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CICERO, 106 B.C., gave moral philosophy the precedence. In all his thought, he was swayed by the Greek Philosophy, and though vacillating and undecided in many points, was avowedly (De Off. i. 2) an adherent of the Stoics. Though far from being consistent as to the criterion of truth, he held to ‘innate notions,' notiones innata, and the common consent of the nations, consensus gentium. He maintains, that a man cannot say that he is ignorant of duty, Acad. Pr. 34 ; and that the conviction of the wisest men has been, that Law was neither invented by the genius of men, nor an institution of the popular will, but something eternal, De Leg. ii. 4.
It is necessary here to pass, as transcending needful limits, the Neo-Platonic Philosophy of Plotinus, A.D. 204-269, Aurelius, and Porphyry; the Patristic period, when Christianity did so much to quicken and expand philosophic thought; and the age of the Schoolmen, with the controversy between the Nominalists and Realists. For the history of thought during these periods, see specially Ueberweg's History of Philos., Cudworth's Immutable Morality, and Sir W. Hamilton's Dissertation A., supplementary to Reid's Works.
DES CARTES (1596-1650), the father of modern philosophy, made innate ideas a distinctive feature of his system, He held that these ideas are given by the light of nature, lumen naturæ. He divides ideas into innate, adventitious, and factitious, Medit. iii., where see his definition of Nature. His theory is more fully unfolded in the Principles of Philosophy. In a letter to the French Translator of the Principles, he gives an important explanation of his views as to these innate ideas or principles of Knowledge. • They must be so clear and evident that the human mind, when it attentively considers them, cannot doubt of their truth; in the second place, the knowledge of other things must be so dependent on them as that though the principles themselves may indeed be known apart from what depends on them, the latter cannot be known apart from the former.' Prof. Veitch's Translation, p. 94,
and note, 207. Des Cartes did not enter formally on Ethical Philosophy
SPINOZA (1632-1677), a disciple and expounder of Des Cartes, developed a system very different from the Cartesian, His thinking was directed chiefly to the grandeur of the Divine nature, and our dependence upon God. His theory, developed in The Ethics, is dialectic in form, depending almost wholly on definitions of terms, not upon observed facts, and is Pantheistic in substance. It holds the conception of the Deity to involve such all-pervading existence, and all-efficient agency, as to make The Ethics really an exposition of the impossibility of Ethics, Still, Spinoza is to be interpreted not from the standpoint of Scepticism, but from that of Faith. His definition of Substance is the basis of his whole system. 'By substance I understand that which is self-existent, and is conceived only through itself; that is to say, Substance is that the conception of which requires the conception of nothing else from which it must be derived.'- The Ethics, Pt, 1. Def, 3. This is the beginning and end of all that Spinoza maintains. From this it follows that 'no substance can exist, or be conceived to exist, except God. All existence is a manifestation of Deity, and can be in no sense distinct from the Deity. All things are determined by the necessity of the Divine nature.' Things could not have been produced by God in any other way than they have been.' From these positions in Part 1., there necessarily follows, in Part 11., a view of the human mind directly contrary to Personality or selforiginated activity. The human mind is constituted by certain modes of the Divine attributes. The False is merely want of knowledge.' 'Men deceive themselves when they fancy themselves to be free.' Belief in freedom is possible only because we are “ignorant of the causes which determine our actions.' On this Psychology rests the Ethical system of Part III. • Affections or Emotions' are states of body and their ideas, Def. 3. Things awaken in us pleasure or pain, Prop.
xv.; they are accordingly liked or disliked, loved or hated, Prop. XVI.; we strive to do whatever men regard with pleasure, and to avoid the contrary, Prop. xxix.; as different men are differently affected, they love and hate different things. Morality is thus the play of love and hate, based on likes and dislikes. The mind is grieved by contemplating its own inability to act; grief occasioned by our own weakness is humility,-joy occasioned by our own power is self-satisfaction, -humility is intensified when we imagine ourselves to be blamed by others, Prop. lv. Spinoza's Definitions of the Affections of the mind are found at the close of Part III. The system is a theory of human conceptions, in which the highest transcendental conception rules, and logical deduction carries the theory of human practice down to the lowest type of sensationalism. In the Ethics of Spinoza the extremes meet.-—Benedicti de Spinoza Opera Philosophica Omnia, vol. i. ed. Bruder, Leipzig, 1843-1846 ; Benedict de Spinoza : his Life, Correspondence, and Ethics, translated by Willis, London, 1870.
MALEBRANCHE (1638-1715) held the Cartesian doctrine, affirming that there are necessary truths, which are truths of the Universal Reason.-Recherche de la Vérité, 1. 4; Search after Truth, translated by Taylor. On this basis he founds morality.-Traité de Morale.
LEIBNITZ (1646-1716) accepted the same account of the source of our knowledge of fundamental truth.—Nouveaux Essais, B. I., ed. Erdmann, p. 204.
HOBBES (1588-1679) devoted himself to Moral Philosophy. Contemporary with Des Cartes, he founded his theory on an opposite view. Concerning the thoughts of a man, original of them all, is that which we call Sense, for there is no conception in a man's mind which hath not at first, totally or by parts, been begotten upon the organs of sense.'— Leviathan, l. I. At the same time, he held · Eternal laws oi Nature,' 1. 15,-a chapter of great interest, though difficult to
harmonize with the preceding theory. For the statement of the fundamental feature of his ethical system, see below, Div. II. ch. 2.
CUDWORTH (1617-88) maintained, in reply to Hobbes, that there is a natural, immutable, and eternal justice' (Immutable Morality, I. I); and that there are some ideas ... which must needs arise from the innate vigour and activity of the mind itself.'-16. iv. 2. An able discussion, but depending too much on argumentation as to the essences of things.
LOCKE (1632-1704) made it a primary aim to oppose the theory of 'innate ideas.' He insisted that there are neither speculative nor practical principles belonging to the mind by its original constitution. • Children and idiots have not the least apprehension or thought of them.'—Essay I. ii. sec. 5. Recognition of them by children seems to him the only conceivable view of 'innate truths,' although it is altogether different from Des Cartes's theory, or any other that had been maintained. According to Locke, all our knowledge is obtained through Sensation and Reflection. In support of moral law, the Christian refers to 'Happiness and misery in another life;' the Hobbist, to the power of the state ; the old heathen philosophers to the dignity of man and the highest perfection of human nature. Hence naturally flows the great variety of opinions concerning the moral rules, according to the different sorts of happiness they have a prospect of, or purpose to themselves.'-1. iii. 5, 6.
WOLLASTON (1629-1724) denied 'innate maxims,' and also rejected the happiness theory. He held that the reasoning power, or rational faculty, is the judge of actions and the governing principle of life. He thus made 'right' identical with 'truth.'- Religion of Nature Delineated.
SAMUEL CLARKE (1675-1724) insisted that there are 'eternal and necessary differences of things,' and a consequent • fitness or unfitness of the application of different things or different relations one to another. This fitness determines
rightness.—Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, published in same volume with The Attributes.
JOSEPH BUTLER (1692-1752) held that there is a principle of reflection in men, by which they distinguish between, approve, and disapprove their own actions. We are plainly constituted such sort of creatures as to reflect upon our own nature.'-Sermon 1. “There is a superior principle of reflection or conscience in every man which distinguishes between the internal principles of his heart, as well as his external actions; which passes judgment upon himself, and thus ... magisterially exerts itself ... and goes on to anticipate a higher and more effectual sentence. It is, 'considered as a faculty, in kind and in nature, supreme over all others, and which bears its own authority of being so.'--Sermon II. • You cannot form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment, direction, superintendency.'-Ib. "Had it strength, as it has right; had it power, as it has manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world.'-Ib. Beyond this Butler does not push the inquiry.
PRICE (1723-1791) held that the understanding is the source of simple ideas, that our ideas of right and wrong are simple ideas, and must therefore be ascribed to some power of immediate perception.'-Principal Questions of Morals.
HUME (1711-1766) propounded a Sceptical Philosophy which reduced existences to a series of appearances, and mind to a bundle of perceptions.-- Treatise on Human Nature, 1. i. 1.; and 1. iv. 6. He advocates the Utilitarian theory of morals, but not with complete consistency. He says, “Those who have denied the reality of moral distinctions may be ranked among the disingenuous disputants.'—Essays, II. 223, Principles of Morals. In the Appendix on Moral Sentiment, he adds, p. 348, “Virtue is an end, and is desirable on its own account, without fee or reward, merely for the immediate satisfaction which it conveys.' The inconsistency of such a sentence is a curiosity of the Sceptical philosophy. To Hume's