BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting


Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Introduction to the literature of Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries

by Henry Hallam

Excerpt:

ON THE LITERATURE OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

CHAPTER HI.

HISTORY OF SPECULATIVE PHILOSOPHY, FROM 1600 TO 1660.

Section I.

Aristotelian Logic — Campanella — TheosophMt» — Lord Herbert of Cherbury — uaasendi's Remarks upon him.

1. In the two preceding periods, we have had occasion to excuse the heterogeneous character of the chapters suV cu that bear this title. The present is fully as much o"this open to verbal criticism; and perhaps it is rather by ch"Pterexcluding both moral and mathematical philosophy that we give it some sort of unity, than from a close connection in all the books that will come under our notice in the ensuing pages. But any tabular arrangement of literature, such as has often been attempted with no very satisfactory result, would be absolutely inappropriate to such a work as the present, which has already to labor with the inconvenience of more subdivisions than can be pleasing to the reader, and would interfere too continually with that general regard to chronology, without

which the name of history seems incongruous. Hence the metaphysical inquiries that are conversant with the human mind or with natural theology, the general principles of investigating truth, the comprehensive speculations of theoretical physics,—subjects very distinct, and not easily confounded by the most thoughtless, — must fall, with no more special distribution, within the contents of this chapter. But since, during the period which it embraces, men arose who have laid the foundations of a new philosophy, and thus have rendered it a great epoch in the intellectual history of mankind, we shall not very strictly, though without much deviation, follow a chronological order, and, after reviewing some of the less important laborers in speculative philosophy, come to the names of three who have most influenced posterity, — Bacon, Descartes, and Hobbes.

2. We have seen in a former chapter how little progress Aristote- nad oeen made in this kind of philosophy during the Hans and sixteenth century. At its close, the schools of logic

ILuuists. i- - i -i i t , . i

were divided, though by no means m equal proportion, between the Aristotelians and the Ramists: the one sustained by ancient renown, by civil or at least academical power, and by the common prejudice against innovation; the other deriving some strength from the love of novelty, and the prejudice against established authority, which the first age of the Reformation had generated, and which continued, perhaps, to preserve a certain influence in the second. But neither from one nor the other had philosophy, whether in material or intellectual physics, much to hope: the disputations of the schools might be technically correct; but so little regard was paid to objective truth, or at least so little pains taken to ascertain it, that no advance in real knowledge signalized either of these parties of dialecticians. According, indeed, to a writer of this age, strongly attached to the Aristotelian party, Ramus had turned all physical science into the domain of logic, and argued from words to things still more than his opponents.1 Lord Bacon, in the bitterest language, casts on him a similar reproach.2 It seems that he caused this branch of philosophy to retrograde rather than advance.

1 Keckermann, Prsecognltn Logics, p. to Vives. He praises the former, however,

129. This writer charges Ramus with for having attacked the scholastic, party,

plagiarism from Ludovicus Vives. placing being himself a genuine Aristotolian. the passages in apposition, so as to prove - "No vero, flli, ruin hanc contra Aris

his case. Ramus, he says, nover alludes totelam sententiam foro, me cum rebelll

Chap. m. METHODS OF THE UNIVERSITIES. 13


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