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all, that the individual I have gone through what we call life, the sole occupant of a world peopled solely by my own ideas. Does a watchmaker, busied in arranging his springs and wheels, toil to polish and adjust his own mental impressions : Does he try by delicate touches to get things so that their “distorted images’ may appear right to him : Did we, in company with two or three clusters of ideas, which we call our gardeners, plant carefully, this November day, the ideas of hollies and cypresses: Is Mr. Lewes an idea in the mind of me, the writer of this article 2 Is the income-tax an hallucination in the anxious annuitant's own mind? But still the metaphysician replies that although the evidence he has of the existence of an outward world be quite sufficient for his practice and for his guidance in actual life, it is not sufficient as a foundation on which to build a philosophy. “I can get no foundation,’ he says; “and why, then, seek to build a superstructure which has nothing on which to rest ? " And the main characteristic of the common-sense school is its maintaining that common sense furnishes a foundation sufficient for philosophy as well as for practical life. Mr. Lewes is of opinion that the Scotch philosophy has fallen into merited contempt. We join issue with him. It has appeared satisfactory and sufficient to the most acute and comprehensive thinkers the world has seen. And it can hardly be said that a system has fallen into contempt, when it is confessedly the system on which all mankind habitually and necessarily act, and without which the business of mankind must stand still. There are such things, Mr. Lewes will admit, as ethics, politics, and physics: there is such a thing as religion: and on what do all these rest, if not on the fundamental principle of the common-sense school?
The truth is that Mr. Lewes is virtually an adherent of that school, of Reid and Stewart, of which he speaks so depreciatingly. That school holds, in common with Mr. Lewes, that the science of ontology must be given up : the essence of either matter or mind is unknown to us, and we know nothing but qualities of either. Therefore, say the Scotch metaphysicians, let us, as to the external world, practise the physical system of induction; and as to the mental world, let us keep to psychology, or the inductive examination of the phenomena of mind. As to the noumena of either mind or matter we know nothing, and it is not needful that we should know anything. In fact, the commonsense system is precisely the Positive system, if we understand the Positive system in that sense in which it is reasonable, safe, and true. But while Mr. Lewes, pushing Positivism into theory, proposes, in pet that he cannot know the essence of matter and mind, to throw metaphysics overboard altogether, and to declare that all philosophy is impossible, the commonsense school proposes to take for granted what must be taken for granted if we are to live at all, and to see whether a superstructure of metaphysics as well as of physics cannot be raised upon that safe and inevitable assumption. The common-sense philosophers, in short, propose to base a philosophic system on the same foundation on which rest the Pyramids, the Britanniabridge, the North-Western Railway. Mr. Lewes virtually follows the self-same course: the point at issue between him and the advocates of common sense is merely as to the name by which the system adopted by both shall be distinguished. The matter in dispute is this: Mr. Lewes says to the Scotch metaphysicians, ‘Yes, you propose a Positive system, and I entirely agree with you in the system which you propose—but that is not philosophy. Your system, Mr. Lewes would say, ‘is a sound, sensible, working system, on which the world may proceed excellently well; but it is not a metaphysical system.’ And this is the point of difference. All men virtually agree in a Positivism, not pushed to an extreme : but shall we call it a philosophical system, or a system which denies the possibility of all philosophy : The Scotch School calls the system the Philosophy of Common Sense—the Philosophy of Induction. Mr. Lewes holds the system just as firmly, but says that it is no philosophy at all; that by embracing it we are really casting philosophy to the winds. Yet it is remarkable how the statements of Mr. Lewes and Dr. Reid converge, even upon this question of terminology. When Dr. Reid says, as to the existence and qualities of an external world, ‘I renounce philosophy, and hold by common sense,” what is this but stating, strongly and clearly, Mr. Lewes's own position But Dr. Reid says that having scrambled somehow or other across the gulf which parts mind and matter—having received the evidence of sense and consciousness as something which precludes the necessity of any reasoning—we may now go on to erect a system of psychology, of ethics, of religion, which may be properly called a philosophical system. Mr. Lewes, on the contrary, holds that, wanting the first link, we need go no further in constructing the chain. The first step in the pedigree of philosophy is not philosophical: and this vitiates all that is to follow, and prevents it from ever growing entitled to be called philosophy at all. The Scotch school says, ‘Let us be content; let us make the most of what we have got, though it be not all we could have wished.” Mr. Lewes says, “As I cannot get all I want, I shall have nothing.” Whatever this principle may be worth intellectually, surely it is morally very poor philosophy. It is the very condition of our being in this world that we must take and make the best of, not what we desire, but what we can get. Intellectually, as well as socially and politically, it is no system of optimism under which we live. It is enough if things are so, that they will do. They might do far better. It is all we are to look for in a present life that the world shall go on, though with many an uneasy jolt, and strain, and struggle. We cannot but admire the ingenuity, the information, the comprehensive grasp of Mr. Lewes's work. The fact that the book was originally written to be addressed to a popular audience accounts for the familiar strain of many of its illustrations, and may excuse some which approach near to the confines of clap-trap. There are passages in which Mr. Lewes's style, always clear, lively, and pointed, appears to us such as would somewhat grate on a fastidious taste ; but of course it is merely a question whose opinion on such a matter is worth most, Mr. Lewes's or his reviewer's. We have a strong conviction that in philosophic opinion Mr. Lewes is still in a transition state ; and we doubt not that a few years, if we are spared to see them, will find him one of the most eloquent, most subtle, and most learned of the adherents and advocates of the system of common sense. And we have felt with pleasure in reading his book that it was no mere musty metaphysician whose pen had written these attractive pages. The skill and ease of the accomplished author were apparent everywhere. Mr. Lewes has won laurels in other fields than the now little-trodden one of speculative philosophy. The accomplished biographer, the keen observer, and the graceful narrator of physical changes and appearances, the generous appreciator of struggling genius, will number many readers whom the name of philosophy, grim and repellent, will keep off from ever opening a volume so grave as this. And surely when Mr. Lewes, in days devoted to new Seaside Studies, shall look out upon sunny waves and golden sunsets, he will feel a gentle remorse that, in his ardour to support a point of pure speculation, he should ever have so far maligned nature as to maintain that she appears to us ‘distorted and deformed.” Outward nature, we think, will suffice as she is, even in a fallen world. It is a beautiful world after all. On blue skies and blossoming trees there is no apparent taint cast from the dark domain of evil. It is the world of mind that needs amending. It is there that we trace an ever-recurring stain, for which no philosophy can