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A SHORT HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

ARCHIBALD B. D. ALEXANDER - 1922 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Voltaire.
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.

 

A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos
Fénelon

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

 

INTRODUCTION

Part I. GREEK PHILOSOPHY


Its origin and character

PHYSICAL PERIOD
MONASTIC THEORIES
PLURALISTIC THEORIES

MORAL PERIOD
THE SOPHISTS
SOCRATES. Cynics and Cyrenaics

SYSTEMATIC PERIOD
PLATO
ARISTOTLE

Part II. PHILOSOPHY IN THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD

ETHICAL THEORIES
Stoicism. Epicureanism
Scepticism

RELIGIOUS TENDENCIES
Roman Moralists: Seneca, Epictetus, M. Aurelius
Alexandrian Mystics: Philo, Plotinus, Proclus

Part III. PHILOSOPHY OF MIDDLE AGES

THE PATRISTIC PERIOD Augustine and Church Fathers

SCHOLASTIC PERIOD Nominalism and Realism

PLATONIC INFLUENCE
Anselm, Abelard, Peter Lombard

ARISTOTELIAN INFLUENCE
1. Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas
2. Duns Scotus, Francis of Assisi, William of Occam
 

Part IV. REVIVAL OF PHILOSOPHY

TRANSITION PERIOD
1. Revival of Learning
2. Reformation
3. Rise of Sciences
Bruno, Böhme, Montaigne

REALISTIC TENDENCY
Bacon
Gassendi
Hobbes

IDEALISTIC TENDENCY
Descartes

PANTHEISTIC TENDENCY
Geulinx, Occasionalism
Malebranche, Pantheism
Spinoza, Acosmism

Part V. PHILOSOPHY OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT

[Introduction]

SECT. I. ENLIGHTENMENT IN BRITAIN
Empiricism-Locke
Development of empiricism-Berkeley
Sceptical Conclusion-Hume

THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL QUESTIONS
Natural Philosophy
Theological Controversy
Ethical Theories
Scottish Philosophy

SECT. 2. ENLIGHTENMENT IN FRANCE
Earlier Rationalism
Bossuet, Fontenelle, Bayle, Montesquieu, Condillac, Helvetius
Materialistic Tendencies
Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert,  La Mettrie, Holbach, Rousseau

SECT. 3. ENLIGHTENMENT IN GERMANY
INDIVIDUAL IDEALISM—LEIBNITZ

FOLLOWERS OF LEIBNITZ
Thomasius, Tschirnhausen, Wolff

POPULAR PHILOSOPHY
Mendelssohn, Nicolai
Lessing

Part VI. GERMAN IDEALISM


SECT. I. CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY—KANT
INTRODUCTION

KANT'S THEORETIC PHILOSOPHY

KANT'S MORAL PHILOSOPHY

PHILOSOPHY OF ART AND RELIGION

SECT. 2. DEVELOPMENT OF IDEALISM

PHILOSOPHY OF FEELING
Hamann, Herder, Jacobi
Schiller and Humboldt

SUBJECTIVE IDEALISM—FICHTE
1. Science of Knowledge
2. Its Theoretic Principles
3. Its Practical Sphere

OBJECTIVE IDEALISM—SCHELLING
1. Philosophy of Nature
2. Philosophy of Identity
3. Mythology and Revelation

ROMANTIC SCHOOL
1. Novalis and Schlegel
2. Baader and Krause
3. Schleiermacher

 

SECT. 3. ABSOLUTE IDEALISM—HEGELIANISM
CONCEPTION AND METHOD
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
REACTION AGAINST HEGELIANISM
1. Herbart
2. Beneke
3. Schopenhauer

Part VII. MOVEMENTS SINCE HEGEL TO THE PRESENT


GERMAN THOUGHT—AFTER HEGEL
1. Influence of Hegelianism
2. Materialistic Tendency—Haeckel
3. Idealistic Tendency
Fechner, Lotze, Hartmann, Wundt
4. Modern Psychology
5. Neo-Kantianism
Dühring, Schuppe, Ritschl
6. Eucken and Activist Tendency

FRENCH THOUGHT—FROM THE REVOLUTION
1. Cousin and Eclecticism
2. Comte and Positivism
3. Religious Philosophy
4. Philosophy of Development—Taine, Renan, Fouillée

BRITISH PHILOSOPHY IN THE VICTORIAN ERA
1. Utilitarianism—Bentham and Mill
2. Evolution—Darwin and Spencer. Maurice, Newman, Martineau
3. Influence of German Idealism. Caird, Green, Bradley, etc.

THE TREND OF THOUGHT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Anti-Conceptualism—Bergson
Pragmatism—Wm. James
Neo-Realism. Revival of Idealism in Italy. The Philosophy of the Gifford Lectures

 

CONCLUSION

 

BOOKS OF REFERENCE

 

Part VI. GERMAN IDEALISM
SECT. 3. Absolute Idealism - Hegelianism

Chap. II. Hegel - Stages of Development

While the Logic, the purpose of which is to develop the universal notions of reason constituting all being and thought, is the first part of Hegel's system, the Phenomenology may be regarded as a general introduction to his philosophy. It contains, indeed, a comprehensive view of his whole theory of the world, tracing, as we have seen, the development of the Spirit from the lowest forms of sense up to the knowledge of the absolute.

 

  It is impossible to characterize this work. It is neither a pure logic, a psychology, nor a history. It is, indeed, something of them all. It is his voyage of discovery, and may be said to give a picture of Hegelianism in the making. It is in some degree an autobiography of the author's own mind. It may be regarded, as Hegel says in his introduction, "as the pathway of the soul passing through the series of forms which its nature prescribes as so many stages of self-purification, until it attains, through a complete expression of itself, to a knowledge of that which it is in itself."

"The totality of knowledge is the unfolding of the idea. The idea discloses itself originally as thought identical with itself, and thence as an activity which places itself over against itself and which in this other self finds itself again. Therefore, the science of philosophy falls into three parts, (1) Logic, the science of the idea in and for itself. (2) Nature-philosophy, the science of the idea in its other objectivated self. (3) The philosophy of the Spirit, the science of the idea which has returned to itself again" (Encykl. I. 26). With these words Hegel lays down the principal divisions of his philosophy.

1. The logic of Hegel is an enumeration of the forms or categories by which our experience exists. Kant had set forth the different forms of thought in an unconnected, arbitrary manner. Hegel seeks to show their connection with one another and their relation to the unity of self-consciousness.

Logic, it will at once be seen, is something different from what has been commonly accepted as such from the time of Aristotle. According to the usual acceptation, logic is simply the science of the laws of thought, and it is sharply distinguished from Metaphysics, which has rather to do with the actual contents of our thinking. Hegel regards this separation of form and material as unsatisfactory. A form without contents, he remarks, is unreal. You cannot distinguish a thought from its object. It is the thing which is the thought. Hegel demands, therefore, that logic and metaphysics shall be conceived as one. Logic must deal with the whole kingdom of thought. It must present the truth as it is in itself—the whole organism of being. It must, in short, reveal the very working of the mind of God.

Logic must, indeed, proceed methodically, but it is not bound by mere abstract consistency. The dialectic is the true law of thought as it is the law of all reality. Hence Hegel begins with the simplest notion of Being, and by means of its negation, which it at once involves, advances to a higher notion. Each notion has its opposite. Both are moments of a third,—components of a higher unity. Thus by an inherent necessity thought advances in ever-widening circles, by a triple movement, until the ultimate reality of being is grasped.

Hegel begins with the idea of pure being—the barest possible assertion of reality, and the development of the idea falls into three parts—the doctrine of Being, the doctrine of Essence, and the doctrine of Concept. These categories taken by themselves are, indeed, pure abstractions. It may not be a very interesting study to follow their development, but into the "land of shades," as Hegel calls it, it is necessary to explore in order to know what reason is and how it works.

(1) Pure Being is Being considered in itself without contents. As such it is equivalent to non-being, into which it passes through "becoming." A thing passes out of itself into something not itself. But the not-self is really a higher realization of the thing. Thus Pure Being passes into determinate Being. That breaks up again into two elements—quality and quantity, which are united in magnitude.

(2) Again, Being, with its several particulars, leads to Essence, which is at once broken up into "ground" and "appearance," which are again united in actuality. Actuality may be regarded in a threefold respect, as possible being, actual being, or necessary being. Actuality proper has two moments, Substantiality, or what is ground of itself, and Causality, in which the same thing may be either cause or effect. These two, substantiality and causality, are combined once more in the idea of reciprocity— which is the highest category of the real or the actual. The idea of reciprocity now carries us out of the region of Essence into that of "Concept," which is the third division of the logic.

(3) The Concept is the union of Being and Essence. It is, as Hegel says, "the living spirit of the actual." The concept breaks up into the subjective and the objective concept. The one embraces the forms of ordinary logic,—notion, judgment, syllogism; and the other includes the cosmical ideas of Mechanism, Chemistry, and Teleology. But now the idea unites the subjective and objective concepts. It may be viewed in the immediate form of life, and in its reflected form as knowledge, which is the mind going out of itself and realizing itself in the object. The union of Life and Knowledge is the highest idea of all—the absolute truth. This absolute idea is the sum of all the elements of the logic which we have been considering.

The merit of Hegel here is that he has shown that the categories do not lie in the mind in an arbitrary, disordered mass, but form an organically connected whole in which each occupies its assigned place and is related to every other by gradations of filiation and subordination.

2. The Philosophy of Nature starts with the result of the logical development. Here pure thought loses its inwardness and is disclosed in its objectivity, in the relations of space and time. Whereas it formerly appeared as an abstract idea, now it appears as matter and movement. Instead of thought we have perception; instead of dialectic, gravitation; instead of causation, sequence in time. It may be asked, why does the idea externalize itself? The answer is, in order to become actual—Nature, in other words, is a necessary stage in self-knowledge. But the actuality realized in Nature is imperfect, and is only the forerunner of a better actuality of spirit, which is the aim of the idea from the beginning. Reason, therefore, becomes nature in order to become spirit. The idea goes forth out of itself in order that it may return enriched into itself again. The relation of natural objects to each other and their interaction are external and mechanical, and though, indeed, reason is visible everywhere, it is vague, dim, and blurred by material influences, and has often the aspect of caprice and unreason. In his treatment of nature Hegel follows Schelling closely, and for the most part does not reveal here his usual brilliancy and originality. He somewhat disparages the study of Natural Science, and is unjust in his criticism of Newton; and in so far as he admits a logical development or metamorphosis "only in the concept," he is opposed to the general tendency of modern scientific evolution. In agreement with Schelling, Hegel divides the philosophy of nature into Mechanics, Physics, and the union of these in Organics.

(1) Mechanics deals with matter in its pure objectivity. Here gravitation gives to matter its unity, and, in so far as the universe is reducible to mathematical laws, we may regard it as a system of rationality, as an expression of thought.

(2) Physics deals with the forms and relations of inorganic nature; and under this head we have the theory of the elements, of sound, heat, and cohesion, and, finally, of chemical affinity.

(3) Organics deals with life, which by a law of self-preservation resists the chemical process of destruction. As Life, nature comprises three stages, the primeval kingdom of the fossil world, which is the subject of geology; the vegetable kingdom of the world of plants, the subject of botany; and the animal kingdom, the subject of physiology, which possesses sensation and spontaneous movement and attains to self-consciousness and to mastery over nature in man.

3. The Philosophy of the Mind is the third part of Hegel's system, and it follows naturally from a consideration of nature. Here the idea is represented as returning from the outwardness of nature into itself. In order to know itself as Reason, the Spirit must pass through a series of grades until it reaches its highest form in God. The philosophy of the Spirit falls into three great divisions —Subjective, Objective, and Absolute Spirit.

A. The Subjective Spirit is the spirit considered in relation to itself. The essence and purpose of the subjective spirit is the realization of freedom, and Hegel shows here how it realizes itself and gradually becomes independent of nature. It has three principal stages: the soul, the consciousness, and the spirit as such. These Hegel deals with under the respective heads of (a) Anthropology, which has to do with the physical conditions of the soul, such as climate, race, temperament, age, sex,—in short, everything which belongs to the spirit in union with the body; (b) Phenomenology, which treats of the soul in itself as pure ego, in contrast to the external world, tracing its development from consciousness to self-consciousness, and thence to reason; and (c) Psychology, which has three moments —a theoretic, dealing with the common psychological function of attention, representation, memory, imagination, and thought, in its forms of understanding, judgment, and reason; a practical, dealing with the appetites, desires, passions; and, finally, the Free Spirit, as the union of the theoretic and practical—the rational will which realizes itself in the actual outer world.

The will, according to Hegel, is a special form of the intelligence. It is thought translated into action, thinking become practical. Just as the spirit in virtue of its intelligence preserves its infinity and independence, so it exercises its freedom through the power of the will. The will is not a property of the spirit which merely exists along with others; it is the very substance of the spirit itself, the essence of thought.

B. The Objective Spirit is the outward realization of freedom, the will expressing itself in the institutions of the moral world. Here we have to do with the practical philosophy of Hegel, and here our author is at his best. The outline is given in his Encyklopädie and in his Philosophy of Right, but the lectures published after his death on History, Art, and Religion, not only elaborate and develop his views, but present a system of ethical, historical, and religious philosophy unsurpassed in fulness and wealth of thought by any age.

The doctrine of the objective spirit embraces ethics, the philosophy of right, the State, and history. It is divided into (1) Rights, which deals with property, contract, and punishment; (2) Morality, with that of purpose, intention, and well-being, in relation to good and evil; (3) Social Ethics as expressed in the family, the civil community, and the State, and, finally, in international politics and world-history.

(a) Law or Abstract Right is the recognition of the freedom of the rational will. Though Hegel did not consider that the individual can be regarded apart from his concrete social life, still he deemed it convenient to treat of him, first of all, as a person having individual rights over against others. Abstract right, therefore, deals with three things, property, contract, and restitution. Law is, at first, necessarily negative. It is a sum of prohibitions. Private right contains two things—the warrant to be a person, and the injunction to respect others as persons. Property is at once the sign and domain of personality, the expression of the individual. As a part of the person, it is inviolable and sacred. It must, therefore, be recognised by my neighbour. It is mine to keep or part with. But, naturally, this right of keeping or disposing of property involves Contract, which is the union of two wills grounded on the right of disposition. When, however, a conflict of wills or disagreement arises, when one will asserts itself against the right of another, then we have the question of particular right as against wrong, which may take the form of delinquency, fraud, or crime. Wrong arising from the collision of wills demands reconciliation and restitution. This is the foundation of the right of compulsion, which appears as punishment. The wrong-doer, through punishment, is brought to see the self-contradiction of his act, and to recognise the principle of justice.

(b) Abstract or legal right leads naturally to the subject of Moral Right. Morality is the will regarded as determining its own acts and influenced not by legal considerations, but by purely ethical reasons. Here the question is not one of right merely, but of duty actuated by motive and intention. In the stage of morality, good exists in the form of a requirement which can never be perfectly fulfilled. It is a moral imperative. There is a perpetual opposition between the moral law and the individual will, between intention and execution. Here the judge between good and evil is the conscience. But conscience, so long as it remains at the stage of mere subjective self-determination, is incomplete, and not, therefore, infallible. "I may will the good, but how am I to know what is the good? Conscience may bid me do simply what my particular desire or personal prejudice impels me." An action, which is the result of blind instinct, may be bad, however good my intentions may be. I need, therefore, not merely a personal motive, but also an outward standard. There must be a higher sphere in which morality and legality are united.

(c) That sphere, according to Hegel, is the sphere of Social Ethics (Sittlichkeit). Here morality is felt to be not merely a personal instinct, but a universal command given from without. Here I give up my purely individual, private judgment and recognise the authority of constituted society, whose institutions, customs, and requirements implanted in humanity give definiteness and stability to my moral life. Here in the ethical relations of the family, the society, and the State, the true life and freedom of the individual are realized. Only in society does a man come to himself and really exist. In the moral institutions good becomes established as a habit, a second nature.

(1) In the family the members are united by a living bond of love—it involves marriage, in which the physical union is transformed into a spiritual; family property, and the education of the children.

(2) The family widens out into the community, the members of which, though independent, are associated by common needs, and by the common recognition and support of civil regulations under which conflicting interests are adjusted and scope for activity is secured.

(3) The State is the union of the family and the community, and represents the completed realization of freedom—the consummation of the highest ethical idea to which all personal ends ought to be subservient. The State is the true end of man. It does not seek to suppress, but rather to express the personality of each. But personality is not individualism. The true person is a social being who has rights and duties as a member of society. In giving the highest place to social obligation, Hegel would seem to be consciously controverting the ethics of Kant and Fichte, in whom mere subjective freedom was the goal of the moral life.

The best constitution, according to Hegel, is the limited monarchy as exemplified in Britain. The King is the dot on the i—the head which gives personal authority and completion to the decrees of State; the establishment of a constitutional monarchy is the goal of history.

From the consideration of the individual State, Hegel passes to the discussion of the relation of States or nations to one another, and to the problems involved in the conflict of peoples, the rise and fall of dynasties in the world's history.

 

  In his Philosophy of History, which is one of Hegel's most interesting and most characteristic works, he unfolds the "grand argument of human existence," and traces the law of development which runs through the whole past life of the race, showing how each people, and one alone, holds the sceptre for a time as the unconscious instrument of the universal spirit till another arises to take its place with a larger idea of liberty and a higher sense of vocation.

"The only conception," says Hegel, "which philosophy brings to the contemplation of history is the simple conception of reason." Reason is the sovereign of the world, and the history of the world, therefore, is a rational process. The world-spirit is the guiding force of its development, and the instruments are the genius of nations and the efforts of their heroes. A particular people is the expression of one determinate moment of the universal spirit, and when it has fulfilled its purpose it yields up its power to another. "The world's history is the world's judgment," Schiller has said. All great historical characters are also the instruments of a power the purpose of which they carry out while they imagine they are furthering their own ends. It is the art of reason that it makes the very passions of men minister to its progress. What Emerson has beautifully said of the architect of St. Peters may be said of all great men:

"Himself from God he could not free,
         He builded better than he knew:
         The conscious stone to beauty grew:"

Hegel held Napoleon in high admiration. But he saw in him but the incarnation of the spirit of his age—the fulfilment of a destiny greater than himself that had been committed to him.

The mighty drama of history discloses the growing consciousness of freedom. At first only one is free—the tyrant. Next some are free, and, lastly, all are free. The progress of civilization is like the progress of the sun from East to West. Here as everywhere historical evolution observes the triple movement of thought. The idea must have a fitting theatre on which to develop. The earth as the geographical basis of history has three great divisions— Mountains, Valleys, and Rivers. The first, the haunts of refuge, represent the primitive condition of man; the second, the scene of agriculture, a more advanced civilization; and the third, the highest stage of activity, commerce, and intercommunication.

In the development of humanity Hegel recognises three great epochs—the Oriental, the Grasco-Roman, and the Germanic, and he traces the growth of freedom as the distinctive mark of the progress of the spirit.

In the far East, in the childhood of the race the Spirit is immersed in nature. China and India have not advanced beyond the primitive ideas of a State. In China the State is a large family, the monarch is patriarch. In India the family has passed into the society, but it is a society dominated by the stern insurmountable difference of caste. In Persia the idea of monarchy first appears, but it is in the form of abstract unity—a unity of hostile elements held together by military force. The Sphinx of Egypt, half-brute, half-man—that strange riddle of antiquity—is the symbol of the transition from Oriental naturalism to European civilization. Egypt, with its sensuous imagery and spirit-worship, mediates between the East and West, and prepares the way for Greek humanism.

The Greek world represents the period of the world's youth, the age of the beauty and strength of fresh manhood. Here the Spirit is beginning to know itself and to realize its freedom. "By the Greeks," says Hegel, "we begin to feel ourselves at home, for we stand upon the soil of the spirit." Here the Spirit of freedom has its birth. Achilles is the symbol of Greek life—robust and vigorous youth rejoicing in nature and beauty. But it is delight in sensuous beauty. The spirit is not wholly free. The moral life is not yet universalized—it is the state of individuality. The few only are free; the many are slaves.

The culture of Greece passes over into Rome—while Rome conquers physically it is conquered spiritually. In Rome political universality and individual freedom are recognised, but not fused into one. It is the age of maturity, the age of power and utility. The geniality and joy of soul that existed in Athens have given place in Rome to stern duty and vigorous toil. With the decline of Rome, the German nations come upon the stage of history. Here for the first time the idea attains to full consciousness. Spiritual unity takes the place of secular power. With the appearance of Christianity all men become aware of their freedom. In the beginning the emancipation was religious, but gradually among the Germanic people it became a political enfranchisement as well. As the Christian faith pervaded the nations, man was recognised as man, and the brotherhood of humanity was acknowledged. The Germanic world presents three epochs. The first extends from the migration of the Northern hordes till the reign of Charlemagne—an age of struggle and dissolution. The second, which reveals the antithesis between the Church and State and presents various features such as the Crusaders, feudalism, and the rise of free States—the dark ages in which superstition and faith conflict,—reaches to the Reformation, the epoch of emancipation and spiritual freedom. The third period extends from the Reformation to our own times. It is the age of civil liberty and growing rational life.

The Philosophy of History is one of Hegel's greatest works, and nowhere are his genius and originality more strikingly manifested than in his conception of historical evolution. He had, indeed, his predecessors in Bossuet, Montesquieu, Herder, Lessing, and Schelling, each of whom had glimpses of a progressive purpose, but Hegel is really the first writer who has attempted to grasp the whole movement of the ages as one all-embracing revelation of the spirit. Inaccuracy of detail in the arrangement of particular peoples and a certain arbitrary selection of facts have been pointed out as objections to his principle. It has also been observed that Hegel seems to suggest that the history of the world has attained its climax, and must reach its close with the present era. But Hegel nowhere indicates that the spirit has uttered its last word, or that the truth which this age has reached may not contain within it the germs of a great future. Philosophy is always in advance of fact, and the ideals and visions to which we have attained in the realm of knowledge to-day have still to be worked out in practical life and actual history. No difference is more marked than that between the methods of the eighteenth century and those of the nineteenth in contemplating historical development. In the eighteenth century no adequate representation was given of the real dependence of the later forms of human culture on the earlier. Evolution, applied not to nature only, but to thought, is entirely the product of the nineteenth century, and to Hegel must be accorded the honour of laying down the principles which underlie and shape the unfolding of history.

c. The Absolute Spirit, which is the third stage of the philosophy of the mind, is the higher union of the subjective and objective spirit. It is the spirit which has returned into self. The break between subject and object, thought and being, infinite and finite, is annulled, and the infinite is recognised as the essence of the finite.

We have seen the spirit coming to consciousness in the outward facts of history; we are now to see it attaining to a knowledge of itself in the sphere of thought itself.

Hegel designates that sphere in general as Religion, but in particular he distinguishes three elements, those of perception, feeling, and thought, which correspond to the three forms in which the infinite is expressed, Art, Religion, and Philosophy.

1. Art is the perception by the absolute spirit of the ideal of beauty realized in concrete, sensuous form,—stone, colour, and sound. In Art we see the triumph of the idea over matter anticipated. But, still, the material which the idea employs is not perfectly plastic, and this lack of pliableness, more or less existent in matter, creates the diversity of the arts. In general, it may be said, two inseparable factors belong to the constitution of the beautiful—the matter and the form or idea. Matter is the expression of the idea: the idea, the illumination of the matter.

Art has progressed from Symbolic, through Classical to Romantic Art, from the inartistic to the artistic, and, finally, to that which is more than artistic, as being unable to express all its meaning.

In Symbolic Art matter predominates, and the idea is merely suggested. In Classical Art, matter and thought are balanced and exist for each other. In Romantic Art, the spiritual idea wholly rules and moulds the material to its own ends.

The special arts have followed in a natural sequence— Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Music, and Poetry.

Architecture is characteristically symbolic. The idea and form are distinct. Whether in the form of the obelisk, the temple, or the cathedral, it is religious feeling or aspiration that is symbolized. The vast proportions suggest solemnity and grandeur, but the more delicate emotions are not expressed.

In Sculpture the contrast between the form and the matter is lessened, and the material is moulded more or less to express the thought of the artist. But while sculpture may attempt to represent the divine in human form, the higher aspects of the human soul, and still less of the divine nature, cannot be depicted in a material so gross and limited as stone.

The three specially Romantic Arts are Painting, Music, and Poetry. In Painting an advance is made upon sculpture; the material is less gross and the thought is represented in a more ideal form.

In Music the duality is overcome. Here Art passes out of space and beyond the limitations of matter and exists ideally in time. Poetry is the highest form of Art, combining music and painting. Poetry offers definite expression to the vague, inarticulate sounds of music, and gives ideal utterance to what painting can only suggest. Poetry combines all the other arts. Epic poetry corresponds to the plastic arts, lyric to music, while these are united in dramatic poetry, which is the most perfect embodiment of artistic expression.

While all the arts may be contemporaneous, and are still extant as the diverse expressions of feeling, there is a historical growth in their manifestation. Oriental Art, the art of India and Egypt, is distinctly symbolic. There the matter preponderates, and in its massiveness, grotesqueness, and grandeur, it is the feeling of sublimity rather than beauty that is expressed. In Classical Art—the art of Greece, symbolism passes into direct expression, and beauty rather than grandeur is depicted. In Romantic Art sublimity and beauty are combined, and especially in Christian art the embodiment of spiritual ideas gives a new meaning to artistic expression. Under the influence of the Gospel the idea of the beautiful is spiritualized; the adoration of physical beauty yields to the worship of moral purity and holiness, and the worship of the Virgin succeeds the cult of Venus. But while Christianity enlarges the scope and enriches the content of classical art, it robs it at the same time of its beauty. The material form is felt to be inadequate to the moral ideal. The most finished masterpiece cannot satisfy the Christian artist. The eternal world which his inner eye perceives, the heavenly harmonies which enrapture his soul—the divine ideal, in short, which he longs to depict, neither brush nor lyre nor pen can express. With the realization of the inadequacy of material forms to embody the highest truth, Art as the expression of religious feeling degenerates, and prepares the way for a fuller and truer utterance of life, viz. religion proper.

2. Religion. The dualism between the finite and the infinite which Art reveals can only be reconciled by religion, in which the worshipper comes into direct contact with the object of his worship, no longer through the medium of material or symbolic forms. In Art the idea takes the form of concrete reality; in religion it is immediately-realized in inward feeling. The essence of religion is the inward exaltation of the soul to the absolute—the desire for union of the subject with God.

In his lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Hegel seeks to exhibit the vital connection of his system with Christianity. In an appendix, which consists of several lectures, he discusses the Being of God, and examines the various arguments which have been adduced for His existence. He characteristically recognises a development of the idea in the various proofs. He sees truth in them all. They are complements of one another. Yet all together are inadequate. God cannot be demonstrated like a mathematical theorem. He leans mostly to the ontological proof. For, after all, God is just our idea of Him. He exists within, not without, our religious experience, and the more deep and comprehensive that experience is the more truly is God revealed to us.

Religion in its historical development has passed through various stages. The lowest phase is that which Hegel calls "nature-worships," in which God is conceived simply as substance or natural power, and in which the finite subject is completely merged. The stages of Oriental worship are,—the "religion of sorcery" in China; in India, that of phantasy,—the Brahmin worship; and that of inner contemplation,—the Buddhist. The Zoroastrian-ism of Persia he designates the "Religion of Light"; the Syrian, that of Pain; and the Egyptian, that of Mystery. These prepare the way for the religion of Freedom. The Greek solves the riddle of the Sphinx in so far as he knows himself as man, the master of nature.

The religions of spiritual individuality also pass through three phases—Judaism, the religion of sublimity; Hellenism, the religion of beauty; and the Roman religion, the religion of utility and purpose. The first is the religion of unity or Monotheism; the second, of necessity or fate, and Polytheism; the third, of the practical understanding or political power. Finally, Christianity or the revealed religion is the synthesis of nature-worship and humanism, the union of the one and the many, the harmony of sublimity, beauty and power, the reconciliation of necessity and freedom. The highest idea of God is attained in Christianity, which conceives God as going out of Himself, incarnating Himself in man and returning into Himself again. In Christianity the mystery of reconciliation between the finite and the infinite, between man and his Maker, is solved in Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

It is questionable if Hegel believed in the historical Christ. To him the idea of the mediator is more significant than any question regarding the actual Jesus. It is, of course, essential to Hegel's view that the Trinity should be the distinguishing note of his idea of God. But the three persons are stages of evolution rather than co-ordinate personalities, of which the third is higher and more real than the other two. He sees in the history of the world three successive phases of revelation—the Kingdom of the Father, the Kingdom of the Son, and the Kingdom of the Spirit. But while the language of Hegel is ambiguous, we are not justified in assuming, as Mr. M'Taggart does, that he attributes personality to the third only of the triad. There are passages which seem to indicate that Hegel believed in a personal God who actually has revealed Himself in and through man.

In an important passage (Philosophy of Religion, II. 282) Hegel says, "If man is to get a consciousness of the unity of divine and human nature, this unity must accordingly show itself in one particular man, in a definite individual who is, at the same time, known to be the Divine Idea, not merely a being of higher mind in general, but rather the highest, the absolute Idea, the Son of God."

But while the above passage (which has been curtailed) would seem to attribute a unique historical place to Christ, Hegel sees in the atonement an exhibition only of one great rhythm of thought—the oneness of God and man. God is conceived as self-estranged. Reconciliation must be conceived as proceeding from the side of the Divine. By the death of Christ, the Absolute Being is reconciled with Himself, and this act of death is Christ's resurrection as Spirit. The sensuous history in which Christianity first appeared is merely the point of departure for faith. We must detach the contents of religion from the first sensuous presentment of it. "It is expedient for you that I go away," said Christ. "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified." The living Christ is to be found in the Church which He founded, and in the doctrines of the relation of God and man of which it is the visible symbol.

The reconciliation which Christ represents must be worked out on the stage of the individual life and of universal history. Faith without works is dead. Christianity exhibits the reconciliation of God with the world as an eternal truth, but this must be achieved in personal experience. The sense of failure in man to fulfil his vocation, with the consequent alienation from his true good, is what is called in religious language the consciousness of sin. The various religions which have appeared upon the earth have been the various expressions of man's attempt to overcome this sense of alienation. The Greek religion of self-assertion failed because it never realized the problem, it was never conscious of its separation. The lowest depths of suffering had to be fathomed before any cure could be effectual. Deeply dissatisfied with the world, Stoicism, with its gospel of renunciation and flight from the world, made an approach to the solution. But Stoicism and all kindred systems of denial are negative and barren. It is not by suppression but expression that man must come to himself. In Christianity for the first time the great principle and condition of life was enunciated—that man must die to live. And Christ at once expressed and exemplified the truth which must be fulfilled in every individual—that the only way to self-realization is through self-renunciation. Life is at once the beginning and the end, but the way is ever through sacrifice and death. This law is true for God as for man, and for-man because it is true for God. God comes to Himself by going out of Himself and returning to Himself. Man too must "die to live" if he would realize the fulness and wealth of spiritual being of which his natural life contains the promise and potency. But dying is only a stage—life is the end, and death for man, as it was for Christ, is the "death of death." "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone."

3. Philosophy for Hegel is the copestone of his system. What is only given in an intuitive and emotional form in religion is given in clearness and immediateness in thought. Philosophy is truth in its absoluteness, the thought of the self-thinking idea, of the self-comprehending reason.

Philosophy is, indeed, identical in its object with religion. The constant aim of both is to determine the nature of God and His purpose in the world. It is the need of a final synthesis which both religion and philosophy strive to satisfy, the one from the side of the heart and the other from the side of the intellect. But inasmuch as we cannot know truth till it is brought forth from the region of the emotions into the clearer light of thought, philosophy is higher than religion. The business of philosophy is to make plain the assumptions of ordinary consciousness—it is the "explication of God."

In the historical development of philosophy we find the same dialectic movement which we find in thought itself. "The history of philosophy shows us in apparently diverse philosophies, philosophy itself at different stages of development, and the special principles, one of which underlies one system, and another, another, are only branches of one and the same whole. The last philosophy in the order of time is the result of all previous philosophies, and must contain the principles of them all."

The triple rhythm of thought is the pulse of the universe. As in nature and spirit, so in history, in art, in religion, and in philosophy, as in the Absolute itself, this threefold movement of thesis, antithesis, synthesis prevails. The many in the one, unity in trinity, Being, Nature, Spirit— that is the secret of the world, the essence of God. Thought is everywhere, and must explain everything. "The real is the rational."

It is impossible not to admire the grandeur and scope of Hegel's system. It is a great thought-poem—a new species of poetry, more dramatic, more masterly in construction, more rich in contents than any intellectual conception of the universe that has yet been proposed by man.

It stands before our eyes, homogeneous, carefully articulated, severely symmetrical, like a gigantic Gothic cathedral, every little part of which repeats the whole, every triad revealing the great trinity—Being, Nature, Spirit.

Hegel. Conception and method                                                  Reaction against Hegelianism. Schopenhauer

 

 

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