« PoprzedniaDalej »
central point of the whole work, describes the object of religious consciousness, the matters of faith, in seven chapters: 1. God; 2. Angel and Devil; 3. Creation; 4. Theodicy; 5. Revelation and Miracle; 6. Redemption and Mediator; 7. Eternity. The mode of treatment here is as follows: After pointing out the psychological motives of the various faiths, the author takes the mythology of natural religion as his starting-point. Then follow the speculations of the most ancient philosophies in regard to the subjects mentioned, especially the speculations of the Hindoos and Greeks. Next comes the historical development of the dogma (1) amongst the Hebrews, (2) in primitive Christianity, (3) in the Christian Church; to which is added, in conclusion, a review of the theories on those subjects held by modern philosophers. Having thus brought the genetic development of the religious and philosophical mode of thought on every field to a close, each chapter ends with a critical speculative résumé, in which the points of view previously ascertained in the historically inductive part are balanced against each other, the relative right or wrong of each stand-point established, and their union in purified conceptions and formulas sought to be achieved. The author considers this the only truly objective method, excluding, as it does, all subjective arbitrariness (which to him appears utterly reprehensible) in the surest manner. Since history itself in its actual development is made to show up the moments of truth, which the philosopher need only to gather up and combine. At the same time, this mode of treatment has the advantage of offering a vast and varied historical material from almost all regions of the history of religion and philosophy in a grouping comparatively easy of review. Hence, even such readers as cannot agree altogether, or at all, with the author in his judgments and views on other matters will be able to gather many valuable additions to their historical knowledge from this work. At any rate, all readers, no matter what stand-point they occupy, must feel themselves incited to further reflections and investigations by the discussions and critical expositions of the author.
The third and last section treats of the religious communities. Here the discussion starts from the rise of objective religion and suggests its origin. This is followed by a sketch of the cultus in its main forms - prayer, sacrifice, and mysteries; and here again the historical development of the ceremonies is traced through the main divisions of religion. The origin, development, and religious as well as social position of the priesthood in the various religions concludes this chapter, and forms the transition to the last, which has for its object the Church in its manifold relations to civil society. Church-States and State-Churches are brought to view in their various historical forms, and the results derived are utilized for practical application to the present condition of the churches, especially in Germany. Although these concluding remarks are of immediate interest only to German readers, they cannot fail also to be interesting to those of other countries, in so far as the ecclesiastical condition of Germany will enable them clearly to recognize the apprehensions and desires of the free-thinking men of that country, and the obstacles which they have to combat. It is evident that the author favors a free relation of the Church and State, such as is more characteristic of American than of German life.
The above will suffice to show that this Philosophy of Religion is not an abstract philosophical book, but gathers most of its material from the historical life of mankind in ancient and modern times, and thus connects, also, throughout all its pages, with the practical interests of the life of the present.
COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY; OR, THE GROWTH AND GRADES OF INTELLIGENCE
By John Bascom. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1878.
The author (president of the University of Wisconsin) discusses the questions of Mind and Matter; Physical Forces as Related to Vital Forces; Vegetable Life; the Nervous System; Animal Life as organic, instinctive, and associative; Ra'tional Life; The Supreme Reason. These topics are treated in nine chapters. The array of curious information marshaled to support the acute reasoning of the author renders the book unusually interesting the non-metaphysical reader.
GESCHICHTE UND KRITIK DER GRUNDBEGRIFFE DER GEGENWART. Von Rudolf
Eucken, Professor in Jena. Leipzig: Veit & Co.
Kant somewhere says that one of the prominent philosophical desiderata of his time was an analysis of the then prevailing philosophical concepts. A very pressing philosophical need of our time is a critical history of the genesis of our concepts — of their origin and of the transformation they have experienced in the course of metaphysical and scientific discussion. In Professor Eucken's valuable work this need is, to a great extent, supplied. It traces the history of certain concepts which for some time have been, and now are, the watch-words of modern philosophy and science, from their origin to the present day. What these concepts are is seen at once from the table of contents : Subjective — Objective; Experience; A priori — innate ; Immanent (Cosmic); Monism; Dualism; Law; Evolution; Causal Concepts; Mechanical — Organic; Teleology; Culture; Individuality; Humanity; Realism — Idealism; Optimism — Pessimism. S.
A PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION; OR, THE RATIONAL GROUNDS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
By John Bascom. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1876.
In this work the author sets out in an Introduction with the excellent maxim that although Science may progress without a sound philosophy, yet Religion cannot. “ The very facts on whose existence religion depends — the objects towards which it is directed — turn for their proof of being on the joint intuitive and reflective processes of the Soul; and till these are defined and accepted, those cannot be established.” “The seat of religion is in the soul itself, not in the senses, nor in the physical world; and there must its sure foundations be explored.”
He proceeds to investigate the Mental powers — the limits of causation and intuition, proving that the knowledge of Matter and of Mind is not direct; the Being of God showing that the proof of this Being depends on liberty, which is made possible by the moral nature and discriminating force, from spontaneity; “Force is definite in quantity, is local, is always in one way or another in exercise, however obscure and latent the form assumed, and hence is realized once for all, and equally at all times.” “A necessary action — all physical action is one fixed in time, place, kind, and degree by forces already in existence. A spontaneous action is one which springs from power disclosed anew in it; power that had no previous existence in any known product; power not actual, but potential; power not transferred in strict correlation from product to product, but springing up afresh in each. All purely intellectual activities are of this sort.”
With the concept of Spontaneity, as underlying that of liberty, he canvasses the proofs of the Being of God - the cosmological, the teleological, and the ethicological proof; for he slights the ontological proof as being “unsatisfactory," and “lightly held.” “It infers the actual being and eternity of God from the ideal necessity of eternal being to the conception of infinite attributes. It thus accepts a connection of ideas as a proof of facts.” This sounds as if one would say: "The law of falling bodies may be true; but how do falling bodies act?” “No doubt that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line these ideas are connected — but how is it with straightness and shortest distance as facts?” Our author is in spirit a realist, and the whole tendency of his excellent book is realism; but now and then he allows validity to nominalistic arguments, and, as in this case, confuses mental images, fortuitously brought together in phantasy, with universal and necessary ideas and their relations. To see a necessary relation between ideasis precisely to see an objectively valid necessity — a logical condition which determines the very existence of things. When we cognize, a priori, the nature of space, we cognize at the same time certain necessary laws of matter as it actually exists ; because matter cannot transcend its logical condition. Just so the ontological proof of God proceeds from the idea of Being itself, and its necessary logical conditions, to find that all finite or dependent being has its logical condition in an infinite, independent being. The thought of a finite or dependent being is the thought of a being conditioned in another being - derived from it, supported by it, furnished with energy from it — that is to say, the finite being loses its individuality in its dependence. But the supporting energy, no matter how many other dependent beings are linked between the first dependent being and that on which it depends, is itself independent and self-determined - a free Individual, God. The mind merely makes clear to itself all of the implications of its thought of Being, and there emerges at once the ontological proof of God as the underlying presupposition of all thought. It is the strongest proof, for the reason that it is the kernel or nucleus of all the other proofs. It is the primary speculative insight - this insight into the fact that the highest principle of the Universe is a Living Person, and can be no other. Upon it, of course, rest (as our author very clearly sees and definitely states) the freedom and immortality of man. If the highest principle of the universe is not a person, but an unconscious force, then, certainly, our personality is only a phenomenal one, and sure to vanish through the activity of that primal unconscious Energy. The Absolute Energy of the World gives rise to all characteristics that appertain to finite things. It is eternally in the act of manifesting its nature upon them. If their characteristics are not in its form, in its image, it will stamp them out and imprint on them a more adequate impression of itself. Hence, it the Absolute is unconscious, it will everywhere show no quarter to conscious intelligence. If, on the contrary, the Absolute is free, conscious being, it will everywhere cancel unconscious being, and produce everywhere in the universe a current of progress towards consciousness; the mineral will tend to the chemical synthesis which forms crystals and salts, and thence ascends to the synthesis of vegetable life, which again mounts to animal life, and this last finally reaches thought and becomes free, responsible, and immortal — an image of the Eternal. Hence, progress is the law wherever the highest principle is Personality.
Were the highest principle blind force, the existence of its opposite — of intelligent beings — would be utterly inexplicable, because Consciousness is not found among the constituent elements of Unconsciousness ; so that, had blind force a selfanalytic or self-dirempting power, it could, perhaps, “posit” or create its opposite as a chaos upon which to manifest itself by rising from it step by step, developing its constituents and uniting them, until at last it produced its image. In fact, a world of development, even of change or process, could not be, were the ultimate principle a simple one, like force, and not, rather, a highest complexity of synthesis, like the principle of personality. For personality does contain constituent elements, each of which, when isolated, is unconscious; and, moreover, it possesses the power of self-analysis or diremption, and hence can manifest itself to itself through a series of stadia, beginning with its utter opposite and rising through successive syntheses continually to more and more adequate adumbrations (and at last to images) of itself.
Our author (p. 72) ventures the opinion that these three proofs of God are pantheistic. This attracts our attention to his definition of Pantheism: “The world is the substance of which God is the life, the pervasive, controlling force.” For the reason that they have the form simply of inferring a cause for the effects which compose the world, it is impossible to rise to an absolute. All that one can infer is a cause adequate to produce the effects that one can see. But the ontological proof derived from the necessary nature of being tra ends the three proofs mentioned (Cosmological, Teleological, and Ethico-logical), and rises to the Absolute.
Pantheism must not be made to include the doctrine (1) which conceives God as transcending the world, and not merely immanent in it, or (2) which conceives God as consciously producing the world as His manifestation or revelation, (3) or which conceives creation as an act of free will, instead of an act of blind necessity. The ontological proof arrives at these three results: a God transcending the world, inasmuch as He energizes, not only as a creator of finite forms, but also as their destroyer, through more adequate manifestations; a conscious creator, whose thinking activity creates, and whose creation is the very focus of consciousness; a free will, not constrained by any other existence, nor impelled by any efficient cause. The only causes that operate in free intelligence are final causes. He acts to produce His manifestation, revelation (His Glory), as a spectacle to Himself, not merely a spectacle to the Alone, for He makes the creation a spectacle to itself, by having it evolve beings capable of seeing and enjoying it, and of comprehending the revelation of nature and themselves. Thinking and Will are one in the Absolute; whenever they are distinct, we have “finite intelligence," so called. Those who refuse to admit that the thought of God is creative — fearing thus to fall into pantheism by making Creation the necessary result of the rational nature and energy of God — simply impose finite limitations on Him, and conceive Him as thinking in the form of imagination, instead of sub-specie æternitatis.
The succeeding chapters of the book treat of the attributes of God, of Nature, of Man, Immortality, Revelation, Miracles, Inspiration, Interpretation, etc.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICS PURE AND APPLIED. Editor-in-Chief, J.
J. Sylvester, LL. D., F. R. S.; Associate Editor in Charge, Wm. E. Story, Ph. D.; with the coöperation of Benjamin Pierce, LL.D., F. R. S., Simon Newcomb, LL. D., F. R. S., H. A. Rowland, C. E. Published under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins University. Vol. I, No. 3. Baltimore: 1878.
The present number contains an article by George Bruce Halsted, Ph. D., tutor in Princeton College, New Jersey, on the “ Bibliography of Hyper-Space and Non-Euclidean Geometry.” Other articles treat of “The Elastic Arch,” by Henry T. Eddy; “Researches in the Lunar Theory," by G. W. Hill; “On Professor Sylvester’s Paper as to the Atomic Theory,” by Professor J.W. Mallet; “Theorie des Fonctions Numériques Simplement Périodiques,” par Edouard Lucas; and notes on mathematical subjects.