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Sir D. Brewster in the 'North British Review,' No. 3; by Prof. Dod in an elaborate article which was republished in the second series of the 'Princeton Theological Essays;' by Mr Hugh Miller in 'Footprints of the Creator;' by Prof. Sedgwick in the 'Edinburgh Review,' No. 82; and by Dr Whewell in 'Indications of a Creator,' &c. It is, perhaps, worth noting that Karl Vogt translated the 'Vestiges' into German in 1847.
In volumes i. and ii. of the 'Oracle of Reason,' published in 1842 and 1843, there is a series of forty-eight papers on "The Theory of Regular Gradation," in which it is maintained that "all the facts which form the sciences tend to the conclusion that the inherent properties of ' dull matter,' as some bright portions of it have designated it, are good and sufficient to produce all the varied, complicated, and beautiful phenomena of the universe;" that "matter can make men and women, and every other natural phenomenon—unassisted, undirected, and uncontrolled." In these papers atheism is openly avowed. Their author was a Mr William Chilton.
In Prof. J. S. Blackie's 'Natural History of Atheism,' pp. 221-247, the materialistic and atheistic views of Mr Atkinson and Miss Martineau are stated and criticised.
Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer, expounded in his 'Principles of Nature and her Revelations,' 2 vols., the doctrine that all matter is gradually advancing under the influence of an Organiser towards a spiritual state, and that souls have been generated from matter until they became substantive existences which will survive the death of the body, and pass from lower to higher stages of being, according to eternal laws of progression.
Many so-called spiritualists are materialists, and even atheists, teaching that all things originate in nature, and are governed by physical necessity. Materialism, although incompatible with theism and rational religion, is quite consistent with mythology and superstition.
Note XV., page 131.
Among the recent defenders of materialism in Germany, Moleschott, Vogt, Biichner, Lowenthal, Haeckel, Diihring, and Strauss may be named. Jacob Moleschott's 'Kreislauf des Lebens' (Circulation of Life), published in 1852, was the first systematic exposition of what is called scientific materialism. It was written in a popular style, and contained a considerable amount of interesting biological information, but contributed nothing to the proof of the fundamental dogmas of materialism; these, indeed, it borrowed from that feeble production of Ludwig Feuerbach, which it pronounces to be "the immortal critique of religion."
Charles Vogt threw himself with great vigour and violence into the conflict excited by Moleschott's book, and by a celebrated discourse of Rudolph Wagner "On the Creation of Man and the Substance of the Soul" (1854). His 'Lectures on Man, his place in creation and in the history of the earth,' published in 1863, have been translated into English, and show well what manner of person he is.
Louis Biichner has been probably the most efficient and successful of the popularisers of contemporary materialism. His 'Matter and Force' (1855), 'Nature and Science' (1862), and'Man's Place in Nature' (1869), have passed through many editions, and been translated into most European languages. The first mentioned of these books seems to have almost taken the place formerly filled by Holbach's 'System of Nature.' There have been many replies to it; that of M. Janet, 'Materialism of the Present Day'—of which there is a good translation by Gustave Masson—combines most happily, perhaps, elegance as to form with thoroughness as to substance.
Edward Lowenthal regards even the authors just mentioned as neither sufficiently materialistic nor speculatively consistent, seeing that they affirm the coexistence of two principles—matter and force. He maintains that matter is alone primordial, and that force is merely a product of atomic aggregation. He also labours to construct "a religion without a creed " on his materialism, and to form an "international freethinkers' association," from which he expects great results; in a word, he aspires to be the founder of what he calls "Cogitantenthum" (Thinkingdom), which is to take the place of Christendom. His 'System and History of Naturalism,' first published in 1861, is now in its fifth edition. The system is very feebly and loosely constructed, and the history is very inaccurate.
Ernst Haeckel is the most enthusiastic and influential of German Darwinists. His reputation as a "morphologist" and "zoologist" stands very high. He is a thorough materialist and atheist, but he prefers to call himself a monist. He regards the eternity of matter as a law of nature, and spontaneous generation as a scientific certainty. He gets enraged when he hears of final causes; and he tells those who dare to doubt of the apeorigin of humanity, that "it is an interesting and instructive circumstance that those men are chiefly indignant at the discovery of the natural development of man from the monkey, between whom and our common tertiary ancestors there is the least observable difference, whether as to intellectual capacity or cerebral characteristics." His 'General Morphology,' published in 1866, his 'Natural History of Creation,' of which the first edition appeared in 1868, and his 'Anthropogenic (1874), are the works in which he has expounded his socalled monism. The second and third of them have been translated into English. For a good general exposition of his system, based on the ' Natural History of Creation,' see M. Le"on Dumont's ' Haeckel et la theorie de revolution en Allemagne.'
Eugene Diihring has endeavoured in various works to establish and apply a so-called " philosophy of reality" which is essentially materialistic. He gave a general exposition of his system in a 'Course of Philosophy' published in 1875. The work has considerable merits; but, besides other defects, it has the fatal fault of seldom giving proofs either of its affirmations or its negations. The book of Hans Vaihinger, mentioned in Note V., will be found highly useful to the student of Diihring's philosophy.
David F. Strauss closed his literary career by a "Confession," in which materialism and pantheism were blended together, and Darwinism was accepted as the new and true Gospel. The celebrity which he had acquired, and his talent as a writer, were the chief reasons why this confession — 'The Old and the New Faith,' 1873— excited a remarkable amount of attention. As regards real intellectual substance it is poor, superficial, and confused. The "new faith" is a faith as old as speculative error. As held by Strauss it is an unreasoned faith in the eternity of matter, in spontaneous generation, in the incarnation of the ape, and in the truth of optimism, although the world is ruled by blind and aimless, unconscious and unmoral forces. Its central positive and constructive idea is that the universe — the totality of existence designated nature—is the only God which the modern mind enlightened by science can consent to worship. Among the multitude of reviews which the book called forth, those of Rauwenhoff and Nippold, of Huber, of Vera, of Henry B. Smith (' Philosophy and Faith,' pp. 443-488), of J. Hutchison Stirling ('Athenaeum,' June 1873), and of Ulrici, might be specified. Ulrici's article—an annihilating and unanswerable criticism of the philosophical postulates and dogmas of the latest faith of Strauss—has been translated into English, with an introduction, by Dr Krauth.
Materialism has now for almost thirty years been spreading more and more widely in Germany, with what results the future will show. It has owed its success to the spirit of the times; not to any intellectual superiority of its advocates over its opponents. Schaller, Lotze, J. H. Fichte, Ulrici, Bona Meyer, Huber, Hoffmann, Froschammer, Fabri, Weiss, Wigand, and a host of others, have done all that could be desired in the way both of repelling and of returning its attacks. There is considerable exaggeration current as to the extent, and especially as to the quality, of its conquests. The highest class of German thinkers is chiefly composed of those who regard materialism as the least satisfactory of philosophical systems.