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recantation of former errors and heresies, and a renunciation of the Absolute Thought and all its thoughts.
But though the past ten years have brought to Professor Royce some remarkable revelations in respect to the conception of God, he is not quite right yet on the immortality of the soul. His theory of the future life is the common Hegelian notion, that the human soul is immortal in the same sense as the extinct antediluvian animals; these animals are alive now, and always will be, as timeless divine thoughts. It will be an affliction to Dr. George A. Gordon and other Congregational brethren who have been planning to win over the Unitarians to our fellowship, to be told by the literary spokesman of the Harvard philosophical faculty that modern thought has given up the immortality of the soul. It is especially trying to be informed, in the same connection, that eternal punishment is as defensible as eternal bliss (p. 325); for the Gordon party has shown a willingness to surrender the former in the interest of harmony. It happens, unfortunately, that Dr. Gordon has been especially prominent in emphasizing and demonstrating a future existence; but who would cavil if he should decide to beg pardon, and abandon the doctrinal trifle of the immortality of the soul in furtherance of the great cause of Christian unity?
Royce's course in relation to religious problems is essentially similar to that of Herbert Spencer. We have in each case a young man with some knowledge of current science and philosopliy, but with no thorough or sympathetic knowledge of Christian theology,-regarding theology as a compound of imbecility and superstition. But having the pen of a ready writer and a head quick in jumping at conclusions, the young man discovers an easy opportunity to make a stir in the world by knocking out the foundation of the prevalent religious system. The result in the two cases is practically the same, though Royce sets out with the definite purpose to refute such agnosticism as that of Spencer. With Spencer we have the Unknowable,-which is yet Power, Cause, etc.; with Royce we have the Absolute Thought, which is not Cause or Power. These first principles seem diametrically different, but a moment's reflection shows that they are similar in being absolutely incomprehensible, mysterious, and absurd to human thought. For that which is a Power and Cause is not Unknowable, and Thought, if it can be called such as being like human thought, must be a Power and Cause,—for human thought is always controlled by will. Spencer and Royce are at one in attacking the central Christian principle of the personality of God; and as they are driven by criticism and more mature reflection to modify their views, in the long years of repentance for having hastily given to the world these youthful "reconciliations," both draw nearer and nearer to the standpoint of Christian theism. The preachers and the theologians clamor for a reconciliation of the earlier and later views; but the wise man wraps 1 See my work, The Development of Modern Religious Thought, p. 208.
himself in the cloak of philosophic superiority, and deigns no reply to the cavilings of bigotry and superstition. But at length Frederic Harrison, undoubtedly one of the Aufgeklärte, takes up the cudgels, and, miserabile dictu, Mr. Spencer is unable to reconcile the "reconciliation " with religion, with science, or with his own later position. We hope some Frederic Harrison may soon appear, to get some such clear statement from Professor Royce; for it seems a pity that in our busy age the students of California University should waste their time on the dialectical intricacies of "The Religious Aspect" if its author has abandoned the position he there maintains. The theism of "The Religious Aspect" and that of "The Conception of God" are absolutely irreconcilable, and between the two we would recommend the latter to students who have grown too clever to attend Sunday-school; for it contains the main groundwork of the Christian doctrine of God.
We may add, as a corollary to this last paragraph, that it would be greatly to the advantage of philosophy if it were made a requirement for all philosophical degrees that the student should have taken a course of lectures in theology in some respectable divinity school.
The work we have examined suggests a question as to the sort of religion that is being taught in the philosophical departments of our universities. The extraordinary prevalence of the Hegelian type of thought in our current literature, poetry, and theology, is one of the striking phenonrena of our time. The professors in our leading American universities are largely Hegelian. This may not surprise us in respect to state universities, and such institutions as Harvard, where the pursuit of new truth is so eager that the adjective is often mistaken for the noun; but it does seem surprising that this type of philosophical theory should dominate our orthodox Christian schools. At a Sunday-school convention not long since, I heard an impressive story of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, who is so interested in Sunday-school work, that on one occasio 1 he left his office during business hours, and went to a distant part of the city, to look up a young man who had grown remiss in Sunday-school attendance. Mr. Rockefeller has founded a great university, and has gathered some thousands of boys and girls to study such choice bits of Baptist doctrine as the following: "Our orthodox theology on the one side, and our common-place materialism on the other side, vanish like ghosts before the daylight of free skeptical inquiry. Neither can survive in the mind which has thought sincerely on first principles." This is from the Introduction of a work which is lauded as one of the latest and best contributions to the Hegelian theory of knowledge, and which is studied as a text-book in Chicago University. It is commonly said, in explanation or defense, that the philosophical faculty are to teach philosophy, not 1 See Professor Howison's Introduction, p. xxix.
2 Bradley's Appearance and Reality, p. 5.]
theology; the students get the latter in the theological department. One who has never been in a university can imagine, and one who has been in such an institution knows, that the bright and ambitious students get their fundamental religious theory not from the "fossilized" professors of theology, but from the supposedly brilliant and up-to-date men of the philosophical faculty. The inconsistency of sustaining an un-Christian or anti-Christian influence in the philosophical department of a school founded in the interest of orthodox Christianity, is so colossal that it would seem ludicrous, were not the consequences so serious and so dangerous. E. S. CARR.
STILLMAN VALLEY, ILL.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF KNOWLEDGE.1
A SPURIOUS Science has never ceased to throw down the challenge to those who believe more than it is possible to prove by the senses, to make good their position. Such science proudly boasts that it will accept nothing that will not submit to the tests of the laboratory or the measuringline of mathematics. This boast has been made so often, and with such a parade of audacious hypotheses, that those who make it have deceived themselves into a belief of its legitimacy, and imposed upon weak followers who have neither the ability nor the patience to sift the arguments by which it is sustained.
Professor Ladd in his new book "The Philosophy of Knowledge" calmly accepts the challenge, and boldly "carries the war into Africa." He meets materialists and agnostics on their own ground. With remarkable fairness, which argues supreme confidence in his own position, he admits all the data of physical science; states its fundamental laws with more force than Büchner or Lamarck, and then builds up his own theory of metaphysics from such axiomatic principles as must be assumed alike in every department of inquiry if we would build up any system of reasoned knowledge. One marked trait of Professor Ladd, which may be seen in all his books, but is especially manifest in this, is, that he is not afraid of the truth. And justly. For what is true can never contradict itself, no matter in what province of thought it may be employed. Hence if any dogma can be proved to be false, however widely disseminated, there is but one duty left to him who discovers its falsity; that is, to abandon it himself, and to expose it to public reprobation. Some persons seem always afraid for the ark of God; and well they might, if they considered only the character of the oxen who drew it. But if the truths which lie hidden there are those according to which the world was created and is governed, then, while it makes no difference to those truths how we are affected toward them, yet it is of the utmost consequence The Philosophy of Knowledge. By George Trumbull Ladd. Pp. 609. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1897. $4.00.
whether we accept them and work them into the texture of our thought and action.
This book of Professor Ladd's is the most distinctly metaphysical of any that has seen the light in our country. It is a difficult book to read. The style is not always clear and flowing. There are many infelicities. of diction marring the beauty of the thought, which is always vigorous and directed to a definite purpose. In reading this work the thought will obtrude itself: Is speculative philosophy necessarily wedded to an obscure style? Cannot the principles which underlie alike all philosophical as well as physical investigation be expressed in such a way that he who runs may read? The examples of all modern German philosophers, except Schopenhauer, and of the English Hegelians, represented by Bosanquet and Bradley, would lead us to surmise that there is some hopeless antagonism between philosophical speculation and clear expression. We do not believe this to be necessary. For the two Greek philosophers who have led all the world since their day can always be understood without effort. Plato's language was doubtless the most perfect that ever was attained by any writer; and Aristotle's, making allowance for the defective state of his manuscript when edited by Andronikos, is clearness itself compared with Kant or Hegel. But though the shell of the nut in this book is hard to break, and in some places even forbidding, yet it will in every case repay perseverance, and yield its treasures to those who have ears to hear. For they are pwvâvra ovverołσl.
The method of this book is the reductio ad absurdum. This is doubtless the most effective way of dealing with agnostics. For these, under the pretense of special fairness, show that their objections against the position of those who believe something and do so because it is necessary to their rational existence, arise not so much from doubt of the truths maintained as hatred of them, and a determination not to believe, no matter what proof is offered. The author shows in almost every page of the book that those who throw doubt on religion or speculative philosophy admit every principle, while browsing in their chosen field of materialism, that the advocates of a transcendental faith and philosophy demand as a basis for their own doctrines. One example must suffice: "Modern empirical science . . goes on heaping up its tremendous demands upon faith to the verge of a most irrational credulity; and postulating its own grounds in a speculative scheme of entities whose very nature is fast reaching the utmost stretch of imagination this side the grotesque and absurd. Who would not undertake to remain within the limits of experience, and believe in angels rather than in ether; in God rather than in atoms; and in the history of his kingdom as a divine selfrevelation rather than the physicist's or biologist's purely mechanical evolution?" (P. 332.) This power of sarcasm is of that kind which is most effective. He gives the bare facts in which the inconsistencies of materialism are disclosed; sometimes in such a serious way that we might be deceived into believing that he had been converted by their arguBut a touch of sly humor awakens us to a realization that the
author thinks the most effective satire is to let a fool speak out all his heart.
There is a constant appeal to the principles which underlie all reasoning; and the whole purpose of the book seems to be to show that all the sciences are mutually helpful; that they are parts of spiritual culture, and no one of them has the prerogative of prior occupation in the domain of reason. Such a treatise is much needed as a corrective against the materialistic tendency of the day. This takes for granted that what we call the exact sciences have a unique basis of proof: one which gives them a certitude which can be hoped for in no other field of thought. But the searching analysis of Epistemology which the author keeps constantly before him as his task, shows that the sciences of observation or of pure mathematics must take for granted both the trustworthiness of the information gained through the senses, and the laws of nature which the mind by its own proper processes constructs from them. Hence, in order for any physical science to be possible, both sources of knowledge must be relied on with unshaken faith. For if the elements which the senses furnish as the materials for the structure are not real; if they cannot be accepted in themselves as being a counterpart of external nature, then the structure of classified knowledge is only an illusion, a castle in the air. The inner and the outer worlds must necessarily be coordinate, else we never can by observation come en rapport with external reality. And if the mental processes are false it follows that no matter how true the information conveyed by the senses may be, the deductions of science have no validity, and the possibility of knowledge of any sort is excluded. Hence successive impressions have no basis; for each in itself being only phenomenal, may have no corresponding reality; and the processes of the mind in dealing with what is not purely empirical being unreliable, the human reason is far worse off than the instinct of the brute.
As modesty is not one of the cardinal virtues of materialism, our author takes occasion to teach it a lesson. The wide interval between the mass of facts of observation and our power to colligate them, and the consequent impossibility of surveying them in all their bearings, should teach all reasonable men humility; more especially as these facts of observation multiply far more rapidly than our ability to systematize them into science. As our discoveries increase, we are constantly more and more impressed with the idea that there is no isolated fact in nature, any more than a particle of matter disconnected from all the rest of the universe. And the repeated failures of scientific men who have pronounced ex cathedra each year only to have their theories overturned the next, ought to suggest modesty to all, except those who are brayed with a pestle in a mortar-to no purpose. This tendency to claim infallibility may be seen especially in geology, where the theories of truly great men, like Werner and his many strong followers, have been proved to be utterly without foundation, and are now surrendered by everybody except those who have nothing to preserve but their reputation for consistency. And yet there is no other class of scientists who have more persistently ridiculed those who believe in a historical religion.
The whole complexion of Professor Ladd's book is healthy and invigorating. Its temper is so candid and fair-even when those who ridicule the sciences of philosophy and theology (one in Aristotle's view)—— are roasted over the fires of their own kindling-that they cannot justly complain. And those who think they have a faith worth preserving will end their perusal with the sincere hope that this, the Professor's youngest and evidently best beloved child, will not be the last of the family. JACOB COOPER.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N. J.