Page images
PDF
EPUB

logues of Plato, especially such important portions of them as the Timæus and this argument* against the atheists.

One cause of Aristotle's misconception may have been his own unsound definition of motion, which necessarily excluded this tenth species, which Plato makes the ground of all the rest : πάσα γαρ κίνησις εξ άλλου εις άλλο εστι Metabokń. Metaph., X. (xi.), c. 12. In other places, however, he seems to mean the same with our author, and even to go beyond him in the sublimity of some of his ideas respecting the first Mover. Compare, for this purpose, the last chapter of the last book of Physics, and the seventh chapter of the eleventh book of the Metaphysics. The First Cause he styles åkívntov, not, as we think, in the sense of inactivity or quiescence, but as incapable of being moved, or of deriving its motion from anything external or antecedent. This, instead of being dúvauis alone, he himself describes as essentially an Eternal Energy : Šte de έστι το κινούμενον και κινούν, μέσον εστί τι, δ ου κινούμενον κινεί, αΐδιον, και ουσία και ενέργεια ούσα. Μetaph., xi. (xii.), c. 7. He sometimes even transcends Plato, and seems to intend the energy of voūs as something higher than a merely psychicalt first mover, if he does not rather mean an åpxń, or principle of a still higher nature even than this, namely, the moral and final cause of the heavenly motions. We allude especially to that most remark

* There cannot be a doubt, that, in the passages we have quoted, Aristotle has reference to this tenth book of The Laws; for nowhere else does Plato talk in the same style about motion and the first mover, unless it be in some of the subsequent books of this very treatise. In the Timæus, the argument is conducted in a manner altogether different. This, then, together with other references which Aristotle makes to the Laws, as a production of Plato well known in his day, ought to be conclusive evidence of their genuineness.

+ Plato, however, in this argument, evidently uses yuxý for all that is incorporeal, including intellect (voûs) as well as life and motive power.

R

able passage, where he says " that this åpxń, or First Cause, moves the heavens, as being loved-Kivei bc épó. uevov,c. 7. By this, Cudworth supposes that he meant to represent a second moving power, or soul of the world, which,“ enamoured with this supreme, immoveable Mind, did, as it were, in imitation of it, continually turn round the heavens.” Intellectual System, vol. ii., p. 313, Eng. ed. We cannot, however, discover any solid grounds for this opinion, and would rather regard this as a mode of

expression, by which the Stagyrite would give the first place in the series of moving causes to moral reasons-what he himself so tersely styles, TÒ £Ů kai kažūs, or the well and fit, and what Socrates was fond of denominating BÉATIOTov, the best. It was this principle which produced that motion of the Highest Heavens or sphere, on which all inferior motions depend: έκ τοιαύτης άρα αρχής ήρτηται ο ουρανός και η φύσις. In this language we think there can be discovered some allusion to Homer's golden chain; and, indeed, the whole style and sentiment of the passage seems far more in accordance with the semi-poetical philosophy of Plato than with that of the dry and rigid Aristotle. No. thing could be more Platonic than this conception of the universe eternally moving on through love of The First Fair and The First Good, attracted rather than impelled, and ever tending to the object of its admiration, as though it were striving to develop, in the harmony of its varied physical influences, that all.perfect idea with which it was enraptured.

We may compare with all this a splendid passage from the Phædrus, of which Cicero has given a version in the first book of the Tusculan Disputations, sect. xxiii.: “All soul is immortal, for that which ever moves must be eternal; while that which moves another, and yet is moved by something else, since it hath cessation of motion, may have cessation of life. But that alone which moves itself, seeing that it never leaves itself, not only never ceases energizing, but is also the fountain and beginning of motion to all other things. This can never either be born or perish, or all the heaven and earth collapsing must stand still, and never again find a renewed source and origin of motion.

motion. For, since it is evident that that which is self-moving is eternal, we need not fear to say that this is the very essence and reason (Nóyos) of soul, or, in other words, its very nature,” ás Taúrns ouons púoews Wuxñs. Phædrus, 245, D. We need not remind the reader that in this

passage, as well as in the tenth of The Laws, the term soul is taken collective. ly for the oldest soul, as the source of all animation, and including all other souls as in some way proceeding from it.

XXVII. The Words λόγος, είδος, αnd ιδέα. PAGE 28, LINE 9. "Εν μέν, την ουσίαν· εν δε, της ουσίας τον λόγον· εν δε όνομα. One thing the essence, one the qóyos, reason, definition, or notion of the essence, and one the name.” Aóyos, when rendered reason, is not to be taken for the faculty of the mind to which we give that ap. pellation. It more properly signifies the reason of a thing ; the reason as existing in a thing, perceived, or, rather, understood by the mind, or the rationale. It is not the reason why the thing exists, or the final cause, as we often use the term, but, rather, the constituting cause, what Aristotle calls Ti ñv eival, that which makes anything what it is; a particular modification of the general idea of existence. The dóyos is that which is the object of the mind's intellection (notio); that which binds together (primary sense of héyo) or gathers into a unity for the soul's contemplation—that to which alone the ovoua, or name, belongs, and without which the thing itself is only an object of sensation.

In reading Plato, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between λόγος, είδος, and ιδέα. The conclusion to which we have arrived, but which we would state with some de, gree of hesitation, is as follows: Aóyos is the notion or reason of a thing viewed in relation to the mind contemplating it, yet having an existence separate from such a mind; eidos, the notion in reference to the thing itself-as the êv v Tordois, or one in many, residing in it; idéa, the same, regarded as self-subsisting, apart from mind, and also from the individual things through which it is manifested. The absolute existence of the last is the great question in philosophy. In respect to the second term, which is the one Aristotle is most fond of using, there is no real disagreement between him and Plato. If we reject the third hypothesis, there is still a wide difference between that philosophy which was common to Aristotle, Plato, and Bacon, and that which is now styled the system of Locke.

XXVIII. Distinction between λόγος αnd όνομα. . PAGE 30, LINE 3. Το εαυτό κινείν φής λόγον έχειν την αυτήν ουσίαν, ήνπερ τούνομα, και δη πάντες, ψυχήν προσα. yopevojev. The order of this rather complicated sentence would seem to be this : φης την αυτην ουσίαν (καθ') ηνπερ το όνομα προσαγορεύομεν, δ δή πάντες (προσαγορεύoυσι) ψυχήν, λόγον έχειν-το εαυτό κινείν.

“ You say, then, that that very essence, of which we predicate that name which all men predicate, namely, yuxń, or soul, hath for its λόγος self-motion, or αυτοκίνησις.See the notes and explanations accompanying the text.

It may, perhaps, be objected, that Plato is resting these important positions on mere words, to which he assigns his own arbitrary definitions or notions. But what is meant by the sneering expression, mere words, which is such a favourite with a certain class of modern declaimers? What are words—we speak not now of sounds or articulate enunciations, ονόματα οι ρήματα, but of the higher term λόγοι —what are words, in this sense, but outward expressions of the inward logical necessities of our own minds? And what can be higher proof for us than those affirmations, which the immutable laws of our own souls compel us to make, in respect to what is included or not included in a certain idea? Whatever belongs to the idea is necessary; so, on the other hand, whatever is necessary pertains to an idea, and the exclusion of any part involves, for our minds, a logical contradiction.

The naming of them, therefore, cannot be arbitrary, except so far as the mere outward sound is concerned. There are certain ideas which are not dependent on language, as some of the nominalists of the school of Locke would hold, but language on them. So far, human speech may be regarded as something supernatural, although its outward dress or vocal forms may have been the result of conventional or accidental usage, instead of any natural adaptedness of sound to sense. We may give to the hóyos, or notion, any όνομα we please. We may call it ψυχή, πνεύμα, me), animus, anima, Geist, or soul; we may etymologically associate this ovoua with any such sensible phe. nomenon as we may fancy comes the nearest to the con. ception, such as air, breath, fire, æther, &c.; and in this way the ovoula may continually change ; but the hóyos is not conventional. In all languages, even from the earliest periods, it has had a distinct vocal sign-as much so as that of body-and we expect, as a matter of course, to find it in every tongue we may investigate. The idea which calls for the name is implanted by God as one of the fixed parts of our being. The metaphysical notion of soul is self-motion, self-energy, aŭtokivTouc. Of this notion we

« PreviousContinue »