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Yet Realism concealed a danger to orthodoxy which was not long in making itself felt. Just as the substantiality of individuals disappeared in that of their containing species, so also did every subordinate species tend to vanish in the summum genus of absolute Being. Now such a conclusion was nothing less than full-blown pantheism; and pantheism was, in fact, the system of the first great Schoolman, John Scotus Erigena; while other Realists were only prevented from reaching the same goal by the restraint either of Christian faith or of ecclesiastical authority. But if they failed to draw the logical consequences of their premises, it was drawn for them by others; and Ab茅lard did not fail to twit his opponents with the formidable heresy implied in their realistic prin367ciples.534 As yet, however, the weight of authority inclined towards Plato鈥檚 side; and the persecution suffered by Ab茅lard himself, as compared with the very mild treatment accorded to his contemporary, Gilbert de la Porr茅e, when each was arraigned on a charge of heresy, shows that while the Nominalism of the one was an aggravation, the Realism of the other was an extenuation of his offence.535

Antisthenes pushed to its extreme consequences a movement begun by the naturalistic Sophists. His doctrine was what would now be called anarchic collectivism. The State, marriage, private property, and the then accepted forms of religion, were to be abolished, and all mankind were to herd promiscuously together.5 Either he or his followers, alone among the ancients, declared that slavery was wrong; and, like Socrates, he held that the virtue of men and women was the same.6 But what he meant by this broad human virtue, which according to him was identical with happiness, is not clear. We only know that he dissociated it in the strongest manner from pleasure. 鈥業 had rather be mad than delighted,鈥 is one of his characteristic sayings.7 It would appear, however, that what he really objected to was self-indulgence鈥攖he pursuit of sensual gratification for its own sake鈥攁nd that he was ready to welcome the enjoyments naturally accompanying the healthy discharge of vital function.8

We have now to consider how Aristotle treats psychology, not in connexion with biology, but as a distinct science鈥攁 separation not quite consistent with his own definition of soul, but forced on him by the traditions of Greek philosophy and by the nature of things. Here the fundamental antithesis assumes a three-fold form. First the theoretical activity of mind is distinguished from its practical activity; the one being exercised on things which cannot, the other on things which365 can, be changed. Again, a similar distinction prevails within the special province of each. Where truth is the object, knowledge stands opposed to sense; where good is sought, reason rises superior to passion. The one antithesis had been introduced into philosophy by the early physicists, the other by Socrates. They were confounded in the psychology of Plato, and Aristotle had the merit of separating them once more. Yet even he preserves a certain artificial parallelism between them by using the common name Nous, or reason, to denote the controlling member in each. To make his anthropology still more complex, there is a third antithesis to be taken into account, that between the individual and the community, which also sometimes slides into a partial coincidence with the other two.For Law was feeble, Violence enthroned,It had been urged against hedonism that pleasure is a process, a movement; whereas the supreme good must be a completed product鈥攁n end in which we can rest. Against sensual enjoyments in particular, it had been urged that they are caused by the satisfaction of appetite, and, as such, must result in a mere negative condition, marking the zero point of pleasurable sentiency. Finally, much stress had been laid on the anti-social and suicidal consequences of that selfish grasping at power to which habits of unlimited self-indulgence must infallibly lead. The form given to hedonism by Epicurus is a reaction against these criticisms, a modification imposed on it for the purpose of evading their force. He seems to admit that bodily satisfaction is rather the removal of a want, and consequently of a pain, than a source of positive pleasure. But the resulting condition of liberation from uneasiness is, according to him, all that we can desire; and by extending the same principle to every other good, he indirectly brings back the mental felicity which at first sight his system threatened either to exclude or to reduce to a mere shadow of sensual enjoyment. For, in calculating the elements of unhappiness, we have to deal, not only with present discomfort, but also, and to a far greater extent, with the apprehension of future evil. We dread the loss of worldly goods, of friends, of reputation, of life itself. We are continually exposed to pain, both from violence and from disease. We are haunted by visions of divine vengeance, both here and hereafter. To get rid of all such terrors, to possess our souls in peace, is the highest good鈥攁 permanent, as distinguished from a transient state of consciousness鈥攁nd the proper business of philosophy is to show us how that consummation may be attained.65 Thus we are brought back to that blissful self-contemplation of mind which Aristotle had already declared to be the goal of all endeavour and the sole happiness of God.

To paint Socrates at his highest and his best, it was necessary to break through the narrow limits of his historic individuality, and to show how, had they been presented to him, he would have dealt with problems outside the experience of a home-staying Athenian citizen. The founder of idealism鈥攖hat is to say, the realisation of reason, the systematic application of thought to life鈥攈ad succeeded in his task because he had embodied the noblest elements of the Athenian D锚mos, orderliness, patriotism, self-control, and publicity of debate, together with a receptive intelligence for improvements effected in other states. But, just as the impulse which enabled those qualities to tell decisively on Greek history at a moment of inestimable importance came from the Athenian aristocracy, with its Dorian sympathies, its adventurous ambition, and its keen attention to foreign affairs, so also did Plato, carrying the same spirit into philosophy, bring the dialectic method into contact with older and broader currents of speculation, and employ it to recognise the whole spiritual activity of his race.

Plato had begun by condemning poetry only in so far as it was inconsistent with true religion and morality. At last, with his usual propensity to generalise, he condemned it and, by implication, every imitative art qua art, as a delusion and a sham, twice removed from the truth of things, because a copy of the phenomena which are themselves unreal representations of an archetypal idea. His iconoclasm may remind us of other ethical theologians both before and after, whether Hebrew, Moslem, or Puritan. If he does not share their fanatical hatred for plastic and pictorial representations, it is only because works of that class, besides being of a chaster character, exercised far less power over the Greek imagination than epic and dramatic poetry. Moreover, the tales of the poets were, according to Plato, the worst lies of any, since they were believed to be true; whereas statues and pictures differed too obviously from their originals for any such illusion to be produced in their case. Like the Puritans, again, Plato sanctioned the use of religious hymns, with the accompaniment of music in its simplest and most elevated forms. Like them, also, he would have approved of literary fiction when it was employed for edifying purposes. Works like the Faery Queen, Paradise Lost, and the Pilgrim鈥檚 Progress, would have been his favourites in English literature; and he might have242 extended the same indulgence to fictions of the Edgeworthian type, where the virtuous characters always come off best in the end.Within the last twelve years several books, both large and small, have appeared, dealing either with the philosophy of Aristotle as a whole, or with the general principles on which it is constructed. The Berlin edition of Aristotle鈥檚 collected works was supplemented in 1870 by the publication of a magnificent index, filling nearly nine hundred quarto pages, for which we have to thank the learning and industry of Bonitz.161 Then came the unfinished treatise of George Grote, planned on so vast a scale that it would, if completely carried out, have rivalled the author鈥檚 History of Greece in bulk, and perhaps exceeded the authentic remains of the Stagirite himself. As it is, we have a full account, expository and critical, of the Organon, a chapter on the De Anima, and some fragments on other Aristotelian writings, all marked by Grote鈥檚 wonderful sagacity and good sense. In 1879 a new and greatly enlarged edition brought that portion of Zeller鈥檚 work on Greek Philosophy which deals with Aristotle and the Peripatetics162 fully up to the level of its companion volumes; and we are glad to see that, like them, it is shortly to appear in an English dress. The older work of Brandis163 goes over the same ground, and, though much behind the present state of knowledge, may still be consulted with advantage, on account of its copious and clear analyses of the Aristotelian texts.276 Together with these ponderous tomes, we have to mention the little work of Sir Alexander Grant,164 which, although intended primarily for the unlearned, is a real contribution to Aristotelian scholarship, and, probably as such, received the honours of a German translation almost immediately after its first publication. Mr. Edwin Wallace鈥檚 Outlines of the Philosophy of Aristotle165 is of a different and much less popular character. Originally designed for the use of the author鈥檚 own pupils, it does for Aristotle鈥檚 entire system what Trendelenburg has done for his logic, and Ritter and Preller for all Greek philosophy鈥攖hat is to say, it brings together the most important texts, and accompanies them with a remarkably lucid and interesting interpretation. Finally we have M. Barth茅lemy Saint-Hilaire鈥檚 Introduction to his translation of Aristotle鈥檚 Metaphysics, republished in a pocket volume.166 We can safely recommend it to those who wish to acquire a knowledge of the subject with the least possible expenditure of trouble. The style is delightfully simple, and that the author should write from the standpoint of the French spiritualistic school is not altogether a disadvantage, for that school is partly of Aristotelian origin, and its adherents are, therefore, most likely to reproduce the master鈥檚 theories with sympathetic appreciation.

The dishonour was for the townsmen who, in an outbreak of insane fanaticism, drove the blameless truthseeker from his adopted home. Anaxagoras was the intimate companion of Pericles, and Pericles had made many enemies by his domestic as well as by his foreign policy. A coalition of harassed interests and offended prejudices was formed against him. A cry arose that religion and the constitution were in danger. The Athenians had too much good sense to dismiss their great democratic Minister, but they permitted the illustrious statesman鈥檚 political opponents to strike at him through his friends.29 Aspasia was saved only by the tears of her lover. Pheidias, the grandest, most spiritual-minded artist of all time, was arrested on a charge of impiety, and died in a prison of the city whose temples were adorned with the imperishable monuments of his religious inspiration. A decree against 鈥榓stronomers and atheists鈥 was so evidently aimed at Anaxagoras that the philosopher retired to Lampsacus, where he died at the age of seventy-two, universally admired and revered. Altars dedicated to Reason and Truth were erected in his honour, and for centuries his memory continued to be celebrated by an annual feast.30 His whole existence had been devoted to science. When asked what made life worth living, he answered, 鈥楾he contemplation of the heavens and of the universal cosmic order.鈥 The reply was like a title-page to his works. We can see that specialisation was38 beginning, that the positive sciences were separating themselves from general theories about Nature, and could be cultivated independently of them. A single individual might, indeed, combine philosophy of the most comprehensive kind with a detailed enquiry into some particular order of phenomena, but he could do this without bringing the two studies into any immediate connexion with each other. Such seems to have been the case with Anaxagoras. He was a professional astronomer and also the author of a modified atomic hypothesis. This, from its greater complexity, seems more likely to have been suggested by the purely quantitative conception of Leucippus than to have preceded it in the order of evolution. Democritus, and probably his teacher also, drew a very sharp distinction between what were afterwards called the primary and secondary qualities of matter. Extension and resistance alone had a real existence in Nature, while the attributes corresponding to our special sensations, such as temperature, taste, and colour, were only subjectively, or, as he expressed it, conventionally true. Anaxagoras affirmed no less strongly than his younger contemporaries that the sum of being can neither be increased nor diminished, that all things arise and perish by combination and division, and that bodies are formed out of indestructible elements; like the Atomists, again, he regarded these elementary substances as infinite in number and inconceivably minute; only he considered them as qualitatively distinct, and as resembling on an infinitesimal scale the highest compounds that they build up. Not only were gold, iron, and the other metals formed of homogeneous particles, but such substances as flesh, bone, and blood were, according to him, equally simple, equally decomposable, into molecules of like nature with themselves. Thus, as Aristotle well observes, he reversed the method of Empedocles, and taught that earth, air, fire, and water were really the most complex of all bodies, since they supplied39 nourishment to the living tissues, and therefore must contain within themselves the multitudinous variety of units by whose aggregation individualised organic substance is made up.31 Furthermore, our philosopher held that originally this intermixture had been still more thoroughgoing, all possible qualities being simultaneously present in the smallest particles of matter. The resulting state of chaotic confusion lasted until Nous, or Reason, came and segregated the heterogeneous elements by a process of continuous differentiation leading up to the present arrangement of things. Both Plato and Aristotle have commended Anaxagoras for introducing into speculation the conception of Reason as a cosmic world-ordering power; both have censured him for making so little use of his own great thought, for attributing almost everything to secondary, material, mechanical causes; for not everywhere applying the teleological method; in fact, for not anticipating the Bridgewater Treatises and proving that the world is constructed on a plan of perfect wisdom and goodness. Less fortunate than the Athenians, we cannot purchase the work of Anaxagoras on Nature at an orchestral book-stall for the moderate price of a drachma; but we know enough about its contents to correct the somewhat petulant and superficial criticism of a school perhaps less in sympathy than we are with its author鈥檚 method of research. Evidently the Clazomenian philosopher did not mean by Reason an ethical force, a power which makes for human happiness or virtue, nor yet a reflecting intelligence, a designer adapting means to ends. To all appearances the Nous was not a spirit in the sense which we attach, or which Aristotle attached to the term. It was, according to Anaxagoras, the subtlest and purest of all things, totally unmixed with other substances, and therefore able to control and bring them into order. This is not how men speak of an immaterial inextended consciousness. The truth is that no40 amount of physical science could create, although it might lead towards a spiritualistic philosophy. Spiritualism first arose from the sophistic negation of an external world, from the exclusive study of man, from the Socratic search after general definitions. Yet, if Nous originally meant intelligence, how could it lose this primary signification and become identified with a mere mode of matter? The answer is, that Anaxagoras, whose whole life was spent in tracing out the order of Nature, would instinctively think of his own intelligence as a discriminating, identifying faculty; would, consequently, conceive its objective counterpart under the form of a differentiating and integrating power. All preceding thinkers had represented their supreme being under material conditions, either as one element singly or as a sum total where elemental differences were merged. Anaxagoras differed from them chiefly by the very sharp distinction drawn between his informing principle and the rest of Nature. The absolute intermixture of qualities which he presupposes bears a very strong resemblance both to the Sphairos of Empedocles and to the fiery consummation of Heracleitus, it may even have been suggested by them. Only, what with them was the highest form of existence becomes with him the lowest; thought is asserting itself more and more, and interpreting the law of evolution in accordance with its own imperious demands.It cannot be too often repeated that the One in no way conflicts with the world of real existence, but, on the contrary, creates and completes it. Now, within that world, with which alone reason is properly concerned, Plotinus never betrays any want of confidence in its power to discover truth; nor, contrary to what Zeller assumes, does he seem to have been in the least affected by the efforts of the later Sceptics to invalidate its pretensions in this respect.508 Their criticism was, in fact, chiefly directed against Stoicism, and did not touch the spiritualistic position at all. That there can be no certain knowledge afforded by sensation, or, speaking more generally, by the action of an outward object on an inward subject, Plotinus himself fully admits or rather contends.509 But while distrusting the ability of external perception, taken alone, to establish the existence of an external object by which it is caused, he expressly claims such a power for reason or understanding.510 For him, as for Aristotle, and probably for Plato also, the mind is one with its real object; in every act of cognition the idea becomes conscious of itself. We do not say that Scepticism is powerless against such a theory as this, but, in point of fact, it was a theory which the ancient Sceptics had not attacked, and their arguments no more led Plotinus to despair of reason, than the similar arguments of Protagoras and Gorgias had led Plato and Aristotle to despair of it six centuries before. If Sextus and his school contributed anything to the great philosophical revolution of the succeeding age, it was by so344 weakening the materialistic systems as to render them less capable of opposing the spiritualistic revival when it came.Thus with Plutarch, as with his master Plato, a future world is the grand court of appeal from the anomalies and inequalities of this world; and, following the example of the Gorgias and the Republic, he reserves to the last a terrible picture of the torments held in store for those who have not expiated their transgressions on earth, describing them as they are supposed to have been witnessed by a human soul temporarily separated from the body for the purpose of viewing and reporting on this final manifestation of divine justice. It would appear, however, from the narrative in question that future punishments are not eternal. After a more or less protracted period of expiation, the immortal soul is restored to the upper world, under whatever embodiment seems most appropriate to its former career. Among those whose turn has arrived for entering on a new existence at the moment when Plutarch鈥檚 visitor makes his descent to hell, is the soul of Nero. The wicked Emperor has just been condemned to assume the form of a viper, when a great light shines forth, and from the midst of the light a voice is heard crying:268 鈥楲et him reappear under the guise of a song-bird haunting the neighbourhood of marshes and meres; for he has already paid the penalty of his guilt, and the gods owe him some kindness for having liberated Greece, the best and most beloved by them of all the nations that he ruled.鈥

Another science which has only been cultivated on a large scale within comparatively recent years has confirmed the views suggested by jurisprudence. An enormous mass of inscriptions has been brought to light, deciphered, collated, and made available by transcription for the purposes of sedentary scholars. With the help of these records, fragmentary though they be, we have obtained an insight into the sentiments, beliefs, and social institutions of Pagan antiquity as it was just before the conversion of the Roman world to Christianity, such as literature alone could not supply. Literature and history, too, have told a somewhat different story when read over again in the light of these new discoveries. Finally, the whole mine of materials, new and old, has been worked by a class of enquirers who bring to their task qualities nearly unknown among the scholars of a former generation. These men are familiar with an immense range of studies lying outside their special subject, but often capable of affording it unexpected illustrations; they are free from theological prejudices; they are sometimes versed in the practical conduct of state affairs; and habits of wide social intercourse have emancipated them from the narrowing associations incident to a learned profession.It has been already shown how Extension, having become identified with matter, took on its mechanical qualities, and was conceived as a connected series of causes or modes of motion. The parallel found by Spinoza for this series in Thought is the chain of reasons and consequents forming a410 demonstrative argument; and here he is obviously following Aristotle, who although ostensibly distinguishing between formal and efficient causes, hopelessly confounds them in the second book of his Posterior Analytics.565 We are said to understand a thing when we bring it under a general rule, and also when we discover the mechanical agency which produces it. For instance, we may know that a particular man will die, either from the fact that all men are mortal, or from the fact that he has received a fatal wound. The general rule, however, is not the cause of what will happen, but only the cause of our knowing that it will happen; and knowledge of the rule by no means carries with it a knowledge of the efficient cause; as we see in the case of gravitation and other natural forces whose modus operandi is still a complete mystery. What deceived Aristotle was partly his false analysis of the syllogism, which he interpreted as the connexion of two terms by the interposition of a middle answering to the causal nexus of two phenomena; and partly his conception of the universe as a series of concentric spheres, through which movement is transmitted from without, thus combining the two ideas of notional comprehension and mechanical causation.

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At this last point we touch on the final generalisation by which Plato extended the dialectic method to all existence, and readmitted into philosophy the earlier speculations provisionally excluded from it by Socrates. The cross-examining elenchus, at first applied only to individuals, had been turned with destructive effect on every class, every institution, and every polity, until the whole of human life was made to appear one mass of self-contradiction, instability, and illusion. It had been held by some that the order of nature offered a contrast and a correction to this bewildering chaos. Plato, on the other hand, sought to show that the ignorance and evil prevalent among men were only a part of the imperfection necessarily belonging to derivative existence of every kind. For this purpose the philosophy of Heracleitus proved a welcome auxiliary. The pupil of Socrates had been taught in early youth by Cratylus, an adherent of the Ephesian school, that movement, relativity, and the conjunction of opposites are the very conditions under which Nature works. We may conjecture that Plato did not at first detect any resemblance between the Heracleitean flux and the mental bewilderment produced or brought to light by the master of cross-examination. But his visit to Italy would probably enable him to take a new view of the Ionian speculations, by bringing him into contact with schools maintaining a directly opposite doctrine. The Eleatics held that existence remained eternally undivided, unmoved, and unchanged. The Pythagoreans arranged all things according to a strained and rigid antithetical construction. Then came the identifying flash.132 Unchangeable reality, divine order,208 mathematical truth鈥攖hese were the objective counterpart of the Socratic definitions, of the consistency which Socrates introduced into conduct. The Heracleitean system applied to phenomena only; and it faithfully reflected the incoherent beliefs and disorderly actions of uneducated men. We are brought into relation with the fluctuating sea of generated and perishing natures by sense and opinion, and these reproduce, in their irreconcilable diversity, the shifting character of the objects with which they are conversant. Whatever we see and feel is a mixture of being and unreality; it is, and is not, at the same time. Sensible magnitudes are equal or greater or less according as the standard of comparison is chosen. Yet the very act of comparison shows that there is something in ourselves deeper than mere sense; something to which all individual sensations are referred as to a common centre, and in which their images are stored up. Knowledge, then, can no longer be identified with sensation, since the mental reproductions of external objects are apprehended in the absence of their originals, and since thought possesses the further faculty of framing abstract notions not representing any sensible objects at all.

Well may M. Havet say of the Academicians: 鈥榗e sont eux et non les partisans d鈥橢picure qui sont les libres penseurs de l鈥檃ntiquit茅 ou qui l鈥檃uraient voulu 锚tre; mais ils ne le pouvaient pas.鈥250 They could not, for their principles were as inconsistent with an absolute negation as with an absolute affirmation; while in practice their rule was, as we have said, conformity to the custom of the country; the consequence of which was that Sceptics and Epicureans were equally assiduous in their attendance at public worship. It is, therefore, with perfect dramatic appropriateness that Cicero puts the arguments of Carneades into the mouth of Cotta, the Pontifex Maximus; and, although himself an augur, takes the negative side in a discussion on divination with his brother Quintus. And our other great authority on the sceptical side, Sextus Empiricus, is not less emphatic than Cotta in protesting his devotion to the traditional religion of the land.251




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