- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 979MB
"Certainly, captain; as a matter of fact we are of the same race."
It has been shown how universal space and universal thought at once contain and explain each particular space and each particular concept. In like manner, the infinite substance contains and explains space and thought themselves. Contains them, yes, as attributes; but explains them, how? As two among an infinity of attributes. In other words, if we ask why there should be such an existence as space, the answer is because existence, being infinite, must necessarily include every conceivable thing. The argument is strikingly like a principle of the Epicurean philosophy, and may well have been suggested by it. According to Lucretius, the appearance of design in our world need not be attributed to creative intelligence, because infinite atoms moving in infinite manners through infinite time, must at length arrive, after a comprehensive series of experiments, at the present frame of things;562 and the same principle is invoked on a smaller scale to account for the origin of organised beings, of memory, and of civil society.563 In both systems, infinite space is the root-conception; but what Lucretius had legitimately used to explain becoming, Spinoza illegitimately applies to the elucidation of being. At one stroke all empirical knowledge is placed on an priori foundation. By assuming unlimited credit at the bank of the universe we entitle ourselves to draw a cheque for any particular amount. Thus the idea of infinite attributes is no mere collateral speculation, but forms an407 essential element of Spinozism. The known varieties of existence are, so to speak, surrounded, supported, and fixed in their places by the endless multitude of the unknown. And this conception of being as absolutely infinite, is another proof of Spinozas Platonic tendencies, for it involves the realisation of an abstract idea, that is to say, of Being, which the philosopher treats as something more comprehensive than the facts of consciousness whence it is derived.
The chase was ended.
Two passages in Aristotles writings have been supposed to give evidence of his admiration for Alexander. One is the description of the magnanimous man in the Ethics. The other is a reference in the Politics to an ideal hero, whose virtue raises him so high above the common run of mortals that their duty is to obey him as if he were a god. But the magnanimous man embodies a grave and stately type of character quite unlike the chivalrous, impulsive theatrical nature of Alexander,177 while probably not unfrequent among real Hellenes; and the god-like statesman of the Politics is spoken of rather as an unattainable ideal than as a contemporary fact. On the whole, then, we must conclude that the intercourse between these two extraordinary spirits has left no distinct trace on the actions of the one or on the thoughts of the other.
It is an often-quoted observation of Friedrich Schlegels that every man is born either a Platonist or an Aristotelian. If we narrow the remark to the only class which, perhaps, its author recognised as human beings, namely, all thinking men, it will be found to contain a certain amount of truth, though probably not what Schlegel intended; at any rate something requiring to be supplemented by other truths before its full meaning can be understood. The common opinion seems to be that Plato was a transcendentalist, while Aristotle was an experientialist; and that this constitutes the most typical distinction between them. It would, however, be a mistake to292 suppose that the priori and posteriori methods were marked off with such definiteness in Platos time as to render possible a choice between them. The opposition was not between general propositions and particular facts, but between the most comprehensive and the most limited notions. It was as if the question were now to be raised whether we should begin to teach physiology by at once dividing the organic from the inorganic world, or by directing the learners attention to some one vital act. Now, we are expressly told that Plato hesitated between these two methods; and in his Dialogues, at least, we find the easier and more popular one employed by preference. It is true that he often appeals to wide principles which do not rest on an adequate basis of experimental evidence; but Aristotle does so also, more frequently even, and, as the event proved, with more fatal injury to the advance of knowledge. In his Rhetoric he even goes beyond Plato, constructing the entire art from the general principles of dialectics, psychology, and ethics, without any reference, except for the sake of illustration, to existing models of eloquence.