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Is Philosophy possible as a science, and what are its conditions ?-Giordano

Bruno-Literary Aristocracy, or the existence of a tacit compact among the learned as a privileged order—The Author's obligations to the Mystics——to Immanuel Kant-The difference between the letter and the spirit of Kant's writings, and a vindication of prudence in the teaching of Philosophy-Fichte's attempt to complete the Critical system--Its partial success and ultimate failure-Obligations to Schelling; and among English writers to Saumarez.

AFTER I had successively studied in the schools of Locke, Berkeley, Leibnitz, and Hartley, and could find in none of them an abiding place for my reason, I began to ask myself; is a system of philosophy, as different from mere history and historic classification, possible? If possible, what are its necessary condi. tions? I was for a while disposed to answer the first question in the negative, and to admit that the sole practicable employment for the human mind was to observe, to collect, and to classify. But I soon felt, that human nature itself fought up against this wilful resignation of intellect; and as soon did I find, that the scheme, taken with all its consequences and cleared of all inconsistencies, was not less impracticable than contranatural. Assume in its full extent the position, nihil in intellectil quod non prius in sensu, assume it without Leibnitz's qualifying præter ipsum intellectum,' and in the same sense, in which the position was understood by Hartley and Condillac: and then what Hume

1 [“ On m'opposera cet axiome, reçû parmi les Philosophes : que rien n'est dans l'âme qui ne vienne des sens. Mais il faut excepter l'âme même et ses affections. Nihil est in intellectu, quod non fuerit in sensu, excipe : nisi ipse intellectus. Or l'âme renferme l'être, la substance, l'un, le même, la cause, la perception, le raisonnement, et quantité d'autres notions que les sens ne sauroient donner. Cela s'accorde assez avec votre Auteur de l'essai, qui cherche une bonne partie des Idées dans la réflexion de l'esprit sur sa propre nature.” Nouveaux Essais sur lEntendement Humain, liv. ii, c. 1, Erdmann, p. 223. Leibnitz refutes Locke, as com.

had demonstratively deduced from this concession concerning cause and effect, will apply with equal and crushing force to all the other eleven categorical forms, and the logical functions corresponding to them. How can we make bricks without straw ;or build without cement? We learn all things indeed by occasion of experience; but the very facts so learned force us inward on the antecedents, that must be pre-supposed in order to render experience itself possible. The first book of Locke's Essay (if the supposed error, which it labors to subvert, be not a mere thing of straw, an absurdity which no man ever did, or indeed ever could, believe), is formed on a obblona {reposhthoews,' and involves the old mistake of Cum hoc : ergo, propter hoc.

The term, Philosophy, defines itself as an affectionate seeking after the truth ; but Truth is the correlative of Being. This again is no way conceivable, but by assuming as a postulate, that both are ab initio, identical and co-inherent; that intelligence and monly understood, on his own showing, and he maintained that if ideas come to us only by sensation or reflection, this is to be understood of their actual perception, but that they are in us before they are perceived. See also his Réflexions sur lEssai de Locke-Art. xli., and Meditationes de cognitione, veritate, et ideis, Art. ix. of Erdmann's edition of his works. S. C.)

2 Videlicet ; Quantity, Quality, Relation and Mode, each consisting of three subdivisions. See Kritik der reinen Vernunft.* See too the judicious remarks on Locke and Hume.t

3 [See Maasz, ubi supra, p. 366. Ed.]
* Pp. 104 and 110-11, vol. ii. Works. Leipzig, 1838, Ed.)

+ [Ib., pp. 125-6. “The celebrated Locke, from want of this consideration, and because he met with pure conceptions of the understanding in experience, has also derived them from experience, and moreover he proceeded so inconsequently, that he ventured therewith upon attempts at cognitions, which far transcend all limits of experience. acknowledged that, in order to the last, these conceptions must necessarily have their origin à priori. But, as he could not explain how it is that the understanding should think conceptions, not in themselves united in the understanding, yet as necessarily united in the object,-and not hitting upon this, that probably the understanding by means of these (à priori) conceptions was itself the author of the experience, wherein its objects are found-he was forced to derive these conceptions from experience, that is to say, from subjective necessity arising from frequent association in experience, erroneously considered to be objective: -I mean from habit: although afterwards he acted very consistently in declaring it to be impossible with these conceptions and the principles to which they give birth to transcend the limits of experience. However, the empirical derivation, on which both Locke and Hume fell, is not reconcilable with the reality of those scientific cognitions à priori which we possess, namely, pure Mathematics and General Physics, and is therefore refuted by the fact." Ed. See also the whole section entitled, Uebergang zur transscendentalen Deduction der Kategorien, pp. 123-6, S.C.I

being are reciprocally each other's substrate. I presumed that this was a possible conception (i. e. that it involved no logical inconsonance), from the length of time during which the scholastic definition of the Supreme Being, as actus purissimus sine ulla potentialitate, was received in the schools of Theology, both by the Pontifican and the Reformed divines. The early study of Plato and Plotinus, with the commentaries and the THEOLOGIA PLATONICA of the illustrious Florentine ;4 of Proclus, and Gemistius Pletho ;' and at a later period of the De Immenso et Innumerabili, and the “ De la causa, principio et uno," of the philosopher of Nola, who could boast of a Sir Philip Sidney and Fulke Greville among his patrons, and whom the idolaters of Rome burnt as an atheist in the year 1600; had all contributed to prepare my mind for the reception and welcoming of the Cogito quia Sum, et Sum quia Cogito ; a philosophy of seeming hardihood, but certainly the most ancient, and therefore presumptively the most natural.

Why need I be afraid ? Say rather how dare I be ashamed of the Teutonic theosophist, Jacob Behmen ?8 Many, indeed,

4 [Marsilii Ficini Theologia Platonica, seu de immortalitate animorum ac æterna felicitate. Ficinus was born at Florence, 1433, and died in 1499. Ed.]

5 [Proclus was born at Constantinople in 412 and died in 485. Ed.]

6 [G. Gemistius Pletho, a Constantinopolitan. He came to Florence in 1438. De Platonicæ atque Aristotelicæ philosophiæ differentia. Ed.]

7 [De Innumerabilibus, Immenso et Infigurabili, seu de Universo et Mundis, lib. viii. S. C.)

T. Giordano Bruno was burnt at Rome on the 17th of February, 1599-1600. See Note in the Friend, I., p. 154, 3d edit., for some account of the titles of his works. He particularly mentions Sidney in that curious work La Cena de le Ceneri. Ed.]

8 [Boehm was born at Goerlitz in Upper Lusatia in 1575. The elements of his theology may be collected from his Aurora, and his treatise “ On the Three Principles of the Divine Essence.” A little book about mystic writers, Theologiæ Mysticæ Idea Generalior, mentions that the son of Gr. Richter, the minister of Goerlitz, who wrote and preached against Boehm, and silenced him for seven years by procuring an order against him from the senate of the city, after the decease of both the persecutor and the persecuted, undertook to answer, for the honor of his father's memory, an effective reply of the theosophist to a violeut publication against his doctrine from the pen of his pastor. But that, contrary to all and gross were his delusions; and such as furnish frequent and ample occasion for the triumph of the learned over the poor ignorant shoemaker, who had dared think for himself. But while we remember that these delusions were such as might be anticipated from his utter want of all intellectual discipline, and from his ignorance of rational psychology, let it not be forgotten that the latter defect he had in common with the most learned theologians of his age. Neither with books nor with book-learned men was he conversant. A meek and shy quietist, his intellectual powers were never stimulated into feverous energy by crowds of proselytes, or by the ambition of proselyting. Jacob Behmen was an enthusiast, in the strictest sense, as not merely distinguished, but as contra-distinguished, from a fanatic. While I in part translate the following observations from a contemporary writer of the Continent, let me be permitted to premise, that I might have transcribed the substance from memoranda of my own, which were written many years before his pamphlet was given to the world ; and that I prefer another's words to my own, partly as a tribute due to priority of publication ; but still more from the pleasure of sympathy in a case where coincidence only was possible.


expectation, on reading and considering the books of our author, he not only abandoned his intention, but was constrained by conscience to take up his pen on his side, against his own father. Boehm was a Lutheran, and died in the communion of that church, in 1624. His most famous English follower was John Pordage, a physician, born in 1625, who tried to reduce his theosophy to a system, declaring himself to have recognised the truth of it by revelations made to himself. He published several works in favor of Behmen's opinions, which were read in Germany, and are said to have become the standard books of all enthusiasts. S. C.]

9 [By “the following observations” Mr. Coleridge meant those contained in the two next paragraphs, as far as the words “ William Law," part of which are freely translated from pages 154-56 of Schelling's Darlegung des wahren Verhältnisses der Natur-philosophie zu der verbesserten Fichte'schen Lehre, Tübingen, 1806.

The whole of the first paragraph is thus taken from Schelling, except the last sentence but one, and the third clause of the fourth.

For parts at the beginning and at the end of the second he was indebted to the following sentences of the Darlegung, pp. 155–6.

“ So now too may Herr Fichte speak of these enthusiasts with the most heartfelt scholar's pride, although it is not easy to see why he exalts him

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