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Note V., page 44.
The only general History of Materialism worthy of mention is the 'Geschichte des Materialismus' of F. A. Lange. Few works in the department of philosophy have recently attracted so much attention or been so highly praised.
It everywhere shows clearness, vigour, and critical acuteness of intellect, a wide acquaintance with the positive sciences, a competent knowledge of the writings of the chief ancient and modern materialists, and the power of natural and spirited expression. It has no claim, however, to be considered as in any sense an epoch-making book, and is not without great faults. Strictly speaking, it is not a history of materialism, but a history of science, written on the assumption that the whole world of knowledge can alone be explained by matter and mechanism. It is, to a far larger extent, an exposition of the theories and a discussion of the problems which seem to its author to bear on materialism, than an account and criticism of directly materialistic speculations. It nowhere gives evidence of original research or great erudition, and has thrown little new light on any period of the history the course of which it traces. The view which it presents of the history of the opposition to materialism is most inadequate throughout. The ability of materialists, and the worth of their writings are, in general, overestimated.
The work is divided into two books, the one devoted to materialism before Kant, and the other to materialism since Kant. The former book contains four sections. The first section treats of materialism in antiquity, or rather in classical antiquity, for nothing is said about the materialism of China or India, or any other nation than Greece and Rome. The special subjects of its five chapters are—the atomism of Democritus; the sensationalism of the Sophists and the ethical materialism of Aristippus; the reaction of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle against materialism and sensationalism; the doctrine of Epicurus; and the poem of Lucretius. The second section is occupied with the transition period, which extends from the decay of the ancient civilisation to Bruno, Bacon, and Descartes. The third section deals with the materialism of the seventeenth century, and has three chapters, which are devoted respectively to Gassendi, as the restorer of Epicureanism; to Hobbes; and to Boyle, Newton, Locke, and Toland. The fourth section treats of the materialism of the eighteenth century. It contains, first, an account of the influence of English materialism on France and Germany; next, an exposition of the materialistic views of La Mettrie; then an analysis of Holbach's 'System of Nature;' and finally, an estimate of the reaction against materialism in Germany—an estimate which takes into account the philosophy of Leibnitz, Wolfianism, and German Spinozism.
The second book of Lange's 'History of Materialism' is likewise divided into four sections. Section first discusses the Kantian philosophy in its relation to materialism, and then describes the phases of the socalled philosophical materialism propagated by Feuerbach, Max Stirner, Buchner, Moleschott, and Czolbe. Section second consists of four chapters, which have for their subjects the bearing of materialism on exact research, the relation between matter and force, scientific cosmogony, and Darwinism and teleology. The third section treats of man's place in the animal world, the relation of brain and soul, scientific psychology, the physiology of the organs of sense, and the world as representation. The last section deals with ethical materialism and religion.
The most general results at which Lange arrives are, that there is no genuine science except that which explains phenomena in terms of matter and motion; that all our mental capacities, and even the laws of intuition and thought, must be traceable to the elements and organisation of the brain; that all material objects, including the brain and the organs by which we perceive, think, and will, are mere phenomena or experiences; that no other world can be known by us than the phenomenal and empirical world, which must be elucidated by materialism and mechanism; that philosophy is not science, and has nothing to do with truth, but should be cultivated as a poetry of notions; that religion is essential to human nature, but must be entirely severed from belief; and that philosophy and religion, when thus understood, will afford a solid basis for moral and aesthetic culture, secure social progress, and vastly benefit humanity. The doctrine composed of these propositions has been actually hailed by a rather numerous class of persons as itself a philosophy which triumphantly refutes materialism, and worthily completes the work of Kant. But in spite of their noisy and foolish applause, I venture to affirm that if German philosophy should have for its ultimate outcome this conglomerate of materialism, scepticism, and nonsense, it will have to be regarded as the greatest fiasco the world has ever witnessed.
Lange's history has been translated into English by Mr Thomas, and into French by Professor Nolen. The French translator is the author of three able articles on the book—two essays published in the 'Revue Philosophique' (October and December 1877), and a memoir read before the Academie des Sciences, Morales, et Politiques, and published in a separate form (Paris, Reinwald & Co., 1877). Vaihinger's 'Hartmann, Diihring, und Lange' is an important and instructive book, although its author is far too enthusiastic an admirer of Lange.
Note VI., page 47.
The essay of Yang Choo was translated into English by Dr Legge in the prolegomena to the edition of' Mencius,' contained in his Chinese classics. The works of Licius, to whom it owes its preservation and transmission, have recently been completely translated into German by Ernest Faber, in his 'Naturalismus bei den alten Chinesen' (1877).
There is said to be comparatively little theoretical materialism in China, although practical materialism is nowhere more prevalent. We know, however, very little about the course of Chinese thought from the eleventh century to the present time. Probably Chinese scholars have at length done something like justice to the ancient classics of the celestial empire. If so, it is extremely to be desired that they would now direct their attention to the study of its later literature and philosophy.
Note VII., page 49.
The Charvaka system is described in the 'Sarva-Darsana-Sangraha,' which has been translated into English by Professor Cowell. The part of the work which relates to the Charvaka doctrine will be found in the 'Pandit,' vol. ix., No. 103, pp. 162-166.
All the Hindu systems of philosophy, except Vedantism, expressly teach the eternity of a material principle from which the universe has been evolved, but they also teach the eternity of soul. The Vaiseshika system is a physical philosophy based on an atomic theory. It explains all material objects, and changes by the aggregation, disintegration, and redintegration of uncaused, eternal, imperceptible, indivisible atoms; but it differs from the atomism of Democritus in at least two respects —it assigns to the atoms qualitative distinctions, and it does not represent them as capable of constituting souls. It is doubtful whether or not its founder, Kanada, and some of his followers, believed in a supreme spirit. Each soul was supposed to be eternal, and infinitely extended or ubiquitous, although only knowing, feeling, and acting where the body is. The Vaiseshika aphorisms of Kanada, with comments from two Hindu expositors,