does not, in any sense, correspond with 'the external object which causes that modification,' that is, the Sensation. All admit and affirm that the secondary qualities of matter are the unknown causes of known, or conscious, states of the Sensibility, namely, of Sensations.

On the other hand, it is affirmed that the primary qualities of this substance are the known objects of consciously known states, or acts, of the Intelligence, Sense-perception. Sensation, as a sensitive 'modification of the soul,' is one thing. Perception, consciously direct and immediate, perception as an intellectual act, state, or 'modification of the soul,' is quite another. 'The whole problem now to solve' is this: Not whether every modification of the soul exactly corresponds with the external object which causes that modification,' but, Does knowledge consciously direct and immediate, or intuitive, what all admit to be true of our perceptions of the primary qualities of matter, does knowledge in this absolutely conscious form, represent its object as it is, or as it is not? In other words, is knowledge consciously direct and immediate, or presentative, to be regarded as valid or invalid, veritable or false, truthful or deceptive? No philosopher, 'from Protagoras to Kant,' or from Kant to Mr. Lewes, Spencer, or Huxley, will deny that our knowledge of the secondary qualities of matter is consciously indirect and mediate, through Sensation, or representative; and that our knowledge of the primary qualities of the same substance, extension and form, for example, is as consciously direct and immediate, or presentative. 'The whole problem now to solve,' we repeat, is this: Not whether knowledge consciously indirect and mediate, or representative, but whether knowledge, consciously direct and immediate, intuitive, or presentative, is true or false, veritable or deceptive.

2. 'As all admit,' says Mr. Lewes, 'the senses are deceptive, and there is no perception which cannot be false.' Now all deny what he here affirms that 'all admit.' All mankind do believe, and ever have believed, in the validity of external perception. Nor is Protagoras, or Kant, or Mr. Lewes himself, an exception to this statement. Philosophers may call 'this universal faith in the reality of things without us,' 'illusory,' or 'nothing but a prejudice.' Yet they must admit, with Kant and Coleridge, and Plato, and all other philosophers, that this faith is universal with the race, 'innate indeed and counatural,' 'unavoidable and irradicable,' and as a principle 'inheres in reason' itself.

It would be nearer the truth to affirm that the senses never deceive us than to affirm them to be always deceptive. As we have formerly stated, we are conscious of Sensation as a fact. Here the object, the Sensation, is known as it is in itself. The Sensation, as an object of consciousness, is never deceptive, but is known as it is. The object and cause of the Sensation is consciously given as real, but unknown, and here the senses do not deceive us. If the secondary qualities of matter were given as the known objects of conscious states of the Intelligence, instead of the unknown causes of conscious states of the Sensibility, we should be deceived.

In external perception, also, as far as what is really perceived is concerned, there is no deception. The objects of direct and immediate knowledge really exist, and the qualities actually perceived are real. In our judgments, assumptions, and guesses, in regard to objects perceived, here, and here exclusively, all our mistakes, deceptions, 'blunders and foolish notions,' are formed. The confounding of facts of real perception, that is, what is actually perceived, with the judgments, opinions, conjectures, and guesses, which are connected with and based upon such facts, has occasioned all the errors of philosophers in respect to the validity of Sense-perception. Instead of there being 'no perception which cannot be false,' there can, in fact, be no real perception which is not true, perception being a pure and intuitive intellectual state, and being necessarily conformed to its object. That is undeniably 'science falsely so-called' which affirms the Intelligence itself, in its necessary and intuitive procedures, to be a faculty of deceptive error.

3. In the following statement of Mr. Lewes, also, we detect error of a perfectly fundamental character: 'Our knowledge is derived from our senses, and every object presented to the mind must consequently have been originally presented to the senses, and on their accuracy the mind must depend.' Space and time, we know to be realities, or we know and can know nothing, and each of these realities is known to be infinite. Have infinite space and eternal duration ever 'been presented to the senses?' Have the principles; Every event must have a cause, Body implies space, Succession implies time, and Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another, ever been 'presented to the senses?' What fact of mind was ever 'presented to the senses'? Sensation itself, as a subjective state, is real, and is known as such, and was never yet 'presented to the senses.' In addition to the faculty of Sense-perception, we have two other faculties of original intuition, faculties of which thinkers of the school of Mr. Lewes take no account, namely, Self-consciousness, and Reason the organ of intuitively implied knowledge.

4. The gravest of all the errors of Mr. Lewes, however, is his statement and location of the Criterion of truth. 'The Criterion,' he says, 'must reside either in Reason, in Conception, or in Sensation.' Unless some faculty can be found, we are here informed, which can be demonstrated to possess sovereign authority to sit in judgment over the validity of its own dicta, and those of all the other faculties, we have, and can have, no such Criterion whatever; 'vain wisdom all, and false philosophy.' Let us, in illustration, apply the principle here given to a single case. On a post-mortem examination, a substance supposed to be arsenic is found in the stomach of the deceased. The case is brought into court, and the usual Criteria are being applied to determine the nature of the substance under consideration. The attorney on one side rises, and objects to the whole procedure, as utterly invalid. 'The Criterion,' he affirms, if it exists at all, 'must be found in Reason, in Conception, or in Sensation. It cannot reside in Reason, because Reason itself is not independent of the other two; it operates upon materials furnished by them, and is dependent on them.' 'Nor can Conception, for the same reason apply to it. Nor can the Criterion reside in Sense, because, as all admit, the Senses are deceptive, and there is no perception which cannot be false.' Mr. Lewes, perhaps, and philosophers of his school, would expect and demand a prompt dismissal of the case, the court having been demonstrated to be possessed of no 'Criterion' by which arsenic can be distinguished from mud. The judge would reply, however, that no one human faculty was in court at all, as containing the Criterion of truth. There were certain known facts, or characteristics, which distinguish arsenic from all other substances, and it was in the light of such Criteria, that they were about to decide the question before them. So we would inform Mr. Lewes, and all other philosophers who have erred as he has done, that he is right in arguing, that no one faculty of the Intelligence can sit in judgment upon the dicta of any other faculty; but that he fundamentally errs in assuming that unless such an all-authoritative faculty does exist; we have no Criterion of truth whatever. All admit, Sceptics among the rest, that there do exist in the human mind forms of real knowledge, forms of knowledge intermingled with assumptions, opinions, beliefs, and conjectures, some of which may be true and others false. Now there must be some fixed characteristics which distinguish and separate forms of knowledge proper from apprehensions which are, or may be, false. These Criteria exist, not in any one mental faculty, but in the apprehensions themselves. When we have determined what these characteristics are we have the Criteria after which we are inquiring. To admit, as we must, that such Criteria do exist, but that we cannot discover them, is an impeachment of the Intelligence which even Scepticism will be slow to make. Real knowledge in some form does undeniably have place in the human mind, and is possessed there of characteristics which we can discern, and thus distinguish and separate the real from the unreal. In former parts of this treatise we have designated and verified such Criteria. For the full accomplishment of the purpose we now have in view, we will restate, in this connection, some of these Criteria.

Criteria of Valid Knowledge.

1. Forms of intuitive knowledge strictly common to all the race, and that in all ages and under all circumstances of conscious existence, must be held as having absolute validity for the reality and character of their objects. We must admit the strict validity of this Criterion, or assume, and that for no reasons whatever, the Universal Intelligence itself to be a lie. The question now before us is not whether such forms of knowledge do exist, but whether, supposing them real, they are, or are not, to be recognized as valid for truth. No thinker who has any respect for his character as such a person, will question the validity of this Criterion.

2. Forms of original intuition, apprehended by universal mind as necessarily true, must also be accepted as valid for truth. We must admit the strict validity of this Criterion, or deny absolutely the distinction between the possible and the impossible.

3. All forms of knowledge consciously direct and immediate, that is, intuitive and presentative, must be held as valid for truth. We have here, what even the Sceptic will not deny, an ultimate Criterion of truth—a Criterion of absolute validity. The Sceptic may deny the existence of such forms of knowledge. He will not, however, deny their validity, supposing them real.

4. Absolute fixedness and immutability is another Criterion of undeniable validity. Real knowledge, just as far as it extends, can be subject to no change or modification. To suppose it changeable would imply that it is not knowledge. Here lies the fundamental distinction between real knowledge on the one hand, and assumptions, opinions, beliefs, conjectures, and guesses on the other. The latter are continuously subject to change, modification, and displacement from human thought and regard. The former can never be changed, modified, or displaced from the mind.

5. The universal consciousness of absolute certainty is another Criterion of fundamental importance. All men regard certain apprehensions as false, others as possibly or probably true, and others as having undoubted certainty; while others exist as conscious forms of absolute knowledge. In all the cases first named we are conscious of the possibility of error. In reference to the cases last designated, we know that misapprehension is impossible. Now, when we meet with forms of knowledge strictly common to all minds in all circumstances of conscious existence, forms which are always characterized by this absolutely conscious certainty, we must recognize ourselves as in the presence of forms of absolute truth, or violate all the principles and laws of inductive science.

6. All forms of knowledge, we remark finally, whose validity is necessarily implied by forms of real knowledge, must be accepted as having absolute validity. The intuitively and necessarily implied has, undeniably, the same validity as that by which the former is implied.

If any thinker shall admit the validity of these Criteria, or that of any of them, he must, or convict himself of wanting logical integrity, admit the absolute validity of all forms of knowledge undeniably possessing these characteristics. If he should deny the validity of these Criteria, he will stand revealed as being as obviously convicted of fundamental error as these Criteria are obviously true. A man may in words deny the validity of the axiom, Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. In that denial, however, he is as obviously wrong as that axiom is obviously true. Now no axiom is, or can be, more obviously true than are the above Criteria. If the Sceptic shall choose to confront, with a denial, such self-evident truths, the world may very wisely and properly 'leave him alone in his glory.'


The necessary deduction from the most careful and rigid application of these Criteria, is the absolute validity of our knowledge of Matter Spirit, Time and Space. Let us now carefully apply to the forms of knowledge under consideration the Criteria above stated.

1. The knowledge which we have of each of these realities exists in universal mind as a form of intuitive knowledge strictly common to all the race, and that at all times, and in all ages, and under all circumstances of conscious existence. Not a tribe of men, as we have said, can be found who have not, and ever have not had, distinct apprehensions of Matter and Spirit, Time and Space, who have not distinct and separate terms to represent all these realities, and who confound any one of them with any other. Mind cannot and never did and never could think at all without definitely distinguishing and separating between the self and the not-self the me and the not-me, and without apprehending these realities, not only as being distinct and separate from one another, but each as existing in time and space. Nor in the interior of the mind is there, or ever was there or can there be, a shadow of doubt about the distinct and separate existence of all these realities. All this, as we have shown on former occasions in the progress of this work, philosophers of all schools, Sceptics among the rest, fully admit and affirm. Nor can they, as they themselves admit, 'treat this faith,' in the construction of their system, 'as nothing but a prejudice,' but by a compulsory assumption of will. While they consent to be guided by their own and the Universal Intelligence, they do and they must, as they themselves acknowledge, absolutely believe the validity of our knowledge of all these realities. We must, then, admit the validity of our knowledge of all these realities, or affirm, and that for no reason but will assumption, that intuitive knowledge, strictly common to all the race, and that under all circumstances of conscious existence, is a blank illusion.

2. These forms of universal intuitive knowledge which we have of all these realities, are apprehended by universal mind as necessarily true. Time and space we not only know to be realities in themselves, but also know that they must thus exist. In other words, we know absolutely that the knowledge we have of these realities, not only is, but must be valid.

So, also, we necessarily recognize matter and spirit as realities whose distinct and separate existence is as necessarily implied by their attributes which we do, and must know to be real. The axioms, Events imply a cause, and Phenomena substance, are false, or our knowledge of matter and spirit, as distinct and separate entities, must be valid. All admit that we do really know the phenomena, or attributes, of each of these substances. Now, phenomena do not imply substance, and substances, consequently, are not as their essential phenomena, or we do have a valid knowledge of matter and spirit, as realities in themselves, and as distinct and separate entities. If the Sceptic denies the validity of this deduction, he is just as obviously and undeniably wrong, as the axioms, Body implies space, Succession implies time, Events imply a cause, Phenomena imply substance, and, Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another, are obviously and undeniably true.

3. These realities are ever present to the mind as the objects of consciously direct and immediate knowledge, or as realities whose existence is, by direct and immediate intuition, implied by what is thus known. Mind is ever present to itself as the direct; immediate, and absolutely consciously subject of thought, feeling, and voluntary determination. Matter, in its secondary qualities, is ever present to universal mind, as the unknown cause of known, or conscious, states of Sensibility, Sensations; while in its primary qualities, as extension and form, it is equally present as the consciously, and directly, and immediately known object of conscious states of the Intelligence, Sense-perception. Time and space, on the other hand, are present as realities which must exist, realities, also, whose existence is necessarily implied by that of objects of consciously direct and immediate knowledge. No philosopher who makes any pretensions to integrity will deny the perfect correctness of the above statements. 'The problem now to be solved is this'—Is the fact of knowledge consciously direct and immediate to be regarded as a valid Criterion of truth? The Sceptic may deny this, if he chooses.

4. The knowledge we have of all these realities has, in universal mind, and that in all circumstances and relations of conscious existence, the characteristics of absolute fixedness and immutability. Every individual of the race, who thinks at all, as we have often said, apprehends the self, the mind, as a self-conscious personal existence endowed with the attributes of thought, feeling, and willing; and matter, as an exterior object existing in and occupying space, and consequently, as possessed of the fixed qualities of extension and form, and time and space as the places of substances and events. While assumptions, opinions, beliefs, conjectures, and guesses, appear and disappear in the sphere of human thought, while they change their forms there, and take on the appearance of endlessly 'dissolving views,' the apprehensions under consideration, in the forms designated, remain in universal mind as fixed and immutable, as are any of our ideas of any mathematical figures whatever. All this is just as true with the Sceptic, and with philosophers of all schools, as with the rest of mankind. While the Sceptic says to himself, in the language of the Oriental Yogee, 'Neither do I exist, nor anything which pertains to myself; all individual existence is a dream,' an illusion; phenomena only are real; while our philosopher is saying all this, the 'I,' and the 'not I'—that is, matter and spirit, time and space, are just as real to him, and just the same as they were before he began, in the language of Kant, to 'play tricks upon Reason.' When the Pure Idealist is endeavouring to demonstrate to himself, and to all the world, that nothing but thought is real, he is ever present to himself, not as a form of thought, but as a great and substantial thinker, and the inquiry is perpetually before his mind, What will real thinkers think of this? Without a violation of all the principles and laws of scientific classification and induction, we cannot confound these fundamental apprehensions with changeable assumptions, opinions, beliefs, and conjectures, nor locate them anywhere else but within the sphere of real knowledge.

5. The apprehensions which we have of the realities under consideration exist in all minds, under all circumstances of conscious existence, as conscious forms of real, and absolutely certain knowledge. We do not opine, imagine, conjecture, or guess, that we exist. We know it. In the same form, we consciously know that matter is before us, as an exterior object, having real extension and form. We also know space and time, as necessarily existing realities, There is not on earth a mind possessed of Reason in which the apprehensions under consideration do not exist in this one exclusive form. This conscious certainty, also, is just as absolute in the mind of philosophers of all schools, as in that of any other individual. They may, if they choose, 'compel themselves to treat this faith as nothing but a prejudice.' Yet they can, by no possibility, force into the sphere of real thought the appearance even of real doubt of the certainty of our knowledge of 'the me and the not-me,' or of time and space. We have, by a forced assumption of will, to 'put ourselves into a state of not knowing, when we begin to philosophize,' or we cannot even treat as illusions our knowledge of these realities. Knowledge, then, is not knowledge, or our knowledge of the essential nature and attributes of matter and spirit, time and space, has absolutely certain validity.

6. Matter and spirit, time and space, we remark finally, stand revealed in the Universal Intelligence as realities whose existence is necessarily implied by fundamental facts of absolutely conscious knowledge. Phenomena, as conscious facts of external perception, all men, and philosophers of all schools, admit and affirm to be real. If the axioms, Body implies space, Succession implies time, Events imply a cause, Phenomena imply substance, and Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another, are true, then our knowledge of mind and matter, time and space, have undeniable validity. The Sceptic can deny this deduction but by denying the reality of conscious facts which all admit on the one hand, or the validity of the above axioms on the other. In the one case, he is just as obviously and undeniably wrong as universally admitted conscious facts are real. In the other case, he is just as obviously and undeniably in fundamental error as the above self-evident axioms and principles of all science are of obvious and undeniable validity. In the light, therefore, of six undeniably valid Criteria of real knowledge, the deduction takes on the form of demonstrated certainty, that we have a scientifically ascertained valid knowledge of these four realities. The Sceptical Philosophy can, by no possibility, be true, unless all the above designated Criteria, together with all the axioms in all the sciences, are false.

The Sceptical Doctrine Self-contradictory.

Mr. Lewes presents a formal argument to prove the doctrine that we have no Criterion of truth. In this he follows the example of all who belong to his school. What is the principle which lies at the basis of his whole argument? It is undeniably this. Doctrines of a certain character, the absence of all valid Criteria of truth, for example, may be absolutely verified by argument. In other words, we can know, and can know that we do know, certain propositions to be true. How can this be so, in the utter absence of all Criteria by which we can distinguish between valid and invalid arguments, and between what judgments are true and what false? Why do Mr. Lewes and his school regard his argument as valid for truth? For this reason exclusively. It induces in their minds a certain form of conviction represented by the term conscious certitude. When an argument induces in all minds an absolute certitude of its validity, they hold that argument as valid for the truth of the deduction reached. Universal and absolute conscious certitude, then, is, with them even, as it should be, a valid Criterion of truth. Were this not so, it would be absurd for them to attempt to verify their own doctrine. The proof they offer is proof absolute that they themselves do not believe their own doctrine. If universal and absolute conscious certitude is a test of truth, and it is so, or the attempt to prove anything is absurd, then, as above demonstrated, we have an absolute valid knowledge of spirit, matter, time, and space.


Sceptics of all ages make a fundamental distinction between phenomena and noumena. The former they define as 'the appearance of things,' or 'modifications of the soul.' Noumena, on the other hand, are the realities themselves, existences in se. It is very important that we clearly and fully understand the Sceptical doctrine in regard to the relations of phenomena to noumena, and those of our Intelligence to each class of objects. The following are the essential elements and features of this doctrine, to wit: 1. We do know phenomena, but can know nothing whatever of noumena. 'Our knowledge,' says Mr. Lewes, 'is the knowledge of phenomena, and not at all of noumena, because we only know things as they appear to us, and not as they really are; all attempts to penetrate the mystery of Existence must be vain, for the attempt can only be made on appearances.' After defining phenomena as mere 'appearances of things,' 'modifications of the soul,' Mr. Spencer sets forth this formula, as embodying not only his own, but the doctrine of all philosophers of his school, 'from Protagoras to Kant,' namely, 'the reality existing behind all appearances is, and ever must be, unknown.' 2. While there can be no real knowledge of realities, noumena, there may be a real science of phenomena. 'Although absolute truth is not attainable by man, although there cannot be a science of Being, there can be a science of appearances. Phenomena, they' (sceptics) 'admit, are true as phenomena. What we have to do is, therefore, to observe and classify phenomena.' In the above presentation Mr. Lewes has most accurately, as all will admit, stated the doctrine of Scepticism as avowed by its advocates in all ages. 3. While we cannot have any science of real Being, we can not only know and classify phenomena, but determine their mutual relationships and laws, their co-existences and sequences.' What we have to do,' says Mr. Lewes, 'is therefore to observe and classify phenomena; to trace in them the resemblances of co-existence and succession; to trace the connection of cause and effect; and, having done this, we shall have founded a science of Appearances adequate to our wants.' 'Fact' (phenomena) 'I know,' says Mr. Huxley, 'and Law I know.' 4. The reason why we can have no science of Being, noumena, is the fact that we have no Criterion of truth. 'The stronghold of Scepticism,' say, Mr. Lewes, 'is impregnable. It is this: There is no Criterion of truth.' This is, and ever has been, the fundamental deduction of Scepticism. 'Phenomena are the appearances of things. But where exists the Criterion of the truth of these appearances?' Such are the positive teachings of Scepticism in regard to the relations of phenomena and noumena as real Being. To the following observations upon these dogmas we would invite very special attention.


1. According to the fundamental doctrine and principles of Scepticism, we have no more real knowledge, and can have no more real science of phenomena than of noumena, or real Being. We cannot have knowledge, or science, of substances or causes, says the Sceptic, 'because we have no Criterion of truth.' On the authority of what Criterion, then, do you affirm that 'you know Phenomena?' 'The Criterion,' you say, 'must reside either in Reason, in Conception, or in Sensation,' and you have demonstrated that this Criterion cannot be found in either of these faculties, and have hence inferred that we have no Criterion whatever of truth in any form. You are absolutely necessitated, therefore, by your own principle, to affirm, with the Pyrrhonists, that you do not know that you know, not merely, Being in se, but Phenomena also. You are bound, by all the principles of logical integrity, to affirm that there can be no more real knowledge or science of Phenomena than there can be of Noumena, and that in the same sense in which knowledge and science in one form is impossible, it is equally so in the other.

The universal boast of Sceptics is that they can, and do know Phenomena, and can, and do know Law; but that they do not, and cannot know Substances and Causes. Now Law is just as invisible, and in the same identical sense invisible, as are Substances and Causes. Phenomena imply Substances and Causes in the same sense in which they imply Law. In the same identical sense in which we perceive Law, we perceive also Substances and Causes in Phenomena. In the same sense and form in which we perceive or know Phenomena, we perceive and know Substances and Causes in and through Phenomena. By the same identical Criteria by which we know that we have a valid knowledge of Phenomena, we know also that we have an equally valid knowledge of Law, Substances, and Causes. Necessarily implied knowledge has, undeniably, the same validity as that by which the former is implied.

2. In the Sceptical Philosophy we have a fundamentally false idea and definition of Phenomena. They are affirmed to be 'modifications of the soul.' Modifications of the soul are Phenomena of the soul and of no other substance. Phenomena of matter, on the other hand, are qualities or properties of this substance; qualities or properties perceived by the soul, or the Intelligence. So the term Phenomena is regarded by the universal Intelligence, and defined by all standard authorities. Nowhere but amid the illusions of false science are the Phenomena of one substance defined as modifications of another substance. The secondary qualities of matter are not modifications of the soul, Sensations, but causes of such modifications, that is, qualities of the exterior, material, substance. The primary qualities are never conceived, or defined, as in any sense 'modifications of the soul,' but as qualities or properties of matter, qualities or properties directly and immediately perceived by the mind. The only proper definition of Phenomena is the properties, or qualities, of substances perceived by the mind. Qualities in themselves constitute the real nature of substances. Qualities, when perceived, are called the Phenomena of said substances.

3. Hence, we remark in the next place, that there is no such distinction as the Sceptical Philosophy affirms to exist between Phenomena and Noumena. Phenomena, we repeat, are the real qualities, or properties, of substances, qualities or properties perceived by the mind. Phenomena and Noumena, God and Nature, and the Universal Intelligence, have immutably 'joined together,' and false science can, by no possibility, 'put them asunder.' The idea of appearance in which nothing appears, that is, Phenomena in which no substances are revealed, is admitted by Kant to involve an absolute absurdity. If in Phenomena substances are represented as they are not, and not as they are, they are not manifested at all, and we have appearance in which nothing appears. Appearance in which no reality appears, this is the sum and substance of the Sceptical Philosophy.

4. The Sceptical Philosophy, we remark again, involves a fundamental psychological error. Phenomena, even of matter, are, according to its teachings, consciously given as 'modifications of the soul.' On no other hypothesis can they be affirmed to be such modifications. Here we have one of the most obvious errors in psychology, errors known to science. No rational being but a bewildered philosopher ever imagined Phenomena to be anything else than perceived qualities of some definite substance.

5. The last, and one of the greatest absurdities that we shall notice as connected with these dogmas of Scepticism, is found in its admission of the reality of Phenomena, and of our knowledge of the same, and a denial of the validity of forms of knowledge whose validity is absolutely implied by what Sceptics themselves admit and affirm that we do know. Phenomena are real, says the Sceptic in common with all the race, and we have a valid knowledge of Phenomena. Let him admit every form of truth which admitted Phenomena imply, and neither himself nor any other rational being can be a Sceptic. We cannot be more certain of the reality of Phenomena than we are, and must be, of the absolute validity of the principle, that Phenomena imply substance, or real being, and that substances must be in themselves as their essential Phenomena. We cannot be more assured of the fact that events are real, than we are of the validity of the principle that events imply a cause. We cannot be more assured of the fact that we know Phenomena and events, than we are and must be, that through these we do know substances and causes. We cannot be more assured that we really know Phenomena and events, substances and causes, than we are, and must be, that we know their implied realities, time and space. There can be no more fundamental form of error than is involved in the idea, that we can, and do know Phenomena and events, and do not and cannot know the substances, causes, and realities, the existence and character of which are absolutely and necessarily implied by what it is admitted and affirmed we can, and do know.


While Scepticism has to appearance none but merely negative sides, it is, when carefully considered, as manifestly as any other a positive system, and has as many positive sides as any other hypothesis. It bases all its deductions, for example, upon the absolutely affirmed facts, that we have, and can have, no Criterion of truth; that while we do, and can have no knowledge whatever of real substances and causes, we can, and do have valid knowledge of Phenomena and Law, that the Phenomena which we do know are not qualities, or properties, of objects perceived by the mind, but 'modifications of the soul;' that these modifications validly represent no realities whatever, and that while we can, and do have a valid knowledge of these modifications, that is, of Phenomena, we can have no real knowledge of the substances, causes, and other realities, whose existence and character are given in the Universal Intelligence, as necessarily implied by Phenomena of which even Scepticism itself admits and affirms that we do have a valid knowledge. These, among others, constitute the positive sides of this Philosophy, and all these principles must be true, or Scepticism must be a system of fundamental error. Let us now consider some of the necessary deductions which arise from these, the known basis principles of this system.


1. All these principles in common are, in fact, nothing but bald assumptions, which have no self-evident validity, which have no antecedent or deductive probability in their favour, and can by no possibility be verified by proof. Is it self-evident, for example, that we have no Criterion of truth—that the Phenomena which we consciously perceive as qualities of a not-self, are mere modifications of the self—that realities are not what we consciously perceive them to be, and that we can know Phenomena and Law, and cannot know the substances, causes, and realities whose existence and character are given in the Universal Intelligence as necessarily implied by Phenomena which we undeniably do know? By what process of induction, or deduction, can it be shown that these Sceptical principles have any antecedent probability in their favour? It is, undeniably, just as antecedently probable, and infinitely more so, that realities are, as that they are not, what we directly and immediately perceive them to be. Nor, by any actual or conceivable process of induction, can the Sceptical hypothesis be proven true, and its opposite false. By what process of reasoning can the Sceptic render us more absolutely or rationally assured that we do not, than we are that we do, exist as personal beings exercising the functions of thought, feeling, and free determination? How can he render us more absolutely and rationally certain that matter is not, than we actually are that it is directly and immediately before us as possessed of the real qualities of extension and form? How can he render us more rationally and assuredly certain that such axioms as the following are false, than we are that they are and must be true, namely, that Body implies space; Succession implies time; Phenomena imply substance; Events imply a cause, and that Substances must be as their essential Phenomena? Unless the Sceptic shall demonstrate all the above propositions, his hypothesis, undeniably, stands before us as a mere bald and lawless assumption—what he can no more accomplish than he can prove to us that 2 + 2 = 6.

2. The Sceptical Philosophy is not only based upon a mere assumption, but upon an assumption which is most palpably self-contradictory and absurd. On the assumption that we have no Criterion of truth, the deduction is based that we cannot have valid knowledge of truth in any form. Notwithstanding the want of such Criterion, and in the face of the universal deduction based upon that want, we are absolutely assured that we do have a valid knowledge of Phenomena and even of Law. Now if, in the absence of such Criterion, we do and can have rationally self-assured knowledge of Phenomena and Law, we may, notwithstanding the want of such test, have an equally absolute and rationally self-assured knowledge of the substances and causes, the existence and character of which are necessarily implied by Phenomena which we do know. If the want of Criteria proves the fact that we can have no valid knowledge of substances, this want is equal proof of the invalidity of our knowledge of Phenomena and Law.

3. Scepticism in its fundamental principles and deductions involves the absurdity of making a discrimination where, undeniably, no difference exists. 'I know Fact, and I know Law,' says the Sceptic. Real knowledge then, in some form, does exist. This all Sceptics admit. If they doubt everything else, they do not and cannot doubt that they doubt. Now there is nothing of which we can be more certain than we are of our own personal existence, of the reality of matter as possessed of extension and form, and of the existence of time and space. Scepticism assumes one form of knowledge to be really valid, and then affirms that another form which has, undeniably, the same kind and degree of certainty, to be utterly illusory, thus making a fundamental discrimination, where, most obviously, no difference whatever does exist. If we admit, as all Sceptics do, that one form of consciously certain knowledge is valid, we convict ourselves of the grossest logical insincerity if we deny the validity of any other form of knowledge undeniably possessed of the same kind and degree of certainty. We cannot be more certain that we know Fact and Law, that we know Phenomena, and that we have doubts, than we are that we know 'the self and the not-self,' and time and space, as realities in themselves. To affirm that we do know Fact and Law, and that we do not know 'the me and the not me,' is simply to convict ourselves of the most palpable self-contradiction and absurdity.

4. This hypothesis has its basis not only in the error of making a discrimination where no difference exists, but in other equally fundamental forms, that of confounding things that essentially differ from one another. Knowledge through Sense-perception, it is argued, cannot be valid, because 'the Senses are deceptive, and there is no perception which cannot be false.' In two fundamental respects, the Sceptical deduction is based upon the error of confounding things which fundamentally differ—confounding Sensation considered as a sensitive state, and Sense-perception considered as an intellectual state, on the one hand; and confounding the real fact of Sense-perception with the assumptions, opinions, beliefs, conjectures, and guesses which are based upon such facts.

In all the writings of Sceptics upon the subject we search in vain for any proper discrimination between the primary and secondary qualities of matter, and between the forms of knowledge which we obtain of this substance indirectly through the consciousness of sensations, and directly through consciously presentative perception. To know a substance as it consciously affects our sensitivity, is one thing; to know its essential qualities, as extension and form, by perception consciously direct and immediate, is quite another. Scepticism universally confounds these fundamentally diverse forms of knowledge with each other, and bases its deduction upon the assumed identity of things which essentially differ from one another, and thus finally convicts itself of fundamental error.

Again, it is argued that 'the senses are deceptive,' because men differ and contradict each other about the same things. Facts, it should be borne in mind, are one thing; while assumptions, opinions, and conjectures based upon such facts are quite another. As far as facts of actual perception, external and internal, and the intuitive convictions directly, immediately, and necessarily, connected with such facts are concerned, men do not differ at all. All are conscious of themselves as exercising the functions of thought, feeling, and willing, of matter as an exterior substance having extension and form, and of time and space as realities, whose existence is necessarily implied by conscious facts, and all in common intuitively believe in the reality of matter, and spirit, time and space. So far all men agree, and here we have facts of actual perception, and intuitive convictions directly, immediately, and necessarily connected with such facts. Here, also, we have all that the Senses and other primary faculties give us, and here we are never deceived at all. Outside of these perceptions and convictions in respect to which all men do, and must, agree, and in respect to which we are not, and cannot, be deceived—outside of these intuitive perceptions and convictions, and based upon the same, we say, we meet with conflicting and contradictory assumptions, beliefs, opinions, conjectures, and guesses, in which there is a 'confusion worse confounded,' of error and truth. The reason is, that in this last-named sphere we have convictions of the Intelligence intermingled with sentiments of Will and of the Sensitivity. Now Sceptics confound these assumptions and opinions, etc., with actual facts of real perception, and with the intuitive convictions immediately and necessarily connected with these facts and convictions, and hence conclude that the 'Senses are deceptive,' a fundamental error in science. In actual perception, we repeat, and in the intuitive convictions directly and necessarily connected with the facts thus given, error is impossible, and here men do not, and cannot, differ. The confounding of forms of knowledge, consciously indirect and mediate, with those as consciously direct and immediate on the one hand, and facts of real perception and truths of actual intuition which must be true, with assumptions, opinions, beliefs, conjectures, and guesses which may or may not be true—here we meet with the fundamental errors of the Sceptical Philosophy.

4. While we remark, finally, the Sceptical Philosophy is not selfevidently true, while it has no antecedent probability in its favour, and cannot be verified as really, or even probably, true, it may be demonstrated to be a system of fundamental error. This hypothesis is just as obviously and undeniably false as the fundamental axioms in all the valid sciences are obviously and undeniably true. No axiom in any science can be more self-evidently and necessarily true than are those to which we have so often referred—to wit, Body implies space, Succession implies time, Phenomena imply substance, Events imply a cause, and Substances are, in themselves, as their essential Phenomena. Take the Phenomena which Sceptics admit to be validly known, take these Phenomena just as given in the universal consciousness, and no deduction in any science can be rendered more demonstrably evident than may that of the validity of our knowledge of spirit and matter, and time and space. Scepticism is just as undeniably and obviously false, as these principles are self-evidently and necessarily true. We either do not know Phenomena as given in the universal consciousness, or we do know matter and spirit, and time and space, as realities in themselves. We must either admit and affirm, that known facts imply nothing, or admit and affirm that the facts which we do know imply the existence of all the realities under consideration. If thought, for example, implies a thinker, we exist as thinkers. If you deny this principle, you are as obviously and necessarily wrong, as this principle is obviously and necessarily true. You must deny, that we think and feel, and will, at all, or admit that we exist as self-conscious personalities possessed of the powers of thought, feeling, and willing. If the qualities of extension and form imply the existence of a material substance, then matter exists as such a substance. If you deny the validity of the principle, you are as obviously and necessarily wrong as this principle is obviously and necessarily true. If you deny the existence of such qualities, you are as obviously and absolutely wrong, as knowledge consciously distinct, direct, and immediate, is obviously and absolutely true. Scepticism cannot be true unless all the axioms in all the sciences are false, and the universal consciousness is 'a liar from the beginning.' We are now fully prepared to enter upon the consideration of the system which arose during the period denominated 'the Decline of the Grecian Philosophy.'




PYRRHO of Elis (about 360-270 B.C.) was the founder of the Sceptical school in Philosophy which bore his name. As the founder of this school left no writings which have descended to us, and as we have to do with systems rather than with men, we shall set forth the doctrines of this school as interpreted by its leading advocates, such as Timou of Philus, and Sextus Empiricus. The fundamental doctrine of the school was universal and absolute doubt. We assert nothing, was their avowed maxim, not even that the do not assert anything. 'Nothing is certain of itself, as is proved by the discrepancy of opinions concerning all that is perceptible or thinkable; and therefore nothing can be made certain by proof, since the latter derives no certainty from itself, and if based on other proof leads us either to a regressus in infinitum, or to a circle in demonstration.' The following is their argument in refutation of the principle that every event must have a cause. 'A cause is a relativum, for it is not to be conceived without that which it causes; but the relative has no existence except in thought. Further, in each case cause and effect must be either synchronous, or the former must precede or follow the latter. They cannot be synchronous, for then cause and effect would as such be undistinguishable, and each could with equal reason be claimed as the cause of the other. Nor can the cause precede the effect, since a cause is no cause until that exists of which it is the cause. Lastly, the supposition that a cause follows its effect is without sense, and may be abandoned to those fools who habitually invert the order of things.' 'Every syllogism,' says Sextus Empiricus, 'moves in a circle, since the major premise, on which the proof of the conclusion depends, depends for its own certainty on a complete induction, in which the conclusion must have been contrived.'13 On the above dogmas and reasoning we remark:

1. We have here a most palpable example of the self-contradictory and absurd. Absolute proof is professedly presented that proof in all forms, actual and conceivable, is utterly impossible; just as if we can demonstrate the absolute impossibility of demonstration in any and in every form. Mr. Mill here finds himself anticipated in his famous argument in which, according to his own reasoning, he begs the deduction that all deduction involves the vicious error of petitio principii. How can the doctrine that all proof in every form is impossible be proven? If we cannot attain to certain knowledge on any subject, how can we know that all, or any, opinions are deceptive?

2. We have also in the above expositions and deductions the vicious error of drawing universal conclusions from a partial induction of facts. 'Opinions,' we are told, 'concerning all that is perceptible, or thinkable,' are discrepant. In regard to what is most essential concerning 'things perceptible and thinkable,' all mankind, as we have absolutely evinced, perfectly agree. All have common and identical ideas and convictions in regard to matter and spirit, time and space. These ideas and convictions, even sceptics admit, are 'innate and connatural,' 'unavoidable and irradicable,' and 'remain proof against all attempts to remove them by grounds and arguments.' Nor do the points of real disagreement among mankind, assumptions excepted, have any bearings whatever in the sphere of the Science of Being. Leaving out all assumptions, we have only to adduce those necessary ideas and intuitive convictions, strictly common to the race, to verify absolutely the validity of our knowledge of Matter, Spirit, Time, Space, God, Duty, Immortality, and Retribution. All denial of any one, or all, of these doctrines has been, in fact and form, based upon an impeachment of the validity of these necessary ideas and universal intuitions. We may safely challenge philosophers of all schools to furnish a single exception to the above statement.

3. We have also, in the above expositions and dogmas, the necessary consequence of ignorance of the doctrine of the validity of intuitively implied knowledge. The principle of Causality, the necessary idea, or axiom, that every event implies a cause, cannot by argument be proved or disproved; and that for the obvious reason, that as a principle, a principle having self-evident and necessary validity, it lies with other principles of the same class, at the basis of all proof. The occurrence of an event implies, of necessity, the prior existence of a power adapted and adequate, when the proper conditions are fulfilled, to produce such events, and the action of that power, as a cause, in the production of this one event. If an individual demands proof of the validity of self-evident and necessary principles which lie at the basis of all proof, his demand may, in the impressive language of Sextus Empiricus, 'be abandoned to those fools who habitually invert the natural order of things.' If he attempts to demonstrate the invalidity of such principles, this attempt also may very properly 'be abandoned to those fools' just designated.

The modern argument, as stated by Mr. Hume, against the validity of the principle under consideration demands special notice. 'The origin, of the notion,' Mr. Hume argues, 'cannot so be accounted for as to justify our relying upon it as a form of cognition.' This argument, if valid at all, we remark, in the first place, would condemn reliance upon any of the axioms in any of the sciences, and would render science in any form impossible. We can, undeniably, as readily account for the origin of this as of any other self-evident principle that can be named. Let Mr. Hume, or any other individual, account for the origin of the principles, Body implies space; Succession, time; or Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another, and we will, on the same principle, account for the origin of the axiom, Every event implies a cause.

But suppose we could not account for the origin of this or any other self-evident principle: must we for that reason deny its validity, notwithstanding we know, and cannot but know, that it is and must be true? The origin, in thought, of an idea is one thing—the validity of that idea is quite another. In absolute ignorance of its origin we may have absolute knowledge of its validity. We might as properly deny the existence of the Aurora Borealis because we cannot account for its origin, as deny the validity of a self-evident principle because we cannot explain its origin.

In the case before us, however, we are at no loss for the explanation demanded. We have a faculty of knowledge, Reason—a faculty which, in the presence of perceived facts, apprehends the realities necessarily and intuitively implied by said facts. Hence, on the perception of body, succession, phenomena, and events, Reason gives us, as implied by such facts, space, time, substance, and cause. We have another faculty, the Judgment, which, in the presence of the perceived and implied, affirms the intuitive, self-evident, and necessary relations between what we perceive and their implied realities. Hence we have a ready and scientific exposition and explanation of the origin of all self-evident truths, such as, Body implies space; Succession implies time; Phenomena imply substance; Events imply a cause, and Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. None but 'those fools who habitually invert the natural order of things,' will question the validity of any of these principles.


Professedly, Scepticism is a system of universal nescience, as far at least as realities are concerned. The difficulty with its advocates has ever been to find a formula which will express that doctrine—a formula which shall not be palpably self-contradictory. If we affirm that nothing can be known with certainty, or that real knowledge is impossible, in the very affirmation we profess certain knowledge in one form at least, and thus contradict ourselves. We also take away all grounds for a denial of the possibility and actuality of real knowledge in all other conceivable forms. If the Intelligence is a faculty of knowledge relatively to the extent and limits of its own nescience, it may also be relatively to the self and not-self, and time and space. If we affirm that we can, and do know phenomena, but cannot, and do not know noumena, we find our selves involved in difficulties no less inexplicable than before. Some of these essential and admitted phenomena are given in the universal consciousness, not as 'modifications of the soul,' but as the directly and immediately and absolutely perceived, or known, qualities of external substances, the qualities of extension and form, for example. As modifications imply the real existence of the subject modified, so the external qualities referred to imply the real existence of an extended or material substance. There is, and can be, no landing place between the doctrine of universal and absolute nescience and that of a valid knowledge, not only of phenomena, but of all realities which phenomena, as actually given in the universal consciousness, imply. In other words, the era has arrived when thinkers of all schools in common will find themselves necessitated to make their election between the doctrine of absolute and universal nescience, on the one hand, and Realism on the other. On the authority of any Criterion on which any thinker will prove the validity of our knowledge in any form whatever, we will demonstrate the fact that we have a valid knowledge, not only of phenomena, but of matter and spirit, time and space. But the doctrine of nescience cannot be represented in thought or embodied in any formula actual or conceivable without involving the absurdity of palpable self-contradiction. To think is to affirm, and every scientific formula involves the affirmation of real knowledge. To affirm that we don't know, that we don't know anything, is to affirm that we do know our own nescience, and thus to contradict ourselves. The same holds equally when ancient and modern sceptics, such as Pyrrho, Timon, and Mill, professedly prove that proof, in all its forms, is impossible, that is, involves the vicious error of petitio principii.

We have already indicated the formula of the Pyrrhonists—to wit, 'I assert nothing, not even that I assert nothing; for I do not know that I do not know anything.' The Pyrrhonists were accustomed to contrast their doctrine with that of the Scepticism of the New Academy in this form. The latter affirmed that they did know one thing—to wit, that nothing is knowable, whereas the former denied the possibility of knowledge even in this one form, vainly supposing that in this denial they escaped the palpable contradiction which a profession to know that nothing is knowable undeniably involves. Such is the absurdity and self-contradiction of false science.


When men philosophize they have an end in view, just as they have when engaged in any other occupation. The end which the Pyrrhonists professedly sought through Philosophy was ataraxy, or absolute quietude and imperturbableness of mind. The immutable condition of attaining this state, they affirmed, was an utter suspension of all judgments in respect to all realities in common. Hence they denied all knowledge of all objects, even of our ignorance of the same, all distinctions between right and wrong, beauty and deformity, great and small, pleasure and pain, and even life and death. The Yogee of the school of Kapila affirmed that when he had attained to a distinct recognition of the absolute validity of the formula, 'neither do I exist, nor anything which pertains to myself; all individual existence is a dream,' an enfranchisement resulted in which the mind had absolute quietude in regard to all objects and events. So the Pyrrhonists, borrowing the idea no doubt from their Oriental predecessors, affirmed that when there is a distinct recognition of the formula, that nothing is knowable, that to the Intelligence all objects and events are absolutely alike, and that even between life and death there is no recognizable difference, there then resulted a state of absolute and unchangeable ataraxy—an indisturbable mental immovableness, which is the Summum Bonum—a state attainable by the science of absolute nescience.

All this, supposing absolute immobility and indifferentism to be the Summum Bonum, would be a very direct and almost instantaneous method of attaining this state, provided the Intelligence could be brought really thus to regard all objects and events, and provided also that our Sensitivity is affected by no causes but the states of the Intelligence. Neither of these conditions, however, is possible. Gout and rheumatism and the toothache are none of them intellectual states, and yet they terribly affect us. We may affirm that there is no difference between these so-called pains and the sensations induced by the sweetest music ear ever heard. Yet even the Pyrrhonist would infinitely prefer the latter to the former. If all objects are in themselves alike, they seem different, and as causes of states of the Sensitivity, they are 'what their seeming shows.'

Wherein lies the real difference between life and death, according to the teachings of modern any more than ancient Scepticism, to us it is impossible to determine. All correct definitions enable us to distinguish the things defined from all other objects. The common definition of a square, for example, enables us at once to distinguish all such figures from a circle or a triangle. The following, after many discriminations, is the definition of life given by Mr. Spencer, the central light of modern Scepticism. 'Life,' he says, 'is the definite combination of heterogeneous changes both simultaneous and successive, together with external co-existences and sequences.' Two forms are before us, the one living, and the other dead. The problem to be solved is—the real difference between them, and that in the light of this definition. Undeniably there are, in each alike, 'changes both simultaneous and successive, together with external co-existences and sequences.' So far, life and death are absolutely identical. The only remaining question is in which of these forms is there, and in which is there not, a 'definite combination of heterogeneous changes,' and these identical changes 'both simultaneous and successive?' We may defy the world to show in the light of this definition the real difference between these two forms, that is, between life and death. Thus it is that the ancient Yogee and Pyrrhouist, together with the modern Sceptic, after carrying us round, after the method of Hogg's Tales, a vast circle, promising all the while to 'show us great and wondrous things that we knew not of,' set us down at last at our point of departure, just as we were when we started, with this difference, that during our false progress a fatal disregard has been induced with respect to the greatest of all concerns, those involved in our vital relations to God, duty, immortality, and retribution.



THE epoch in which the doctrines of Plato were adhered to by his successors is called the Old, that in which important, but not fundamental, changes were made in his doctrines, is designated as the Middle, and that in which his teachings were totally subverted, or abandoned, is named the New Academy. The following extract from the 'Epitome of the History of Philosophy,' presents, perhaps, a better account of the progress of philosophic thought in the Platonic School than is given in any other Work,

'Of all the Greek schools, Platonism had the most elevated pretensions. Its theory of ideas involved the complete and absolute knowledge of things in themselves. Platonism, in this point of view, represented, so to say, the high aristocracy of the intellect, and must needs have been, accordingly, the particular object of attack by the other schools, among whom a common jealousy united against it. But the more attractive this science was, which was to dissipate all darkness from the human mind, the more difficult it was to hold firmly to it in the midst of the incessant objections opposed to it on all hands by its adversaries. As the Platonists held in contempt all the theories of knowledge maintained in the other schools, they would naturally, when once they admitted a doubt as to their own theory, begin to despair of the human intelligence itself. This explains the apparently singular phenomenon, namely, that Platonism, which exalted the human mind to the greatest height, was the first to descend towards the opposite extreme—the first to establish a mitigated Scepticism. In the period which we are surveying, it no longer attributed to the human Intelligence the power of knowing things in themselves and with certainty; it allowed to Reason no other Criterion than probable appearances.' We accordingly find that at the opening of the Christian Era, while Peripatetics; Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics were numerous throughout the Roman Empire, or the then civilized world, those who maintained, in fact and form, the doctrines of Plato, were found nowhere, not even in Greece itself. As long as Plato lived, his character and reputation saved his doctrines from disrespect. When he left the scene, and his successors attempted to defend his doctrines from the common assaults of all the other schools, they found the task too great for them. They could neither disprove the doctrines of their opponents, nor defend their own. Plato denied the validity of sense-perception, yet affirmed the absolute validity of perception the same in kind in a former state. Of present perception we are immediately conscious. Of perception in a former state, but 'a small portion of men' have only that form of knowledge which results through reminiscence. Where is there, or can there be, any ground whatever for denying wholly the validity of conscious perception, and affirming the absolute infallibility of mere reminiscence? No system thus proudly pretentious, thus foundationless in its principles, and thus open to attack, could long sustain the shock of criticism.


The first modification which occurred in the Platonic doctrine was made in what was called the Middle Academy, and consisted in the substitution of probable for absolute forms of knowledge. We know not, and cannot know, it was affirmed, realities as they are in themselves. All that we can know of them is through appearances, images which come to us from objects around us. Whether these images do, or do not, correspond with their objects, we cannot know with certainty, because we cannot compare the former with the latter. That there is such conformity, however, more or less exact, is altogether probable, and this probability was increased by such circumstances as the following: the liveliness of the impression: the agreement of one appearance with others; and an examination of the same appearance under different aspects. If, under diverse aspects, the appearance always remains the same in all essential particulars, it would demand, in connection with other Criteria, a form of assurance which rationally excludes all doubt. The difference between this doctrine and the Scepticism of the Pyrrhonists is thus shown by Sextus Empiricus. 'Many persons,' he says. 'confound the Philosophy of the Academy with that of the Sceptics. But although the disciples of the New Academy declare that all things are incomprehensible, yet they are distinguished from the Pyrrhonists in this very dogmatism: they affirm that all things are incomprehensible; the Sceptics do not affirm that. Moreover, the Sceptics consider all perceptions perfectly equal as to the faithfulness of their testimony; the Academicians distinguish between probable and improbable, perceptions; the first they class under various heads. There are some, they say, which are merely probable, others which are confirmed by reflection, others which are subject to no doubt. Assent is of two kinds: simple assent, which the mind yields without repugnance as without desire, such as that of a child following its master: and the assent which follows upon conviction and reflection. The Sceptics admitted the former kind; the Academicians the latter.'

If we were necessitated to abandon the doctrine of certain knowledge, which we are not, and then to make our election between that of Probability and absolute Scepticism. we should select the former as being infinitely the more reasonable and the more safe. Scepticism has no form, nor degree, not only of positive proof or evidence, but even of antecedent probability in its favour. On the other hand, the probabilities are as infinity to unity in favour as against the doctrine of the soul, of matter, time, space, God, duty, immortality, and retribution. Action with us must in most cases, even in the most important concerns of life, have no other basis than probability. In concerns of infinite moment, as in the case of a care, or non-care of the soul, of worship or nonworship, and of Infinity and Perfection, where no form of proof, positive evidence, or even antecedent probability exists in favour of the Sceptical hypothesis, and the case, as La Place affirms, stands 'as infinity to unity' in favour of the Theistic doctrine, we should morally and intellectually dementate ourselves, if we should make the Sceptical sentiment the guide of our life.

Among the Greeks, Arcesilaus (316-241 B.C.), and Carneades (214129 B.C.) are the most celebrated representatives of this new doctrine. In their disputes with the Stoics they took the ground of extreme Scepticism, denying absolutely that we have any Criterion of truth. In their controversy with the Sceptics they opposed to absolute and universal Doubt the doctrine of Probability. Of the doctrine last named, Cicero was one of the most able and illustrious defenders. 'It is more reasonable and safe.' he argued. 'to care for the soul than to disregard its possible immortal interests. If we care for such interests, and the soul dies with the body, the Sceptic will not be with us in eternity to laugh at us for our superstition. If, on the other hand, the soul is immortal, the Sceptic may forever regret his temerity in disregarding its immortal interests.' This is the substance of Cicero's argument upon this subject. His famous argument for the doctrine of God is familiar to our readers, and annihilates forever all excuse for a Godless life.

In the New Academy the doctrine of Scepticism became more and more intense, until in the school which he had established nothing of Plato remained but his name. In his first lecture in Rome, for example, Carneades delighted even the Stoic Cato with his able and eloquent exposition of the doctrine of Justice. The next day, however, he astonished the same audience by a professed demonstration of equal brilliancy, that knowledge on all subjects in common is utterly void of certainty, and by an affirmed refutation of all the arguments which he had the day preceding presented in favour of the doctrine of Justice. Cato, in view of such subverting intellectual jugglery, persuaded the Senate to banish such philosophers from Rome. We have here 'the oppositions' (antitheses, antinomies) 'of science falsely so-called' to which Paul refers, 'Antitheses of Science.' and 'Antinomies of Pure reason' which lie at the basis of ancient and modern Scepticism. In all such processes, there is this fundamental sophism, that by proof the invalidity of all proof may be demonstrated, and that by processes of reasoning the invalidity of all facts and principles, which lie at the basis of all reasoning, may be established. If all argument, with its basis, facts, and principles, is invalid, such invalidity cannot be verified by argument. What is the wisdom or use of begging, as Mr. Mill and all Sceptics do, that all deduction is begged? Can any argument have validity the conclusion of which is, that all argument is invalid, and that the same is true of all facts and principles that lie at the basis of all argument? Such juggling in logic as this can have place but in the brain of false science. Besides, as we have formerly stated, the conclusion deduced from these affirmed antitheses must undeniably have greater certainty and validity than is possessed by the intuitive and necessary convictions which are thereby impeached. Can we be as certain of the validity of the Sceptic's argument as we are of the fact of our own existence, and of that of material forms around us?



IN the theology of Aristotle God had place but as the passive cause of the organization of the universe, and of the events of universal providence. In the teachings of his successors, the Divine Idea gradually faded out, and was at last supplanted by Absolute Naturalism. Theophrastus (373-287 B.C.), who was selected by Aristotle as his successor, while he in general remained true to the doctrines of his predecessor, gave great prominence to the idea of motion as a primal cause in nature, and even represented thought as a species of motion. Virtue he taught to be worthy of being sought on its own account; yet affirmed that slight deviations from rules of morality were permissible when great good could be secured, or great evils averted thereby. External good he held to be essential as a means of cultivating virtue. The Stoics attributed to him the maxim, that fortune, and not wisdom, or virtue, is the rule of life.

Strabo of Lampsicus, the successor of Theophrastus, reduced the doctrines of Aristotle to a Pure Naturalism. Perception and thought, he held, were identical, and denied that mind has any existence separate from the body. Other Peripatetics, as stated by Ueberweg on the authority of Cicero, while they agreed with Aristotle in the general doctrine of the soul, taught that 'There exist no individual substantial souls, but only in its stead, one universal, vital, and sensitive force, which is diffused through all existing organisms, and is transiently individualized in different bodies.' We thus perceive the consequences of a fundamental error introduced into a system otherwise true. Out of Aristotle's doctrine of the absolute passivity of God in creation and providence, there resulted, among his early successors in his own school, the doctrine of Pure Materialism on the one hand, and Immaterial Pantheism on the other.

The writings of Aristotle, however, continued to be generally read and studied, and were the subjects of many commentaries in the schools, not only of Greece, but of Egypt and Rome. Thus the way was prepared for the perpetuity of his influence for ages after the commencement of the Christian era. In the school of Aristotle, the doctrine of Nominalism, and in that of Plato, that which, for ages, was designated as Realism, were fully developed, and were handed down to posterity for elucidation.

4. The fundamental question agitated in all the schools of Greece was in substance this: What is the Summum Bonum? In other words, On what conditions can human misery be terminated, and perfect happiness be secured? All men were visibly and consciously evil and unhappy, and all as consciously desired to find a remedy for the evil and its consequent misery, and to attain rest. While all these schools agitated these great problems, all as visibly failed in their solution. Yet the agitation kept the problems distinctly and impressively before the popular mind, and induced a universal yearning for a discovery of the secret which should end the heartache, and all the ills that flesh is heir to,' and thus prepared the way for a ready reception of the sovereign remedy which Christianity did reveal.



IN its attempts to solve the problem of universal being and its laws, Grecian thought was, even to itself, a demonstrated failure, and had settled down into the general formula of Scepticism, 'that we do not know that we do not know anything.' Such was the general sentiment of the leading Grecian Schools. At this era Greece ceased to be the home of Philosophy. Grecian thinkers no longer respected at home travelled, and carried their doctrines into other countries, particularly into Rome and Egypt. Roman thought took form from the Grecian, but originated nothing even apparently new. At Alexandria in Egypt, however, a famous school of thinkers arose, who attempted to create a new system out of the blended forms of Oriental and Grecian Positivisms. The mind can never long rest in the blind negations of Scepticism. The dominion of Sceptical thought has, consequently, always been superseded by Positive systems of some kind. Hence thinkers of Alexandria, such as Philo the Jew, Ammonius Saccas, and Plotinus, were all Positivists. In Grecian thought, as has been well said, 'Theology was much less developed than Cosmology, and Cosmology than Anthropology. In Oriental thought, on the other hand, Theology has the first place, Cosmology the second, and Anthropology almost no place at all. In the schools of Alexandria Theology became the leading object of thought and inquiry.

In the system of Philo, who was born a few years prior to the Christian Era, we meet with the doctrine of a personal God, 'the object of immediate subjective certainty,' and also inferrible from creation, an inference based upon the axiom, 'No work of skill makes itself.' So far we have essentially the doctrine of the Old Testament. In creation, however, God acts through delegated powers originally created by Him, particularly through the highest of all the divine forces, the Logos (the Word). This Logos is styled by Philo, 'the Son, the Paraclete, the Mediator between God and man.' Virtue consists in likeness to God. Man is strong and wise, instead of weak and foolish, when his 'soul becomes the dwelling place of God,' and the soul's 'highest blessedness is to abide in God.' The central Christian idea, that 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,' has no place in the teachings of this thinker. His doctrine of the Logos, leaving out the idea of incarnation, is Arian, on the one hand, and Platonic on the other. For a full statement of the doctrines of this author, we would refer especially to Ueberweg's 'History of Philosophy.' In Plotinus (204—269 A.D.) a disciple of Ammonius Saccas, of whom we shall speak more at large in another connection, Neo-Platonism reached its consummation, and with him the history of Grecian Philosophy properly terminates. In the system of Plotinus, we have a reproduction, in fact and form, of the ancient, Oriental, prior Grecian, and an anticipation of modern Pantheism, and this doctrine was by him presented in opposition to Christian Theism. From Plato he borrowed the doctrine that all science must be of universals. Individuals are nothing but phenomena which have no real existence. Universals alone, as ideas, have real existence. Ideas as Noumena are but manifestations of one common Noumenon, the sensible world being the phenomenon of the Ideal world, and the Ideal world the mode of the divine existence. The condition of real knowledge is the absolute identity of the subject and object of knowledge, or of thought and the thing thought of. The faculty by which the mind knows the Infinite, as the only real existence, is called Ecstasy.

'If,' says Plotinus, as cited by Mr. Lewes, 'knowledge is the same as the thing known, the Finite, as Finite, never can know the Infinite, because it cannot be Infinite. To attempt, therefore, to know the Infinite by Reason is futile; it (the Infinite) can only be known in immediate presence. The Faculty by which the mind divests itself of its personality is Ecstasy. In this Ecstasy the soul becomes loosened from its material prison, separated from individual consciousness, and becomes absorbed in the Infinite Intelligence from which it emanated. In this Ecstasy it contemplates real existence—it identifies itself with that which it contemplates.'

Various terms are employed by Plotinus to represent the primal essence or thought of which all appearances are emanations, such as 'the First,' 'the One,' 'the Good,' and 'that which stands above being.' When he attempted to find terms by which to represent any definite idea of this primal essence, he found himself at an utter loss, not having any definite views himself upon the subject. On the negative side, he denies of this essence, 'all thinking and willing,' 'all energy,' 'life' and 'essence,' On the positive side, he affirmed that this essence 'needs nothing and can desire nothing,' that it is 'above energy,' and can 'neither be expressed nor thought.' Yet it is the producer of all things—the producer, not by a voluntary creative fiat, but by necessary emanation. From excess of energy, that which has no energy nor being, but is above both, radiates images of itself, just as the sun emits rays of itself. These images involuntarily turn towards their original in order to behold it, and thus become mind. In this mind ideas are immanent as essential parts of itself. In becoming conscious of these immanent ideas, mind apprehends the self and the not-self, that is, the universe of matter and spirit, and God as the Author of all things. In Ecstasy, mind apprehends the self, the world, and God, as one and identical. Perhaps Mr. Lewes, in the following expressive sentence, has represented as clearly as can be done the real idea of this last of the Greek philosophers. 'God therefore in His absolute state—in His first and highest Hypostasis—is neither Existence nor Thought, neither moved nor mutable; He is the simple Unity, or, as Hegel would say, the Absolute Nothing, the Immanent Negative.'

In his system Plotinus professedly embodied the ultimate deductions of all the forms of Oriental and Grecian Idealism. Had his ecstatic visions given him a knowledge of the future, he might have said with equal truth that he had fully anticipated, in all essential particulars, the systems of modern Pantheism and Pure Idealism. The following facts will fully verify all the above statements.

1. The faculty of Ecstasy is undeniably identical with that of Intuition or reason affirmed by the Oriental Yogee, the Nous or Reason of the Grecian Idealist, and 'the Special Faculty of Intellectual Intuition' of the Modern Transcendentalist. In all these schools the same identical offices or functions are performed by the faculty represented by these different terms.

2. The method of induction and deduction is also one and identical. In no case is there, in any form, an induction of facts of external or internal perception. On the other hand, 'by an act of (so-called) scientific Scepticism to which the mind voluntarily determines itself,' such facts are treated as nothing but a prejudice. In all systems in common, the subject 'puts himself into a state of not knowing, when he begins to philosophize,' and then, by direct, immediate, á priori intuition, apprehends 'Brahm,' 'Pironis,' 'the One,' 'the Absolute,' or 'the Immanent Nothing,' as the only real existence.

3. All philosophers of all these schools also agree in this, that with none of them are these visions of the primal essence habitual. In all the ordinary circumstances of life, they think, and feel, and act; eat, drink, sleep, and believe, just as all the rest of us poor mortals do. But when they all in common 'put themselves into a state of not-knowing and begin to philosophize,' a part of them sitting in a moveless posture, with 'their eyes fixed upon the end of their noses,' 'they become wide awake,' have visions of 'existence in se,' and behold face to face 'the primal essence,' which is 'neither Existence nor Thought,' 'Brahm,' 'the One,' 'the All One,' 'the Immanent Nothing,' and behold this 'Simple Unity' as the only real existence, all seeming realities being only reflections of their original and identical with it. It is only occasionally, we say, that any of these philosophers, as they themselves admit, enjoy 'these visions of the Absolute.' 'Only rarely,' says Plotinus, 'does the direct vision of the Supreme God fall to the lot of the best of men, the virtuous and wise, the God-like and blessed.' Porphyry informs us that it was only four times during the six years which he spent with Plotinus, that the latter attained to those 'Ecstatic visions,' 'this unification with God.'

4. All these philosophers also agree in calling these occasional visions science, and in enthroning them as of supreme authority above all intuitions of the Universal Intelligence, and all deductions from the same. All admit that if we rely upon intuition and deduction from intuition, we can not be Idealists. Absolute faith in á priori visions of the Absolute, call this faculty by what name you will, is, as these philosophers all teach, the immutable condition of 'taking the first step in the Speculative Philosophy.' If we ask the question, Why shall we accept of these 'Ecstatic visions' and á priori insights, and reject universal intuition, and all deductions from the same, as truths of science, these philosophers are silent. 'The German philosophers,' says Mr. Lewes, 'proceed with peaceable dogmatism to tell you that God is this or that; to explain how Nothing becomes the existing world, to explain many other inexplicable things; and if you stop them with the simple, How do you know this—what is your around of certitude? they will allude blandly to their Verunst, and continue their exposition.' It is high time for all thinkers who would not be fatally misled in respect to questions of eternally vital concern, to 'become wide-awake' to one immutable conviction, that where so-called systems of science, however logically self-consistent, and by whatever names commended to our regard—that wherever and whenever such systems ignore, deny, and nullify all our universal and intuitive convictions of truth, we should question the validity of such systems, and require, before admitting their deductions at all, evidence of a higher and more absolute kind than we have of our own personal existence, and that of the universe around us. The time is coming, and quite near, we believe, when the absurdities of genius,' the extravagances of philosophers, and 'the contradictions of science falsely so-called,' will stand forth as the eighth wonder of the world, while the ninth and greatest wonder of all will be the fact, that under the lead of such monstrously absurd teachings any thinking portion of the race accepted of such extravagances as truths of science, and repudiated universal and absolute intuition as illusion. Suppose that Mr. Schelling, or any other Transcendentalist, were required to give us specific reasons for the absolute authority claimed for this faculty of Intellectual Intuition (intellectuelle Anschauung), he would be put to silence in a moment. Every reflecting thinker, Mr. Schelling among the rest, cannot but be aware that no such grounds of certitude exist. If any thinker would seriously ask himself the question, Have I as real and as rational grounds for an assurance of the validity of the revelations of this 'Faculty of Intellectual Intuition,' or 'Ecstasy,' or of 'á priori Insight,' as I have for my own conscious personal existence, and of that of the universe around me—he would perceive at once that while universal Intuition has the most absolutely rational basis, the revelations of this 'Intellectuelle Anschauung,' a faculty supposed to be possessed only by a very few of the race, rest upon the most shadowy grounds conceivable.


We have now completed our criticisms of the Grecian Evolution in Philosophy. What remains is comprised in a few general reflections on the character and results of this Evolution.


We have another fundamental verification of a statement made in the General Introduction, namely, that there never has been, and never can be, but a certain specific number of systems of Ontology, and that they all take form and character from certain definite postulates, pertaining to the relations of the human Intelligence to four realities, to wit, spirit and matter, and time and space. In our examination, first of the Oriental and then of the Grecian systems, we have found that each system took specific form from a definite hypothesis of this kind. Materialism in all ages and schools has, in fact and form, one exclusive basis—an affirmed validity of our knowledge of matter, and a denial of that of spirit. Idealism, as Ideal Dualism, Subjective Idealism, Pantheism, and Pure Idealism, has a basis equally specific—a denial of the validity of our knowledge of 'things without us,' and an affirmation of the validity of our knowledge of facts of mind. Scepticism has, and ever has had, one formal basis, an impeachment of our knowledge of both spirit and matter. All thinkers, on the other hand, who have admitted the validity of our knowledge of matter and spirit, and of time and space, have, without exception, been Theists, and with Theism have affirmed the doctrine of duty and immortality. These are all the systems that ever have arisen, and they have all, Theism excepted, ever since mind began to philosophize taken on the same essential forms, and been developed in fixed accordance with the same identical methods. When we have comprehended the Materialism of Kanada, of the Djainas, and of the Buddhists, we have discovered all that we can find in the systems of Democritus, Epicurus, Compte, and Condillac. The Ideal systems of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel are mere repetitions, without any essential improvements whatever, of those of Plotinus, Parmenides, Pythagoras, Vayasa, Kapila, and those of the two Idealistic, schools of the Buddhists. Nor have modern Sceptics changed or in any essential forms improved the systems of Protagoras, Pyrrho, and Carneades. The problems, methods, and solutions common to any one of these schools in any one age, are equally common to them in all ages. From the nature of the case such must be the results. In Theism there has been progression, because evidence and arguments in new forms have been constantly presenting themselves.


In comparing the Grecian and the Oriental Schools with the Modern Evolution we obtain the following results. We find, as we have formerly stated, two systems, Theism and Scepticism, which are not found in the Oriental, present in the Modern Evolution. We find also two systems, Ideal Dualism and Subjective Idealism, wanting in the Greek, and common to the other two Evolutions. Subjective Idealism is naturally so remote from the sphere of spontaneous and reflective thought, and was originally developed at such a distance from Greece, that as a system, we have no evidence that it was ever, either historically or reflectively, present in the mind of any Grecian thinker.

In the presence of the same identical postulate, on the authority of which Ideal Dualism took form in Oriental and Modern Anti-theistic thought, Scepticism was originated and took form in Grecian thought. The fundamental postulate of the former system is this, 'that the things which we envisage are not that in themselves for which we take them, neither are their relationships so constituted as they appear to us, in other words, that we have no valid knowledge of mind or matter, time or space. In the presence of this postulate, Oriental and German thought dogmatized, and in their dogmatism constructed a positive system of Ontology, namely, that there exist two unknown and unknowable entities—Noumena, as the substances and principles of all things. Grecian thought was too discriminating to fall into such an absurdity as that. If, as Ideal Dualism affirms, we 'know nothing of realities but our manner of perceiving them,' if ours is a mode of perception 'peculiar to us, and need not be the same in any other class of beings,' and if it is only with this peculiar and special mode of perceiving we have to do,' the only formula which can have authority with us is the old sceptical one—to wit, 'I assert nothing, and deny nothing, not even that I deny anything.' For philosophers to lay down the principle that all our knowledge of realities is mere appearance, and ' that the reality existing behind all appearance is, and ever must be, unknown,' and then to set forth, as having claim to validity, a system of Ontology, is simply to convict themselves before the world, not only of the grossest scientific absurdity, but also of an absolute disbelief in the validity of their own fundamental principle.

On the score of scientific self-consistency, Grecian stands in- most impressive contrast with Modern Scepticism. The former system has one obvious merit—the absence of Dogmatism; while no system ever was, or can be, more repulsively and imperiously dogmatic than the latter. The former had but one form of dogmatism in common with the latter, the professed power to prove that no form of proof is possible. In all other respects Grecian Scepticism is logically self-consistent. Modern Scepticism, on the other hand, seems to regard absolute and universal neseience of all forms and modes of real existence as the condition and starting point for the solution of the problem of universal being and its laws. We suppose it safe to affirm that no man is a more absolute Sceptic in theory than Mr. Emerson; and it is equally safe to affirm that no man living or dead is, or was, a more sovereign dogmatist; his dogmatic utterances, also, having chief reference to truth as it exists 'behind all appearance.' The same remarks have an undeniable application to the productions of such authors as J. S. Mill, Spencer, Huxley, and all other advocates of the New Philosophy—a system avowedly based upon the formula that 'it is certain that we can have no knowledge of the nature of mind or matter either.' On what authority, then, does Mr. Mill dogmatically affirm that matter is nothing but a permanent, susceptibility of sensation'? If, as he affirms that he does, he knows nothing but phenomena, how does he know that there does, or does not, exist any susceptibility at all? After affirming, as the basis of all his deductions, that 'the reality existing behind all appearance is, and ever must be, unknown,' Mr. Spencer gravely informs us of the identical stuff that life is made of,' and of the specific elements which constitute progression, and that there can 'exist behind all appearance' no such power as Free Will. If he knows nothing about what realities exist behind all appearance, how can he know, or reasonably affirm, that a Free Will does not exist there? To induce Theists to surrender the doctrine of an infinite and perfect personal God, Mr. Spencer dogmatizes thus—'the choice is not between personality and something lower than personality, whereas the choice is between personality and something higher.' Here is absolute dogmatism about what the author affirms absolute ignorance. 'Is it not,' he adds, 'just as possible that there is a mode of being as much transcending Intelligence and Will, as these transcend mechanical motion?' For ourselves, we have no idea that Mr. Spencer himself seriously thinks that there can possibly be a mode of being as far above an infinite and perfect personal God as He is above mere mechanical motion. Our serious judgment is that he deliberately intended to test the question, by actual experiment, how far credulity among Theists would descend with him into the abyss of absurdity. Mr. Spencer is too much of a thinker to imagine even that there can possibly be a mode of being infinitely above that of infinite and perfect Intelligence and Will. Our object, however, is to illustrate by examples, the dogmatism of 'Modern Scepticism.

Let us for a moment contemplate a few other examples of the same character. Mr. Huxley, having assured us that 'it is certain that we can have no knowledge of the nature of either matter or spirit,' 'proposes to demonstrate to us that a unity of power or faculty, a unity of form, and a unity of substantial composition does pervade the whole living world.' Here we are, in fact and form, promised absolute demonstration in the sphere of affirmed and admitted absolute ignorance. Yes, our author promises to demonstrate the existence of 'a unity of substantial composition' in bodies, while he himself, in the same address, affirms 'that it is also, in strictness, true that we know nothing about the composition of any body whatever as it is.' While he affirms an absolute ignorance of the nature of matter and spirit, he affirms, as dogmatically, that matter, and not spirit, thinks and feels and wills. 'Thoughts are the expression of molecular changes in that matter of life which is the source of our other vital phenomena.' Again, 'as surely as every future grows out of past and present, so will the physiology of the future gradually extend the realm of matter and law until it is co-extensive with knowledge, with feeling, and with action.' Here dogmatism, resting upon admitted absolute ignorance of the subject matter to which that dogmatism pertains, has undeniably reached its consummation.

In Taine 'On Intelligence'—a work of another zealous advocate of the New Philosophy which, as we have said, affirms as its basis and starting point absolute nescience of matter and spirit—we have 'a general and abstract psychology' in which all facts of mind are dogmatically explained on the Molecular Theory. If we 'can know nothing of the nature of either spirit or matter,' how can we know, we ask again, that it is matter and not spirit which knows and feels and acts? How can we know that 'molecular changes in this matter of life' constitute any single element of mental phenomena? Yet in affirmed ignorance of the nature and relations of matter and spirit, these self-styled Scientists, or Knowing Ones, not only affirm that matter does think and feel and will, but dogmatically tell just how and why and where it performs these functions. 'Memory,' we are told by a central light in the high firmament of the New Philosophy, 'is fossil precepts.' 'I hold,' says another of these scientists of equal eminence, 'emotion to mean the special sensibility of the vesicular neurine to ideas.' 'The highest functions of the nervous system, those to which the hemispherical ganglia minister,' says the same authority, ' are the functions of intelligence, of emotion, and of will.' After giving forth a multitude of such lucid utterances, our author, in common with all advocates of this New Philosophy, affirms an absolute ignorance of the nature of the substances about which he thus imperiously dogmatizes.

Now Grecian Scepticism, with the exception above designated, cannot be charged with such gross and palpable forms of self-contradiction and absurdity. It never asserted an absolute ignorance of 'realities which exist behind all appearance,' and then imperiously affirmed, 'I know facts, and I know law,' law which, undeniably, exists 'behind all appearances,' and determines their character. Of all systems that ever appeared, Modern Scepticism, or the New Philosophy, is the most pretentious, imperious, and absolute in its dogmatisms, and the most shallow and sophistical in its 'grounds and arguments.' It has made a great stir and agitation in the sphere of Anglo-Saxon thought. Yet when the true state of the case comes to light, it is found that we have had nothing 'but a tempest in a mud-puddle.'


The question has often been presented, whether Grecian Philosophy in its results was, or was not, introductory to Christianity? We should leave this treatise in an incomplete state did we not speak specifically upon this subject. We propose, then, to present the mature deductions bearing upon this inquiry, deductions to which real facts of history have conducted us.

In one fundamental respect the Grecian Evolution was a great impediment rather than an introduction to Christianity. In the sphere of scientific and popular thought that Evolution had determined no one doctrine or principle of Theism. It had failed utterly in popular regard to establish upon a scientific basis the doctrine of the existence of a Supreme God, or of the immortality of the soul. In all the popular philosophies which had place in scientific thought at the commencement of the Christian era, these doctrines were specifically denied. Never was philosophic thought in a more chaotic state than it was at the time when 'the Sun of Righteousness rose upon the world with healing in His wings.' Nor did the existing direction of scientific thought promise anything better for the future. Christianity in its early development, on the other hand, stood out before the world in open antagonism to the then received philosophies.

Yet Grecian Philosophy, while it had fully demonstrated in popular regard its own utter impotence to solve the problem of being and its laws, did exert an influence auxiliary to the Christian religion. We will now proceed to designate what we regard as some of the forms of this influence.

1. One of the most important of these propaedeutic forms of influence arose from the fact that the conflicting schools of Greece held, in their discussions, affirmations, and denials, the doctrines of God, duty, well-being, immortality, and retribution, distinctly and constantly before the educated and popular classes. On all these subjects Christianity propounded no new themes, and solved no new problems. Former and existing discussions and failures had induced a general desire for reliable solutions of all such questions. When Christianity presented such solutions, the popular mind had, in the discussions referred to, been prepared to receive them. Though Grecian thought had not sown the truth, it had prepared the soil to receive the seed where sown upon it.

2. One great advantage which the early learned defenders of Christian doctrines of God, duty, and immortality, possessed, lay in the fact that their teachings on these high themes were confirmed, not only by the intuitive convictions of the race, but by the highest authorities in the sphere of Grecian thought, the authority and arguments of such minds as Thales, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Xenophanes, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Of such authority learned advocates of Christian doctrine made great use, and justly so, in their presentations of truth to the educated and popular classes. Here is the source of the most efficient influences of Grecian thought as auxiliary to Christianity.

3. In most of the Schools of Greece fundamental criteria of truth had been developed, criteria in the light of which the great central doctrines of Christianity stood revealed as demonstrated verities of science. Almost nothing else had greater influence in the hands of learned Christian teachers than the application of these criteria. In their light these teachers were able to demonstrate the fact that the essential doctrines and principles of Christianity must be true, or the Intelligence itself must be affirmed to be a lie. Thus, while Grecian Philosophy was not itself 'the light of the world,' it became a hindrance on the one hand, and an auxiliary on the other, to that light.

13 Ueberweg, pp. 216, 217.


With Recommendations.

General Introduction.
Part I. The Oriental Philosophy.
Part II. The Grecian Philosophy.
Part III. The Christian Evolution in Philosophy.

Volume II.

Copyright 2002 Alethea In Heart Ministries

A Critical History of Philosophy. Asa Mahan. Grecian Philosophy.