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The reader who has been wearied with the frivolities of the Ionian philosophy, and lost in the mysticisms Heap
He approaches of Pythagoras, cannot fail to recognize that here the Indian we have something of a very different kind. To ideas. an Oriental dignity of conception is added an extraordinary clearness and precision of reasoning.
To Xenophanes all revelation is a pure fiction ; the discovery of the invisible is to be made by the intellect of man alone. The vulgar belief which imputes to the Deity the sentiments, passions, and crimes of Theology of man, is blasphemous and accursed. He exposes Xenophanes. the impiety of those who would figure the Great Supreme under the form of a man, telling them that if the ox or the lion could rise to a conception of the Deity, they might as well embody him under their own shape ; that the negro represents him with a flat nose and black face; the Thracian with blue eyes and a ruddy complexion. “ There is but one God; he has no resemblance to the bodily form of man, nor are his thoughts like ours.” He taught that God is without parts, and throughout alike; for, if he had parts, some would be ruled by others, and others would rule, which is impossible, for the very notion of God implies his perfect and thorough sovereignty. Throughout he must be Reason, and Intelligence, and Omnipotence, “ruling the universe without trouble by Reason and Insight." He conceived that the Supreme understands by a sensual perception, and not only thinks, but sees and hears throughout. In a symbolical manner he represented God as a sphere, like the heavens, which encompass man and all earthly things.
In his natural philosophy it is said that he adopted the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water; though by some it is asserted that, from observing fossil fish on the tops of mountains, he was led to the belief that the His physical earth itself arose from water; and generally, views. that the phenomena of nature originate in combinations of the primary elernents. From such views he inferred that all things are necessarily transitory, and that men, and even the earth itself, must pass away. As to the latter, he regarded it as a flat surface, the inferior region of which extends indefinitely downward, and so gives a
solid foundation. His physical views he, however, held with a doubt almost bordering on scepticism : “No mortal man ever did, or ever shall know God and the universe thoroughly ; for, since error is so spread over all things, it is impossible for us to be certain even when we utter the true and the perfect.” It seemed to him hopeless that man could ever ascertain the truth, since he has no other aid than truthless appearances.
I cannot dismiss this imperfect account of Xenophanes, who was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest of the Greek philosophers, without an allusion to his denunciation of Homer, and other poets of his country, because they had aided in degrading the idea of the Divinity; and also to his faith in human nature, his rejection of the principle of concealing truth from the multitude, and his self-devotion in diffusing it among all at a risk of liberty and life. He wandered from country to country, withstanding polytheism to its face, and imparting wisdom in rhap: odies and hymns, the form, above all others, calculated most quickly in those times to spread knowledge abroad. To those who are disposed to depreciate his philosophical conclusions, it may be remarked that in some of their most striking features they have been reproduced in moderni times, and I would offer to them a quotation from the General Scholium at the end of the third book of the
... l'rincipia of Newton : “The Supreme God exists Some of his thouchts necessarily, and by the same necessity he exists reappear in always and everywhere. Whence, also, he is all Newton.
similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power to perceive, to understand, and to act, but in a manner not at all human, not at all corporeal; in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colours, so have we no idea of the manner by which the allwise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched, nor ought to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing. We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of anything is we know not.”
To the Eleatic system thus originating with Xenophanes is to be attributed the dialectic phase henceforward so prominently exhibited by Greek philosophy. It aban. doned, for the most part, the pursuits which had Occupied the Ionians—the investigation of visible nature, the phenomena of material things, and the laws presiding over them; conceiving such to be merely deceptive, and attaching itself to what seemed to be the only true know. ledge—an investigation of Being and of God. By the Eleats, since all change appeared to be an impossibility, the phenomena of succession presented by the world were regarded as a pure illusion, and they asserted that Time, and Motion, and Space are phantasms of the imagination, or vain deceptions of the senses. They therefore separated reason from opinion, attributing to the former Parmenides conceptions of absolute ti uth, and to the latter on reason and imperfections arising from the fictions of sense. opinion. It was on this principle that Parmenides divided his work on “ Nature” into two books, the first on Reason, the second on Opinion. Starting from the nature of Being, the uncreated and unchangeable, he denied altogether the idea of succession in time, and also the relations of space, and pronounced change and motion, of whatever kind they may be, mere illusions of opinion. His pantheism appears in the declaration that the All is thought and Philo
Philosophy intelligence; and this, indeed, constitutes the becoming essential feature of his doctrine, for, by thus l'antheism. placing thought and being in parallelism with each other, and interconnecting them by the conception that it is for the sake of being that thought exists, he showed that they must necessarily be conceived of as one.
Such profound doctrines occupied the first book of the poem of Parmenides; in the second he treated of opinion, which, as we have said, is altogether dependent on the senses, and therefore untrustworthy, not, however, that it must necessarily be absolutely false. It is scarcely possible for us to reconstruct from the remains of his works the details of his theory, or to show his approach to the Ionian doctrines by the assumption of the existence in nature of two opposite species-ethereal fire and heavy night; of an equal proportion of which all things consist, fire being the true, and night the phenomenal. From such an unsubstantial and delusive basis it would not repay us, even if
we had the means of accomplishing it, to give an exposition of his physical system. In many respects it degenerated into a wild vagary; as, for example, when he placed an overruling dæmon in the centre of the phenomenal world. Nor need we be detained by his extravagant reproduction of the old doctrine of the generation of animals from miry clay, nor follow his explanation of tho nature of man, who, since he is composed of light and darkness, participates in both, and can never ascertain absolute truth. By other routes, and upon far less fanciful principles, modern philosophy has at last come to the same melancholy conclusion. The doctrines of Parmenides were carried out by Zeno
the Eleatic, who is said to have been his adopted Doctrines of Parmenides son. He brought into use the method of refuting carried out error by the reductio ad absurdum. His comby Zeno;
positions were in prose, and not in poetry, as were those of his predecessors. As it had been the object of Parmenides to establish the existence of “the One,” it was the object of Zeno to establish the non-existence of “the Many.” Agreeably to such principles, he started from the position that only one thing really exists, and that all others are mere modifications or appearances of it. He denied motion, but admitted the appearance of it; regarding it as a name given to a series of conditions, each of which is necessarily rest. This dogma against the possibility of motion he maintained by four arguments; the second of them is the celebrated Achilles puzzle. It is thus stated : “Suppose Achilles to run ten times as fast as a tortoise, yet, if the tortoise has the start, Achilles can never overtake him ; for, if they are separated at first by an interval of a thousand feet, when Achilles has run the e thousand feet the tortoise will bave run a hundred, and when Achilles hay run the e hundred the tortoise will have got on ten, and so on for ever; therefore Achilles may run for ever withoutovertaking the tortoise.” Such were his arguments against the existence of motion ; his proof of the existence of One, the indivisible and infinite, may thus be stated : “ To suppose that the one is divisible is to suppose it finite. If divisible, it must be infinitely divisible. But suppose two things to exist, then there must necessarily be an interval between
those two-something 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 specinien 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 S. mus. 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 : thagoras. In the Fast 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