THEISM (Gr. 8e6s, god), literally, and in its widest sense, the belief in a god or gods. The term has had several changes of meaning. (I) It appears for the first time in 18th-century English as an occasional synonym for " deism " (q.v.), and therefore as applying to those who believed in God but not in Christianity. Later criticism, orthodox and heterodox, upon the English deists inclines to charge them with the conception of a divine absentee, who wound up the machine of nature and left it to run untended. That was the general 18th-century way of thinking. God was apt to be thought of as purely transcendent, not immanent in the world. (2) In the 19th century theism is generally used of positive belief in God, either with or without belief in the claim of Christianity to be a revelation, but unassociated with any peculiarities of 18thcentury deists. If the word " deism " emphasizes a negative element - rejection of church Christianity - " theism " generally emphasizes the positive element - belief in God. (3) There is also a third usage. " Theism " was reclaimed by Theodore Parker, F. W. Newman, Frances Power Cobbe, and others, for their more modern speculative belief in God, which, while non-Christian or at least non-orthodox, held to an immanent God, continually revealing himself - in the moral consciousness. The ambiguity cannot be cured. We use the word in this article in the second sense.' I. From this point of view theism is a synonym for Natural Theology, or almost so. But the expression Natural Theology Natural itself has a history. (i) The " three theologies "- recognized by the early Roman Stoics - probably on the suggestion of a passage in Aristotle's Metaphysics, xi. Bare named by St Augustine (Latinizing the Greek terms) Imm. Kant's distinction of " deist " and " theist " may be found in the Critique of Pure Reason, " Transcendental Dialectic," Book II. chaps. iii. and vii. It is curious, but, unless for the study of Kant, unimportant.
Cf. Theology. Natorp's article quoted there gives the reference to the passage in Aristotle, but does not recognize its connexion with the later Stoical distinction.
mythical, natural, and civil or political (City of God, iv. 27). There is probably a malicious echo in a well-known passage of Gibbon (Decline and Fall, chap. ii.): " The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosopher as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful." Augustine rejects all three " theologies " as pagan figments, and not a few church writers follow him in this - borrowing his learning without naming him (e.g. the Protestant Grotius in his notes on Rom. i. 20). Yet the natural or physical theology of the philosophers - in contrast to mere myths or mere statecraft - seems a straightforward effort to reach faith in God on grounds of scientific reason. It deserves the name, in the modern sense, of Natural Theology. (2) Raymond of Sabunde's Liber naturae sive creaturarum (1434-36) bears also the title Theologia Naturalis - but not from the author's own hand,3 though his introduction to the book in question, the Prologue, put upon the Index at Rome for its daring, describes the " book of nature " as " connatural to us," in contrast with the " supernatural" book, the Bible, which belongs to the clerics. Laymen may read the book of nature, and Man himself is the most important " leaf " in it. Raymond attempts to demonstrate the whole of church theology upon principles of reason. That is a task quite beyond what is generally recognized as Natural Theology. (3) With Francis Bacon (Advancement of Learning, 1605) the expression Natural Theology emerges in what has become the modern sense - as standing for a part of Christian theology, attainable by reason, and contrasted by most theologians with the " mysteries " of faith (Bacon uses that term too) on the principles of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas (see Apologetics).
[It is not clear that Bacon is the first to use the term in the now accepted sense; but he and Theophilus Raynaudus, S. J., in his Theologia Naturalis (1622), of which there is a copy in the Bodleian, must at least be among the first in their respective communions to do so. Raynaudus's authorities, in favour of the recognition of a natural theology and against it, do not, so far as the present writer has been able to consult them, use the expression. So too H. Alsted, an early Protestant writer on Natural Theology (in his Methodus Theologiae, 1611, and in later works), defines it as moderns do - some of the contents of his Natural Theology are fantastic enough - and his authorities, again so far as consulted, differ upon the place to be assigned to Natural Theology within a system of study, but do not employ the term.] In later times the expression is common; it is used e.g. by Locke, Leibnitz and Wolff. Wolff's influence made the usage habitual, 4 though Schleiermacher and Ritschl, like the Socinians earlier, deny the existence of a natural theology.. Following the text and ordinary interpretation 5 of Aristotle's Metaphysics, it is believed that Aristotle already Catholic identified metaphysics with a theology: accordingly grouping. modern Roman Catholic learning, which owes a great debt to Aristotle through the schoolmen, includes Natural Theology in philosophy, not in theology properly so called. With Natorp's article W. Wallace's Gifford Lecture, 6 chap. i., may also be consulted; but Wallace does not distinguish the unusual sense which the term bears as applied to Raymond's book. R. Flint has remarked that Natural Theology ought not merely to prove the being of God, but to give a full systematic view of what (it is contended) can be learned of theological truth from the " light of nature " (St Augustine, and 3 See art. " Raimundus Sabieude " by Schaarschmidt in HerzogHauck, Realencyklopcidie (ed. 1905). At this point we must also call to mind the wide currency given to the term theology by Abelard, and his editors or copyists.
4 A. Harnack and some others use the expression in a wider sense. Any supposed principles (even if not worked out into a system of inferences) used as ready-made clues for the study and interpretation of Christianity are described by this school as natural theology (cf. Theology).
Challenged by Natorp; see Theology.
6 Published in Lectures and Essays. theologians generally after him). The name " theism " makes that requirement less emphatic (see below).
Another kindred term is " Natural Religion." We meet with this in the titles of two Latin works' by German authors in reply to Lord Herbert of Cherbury. They use it with strong condemnation, from the standpoint of rigorous Christian orthodoxy; but it comes into England within very few years upon the Christian side - religion against irreligion - in Bishop John Wilkins's Principles and Duties of Natural Religion (1678). The author died 1672, and left the book unfinished; but the language of the title occurs in the first sentence; so it is undoubtedly Wilkins's, as well as sanctioned by his editor and connexion through marriage, Tillotson, afterwards the archbishop. We meet with " Natural Religion " again in Samuel Clarke's works, and notably in Bishop Joseph Butler's Analogy (1736). Thus, as employed by most writers, " Natural Religion " connotes neutrality or even friendliness towards Christianity; just as is the case with theism in sense (2), or with Natural Theology. " Deist," or sometimes " theist " in sense (I), or Naturalist, is a term of reprobation with English 18th-century apologists, but not " Natural Religion." If there is any difference between " theism " or " Natural Theology " on the one hand, and Natural Religion on the other, it is to be found in the more practical character attaching to natural " religion." While Romans i. 19 and 20 (yet cf. Acts xiv. 17, xvii. 24, &c.) is the main New Testament passage which seems to recognize a Natural Theology, Rom. ii. 14, 15 may be said to assert Natural Religion. When the expression Natural Theology comes to the front once more with Archdeacon W. Paley (1802), this is a sort of after-birth or anachronism.2 Natural Law. - We do not pretend that Law of Nature - the jurist's term, not of course that of inductive science - is strictly a synonym for theism. But it is a cognate Law. conception, of great importance historically, bearing the marks of the Stoic doctrine of " nature," and helping to turn men's minds towards a " natural " theology. A pantheist may believe in Law of Nature and go no further; a theist who accepts Law of Nature has a large instalment of natural theology ready made to his hand; including an idealist, or else an intuitionalist, scheme of ethics. Both jus naturale and lex naturalis are as early as Cicero, and the jus gentium of the Roman lawyers is earlier still. Ambrose of Milan (Epistles ix. 71) quotes Romans ii. 14, 15 - the passage already referred to, under " Natural Religion " - as asserting " Natural Law "; St Paul's words suggest that form of thought and may conceivably have been suggested by it. J. G. Ritchie's Natural Rights, from the point of view of a very hostile (evolutionary) idealism, sketches the early history of the phrase Natural Law.' The philosopher in Abelard's Dialogus inter Judaeum Philosophum et Christianum expects to be saved ex sola lege naturali; here " law of nature " is fully equivalent to Natural Religion, and the word sola sets it in contrast with Christianity. Not to speak of the canonists, Thomas Aquinas gives natural law an important place; while Melancthon, drawing from Aquinas, gives it an entrance into Protestant thought. Zwingli and Calvin on the other hand prefer the positive view of law as instituted by God far back in history in the days of the Old Covenant; but,, when exegesis or controversy puts pressure upon them, they fall into line and reiterate the appeal to a Natural Law. Richard Hooker, again with traces of Aquinas, uses the conception as a weapon against Puritanism, with its aggressive positivism of scriptural precept. Natural Law, he claims, leaves room for discretionary arrangements like episcopacy; Scripture does not mean to supersede the light of reason. It is intelligible that Locke (Treatises of Civil Government) should have a relish in quoting Hooker against the divineright royalism of Sir John Filmer; but in Locke there is already 1 Recorded in J. G. Walch's Bibliotheca Theologica Selecta (1751).
2 See Wallace's Gifford Lecture. 3 For the influence of that conception in theology, especially through the medium of Isidore of Seville, see successive chapters in A. J. Carlyle's Hist. of Mediaeval Political Thought in the West, vol. i.
XXVI. 24 a a revival of belief in the (beau-ideal) " state " of nature and a growing emphasis upon natural rights; ideas which, heralded by Rousseau, echoed round the world in the French Revolution. Locke had spent some years in Holland, the country of Grotius, who, with help from other great lawyers, and under a misapprehension as to the meaning of the Roman jus gentium, shaped modern concepts of international law by an appeal to law of nature. 4 This moral ideal rendered considerable services to civilization; we must not forget these, in the offence which the myth of a primitive golden age may offer to our historic sense. The kernel is sound enough though the husk is a poor thing. Finally, it is of some interest to note that Chr. Wolff, in the intervals of his chequered theological career, lectured and wrote as a jurist upon the Law of Nature.
" Philosophy of religion " is the modern term. It again is not exactly a synonym, though more nearly so than the last. The new phrase indicates that we are to approach the thought of God through a study of religious beliefs phy of and practices; " theism " tended to make God a purely scientific inference from the facts of nature. But " philosophy of religion " can be construed in many different ways. An investigator, pledging himself to no beliefs - even perhaps one who definitely disbelieves and rejects theism - may yet interest himself in tracking out the psychology of religion. Or a philosopher like Hegel, armed with a metaphysical theory, may descend upon the facts of religion and interpret them in its light, till they almost lose their original significance, which we might provisionally define as consisting in this, that the believer in any religion finds himself helped or (as he claims) saved by it. Again, we must not be misled by verbal idiosyncrasies. What James Martineau calls A Study of Religion is really in the main a re-statement of old theistic arguments.' [Wallace's Gifford Lecture may be consulted upon this phrase also. He observes with truth that Natural Theology, if you remove from it the idea of subordination to Christianity as (claiming to be) a special revelation, tends to pass into a philosophy of religion. But it does not follow that the new standpoint involves what Wallace seems to hint, though he conceals his meaning behind complimentary rhetoric - rejection of church Christianity. A. M. Fairbairn's Phil. of the Christian Religion shows by its very title that an effort is being made to combine great confidence in metaphysics with strong belief in the uniqueness of Christianity; and the effort will be found to characterize all Fairbairn's work. Possibly, fuller study of religions may help theologians to formulate the imperial claims of Christianity more happily than in the dry contrast between what is " revealed " and what is " natural." But that contrast is traditional; and it is implied in the ordinary theological usage of such phrases as " natural theology " or " natural religion " and almost of " theism."] Comparative religion, or, as some call it, history of religion, is yet another modern study, closely akin to the last discussed,, although more strictly confined to registering the Compara- sequence of religious phenomena and less disposed towards criticizing religions or towards ranking them in an order of merit. We cannot, therefore, call it precisely synonymous with theism. And yet theism - or monotheism - constitutes a special locus in the history of religion. The historian observes and records, in different lands and ages, the rise or explicit utterance of belief in one God.
Some uncertainty may be felt whether pantheism should rank as a theism. Is unity the main point? Or is not personality rather of prime importance, though doubtless presupposing unity? (Usage does not allow us to rank polytheism as a form of theism.) E. Troeltsch, Kultur der Gegenwart, Teil I. Abt. 4, p. 470, finds that the wisdom of the priests, in one land after another, rises to the thought of divine unity. That suggests pantheism, the usual form of such esoteric wisdom. Professor T. W. Rhys Davids (American Lectures, p. 37) sums up that, when the name of an earlier deity is 4 See (with writers already mentioned) Sir H. Maine's Ancient Law. ' See his Introduction. attached to the object of supreme worship, monotheism proper is approached; while, when a new thought-construction is put in the supreme place, there is a tendency rather towards pantheism. So far as this is true, theism (proper) would seem to be an accident of language.
There is a further problem; whether monotheism is of very early occurrence. Belief in a primitive historical revelation, once universal among Christians, has almost disappeared; but belief in a very early and highly moral theism is stoutly defended, chiefly on Australian evidence, by Andrew Lang (The Making of Religion and later works). If Lang is right, " primitive " peoples drew typical theistic inferences, and argued to God from nature and from conscience, though without displacing other types of religious belief and practice. In many regions-- Egypt, Babylonia, &c. - individual investigators of the great religions have thought they found traces of an early - one hesitates to write, of a " primitive " - monotheism. Perhaps J. Legge, who finds true theism at the dawn of Chinese history, is the most authoritative representative of such views.
Passing to later times, we can watch a theory of monotheism rising, and dying down again, during what our scholars distinguish as the Brahmanical period of Indian religion. The supreme god, Isvara, has the personal name Prajapati, Visvakarman or some other. But this theism is lifeless - a " pale and shallow deism, which India has often confessed with the lips, but which has never won the homage of her heart.'" The thought of India is upon the side of pantheism. Again, the heretical Egyptian king Amenophis IV. or Akhenaton, one of the sovereigns to whose govern ment the celebrated Tell el-Amarna letters from Palestine were addressed, was a zealous champion of the exclusive claims of the sun-disk God, Ra; but his policy died with him. In Babylonia a mutilated inscription printed by T. Pinches (Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. 28), identifying (so far as preserved) thirteen other Gods with Marduk, has been hailed by Friedrich Delitzsch (Babel and Bibel) as the great fountain-head of monotheism, and has influenced the bold if highly precarious conjectures of H. Winckler.2 Of more assured importance was the Zoroastrian faith - " pure moral dualism if not theism " (L. H. Mills) - which proved its zeal by persecutions. But later times nearly strangled Zoroastrian piety, not only by laws of ritual purity but also by newly evolved secondary deities - personified attributes, and the like. So that here again theism, if theism it was, did not continue in strength. If we understand by theism not simple belief in a divine unity, but such faith in one divine person as will constitute the basis for a popular religion, then - unless we allow a doubtful exception in Zoroastrianism. - we must agree with those historians of religion who affirm that the world has known only a single living monotheism, viz. that of the Old Testament, along with what are historically the daughter faiths, Christianity and Islam.
The theist believes that he can further trace many incomplete workings of the monothesitic instinct in the history of religion. Not only is it true, as A. Menzies observes, that " Reason knows only God, not Gods "; if we take religion as saving help, no worshipper possesses religion in full security until he has gone straight to the fountain-head, and gained the friendship of the God of Gods. Indian Vedic henotheism (otherwise called kathenotheism); 3 Semitic monolatry, so important as the probable starting-point of religious development in Israel; the Greek use of " Zeus " almost as we say " God " - even the attempt to arrange deities in a monarchical pantheon, all show the tendency, though it so seldom attains a real victory.
1 A. Barth, Religions of India, Eng. trans., pp. 29, 30, 69. We may probably extend this hostile judgment to the theism of the modern Samaj-es.
2 The centralizing of worship at Babylon by its last king, Nabonidos, hardly seems to have amounted to monotheism.
3 The two terms are explicitly identified by F. Max Muller, their inventor (e.g. Hibbert Lectures, chap. vi. p. 271).
II. We have already suggested that theism covers more ground than the name at first may suggest. It can never quite confine attention to the problem of the being of God. Where God is believed in at all, it is believed that upon God everything else depends. With the thought of God, accordingly, there is correlated a modification in thoughts upon all other subjects; and a full system of theism must discourse " Of God, of the world, of the Soul, " like Matthew Arnold's Moses. In other words there must be doctrines regarding matter and mind, the world and the self, as well as regarding that Absolute Being who is believed to exist behind both, revealing Himself through them. This way of approaching theism is illustrated in A. C. Fraser's Gifford Lectures, or in earlier times in the writings of Christian Wolff, whose sciences, according to the slightly different nomenclature which Kant imposed on them, were " rational psychology," " rational cosmology," and " rational theology." Kant swept away, so far as his influence extended, such " dogmatic metaphysics " and the old-fashioned theism which it constituted or included; but Kant himself introduced, in his own more sceptical yet also more moral type of theistic doctrine, a new trichotomy - God, Freedom, Immortality, the three " postulates " of the practical reason." It is tempting to try to correlate the members of this triad with the individual members of the older triad. But that would only mislead us; free will and immortality are really predicates ascribed - on whatever grounds - to the soul; and it is natural that in theism the soul of man should be a topic second in importance only to God Himself. Every theistic system, or almost every one, makes provision in some way for Kant's three postulates. Accordingly, even in a hurried survey of the history of theism, we must try to question the systems we are reviewing upon their attitude towards human freedom and immortality, as well as upon their doctrine of God. Sometimes it will be found that free will is asserted as an assured fact, as a datum, and so as a ground of inference to God. But some- will. times free will is rather a probandum. In Christian theology, much labour has been spent upon vindicating man's freedom against God's intrusion, or upon blotting out human power in order to leave room for the divine. Theism si'ggests at the very outset that we should rather expect to find a correlation between the two. If there is a God at all, he must be thought of as the guarantee of freedom in man and as the pledge of his immortality.
The mention of Christian theology may remind us that, for the majority of theists in medieval and modern times, theism proper has ranked only as a secondary wisdom. It Simplifi- is possible for Christians to work out natural theology in separate detail; but we cannot wonder if they rarely attempt the task, believing as they do that they have a fuller revelation of religious truth elsewhere. In point of fact, as we look to history, we find that theism has been much simplified and cut down. First of all, attention has been concentrated upon God. One does not suggest that this concentration was an error. On the contrary, even Christian theology makes at least the effort to show that the thought of God regulates the whole system of belief. Yet while an adequate doctrine of God may settle everything in principle, we ought to remember that there are applications of the principle, apart from which we do not see our way clearly. As a second step in concentration, attention is almost confined to the question " Does God exist?" and to theistic proofs as answering " Yes." The further question " What is God?" is slurred, as if there could be no two opinions regarding that; whereas in truth there are two hundred opinions. A. B. Bruce feels this so strongly that the natural theology section of his Apologetics entirely omits the question " Does God exist?" in favour of the question " What is God? " Perhaps that is equally onesided. When we do find theism dealing with the question " What is God? " it tends to borrow from scholastic forms of Christian theology the scheme of Being and Attributes (see e.g. Wolff). But such a scheme gives at best an external preliminary description of the object to which it is applied.' So our wealth of material narrows down in the ordinary handling to a single question. God, the world, the soul, free will, immortality, optimism; What then is God? All these questions, and perhaps others, tend to conceal themselves behind a single discussion: Does God exist? But further still. Either the fuller or the narrower way of dealing with theism will differ according to the philosophical stand rather the history of many and diverse theistic schemes.
III. It may help us if we rapidly review at this point the leading types of philosophy in their application to the theistic problem. Grouping and naming are fixed here for one special purpose. From other points of view they may perhaps appear open to blame; but it is hoped they will throw light upon our present study.
The simplest basis for philosophy 2 is empiricism. Such a philosophy makes little serious attempt at constructive work in antiquity; but, upon the first great victories of physical science in modern times, a desire arose to extend the new and wonderfully fruitful method to the ultimate problems of speculation. Let us take experience as our teacher! Let us stand upon realities - upon facts! Difficulty may be found in carrying out this empiricist programme; but at the outset no one dreams of failure. Beginning with the certainties of everyday experience, it reaches theism at last by means of an analogical argument. Many objects in nature, organisms especially, seem to resemble the works of human design; there fore with high probability we infer a designing mind behind nature, adequate to the production of these special results. 3 Having got such a mind, we may next inquire whether, on the principle of parsimony, it will not account for more; perhaps for everything in nature! But the starting-point of the argument in question is the purely empirical evidence of a single fact or set of facts; it proceeds by way of analogy, not of strict demonstration; and it claims for its results nothing more than probability. From Socrates, in Xenophon's Memorabilia, downwards, the argument is tolerably common; it is notable in Cicero; in the modern discussion it dominates the 18th-century mode of thought, is confidently appealed to though not worked out by Butler, and is fully stated by Paley. The argument does not necessarily imply empiricism in philosophy; still, it is peculiarly characteristic of empiricism. In ethics empiricism begins by recognizing that man possesses sensations, and so is liable to pleasures and pains. Hence, early empiricism makes ethics simply a calculus of pleasures (" hedonism "). We may doubt, with W. E. H. Lecky, 4 whether such a philosophy affords a basis for natural theology at all; but the attempt is made. As J. S. Mill tried to reconcile criminal law and its punishments with his very hard type of determinism by saying that law was needed in order to weight the scale, and in order to hold out a prospect of penalties which might deter from crime and impel towards good citizenship, so Paley held that virtue was not merely obedience to God but obedience " for 1 Criticism of the scheme, from the point of view of an idealist theism, will be found in John Caird's Introduc to the Phil. of Religion, chap. viii. Yet the formula is serviceable. Perhaps it is even indispensable as a preliminary statement. We find it substantially revived in the opening sentence and general scheme of a useful book, A. Caldecott's study of The Phil. of Relig. in England and America. 2 An outline of the history of theism is reserved for Section IV.; but it has not proved possible to sketch the types of philosophy without introducing references to the history of philosophy and sometimes even to the history of theism as well.
3 Of course the Design Argument is well known in antiquity, but not the type of philosophy which stands or falls by that line of " proof." 4 Cf. Hist. of European Morals, pp. 5 8, 59.
the sake of eternal happiness." A second type of hedonism - less ignoble, but perhaps also less logical - calls men to seek the happiness of others. Paley includes that too; virtue is " doing good to mankind," in obedience to God, for the sake of heaven.
The second type of philosophy, for our purpose, is intuitionalism. It finds its chance in the misadventures of empiricism. The Scottish philosophy of Thomas Reid and his successors believed that David Hume's scepticism was no more than the genuine outcome of Locke's sensationalist appeal to experience when ripened or forced on by the immaterialism of Bishop Berkeley - God and the soul alone; not God, world and soul. And so the Scotsmen fell back upon the witness of consciousness. They did not make much use of the word " intuition," which may indeed be taken in different senses, e.g. of visionary experiences as well as of the principles of " common sense " (i.e. universal beliefs). They spoke of " natural realism " and a " natural dualism " of mind and matter (reinstating here the element which Berkeley had struck out). Still, they do not repudiate the word " intuition," and kindred writers make it prominent. The term is borrowed from Sight, of all the physical senses the one which most rapidly instructs the mind. You see, at a glance, that things are so. Indeed, there is a further implication, when the term intuition is borrowed for mental vision; you see at a glance that things must be so. Here then characteristically intuitionalism occupies a half-way house between empiricism, with its appeal to real given fact, and idealism, with its appeal to necessity. The senses, in perception as contrasted with sensation, are held to give immediate knowledge. We perceive, beyond all possibility of doubt, that things are so and so. This is Reid's first reply to Hume. Define more carefully than Locke did, with his blunder about "ideas," the process of perception, and you cut up scepticism by the roots ! So far, this philosophy has little bearing upon theism. But Intuitionalism has further arguments for the doubter. Besides testimony from outer sense, we have testimony and teachings from consciousness within - " first principles," as Reid generally calls them. There are some principles which, as soon as they are presented to the mind and correctly grasped, must be assented to; we see the truth! Two regions become prominent in the working out of intuitionalism, if still more prominent in the widely differing philosophy of Kant - the regions of mathematics and of morals. Though J. S. Mill boldly affirmed that there might be remote realms in space where 2+2 did not make 4 but some different total, even empiricists may hestitate to concur; and yet Mill's assertion is at least the most obvious empiricist reading of the situation. If all knowledge is drawn from experience, statements universal in form are but generalizations, holding within the limits of actual experience, or advanced beyond them at our peril. Geometry again is regarded by thoroughgoing empiricists as hypothetical. It deals, according to Mill, with arbitrary and imaginary constructions. If there were such a thing as a triangle contained by absolutely straight lines, its three angles would no doubt measure what Euclid says; but straight lines and true triangles nowhere exist in reruns natura. Kant's point is ignored, that deductions from these " imaginary " figures apply to the " real " world of experience. Every time we survey a field, we go upon the principles, not of special experience, but of a priori necessity. Given certain linear and angular measurements, the area must be so and so. Great as is the difference when we pass from mathematics to morality, yet there are striking similarities, and here again intuitionalism claims to find much support. If we accept moral ideals at all, we are no longer in the world of mere phenomenal sequences, but in a new world. It is a problem for empiricism; given a world where nothing but phenomenal sequences exist, to account for moral ideals. Vulgar materialism sneers at the problem; duty is a fraud or hobgoblin, a mere superstition. Even Jeremy Bentham, restive under appeals to vague and intangible standards, breaks out in despairing indignation against the word " ought " as " the talisman of arrogance, indolence point of the particular theist who speaks to the ques tion. As long as the battle of the philosophies endures, theism can hardly be unified. Its history is not so much that of a single evolving doctrine, but and ignorance," and as " an authoritative imposture."' Later ethical empiricism is more refined. J. S. Mill recognizes an ultimate difference in quality between higher and lower pleasures. A. Bain finds that benevolence is one given element in man's original constitution. H. Sidgwick holds that intuition must justify the claims of the general happiness upon the individual, though everything subsequent is hedonistic calculus. Herbert Spencer finds that the modern individual has intuitions of duty which represent the inherited experience of what has been good for the race in the past. Sir Leslie Stephen finds that moral laws are the conditions needful for the good of the social organism, and are imposed as such by society upon its individual members. The problem has altered its form. What the modern empiricist needs is a rational bond uniting the individual with the community or with the aggregate of individuals - a rational principle distinguishing high pleasures from low, sanctioning benevolence, and giving authority to moral generalizations drawn from conditions that are past and done with. The non-empirical moralist will not of course admit that duty to the community or to mankind is a final definition of the ethical ideal. He will accept it as a stage, of no small importance, in progressive definition; but he will seek to go further.
We have already remarked that the difficulties of empiricism constitute the strength of intuitionalism. A critic of intuition- Criticism alism might add that they are its whole strength; of intuitionalism is sound upon the intellectual and moral interests of humanity, but it does little to justify them. It reasserts them, with resolute loyalty; but if philosophy ought to vindicate, to explain, perhaps incidentally to modify, even, it may be, to purify our primary beliefs, intuitionalism is hardly a philosophy at all. For good or for evil, so far as there is an accepted line of theistic doctrine, that doctrine is intuitionalist. Other schools of philosophy pay flying visits to theism; intuitionalism is at home there. Its leading argument is the cosmological, concluding to " God as cause " (Martineau). When David Hume (Dialogues concerning Natural Religion) protests that the universe is a " singular effect " and that we have no right to affirm a cause for it, unless we have experience of the origin of many universes, and can generalize the conclusion, They all have causes - he may be unassailable upon empiricist grounds. But intuitionalism claims to allege a higher certainty; everything (or every change) must have a cause - this is not merely actual fact but necessary truth. The universe exists - or, as otherwise stated, the universe is " contingent " - therefore, even without detailed knowledge of different universes, we can affirm that it must be caused, and in its " Great First Cause " we recognize God.' It is generally stated that this argument was for the first time definitely formulated in Aristotle's philosophy. Of course the cosmological argument is rarely or never left to stand quite alone. The design argument is available for the slightly bolder philosophy of intuitionalism as well as for empiricist theism. But there is yet another argument which is even more important. Moral elements must enter into theism at some point: and, as against empiricism, intuitionalism is morally strong. Hence it naturally has a moral argument in reserve. Moral law implies a law-giver; " we are conscious of moral dependence " (Robert Flint). Still the main weight of intuitionalist theism rests upon the conception of God as First Cause.
As a philosophy, intuitionalism leaves the mind in all the embarrassment of an indefinite number of separate startingpoints. Every percept is such a starting-point; it is an immediate certainty, remaining with us unmodified as the basis 1 Deontology, p. 42. F. H. Bradley (Ethical Studies, p. 2) quotes an even plainer attack on the conceptions as well as the terminology of ethics in a Westminster Review article (Oct. 1873, p. 31 I) which describes" responsibility " or (sic) " moral desert in the vulgar sense" as " horrid figments of the imagination." 2 Any attempt to treat " cause " as pointing to a truth here, but inadequately, would lead us beyond intuitionalism into some phase of idealism. To revise one's first principles is to be an intuitionalist no longer.
of reliable inference. Every First Principle of the mind is a starting-point too. Reid - certainly a very unsystematic thinker - furnishes long and random lists of " first principles "; a later writer, J. M'Cosh, in his Intuitions of the Mind, attempts a more systematic study. (For ethics we may also compare Miss F. P. Cobbe. Contemporary with Reid and even more popular in treatment was James Beattie; Dugald Stewart with trivial modifications followed Reid; but in Sir W. Hamilton and H. L. Mansel there were sweeping changes in the direction of agnosticism - changes due partly or primarily to the influence of Kant.) Memory is included among First Principles. Testimony is also a First Principle (this is aimed against Hume's Essay on Miracles). Inevitably the question forces itself upon the mind, is not some fuller synthesis possible? All these isolated starting-points of thought are said to be, one by one, necessary. Is there no higher or broader necessity? Can we not attain to some farther-reaching philosophy?
If we answer " Yes " to that question, we pass on from intuitionalism to idealism - an idealism not on the lines of Berkeley (matter does not exist) but of Plato (things A obey an ascertainable rational necessity). This third possibility in philosophy does not enter at all into Lecky's grouping referred to above; in fact, it is very generally strange to older British thinking,3 t;csm. which, if it conceives any tertium quid besides empiricism and intuitionalism, is apt to think of scepticism. The fixed given points of intuitionalism furnish Hamilton with one of his arguments in his unexpected development towards a sceptical or " faith philosophy." You cannot prove any first principle. You accept it by " faith." So - for this among other reasons - we infer that knowledge has narrow limits, beyond which doubt, or faith, presently begins. But is it really a matter of faith that two and two make four? Do we " believe where we cannot prove " that the whole is greater than its part? A less sophisticated intuitionalism would rejoin with great force, " These are matters of sight; it could not be otherwise, and you see that it could not ! " Hamilton's line of thought may, however, impress on us the conviction that it is extremely natural for philosophy to pass beyond the limitations of a purely intuitionalist programme. It does so notably in Kant. He is a most difficult writer; different readers understand him differently; and he uses in the earlier parts of his Critique of Pure Reason much of the language of intuitionalism. But nothing is more certain than that his thought is a strong solvent of the intuitionalist way of thinking; and he has had an immense influence in many directions. We may state his chief results in our own words. First he breaks up the percept. It is no ultimate given point of departure; it is due to the reaction of thought upon sensation. Sense alone will never create orderly experience, as empiricism supposed; but a group of sensations reacted on by thought does so; it becomes, it is, a percept. Secondly: the " forms " of time and space, not referable to any sensation, and presupposed in every experience, come from the mind (" Transcendental Aesthetic "). Thirdly: we cannot explain how these three elements - sensation; time anfl space; thought - work together. True, Kant refers often to the ideal of a " perceptive " or " intuitive understanding," whose thought would produce the whole of knowledge out of its native contents. But our understanding, he is convinced, is of a different and inferior type. Incomprehensibly, we are dependent upon sensation; and incomprehensibly, we place our sensations in time and space. Fourthly: if we try to think of objects not built up out of sensations and not in time and space, we are Austin's Jurisprudence explicitly assumes that the dilemma of " intuitive " and " utilitarian " is exhaustive. Hence F. H. Bradley's characteristic protest (Ethical Studies, pp. 82, 83): " If we wished to cross an unknown bog, and two men came to us of whom the one said ` Some one must know the way over this bog, for there must be a way, and you see there is no one here beside us two, and therefore one of us two must be able to guide you. And the other man does not know the way, as you can soon see; therefore I must ' - should we answer, `Lead on, I follow'?" baffled by contradictions or absurdities. Kant admits that we necessarily aspire to think of such objects - " God, the World, the Soul " - possibly this alleged tendency of our thought is already implied in the dream of a " perceptive understanding." But speculative knowledge breaks down or breaks off at an earlier point. If we try to know the soul, we grasp at a phantom. The self is always subject in consciousness and never can become an object of knowledge (" Paralogism of Pure Reason "). If we try to know the real world, we find ourselves distracted by opposite arguments (" ` Antithetic of Pure Reason "), plausible and resistless in attack, helpless in defence. The only thing which the " Ideas " of " Reason " can do for theoretic knowledge is to exert a " regulative " function. They teach the inferior but working part of our intellect, the " Understanding," that its picture of sensuous reality envisaged in time and space must be as fully articulated as is possible - as much differentiated into detail, and as perfectly integrated again into unity and system. God, for Pure Reason, is an illegitimate personification of the idea of perfected experience (" Ideal of Pure Reason "). Fifthly. there are fixed limits to the possibility of improving the quality of experience. Sense-knowledge is an endless process, inconsistent with the requirements of thought. We can by no means regard the physical world as the real world. But we possess knowledge of the physical world and of it alone. " Things in themselves " - whether defined by Kant, illogically enough, as causes of sensations, or again defined by him as the ultimate realities towards which thought vaguely points - in either case, " things in themselves " are unattainable by any definite knowledge. Our " reach " exceeds our " grasp " with a vengeance.
So far as a remedy for scepticism is found at all, Kant places it, not within theoretic knowledge, but in moral or " practical " experience. Pure knowledge, for man, moves among a world of shadows; duty is certain. Mansel charged Kant with inconsistency in this preferential treatment of the moral consciousness; all our knowledge, even in moral things, was " relative " and was " regulative."' But, whether consistent or inconsistent, Kant was deliberate in differentiating between the ethical and the theoretic knowledge of man. " Analytic " or tautological thought does not become " synthetic " or capable of embracing a real content except under the sting of sensation; why sensation should thus help it is obscure, yet the fact is plain. But analytic thinking is victorious in morals, where the test of formal self-consistency distinguishes virtue from vice. The good man is the perfectly rational or perfect self-consistent man; and that is a full account of virtue, though Kant professes to re-interpret it still further in a much more positive sense as implying the service of humanity. True, at a later stage, the opposition of sense and thought reasserts itself strongly with Kant even in ethics. We are allowed moral certainty, but are forbidden the hope of genuine moral victory. Just as our knowledge never can finish its task of reducing world-experience to an intelligible system, so our will is never once able perfectly to obey the law of reason. There is always a taint of feeling in man's goodness. This portion of the ethical theory does curious service in Kant's doctrine of religion. That doctrine runs, briefly, as follows. Duty must be accepted as a given certainty, or it is vindicated - unsatisfactorily enough, perhaps - in the way just explained. Next, from the certainty of duty we infer as our first moral postulate free will - " I can because I ought "; which, primarily at least, means " I know I can because I know I ought." But this strong assertion is greatly qualified when Kant recurs to what he considers the least discredited portion of our theoretical knowledge. In the world of phenomena, not freedom rules but determinism. Causality is one of the " categories " which out mind uses in building up orderly experience. So we are left with a see-saw. Will is noumenally free; but phenomenally, in all real exercises of will, we are determined by the past. Secondly: from the discrepancy between the pure abstract law of self-consistent reason and the pleasuretinged nature of man, we infer or postulate Immortality. As we never can hit the bull's eye, we must have literally endless opportunities of aiming at it, so as to get indefinitely nearer the central spot. If we did hit the exact mark, apparently we need no longer be immortal. Lastly, God. We must not, we dare not, aim at happiness. It is an eternal weakness in our moral being which makes us constantly squint aside from the thought of duty towards the forbidden motive - wincing under pain, or hungering after joy, 1 Mansel's term for Kant's " practical." It must be carefully distinguished from Kant's " regulative," which refers to knowledge - regulative in contrast to constitutive of knowledge - not to practice.
Yet, if the motive is forbidden us, it is plain from another point of view that good persons ought to be happy. And, as nature reveals no great care for this postulate, we must appeal away beyond nature to a power who shall make good men at the last as happy as they deserve to be. And this power is God. Such is the train of thought as stated for us in the Critique of Practical Reason. In the Critique of Judgment, Kant restates his new type of theistic argument in a way which has had great subsequent influence. We must conceive nature as overruled by God not so much Later for the sake of man's happiness as for the sake of his form; moral development. Or, to state this as a theistic argument: we are bound to postulate a God who overrules Critique nature for moral ends. This new statement has at least of Judg= the merit of bringing God into touch with man's goodness as well as with his happiness. But the train of thought is deeply embedded among characteristic sceptical hesitations. In spite of the various details of the Judgment Critique (as to beauty; and as to the " internal " or as Hegel subsequently phrased it " immanent " adaptations seen in living organisms) Kant regards as extremely precarious all these hints of a higher view of nature. Nature as a machine, governed by changeless causal law, is necessary to thought. Were no such machine recognized, the thread of consciousness would be cut and orderly experience impossible; we must all go mad. 2 But nature breathing of life, or of beauty, or, however faintly, of a God immanent in the whole process, and shaping it towards moral purposes - that is or may be no better than a subjective dream. It is doubly uncertain. It has inferior guarantees, as compared with our knowledge of the mechanism of nature. And, after all, not even our knowledge of the mechanism of nature is a knowledge of reality. Things as they truly are lie wholly beyond our poor human vision.
Kant then has broken away from intuitionalism by substituting one system of necessity for the many necessary truths or given experiences from which intuitionalism takes its start. But there are gaps in Kant's system - a imperfect gap between sensation and the sense-forms of time and space; a gap between sense-forms and thought; a gap between the lower but practicable processes of the Understanding and the higher but unrealizable ideas of Reason. And thus Kant's idealism is incomplete. On one side, the world we know by valid processes of thinking cannot, we are told, be the real world. Or, beginning from the other side; neither the reality which ideal thought reaches after, nor yet the reality which our conscience postulates, is the valid world of orderly thinking. The great critic of scepticism has diverged from idealism toward scepticism again, or has given his idealism a sceptical colour, mitigated - but only mitigated - by faith in the moral consciousness. If there arises a system of philosophy in which all truths are grasped in unity, and it is seen that the principles of things must be what they are, such a philosophy will give us in perfection the idealistic conception of reality and the idealistic guarantees of truth which Kant gave brokenly. The Absolute Idealism of G. W. F. Hegel was such a system.
It ranks, up to our own day, as the last of the great philosophies, and the boldest of all. Kant had fewer isolated points of departure than intuitionalists; yet gaps and isolation recurred in Kant, and helped to make him the father of modern agnosticism. In the later intuitionalism of Hamilton, recoiling from Hegel, the many subjective necessities of the intuitionalist scheme were made to breathe the new agnostic suggestions. We necessarily think as we do - but only because of our entangling faculties. It is a mental " impotence " that makes us believe in such a law as Cause and Effect. Kant had substituted one great necessity, sprung from an ideal source. Reason - under conditions of sensation - created the world of (valid) knowledge; Reason created the practical world of duty. But, having said this, Kant went on to repeat the sceptical suggestion. The whole coherent necessary world of his philosophy became " our world," as we necessarily think it, but not by any means of necessity the world as it is. Hegel brushes aside all these hesitations. His Philosophy of Nature - one of the least admired parts of his system - is the answer from his point of view to Kant's assertion that a " perceptive understanding " is for us impossible. Hegel offers a supposed proof that Time and Space, Matter, Nature, are ascertainable and definable 2 This is Kant's positive refutation of Hume's scepticism.
vehement recoil from Kant's deification of formal logic with its principle of " analytic " tautology. As a result, Hegel's system undertakes to show candid minds that incompatible assertions not only may but must both be true.' Through this unexpected and obscure principle of "dialectic Hegel claimed to fulfil his programme of interpreting everything as manifest necessary truth of ideal relationship. It all must be so and you see it must. Hegel wrote extensively upon religion, especially in his Philosophy of Religion. Yet it remains doubtful whether he was a theist with large pantheistic elements - such as every speculative mind will be likely to incorporate in theism -. or a pantheist rejecting theism altogether. We may religion regard his ambitious programme as the last logical development of idealism and indeed of philosophy itself. If perfect knowledge be possible for us, it must take, the form of such a system as Hegel offers. If the world exists purely to be known, and if every other working of reason comes into consideration qua incomplete knowledge, Hegel is right with his sweeping intellectualism. Or at least he has rightly seen what are the assertions to aim at; it is difficult to accept the principle or method upon which his answer to the riddle proceeds, the dialectic method. Perhaps it was necessary for human thought to try how far it would carry out this programme. And yet perhaps full success was neither possible nor desirable. If such are our conclusions, we return to a possible basis for theism not very far removed from that of intuitionalism. Certainly history shows that theism has generally been associated with some reduced or limited form of philosophy, usually with the intuitionalist scheme. It is not the first runnings of the stream of religious thinking which have given the world its theistic philosophies. Theism is an afterthought - the reply to doubt - the attempted reflective justification of what announced it s elf at first as a prophetic certainty. But no more is theism the first runnings of the stream of philosophy. It is philosophy harnessed to a practical and religious interest. It is philosophy called into court to answer selected questions.
Theism then has its most habitual affinities with intuitionalism, but may fall under any one of our philosophical or quasi philosophical types. We have distinguished three types or tendencies: empiricism, intuitionalism, idealism. They deal respectively with what is - partly with what is and partly with what must be - with what must be. They are based on facts - upon facts in the light of principles - upon principles purely and ultimately upon one principle. They claim probability - moral certainty - mathematical certainty. They incline to the Design Argument and Analogy - to the Cosmological argument (with other elements in a subordinate place) and proof by inference - to the Ontological argument. This last and boldest argument is a system of idealistic philosophy in a nutshell.
It may be asked, Why can God not create a triangle whose three angles shall not be equal to two right angles? To abstraction and ignorance everything is possible." From notes of a class lecture by Dr E. Caird.
2 F H. Bradley, Ethical Studies, p. 4.
J. E. MacTaggart (Studies in Hegelian Dialectic) contends that direct contradiction is confined to the elementary portions of Hegel's Logic: but he does not deny its existence there, though his interpretation, could one accept it, softens the paradox.
Used by Kant sceptically of the limitations of reason, dialectic in Hegel becomes constructive; and scepticism itself becomes a stage in knowledge.
When such a system is worked out in full detail, it essays or ought to essay a proof of the following points: (I) God or the Absolute necessarily exists; (2) He necessarily is what He is; (3) He or it necessarily manifests itself in the finite, (4) and necessarily manifests itself in just this finite which we know from experience. If philosophy is able to fill up that programme, it justifies itself; it raises all belief to necessary truth;. and whether its teaching be theistic or pantheistic, pantheism or theism, whichever turns out victorious, must henceforth rank as a demonstrated certainty.
Again, these contrasted philosophies throw light upon the meaning of a posteriori and a priori in Kant and subsequent writers. 5 To empiricism, all is a posteriori. To in- «A tuitionalism, half is a posteriori and half a priori. To teriori" idealism, all is a priori. Not that a posteriori is denied, or that idealism even in Hegel tries to evolve reality out of the philosopher's inner consciousness. Mere given fact may be the starting-point; but it is sublimated. We see by degrees - in general outline or upon general principles 9 - that what is is no other than what must be. There is another conception of necessity which has established itself in the history of science and philosophy. We may call it mechanical necessity. If this conception is ".4lecha regarded as full and absolute truth, it involves materialism. When we recollect the empiricist starting-point of science, it is curious to observe with what vehemence the average man of science now rejects free will. To him, it cannot be true. William James stood almost alone in being. prepared to go anywhere at the bidding of apparent facts, unconcerned about rational probabilities. On this ground James is a libertarian. The fact appears to be so; he reports it. Similarly, James is willing to believe in many universes nebeneinander or durcheinander but not (ineinander. Dualism,. pluralism, manifold parallel inconsistency may belong to the nature of fact. Does our intelligence demand unity? That may be a mere subjective fancy. Even polytheism,' or something indistinguishable from it, is suggested to this doggedly empiricist mind by the Varieties of Religious Experience; they are all good to those to whom they appeal; and what right have we to talk of Objective standards? 8 Ordinary " inductive " empiricism shows that it has travelled far from this unprejudiced credulity when it asserts its hard determinism - uniform law, never broken, never capable of being broken. But what is mechanical necessity, if we admit that in some sense it exists? It is a relative necessity. The present and the future have to be what the past and the absent make them. Past events, " happening " to be what they were, have fixed subsequent processes to their channels. But you can never, at any one point, say, from the scientific or mechanical or materialistic standpoint, this " had to be." 9 The relative necessity never passes into an absolute one. A different primitive " collocation," as T. Chalmers 1° put it, would have yielded, by the same process of natural law as ours, quite a different universe from ours. 1 ' T. H. Huxley admitted that this contention could not be ruled out as impossible. Again, in the scheme of mechanism, everything is determined by everything else - in 5 Aristotle and the schoolmen meant by a proof a priori reasoning from cause to effect. (2) Kant is often supposed to mean by a priori - see Hamilton's Reid, p. 762 - " innate " as opposed to " acquired from experience." (3) If we accept the suggestion offered above - that a priori in Kant and later thinkers =necessary - we place ourselves on the track which leads from intuitionalism to some form of idealism.
Why only in such general terms? But this limitation is always taken for granted.
7 It does not seem as if James's " Pragmatism " could lend itself to anything so concrete as a theistic conclusion.
8 A very different thinker, Dr J. E. MacTaggart, works round from idealism to an eternal quasi polytheistic society of equal souls.
9 H. Spencer's " instability of the homogeneous " is perhaps an attempt to perform the impossible (First Principles, chap. xix.).
1° Quoted in J. S. Mill's Logic, and with fuller sympathy in W. S. Jevons's Principles of Science. u God has ordered the original " collocation " - a new statement of the argument which traces Design in nature.
necessities in a reasonable universe. Rational system is the first and last word in this philosophy. The element of givenness, dominant in empiricism, and partially surviving through intuitionalism even into Kant, is sublimated in Hegel's thinking. Everything is to be exhibited, in outline or in essence, as the working of necessary truth. You need not wish anything in the universe to be other than it is; as well grumble at once that two and two do not make five ! 1 Hegel will allow no dualism of fact and principles. Nothing is bare fact. Philosophy will show you that everything has to be so and so. The effect of this point of view in regard to moral perceptions is that they represent an important relative truth, but that philosophy " passes " beyond them " into a higher region, where imputation of guilt is " absolutely " meaningless " 2 - enseits des Guten and Bosen. More peculiarly his own is Hegel's great doctrine The of contradiction, whereby opposing views of truth " rank as stages in one progressive definition. We lectic" may explain this to ourselves as an extraordinarily space as well as in time; nothing does anything for itself. Yet again, nature is broken up into co-operating parts; the whole is the sum of these parts; or, if you prefer to say so, there is no whole. But, if we should take the view that nature is infinitely extended - part of the " Antithesis " in Kant's first " Antinomy " - relative necessity breaks down on the last analysis, since boundless nature may overwhelm that sequence which we thought most securely established. Who can say what may emerge from an infinite background ? We reach similar conclusions when we recognize that the laws of nature are general or hypothetical; not in Mill's sense (" If you had such a non-existent thing as three perfectly straight lines united in a triangle "), but in a sense noted in F. H. Bradley's Logic: " If " or " As often as you have the cause working unimpeded, you get the effect." Pure scientific theory cannot tell you when you have got such a cause, or whether you ever get it at all. No law of nature contains in itself a promise that it shall pass into operation. Its doing so depends upon the totality of conditions. Materialism supposes that this mechanical order is the real world and the only real world - mechanical monism.' Intuitionalism supposes that there are two realms - of necessity and freedom, of nature and will, of matter and mind; contiguous, independent, yet interacting - dualism. Idealism in one way or other supposes that mind is more real than matter. And thus its first programme - All is in accordance with reason - may pass into the more doubtful programme All is reason, in one of the two forms (a) nothing exists but mind (e.g. Hegel, as often interpreted - pantheistically?) or (b) nothing exists but minds (e.g. Hegel, as interpreted by Dr MacTaggart). Anyhow, whatever the method or interpretation is to be, idealism, even more fully than materialism, is pledged to monism and to the rejection of dualism. The valid or scientific but metaphysically untrustworthy knowledge, to which Kant shut us up, was knowledge of a mechanical universe. His reply to Hume was this - Mechanical causation is as real as the unity of consciousness. It is false to suggest that sequence is a fact and causal connexion a figment; apart from causal connexion, there could be no consciousness of sequences. Over against this " valid " mechanism, in some truer but vaguer region, Kant placed free will; and so left things. The English thinkers influenced by Hegel are inclined to assert mechanism unconditionally, as the very expression of reason - the only thinkable form of order. Thus libertarian free will has to disappear from their belief. In this interpretation of the universe, the difference between mechanical or relative necessity and absolute or ideal necessity is slurred, or dogmatically affirmed to be non-existent. It might be suggested in reply that free will, whether or not it be ultimate truth, is true to the same degree of analysis as mechanical necessity itself. Mechanism is that which obeys impulses from outside. It is profoundly unsatisfactory to regard mechanism as the whole ultimate truth. For such a role it is in no sense fitted. If it is ultimate truth in its own region, that region cannot be accepted as more than half the entire universe of reality (common sense intuitionalism; dualism). If mechanical determination applies to the whole universe, it cannot be ultimate truth at all (cf. H. Lotze; more drastic in Ward's Naturalism and Agnosticism). Quite a different view of necessity is the moral necessity pointed to by Kant's " Practical Reason." And, as the sympathizers with Hegel try to force mechanical necessity into the garb of absolute or ideal necessity, so they seek to show that moral necessity is only an inferior form of absolute or ideal or, we might say, mathematical necessity. Theists, on the other hand, will contend that the distinctiveness of moral necessity is vital to religion. Thus we might restate our grouping of philosophies in terms of the views they take regarding necessity. Theism is directly interested in this, since it affirms the necessity of God's existence.
I Ernst Haeckel will not allow us to call his system " Ma.t,erialism," because he affirms that the rudiments of matter are also rudimentary " mind stuff " (to use W. K. Clifford's term). But in spite of this its materialistic affinities are unmistakable.
At least, it would be hard to name any school of theists which was content to affirm that there " happened " to be a God.' On the other hand, theism does not desire to see necessity - or Fate - ranked as superior to the living God.
One great change and only one since Kant's day has affected the outlook upon theistic problems - the increasing belief in evolution. It is a manifest weakness in intuitionalism Evolu- that it finds such difficulty in leaving room for evolu- tionary change. All men may perhaps be aiming everywhere at the same moral ideal,' but it is absurd to. say that all men actually formulate the same moral judgments. On the other hand, many evolutionists ignore the certainty that there must be a continuum in any real evolutionary process. In the light of that truth, a reformed intuitionalism might justify itself. But fuller conceptions of evolution raise further difficulties for intuitionalism in its wonted forms. Knowledge cannot be divided into the two components - immediate certainties, precarious inferences. The starting-point is reconsidered, modified, transformed, in the light of subsequent acquisitions. Knowledge grows, not by mechanical addition, but by organic transformation. This may help us to appreciate the meaning of Hegel's Dialectic. His thought then is not wholly paradox, whatever the expression may be. Hegel's system is, in its own way, a great evolutionary philosophy of an ideal type. 4 Evolution, repelled by the older intuitionalism, was thus incorporated in the greatest of all idealisms. It has also been largely applied to empiricism. Sometimes one questions whether empiricism is really still empiricist; so much of the a priori has come in under the name of evolution (e.g. in Herbert Spencer). But the change, if it has taken place, is unrecognized.
IV. Greek philosophy for our purpose begins with Socrates, who formulated the Design Argument. His ethics have sometimes been regarded as pure utilitarianism (so e.g. H. Schultz); but it is surely significant that the great history idealism of Plato was developed from his suggestions. The new method of definition which Socrates applied to problems of human conduct was extended by Plato to the whole universe of the knowable. In the light of this, it may be possible (with J. R. Seeley in Ecce Homo) to call Socrates the " creator of science." The man who inspired Plato deserves that name. Those Ideas according to which all reality is objectively shaped - and therefore too, as a modern would add, subjectively construed - include the idea of the Good, which Plato identifies with God. We might mislead ourselves if we interpreted this expression as referring to moral goodness; on the other hand, Plato more than most of the Greeks thinks of moral virtue as an imitation of God. With all its idealism, Greek thought had difficulty in regarding rational necessity as absolute master of the physical world. Matter was a potentially recalcitrant element. Hence there are tendencies even in Plato to build up the ideal world in sharp contrast to the actual world - to the half interpenetrated or half tamed world of matter. His suggestions as to immortality are affected by this. The body is the soul's prison. He teaches (whether suggestively, metaphorically or deliberately), pre-existence' as well as survival; perhaps he is moved to this by non-Greek influences. Thus at several points Plato reveals germs of dualism and asceticism. Free will had not yet been formulated as a problem. Aristotle has impressed the ordinary mind chiefly by his criticism of Plato's ideal theory; and therefore he is often ranked as the father of empiricists. But those who treat him as the great 2 Still, Lotze's criticism of the cosmological argument reveals his realist side. On the other hand, in discussing the ontological argument, Lotze commits himself to a moral a priori (below, ad fin.). " We are all embarked upon a troublesome world, the children of one Father, striving in many essential points to do and to become the same " (R. L. Stevenson).
4 The idea of evolution in time (physical evolution) was laughed at by Hegel.
' A belief hinted again at the close of Lessing's Education of the Human Race; also - more definitely - by J. E. MacTaggart (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, p. 48; and elsewhere).
Realist make him almost if not quite intuitionalist; while there is also an idealist reading possible. The threatened dualism of ideal and material becomes for Aristotle mainly a contrast of matter and form; the lower stage in development desires or aims at the higher, matter more and more tending to pass into form, till God is form without any matter. But this God of Aristotle's is a cold consciousness, imitated only by the contemplative virtue of the philosopher, not by the morally active citizen. And the chief contribution of Aristotle to theism is a theory, found in his Physics as well as his Metaphysics, of God as first mover of the universe, himself unmoved. This theory is generally ranked as the earliest appearance in European thought of the cosmological argument. Free will is shaping itself towards discussion in Aristotle's Ethics, but is hardly yet a formulated problem. For anything like personal immortality the medieval Schoolmen searched him anxiously but in vain.
Epicureanism need not detain us. It is a system of empiricism and materialism, remarkable only for teaching free will. Atoms swerved as they fell endlessly downwards, and thus introduced an indeterminate or irrational element into the processes of the world. Theism can take but little interest in this peculiar type of free will doctrine, or again in Epicurus's professed admission of the existence of gods - made of atoms: inhabiting the spaces between the worlds; Stoicism. careless of men. Stoicism is a much more important system, but harder to classify. Perhaps in the department of thought where it is most in earnest - in ethics - it is an idealism. It tells men to " obey reason " and crush passion, or to live " according to nature." In physics - but in that region of speculation its positions are more perfunctory - it teaches pantheism on a quasi-materialistic basis. God is the soul of the world, although the gods of popular belief are (at least by the later Stoics) respectfully if exoterically acknowledged. Human survival is taught, but not ultimate immortality; and, as against Epicureanism, Stoicism on the whole tends to deny free will. There is perhaps a certain religious enthusiasm in the thought of being passively determined by Fate, the Universe, Zeus. Finally, the Stoic analysis of the process of knowledge is sensationalist and empiricist.
So far as a coherent body of theistic doctrine exists, it did not grow out of the great systems, but out of the lesser men who stood nearer to the apprehension of practical citizens. Perhaps the most important of these popular thinkers was Marcus Tullius Cicero - no great philosopher, but a graceful and effective man of letters.
. It has been truly observed' that the lineaments of Cicero intuitionalism are very clear in him. He also gives us " natural law " 2 - a Stoic inheritance, preserving the form of an idealist appeal to systematic requirements of reason, while practically limiting its assumptions to those of intuitionalism. Formally, Cicero adhered to the Academic 3 philosophy during its " middle " or almost sceptical period. (The senses are so far from truth that we must be content with reaching probability.) In Cicero's De Natura Deorum the burden of theism rests mainly on the Stoic interlocutor. The conclusion, " academically " recognizing the contendings of one disputant as more " probable," is imitated in D. Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In the great Roman Stoics - Seneca, Epictetus; less material for theism perhaps. in Marcus Aurelius - we see the partial softening and religious deepening of the system, and a doctrine of the wise man's power over passion and circumstance which has all the essentials of Libertarianism. Philo of Alexandria should also be mentioned. He blends the tradition of the Old Testa ment with Greek philosophy, and, within the latter, exhibits that union of Platonism with Stoicism, especially in the doctrine of the Logos, which became dominant in the Christian apologists and the great theologians of the ancient church. Philo is Greek enough to believe in the eternity of matter; otherwise he preserves the main outlines of Old Testament theism. He teaches free will and immortality; and the design and cosmological arguments are both traceable in him. Augustine of Hippo trans- St Aligns- mits a type of Platonism as part of his legacy to the S A Western church. Against Manichaean dualism he had vindicated free will; but as against Pelagianism he taught the bondage of sinful man - a position accepted in the East but never welcome there, and not more than half welcome even in the West. From this theological entanglement the problem of free will did not escape for long centuries. In spite of some waverings towards what has lately been called " conditional immortality " (see Apologetics) the doctrine of " natural immortality " championed by Augustine became dominant in the church; an instalment of what was afterwards to be called Natural Theology; and a postulate or presupposition to-day - like free will - in Roman Catholic apologetics.
' D. G. Ritchie, Natural Rights, p. 36.
2 See above (ad init.). 3 Platonic.
The middle ages, in the person of Anselm of Canterbury, contribute the first clear form of the Ontological argument for theism.
If our grouping of philosophies, as given above, is sound, every idealist scheme contains potentially an ontologi cal argument. In other words; whenever philosophy g teaches a doctrine of the Absolute, and regards such doctrine as valid and certain, we have the essence of an ontological or a priori argument. Of course it remains debatable whether this philosophical Absolute is necessarily interpreted as a personal God, or perhaps even whether logically it can be. But the Christian bias is sure to make theologians, who borrow a doctrine of the Absolute, interpret it in a Christian sense; hence we may consider it something of an accident that even an Augustine fails exactly to put the argument in form. Anselm tells us that a most perfect being must exist, since the perfection which includes existence is manifestly greater than a perfection confined to an object of thought. Some of the impression of paradox here is due to Anselm's treating the Absolute simply as one among many other beings, and to his treating existence simply as one element in the quantitative sum of perfections. At least, idealist philosophy will hold that the substance if not the form of the argument is sound 4 though the question of its interpretation remains. In Anselm's case we have the further sanguine hope of justifying not theism merely but all Christian doctrine to the scientific reason. Thomas Aquinas, following Albertus Magnus, but with greater power and greater influence, occupies substantially intuitionalist ground. He will not have the Ontological argument; but he asserts Natural Law, and relies upon the cosmological and design arguments - with various refinements and distinctions, differently stated in his two Summae. In declaring the supreme doctrines of Christianity to be mysteries above reason, he marks off a lower region where reason is to reign; the study of that lower region may well be called, as later centuries have called it, Natural Theology; and as such it presents strong intuitionalist affinities. The critics of Aquinas - Duns Scotus and the later Nominalists - show some tendency towards rational scepticism. They exercise their acumen in multiplying difficulties; but all such questionable doctrines are presently re-established from a different point of view as truths of faith or findings of church authority. The Church of Rome has discouraged these daring tactics in favour of the more cautious and probably more defensible positions of Aquinas. In Raymond of Sabunde's form of moral argument - there must be a God to reward and punish, if human life is not to be " vain " - we see the kinship of that argument to the argument from design.
Rene Descartes, a faithful though not an unsuspected Roman Catholic, founded modern philosophy by his startingpoint of universal doubt and by his arguments in reply. One may regard him as an idealist, though Scottish intuitionalism - especially in the writings of Professor John Veitch - has claimed him for its own; and indeed Descartes's two substances of active mind and passive extended matter are very much akin to " Natural Dualism." Still, Descartes has marked idealist traits, as when he refurbishes the ontological argument with clearer emphasis on the perfect being as " necessarily " existent 5 - reasoning a shade less quantitative or a shade more subtle than Anselm's. Descartes's preliminary statement of the argument in somewhat popular form brings it very near the lines of the cosmological proof. 6 There must be a cause for nature, but particularly for the idea of perfection in us - that cause must be God. The radical side of Descartes appears again in his offering his own type of theism as a substitute for the old proofs - not a supplement. Design especially was under suspicion with him. He was even more definitely opposed to " final causes " than Francis Bacon, who excluded them from science but admitted them to theology. All this was connected with zeal for physical and mathematical science. Descartes was an expert; Bacon was the prophet of a great, if half comprehended, future; and the science they loved was struggling for its infant life against a mass of traditional prejudices, which sought to foreclose every question by confident assertions about the purposes of God and Nature. A difficult question arose for Descartes's philosophy, when it had to explain the union in man of the absolutely opposite substances, 4 Cf. J. E. MacTaggart in regard to Hegel, Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, chap. iii.
So Meditation 5, at least in the French version. Again: " Existence cannot be separated from the essence of God "; compare Spinoza's ethics, definition i; " By causa sui I understand that the essence of which involves existence, or that 'which by its own nature can only be conceived as existing." 6 Meditation 3.
mind and matter. Malebranche gave all causation to God; and the acosmist - as Hegel called him, in repudiation of Bayle's nickname " atheist " - Spinoza, from the premises of Carte. sianism, and from other suggestions of the past, developed that great system of determinist pantheism which was a scandal and a terror to his generation. Really, he urged, there could be only one substance - Descartes himself had dropped a passing hint to that effect - and the bold deductive reasoning of Spinoza's Ethics, in process if not in result, betrays its kinship to the ontological argument, with its affirmation of what must be. Thought and extension are peaceable attributes in this one substance; there are infinitely many other attributes, but these only are known to us.
In a different region, the tradition of Descartes passes on to G. W. Leibnitz. He accepts the ontological argument with a. qualification - almost like his disciple Wolff, who tries to use it for defining the divine attributes. Leib nitz's Monadology - which has little influence on his theism - may be viewed as a strong recoil from Spinoza's all-swallowing substance. The more Spinozistic side of Leibnitz's thought - God as Monad of Monads - is a theistic postulate if hardly a theistic proof. The free will which Leibnitz teaches is not libertarian but determinist. Each monad works out necessary results, but these flow from its own nature; and so in a sense it is free. Reciprocal action is explained away into a " preestablished harmony " between every monad and all others. In his Theodicy Leibnitz argues, like not a few predecessors, that this universe must be regarded as the best of all possible universes. Pain and sin must have been reduced to a minimum by God; though they are so ingrained in the finite that we have to make up our minds even to the endless sin and endless punishments of hell. It has been truly said that such optimism is a profound relative pessimism. The best? Yes, perhaps the best possible; in familiar speech, the best of a very bad business. But why must universes be so bad? Leibnitz's philosophy has no answer for us. In another direction, Leibnitz - and Wolff - give emphasis to the contrast between the necessary and the contingent; with important results for popular philosophy, and indirectly for theism. The disciple, Christian W Wolff, is one of the most typical figures in the history of theistic thought. He is a pure scholastic. The great thoughts of his master - or perhaps indeed rather Leibnitz's secondary thoughts - are dried and pressed by him, labelled and catalogued. Monadology drops out of Wolff's teaching. Pre-established harmony drops out - except that it is used to explain the union of soul and body. Wolff tells us that six Latin works contain his system: - Ontology, General Cosmology, Empirical Psychology, Rational Psychology,. Natural Theology, i.; Natural Theology, ii. In the volume on Empirical Psychology, Wolff discusses free will. He decides that human actions are caused or determined by the nature of the agent, but that, ' as man is not a necessary being, his actions are contingent. This view seems to preserve all that is questionable in Libertarianism, while omitting its moral meaning. The Rational Psychology formulates immortality on the ground that the immaterial soul has no parts to suffer decay - the argument which Kant's Critique of Pure Reason " refutes" with special reference to the statement of it by Moses Mendelssohn. The earlier of the two volumes on Natural Theology relies on the cosmological argument; the later - obviously an afterthought - tries to vindicate the ontological argument as an alternative basis for theism, but awkwardly and with manifest uneasiness. In the end, this volume diverges into the Attributes, construing God in the likeness of man via eminentiae.' No writer can be less intrinsically worthy of study than Wolff. But he is immortal as the man against whom Kant directed his tremendous battery 1 Human attributes magnified, or their weak points thought away. The Schoolmen sought to establish other divine attributes by negation of human weaknesses and by finding in God the cause of the varied phenomena of creation.
On one side; another battery of Kant's was aimed against Hume.
and he is also tolerably characteristic in outlook. He is no intuitionalist; but he is a drily common-sense mind, piling up in heaps the ruinous fragments of an idealist system.
In England, empiricist thought found a prophet in Bacon. He draws no inferences to theology or religion, whether friendly or hostile, from his new positions. He takes the line of separating the things of God from those of Caesar, and defends the traditional Protestant theology with obvious sincerity. Thomas Hobbes, a rough and anomalous but vigorous thinker, is the fountainhead of a more formidable empiricism. He is almost a materialist. In ethics, he is a hard determinist and hedonist, though not without qualifications (man's boundless desire for " gain and glory ") and peculiarities. He saves himself theologically by affirming that the good citizen will be of the same faith as the government - which had best be a monarchy. In that sense, living under a professedly Christian ruler, Hobbes himself is a Christian.
John Locke, the real father of English philosophy, took the field against what he regarded as Descartes's impossible programme of " Innate Ideas." 3 But Locke is a double-minded or half-hearted philosopher. He admits two sources of knowledge - sensation and refiexion; and God is to him the Great First Cause, especially of our own existence (or of the existence of finite minds). This is a form of the cosmological argument, and ought to go with an intuitionalist not an empiricist doctrine of causality. On ethics, Locke says very little, although that little is hedonist and determinist. But once again in his political writings he breaks away from empiricism in appealing to natural law - an intuitionalist or conceivably an idealist tradition. Locke is thus a sensationalist and empiricist, but incompletely, and without perfect coherence. His suggestions led to different developments. In France,. through Condillac, the inconsistencies were purged out, and materialism was ready for the next comer to affirm - though it may be said with R. Flint that while materialism requires sensationalist psychology, yet the psychology in question allows no valid inference to matter, and therefore destroys materialism. Bishop George Berkeley, afraid of materialistic developments from a philosophy he was not prepared fully to recast, took refuge in immaterialism. Locke had treated ideas as testifying, to the existence of matter. But can they ? The inference seemed unwarrantable. Why should not God, a spirit like our own, though greater, speak to us in this language ? In Alciphron or the Minute Philosopher Berkeley gives the fullest statement of this argument, while adding more commonplace attacks on the pettiness of religious scepticism. David Hume, following up Berkeley's leading suggestion, pointed out that the inference to God is as precarious as the inference to matter, and that the assertion of a continuous or immaterial mind in man also goes beyond the immediate facts. The truth is, that all truth is uncertain ! Scepticism, with which P. Bayle had played as a historian - he amused himself, too, with praising the Manichaean solution of the riddle of the universe - became a serious power in the history of philosophy with the advent of David Hume. Still, it may be doubted how far Hume was in earnest. Nay, it may be questioned how far it is either psychologically or logically possible to turn general scepticism into a coherent doctrine. The Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion constitute Hume's formal profession of religious faith. The existence of God was no doubt probable;. but what a number of difficulties there were! Still, one would not dispute whether God existed; but what he was - that was the hard question. This treatise must not be confused with the Natural History of Religion, in which Hume acts as a pioneer for comparative religion, with its study of facts. Even in that book Hume is able to play with sceptical solutions. Religion began in fear - as if it were no more than a lying superstition. Of course once more Hume saves himself by strong professions of admiration for rational or natural religion. It was not yet socially safe to be a confessed religious sceptic.
3 And against similar views in Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
Samuel Clarke, who defended Newton's view of the world against Leibnitz's strictures, is perhaps chiefly interesting to. us as one of the authorities of Bishop Joseph Butler.
It is Clarke's defence of free will, Clarke's idealist theory of eternal " fitness " as the basis of ethical distinctions, perhaps Clarke's teaching on immortality, that Butler regards as " the common known arguments " and authoritative enunciations of truth in the regions of philosophy or Natural Theology.' Butler himself occupies a peculiar position in more respects than one. He has profoundly influenced British thinking, but is little known abroad. He is difficult to classify. We may be helped in assigning him his proper place if we observe that, almost invariably, he accepts certain beliefs which he forbears to press. Thus in his most important contribution to ethics, the Three Sermons on Human Nature - i., ii., iii. of the Sermons - he grants the validity of an appeal to " nature " upon the lines of a sort of Stoical idealism, but for his own part he prefers the humbler appeal to human nature. He makes the issue, as far as possible, a questicn of fact. We, from the altered modern point of view, may doubt whether Butler's curious account of the mechanism of moral psychology is a simple report of facts. There are (a) given instinctive " propensions "; (b) a part of higher principles, " benevolence " and " rational self-love," equally valid with each other, though at times they may seem to conflict; (c) there is the master principle of conscience, which judges between motives, but does not itself constitute a motive to action. Butler is opposing the psychological hedonism 2 of Hobbes. He does not find it true to experience that man necessarily acts at the dictation of selfish motives. But Butler - for reasons satisfactory to himself, and eminently characteristic of the man; he hoped to conciliate his age! - dwells so much upon the rewards of goodness, as bribes (we must almost say) to rational self-love, that some have called Butler himself an ethical hedonist; though his sermon on the " Love of God " ought surely to free him from that charge. In all this, Butler was convinced that he was giving a simple statement of facts. Any one introspectively apprehending the facts must grant, he thought, that benevolence was an integral part of human nature and that conscience was rightfully supreme. This reveals the empiricist temper, and points to an attempted empiricist solution of great problems. Butler holds that more ambitious philosophies are valid, but he shrinks from their use. The same thing is seen again in the Analogy. Butler divests himself in this book .of the principles of " liberty " and " moral fitness " in which personally he believes.3 Part i. of this book shows the " Analogy " of " Natural Religion " to the " Constitution and Course of Nature." Probably " Nature " is here employed in a more familiar or humbler sense than in the passing reference in the Sermons. The Analogy means by " nature," indisputable human experience. Deists believed in a God of unmixed benevolence; Butler's contention is that justice, punishment, hell-fire itself are credible in their similarity to the known experiences of man's life upon earth. What the Three Sermons sought to find written small within - a law of inflexible justice or righteousness - part i. of the Analogy seeks to discover written in larger characters without us. Butler is charged by Sir Leslie 'Stephen with arguing illegitimately - professing to make no appeal to " moral fitness," and yet contending that the facts of human life show (the beginnings of) moral retribution for good and evil. Assuredly Butler did not mean to give him his right of speaking about moral evil and good when he waived the " high priori method of vindicating their real existence. Yet it is a very grave question whether the idea of God's moral government admits of being argued as pure matter of fact. Butler tries to do this. You call it unjust, he says in effect, that you should be punished. You argue, for example, that you have no free will. Well, what of ' Analogy, part i. chap. i. (" the natural and moral proofs of a future life commonly insisted upon "); last sentence of part i., Conclusion (" the proper proofs of [natural] religion from our moral nature," &c.); part ii. chap. viii. sub fin., " the proof " of religion, " arising out of the two ... principles of liberty and moral fitness." These useful distinctions are stated and well explained in W. R. Sorley's Ethics of Naturalism. Analogy, iii. chap. viii.; following S. Clarke?
that? Does it not look very much as though you were being punished? Does not nature seem to treat you as if you had free will ? 4 One thing more should be noted about Butler. He nowhere formally argues for the truth of theism. He will not waste time upon triflers who deny what he thinks, in the light of the (empiricist!) Design argument, an absolutely clear truth.' On the whole then Butler in personal conviction is an intuitionalist, wavering towards the idealism of his age; but in argument he is an empiricist, trying to reason every question as one of given facts. None the less, in the issue, it is the very element which goes beyond an appeal to facts - it is the depth and purity of Butler's moral nature - which fascinates the reader, and wins praise from Matthew Arnold or Goldwin Smith or even Leslie Stephen. Precisely because. he goes beyond phenomenal sequences, it is impossible to fling him aside unheard. On the other hand, no Christian, and perhaps no theist, is interested in maintaining that Butler grasps the whole truth. At the most we might say this: If theism is a growing doctrine, Butler in England like Kant in Germany stands for a fresh ethical emphasis.
Stephen accuses Butler of reasoning in a circle. The things which make for our ultimate welfare are the things we call morally good. No wonder if they prove to involve happiness; that is their definition! But is it? Does not Stephen himself rather say that morally good things are conditions of social, not personal welfare? Butler's argument is that the individual suffers (and feels that he suffers deservedly) from neglecting these. If George Eliot is guilty of a platitude when she says that " consequences are unpitying," then Butler's argument is empty: but not otherwise.
Butler on the soul may be studied in chap. i. of the Analogy - where we observe the old assumption of an immaterial and so immortal principle - and in his appendix on Personal Identity. Wherever moral postulates make their presence felt, Butler's doctrine of man, as of God, leaps into new vigour.
It is a moot point whether S. Clarke's Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God is really a priori. Clarke appeals to the immensity of time and space as involving infinity in God. A modification of his views is the starting-point of W. H. Gillespie's able Argument a priori for the Being and Attributes of the Godhead, published part by part 1833-1872. We find something curiously similar in James Martineau's Study of Religion (" Implicit Attributes of God as Cause," sub fin.). One might also compare J. R. Seeley's Natural Religion - though he is no decided champion of a personal God - and F. Max Mailer's Gifford Lectures. Dismissing his earlier intuitionalism, in order, like Butler, to conciliate an empiricist age, M. Muller tried to show that even sense experience throws us on the Infinite - which for him was the kernel of the idea of God. He therefore appealed to the Indian goddess Aditi or Immensity, a deity connected with a set of personal gods called Adityas. Looking into the immensity of space, man also looks into the depths of godhead. Whatever one may think of the cogency of such arguments, it seems safe to conclude that thinkers, who dislike constructive idealism, but accept time and space as boundless given quanta, reach in that way the thought of infinity, and if they are theists, necessarily connect their theism with reflexions on the nature of Time and Space.
We have already spoken of Kant's peculiar philosophical positions. One result of these is a very damaging attack upon traditional theism. Kant puts together, as belonging to " Rational Theology," three arguments - he is critic of fond of triads, though they have not the significance for him which they came to have for Hegel. Then he attacks the arguments, one after another. Is there anything fresh in the attack? Or is it simply a reiteration of his sceptical contrast between phenomena and noumena, and of his confinement of (valid) knowledge to the former? Perhaps the attack on cause as used in the cosmological argument is independent of Kant's philosophical peculiarities. The argument affirms a first cause, or uncaused cause. Does it not then deny rather than assert universal causation? But that special criticism is a question of detail. A more entirely novel and more general principle of Kant's attack upon theism is the challenge of our right to build up the idea of God bit by bit out of different arguments. The arguments had been regarded as alternative or else as cumulative proofs, all pointing to one conclusion - God exists. Kant insists that they are incompatible with each 4 Part ii. of the Analogy tries similarly to establish Christianity as credible matter of fact, sufficiently analogous to known facts of experience (Apologetics) apart from any moral " value judgments " (as Ritschlians might say).
5 See (e.g.) ii. chap. ix. The Three Sermons also point to a moral argument for theism, but forbear to press it (Sermon ii.; when the third sense of the word " Nature " is being explained).
other. They offer alternative and mutually exclusive conceptions of God. If the God of the cosmological argument is the " Great First Cause," we have no right to identify him with the " Most real being " of the Ontological argument. If the God of the Design argument seems a limited being, working as an artist upon given materials,' he is hardly God at all. Kant takes for granted that we cannot sum up these imperfect conceptions in a wider reconciling truth. It is a shrewd criticism, but needs arguing out. A great deal of popular theism is undoubtedly hard hit by it; for popular theism is apt to throw its arguments together in very random fashion.
It is no more than characteristic of Kant's whole speculative philosophy that he should' think the Ontological argument the one which comes nearest to st,-cess (yet the Ontological argument is held to prove - or rather to point out - not that God must exist, but that we think of him as necessary if we think of him as existing at all). As a result of this, Kant is metaphysically a sort of pantheist. The God whom all our thinking feels after is the all-inclusive system of reality. On the other hand, Kant's religion is of a type which requires a sort of deistic God, standing outside the world and constraining it into moral paths, or standing outside our moral struggles and rewarding our goodness. Butler fears profoundly that there must be a just God who will punish us. Kant hopes, with tolerable strength of conviction, that there may be a just God who will reward us.
The main line in pure philosophy runs on from Kant's wavering and sceptical idealism to the all-including gnosis of Hegel.' Hegel inherits from Kant the three arguments, and takes them as stages in one developing process of argu- thought. The cosmological argument points to nature-pantheism, with the religions - especially those of India - which embody that attitude of mind. This involves a re-interpretation of the Cosmological argument, or a criticism of the view ordinarily taken of it. Trace out the clue of causation to the end, says Hegel in effect, and it introduces you, not to a single first cause beyond nature, but to the totality of natural process - a substance, as it were, in which all causes inhere. This is a suggestion which deserves to be well weighed. The Design argument is held to give a contrasted view. It suggests in every deed a personal but limited God, or a number of Gods - " Religions of spiritual Individuality," including, along with " Judaism," the anthropomorphic religions of Greece and Rome. Finally the Ontological argument sums up the truth in the two previous arguments, and gives it worthier utterance in its vision of the philosophical Absolute. This is the last word of religious truth, though pure philosophy stands still higher. And, in some sense not clearly explained, Hegel identifies this final religion with Christianity.
The theism of Hegel is ambiguous.' Later theists may be grouped according as their thought has been remoulded or not by the influences of Kant. The distinguished after writers, whom we have to regard as repeating in essence pre-Kantian theories, generally know Kant, and frequently show traces of him in detail. But it is a plain finding of history that he has brought no " Copernican revolution " 4 to their minds.
Empiricism is restated by Paley, who is Kant's younger contemporary as a man and also on the whole as a writer. Doubt. less the archdeacon knew nothing of the German Paley professor, and would have cared nothing for him how ever well he had known him. A much more significant figure is that of J. S. Mill in the tentative approach to theism found in his posthumous volume (Three Essays on Religion; 1874).
1 The Design argument has mainly to do with living bodies. Might one suggest that organisms seem at least to be a working up of inorganic matter for new ends, viz. those of life?
The idealisms of Fichte and Schelling made contributions to Hegel's thought; Krause and the Roman Catholic Baader represent parallel if minor phases of idealism.
' Equally so the Hegelian attitude towards personal immortality. Such as Kant claimed to effect: Critique of Pure Reason, preface to 2nd ed.
Mill directs his attention to the Design argument. The inference that organized bodies are due to an intelligent cause is only reached by the " Method of Agreement " - a full J. S. Mill. inductive proof requiring, according to Mill's Logic, the " Method of Difference." Still, the Design argument is a good sample of a proof by means of the inferior method. Although nothing more than probability is established, it is a high probability.' Unfortunately, however, the method of agreement is liable to be baffled by " plurality of causes." In this instance it may happen that the work of intelligence has only been mimicked in nature by blind forces which have accidentally produced organic life; and Mill is disposed to hold that if the evolution of species should be clearly established as due to natural law - if there has been no creation by special interposition - the argument falls to the ground and theism (apparently) is lost. 6 A further point is of some interest. If Mill's theism holds, what is it? The belief in a God of limited power. That is what Kant contended that the Design argument pointed to, and Mill, proceeding on the Design argument, claims nothing more for his conclusion. Of course that was not Mill's special or conscious motive for denying divine omnipotence. His extreme sensitiveness and hatred of pain constrained Mill to hold that, if a good God exists, he cannot possess infinite power. Yet the correspondence between Mill's conclusion and what Kant had alleged to be implied in the underlying metaphysical position is very striking indeed.
Intuitionalism also has its restatements of theistic reasoning little modified by Kant. R. Flint's theism carefully excludes the early random talk (e.g. Cicero) of an intuitive or - innate knowledge of God. What is self-evident, Flint justly remarks, neither needs nor admits of argument.
We have intuitions of cause, of infinity, of good and Flint. evil. The Cosmological argument proves, with the help of the first-named intuition, that there is one great First Cause; and the Design argument shows the First Cause to be intelligent or personal. The Ontological argument, though not wholly rejected as a proof, is taken rather as pointing to God's attribute of infinity; thought rather than experience making affirmation that the intuition in question must be attached to God. The moral argument, relying upon the third intuition named, certifies. us of a good God. In this way, the attributes are suggestively allotted among the four traditional proofs; 7 but we miss an explicit rebutting of Kant's hostile assumption, that it is incompetent for us to take the thought of God piecemeal. Martineau's Study of Religion is also essentially intuitionalist..
It has two parts: " God as cause " and " God as - perfection." The Design argument comes in as a special illustration or intensification of the former of these, i.e. of the cosmological proof; but Martineau follows a side modification of intuitionalism (Maine de Biran, &c.) in identifying cause with will. This involves a very high doctrine of Libertarianism. The only ultimate cause is God. Nature exists over against Him; but its forces or processes are His own power in immediate exercise, except in so far as God has. delegated freedom to human wills; and there follows a theodicy, repeating Leibnitz in more modern form. Martineau's two main proofs yield two sets of attributes; those known as. " natural " and " moral," R. Browning's " power " and " love." In " God as perfection " Martineau handles the basis of ethics without reference to his own modification of the intuitionalist position (Types of Ethical Theory), according to which " good." is the better or the best. We may infer that, whatever the merits of that modification, it does not affect the theistic problem. Martineau's Study also includes a section upon Immortality. The Ontological argument is omitted; but we have already observed that there is a discussion of divine ' Paul Janet's Final Causes seems to follow Mill in this (" the fact of Finality "), but without naming him.
s Janet naturally is in opposition here. Ultimately, he argues, if not immediately, there must be a rational cause to account for so rational an effect. But again of course Mill is not named.
' The three which Kant criticized, with the addition of the moral argument, which he favoured.
infinity in relation to time and space which from one point of view is parallel to the Ontological argument.
Definite theism, bearing the mark of Kant's thought throughout, is found in Hermann Lotze. From the point of view of our grouping, he is an idealist of anomalous type.
He begins as an empiricist or realist, with given matter-of-fact; but from time to time (e.g. in his Microcosmus) he makes readjustments without perhaps very clearly informing the reader what is being done, and in the end he is unmistakably idealist. While a pronounced theist - though not a church Christian - he is hardly less an assailant of traditional theism than Kant (e.g. his Outline [Lecture headings] on Philosophy of Religion). He dissents as a realist from the Cosmological argument in the form' in which 'it concludes from " contingent " to " necessary " being. We do not wish to find our way to a being who " must be." That is an idle dream. We must keep to real and assured facts. Lotze was a man of considerable attainments in special science; perhaps he reveals here the bias of the scientific mind, and possibly even its limitations. He regards the Ontological argument strictly so called as having been exploded by Kant. Still it has a value for him if taken not as an argument, but rather as the expression of an immediate conviction; viz. The highest must exist. This is an intuitionalist touch, or a parallel to intuitionalism, and has called forth a gibe from that very confident ratiocinator, J. E. MacTaggart; Lotze's immediate convictions are matter of interest to a biographer but to no one else. The Design argument elicits from Lotze the criticism that some things look purposeful, but others decidedly purposeless. The only solid nucleus he finds in it is the fact that there is a great deal of beauty in this world. Obviously this writer is harder to focus than Kant or Hegel. He is not all of one piece. He holds - on grounds of fact and science - to the mechanical orderliness of nature, but claims that the Weltanschauung thus suggested may be reinterpreted in view of those undying human aspirations which MacTaggart dismisses to instant execution (unless they can dress themselves in syllogism). Thus, for Lotze, free will is possible; the consequences of action proceed regularly a parte post, and there is no such chaos as the critics of Libertarianism have pretended it would involve. Similarly, miracles - absolute new beginnings - are possible on God's side, if they are not mere anomalies but acts promotive of the general meaning or tendency of things, and of the divine plan of the universe. 2 But this appeal to " values " is only half of Lotze's constructive work. For the other half he falls back on ratiocination. All existences must be individuals, with an inner life (cf. Leibnitz). Since they interact, they must be elements in the life of one supreme being (cf. Spinoza: the Spinozistic affinities of Leibnitz are not so marked as Lotze's). God can be personal and doubtless is (though he has no Non-ego to define himself against) through contrast of passing conscious states with the abiding Ego. It is reasonable to hold that the supreme personality is the only fully personal being, while ours is a broken and imperfect personality, hindered by the Non-ego which in other ways helps it. Lotze resolves space into " ideal space "; and finally, in the philosophy of religion, or in view of the thought of God (in his Metaphysics), he denies the objective existence of time. God sees all history neither as future nor as present but as actual.
Besides the stream of tendency which flowed from Kant in the direction of idealism, two other streams emerged from him, often but not always blending. There was a new scepticism - at the very least a doctrine of limitation in human knowledge; but in its extremer forms an absolute agnosticism. And there was the positive ethical element in Kant's theism.
Ancient scepticism was frankly opposed to religious belief. Later, the emergence of a great body of doctrine attributed to ' Stated and criticized by Kant.
2 Lotze is not to be understood as guaranteeing the actuality of Bible miracles. Such things are philosophically possible - that is all.
divine revelation and of a great institution like the Christian church suggested the possibility of enlisting scepticism in the service of dogmatic faith. In a sense (see Apologetics) this was done in the middle ages, and possibly repeated by Pascal after the Reformation. We now find Kant's intellectual scepticism borrowed by W. Hamilton and H. L. Mansel, 3 both of them, as J. S. Mill complained, 4 " bringing back under the name of belief what they banished as knowledge." The theory found a melodious echo in Tennyson's In Memoriam, a great hymn of God, Freedom and Immortality on a basis of speculative agnosticism. " We have but faith we cannot know, For knowledge is of things we see; " but the moral element which Mansel despised is dominant in Tennyson. " The heart Stood up and answered, I have felt. " If there is a reading of the new theories of evolution in nature which revives rather than darkens hope in immortality and faith in God, Tennyson gave an early sketch of that tentative modern theism.
R. Browning has been charged by H. Jones with partial agnosticism. But at least we may say that agnosticism is much less clear in Browning than in Tennyson. Browning reasons as far as he can; if reasoning fails him, he gives a leap of faith. Jones, almost as merciless as MacTaggart, calls this procedure by the hard names of agnosticism and dualism. Another who " got the seed " and " grew the flower " was Herbert Spencer. He quotes pages from Mansel's Bampton Lectures in favour of his own type of agnosticism, which is to make peace between religion and science by permanently silencing the former. Religion may " feel," like Tennyson's " man in wrath, " and may expatiate in an undefined awe; science alone is to possess the " knowable." This yields a characteristic type of pantheism, in the theory of the Unknowable which - rather paradoxically - is offered us. Alongside of this there are other elements in Spencer's composite system of " Naturalism and Agnosticism " (J. Ward's expression, see his Gifford Lecture). The element of naturalism stands for science with a leaning towards materialism (" explanation in terms of matter and motion "). The element of agnosticism tends rather towards pantheism, just as Indian pantheism long ago tended towards agnosticism. John Fiske, however, an able interpreter of Spencer, reached what he called " Cosmic Theism. " He rejected all that is anthropomorphic in theism, but gave a positive not negative interpretation to Spencer's scientific generalizations, and broke away from pantheism - perhaps also from naturalism - when, like Tennyson, he pleaded for human immortality as the climax of evolutionary progress.
[The name agnosticism (q.v.) is T. H. Huxley's. Modern doubt does not say there is no God; it says, We don't know. Popular scepticism - perhaps even Charles Darwin's; Huxley himself was a student of Hume - understands by agnosticism that science is certain while philosophy and theology are baseless. Leslie Stephen gave this popular agnosticism its finest literary expression. Spencer goes much further in rejection of human knowledge: " The man of science more than any other truly knows that in its ultimate essence nothing can be known. "1 5 An interesting manifesto of agnosticism, with a religious conclusion, is A. J. Balfour's Foundations of Belief, welcomed in Germany by Julius Kaftan (see below). In " Some Consequences of (naturalistic) Belief," Balfour argues that the results of " naturalism " are unbearable. In " Some Reasons for Belief, " the author institutes a rapid destructive criticism of all possible philosophies. In " Some Causes of Belief," he tries, standing outside the psychological process, to show how beliefs grow up under every kind of influence except that of genuine evidence. His constructive theory comes at the end, and seems to argue thus: Since (i) there is no discoverable reason why we 3 Mansel's theism (or natural theology), and the revelation he believes in, seem both of them pure matters of assertion on his part, without evidence, or even in the teeth of the evidence as he conceives it.
4 Examination of Sir Wm. Hamilton's Philosophy, chap. v.
5 First Principles, p. 67.
should reach truth, beauty or goodness, but (2) we do, therefore (3) there must be a God outside the process, overruling and counteracting the natural tendencies of the human mind. It seems as if one foot rested on dogmatism and one on scepticism. The fact - assumed without any attempt at justification by argument - that, in spite of the multitude of logical reasons for scepticism, we do know, truth and beauty, makes Balfour a theist. And the God he postulates is brought in ex machina like the God of the old Design argument in its roughest popular form. There must be a God, who could compel irrational matter to serve rational ends - so ran the old argument. There must be a God who can miraculously endow the irrational mind of man with truth - so runs the new.
Emphasis on moral motives is plain in Kant's theism as in Butler's. If this tendency is to take effect, a certain part of Kant's rational scepticism must be accepted. There is no chance for the moral consciousness to claim a decisive vote if a metaphysical system like Hegel's demonstrates all realities in every region, and if its janissaries crush out every movement of rebellion against the tyranny of abstract thought. Is it really impossible to claim for man something between omniscience and universal nescience? May we not cherish what A. C. Fraser calls "reasonable faith"? Granted that, ideally, scientific knowledge ought to be able to demonstrate all truth, is it safe, or humane, for a being who is imperfectly started in the process of knowledge to fling away with scorn those unanalysed promptings and misgivings " Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain light of all our day, Are yet a master light of all our seeing. .. truths which wake To perish never "? Those who assert the superior worth and importance of moral judgments speak of " values " (A. Ritschl, after J. F. Herbart and H. Lotze). As worked out by Ritschl, this is specially a basis for Christian belief. With what is specifically Christian we have nothing to do in the present article: but it is worth noticing that the appeal to " values, " aesthetic and still more moral, forms a substitute for that natural theology which Ritschl despised and professed to reject. There are not a few difficulties in his programme. When Otto Ritschl interprets values hedonistically - recoiling from Hegel's idealism the whole way to empiricism - he brings again to our minds the doubt whether hedonist ethics can serve as a foundation for any religious belief. Julius Kaftan - Balfour's German editor, and a highly influential theologian, occupying a position of modified Ritschlianism - is also a very thoroughgoing empiricist. On the other hand, W. Herrmann's appeal to Kant's moral teaching is in close analogy to the more thoughtful forms of intuitionalist ethics. But is the basis for religious belief to be constructed purely within the region of " values " ? Can you contrast " judgments of value " with " judgments of fact "? Or, if, as the Ritschlians maintain, it is a slander invented by their enemy, C. E. Luthardt, to say that they draw this contrast, do you achieve much by calling the principles of moral and religious belief, with A. Ritschl, " independent judgments of value "? Independent of what? Surely not of fact? It is explained that they are in contrast with " accessory valuejudgments. " Perhaps the meaning is that they are of independent importance. But does that carry us far? It all seems a very hurried and imperfectly studied philosophical analysis. One might prefer as a theist to hold (1) that we need a philosophical doctrine of the nature of reality - the " Absolute "; given in popular form in the Cosmological argument; (2) that we take the risk of attaching a higher degree of significance and authority to the revelations of the moral consciousness, which, although moulded or educed by society, do not terminate in the authority of society, but point beyond it to God; this position has its popular form in the moral argument; possibly (3) that necessities of thought shut us up to belief in omnipotence or infinity; (4) that divine help is the supreme revelation. But such lines of thought might carry us outside the limits of traditional theism.
1 Son of A. Ritschl. The younger theologian has accepted determinism.
If we try to bring the contents of theism under Kant's three traditional arguments, then moral and aesthetic considerations - the " values " - fall under the Design argument or the study of teleology; albeit there is a great gap between Paley's supernatural watchmaker and any moral argument or appeal to the beautiful. It might be argued that beauty bears witness against materialism, and moral values against pantheism; although such an anomalous type as ethical pantheism has its representatives - J. G. Fichte, Matthew Arnold, perhaps H. HOffding. Kant's reliance on the moral argument alone goes with his scepticism. Giving that argument the highest place seems to involve, as already said, a dash of the same scepticism. - The arguments, as already noted, may be differently combined. (1) Usually they are alternatives or else cumulative.
(2) Flint spaces out the proof (and the attributes) among them.
(3) Hegel regards them as phases.
V. What are the alternative conclusions to theism? The extremest form of antagonism is pure scepticism or pure agnosticism, the assertion that nothing can be known. Alterna- Empiricism may lead to this conclusion; or it may lead to materialism.. True materialism includes theism. within itself dogmatic atheism, and is probably the only coherent or reasoned type of atheistic opinion. 2 Materialism further brings with it an extreme or " hard " determinism; and, denying the soul's separate existence in any sense, it naturally denies immortality. Once again, empiricism may lead to some qualified and restricted form of agnosticism, religious or antireligious. If polytheism is to be seriously defended at all, the basis must be empiricist. 3 Intuitionalism in its turn may harden out of " natural " dualism into moral dualism; either a literally Manichaean scheme - a good God impeded by an evil personality or principle (Bayle) - or belief in a good God of limited powers (Mill). And idealism in some cases may interpret itself in favour of pantheism rather than of theism. Pantheism does not favour free will or immortality, and may move indefinitely near to materialism. Out of pantheism again pessimism develops. If the principle of the universe is impersonal or unconscious, personal consciousness in finite spirits comes to wear the appearance of a blunder. Conversely, if God cares for men, despair is impossible. For another systematic grouping, see A. C. Fraser's Gif f ord Lectures. Wolff's list is of some historical importance - atheism, deism (a God without care for men) and naturalism (denial of supernatural revelation); anthropomorphism (assigning a human body to God); materialism, and idealism (non-existence of matter); paganism (polytheism); Manichaeism, Spinozism, Epicureanism. R. Flint has dealt with the following antitheistic theories: atheism, materialism, positivism, secularism, pessimism, pantheism and (in a separate volume) agnosticism. It is hard to be certain that any systematic grouping will anticipate all the suggestions that may occur to a restlessly and recklessly inquiring age.
Literature. - Two sets of writers have been considered: - first, the greater philosophers, who have incidentally furthered theism (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Descartes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Lotze), or opposed it (Epicurus, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Spencer); and, secondly, the deliberate champions of theism - Cicero (especially in the De Natura Deorum), Philo, Raymond of Sabunde (in a sense), Wolff, Butler (in a sense), Paley, and a host of English and German 18th-century authors, who chiefly handle the Design argument; then recent writers like R. Flint, Theism, Antitheistic Theories, Agnosticism - all with valuable notes and references, and J. Martineau - especially in A Study of Religion. The theistic writers are usually intuitionalists; but it has been urged above that a fruitful study of theism must in each case inquire what is the writer's philosophical basis. The Bridgewater treatises have little more than historical interest to-day. A certain historical interest also attaches to the Burnett prize essays on theism: 1815, 1st prize, W. L. Bruce, 2nd J. B. Sumner, afterwards archbishop; 1855, 1st R. A. Thompson, 2nd J. Tulloch. Among many lectureships, the Gifford Lectures are supposed to be strictly appropriated to Natural Theology; yet subjects and 2 Dr MacTaggart's beliefs once more present themselves as an unexpected modern type (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, chap. iii.).
Yet cf. once more MacTaggart's society of eternal spirits with no divine head.
treatment vary immensely. A. C. Fraser's Edinburgh lectures (Phil. of Theism) are central in topic and of distinct value. J. Caird (Glasgow: Fundamental Ideas of Christianity, comp. his earlier Introduc. to the Phil. of Relig.) and more unreservedly Ed. Caird (St Andrews: The Evolution of Religion; Glasgow: The Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophies) represent speculative treatment on a basis of Hegelianism. H. M. Gwatkin (Edinburgh: The Knowledge of God) pours out his historical knowledge, and W. James (Edinburgh: Varieties of Relig. Exp.) reveals his many-sided intellectual interests and ready sympathies. W. Wallace (Lectures and Essays, incorporating Glasgow lectures) gives some useful historical references. James Ward's masterly criticism of Herbert Spencer (Naturalism and Agnosticism) has been mentioned above. The student will rarely lose by reading Gifford Lectures; but it will not always be upon theism that he finds himself better informed. In France, Paul Janet (Final Causes, Eng. trans.) and Ch. Secretan (Philosophie de la Liberte) may be named: in Germany, H. Ulrici; while R. Eucken represents to a later generation the spirit and tendency of Lotze and Ulrici, in original and powerful, if rather elusive, fashion. H. Hoffding's Phil. of Religion (translated) is one of the most original books under that title, but it cannot be called theistic. F. C. S. Schiller, like W. James, opens up new suggestions in philosophy; the bearing of these upon theistic (or other) beliefs is hard to define. In history compare B. Piinjer's Hist. of the Phil. of Relig. (Eng. trans.; it includes a good deal of the history of general. philosophy); A. Caldecott's The 1'hilosophy of Religion in England and America; and A. Caldecott and H. R. Mackintosh's Selections from the Literature of Theism (useful texts with useful notes: nothing from Hegel). (R. MA.)
- Please bookmark this page (add it to your favorites)
- If you wish to link to this page, you can do so by referring to the URL address below.
This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
Copyright © 2018 ITA all rights reserved.