Page images
PDF
EPUB

COPYRIGHT, 1895,

BY GEORGE SUMMEY, MANAGING EDITor.

PRINTERS,
WHITTET & SHEPPERSON,

RICHMOND, VA.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

I Do not care to prefix a rubric of titles of idealistic anthors to this criticism, as could be very easily done after the pretentions and pedantic fashion of some review writers. I could cite quite a list, beginning with Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, down to Herbert Spencer, Kuno Fischer, of Heidelberg, and Paul Deussen, of Kiel, and could profess to give outlines of their several phases of Monism from histories of philosophy. But my object is to instruct students who are guided by common sense and their Bibles in the central doctrines of this pretended philosophy which are common to all its phases, and to expose their common errors. No two idealists are consistent with each other, nor even with themselves; hence the attempt to particularize their different schemes would be tedious and hopeless, and would disappoint my practical aim.

Idealism is, in plain terms, that doctrine which tells us that the whole universe, including ourselves, consists of ideas only, and contains no other perdurable substantive beings, material or spiritual, distinguishable from mere trains of ideas or actions. Monism is the doctrine which insists that there is no distinction of mind and matter, that both are one and that there is no true philosophy until all things are traced to one single principle of being. The monism of idealists is, that the universe exists for me only as my representation in thought. Thought and real being are identical. To think a thing is to give it existence, the only kind of existence which anything has. There is not, and cannot be, any creation ex nihilo, even if there were an almighty

God to attempt it. The absolute, eternal, first cause is not an infinite personal Spirit, but an infinite, impersonal, universal Consciousness, the Absolute Ego. It produces the worlds with all things in them, physical and mental, including me and my readers, simply by thinking them; and all of us have no other substance or being than this continuous producing thought in this absolute consciousness. So we, deceptively thinking ourselves individual minds, produce all the objective things which we know by perception merely by thinking them; and their objective natures, even when most hostile to our own wills, are really the unconscious self-limitations of our own thought. When a tree, a horse, a crag, presents itself to our eyes, a wall to our impact, a thunderclap to our ears, these visual, tactual and acoustic perceptions are nothing but the subjective affections of our limited ego, somehow self-produced, and they give us no evidence whatever that tree, or horse, or wall, or thunder clouds have any substantive reality, nor do they authorize us to believe that we, who do the seeing, touching and hearing, are substantive beings. For they say consciousness authorizes us to know nothing but that of which we are immediately conscious, i. e., the subjective affections. So that I am not authorized to believe there is any real substantive tree external to me, nor any substantive spirit underlying these subjective affections within me. My ontology, as to myself, is absolutely limited to this: I am merely a series of mental modifications, a non-substantive consciousness.

The pions Bishop Berkeley, indeed, does not go so far in his idealism. After proving, as he thinks, that our perceptions evidence no objective realities causing them, he returns a little towards common sense. Unquestionably we have these impressions in consciousness; whence do they come? We answer, God directly produces them in our spirits. Thus God, not an outward substantive universe, is sole source and cause of all cognitions. And he claims that this is the best way to reestablish our belief in God and our own spirits; that this way brings God nearest to us in faith and piety. This phase of idealism, whose religiousness entirely fails to redeem its absurdity, we now dismiss; it is too religious to have any followers in our day, among the Ger

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »