Page images

his place, and scarce any ventured beyond a bare analysis of ideas. But this order of things could not last long. A nation so acute and so profound, could not fail to bring their principles to the test, both by carrying them out to their remote consequences, and by considering them in their connexion with other sciences. The old school of their native philosophers had left its traces too deeply impressed on all the greatest productions of their literature, to admit of their long forgetting a method so just, and principles so comprehensive and so sublime. As early as 1803, the theories of the schools of Locke and of Kant were attacked by Tamburini, so far as they relate to the fundamental doctrines of moral philosophy ; and, in a work published in 1823, the same author has touched with rare judgment upon the great question of the possible perfection of the human race, which is so warmly agitated at this moment.

But the full revival of philosophical studies in Italy dates from 1815, and received its first impulse, though not its doctrines, from abroad, and more particularly from the efforts made in France to overthrow the school of Condillac. From that period, its progress has been constant and rapid, and it already counts numerous productions of a very high order, and which, while belonging to different schools, have too many of the characteristic attributes of the Italian mind about them, to be confounded with those of any other people. We hardly need observe, to those who are at all conversant with philosophical disquisition, that it will be impossible to compress within the limits of a few pages, even a succinct analysis of the principles of these different schools. The utmost that we can offer will be a sort of bibliographical catalogue of the principal leaders, with here and there a basty sketch of their doctrines. A somewhat clearer idea may be given by following the classification of Poli, whose admirable work we are happy to cite as giving authenticity to this difficult portion of our subject.*

The first class is that of positive and negative eclectics, or empirical rationalists ; to which belong Tamburini, Galuppi, Poli, and many others, who, however much they may differ in the details of their systems, agree in the fundamental principles of eclecticism. The most distinguished writer of the school is the Baron Pasquale Galuppi, a native of Tropea, in Calabria, now professor in the Royal University of Naples. The works of Galuppi are numerous and extensive, but all written with one view, the discussion of the most important questions of philosophy. His first publication was the “* Saggio filosofico sulla Critica della Conoscenza,” in which he has entered into a full examination of the two fundamental questions of philosophy; the possibility and the nature of our knowledge. In reply to the first query, he demonstrates the possibility of our knowledge, confuting at length the sophistry of the skeptical school, and proving that this knowledge is acquired by means of the intellectual faculties, which are the source of our ideas, and that the mind arrives at the truth, when it assents to or denies any thing by force of a deciding motive.

* Baldassare Poli, Supplementi al Manuale di Tenneman.

He gives a full analysis of the intellectual phenomena, deducing from it as a general result the reality of our knowledge, and the consequent falseness of skepticism. Having established this point, he goes on to show how we pass, in the acquisition of knowledge, from the world of thought to that of positive existence. As a connecting point between them he admits the existence of universal ideas, neither purely empirical nor to be deduced from the principles à priori of Kant, but from the subjectiveness of the mind, and as classed among its original laws; how we form, by means of these, analytical judgments or principles, without the necessity of calling in the aid of innate ideas ; and in opposition to the theory of synthetical judgments à priori of Kant; and how they may all be reduced to two orders of knowledge or of truth; the one of existence, the other of reason. The first class presupposes the application of rational truths to the data of experience ; the second serves as a basis for truths acquired by induction. He thus differs, both from the empirical school, which entirely separates reason from existence; and from the ideal, which draws a dividing line between the ideal and the sensible. He shows, that, though all our judgments are identical, they serve to enlarge the sphere of our knowledge ; that by the application of the principle of causality to an existence which is purely experimental, we obtain the knowledge of others that are real; that there are two species of sensibility; the one internal, perceptive of the ego and its modifications ; the other external and perceptive of external objects ; whence to say, “ I feel, but do not feel any thing,” is an evident contradiction.

In the second part, he attempts to define the limits of human knowledge ; showing that we are ignorant of the essence of things ; that we can never know how efficient causes act; can never know the nature of the Divinity ; nor how beings produce in themselves or in others certain given modifications.

The “ Elements of Philosophy ” contain the same principles, though differently expressed. They are divided into Logic, Psychology, Ideology, Ethics, and Natural Theology. In his “ Logic” he first shows, that every process of reasoning is composed of judgments ; that these are either empirical or metaphysical ; the first, requiring an exact examination of particular cases ; the second, based upon a comparison of our own ideas. Hence a division of reasoning into pure, empirical, or mixed ; empirical reasoning being reducible to the last head; and, consequently, a division of logic, the science of reasoning, into pure, or the logic of ideas, and mixed, or the logic of facts. But, as the second of these requires a previous study of the manner in which the mind acquires its knowledge of facts, or in other words, passes from the world of thought to the world of existence, it can only be treated after metaphysics, the science in which the mode and the nature of that passage is explained ; the first, being confined to a simple comparison of pure ideas, may be studied without the aid of metaphysics. He then passes to some further observations upon the nature of reasoning ; explains axioms; shows that they are all founded upon the principle of contradiction ; refutes the synthesis à priori of Kant; treats of definitions, and gives the genesis of universals. He next enters into a full analysis of the process of reasoning; and, after proving that it always consists of three judgments, and is subject to one general law, requiring that there be one idea in common to the premises and to the conclusion, and a judgment affirming the identity, either partial or perfect, of the other two ideas, he shows how a process of reasoning is instructive ; Ist, inasmuch as it serves to arrange and classify our knowledge; 2dly, as it leads to some kinds of knowledge which could not be acquired without it; and 3dly, that, although it be founded upon the principle of identity, it becomes a source of knowledge, by leading to the discovery of those relations between our ideas, which could not be ascertained except through the medium of such a process. The last three chapters are devoted to an explanation of the different forms of reasoning, and to a luminous discussion of method.

lectual powers.

Logic, as he has treated it, becomes a stepping-stone to psychology, in which he developes at length his system of the faculties of the mind. These are sensibility, consciousness, imagination, analysis, synthesis, desire, and will. The first three supply the subjects of thought ; analysis and synthesis are the faculties by means of which the mind acts upon these subjects; will stimulated by desire serves as the guide and director of this action. Each branch of these subjects is treated with great clearness and detail ; and the whole is interspersed with important practical observations upon attention, the association of ideas, the different forms of synthesis, memory, and the acquired habits of the mind. In the chapter upon sleep and dreaming he proves, in opposition to Stewart, that the exercise of the will is suspended during sleep. He adds, also, some interesting remarks upon dreams and somnambulism. In the last chapter he subjects to a rigorous examination the doctrines of Condillac upon the intel

From psychology he passes to ideology, or the doctrine of the origin and generation of our ideas, analyzes the ideas of mind, of body, of unity, of number, of a whole, of identity, of diversity, of substance, of accident, of cause, of effect, of time, of space, of the universe, and of God; he points out some leading errors in the current systems of ontology, and, in an admirable chapter upon the influence of words in the formation of our ideas, establishes the principles of general grammar.

In the fourth part of his course he treats of mixed logic, showing first the reality of our knowledge ; explaining at length the nature of mixed reasoning; and solving the principal questions connected with it. He distinguishes primitive from secondary experience, and points out the foundation of moral certainty, taking occasion, at the same time, to treat some of the most interesting questions of the philosophy of signs. He discourses with great fulness and distinctness upon the origin of error ; and, after treating of the doctrines of probabilities and hypotheses, explains and discusses the system of Kant. A treatise upon moral philosophy, and one on natural theology, in which he demonstrates the truth of Christianity, conclude the course ; the whole of which is written with clearness, warmth, and unaffected simplicity. Besides a full statement and discussion of his own principles, he has interwoven admirable sketches of the doctrines of other philosophers, thus treating all the questions of philosophy upon the broadest scale. * The “ Lettere Filosofiche” display a profound knowledge of the writings of the great philosophers of modern times. The work is perhaps, as far as it goes, the most perfect specimen of philosophical history ever written.

Of the other writers of this class we have not space to speak in detail. The most distinguished is probably Baldassare Poli, who, besides various other important productions, has added a supplement to the manual of Tenneman, in which he has filled, with singular profundity of research, and clearness of exposition, the numerous lacunes of the German historian.

In passing to the school of empirics, our sketch necessarily becomes more hasty and general.

Giandomenico Romagnosi, who held during a long life the first rank among the thinkers of Italy, and left behind him a school of enthusiastic disciples, was born in the village of Salso Maggiore, on the night of the 13th of December, 1761. His father, having himself filled with brilliant success several important public situations, resolved to prepare him from his childhood for the same career. Accordingly, as soon as he was judged capable of entering upon the usual routine of the schools, he was put to his Latin grammar, and, that he might accustom himself betimes to close application, made to study eight hours a day. The highest praise that can be given to the natural vigor of his intellect may be drawn from this circumstance ; for neither his mind nor his spirits were broken by this harsh initiation into the mysteries of science. At the age of fourteen, he was admitted to the Alberoni college of Piacenza, where a fortunate casualty threw in his way a work, that seemed to give an instantaneous developement to all his intellectual faculties, and cide at once his whole future career. This was the analytical essay of Bonnet upon the faculties of the mind. Romagnosi devoted himself to the study of this volume with all the fervor of youthful enthusiasm. A new world seemed to have opened upon him. He read and he meditated. He compared the observations of his author with the suggestions of his own experience ; he studied, in short, as the young student studies, when he meets,

* It may be necessary to observe, that we have employed, in preparing this hasty analysis, the last edition of the elements; which differs from all others in several particulars, the most important of which is the addition of the treatise of Natural Religion.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »