Images de page



JULY, 1853.

ART. I.-1. Rational Psychology. By LAWRENS P. HICKOK, D.D. Auburn (United States). 1849.

2. Discussions on Philosophy, &c. By SIR W. HAMILTON. London: Longman, 1852.

3. Introduzione allo Studio della Philosophia.

Ed. 2da. Brusselle. 1844.


GIOBERTI. 4. Christian Metaphysics. By the Rev. C. B. SMYтн, Vicar of Alfreston, Sussex. London. 1851.

[ocr errors]

THE Science of Metaphysics was perhaps at no time very congenial to the English mind, and certainly at the present day seems less likely than ever to be popular. We are so taken up with the supply of material and social wants, with the investigation of natural and social facts, with religious and political controversy, and with the remedying of practical evils, that abstract science of every description seems to have less chance than ever of attracting attention. And yet the subject was not always neglected in England. In the ancient Statutes of the University of Oxford, it is provided that twice in each week lectures shall be delivered in Metaphysics, in which Aristotle's Metaphysics shall be the text-book; and a door in the Schools' quadrangle still bears the inscription, SCHOLA METAPHYSICE.' But the study is so entirely obsolete (or at least was so until recently), that we apprehend that it would have extremely puzzled any Oxford tutor or professor of our day, up to a recent period, to be called upon to lecture on that very difficult book. We believe, likewise, that the systematic study of Ancient Metaphysics had fallen into the same neglect universally, until Victor Cousin began (about 1830, we believe,) to lecture in Aristotle in the Ecole Normale of Paris, and published a French translation of the first and twelfth books, and procured a prize to be offered in 1833, for the best Essay on Aristotle's Treatise. Since that time Bonitz has published a new edition of the Metaphysics, with Dissertations and copious notes, and two translations have appeared in France; and we have heard that the book has been again lectured upon in Oxford, and taken up for examination. But we apprehend

[blocks in formation]

that the person who has made most real use of that and others of the metaphysical writings of Aristotle, is the late Sir William Hamilton, of Edinburgh, the most learned metaphysician (we apprehend) of this or any other age, and the one who knew best how to turn to account his all but universal knowledge on the subject; whose extent of knowledge was equalled only by its accuracy, and the acuteness of the judgment with which he knew how to apply it.

We thus see that, notwithstanding the tendencies of the age, the study of the deepest and most subtle of all metaphysical writers (not excepting Plato)-of the writer from whom all modern metaphysics have unconsciously taken their tone and colouring, after centuries of neglect, is now revived in various European countries; and this revival cannot fail to produce some effect, at least indirectly, on the minds of many.

But we have been reminded of Aristotle by the work of a Transatlantic writer, the title of which, and the name of the author, appear at the head of this Article. We have been thus reminded, however, not by any direct traces of the study of Aristotle in the work itself, (for, judging by it, we should not suppose him to be acquainted with any of his writings, except at second-hand,) but by certain resemblances in the work itself. Aristotle works his way up step by step, from the first notion of a cause or origin, to Deity as the First Cause; and Dr. Hickok equally begins with phenomena, and works his way up to God, as the Absolute Ideal,' the Author of all nature. Aristotle commences his treatise with a discussion of the nature of science, and the proper place and position of the science of causes and origins; and Dr. Hickok (we wonder from what country he derived his name) commences with a discussion of the process for attaining an à priori science of mind, treats of the nature of science as built upon ultimate truths, and endeavours to lay down a criterion of all science. Aristotle's plan is to work his way from admitted facts to à priori science, which shall govern and interpret all facts; and the object of Dr. Hickok is to do the same. It is the practice of Aristotle to discuss the views of other philosophers, and to see how far they lead to his own views, or go with them, or support them; and Dr. Hickok has done the same. Aristotle has cleared his way for his own conclusions by the refutation of previous views, and Dr. Hickok has refuted other views in establishing his own. But here the resemblance ceases. The phraseology, indeed, and terminology of both Aristotle and Dr. Hickok are difficult of comprehension. But in the former case it arises from no idiosyncrasy, but from the simple fact, that the Greek mind was cast in a different mould from ours; for Plato, when he becomes metaphysical, is

« PrécédentContinuer »