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There was no sophistic doctrine, but a sophistic art. This art might have grave consequences, as Aristotle and Plato saw, the Sophists did not profess them; and we can quite understand that Gorgias, after having read the dialogue which bears his name, should have said, 'I do not recognise myself; but the young man has a great talent for satire.'

“The Sophists were the natural production of the opinions of the epoch. In them we see the first energetic protest against the possibility of metaphysical science. This protest, however, must not be confounded with the protest of Bacon-must not be mistaken for the germ of positive philosophy. It was the protest of baffled minds. The philosophy of the day led to scepticism; but with scepticism no energetic man could remain contented.'1 Then Socrates appeared.

The principal merit of Socrates is his negative method; up to his time dogmatism had had it all its own way; he applied himself to examination. His process of truly contradictory discussion and cross-questioning is a first attempt at verification ; unhappily it is entirely subjective. Further, it was at this epoch that the human mind, for the first time, showed a clear consciousness of the notions of kinds, species, individuals, general terms, and general ideas. The philosopher, according to the showing of Plato, is ' he who sees the one in the many, and the many in the one;' but this had a dangerous tendency. It was imagined that to these general ideas an objective reality corresponded; it was pretended that the lyre, the horse, the young girl, and the generous action had something in common-beauty; where it ought to have been said, it is because men are capable of an agreeable emotion excited by these various objects, that they are united under the general term “beautiful.'

Sextus Empirius 2 has told us that the ancients were divided upon the point whether Plato was dogmatic or sceptical.

One can understand this difficulty, and for my part, says Mr. Lewes, after having read every one of Plato's Dialogues (an excessively wearisome labour), and done my best to arrive at a distinct understanding of their purpose, I come to the conclusion

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that he never systematized his thoughts, but allowed free play to scepticism, taking opposite sides in every debate because he had no steady conviction to guide him ; unsaying to-day what he had said yesterday, satisfied to show the weakness of an opponent.' 1

He does not believe, any more than Mr. Grote, in the system of interpretation which consists in saying that one dialogue resolves the difficulties proposed by another. That which we take for a game of dialectics is really the 'groping' of Plato himself. He had not a philosophy; he had philosophies; he was above all great as a promoter ; his doctrine, which is valuable 'ad edocendum parum, ad impellendum satis, remains still, and always will remain, a source of power.'?

Mr. Lewes, as we have already stated, has devoted a special essay to Aristotle; in him he praises the founder of the experimental school; he criticises the author of the Metaphysics. He may be rightly called the father of the inductive philosophy, because he was the first to lay down its principles with an exactness and precision which Bacon himself has not surpassed. 'Anticipating modern Psychology, he taught, confusedly indeed, that intelligence is a late development; that the understanding is built up from sensuous materials,' 3 that memory produces experience, and that experience renders induction possible. But still his method is not that of positive science-verification is missing. That which removes all scientific value from it is his theory of the Four Causes—an entirely subjective conception, founded upon pure ideas, and consequently hypothetical, and not verifiable.

The semi-scepticism of the new academy furnishes to Mr. Lewes the materials for an essay on perception. We know that Arcesilaus and Carneades disputed with the Stoics, the dogmatists of that time, upon the legitimacy of the criterion, and in particular upon this question : Does every modification of the mind correspond exactly to the external object which causes it? Sensation, says Mr. Lewes, corresponds in nothing with its object, unless in the relation of effect to cause. At first this will surprise any one who has not reflected upon the point. Ask such a person if he considers his perceptions as copies of particular objects, if he thinks that the flower which is before him can exist independently of him, or of all human beings, and if it can exist with the same attributes of form, taste, smell, etc. ? His answer will be in the affirmative. He will regard you as a mad man if you doubt it. Nevertheless, a modification cannot be in any way a copy of the object which modifies. The pain caused by a burn is not the copy of the fire. Does it resemble the fire in any way? It simply expresses the relation between us and the fire, an effect which fire may produce upon us. We hear thunder ; our sensation is not a copy of the phenomenon; it simply expresses an effect produced upon us by a certain vibration of the air. It is the same with regard to sensations of sight, although the prejudice to the contrary is very difficult to uproot. There are many persons who will agree that the pain caused by fire is not' a copy of the fire, but who will maintain that the appearance produced upon our eyes by fire is the real appearance of the fire, independently of human vision. “Yet if all sentient beings were at once swept from the face of the earth, the fire would have no attribute at all resembling pain; because pain is a modification, not of fire, but of a sentient being. In like manner, if all sentient beings were at once swept from the face of the earth, the fire would have no attributes at all resembling light and colour ; because light and colour are modifications of the sentient being, caused by something external, but no more resembling its cause than the pain inflicted by an instrument resembles that instrument.' 1

* Lewes, Hist. of Philosophy, p. 218.
3 Ibid. p. 288.

2 Vol. i. p. 221.
4 Ibid. pp. 367-372.

The radical error of those who think that we perceive things as they are, consists in adopting a metaphor as a fact, and believing that perception resembles a mirror, in which certain objects reflect themselves. Perception is no more than a condition of the subject perceiving, that is to say, a state of consciousness which may be caused by external objects, but which it does not in any way resemble. Then all that we can do is to endeavour to identify certain external appearances with certain internal changes, to identify the phenomenon which we call fire with certain sensations which are produced when we approach it. The world

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considered independently of consciousness, the world in itself, is in all probability very different from the world as we know it. ' Light, colour, sound, taste, smell, are all states of consciousness; what they are beyond consciousness, as existences per se, we cannot know, we cannot imagine, because we can only conceive them as we know them. Light, with its myriad forms and colours-Sound, with its thousand-fold life—are the investitures with which we clothe the world. Nature, in her insentient solitude, is an eternal darkness—an eternal silence.' 1

Perception is then an effect, and its truth is a truth not of resemblance, but of relation. It cannot make us know what things are, but what they are in relation to us.


Although the Middle Ages extend over nearly a thousand years, we must, as Hegel says, put on seven-league boots to traverse them.' 2 Thus says Mr. Lewes, and he keeps his word. We shall be perhaps astonished to find that St. Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Telesio, and Vanini are not named; but if we remember that the aim of the author is, above all, critical and dogmatic, we shall be less surprised at it. He is in haste to reach the moderns.

Of the two founders of modern philosophy, Descartes is the best handled. Bacon 3 was above all an initiator, and he had the merit of crying aloud, of being the herald of a new era, of giving to scientific research the dignity and the hope of a brilliant future. But while insisting upon the importance of the experimental method, he has totally deceived himself upon the process to be followed, and Harvey was not altogether unjust when he said of him, he talks of science like a Lord Chancellor.'

Dugald Stewart was right in saying that Descartes is the father of experimental psychology; and Condorcet in maintaining that he has done more than Galileo or Bacon for the experimental method, exaggerated a little, but not without foundation. Cartesianism is summed up in two things : consciousness is the sole foundation of certitude; mathematics is the sole method of certitude. Bacon had said nothing of the deductive method : Descartes supplies this deficiency. But the deductive method, excellent in itself, must proceed objectively, and in that Descartes is often wanting. Whilst his reaction against the scholastic philosophy leads him to the objective point of view in cosmology, his psychological studies bring him back to the subjective point of view; he believes that reason can solve theological and metaphysical problems. To found the deductive method upon the basis of consciousness—such was his object. No thinker save Spinoza has so clearly established his criterion. But this criterion is deceptive. Consciousness is the last foundation of certitude : yes, for me. But what certitude does it give me for all which is not me. Consciousness is restricted, confined to self and to what passes in self; all the ideas which we have upon the non-ego can be founded only upon inferences. I burn myself. I have consciousness of a sensation, I have a certain and immediate knowledge of it. But when from the change produced I infer the existence of something which is not me, consciousness itself guarantees me nothing, and my whole knowledge of the object is mediate and uncertain. Consequently, as soon as we abandon consciousness for inference doubt becomes possible.

1 Vol. i. p. 371.
3 Vol. ii. pp. 119, 120, 126.

2 Vol. ii. p. 2.
4 Ibid. p. 145.

We must resolutely but regretfully sacrifice everything in the history of modern philosophy which is apart from our subject, and only show how Mr. Lewes traces and comprehends the process of psychology.2

It is Hobbes, he says,3 and not Locke, who is the precursor of that psychology of the eighteenth century which resulted in the celebrated formula, 'to think is to feel. We must also

1 Vol. ii. p. 155.

2 The author is familiar with the most recent works published in France upon the History of Philosophy, whether general histories or monographs. He treats Spinoza at length : it is to be regretted that the essay on Leibnitz is so brief, and that there is nothing about Malebranche.

s P. 229.

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