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Finally, while the attempt to attain extreme accuracy of definition was leading to the destruction of all thought and all reality within the Socratic school, the dialectic method had been taken up and parodied in a very coarse style by a class of persons called Eristics. These men had, to some extent, usurped the place of the elder Sophists as paid instructors of youth; but their only accomplishment was to upset every possible assertion by a series of verbal juggles. One of their favourite paradoxes was to deny the reality of falsehood on the Parmenidean principle that ‘nothing cannot exist.’ Plato satirises their method in the Euthydêmus, and makes a much more serious attempt to meet it in the Sophist; two Dialogues which seem to have been composed not far from one another.156 The Sophist effects a considerable simplification in the ideal theory by resolving negation into difference, and altogether omitting the notions of unity and plurality,—perhaps as a result of the investiga265tions contained in the Parmenides, another dialogue belonging to the same group, where the couple referred to are analysed with great minuteness, and are shown to be infected with numerous self-contradictions. The remaining five ideas of Existence, Sameness, Difference, Rest, and Motion, are allowed to stand; but the fact of their inseparable connexion is brought out with great force and clearness. The enquiry is one of considerable interest, including, as it does, the earliest known analysis of predication, and forming an indispensable link in the transition from Platonic to Aristotelian logic—that is to say, from the theory of definition and classification to the theory of syllogism.分分彩万位漏洞说起 不让 Yet, however much may be accounted for by these considerations, they still leave something unexplained. Why should one thinker after another so unhesitatingly assume that the order of Nature as we know it has issued not merely from a different but from an exactly opposite condition, from universal confusion and chaos? Their experience was far too limited to tell them anything about those vast cosmic changes which we know by incontrovertible evidence to have already occurred, and to be again in course of preparation. We can only answer this question by bringing into view what may be called the negative moment of Greek thought. The science of contraries is one, says Aristotle, and it certainly was so to his countrymen. Not only did they delight51 to bring together the extremes of weal and woe, of pride and abasement, of security and disaster, but whatever they most loved and clung to in reality seemed to interest their imagination most powerfully by its removal, its reversal, or its overthrow. The Athenians were peculiarly intolerant of regal government and of feminine interference in politics. In Athenian tragedy the principal actors are kings and royal ladies. The Athenian matrons occupied a position of exceptional dignity and seclusion. They are brought upon the comic stage to be covered with the coarsest ridicule, and also to interfere decisively in the conduct of public affairs. Aristophanes was profoundly religious himself, and wrote for a people whose religion, as we have seen, was pushed to the extreme of bigotry. Yet he shows as little respect for the gods as for the wives and sisters of his audience. To take a more general example still, the whole Greek tragic drama is based on the idea of family kinship, and that institution was made most interesting to Greek spectators by the violation of its eternal sanctities, by unnatural hatred, and still more unnatural love; or by a fatal misconception which causes the hands of innocent persons, more especially of tender women, to be armed against their nearest and dearest relatives in utter unconsciousness of the awful guilt about to be incurred. By an extension of the same psychological law to abstract speculation we are enabled to understand how an early Greek philosopher who had come to look on Nature as a cosmos, an orderly whole, consisting of diverse but connected and interdependent parts, could not properly grasp such a conception until he had substituted for it one of a precisely opposite character, out of which he reconstructed it by a process of gradual evolution. And if it is asked how in the first place did he come by the idea of a cosmos, our answer must be that he found it in Greek life, in societies distinguished by a many-sided but harmonious development of concurrent functions, and by52 voluntary obedience to an impersonal law. Thus, then, the circle is complete; we have returned to our point of departure, and again recognise in Greek philosophy a systematised expression of the Greek national genius. II. 184
II.彩票app排名其中 宇宙 409 The enemies of hedonism had taken a malicious satisfaction in identifying it with voluptuous indulgence, and had scornfully asked if that could be the supreme good and proper object of virtuous endeavour, the enjoyment of which was habitually associated with secresy and shame. It was, perhaps, to screen his system from such reproaches that Epicurus went a long way towards the extreme limit of asceticism, and hinted at the advisability of complete abstinence from that which, although natural, is not necessary to self68-preservation, and involves a serious drain on the vital energies.134 In this respect, he was not followed by Lucretius, who has no objection to the satisfaction of animal instinct, so long as it is not accompanied by personal passion.135 Neither the Greek moralist nor the Roman poet could foresee what a great part in the history of civilisation chivalrous devotion to a beloved object was destined to play, although the uses of idealised desire had already revealed themselves to Plato’s penetrating gaze.
If Plotinus rose above the vulgar superstitions of the West, while, at the same time, using their language for the easier expression of his philosophical ideas, there was one more refined superstition of mixed Greek and Oriental origin which he denounced with the most uncompromising vigour. This was Gnosticism, as taught by Valentinus and his school. Towards the close of our last chapter, we gave some account of the theory in question. It was principally as enemies of the world and maligners of its perfection that the Gnostics made themselves offensive to the founder of Neo-Platonism. To him, the antithesis of good and evil was represented, not by the opposition of spirit and Nature, but by the opposition between his ideal principle through all degrees of its perfection, and unformed Matter. Like Plato, he looked on the348 existing world as a consummate work of art, an embodiment of the archetypal Ideas, a visible presentation of reason. But in the course of his attack on the Gnostics,518 other points of great interest are raised, showing how profoundly his philosophy differed from theirs, how entirely he takes his stand on the fixed principles of Hellenic thought. Thus he particularly reproaches his opponents for their systematic disparagement of Plato, to whom, after all, they owe whatever is true and valuable in their metaphysics.519 He ridicules their belief in demoniacal possession, with its wholly gratuitous and clumsy employment of supernatural agencies to account for what can be sufficiently explained by the operation of natural causes.520 And, more than anything else, he severely censures their detachment of religion from morality. On this last point, some of his remarks are so striking and pertinent that they deserve to be quoted.时时彩万能缩水手机版种契 死薄 I. CHAPTER I. EARLY GREEK THOUGHT.
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3d字谜汇总成半 攻击 On passing from the ultimate elements of matter to those immense aggregates which surpass man in size and complexity as much as the atoms fall below him, but on whose energies his dependence is no less helpless and complete—the infinite worlds typified for us by this one system wherein we dwell, with its solid earthly nucleus surrounded by rolling orbs of light—Lucretius still carries with him the analogies of life; but in proportion to the magnitude and remoteness of the objects examined, his grasp seems to grow less firm and his touch less sure. In marked contrast to Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, he argues passionately against the ascription of a beneficent purpose to the constitution of the world; but his reasonings are based solely on its imperfect adaptation to the necessities of human existence. With equal vigour he maintains, apparently against Aristotle, that the present system has had a beginning; against both Aristotle and Plato that, in common with all systems, it will have an end—a perfectly true con111clusion, but evidently based on nothing stronger than the analogies of vital phenomena. And everywhere the subjective standpoint, making man the universal measure, is equally marked. Because our knowledge of history does not go far back, we cannot be far removed from its absolute beginning; and the history of the human race must measure the duration of the visible world. The earth is conceived as a mother bringing forth every species of living creature from her teeming bosom; and not only that, but a nursing mother feeding her young offspring with abundant streams of milk—an unexpected adaptation from the myth of a golden age. If we no longer witness such wonderful displays of fertility, the same elastic method is invoked to explain their cessation. The world, like other animals, is growing old and effete. The exhaustion of Italian agriculture is adduced as a sign of the world’s decrepitude with no less confidence than the freshness of Italian poetry as a sign of its youth. The vast process of cosmic change, with its infinite cycles of aggregation and dissolution, does but repeat on an overwhelming scale the familiar sequences of birth and death in animal species. Even the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies and the phases of the moon may, it is argued, result from a similar succession of perishing individuals, although we take them for different appearances of a single unalterable sphere.207”
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