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At the meeting of the British Association for the Advance ment of Science, held at Oxford in 1860, I read an abstract of the physiological argument contained in this work respecting the mental progress of Europe, reserving the historical evidence for subsequent publication.
This work contains that evidence. It is intended as the completion of my treatise on Human Physiology, in which man was considered as an individual. In this he is considered in his social relation.
But the reader will also find, I think, that it is a history of the progress of ideas and opinions from a point of view heretofore almost entirely neglected. There are two methods of dealing with philosophical questions—the literary and the scientific. Many things which in a purely literary treatment of the subject remain in the background, spontaneously assume a more striking position when their scientific relations are considered. It is the latter method that I have used.
Social advancement is as completely under the control of natural law as is bodily growth. The life of an individual is a miniature of the life of a nation. These propositions it is the special object of this book to demonstrate.
No one, I believe, has hitherto undertaken the labour of arranging the evidence offered by the intellectual history of Europe in accordance with physiological principles,
80 as to illustrate the orderly progress of civilization, or collected the facts furnished by other branches of science with a view of enabling us to recognize clearly the conditions under which that progress takes place. This philosophical deficiency I have endeavoured in the following pages to supply.
Seen thus through the medium of physiology, history presents a new aspect to us. We gain a more just and thorough appreciation of the thoughts and motives of men in successive ages of the world.
In the Preface to the second edition of my Physiology, published in 1858, it was mentioned that this work was at that time written. The changes that have been since made in it have been chiefly with a view of condensing it. The discussion of several scientific questions, such as that of the origin of species, which have recently attracted public attention so strongly, has, however remained untouched, the principles offered being the same as presented in the former work in 1856.
New York, 1861.
PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION. MANY reprints of this work having been issued, and translations published in various foreign languages, French, German, Russian, Polish, Servian, &c., I have been induced to revise it carefully, and to make additions wherever they seemed to be desirable. I therefore hope that it will commend itself to the continued approval of the public.
Derline of Greek Theology, occasioned by the Advanre of Geography and
Philosophical Criticism.- Secession of Poets, Philosophers, Historians.
-Abortive public Attempts to sustain it.- Duration of its Decline.Its Fau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ruge
DIGRESSION ON HINDU THEOLOGY AND EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION. Comparative Theology of India ; its Phase of Sorcery ; its Anthropo
centric Phase. VEDAISM the Contemplation of Matter, or Adoration of Nature, set
forth in the Vedas and Institutes of Menu.—The Universe is God. Transmutation of the World.-Doctrine of Emanation. — Transmigration. — Absorption. — Penitential Services. — Happiness in Absolute
Quietude. Buddhism the Contemplation of Force—The supreme impersonal Power.
-Nature of the World-of Man.—The Passage of every thing to Nonentity.— Development of Buddhism into a rast monastic System marked by intense Selfishness. Its practical Gorllessne88. Egypt a mysterious Country to the old Europeans. Its History, great
public Works, and foreign Relations.-Antiquity of its Civilization and
Art.-Its Philosophy, hieroglyphic Literature, and peculiar Agriculture. Rise of Civilization in rainless Countries.— Geography, Geology, and
Topography of Egypt. — The Inundations of the Nile lead to
Astronomy. Comparative Theology of Egypt.-Animal Worship, Star Worship.
Impersonation of Divine Attribut-s—Pantheism.—The Trinities of Egypt. — Incarnation. — Redemption. — Future Judgment. — Trial of the Dead. --Rituals and Ceremonies . . . . . . . . 56
GREEK AGE OF INQUIRY.
RISE AND DECLINE OP PHYSICAL SPECULATION. IONIAN PHILOSOPHY, commencing from Egyptian Ideas, identifies in
Water, or Air, or Fire, the First Principle.- Emerging from the Stage of Sorcery, it founds Psychology, Biology, Cosmogony, Astronomy, and ends in doubting whether there is any Criterion of Truth.
ITALIAN PHILOSOPHY depends on Numbers and Harmonies. — It
reproduces the Egyptian and Hindu Doctrine of Transmigration. ELEATIC PHILOSOPHY presents a greut Advance, indicating a rapid
Approach to Oriental Ideas.-It assumes a Pantheistic Aspect. RISE OF PHILOSOPHY IN EUROPEAN GREECE.—Relations and Influence of
the Mediterranean Commercial and Colonial System.-Athens attains to commercial Supremacy.—Her vast Progress in Intelligence and Art. -Her Demoralization. She becomes the Intellectual Centre of the Mediterranean. Commencement of the Athenian higher Analysis.—It is conducted by THE
SOPHISTS, who reject Philosophy, Religion, and even Morality, and end
in Atheism. Political Dangers of the higher Analysis.—Illustration from the Middle
Ages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 94
THE GREEK AGE OF FAITH.
RISE AND DECLINE OF ETHICAL PHILOSOPHY. SOCRATES rejects Physical and Mathematical Speculations, and asserts
the Importance of Virtue and Morality, thereby inaugurating an Age of Faith.—His Life and Death.—The schools originating from his
Movement teach the Pursuit of Pleasure and Gratification of Self. Plato founds the Academy.--His three primal Principles.The Ex
istence of a personal God.-Nature of the World and the Soul.- The ideal Theory, Generals or Types.— Reminiscence.-Transmigration.Plato's political Institutions. — His Republic. — His Proofs of the
Immortality of the Soul.—Criticism on his Doctrines. RISE OF THE SCEPTICS, who conduct the higher Analysis of Ethical
Philosophy.-Pyrrho demonstrates the Uncertainty of Knowledge.-Inevitable Passage into tranquil Indifference, Quietude, and Irreligion, as recommended by Epicurus.-Decomposition of the Socratic and Platonic Systems in the later Academies.—Their Errors and Duplicities, -End of the Greek Age of Faith . . . . . . . . . 143