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sphere, have been amply justified; and certain guasi-metaphysical
views respecting the nature of the human mind, and even, if you
will, the nature of the Spirit in general — have been placed in a
more favorable and scientifically engaging attitude toward speculat-
ive philosophy. This seems to me to be especially true with respect
to two problems in which both empirical psychology and philosophy
have a common and profound interest. These are (1) the complex
synthesis of mental functions involved in every act of true cogni-
tion, together with the bearing which the psychology of cognition
has upon epistemological problems; and (2) the yet more complex
and profound analysis, from the psychological point of view, of what
it is to be a self-conscious and self-determining Will, a true Self,
together with the bearing which the psychology of selfhood has
upon all the problems of ethics, aesthetics, and religion.

The more obvious and easily traceable influences which have
operated to incite and direct the philosophical development of the
nineteenth century are, of course, dependent upon the teachings and
writings of philosophers, and the schools of philosophy which they


have founded. To speak of these influences even in outhne would be
to write a manual of the history of philosophy during that hundred of
years, which has been of all others by far the most fruitful in material
results, whatever estimate may be put upon the separate or combined
values of the individual thinkers and their so-called schools. No
fewer than seven or eight relatively independent or partially antag-
onistic movements, which may be traced back either directly or
more indirectly to the critical philosophy, and to the form in which
the problems of philosophy were left by Kant, sprung up during the
century. In Germany chiefly, there arose the Faith-philosophy, the
Romantic School, and Rational Idealism; in France, Eclecticism and
Positivism (if, indeed, the latter can be called a philosophy) ; in Scot-
land, a naive and crude form of Realism, which served well for the
time as an antagonist of a skeptical idealism, but which itself con-
tributed to an improved form of Idealism; and in the United States,
or rather in New England, a peculiar kind of Transcendentalism of
the sentimental type. But all these movements of thought, and
others lying somewhere midway between, in a pair composed of any
two, together with a steadfast remainder of almost every sort of
Dogmatism, and all degrees and kinds of Skepticism, have been inter-
mixed and contending with one another, in all these countries. Such
has been the varied, undefinable, and yet intensely stimulating and
interesting character of the development of systematic and scholastic
philosophy, during the nineteenth century.

The early opposition to Kant in Germany was, in the main, two-
fold : — both to his peculiar extreme analysis with its philosophical
conclusions, and also to all systematic as distinguished from a more
popular and literary form of philosophizing. Toward the close of the
eighteenth century a group of men had been writing upon philo-
sophical questions in a spirit and method quite foreign to that held
in respect by the critical philosophy. It is not wholly without signi-
ficance that Lessing, whose aim had been to use common sense and
literary skill in clearing up obscure ideas and improving and illumin-
ing the life of man, died in the very year of the appearance of Kant's
Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Of this class of men an historian dealing
with this period has said, " There is hardly one who does not quote
somewhere or other Pope's saying, 'The proper study of mankind
is man.'" To this class belong Hamann (1730-1788), the inspirer
of Herder and Jacobi. The former, who was essentially a poet and
a friend of Goethe, controverted Kant with regard to his doctrine of
reason, his antithesis between the individual and the race, and his
schism between things as empirically known and the known unity in
the Ground of their being and becoming. Herder's path to truth was
highly colored with flowers of rhetoric ; but the promise was that he
would lead men back to the heavenly city. Jacobi, too, with due


allowance made for the injury wrought by his divorce of the two
philosophies, — that of faith and that of science, — and his excessive
estimate of the value- judgments which repose in the mist of a feeling-
faith, added something of worth by way of exposing the barrenness
of the Kantian doctrine of an unknowable "Thing-in-itself."

From men like Fr. Schlegel (1772-1829), whose valid protest against
the sharp separation of speculative philosophy from the sesthetical,
social, and ethical life, assumed the "standpoint of irony," little real
result in the discovery of truth could be expected. But Schleier-
macher (1768-1834), in spite of that mixture of unfused elements
which has made his philosophy "a rendezvous for the most diverse
systems," contributed valuable factors to the century's philosophical
development, both of a negative and of a positive character. This
thinker was peculiarly fortunate in the enrichment of the conception
of experience as warranting a justifiable confidence in the ontological
value of ethical, sesthetical, and religious sentiment and ideas; but he
was most unfortunate in reviving and perpetuating the unjustifiable
Kantian distinction between cognition and faith in the field of ex-
perience. On the whole, therefore, the Faith-philosophy and the
Romantic School can easily be said to have contributed more than
a negative and modifying infiuence to the development of the philo-
sophy of the nineteenth century. Its more modern revival toward
the close of the same century, and its continued hold upon certain
minds of the present day, are evidences of the positive but partial
truth which its tenets, however vaguely and unsystematically, con-
tinue to maintain in an aesthetically and practically attractive way.

The admirers of Kant strove earnestly and with varied success
to remedy the defects of his system. Among the earlier, less cele-
brated and yet important members of this group, were K. G. Rein-
hold (1758-1823), and Maimon (died, 1800). The former, like
Descartes, in that he was educated by the Jesuits, began the attempt,
after rejecting some of the arbitrary distinctions of Kant and his
barren and self-contradictory "Thing-in-itself," to unify the critical
philosophy by reducing it to some one principle. The latter really
transcended Kant in his philosophical skepticism, and anticipated the
Hamiltonian form of the so-called principle of relativity. Fries (1773-
1843), and Hermes (1775-1831) — the latter of whom saw in empir-
ical psychology the only true propsedeutic to philosophy — should be
mentioned in this connection. In the same group was another, both
mathematician and philosopher, who strove more successfully than
others of this group to accept the critical standpoint of Kant and yet
to transcend his negative conclusions with regard to a theory of
knowledge. I refer to Bolzano (Prague, 1781-1848), who stands in the
same line of succession with Fries and Hermes, and whose works
on the Science of Religion (4 vols. 1834) and his Science of Know-


ledge (4 vols. 1837) are noteworthy contributions to epistemological
doctrine. In the latter we have developed at great length the import-
ant thought that the illative character of propositional judgments
implies an objective relation; and that in all truths the subject-idea
must be objective. In the work on religion there is found as thor-
oughly dispassionate and rational a defense of Catholic doctrine as
exists anywhere in philosophical literature. The limited influence of
these works, due in part to their bulk and their technical character, is
on the whole, I think, sincerely to be regretted.

It was, however, chiefly that remarkable series of philosophers
which may be grouped under the rubric of a "rational Idealism,"
who filled so full and made so rich the philosophical life of Germany
during the first half of the last century; whose philosophical thoughts
and systems have spread over the entire Western World, and who are
most potent influences in shaping the development of philosophy
down to the present hour. Of these we need do little more than that
we can do — mention their names. At their head, in time, stands
Fichte, who — although Kant is reported to have complained of this
disciple because he lied about him so much — really divined a truth
which seems to be hovering in the clouds above the master's head,
but which, if the critical philosophy truly meant to teach it, needed
helpful deliverance in order to appear in perfectly clear light. Fichte,
although he divined this truth, did not, however, free it from internal
confusion and self-contradiction. It is his truth, nevertheless, that in
the Self, as a self-positing and self-determining activity, must some-
how be found the Ground of all experience and of all Reality.

The important note which Schelling sounded was the demand that
philosophy should recognize "Nature" as belonging to the sphere
of Reality, and as requiring a measure of reflective thought which
should in some sort put it on equal terms with the Ego, for the con-
struction of our conception of the Being of the World. To Schelling it
seemed impossible to deduce, as Fichte had done, all the rich concrete
development of the world of things from the subjective needs and con-
stitutional forms of functioning which belong to the finite Self. And,
indeed, the doctrine which limits the origin, existence, and value of
all that is known about this sphere of experience to these needs, and
which finds the sufficient account of all experience with nature in
these forms of functioning, must always seem inadequate and even
grotesque in the sight of the natural sciences. Both Nature and Spirit,
thought Schelling, must be allowed to claim actual existence and
equally real value; while at the same time philosophy must reconcile
the seeming opposition of their claims and unite them in an har-
monious and self-explanatory way. In some common substratum,
in which, to adopt Hegel's sarcastic criticism, as in the darkness of
the night "all cows are black," — that is in the Absolute, as an



Identical Basis of Differences, — the reconciliation was to be accom-

•But the constructive idealistic movement, in which Fichte and
Schelling bore so important a part, could not be satisfied with the
positions reached by either of these two philosophers. Neither the
physical and psychological sciences, nor the speculative interests of
religion, ethics, art, and social life, permitted this movement to stop
at this point. In all the subsequent developments of philosophy dur-
ing the first half or three quarters of the nineteenth century, undoubt-
edly the influence of Hegel was greatest of all individual thinkers. His
motif and plan are revealed in his letter of November 2, 1800, to
Schelling, namely, to transform what had hitherto been an ideal
into a thoroughly elaborate system. And in spite of his obvious
obscurities of thought and style, there is real ground for his claim to
be the champion of the common consciousness. It is undoubtedly in
Hegel's Ph'dnomenologie des Geistes (1807), that the distinctive fea-
tures of the philosophy of the first half of the last century most
clearly define themselves. The forces of reflection now abandon the
abstract analytic method and positions of the Kantian Critique, and
concentrate themselves upon the study of man's spiritual life as an
historical evolution, in a more concrete, face-to-face manner. Two
important and, in the main, valid assumptions underlie and guide
this reflective study: (1) The Ultimate Reality, or principle of all
realities, is Mind or Spirit, which is to be recognized and known in its
essence, not by analysis into its formal elements (the categories),
but as a living development; (2) those formal elements, or cate-
gories to which Kant gave validity merely as constitutional forms
of the functioning of the human understanding, represent, the rather,
the essential structure of Reality.

In spite of these true thoughts, fault was justly found by the par-
ticular sciences with both the speculative method of Hegel, which
consists in the smooth, harmonious, and systematic arrangement
of conceptions in logical or ideal relations to one another; and also
with the result, which reduces the Being of the World to terms of
thought and dialectical processes merely, and neglects or overlooks
the other aspects of racial experience. Therefore, the idealistic
movement could not remain satisfied with the Hegelian dialectic.
Especially did both the religious and the philosophical party revolt
against the important thought underlying Hegel's philosophy of
religion; namely, that "the more philosophy approximates to a
complete development, the more it exhibits the same need, the same
interest, and the same content, as religion itself." This, as they
interpreted it, meant the absorption of religion in philosophy.

Next after Hegel, among the great names of this period, stand
the names of Herb art and Schopenhauer. The former contributes


in an important way to the proper conception of the task and the
method of philosophy, and influences greatly the development of
psychology, both as a science that is pedagogic to philosophy, and as
laying the basis for pedagogical principles and practice. But Herbart
commits again the ancient fallacy, under the spell of which so much of
the Kantian criticism was bound; and which identifies contradictions
that belong to the imperfect or illusory conceptions of individual
thinkers with insoluble antinomies inherent in reason itself. In spite
of the little worth and misleading character of his view of perception,
and the quite complete inadequacy of the method by which, at a
single leap, he reaches the one all-explanatory principle of his philo-
sophy, Schopenhauer made a most important contribution to the
' reflective thought of the century. It is true, as Kuno Fischer has
said, that it seems to have occurred to Schopenhauer only twenty-
five years after he had propounded his theory, that will, as it appears
in consciousness, is as truly phenomenal as is intellect. It is also true
that his theory of knowledge and his conception of Reality, as meas-
ured by their power to satisfy and explain our total experience, are
inflicted with irreconcilable contradictions. Neither can we accord
firm confidence or high praise to the "Way of Salvation" which
somehow Will can attain to follow by aesthetic contemplation and
ascetic self-denial. Yet the philosophy of Schopenhauer rightly
insists upon our Idealistic construction of Reality having regard to
aspects of experience which his predecessors had quite too much
neglected; and even its spiteful and exaggerated reminders of the
facts which contradict the tendency of all Idealism to construct a
smooth, regular, and altogether pleasing conception of the Being of
the World, have been of great benefit to the development of the latter
half of the nineteenth century.

In estimating the thoughts and the products of modern Idealism
we ought not to forget the larger multitude of thoughtful men, both
in Germany and elsewhere, who have contributed toward shaping
the course of reflection in the attempt to answer the problems which
the critical philosophy left to the nineteenth century. It is a singu-
lar comment upon the caprices of fame that, in philosophy as in sci-
ence, politics, and art, some of those who have really reasoned most
soundly and acutely, if not also effectively upon these problems, are
little known even by name in the history of the philosophical develop-
ment of the century. Among the earlier members of this group, did
space permit, we should wish to mention Berger, Solger, Steffens,
and others, who strove to reconcile the positions of a subjective ideal-
ism with a realistic but pantheistic conception of the Being of the
World. There are others, who like Weisse, I. H. Fichte, C. P.
Fischer, and Braniss, more or less bitterly or moderately and reas-
onably, opposed the method and the conclusions of the Hegelian dia-


lectic. Still another group earned for themselves the supposedly-
opprobrious but decidedly vague title of "Dualists/' by rejecting
what they conceived to be the pantheism of Hegel. Still others, like
Fries and Beneke and their successors, strove to parallel philosophy
with the particular sciences by grounding it in an empirical but
scientific psychology; and thus they instituted a line of closely con-
nected development, to which reference has already been made.

Hegel himself believed that he had permanently effected that
reconciliation of the orthodox creed with the cognition of Ultimate
Reality at which his dialectic aimed. In all such attempts at recon-
ciliation three great questions are chiefly concerned: (1) the Being of
God ; (2) the nature of man ; (3) the actual and the ideally satisfac-
tory relations between the two. But, as might have been expected,
a period of wild, irregular, and confused contention met the attempt
to establish this claim. In this conflict of more or less noisy and
popular as well as of thoughtful and scholastic philosophy, Hegelians
of various degrees of fidelity, anti-Hegelians of various degrees of
hostility, and ultra-Hegelians of various degrees of eccentricity, all
took a valiant and conspicuous part. We cannot follow its history;
but we can learn its lesson. Polemical philosophy, as distinguished
from quiet, reflective, and critical but constructive philosophy involves
a most uneconomical use of mental force. Yet out of this period of
conflict, and in a measure as its result, there came a period of improved
relations between science and philosophy and between philosophy and
theology, which was the dawn, toward the close of the nineteenth
century, of that better illumined day into the middle of which we
hope that we are proceeding.

Before leaving this idealistic movement in Germany, and else-
where as influenced largely by German philosophy, one other name
deserves mention. This name is that of Lotze, who combined ele-
ments from many previous thinkers with those derived from his own
studies and thoughts, — the conceptions of mechanism as applied
to physical existences and to psychical life, with the search for some
monistic Principle that shall satisfy the sesthetical and ethical, as
well as the scientific demands of the human mind. This variety of
interests and of culture led to the result of his making important
contributions to psychology, logic, metaphysics, and aesthetics. If
we find his system of thinking — as I think we must — lacking in
certain important elements of consistency and obscured in places by
doubts as to his real meaning, this does not prevent us from assign-
ing to Lotze a position which, for versatility of interests, genial
quality of reflection and criticism, suggestiveness of thought and
charm of style, is second to no other in the history of nineteenth
century philosophical development.

•In France and in England the first quarter of the last century


was far from being productive of great thinkers or great thoughts in
the sphere of philosophy. De Biran (1766-1824), in several important
respects the forerunner of modern psychology, after revolting from
his earlier complacent acceptance of the vagaries of Condillac and
Cabanis, made the discovery that the "immediate consciousness of
self-activity is the primitive and fundamental principle of human
cognition." Meantime it was only a little group of Academicians who
were being introduced, in a somewhat superficial way, to the thoughts
of the Scottish and the German idealistic Schools by Royer-Collard,
Jouffroy, Cousin, and others. A more independent and characteristic
movement was that inaugurated by Auguste Comte (1798-1857),
who, having felt the marked influence of Saint-Simon when he was
only a boy of twenty, in a letter to his friend Valat, in the year 1824,
declares: "I shall devote my whole life and all my powers to the
founding of positive philosophy," In spite of the impossibihty of
harmonizing with this point of view the vague and mystical elements
which characterize the later thought of Comte, or with its carrying
into effect the not altogether intelligent recognition of the synthetic
activity of the mind {tout se reduit toujours a lier) and certain hints as
to "first principles;" and in spite of the small positive contribution
to philosophy which Comtism could claim to have made; it has in
a way represented the value of two ideas. These are (1) the necessity
for philosophy of studying the actual historical forces which have
been at work and which are displayed in the facts of history; and
(2) the determination not to go by mere unsupported speculation
beyond experience in order to discover knowable Reality. There is,
however, a kind of subtle irony in the fact that the word " Positivism "
should have come to stand so largely for negative conclusions, in the
very spheres of philosophy, morals, and religion where affirmative
conclusions are so much desired and sought.

That philosophy in Great Britain was in a nearly complete con-
dition of decadence during the first half or three quarters of the
nineteenth century was the combined testimony of writers from such
different points of view as Carlyle, Sir William Hamilton, and John
Stuart Mill. And yet these very names are also witnesses to the fact
that this decadence was not quite complete. In the first quarter of
the century Coleridge, although he had failed, on account of weakness
both of mind and of character, in his attempt to reconcile religion to
the thought of his own age, on the basis of the Kantian distinction be-
tween reason and the intellect, had sowed certain seed-thoughts which
became fertile in the soil of minds more vigorous, logical, and practi-
cal than his own. This was, perhaps, especially true in America, where
inquirers after truth were seeking for something more satisfactory
than the French skepticism of the revolutionary and following period.
Carlyle 's mocking sarcasm was also not without wholesome effect.


But it was Sir William Hamilton and John Stuart Mill whose
thoughts exercised a more powerful formative influence over the
minds of the younger men. The one was the flower of the Scottish
Realism, the other of the movement started by Bentham and the
elder Mill.

That the Scottish Realism should end by such a combination
with the skepticism of the critical philosophy as is implied in Ham-
ilton's law of the relativity of all knowledge, is one of the most
curious and interesting turns in the history of modern philosophy.
And when this law was so interpreted by Dean Mansel in its appli-
cation to the fundamental cognitions of religion as to lay the founda-
tions upon which the most imposing structure of agnosticism was
built by Herbert Spencer, surely the entire swing around the circle,
from Kant to Kant again, has been made complete. The attempt of
Hamilton failed, as every similar attempt must always fail. Neither
speculative philosophy nor religious faith is satisfied with an ab-
stract conception, about the correlate of which in Reality nothing
is known or ever can be known. But every important attempt of
this sort serves the double purpose of stimulating other efforts to
reconstruct the answer to the problem of philosophy, on a basis of
positive experience of an enlarged type; and also of acting as a real,
if only temporary practical support to certain value- judgments
which the faiths of morality, art, and religion both implicate and,
in a measure, validate.

The influence of John Stuart Mill, as it was exerted not only in
his conduct of life while a servant of the East India Company, but
also in his writings on Logic,' Politics, and Philosophy, was, on the
whole, a valuable contribution to his generation. In the additions
which he made to the Utilitarianism of Bentham we have done, I
believe, all that ever can be done in defense of this principle of ethics.
And his posthumous confessions of faith in the ontological value of
certain great conceptions of religion are the more valuable because of
the nature of the man, and of the experience which is their source.

Online LibraryMo.) Congress of Arts and Science (1904 : Saint LouisCongress of Arts and Science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 → online text (page 23 of 68)