« PoprzedniaDalej »
THE AUTHOR OF “RIENZI,” “MY NOVEL,”
ETC. ETC. ETC.
“To doubt and to be astonished is to recognize our ignorance. Hence it is that
Sir W. HAMILTON (after Aristotle), Lectures on Metaphysics, vol. i. p. 78.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
[The Right of Translation is reserved.]
250 f. 117
Of the many illustrious thinkers whom the schools of France have contributed to the intellectual philosophy of our age, Victor Cousin, the most accomplished, assigns to Maine de Biran the rank of the most original.
In the successive developments of his own mind, Maine de Biran may, indeed, be said to represent the change that has been silently at work throughout the general mind of Europe, since the close of the last century. He begins his career of philosopher with blind faith in Condillac and Materialism. As an intellect, severely conscientious in the pursuit of truth, expands amidst the perplexities it revolves, phenomena which cannot be accounted for by Condillac's sensuous theories open to his eye. To the first rudimentary life of man, the animal life, characterized by impressions, appetites, movements, organic in their origin, and ruled by the Law of Necessity,'* he is compelled to add the
* Euvres inédites de Maine de Biran, vol. i. See Introduction.
second or human life, from which Free-will and Selfconsciousness emerge. He thus arrives at the union of mind and matter ; but still a something is wanted, some key to the marvels which neither of these conditions of vital being suffices to explain. And at last the grand self-completing Thinker arrives at the Third Life of Man in Man's Soul.
“There are not,” says this philosopher, towards the close of his last and loftiest work—"There are not only two principles opposed to each other in Man, there are three. For there are, in him, three lives and three orders of faculties. Though all should be in accord and in harmony between the sensitive and the active faculties which constitute Man, there would still be a nature superior, a third life which would not be satisfied ; which would make felt (ferait sentir) the truth that there is another happiness, another wisdom, another perfection, at once above the greatest human happiness, above the highest wisdom, or intellectual and moral perfection of which the human being is susceptible."*
Now, as Philosophy and Romance both take their origin in the Principle of Wonder, so in the Strange
* Euvres inédites de Maine de Biran, vol. iii., p. 546 (Anthropologie).