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this strain of impudent and nauseous falsehood, nothing can be more perfectly in unison, than the assertion which he makes soon after; "that all the tutelary institutions of which the English nation boasts, were received from France," trial by jury, publicity of criminal process, &c.
We shall now take leave of Mr. Pastoret, in order to say a few words, on the last section of the Report, which treats of metaphysics and moral philosophy. The author, Mr. Degerando, has acquired considerable reputation by his metaphysical writings, and deserves great credit, for the knowledge and candour, which he displays in the present dissertation.—He seems to be well acquainted with foreign literature, and does justice to the merits of England in the several branches of speculative philosophy, with a boldness and liberality, the more praise-worthy, and remarkable, as they are entirely at variance with the example of his colleagues, and the intentions of his government:—He sets up no very exorbitant claims for France, and abstains, moreover, from offering any very fulsome compliments to the Emperor; a course of proceeding by no means fitted to advance his fortunes.—Mr. Degerando, has, in addition, a better style than his colleagues, although the same objection to which he is liable in his " Histoire Comparee des Systemes de Philosophic," and his "Generation des Connoissances Humanes," may be made here;—that he is too diffuse and declamatory for a writer on metaphysics.
He gives an interesting and full account, of the philosophy of the Germans, in which he appears to be profoundly versed; —of the immense sphere of their philosophical writings, and of the nature, rise and progress of the system of Kant, to whom he allows much more merit under every point of view, than any other eminent metaphysician out of Germany, is willing to accord. He is moderate in his encomiums on the modern French school of metaphysics, and cites but a few names from the number of its professors;—those of Condorcet, Rousseau, Mounier and Condillac. Moral philosophy, he acknowledges, has not been in France, for a series of years, as fruitful as was expected,—and can boast of but a limited number of teachers. Of this class, Necker, Marmontel and St. Lambert are alone mentioned. The last, St. Lambert, might have been omitted without injustice, if we were to judge of him solely, from the character which Degerando himself ascribes to his work," The Universal Catechism."— It inculcates a doctrine plausible enough, and in some few instances, perhaps, useful, but which, generally, should be proscribed as mischievous and abject. Interest is never to be recommended as the leadiug inducement to duty, nor is the love or the practice of morality, to be considered, merely as a matter of prudential calculation.—The cause of virtue can never be efficaciously or worthily sustained, but upon the principle, that it is to be loved and espoused on itso>vn account.— Tsx«Ao» h- ivTt «<((t» was the elevated doctrine of the best and wisest of the philosophers of antiquity, and should be eminently that of their christian successors.—There can be no solid system of ethics, which is not built on this foundation.
M. Degerando strenuously recommends the establishment of chairs of philosophy throughout France, particularly in the public institutions, and ventures to point them out as necessary, for the completion of the prescribed course of studies. Bonaparte is adroitly reminded, that it was under the reign of Augustus, that the schools of philosophy, shut during the disorders of the Triumvirate, were re-opened with additional pomp. We know not whether this appeal to the vain-glory of the " modern Charlemagne" was successful, but of this we are certain, that neither the measure recommended, nor the efforts of any small number of meritorious individuals like M. Degerando, will be of avail to effect the ostensible purpose, while the government of France retains its present constitution.—Moral philosophy is but too certainly and fatally obnoxious, to the withering influence which a military tyranny exerts, over all the branches of human knowledge, that have not, like the physical and mathematical sciences, for their object, something as it were material, and instrumental to the designs of ambition. In France, literature of every description is obviously and rapidly on the decline;—genius, unless military, and in the fine arts, nearly extinct;—the sublime speculations of the higher philosophy are almost unknown; nor is it possible that they should be cherished, or their lessons practised, by the unfortunate victim, or the corrupt disciple, of the most demoralizing, inquisitorial,and oppressive of all the despotisms, which have ever afflicted and debased humanity. If we are intitled to apply to France in the aggregate, the lines of Cowper,—
'Tis universal soldiership has stabb'd
we may, with equal truth, say of any one of the higher orders, or of the denomination of youthful literati, in that country, in the language of the same poet,
His hard condition, with severe constraint
Binds all his faculties, forbids all growth
Of wisdom, proves a school, in which he learns
Sly circumvention, unrelenting hate,
Mean self-attachment, and scarce aught beside.
We lament that we cannot afford space, for the observations
of Mr. Degerando, on the German philosophy, as well as for his interesting survey, of the writings and genius of Lavater and Pestalozzi. We should now think of bringing this article to a close, and have perhaps already said enough, to give our readers a full insight, into the merits and objects of the Report under consideration. We shall finish, then, with a translation of that part of Mr. Degerando's section, which relates to the state of speculative philosophy in Great Britain, and which, notwithstanding its length, we cannot consent to withhold from the public, so great is the satisfaction it has afforded us, and so honourable is the testimony it bears, to the intellectual and moral elevation, of the country of our ancestors. In dwelling on the several statements of Mr. Degerando, partial as he is to the philosophical labours of his own countrymen and of his continental neighbours, it is difficult for a true American, not to feel the striking contrast, and to form a flattering comparison between the mysterious refinements and epicurean tenets of the German, or the lofty pretensions, the vague harangues, the deadening scepticism of the French school, and the pure morality, the dignified simplicity, the luminous reasonings, the sound, sober sense of the moralists and metaphysicians of Scotland.
"In England," says Mr. Degerando, " philosophy has, ia general, preserved a distinctive character, derived as much from the authority still possessed by the writings of Bacon, Locke and Shaftesbury, as from the genius of the nation. The greater part of the English writers, less enamoured of speculative theories than the Germans, have considered philosophy as a science which has experience for its basis, and which should lead to practical results. To study facts, to classify and generalize them, to apply them usefully, has been their chief object.—If this prudent plan has debarred them of triumphs, to be obtained only by the hardihood of abstraction, it has, however, enabled them to reap fruits more appropriate to the wants of society."
"Notwithstanding the general tendency of their investigations, we have seen the opinions of men in England, divided during the last age, between various speculative systems, such as the idealism of Berkeley,—the materialism of Priestley,— the scepticism of Hume,—and the hypothesis of Hartley with regard to the principle of association, which is so nearly allied to the doctrine of Stahl.—Other theories have been devised, to explain the operations of the will, by mechanical agency, and the law of duty, bv principles foreign to that of morality. These theories were framed and expounded with much ingenuity, supported in the absence of solid proof, by the aid of the most subtle dialectics, and although chiefly made up of errors, were not wanting in new and judicious observations, on the operations of the mind, and the study of the human heart.—Each of them still retains a certain number of adherents and advocates, but the controversy which they raised, has perhaps,—by producing at length a kind of lassitude and irresolution,—contributed to that indifference manifested by the majority of the English public, in relation to philosophical researches."
"In the mean while, however, a celebrated school nourished the sacred flame; preserved and developed in a series of glorious efforts, the most noble and precious truths which philosophy can offer—The Scottish school re-produced the sound doctrines of the sages of antiquity, enriched with modern lights.—Reid, Oswald, Beattie, and others, opposed to idealism and materialism,—to systematic scepticism, (the almost inevitable consequence of both one and the other) the authority of those primitive truths, of those intuitive principles, which are, for all men, the source of knowledge, and which are incapable of being demonstrated, precisely because they are the necessary basis of demonstration.—Hutcheson refuted the unsatisfactory code of ethics drawn from habit and convention, by the eternal and sacred voice of nature, which, addressing itself to the heart of man, when he does not refuse to listen, teaches him his destiny, and his duties.—He inculcated doctrines devoid indeed of ostentation and parade, but which recommend themselves by their simplicity and their wisdom;—which give solid foundations to the two most precious goods of the earth, virtue and truth,—which preclude the recurrence of the idle subtleties, that too often bewildered and misguided those, who would persist in endeavouring to make elementary principles the subject of reasoning."
"These doctrines have received, during the last twenty years, additional support, and material improvements, from the labours of the worthy continuators of the Scottish school. The primitive canons of intuition, and of feeling, which it is the province of philosophy, not to prove, but to designate and to develope, have been better defined, and established with more precision. The production of subordinate truths, the analysis of the operations of the understanding, the theory of the affections and of duties, have been elucidated from day to day. The celebrated authorof the Wealth of Nations and of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, has bequeathed to philosophy some fragments of the highest value; fragments which are so many abridged, yet profound treatises, on the march of the human mind, on the origin of systems, and the fundamental principles of sound metaphysics.—Reid and Beattie, two of the luminaries of this school, were still living, at the commencement of the period, which we comprise in this Report. The first had just published his treatise on Active Powers, the complement to a theory which may be justly styled, the code of good-sense; —he had consummated the discredit of the ancient opinion of philosophers, concerning the character of images or impressions ascribed to our sensations,—by distinguishing the impression received, from the concomitant judgment of exteriority.—Beattie prosecuted until towards the close of the century, his researches in moral philosophy;—in the theory of language, and the foundations of truth. Ferguson traced the elements of political science to the soundest and purest ethics, and with the same torch, by which he shed new light, on civil legislation, and the history of nations, unfolded to view the constituent laws of our nature, the movements of sensibility, the mechanism of habit, the working of the human faculties, and observed the progressive growth of the human mind.
Dugald Stewart, the friend, the disciple, and in some sort, 'the heir of these great men, has systematized, continued, completed their work; and enjoys the rare felicity of seeing his writings become, during his life time, almost classical in his own country. He has raised moral philosophy to the rank of a positive science, by subjecting it to the method of Bacon, to a judicious classification, and to a rigorous analysis and strict connexion. He has most profitably applied, and established upon clear principles, the laws of attention, of memory, of imagination, and those of the association of ideas, and of intellectual habits. He has irradiated the old question, of the causes of our errors, with new lights, and has made new observations, on the phenomena of insanity and of dreams. Above all,—he has developed in their full extent, both the utility and the danger of abstract and general notions:—their utility in every branch of knowledge;—their danger, particularly in political science;— thus uniting and reconciling two maxims which, either because they were kept separate, or but imperfectly known, have occasioned successively, the prevalence either of blind dogmatism or impotent empiricism;—two maxims the union of