la recherche de l'unité.by e. deroberty

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  • Philosophical Review

    La Recherche de l'Unit. by E. DeRobertyReview by: F. C. FrenchThe Philosophical Review, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Sep., 1893), pp. 601-602Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical ReviewStable URL: .Accessed: 15/05/2014 22:54

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  • No. 5.] REVIEWS OF BOOKS. 6oi

    and ' causa sui ' without any further attempt to explain what is meant by these conceptions, or how Spinoza came to use them. Throughout the whole exposition Spinoza's own language is largely employed, and the result must appear to the uninitiated reader a harsh and crabbed jangle of words. The contrast between a merely pragmatic account, and a philosophic presentation of a metaphysical system, will be very evident to any one who will read our author's account of Spinoza in connection with the appreciative and suggestive Darstellung given by Windelband in his Geschichte der neueren Philosophie. The somewhat full treatment of Spencer, Green, Lotze, and von Hartmann in the second volume furnish excellent summaries of the systems of these writers, and may be of much service to persons who have already made their acquaintance at first hand. It would, however, be diffi- cult for one not already in the secret to gain much help from Mr. Burt's elucidation. Here as elsewhere, one cannot see the town for houses; the philosophy is hidden by the multiplicity of details.

    It is plain from what has been already said, that this work has defects which prevent it from becoming useful as a text-book for students. It may, however, be recommended as a convenient and accurate book of reference. J. E. CREIGHTON.

    La Rechzerchze de 1'Unite6. Par E. DEROBERTY. Paris, Felix Alcan, i893.- pp. 230. In the introductory chapter of this book, philosophy is defined

    as the search for a homogeneous conception of the universe as a whole, while each science seeks only the homogeneous conception and explanation of some particular order of facts. The " three grand syntheses " of philosophy in the past - materialism, idealism, and sensualism - have been superseded in the present century by positivism, criticism and evolutionism. All three fail to take sufficient account of sociological phenomena. Each denies its con- nection with the other, and yet they all approach closely to the most elevated position in the theological series- the pantheistic identity of thought and of the world. Pantheism, which is the most perfect synthesis in the theologico-metaphysical series, and relativism, which from a purely metaphysical point of view shows itself superior to the absolute philosophy, whether materialistic or idealistic, are only approximations to the truth. Both are vitiated by the indelible imprint of a supposition which passes experience. The hypothesis that cannot be verified never escapes general doubt and we have no criterion that can guarantee to us the " consubstantiality " of the

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    supreme Being and of the universe (pantheism), or that can prove that all is relative and that there is no absolute (relativism).

    The second chapter is entitled "The Role of the Negative Con- cepts in the Monistic Theories." The validity of a negative idea depends upon certain conditions regularly present during the pro- cess which leads from the concrete to the abstract, from the many to the one, but necessarily absent every time that thought reaches its final limit. To the failure to observe these limits of the applica- tion of negative concepts is to be ascribed the origin of the various forms of dualism - God and the world, phenomena and noumena, the knowable and the unknowable, etc. In the next chapter materi- alism, idealism, and sensualism are further criticised and their errors shown to proceed from a misapprehension of the nature of negative concepts -such ideas as 'essence,' 'transcendental unity,' etc., being "pseudo-negations subject to the law of the identity of contraries." After two chapters devoted to the unity of science and to the interscientific irreducibility respectively, the author comes in the sixth to a discussion of the law of the identity of opposites which he endeavors to show is only a- further and more profound development of the axiom which proclaims the inconceivability of the simultaneous contrary, and this principle in turn reduces itself to a cerebral fact of the simplest sort -the indissolubility of certain psychic states. Modern experimental psychology based on biology and sociology is trusted to establish this. Logical necessity is simply another aspect of physical or mechanical necessity (p. 88).

    With his principle of the identity of absolute oppositions now firmly in hand, the author proceeds in the next five chapters to discuss the concepts of quantity, limit, motion, transcendence, and universal science. The twelfth and last chapter is on the Summa dedusio. "Governed by the psychologic or bio-social law of the identity of absolute contraries, the supreme illusion leads us to take two subjective aspects of the same reality for two different objective realities" (p. 200). There is no transcendency. To pass beyond experience signifies strictly to deny existence. Philosophy should be a deductive integration rather than an inductive differentiation. A logical monism developed and applied by science should take the place of the extra-rational, transcendent monism of the meta- physicians. Perhaps the most notable feature of the work is the sustained and forcible polemic against agnosticism. M. Roberty vies at once with the positivists in his opposition to the transcendent, and with the Hegelians in his denunciation of the unknowable.

    F. C. FRENCH,

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    Article Contentsp. 601p. 602

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Philosophical Review, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Sep., 1893), pp. 513-640Front MatterMetaphysic and Psychology [pp. 513 - 528]The Ethical Implications of Determinism [pp. 529 - 543]The Truth of Empiricism [pp. 544 - 556]Bibliography of Writings by and on Kant Which Have Appeared in Germany up to the End of 1887 (III) [pp. 557 - 583]Reviews of Booksuntitled [pp. 584 - 590]untitled [pp. 590 - 594]untitled [pp. 594 - 598]untitled [pp. 598 - 601]untitled [pp. 601 - 602]

    Summaries of Articles [pp. 603 - 625]Notices of New Booksuntitled [pp. 626 - 628]untitled [p. 628]untitled [pp. 629 - 630]untitled [pp. 630 - 632]untitled [pp. 633 - 634]untitled [pp. 634 - 635]untitled [p. 635]untitled [p. 636]untitled [pp. 636 - 637]untitled [p. 637]untitled [pp. 637 - 638][Other Books Received] [p. 638]

    Notes [pp. 639 - 640]Back Matter


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