种更 Passing from life to mind, we find Empedocles teaching an even more pronounced materialism than Parmenides, inasmuch as it is stated in language of superior precision. Our souls are, according to him, made up of elements like those which constitute the external world, each of these being perceived by a corresponding portion of the same substances within ourselves—fire by fire, water by water, and so on with the rest. It is a mistake to suppose that speculation begins from a subjective standpoint, that men start with a clear consciousness of their own personality, and proceed to construct an objective universe after the same pattern. Doubtless they are too prone to personify the blind forces of Nature, and Empedocles himself has just supplied us with an example of this tendency, but they err still more by reading outward experience into their own souls, by materialising the processes of consciousness, and resolving human personality into a loose confederacy of inorganic units. Even Plato, who did more than anyone else towards distinguishing between mind and body, ended by laying down his psychology on the lines of an astronomical system. Meanwhile, to have separated the perception of an object from the object itself, in ever so slight a degree, was an important gain to thought.33 We must not omit to notice a hypothesis by which Empedocles sought to elucidate the mechanism of sensation, and which was subsequently adopted by the atomic school; indeed, as will presently be shown, we have reason to believe that the whole atomic theory was developed out of it. He held that emanations were being continually thrown off from the surfaces of bodies, and that they penetrated into the organs of sense through fine passages or pores. This may seem a crude guess, but it is at any rate much more scientific than Aristotle’s explanation. According to the latter, possibilities of feeling are converted into actualities by the presence of an object. In other words, we feel when and because we do; a safe assertion, but hardly an addition to our positive knowledge of the subject.
But what afforded the most valuable education in this sense was their system of free government, involving, as it did, the supremacy of an impersonal law, the subdivision of public authority among a number of magistrates, and the assignment to each of certain carefully defined functions which he was forbidden to exceed; together with the living interest felt by each citizen in the welfare of the whole state, and that conception of it as a whole composed of various parts, which is impossible where all the public powers are collected in a single hand. 这一 The radical selfishness of Epicureanism comes out still more distinctly in its attitude towards political activity. Not only does it systematically discourage mere personal ambition73—the desire of possessing political power for the furtherance of one’s own ends—but it passes a like condemnation on disinterested efforts to improve the condition of the people by legislation; while the general rule laid down for the wise man in his capacity of citizen is passive obedience to the established authorities, to be departed from only when the exigencies of self-defence require it. On this Mr. Wallace observes that ‘political life, which in all ages has been impossible for those who had not wealth, and who were unwilling to mix themselves with vile and impure associates, was not to the mind of Epicurus.’148 No authority is quoted to prove that the abstention recommended by Epicurus was dictated by purist sentiments of any kind; nor can we readily admit that it is impossible to record a vote, to canvass at an election, or even to address a public meeting, without fulfilling one or other of the conditions specified by Mr. Wallace; and we know by the example of Littré that it is possible for a poor man to take a rather prominent part in public life, without the slightest sacrifice of personal dignity.149 It must also be remembered that Epicurus was not speaking for himself alone; he was giving practical advice to all whom it might concern—advice of which he thought, aeque pauperibus prodest, locupletibus aeque; so that when Mr. Wallace adds that, ‘above all, it is not the business of a philosopher to become a political partisan, and spend his life in an atmosphere of avaricious and malignant passions,’150 we must observe that Epicureanism was not designed to make philosophers, but perfect men. The real question is whether it would serve the public interest were all who endeavour to shape their lives by the precepts of philosophy to withdraw themselves74 entirely from participation in the affairs of their country. And, having regard to the general character of the system now under consideration, we may not uncharitably surmise that the motive for abstention which it supplied was selfish love of ease far more than unwillingness to be mixed up with the dirty work of politics. An unrighteous gain.
These, then, were the principal elements of the philosophical Renaissance. First, there was a certain survival of Aristotelianism as a method of comprehensive and logical arrangement. Then there was the new Platonism, bringing along with it a revival of either Alexandrian or mediaeval pantheism, and closely associated with geometrical studies. Thirdly, there was the old Greek Atomism, as originally set forth by Democritus or as re-edited by Epicurus, traditionally unfavourable to theology, potent alike for decomposition and reconstruction, confirmed by the new astronomy, and lending its method to the reformation of mathematics; next the later Greek ethical systems; and finally the formless idea of infinite power which all Greek systems had, as such,401 conspired to suppress, but which, nevertheless, had played a great part in the earlier stages of Greek speculation both physical and moral. 之多 END OF THE FIRST VOLUME. Epicureanism was essentially a practical philosophy. The physical, theological, and logical portions of the system were reasoned out with exclusive reference to its ethical end, and their absolute subordination to it was never allowed to be forgotten. It is therefore with the moral theory of Epicurus that we must begin.
‘Natur und Geist, so spricht man nicht zu Christen, 魂状 The celebrated Cartesian paradox, that animals are unconscious automata, is another consequence of the same principle. In Aristotle’s philosophy, the doctrine of potentiality developing itself into act through a series of ascending manifestations, supplied a link connecting the highest rational392 with the lowest vegetal life. The identification of Form with pure thought put an end to the conception of any such intermediate gradations. Brutes must either have a mind like ours or none at all. The former alternative was not even taken into consideration; probably, among other reasons, because it was not easily reconcilable with Christianity; so that nothing remained but to deny sensibility where thought was believed not to exist. Plato, like Socrates, makes religious instruction the basis of education. But where the master had been content to set old beliefs on a new basis of demonstration, the disciple aimed at nothing less than their complete purification from irrational and immoral ingredients. He lays down two great principles, that God is good, and that He is true.142 Every story which is inconsistent with such a character must be rejected; so also must everything in the poets which redounds to the discredit of the national heroes, together with everything tending in the remotest degree to make vice attractive or virtue repellent. It is evident that Plato, like Xenophanes, repudiated not only the scandalous details of popular mythology, but also the anthropomorphic conceptions which lay at its foundation; although he did not think it advisable to state his unbelief with equal frankness. His own theology was a sort of star-worship, and he proved the divinity of the heavenly bodies by an appeal to the uniformity of their movements.143 He further taught that the world was created by an absolutely good Being; but we cannot be sure that this was more than a popular version of the theory which placed the abstract idea of Good at the summit of the dialectic series. The truth is that there are two distinct types of religion, the one chiefly235 interested in the existence and attributes of God, the other chiefly interested in the destiny of the human soul. The former is best represented by Judaism, the latter by Buddhism. Plato belongs to the psychic rather than to the theistic type. The doctrine of immortality appears again and again in his Dialogues, and one of the most beautiful among them is entirely devoted to proving it. He seems throughout to be conscious that he is arguing in favour of a paradox. Here, at least, there are no appeals to popular prejudice such as figure so largely in similar discussions among ourselves. The belief in immortality had long been stirring; but it had not taken deep root among the Ionian Greeks. We cannot even be sure that it was embraced as a consoling hope by any but the highest minds anywhere in Hellas, or by them for more than a brief period. It would be easy to maintain that this arose from some natural incongeniality to the Greek imagination in thoughts which drew it away from the world of sense and the delights of earthly life. But the explanation breaks down immediately when we attempt to verify it by a wider experience. No modern nation enjoys life so keenly as the French. Yet, quite apart from traditional dogmas, there is no nation that counts so many earnest supporters of the belief in a spiritual existence beyond the grave. And, to take an individual example, it is just the keen relish which Mr. Browning’s Cleon has for every sort of enjoyment which makes him shrink back with horror from the thought of annihilation, and grasp at any promise of a happiness to be prolonged through eternity. A closer examination is needed to show us by what causes the current of Greek thought was swayed. Temperance and justice are very clearly distinguished in our minds. The one is mainly a self-regarding, the other mainly a social virtue. But it would be a mistake to suppose that the distinction was equally clear to Plato. He had learned from Socrates that all virtue is one. He found himself confronted by men who pointedly opposed interest to honour and expediency to fair-dealing, without making any secret of their preference for the former. Here, as elsewhere, he laboured to dissolve away the vulgar antithesis and to231 substitute for it a deeper one—the antithesis between real and apparent goods. He was quite ready to imagine the case of a man who might have to incur all sorts of suffering in the practice of justice even to the extent of infamy, torture, and death; but without denying that these were evils, he held that to practise injustice with the accompaniment of worldly prosperity was a greater evil still. And this conviction is quite unconnected with his belief in a future life. He would not have agreed with St. Paul that virtue is a bad calculation without the hope of a reward for it hereafter. His morality is absolutely independent of any extrinsic considerations. Nevertheless, he holds that in our own interest we should do what is right; and it never seems to have entered his thoughts that there could be any other motive for doing it. We have to explain how such a paradox was possible.”
Never have thoughts like these 领土 That Virgil was acquainted with this philosophy and had accepted some of its principal conclusions is evident from a famous passage in the Sixth Aeneid,282 setting forth the theory of a universal and all-penetrating soul composed of fiery matter, whence the particular souls of men and animals are derived, by a process likened to the scattering and germination of seeds; from another equally famous passage in the Fourth Eclogue,283 describing the periodical recurrence of events in the same order as before; and also, although to a less extent, from his acceptance of the Stoic astronomy in the Georgics;284 a circumstance which, by the way, renders it most unlikely that he looked up to Lucretius as an authority in physical science.285 But even apart from this collateral evidence, one can see that the Aeneid is a Stoic poem. It is filled with the ideas of mutation and vicissitude overruled by a divinely appointed order; of the prophetic intimations by which that order is revealed; of the obedience to reason by which passion is subdued; and of the faith in divine goodness by which suffering is made easy to be borne. And there are also gleams of that universal humanity familiar to Stoicism, which read to some like an anticipation of the Christian or the modern spirit, but which really resemble them only as earlier manifestations of the same great philosophical movement. II. The ambiguities and uncertainties which Plotinus exhibits in theorising on the origin of Matter, are due not only to the conflicting influences of Plato and Aristotle, but also to another influence quite distinct from theirs. This is the Stoic cosmology. While utterly repudiating the materialism of the Stoics, Plotinus evidently felt attracted by their severe monism, and by the consistent manner in which they derived every form of existence from the divine substance. They too recognised a distinction between Form and Matter, the active and the passive principle in Nature, but they supposed that the one, besides being penetrated and moulded by the other, had also been originally produced by it. Such a theory was well suited to the energetic and practical character of Stoic morality, with its aversion from mere contemplation, its immediate bearing on the concrete interests of life. Man was conceived as an intelligent force, having for his proper function to bring order out of chaos, ‘to make reason and the will of God prevail,’ and this ideal appeared to be reflected in the dynamic constitution of Nature. With Plotinus, on the other hand, as with Aristotle, theory and not practice was the end of life, or rather, as he himself expressed it, practice was an inferior kind of theorising, an endeavour to set before oneself in outward form what should properly be sought in the noetic world where subject and object are one.490 Accordingly, while accepting the Stoic monism, he strove to bring it into close agreement with Aristotle’s cosmology, by substituting contemplation for will as the creative principle in all existence, no less than as the ideal of happiness for man.”