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3. — Lectures on Modern History, from the Irruption of the
Northern Nations to the Close of the American Revolution. By WILLIAM SMYTH, Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge. From the Second London Edition, with a Preface, List of Books on American History, &c.
By JARED SPARKS, LL. D., Professor of Ancient and Modern History in Harvard University. Cambridge : John Owen. 1841. 2 vols. Svo.
We neglected to notice these finely printed volumes, when sent to the Boston Quarterly Review, by the publisher. We hope they have been profitable to the printers and publisher, for we should be sorry to think that they had been profitable to no one.
4. - Democratie Pacifique, Journal des Intérêts des Gouverne
ments et des Peuples. Paris : Rue de Tournon, No. 6.
This is the title of a new daily paper, into which, on the first of August last, was converted the Phalange, the leading French Fourierist Journal. We have received most of the numbers, and have read them with much interest and some profit. The Journal is conducted with rare ability, and appears to be exerting considerable influence on the French mind. Of its peculiar doctrines, we shall have much to say, when we get through the crabbed writings of the Master, Charles Fourier.
5.- Conservatism and Reform. An Oration pronounced be5
fore the Peucinian Society, Bowdoin College, Sept. 5, 1843. By FREDERIC H. Hedge. Boston: Little and Brown. 1843. 8vo. pp. 39.
MR. Hedge is a scholar of rare abilities and attainments, a chaste, eloquent, and vigorous writer; a free, bold, and profound thinker; an earnest, faithful, and acceptable minister of religion. The views he has put forth in this Oration are manly, bold without being rash, and such as require us to labor for progress, instead of destruction. We regret, however, that Mr. Hedge should have so far conformed to popular prejudice, as to assume for his starting-point, Conservatism and Reform, as two opposite phases of one and the same great fact. It is an error to regard them as opposite phases, and then to seek to reconcile one with the other. This is too much like attempting to reconcile religion and philosophy, after having first given them as two distinct systems of truth, resting on different foundations. Conservatisin and Reform should never be given as antagonist systems, nor as two systems substantially agreeing one with the other; but as one and the same thing. Or, rather, Conservatism should be given as the condition of Reform, and Reform as the condition of Conservatism. This is really the thought of the Oration before us, though not expressed so clearly as we could have wished.
We are sorry to discover, here and there, in this Oration, some traces of the miserable Transcendentalism which has of late obtained amongst us, and which spins Truth, Good, Beauty, even God himself, out of the human soul, as the spider spins its web out of its own bowels. We had flattered ourselves that Mr. Hedge had worked himself entirely clear of this false notion. The Church, and all really valuable institutions, by which society is elevated and carried forward, are given to man by his Maker, and not developed by, nor from, the human soul. God alone is able to create without preëxisting matter ; man can create only by means of a matter foreign to himself.
*** We send out this number as a fair specimen of what the public may expect if the journal continues. The design of the work, it will be seen, is somewhat peculiar. It is to consist mainly of original essays from a single pen. This plan is adopted, because the views of its editor are so peculiar, that it is impossible to open the pages to various contributors without destroying the necessary unity; and also because those who take it at all will take it for the writings of the editor. We have adopted this plan, moreover, because we have no room for any body else. We publish the journal because we have something we wish to say, and which we believe important to be said. We publish it for a serious, solemn purpose; and, because such is our purpose, we dare ask the patronage of the friends of freedom and religion, truth and progress, throughout the country. We have never, on any former occasion, asked the public to sustain us. We do it now, for we need public support, and we shall do our best to merit it, and to give a full equivalent for all we receive.
Art. I. — Critik der reinen Vernunft; von IMMANUEL
KANT. Siebente Auflage. Leipzig. 1828.
In order to comprehend and appreciate Kant's Critical Philosophy, or indeed any particular system of philosophy, we must begin by determining the class to which it belongs, and its appropriate place in the general history of philosophy. But all classification, if it is to be of the least scientific value, must rest on a necessary principle of classification, be founded, not in the caprice or convenience of the critic or the historian, but in the very nature and reason of science itself. There is, then, always, a preliminary question, concerning the principle of classification, which we must not pass over, if we mean our ulterior labors shall contribute at all to the better understanding of the particular system we propose to discuss, or to the advancement of science in general. Our readers must, therefore, suffer us to pause, and linger awhile on this preliminary question.
I. CLASSIFICATION OF SYSTEMS.
Modern historians of philosophy, for the most part, contend, that we should classify the several systems of philosophy, which are put forth from time to time, VOL. I. NO. II.
according to the assumed principles of their psychological origin. This is especially the case with M. Cousin, whose brilliant courses of lectures in 1828 and 1829 must, doubtless, be familiar to all those of our readers who interest themselves in the study of philosophy. M. Cousin assumes, that all philosophy has its origin in psychology, and is, in fact, nothing but a method, or doctrine of science, and its application. There can be in philosophy nothing, the principle of which is not in human nature. One system of philosophy can differ from another, only in the different degree of importance attached by its author, in constructing it, to one or another of the original elements of human nature. Ascertain, by a rigid analysis and classification of all the facts of consciousness, according to their psychological origin, the number and characteristics of all the fundamental elements of human nature, and you have determined the number and characteristics of all possible systems of philosophy.
The number of original elements of human nature, under the present point of view, according to M. Cousin, is four; 1. SENSIBILITY; 2. INTELLIGENCE; 3. SponTANEITY; 4. GooD SENSE. There are, then, four psychological principles of philosophy; and every possible system must be referred to the predominance of one or another of these as its principle.
If, in philosophizing, we take the point of view of the senses, that is, of sensibility, we shall recognize no objects as really existing, except such as do, or such as may, affect the external organs of sense. We shall then assume as valid only those cognitions which have their origin in sensation alone, and attempt to explain the world, man, and God, by means of mere sensations. Hence SENSUALISM. If we fix our attention, exclusively, on the intelligence, or reason, taken as the principle of pure thought, we shall attempt to explain the universe, geometrically, from the point of view of mere conceptions a priori, and shall find ourselves unable to recognize any ontological existence, which is not contained in these pure thoughts, or conceptions.
The only ontological existence contained in these is the thinking subject. Hence, IDEALISM, or, as we prefer to term it, Egoïsm. If we pursue our psychological investigations, to which we are driven by the absolute necessity we are under of believing something, and by the unsatisfactory termination of both Sensualism and Idealism, we shall find, that, in the fact of cognition, we are often involuntary, that the cognitive power — the vis cognitrix — acts spontaneously, without any
intervention of the me proper, and reveals to us, as it were, immediately, the sublime principles of the universe, and carries us up into immediate relation with its Original and Cause. By being quiet, by simply opening the mind, and then remaining all passive, the light from its Source will stream into the soul, and we shall know God and nature by immediate intuition. If we fix our attention, exclusively, on the order of facts thus introduced into the consciousness, we shall attempt to explain the universe solely from the point of view of Spontaneity. The philosophy that does this is MYSTICISM.
But all these systems contradict one another; each leaves a portion of the facts of consciousness unexplained ; disputes, quarrels follow, and disgust men of plain, practical good sense, who, struck with the inconclusiveness of the reasoning of each, conclude that certainty with regard to human knowledge is out of the question. Doubt and uncertainty hang over all human science. They who fix their attention solely on this fact, and erect doubt into a principle, generate a fourth system, which we may call SKEPTICISM. Thus Sensualism, Idealism, Mysticism, and Skepticism constitute all the possible systems of philosophy. Every philosopher must, by virtue of the absolute necessity imposed upon him by the nature of the human soul itself, be either a Sensualist or an Idealist, a Mystic or a Skeptic, - or all four together, and neither exclusively, that is to say, an ECLECTIC.
Having settled all this, we are prepared to run over the History of Philosophy. When we come to a par