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History Of Modern Philosophy by Richard Falckenberg

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air are excluded from appropriation). In the state of nature everyone has
the right to defend himself against attack and to revenge himself on the
evil-doer; but in the political community, founded by contract, personal
revenge is replaced by punishment decreed by the civil power. The aim of
punishment is not retribution, but reformation and deterrence. It belongs
to God alone to punish because of sin committed, the state can punish only
to prevent it. (The antithesis _quia peccatum est_--_ne peccetur_ comes
from Seneca.)

[Footnote 1: Natural law would be valid even if there were no God. With
these words the alliance between the modern and the mediaeval philosophy of
law is severed.]

This energetic revival of the distinction already common in the Middle Ages
between "positive and natural," which Lord Herbert of Cherbury brought
forward at the same period (1624) in the philosophy of religion, gave the
catchword for a movement in practical philosophy whose developments extend
into the nineteenth century. Not only the illumination period, but all
modern philosophy down to Kant and Fichte, is under the ban of the
antithesis, natural and artificial. In all fields, in ethics as well as in
noetics, men return to the primitive or storm back to it, in the hope of
finding there the source of all truth and the cure for all evils. Sometimes
it is called nature, sometimes reason (natural law and rational law are
synonymous, as also natural religion and the religion of the reason), by
which is understood that which is permanent and everywhere the same in
contrast to the temporary and the changeable, that which is innate in
contrast to that which has been developed, in contrast, further, to that
which has been revealed. Whatever passes as law in all places and at all
times is natural law, says Grotius; that which all men believe forms the
content of natural religion, says Lord Herbert. Before long it comes to
be said: that _alone_ is genuine, true, healthy, and valuable which has
eternal and universal validity; all else is not only superfluous and
valueless but of evil, for it must be unnatural and corrupt. This step is
taken by Deism, with the principle that whatever is not natural or rational
in the sense indicated is unnatural and irrational. Parallel phenomena are
not wanting, further, in the philosophy of law (Gierke, _Althusius_). But
these errors must not be too harshly judged. The confidence with which they
were made sprang from the real and the historical force of their underlying

As already stated, the "natural" forms the antithesis to the supernatural,
on the one hand, and to the historical, on the other. This combination of
the revealed and the historical will not appear strange, if we remember
that the mediaeval view of the world under criticism was, as Christian,
historico-religious, and, moreover, that for the philosophy of religion the
two in fact coincide, inasmuch as revelation is conceived as an historical
event, and the historical religions assume the character of revealed. The
term arbitrary, applied to both in common, was questionable, however: as
revelation is a divine decree, so historical institutions are the products
of human enactment, the state, the result of a contract, dogmas, inventions
of the priesthood, _the results of development, artificial constructions_!
It took long ages for man to free himself from the idea of the artificial
and conventional in his view of history. Hegel was the first to gather
the fruit whose seeds had been sown by Leibnitz, Lessing, Herder, and the
historical school of law. As often, however, as an attempt was made from
this standpoint of origins to show laws in the course of history, only one
could be reached, a law of necessary degeneration, interrupted at times
by sudden restorations--thus the Deists, thus Machiavelli and Rousseau.
Everything degenerates, science itself only contributes to the
fall--therefore, back to the happy beginnings of things!

If, finally, we inquire into the position of the Church in regard to the
questions of legal philosophy, we may say that, among the Protestants,
Luther, appealing to the Scripture text, declares rulers ordained by God
and sacred, though at the same time he considers law and politics but
remotely related to the inner man; that Melancthon, in his _Elements of
Ethics_ (1538), as in all his philosophical text-books,[1] went back to
Aristotle, but found the source of natural law in the Decalogue, being
followed in this by Oldendorp (1539), Hemming (1562), and B. Winkler

[Footnote 1: The edition of Melancthon's works by Bretschneider and
Bindseil gives the ethical treatises in vol. xvi. and the other
philosophical treatises in vol. xiii. (in part also in vols. xi. and xx.).]

[Footnote 2: Cf. C.v. Kaltenborn, _Die Vorlaeufer des Hugo Grotius_,
Leipsic, 1848.]

On the Catholic side, the Jesuits (the Order was founded in 1534, and
confirmed in 1540), on the one hand, revived the Pelagian theory of freedom
in opposition to the Luthero-Augustinian doctrine of the servitude of the
will, and, on the other, defended the natural origin of the state in a
(revocable) contract in opposition to its divine origin asserted by the
Reformers, and the sovereignty of the people even to the sanctioning of
tyrannicide. Bellarmin (1542-1621) taught that the prince derives his
authority from the people, and as the latter have given him power, so they
retain the natural right to take it back and bestow it elsewhere. The view
of Juan Mariana (1537-1624; _De Rege_, 1599) is that, as the people in
transferring rights to the prince retain still greater power themselves,
they are entitled in given cases to call the king to account. If he
corrupts the state by evil manners, and, degenerating into the tyrant,
despises religion and the laws, he may, as a public enemy, be deprived by
anyone of his authority and his life. It is lawful to arrest tyranny in any
way, and those have always been highly esteemed who, from devotion to the
public welfare, have sought to kill the tyrant.

%5. Skepticism in France.%

Toward the end of the sixteenth century, and in the very country which was
to become the cradle of modern philosophy, there appeared, as a forerunner
of the new thinking, a skepticism in which that was taken for complete
and ultimate truth which with Descartes constitutes merely a moment or
transition point in the inquiry. The earliest and the most ingenious among
the representatives of this philosophy of doubt was Michel de Montaigne
(1533-92), who in his _Essays_--which were the first of their kind and soon
found an imitator in Bacon; they appeared in 1580 in two volumes, with an
additional volume in 1588--combined delicate observation and keen thinking,
boldness and prudence, elegance and solidity. The French honor him as one
of their foremost writers. The most important among these treatises or
essays is considered to be the "Apology for Raymond of Sabunde" (ii. 12)
with valuable excursuses on faith and knowledge. Montaigne bases his doubt
on the diversity of individual views, each man's opinion differing from his
fellow's, while truth must be one. There exists no certain, no universally
admitted knowledge. The human reason is feeble and blind in all things,
knowledge is deceptive, especially the philosophy of the day, which clings
to tradition, which fills the memory with learned note-stuff, but leaves
the understanding void and, instead of things, interprets interpretations
only. Both sensuous and rational knowledge are untrustworthy: the former,
because it cannot be ascertained whether its deliverances conform to
reality, and the latter, because its premises, in order to be valid, need
others in turn for their own establishment, etc., _ad infinitum_. Every
advance in inquiry makes our ignorance the more evident; the doubter alone
is free. But though certainty is denied us in regard to truth, it is not
withheld in regard to duty. In fact, a twofold rule of practical life is
set up for us: nature, or life in accordance with nature and founded on
self-knowledge, and supernatural revelation, the Gospel (to be understood
only by the aid of divine grace). Submission to the divine ruler and
benefactor is the first duty of the rational soul. From obedience proceeds
every virtue, from over-subtlety and conceit, which is the product of
fancied knowledge, comes every sin. Montaigne, like all who know men, has
a sharp eye for human frailty. He depicts the universal weakness of human
nature and the corruption of his time with great vivacity and not without a
certain pleasure in the obscene; and besides folly and passion, complains
above all of the fact that so few understand the art of enjoyment, of which
he, a true man of the world, was master.

The skeptico-practical standpoint of Montaigne was developed into a system
by the Paris preacher, Pierre Charron (1541-1603), in his three books _On
Wisdom_ (1601). Doubt has a double object: to keep alive the spirit
of inquiry and to lead us on to faith. From the fact that reason and
experience are liable to deception and that the mind has at its disposal no
means of distinguishing truth from falsehood, it follows that we are born
not to possess truth but to seek it. Truth dwells alone in the bosom of
God; for us doubt and investigation are the only good amid all the error
and tribulation which surround us. Life is all misery. Man is capable of
mediocrity alone; he can neither be entirely good nor entirely evil; he is
weak in virtue, weak in vice, and the best degenerates in his hands. Even
religion suffers from the universal imperfection. It is dependent on
nationality and country, and each religion is based on its predecessor;
the supernatural origin of which all religions boast belongs in fact
to Christianity alone, which is to be accepted with humility and with
submission of the reason. Charron lays chief emphasis, however, on the
practical side of Christianity, the fulfillment of duty; and the "wisdom"
which forms the subject of his book is synonymous with uprightness
(_probite_), the way to which is opened up by self-knowledge and whose
reward is repose of spirit. And yet we are not to practice it for the
sake of the reward, but because nature and reason, i.e., God, absolutely
(entirely apart from the pleasurable results of virtue) require us to be
good. True uprightness is more than mere legality, for even when outward
action is blameless, the motives may be mixed. "I desire men to be upright
without paradise and hell." Religion seeks to crown morality, not to
generate it; virtue is earlier and more natural than piety. In his
definition of the relation between religion and ethics, his delimitation
of morality from legality, and his insistence on the purity of motives (do
right, because the inner rational law commands it), an anticipation of
Kantian principles may be recognized.

Under Francis Sanchez (died 1632; his chief work is entitled _Quod Nihil
Scitur_), a Portuguese by birth, and professor of medicine in Montpellier
and Toulouse, skepticism was transformed from melancholy contemplation into
a fresh, vigorous search after new problems. In the place of book-learning,
which disgusts him by its smell of the closet, its continued prating of
Aristotle, and its self-exhaustion in useless verbalism, Sanchez desires
to substitute a knowledge of things. Perfect knowledge, it is true, can be
hoped for only when subject and object correspond to each other. But how
is finite man to grasp the infinite universe? Experience, the basis of
all knowledge, gropes about the outer surface of things and illumines
particulars only, without the ability either to penetrate to their inner
nature or to comprehend the whole. We know only what we produce. Thus
God knows the world which he has made, but to us is vouchsafed merely an
insight into mediate or second causes, _causae secundae_. Here, however,
a rich field still lies open before philosophy--only let her attack her
problem with observation and experiment rather than with words.

The French nation, predisposed to skepticism by its prevailing acuteness,
has never lacked representatives of skeptical philosophy. The transition
from the philosophers of doubt whom we have described to the great Bayle
was formed by La Mothe le Vayer (died 1672; _Five Dialogues_, 1671), the
tutor of Louis XIV., and P.D. Huet(ius), Bishop of Avranches (died 1721),
who agreed in holding that a recognition of the weakness of the reason is
the best preparation for faith.

6. %German Mysticism%.

In a period which has given birth to a skeptical philosophy, one never
looks in vain for the complementary phenomenon of mysticism. The stone
offered by doubt in place of bread is incapable of satisfying the impulse
after knowledge, and when the intellect grows weary and despairing, the
heart starts out in the quest after truth. Then its path leads inward, the
mind turns in upon itself, seeks to learn the truth by inner experience and
life, by inward feeling and possession, and waits in quietude for divine
illumination. The German mysticism of Eckhart[1] (about 1300), which had
been continued in Suso and Tauler and had received a practical direction
in the Netherlands,--Ruysbroek (about 1350) to Thomas a Kempis (about
1450),--now puts forth new branches and blossoms at the turning point of
the centuries.

[Footnote 1: Master Eckhart's _Works_ have been edited by F. Pfeiffer,
Leipsic, 1857. The following have written on him: Jos. Bach, Vienna, 1864;
Ad. Lasson, Berlin, 1868; the same, in the second part of Ueberweg's
_Grundriss_, last section; Denifle, in the _Archiv fuer Litteratur und
Kulturgeschichte des Mittelalters_. ii. 417 _seq_.; H. Siebeck,
_Der Begriff des Gemuts in der deutschen Mystik (Beitraege zur
Entstehungsgeschichte der neueren Psychologie_, i), Giessen Programme,

Luther himself was originally a mystic, with a high appreciation of Tauler
and Thomas a Kempis, and published in 1518 that attractive little book by
an anonymous Frankfort author, the _German Theology_. When, later, he fell
into literalism, it was the mysticism of German Protestantism which, in
opposition to the new orthodoxy, held fast to the original principle of
the Reformation, _i.e._, to the principle that faith is not assent to
historical facts, not the acceptance of dogmas, but an inner experience,
a renewal of the whole man. Religion and theology must not be confounded.
Religion is not doctrine, but a new birth. With Schwenckfeld, and also with
Franck, mysticism is still essentially pietism; with Weigel, and by the
addition of ideas from Paracelsus, it is transformed into theosophy, and as
such reaches its culmination in Boehme.

Caspar Schwenckfeld sought to spiritualize the Lutheran movement and
protested against its being made into a pastors' religion. Though he had
been aroused by Luther's pioneer feat, he soon saw that the latter had not
gone far enough; and in his _Letter on the Eucharist_, 1527, he defined the
points of difference between Luther's view of the Sacrament and his own.
Luther, he maintained, had fallen back to an historical view of faith,
whereas the faith which saves can never consist in the outward acceptance
of an historical fact. He who makes salvation dependent on preaching and
the Sacrament, confuses the invisible and the visible Church, _Ecclesia
interna_ and _externa_. The layman is his own priest.

According to Sebastian Franck (1500-45), there are in man, as in everything
else, two principles, one divine and one selfish, Christ and Adam, an
inner and an outer man; if he submits himself to the former (by a timeless
choice), he is spiritual, if to the latter, carnal. God is not the cause
of sin, but man, who turns the divine power to good or evil. He who denies
himself to live God is a Christian, whether he knows and confesses
the Gospel or not. Faith does not consist in assent, but in inner
transformation. The historical element in Christianity and its ceremonial
observances are only the external form and garb (its "figure"), have merely
a symbolic significance as media of communication, as forms of revelation
for the eternal truth, proclaimed but not founded by Christ; the Bible is
merely the shadow of the living Word of God.

Valentin Weigel (born in 1533, pastor in Zschopau from 1567), whose works
were not printed until after his death, combines his predecessors' doctrine
of inner and eternal Christianity with the microcosmos-idea of Paracelsus.
God, who lacks nothing, has not created the world in order to gain, but in
order to give. Man not only bears the earthly world in his body, and the
heavenly world of the angels in his reason (his spirit), but by virtue of
his intellect (his immortal soul) participates in the divine world also. As
he is thus a microcosm and, moreover, an image of God, all his knowledge
becomes self-knowledge, both sensuous perception (which is not caused by
the object, but only occasioned by it), and the knowledge of God. The
literalist knows not God, but he alone who bears God in himself. Man
is favored above other beings with the freedom to dwell in himself or
in God. When man came out from God, he was his own tempter and made himself
proud and selfish. Thus evil, which had before remained hidden, was
revealed, and became sin. As the separation from God is an eternal act, so
also redemption and resurrection form an inner event. Christ is born in
everyone who gives up the I-ness (_Ichheit_); each regenerate man is a son
of God. But no vicarious suffering can save him who does not put off the
old Adam, no matter how much an atheology sunk in literalism may comfort
itself with the hope that man can "drink at another's cost" (that the merit
of another is imputed to him).[1]

[Footnote 1: Weigel is discussed by J.O. Opel, Leipsic, 1864.]

German mysticism reaches its culmination in the Goerlitz cobbler, Jacob
Boehme (1575-1624; _Aurora, or the Rising Dawn_; _Mysterium Magnum, or
on the First Book of Moses_, etc. The works of Boehme, collected by his
apostle, Gichtel, appeared in 1682 in ten volumes, and in 1730 in six
volumes; a new edition was prepared by Schiebler in 1831-47, with a second
edition in 1861 _seq_.). Boehme's doctrine[1] centers about the problem of
the origin of evil. He transfers this to God himself and joins therewith
the leading thought of Eckhart, that God goes through a process, that he
proceeds from an unrevealed to a revealed condition. At the sight of a tin
vessel glistening in the sun, he conceived, as by inspiration, the idea
that as the sunlight reveals itself on the dark vessel so all light needs
darkness and all good evil in order to appear and to become knowable.
Everything becomes perceptible through its opposite alone: gentleness
through sternness, love through anger, affirmation through negation.
Without evil there would be no life, no movement, no distinctions, no
revelation; all would be unqualified, uniform nothingness. And as in nature
nothing exists in which good and evil do not reside, so in God, besides
power or the good, a contrary exists, without which he would remain unknown
to himself. The theogonic process is twofold: self-knowledge on the part of
God, and his revelation outward, as eternal nature, in seven moments.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Windelband's fine exposition, _Geschichte der neueren
Philosophie_, vol. i. Sec.19. The following have written on Boehme: Fr. Baader
(in vols. iii. and xiii. of his _Werke_); Hamberger, Munich, 1844: H. A.
Fechner, Goerlitz, 1857; A. v. Harless, Berlin, 1870, new edition, Leipsic,

At the beginning of the first development God is will without object,
eternal quietude and rest, unqualified groundlessness without determinate
volition. But in this divine nothingness there soon awakes the hunger after
the aught (somewhat, existence), the impulse to apprehend and manifest
self, and as God looks into and forms an image of himself, he divides into
Father and Son. The Son is the eye with which the Father intuits himself,
and the procession of this vision from the groundless is the Holy Ghost.
Thus far God, who is one in three, is only understanding or wisdom, wherein
the images of all the possible are contained; to the intuition of self must
be added divisibility; it is only through the antithesis of the revealed
God and the unrevealed groundless that the former becomes an actual
trinity (in which the persons stand related as essence, power, and
activity), and the latter becomes desire or nature in God.

At the creation of the world seven equally eternal qualities,
source-spirits or nature-forms, are distinguished in the divine nature.
First comes desire as the contractile, tart quality or pain, from which
proceed hardness and heat; next comes mobility as the expansive, sweet
quality, as this shows itself in water. As the nature of the first was to
bind and the second was fluid, so they both are combined in the bitter
quality or the pain of anxiety, the principle of sensibility. (Contraction
and expansion are the conditions of perceptibility.) From these three forms
fright or lightning suddenly springs forth. This fourth quality is the
turning-point at which light flames up from darkness and the love of
God breaks forth from out his anger; as the first three, or four, forms
constitute the kingdom of wrath, so the latter three constitute the kingdom
of joy. The fifth quality is called light or the warm fire of love, and has
for its functions external animation and communication; the sixth, report
and sound, is the principle of inner animation and intelligence; the
seventh, the formative quality, corporeality, comprehends all the preceding
in itself as their dwelling.

The dark fire of anger (the hard, sweet, and bitter qualities) and the
light fire of love (light, report, and corporeality), separated by the
lightning-fire, in which God's wrath is transformed into mercy, stand
related as evil and good. The evil in God is not sin, but simply the
inciting sting, the principle of movement; which, moreover, is restrained,
overcome, transfigured by gentleness. Sin arises only when the creature
refuses to take part in the advance from darkness to light, and obstinately
remains in the fire of anger instead of forcing his way through to the
fire of love. Thus that which was one in God is divided. Lucifer becomes
enamored of the tart quality (the _centrum naturae_ or the matrix) and will
not grow into the heart of God; and it is only after such lingering behind
that the kingdom of wrath become a real hell. Heaven and hell are not
future conditions, but are experienced here on earth; he who instead of
subduing animality becomes enamored of it, stands under the wrath of God;
whereas he who abjures self dwells in the joyous kingdom of mercy. He alone
truly believes who himself becomes Christ, who repeats in himself what
Christ suffered and attained.

The creation of the material world is a result of Lucifer's fall. Boehme's
description of it, based on the Mosaic account of creation, may be passed
without notice; similarly his view of cognition, familiar from the earlier
mystics, that all knowledge is derived from self-knowledge, that our
destination is to comprehend God from ourselves, and the world from God.
Man, whose body, spirit, and soul hold in them the earthly, the sidereal,
and the heavenly, is at once a microcosm and a "little God."

Under the intractable form of Boehme's speculations and amid their riotous
fancy, no one will fail to recognize their true-hearted sensibility and an
unusual depth and vigor of thought. They found acceptance in England and
France, and have been revived in later times in the systems of Baader and

%7. The Foundation of Modern Physics%.

In no field has the modern period so completely broken with tradition as
in physics. The correctness of the Copernican theory is proved by Kepler's
laws of planetary movement, and Galileo's telescopical observations; the
scientific theory of motion is created by Galileo's laws of projectiles,
falling bodies, and the pendulum; astronomy and mechanics form the entrance
to exact physics--Descartes ventures an attempt at a comprehensive
mechanical explanation of nature. And thus an entirely new movement is at
hand. Forerunners, it is true, had not been lacking. Roger Bacon (1214-94)
had already sought to obtain an empirical knowledge of nature based upon
mathematics; and the great painter Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) had
discovered the principles of mechanics, though without gaining much
influence over the work of his contemporaries. It was reserved for the
triple star which has been mentioned to overthrow Scholasticism. The
conceptions with which the Scholastic-Aristotelian philosophy of nature
sought to get at phenomena--substantial forms, properties, qualitative
change--are thrown aside; their place is taken by matter, forces working
under law, rearrangement of parts. The inquiry into final causes is
rejected as an anthropomorphosis of natural events, and deduction from
efficient causes is alone accepted as scientific explanation. Size, shape,
number, motion, and law are the only and the sufficient principles of
explanation. For magnitudes alone are knowable; wherever it is impossible
to measure and count, to determine force mathematically, there rigorous,
exact science ceases. Nature a system of regularly moved particles of
mass; all that takes place mechanical movement, viz., the combination,
separation, dislocation, oscillation of bodies and corpuscles; mathematics
the organon of natural science! Into this circle of modern scientific
categories are articulated, further, Galileo's new conception of motion
and the conception of atoms, which, previously employed by physicists, as
Daniel Sennert (1619) and others, is now brought into general acceptance
by Gassendi, while the four elements are definitively discarded (Lasswitz,
_Geschichte der Atomistik_, 1890). Still another doctrine of Democritus
is now revived; an evident symptom of the quantification and mechanical
interpretation of natural phenomena being furnished by the doctrine of the
subjectivity of sense qualities, in which, although on varying grounds,
Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Gassendi, and Hobbes agree.[1] Descartes and
Hobbes will be discussed later. Here we may give a few notes on their
fellow laborers in the service of the mechanical science of nature.

[Footnote 1: Cf. chapter vi. in Natorp's work on _Descartes'
Erkenntnisstheorie_, Marburg, 1882, and the same author's _Analekten zur
Geschichte der Philosophie_, in the _Philosophische Monatshefte_, vol.
xviii. 1882, p. 572 _seq_.]

We begin with John Kepler[1] (1571-1630; chief work, _The New Astronomy or
Celestial Physics, in Commentaries on the Motions of Mars_, 1609). Kepler's
merit as an astronomer has long obscured his philosophical importance,
although his discovery of the laws of planetary motion was the outcome of
endeavors to secure an exact foundation for his theory of the world. The
latter is aesthetic in character, centers about the idea of a universal
world-harmony, and employs mathematics as an instrument of confirmation.
For the fact that this theory satisfies the mind, and, on the whole,
corresponds to our empirical impression of the order of nature, is not
enough in Kepler's view to guarantee its truth; by exact methods, by means
of induction and experiment, a detailed proof from empirical facts must be
found for the existence not only of a general harmony, but of definitely
fixed proportions. Herewith the philosophical application of mathematics
loses that obscure mystical character which had clung to it since the time
of Pythagoras, and had strongly manifested itself as late as in Nicolas of
Cusa. Mathematical relations constitute the deepest essence of the real and
the object of science. Where matter is, there is geometry; the latter is
older than the world and as eternal as the divine Spirit; magnitudes are
the source of things. True knowledge exists only where quanta are known;
the presupposition of the capacity for knowledge is the capacity to count;
the spirit cognizes sensuous relations by means of the pure, archetypal,
intellectual relations born in it, which, before the advent of
sense-impressions, have lain concealed behind the veil of possibility;
inclination and aversion between men, their delight in beauty, the pleasant
impression of a view, depend upon an unconscious and instinctive perception
of proportions. This quantitative view of the world, which, with a
consciousness of its novelty as well as of its scope, is opposed to the
qualitative view of Aristotle;[2] the opinion that the essence of the human
spirit, as well as of the divine, nay, the essence of all things, consists
in activity; that, consequently, the soul is always active, being conscious
of its own harmony at least in a confused way, even when not conscious of
external proportions; further, the doctrine that nature loves simplicity,
avoids the superfluous, and is accustomed to accomplish large results with
a few principles--these remind one of Leibnitz. At the same time, the law
of parsimony and the methodological conclusions concerning true hypotheses
and real causes (an hypothesis must not be an artificially constructed set
of fictions, forcibly adjusted to reality, but is to trace back phenomena
to their real grounds), obedience to which enabled him to deduce _a priori_
from causes the conclusions which Copernicus by fortunate conjecture had
gathered inductively from effects--these made our thinker a forerunner of
Newton. The physical method of explanation must not be corrupted either
by theological conceptions (comets are entirely natural phenomena!) or by
anthropomorphic views, which endow nature with spiritual powers.

[Footnote 1: See Sigwart, _Kleine Schriften_, vol. i. p. 182 _seq_.; R.
Eucken, _Beitraege zur Geschichte der neueren Philosophie_, p. 54 _seq_.]

[Footnote 2: Aristotle erred when he considered qualitative distinctions
(_idem_ and _aliud_) ultimate. These are to be traced back to quantitative
differences, and the _aliud_ or _diversum_ is to be replaced by _plus et
minus_. There is nothing absolutely light, but only relatively. Since
all things are distinguished only by "more or less," the possibility of
mediating members or proportions between them is given.]

Intermediate between Bacon and Descartes, both in the order of time and in
the order of fact, and a co-founder of modern philosophy, stands Galileo
Galilei (1564-1641).[1] Galileo exhibits all the traits characteristic
of modern thinking: the reference from words to things, from memory to
perception and thought, from authority to self-ascertained principles, from
chance opinion, arbitrary opinion, and the traditional doctrines of the
schools, to "knowledge," that is, to one's own, well grounded, indisputable
insight, from the study of human affairs to the study of nature. Study
Aristotle, but do not become his slave; instead of yielding yourselves
captive to his views, use your own eyes; do not believe that the mind
remains unproductive unless it allies itself with the understanding of
another; copy nature, not copies merely! He equals Bacon in his high
estimation of sensuous experience in contrast to the often illusory
conclusions of the reason, and of the value of induction; but he does not
conceal from himself the fact that observation is merely the first step in
the process of cognition, leaving the chief role for the understanding.
This, supplementing the defect of experience--the impossibility of
observing all cases--by its _a priori_ concept of law and with its
inferences overstepping the bounds of experience, first makes induction
possible, brings the facts established into connection (their combination
under laws is thought, not experience), reduces them to their primary,
simple, unchangeable, and necessary causes by abstraction from contingent
circumstances, regulates perception, corrects sense-illusions, _i. e_.,
the false judgments originating in experience, and decides concerning the
reality or fallaciousness of phenomena. Demonstration based on experience,
a close union of observation and thought, of fact and Idea (law)--these
are the requirements made by Galileo and brilliantly fulfilled in his
discoveries; this, the "inductive speculation," as Duehring terms it, which
derives laws of far-reaching importance from inconspicuous facts; this,
as Galileo himself recognizes, the distinctive gift of the investigator.
Galileo anticipates Descartes in regard to the subjective character of
sense qualities and their reduction to quantitative distinctions,[2] while
he shares with him the belief in the typical character of mathematics and
the mechanical theory of the world. The truth of geometrical propositions
and demonstrations is as unconditionally certain for man as for God, only
that man learns them by a discursive process, whereas God's intuitive
understanding comprehends them with a glance and knows more of them than
man. The book of the universe is written in mathematical characters; motion
is the fundamental phenomenon in the world of matter; our knowledge reaches
as far as phenomena are measurable; the qualitative nature of force, back
of its quantitative determinations, remains unknown to us. When Galileo
maintains that the Copernican theory is philosophically true and not merely
astronomically useful, thus interpreting it as more than a hypothesis,
he is guided by the conviction that the simplest explanation is the most
probable one, that truth and beauty are one, as in general he concedes
a guiding though not a controlling influence in scientific work to the
aesthetic demand of the mind for order, harmony, and unity in nature, to
correspond to the wisdom of the Creator.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Natorp's essay on Galileo, in vol. xviii. of the
_Philosophische Monatshefte_, 1882.]

[Footnote 1: This doctrine is developed by Galileo in the controversial
treatise against Padre Grassi, _The Scales (Il Saggiatore_, 1623, in the
Florence edition of his collected works, 1842 _seq_., vol. iv. pp.
149-369; cf. Natorp, _Descartes' Erkenntnisstheorie_, 1882, chap. vi.). In
substance, moreover, this doctrine is found, as Heussler remarks, _Baco_,
p. 94, in Bacon himself, in _Valerius Terminus (Works_, Spedding, vol. iii.
pp. 217-252.)]

One of the most noted and influential among the contemporaries, countrymen,
and opponents of Descartes, was the priest and natural scientist, Petrus
Gassendi,[1] from 1633 Provost of Digne, later for a short period professor
of mathematics at Paris. His renewal of Epicureanism, to which he was
impelled by temperament, by his reverence for Lucretius, and by the
anti-Aristotelian tendency of his thinking, was of far more importance for
modern thought than the attempts to revive the ancient systems which have
been mentioned above (p. 29). Its superior influence depends on the fact
that, in the conception of atoms, it offered exact inquiry a most useful
point of attachment. The conflict between the Gassendists and the
Cartesians, which at first was a bitter one, centered, as far as physics
was concerned, around the value of the atomic hypothesis as contrasted with
the corpuscular and vortex theory which Descartes had opposed to it. It
soon became apparent, however, that these two thinkers followed along
essentially the same lines in the philosophy of nature, sharply as they
were opposed in their noetical principles. Descartes' doctrine of body is
conceived from an entirely materialistic standpoint, his anthropology,
indeed, going further than the principles of his system would allow.
Gassendi, on the other hand, recognizes an immaterial, immortal reason,
traces the origin of the world, its marvelous arrangement, and the
beginning of motion back to God, and, since the Bible so teaches, believes
the earth to be at rest,--holding that, for this reason, the decision must
be given in favor of Tycho Brahe and against Copernicus, although the
hypothesis of the latter affords the simpler and, scientifically, the more
probable explanation. Both thinkers rejoice in their agreement with the
dogmas of the Church, only that with Descartes it came unsought in the
natural progress of his thought, while Gassendi held to it in contradiction
to his system. It is the more surprising that Gassendi's works escaped
being put upon the Index, a fate which overtook those of Descartes in 1663.

[Footnote 2: Pierre Gassendi, 1592-1655: _On the Life and Character of
Epicurus_, 1647; _Notes on the Tenth Book of Diogenes Laertius, with a
Survey of the Doctrine of Epicurus_, 1649. _Works_, Lyons, 1658, Florence,
1727. Cf. Lange, _History of Materialism_, book i. Sec. 3, chap, 1; Natorp,
_Analekten, Philosophische Monatshefte_, vol. xviii. 1882, p. 572 _seq_.]

As modern thought derives its mechanical temper equally from both these
sources, and the natural science of the day has appropriated the corpuscles
of Descartes under the name of molecules, as well as the atoms of Gassendi,
though not without considerable modification in both conceptions (Lange,
vol. i. p. 269), so we find attempts at mediation at an early period.
While Pere Mersenne (1588-1648), who was well versed in physics, sought
an indecisive middle course between these two philosophers, the English
chemist, Robert Boyle, effected a successful synthesis of both. The son
of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, he was born at Lismore in 1626, lived in
literary retirement at Oxford from 1654, and later in Cambridge, and died,
1692, in London, president of the Royal Society. His principal work, _The
Sceptical Chemist (Works_, vol. i. p. 290 _seq_.), appeared in 1661, the
tract, _De Ipsa Natura_, in 1682.[1] By his introduction of the atomic
conception he founded an epoch in chemistry, which, now for the first, was
freed from bondage to the ideas of Aristotle and the alchemists.
Atomism, however, was for Boyle merely an instrument of method and not a
philosophical theory of the world. A sincerely religious man,[2] he regards
with disfavor both the atheism of Epicurus and his complete rejection of
teleology--the world-machine points to an intelligent Creator and a purpose
in creation; motion, to a divine impulse. He defends, on the other hand,
the right of free inquiry against the priesthood and the pedantry of the
schools, holding that the supernatural must be sharply distinguished from
the natural, and mere conjectures concerning insoluble problems from
positions susceptible of experimental proof; while, in opposition to
submission to authority, he remarks that the current coin of opinion must
be estimated, not by the date when and the person by whom it was minted but
by the value of the metal alone. Cartesian elements in Boyle are the start
from doubt, the derivation of all motion from pressure and impact, and the
extension of the mechanical explanation to the organic world. His inquiries
relate exclusively to the world of matter so far as it was "completed on
the last day but one of creation." He defends empty space against Descartes
and Hobbes. He is the first to apply the mediaeval terms, primary and
secondary qualities, to the antithesis between objective properties which
really belong to things, and sensuous or subjective qualities present only
in the feeling subject.[3]

[Footnote 1: Boyle's _Works_ were published in Latin at Geneva, in 1660, in
six volumes, and in 1714 in five; an edition by Birch appeared at London,
1744, in five volumes, second edition, 1772, in six. Cf. Buckle, _History
of Civilization in England_, vol. i. chap. vii. pp. 265-268; Lange,
_History of Materialism_, vol. i. pp. 298-306; vol. ii. p. 351 _seq_.;
Georg Baku, _Der Streit ueber den Naturbegriff, Zeitschrift fuer
Philosophie_, vol. xcviii., 1891, p. 162 _seq_.]

[Footnote 2: The foundation named after him had for its object to promote
by means of lectures the investigation of nature on the basis of atomism,
and, at the same time, to free it from the reproach of leading to atheism
and to show its harmony with natural religion. Samuel Clarke's work on _The
Being and Attributes of God_, 1705, originated in lectures delivered on
this foundation.]

[Footnote 3: Eucken, _Geschichte der philosophischen Terminologie_,
pp. 94, 196.]

%8. Philosophy in England to the Middle of the Seventeenth Century.%

%(a) Bacon's Predecessors.%--The darkness which lay over the beginnings
of modern English philosophy has been but incompletely dispelled by
the meritorious work of Ch. de Remusat _(Histoire de la Philosophie en
Angleterre depuis Bacon jusqu'a Locke_, 2 vols., 1878). The most recent
investigations of J. Freudenthal _(Beitraege zur Geschichte der Englischen
Philosophie_, in the _Archiv fuer Geschichte der Philosophie_, vols. iv. and
v., 1891) have brought assistance in a way deserving of thanks, since they
lift at important points the veil which concealed Bacon's relations to his
predecessors and contemporaries, by describing the scientific tendencies
and achievements of Digby and Temple. The following may be taken from his

Everard Digby (died 1592; chief work, _Theoria Analytica,_ 1579),
instructor in logic in Cambridge from 1573, who was strongly influenced
by Reuchlin and who favored an Aristotelian-Alexandrian-Cabalistic
eclecticism, was the first to disseminate Neoplatonic ideas in England;
and, in spite of the lack of originality in his systematic presentation of
theoretical philosophy, aroused the study of this branch in England into
new life. His opponent, Sir William Temple [1] (1553-1626), by his defense
and exposition of the doctrine of Ramus (introduced into Great Britain by
George Buchanan and his pupil, Andrew Melville), made Cambridge the chief
center of Ramism. He was the first who openly opposed Aristotle.

[Footnote 1: Temple was secretary to Philip Sidney, William Davison, and
the Earl of Essex, and, from 1619, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin.
His maiden work, _De Unica P. Rami Methodo_, which he published under the
pseudonym, Mildapettus 1580, was aimed at Digby's _De Duplici Methodo_. His
chief work, _P. Rami Dialectics Libri Dua Scholiis, Illustrati_, appeared
in 1584.]

Bacon was undoubtedly acquainted with both these writers and took ideas
from both. Digby represented the scholastic tendency, which Bacon
vehemently opposed, yet without being able completely to break away
from it. Temple was one of those who supplied him with weapons for this
conflict. Finally, it must be mentioned that many of the English scientists
of the time, especially William Gilbert (1540-1603; _De Magnete_, 1600),
physician to Queen Elizabeth, used induction in their work before Bacon
advanced his theory of method.

%(b) Bacon%.--The founder of the empirical philosophy of modern times was
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a contemporary of Shakespeare. Bacon began
his political career by sitting in Parliament for many years under Queen
Elizabeth, as whose counsel he was charged with the duty of engaging in
the prosecution of his patron, the Earl of Essex, and at whose command he
prepared a justification of the process. Under James I, he attained the
highest offices and honors, being made Keeper of the Great Seal in 1617,
Lord Chancellor and Baron Verulam in 1618, and Viscount St. Albans in
1621. In this last year came his fall. He was charged with bribery, and
condemned; the king remitted the imprisonment and fine, and for the
remainder of his life Bacon devoted himself to science, rejecting every
suggestion toward a renewal of his political activity. The moral laxity
of the times throws a mitigating light over his fault; but he cannot be
aquitted of self-seeking, love of money and of display, and excessive
ambition. As Macaulay says in his famous essay, he was neither malignant
nor tyrannical, but he lacked warmth of affection and elevation of
sentiment; there were many things which he loved more than virtue, and many
which he feared more than guilt. He first gained renown as an author by his
ethical, economic, and political _Essays_, after the manner of Montaigne;
of these the first ten appeared in 1597, in the third edition (1625)
increased to fifty-eight; the Latin translation bears the title _Sermones
Fideles_. His great plan for a "restoration of the sciences" was intended
to be carried out in four, or rather, in six parts. But only the first two
parts of the _Instauratio Magna_ were developed: the _encyclopaedia_, or
division of all sciences[1], a chart of the _globus intellectualis_, on
which was depicted what each science had accomplished and what still
remained for each to do; and the development of the _new method_. Bacon
published his survey of the circle of the sciences in the English work, the
_Advancement of Learning_, 1605, a much enlarged revision of which, _De
Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum_, appeared in Latin in 1623. In 1612
he printed as a contribution to methodology the draft, _Cogitata et Visa_
(written 1607), later recast into the [first book of the] _Novum Organum_,
1620. This title, _Novum Organum_, of itself indicates opposition to
Aristotle, whose logical treatises had for ages been collected under the
title _Organon_. If in this work Bacon had given no connected exposition
of his reforming principles, but merely a series of aphorisms, and this
an incomplete one, the remaining parts are still more fragmentary, only
prefaces and scattered contributions having been reduced to writing. The
third part was to have been formed by a description of the world or natural
_history, Historia Naturalis_, and the last,--introduced by a _Scala
Intellectus_ (ladder of knowledge, illustrations of the method
by examples), and by _Prodromi_ (preliminary results of his own
inquiries),--by natural _science, Philosophia Secunda_. The best edition of
Bacon's works is the London one of Spedding, Ellis & Heath, 1857 _seq_., 7
vols., 2d ed., 1870; with 7 volumes additional of _The Letters and Life of
Francis Bacon, including His Occasional Works_, and a Commentary, by J.
Spedding, 1862-74. Spedding followed this further with a briefer _Account
of the Life and Times of Francis Bacon_, 2 vols., 1878[2].

[Footnote 1: According to the faculties of the soul, memory, imagination,
and understanding, three principal sciences are distinguished; history,
poesy, and philosophy. Of the three objects of the latter, "nature strikes
the mind with a direct ray, God with a refracted ray, and man himself
with a reflected ray." Theology is natural or revealed. Speculative
(theoretical) natural philosophy divides into physics, concerned with
material and efficient causes, and metaphysics, whose mission, according to
the traditional view, is to inquire into final causes, but in Bacon's own
opinion, into formal causes; operative (technical) natural philosophy
is mechanics and natural magic. The doctrine concerning man comprises
anthropology (including logic and ethics) and politics. This division of
Bacon was still retained by D'Alembert in his preliminary discourse to the

[Footnote 2: Cf. on Bacon, K. Fischer, 2d ed., 1875; Chr. Sigwart, in the
_Preussische Jahrbuecher_, 1863 and 1864, and in vol. ii. of his _Logik_;
H. Heussler, _Baco und seine geschichtliche Stellung_, Breslau, 1889.
[Adamson, _Encyclopedia Britannica_, 9th. ed., vol. iii. pp. 200-222;
Fowler, English Philosophers Series, 1881; Nichol, Blackwood's
Philosophical Classics, 2 vols., 1888-89.--TR.]] Bacon's merit was
threefold: he felt more forcibly and more clearly than previous
thinkers the need of a reform in science; he set up a new and grand
ideal--unbiased and methodical investigation of nature in order to
mastery over nature; and he gave information and directions as to
the way in which this goal was to be attained, which, in spite of their
incompleteness in detail, went deep into the heart of the subject and laid
the foundation for the work of centuries.[1] His faith in the omnipotence
of the new method was so strong, that he thought that science for the
future could almost dispense with talent. He compares his method to a
compass or a ruler, with which the unpractised man is able to draw circles
and straight lines better than an expert without these instruments.

[Footnote 1: His detractors are unjust when they apply the criterion of the
present method of investigation and find only imperfection in an imperfect

All science hitherto, Bacon declares, has been uncertain and unfruitful,
and does not advance a step, while the mechanic arts grow daily more
perfect; without a firm basis, garrulous, contentious, and lacking in
content, it is of no practical value. The seeker after certain knowledge
must abandon words for things, and learn the art of forcing nature to
answer his questions. The seeker after fruitful knowledge must increase
the number of discoveries, and transform them from matters of chance into
matters of design. For discovery conditions the power, greatness, and
progress of mankind. Man's power is measured by his knowledge, knowledge is
power, and nature is conquered by obedience--_scientia est potentia; natura
parendo vincitur_.

Bacon declares three things indispensable for the attainment of this
power-giving knowledge: the mind must understand the instruments of
knowledge; it must turn to experience, deriving the materials of knowledge
from perception; and it must not rise from particular principles to the
higher axioms too rapidly, but steadily and gradually through middle
axioms. The mind can accomplish nothing when left to itself; but undirected
experience alone is also insufficient (experimentation without a plan is
groping in the dark), and the senses, moreover, are deceptive and not acute
enough for the subtlety of nature--therefore, methodical experimentation
alone, not chance observation, is worthy of confidence. Instead of the
customary divorce of experience and understanding, a firm alliance, a
"lawful marriage," must be effected between them. The empiricists merely
collect, like the ants; the dogmatic metaphysicians spin the web of their
ideas out of themselves, like the spiders; but the true philosopher must be
like the bee, which by its own power transforms and digests the gathered

As the mind, like a dull and uneven mirror, by its own nature distorts the
rays of objects, it must first of all be cleaned and polished, that is, it
must be freed from all prejudices and false notions, which, deep-rooted by
habit, prevent the formation of a true picture of the world. It must root
out its prejudices, or, where this is impossible, at least understand them.
Doubt is the first step on the way to truth. Of these Phantoms or Idols to
be discarded, Bacon distinguishes four classes: Idols of the Theater, of
the Market Place, of the Den, and of the Tribe. The most dangerous are
the _idola theatri_, which consist in the tendency to put more trust in
authority and tradition than in independent reflection, to adopt current
ideas simply because they find general acceptance. Bacon's injunction
concerning these is not to be deceived by stage-plays (_i.e._, by the
teachings of earlier thinkers which represent things other than they are);
instead of believing others, observe for thyself! The _idola fori_, which
arise from the use of language in public intercourse, depend upon the
confusion of words, which are mere symbols with a conventional value and
which are based on the carelessly constructed concepts of the vulgar, with
things themselves. Here Bacon warns us to keep close to things. The _idola
specus_ are individual prepossessions which interfere with the apprehension
of the true state of affairs, such as the excessive tendency of thought
toward the resemblances or the differences of things, or the investigator's
habit of transferring ideas current in his own department to subjects of a
different kind. Such individual weaknesses are numberless, yet they may in
part be corrected by comparison with the perceptions of others. The _idola
tribus_, finally, are grounded in the nature of the human species. To this
class belong, among others, illusions of the senses, which may in part be
corrected by the use of instruments, with which we arm our organs; further,
the tendency to hold fast to opinions acceptable to us in spite of contrary
instances; similarly, the tendency to anthropomorphic views, including,
as its most important special instance, the mistake of thinking that we
perceive purposive relations everywhere and the working of final causes,
after the analogy of human action, when in reality efficient causes alone
are concerned. Here Bacon's injunction runs, not to interpret natural
phenomena teleologically, but to explain them from mechanical causes; not
to narrow the world down to the limits of the mind, but to extend the mind
to the boundaries of the world, so that it shall understand it as it
really is.

To these warnings there are added positive rules. When the investigator,
after the removal of prejudices and habitual modes of thought, approaches
experience with his senses unperverted and a purified mind, he is to
advance from the phenomena given to their conditions. First of all, the
facts must be established by observation and experiment, and systematically
arranged,[1] then let him go on to causes and laws.[2] The true or
scientific induction[3] thus inculcated is quite different from the
credulous induction of common life or the unmethodical induction of
Aristotle. Bacon emphasizes the fact that hitherto the importance of
negative instances, which are to be employed as a kind of counter-proof,
has been completely overlooked, and that a substitute for complete
induction, which is never attainable, may be found, on the one hand, in the
collection of as many cases as possible, and, on the other, by considering
the more important or decisive cases, the "prerogative instances." Then the
inductive ascent from experiment to axiom is to be followed by a deductive
descent from axioms to new experiments and discoveries. Bacon rejects
the syllogism on the ground that it fits one to overcome his opponent in
disputation, but not to gain an active conquest over nature. In his own
application of these principles of method, his procedure was that of a
dilettante; the patient, assiduous labor demanded for the successful
promotion of the mission of natural investigation was not his forte. His
strength lay in the postulation of problems, the stimulation and direction
of inquiry, the discovery of lacunae and the throwing out of suggestions;
and many ideas incidentally thrown off by him surprise us by their
ingenious anticipations of later discoveries. The greatest defect in his
theory was his complete failure to recognize the services promised by
mathematics to natural science. The charge of utilitarianism, which has
been so broadly made, is, on the contrary, unjust. For no matter how
strongly he emphasizes the practical value of knowledge, he is still in
agreement with those who esteem the godlike condition of calm and cheerful
acquaintance with truth more highly than the advantages to be expected from
it; he desires science to be used, not as "a courtezan for pleasure," but
"as a spouse for generation, fruit and comfort," and--leaving entirely out
of view his isolated acknowledgments of the inherent value of knowledge--he
conceives its utility wholly in the comprehensive and noble sense that the
pursuit of science, from which as such all narrow-minded regard for direct
practical application must keep aloof, is the most important lever for the
advancement of human culture.

[Footnote 1: Bacon illustrates the method by the explanation of heat. The
results of experimental observation are to be arranged in three tables. The
table of presence contains many different cases in which heat occurs; the
table of absence, those in which, under circumstances otherwise the same,
it is wanting; the table of degrees or comparison enumerates phenomena
whose increase and decrease accompany similar variations in the degree of
heat. That which remains after the _exclusion_ now to be undertaken (of
that which cannot be the nature or cause of heat), yields as a preliminary
result or commencement of interpretation (as a "first vintage"), the
definition of heat: "a motion, expansive, restrained, and acting in its
strife upon the smaller particles of bodies."]

[Footnote 2: This goal of Baconian inquiry is by no means coincident with
that of exact natural science. Law does not mean to him, as to the physical
scientist of to-day, a mathematically formulated statement of the course of
events, but the nature of the phenomenon, to be expressed in a definition
(E. Koenig, _Entwickelung des Causalproblems bis Kant_, 1883, pp. 154-156).
Bacon combines in a peculiar manner ancient and modern, Platonic and
corpuscular fundamental ideas. Rejecting final causes with the atomists,
yet handing over material and efficient causes (the latter of which sink
with him to the level of mere changing occasional causes) to empirical
physics, he assigns to metaphysics, as the true _science_ of nature, the
search for the "forms" and properties of things. In this he is guided by
the following metaphysical presupposition: Phenomena, however manifold
they may be, are at bottom composed of a few elements, namely, permanent
properties, the so-called "simple natures," which form, as it were, the
alphabet of nature or the colors on her palette, by the combination of
which she produces her varied pictures; _e. g_., the nature of heat and
cold, of a red color, of gravity, and also of age, of death. Now the
question to be investigated becomes, What, then, is heat, redness, etc.?
The ground essence and law of the natures consist in certain forms,
which Bacon conceives in a Platonic way as concepts and substances, but
phenomenal ones, and, at the same time, with Democritus, as the grouping or
motion of minute material particles. Thus the form of heat is a particular
kind of motion, the form of whiteness a determinate arrangement of material
particles. Cf. Natge, _Ueber F. Bacons Formenlehre_, Leipsic, 1891, in
which Heussler's view is developed in more detail. [Cf. further, Fowler's
_Bacon_, English Philosophers Series, 1881, chap. iv.--TR.]]

[Footnote 3: The Baconian method is to be called induction, it is true,
only in the broad sense. Even before Sigwart, Apelt, _Theorie der
Induction_, 1854, pp. 151, 153, declared that the question it discussed was
essentially a method of abstraction. This, however, does not detract from
the fame of Bacon as the founder, of the theory of inductive investigation
(in later times carefully elaborated by Mill).]

Bacon intended that his reforming principles should accrue to the benefit
of practical philosophy also, but gave only aphoristic hints to this
end. Everything is impelled by two appetites, of which the one aims at
individual welfare, the other at the welfare of the whole of which the
thing is a part (_bonum suitatis_--_bonum communionis_). The second is not
only the nobler but also the stronger; this holds of the lower creatures as
well as of man, who, when not degenerate, prefers the general welfare to
his individual interests. Love is the highest of the virtues, and is never,
as other human endowments, exposed to the danger of excess; therefore the
life of action is of more worth than the life of contemplation. By this
principle of morals Bacon marked out the way for the English ethics of
later times.[1] He notes the lack of a science of character, for which more
material is given in ordinary discourse, in the poets and the historians,
than in the works of the philosophers; he explains the power of the
affections over the reason by the fact that the idea of present good fills
the imagination more forcibly than the idea of good to come, and summons
persuasion, habit, and morals to the aid of the latter. We must endeavor
so to govern the passions (each of which combines in itself a masculine
impetuosity with a feminine weakness) that they shall take the part of
the reason instead of attacking it. Elsewhere Bacon gives (not entirely
unquestionable) directions concerning the art of making one's way. Acute
observations and ingenious remarks everywhere abound. In order to inform
one's self of a man's intentions and ends, it is necessary to "keep a good
mediocrity in liberty of speech, which invites a similar liberty, and in
secrecy, which induces trust." "In order to get on one must have a little
of the fool and not too much of the honest." "As the baggage is to an
army, so is riches to virtue. It cannot be spared nor left behind, but it
hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth
the victory" (impedimenta--baggage and hindrance). On envy and malevolence
he says: "For men's minds will either feed upon their own good or upon
others' evil; ... and whoso is out of hope to attain another's virtue will
seek to come at even hand by depressing another's fortune."

[Footnote 1: Cf. Vorlaender, p. 267 _seq_.]

In ethics, as in theoretical philosophy, Bacon demands the completion of
natural knowledge by revelation. The light of nature (the reason and the
conscience) is able only to convince us of sin and not to give us complete
information concerning our duty,--_e.g._, the lofty moral principle, Love
your enemies. Similarly, natural theology is quite sufficient to place
the existence of God beyond doubt, by reasoning from the order in nature
("slight tastes of philosophy may perchance move one to atheism but fuller
draughts lead back to religion"); but the doctrines of Christianity are
matters of faith. Religion and science are separate fields, any confusion
of which involves the danger of an heretical religion or a fabulous
philosophy. The more a principle of faith contradicts the reason, the
greater the obedience and the honor to God in accepting it.

%(c) Hobbes%.--Hobbes stands in sharp contrast to Bacon both in disposition
and in doctrine. Bacon was a man of a wide outlook, a rich, stimulating,
impulsive nature, filled with great plans, but too mobile and desultory to
allow them to ripen to perfection; Hobbes is slow, tenacious, persistent,
unyielding, his thought strenuous and narrow. To this corresponds a
profound difference in their systems, which is by no means adequately
characterized by saying that Hobbes brings into the foreground the
mathematical element neglected by his predecessor, and turns his attention
chiefly to politics. The dependence of Hobbes on Bacon is, in spite of
their personal acquaintance, not so great as formerly was universally
assumed. His guiding stars are rather the great mathematicians of the
Continent, Kepler and Galileo, while Cartesian influences also are not
to be denied. He finds his mission in the construction of a strictly
mechanical view of the world. Mechanism applied to the world gives
materialism; applied to knowledge, sensationalism of a mathematical type;
applied to the will, determinism; to morality and the state, ethical and
political naturalism. Nevertheless, the empirical tendency of his nation
has a certain power over him; he holds fast to the position that all ideas
ultimately spring from experience. With his energetic but short-breathed
thinking, he did not succeed in fusing the rationalistic elements received
from foreign sources with these native tendencies, so as to produce
a unified system. As Grimm has correctly shown (_Zur Geschichte des
Erkenntnissproblems_), there is an unreconciled contradiction between the
dependence of thought on experience, which he does not give up, and the
universal validity of the truths derived from pure reason, which he asserts
on the basis of the mathematico-philosophical doctrines of the Continent. A
similar unmediated dualism will meet us in Locke also.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was repelled while a student at Oxford by
Scholastic methods in thought, with which he agreed only in their
nominalistic results (there are no universals except names). During
repeated sojourns in Paris, where he made the acquaintance of Gassendi,
Mersenne, and Descartes, he devoted himself to the study of mathematics,
and was greatly influenced by the doctrines of Galileo; while the disorders
of the English revolution led him to embrace an absolutist theory of the
state. His chief works were his politics, under the title _Leviathan_,
1651, and his _Elementa Philosophiae_, in three parts (_De Corpore, De
Homine, De Cive_), of which the third, _De Cive_, appeared first (in Latin;
in briefer form and anonymously, 1642, enlarged 1647), the first, _De
Corpore_, in 1655, and the second, _De Homine_, in 1658. These had
been preceded by two books [1] written, like the two last parts of the
_Elements_, in English: _On Human Nature_ and _De Corpore Politico_,
composed 1640, printed without the author's consent in 1650. Besides these
he wrote two treatises _Of Liberty and Necessity_, 1646 and 1654,
and prepared, 1668, a collected edition of his works (in Latin). In
Molesworth's edition, 1839-45, the Latin works occupy five volumes and the
English eleven.[2]

[Footnote 1: Or rather one; the treatise _On Human Nature_ consists of
the first thirteen chapters of the work, _Elements of Law, Natural and
Politic_, and the _De Corpore Politico_ of the remainder.]

[Footnote 2: Cf. on Hobbes, G.C. Robertson (Blackwood's Philosophical
Classics, vol. x.), 1886; Toennies in the _Vierteljahrsschrift fuer
wissenschaftliche Philosophie_, Jahrg. 3-5, 1879-81.]

Philosophy is formally defined by Hobbes as knowledge of effects from
causes and causes from effects by means of legitimate rational inference.
This implies the equal validity of the deductive and inductive
methods,--while Bacon had proclaimed the latter the most important
instrument of knowledge,--as well as the exclusion of theology based on
revelation from the domain of science. Philosophy is objectively defined as
the theory of body and motion: _all that exists is body; all that occurs,
motion_. Everything real is corporeal; this holds of points, lines, and
surfaces, which as the limits of body cannot be incorporeal, as well as
of the mind and of God. The mind is merely a (for the senses too) refined
body, or, as it is stated in another place, a movement in certain parts
of the organic body. All events, even internal events, the feelings and
passions, are movements of material parts. "Endeavor" is a diminutive
motion, as the atom is the smallest of bodies; sensation and representation
are changes in the perceiving body. Space is the idea of an existing thing
as such, _i. e_., merely as existing outside the perceiving subject; time,
the idea of motion. All phenomena are corporeal motions, which take place
with mechanical necessity. Neither formal nor final causes exist, but only
efficient causes. All that happens takes its origin in the activity of an
external cause, and not in itself; a body at rest (or in motion) remains
at rest (or in motion) forever, unless affected by another in a contrary
sense. And as bodies and their changes constitute the only objects of
philosophy, so the mathematical method is the only correct method.

There are two kinds of bodies: natural bodies, which man finds in nature,
and artificial bodies, which he himself produces. By the latter Hobbes
refers especially to the state as a human artefact. Man stands between the
two as the most perfect natural body and an element in the political body.
Philosophy, therefore, besides the introductory _philosophia prima_, which
discusses the underlying concepts, consists of three parts: physics,
anthropology, and politics. Even the theory of the state is capable of
demonstrative treatment; moral phenomena are as subject to the law of
mechanical causation as physical phenomena.

The first factor in the cognitive process is an impression on a
sense-organ, which, occasioned by external motion, continues onward to the
heart and from this center gives rise to a reaction. The perception or
sensation which thus arises is entirely subjective, a function of the
knower merely, and in no way a copy of the external movement. The
properties light, color, and sound, which we believe to be without us, are
merely internal phenomena dependent on outer and inner motions, but with no
resemblance to them. Memory consists in the lingering effects or residuary
traces of perception; it is a sense or consciousness of having felt before
_(sentire se sensisse meminisse est_), and ideas are distinguished from
sensations as the perfect from the present tense. Experience is the
totality of perceptions retained in memory, together with a certain
foresight of the future after the analogy of the past. These stages of
cognition, which can yield prudence but not necessary and universal
knowledge, are present in animals as well as men. The human capacity for
science is dependent on the faculty of speech; words are conventional
signs to facilitate the retention and communication of ideas. As the
memory-images denoted by words are weaker, fainter, and less clearly
discriminated than the original sensations, it comes to pass that a number
of similar ideas of memory receive a common name. Thus abstract general
ideas and generic concepts arise, to which nothing real corresponds, for
in reality particulars alone exist. The universal is a human artefact. The
combination of words into propositions, being an addition or subtraction
of arbitrary symbols or marks, is called judgment; the combination of
propositions into syllogisms, inference; the united body of true or
demonstrated principles, science--hence mathematics is the type of all
knowledge. In short, thought is nothing but calculation and the words with
which we operate are mere counters; he who takes counters for coin is a
fool. Animals lack reason, _i.e._, this power of combining artificial

Hobbes's theory of the will is characterized by the same! sensationalism
and mechanism as his theory of knowledge. All spiritual events originate
in impressions of sense. Man responds to the action of objects by a double
reaction, adding to the theoretical reaction of sensation a practical one
in the feeling of pleasure or pain (according as the impression furthers or
hinders the vital function), whence desire and aversion follow in respect
to future experience. Further developments from the feelings experienced at
the signs of honor (the acknowledgment of superior power) and the contrary,
are the affections of pride, courage, anger, of shame and repentance, of
hope and love, of pity, etc. Deliberation is the alternation of different
appetites; the final, victorious one which immediately precedes action is
called will. Freedom cannot be predicated of the will, but only of the
action, and even in this case it means simply the absence of external
restraints, the procedure of the action from the will of the agent; while
the action is necessary nevertheless. Every motion is the inevitable result
of the sum of the preceding (including cerebral) motions.

Things which we desire are termed good, and those which we shun, evil.
Nothing is good _per se_ or absolutely, but only relatively, for a given
person, place, time, or set of circumstances. Different things are good to
different men, and there is no objective, universal rule of good and
evil, so long as men are considered as individuals, apart from society. A
definite criterion of the good is first reached in the state: that is right
which the law permits, that wrong which it forbids; good means that which
is conducive to the general welfare. In the state of nature nothing is
forbidden; nature gives every man a right to everything, and right is
coextensive with might. What, then, induces man to abandon the state of
nature and enter the state of citizenship? The opinion of Aristotle and
Grotius that the state originates in the social impulse is false; for man
is essentially not social, but selfish, and nothing but regard for his own
interests bids him seek the protection of the state; the civil commonwealth
is an artificial product of fear and prudence. The highest good is
self-preservation; all other goods, as friendship, riches, wisdom,
knowledge, and, above all, power, are valuable only as instruments of the
former. The precondition of well-being, for which each man strives by
nature, is security for life and health. This is wanting in the state of
nature, in which the passions govern; for the state of nature is a state
of war of everyone against everyone _(bellum omnium contra omnes_). Each
man strives for success and power, and, since he cannot trust his fellow,
seeks to subdue, nay, to kill him; each looks upon his fellow as a wolf
which he prefers to devour rather than submit himself to the like
operation. Now, as no one is so weak as to be incapable of inflicting on
his fellows that worst of evils, death, and thus the strongest is unsafe,
reason, in the interest of everyone, enjoins a search after peace and the
establishment of an ordered community. The conditions of peace are the
"laws of nature," which relate both to politics and to morals but which do
not attain their full binding authority until they become positive laws,
injunctions of the sovereign power. Peace is attainable only when each man,
in return for the protection vouchsafed to him, gives up his natural right
to all. The compact by which each renounces his natural liberty to do what
he pleases, provided all others are ready for the same renunciation,--to
which are added, further, the laws of justice (sanctity of covenants),
equity, gratitude, modesty, sociability, mercifulness, etc., whose
opposites would bring back the state of nature,--this compact is secured
against violation by the transfer of the general power and freedom to a
single will (the will of an assembly or of an individual person), which
then represents the general will. The civil contract includes, then, two
moments: first, renunciation; second, irrevocable transference and
(absolute) submission. The second unites the multitude into a civil
personality, the most perfect unity being vouchsafed by absolute monarchy.
The sovereign is the soul of the political body; the officials, its limbs;
reward and punishment, its nerves; law and equity, its reason.

The social contract theory has often experienced democratic interpretation
and application, both before and since Hobbes's time; and, in fact, it does
not include _per se_ the irrevocability of the transfer, the absoluteness
of the sovereign power, and the monarchical head, which Hobbes considered
indispensable in order to guard against the danger of anarchy. In every
abridgment of the supreme power, whether by division or limitation, he sees
a step toward the renewal of the state of nature; and he defends with iron
rigor the omnipotence of the state and the complete lack of legal status on
the part of all individuals in contrast with it. The citizen is not to obey
his own conscience, which has simply the value of a private opinion,
but the laws, as the public conscience; while the supreme ruler, on the
contrary, is superior to the civil laws, for it is he that decrees,
interprets, alters, and abrogates them. He is lord over the property, the
life, and the death of the citizens, and can do no one wrong. For he
alone has retained his original natural right to all, which the rest have
entirely and forever renounced. He must have regard, indeed, to the welfare
of the people, but he is accountable to God alone. The obligation of the
subject to obey is extinguished in one case only,--when the civil power is
incapable of providing him further with external and internal protection.
For the rest, Hobbes declares the existing public order the lawful one, the
evils of arbitrary rule much more tolerable than the universal hostility of
the state of nature, and aversion to tyrants a disease inherited from the
republicans of antiquity.

The sovereign, by the laws and by instruction, determines what is good and
evil; he determines also what is to be believed. Religion unsanctioned by
the state is superstition. The temporal ruler is also the spiritual ruler,
the king, the chief pastor, and the clergy his servants. One and the same
community is termed state in so far as it consists of men, and church in so
far as it consists of Christian men (the ecclesiastical commonwealth). The
dogmas which the law prescribes are to be received without investigation,
to be swallowed like pills, without mastication.

The principle that every passion and every action is in its nature
indifferent, that right and wrong exist only in the state, that the will
of a despot is to determine what is moral and what immoral, has given just
offense. Moreover, this was not, in fact, Hobbes's deepest conviction. Even
without ascribing great importance to isolated statements,[1] it must
be admitted that his doctrine was interpreted more narrowly than it was
intended. He does not say that no moral distinctions whatever exist before
the foundation of the state, but only that the state first supplies a fixed
criterion of the good. Moral ideas have a certain currency before this, but
they lack power to enforce themselves. Further, when he ascribes the origin
of the state to self-interest, this does not mean that reason, conscience,
generosity, and love for our fellows are entirely wanting in the state of
nature, but only that they are not general enough, and, as against the
passions, not strong enough to furnish a foundation for the edifice of the
state. Not only exaggeration in statement but also uncouthness of thought
may be forgiven the representative of a movement which is at once new and
strengthened by the consciousness of agreement with a naturalistic theory
of knowledge and physics; and the vigor of execution compels admiration,
even though many obscurities remain to be deplored _(e. g_., the relation
of the two moral standards, the standard of the reason or natural law and
the standard of positive law). And recognition must be accorded to the
significant kernel of doctrine formed, on the one hand, by the endeavor to
separate ethics from theology, and on the other, by the thoughts--which, it
is true, were not perfectly brought out--that the moral is not founded on
a natural social impulse, but on a law of the reason, and first gains a
definite criterion in society, and that the interests of the individual are
inseparably connected with those of the community. In any case, the
attempt to form a naturalistic theory of the state would be an undertaking
deserving of thanks, even if the promulgation of this theory had done no
further service than to challenge refutation.

[Footnote 1: God inscribed the divine or natural law (Do not that to
another, etc.) on the heart of man, when he gave him the reason to rule his
actions. The laws of nature are, it is true, not always legally binding
(_in foro externo_), but always and everywhere binding on the conscience
(_in foro interno_). Justice is the virtue which we can measure by civil
laws; love, that which we measure by the law of nature merely. The ruler
_ought_ to govern in accordance with the law of nature.]

%(d) Lord Herbert of Cherbury.%--Between Bacon (1605, 1620) and Hobbes
(1642, 1651) stands Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1581-1648), who, by his
work _De Veritate_ (1624),[1] became the founder of deism, that theory of
"natural religion," which, in opposition to the historical dogmatic faith
of the Church theology, takes the reason, which is the same in all men,
as its basis and morality for its content. Lord Herbert introduces his
philosophy of religion by a theory of knowledge which makes universal
consent the highest criterion of truth (_summa veritatis norma consensus
universalis_), and bases knowledge on certain self-evident principles
(_principia_), common to all men in virtue of a natural instinct, which
gives safe guidance. These common notions (_notitiae communes_) precede all
reflective inquiry, as well as all observation and experience, which would
be impossible without them. The most important among them are the religious
and ethical maxims of conscience.

[Footnote 1: _Tractatus de Veritate prout distinguitur a Revelatione, a
Verisimili, a Possibile, et a False_. Also, _De Religione Gentilium_, 1645,
complete 1663.]

This natural instinct is both an impulse toward truth and a capacity for
good or impulse to self-preservation. The latter extends not only to the
individual but to all things with which the individual is connected, to the
species, nay, to all the rest of the world, and its final goal is eternal
happiness: all natural capacities are directed toward the highest good or
toward God. The sense for the divine may indeed be lulled to sleep or led
astray by our free will, but not eradicated. To be rational and to be
religious are inseparable; it is religion that distinguishes man from the
brute, and no people can be found in which it is lacking. If atheists
really exist, they are to be classed with the irrational and the insane.

The content of natural religion may be summed up in the following five
articles, which all nations confess: 1. That there is a Supreme Being
(_numen supremum_). 2. That he ought to be worshiped. 3. That virtue and
piety are the chief elements of worship. 4. That man ought to repent of his
sins. 5. That there are rewards and punishments in a future life. Besides
these general principles, on the discovery of which Lord Herbert greatly
prides himself, the positive religions contain arbitrary additions, which
distinguish them from one another and which owe their origin, for the most
part, to priestly deception, although the rhapsodies of the poets and the
inventions of the philosophers have contributed their share. The essential
principles of natural religion (God, virtue, faith, hope, love, and
repentance) come more clearly to light in Christianity than in the
religions of heathendom, where they are overgrown with myths and

The _Religio Medici_ (1642) of Sir Thomas Browne shows similar tendencies.

%9. Preliminary Survey.%

In the line of development from the speculations of Nicolas of Cusa to the
establishment of the English philosophy of nature, of religion, and of the
state by Bacon, Herbert, and Hobbes, and to the physics of Galileo, modern
ideas have manifested themselves with increasing clearness and freedom.
Hobbes himself shows thus early the influence of Descartes's decisive step,
with which the twilight gives place to the brightness of the morning. In
Descartes the empiricism and sensationalism of the English is confronted by
rationalism, to which the great thinkers of the Continent continue loyal.
In Britain, experience, on the Continent the reason is declared to be the
source of cognition; in the former, the point of departure is found in
particular impressions of sense, on the latter, in general concepts and
principles of the understanding; there the method of observation is
inculcated and followed, here, the method of deduction. This antithesis
remained decisive in the development of philosophy down to Kant, so that it
has long been customary to distinguish two lines or schools, the Empirical
and the Rationalistic, whose parallelism may be exhibited in the following
table (when only one date is given it indicates the appearance of the
philosopher's chief work):

_Empiricism. Rationalism_.
Bacon, 1620. (Nicolas, 1450; Bruno, 1584).
Hobbes, 1651. _Descartes_, died 1650.
_Locke_, 1690 (1632-1704). Spinoza, (1632-) 1677.
Berkeley, 1710. _Leibnitz_, 1710.
Hume, 1748. Wolff, died 1754.

We must not forget, indeed, the lively interchange of ideas between the
schools (especially the influence of Descartes on Hobbes, and of the latter
on Spinoza; further, of Descartes on Locke, and of the latter on Leibnitz)
which led to reciprocal approximation and enrichment. Berkeley and
Leibnitz, from opposite presuppositions, arrive at the same idealistic
conclusion--there is no real world of matter, but only spirits and ideas
exist. Hume and Wolff conclude the two lines of development: under the
former, empiricism disintegrates into skepticism; under the latter,
rationalism stiffens into a scholastic dogmatism, soon to run out into a
popular eclecticism of common sense.

If we compare the mental characteristics of the three great nations which,
in the period between Descartes and Kant, participated most productively in
the work of philosophy,--the Italians, with their receptive temperament and
so active in many fields, exerted a decisive influence on its development
and progress in the transition period alone,--it will be seen that the
Frenchman tends chiefly to acuteness, the Englishman to clearness and
simplicity, the German to profundity of thought. France is the land of
mathematical, England of practical, Germany of speculative thinkers; the
first is the home of the skeptics, though of the enthusiasts as well; the
second, of the realists; the third, of the idealists.

The English philosopher resembles a geographer who, with conscientious
care, outlines a map of the region through which he journeys; the
Frenchman, an anatomist who, with steady stroke, lays bare the nerves and
muscles of the organism; the German, a mountaineer who loses in clear
vision of particular objects as much as he gains in loftiness of position
and extent of view. The Englishman describes the given reality, the
Frenchman analyses it, the German transfigures it.

The English thinker keeps as close as possible to phenomena, and the
principles which he uses in the explanation of phenomena themselves lie in
the realm of concrete experience. He explains one phenomenon by another; he
classifies and arranges the given material without analyzing it; he keeps
constantly in touch with the popular consciousness. His reverence for
reality, as this presents itself to him, and his distrust of far-reaching
abstraction, are so strong that it is enough for him to take his bearings
from the real, and to give a true reproduction of it, while he willingly
renounces the ambition to form it anew in concepts. With this respect for
concrete reality he combines a similar reverence for ethical postulates.
When the development of a given line of thought threatens to bring him into
conflict with practical life, he is honest enough to draw the conclusions
which follow from his premises and to give them expression, but he avoids
the collision by a simple compromise, shutting up the refinements of
philosophy in the study and yielding in practice to the guidance of
natural instinct and conscience. His support, therefore, of theories which
contradict current views in morals is free from the levity in which the
Frenchman indulges. Life and thought are separate fields, contradictions
between them are borne in patience, and if science draws its material from
life it shows itself grateful for the favor by giving life the benefit of
the useful outcome of its labors, and, at the same time, shielding it from
the revolutionary or disintegrating effect of its doubtful paradoxes.

While the deliberate craft of English philosophy does not willingly lose
sight of the shores of the concrete world, French thought sails boldly and
confidently out into the open sea of abstraction. It is not strange that
it finds the way to the principles more rapidly than the way back to
phenomena. A free road, a fresh start, a straight course--such is the
motto of French thinking. Whatever is inconsistent with rectilinearity is
ignored, or opposed as unfitting. The line drawn by Descartes through the
world between matter and spirit, and that by Rousseau between nature
and culture, are distinctive of the philosophical character of their
countrymen. Dualism is to them entirely congenial; it satisfies their
need for clearness, and with this they are content. Antithesis is in the
Frenchman's blood; he thinks in it and speaks in it, in the salon or on the
platform, in witty jest or in scientific earnestness of thought. Either A
or not-A, and there is no middle ground. This habit of precision and
sharp analysis facilitates the formation of closed parties, whereas each
individual German, in philosophy as in politics, forms a party of his own.
The demand for the removal of the rubbish of existing systems and the
sanguine return to the sources, give French philosophy an unhistorical,
radical, and revolutionary character. Minds of the second order, who are
incapable of taking by themselves the step from that which is given to the
sources, prove their radicalism by following down to the roots that which
others have begun (so Condillac and the sensationalism of Locke). Moreover,
philosophical principles are to be translated into action; the thinker has
shown himself the doctrinaire in his destructive analysis of that which
is given, so, also, he hopes to play the dictator by overturning existing
institutions and establishing a new order of things,--only his courageous
endeavor flags as soon in the region of practice as in that of theory.

The German lacks the happy faculty, which distinguishes the two nations
just discussed, of isolating a problem near at hand, and he is accustomed
to begin his system with Leda's egg; but, by way of compensation, he
combines the lofty flight of the French with the phlegmatic endurance of
the English, _i.e._, he seeks his principles far above experience, but,
instead of stopping with the establishment of points of view or when he
has set the note, he carries his principles through in detail with loving
industry and comprehensive architectonic skill. While common sense turns
the scale with the English and analytical thought with the French, the
German allows the fancy and the heart to take an important part in the
discussion, though in such a way that the several faculties work together
and in harmony. While in France rationalism, mysticism, and the philosophy
of the heart were divided among different thinkers (Descartes, Malebranche
and Pascal, Rousseau), there is in every German philosopher something of
all three. The skeptical Kant provides a refuge for the postulates of
thought in the sanctuary of faith; the earnest, energetic Fichte, toward
the end of his life, takes his place among the mystics; Schelling thinks
with the fancy and dreams with the understanding; and under the broad cloak
of the Hegelian dialectic method, beside the reflection of the Critique of
Reason and of the Science of Knowledge, the fancies of the Philosophy of
Nature, the deep inwardness of Boehme, even the whole wealth of empirical
fact, found a place. As synthesis is predominant in his view of things, so
a harmonizing, conciliatory tendency asserts itself in his relations to his
predecessors: the results of previous philosophers are neither discarded
out of hand nor accepted in the mass, but all that appears in any way
useful or akin to the new system is wrought in at its proper place, though
often with considerable transformation. In this work of mediation there is
considerable loss in definiteness, the just and comprehensive consideration
of the most diverse interests not always making good the loss. And since
such a philosophy, as we have already shown, engages the whole man, its
disciple has neither impulse nor strength left for reforming labors; while,
on the other hand, he perceives no external call to undertake them, since
he views the world through the glasses of his system. Thus philosophy in
Germany, pursued chiefly by specialists, remains a professional affair, and
has not exercised a direct transforming influence on life (for Fichte, who
helped to philosophize the French out of Germany, was an exception); but
its influence has been the greater in the special sciences, which in
Germany more than any other land are handled in a philosophic spirit.

The mental characteristics of these nations are reflected also in their
methods of presentation. The style of the English philosopher is sober,
comprehensible, diffuse, and slightly wearisome. The French use a fluent,
elegant, lucid style which entertains and dazzles by its epigrammatic
phrases, in which not infrequently the epigram rules the thought. The
German expresses his solid, thoughtful positions in a form which is at
once ponderous and not easily understood; each writer constructs his own
terminology, with a liberal admixture of foreign expressions, and the
length of his paragraphs is exceeded only by the thickness of his books.
These national distinctions may be traced even in externals. The Englishman
makes his divisions as they present themselves at first thought, and rather
from a practical than from a logical point of view. The analytic Frenchman
prefers dichotomy, while trichotomy corresponds to the synthetic,
systematic character of German thinking; and Kant's naive delight, because
in each class the third category unites its two predecessors, has been
often experienced by many of his countrymen at the sight of their own

The division of labor in the pre-Kantian philosophy among these three
nationalities entirely agrees with the account given of the peculiarities
of their philosophical endowment. The beginning falls to the share of
France; Locke receives that tangled skein, the problem of knowledge,
from the hand of Descartes, and passes it on to Leibnitz; and while the
Illumination in all three countries is converting the gold inherited from
Locke and Leibnitz into small coin, the solution of the riddle rings out
from Koenigsberg.





The long conflict with Scholasticism, which had been carried on with ever
increasing energy and ever sharper weapons, was brought by Descartes to a
victorious close. The new movement, long desired, long sought, and prepared
for from many directions, at length appears, ready and well-established.
Descartes accomplishes everything needful with the sure simplicity of
genius. He furnishes philosophy with a settled point of departure in
self-consciousness, offers her a method sure to succeed in deduction from
clear and distinct conceptions, and assigns her the mechanical explanation
of nature as her most imperative and fruitful mission.

Rene Descartes was born at La Haye in Touraine, in 1596, and died at
Stockholm in 1650. Of the studies taught in the Jesuit school at La Fleche,
mathematics alone was able to satisfy his craving for clear and certain
knowledge. The years 1613-17 he spent in Paris; then he enlisted in the
military service of the Netherlands, and, in 1619, in that of Bavaria.
While in winter quarters at Neuburg, he vowed a pilgrimage to Loretto if
the Virgin would show him a way of escape from his tormenting doubts; and
made the saving discovery of the "foundations of a wonderful science."
At the end of four years this vow was fulfilled. On his return to Paris
(1625), he was besought by his learned friends to give to the world his
epoch-making ideas. Though, to escape the distractions of society, he kept
his residence secret, as he had done during his first stay in Paris, and
frequently changed it, he was still unable to secure the complete privacy
and leisure for scientific work which he desired. Therefore he went to
Holland in 1629, and spent twenty years of quiet productivity in Amsterdam,
Franecker, Utrecht, Leeuwarden, Egmond, Harderwijk, Leyden, the palace of
Endegeest, and five other places. His work here was interrupted only by
a few journeys, but much disturbed in its later years by annoying
controversies with the theologian Gisbert Voetius of Utrecht, with Regius,
a pupil who had deserted him, and with professors from Leyden. His
correspondence with his French friends was conducted through Pere Mersenne.
In 1649 he yielded to pressing invitations from Queen Christina of Sweden
and removed to Stockholm. There his weak constitution was not adequate to
the severity of the climate, and death overtook him within a few months.

The two decades of retirement in the Netherlands were Descartes's
productive period. His motive in developing and writing out his thoughts
was, essentially, the desire not to disappoint the widely spread belief
that he was in possession of a philosophy more certain than the common one.
The work entitled _Le Monde_, begun in 1630 and almost completed, remained
unprinted, as the condemnation of Galileo (1632) frightened our philosopher
from publication; fragments of it only, and a brief summary, appeared
after the author's death. The chief works, the _Discourse on Method_, the
_Meditations on the First Philosophy_, and the _Principles of Philosophy_
appeared between 1637 and 1644,--the _Discours de la Methode_ in 1637,
together with three dissertations (the "Dioptrics," the "Meteors," and the
"Geometry"), under the common title, _Essais Philosophiques_. To the (six)
_Meditationes de Prima Philosophia_, published in 1641, and dedicated to
the Paris Sorbonne, are appended the objections of various savants to whom
the work had been communicated in manuscript, together with Descartes's
rejoinders. He himself considered the criticisms of Arnauld, printed fourth
in order, as the most important. The Third Objections are from Hobbes, the
Fifth from Gassendi, the First, which were also the first received, from
the theologian Caterus of Antwerp, while the Second and Sixth, collected by
Mersenne, are from various theologians and mathematicians. In the second
edition there were added, further, the Seventh Objections, by the Jesuit
Bourdin, and the Replies of the author thereto. The four books of the
_Principia Philosophiae_, published in 1644 and dedicated to Elizabeth,
Countess Palatine, give a systematic presentation of the new philosophy.
The _Discourse on Method_ appeared, 1644, in a Latin translation, the
_Meditations_ and the _Principles_ in French, in 1647. The _Treatise on the
Passions_ was published in 1650; the _Letters_, 1657-67, in French, 1668,
in Latin. The _Opera Postuma_, 1701, beside the _Compendium of Music_
(written in 1618) and other portions of his posthumous writings, contain
the "Rules for the Direction of the Mind," supposed to have been written in
1629, and the "Search for Truth by the Light of Nature." The complete works
have been often published, both in Latin and in French. The eleven volume
edition of Cousin appeared in 1824-26.[1]

[Footnote 1: Of the many treatises on the philosophy of Descartes those of
C. Schaarschmidt (_Descartes und Spinoza_, 1850) and J.H. Loewe, 1855, may
be mentioned. Further, M. Heinze has discussed _Die Sittenlehre des
Descartes_, 1872; Ed. Grimm, _Descartes' Lehre von den angeborenen
Ideen_, 1873; G. Glogau, _Darlegung und Kritik des Grundgedankens der
Cartesianisch. Metaphysik (Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie_, vol. lxxiii. p.
209 _seq_.), 1878; Paul Natorp, _Descartes' Erkenntnisstheorie_, 1882;
and Kas. Twardowski, _Idee und Perception_ in Descartes, 1892. In French,
Francisque Bouillier (_Histoire de la Philosophie Cartesienne_, 1854) and
E. Saisset (_Precurseurs et Disciples de Descartes_, 1862) have written
on Cartesianism. [The _Method, Meditations, and Selections from the
Principles_ have been translated into English by John Veitch, 5th ed.,
1879, and others since; and H.A.P. Torrey has published _The Philosophy
of Descartes in Extracts from his Writings_, 1892 (Sneath's Modern
Philosophers). The English reader may be referred, also, to Mahaffy's
_Descartes_, 1880, in Blackwood's Philosophical Classics; to the article
"Cartesianism," _Encyclopedia Britannica_, 9th ed., vol. v., by Edward
Caird; and, for a complete discussion, to the English translation of
Fischer's _Descartes and his School_' by J.P. Gordy, 1887.--TR.]]

We begin our discussion with Descartes's noetical and metaphysical
principles, and then take up in order his doctrine of nature and of man.

%1. The Principles%.

That which passes nowadays for science, and is taught as such in the
schools, is nothing but a mass of disconnected, uncertain, and often
contradictory opinions. A principle of unity and certainty is entirely
lacking. If anything permanent and irrefutable is to be accomplished in
science, everything hitherto considered true must be thoroughly demolished
and built up anew. For we come into the world as children and we form
judgments of things, or repeat them after others, before we have come into
the full possession of our intellectual powers; so that it is no wonder
that we are filled with a multitude of prejudices, from which we can
thoroughly escape only by considering everything doubtful which shows the
least sign of uncertainty. Let us renounce, therefore, all our old views,
in order later to accept better ones in their stead; or, perchance, to
take the former up again after they shall have stood the test of rational
criticism. The recognized precaution, never to put complete confidence in
that which has once deceived us, holds of our relation to the senses as
elsewhere. It is certain that they sometimes deceive us--perhaps they do so
always. Again, we dream every day of things which nowhere exist, and there
is no certain criterion by which to distinguish our dreams from our waking
moments,--what guarantee have we, then, that we are not always dreaming?
Therefore, our doubt must first of all be directed to the existence of
sense-objects. Nay, even mathematics must be suspected in spite of the
apparent certainty of its axioms and demonstrations, since controversy
and error are found in it also.

I doubt or deny, then, that the world is what it appears to be, that there
is a God, that external objects exist, that I have a body, that twice
two are four. One thing, however, it is impossible for me to bring into
question, namely, that I myself, who exercise this doubting function,
exist. There is one single point at which doubt is forced to halt--at the
doubter, at the self-existence of the thinker. I can doubt everything
except that I doubt, and that, in doubting, I am. Even if a superior being
sought to deceive me in all my thinking, he could not succeed unless I
existed, he could not cause me not to exist so long as I thought. To be
deceived means to think falsely; but that something is thought, no matter
what it be, is no deception. It might be true, indeed, that nothing at all
existed; but then there would be no one to conceive this non-existence.
Granted that everything may be a mistake; yet the being mistaken, the
thinking is not a mistake. Everything is denied, but the denier remains.
The whole content of consciousness is destroyed; consciousness itself, the
doubting activity, the being of the thinker, is indestructible. _Cogitatio
sola a me divelli nequit_. Thus the settled point of departure required for
knowledge is found in the _self-certitude of the thinking ego_. From the
fact that I doubt, _i.e._, think, it follows that I, the doubter, the
thinker, am. _Cogito, ergo sum_ is the first and most certain of all

The principle, "I think, therefore I am," is not to be considered a
deduction from the major premise, "Whatever thinks exists." It is rather
true that this general proposition is derived from the particular and
earlier one. I must first realize in my own experience that, as thinking, I
exist, before I can reach the general conclusion that thought and existence
are inseparable. This fundamental truth is thus not a syllogism, but a
not further deducible, self-evident, immediate cognition, a pure
intuition--_sum cogitans_. Now, if my existence is revealed by my activity
of thought, if my thought is my being, and the converse, if in me thought
and existence are identical, then I am a being whose essence consists in
thinking. I am a spirit, an ego, a rational soul. My existence follows only
from my thinking, not from any chance action. _Ambulo ergo sum_ would not
be valid, but _mihi videor_ or _puto me ambulare, ergo sum_. If I believe
I am walking, I may undoubtedly be deceived concerning the outward action
(as, for instance, in dreams), but never concerning my inward belief.
_Cogitatio_ includes all the conscious activities of the mind, volition,
emotion, and sensation, as well as representation and cognition; they are
all _modi cogitandi_. The existence of the mind is therefore the most
certain of all things. We know the soul better than the body. It is for
the present the only certainty, and every other is dependent on this, the
highest of all.

What, then, is the peculiarity of this first and most certain knowledge
which renders it self-evident and independent of all proof, which makes
us absolutely unable to doubt it? Its entire clearness and distinctness.
Accordingly, I may conclude that everything which I perceive as clearly and
distinctly as the _cogito ergo sum_ is also true, and I reach this general
rule, _omne est verum, quod clare et distincte percipio_. So far, then, we
have gained three things: a challenge; to be inscribed over the portals
of certified knowledge, _de omnibus dubitandum_; a basal truth, _sum
cogitans_; a criterion of truth, _clara et distinct a perceptio_.

The doubt of Descartes is not the expression of a resigned spirit which
renounces the unattainable; it is precept, not doctrine, the starting point
of philosophy, not its conclusion, a methodological instrument in the hand
of a strong and confident longing for truth, which makes use of doubt to
find the indubitable. It is not aimed at the possibility of attaining
knowledge, but at the opinion that it has already been attained, at the
credulity of the age, at its excessive tendency toward historical and
poly-historical study, which confuses the acquisition and handing down of
information with knowledge of the truth. That knowledge alone is certain
which is self-attained and self-tested--and this cannot be learned
or handed down; it can only be rediscovered through examination and
experience. Instead of taking one's own unsupported conjectures or the
opinions of others as a guide, the secret of the search for truth is to
become independent and of age, to think for one's self; and the only remedy
against the dangers of self-deception and the ease of repetition is to be
found in doubting everything hitherto considered true. This is the meaning
of the Cartesian doubt, which is more comprehensive and more thorough
than the Baconian. Descartes disputed only the certitude of the knowledge
previously attained, not the possibility of knowledge--for of the latter no
man is more firmly convinced than he. He is a rationalist, not a skeptic.
The intellect is assured against error just as soon as, freed from
hindrances, it remains true to itself, as it puts forth all its powers and
lets nothing pass for truth which is not clearly and distinctly known.
Descartes demands the same thing for the human understanding as Rousseau at
a later period for the heart: a return to uncorrupted nature. This faith in
the unartificial, the original, the natural, this radical and naturalistic
tendency is characteristically French. The purification of the mind, its
deliverance from the rubbish of scholastic learning, from the pressure of
authority, and from inert acceptance of the thinking of others--this is
all. Descartes finds the clearest proof of the mind's capacity for truth in
mathematics, whose trustworthiness he never seriously questioned, but only
hypothetically, in order to exhibit the still higher certainty of the "I
think, therefore I am." He wants to give philosophy the stable character
which had so impressed him in mathematics when he was a boy, and recommends
her, therefore, not merely the evidence of mathematics as a general
example, but the mathematical method for definite imitation. Metaphysics,
like mathematics, must derive its conclusions by deduction from
self-evident principles. Thus the geometrical method begins its rule in
philosophy, a rule not always attended with beneficial results.

With this criterion of truth Descartes advances to the consideration of
ideas. He distinguishes volition and judgment from ideas in the narrow
sense (_imagines_), and divides the latter, according to their origin, into
three classes: _ideae innatae, adventitiae, a me ipso factae_, considering
the second class, the "adventitious" ideas, the most numerous, but the
first, the "innate" ideas, the most important. No idea is higher or clearer
than the idea of God or the most perfect being. Whence comes this idea?
That every idea must have a cause, follows from the "clear and distinct"
principle that nothing produces nothing. It follows from this same
principle, _ex nihilo nihil fit_, however, that the cause must contain as
much reality or perfection--_realitas_ and _perfectio_ are synonymous--as
the effect, for otherwise the overplus would have come from nothing. So
much ("objective," representative) reality contained in an idea, so much or
more ("formal," actual) reality must be contained in its cause. The idea
of God as infinite, independent, omnipotent, omniscient, and creative
substance, has not come to me through the senses, nor have I formed it
myself. The power to conceive a being more perfect than myself, can have
only come from someone who is more perfect in reality than I. Since I know
that the infinite contains more reality than the finite, I may conclude
that the idea of the infinite has not been derived from the idea of the
finite by abstraction and negation; it precedes the latter, and I become
conscious of my defects and my finitude only by comparison with the
absolute perfection of God. This idea, then, must have been implanted in me
by God himself. The idea of God is an original endowment; it is as innate
as the idea of myself. However incomplete it may be, it is still
sufficient to give a knowledge of God's existence, although not a perfect
comprehension of his being, just as a man may skirt a mountain without
encircling it.

Descartes brings in the idea of God in order to escape solipsism. So long
as the self-consciousness of the ego remained the only certainty, there was
no conclusive basis for the assumption that anything exists beyond self,
that the ideas which apparently come from without are really occasioned by
external things and do not spring from the mind itself. For our natural
instinct to refer them to objects without us might well be deceptive. It is
only through the idea of God, and by help of the principle that the cause
must contain at least as much reality as the effect, that I am taken beyond
myself and assured that I am not the only thing in the world. For as this
idea contains more of representative, than I of actual reality, I cannot
have been its cause.

To this empirical argument, which derives God's existence from our idea
of God (from the fact that we have an idea of him), Descartes joins the
(modified) ontological argument of Anselm, which deduces the existence of
God from the concept of God. While the ideas of all other things include
only the possibility of existence, necessary existence is inseparable from
the concept of the most perfect being. God cannot be thought apart from
existence; he has the ground of his existence in himself; he is _a se_
or _causa sui_. Finally, Descartes adds a third argument. The idea of
perfections which I do not possess can only have been imparted to me by a
more perfect being than I, which has bestowed on me all that I am and
all that I am capable of becoming. If I had created myself, I would have
bestowed upon myself these absent perfections also. And the existence of a
plurality of causes is negatived by the supreme perfection which I conceive
in the idea of God, the indivisible unity of his attributes. Among the
attributes of God his veracity is of special importance. It is impossible
that he should will to deceive us; that he should be the cause of our
errors. God would be a deceiver, if he had endowed us with a reason to
which error should appear true, even when it uses all its foresight in
avoiding it and assents only to that which it clearly and distinctly
perceives. Error is man's own fault; he falls into it only when he misuses
the divine gift of knowledge, which includes its own standard. Thus
Descartes finds new confirmation for his test of truth in the _veracitas
dei_. Erdmann has given a better defense of Descartes than the philosopher
himself against the charge that this is arguing in a circle, inasmuch as
the existence of God is proved by the criterion of truth, and then the
latter by the former: The criterion of certitude is the _ratio cognoscendi_
of God's existence; God is the _ratio essendi_ of the criterion of
certitude. In the order of existence God is first, he creates the reason
together with its criterion; in the order of knowledge the criterion
precedes, and God's existence follows from it. Descartes himself endeavors
to avoid the circle by making _intuitive_ knowledge self-evident, and by
not bringing in the appeal to God's veracity in _demonstrative_ knowledge
until, in reflective thought, we no longer have each separate link in the
chain of proof present to our minds with full intuitive certainty, but only
remember that we have previously understood the matter with clearness and

Our ideas represent in part things, in part qualities. Substance is defined
by the concept of independence as _res quae ita existit, ut nulla alia re
indigeat ad existendum_; a pregnant definition with which the concept of
substance gains the leadership in metaphysics, which it held till the time
of Hume and Kant, sharing it then with the conception of cause or, rather,
relinquishing it to the latter. The Spinozistic conclusion that, according
to the strict meaning of this definition, there is but one substance, God,
who, as _causa sui_, has absolutely no need of any other thing in order to
his existence, was announced by Descartes himself. If created substances
are under discussion, the term does not apply to them in the same sense
(not _univoce_) as when we speak of the infinite substance; created beings
require a different explanation, they are things which need for their
existence only the co-operation of God, and have no need of one another.
Substance is cognized through its qualities, among which one is pre-eminent
from the fact that it expresses the essence or nature of the thing, and
that it is conceived through itself, without the aid of the others, while
they presuppose it and cannot be thought without it. The former fundamental
properties are termed attributes, and these secondary ones, modes or
accidents. Position, figure, motion, are contingent properties of
body; they presuppose that it is extended or spatial; they are _modi
extensionis_, as feeling, volition, desire, representation, and judgment
are possible only in a conscious being, and hence are merely modifications
of thought. Extension is the essential or constitutive attribute of body,
and thought of mind. Body is never without extension, and mind never
without thought--_mens semper cogitat_. Guided by the self-evident
principle that the non-existent has no properties, we argue from a
perceived quality to a substance as its possessor or support. Substances
are distinct from one another when we can clearly and distinctly cognize
one without the other. Now, we can adequately conceive mind without a
corporeal attribute and body without a spiritual one; the former has
nothing of extension in it, the latter nothing of thought: hence thinking
substance and extended substance are entirely distinct and have nothing
in common. Matter and mind are distinct _realiter_, matter and extension
_idealiter_ merely. Thus we attain three clear and distinct ideas, three
eternal verities: _substantia infinita sive deus, substantia finita
cogitans sive mens, substantia extensa sive corpus_.

By this abrupt contraposition of body and mind as reciprocally independent
substances, Descartes founded that dualism, as whose typical representative
he is still honored or opposed. This dualism between the material and
spiritual worlds belongs to those standpoints which are valid without being
ultimate truth; on the pyramid of metaphysical knowledge it takes a high,
but not the highest, place. We may not rest in it, yet it retains a
permanent value in opposition to subordinate theories. It is in the
right against a materialism which still lacks insight into the essential
distinction between mind and matter, thought and extension, consciousness
and motion; it loses its validity when, with a full consideration and
conservation of the distinction between these two spheres, we succeed in
bridging over the gulf between them, whether this is accomplished through
a philosophy of identity, like that of Spinoza and Schelling, or by an
idealism, like that of Leibnitz or Fichte. In any case philosophy retains
as an inalienable possession the negative conclusion, that, in view of the
heterogeneity of consciousness and motion, the inner life is not reducible
to material phenomena. This clear and simple distinction, which sets bounds
to every confusion of spiritual and material existence, was an act of
emancipation; it worked on the sultry intellectual atmosphere of the time
with the purifying and illuminating power of a lightning flash. We shall
find the later development of philosophy starting from the Cartesian

Descartes himself looked upon the fundamental principles which have now
been discussed as merely the foundation for his life work, as the entrance
portal to his cosmology. Posterity has judged otherwise; it finds his chief
work in that which he considered a mere preparation for it. The start from
doubt, the self-certitude of the thinking ego, the rational criterion of
certitude, the question of the origin of ideas, the concept of substance,
the essential distinction between conscious activity and corporeal being,
and, also, the principle of thoroughgoing mechanism in the material world
(from his philosophy of nature)--these are the thoughts which assure his
immortality. The vestibule has brought the builder more fame, and has
proved more enduring, than the temple: of the latter only the ruins remain;
the former has remained undestroyed through the centuries.

%2. Nature.%

What guarantee have we for the existence of material objects affecting our
senses? That the ideas of sense do not come from ourselves, is shown by
the fact that it is not in our power to determine the objects which we
perceive, or the character of our perception of them. The supposition that
God has caused our perceptions directly, or by means of something which has
no resemblance whatever to an external object extended in three dimensions
and movable, is excluded by the fact that God is not a deceiver. In
reliance on God's veracity we may accept as true whatever the reason
declares concerning body, though not all the reports of the senses,
which so often deceive us. At the instance of the senses we clearly and
distinctly perceive matter distinct from our mind and from God, extended
in three dimensions, length, breadth, and depth, with variously formed and
variously moving parts, which occasion in us sensations of many kinds. The
belief that perception makes known things as they really are is a prejudice
of sense to be discarded; on the contrary, it merely informs us concerning
the utility or harmfulness of objects, concerning their relation to man as
a being composed of soul and body. (The body is that material thing which
is very intimately joined with the mind, and occasions in the latter
certain feelings, _e.g._, pain, which as merely cogitative it would not
have.) Sense qualities, as color, sound, odor, cannot constitute the
essence of matter, for their variation or loss changes nothing in it; I can
abstract from them without the material thing disappearing.[1] There is one
property, however, extensive magnitude (_quantitas_), whose removal would
imply the destruction of matter itself. Thus I perceive by pure thought
that the essence of matter consists in extension, in that which constitutes
the object of geometry, in that magnitude which is divisible, figurable,
and movable. This thesis (_corpus = extensio sive spatium_) is next
defended by Descartes against several objections. In reply to the objection
drawn from the condensation and rarefaction of bodies, he urges that the
apparent increase or decrease in extension is, in fact, a mere change of
figure; that the rarefaction of a body depends on the increase in size of
the intervals between its parts, and the entrance into them of foreign
bodies, just as a sponge swells up when its pores become filled with water
and, therefore, enlarged. The demand that the pores, and the bodies which
force their way into them, should always be perceptible to the senses, is
groundless. He meets the second point, that we call extension by itself
_space_, and not body, by maintaining that the distinction between
extension and corporeal substance is a distinction in thought, and not in
reality; that attribute and substance, mathematical and physical bodies,
are not distinct in fact but only in our thought of them. We apply the
term space to extension in general, as an abstraction, and body to a given
individual, determinate, limited extension. In reality, wherever extension
is, there substance is also,--the non-existent has no extension,--and
wherever space is, there matter is also. Empty space does not exist.
When we say a vessel is empty, we mean that the bodies which fill it are
imperceptible; if it were absolutely empty its sides would touch. Descartes
argues against the atomic theory and against the finitude of the world, as
he argues against empty space: matter, as well as space, has no smallest,
indivisible parts, and the extension of the world has no end. In the
identification of space and matter the former receives fullness from
the latter, and the latter unlimitedness from the former, both internal
unlimitedness (endless divisibility) and external (boundlessness). Hence
there are not several matters but only one (homogeneous) matter, and only
one (illimitable) world.

[Footnote 1: They are merely subjective states in the perceiver, and
entirely unlike the motions which give rise to them, although there is
a certain agreement, as the differences and variations in sensation are
paralleled by those in the object.]

Matter is divisible, figurable, movable quantity. Natural science needs no
other principles than these indisputably true conceptions, by which all
natural phenomena may be explained, and must employ no others. The most
important is motion, on which all the diversity of forms depends. Corporeal
being has been shown to be extension; corporeal becoming is motion. Motion
is defined as "the transporting of one part of matter, or of one body, from
the vicinity of those bodies that are in immediate contact with it,
or which we regard as at rest, to the vicinity of other bodies." This
separation of bodies is reciprocal, hence it is a matter of choice which
shall be considered at rest. Besides its own proper motion in reference to
the bodies in its immediate vicinity, a body can participate in very many
other motions: the traveler walking back and forth on the deck of a ship,
for instance, in the motion of the vessel, of the waves, and of the earth.
The common view of motion as an activity is erroneous; since it requires
force not only to set in motion bodies which are at rest, but also to stop
those which are in motion, it is clear that motion implies no more activity
than rest. Both are simply different states of matter. Since there is no
empty space, each motion spreads to a whole circle of bodies: A forces B
out of its place, B drives out C, and so on, until Z takes up the position
which A has left.

The ultimate cause of motion is God. He has created bodies with an
original measure of motion and rest, and, in accordance with his immutable
character, he preserves this quantity of motion unchanged: it remains
constant in the world as a whole, though it varies in individual bodies.
For with the power to create or destroy motion bodies lack, further, the
power to alter their quantity of motion. By the side of God, the primary
cause of motion, the laws of motion appear as secondary causes. The first
of these is the one become familiar under the name, law of inertia:
Everything continues of itself in the state (of motion or rest) in which it
is, and changes its state only as a result of some extraneous cause. The
second of these laws, which are so valuable in mechanics, runs: Every
portion of matter tends to continue a motion which has been begun in the
same direction, hence in a straight line, and changes its direction only
under the influence of another body, as in the case of the circle above
described. Descartes bases these laws on the unchangeableness of God and
the simplicity of his world-conserving (_i.e._, constantly creative)
activity. The third law relates to the communication of motion; but
Descartes does not recognize the equality of action and reaction as
universally as the fact demands. If a body in motion meets another body,
and its power (to continue its motion in a straight line) is less than the
resistance of the other on which it has impinged, it retains its motion,
but in a different direction: it rebounds in the opposite direction. If, on
the contrary, its force is greater, it carries the other body along with
it, and loses so much of its own motion as it imparts to the latter. The
seven further rules added to these contain much that is erroneous. As
_actio in distans_ is rejected, all the phenomena of motion are traced back
to pressure and impulse. The distinction between fluid and solid bodies is
based on the greater or less mobility of their parts.

The leading principle in the special part of the Cartesian physics,--we
can only briefly sketch it,--which embraces, first, celestial, and, then,
terrestial phenomena, is the axiom that we cannot estimate God's power and
goodness too highly, nor ourselves too meanly. It is presumptuous to seek
to comprehend the purposes of God in creation, to consider ourselves
participants in his plans, to imagine that things exist simply for our
sake--there are many things which no man sees and which are of advantage
to none. Nothing is to be interpreted teleologically, but all must be
interpreted from clearly known attributes, hence purely mechanically.
After treating of the distances of the various heavenly bodies, of the
independent light of the sun and the fixed stars and the reflected light of
the planets, among which the earth belongs, Descartes discusses the motion
of the heavenly bodies. In reference to the motion of the earth he seeks a
middle course between the theories of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. He agrees
with Copernicus in the main point, but, in reliance on his definition
of motion, maintains that the earth is at rest, viz., in respect to its
immediate surroundings. It is clear that the harmony of his views with
those of the Church (though it was only a verbal agreement) was not
unwelcome to him. According to his hypothesis,--as he suggests, perhaps an
erroneous hypothesis,--the fluid matter which fills the heavenly spaces,
and which may be compared to a vortex or whirlpool, circles about the sun
and carries the planets along with it. Thus the planets move in relation to
the sun, but are at rest in relation to the adjacent portions of the matter
of the heavens. In view of the biblical doctrine, according to which the
world and all that therein is was created at a stroke, he apologetically
describes his attempt to explain the origin of the world from chaos under
the laws of motion as a scientific fiction, intended merely to make the
process more comprehensible. It is more easily conceivable, if we think
of the things in the world as though they had been gradually formed from
elements, as the plant develops from the seed. We now pass to the Cartesian
anthropology, with its three chief objects: the body, the soul, and the
union of the two.

3. %Man.%

The human body, like all organic bodies, is a machine. Artificial automata
and natural bodies are distinguished only in degree. Machines fashioned by
the hand of man perform their functions by means of visible and tangible
instruments, while natural bodies employ organs which, for the most part,
are too minute to be perceived. As the clock-maker constructs a clock from
wheels and weights so that it is able to go of itself, so God has made
man's body out of dust, only, being a far superior artist, he produces a
work of art which is better constructed and capable of far more wonderful
movements. The cause of death is the destruction of some important part of
the machine, which prevents it from running longer; a corpse is a broken
clock, and the departure of the soul comes only as a result of death. The
common opinion that the soul generates life in the body is erroneous. It
is rather true that life must be present before the soul enters into union
with the body, as it is also true that life must have ended before it
dissolves the bond.

The sole principles of physiology are motion and heat. The heat (vital
warmth, a fire without light), which God has put in the heart as the
central organ of life, has for its function the promotion of the
circulation of the blood, in the description of which Descartes mentions
with praise the discoveries of Harvey _(De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in
Animalibus_, 1628). From the blood are separated its finest, most fiery,
and most mobile parts, called by Descartes "animal spirits" _(spiritus
animales sive corporales_), and described as a "very subtle wind" or "pure
and vivid flame," which ascend into the cavities of the brain, reach
the pineal gland suspended in its center _(conarion, glans pinealis,
glandula_), pass into the nerves, and, by their action on the muscles
connected with the nerves, effect the motions of the limbs. These views
refer to the body alone, and so are as true of animals as of men. If
automata existed similar to animals in all respects, both external and
internal, it would be absolutely impossible to distinguish them from real
animals. If, however, they were made to resemble human bodies, two signs
would indicate their unreality--we would find no communication of ideas by
means of language, and also an absence of those bodily movements which
take their origin in the reason (and not merely in the constitution of the
body). The only thing which raises man above the brute is his rational
soul, which we are on no account to consider a product of matter, but which
is an express creation of God, superadded. The union of the soul or the
mind _(anima sive mens_) with the body is, it is true, not so loose that
the mind merely dwells in the body, like a pilot in a ship, nor, on the
other hand, in view of the essential contrariety of the two substances, is
it so intimate as to be more than a _unio compositionis_. Although the soul
is united to the whole body, an especially active intercourse between them
is developed at a single point, the pineal gland, which is distinguished by
its central, protected position, above all, by the fact that it is the only
cerebral organ that is not double. This gland, together with the animal
spirits passing to and from it, mediates between mind and body; and as the
point of union for the twofold impressions from the (right and left) eyes

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