HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time
Professor of Philosophy in the University of Erlangen
THIRD AMERICAN FROM THE SECOND GERMAN EDITION
TRANSLATED WITH THE AUTHOR'S SANCTION BY A.C. ARMSTRONG, JR. Professor of Philosophy in Wesleyan University
The aim of this translation is the same as that of the original work. Each is the outcome of experience in university instruction in philosophy, and is intended to furnish a manual which shall be at once scientific and popular, one to stand midway between the exhaustive expositions of the larger histories and the meager sketches of the compendiums. A pupil of Kuno Fischer, Fortlage, J.E. Erdmann, Lotze, and Eucken among others, Professor Falckenberg began his career as Docent in the university of Jena. In the year following the first edition of this work he became Extraordinarius in the same university, and in 1888 Ordinarius at Erlangen, choosing the latter call in preference to an invitation to Dorpat as successor to Teichmueller. The chair at Erlangen he still holds. His work as teacher and author has been chiefly in the history of modern philosophy. Besides the present work and numerous minor articles, he has published the following: Ueber den intelligiblen Charakter, zur Kritik der Kantischen Freiheitslehre 1879; Grundzuege der Philosophie des Nicolaus Cusanus, 1880-81; and Ueber die gegenwaertige Lage der deutschen Philosophie, 1890 (inaugural address at Erlangen). Since 1884-5 Professor Falckenberg has also been an editor of the Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, until 1888 in association with Krohn, and after the latter's death, alone. At present he has in hand a treatise on Lotze for a German series analogous to Blackwood's Philosophical Classics, which is to be issued under his direction. Professor Falckenberg's general philosophical position may be described as that of moderate idealism. His historical method is strictly objective, the aim being a free reproduction of the systems discussed, as far as possible in their original terminology and historical connection, and without the intrusion of personal criticism.
The translation has been made from the second German edition (1892), with still later additions and corrections communicated by the author in manuscript. The translator has followed the original faithfully but not slavishly. He has not felt free to modify Professor Falckenberg's expositions, even in the rare cases where his own opinions would have led him to dissent, but minor changes have been made wherever needed to fit the book for the use of English-speaking students. Thus a few alterations have been made in dates and titles, chiefly under the English systems and from the latest authorities; and a few notes added in elucidation of portions of the text. Thus again the balance of the bibliography has been somewhat changed, including transfers from text to notes and vice versa and a few omissions, besides the introduction of a number of titles from our English philosophical literature chosen on the plan referred to in the preface to the first German edition. The glossary of terms foreign to the German reader has been replaced by a revision and expansion of the index, with the analyses of the glossary as a basis. Wherever possible, and this has been true in all important cases, the changes have been indicated by the usual signs.
The translator has further rewritten Chapter XV., Section 3, on recent British and American Philosophy. In this so much of the author's (historical) standpoint and treatment as proved compatible with the aim of a manual in English has been retained, but the section as a whole has been rearranged and much enlarged.
The labor of translation has been lightened by the example of previous writers, especially of the translators of the standard treatises of Ueberweg and Erdmann. The thanks of the translator are also due to several friends who have kindly aided him by advice or assistance: in particular to his friend and former pupil, Mr. C.M. Child, M.S., who participated in the preparation of a portion of the translation; and above all to Professor Falckenberg himself, who, by his willing sanction of the work and his co-operation throughout its progress, has given a striking example of scholarly courtesy.
Wesleyan University, June, 1893.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST GERMAN EDITION.
Since the appearance of Eduard Zeller's Grundriss der Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie (1883; 3d ed. 1889) the need has become even more apparent than before for a presentation of the history of modern philosophy which should be correspondingly compact and correspondingly available for purposes of instruction. It would have been an ambitious undertaking to attempt to supply a counterpart to the compendium of this honored scholar, with its clear and simple summation of the results of his much admired five volumes on Greek philosophy; and it has been only in regard to practical utility and careful consideration of the needs of students—concerning which we have enjoyed opportunity for gaining accurate information in the review exercises regularly held in this university—that we have ventured to hope that we might not fall too far short of his example.
The predominantly practical aim of this History—it is intended to serve as an aid in introductory work, in reviewing, and as a substitute for dictations in academical lectures, as well as to be a guide for the wider circle of cultivated readers—has enjoined self-restraint in the development of personal views and the limitation of critical reflections in favor of objective presentation. It is only now and then that critical hints have been given. In the discussion of phenomena of minor importance it has been impossible to avoid the oratio obliqua of exposition; but, wherever practicable, we have let the philosophers themselves develop their doctrines and reasons, not so much by literal quotations from their works, as by free, condensed reproductions of their leading ideas. If the principiant view of the forces which control the history of philosophy, and of the progress of modern philosophy, expressed in the Introduction and in the Retrospect at the end of the book, have not been everywhere verified in detail from the historical facts, this is due in part to the limits, in part to the pedagogical aim, of the work. Thus, in particular, more space has for pedagogical reasons been devoted to the "psychological" explanation of systems, as being more popular, than in our opinion its intrinsic importance would entitle it to demand. To satisfy every one in the choice of subjects and in the extent of the discussion is impossible; but our hope is that those who would have preferred a guide of this sort to be entirely different will not prove too numerous. In the classification of movements and schools, and in the arrangement of the contents of the various systems, it has not been our aim to deviate at all hazards from previous accounts; and as little to leave unutilized the benefits accruing to later comers from the distinguished achievements of earlier workers in the field. In particular we acknowledge with gratitude the assistance derived from the renewed study of the works on the subject by Kuno Fischer, J.E. Erdmann, Zeller, Windelband, Ueberweg-Heinze, Harms, Lange, Vorlander, and Puenjer.
The motive which induced us to take up the present work was the perception that there was lacking a text-book in the history of modern philosophy, which, more comprehensive, thorough, and precise than the sketches of Schwegler and his successors, should stand between the fine but detailed exposition of Windelband, and the substantial but—because of the division of the text into paragraphs and notes and the interpolation of pages of bibliographical references—rather dry outline of Ueberweg. While the former refrains from all references to the literature of the subject and the latter includes far too many, at least for purposes of instruction, and J.B. Meyer's Leitfaden (1882) is in general confined to biographical and bibliographical notices; we have mentioned, in the text or the notes and with the greatest possible regard for the progress of the exposition, both the chief works of the philosophers themselves and some of the treatises concerning them. The principles which have guided us in these selections—to include only the more valuable works and those best adapted for students' reading, and further to refer as far as possible to the most recent works—will hardly be in danger of criticism. But we shall not dispute the probability that many a book worthy of mention may have been overlooked.
The explanation of a number of philosophical terms, which has been added as an appendix at the suggestion of the publishers, deals almost entirely with foreign expressions and gives the preference to the designations of fundamental movements. It is arranged, as far as possible, so that it may be used as a subject-index.
JENA, December 23, 1885.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND GERMAN EDITION.
The majority of the alterations and additions in this new edition are in the first chapter and the last two; no departure from the general character of the exposition has seemed to me necessary. I desire to return my sincere thanks for the suggestions which have come to me alike from public critiques and private communications. In some cases contradictory requests have conflicted—thus, on the one hand, I have been urged to expand, on the other, to cut down the sections on German idealism, especially those on Hegel—and here I confess my inability to meet both demands. Among the reviews, that by B. Erdmann in the first volume of the Archiv fuer Geschichte der Philosophie, and, among the suggestions made by letter, those of H. Heussler, have been of especial value. Since others commonly see defects more clearly than one's self, it will be very welcome if I can have my desire continually to make this History more useful supported by farther suggestions from the circle of its readers. In case it continues to enjoy the favor of teachers and students, these will receive conscientious consideration.
For the sake of those who may complain of too much matter, I may remark that the difficulty can easily be avoided by passing over Chapters I., V. (Sec.Sec. 1-3), VI., VIII., XII., XV., and XVI.
Professor A.C. Armstrong, Jr., is preparing an English translation. My earnest thanks are due to Mr. Karl Niemann of Charlottenburg for his kind participation in the labor of proof-reading.
ERLANGEN, June 11, 1892.
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THE PERIOD OF TRANSITION: FROM NICOLAS OF CUSA TO DESCARTES
1. Nicolas of Cusa 2. The Revival of Ancient Philosophy and the Opposition to it 3. The Italian Philosophy of Nature 4. Philosophy of the State and of Law 5. Skepticism in France 6. German Mysticism 7. The Foundation of Modern Physics 8. Philosophy in England to the Middle of the Seventeenth Century (a) Bacon's Predecessors (b) Bacon (c) Hobbes (d) Lord Herbert of Cherbury 9. Preliminary Survey
%From Descartes to Kant.%
1. The Principles 2. Nature 3. Man
THE DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFORMATION OF CARTESIANISM IN THE NETHERLANDS AND IN FRANCE
1. Occasionalism: Geulincx 2. Spinoza (a) Substance, Attributes, and Modes (b) Anthropology; Cognition and the Passions (c) Practical Philosophy 3. Pascal, Malebranche, Bayle
(a) Theory of Knowledge (b) Practical Philosophy
ENGLISH PHILOSOPHY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
1. Natural Philosophy and Psychology 2. Deism 3. Moral Philosophy 4. Theory of Knowledge (a) Berkeley (b) Hume (c) The Scottish School
THE FRENCH ILLUMINATION
1. The Entrance of English Doctrines 2. Theoretical and Practical Sensationalism 3. Skepticism and Materialism 4. Rousseau's Conflict with the Illumination
1. Metaphysics: the Monads, Representation, the Pre-established Harmony; the Laws of Thought and of the World 2. The Organic World 3. Man: Cognition and Volition 4. Theology and Theodicy
THE GERMAN ILLUMINATION
1. The Contemporaries of Leibnitz 2. Christian Wolff 3. The Illumination as Scientific and as Popular Philosophy 4. The Faith Philosophy
%From Kant to the Present Time.%
1. Theory of Knowledge (a) The Pure Intuitions (Transcendental Aesthetic) (b) The Concepts and Principles of the Pure Understanding (Transcendental Analytic) (c) The Reason's Ideas of the Unconditioned (Transcendental Dialectic) 2. Theory of Ethics 3. Theory of the Beautiful and of Ends in Nature (a) Aesthetic Judgment (b) Teleological Judgment 4. From Kant to Fichte
1. The Science of Knowledge (a) The Problem (b) The Three Principles (c) The Theoretical Ego (d) The Practical Ego 2. The Science of Ethics and of Right 3. Fichte's Second Period: his View of History and his Theory of Religion
1a. Philosophy of Nature 1b. Transcendental Philosophy 2. System of Identity 3a. Doctrine of Freedom 3b. Philosophy of Mythology and Revelation
1. The Philosophers of Nature 2. The Philosophers of Identity (F. Krause) 3. The Philosophers of Religion (Baader and Schleiermacher)
1. Hegel's View of the World and his Method 2. The System (a) Logic (b) The Philosophy of Nature (c) The Doctrine of Subjective Spirit (d) The Doctrine of Objective Spirit (e) Absolute Spirit
THE OPPOSITION TO CONSTRUCTIVE IDEALISM: FRIES, HERBART, SCHOPENHAUER
1. The Psychologists: Fries and Beneke 2. Realism: Herbart 3. Pessimism: Schopenhauer
PHILOSOPHY OUT OF GERMANY
1. Italy 2. France 3. Great Britain and America 4. Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Holland
GERMAN PHILOSOPHY SINCE THE DEATH OF HEGEL
1. From the Division of the Hegelian School to the Materialistic Controversy 2. New Systems: Trendelenburg, Fechner, Lotze, and Hartmann 3. From the Revival of the Kantian Philosophy to the Present Time (a) Neo-Kantianism, Positivism, and Kindred Phenomena (b) Idealistic Reaction against the Scientific Spirit (c) The Special Philosophical Sciences 4. Retrospect
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In no other department is a thorough knowledge of history so important as in philosophy. Like historical science in general, philosophy is, on the one hand, in touch with exact inquiry, while, on the other, it has a certain relationship with art. With the former it has in common its methodical procedure and its cognitive aim; with the latter, its intuitive character and the endeavor to compass the whole of reality with a glance. Metaphysical principles are less easily verified from experience than physical hypotheses, but also less easily refuted. Systems of philosophy, therefore, are not so dependent on our progressive knowledge of facts as the theories of natural science, and change less quickly; notwithstanding their mutual conflicts, and in spite of the talk about discarded standpoints, they possess in a measure the permanence of classical works of art, they retain for all time a certain relative validity. The thought of Plato, of Aristotle, and of the heroes of modern philosophy is ever proving anew its fructifying power. Nowhere do we find such instructive errors as in the sphere of philosophy; nowhere is the new so essentially a completion and development of the old, even though it deem itself the whole and assume a hostile attitude toward its predecessors; nowhere is the inquiry so much more important than the final result; nowhere the categories "true and false" so inadequate. The spirit of the time and the spirit of the people, the individuality of the thinker, disposition, will, fancy—all these exert a far stronger influence on the development of philosophy, both by way of promotion and by way of hindrance, than in any other department of thought. If a system gives classical expression to the thought of an epoch, a nation, or a great personality; if it seeks to attack the world-riddle from a new direction, or brings us nearer its solution by important original conceptions, by a subtler or a simpler comprehension of the problem, by a wider outlook or a deeper insight; it has accomplished more than it could have done by bringing forward a number of indisputably correct principles. The variations in philosophy, which, on the assumption of the unity of truth, are a rock of offense to many minds, may be explained, on the one hand, by the combination of complex variety and limitation in the motives which govern philosophical thought,—for it is the whole man that philosophizes, not his understanding merely,—and, on the other, by the inexhaustible extent of the field of philosophy. Back of the logical labor of proof and inference stand, as inciting, guiding, and hindering agents, psychical and historical forces, which are themselves in large measure alogical, though stronger than all logic; while just before stretches away the immeasurable domain of reality, at once inviting and resisting conquest. The grave contradictions, so numerous in both the subjective and the objective fields, make unanimity impossible concerning ultimate problems; in fact, they render it difficult for the individual thinker to combine his convictions into a self-consistent system. Each philosopher sees limited sections of the world only, and these through his own eyes; every system is one-sided. Yet it is this multiplicity and variety of systems alone which makes the aim of philosophy practicable as it endeavors to give a complete picture of the soul and of the universe. The history of philosophy is the philosophy of humanity, that great individual, which, with more extended vision than the instruments through which it works, is able to entertain opposing principles, and which, reconciling old contradictions as it discovers new ones, approaches by a necessary and certain growth the knowledge of the one all-embracing truth, which is rich and varied beyond our conception. In order to energetic labor in the further progress of philosophy, it is necessary to imagine that the goddess of truth is about to lift the veil which has for centuries concealed her. The historian of philosophy, on the contrary, looks on each new system as a stone, which, when shaped and fitted into its place, will help to raise higher the pyramid of knowledge. Hegel's doctrine of the necessity and motive force of contradictories, of the relative justification of standpoints, and the systematic development of speculation, has great and permanent value as a general point of view. It needs only to be guarded from narrow scholastic application to become a safe canon for the historical treatment of philosophy.
In speaking above of the worth of the philosophical doctrines of the past as defying time, and as comparable to the standard character of finished works of art, the special reference was to those elements in speculation which proceed less from abstract thinking than from the fancy, the heart, and the character of the individual, and even more directly from the disposition of the people; and which to a certain degree may be divorced from logical reasoning and the scientific treatment of particular questions. These may be summed up under the phrase, views of the world. The necessity for constant reconsideration of them is from this standpoint at once evident. The Greek view of the world is as classic as the plastic art of Phidias and the epic of Homer; the Christian, as eternally valid as the architecture of the Middle Ages; the modern, as irrefutable as Goethe's poetry and the music of Beethoven. The views of the world which proceed from the spirits of different ages, as products of the general development of culture, are not so much thoughts as rhythms in thinking, not theories but modes of intuition saturated with feelings of worth. We may dispute about them, it is true; we may argue against them or in their defense; but they can neither be established nor overthrown by cogent proofs. It is not only optimism and pessimism, determinism and indeterminism, that have their ultimate roots in the affective side of our nature, but pantheism and individualism, also idealism and materialism, even rationalism and sensationalism. Even though they operate with the instruments of thought, they remain in the last analysis matters of faith, of feeling, and of resolution. The aesthetic view of the world held by the Greeks, the transcendental-religious view of Christianity, the intellectual view of Leibnitz and Hegel, the panthelistic views of Fichte I and Schopenhauer are vital forces, not doctrines, postulates, not results of thought. One view of the world is forced to yield its pre-eminence to another, which it has itself helped to produce by its own one-sidedness; only to reconquer its opponent later, when it has learned from her, when it has been purified, corrected, and deepened by the struggle. But the elder contestant is no more confuted by the younger than the drama of Sophocles by the drama of Shakespeare, than youth by age or spring by autumn.
If it is thus indubitable that the views of the world held in earlier times deserve to live on in the memory of man, and to live as something better than mere reminders of the past—the history of philosophy is not a cabinet of antiquities, but a museum of typical products of the mind—the value and interest of the historical study of the past in relation to the exact scientific side of philosophical inquiry is not less evident. In every science it is useful to trace the origin and growth of problems and theories, and doubly so in philosophy. With her it is by no means the universal rule that progress shows itself by the result; the statement of the question is often more important than the answer. The problem is more sharply defined in a given direction; or it becomes more comprehensive, is analyzed and refined; or if now it threatens to break up into subtle details, some genius appears to simplify it and force our thoughts back to the fundamental question. This advance in problems, which happily is everywhere manifested by unmistakable signs, is, in the case of many of the questions which irresistibly force themselves upon the human heart, the only certain gain from centuries of endeavor. The labor here is of more value than the result.
In treating the history of philosophy, two extremes must be avoided, lawless individualism and abstract logical formalism. The history of philosophy is neither a disconnected succession of arbitrary individual opinions and clever guesses, nor a mechanically developed series of typical standpoints and problems, which imply one another in just the form and order historically assumed. The former supposition does violence to the regularity of philosophical development, the latter to its vitality. In the one case, the connection is conceived too loosely, in the other, too rigidly and simply. One view underestimates the power of the logical Idea, the other overestimates it. It is not easy to support the principle that chance rules the destiny of philosophy, but it is more difficult to avoid the opposite conviction of the one-sidedness of formalistic construction, and to define the nature and limits of philosophical necessity. The development of philosophy is, perhaps, one chief aim of the world-process, but it is certainly not the only one; it is a part of the universal aim, and it is not surprising that the instruments of its realization do not work exclusively in its behalf, that their activity brings about results, which seem unessential for philosophical ends or obstacles in their way. Philosophical ideas do not think themselves, but are thought by living spirits, which are something other and better than mere thought machines—by spirits who live these thoughts, who fill them with personal warmth and passionately defend them. There is often reason, no doubt, for the complaint that the personality which has undertaken to develop some great idea is inadequate to the task, that it carries its subjective defects into the matter in hand, that it does too much or too little, or the right thing in the wrong way, so that the spirit of philosophy seems to have erred in the choice and the preparation of its instrument. But the reverse side of the picture must also be taken into account. The thinking spirit is more limited, it is true, than were desirable for the perfect execution of a definite logical task; but, on the other hand, it is far too rich as well. A soulless play of concepts would certainly not help the cause, and there is no disadvantage in the failure of the history of philosophy to proceed so directly and so scholastically, as, for instance, in the system of Hegel. A graded series of interconnected general forces mediate between the logical Idea and the individual thinker—the spirit of the people, of the age, of the thinker's vocation, of his time of life, which are felt by the individual as part of himself and whose impulses he unconsciously obeys. In this way the modifying, furthering, hindering correlation of higher and lower, of the ruler with his commands and the servant with his more or less willing obedience, is twice repeated, the situation being complicated further by the fact that the subject affected by these historical forces himself helps to make history. The most important factor in philosophical progress is, of course, the state of inquiry at the time, the achievements of the thinkers of the immediately preceding age; and in this relation of a philosopher to his predecessors, again, a distinction must be made between a logical and a psychological element. The successor often commences his support, his development, or his refutation at a point quite unwelcome to the constructive historian. At all events, if we may judge from the experience of the past, too much caution cannot be exercised in setting up formal laws for the development of thought. According to the law of contradiction and reconciliation, a Schopenhauer must have followed directly after Leibnitz, to oppose his pessimistic ethelism to the optimistic intellectualism of the latter; when, in turn, a Schleiermacher, to give an harmonic resolution of the antithesis into a concrete doctrine of feeling, would have made a fine third. But it turned out otherwise, and we must be content.
* * * * *
The estimate of the value of the history of philosophy in general, given at the start, is the more true of the history of modern philosophy, since the movement introduced by the latter still goes on unfinished. We are still at work on the problems which were brought forward by Descartes, Locke, and Leibnitz, and which Kant gathered up into the critical or transcendental question. The present continues to be governed by the ideal of culture which Bacon proposed and Fichte exalted to a higher level; we all live under the unweakened spell of that view of the world which was developed in hostile opposition to Scholasticism, and through the enduring influence of those mighty geographical and scientific discoveries and religious reforms which marked the entrance of the modern period. It is true, indeed, that the transition brought about by Kant's noetical and ethical revolution was of great significance,—more significant even than the Socratic period, with which we are fond of comparing it; much that was new was woven on, much of the old, weakened, broken, destroyed. And yet, if we take into account the historical after-influence of Cartesianism, we shall find that the thread was only knotted and twisted by Kantianism, not cut through. The continued power of the pre-Kantian modes of thought is shown by the fact that Spinoza has been revived in Fichte and Schelling, Leibnitz in Herbart and Hegel, the sensationalism of the French Illuminati in Feuerbach; and that even materialism, which had been struck down by the criticism of the reason (one would have thought forever), has again raised its head. Even that most narrow tendency of the early philosophy of the modern period, the apotheosis of cognition is,—in spite of the moralistic counter-movement of Kant and Fichte,—the controlling motive in the last of the great idealistic systems, while it also continues to exercise a marvelously powerful influence on the convictions of our Hegel-weary age, alike within the sphere of philosophy and (still more) without it. In view of the intimate relations between contemporary inquiry and the progress of thought since the beginning of the modern period, acquaintance with the latter, which it is the aim of this History to facilitate, becomes a pressing duty. To study the history of philosophy since Descartes is to study the pre-conditions of contemporary philosophy.
We begin with an outline sketch of the general characteristics of modern philosophy. These may be most conveniently described by comparing them with the characteristics of ancient and of mediaeval philosophy. The character of ancient philosophy or Greek philosophy,—for they are practically the same,—is predominantly aesthetic. The Greek holds beauty and truth closely akin and inseparable; "cosmos" is his common expression for the world and for ornament. The universe is for him a harmony, an organism, a work of art, before which he stands in admiration and reverential awe. In quiet contemplation, as with the eye of a connoisseur, he looks upon the world or the individual object as a well-ordered whole, more disposed to enjoy the congruity of its parts than to study out its ultimate elements. He prefers contemplation to analysis, his thought is plastic, not anatomical. He finds the nature of the object in its form; and ends give him the key to the comprehension of events. Discovering human elements everywhere, he is always ready with judgments of worth—the stars move in circles because circular motion is the most perfect; the right is better than left, upper finer than lower, that which precedes more beautiful than that which follows. Thinkers in whom this aesthetic reverence is weaker than the analytic impulse—especially Democritus—seem half modern rather than Greek. By the side of the Greek philosophy, in its sacred festal garb, stands the modern in secular workday dress, in the laborer's blouse, with the merciless chisel of analysis in its hand. This does not seek beauty, but only the naked truth, no matter what it be. It holds it impossible to satisfy at once the understanding and taste; nay, nakedness, ugliness, and offensiveness seem to it to testify for, rather than against, the genuineness of truth. In its anxiety not to read human elements into nature, it goes so far as completely to read spirit out of nature. The world is not a living whole, but a machine; not a work of art which is to be viewed in its totality and enjoyed with reverence, but a clock-movement to be taken apart in order to be understood. Nowhere are there ends in the world, but everywhere mechanical causes. The character of modern thought would appear to a Greek returned to earth very sober, unsplendid, undevout, and intrusive. And, in fact, modern philosophy has a considerable amount of prose about it, is not easily impressed, accepts no limitations from feeling, and holds nothing too sacred to be attacked with the weapon of analytic thought. And yet it combines penetration with intrusiveness; acuteness, coolness, and logical courage with its soberness. Never before has the demand for unprejudiced thought and certain knowledge been made with equal earnestness. This interest in knowledge for its own sake developed so suddenly and with such strength that, in presumptuous gladness, men believed that no previous age had rightly understood what truth and love for truth are. The natural consequence was a general overestimation of cognition at the expense of all other mental activities. Even among the Greek thinkers, thought was held by the majority to be the noblest and most divine function. But their intellectualism was checked by the aesthetic and eudaemonistic element, and preserved from the one-sidedness which it manifests in the modern period, because of the lack of an effective counterpoise. However eloquently Bacon commends the advantages to be derived from the conquest of nature, he still understands inquiry for inquiry's sake, and honors it as supreme; even the ethelistic philosophers, Fichte and Schopenhauer, pay their tribute to the prejudice in favor of intellectualism. The fact that the modern period can show no one philosophic writer of the literary rank of Plato, even though it includes such masters of style as Fichte, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Lotze, not to speak of lesser names, is an external proof of how noticeably the aesthetic impulse has given way to one purely intellectual.
When we turn to the character of mediaeval thinking; we find, instead of the aesthetic views of antiquity and the purely scientific tendency of the modern era, a distinctively religious spirit. Faith prescribes the objects and the limitations of knowledge; everything is referred to the hereafter, thought becomes prayer. Men speculate concerning the attributes of God, on the number and rank of the angels, on the immortality of man—all purely transcendental subjects. Side by side with these, it is true, the world receives loving attention, but always as the lower story merely, above which, with its own laws, rises the true fatherland, the kingdom of grace. The most subtle acuteness is employed in the service of dogma, with the task of fathoming the how and why of things whose existence is certified elsewhere. The result is a formalism in thought side by side with profound and fervent mysticism. Doubt and trust are strangely intermingled, and a feeling of expectation stirs all hearts. On the one side stands sinful, erring man, who, try as hard as he may, only half unravels the mysteries of revealed truth; on the other, the God of grace, who, after our death, will reveal himself to us as clearly as Adam knew him before the fall. God alone, however, can comprehend himself—for the finite spirit, even truth unveiled is mystery, and ecstasy, unresisting devotion to the incomprehensible, the culmination of knowledge. In mediaeval philosophy the subject looks longingly upward to the infinite object of his thought, expecting that the latter will bend down toward him or lift him upward toward itself; in Greek philosophy the spirit confronts its object, the world, on a footing of equality; in modern philosophy the speculative subject feels himself higher than the object, superior to nature. In the conception of the Middle Ages, truth and mystery are identical; to antiquity they appear reconcilable; modern thought holds them as mutually exclusively as light and darkness. The unknown is the enemy of knowledge, which must be chased out of its last hiding-place. It is, therefore, easy to understand that the modern period stands in far sharper antithesis to the mediaeval era than to the ancient, for the latter has furnished it many principles which can be used as weapons against the former. Grandparents and grandchildren make good friends.
[Footnote 1: On the separation and union of the three worlds, natura, gratia, gloria, in Thomas Aquinas, cf. Rudolph Eucken, Die Philosophie des Thomas von Aquino und die Kultur der Neuzeit, Halle. 1886.]
When a new movement is in preparation, but there is a lack of creative force to give it form, a period of tumultuous disaffection with existing principles ensues. What is wanted is not clearly perceived, but there is a lively sense of that which is not wanted. Dissatisfaction prepares a place for that which is to come by undermining the existent and making it ripe for its fall. The old, the outgrown, the doctrine which had become inadequate, was in this case Scholasticism; modern philosophy shows throughout—and most clearly at the start—an anti-Scholastic character. If up to this time Church dogma had ruled unchallenged in spiritual affairs, and the Aristotelian philosophy in things temporal, war is now declared against authority of every sort and freedom of thought is inscribed on the banner. "Modern philosophy is Protestantism in the sphere of the thinking spirit" (Erdmann). Not that which has been considered true for centuries, not that which another says, though he be Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas, not that which flatters the desires of the heart, is true, but that only which is demonstrated to my own understanding with convincing force. Philosophy is no longer willing to be the handmaid of theology, but must set up a house of her own. The watchword now becomes freedom and independent thought, deliverance from every form of constraint, alike from the bondage of ecclesiastical decrees and the inner servitude of prejudice and cherished inclinations. But the adoption of a purpose leads to the consideration of the means for attaining it. Thus the thirst for knowledge raises questions concerning the method, the instruments, and the limits of knowledge; the interest in noetics and methodology vigorously develops, remains a constant factor in modern inquiry, and culminates in Kant, not again to die away.
[Footnote 1: The doctrine of twofold truth, under whose protecting cloak the new liberal movements had hitherto taken refuge, was now disdainfully repudiated. Cf. Freudenthal, Zur Beurtheilung der Scholastik, in vol. iii. of the Archiv fuer Geschichte der Philosophie, 1890. Also, H. Reuter, Geschichte der religioesen Aufklaerung im Mittelalter 1875-77; and Dilthey, Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften, 1883.]
This negative aspect of modern tendencies needs, however, a positive supplement. The mediaeval mode of thought is discarded and the new one is not yet found. What can more fittingly furnish a support, a preliminary substitute, than antiquity? Thus philosophy, also, joins in that great stream of culture, the Renaissance and humanism, which, starting from Italy, poured forth over the whole civilized world. Plato and Neoplatonism, Epicurus and the Stoa are opposed to Scholasticism, the real Aristotle to the transformed Aristotle of the Church and the distorted Aristotle of the schools. Back to the sources, is the cry. With the revival of the ancient languages and ancient books, the spirit of antiquity is also revived. The dust of the schools and the tyranny of the Church are thrown off, and the classical ideal of a free and noble humanity gains enthusiastic adherents. The man is not to be forgotten in the Christian, nor art and science, the rights and the riches of individuality in the interest of piety; work for the future must not blind us to the demands of the present nor lead us to neglect the comprehensive cultivation of the natural capacities of the spirit. The world and man are no longer viewed through Christian eyes, the one as a realm of darkness and the other as a vessel of weakness and wrath, but nature and life gleam before the new generation in joyous, hopeful light. Humanism and optimism have always been allied.
This change in the spirit of thought is accompanied by a corresponding change in the object of thought: theology must yield its supremacy to the knowledge of nature. Weary of Christological and soteriological questions, weary of disputes concerning the angels, the thinking spirit longs to make himself at home in the world it has learned to love, demands real knowledge,—knowledge which is of practical utility,—and no longer seeks God outside the world, but in it and above it. Nature becomes the home, the body of God. Transcendence gives place to immanence, not only in theology, but elsewhere. Modern philosophy is naturalistic in spirit, not only because it takes nature for its favorite object, but also because it carries into other branches of knowledge the mathematical method so successful in natural science, because it considers everything sub ratione naturae and insists on the "natural" explanation of all phenomena, even those of ethics and politics.
In a word, the tendency of modern philosophy is anti-Scholastic, humanistic, and naturalistic. This summary must suffice for preliminary orientation, while the detailed division, particularization, modification, and limitation of these general points must be left for later treatment.
Two further facts, however, may receive preliminary notice. The indifference and hostility to the Church which have been cited among the prominent characteristics of modern philosophy, do not necessarily mean enmity to the Christian religion, much less to religion in general. In part, it is merely a change in the object of religious feeling, which blazes up especially strong and enthusiastic in the philosophy of the sixteenth century, as it transfers its worship from a transcendent deity to a universe indued with a soul; in part, the opposition is directed against the mediaeval, ecclesiastical form of Christianity, with its monastic abandonment of the world. It was often nothing but a very deep and strong religious feeling that led thinkers into the conflict with the hierarchy. Since the elements of permanent worth in the tendencies, doctrines, and institutions of the Middle Ages are thus culled out from that which is corrupt and effete, and preserved by incorporation into the new view of the world and the new science, and as fruitful elements from antiquity enter with them, the progress of philosophy shows a continuous enrichment in its ideas, intuitions, and spirit. The old is not simply discarded and destroyed, but purified, transformed, and assimilated. The same fact forces itself into notice if we consider the relations of nationality and philosophy in the three great eras. The Greek philosophy was entirely national in its origin and its public, it was rooted in the character of the people and addressed itself to fellow-countrymen; not until toward its decline, and not until influenced by Christianity, were its cosmopolitan inclinations aroused. The Middle Ages were indifferent to national distinctions, as to everything earthly, and naught was of value in comparison with man's transcendent destiny. Mediaeval philosophy is in its aims un-national, cosmopolitan, catholic; it uses the Latin of the schools, it seeks adherents in every land, it finds everywhere productive spirits whose labors in its service remain unaffected by their national peculiarities. The modern period returns to the nationalism of antiquity, but does not relinquish the advantage gained by the extension of mediaeval thought to the whole civilized world. The roots of modern philosophy are sunk deep in the fruitful soil of nationality, while the top of the tree spreads itself far beyond national limitations. It is national and cosmopolitan together; it is international as the common property of the various peoples, which exchange their philosophical gifts through an active commerce of ideas. Latin is often retained for use abroad, as the universal language of savants, but many a work is first published in the mother-tongue—and thought in it. Thus it becomes possible for the ideas of the wise to gain an entrance into the consciousness of the people, from whose spirit they have really sprung, and to become a power beyond the circle of the learned public. Philosophy as illumination, as a factor in general culture, is an exclusively modern phenomenon. In this speculative intercourse of nations, however, the French, the English, and the Germans are most involved, both as producers and consumers. France gives the initiative (in Descartes), then England assumes the leadership (in Locke), with Leibnitz and Kant the hegemony passes over to Germany. Besides these powers, Italy takes an eager part in the production of philosophical ideas in the period of ferment before Descartes. Each of these nations contributes elements to the total result which it alone is in a position to furnish, and each is rewarded by gifts in return which it would be incapable of producing out of its own store. This international exchange of ideas, in which each gives and each receives, and the fact that the chief modern thinkers, especially in the earlier half of the era, prior to Kant, are in great part not philosophers by profession but soldiers, statesmen, physicians, as well as natural scientists, historians, and priests, give modern philosophy an unprofessional, worldly appearance, in striking contrast to the clerical character of mediaeval, and the prophetic character of ancient thinking.
Germany, England, and France claim the honor of having produced the first modern philosopher, presenting Nicolas of Cusa, Bacon of Verulam, and Rene Descartes as their candidates, while Hobbes, Bruno, and Montaigne have received only scattered votes. The claim of England is the weakest of all, for, without intending to diminish Bacon's importance, it may be said that the programme which he develops—and in essence his philosophy is nothing more—was, in its leading principles, not first announced by him, and not carried out with sufficient consistency. The dispute between the two remaining contestants may be easily and equitably settled by making the simple distinction between forerunner and beginner, between path-breaker and founder. The entrance of a new historical era is not accompanied by an audible click, like the beginning of a new piece on a music-box, but is gradually effected. A considerable period may intervene between the point when the new movement flashes up, not understood and half unconscious of itself, and the time when it appears on the stage in full strength and maturity, recognizing itself as new and so acknowledged by others: the period of ferment between the Middle Ages and modern times lasted almost two centuries. It is in the end little more than logomachy to discuss whether this time of anticipation and desire, of endeavor and partial success, in which the new struggles with the old without conquering it, and the opposite tendencies in the conflicting views of the world interplay in a way at once obscure and wayward, is to be classed as the epilogue of the old era or the prologue of the new. The simple solution to take it as a transition period, no longer mediaeval but not yet modern, has met with fairly general acceptance. Nicolas of Cusa (1401-64) was the first to announce fundamental principles of modern philosophy—he is the leader in this intermediate preparatory period. Descartes (1596-1650) brought forward the first system—he is the father of modern philosophy.
A brief survey of the literature may be added in conclusion:
Heinrich Ritter's Geschichte der neueren Philosophie (vols. ix.-xii. of his Geschichte der Philosophie), 1850-53, to Wolff and Rousseau, has been superseded by more recent works, J.E. Erdmann's able Versuch einer wissenschaftlichen Darstellung der neueren Philosophie (6 vols., 1834-53) gives in appendices literal excerpts from non-German writers; the same author's Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie (2 vols., 1869; 3d ed., 1878) contains at the end the first exposition of German Philosophy since the Death of Hegel [English translation in 3 vols., edited by W. S. Hough, 1890.—TR.]. Ueberweg's Grundriss (7th ed. by M. Heinze, 1888) is indispensable for reference on account of the completeness of its bibliographical notes, which, however, are confusing to the beginner [English translation by G.S. Morris, with additions by the translator, Noah Porter, and Vincenzo Botta, New York, 1872-74.—TR.]. The most detailed and brilliant exposition has been given by Kuno Fischer (1854 seq.; 3d ed., 1878 seq.; the same author's Baco und seine Nachfolger, 2d ed., 1875,—English translation, 1857, by Oxenford,—supplements the first two volumes of the Geschichte der neueren Philosophie). This work, which is important also as a literary achievement, is better fitted than any other to make the reader at home in the ideal world of the great philosophers, which it reconstructs from its central point, and to prepare him for the study (which, of course, even the best exposition cannot replace) of the works of the thinkers themselves. Its excessive simplification of problems is not of great moment in the first introduction to a system [English translation of vol. iii. book 2 (1st ed.), A Commentary on Kant's Critick of the Pure Reason, by J.P. Mahaffy, London, 1866; vol. i. part 1 and part 2, book 1, Descartes and his School, by J, P. Gordy, New York, 1887; of vol. v. chaps, i.-v., A Critique of Kant, by W.S. Hough, London, 1888.—TR.]. Wilhelm Windelband (Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, 2 vols., 1878 and 1880, to Hegel and Herbart inclusive) accentuates the connection of philosophy with general culture and the particular sciences, and emphasizes philosophical method. This work is pleasant reading, yet, in the interest of clearness, we could wish that the author had given more of positive information concerning the content of the doctrines treated, instead of merely advancing reflections on them. A projected third volume is to trace the development of philosophy down to the present time. Windelband's compendium, Geschichte der Philosophie, 1890-91, is distinguished from other expositions by the fact that, for the most part, it confines itself to a history of problems. Baumann's Geschichte der Philosophie, 1890, aims to give a detailed account of those thinkers only who have advanced views individual either in their content or in their proof. Eduard Zeller has given his Geschichte der deutschen Philosophie seit Leibniz (1873; 2d ed., 1875) the benefit of the same thorough and comprehensive knowledge and mature judgment which have made his Philosophie der Griechen a classic. [Bowen's Modern Philosophy, New York, 1857 (6th ed., 1891); Royce's Spirit of Modern Philosophy, 1892.—TR.]
Eugen Duehring's hypercritical Kritische Geschichte der Philosophie (1869; 3d ed., 1878) can hardly be recommended to students. Lewes (German translation, 1876) assumes a positivistic standpoint; Thilo (1874), a position exclusively Herbartian; A. Stoeckl (3d ed., 1889) writes from the standpoint of confessional Catholicism; Vincenz Knauer (2d ed., 1882) is a Guentherian. With the philosophico-historical work of Chr. W. Sigwart (1854), and one of the same date by Oischinger, we are not intimately acquainted.
Expositions of philosophy since Kant have been given by the Hegelian, C.L. Michelet (a larger one in 2 vols., 1837-38, and a smaller one, 1843); by Chalybaeus (1837; 5th ed., 1860, formerly very popular and worthy of it, English, 1854); by Fr. K. Biedermann (1842-43); by Carl Fortlage (1852, Kantio-Fichtean standpoint); and by Friedrich Harms (1876). The last of these writers unfortunately did not succeed in giving a sufficiently clear and precise, not to say tasteful, form to the valuable ideas and original conceptions in which his work is rich. The very popular exposition by an anonymous author of Hegelian tendencies, Deutschlands Denker seit Kant (Dessau, 1851), hardly deserves mention.
Further, we may mention some of the works which treat the historical development of particular subjects: On the history of the philosophy of religion, the first volume of Otto Pfleiderer's Religionsphilosophie auf geschichtlicher Grundlage (2d ed., 1883;—English translation by Alexander Stewart and Allan Menzies, 1886-88.—TR.), and the very trustworthy exposition by Bernhard Puenjer (2 vols., 1880, 1883; English translation by W. Hastie, vol. i., 1887.—TR.). On the history of practical philosophy, besides the first volume of I.H. Fichte's Ethik (1850), Franz Vorlaender's Geschichte der philosophischen Moral, Rechts- und Staatslehre der Englaender und Franzosen (1855); Fr. Jodl, Geschichte der Ethik in der neueren Philosophie (2 vols., 1882, 1889), and Bluntschli, Geschichte der neueren Staatswissenschaft (3d ed., 1881); [Sidgwick's Outlines of the History of Ethics, 3d ed., 1892, and Martineau's Types of Ethical Theory, 3d ed., 1891.—TR.]. On the history of the philosophy of history: Rocholl, Die Philosophie der Geschichte, 1878; Richard Fester, Rousseau und die deutsche Geschichtsphilosophie, 1890 [Flint, The Philosophy of History in Europe, vol. i., 1874, complete in 3 vols., 1893 seq.]. On the history of aesthetics, R. Zimmermann, 1858; H. Lotze, 1868; Max Schasler, 1871; Ed. von Hartmann (since Kant), 1886; Heinrich von Stein, Die Entstehung der neueren Aesthetik (1886); [Bosanquet, A History of Aesthetic, 1892.—TR.]. Further, Fr. Alb. Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, 1866; 4th ed., 1882; [English translation by E.C. Thomas, 3 vols., 1878-81.—TR.]; Jul. Baumann, Die Lehren von Raum, Zeit und Mathematik in der neueren Philosophie, 1868-69; Edm. Koenig, Die Entwickelung des Causalproblems von Cartesius bis Kant, 1888, seit Kant, 1890; Kurd Lasswitz, Geschichte der Atomistik vom Mittelalter bis Newton, 2 vols., 1890; Ed. Grimm, Zur Geschichte des Erkenntnissproblems, von Bacon zu Hume, 1890. The following works are to be recommended on the period of transition: Moritz Carriere, Die philosophische Weltanschauung der Reformationszeit, 1847; 2d ed., 1887; and Jacob Burckhardt, Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, 4th ed., 1886. Reference may also be made to A. Trendelenburg, Historische Beitraege zur Philosophie, 3 vols., 1846-67; Rudolph Eucken, Geschichte und Kritik der Grundbegriffe der Gegenwart, 1878; [English translation by M. Stuart Phelps, 1880.—TR.]; the same, Geschichte der philosophischen Terminologie, 1879; the same, Beitraege zur Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, 1886 (including a valuable paper on parties and party names in philosophy); the same, Die Lebensanschauungen der grossen Denker, 1890; Ludwig Noack, Philosophiegeschichtliches Lexicon, 1879; Ed. Zeller, Vortraege und Abhandlungen, three series, 1865-84; Chr. von Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, 2 vols., 1881; 2d ed., 1889. R. Seydel's Religion und Philosophie, 1887, contains papers on Luther, Schleiermacher, Schelling, Weisse, Fechner, Lotze, Hartmann, Darwinism, etc., which are well worth reading.
Among the smaller compends Schwegler's (1848; recent editions revised and supplemented by R. Koeber) remains still the least bad [English translations by Seelye and Smith, revised edition with additions, New York, 1880; and J.H. Stirling, with annotations, 7th ed., 1879.—TR.]. The meager sketches by Deter, Koeber, Kirchner, Kuhn, Rabus, Vogel, and others are useful for review at least. Fritz Schultze's Stammbaum der Philosophie, 1890, gives skillfully constructed tabular outlines, but, unfortunately, in a badly chosen form.
THE PERIOD OF TRANSITION: FROM NICOLAS OF CUSA TO DESCARTES.
The essays at philosophy which made their appearance between the middle of the fifteenth century and the middle of the seventeenth, exhibit mediaeval and modern characteristics in such remarkable intermixture that they can be assigned exclusively to neither of these two periods. There are eager longings, lofty demands, magnificent plans, and promising outlooks in abundance, but a lack of power to endure, a lack of calmness and maturity; while the shackles against which the leading minds revolt still bind too firmly both the leaders and those to whom they speak. Only here and there are the fetters loosened and thrown off; if the hands are successfully freed, the clanking chains still hamper the feet. It is a time just suited for original thinkers, a remarkable number of whom in fact make their appearance, side by side or in close succession. Further, however little these are able to satisfy the demand for permanent results, they ever arouse our interest anew by the boldness and depth of their brilliant ideas, which alternate with quaint fancies or are pervaded by them; by the youthful courage with which they attacked great questions; and not least by the hard fate which rewarded their efforts with misinterpretation, persecution, and death at the stake. We must quickly pass over the broad threshold between modern philosophy and Scholastic philosophy, which is bounded by the year 1450, in which Nicolas of Cusa wrote his chief work, the Idiota, and 1644, when Descartes began the new era with his Principia Philosophiae; and can touch, in passing, only the most important factors. We shall begin our account of this transition period with Nicolas, and end it with the Englishmen, Bacon, Hobbes, and Lord Herbert of Cherbury. Between these we shall arrange the various figures of the Philosophical Renaissance (in the broad sense) in six groups: the Restorers of the Ancient Systems and their Opponents; the Italian Philosophers of Nature; the Political and Legal Philosophers; the Skeptics; the Mystics; the Founders of the Exact Investigation of Nature. In Italy the new spiritual birth shows an aesthetic, scientific, and humanistic tendency; in Germany it is pre-eminently religious emancipation—in the Reformation.
%1. Nicolas of Cusa.%
Nicolas was born in 1401, at Cues (Cusa) on the Moselle near Treves. He early ran away from his stern father, a boatman and vine-dresser named Chrypps (or Krebs), and was brought up by the Brothers of the Common Life at Deventer. In Padua he studied law, mathematics, and philosophy, but the loss of his first case at Mayence so disgusted him with his profession that he turned to theology, and became a distinguished preacher. He took part in the Council of Basle, was sent by Pope Eugen IV. as an ambassador to Constantinople and to the Reichstag at Frankfort; was made Cardinal in 1448, and Bishop of Brixen in 1450. His feudal lord, the Count of Tyrol, Archduke Sigismund, refused him recognition on account of certain quarrels in which they had become engaged, and for a time held him prisoner. Previous to this he had undertaken journeys to Germany and the Netherlands on missionary business. During a second sojourn in Italy death overtook him, in the year 1464, at Todi in Umbria. The first volume of the Paris edition of his collected works (1514) contains the most important of his philosophical writings; the second, among others, mathematical essays and ten books of selections from his sermons; the third, the extended work, De Concordantia Catholica, which he had completed at Basle. In 1440 (having already written on the Reform of the Calendar) he began his imposing series of philosophical writings with the De Docta Ignorantia, to which the De Conjecturis was added in the following year. These were succeeded by smaller treatises entitled De Quaerendo Deum, De Dato Patris Luminum, De Filiatione Dei, De Genesi, and a defense of the De Docta Ignorantia. His most important work is the third of the four dialogues of the Idiota ("On the Mind"), 1450. He clothes in continually changing forms the one supreme truth on which all depends, and which cannot be expressed in intelligible language but only comprehended by living intuition. In many different ways he endeavors to lead the reader on to a vision of the inexpressible, or to draw him up to it, and to develop fruitfully the principle of the coincidence of opposites, which had dawned upon him on his return journey from Constantinople (De Visione Dei, Dialogus de Possest, De Beryllo, De Ludo Globi, De Venatione Sapientiae, De Apice Theoriae, Compendium). Sometimes he uses dialectical reasoning; sometimes he soars in mystical exaltation; sometimes he writes with a simplicity level to the common mind, and in connection with that which lies at hand; sometimes, with the most comprehensive brevity. Besides these his philosophico-religious works are of great value, De Pace Fidei, De Cribratione Alchorani. Liberal Catholics reverence him as one of the deepest thinkers of the Church; but the fame of Giordano Bruno, a more brilliant but much less original figure, has hitherto stood in the way of the general recognition of his great importance for modern philosophy.
[Footnote 1: R. Zimmermann, Nikolaus Cusanus als Vorlaeufer Leibnizens, in vol. viii. of the Sitzungsberichte der philosophisch-historischen Klasse der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, 1852, p. 306 seq. R. Falckenberg, Grundzuege der Philosophie des Nikolaus Cusanus mit besonderer Beruecksichtigung der Lehre vom Erkennen, Breslau, 1880. R. Eucken, Beitraege zur Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, Heidelberg, 1886, p. 6 seq.; Joh. Uebinger, Die Gotteslehre des Nikolaus Cusanus, Muenster, 1888. Scharpff, Des Nikolaus von Cusa wichtigste Schriften in deutscher Uebersetzung, Freiburg i. Br., 1862.]
Human knowledge and the relation of God to the world are the two poles of the Cusan's system. He distinguishes four stages of knowledge. Lowest of all stands sense (together with imagination), which yields only confused images; next above, the understanding (ratio), whose functions comprise analysis, the positing of time and space, numerical operations, and denomination, and which keeps the opposites distinct under the law of contradiction; third, the speculative reason (intellectus), which finds the opposites reconcilable; and highest of all the mystical, supra-rational intuition (visio sine comprehensione, intuitio, unio, filiatio), for which the opposites coincide in the infinite unity. The intuitive culmination of knowledge, in which the soul is united with God,—since here even the antithesis of subject and object disappears,—is but seldom attained; and it is difficult to keep out the disturbing symbols and images of sense, which mingle themselves in the intuition. But it is just this insight into the incomprehensibility of the infinite which gives us a true knowledge of God; this is the meaning of the "learned ignorance," the docta ignorantia. The distinctions between these several stages of cognition are not, however, to be understood in any rigid sense, for each higher function comprehends the lower, and is active therein. The understanding can discriminate only when it is furnished by sensation with images of that which is to be discriminated, the reason can combine only when the understanding has supplied the results of analysis as material for combination; while, on the other hand, it is the understanding which is present in sense as consciousness, and the reason whose unity guides the understanding in its work of separation. Thus the several modes of cognition do not stand for independent fundamental faculties, but for connected modifications of one fundamental power which work together and mutually imply one another. The position that an intellectual function of attention and discrimination is active in sensuous perception, is a view entirely foreign to mediaeval modes of thought; for the Scholastics were accustomed to make sharp divisions between the cognitive faculties, on the principle that particulars are felt through sense and universals thought through the understanding. The idea on which Nicolas bases his argument for immortality has also an entirely modern sound: viz., that space and time are products of the understanding, and, therefore, can have no power over the spirit which produces them; for the author is higher and mightier than the product.
The confession that all our knowledge is conjecture does not simply mean that absolute and exact truth remains concealed from us; but is intended at the same time to encourage us to draw as near as possible to the eternal verity by ever truer conjectures. There are degrees of truth, and our surmises are neither absolutely true nor entirely false. Conjecture becomes error only when, forgetting the inadequacy of human knowledge, we rest content with it as a final solution; the Socratic maxim, "I know that I am ignorant," should not lead to despairing resignation but to courageous further inquiry. The duty of speculation is to penetrate deeper and deeper into the secrets of the divine, even though the ultimate revelation will not be given us until the hereafter. The fittest instrument of speculation is furnished by mathematics, in its conception of the infinite and the wonders of numerical relations: as on the infinite sphere center and circumference coincide, so God's essence is exalted above all opposites; and as the other numbers are unfolded from the unit, so the finite proceeds by explication from the infinite. A controlling significance in the serial construction of the world is ascribed to the ten, as the sum of the first four numbers—as reason, understanding, imagination, and sensibility are related in human cognition, so God, spirit, soul, and body, or infinity, thought, life, and being are related in the objective sphere; so, further, the absolute necessity of God, the concrete necessity of the universe, the actuality of individuals, and the possibility of matter. Beside the quaternary the tern also exercises its power—the world divides into the stages of eternity, imperishability, and the temporal world of sense, or truth, probability, and confusion. The divine trinity is reflected everywhere: in the world as creator, created, and love; in the mind as creative force, concept, and will. The triunity of God is very variously explained—as the subject, object, and act of cognition; as creative spirit, wisdom, and goodness; as being, power, and deed; and, preferably, as unity, equality, and the combination of the two.
God is related to the world as unity, identity, complicatio, to otherness, diversity, explicatio, as necessity to contingency, as completed actuality to mere possibility; yet, in such a way that the otherness participates in the unity, and receives its reality from this, and the unity does not have the otherness confronting it, outside it. God is triune only as the Creator of the world, and in relation to it; in himself he is absolute unity and infinity, to which nothing disparate stands opposed, which is just as much all things as not all things, and which, as the Areopagite had taught of old, is better comprehended by negations than by affirmations. To deny that he is light, truth, spirit, is more true than to affirm it, for he is infinitely greater than anything which can be expressed in words; he is the Unutterable, the Unknowable, the supremely one and the supremely absolute. In the world, each thing has things greater and smaller by its side, but God is the absolutely greatest and smallest; in accordance with the principle of the coincidentia oppositorum, the absolute maximum and the absolute minimum coincide. That which in the world exists as concretely determinate and particular, is in God in a simple and universal way; and that which here is present as incompleted striving, and as possibility realizing itself by gradual development, is in God completed activity. He is the realization of all possibility, the Can-be or Can-is (possest); and since this absolute actuality is the presupposition and cause of all finite ability and action, it may be unconditionally designated ability (posse ipsum), in antithesis to all determinate manifestations of force; namely, to all ability to be, live, feel, think, and will.
However much these definitions, conceived in harmony with the dualistic view of Christianity, accentuate the antithesis between God and the world, this is elsewhere much softened, nay directly denied, in favor of a pantheistic view which points forward to the modern period. Side by side with the assertion that there is no proportion whatever between the infinite and the finite, the following naively presents itself, in open contradiction to the former: God excels the reason just as much as the latter is superior to the understanding, and the understanding to sensibility, or he is related to thought as thought to life, and life to being. Nay, Nicolas makes even bolder statements than these, when he calls the universe a sensuous and mutable God, man a human God or a humanly contracted infinity, the creation a created God or a limited infinity; thus hinting that God and the world are at bottom essentially alike, differing only in the form of their existence, that it is one and the same being and action which manifests itself absolutely in God, relatively and in a limited way in the system of creation. It was chiefly three modern ideas which led the Cusan on from dualism to pantheism—the boundlessness of the universe, the connection of all being, and the all-comprehensive richness of individuality. Endlessness belongs to the universe as well as to God, only its endlessness is not an absolute one, beyond space and time, but weakened and concrete, namely unlimited extension in space and unending duration in time. Similarly, the universe is unity, yet not a unity absolutely above multiplicity and diversity, but one which is divided into many members and obscured thereby. Even the individual is infinite in a certain sense; for, in its own way, it bears in itself all that is, it mirrors the whole world from its limited point of view, is an abridged, compressed representation of the universe. As the members of the body, the eye, the arm, the foot, interact in the closest possible way, and no one of them can dispense with the rest, so each thing is connected with each, different from it and yet in harmony with it, so each contains all the others and is contained by them. All is in all, for all is in the universe and in God, as the universe and God in all. In a still higher degree man is a microcosm (parvus mundus), a mirror of the All, since he not merely, like other beings, actually has in himself all that exists, but also has a knowledge of this richness, is capable of developing it into conscious images of things. And it is just this which constitutes the perfection of the whole and of the parts, that the higher is in the lower, the cause in the effect, the genus in the individual, the soul in the body, reason in the senses, and conversely. To perfect, is simply to make active a potential possession, to unfold capacities and to elevate the unconscious into consciousness. Here we have the germ of the philosophy of Bruno and of Leibnitz.
As we have noticed a struggle between two opposite tendencies, one dualistic and Christian, one pantheistic and modern, in the theology of Nicolas, so at many other points a conflict between the mediaeval and the modern view of the world, of which our philosopher is himself unconscious, becomes evident to the student. It is impossible to follow out the details of this interesting opposition, so we shall only attempt to distinguish in a rough way the beginnings of the new from the remnants of the old. Modern is his interest in the ancient philosophers, of whom Pythagoras, Plato, and the Neoplatonists especially attract him; modern, again, his interest in natural science (he teaches not only the boundlessness of the world, but also the motion of the earth); his high estimation of mathematics, although he often utilizes this merely in a fanciful symbolism of numbers; his optimism (the world an image of the divine, everything perfect of its kind, the bad simply a halt on the way to the good); his intellectualism (knowing the primal function and chief mission of the spirit; faith an undeveloped knowledge; volition and emotion, as is self-evident, incidental results of thought; knowledge a leading back of the creature to God as its source, hence the counterpart of creation); modern, finally, the form and application given to the Stoic-Neoplatonic concept of individuality, and the idealistic view which resolves the objects of thought into products thereof. This last position, indeed, is limited by the lingering influence of nominalism, which holds the concepts of the mind to be merely abstract copies, and not archetypes of things. Moreover, explicatio, evolutio, unfolding, as yet does not always have the meaning of development to-day, of progressive advance. It denotes, quite neutrally, the production of a multiplicity from a unity, in which the former has lain confined, no matter whether this multiplicity and its procession signify enhancement or attenuation. For the most part, in fact, involution, complicatio (which, moreover, always means merely a primal, germinal condition, never, as in Leibnitz, the return thereto) represents the more perfect condition. The chief examples of the relation of involution and evolution are the principles in which science is involved and out of which it is unfolded; the unit, which is related to numbers in a similar way; the spirit and the cognitive operations; God and his creatures. However obscure and unskillful this application of the idea of development may appear, yet it is indisputable that a discovery of great promise has been made, accompanied by a joyful consciousness of its fruitfulness. Of the numberless features which point backward to the Middle Ages, only one need be mentioned, the large space taken up by speculations concerning the God-man (the whole third book of the De Docta Ignorantia), and by those concerning the angels. Yet even here a change is noticeable, for the earthly and the divine are brought into most intimate relation, while in Thomas Aquinas, for instance, they form two entirely separate worlds. In short, the new view of the world appears in Nicolas still bound on every hand by mediaeval conceptions. A century and a half passed before the fetters, grown rusty in the meanwhile, broke under the bolder touch of Giordano Bruno.
[Footnote 1: The attention of our philosopher was called to the natural sciences, and thus also to geography, which at this time was springing into new life, by his friend Paul Toscanelli, the Florentine. Nicolas was the first to have the map of Germany engraved (cf. S. Ruge in Globus, vol. lx., No. I, 1891), which, however, was not completed until long after his death, and issued in 1491.]
[Footnote 2: On the modern elements in his theory of the state and of right, cf. Gierke, Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht, vol. iii. Sec. II, 1881.]
%2. The Revival of Ancient Philosophy and the Opposition to it%.
Italy is the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of important new ideas which give the intellectual life of the sixteenth century its character of brave endeavor after high and distant ends. The enthusiasm for ancient literature already aroused by the native poets, Dante (1300), Petrarch (1341), and Boccaccio (1350), was nourished by the influx of Greek scholars, part of whom came in pursuance of an invitation to the Council of Ferrara and Florence (1438) called in behalf of the union of the Churches (among these were Pletho and his pupil Bessarion; Nicolas Cusanus was one of the legates invited), while part were fugitives from Constantinople after its capture by the Turks in 1453. The Platonic Academy, whose most celebrated member, Marsilius Ficinus, translated Plato and the Neoplatonists into Latin, was founded in 1440 on the suggestion of Georgius Gemistus Pletho under the patronage of Cosimo dei Medici. The writings of Pletho ("On the Distinction between Plato and Aristotle"), of Bessarion (Adversus Calumniatorem Platonis, 1469, in answer to the Comparatio Aristotelis et Platonis, 1464, an attack by the Aristotelian, George of Trebizond, on Pletho's work), and of Ficinus (Theologia Platonica, 1482), show that the Platonism which they favored was colored by religious, mystical, and Neoplatonic elements. If for Bessarion and Ficinus, just as for the Eclectics of the later Academy, there was scarcely any essential distinction between the teachings of Plato, of Aristotle, and of Christianity; this confusion of heterogeneous elements was soon carried much farther, when the two Picos (John Pico of Mirandola, died 1494, and his nephew Francis, died 1533) and Johann Reuchlin (De Verbo Mirifico, 1494; De Arte Cabbalistica, 1517), who had been influenced by the former, introduced the secret doctrines of the Jewish Cabala into the Platonic philosophy, and Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim of Cologne (De Occulta Philosophia, 1510; cf. Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, vol. i. p. 1 seq.) made the mixture still worse by the addition of the magic art. The impulse of the modern spirit to subdue nature is here already apparent, only that it shows inexperience in the selection of its instruments; before long, however, nature will willingly unveil to observation and calm reflection the secrets which she does not yield to the compulsion of magic.
[Footnote 1: Pletho died at an advanced age in 1450. His chief work, the [Greek: Nomoi], was given to the flames by his Aristotelian opponent, Georgius Scholarius, surnamed Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople. Portions of it only, which had previously become known, have been preserved. On Pletho's life and teachings, cf. Fritz Schultze, G.G. Plethon, Jena, 1874.]
A similar romantic figure was Phillipus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast Paracelsus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), a traveled Swiss, who endeavored to reform medicine from the standpoint of chemistry. Philosophy for Paracelsus is knowledge of nature, in which observation and thought must co-operate; speculation apart from experience and worship of the paper-wisdom of the ancients lead to no result. The world is a living whole, which, like man, the microcosm, in whom the whole content of the macrocosm is concentrated as in an extract, runs its life course. Originally all things were promiscuously intermingled in a unity, the God-created prima materia, as though inclosed in a germ, whence the manifold, with its various forms and colors, proceeded by separation. The development then proceeds in such a way that in each genus that is perfected which is posited therein, and does not cease until, at the last day, all that is possible in nature and history shall have fulfilled itself. But the one indwelling life of nature lives in all the manifold forms; the same laws rule in the human body as in the universe; that which works secretly in the former lies open to the view in the latter, and the world gives the clew to the knowledge of man. Natural becoming is brought about by the chemical separation and coming together of substances; the ultimate constituents revealed by analysis are the three fundamental substances or primitive essences, quicksilver, sulphur, and salt, by which, however, something more principiant is understood than the empirical substances bearing these names: mercurius means that which makes bodies liquid, sulfur, that which makes them combustible, sal, that which makes them fixed and rigid. From these are compounded the four elements, each of which is ruled by elemental spirits—earth by gnomes or pygmies, water by undines or nymphs, air by sylphs, fire by salamanders (cf. with this, and with Paracelsus's theory of the world as a whole, Faust's two monologues in Goethe's drama); which are to be understood as forces or sublimated substances, not as personal, demoniacal beings. To each individual being there is ascribed a vital principle, the Archeus, an individualization of the general force of nature, Vulcanus; so also to men. Disease is a checking of this vital principle by contrary powers, which are partly of a terrestrial and partly of a sidereal nature; and the choice of medicines is to be determined by their ability to support the Archeus against its enemies. Man is, however, superior to nature—he is not merely the universal animal, inasmuch as he is completely that which other beings are only in a fragmentary way; but, as the image of God, he has also an eternal element in him, and is capable of attaining perfection through the exercise of his rational judgment. Paracelsus distinguishes three worlds: the elemental or terrestrial, the astral or celestial, and the spiritual or divine. To the three worlds, which stand in relations of sympathetic interaction, there correspond in man the body, which nourishes itself on the elements, the spirit, whose imagination receives its food, sense and thoughts, from the spirits of the stars, and, finally, the immortal soul, which finds its nourishment in faith in Christ. Hence natural philosophy, astronomy, and theology are the pillars of anthropology, and ultimately of medicine. This fantastic physic of Paracelsus found many adherents both in theory and in practice. Among those who accepted and developed it may be named R. Fludd (died 1637), and the two Van Helmonts, father and son (died 1644 and 1699).
[Footnote 1: On Paracelsus cf. Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, vol. i. p. 25 seq.; Eucken, Beitraege zur Geschichteder neueren Philosophie, p. 32 seq.; Lasswitz, Geschichte der Atomistik, vol. i. p. 294 seq.]
[Footnote 2: The influence of Paracelsus, as of Vives and Campanella, is evident in the great educator, Amos Comenius (Komensky, 1592-1670), whose pansophical treatises appeared in 1637-68. On Comenius cf. Pappenheim, Berlin, 1871; Kvacsala, Doctor's Dissertation, Leipsic, 1886; Walter Mueller, Dresden, 1887.]
Beside the Platonic philosophy, others of the ancient systems were also revived. Stoicism was commended by Justus Lipsius (died 1606) and Caspar Schoppe (Scioppius, born 1562); Epicureanism was revived by Gassendi (1647), and rhetorizing logicians went back to Cicero and Quintilian. Among the latter were Laurentius Valla (died 1457); R. Agricola (died 1485); the Spaniard, Ludovicus Vives (1531), who referred inquiry from the authority of Aristotle to the methodical utilization of experience; and Marius Nizolius (1553), whose Antibarbarus was reissued by Leibnitz in 1670.
The adherents of Aristotle were divided into two parties, one of which relied on the naturalistic interpretation of the Greek exegete, Alexander of Aphrodisias (about 200 A.D.), the other on the pantheistic interpretation of the Arabian commentator, Averroes (died 1198). The conflict over the question of immortality, carried on especially in Padua, was the culmination of the battle. The Alexandrist asserted that, according to Aristotle, the soul was mortal, the Averroists, that the rational part which is common to all men was immortal; while to this were added the further questions, if and how the Aristotelian view could be reconciled with the Church doctrine, which demanded a continued personal existence. The most eminent Aristotelian of the Renaissance, Petrus Pomponatius (De Immortalite Animae, 1516; De Fato, Libero Arbitrio, Providentia et Praedestinatione), was on the side of the Alexandrists. Achillini and Niphus fought on the other side. Caesalpin (died 1603), Zabarella, and Cremonini assumed an intermediate, or, at least, a less decided position. Still others, as Faber Stapulensis in Paris (1500), and Desiderius Erasmus (1520), were more interested in securing a correct text of Aristotle's works than in his philosophical principles.
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Among the Anti-Aristotelians only two famous names need be mentioned, that of the influential Frenchman, Petrus Ramus, and the German, Taurellus. Pierre de la Ramee (assassinated in the massacre of St. Bartholomew, 1572), attacked the (unnatural and useless) Aristotelian logic in his Aristotelicae Animadversiones, 1543, objecting, with the Ciceronians mentioned above, to the separation of logic and rhetoric; and attempted a new logic of his own, in his Institutiones Dialecticae, which, in spite of its formalism, gained acceptance, especially in Germany. Nicolaus Oechslein, Latinized Taurellus (born in 1547 at Moempelgard; at his death, in 1606, professor of medicine in the University of Altdorf), stood quite alone because of his independent position in reference to all philosophical and religious parties. His most important works were his Philosophiae Triumphus, 1573; Synopsis Aristotelis Metaphysicae, 1596; Alpes Caesae (against Caesalpin, and the title punning on his name), 1597; and De Rerum Aeternitate, 1604. The thought of Taurellus inclines toward the ideal of a Christian philosophy; which, however, Scholasticism, in his view, did not attain, inasmuch as its thought was heathen in its blind reverence for Aristotle, even though its faith was Christian. In order to heal this breach between the head and the heart, it is necessary in religion to return from confessional distinctions to Christianity itself, and in philosophy, to abandon authority for the reason. We should not seek to be Lutherans or Calvinists, but simply Christians, and we should judge on rational grounds, instead of following Aristotle, Averroes, or Thomas Aquinas. Anyone who does not aim at the harmony of theology and philosophy, is neither a Christian nor a philosopher. One and the same God is the primal source of both rational and revealed truth. Philosophy is the basis of theology, theology the criterion and complement of philosophy. The one starts with effects evident to the senses and leads to the suprasensible, to the First Cause; the other follows the reverse course. To philosophy belongs all that Adam knew or could know before the fall; had there been no sin, there would have been no other than philosophical knowledge. But after the fall, the reason, which informs us, it is true, of the moral law, but not of the divine purpose of salvation, would have led us to despair, since neither punishment nor virtue could justify us, if revelation did not teach us the wonders of grace and redemption. Although Taurellus thus softens the opposition between theology and philosophy, which had been most sharply expressed in the doctrine of "twofold truth" (that which is true in philosophy may be false in theology, and conversely), and endeavors to bring the two into harmony, the antithesis between God and the world still remains for him immovably fixed. God is not things, though he is all. He is pure affirmation; all without him is composed, as it were, of being and nothing, and can neither be nor be known independently: negatio non nihil est, alias nec esset nec intelligeretur, sed limitatio est affirmationis. Simple being or simple affirmation is equivalent to infinity, eternity, unity, uniqueness,—properties which do not belong to the world. He who posits things as eternal, sublates God. God and the world are opposed to each other as infinite cause and finite effect. Moreover, as it is our spirit which philosophizes and not God's spirit in us, so the faith through which man appropriates Christ's merit is a free action of the human spirit, the capacity for which is inborn, not infused from above; in it, God acts merely as an auxiliary or remote cause, by removing the obstacles which hinder the operation of the power of faith. With this anti-pantheistic tendency he combines an anti-intellectualistic one—being and production precedes and stands higher than contemplation; God's activity does not consist in thought but in production, and human blessedness, not in the knowledge but the love of God, even though the latter presupposes the former. While man, as an end in himself, is immortal—and the whole man, not his soul merely—the world of sense, which has been created only for the conservation of man (his procreation and probation), must disappear; above this world, however, a higher rears its walls to subserve man's eternal happiness.
[Footnote 1: On Ramus cf. Waddington's treatises, one in Latin, Paris, 1849, the other in French, Paris, 1855.]
[Footnote 2: Schmid Schwarzenburg has written on Taurellus, 1860, 2d ed., 1864.]
The high regard which Leibnitz expressed for Taurellus may be in part explained by the many anticipations of his own thoughts to be found in the earlier writer. The intimate relation into which sensibility and understanding are brought is an instance of this from the theory of knowledge. Receptivity is not passivity, but activity arrested (through the body). All knowledge is inborn; all men are potential philosophers (and, so far as they are loyal to conscience, Christians); the spirit is a thinking and a thinkable universe. Taurellus's philosophy of nature, recognizing the relative truth of atomism, makes the world consist of manifold simple substances combined into formal unity: he calls it a well constructed system of wholes. A discussion of the origin of evil is also given, with a solution based on the existence and misuse of freedom. Finally, it is to be mentioned to the great credit of Taurellus, that, like his younger contemporaries, Galileo and Kepler, he vigorously opposed the Aristotelian and Scholastic animation of the material world and the anthropomorphic conception of its forces, thus preparing the way for the modern view of nature to be perfected by Newton.
%3. The Italian Philosophy of Nature%.
We turn now from the restorers of ancient doctrines and their opponents to the men who, continuing the opposition to the authority of Aristotle, point out new paths for the study of nature. The physician, Hieronymus Cardanus of Milan (1501-76), whose inclinations toward the fanciful were restrained, though not suppressed, by his mathematical training, may be considered the forerunner of the school. While the people should accept the dogmas of the Church with submissive faith, the thinker may and should subordinate all things to the truth. The wise man belongs to that rare class who neither deceive nor are deceived; others are either deceivers or deceived, or both. In his theory of nature, Cardanus advances two principles: one passive, matter (the three cold and moist elements), and an active, formative one, the world-soul, which, pervading the All and bringing it into unity, appears as warmth and light. The causes of motion are attraction and repulsion, which in higher beings become love and hate. Even superhuman spirits, the demons, are subject to the mechanical laws of nature.
The standard bearer of the Italian philosophy of nature was Bernardinus Telesius of Cosenza (1508-88; De Rerum Natura juxta Propria Principia, 1565, enlarged 1586), the founder of a scientific society in Naples called the Telesian, or after the name of his birthplace, the Cosentian Academy. Telesius maintained that the Aristotelian doctrine must be replaced by an unprejudiced empiricism; that nature must be explained from itself, and by as few principles as possible. Beside inert matter, this requires only two active forces, on whose interaction all becoming and all life depend. These are warmth, which expands, and cold, which contracts; the former resides in the sun and thence proceeds, the latter is situated in the earth. Although Telesius acknowledges an immaterial, immortal soul, he puts the emphasis on sensuous experience, without which the understanding is incapable of attaining certain knowledge. He is a sensationalist both in the theory of knowledge and in ethics, holding the functions of judgment and thought deducible from the fundamental power of perception, and considering the virtues different manifestations of the instinct of self-preservation (which he ascribes to matter as well).
[Footnote 1: Cf. on Telesius, Florentine, 2 vols., Naples, 1872-74; K. Heiland, Erkenntnisslehre und Ethik des Telesius, Doctor's Dissertation at Leipsic, 1891. Further, Rixner and Siber, Leben und Lehrmeinungen beruehmter Physiker am Ende des XVI. und am Anfang des XVII. Jahrhunderts, Sulzbach (1819-26), 7 Hefte, 2d ed., 1829. Hefte 2-6 discuss Cardanus, Telesius, Patritius, Bruno, and Campanella; the first is devoted to Paracelsus, and the seventh to the older Van Helmont (Joh. Bapt.).]
With the name of Telesius we usually associate that of Franciscus Patritius (1529-97), professor of the Platonic philosophy in Ferrara and Rome (Discussiones Peripateticae, 1581; Nova de Universis Philosophia, 1591), who, combining Neoplatonic and Telesian principles, holds that the incorporeal or spiritual light emanates from the divine original light, in which all reality is seminally contained; the heavenly or ethereal light from the incorporeal; and the earthly or corporeal, from the heavenly—while the original light divides into three persons, the One and All (Unomnia), unity or life, and spirit.
The Italian philosophy of nature culminates in Bruno and Campanella, of whom the former, although he is the earlier, appears the more advanced because of his freer attitude toward the Church. Giordano Bruno was born in 1548 at Nola, and educated at Naples; abandoning his membership in the Dominican Order, he lived, with various changes of residence, in France, England, and Germany. Returning to his native land, he was arrested in Venice and imprisoned for seven years at Rome, where, on February 17, 1600, he suffered death at the stake, refusing to recant. (The same fate overtook his fellow-countryman, Vanini, in 1619, at Toulouse.) Besides three didactic poems in Latin (Frankfort, 1591), the Italian dialogues, Della Causa, Principio ed Uno, Venice, 1584 (German translation by Lasson, 1872), are of chief importance. The Italian treatises have been edited by Wagner, Leipsic, 1829, and by De Lagarde, 2 vols., Goettingen, 1888; the Latin appeared at Naples, in 3 vols., 1880, 1886, and 1891. Of a passionate and imaginative nature, Bruno was not an essentially creative thinker, but borrowed the ideas which he proclaimed with burning enthusiasm and lofty eloquence, and through which he has exercised great influence on later philosophy, from Telesius and Nicolas, complaining the while that the priestly garb of the latter sometimes hindered the free movement of his thought. Beside these thinkers he has a high regard for Pythagoras, Plato, Lucretius, Raymundus Lullus, and Copernicus (died 1543). He forms the transition link between Nicolas of Cusa and Leibnitz, as also the link between Cardanus and Spinoza. To Spinoza Bruno offered the naturalistic conception of God (God is the "first cause" immanent in the universe, to which self-manifestation or self-revelation is essential; He is natura naturans, the numberless worlds are natura naturata); Leibnitz he anticipated by his doctrine of the "monads," the individual, imperishable elements of the existent, in which matter and form, incorrectly divorced by Aristotle as though two antithetical principles, constitute one unity. The characteristic traits of the philosophy of Bruno are the lack of differentiation between pantheistic and individualistic elements, the mediaeval animation and endlessness of the world, and, finally, the religious relation to the universe or the extravagant deification of nature (nature and the world are entirely synonymous, the All, the world-soul, and God nearly so, while even matter is called a divine being).