时间：<2020-06-06 21:08:58 作者：a5seo排名软件Ijc 浏览量：9777
There seems, then, good reason for believing that the law of duty, after being divorced from mythology, and seriously compromised by its association, even among the Stoics themselves, with our egoistic instincts, gained an entirely new authority when placed, at least in appearance, under the sanction of a power whose commands did not even admit of being disobeyed. And the question spontaneously presents itself whether we, after getting rid of the old errors and confusions, may profitably employ the same method in defence of the same convictions, whether the ancient alliance between fact and right can be reorganised on a basis of scientific proof.Yet there was a difference between them, marking off each as the head of a whole School much wider than the Academy or the Lyceum; a difference which we can best express by saying that Plato was pre-eminently a practical, Aristotle pre-eminently a speculative genius. The object of the one was to reorganise all human life, that of the other to reorganise all human knowledge. Had the one lived earlier, he would more probably have been a great statesman or a great general than a great writer; the other would at no time have been anything but a philosopher, a mathematician, or a historian. Even from birth they seemed to be respectively marked out for an active and for a contemplative life: the one, a citizen of the foremost State in Hellas, sprung from a family in which political ambition was hereditary, himself strong, beautiful, fascinating, eloquent, and gifted with the keenest insight into men’s capacities and motives; the other a Stagirite and an Asclepiad, that is to say, without opportunities for a public career, and possessing a hereditary aptitude for anatomy and natural history, fitted by his insignificant person and delicate constitution for sedentary pursuits, and better able to acquire a knowledge even of human nature from books than from a living converse with men and affairs. Of course, we are not for a moment denying to Plato a fore294most place among the masters of those who know; he embraced all the science of his age, and to a great extent marked out the course which the science of future ages was to pursue; nevertheless, for him, knowledge was not so much an end in itself as a means for the attainment of other ends, among which the preservation of the State seems to have been, in his eyes, the most important.M Aristotle, on the other hand, after declaring happiness to be the supreme end, defines it as an energising of man’s highest nature, which again he identifies with the reasoning process or cognition in its purest form.
So far, the sceptical theory had been put forward after a somewhat fragmentary fashion, and in strict dependence on the previous development of dogmatic philosophy. With the137 Humanists it had taken the form of an attack on physical science; with the Megarians, of a criticism on the Socratic dialectic; with both, it had been pushed to the length of an absolute negation, logically not more defensible than the affirmations to which it was opposed. What remained was that, after being consistently formulated, its results should be exhibited in their systematic bearing on the practical interests of mankind. The twofold task was accomplished by Pyrrho, whose name has accordingly continued to be associated, even in modern times, with the profession of universal doubt. This remarkable man was a native of Elis, where a branch of the Megarian school had at one time established itself; and it seems likely that the determining impulse of his life was, directly or indirectly, derived from Stilpo’s teaching. A contemporary of Alexander the Great, he accompanied the Macedonian army on its march to India, subsequently returning to his native city, where he died at an advanced age, about 275 B.C. The absurd stories about his indifference to material obstacles when out walking have been already mentioned in a former chapter, and are sufficiently refuted by the circumstances just related. The citizens of Elis are said to have shown their respect for the philosopher by exempting him from taxation, appointing him their chief priest—no inappropriate office for a sceptic of the true type—and honouring his memory with a statue, which was still pointed out to sightseers in the time of Pausanias.226243
After much searching, we have not been able to find the originals of the two passages quoted by Sir A. Grant. We have, however, found others setting forth the doctrine of Natural Realism with a clearness which leaves nothing to be desired. Aristotle tells us that former naturalists were wrong when they said that there could be no black or white without vision, and no taste without tasting; that is, they were right about the actuality, and wrong about the possibility; for, as he explains, our sensations are produced by the action of external bodies on the appropriate organs, the activity being the same while the existence is different. A sonorous body produces a sound in our hearing; the sound perceived and the action of the body are identical, but not their existence; for, he adds, the hearer need not be always listening, nor the sonorous body sounding; and so with all the other senses.267The physics of Stoicism was, in truth, the scaffolding rather than the foundation of its ethical superstructure. The real foundation was the necessity of social existence, formulated under the influence of a logical exclusiveness first introduced by Parmenides, and inherited from his teaching by every system of philosophy in turn. Yet there is no doubt that Stoic morality was considerably strengthened and steadied by the support it found in conceptions derived from a different order of speculations; so much so that at last it grew to conscious independence of that support.
We have already seen how this fundamental division is applied to the universe as a whole. But our philosopher is not content with classifying the phenomena as he finds360 them; he attempts to demonstrate the necessity of their dual existence; and in so doing is guilty of something very like a vicious circle. For, after proving from the terrestrial movements that there must be an eternal movement to keep them going, he now assumes the revolving aether, and argues that there must be a motionless solid centre for it to revolve round, although a geometrical axis would have served the purpose equally well. By a still more palpable fallacy, he proceeds to show that a body whose tendency is towards the centre, must, in the nature of things, be opposed by another body whose tendency is towards the circumference. In order to fill up the interval created by this opposition, two intermediate bodies are required, and thus we get the four elements—earth, water, air, and fire. These, again, are resolved into the antithetical couples, dry and wet, hot and cold, the possible combinations of which, by twos, give us the four elements once more. Earth is dry and cold, water cold and wet, air wet and hot, fire hot and dry; each adjacent pair having a quality in common, and each element being characterized by the excess of a particular quality; earth is especially dry, water cold, air wet, and fire hot. The common centre of each antithesis is what Aristotle calls the First Matter, the mere abstract unformed possibility of existence. This matter always combines two qualities, and has the power of oscillating from one quality to another, but it cannot, as a rule, simultaneously exchange both for their opposites. Earth may pass into water, exchanging dry for wet, but not so readily into air, which would necessitate a double exchange at the same moment.
We have also to consider in what relation the new193 Scepticism stood to the new Platonism by which, in common with every other school, it was eventually either displaced or absorbed. The answer usually given to this question is that the one was a reaction from the other. It is said that philosophy, in despair of being able to discover truth by reason, took refuge in the doctrine that it could be attained by supernatural revelation; and that this doctrine is the characteristic mark distinguishing the system of Plotinus from its predecessors. That a belief in the possibility of receiving divine communications was widely diffused during the last centuries of polytheism is, no doubt, established, but that it ever formed more than an adjunct to Neo-Platonism seems questionable; and there is no evidence that we are aware of to show that it was occasioned by a reaction from Scepticism. As a defence against the arguments of Pyrrho and his successors, it would, in truth, have been quite unavailing; for whatever objections applied to men’s natural perceptions, would have applied with still greater force to the alleged supernatural revelation. Moreover, the mystical element of Neo-Platonism appears only in its consummation—in the ultimate union of the individual soul with the absolute One; the rest of the system being reasoned out in accordance with the ordinary laws of logic, and in apparent disregard of the Sceptical attacks on their validity.
It appears, then, that the popular identification of an Epicurean with a sensualist has something to say in its favour. Nevertheless, we have no reason to think that Epicurus was anything but perfectly sincere when he repudiated the charge of being a mere sensualist.132 But the impulse which lifted him above sensualism was not derived from his own original philosophy. It was due to the inspiration of Plato; and nothing testifies more to Plato’s moral greatness than that the64 doctrine most opposed to his own idealism should have been raised from the dust by the example of its flight. We proceed to show how the peculiar form assumed by Epicureanism was determined by the pressure brought to bear on its original germ two generations before.Nevertheless, by dint of pertinacious repetition, the founder of Neo-Platonism has succeeded in making the main outlines, and to a great extent the details, of his system so perfectly clear that probably no philosophy is now better understood than his. In this respect, Plotinus offers a remarkable contrast to the two great thinkers from whom his ideas are principally derived. While Plato and Aristotle construct each particular sentence with masterly clearness, the general drift of their speculations is by no means easy to ascertain; and, even now, critics take diametrically opposite views of the interpretation which is to be put on their teaching with regard to several most important points. The expositors of Neo-Platonism, on the contrary, show a rare unanimity in their accounts of its constitutive principles. What they differ about is its origin and its historical significance. And these are points on which we too shall have to enter, since all the ancient systems are interesting to us chiefly as historical phenomena, and Neo-Platonism more so than any other. Plotinus285 effected a vast revolution in speculative opinion, but he effected it by seizing on the thoughts of others rather than by any new thoughts or even new developments or applications of his own.
The other alternative was to combine the dialectical idealism of Plato with the cosmology of early Greek thought, interpreting the two worlds of spirit and Nature as gradations of a single series and manifestations of a single principle. This was what Aristotle had attempted to do, but had not done so thoroughly as to satisfy the moral wants of his own age, or the religious wants of the age when a revived Platonism was seeking to organise itself into a system which should be the reconciliation of reason and faith. Yet the better sort of Platonists felt that this work could not be accomplished without the assistance of Aristotle, whose essential agreement with their master, as against Stoicism, they fully recognised. Their273 mistake was to assume that this agreement extended to every point of his teaching. Taken in this sense, their attempted harmonies were speedily demolished by scholars whose professional familiarity with the original sources showed them how strongly Aristotle himself had insisted on the differences which separated him from the Academy and its founder.407 To identify the two great spiritualist philosophers being impossible, it remained to show how they could be combined. The solution of such a problem demanded more genius than was likely to be developed in the schools of Athens. An intenser intellectual life prevailed in Alexandria, where the materials of erudition were more abundantly supplied, and where contact with the Oriental religions gave Hellenism a fuller consciousness of its distinction from and superiority to every other form of speculative activity. And here, accordingly, the fundamental idea of Neo-Platonism was conceived.From another point of view, as we have already observed with Kirchner, the fundamental triad assumed by Plotinus is body, soul, and spirit. Under their objective aspect of the sensible universe, the world-soul, and the Nous, these three principles constitute the sum of all reality. Take away plurality from Nous and there remains the One. Take away soul from body and there remains unformed matter. These are the two transcendent principles between which the others extend, and by whose combination in various proportions they are explained. It is true that Plotinus himself does not allude to the possibility of such an analysis, but it exhibits, better than any other, the natural order of his dialectic.Defined and ordered by Equality;
It appears, then, that the popular identification of an Epicurean with a sensualist has something to say in its favour. Nevertheless, we have no reason to think that Epicurus was anything but perfectly sincere when he repudiated the charge of being a mere sensualist.132 But the impulse which lifted him above sensualism was not derived from his own original philosophy. It was due to the inspiration of Plato; and nothing testifies more to Plato’s moral greatness than that the64 doctrine most opposed to his own idealism should have been raised from the dust by the example of its flight. We proceed to show how the peculiar form assumed by Epicureanism was determined by the pressure brought to bear on its original germ two generations before.We must, however, observe that, underlying all these poetical imaginations, there is a deeper and wider law of human nature to which they unconsciously bear witness—the intimate connexion of religious mysticism with the passion of love. By this we do not mean the constant interference of the one with the other, whether for the purpose of stimulation, as with the naturalistic religions, or for the purpose of restraint, as with the ethical religions; but we mean that they seem to divide between them a common fund of nervous energy, so that sometimes their manifestations are inextricably confounded, as in certain debased forms of modern Christianity; sometimes they utterly exclude one another; and sometimes, which is the most frequent case of any, the one is transformed into the other, their substantial identity and continuity being indicated very frankly by their use of the same language, the same ritual, and the same aesthetic decoration. And this will show how the decay of religious belief may be accompanied by an outbreak of moral licence, without our being obliged to draw the inference that passion can only be held in check by irrational beliefs, or by organisations whose supremacy is fatal to industrial, political, and intellectual progress. For, if our view of the case be correct, the passion was not really restrained, but only turned in a different direction, and frequently nourished into hysterical excess; so that, with the inevitable decay of theology, it returns to its old haunts, bringing with it seven devils worse than the first. After the220 Crusades came the Courts of Love; after the Dominican and Franciscan movements, the Renaissance; after Puritanism, the Restoration; after Jesuitism, the Regency. Nor is this all. The passion of which we are speaking, when abnormally developed and unbalanced by severe intellectual exercise, is habitually accompanied by delirious jealousy, by cruelty, and by deceit. On taking the form of religion, the influence of its evil associates immediately becomes manifest in the suppression of alien creeds, in the tortures inflicted on their adherents, and in the maxim that no faith need be kept with a heretic. Persecution has been excused on the ground that any means were justifiable for the purpose of saving souls from eternal torment. But how came it to be believed that such a consequence was involved in a mere error of judgment? The faith did not create the intolerance, but the intolerance created the faith, and so gave an idealised expression to the jealous fury accompanying a passion which no spiritual alchemy can purify from its original affinities. It is not by turning this most terrible instinct towards a supernatural object that we should combat it, but by developing the active and masculine in preference to the emotional and feminine side of our nervous organisation.136