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Plotinus himself, we are told, reached the climax of complete unification several times in his life, Porphyry only once, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. Probably the condition so denominated was a species of hypnotic trance. Its importance in the Neo-Platonic system has been considerably exaggerated, and on the strength of this single point some critics have summarily disposed of Plotinus and his whole school as unreasoning mystics. Mysticism is a vague word capable of very various applications. In the present instance, we presume that it is used to express a belief in the existence of some method for the discovery of truth apart from tradition; observation, and reasoning. And, taken in this sense, the Neo-Platonic method of arriving at a full apprehension of the One would be considered an extreme instance of mysticism. We must bear in mind, however, that Plotinus arrives at an intellectual conception of absolute unity by the most strictly logical process. It makes no difference that his reasoning is unsound, for the same criticism applies to other philosophers who have never been accused of mysticism. It may be said that after leading us up to a certain point, reason is replaced by intuition. Rather, what the ultimate intuition does is not to take the place of logic, but to substitute a living realisation for an abstract and negative conception. Moreover, the intuition is won not by forsaking logic, but by straining its resources to the very utmost. Again, one great characteristic of mysticism, as ordinarily understood, is to deny the truth of common observation and reasoning. Now Plotinus never goes this length. As we have already remarked, he does not even share Plato’s distrust of sensible impressions, but rather follows the example of Aristotle in recognising their validity within a certain sphere. Nor does he mention having received any revelations of divine truth during his intercourse with the absolute One. This alone marks an immense difference between his ecstasies—if such they can be called—and313 those of the Christian mystics with whom he is associated by M. Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire.464想要We have assumed in our last remark that it is possible to discover some sort of chronological order in the Platonic Dialogues, and to trace a certain progressive modification in the general tenor of their teaching from first to last. But here also the positive evidence is very scanty, and a variety of conflicting theories have been propounded by eminent scholars. Where so much is left to conjecture, the best that can be said for any hypothesis is that it explains the facts according to known laws of thought. It will be for the reader to judge whether our own attempt to trace the gradual evolution of Plato’s system satisfies this condition. In making it we shall take as a basis the arrangement adopted by Prof. Jowett, with some reservations hereafter to be specified.强者他身有不Before parting with the Poetics we must add that it contains one excellent piece of advice to dramatists, which is, to imagine themselves present at the scenes which they are supposing to happen, and also at the representation of their own play. This, however, is an exception which proves the rule, for Aristotle’s exclusively theoretic standpoint here, as will sometimes happen, coincides with the truly practical standpoint.尔曼

    If there be a class of persons who although not perfectly virtuous are on the road to virtue, it follows that there are moral actions which they are capable of performing. These the Stoics called intermediate or imperfect duties; and, in accordance with their intellectual view of conduct, they defined them as actions for which a probable reason might be given; apparently in contradistinction to those which were deduced from a single principle with the extreme rigour of scientific demonstration. Such intermediate duties would have for their appropriate object the ends which, without being absolutely good, were still relatively worth seeking, or the avoidance of what, without being an absolute evil, was allowed to be relatively objectionable. They stood midway between virtue and vice, just as the progressive characters stood between the wise and the foolish, and preferable objects between what was really good and what was really evil.突然CHAPTER V. PLATO AS A REFORMER.的一一股多久

  Unquestionably Plotinus was influenced by the supernaturalistic movement of his age, but only as Plato had been influenced by the similar reaction of his time; and just as the Athenian philosopher had protested against the superstitions which he saw gaining ground, so also did the Alexandrian philosopher protest, with far less vigour it is true, but still to some extent, against the worse extravagances universally entertained by his contemporaries. Among these, to judge by numerous allusions in his writings, astrology and magic held the foremost place. That there was something in both, he did not venture to deny, but he constantly endeavours to extenuate their practical significance and to give a more philosophical interpretation to the alleged phenomena on which they were based. Towards the old polytheism, his attitude, without being hostile, is perfectly independent. We can see this even in his life, notwithstanding the religious colouring thrown over it by Porphyry. When invited by his disciple Amelius to join in the public worship of the gods, he proudly answered, ‘It is their business to come to me, not mine to go to them.’511 In allegorising the old myths, he handles them with as much freedom as Bacon, and evidently with no more belief in their historical character.512 In giving the name of God to his supreme principle, he is careful to exclude nearly every attribute associated with divinity even in the purest forms of contemporary theology. Personality, intelligence, will, and even existence, are expressly denied to the One. Although the first cause and highest good of all things, it is so not in a religious but in an abstract, metaphysical sense. The Nous with its ideal offspring and the world-soul are also spoken of as gods; but their personality, if they have any, is of the most shadowy description, and there is no reason for thinking that Plotinus ever wor345shipped them himself or intended them to be worshipped by his disciples. Like Aristotle, he attributes animation and divinity to the heavenly bodies, but with such careful provisions against an anthropomorphic conception of their nature, that not much devotional feeling is likely to have mingled with the contemplation of their splendour. Finally, we arrive at the daemons, those intermediate spirits which play so great a part in the religion of Plutarch and the other Platonists of the second century. With regard to these, Plotinus repeats many of the current opinions as if he shared them; but his adhesion is of an extremely tepid character; and it may be doubted whether the daemons meant much more for him than for Plato.513宝藏 兵了

    Moreover, the Platonic ideas were something more than figments of an imaginative dialectic. They were now beginning to appear in their true light, and as what Plato had always understood them to be—no mere abstractions from experience, but spiritual forces by which sensuous reality was to be reconstituted and reformed. The Church herself seemed366 something more than a collection of individuals holding common convictions and obeying a common discipline; she was, like Plato’s own Republic, the visible embodiment of an archetype laid up in Heaven.533 And the Church’s teaching seemed also to assume the independent reality of abstract ideas. Does not the Trinity involve belief in a God distinct from any of the Divine Persons taken alone? Do not the Fall, the Incarnation, and the Atonement become more intelligible if we imagine an ideal humanity sinning with the first Adam and purified by becoming united with the second Adam? Such, at least, seems to have been the dimly conceived metaphysics of St. Paul, whatever may now be the official doctrine of Rome. It was, therefore, in order that, during the first half of the Middle Ages, from Charlemagne to the Crusades, Realism should have been the prevailing doctrine; the more so because Plato’s Timaeus, which was studied in the schools through that entire period, furnishes its readers with a complete theory of the universe; while only the formal side of Aristotle’s philosophy is represented by such of his logical treatises as were then known to western Christendom.佛土同时An unrighteous gain.拥有

    If we interpret this doctrine, after the example of some of the ancients, to mean that any wrong-doing would be innocent and good, supposing it escaped detection, we shall probably be misconstruing Epicurus. What he seems to allude to is rather the case of strictly legal enactments, where, previously to law, the action need not have been particularly moral or immoral; where, in fact, the common agreement has established a rule which is not completely in harmony with the ‘justice of nature.’ In short, Epicurus is protesting against the conception of injustice, which makes it consist in disobedience to political and social rules, imposed and enforced by public and authoritative sanctions. He is protesting, in other words, against the claims of the State upon the citizens for their complete obedience;71 against the old ideas of the divine sanctity and majesty of law as law; against theories like that maintained by contemporaries of Socrates, that there could be no such thing as an unjust law.143顺利Again, to suppose that the soul shares in the changes of the body is incompatible with the self-identity which memory reveals. To suppose that it is an extended substance is incompatible with its simultaneous presence, as an indivisible whole, at every point to which its activity reaches; as well as with the circumstance that all our sensations, though received through different organs, are referred to a common centre of consciousness. If the sensorium is a fluid body it will have no more power of retaining impressions than water;295 while, if it is a solid, new impressions will either not be received at all, or only when the old impressions are effaced.探到

   了大彩票开奖直播现场 雷大There still remained one last problem to solve, one point228 where the converging streams of ethical and metaphysical speculation met and mixed. Granted that knowledge is the soul’s highest energy, what is the object of this beatific vision? Granted that all particular energies co-operate for a common purpose, what is the end to which they are subordinated? Granted that dialectic leads us up through ascending gradations to one all-comprehensive idea, how is that idea to be defined? Plato only attempts to answer this last question by re-stating it under the form of an illustration. As the sun at once gives life to all Nature, and light to the eye by which Nature is perceived, so also the idea of Good is the cause of existence and of knowledge alike, but transcends them both as an absolute unity, of which we cannot even say that it is, for the distinction of subject and predicate would bring back relativity and plurality again. Here we seem to have the Socratic paradox reversed. Socrates identified virtue with knowledge, but, at the same time, entirely emptied the latter of its speculative content. Plato, inheriting the idea of knowledge in its artificially restricted significance, was irresistibly drawn back to the older philosophy whence it had been originally borrowed; then, just as his master had given an ethical application to science, so did he, travelling over the same ground in an opposite direction, extend the theory of ethics far beyond its legitimate range, until a principle which seemed to have no meaning, except in reference to human conduct, became the abstract bond of union between all reality and all thought.活着


  

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The second service of Epicurus was entirely to banish the idea of supernatural interference from the study of natural phenomena. This also was a difficult enterprise in the face of that overwhelming theological reaction begun by Socrates, continued by Plato, and carried to grotesque con115sequences by the Stoics; but, here again, there can be no question of attributing any originality to the philosopher of the Garden. That there either were no gods at all, or that if there were they never meddled with the world, was a common enough opinion in Plato’s time; and even Aristotle’s doctrine of a Prime Mover excludes the notion of creation, providence, and miracles altogether. On the other hand, the Epicurean theory of idle gods was irrational in itself, and kept the door open for a return of superstitious beliefs.断整If there be a class of persons who although not perfectly virtuous are on the road to virtue, it follows that there are moral actions which they are capable of performing. These the Stoics called intermediate or imperfect duties; and, in accordance with their intellectual view of conduct, they defined them as actions for which a probable reason might be given; apparently in contradistinction to those which were deduced from a single principle with the extreme rigour of scientific demonstration. Such intermediate duties would have for their appropriate object the ends which, without being absolutely good, were still relatively worth seeking, or the avoidance of what, without being an absolute evil, was allowed to be relatively objectionable. They stood midway between virtue and vice, just as the progressive characters stood between the wise and the foolish, and preferable objects between what was really good and what was really evil.失非


  


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