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A History of Western Philosophy

When I wish to write a book on some subject, I must first soak myself in detail, until all the separate parts of the subject-matter are familiar, then, some day, if I am fortunate, I perceive the whole, with all its parts duly interrelated. After that, I only have to write down what I have seen.p. 122.
A History of Western Philosophy art
William James describes a man who got the experience from laughing-gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the universe, but when he came to, he had forgotten it. At last, with immense effort, he wrote down the secret before the vision had faded. When completely recovered, he rushed to see what he had written. It was A smell of petroleum prevails throughout. What seems like sudden insight may be misleading, and must be tested soberly when the divine intoxication has passed.p. 123.
A History of Western Philosophy men
We saw that God made only one bed, and it would be natural to suppose that he would make only one straight line. But if there is a heavenly triangle, he must have made at least three straight lines. The objects of geometry, though ideal, must exist in many examples This suggests that geometry, on Platos theory, should not be capable of ultimate truth, but should be condemned as part of the study of appearance. We will, however, ignore this point.p. 124.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Plato seeks to explain the difference between clear intellectual vision and the confused vision of sense perception by an analogy from the sense of sight. Sight, he says, differs from the other senses, since it requires not only the eye and the object, but also light. The eye is compared to the soul, and the sun, as the source of light, to truth or goodness. The soul when turned towards the twilight of becoming and perishing has opinion only first of one opinion, then of another, and seems to have no intelligence what imparts truth to the known and the power of knowing to the knower is what I would have you term the idea of the goodp. 124.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Throughout Platos philosophy there is the same fusion of intellect and mysticism as in Pythagoreanism, but at this final culmination mysticism clearly has the upper hand.p. 126.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
Only the contingent world, the world in space and time, can have been created, but this is the every-day world which has been condemned as illusory and also bad. Therefore the Creator, it would seem, created only illusion and evil. Some Gnostics were so consistent as to adopt this view; but in Plato the difficulty is still below the surface, and he seems, in the Republic, to have never become aware of it.p. 130.
A History of Western Philosophy war
Plato proceeds to an interesting sketch of the education proper to a young man who is to be a guardian. The young man chosen for these merits will spend the years from twenty to thirty on the four Pythagorean studies: arithmetic, geometry plane and solid, astronomy, and harmony. These studies are not to be pursued in any utilitarian spirit, but in order to prepare his mind for the vision of eternal things. In astronomy, for example, he is not to trouble himself too much about the actual heavenly bodies, but rather with the mathematics of motion of ideal heavenly bodies. This may seem absurd to modern ears, but, strange to say, it proved to be a fruitful point of view in connection with empirical astronomy.p. 130.
A History of Western Philosophy education
This piece of scientific history illustrates a general maxim: that any hypothesis, however absurd, may be useful in science, if it enables a discoverer to conceive things in a new way; but when it has served this purpose by luck, it is likely to become an obstacle to further advance.p. 131.
A History of Western Philosophy science
The belief in the good as the key to scientific understanding of the world was useful, at a certain stage, in astronomy, but in every later stage it was harmful. The ethical and aesthetic bias of Plato, and still more of Aristotle, did much to kill Greek science.p. 131.
A History of Western Philosophy science
What the gospel account of the Passion and Crucifixion was for the Christians, the Phaedo was for pagan or freethinking philosophers. Even for many Christians, it is second only to the death of Christ But the imperturbability of Socrates in his last hour is bound up with his belief in immortality, and the Phaedo is important as setting forth, not only the death of a martyr, but also many doctrines which were afterwards Christian. The theology of St. Paul and the Fathers was largely derived from it, directly or indirectly, and can hardly be understood if Plato is ignored.p. 132.
A History of Western Philosophy death
Death, says Socrates, is the separation of the soul from the body. Here we come upon Platos dualism: between reality and appearance, ideas and sensible objects, reason and sense perception, soul and body. These pairs are connected: the first in each pair is superior to the second both in reality and in goodness. An ascetic morality was the natural consequence of this dualism. Christianity adopted this doctrine in part, but never wholly. There were two obstacles. The first was that the creation of the visible world, if Plato was right, must have been an evil deed, and therefore the Creator could not be good. The second was that orthodox Christianity could never bring itself to condemn marriage, though it held celibacy to be nobler. The Manichaeans were more consistent in both respects.p. 134.
A History of Western Philosophy death
The distinction between mind and matter, which has become a commonplace in philosophy and science and popular thought, has a religious origin, and began as the distinction of soul and body. The Orphic, as we saw, proclaims himself the child of the earth and of the starry heaven; from earth comes the body, from heaven the soul. It is this theory that Plato seeks to express in the language of philosophy.p. 134.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
Socrates, in the Phaedo, proceeds to develop the ascetic implications of his doctrine, but his asceticism is of the moderate and gentlemanly sort. He does not say that the philosopher should wholly abstain from ordinary pleasures, but only that he should not be a slave to them. he should eat as much as is necessary; there is no suggestion of fasting. It was not drinking that he condemned, but the pleasure of drinking. In like manner, the philosopher must not care for the pleasures of love, or for costly raiment, or sandals, or other adornments of the person. He must be entirely concerned with the soul and not with the body It is obvious that this doctrine, popularized, would become ascetic, but in intention it is not, properly speaking, ascetic.p. 134.
A History of Western Philosophy love
The philosopher will not abstain with an effort from the pleasures of sense, but will be thinking of other things. I have known many philosophers who forgot their meals, and read a book when at last they did eat. These men were acting as Plato says they should: they were not abstaining from gluttony by means of a moral effort, but were more interested in other matters. Apparently the philosopher should marry, and beget and rear children, in the same absent-minded way, but since the emancipation of women this has become more difficult. No wonder Xanthippe was a shrew.p. 135.
A History of Western Philosophy women
Many eminent ecclesiastics, having renounced the pleasure of sense, and being not on their guard against the pleasures of others, became dominated by love of power, which led them to appalling cruelties and persecutions, nominally for the sake of religion. In our own day, Hitler belongs to this type; by all accounts, the pleasures of sense are of very little importance to him. Liberation from the tyranny of the body contributes to greatness, but just as much to greatness in sin as to greatness in virtue.p. 135.
A History of Western Philosophy love
We come to the intellectual aspect of the religion which Plato rightly or wrongly attributes to Socrates. We are told that the body is a hindrance in the acquisition of knowledge, and that sight and hearing are inaccurate witnesses: true existence, if revealed to the soul at all, is revealed in thought, not in sense. the true philosopher ignores sight and hearing. What then is left to him? First, logic and mathematics; but these are hypothetical, and do not justify the categorical assertion about the real world. The next step - and this is critical - depends upon the idea of the good. Later philosophers had arguments to prove the identity of the real and the good, but Plato seems to have assumed it as self-evident. If we wish to understand him, we must, hypothetically, suppose this assumption justified.p. 136.
A History of Western Philosophy religion
To the empiricist, the body is what brings us into touch with the world of external reality, but to Plato it is doubly evil, as a distorting medium, causing us to see as through a glass darkly, and as a source of lusts which distract us from the pursuit of knowledge and the vision of truth. Some quotations will make this clear. the soul in herself must behold things in themselves: and then we shall attain the wisdom which we desire, and of which we say we are lovers; not while we live, but after death: for if while in company with the body the soul cannot have pure knowledgep. 137.
A History of Western Philosophy love
The Platonic Socrates was a pattern to subsequent philosophers for many ages. He is indifferent to worldly success, so devoid of fear that he remains calm and urbane and humorous to the last moment, caring more for what he believes to be the truth than for anything else whatever. He has, however, some very grave defects. He is dishonest and sophistical in argument, and in his private thinking he uses intellect to prove conclusions that are to him agreeable, rather than in a disinterested search for knowledge. Unlike some of his predecessors, he was not scientific in his thinking, but was determined to prove the universe agreeable to his ethical standards. This is treachery to truth, and the worst of philosophic sins. As a man, we may believe him admitted to the communion of saints; but as a philosopher he needs a long residence in a scientific purgatory.p. 142.
A History of Western Philosophy humor
Platos cosmogony is set forth in the Timaeus, which was translated into Latin by Cicero, and was, in consequence, the only one of the dialogues that was known in the West in the Middle Ages. Both then, and earlier in Neoplatonism, it had more influence than anything else in Plato, which is curious, as it certainly contains more that is simply silly than is to be found in his other writings. As philosophy, it is unimportant, but historically it was so influential that it must be considered in some detail.p. 143.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
It appears that Platos God, unlike the Jewish and Christian God, did not create the world out of nothing, but rearranged pre-existing material.p. 144.
A History of Western Philosophy god
Here follows a Pythagorean account of the planets to an explanation of time: he resolved to have a moving image of eternity, and when he set in order the heaven, he made this image eternal but moving according to number, while eternity itself rests in unity; and this image we call Time.p. 144.
A History of Western Philosophy time
At the beginning Timaeus says he seeks only probability, and cannot be sure. Many details are obviously imaginative, and not meant literally.p. 145.
A History of Western Philosophy man
Earth, air, fire, and water are not the first principles or letters or elements; they are not even syllables or first compounds. Fire, for instance, should not be called this, but such - that is to say, it is not a substance, but rather a state of a substance.p. 145.
A History of Western Philosophy art
Timaeus proceeds to explain the two souls in a man, one immortal, the other immortal, one created by God, the other created by the gods. The mortal soul is subject to terrible and irresistible affections - first of all, pleasure, the greatest incitement to evil; then pain, which deters from good; also rashness and fear, two foolish counselors, anger hard to be appeased, and hope easily led astray; these they the gods mingled with irrational sense and with all-daring love according to necessary laws and so framed men.p. 147.
A History of Western Philosophy love
We are told that, since 6 is greater than 4 but less than 12, 6 is both great and small, which is a contradiction. Again, Socrates is now taller than Theaetetus, who is a youth not yet full grown; but in a few years Socrates will be shorter than Theaetetus. Therefore Socrates is both tall and short. The idea of a relational proposition seems to have puzzled Plato, as it did most of the great philosophers down to Hegel inclusive.p. 150.
A History of Western Philosophy youth
Returning to the perception, it is regarded as due to an interaction between the object and the sense-organ, both of which, according to the doctrine of Heraclitus, are always changing, and both of which, in changing, change the percept. Socrates remarks that when he is well he finds wine sweet, but when ill, sour. Here it is a change in the percipient that causes the change in the percept.p. 150.
A History of Western Philosophy change
As for the argument that, if each man is the measure of all things, one man is as wise as another, Socrates suggests, on behalf of Protagoras, a very interesting answer, namely that, while one judgement cannot be truer than another, it can be better, in the sense of having better consequences. This suggests pragmatism. It is presumably this passage that first suggested to F.C.S. Schiller his admiration of Protagoras. He urges, for example, that when a doctor foretells the course of my illness, he actually knows more of my future than I do. And when men differ as to what is wise for the State to decree, the issue shows that some men had a greater knowledge as to the future than others had. Thus we cannot escape the conclusion that a wise man is a better measure of things than a fool.p. 151.
A History of Western Philosophy knowledge
All these are objections to the doctrine that each man is the measure of all things, and only indirectly to the doctrine that knowledge means perception, in so far as this doctrine leads to the other. There is, however, a direct argument, namely that memory must be allowed as well as perception. This is admitted, and to this extent the proposed definition is amended.p. 151.
A History of Western Philosophy knowledge
What the argument amounts to is that, whatever else may be in perpetual flux, the meanings of words must be fixed, at least for a time, since otherwise no assertion is definite, and no assertion is true rather than false. There must be something more or less constant, if discourse and knowledge is to be possible. This, I think, should be admitted. But a great deal of flux is compatible with this admission.p. 152.
A History of Western Philosophy knowledge
The core of crude occurrence is merely certain patches of color. The precept as filled out with images of touch becomes an object, which is supposed physical; the percept as filled out with words and memories becomes a perception, which is part of a subject and is considered mental. The percept is just an occurrence, and neither true nor false; the percept as filled out with words is a judgement, and capable of truth or falsehood. This judgement I call a judgement of perception. The proposition knowledge is perception must be interpreted as meaning knowledge is judgement of perception. It is only in this form that it is grammatically capable of being correct.p. 154.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Numbers are in a certain precise sense, formal. The relation of the symbol two to the meaning of a proposition in which it occurs is far more complicated than the relation of the symbol red to the meaning of a proposition in which it occurs. We may say, in a certain sense, that the symbol two means nothing, for, when it occurs in a true statement, there is no corresponding constituent in the meaning of the statement. We may continue, if we like, to say that numbers are eternal, immutable, and so on, but we must add that they are also logical fictions.p. 156.
A History of Western Philosophy fiction
Concerning sound and color, Plato says both together are two, and each of them is one. There is here a mistake vary analogous to that concerning existence. The predicate one is not applicable to things, but only to unit classes. We can say the earth has one satellite, but it is a syntactical error to say the moon is one. For what can such an assertion mean? You may just as well say the moon is many, since it has many parts. to argue the earth has one satellite, namely the moon, therefore the moon is one is as bad as to argue the Apostles were twelve; Peter was an Apostle; therefore Peter was twelve.p. 157.
A History of Western Philosophy art
I do not agree with Plato, but if anything could make me do so, it would be Aristotles arguments against him.p. 189.
A History of Western Philosophy men
Alexander, who was not quite Greek, tried to break down this attitude of superiority. He himself married two barbarian princesses, and he compelled his leading Macedonians to marry Persian women of noble birth. The result of this policy was to bring into the minds of thoughtful men the conception of mankind as a whole; the old loyalty to the City State and in a lesser degree to the Greek race seemed no longer adequate.p. 220.
A History of Western Philosophy women
the interaction of Greek and barbarian was reciprocal: the barbarians learned something of Greek science, while the Greeks learned much of barbarian superstition.p. 220.
A History of Western Philosophy science
From the Milesian school onwards, the Greeks who were eminent in science and philosophy and literature were associated with rich commercial cities, often surrounded by barbarian populations. This type of civilization was inaugurated not by the Greeks, but by the Phoenicians; Tyre and Sidon and Carthage depended on slaves for manual labor at home, and on hired mercenaries in the conduct of their wars. They did not depend, as modern capital cities do, upon large rural populations of the same blood and with equal political rights.p. 220.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
The mathematicians and men of science connected, more or less closely, with Alexandria in the third century before Christ were as able as any of the Greeks of previous centuries, and did work of equal importance. But they were not, like their predecessors, men who took all learning as their province, and propounded universal philosophies; they were specialists in the modern sense. Euclid, Aristarchus, Archimedes and Appollonius, were content to be mathematicians; in philosophy they did not aspire to originality.p. 223.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
A palace revolution might displace the syncophantic sages patron; the Galatians might destroy the rich mans villa; ones city might be sacked as an incident in a dynastic war. In such circumstances it is no wonder that people took to worshiping the goddess of Fortune, or Luck. There seemed nothing rational in the ordering of human affairs. Those who obstinately insisted upon finding rationality somewhere withdrew into themselvesp. 224.
A History of Western Philosophy god
The influence on non-Greek religion and superstition in the Hellenistic world was mainly, but not wholly, bad. This might not have been the case. Jews, Persians, and Buddhists all had religions that were very definitely superior to the popular Greek polytheism, and could even have been studied by the best philosophers. Unfortunately, it was the Babylonians, or Chaldeans, who most impressed the imagination of the Greeks. what was received was mainly astrology and magic.p. 227.
A History of Western Philosophy religion
As we shall see, the majority of even the best philosophers fell in with the belief in astrology. It involved, since it thought the future predictable, a belief in necessity or fate, which could be set against the prevalent belief in fortune. No doubt most men believed in both, and never noticed the inconsistency.p. 227.
A History of Western Philosophy belief
The general confusion was bound to bring moral decay, even more than intellectual enfeeblement. Ages of prolonged uncertainty, while they are compatible with the highest degree of saintliness in a few, are inimical to the prosaic every-day virtues of respectable citizens. fear took the place of hope; the purpose of life was rather to escape misfortune than to achieve any positive good.p. 228.
A History of Western Philosophy life
The fame of Antisthenes was surpassed by that of his disciple, Diogenes He decided to live like a dog, and was therefore called a cynic, which means canine. He rejected all conventions - whether of religion, of manners of dress, of housing, of food, or of decency. One is told that he lived in a tub it was a large pitcher, of the sort used in primitive times for burials. He lived like an Indian fakir, by begging. Everyone knows how Alexander visited him, and asked if he desired any favor; only to stand out of my light, he replied.p. 231.
A History of Western Philosophy religion
The teaching of Diogenes was by no means what we now call cynical - quite the contrary. He had an ardent passion for virtue, in comparison with which he held worldly goods of no account. He sought virtue and moral freedom in liberation from desire: be indifferent to the goods that fortune has to bestow, and you will be emancipated from fear. In this respect, his doctrine was taken up by the Stoics, but they did not follow him in rejecting the amenities of civilization. He considered that Prometheus was justly punished for bringing to man the arts that have produced the complication and artificiality of modern life. In this he resembled the Taoists and Rousseau and Tolstoy, but was more consistent than they were.p. 231.
A History of Western Philosophy life
It is interesting to observe what the Cynic teaching became when it was popularized. Popular Cynicism did not teach abstinence from the good things of the world, but only a certain indifference to them.p. 232.
A History of Western Philosophy world
What was best in the Cynic doctrine passed over into Stoicism, which was an altogether more complete and rounded philosophy.p. 233.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
Skepticism naturally made an appeal to many unphilosophic minds. People observed the diversity of schools and the acerbity of their disputes, and decided all alike were pretending to knowledge which was in fact unattainable. Skepticism was the lazy mans consolation, since it showed the ignorant to be as wise as the reputed men of learning.p. 233.
A History of Western Philosophy knowledge
Skepticism as a philosophy is not merely doubt, but what may be called dogmatic doubt. The man of science says I think it is so-and-so, but I am not sure. The man of intellectual curiosity says I dont know how it is, but I hope to find out. The philosophical Skeptic says nobody knows and nobody ever can know. It is this element of dogmatism that makes the system vulnerable.p. 234.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
Pyrrhos disciple Timon advanced some intellectual arguments which, from the standpoint of Greek logic, were very hard to answer. The only logic admitted by the Greeks was deductive, and all deduction had to start, like Euclid, from general principles regarded as self-evident. Timon denied the possibility of finding such principles. nothing can be proved. This argument, as we can see, cut at the root of the Aristotelian philosophy which dominated the Middle Ages.p. 234.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
A modern Skeptic would point out that the phenomenon merely occurs, and is not either valid or invalid; what is valid or invalid must be a statement, and no statement can be so closely linked to the phenomenon as to be incapable of falsehood.p. 234.
A History of Western Philosophy men
In some respects, the doctrine of Timon was very similar to that of Hume. He maintained that something which had never been observed - atoms, for instance - could not be validly inferred, but when two phenomena had been frequently observed together, one could be inferred from the other.p. 235.
A History of Western Philosophy men
Plato was many-sided, and in some respects could be regarded as teaching skepticism. Many of the dialogues reach no positive conclusion, and aim at leaving the reader in a state of doubt. Some - the latter half of the Parmenides, for instance - might seem to have no purpose except to show that either side of any question can be maintained with equal plausibility. The Platonic dialectic could be treated as an end, rather than a means This seems to be the way in which Arcesilaus interpreted the man whom he still professed to follow. He had decapitated Plato, but at any rate the torso that remained was genuine.p. 235.
A History of Western Philosophy purpose
Contacts with the Mohammedans in Spain, and to a lesser extent in Sicily, made the West aware of Aristotle; also of Arabic numerals, algebra, and chemistry. It was this contact that began the revival of learning in the eleventh century, leading to the Scholastic philosophy. It was later, from the thirteenth century onward, that the study of the Greek enabled men to go direct to the works of Plato and Aristotle and other Greeks writers of antiquity. But if the Arabs had not preserved the tradition, the men of the Renaissance might not have suspected how much was to be gained by the revival of classical learning.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot, therefore, feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of Greece or of modern times.p. 463.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Bacons most important book, The Advancement of Learning, is in many ways remarkably modern. The whole basis of his philosophy was practical: to give mankind mastery over the forces of nature by means of scientific discoveries and inventions.p. 542.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
He held that philosophy should be kept separate from theology, not intimately blended with it as in scholasticism. He accepted orthodox religion But while he thought that reason could show the existence of God, he regarded everything else in theology as known only by revelation. Indeed he held that the triumph in faith is greatest when to the unaided reason a dogma appears most absurd. Philosophy, however, should depend only upon reason. He was thus an advocate of the doctrine of double truth, that of reason and that of revelation.p. 542.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Bacon was the first of a long line of scientifically minded philosophers who have emphasized the importance of induction as opposed to deduction. Like most of his successors, he tried to find some better kind of induction than what is called induction by simple enumeration.p. 543.
A History of Western Philosophy success
Induction by simple enumeration may be illustrated by a parable. There was once upon a time a census officer who had to record the names of all householders in a certain Welsh village. The first that he questioned was called William Williams; so were the second, third, fourth, At last he said to himself: This is tedious; evidently they are all called William Williams. I shall put them down so and take a holiday. But he was wrong; there was just one who was named John Jones.p. 543.
A History of Western Philosophy time
Bacon not only despised the syllogism, but undervalued mathematics, presumably as insufficiently experimental. He was virulently hostile to Aristotle, but he thought very highly of Democritus, Although he did not deny that the course of nature exemplifies a Divine purpose, he objected to any admixture of teleological explanation in the actual investigation of phenomena; everything, he held, should be explained as following necessarily from efficient causes.p. 543.
A History of Western Philosophy nature
We ought, he says, to be neither like spiders, which spin things out of their own insides, nor like ants, which merely collect, but like bees, which both collect and arrange.p. 544.
A History of Western Philosophy
Bacons inductive method is faulty through insufficient emphasis on hypothesis. He hoped that merely orderly arrangement of data would make the right hypothesis obvious, but this is seldom the case. As a rule, the framing of hypothesis is the most difficult part of scientific work, and the part where great ability is indispensable.p. 544.
A History of Western Philosophy hope
So far, no method has been found which would make it possible to invent hypothesis by rule. Usually some hypothesis is a necessary preliminary to the collection of facts, since the selection of facts demands some way of determining relevance. Without something of this kind, the mere multiplicity of facts is baffling.p. 545.
A History of Western Philosophy man
The part played by deduction in science is greater than Bacon supposed. Often, when a hypothesis has to be tested, there is a long deductive journey from the hypothesis to some consequence that can be tested by observation. Usually the deduction is mathematical, and in this respect Bacon underestimated the importance of mathematics in scientific investigation.p. 545.
A History of Western Philosophy science
Spinozas Ethics deals with three distinct matters. It begins with metaphysics, it then goes on to the psychology of the passions and the will; and finally it sets forth an ethic based on the preceding metaphysics and psychology. The metaphysics is a modification of Descartes, the psychology is reminiscent of Hobbes, but the ethic is original, and is what is of most value in the book.p. 571.
A History of Western Philosophy art
The relation of Spinoza to Descartes is in some ways not unlike the relation of Plotinus to Plato. Descartes was a many-sided man, full of intellectual curiosity, but not much burdened by moral earnestness. Although he invented proofs intended to support orthodox beliefs, he could have been used by skeptics as Carneades used Plato.p. 571.
A History of Western Philosophy art
Spinoza, although he was not without scientific interests, and even wrote a treatise on the rainbow, was in the main concerned with religion and virtue. He accepted from Descartes and his contemporaries a materialistic and deterministic physics, and sought, within this framework, to find room for reverence and a life devoted to the Good. His attempt was magnificent, and rouses admiration even in those who do not think it was successful.p. 571.
A History of Western Philosophy life
Spinoza says: hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love. Self-preservation is the fundamental motive of the passions according to Spinoza; but self-preservation alters its character when we realize that what is real and positive in us is what unites us to the whole, and not what preserves the appearance of separateness.p. 572.
A History of Western Philosophy love
We are in bondage in proportion as what happens to us is determined by outside causes, and we are free in proportion as we are self-determined. Spinoza, like Socrates and Plato, believes that all wrong action is due to intellectual error; the man who adequately understands his own circumstances will act wisely, and will even be happy in the face of what to another would be misfortune.p. 573.
A History of Western Philosophy action
He makes no appeal to unselfishness, he holds that self-seeking, in some sense, and more particularly self-preservation, govern all human behavior. But his conception of what a wise man will choose as the goal of his self-seeking is different from that of an ordinary egoist. Emotions are called passions when they spring from inadequate ideas; passions in different men may conflict, but men who live in obedience to reason will agree together.p. 573.
A History of Western Philosophy art
Pleasure in itself is good, but hope and fear are bad, and so are humility and repentance: he who repents of an action is doubly wretched or infirm. Spinoza regards time as unreal, therefore all emotions which have to do essentially with an event as future or past are contrary to reason. In so far as the mind conceives a thing as under the dictate of reason, it is affected equally, whether the idea be of a thing present, past, or future.p. 573.
A History of Western Philosophy hope
But, you may retort, we are surely right in being more concerned about future misfortunes, which may possibly be averted, than about past calamities about which we can do nothing. To this argument Spinozas determinism supplies the answer. Only ignorance makes us think that we can alter the future; what will be will be, and the future is as unalterably fixed as the past. That is why hope and fear are condemned: both depend upon viewing the future as uncertain, and therefore spring from a lack of wisdom.p. 574.
A History of Western Philosophy wisdom
Spinozas outlook is intended to liberate men from the tyranny of fear. A free man thinks of nothing less than of death; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death, but of life. Spinoza lived up to this precept very completely.p. 574.
A History of Western Philosophy life
Spinoza does not, like the Stoics, object to all emotions; he objects only to those that are passions, i.e., those in which we appear to ourselves to be passive in the power of outside forces. Understanding that all things are necessary helps the mind to acquire power over the emotions.p. 575.
A History of Western Philosophy power
Spinoza says that God is not affected by any emotion of pleasure or pain, and also says that the intellectual love of the mind towards God is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves himself. I think, nevertheless, that there is something in intellectual love which is not mere intellect; perhaps the joy involved is considered as something superior to pleasure.p. 575.
A History of Western Philosophy love
Love towards God, we are told, must hold the chief place in the mind. I have omitted Spinozas demonstrations The proof might be expressed as follows: Every increase in understanding of what happens to us consists in referring events to the idea of God, since, in truth, everything is part of God. This understanding of everything as part of God is love of God. When all objects are referred to God, the idea of God will fully occupy the mind.p. 575 and 576.
A History of Western Philosophy love
Spinozas metaphysic is the best example of what may be called logical monism - the doctrine, namely, that the world is a single substance, none of whose parts are logically capable of existing alone.p. 577.
A History of Western Philosophy art
Spinoza thought that the nature of the world and of human life could be logically deducted from self-evident axiomsThe whole of this metaphysic is impossible to accept; it is incompatible with modern logic and with scientific method. Facts have to be discovered by observation, not by reasoning; when we successfully infer the future, we do so by means of principles which are not logically necessary, but are suggested by empirical data. And the concept of substance, upon which Spinoza relies, is one which neither science nor philosophy can nowadays accept.p. 577.
A History of Western Philosophy life
When we come to Spinozas ethics, we feel - or at least I feel - that something, though not everything, can be accepted even when the metaphysical foundation has been rejected. Broadly speaking, Spinoza is concerned to show how it is possible to live nobly even when we recognize the limits of human power. He himself, by his doctrine of necessity, makes these limits narrower than they are; but when they indubitably exist, Spinozas maxims are probably the best possible.p. 578.
A History of Western Philosophy power
Death: nothing that a man can do will make him immortal, and it is therefore futile to spend time in fears and lamentations over the fact that we must die. To be obsessed by the fear of death is a kind of slavery; Spinoza is right in saying that the free man thinks of nothing less than death. The same considerations apply to all other personal misfortunes.p. 578.
A History of Western Philosophy death
The Christian principle, Love your enemies, is good, but the Stoic principle, Be indifferent to your friends, is bad. And the Christian principle does not inculcate calm, but an ardent love even towards the worst of men. There is nothing to be said against it except that it is too difficult for most of us to practice sincerely.p. 579.
A History of Western Philosophy love
revenge. This reaction is still admired by most people, when the injury is great, and such as to arouse moral horror in disinterested people. Nor can it be wholly condemned, for it is one of the forces generating punishment, and punishment is something necessary. Moreover, from the point of view of mental health, the impulse to revenge is likely to be so strong that, if allowed no outlet, a mans whole outlook on life may become distorted and more or less insane.p. 579.
A History of Western Philosophy life
revenge is a very dangerous motive. it allows a man to be the judge in his own case, which is exactly what the law tries to prevent. Moreover it is usually an excessive motive; it seeks to inflict more punishment than is desirable. Torture, for example, should not be punished by torture, but the man maddened by lust for vengeance will think a painless death too good for the object of his hate. Moreover, and it is here that Spinoza is in the right - a life dominated by single passion is a narrow life, incompatible with every kind of wisdom. Revenge as such is therefore not the best reaction to injury.p. 579.
A History of Western Philosophy life
Spinoza would say what the Christian says, and also something more. For him, all sin is due to ignorance; he would forgive them, for they know not what they do. he believes hatred can be overcome by the power of love. I wish I could believe this, but I cannot, except in exceptional cases, where the person hating is completely in the power of the person who who refuses to hate in return. But so long as the wicked have power, it is not much use assuring them that you do not hate them, since they will attribute your words to the wrong motive. And you cannot deprive them of power by non-resistance.p. 580.
A History of Western Philosophy love
The problem for Spinoza is easier than it is for one who has no belief in the ultimate goodness of the universe. Spinoza thinks that if you see your misfortunes as part of the concatenation of causes stretching from the beginning of time to the end, you will see that they are only misfortunes to you, not to the universe, to which they are merely passing discords heightening an ultimate harmony. I cannot accept this; I think that particular events are what they are, and do not become different by absorption into the whole. Each act of cruelty is eternally part of the universe; nothing that happens later can make that act good rather than bad, or can confer perfection on the whole of which it is part.p. 580.
A History of Western Philosophy time
When it is your lot to endure something that is or seems to you worse than the ordinary lot of mankind, Spinozas principle of thinking about the whole, or at any rate about larger matters than your own grief, is a useful one. Such reflections may not suffice to constitute a religion, but in a painful world they are a help towards sanity and an antidote to the paralysis of utter despair.p. 580.
A History of Western Philosophy religion
Since the world is what it is, it is clear that valid reasoning from sound principles cannot lead to error; but a principle may be so nearly true as to deserve theoretical respect, and yet may lead to practical consequences which we feel to be absurd. There is therefore a justification for common sense in philosophy, but only as showing that our theoretical principles cannot be quite correct so long as their consequences are condemned by an appeal to common sense which we feel to be irresistible. The theorist may retort that common sense is no more infallible than logic. But this retort, though made by Berkeley and Hume, would have been wholly foreign to Lockes intellectual temper.p. 606.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
A characteristic of Locke, which descended from him to the whole Liberal movement, is lack of dogmatism. Some few certainties he takes over from his predecessors: our own existence, the existence of God, and the truth of mathematics. But wherever his doctrines differ from his forerunners, they are to the effect that truth is hard to ascertain, and that a rational man will hold his opinions with some measure of doubt. This temper of mind is obviously connected with religious toleration, with the success of parliamentary democracy, with laissez-faire, and with the whole system of liberal maxims.p. 606.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Empiricism and idealism alike are faced with a problem to which, so far, philosophy has found no satisfactory solution. This is the problem of showing how we have knowledge of other things than ourself and the operations of our own mind.p. 611.
A History of Western Philosophy philosophy
No one has yet succeeded in inventing a philosophy at once credible and self-consistent. Locke aimed at credibility, and achieved it at the expense of consistency. Most of the great philosophers have done the opposite. A philosophy which is not self-consistent cannot be wholly true, but a philosophy which is self-consistent can very well be wholly false. The most fruitful phiosophies have contained glaring inconsistencies, but for that very reason have been partially true. There is no reason to suppose that a self-consistent system contains more truth than one which, like Lockes, is obviously more or less wrong.p. 613.
A History of Western Philosophy truth
Locke has to admit, what is obvious, that men do not always act in the way which, on rational calculation, is likely to secure them a maximum of pleasure. We value present pleasure more than future pleasure, and pleasure in the near future more than pleasure in the distant future. It may be said - this is not said by Locke - that the rate of interest is a quantitative measure of the general discounting of future pleasures. Thus, even if pleasure of the avoidance of pain be our motive, it must be added that pleasures lose their attractiveness and pains their terrors in proportion to their distance in the future.p. 614.
A History of Western Philosophy pain
Since it is only in the long run that, according to Locke, self-interest and the general interest coincide, it becomes important that men should be guided, as far as possible, by their long-run interests. That is to say, men should be prudent. Prudence is the one virtue which remains to be preached, for every lapse from virtue is a failure of prudence.p. 614.
A History of Western Philosophy men
Emphasis on prudence is a characteristic of liberalism. It is connected with the rise of capitalism, for the prudent became rich while the imprudent became or remained poor. It is connected also with certain forms of Protestant piety: virtue with a view to heaven is psychologically very analogous to saving with a view to investment. Belief in harmony between public and private interests is characteristic of liberalism, and long survived the theological foundation that it had in Locke.p. 614.
A History of Western Philosophy belief
Locke states that liberty depends upon the necessity of pursuing happiness and upon the government of our passions. It follows from this doctrine that, given a community of citizens who are all both pious and prudent, they will act, given liberty, in a manner to promote the general good. There will be no need of human laws to restrain them, since divine laws will suffice. Legal liberty, therefore, is only completely possible where both prudence and piety are universal; elsewhere, the restraints imposed by criminal law are indispensable.p. 615.
A History of Western Philosophy happiness
Locke states repeatedly that morality is capable of demonstration I doubt not, but from self-evident propositions, by necessary consequences, as incontestable as those in mathematics, the measures of right and wrong might be made out, to any one that will apply himselfp. 615.
A History of Western Philosophy self
Almost all philosophers, in their ethical systems, first lay down a false doctrine, and then argue that wickedness consists in acting in a manner that proves it false, which would be impossible if the doctrine were true. Of this pattern Locke affords a pattern.p. 617.
A History of Western Philosophy man
theologians tended to believe in setting limits to kingly power. This was part of the battle between Church and State which raged throughout Europe during most of the Middle Ages. But the things which eminent and holy men had said against the power of the kings remained on record. Though intended in the interests of the Pope, they could be used to support the rights of the people to self-government.p. 619.
A History of Western Philosophy art
The defeat of theories of divine right, in England, was due to two main causes. One was the multiplicity of religions; the other was the conflict of power between the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the higher bourgeoisie.p. 620.
A History of Western Philosophy religion
There is one great institution that has never had any hereditary element, namely, the Catholic Church. We may expect dictatorships, if they survive, to develop gradually a form of government analogous to that of the Church. This has already happened in the great corporations of America, which have, or had until Pearl Harbor, powers almost equal to those of government.p. 622.
A History of Western Philosophy power
We still think it natural that a man should leave his property to his children; that is to say, we accept the hereditary principle as regards economic power while rejecting it as regards political power. Political dynasties have disappeared, but economic dynasties survive. I am not at the moment arguing either for or against this different treatment of the two forms of power; I am merely pointing out that it exists, and that most men are unconscious of it. When you consider how natural it seems to us that the power over the lives of others resulting from great wealth should be hereditary, you will understand better how men like Sir Robert Filmer could take the same view as regards the power of kings, and how important was the innovation represented by men who thought as Locke did.p. 622.
A History of Western Philosophy power
Lockes contrary theory could seem revolutionary, we have only to reflect that a kingdom was regarded then as a landed estate is regarded now. Ownership can be transmitted by inheritance, and we feel that the man who has inherited an estate has a just claim to all the privileges that the law allows him in consequence. Yet at bottom his position is the same as that of the monarchs whose claims Sir Robert Filmer defends.p. 622.
A History of Western Philosophy man
There are at the present day in California a number of huge estates the title to which is derived from actual or alleged grants by the king of Spain. He was only in a position to make such grants a because Spain accepted the views similar to Filmers, and b because the Spaniards were able to defeat the Indians in battle. Nevertheless we hold the heirs of those to whom he made grants to have a just title. Perhaps in the future this will seem as fantastic as Filmer seems now.p. 622.
A History of Western Philosophy pain

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