Page images
PDF
EPUB

other theory, there is a marked distinction between them, as the one (anaoiwors) would refer to such a change of particles as would only affect the aggregate sym, the other (yéVEOLS) to such a change in site, order, motion, and combination, as would destroy the former &žis, and give rise to a new one, constituting a new law or nature. 'Addolwols would be a change in the alointá, addressing itself solely to the sense ; yéveois, a change in the vontóv, or idea, addressing itself to the intelligence, and constituting the object of science.

The atomic theory has been charged with being atheistical, because atheists have held it. Cudworth, however, very conclusively shows that it is, on the contrary, most favourable to theism, because, allowing to matter nothing but atoms, figure, site, &c., the mind that thinks rigidly is compelled to bring in something to set these atoms in motion, and, since it discards all occult qualities as unmeaning, it is obliged to resort to Spirit as the direct author of all those original impulses of matter which are generally styled properties. See The Intellectual System, chapter i., 38-45. On the other hand, this other doctrine, which, at first view, seems more spiritual, as apparently maintaining the existence of a secret something besides the matter, and, therefore, as more favourable to religion than the dry theory of atoms, is, in reality, the great hot-bed of atheism, ever dispensing with the presence of the Deity, as long as these blind occult qualities can be brought in to justify what would fain seem a jealous reverence for the Divine honour.

Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus. This doctrine seems to have given rise, in the minds of Aristotle and others, to this distinction between TOTTLKT MEταβολή, local change, or change in space, and μεταβολή κατά Trolóv, or change of quality, as the two great and distinct orders embraced under the term Kivnols, or motion in its largest sense; whereas, if the other view be correct, the second is as much local motion as the first, that is, local motion internally, although there may be no departure from the circumscribing space in which the whole body is contained; so that all change would be motion in the modern sense of the word, and there would remain only the two genera which Plato numbers as the ninth and tenth, and which the scholiast has styled σωματική and ψυχική; all the rest being mere differences arising from direction, de. gree, separation, or concretion. Plato's division, although somewhat affected by this doctrine of occult qualities, is far less dependent upon it than the others we have mentioned, and what he says of the καθεστηκυία έξις and its change savours most strongly of the other theory. On other grounds, we are persuaded that Plato's view was more in accordance with the atomic doctrine, which resolved all TTOLÓTnTaç into the motions, figures, sites, &c., of ultimate particles. This seems to agree best with the spirit of the Timæus ; and, indeed, there are some parts of that dialogue which are unintelligible on any other supposition. Cudworth maintains that Plato, as well as Aristotle, was a believer in the occult theory; and that he was led to adopt it because he saw that the other had been held by atheists. We are satisfied, however, from a very careful examination, which cannot be here presented, that this is a mistaken view of his philosophy. It is sufficient to say, that nothing would be so fatal to his main argument in this very treatise, as the admission of any occult quality, which is neither to be resolved into the combination and disposition of the particles, nor into the higher power of spirit ultimately moving upon them. The atheist would ask for no better auxiliary, to resist successfully all that might be advanced about the necessity of that older and self-moving essence, soul. “Give me a place to stand,” said Archimedes, “and I will move the world.” “Give me occult qualities," the atheist might say, 6 and I ask the aid of no God in constructing a universe."

XXVI. Αυτοκίνησις, or Self-motion of Soul. Energy or Action be

longs to the Essence of the Deity. Whether on this View God must have created Worlds from Eternity. Aristotle's Misrepresentations of Plato on this point. His own Doctrine.

PAGE 26, LINE 9. Πασών έρρωμενεστάτης και πρακτικην διαφερόντως. Such strong expressions as these gave occasion to Aristotle to assert, that Plato taught the doctrine that the first cause was an eternal energy or activity ever employed, that is, ενέργεια, in distinction from δύναμις. He even most unjustly seeks to confound Plato's Eternal Spiritual Mover with the everlasting agitation of the self-moving atoms of Democritus and Leucippus : ALÒ ένιοι ποιούσιν αει ενέργειαν, οίον Λεύκιππος και Πλάτων. αει γαρ είναι φασι κίνησιν· αλλά διά τί, και τίνα, ου λέγουσιν. « Some make it an everlasting activity, as Leucippus and Plato. For they say that there is an eternal motion, but by reason of what, and what, they do not tell us." Aristot., Metaph., xi. (xii.), c. 6. This disparagement of Plato, by associating him with the atheists, Leucippus and Democritus, is merely done to set off his own dogma, that « the first essence was immoveable :ότι ανάγκη είναι αtδιον τινά ουσίαν, ακίνητον; in which proposition, taken in its true sense, we shall see that Plato most fully agreed with him. In another part of this same chapter, he infers, that if there be an eternal kívnous, its very essence must be activity (ενέργεια), in distinction from power (δύναμις): Εί γάρ μη ενεργήσει, ουκ έσται κίνησις· έτι ουδ' ει ενεργήσει, η δ' ουσία αυτής δύναμις· ου γαρ έσται κίνησις αίδιος· ενδέχεται γαρ το δυνάμει όν, μή είναι. Δεϊ άρα είναι αρχήν τοιαύτην, ής η ουσία ενέργεια-« For if it should not energize, there will be no motion ; neither if it should energize,

while yet its essence was only (Dúvauis) power or potentiality. Even in that case, there will be no eternal motion ; for that which exists, év dúvauel, in potentiality, admits of not-being. Therefore there must be some such principle, whose very essence is energy."

In stating the objections to the doctrine, he misrepresents Plato in his usual manner, by drawing the unsound inference, that the First Cause must have been ever engaged, from its very nature, in the work of creation, and that, there. fore, the universe must have been eternal : Gote oủk åv nv άπειρον χρόνον χάος ή νύξ, αλλά τα αυτά αεί, ή περιόδω, ή άλλως, είπερ πρότερον ενέργεια δυνάμεως. ει δε το αυτό αεί περιόδω, δει τι αεί μένειν ενεργούν,« So that there could have been no chaos or night for an infinite (or indefinite) time; but the same things must have been ever taking place, either in a circuit or in some other manner, if activ. ity (évépyela) is older than dúvaus. But if the same eternally took place in a circuit, then there must have ever been something continually energizing, or putting forth active power.” Metaph., xi. (xii.), c. 6.

Aristotle was never careful to do Plato justice; although it would be easy to show-the modern declamation to the contrary notwithstanding—that their philosophy was substantially the same; the main difference arising from the Stagyrite's studious care to adopt, in many cases, a different phraseology, for the purpose of creating the appearance of a wider disagreement than really existed, and from his con. tinual disposition to pervert and misstate Plato's real meaning. His misrepresentation here, whether wilful or not, arises from his utterly confounding the two aspects under which our philosopher defines his tenth species of κίνησις, , as εαυτήν τε κινούσα-και έτερα δυναμένη. In the first only did he hold it to be eternal and essential. In this respect, too, however much it may be above our comprehension, he regards it as purely spiritual, or, as the scholiast defines it,

psychical, in distinction from topical motion; as something ever energizing within itself, and only presenting the second aspect when exercised, katà Tónov, in the generation, creation, and changes of the topical universe. What Plato meant was this, that the First Cause was something more than dúvaus; an eternal activity constituting its very essence, yet by no means necessitating it to act out of itself, until, by an exercise of will, it should give rise to an outward universe, which, although actuated by, remains clearly distinct from, this everlasting energy.

We have likewise an example of the gross manner in which Aristotle misstates Plato, in another assertion of this same chapter, wherein he charges him with inconsistency in respect to his first Mover or Eternal Soul : ’Adàà unu ουδέ Πλάτωνί γε οίόν τε λέγειν ήν οίεται αρχήν είναι ενίοτε το αυτό εαυτό κινούν, ύστερον γαρ και άμα το ουρανό ñ yoxń, os onol“But, surely, neither is Plato able to tell us what he means by that which he sometimes thinks to be the first principle, namely, his self-moving power; for soul, he says (in a certain place), is cotemporary with the heavens, or the material universe.” Aristotle undoubtedly would convey the inference, that this is inconsistent with the doctrine of the Eternal Spiritual Mover as laid down in the tenth book of The Laws. The position which he cites is from the Timæus, but the careful reader can hardly fail to see that there, by yuxń, Plato means the anima mundi, which he expressly represents as the direct production of the Eternal Father, who formed it together with the body of which it was to be the plastic power; whereas throughout this book, and especially the present argument respecting motion, he employs the term soul for the immaterial principle which was prior to all creation and generation of matter—in fact, as another name for the Eternal Deity himself—and this wide difference could hardly have been unknown to one, who must have been familiar with the dia

« PreviousContinue »