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those two--soinething separating and limiting them. What is that something? It is some other thing. But then if not the same thing, it also must be separated and limited, and so on ad infinitum. Thus only one thing can exist as the substratum for all manifold appearances.' Zeno furnishes us with an illustration of the fallibility of the indications of sense in his argument against Protagoras. It may be here introduced as a specimen of his method : “He asked if a grain of corn, or the ten thousandth part of a grain, would, when it fell to the ground, make a noise. Being answered in the negative, he further asked whether, then, would a measure of corn. This being necessarily affirmed, he then demanded whether the measure was not in some determinate ratio to the single grain ; as this could not be denied, he was able to conclude, either, then, the bushel of corn makes no noise on falling, or else the very smallest portion of a grain does the same.”
To the names already given as belonging to the Eleatic school may be added that of Melissus of Samos, and by Meliswho also founded his argument on the nature of sus of Samos
. Being, deducing its unity, unchangeability, and indivisibility. He denied, like the rest of his school, all change and motion, regarding them as mere illusions of the senses. From the indivisibility of being he inferred its incorporeality, and therefore denied all bodily existence.
The list of Eleatic philosophers is doubtfully closed by the name of Empedocles of Agrigentum, who Biography of in legend almost rivals Pythagoras. In the East Empedocles. he learned medicine and magic, the art of working miracles, of producing rain and wind. He decked himself in priestly garments, a golden girdle, and a crown, proclaiming himself to be a god. It is said by some that he never died, but ascended to the skies in the midst of a supernatural glory. By some it is related that he leaped into the crater of Etna, that, the manner of his death being unknown, he might still continue to pass for a god-an expectation disappointed by an eruption which cast out one of his brazen sandals.
Agreeably to the school to which he belonged, he relied on Reason and distrusted the Senses. From his fragments
it has been inferred that he was sceptical of the guidance of the former as well as of the latter, founding his distrust on the imperfection the soul has contracted, and for which it has been condemned to existence in this world, and even to transmigration from body to body. Adopting the Eleatic doctrine that like can be only known by like, fire by fire, love by love, the recognition of the divine by man is sufficient proof that the Divine exists.
His primary elements were four-Earth, Air, Fire, and Water; to these
he added two principles, Love and Hate. The He mingles mysticism
four elements he regarded as four gods, or divine with philo eternal forces, since out of them all things are sophy. made. Love he regards as the creative power,
the destroyer or modifier being Hate. It is obvious, therefore, that in him the strictly philosophical system of Xenophanes had degenerated into a mixed and mystical view, in which the physical, the metaphysical, and the moral were confounded together; and that, as the necessary consequence of such a state, the principles of knowledge were becoming unsettled, a suspicion arising that all philosophical systems were untrustworthy, and a general scepticism was already setting in.
To this result also, in no small degree, the labours of Democritus of Abdera tended. He had had the advantages derived from wealth in the procurement of knowledge, for it is said that his father was rich enough to be able to entertain the Persian King Xerxes, who was so gratified thereby that he left several Magi and Chaldeans to complete the education of the youth. On his father's death, Democritus, dividing with his brothers the estate, took as his portion the share consisting of money, leaving to them the lands, that he might be better able to devote himself to travelling. He passed into Egypt, Ethiopia, Persia, and India, gathering knowledge from all those sources.
According to Democritus, “Nothing is true, or, if so, is not certain to us.” Nevertheless, as, in his system sensa
tion constitutes thought, and, at the same time, asserts the un- is but a change in the sentient being, “ sensations ness of know- are of necessity true;" from which somewhat Jedge.
obscure passage we may infer that, in the view of Democritus, though sensation is true subjectively, it is
not true objectively. The sweet, the bitter, the hot, the cold, are simply creations of the mind; but in the outer object to which we append them, atoms and space alone exist, and our opinion of the properties of such objects is founded upon images emitted by them falling upon the
Confounding in this manner sensation with thought, and making them identical, he, moreover, included Reflexion as necessary for true knowledge, Sensation by itself being untrustworthy. Thus, though Sensation may indicate to us that sweet, bitter, hot, cold, occur in bodies, Reflexion teaches us that this is altogether an illusion, and that, in reality, atoms and space alone exist.
Devoting his attention, then, to the problem of perception—how the mind becomes aware of the existence of external things—he resorted to the hypothesis that they constantly throw off images of themselves, which are assimilated by the air through which they have to pass, and enter the soul by pores in its sensitive organs. Hence such images, being merely of the superficial form, are necessarily imperfect and untrue, and so, therefore, must be the knowledge yielded by them. Democritus rejected the one element of the Eleatics, affirming that there must be many; but he did not receive the four of Empedocles, nor his principles of Love and Hate, nor the homæomeria of Anaxagoras. He also denied that the primary He introduces elements had any sensible qualities whatever. the atomic He conceived of all things as being composed of theory. invisible, intangible, and indivisible particles or atoms, which, by reason of variation in their configuration, combination, or position, give rise to the varieties of forms: to the atom he imputed self-existence and eternal duration. His doctrine, therefore, explains how it is that the many can arise from the one, and in this particular he reconciled the apparent contradictions of the Ionians and Eleatics. The theory of chemistry, as it now exists, Destiny, Fate essentially includes his views. The general and resistless formative principle of Nature he regarded as being Destiny or Fate; but there are indications that by this he meant nothing more than irreversible law.
A system thus based upon severe mathematical considerations, and taking as its starting point a vacuum and
Is led to atheism.
atoms—the former actionless and passionless; which considers the production of new things as only new aggregations, and the decay of the old as separations; which recognizes in compound bodies specific arrangements of atoms to one another; which can rise to the conception that even a single atom may constitute a world—such a system may commend itself to our attention for its results, but surely not to our approval, when we find it carrying us to the conclusions that even mathematical cognition is a mere semblance; that the soul is only a finely-constituted form fitted into the
grosser bodily frame; that even for reason itself
there is an absolute impossibility of all certainty; that scepticism is to be indulged in to that degree that we may doubt whether, when a cone has been cut asunder, its two surfaces are alike; that the final result of human inquiry is the absolute demonstration that man is incapable of knowledge; that, even if the truth be in his possession, he can never be certain of it; that the world is an illusive phantasm, and that there is no God.
I need scarcely refer to the legendary stories related of Legends of Democritus, as that he put out his
eyes with Democritus. burning-glass that he might no longer be deluded with their false indications, and more tranquilly exercise his reason--a fiction bearing upon its face the contemptuous accusation of his antagonists, but, by the stolidity of subsequent ages, received as an actual fact, instead of a sarcasm.
As to his habit of so constantly deriding the knowledge and follies of men that he universally acquired the epithet of the laughing philosopher, we may receive the opinion of the great physician Hippocrates, who, being requested by the people of Abdera to cure him of his maddess, after long discoursing with him, expressed himself penetrated with admiration, and even with the most profound veneration for him, and rebuked those who had sent him with the remark that they themselves were the more distempered of the two.
Thus far European Greece had done but little in the cause of philosophy. The chief schools were in Asia Minor, or among the Greek colonies of Italy. But the time had now arrived when the mother country was to
enter upon a distinguished career, though, it must be confessed, from a most unfavourable beginning.
Rise of This was by no means the only occasion on losophy in which the intellectual activity of the Greek co- European
Greece. lonies made itself felt in the destinies of Europe. The mercantile character in a community has ever been found conducive to mental activity and physical adventure; it holds in light esteem prescriptive opinion, and puts things at the actual value they at the time possess. If the Greek colonies thus discharged the important function of introducing and disseminating speculative philosophy, we shall find them again, five hundred years later, occupied with a similar task on the advent of that period in which philosophical speculation was about to be supplanted by religious faith. For there can be no doubt that, humanly speaking, the cause of the rapid propagation of Christianity, in its first ages, lay in the extraordinary facilities communities existing among the commercial communities favourable to scattered all around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, from the ports of the Levant to those of France and Spain. An incessant intercourse was kept up among them during the five centuries before Christ; it became, under Roman influence, more and more active, and of increasing political importance. Such a state of things is in the highest degree conducive to the propagation of thought, and, indeed, to its origination, through the constant excitement it furnishes to intellectual activity. Commercial communities, in this respect, present a striking contrast to agricultural. By their aid speculative philosophy was rapidly disseminated everywhere, as was subsequently Christianity. But the agriculturists stedfastly adhered with marvellous stolidity to their ancestral traditions and polytheistic absurdities, until the very designation-paganism-under which their system passes was given as a nickname derived from themselves.
The intellectual condition of the Greek colonies of Italy and Sicily has not attracted the attention of critics in the manner it deserves. For, though its political result may appear to those whose attention is fixed by mere material