of his form he palpitates with intense emotion if not with
In such a system as Spinoza's there was so much to shock
the prevailing ideas and feelings of men, that those who were
least opposed to the philosophic method of it were driven
by its results to seek other principles for their speculation;
and if Spinoza's principles could be shown as following
from Descartes', then other principles than Descartes'. With
that, however, there was an end to the direct Cartesian in-
fluence, an end to the Cartesian school. Though the next
thinker might represent the same general direction of
thought, though he certainly was stirred up to think by the
Cartesian ideas, the conditions had become so much changed
that we have in him a new philosophical era. This era is
associated with the name of Leibniz.
To understand all that went to the making of Leibniz's
1 The emotions are shown by Spinoza (III. Props 59, 57 and 6) as
making for self-conservation. In the more general statement ,Prop. 6)
he gives things an individuality, a vis of their o\vn, which is not
as if they were mere shadowy 'modes.' This hangs together with
his theory of niotiis et quies (II. 13, Axioms , which is interesting
as coming betsveen Descartes' Extension and the modern dynamic
conception of things.
296 Elements of General Philosophy. [LECT.
thought is no easy matter. He was a man that united in
himself so much, in fact both ancient and Scholastic thought,
while he stood in conscious opposition to the thought both
of Bacon and Locke. Here I am mainly concerned with
his relation to Spinoza and Descartes.
Leibniz's doctrine of substance was expounded in con-
scious opposition to Spinoza's, but was not arrived at in
mere immediate revulsion from the latter, but as if Leibniz
had had to pass through the stage of Spinoza's doctrine, in
support or in opposition, before he could arrive at his own
view. Rather, of himself Leibniz was able to see that
Descartes' philosophy did indeed lead to conclusions such
as those that Spinoza rested in 1 , and without Spinoza was
moved to reject them and set up new principles instead.
But doubtless he was confirmed in his course as he came to
know Spinoza's works.
Like both Descartes and Spinoza a speculative dogmatist,
like both he put forward as the central idea of his philosophy
a conception of substance, but a conception different from
either of theirs. Struck out in ultimate revulsion from
Spinoza's unity of substance, it was other than that con-
ception of Descartes in which there lay wrapt up Spinoza's.
Leibniz saw that the individual, or particular substance
sacrificed wholly by Spinoza, or emerging at the end of his
system in spite of his principles that individual substances,
for that is the point, must on philosophical or other grounds
be conceded; and that, for this, substance must be con-
1 Cf. Thcodicee, Pt. III. ' Qu'on prenne garde qu'en confondant
les substances avec les accidents en 6tant 1'action aux substances
creees on ne tombe dans le spinosisme, qui est un cartesianisme
outre. Ce qui n'agit point ne merite point le nom de substance,'
&c. (Euvres, ed. Paul Janet, t. i, p. 393.
xxvi.] Elements of General Philosophy. 297
ceived so as not, with Descartes, to render particular
substances in the last resort impossible. The new philo-
sophical era, then, is Individualistic, instead of Pantheistic.
Leibniz is no less dogmatic than Descartes and Spinoza
in assuming thought to be fully representative of reality.
But he went beyond Descartes' Dualism and Spinoza's
Monism in his Monadology, positing a multiplex gradation
of substances, each a monad simple, unextended, with
active force for its essence. He starts however in his
philosophy, first and last, from the fact of Body. The
explanation of this, or what is required for its explanation,
leads him on to al! the rest *. More, he was, among meta~
physicians, the first who makes an approach to compre-
hension of the vast complexity of nature. But Body, he
held, must be thought as Force. And Force, as an indivisible
and so immaterial, simple, original being, must be thought
as Substance. Force-substance is ever active, and, being
the source of its own activity, is a self-active being, individual
or monad. But with self-action goes self-distinction
absolute difference and thus there is an absolute multi-
plicity of monads. The essence of an individual consists in
self-formed peculiarity, which could not be except in its
being distinguished from other peculiar beings.
Every monad, then, is a singular substance, an individual
force, and therefore at once limited and independent, passive
force and active force. That is to say, all substances save one
are not, with Leibniz, as with Descartes and the Occasionalists,
1 Cf. e. g. ' Le corps est un agrege de substances, et ce n'est pas
une substance a proprement parler. II faut, par consequent, que
partout dans le corps il se trouve des substances ind : visibles.' Lettre
a Arnauld (1690^ ' Et il faut, qu'il y ait des substances simples,
puisqu'il y ades composees.' Monadol. 2(1714).
298 Elements of General Philosophy. [LECT.
devoid of true independence, powerless, passive: they are inde-
pendent, active, instinct with power. They are not, in their
dependence, either merely extended or merely thinking:
their independence, one and all, consists in their being each
a Force each a force for itself, one among many, each not
another, simple and indivisible, a monad.
How should there not be substances many, and each
indivisible, when there are substances composite like bodies ?
How should the character of substance not consist in being
Force, when bodies are not lifeless extension, but quivering
with inherent energies, and when minds are forces likewise ?
Passive force is the principle of matter, active force the*
principle of form. Passive force manifests itself as body,
active force manifests itself as soul. But soul and body
(Form and Matter) are conceived to be the two forces
making the nature of every body. Every monad is therefore
an animated body. Every body is a mechanical, and every
soul a living, being ; and thus every animated body is
a living machine. In the machine there are only motive or
mechanical forces ; the vital powers are formative and
work towards an end. Every living machine is therefore
a body moved according to ends, or a system of purposive
Since then bodies work mechanically according to Effi-
cient Causation, and souls work vitally according to Final
Causation, Leibniz, in the conception of the monad, unites the
two principles of Causality and Teleology which had divided all
previous systems. For final causes are related to efficient
causes as purposive to mechanical force, as life to machine
(mechanism), as soul to body, soul and body being not
different beings but the two primordial forces of every monad.
Now as soul and body make a natural unity or individual,
xxvi.] Elements of General Philosophy. 299
there are not two distinct worlds of souls and bodies, but one
universe, and for the explanation of that universe the teleo-
logical and mechanical principles must be combined. But
they are not for Leibniz combined as in Spinoza's ordo
idearum idem est ac ordo rerum, which rested upon an
a r sumption of causality as being the same in thought and in
extension, and which reduced the difference of these in the
unity of substance. Soul proceeds ideologically only, body
mechanically only; but soul, for its own ends, also infolds
Soul and body, then, though both original 'moments' in
the monad, are not on equal footing : they remain as active
and passive force: they are as. end and means. Unlike
works of human art, however, there is in them no separation
between end and means *.
This conception of force is in harmony with the increase
of physical knowledge at the end of the century. Leibniz
as much as Newton had got an idea of matter as not barely
extended, with so much movement put into it, as Descartes
had said. He saw the necessity of transforming the con-
cept of matter from the philosophical point of view just
when Newton was seeing that it was necessary to do so from
the point of view of positive science.
How an aggregate of simple unextended substances
becomes phenomenally extended, Leibniz explains from the
confused perception of the percipient monad or mind.
While human minds are self-active monads, bodies are
each a multiplicity of monads in reality, only appearing
as continuous and extended to the mind through the
1 ' Les machines de la nature, c'est-a-dire les corps vivants, sont
encore machines dans leurs moindres parties jusqu'a linfini.'
3oo Elements of General Philosophy. [LECT.
confusion of sense. All living monads have inner states,
which in some are developed as perceptions, representations,
but these are of different degrees of clearness in different
monads. Perceptions are clear when their objects are
marked off from others ; distinct, when the parts of the
objects can be distinguished ; adequate, when this distinctness
extends to the absolutely simple elements of the objects.
Human soul differs, for example, from animal soul not only
in dominating over a body more highly organised, but also,
and this more, in having distinct perceptions, distinguishable
from one another and from the mind itself; in fact, in having
reflective consciousness, and being to itself what the othe^
monads are to the eye that observes them. By this reflec-
tive activity the individual becomes Person, Self, Ego ; the
creature becomes a member of the moral world ; soul becomes
mind; representation or perception becomes apperception,
thought, knowledge ; appetite becomes will.
There is however no cleft between perception in animals
and in men.
The perceptions of the monad in part clear are in all the
rest confused. Now ' action/ Leibniz said in the Monadologie,
' is ascribed to the monad in as far as it has distinct percep-
tions, and passion in as far as it has confused perceptions '
( 49). Thus for Leibniz the unconscious or sub-conscious,
infinitely small or obscure perceptions out of which con-
sciousness arises, establish a harmony between the material
and the moral world the kingdom ' of Nature ' and that
'of Grace' for by conceiving monads as perceptive forces
the elements of the material world are spiritualised ; and on
the other hand by its obscure perceptions the mind is
connected with the material world. Thus the two are
xxvi.] Elements of General Philosophy. 301
This obscure side of the soul, moreover (like the passive
moment in the human soul-monad), is the ground of all
individuality what Leibniz calls the 'je ne sgais quoi'
whereby each is naturally determined to a special line.
The monad by virtue of its perceptive power is microcosm *,
but each monad, as individual, reflects the universe from its
individual point of view, most clearly those parts in closest
relation with it. Being thus limited, its representation of the
All is necessarily confused. All things being microcosms,
there follow three laws making the order of the universe :
the laws of Analogy, of Continuity, of Harmony. Are all
beings microcosms or representations of the same universe,
they must be analogous. Are they analogous, they must
also be different, gradually different, forming an ascending
series of beings. Is there an endless plenum of microcosms,
there must be a difference at an infinite number of stages ;
the gradual differences must be infinitely small, and the
gradation of things be perfect or continuous.
And thus the monads must form a steady succession
of homogeneous substances ; they must therefore exhibit
the greatest variety amid the greatest uniformity, and so
form a harmonious world-order ; God, the original monad,
with perfectly adequate perceptions, and all other monads as
effulgurations of his nature. Amongst such we distinguish
(a) spirits or thinking monads, like men, able to have clear and
distinct perceptions, some of them even adequate, and to
have consciousness of self and of God ; (<$) animals, or
monads having sense and memory ; (r) plants and minerals,
sleeping monads with unconscious perceptions, these being
1 ' Perceptio nihil aliud . . . quam multorum in uno expressio'
(Ep. 2 ad De Bosses) ; and again : ' Perceptio nihil aliud est quam
ilia ipsa repraesentatio variationis externae in interna.'
302 Elements of General Philosophy. [LECT.
vital forces in plants. To the human mind the order of
monads appears in sense as the order of things in time and
The flow of perceptions in each monad depends upon
an internal immanent causality ; monads, in Leibniz's phrase,
having no windows at which to take in from without. The
change in the relations of monads, on the other hand, their
movement, junction and separa'ion, rest on merely mechanical
causality. Between this flow of perceptions or internal states
and these movements there subsists a pre-established harmony,
pre-established by God. In man, body and soul corre-
spond as two clocks of the same rate of speed, set together*
This system of pre-established harmony, referring all things
ultimately to the Deity, requires a moral explanation of
the world from God as its source. But then God also must
be justified out of the order of things ; hence Leibniz's choice
of the word Theodicy, a word he first used in a letter to
Magliabecchi in 1697.
In conclusion we may briefly summarise the position
of Leibniz in relation to other thinkers, ancient and modern.
Agreeing with Spinoza and Descartes that the nature of
things is to be expressed by a conception of substance,
he is against Spinoza in conceiving substance as self-active
force, stirring not in a single being, but in an endless number
of substances ; and against Descartes in conceiving substance
as self-active force, not as in two kinds of substance, but
alike in all things. Thus as against them both, he is for
homogeneous atoms with the Atomists. But he takes his atoms,
against Atomists ancient and modern, not as bodies, but as
forces, as eternal forms, ' substantial forms.' Here he agrees
with the Schoolmen and the Greeks, especially with Plato.
Nevertheless he is against Plato and with Aristotle in con-
xxvi.] Elements of General Philosophy. 303
ceiving his forms not as ideal, general types, but as natural
forces, independent individuals, each an 'entelechy.'
If we call upon fancy for help to get the fitting schemata
to underlie the purely logical complex, and think that in the
whole world there is nothing else but merely simple, constant,
unchangeable, substantial, subjective, force-exerting, self-
acting, representative entelechies or monads, with varying
intensity of activity these numberless entelechies or monads
placed in pre-established harmony with each other by a
Monad of monads, so that every monad, in spite of its
inability to be really influenced by the others, yet constantly
represents to itself with more or less distinctness the activities
of all other monads and harmonises with this to one common
end : we shall truly conceive the universe according to
ON KANT'S CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY *.
READING. The Kritik of Pure Reason ^transl. by Max Miiller or by
J. P. Mahaffy), and The Prolegomena (transl. by J. P. Mahaffy).
London : Macmillan.
I. Kanfs Importance in the Present State of English Thought.
KANT thought more deeply than any man in his generation
the last of the eighteenth century and for a time reigned
supreme over the intellect of his own country, so that there
all thinking in the following generation was coloured by, and
even had shape from, that which his had been.
The like has not seldom happened in the history of human
thought. Is then our interest in the nature of his opinions
merely historic ? There are great philosophic names, later
as well as earlier, of whom that would have to be said, but it
cannot be said of Kant. His is a power that has survived,
or, if it ever died, it has had its resurrection. That it lives
and works is manifest whether we look abroad, or watch
what is stirring in our midst at home. In Germany, all
through the great period of scientific work which has
1 Selected from a course of four lectures delivered at the Royal
Institution, January, February, 1874.
Elements of General Philosophy. 305
supervened on that time of speculative fever in the eaily
years of this century, unparalleled in the history of any age
or country, nothing is more remarkable than the sway of
Kantian ideas over the minds of the true leaders from
Johannes Miiller to Helmholtz. It is not that such men
have been in any sense professed followers of the philosopher
Helmholtz especially, in those excursions into the philo-
sophical region by which he has signalised himself among
men of science, as often as not crosses swords with the great
thinker who himself was a man of science but they have
seen and avowed that here was one whose thought could
grasp the principles of scientific inquiry and even forecast
some of its issues. Such efforts too as those later years have
brought forth to think out a philosophic conception of things
in the light of new positive knowledge have borne a reference
to the sober work of Kant, with relatively little regard to
the more daring pretensions of his philosophical successors.
Earlier thinkers are allowed importance according as they
lead up to him, and he hardly any other is held to have
found a sure footing among shifting sands.
In France to speak of France with a single word in
passing the influence of Cousin after long wavering came
at least to be exerted in favour of a doctrine which is only
a modification of Kant's, while a thinker so different as Comte
also became in time not insensible to his power. And at the
present day a school of active thinkers is firmly organised
who pay their first allegiance to the founder of Critical
In our own country an interest in Kant is one of the most
striking features of the philosophical movement now in full
course. How this has come to be a few indications must
suffice. As early as 1794 a young German, Nitsch by name,
306 Elements of General Philosophy. [LECT.
began to lecture in London upon the new system of thought
then at the height of its repute in the land of its origin, and
he seems to have found for a time not a few hearers. Before
the end of the century also more than one statement appeared
in print of the main principles of Kant's philosophy, and
some of his minor works even were translated. Small,
however, must have been the impression made when young
Thomas Brown, himself destined to do some work in philo-
sophy, could have the face to draw entirely from a French
exposition the matter for his boyish ridicule expended on the
great thinker in the second number of the Edinburgh Review.
Not mirth but helpless bewilderment was begotten in the mincT
of Dugald Stewart, the philosophical light of the day, when
a little later he tried to gain a notion from one quarter or
another of the new portent in the sphere of thought. It was
only outside the professional circle that any real knowledge
of Kant could then be found. Among the pupils of Kitsch
was one, Thomas Wirgman by name, who spent years in the
study of Kant at the original sources, and then laboured by
every device of exposition to unfold the pure doctrine to his
countrymen. In Wilkes's Encyclopaedia Londinensis one of
the many universal repositories of knowledge provided for
that age there appeared in the years from 1813 to 1823
some very long articles by Wirgman, which left unexplored
little of all Kant's woik that has even yet become known to
English readers. The ardent man as good as translated
whole works of the master whom he worshipped, distilled
the whole Critical Philosophy into short sayings, set it out in
parti-coloured diagrams, defended it often with telling point,
taught it and made it quite plain (so he avers) even to his
boys. It was all in vain. Oblivion covered him and his
labours, and it was left for others of greater name to
XXVIL] Elements of General Philosophy. 307
bring forward Kant far less thoroughly to a later and more
open-minded generation. Sir William Hamilton did some-
thing, and his follower Dr. Mansel did something more.
Dr. Whewell also laid hold of some of Kant's conceptions
and turned them to good account in the interpretation of
the historic growth of the sciences. Gradually, by various
channels, certain main principles and results of the system
became familiar to the English mind, and began to challenge
the attention of the inquirers working on steadily in the old
English vein of positive psychological research. Kant's
chief work, the Kritik of Pure Reason, and the greater part
of his ethical writings meanwhile had found translators ; and
now the last few years have seen the efforts of a knot of
workers in Trinity College, Dublin, to expound the Kantian
doctrine in a coherent form and set it over in opposition to
the latest developments of home-grown thought. The efforts
of these workers, chief among them Mr. Mahaffy, are worthy
of all praise, despite some traces of a disposition to assume
that now for the first time anywhere Kant has got his chance
of true interpretation. However that may be, Mr. Mahaffy is
laying English readers under a permanent debt of gratitude.
There will never, I fear, be any acknowledgement of poor
Now there is one reason, or rather there are two reasons,
easily understood, for the importance of Kant at the present
lime for his unique importance in comparison with any of
the thinkers, earlier or later, who are commonly classed with
him as speculative philosophers. Kant is not a speculative
philosopher, however it may be common to class him ; and
he is a philosopher who, whatever the province he claimed
for philosophy, left, nay vindicated, to the positive sciences
a domain of their own, whence they cannot be dislodged.
308 Elements of General Philosophy. [LECT.
Supposing him at the same time a thinker of unsurpassed
reach and power, nothing else seems wanted to explain his
pre-eminence in an age devoted above all to the pursuit of
There were philosophers before Kant who took up that
attitude towards the sciences English philosophers chiefly,
with Bacon as their forerunner. Locke, the first who
made systematic inquiry as to the possibilities and limits
of human knowledge, tracking it from its sources, found,
as his main result, a justification of the mode of research
then being practised by one whom he calls ' the incomparable
Mr. Newton.' Berkeley was not an idealist who would hear
nothing of experimental investigation of nature : he under-
stood and approved of it thoroughly in principle, however
much he wished the common scientific conception of nature
to be supplemented by a philosophic view. Nor was Hume
such a sceptic that he derided he rather lauded and spurred
on to positive inquiry on the basis of experience. By the
side of these, however, there were in Europe, from about
the middle of the seventeenth century, or a little earlier,
thinkers of a different cast ; whose philosophy was no sober
inquiry into the conditions of human knowledge joined to
the practice or recommendation of experimental research,
but a succession of bold attempts to reason out the All
modern only in the conception that external nature, instead
of being shut out of view, as in the thought of the Middle Age,
was brought expressly and even predominantly within the
sweep of the speculative effort. Nor is any abatement to be
made from this description because Descartes, the first of
these thinkers, and Leibniz, his intellectual peer, did much to
perfect the mathematical instruments necessary for carrying
farther the scientific investigation of nature. They neither
XXVIL] Elements of General Philosophy. 309
practised nor enjoined at least not consistently the method
of inquiry common to Galileo and Newton. In their view
the various positive sciences, beginning to rear their heads
by the side of philosophy, had no legitimate standing. There
was nothing to be known that could not be rationally evolved
from within the mind, or what could not thus be reasoned out
was of no importance. Not indeed that this was expressly
declared, but the speculative philosophers worked on as if
it were so. Facts of experience were made no subject of
systematic concern, and drew notice only when they seemed,