dbaidunews · 发布时间: 2020-10-22 02:18:09

《【NKq】手机怎么改彩票单子》Nor was this the only reason why the spiritualists lost touch of their age. If in some respects they were far in advance of early Greek thought, in other respects they were far behind it. Their systems were pervaded by an unphilosophical dualism which tended to undo much that had been achieved by their less prejudiced predecessors. For this we have partly to blame their environment. The opposition of God and the world, heaven and earth, mind and matter, necessity in Nature and free-will in man, was a concession—though of course an unconscious concession—to the stupid3 bigotry of Athens. Yet at the same time they had failed to solve those psychological problems which had most interest for an Athenian public. Instead of following up the attempt made by the Sophists and Socrates to place morality on a scientific foundation, they busied themselves with the construction of a new machinery for diminishing the efficacy of temptation or for strengthening the efficacy of law. To the question, What is the highest good? Plato gave an answer which nobody could understand, and Aristotle an answer which was almost absolutely useless to anybody but himself. The other great problem, What is the ultimate foundation of knowledge? was left in an equally unsatisfactory state. Plato never answered it at all; Aristotle merely pointed out the negative conditions which must be fulfilled by its solution.73

In conclusion, a few words may profitably be devoted to the question whether the rationalistic movement of our own age is likely to be followed by such another supernaturalist reaction as that which made itself so powerfully felt during the first centuries of Roman imperialism. There is, no doubt, a certain superficial resemblance between the world of the Caesars and the world in which we live. Everywhere we see aristocracies giving way to more centralised and equitable forms of government, the authority of which is sometimes concentrated in the hands of a single absolute ruler. Not only are the interests and wishes of the poorer and less educated classes consulted with increasing anxiety, but the welfare of women is engrossing the attention of modern legislators to an even greater extent than was the case with the imperial jurists. Facilities for travelling, joined to the far-reaching combinations of modern statesmanship and modern strategy, are every day bringing Europe into closer contact with the religious life of Asia. The decay of traditional and organised theology is permitting certain forms of spontaneous and unorganised superstition to develope themselves once more, as witness the wide diffusion of spiritism, which is probably akin to the demonology and witchcraft of earlier ages, and would, no doubt, be similarly persecuted by the priests,—who, as it is, attribute spiritualistic manifestations to diabolical agency,—had they sufficient power for the purpose. Lastly, corresponding to the syncretism of the Roman empire, we may observe a certain mixture and combination of religious principles, Catholic ideas being avowedly adopted by even the most latitudinarian Protestants, and Protestant influences entering into Catholicism, much more imperceptibly it is true, but probably to an equal extent.

To paint Socrates at his highest and his best, it was necessary to break through the narrow limits of his historic individuality, and to show how, had they been presented to him, he would have dealt with problems outside the experience of a home-staying Athenian citizen. The founder of idealism—that is to say, the realisation of reason, the systematic application of thought to life—had succeeded in his task because he had embodied the noblest elements of the Athenian Dêmos, orderliness, patriotism, self-control, and publicity of debate, together with a receptive intelligence for improvements effected in other states. But, just as the impulse which enabled those qualities to tell decisively on Greek history at a moment of inestimable importance came from the Athenian aristocracy, with its Dorian sympathies, its adventurous ambition, and its keen attention to foreign affairs, so also did Plato, carrying the same spirit into philosophy, bring the dialectic method into contact with older and broader currents of speculation, and employ it to recognise the whole spiritual activity of his race.It is only as a religious philosophy that Neo-Pythagoreanism can interest us here. Considered in this light, the principles of its adherents may be summed up under two heads. First, they taught the separate existence of spirit as opposed to matter. Unlike the Stoics, they distinguished between God and Nature, although they were not agreed as to whether their Supreme Being transcended the world or was immanent in it. This, however, did not interfere with their fundamental contention, for either alternative is consistent with his absolute immateriality. In like manner, the human soul is absolutely independent of the body which it animates; it has existed and will continue to exist for ever. The whole object of ethics, or rather of religion, is to enforce and illustrate this independence, to prevent the soul from becoming attached to its prison-house by indulgence in sensual pleasures, to guard its habitation against defiling contact with the more offensive forms of material impurity. Hence their recommendation of abstinence from wine, from animal food, and from marriage, their provisions for personal cleanliness, their use of linen instead of woollen garments, under the idea that a vegetable is purer than an animal tissue. The second article of the Pythagorean creed is that spirit, being superior to matter, has the power of interfering with and controlling its movements, that, being above space and time, it can be made manifest without any regard to the conditions which they ordinarily impose. To what an extent this belief was carried, is shown by the stories told of Pythagoras, the supposed founder of the school, and Apollonius of Tyana, its still greater representative in the first century of our era. Both were credited with an extraordinary power of working miracles and of predicting future events; but, contrary to the usual custom of mythologers, a larger measure of this power was ascribed to the one who lived in a more advanced stage of civilisation, and the composition of whose biography was separated by a250 comparatively short interval from the events which it professes to relate.389

We also miss in him their single-minded devotion to philosophy and their rigorous unity of doctrine. The Acragantine sage was a party leader (in which capacity, to his great credit, he victoriously upheld the popular cause), a rhetorician, an engineer, a physician, and a thaumaturgist. The well-known legend relating to his death may be taken as a not undeserved satire on the colossal self-conceit of the man who claimed divine honours during his lifetime. Half-mystic and half-rationalist, he made no attempt to reconcile the two inconsistent sides of his intellectual character. It may be compared to one of those grotesque combinations in which, according to his morphology, the heads and bodies of widely different animals were united during the beginnings of life before they had learned to fall into their proper places. He believed in metempsychosis, and professed to remember the somewhat miscellaneous series of forms through which his own personality had already run. He had been a boy, a girl, a bush, a bird, and a fish. Nevertheless, as we shall presently see, his theory of Nature altogether excluded such a notion as the soul’s separate existence. We have now to consider what that theory actually was. It will be remembered that Parmenides had affirmed the perpetuity and eternal self-identity of being, but that he had deprived this profound divination of all practical value by interpreting it in a sense which excluded diversity and change. Empedocles also declares creation and destruction to be impossible, but explains that the appearances so denominated arise from the union and separation of four everlasting substances—earth, air, fire, and water. This is the famous doctrine of the four29 elements, which, adopted by Plato and Aristotle, was long regarded as the last word of chemistry, and still survives in popular phraseology. Its author may have been guided by an unconscious reflection on the character of his own philosophical method, for was not he, too, constructing a new system out of the elements supplied by his predecessors? They had successively fixed on water, air, and fire as the primordial form of existence; he added a fourth, earth, and effected a sort of reconciliation by placing them all on an equal footing. Curiously enough, the earlier monistic system had a relative justification which his crude eclecticism lacked. All matter may exist either in a solid, a liquid, or a gaseous form; and all solid matter has reached its present condition after passing through the two other degrees of consistency. That the three modifications should be found coexisting in our own experience is a mere accident of the present régime, and to enumerate them is to substitute a description for an explanation, the usual fault of eclectic systems. Empedocles, however, besides his happy improvement on Parmenides, made a real contribution to thought when, as Aristotle puts it, he sought for a moving as well as for a material cause; in other words, when he asked not only of what elements the world is composed, but also by what forces were they brought together. He tells us of two such causes, Love and Strife, the one a combining, the other a dissociating power. If for these half-mythological names we read attractive and repulsive forces, the result will not be very different from our own current cosmologies. Such terms, when so used as to assume the existence of occult qualities in matter, driving its parts asunder or drawing them close together, are, in truth, as completely mythological as any figments of Hellenic fancy. Unlike their modern antitypes, the Empedoclean goddesses did not reign together, but succeeded one another in alternate dominion during protracted periods of time. The victory of Love was complete when all things had been drawn into a30 perfect sphere, evidently the absolute Eleatic Being subjected to a Heracleitean law of vicissitude and contradiction. For Strife lays hold on the consolidated orb, and by her disintegrating action gradually reduces it to a formless chaos, till, at the close of another world-period, the work of creation begins again. Yet growth and decay are so inextricably intertwined that Empedocles failed to keep up this ideal separation, and was compelled to admit the simultaneous activity of both powers in our everyday experience, so that Nature turns out to be composed of six elements instead of four, the mind which perceives it being constituted in a precisely similar manner. But Love, although on the whole victorious, can only gradually get the better of her retreating enemy, and Nature, as we know it, is the result of their continued conflict. Empedocles described the process of evolution, as he conceived it, in somewhat minute detail. Two points only are of much interest to us, his alleged anticipation of the Darwinian theory and his psychology. The former, such as it was, has occasionally been attributed to Lucretius, but the Roman poet most probably copied Epicurus, although the very brief summary of that philosopher’s physical system preserved by Diogenes Laertius contains no allusion to such a topic. We know, however, that in Aristotle’s time a theory identical with that of Lucretius was held by those who rejected teleological explanations of the world in general and of living organisms in particular. All sorts of animals were produced by spontaneous generation; only those survived which were accidentally furnished with appliances for procuring nourishment and for propagating their kind. The notion itself originated with Empedocles, whose fanciful suppositions have already been mentioned in a different connexion. Most assuredly he did not offer it as a solution of problems which in his time had not yet been mooted, but as an illustration of the confusion which prevailed when Love had only advanced a little way in her ordering, harmonising,31 unifying task. Prantl, writing a few years before the appearance of Mr. Darwin’s book on the Origin of Species, and therefore without any prejudice on the subject, observes with truth that this theory of Empedocles was deeply rooted in the mythological conceptions of the time.23 Perhaps he was seeking for a rationalistic explanation of the centaurs, minotaurs, hundred-handed giants, and so forth, in whose existence he had not, like Lucretius, learned completely to disbelieve. His strange supposition was afterwards freed from its worst extravagances; but even as stated in the De Rerum Natura, it has no claim whatever to rank as a serious hypothesis. Anything more unlike the Darwinian doctrine, according to which all existing species have been evolved from less highly-organized ancestors by the gradual accumulation of minute differences, it would be difficult to conceive. Every thinker of antiquity, with one exception, believed in the immutability of natural species. They had existed unchanged from all eternity, or had sprung up by spontaneous generation from the earth’s bosom in their present form. The solitary dissentient was Anaximander, who conjectured that man was descended from an aquatic animal.24 Strange to say, this lucky guess has not yet been quoted as an argument against the Ascidian pedigree. It is chiefly the enemies of Darwinism who are eager to find it anticipated in Empedocles or Lucretius. By a curious inversion of traditionalism, it is fancied that a modern discovery can be upset by showing that somebody said something of the kind more than two thousand years ago. Unfortunately authority has not the negative value of disproving the principles which it supports. We must be content to accept the truths brought to light by observation and reasoning, even at the risk of finding ourselves in humiliating agreement with a philosopher of antiquity.25


The scepticism of Aristippus and the Cyrenaics mediated between the views of Protagoras and those of Gorgias, while marking an advance on both. According to this school, we know nothing beyond our own feelings, and it must be left undecided whether they are caused by an external reality or not. Nor can the feelings of one individual justify us in reasoning to the existence of similar feelings in the mind of another individual.221 It might be objected that the arguments advanced in support of the latter assertion are suicidal, for they are derived from the abnormal states of consciousness accompanying particular diseases, or else from the divergences of taste exhibited by different individuals even when in good health,—an apparent admission that we are sufficiently well acquainted with the phenomena in question to institute a comparison between them, which, by hypothesis, is impossible. And this is, in fact, the method by which Mr. Herbert Spencer has endeavoured to upset the whole theory of subjective idealism, as involving at every step an assumption of the very realities that it professes to deny. But the Cyrenaic and the modern idealist have a perfect right to show that the assumptions of their adversaries are self-contradictory; and the readiest way of so doing is to reason from them as if they were true. The real answer to that extreme form of idealism which denies the possibility of making known our feelings to each other is that, our bodies being similarly constructed and responding to similar impressions by similar manifestations,133 I have the same sort of warrant for assuming that your states of consciousness are like mine that I have for assuming you to exist at all. The inference must, of course, be surrounded by proper precautions, such as are seldom used by unscientific reasoners. We must make sure that the structure is the same and that the excitement is the same, or that their differences, if any, are insignificant, before we can attribute the same value to the same manifestations of feeling on the part of different persons; but that this can be done, at least in the case of the elementary sensations, is shown by the easy detection of such anomalies as colour-blindness where they exist.

Besides the general religious movement which had long been in action, and was daily gaining strength from the increasing barbarisation of the empire, there was, at this juncture, a particular cause tending to bring Greek philosophy into close alliance with the mythology which it had formerly rejected and denounced. This was the rapid rise and spread of Christianity. St Augustine has said that of all heathen philosophers none came nearer to the Christian faith than the Neo-Platonists.528 Nevertheless, it was in them that the old religion found its only apologists and the new religion its most active assailants. We have already alluded to the elaborate polemic of Porphyry. Half a century later, the same principles could boast of a still more illustrious champion. The emperor Julian was imbued with the doctrines of Neo-Platonism, and was won back to the ancient faith by the teaching of its professors.



But all this time the popular belief in omens had continued unaffected, and had apparently even increased. The peculiar Greek feeling known as Deisidaimonia is first satirised by Theophrastus, who defines it as cowardice with regard to the gods, and gives several amusing instances of the anxiety occasioned by its presence—all connected with the interpretation of omens—such as Aristophanes could hardly have failed to notice had they been usual in his time. Nor were such fancies confined to the ignorant classes. Although the Stoics cannot be accused of Deisidaimonia, they gave their powerful sanction to the belief in divination, as has been already mentioned in our account of their philosophy. It223 would seem that whatever authority the great oracular centres had lost was simply handed over to lower and more popular forms of the same superstition.The confusion of Induction, properly so called, and Elimination under a single name, is largely due to the bad example set by Bacon. He found it stated in the Analytics that all concepts and general propositions are established either by syllogism or by induction; and he found some very useful rules laid down in the Topics, not answering to what he understood by the former method; he therefore summarily dubbed them with the name of Induction, which they have kept ever since, to the incalculable confusion of thought.

‘Honour Equality who binds together

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