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Sometime Professor of Philosophy in Tufts College 
Lecturer of Philosophy in Harvard College 
Lecturer of Philosophy in Dartmouth College 


fievised Edition 



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THIS book is intended as a text-book for sketch- 
courses in the history of philosophy. It is written for 
the student rather than for the teacher. It is a history 
of philosophy upon the background of geography and of 
literary and political history. 

As a text-book for sketch-courses it employs sum 
maries, tables, and other generalizations as helps to the 
memory. The philosophical teaching is presented as 
simply as possible, so as to bring into prominence only 
the leading doctrines. My own personal criticism and 
interpretation on the one hand, and explanations in 
technical language on the other, have been avoided as 
far as possible. Sometimes I have had to choose between 
interpretation and technicality, in which case the limita 
tions of space have determined my choice. Since the 
book is intended for the student rather than for the 
teacher, it makes the teacher all the more necessary ; 
for it puts into the hands of the student an outline and 
into the hands of the teacher the class-room time for 
inspiring the student with his own interpretations. In 
making use of geographical maps, contemporary litera 
ture, and political history, this book is merely utilizing 
for pedagogical reasons the stock of information with 
which the college student is furnished when he begins 
the history of philosophy. 

A good many years of experience in teaching the 
history of philosophy to beginners have convinced me 
that students come to the subject with four classes of 


ideas, with which they can correlate philosophic doc 
trines: good geographical knowledge, some historical 
and some literary knowledge, and many undefined per 
sonal philosophical opinions. Of course, their personal 
philosophical opinions form the most important group, 
but more as something to be clarified by the civilizing 
influence of the subject than as an approach to the sub 
ject itself. The only "memory-hooks" upon which the 
teacher may expect to hang philosophic doctrines are 
the student s ideas of history, literature, and geography. 
If the history of philosophy is treated only as a series 
of doctrines, the student beginning the subject feels not 
only that the land is strange, but that he is a stranger 
in it. Besides, to isolate the historical philosophical doc 
trines is to give the student a wrong historical perspec 
tive, since philosophic thought and contemporary events 
are two inseparable aspects of history. Each interprets 
the other, and neither can be correctly understood with 
out the other. If the history of philosophy is to have 
any significance for the beginner, it must be shown to 
give a meaning to history. 

So far as the materials that form any history of phi 
losophy are concerned, I have merely tried to arrange 
and organize them with reference to the student and 
with reference to the history of which they form an in 
tegral part. I am therefore overwhelmingly indebted to 
every good authority to whom I have had access, but in 
the main I have followed the inspiring direction of the 
great Windelband. Many willing friends have read 
parts of the manuscript and offered suggestions and 
criticisms. I am particularly indebted to Professors C. 
P. Parker, Ephraim Emerton, A. O. Norton, and J. H. 
Ropes, and Dr. B. A. G. Fuller of Harvard University; 


to Professor Mary W. Calkins of Wellesley College ; to 
Professors C. S. Wade and D. L. Maulsby of Tufts Col 
lege ; and to my wife, Abby B. Cushman. However, 
for all the faults of the book, which has been many 
years in preparation, I am alone responsible. 

Instead of lists of books for collateral reading, placed 
at the end of chapters or of the book, the student will 
find references in the footnotes to the exact pages of 
many helpful books. I should like to call the student s 
attention to an appendix to the discussion of Plato. 
This is a complete selection of passages from Plato 
made by the late Professor Jowett for English readers. 
This selection Professor Jowett was accustomed to dis 
tribute to his Oxford class, of which I was once fortu 
nate to be a member. 

Philosophical terms have been defined either in the 
text or in the footnotes. Such definitions must neces 
sarily have as their aim their usefulness to the student, 
rather than their completeness. 

TUFTS COLLEGE, June, 1910. 


THE only change which the reader will find in the 
revision of this volume is in the form of presentation 
of the philosophies of the earlier cosmologists (Chap- 
ter II). 


WEST NEWTON, February, 1918. 






(625 B. C.-476 A. D.) 





1. His Geographical Environment 7 

2. His Political Environment 7 


(1) In the Development of his Religion, (2) in his 
Reflections upon Physical Events, and (3) in his Inter 
est in Human Conduct 9-11 

















a. Heracleitus Doctrine of Absolute and Universal 

Change 28 

b. Fire is the Cosmic Substance 29 

c. The Definite Changes of Fire 30 

d. The Practical Philosophy of Heracleitus .... 31 



(1) The Cosmic Substance is Being 33 

(2) Other Tbiugs than the Cosmic Substance (Being) 

have no Real Existence 34 

b. ZENO 35 


















1. The Pythagorean Conception of Being .... 49 

2. The Pythagorean Dualistic World 51 

3. Pythagorean Astronomy 52 








1. The Impulse for Learning 58 

2. The Practical Need of Knowledge 59 

3. The Critical Attitude of Mind 61 




1. The Relativism of Protagoras 69 

2. The Nihilism of Gorgias 70 


























TUS 108 











1. Plato s Student Life 121 

2. Plato as Traveler 122 

3. Plato as Teacher of the Academy 124 



TRINE 128 

1. His Inherited Tendencies 128 

2. His Philosophical Sources 130 






IDEAS 137 



1. The Number of Ideas in the Earlier and Later 

Drafts compared 137 

2. The Relation of the Ideas and the World of Nature 

in the Two Drafts compared 138 

3. The Relation among the Ideas in the Two Drafts 

compared 140 





1. The Immortality of Pre-Existence 146 

2. The Immortality of Post-Existence 149 




1. Development of Plato s Theory of the Good . . . 153 

2. The Four Cardinal Virtues 154 

3. Plato s Theory of Political Society 155 








1. First Period Early Influences 169 

2. Second Period Traveler and Collector . . . .171 

3. Third Period Administrator of the Lyceum . .172 

1. The Popular Writings, published by Aristotle him 

self 174 

2. The Compilations . 175 

3. The Didactic Writings 175 


SOPHY . . 177 



1. Development is Purposeful 185 

2. Aristotle s Two Different Conceptions of Pur 

pose 187 

3. Aristotle s Conception of God 190 

4. Aristotle s Conception of Matter 191 

5. Aristotle s Conception of Nature 192 




1. The Psychology of Aristotle 196 

2. The Ethics of Aristotle 199 

(a) The Practical Virtues 200 

(6) The Dianoetic Virtues 201 








1. The Ethical Period 208 

2. The Religious Period 208 





1. Athens 213 

2. Alexandria 215 


1. The Abandonment of Metaphysical Speculation . 216 

2. The Growth of Science 216 

3. Ethics became the Central Interest 217 




CEUM 220 

1. The Academy 220 

2. The Lyceum 221 


















1. Period of Formulation of the Doctrine. . r . .242 

2. Period of Modified Stoicism . , < 242 

3. Period of Roman Stoicism ... e -.-. 243 





1. The Stoic Psychology 248 

2. The Highest Good ... 250 


1. Nature is an All-pervading World-Being . . . 253 

2. Nature is an All-compelling Law 253 

3. Nature is Matter 254 




DOM 260 



1. The First Phase of Philosophic Skepticism is called 

Pyrrhonism 265 

2. The Second Period of Philosophic Skepticism 

The Skepticism of the Academy 266 

3. The Third Period of Philosophic Skepticism 

Sensationalistic Skepticism 268 




ING , 273 







1. The Greek-Jewish Philosophy of Philo .... 282 

2. Neo-Pythagoreanism 285 


NISM 287 

SOPHIES t 288 





TINUS ^ 291 


1. The Supra-Consciousness of God 292 

2. The Conception of Dynamic Pantheism .... 293 






MATTER .*295 





















MAN 322 




1. Books most commonly read 327 

2. Books that the scholars might use 327 

3. The Books most influential philosophically upon 

the time 328 











TINE 345 























VERSE 376 


1. The Strength of Aristotle to the Church .... 378 

2. The Burden of Aristotle to the Church . . . .379 














INDEX , . 395 


SOCRATES Frontispiece 










VERSE . . . 37(? 




The Comparative Lengths of the Three General 

Ancient Philosophy, 625 B. C.-476 A. D. 

Medieval Philosophy, 476 A. D.-1453 A. D. 

Modern Philosophy, 1453 A. D.-the present time. 

These are the three general periods into which the 
history of philosophy naturally falls. The two dates that 
form the dividing lines between these three periods are 
476, the fall of old Rome, and 1453, the fall of new 
Rome (Constantinople). From this it will be seen that 
1000 years of mediaeval life lie between antiquity on 
the one side and 450 years of modern times on the 
other. Whatever value may be put upon the respective 
intellectual products of these three periods, it is impor 
tant to note the great difference in their time-lengths. 
It is 2500 years since philosophical reflection began in 
Europe. Only 450 of these years belong to modern 
times. In other words, after the European man grew to 
reflective manhood, two fifths of his life belong to what 
is known as ancient civilization, two fifths to mediaeval, 
and only one fifth to modern civilization. 

The Real Differences of the Three General Periods. 
The differences between these three periods of the re- 


flective life of the European have been very real. They 
are not to be explained by merely political shift ings 
or economic changes ; nor are they fully expressed as 
differences in literary or artistic productions. Their 
differences lie deeper, for they are differences of mental 
attitude. The history of philosophy is more profound, 
more difficult, and more human than any other history, 
because it is the record of human points of view. A 
good deal of sympathetic appreciation is demanded if 
the student takes on the attitude of mind of ancient and 
mediaeval times. One cannot expect to be possessed of 
such appreciation until one has traversed the history 
of thought through its entire length. 

The history of philosophy is an organic development 
from an objective to a subjective view of life, with a 
traditional middle period in which subjective and 
objective mingle. Ancient thought is properly called 
ubjectire, the modiieval traditional, the modern subject 
ive. Can we briefly suggest what these abstract terms 
mean ? By the objectivity of ancient thought is meant 
that the ancient~in making nis reflections upon life, 
starts from the universe as a whole. From this outer 
point of view he tries to see the interconnections be 
tween things. Nature is reality ; men and gods are a 
part of nature. Man s mental processes even are a part 
of the totality of things. Even ethically man is not ar 
independent individual, but the member of a state, 
When the ancient came to make distinctions between 
mind and matter, he did not think of man as the knower 
in antithesis to matter as the object known, but he 
thought of mind and matter as parts of one cosmos. 
The antithesis in ancient thought is rather between 
appearances and essence, between non-realities and 


realities with differing emphasis. The ancient attempts 
speculatively to reconstruct his world, but it is always 
from the point of view of the world. 

By the traditionalism of mediaeval thought is meant 
that men are controlled in their thinking by a set of 
authoritative doctrines from the past. In the Middle 
Ages, as the mediaeval period is called, the independent 
thinking of antiquity had ceased. Men reflected and re 
flected deeply, but they were constrained by a set of 
religious traditions. Authority was placed above them 
and censored their thinking. The objective Christian 
church and its authority took the place of the object 
ive Greek cosmos. That church had certain infallible 
dogma, and thinking was allowed only in so far as it 
clarified dogma. 

On the other hand, when we say that modern thought 
is subjective, we refer to an entire change in the centre 
of intellectual gravity. The starting-point is not the 
world, but the individual. The universe is set over 
against mind (dualism), or is the creation of mind 
(idealism). In any case the modern man looks upon 
the universe as his servant, the standard of truth to be 
found in himself and not in something external. The 
subject as knower is now placed in antithesis to the ob 
ject as known, and the object is not independent of the 
human thinking process. Reality is man rather than the 
cosmos. The political state is justifiable so long as it 
enforces the rights of the individual ; religious authority 
is the expression of the individual conscience ; physical 
nature js a human interpretation. * 

* Read Knight, Life and Teaching of Hume, pp. 102 f. 
(Black wood Series) ; Falckenberg, Hist. Modern Phil., p. 
10 ; Zeller, Pre-Socratic Phil, vol. i, pp. 161 f . 


Plato, Dante, and Goethe are good representatives of 
these three different historical periods of the human 
mind. How can they be understood without a philosophi 
cal appreciation of the periods in which they lived ? 

Table of the Subdivisions of the Three General 
Periods of Philosophy 

Cosmological, 625-480 (to 
Persian Wars). 
Anthropological, 480-399 (to 
death of Socrates). 
Systematic, 399-322 (to death 
of Aristotle). 

1. Ancient 
625 B. c. 
-476 A. D. 

Greek, 625- 
322 B. c. (to 
death of 

man 322 B.C. 
-476 A. D. 
(from death 
of Aristotle 
to fall of old 

Ethical, 322 B. c.-l A. D. (to 
beginning of Christian era). 

Religious, 100 B. C.-476 A. D. 

2. Mediaeval 

Early Mediaeval, 476-1000 (from the fall 
of old Rome to the beginnings of modern 

Transitional Mediaeval (1000-1200), (from 
beginnings of modern Europe to Crusades). 
Classic Medieval, 1200-1453 (from the 
Crusades to the fall of new Rome or Con 

3. Modern 
ern times 

(to Locke s 
Essay and 
the English 
Revolution) . 

Humanistic, 1453-1600. 

Natural Science, 1600-1690. 

Enlightenment, 1690-1781 (from Locke s 
Essay to Kant s Critique) . 
German Idealism, 1781-1831 (from Kant 8 
Critique to the death of Hegel). 
Evolution, 1820 to the present time. 





The Divisions of Ancient Philosophy. The history 
of ancient philosophy falls naturally into two large di 
visions : pure Greek philosophy and Hellenic-Roman 
philosophy (or Greek philosophy in the Roman world). 
The date, 322 B. c., the death of Aristotle, which marks 
the line between these two periods, is one of the mile 
stones of history. Alexander the Great had died in 
323 B. c. The coincidence of the deaths of Aristotle 
and Alexander not only suggests their intimate rela 
tions as teacher and pupil during their lives, but it 
throws into contrast Greek civilization before and after 
them. Before Aristotle and Alexander culture was the 
product entirely of the pure Greek spirit ; after them 
ancient culture was the complex product of many factors 
of Greek and Roman civilizations, and many Orien 
tal religions, including Christianity. Before Aristotle 
and Alexander, ancient culture was characterized by a 
love of knowledge for its own sake, by freedom from 
ulterior ends either of service or of use ; after these 
great makers of history, culture became attenuated to 
work in the special sciences and enslaved to practical 
questions. Before Aristotle and Alexander, the Greek 
city-states had arisen to political power ; after Aristotle 


and Alexander, Greece declined politically and was 
absorbed into the Koman empire. 

The Literary Sources of Ancient Philosophy.* The lit 
erary sources of ancient philosophy are three : (1) the 
primary sources, or original writings ; (2) the secondary 
sources, or reports of the original writers obtained indi 
rectly, or through other writers ; (3) the interpreta 
tions of reliable modern historians of philosophy. The 
specialist in philosophy will, of course, go to the first 
two sources for his information. Other students will find 
many accurate modern histories of ancient philosophy. 
The student should have at hand the translations of the 
histories of Zeller, Windelband, Weber, Eucken, Ueber- 
weg ; those of the Englishmen, Burnet and Fairbanks ; 
of the Americans, Kogers and Turner. 

" The writings of the early Greek philosophers of the 
pre-Socratic period exist now only in fragments. The 
complete works of Plato are still extant ; so also are the 
most important works of Aristotle, and certain others 
which belong to the Stoic, Epicurean, Skeptic, and neo- 
Platonic schools. We possess the principal works of 
most of the philosophers of the Christian period in suf 
ficient completeness." 1 The secondary sources include 
quotations and comments upon earlier philosophers 
found in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, 
Skeptics, neo-Platonists, and the so-called doxographers. 
Doxography the commentating upon and collating of 
the works of former times developed enormously in 
Alexandria, Pergamos, and Rhodes just after Aristotle, 

* Read Fairbanks, First Philosophers of Greece, pp. 263 
ff., especially the re sume . 

1 Ueberweg, Hist, of Phil., vol. i, p. 7. 


The founder of this work was Theophrastus, who was a 
disciple of Aristotle and his successor in the Lyceum. 
Among the important doxographers were Plutarch, Sto- 
baeus, and Aetios. 

The Environment of the Early Greek. The biolo 
gist seeks to explain a living creature by its previous 
environment and inherited instincts. So if we know the 
environment and inherited instincts of the early Greek, 
we shall be able to understand better firstly, why Euro 
pean philosophy began with the Greeks and not with 
some other people ; and secondly, why Greek philosophy 
took certain lines that it did take. 

(1). His Geographical Environment. The Greece 
into which philosophy was born was much larger than 
the Greece of to-day. Ancient Greece consisted of all 
the coasts and islands which were washed by the Medi 
terranean Sea from Asia Minor to Sicily and southern 
Italy, and from Gyrene to Thrace. The motherland, 
the peninsula of Greece, at first played an insignificant 
role. The leadership was in the hands of the Ionian s, 
who had colonized the coasts of Asia Minor. In the 
seventh century B. C., when the first Greek philosophy 
appears, these lonians commanded the world s commerce 
among the three continents. Over the coasts of the en 
tire Mediterranean they had extended their trade and 
established their colonies. Miletus became the wealth 
iest of these colonies and the cradle of Greek science. 
Its wealth afforded leisure to its people and therefore 
the opportunity for reflection. 

(2). His Political Environment. An understand 
ing of the Greek political world, in which its first philo 
sophy appeared, requires an historical explanation of 
its rise. It takes us back four centuries to the age of 


the Epic (1000-750 B. c.). During more than two 
centuries of the age of the Epic two changes occurred 
which were to influence future Greek civilization : (1) 
The oligarchy which had supplanted the ancient patri 
archal monarchy became firmly established ; and (2) 
the Epic was formed. The importance of the Epic of 
Homer lies not so much in the fact that a great poem 
was constructed, as that it was the formulation of the 
Greek religion, the Greek aBsthetic polytheism. Its 
writing indicates that the earlier unorganized, primitive, 
and savage forms of religion had given way, among 
the ruling classes at least, to an a3sthetic polytheism, 
which in a general way was fixed by the Epic itself. 

The period of more than a century, from 750 to 625 
B. c., lying between the age of the Epic and Greek 
philosophy, may be called an age of political disturb 
ances. The oligarchy had become oppressive to the rich 
and poor alike. There had grown up in Greece, espe 
cially in the colonies, a class of citizens who had be 
come wealthy through commerce. The result of the 
misgovernment by the oligarchy was that (1) migra 
tions took place, and (2) many revolutions occurred. 
This was particularly true of the colonies where the 
proletariat was powerful and the cities were full of ad 
venturers. Plutocracy was at war with aristocracy, and 
this was the opportunity for bold men. These political 
troubles took form from 650 B. C. on, and the history 
of the Greek cities consists of the endeavor to establish 
popular government. About the time of the first Greek 
philosophers there arose here and there from the ruins 
of these civil struggles the so-called tyrants, of whom 
Thrasybulus at Miletus, Pittacus at Lesbos, Periander 
at Corinth, and Pisistratus at Athens are examples. 


The courts of these tyrants became centres of intellect 
ual life. They patronized poets, writers, and artists. 
The universalism of the Epic had vanished, and in its 
place came the individualism of the lyric and the satire. 
In many places the aristocrat went into gloomy retire 
ment, and often cultivated poetry, science, and philo 

The Native Tendencies of the Early Greek. Why 
were the Greeks the first philosophers of Europe? 
Their geographical surroundings of sea and land had 
something to do with it. The passionate party strife 
between the old, ruling familes of nobles and the newly 
rich trading-class, which took place during the seventh 
century B. c., no doubt cultivated an early independence 
of opinion and strength of personality. But, after all, 
genius was in the blood of the race, and who can say 
that the true cause was not in the mixing of the blood 
of the virile Aryan invaders with that of the aborigi 
nal inhabitants ? Whatever may be the answer to that 
question, the Greek race in the seventh century B. c. had 
an extraordinary curiosity about the world of nature. It 
loved the concrete fact as no other race of the time 
loved it, and it loved to give a clear and articulate ex 
pression to the concrete fact that it saw. It had an ar 
tistic nature that was hostile to all confusion. Let us 
point out three ways in which the Greek was even in 
this early time organizing his experiences, reflecting 
upon the workings of social and nature forces, and 
thus preparing the way for consideration of the more 
ultimate questions of philosophy. 

(1) This can be seen first in the development of 
his religion. The first step in the organization of his 
religion we have already seen, for the Homeric epic 


was the expression of a well-defined, poetic, and aesthetic 
polytheism developed out of a primitive savage natural 
ism. The Greek s sense of measure was shown in the 
way both gods and men were placed as a part of the 
world of nature. He could accomplish this the more 
freely because he had no hierarchy of priests and no 
dogma of belief to cramp his imagination. The Greek 
priests did not penetrate into the private life nor teach 
religion. " They were not theologians but sacristans 
and liturgical functionaries." In the fifty years before 
philosophy appeared, this tendency toward scientific 
religious organizing showed the beginning of another 
advance. Monistic belief, of which signs may be found 
even in the earlier Greek writings, came to the surface. 
This monism 1 was expressed or implied by the Gnomic 
poets, " wise poets," so called, because they made sen 
tentious utterances upon the principles of morality. 

(2) The early genius of the Greek is shown in his 
reflections upon physical events. The Greek had been 
accumulating for a long time many kinds of informa 
tion, but, what is more important, he had been reflect 
ing upon this information. The Ionian was a sea-faring 
man. He had had much practical experience and had 
made many true observations about the things he had 
seen. In his travels he had come in contact with the 
Orientals and the Egyptians, and although his scien 
tific conceptions were probably in the main his own, his 

1 Monism^ is the belief that reality is a oneness without any necessary 
implication as to the character of that oneness. Monatheism is a kind 
of monism, in which some definite character is ascribed tcTtlie oneness, 
like the active principle in the world or the cause of the world. Pan 
theism, on the other hand, is a kind of monism in which the emphasis 
is upon the all-inclusive character of reality. In pantheism God and 
nature ay two inseparable aspects of reality. 


knowledge was undoubtedly increased by his travels. 
In the seventh century B. c., the Greeks had a respect 
able body of physical science. It was mostly inorganic 
science, however, astronomy, geography, and meteor 
ology. The early Greek knowledge of organic pheno 
mena was very meagre, as, for example, medical and 
physiological knowledge. They also showed little genu 
ine research in the field of mathematics, although they 
had picked up mathematical information here and 
there. Many of the first philosophers were scientists. 

(3) Not only did the Greek early bring a religious 
system out of the chaos of his naturalism, not only did 
he early throw his physical information into scientific 
form ; but also early did he show an especial interest 
in human conduct. This can be seen first in Homer 
(800 B. C.), in a more developed form in Hesiod 
(700 B. c.), and with still deeper reflection in the 
Gnomic poets. Although the Iliad is a descriptive 
poem, it abounds in ethical observations. For example, 
Hector says, " The best omen is to fight for one s 
country " ; and Nestor in council says, " A wretch 
without the tie of kin, a lawless man without a home, 
is he who delights in civil strife." The poem by He 
siod ( Works and Days) is intended to teach morals. 
It is distinctly a didactic poem. Hesiod stands at the 
beginning of a long line of Greek ethical teachers. His 
moral observations are, however, incoherently expressed. 
They are not wide generalizations, but are only com 
ments upon single experiences. The Gnomic poets ap 
peared at the end of the seventh century B. c., as the 
moral reformers in the age of political disturbances. 
This period was called by the Greeks the age of the 
Seven Wise Men ; for among the men who were then 


exhorting the age to come back to its senses, tradition 
early selected seven of the most notable. 1 The spirit of 
Gnomic poetry was prominent in their reported sayings. 
They were fearful because of the common disregard of 
the conventions of the previous age, and because of the 
present excesses. Their watchword was " moderation," 
and they were ever repeating " nothing too much." By 
apothegm, riddle, epigram, and catchwords they tried to 
reform society. The names of all seven are not certain, 
and only four of them are known, Thales, Solon, Pit- 
tacus, and Bias. Their ethical reflections are not con 
cerned, as in Hesiod, with the home, the village, and 
the rules of convention, but with the individual s gen 
eral relation to society. Their knowledge of ethical 
matters is remarkable for their time. Some of their 
sayings are as follows : 

" No man is happy ; all are full of trouble." " Each 
thinks to do the right, yet no one knows what will be 
the result of his doings, and no one can escape his des 
tiny." " The people by their own injustice destroy the 
city, which the gods would have protected." "As op 
posed to these evils the first necessity is law and order 
for the state, contentment and moderation for the 
individual." " Not wealth, but moderation, is the high 
est good." " Superfluity of possessions begets self- 

The Three Periods of Greek Philosophy, 625-322 
B. c. These are 

1. The Cosmological Period, 625-480 B. c. 

2. The Anthropological Period, 480-399 B. c. 

3. The Systematic Period, 399-322 B. c. 

1 Bury, Hist, of Greece, p. 321, calls the tradition of the Wise Men 
a legend. 


1. T/ie Cosmological Period begins with the birth 
of Greek philosophical reflection (625 B. c.) and has 
a nominal ending with the Persian wars (480 B. c.). 
This does not mean that the interest of the Greeks in 
cosmology stopped in 480 B. c., but that it was no 
longer their prominent interest. Cosmology is the study 
of the reality of the physical universe (the cosmos). 
The particular cosmological question occupying the 
minds of the Greeks in this period may be stated thus : 
What, amid the changes of the physical world, is per 
manent ? This will be seen to be a philosophical ques 
tion and not the same as a question in natural science. 
The theatre of philosophical activity was the colonies 
and not the motherland. Two important aspects of this 
period must be considered besides the philosophical, 
the political situation and the religious mysteries. 

2. The Anthropological Period begins in the mo 
therland before the cosmological movement ended in 
the colonies. It starts with a great social impulse just 
after the victories of the Persian wars (480 B. c.) and 
ends with the death of Socrates (399 B. c.). Athens is 
the centre. This period includes the most productive 
intellectual epoch of Greece as a whole, although not 
its greatest philosophers. Socrates is the most striking 
persjmality_in the L perjpjL Tha .period is called anthro 
pological, because itsjnterest js in the studv^of maiLand 
not of the physical universe. The word anthropology 
means the study of man. 

3. The /Systematic Period begins with the death o 
Socrates (399 B. c.) and ends with the death of Aris- 
totle (322 B. c.) Alexander the Great died 323 B. c. 
The period is called systematic because it contains the 
three great organizers or systematizers of Greek philo- 


sophy. These were Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle. 
The spread of Greek culture beyond its own limits 
through the conquests of Alexander is of great impor 
tance for the history of thought in the Hellenic-Roman 
Period, which follows this period. 



WHEN we enter upon the one hundred and fifty years 
of philosophical beginnings of Greece, which are called 
the Cosmological Period, we find ourselves confronted 
with an extremely interesting social situation, which has 
been brought about partly by the political and geograph 
ical environment of the Greek, partly by his inherited 
genius. On the one hand, during this century and a half, 
the political troubles of the Greeks became increasingly 
aggravated by the growth of Persia on the east and of 
Carthage on the west. On the other hand, we find that 
the Greek religion took a sudden turn to mysticism, 
and by its side a slow but increasing interest in philo 
sophical questions. All through this period Greek poli 
tics and Greek religion were a constant peril to Greek 
life. Greek philosophy proved to be its safety. 

The Peril in the Greek Political Situation : Persia 
and Carthage. It must be remembered that the Greek 
cities never united into a nation. They were always 
fighting among themselves. We have already pointed 
out the civil disturbances between the oligarchy and 
the democracy throughout the land. These internal,/ 
troubles continued to the end of Greek history. In this 
period there was added to these internal troubles a 
critical external situation which threatened the existence 
of Greece itself. The sixth century was a momentous 
one for Greece. In both the east and the west there 


arose mighty empires that threatened to wipe out its 
civilization. " The expansion of the Persian power 
(on the one hand) had suspended a stone of Tantalus 
over Hellas, and it seemed likely that Greek civiliza 
tion might be submerged in an Oriental monarchy." 1 
Cyrus had laid the foundation of Persia by taking Media 
in 550 B. a, Lydia in 546 B. c., Babylonia in 538 B. c.; 
Egypt was added by Carnbyses in 528 B. c. ; and 
Darius organized the great Persian possessions in his 
long reign from 528 to 486 B. c. On the west, Car 
thage was threatening the Greek cities of Sicily, and at 
the close of this period was acting in conjunction with 
Persia to obtain possession of the Mediterranean. 

The Peril in the New Religion : The Mysteries and 
Pythagoras. Already in the seventh century B. c. the po 
litical society of Greece felt that it was under the wrath 
of the gods because of some unatoned guilt. " The earth 
is full of ills, of ills the sea," sang the poet. Keligious 
depression became universal. Dissatisfied with the old 
polytheism, especially as expressed in the theogony of 
Hesiod, the Greek in the sixth century B. c. began to 
interpret it according to his present need. Among the 
masses there appeared the craving for immortality and 
for personal knowledge of the supernatural. The desire 
to solve the mystery of life by a short road became uni 
versal. Men looked to rites to purify them from the 
guilt of the world and for gaining personal contact with 
the world of shades. This new religion became pan- 
Hellenic. It is called the Mysteries or the Orgia. By 
Mysteries is not meant societies founded on some occult 
intellectual belief, as the name might suggest. The 
Mysteries were based on cult (ceremony), and not on 

1 Bury, History of Greece, p. 311. 


dogma. The special ceremonies were those of initiation 
and purification. They were supposed to purify the par 
ticipant and put him in a new frame of mind. The soul 
would then be protected from the malicious spirits to 
which it was constantly exposed. The ceremonies are 
reported to have been attended sometimes by more than 
thirty thousand people. They consisted of processions, 
songs, dances, and dramatic spectacles. The most impor 
tant of the Mysteries were the Orphic and the Eleu- 

The Mysteries were the basis of the society of Py 
thagoreans. Pythagoras, of Samos was a remarkable 
man, who went to Italy and settled at Crotona. His sect 
is of double importance to us because in later times it 
developed a philosophy on its mathematical and astro 
nomical sides. Pythagoras and his immediate following 
must be distinguished from the later Pythagoreans. 
Pythagoras and the early Pythagoreans were not philo 
sophers, but a sect like the Orphic society of Myster 
ies, yet the sect of Pythagoreans embraced much more 
in its scope. It tried to control the public and private 
life of its members and to evolve a common method of 
education. 1 Pythagoras was an exiled aristocrat, and 
his sect was an aristocratic religious body in reaction 
against the democratic excesses. The only doctrine 
upon which Pythagoras placed any emphasis was that 
of immortality in the form of metempsychosis (trans 
migration of the soul from one bodily form into an 
other). The sect was dispersed as a religious body 
about 450 B. C. The scattered members formed a 
school of philosophy at Thebes until about 350 B. C. 

1 Burnet, Early Greek Philosophers, p. 104, for injunctions upon thj 
private life of the early Pythagoreans. 


Of these later philosophical Pythagoreans and their 
number theory, we shall speak in the proper place. 

At the time of the dispersion of the Pythagoreans 
there existed no longer any peril from the new religion. 
The craze of the new religion was passing away. During 
the sixth century B. c. it was a great peril to the future 
intellectual life of Greece. Had it then gained a little 
more power it would probably have been admitted by 
the priesthood to the temples. In the exercise of such 
enormous sacerdotal power, the priests would have en 
slaved the Greek mind to superstition, and the priest 
hood in turn would have become an easy tool for tyrants. 
There would then have been no Socrates, no Plato, and 
no Aristotle. The Mysteries were a reaction toward 
asceticism as a religious salvation from the political peril, 
but they were, however, equally as great a peril to 
Greece. The medium course along the line of a rational 
philosophy, which the Greek genius actually took, 
proved its salvation. 

Characteristics of the Cosmologists. There are cer 
tain characteristics of this early philosophy that should 
be noted at the beginning. 

(1) All the Cosmologists were physical scientists, 
and with few exceptions their scientific views were note 
worthy. Aristotle calls them physicists in distinction 
from their predecessors, whom he calls theologians. 

(2) They often worked together in schools. Tradi 
tion has been common since Bacon that philosophy cen 
tres in individuals ; but history shows that frequently 
the Greeks worked in corporate bodies. These philo 
sophical scientists worked in schools ; just as the Homer- 
idae developed the epic ; the Dsedalida?, a group of the 
earliest artists, the secret of art ; the Mysteries, reli- 


gion. Philosophy now is in the cloister, and the intellect 
of the time speaks from its retreat from public life. 
While the Milesian school was undisturbed, owing to 
the long peace that Miletus enjoyed, we shall find that 
most of the philosophers of the Cosmological period 
were in retirement on account of political persecution. 

We must remember that by " school " is not necessa 
rily meant a group of pupils under the established in 
struction of a teacher. A school at this early period is 
a group of learned men at work on the same problems. 
Later on in history we shall find that one of the group 
more learned than the others stands in the position of 
teacher : for example, Plato in the Academy. 

(3) All the Cosmologists were hylozoists. The ety 
mological meaning of hylozoism is its true one matter 
is alive. This is the fundamental characteristic of these 
pre-Socratics from Thales down to Anaxagoras, al 
though some authorities contend that those from the 
time of Empedocles were not hylozoists. The meaning 
of hylozoism is simple enough, but the conception is a 
difficult one for the modern mind ; for to-day we are ac 
customed to think of an impersonal nature under me 
chanical laws. To the Greek of the Cosmological period 
the substantial constitution of the universe is imper 
sonal living matter ; to us it is impersonal dead 
matter. Both these views are to be contrasted witL 
the religious belief involved in Greek polytheism, in 
which the cosmos is conceived to be living personal 
spirits ; this Homeric polytheism is again to be con 
trasted with the animism of the tribal period, in that it 
had organized into an aesthetic unity the early savage 
animism. These hylozoistic philosophers did not, how 
ever, give up the Homeric gods, but they treated their 


existence in a poetic way. They usually believed in 
their existence, but they always subordinated them to 
the one living world-ground. 

(4) In common with all ancient peoples these Greek 
philosophers did not believe that the universe had un 
limited space. On the contrary, they believed that it was 
limited and in the shape of an egg. 

Table of Cosmologists. The Cosmologists are di 
vided into two classes : (1) the earlier were monists 
those who believe that the reality of the universe is a 
simple, undifferentiated unity ; (2) the later were plu- 
ralists those who believe that the reality of the uni 
verse consists of several elements equally real. They 
are enumerated as follows : 


( Thales ) 

1. The Milesian school < Anaximander > at Miletus. 

( Anaximenes ) 

2. Xenophanes at Colophon 

and Elea. 

3. The Eleatic school \ Parmenides \ ^^ 

\ Zeno J 

4. Heraclaitus at Ephesus. 


5. Empedocles at Agrigentum. 

6. Anaxagoras at Clazomense. 

7. The later Pythagoreans mainly at Thebes. 

8. Leucippus at Abdera. 

How the Philosophical Question Arose. The interests 
of these philosophical scientists sharply differentiate 
them from the preceding theogonists, like Hesiod and 
Epimenides, as well as from the masses who were ab 
sorbed in the religion of the Mysteries. They were, 
moreover, the men of Greece to whom the emotional 



excitement of a religious revival would not appeal as a 
refuge from the troubles of the time. Their own ex 
perience in the political troubles had made paramount 
the question as to the permanence of things. Neverthe 
less, its answer must be found in nature and in an in 
tellectual way. When they turned to the traditional 
theogonies they found 110 answer to their question, for 


(None of the Cosmologists, except the later Pythagoreans, lived in the motherland 
of Greece. Philosophical activity during this period took place in the colonies. The 
map shows the cities which were the centres of philosophy and the homes of the phi 
losophers as indicated.) 

there was only a mythical chronicle of a succession of 
gods beginning with the unknown. The question of the 
Cosmologists was not, therefore, what was the original 
form of this changing world, but what is fundamental 
in the world always. The time factor is no longer im 
portant. Not the temporal prius but the real prius is 
what they seek. The idea of a temporal origin of things 
gives place to that of eternal being, and the question 
finally emerges, What is the real substance that con 
stitutes the universe f 


The Greek Monistic Philosophies. Turning back to 
our classification on page 20, we see that the earliest 
Greek philosophers emphasized the monistic tendency, 
which had become so prominent in Greek religion. This 
group of monists was composed of the Milesians, Xenoph- 
anes, the Eleatic School, and Heracleitus. The course 
of reasoning of these early thinkers is naively simple, 
and like all naive thought, it contains such contradic 
tions that the modern reader is likely to become im 
patient with it. The value of the study of the philos 
ophy of these early Greeks is entirely historical. Its 
historical value, however, is very great, for it is a rev 
elation of the culture of the Greece of that time, it 
throws light on many of the teachings of Plato and 
Aristotle, and most of all it contains the germs of mod 
ern metaphysical problems. These first Greek philos 
ophers raised the question, What is the constitution 
of the substance of the universe ? Their answers are 
nai ve solutions to the historical metaphysical "riddle." 

The Milesians, who form the earliest philosophical 
school in European history, seem to have assumed two 
facts as self-evident about the substance of the universe : 
(1) There is a single cosmic substance identical with 
itself, which is the basis of all the changes in nature ; (2) 
Moving matter is the same as life. The Milesians were 
quite unconscious that these two assumptions were con 
tradictory, but the contradiction impressed their succes 
sors Xenophanes, Heracleitus, and the Eleatics ; and 
divided them in their development of philosophy. Mat- 
IX ter which keeps identical with itself is the Unchanging * 

1 Note further that in future philosophical discussions of this prob 
lem, the technical word " Being" is used for the Unchanging or the 
substance that remains forever like itself, and the technical -word 
* Becoming " is used for the changing processes of Nature. 


and is brought into opposition with Life, the Changing t 
or matter which moves. The question for Xenophanes, 
Heracleitus, and the Eleatics and indeed for all fu 
ture philosophy was : How can the changing proc 
esses of life be explained by an unchanging substance ? 
XejiopLajifiS, who was more of a religious reformer 
than a philosopher, was so absorbed in the first of these 
assumptions that he developed it for his purpose in his 
practical social reformation to the entire neglect of the 
second assumption. The Eleatics, however, to whose 
city Xenophanes had come, could not leave his doctrine 
in its one-sided and undeveloped form. They accepted 
his teaching of the divine Unchangingness of the uni 
verse, but this compelled these prof ounder thinkers to 
offer some explanation of the natural processes of 
change. Change to them cannot really exist. Heraclei 
tus, on the other hand, was impressed with the aspect 
of life that is expressed in the second assumption of 
the Milesians living matter is moving matter. He 
therefore maintained in direct opposition to the Eleatics, 
that the changing, living processes of nature alone are 
real. The two contradictory assumptions that lay so 
mutually indifferent in the Milesian doctrine thus be 
came the basis of a sharp metaphysical controversy be 
tween Heracleitus and the Eleatics. The substance f 
the world is permanent, change is an illusion, said the 
Eleatics. The substance of the world changes, perma 
nence is an illusion, said Heracleitus. Either all things 
are permanent or all things change. These early philos 
ophers had no wealth of empirical knowledge nor of 
psychological reflection upon which to draw, and it is 
not strange that they should take extreme positions 
and be blind to their practical consequences. 


I. The Milesian School. Of all the Greek cities 
in the sixth century B. c. Miletus was the wealthiest 
and most prosperous. It was one of the Ionian colonies 
and was situated on the coast of Asia Minor, and it 
alone was able to preserve its autonomy as neighbor 
of the warring eastern empires. Not until the battle 
of Lade was it captured and destroyed (494 B. c.). 
From two generations of philosophers history has pre 
served three names, Thales, Anaximander, and An- 
aximenes. The school is called indifferently the Milesian 
or the Ionic school. The proximity of Miletus to Ephe- 
sus, Colophon, and Clazomenae (as a glance at the map 
will show) explains the influence of the Milesian school 
upon the doctrines of Heracleitus, Xenophanes, and 
Anaxagoras. Undoubtedly the contact of the Milesians 
with the Orient and Egypt had brought to them knowl 
edge and correct scientific observations of many sorts, 
especially astronomical. 

Jhales (b. 640 B. c.) was a member of one of the 
leading families of Miletus, and lived during the flour 
ishing period of the city under the tyranny of Thrasy- 
bulus. He is counted among the seven Wise Men, and 
belonged to the rich commercial class. He probably 
engaged in commerce and traveled in Egypt. He was 
versed in the current learning, predicted an eclipse, 
and was acute in mathematics and physics. Probably 
he never committed anything to writing. Aristotle ? 
comments are the only data about him. 

Anaximander (611-545 B. c. ?) was an astronomer 

* * 

and geographer ; he made an astronomical globe, a sun 
dial, and a geographical map. He was an intimate dis 
ciple of Thales and wrote Concerning Nature, which 
is referred to as the first Greek philosophical treatise. 
Nothing is known of his life. 


es (560-500 B. c. ?) was the disciple of 
Anaximander. One sentence is preserved of his writ 
ings, i 

The Milesian Philosophy. The Milesians lived upon 
the seacoast, and the changes of the sea and air must 
have deeply impressed them. They had an intellec 
tual curiosity to find the cosmic matter which remained 
identical with itself and at the same time moved. (See 
p. 22.) They were not, therefore, interested to discover 
the chemical composition of matter, but to find what 
matter was most moving and therefore most alive. Thales 
said that it was water ; Anaximenes, air ; and Anaxi 
mander, the Apeiron, or the Unlimited- Their respec 
tive choices were determined by what seemed to possess 
the most mobility and the greatest inner vitality. Thalea 
thought water possessed this quality. Water is always 
moving. Thales saw it moving. It therefore has life in 
itself. Anaximander felt that no object in our percep 
tual experience would fully explain the ceaseless mobil 
ity of nature, and he called it the Unlimited or the 
Indeterminate the Apeiron. It is a mixture in which 
all qualities are lost. The changes in nature are end 
less, and therefore the single cosmic substance, from 
which they come, must be endless as well, for "from 
whatever source things come, in that they have their 
end." We learn that this is just the reason for Anax 
imenes choosing the air for the single underlying cosmic 
substance. The air is the most changeable thing and is 
Unlimited. 1 

Both Thales and Anaximenes still held to the tra 
ditional polytheism of the Greek Epic. Anaximander 

1 " Just as our soul, being air, holds us together, so do breath and ail 
encompass the whole world." 


rises above them in this respect. This conception of 
the Unlimited, to which his scientific search led him, is 
regarded by him as Deity. He calls it " the divine " 
(TO OCLOV) ; although he speaks of it in the neuter gender 
\t is, nevertheless, the first European philosophical con 
ception of God. It is the first attempt to conceive of 
God as purely physical and yet without any mythical 
dress. In Anaximander the Milesian monism has a reli 
gious aspect. 

2. Xenophanes, the Religious Philosopher (570 
B. c.). The scientific monism of Anaximander was after 
all only expressive of that religious dissatisfaction, first 
voiced by the Wise Men, against the Hesiod cosmogony 
and the immorality of the Homeric myths. Now for the 
first time a positive conflict between religion and phi 
losophy arose through Xenophanes, the rhapsodist of 
Colophon. Colophon, an Ionian city near Miletus, was 
noted for its obscene and cruel religious practices, and 
when his native city capitulated to the Persians, Xe 
nophanes charged its feebleness to its immoral religion. 
He went toMagna Gra3cia, and, disguised as a musician, 
he wandered about for sixty-seven years through its 
length and breadth declaiming in song against the 
anthropomorphism, the mystic ecstasies, and the gen 
eral social practices of the Greeks. He finally settled 
in Elea, southern Italy (see map), and on this ac 
count he is sometimes called the founder of the Eleatic 

Xenophanes influence upon the thought of Greece 
was threefold : (1) He preached the Milesian philosoph 
ical monism to the people of Greece in the form of a reli 
gious monism ; (2) He carried this doctrine from east 
ern Greece (Asia Minor) to Western Greece (Magna 


Graecia) ; (3) He was the connecting link between the 
Milesian and the following Eleatic school. 

The Philosophy of Xenophanes. Based on one of the 
Milesian assumptions, viz., a_^in^le_cojniic_siihstance 
remains identical with itself in nature, Xenophanes felt 
l;hat "he had a right to set down two principles about 

1. The sin^lejprhnordial substance below the changes 
of nature is God. The reality below nature which Thales 
conceived to be water, Anaximander to be unlimited 
substance without a name, Anaximenes to be air, was 
said by Xenophanes to be God. The important point 
here is that Xenophanes has not given the Greeks a 
spiritualistic conception of God; but that he has posi 
tively stated that the su^s^c_e_^Ohe^ universe is an 
object of religious devotion. He calls the cosmic sub 
stance God instead of calling it water, Apeiron, or air. 
It is a material thing, and yet it is an object of rever 
ence. He ascribes to this God a spherical forjm, and yet 
also mental power of omniscience. God is " one and 
all " (ei/ KO.I irav), and yet he is " one god, the greatest 
among gods and men, neither in form and thought like 
unto mortals." The positive conception of God hangs 
confused in the mind of Xenophanes. He is scarcely a 
monotheist, nor yet a pantheist. He is a hylozoist, who 
conceives the underlying cosmic substance to be an 
object of religious reverence. 

2. The single cosmic substance belp_w_ the_hanges of 
nature is ^changeable. To the Milesians the more 
moving is matter, the more alive is it. Life and activ 
ity are the same thing. To Xenophanes this is not 
the case, but, on the contrary, the opposite is true. He 
conceiYfia_Iio4_tobe a definite sher 


able andhomogenequs. ThemaJeriaLmibstanfifi^ God, 
always remains the same. "Hehas no need of going 
about, now hither, now thither, in order to carry out his 
wishes ; but he governs all men without toil." Xe- 
nophanes thus becomes the forerunner of the Eleatic 

3. Heracleitus, "the Misanthropist" and "the Ob 
scure " (about 563-470 B. c.). Heracleitus was a 
native of Ephesus, belonged to the aristocracy, and suf 
fered at the hands of the democracy. He wrote a treatise 
that was difficult to understand even by the ancients, some 
fragments of which are preserved. He was called the 
"weeping philosopher" because of his misanthropy, 
and also the " dark philosopher " because of the obscurity 
of his writings. He was a theorist rather than a phys 
icist, and his doctrines foreshadow our modern physical 
theories. His name is coupled with that of Parmenides 
in the deep impression he made upon Greek thought. 
From his complacent and gloomy retirement he looked 
forth upon the world around him with profound con 
tempt, as did the Stoics after him. 

a. Heracleitus Doctrine of Absolute and Univer 
sal Change. The wonder which the lonians felt, that 
nature phenomena change into one another, found its 
liveliest expression in Heracleitus. He not only found 
that mutability was the primal aspect of nature pheno 
mena, but he also pointed out that human experiences 
also had their rapid and complete transitions. Espe 
cially was he fond of citing the changes of opposites into 
each other. But what shows his development over the 
early Milesian doctrine was his isolation of the aspect 
of change from the Milpsi^n f*rmp.fiptjon of the cosmic 
matter, thereby affirming that 


It is one thing to affirm that reality is essen 
tially change ; it is another to universalize change by 
affirming that the permanent has no existence. The 
Milesian doctrine was too naive to go as far as that. 
Heracleitus piles up figures of speech to show that there 
is no permanence whatever. All existing things are 
only " becoming "-things, passing-away things. Being is 
always becoming, about-to-be. The only unchanging 
" You cannot step into the same rivers, 

for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you." " God 
is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, 
satiety and hunger." " All things flow " (?ravTa pet). 
What abides and deserves the name of Deity is not 
thing, but motion Becoming. 

>. Fire is the Cosmic Substance. Here we come to 
a difficulty in explaining the doctrine of Heracleitus 
because of the confusion in his own mind. He evidently 
goes a long way toward conceiving the cosmic substance 
as an abstraction as the process of change. But he 
could not be wholly abstract. He stops and tells us that 
the cosmic substance is fire, and he probably means by 
fire just the same sort of thing as Anaximenes meant 
by air. Fire is the cosmic substance. It is the essence 
oj_ajl material things bp^qiise it is the most_mobile. 
But, after all, the fire of which Heracleitus is thinking 
is not a localized thing, like the fire on the hearth. For 
the hearth fire in a sense is ever identical with itself. 
The fire which Heracleitus means is ever darting, ever 
transforming material. To sum up : Heracleitus does 
not mean by fire an abstraction like the law of change ; 
he does not mean, on the other hand, a material ever 
remaining like_Jj^elf ; he does mean a material, but a 
transforming material. 


c. The Definite Changes of Fire. Heracleitus makes 
some acute observations about the characteristics of 
the changing fire. The Milesians had been content to 
observe atmospheric changes and to name condensa 
tion and rarefaction as the forms of cosmic change. 
Heracleitus goes farther and emphasizes definite rela 
tions of change. The succession of changes always 
remains the same. Their definite relation is the only 
permanence in the world, and .Heracleitus conception \ 
foreshadows the modern conception of the uniformity ( 
of the law of nature. The changes are (1) fateful, (2) 
rational, and (3) just. They show that the world is a 
destiny, a reason, and a justice. This identification of 
ethical and logical qualities with the physical betrays the 
Undeveloped condition of the thought of Heracleitus. 

In general, there are two characteristics to be noted 
with reference to Heracleitus conception of a definite 
succession of changes : (IX^Ilfi-cbangesjire always_a 
harmony of opposites_; (2) ancMjhe changes are in a 
closed circuit. The process of change is not a flow in 
one direction like a river over its bed, but it is a move 
ment in two opposite directions. 

means not only a passing into something else 
passing into the opposite. Everything is the union of 
opposite*, and everything is the transition point of op- 
posites about to separate. The flux of things is thus 
poetically conceived as a war of things, and this war is 
"the father of all things." This unity of opposites has 
an equilibrium that illudes us into thinking it is per 
manent. The universe is an invisible harmony, divided 
into itself and again united. Investigate life and there 
are antitheses everywhere. War is life. The second 
general characteristic of the succession of changes is 


their closed circuit. Fire changes into all things, and 
all things are changing back into fire. These two move 
ments are called the "Upward Way" and the "Down 
ward Way." Downward, fire changes through air and 
water into earth. Upward, earth changes back to water, 
air, and fire. With every change, there is counter- 
change, action is accompanied by a reaction. "Men do 
not know how that which is drawn in opposite direc 
tions harmonizes with itself. The harmonious structure 
of the world depends upon opposite tension, like that of 
the bow and the lyre." 

d. The Practical Philosophy of Heracleitus. Hera- 
cleitus was more of a metaphysician than a phys 
icist, and his chief concern was in the formation and 
the practical application of his theory of change. He 
looked upon man as a bit of cosmic fire struck off and 
imprisoned in a body of earth, water, and air. After 
death this fiery soul is released and absorbed in the 
cosmic fire. In his present state man has a divided ex 
istence : the life of the soul, or the fire of the reason ; 
and the life of the senses of the imprisoning body. The 
reason retires from the illusions of sense, and sees in its 
aristocratic isolation how illusory the sensations are. 
For thj>ejtt3ejjjbejl^^ 

while the reason sees through this deception, to the 
changingness of the world. Thus the beginning is made 
by Heracleitus in distinguishing the reflections of 
the reason from sensations. Truth is for the first time 
systematically set over against opinion. The reason 
able Wise Man resigns himself to whatever happens 
because he knows that it is fateful, wise, and just. The 
Wise Man recognizes that all is change, and he is happy 
because he sees providence in the vicissitudes of his own 



life. Thus in the aristocratic hate, which Heracleitus 
holds against democracies, he makes conformity to law 
the only way to happiness. The reason of Wise Men, 
and not the senses of the multitude, must be the true 
guide of society. 

Heracleitus was a profound observer and theorist. 
His physical theory foreshadowed the modern th^riim 
of natural law and of relativity; his practical theories 
reappear in the psychology of Protagoras and the ethics 
of the Stoics. 

4. The Eleatic School. The town of Elea to which 
Xenophanes came in the course of his wanderings had 
been recently settled by the Ionian refugees from Pho- 
caea, a great maritime city in Asia Minor, which had 
been conquered by the Persians (543 B. c.). Elea is 
now Castellamare on the west coast of Italy. It is cele 
brated as the birthplace of Parmenides and Zeno, who 
founded the so-called Eleatic school. 

a. Parmenides (b. 515 B. c.). 

Parmenides wrote about 470 B. c. He is represented 
as a serious and influential man, with a high moral 
character. He exercised strong influence upon such 
philosophers as Plato and Democritus, and was a politi 
cal power in the city of Elea, of which he was a native. 
He was not a stranger to the Pythagoreans. The large 
fragment of his poem is the most ancient monument ex 
tant of metaphysical speculation among the Greeks. 

Parmenides takes the doctrine of Xenophanes with 
great seriousness, and what Xenophanes says about the 
Godhead, Parmenides says about all things. Xenoph 
anes religious weapon of an unchanging cosmic sub 
stance becomes in the hands of Parmenides an academic 
doctrine of science and the basis of logical controversy. 


Parmenides used the conception of Xenophanes in his 
great didactic poem, The Way of Truth and the Way 
of Opinion, with the evident purpose of refuting the 
theory of Heracleitus. The fragment of the poem re 
veals the driest abstractions dressed in rich poetry. As 
a thinker Parmenides is the most important in this 
period. Zeno was the friend and pupil of Parmenides. 
(1) The Cosmic Substance is Being. The first as 
sumption in the Milesian doctrine that there is a 
single matter that ever remains identical with itself 
was so self-evident to Parmenides that he does not at 
tempt to prove it. He assumes it, as if it were cogent 
to everybody. However, he explains what he means by 
Being in a negative statement : Not-Being, or what is 
not, cannot be thought. Being and thought are so cor 
related that they are the same. Thinking always has 
Being as its content, and there is no Being that is not 
thought. Being = Thought. This explanation of Par 
menides identification of thought and Being may be 
put in this logical form : 

All thinking refers to something thought, and there 
fore has Being for its content ; 

Thinking that refers to nothing, and is therefore 
contentless, cannot be; 

Therefore, not-Being cannot be thought, much less 
can it be. 

These propositions look very abstract, and make us 
believe that we are to plunge immediately into a kind 
of German idealism. But Parmenides leaves us in no 
doubt that he is one of the hylozoists of his time. 
Being is indeed thought, but Being is also matter. We 
may therefore amend our equation to Being = Thought 


= Matter. Being is what fills space, and all Being has 
this and only this property. All Being is therefore ex 
actly alike, and there is only one, single Being. There 
are no distinctions in Being. By not-Being Parmenides 
means empty space or that which is not material. So 
that Parmenides assumption of Being as the cosmic 
substance means this : all that exists, including thought, 
fills space; and all that does not exist does not fill 

Being, the cosmic substance, is one, eternal, imper 
ishable, homogeneous, unchangeable, and material. 
When men see the world as it really is, when they see 
its cosmic substance, they see it to be one continuous 
material block. The world is not made up of parts with 
intervals of nothing between them, but it is a solid, 
homogeneous whole. The cosmic Being is a timeless, 
spaceless Being with no distinctions. The form of Be 
ing is spherical. It is cosmic-body and cosmic-thought. 
This is the assumption of Parmenides, which is so self- 
evident and so cogent to him that he does not attempt 
to prove but only to explain it. 

(2) Other Things than the Cosmic Substance (Be 
ing) have no Real Existence. If Being is space that 
is filled, not-Being is empty space. However, empty 
space has no existence. But the existence of a plural 
number of things depends upon the existence of empty 
spaces between them. Furthermore, the motion of things 
and the change of things depend upon the existence of 
empty spaces in which they can move and change. 
Since empty space is not-Being and has no existence, 
the plurality of things and the motion and change of 
things have also no existence. They are illusions. The 
nature-world, with its richness of qualities and variety 


of motions, before the logic of Parmenides "folds up 
its tents like the Arabs and silently steals away." 

This logical drawing out of one of the aspects of the 
Milesian conception of the cosmic matter has a curious 
result. The Milesians and Xenophanes sought to ex 
plain by the cosmic substance the many nature changes. 
But when in the hands of Parmenides the cosmic sub 
stance is all of reality, then there is no reality to the 
changes. Consequently the concept formed for the ex- 
pla.naijnn of change Jias_ .sa_daYeiepei__as .to deny the 
existence of change,. The cosmic substance excludes all 
origination and decay, all space and time differences, 
all divisibility, diversity, and movement. There is only 
one real, all else is illusion. 

But what can we say of the varied world of nature 
as it appears to us ? Do we see, hear, and touch many 
things and motions ? In Part II of his poem he raises 
the question, Suppose man takes the world of change 
as real how must he explain it ? He answers by using 
the explanation of Heracleitus. But these changes of 
eye and ear belong to the world of sense, and Par 
menides is talking, in Part I of his poem, about the 
real world or that world known to thought. Parmenides 
insists as strongly as did Heracleitus that the reason 
and not the sense shall be our guide to what is real. 
Yet he arrives at exactly the opposite conclusion from 
Heracleitus as to what the reason sees as real. The 
senses show us only the many and the changing. The 
reason shows us nothing of the sort, but only perma 
nence and unchangingness. 

6. Zeno (b. 490-430 B. a). 

Zeno was born in Elea. He was contemporary with 
those who tried to reconcile the two sides of the meta- 


physical controversy, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and 
the Atomists. He wrote in prose in the form of ques 
tion and answer. This is the beginning of the dialogue 
literature, which in the time of the Sophists, Socrates 
and Plato, was richly developed and became known as 
dialectic. On the Greek stage during the time of Peri 
cles it came forth in dramatic form through ^Eschylus, 
Sophocles, and Euripides. 

The Philosophy of Zeno. Zeno was the active con 
troversialist of the school of Elea, and he was not a 
constructive philosopher. He offered no contribution 
to advance the thought of Parmenides. He appeared 
rather as the master of logical argument in defense of 
his predecessor, by tearing to pieces the arguments of 
his opponents. The opponents that Zeno is attacking 
are the Atomists of Abdera, who were his contempora 
ries, rather than Heracleitus. His contribution was neg 
ative and formal, but it was nevertheless effective and 
searching. His arguments and paradoxes will, however, 
lose their cogency unless it be kept in mind that he is 
trying to show how absurd magnitude, multiplicity, and 
change would be in discontinuous space such as the 
Atomists describe. While his paradoxes have been at 
tacked again and again, they still have effectiveness 
against atomic theories. 

His arguments are against magnitude, multiplicity, 
and motion. There can be no magnitude, because a thing 
would then be both infinitely small and infinitely great. 
There can be no multiplicity of things, since they would 
be both limited and unlimited in number. There can be 
no motion, because (1) it is impossible to go through a 
fixed space ; (2) it is impossible to go though a space 
that has movable limits ; and (3) because of the rela- 


tivity of motion. The dilemmas which he proposed of 
Achilles and the tortoise, the flying arrow at rest, and 
the bushel of corn are classic.* 

The Results of the Conflict between Heracleitus 
and Parmenides. 1. One important result of this 
final conflict between the inconsistent motives in the 
Milesian teaching was that reason was contrasted with 
sense, reflection with experience. The more fully the 
philosophers developed their doctrines, the more their 
doctrines became contrasted with the opinions of unre 
flecting people. At first the contrast appeared in this 
naive form : that what they thought was right, and 
what others thought must be wrong, if others differed 
from them. Then the contrast came in this form : that 
reflection gives the true and sensations the false. Thus 
reflection came to have such conclusiveness that it gained 
independence. The philosopher began to feel the su 
premacy of reason, to assert that he has truth, to call 
unreasoned belief by the opprobrious name of " opinion." 
This is curiously illustrated in the case of Heracleitus 
and Parmenides. Their opposing conceptions of the cos-\ 
mic substance are claimed to be the result of reason,/ 
while each calls the other s theory " opinion." 

2. Another result was that in the Greek thought 
the monistic theory was found to be useless in the 
study of nature. These early monistic views led up as 
necessary steps to pluralism, but they were not in them 
selves serviceable. The imperfection in the Milesian 
teaching appeared in the impassable gulf between Hera 
cleitus and Parmenides. It now remained for the last 
Cosmologists to see if, on the basis of pluralism, they 

* Read Windelband, Hist, of Ancient Phil., pp. 67 ff. ; 
Zeller, Greek Philosophy, pp. 63 ff. 


could not reconcile the preceding views and at the same 
time obtain a satisfactory metaphysics of nature. 

3. The third result of the controversy between the 
Eleatics and Heracleitus was that the peril from the 
Orphic Mysteries was averted, not immediately? 
nor in a year s time, but after many years. Philosophy 
became established. The Greek reason now had an 
object of interest, in a sharp scientific issue. Mystery 
was not crushed, but subdued. The mental life of the 
future Greek had a topic for its reflection which sup 
planted, when the time came, its emotional interest in 
the supernatural. 



Efforts toward Reconciliation. The theories of Hera- 
cleitus and Parmenides were in part fantastic and in 
part abstract. They were the two motives of the Mile 
sian school that had been developed so far as to reveal 
their inherent inconsistencies. 

Physical theories now began to spring up which 
modified the metaphysical theories ; and these produced 
results which while not so logical, were less distant from 
the facts of life. The Eleatics had so conceived Being as 
to deny the existence of changing phenomena perceived 
in the world of nature. On the other hand, Heracleitus 
had so emphasized the universality of change that 
there was little reality left in the particular changes. 
The later Heracleitans were Heracleitus gone mad. 
"We not only cannot step into the same river twice, 
but we cannot do it once." All the preceding philoso 
phers had been monists. The time had therefore come 
for thinkers to abandon monism if thought were to 
have any usefulness. Monism, whether in the form of 
Heracleitus doctrine of universal change or of Par 
menides doctrine of universal permanence, had merely 
set aside the problem about the Many. Of course, a 
more satisfactory solution of this problem could come 
only when human life had become riper and had more 
experiences upon which to draw. It was natural for the 
Greek philosopher to look now to pluralism for his 
solution, when he turned away from monism. At the 


outset pluralism tried to reconcile the two extremes to 
which the Milesian motifs had gone. Its later develop 
ment in the doctrine of Protagoras was as extreme as 
that of the monists. 

The New Conception of Change of the Pluralists. Fac 
ing the fact that change has to be explained and cannot 
be denied, change is conceived by the pluralists to be not 
a transformation but a transposition. It is an alteration 
in position of the parts of a mass. Birth, growth, death, 
are only such changes of transposition. Empedocles, to 
whom the origin of the doctrine is attributed, says, 
" There is no coming into Being of aught that perishes, 
nor any end for it in baneful death, but only a min 
gling and a separation of what has been mingled. Just 
as when painters are elaborating temple offerings, 
they, when they have taken the pigments of many colors 
in their hands, mix them in a harmony, so let not 
the error prevail in thy mind that there is any other 
source of all the perishable creatures that appear in 
countless numbers." All origination, then, is a new 
combination, and every destruction only a separation 
of the original parts. The Pluralists thus make Hera- 
cleitus conception useful in the explanation of nature. 

The New Conception of the Unchanging of the 
Pluralists The Element. But there must be a per 
manence in order that there be change. This can only 
be conceived by assuming that there are many original 
units that in themselves do not change. The mass of 
the world is ever the same ; there is no new creation. 
Being consists in many elements, and not in a single 
block. So to Empedoclesn 


the pnOTity^oFtormmg ^ the^onception of th 
which has occupied anTmportant place in science. 


The element is conceived by the Pluralists as unori- 
ginated, imperishable, and unchanging. It has all the 
qualities that Parmenides attributed to his single Being, 
only the elements may change their place and suffer 
mechanical division. The Pluralists thus make the 
Eleatic conception useful in the explanation of nature. 

The Introduction of the Conception of the Efficient 
Cause. The Eleatics had detached the quality of mo 
tion from Being. The Pluralists, in reintroducing it, 
were obliged to make it a separate force in order to get 
movement into their universe. The elements are change 
less. How can they move? They cannot move them 
selves. They are moved from without. Here in Em- 
pedocles is made a differentiation of great importance 
the concept of the moving or efficient cause. How 
ever, this does not appear in this early time in concep 
tual but in mythical-poetic and undefined form. With 
this differentiated efficient cause, can Pluralism be con 
sidered to be hylozoism ? Authorities differ. Certainly 
this new concept shows the beginning of the breaking 
up of hylozoism and the beginning of the formation of 
a mechanistic conception of the universe. But probably 
the Pluralists were as much hylozoists as their prede 
cessors, the monists. Their efficient causes are material 
like the elements, and they are poetically and indefi 
nitely described. They are in every case conceived as 
the material which has a lively or an originating mo 
tion. We must keep in mind that all the Cosmologists 
except the Eleatics believed movement to be life. 

Summary of Similarities and Differences in the 
Theories of the Reconcilers. 

The general common characteristics of the theories 
of the Reconcilers : 


1. A plurality of the elements. 

2. An efficient cause which explains the shifting of 

the elements in causing the origin, growth, and 
decay of the world of nature. 

The general differences between the theories of the 
Reconcilers : 

1. In the number and quality of the elements. 

2. In the number and quality of the causes. 

The Pluralistic Philosophers : Empedocles, Anaxa- 
goras, Leucippus, and the Later Pythagoreans. With 
the Pluralists we pass completely out of the sixth cen 
tury B. C. The lives of the hylozoistic Pluralists span the 
fifth century, and cosmological interest extends later. 
Even the Eleatic Zeno lived from 490 to 430 B. c. Em 
pedocles lived from 490 to 430 B. c., Anaxagoras from 
500 to 425 B. c., and the Pythagoreans and Leucippus 
later. When the cosmological movement was still virile 
in the Grecian colonies, and even before it had reached 
its systematic form in Democritus of Abdera, the an 
thropological movement had begun in the motherland, 
in Athens. The Persian Wars are the dividing line 
between the two periods, but only because they denote 
the beginning of the new movement in Athens, not 
the end of the old movement in Asia Minor and 
Magna Gra3cia. Contemporaneous with the Pluralists 
was the brilliant Age of Pericles, when the Sophists 
were carrying education to the people and Socrates 
was teaching in the Athenian market-place. By the 
middle of the fifth century B. c. there was the liveliest 
interchange of scientific ideas throughout Greek society, 
and the contemporaneousness of the Pluralists with one 
another and with the Athenian philosophers shows this 
in many similarities in their doctrines and in many 


polemical references. There are four schools of Recon* 
cilers, of which Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, 
and the later Pythagoreans are the representatives. 

Empedocles* (490 to 430 B. c.) was the first Dorian 
philosopher, a partisan of the democracy, and belonged 
to a rich family of Agrigentum. He became a dis 
tinguished statesman, but he later fell from popular 
favor. Then, in the garb of a magician, he traveled as 
physician and priest through Magna Graecia. His po 
litical affiliations would prevent his direct connection 
with the Pythagoreans, but he showed that the Pytha 
goreans influenced him, and his career is an imitation 
of that of Pythagoras. He was acquainted with the 
theory of Heracleitus, and he knew Parmenides per 
sonally. He was one of the first rhetoricians, and was 
probably connected with a large literary circle. He is 
the first and most imperfect representative of the re 
conciliation. The story of his suicide by leaping into 
Mt. JStna is supposed to be a myth. 

Anaxagoras (500-425 B. c.), a man of wealthy 
antecedents, was much esteemed, was born in Clazo- 
mense in a circle rich in Ionian culture, but was iso 
lated from practical life. He declared the heaven to be 
his fatherland and the study of the heavenly bodies to 
be his life s task. He went to Athens about 450 B, c., 
where he formed one of a circle of notable men of cul 
ture. He lived in Athens under the patronage of Per 
icles, but in 434 B. C. he was expelled. In Athens he 
was intimate with such men as Euripides, Thucydides, 
and Protagoras. He represents the first appearance of 
philosophy in Athens. 

The life of Leucippus is almost unknown. He was 
* Read Matthew Arnold, Empedocles (a poem). 


probably born in Miletus, visited Elea, and settled in 

The Later Pythagoreans. After the Pythagoreans 
as a religious and political body had been defeated at 
Crotona, they lost their prestige and were scattered to 
the four winds. They were beaten in the battle of 
Crotona (510 B. c.) and dispersed about 450 B. c. 
Pythagoras died 504 B. c. His scattered followers, these 
later Pythagoreans, formed a school of philosophy which 
had its centre at Thebes. Destroyed as a religious body 
the members lost their superstitions and turned their 
attention to philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, medi 
cine, and physics. As mathematicians and as astrono 
mers they are the most notable among the ancients. 
Philolaus is the probable originator of their philosophy 
of numbers. This school disappeared about 350 B. c. 
Pythagoreanism reappeared later under the name of 

The Philosophy of Empedocles. Empedocles con 
ceived the number of elements to be four, earth, air, 
fire, and water, an arbitrary enumeration, which never 
theless persisted in the popular imagination throughout 
the Middle Ages. He chose this number of elements 
because they included all the elements in his predeces 
sors theories. By the transposition and new arrange 
ment of these elements he could account for the variety 
of the world. The efficient causes that make these dif 
ferent separations and mixtures are Love and Hate, two 
mythical and sensuous entities. Love is the cause of the 
union of things, Hate of their separation. 

This is the general metaphysical theory that Empedo 
cles uses to explain the physical world and especially 
physiological phenomena ; and he is probably best known 


as the author of the aphorism, " Like attracts Like. * 
For example, he conceives the physical world as con 
tinuously repeating itself through four cosmic stages, 
each centuries long. The world moves therefore in 
cyclical evolution, in which Love is bringing like ele 
ments together only to be followed by stages of the 
separation of the like elements by Hate, an endless 
cosmic procession. 

But Empedocles interest in cosmology was only a 
part of his dominating interest in the organic world. 
He held some interesting evolution theories. His special 
interest in human physiology led him to frame the first 
theory of perception. Man is composed of the four ele 
ments, and he can know the universe around himself 
because Like in him attracts Like in the external world. 
The earth forms our solid parts, water the liquid parts, 
air is the vital breath, and fire is the soul. The blood 
contains the four elements, and is therefore the real car 
rier of life. If we perceive anything, it is because we 
have qualities similar to that thing. The element in 
us attracts the like element outside. He fancifully ex 
plained how parts of each element pressed upon parts 
of like elements earth upon earth, air upon air ; and 
how these clung together until sundered by Hate. The 
senses have only a partial number of elements, while the 
reason has them all ; therefore sense knowledge is par 
tial when compared with rational knowledge. 

The Philosophy of Anaxagoras. The pluralistic con 
ception of the nature-substance, that was originated by 
Empedocles in this crude form, got a more complete 
character in the hands of Anaxagoras. For Anaxagoras 
took exception to the arbitrary assumption of Empedo 
cles that the elements were only four in number. How 


could this world of infinite variety be derived from only 
four elements ? We must postulate as many elements as 
there are qualities, if by merely shuffling them by 
various combinings and separatings of them their in 
finite number is to be explained. There, are a plural 
number of elements qualitatively distinct. Every per 
ceptual thing is composed of these heterogeneous parts 
or qualities or elements. But how do you know an ele 
ment when you find one ? Always by the fact that when 
you divide it, its parts are homogeneous. The elements 
are, therefore, those substances that divide into parts 
that are like one another ; while the perceptual objects 
of nature can be divided into parts that are unlike one 
another. They are called " seeds " by Anaxagoras, and 
designated as " homoiomeriai " by Aristotle and later 
philosophy. This was a time, it must be remembered, 
when chemical analysis had not developed, and when 
mechanical division and change of temperature were the 
only means of investigation. Form, color, and taste were 
the characteristics that differentiated elements. So An 
axagoras was content to name as elements such things 
as bones, muscles, flesh, marrow, metals, etc. The count 
less elements or qualities are present in a finely divided 
state throughout the universe. Every perceptual object 
has present in it all elements, even opposite elements. 
It is, however, known and named by the element that 
prevails in it at any particular instant. For example, 
fire contains an element of cold but the fire element 
prevails. Opposites attract, and the qualitative change 
in a thing consists in the predominance of some other 
quality already present in it. 

For the efficient cause of the combining and separat 
ing of the elements Anaxagoras selected one of the 


elements. He called it the Nous, the Greek word for 
mind or reason. Many historians have therefore con 
cluded that Anaxagoras is the author of an idealistic 
philosophy. Aristotle says of Anaxagoras that he " stood 
out like a sober man among the random talkers that had 
preceded him." But both Plato * and Aristotle are dis 
appointed with the way in which Anaxagoras handles 
the conception of Nous and, as a matter of fact, the 
Nous, as Anaxagoras uses it, is not less hylozoistic 
than the Love and Hate of Empedocles. In the Nous 

/Anaxagoras threw out a thought that was too big for 
him. Its introduction, however, marks the breaking up 
of pre-Socratic hylozoism. Anaxagoras wrote down the 
word, Nous, from which comes the contrast with matter. 
He stripped the mythical dress from the efficient cause 
of Empedocles and substituted Nous, because he wished 
to emphasize the unity of the cosmic process. The Nous 
is one of the elements ; it is " thought-stuff," it is a 
corporeal substance. It differs from all the other ele 
ments in that it is the finest, the most mobile, and has 
the power of self-motion. If among the early schools 
motion is life, here we find the new conception of self- 
motion as most alive. Instead of a departure from 
hylozoism, this is a rehabilitation of hylozoism in more 
perfect form. The Nous is the cause of the harmony 
and order of the cosmos. 

The Philosophy of the Atomists Leucippus and 
the School at Abdera. Only circumstantial evidence is 
left to testify to the early beginnings of the school of 
atomists at Abdera. About 450 B. c., owing to the rise 
of Athens and the great victory of Cimon over the Per 
sians, the Ionian civilization on the coasts of Asia Minor 
* Read Plato, Phaedo, 97, B. 


had a new lease of life, and there was a renewal of sci 
entific activity in the cities. The influence of the Mile 
sians appeared and Anaxagoras doctrine, which had 
been widely disseminated, began to have great vigor. 
Among the philosophers of this section was one about 
whom we know very little, except that his name was 
Leucippus and that he was the father of atomism. 
Miletus was probably his native place, and after visit 
ing Elea he settled in Abdera in Thrace. We know ^ 
that the pqlemic of Zeno was directed against contem- 7 
porary atomism ; and we know the theories of the pupils 
of Leucippus, of Protagoras, and of Democritus, in whom 
the doctrine of atomism culminated. Probably the the 
ory of Leucippus was that the cosmic substance is com 
posed of an infinite number of elements quantitatively 
distinct, in opposition to Empedocles theory of a four 
fold division as well as against Anaxagoras theory of 
an infinite number of qualities. Atomism in this early 
form represents one of the ways that Greek thought 
took in reconciling the conflicting claims of Heracleitus 
and Parmenides. The doctrine of atomism will be pre 
sented fully in its greatest representative, Democritus. 
The Later Pythagoreans. Had the Pythagorean 
band remained what Pythagoras had designed it, had it 
not had its political aspirations crushed at the battle of 
Crotona and the members scattered far and wide, it 
would probably have for the historian of to-day only the 
importance of a local band of political and religious 
reformers. The adversity at Crotona was, however, a 
blessing in disguise for the Pythagoreans and for Greece, 
for it turned the Pythagoreans from religious politics 
to science and metaphysics. In the first place, they be 
came the authors of an important metaphysical theory. 


This was the theory of numbers which influenced Plato, 
became the foundation of a vigorous school in Alexan 
dria in the Hellenic-Roman Period, flourished during 
the Middle Ages, and united with the doctrines of the 
Jews in what is called the Cabala. To-day the magic 
numbers persist in our superstitions. In the second 
place, the Pythagoreans turned to science, especially 
to mathematics and astronomy, and in these two 
branches became very celebrated in ancient times. Their 
astronomical theory had a most extraordinary history. 
With modifications it was preserved by Plato and Aris 
totle, and later became the basis of the Ptolemaic sys 
tem of astronomy. This system was the scientifically 
accepted system for fifteen hundred years, when it was 
supplanted by the Newtonian theory. It is a most sin 
gular fact that the cosmological background of the Epics 
of Dante and Milton is the astronomical system of the 
Pythagoreans as expressed in the Ptolemaic system. 

The Pythagoreans, be it remarked, were " Reconcil 
ers," but they were more. The original ethical motive 
of Pythagoras _ j nfl n mi n*(\_$\Gm_sui scientists. They did 
not attempt to formulate a science of ethics, but the 
ethical motive was always back of their mathematics 
and astronomy. 

i. The Pythagorean Conception of Being. The Py 
thagorean conception jrf^reality is the most advanced 
of any cosmological theory in this period. The Pythago 
reans were hylozoists, but they come the nearest to 
transcending the hylozoism of their time. The influence 
of the later Pythagoreans, whom Plato met in Italy, 
upon Plato shows that Pythagorean philosophy forms 
a link between the cosmology . oJLthe- colonies and the 
following comprehensive systems of thought. 


The important position, in the evolution of Greek 
thought occupied by the Pythagoreans depends upon 
their conception of that Being that abides amid all 
Change. Pythagoreanism is usually spoken of as " the 
number theory." This is, however, only a suggestion of 
its import. For numbers are not to the Pythagoreans 
what the different kinds of cosmic matter were to the 
early monists, or what the several elements were to the 
pluralists, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the atomists. 
Neither are they abstractions merely, such as we use in sci 
entific reckoning. ThePythagoreans were pluralists and 
hylozoists whose pluraTnumbers look beyond hylozoism. 

There" are two kinds of_reality in the Pythagorean 
teaching: (1) numbers, and (2) unlimited space. The 
essential nature of things, the Being that abides, con 
sists in the shaping of this unlimited space into mathe 
matical forms. The numbers or the forms are the lim 
ited aspect of Being; space is the unlimited aspect of 
Being. Actual Being consists in the union of the two 
aspects. Being therefore has two roots, each being ne 
cessary to the other. The later Pythagoreans, indeed, 
called attention to the fact that their numbers were not 
the same as the different kinds of matter out of which 
the other Cosmologists conceived the world to be fash 
ioned. Numbers are not the stuff out of which the 
world of nature-objects have arisen, but rather are 
forms of nature-objects. Numbers are the patterns or 
models of things ; things are the copies or imitations 
of numbers. Unlimited space furnishes the material ; 
numbers or mathematical forms furnish the mould ; the 
result is a material thing. Here we find the early basis 
of Plato s doctrine of Ideas, and the correlation in Aris 
totle of Form and matter. If we were to draw an ana- 


logy between the Pythagorean conception of numbers 
and any part of the preceding cosmological teaching, we 
should find the similarity between the numbers and the 
earlier efficient causes and not between the numbers 
and the elements. For example, Pythagorean numbers 
have a function more nearly like Love and Hate than 
like the four elements in Empedocles teaching. On the 
other hand, Pythagorean unlimited space is analogous 
to the Empedoclean elements. 

2. The Pythagorean Dualistic World. 1 The Pytha 
goreans carried out their conception of this twofold 
reality both in their mathematical studies and in their 
conceptions of natural objects. It was from such inves 
tigations that they were impressed by the dualism in 
everything and so reached their principle. They ob 
served in mathematics that the number-series consists 
of alternate odd and even numbers. The odd numbers 
are limited and the even unlimited (because they could 
be divided). They explained the elements as deter 
mined by mathematical forms: fire has the form of a 
tetrahedron ; earth, of the cube ; air, of the octohedron ; 
water, "of the icosahedron ; and an additional fifth ele 
ment, the a3ther, of the dodecahedron. They carried this 
dualism further by identifying the limited form with 
the odd, with the perfect, and with the good ; while the 
unlimited was identified with the even, the imperfect, 
and the bad. Some of the Pythagoreans even sought to 
trace out this dualism in the many realms of experience, 
and they originated a table of ten pairs of opposites : 
limited and unlimited ; odd and even ; one and many ; 
right and left ; male and female ; rest and motion ; 

1 Dualism : the belief that the world is to be explained by two mde* 
pendent and coexistent principles. 


straight and crooked ; light and dark ; good and bad ; 
square and oblong. 

There is a system in the Pythagorean theory not to 
be found in the teaching of the other reconcilers. Al 
though all the numbers, and with them all the world, are 
jivided into two opposing classes, these are, neverthe 
less, united in a harmony. The harmony of a dualism 
reminds us of Heracleitus harmony of antitheses. All 
series of numbers have their unity and harmony in the 
odd-even number, One. To the Pythagorean the oppo- 
sites of life the good and the bad, the limited and 
unlimited, the perfect and imperfect, the odd and even 
exist in an harmonious whole. 

As the Pythagorean school grew in years, the realms 
to which it applied its theory increased. While we 
have stated its metaphysical theory first in order to 
give it prominence, the school came to the formulation 
of its theory through its investigations in mathematics, 
music, and astronomy. Then it applied the theory to 
geometrical structures and to other fields with a pro 
cedure that was arbitrary and unmethodical. Yet so 
universal was the application of the theory that it lived 
to have superstitious authority for the human mind in 
the Middle Ages. 

3. Pythagorean Astronomy. The formation of the 
world-all began from the One, or central fire, which 
attracted and limited the nearest portions of the unlim 
ited. This fire became the centre of the world-all, which 
had the shape of a hollow globe. Around the central 
fire the celestial bodies move in globular transparent 
shells. Their movements are concentric to the fire. This 
is the beginning of the astronomical theory of the crys 
talline spheres. The world-all is divided into three 


concentric portions. The periphery or outer rim ia 
Olympus, where all is perfection and where the gods 
dwell. Between Olympus and the moon is Cosmos, 
where all is orderly and all movements are in circles. 
Between the moon and the central fire is the region 
called Uranus, where all is disorderly and the move 
ments are up and down. The earth is in this lower 
section of disorder, and moves in a transparent globular 
shell like the celestial bodies around the central fire. 
The number of the heavenly bodies is the perfect num 
ber, ten. The world-all is conceived as a heavenly hep 
tachord, with the orbits of the seven planets as the 
sounding strings. Upon this notion was founded the 
harmony of the spheres, which harmony is not heard 
by man because it is constant. In modifying this astro 
nomical theory and then accepting it, the most impor 
tant change that Aristotle made was to conceive the 
earth as at the centre of the world-all with the sua 
revolving about it. This was the form in which the 
Ptolemaic astronomers received it. 

Historical Retrospect. In these many searchings of 
the Cosmologists for a reality amid the changes of 
nature, what result can be found significant for the Cos- 
mological Period and valuable as a bequest for the 
following periods? Are these crude scientific specula 
tions of the early Greeks to be looked upon as out of 
connection with their own age and the age to come ? 
The Cosmological philosophy had two definite results. In 
the first place, with reference to its own century and a 
half, it saved the intellectual world ol_Qieece from the 
slavery of a mystio. rfiliginn. W^hen we started with 
Thales in 625 B. C., we saw Greece confronted with 
two perils. One was political, and consisted of internecine 


troubles and of danger from its warlike neighbors. 
This peril grew still greater, until at the very end of 
the period it was averted at the battle of Salamis. 
Greek arms banished this political peril. But the other 
peril was subjective and therefore more menacing. The 
mysteries_flf the Onhio religion would have qnp.Tio.Tipd 
the Greek genius had not its rational philosophy given 
the Greek intellectual life new conceptions. In the next 
place, it Jap^uejit^_J^^ 

well-drawn contrast between a world of intellectual 
6rder~an3Ta world of sensuous disorder. T"TEeTh6ugIit z>f \ 
an order in Mature irTconformityTo^aw was developed / 
into clearness in the Cosmological Period. The order ^ 
was obtained from the astronomical studies of these 
scientists. Reasoning from the order that they saw, to an 
ordering principle, Anaxagoras and the Pythagoreans 
almost, but not quite, gave to that principle a teleological 
meaning. The principle of permanence that these nature 
scientists sought was found in the great and simple re 
lations of the stars, whose revolutions are the expression 
of order and constancy. Impregnated as they were with 
their elemental hylozoism, the Greek Cosmologists were 
as yet not quite able to find an orderly permanence in 
the terrestrial world with its manifold and intersecting 
motions. Yet Greek thought was looking forward. The 
Cosmologist had already contrasted the terrestrial asu 
the imperfect with the celestial as the perfect peace and] 
permanence. The step was but a short one from the 
contrast of the two realms to the effort to bring them 
into a unity. Thus in this astronomical and concrete 
form a distinction of value was obtained that had last 
ing ethical and assthetical significance, not only upon 
Plato and Aristotle, but upon modern thought. 



An Historical Summary of the Anthropological Pe 
riod. The Anthropological Period begins with the 
Persian Wars, 490 and 480 B. C. After the battle of 
Marathon there sprang up a distinct impulse toward 
knowledge all over Greece ; and detailed investigations 
were begun in mathematics, astronomy, biology, medi 
cine, history, and physics. Science, which had up to this 
time been unorganized and undifferentiated, now became 
sharply divided into the special sciences. But what 
makes the Persian Wars of particular importance is 
that they are the starting-point in the motherland of the 
movement in the study of man and human relations. 
The battle of Marathon does not therefore mark the 
end of the Cosmological movement and the waning of 
the Greeks interest in science ; but it marks rather the 
beginning in Athens of the Anthropological movement. 
The Cosmological and the Anthropological Periods 

The Anthropological Period easily divides itself into 
three epochs from the point of view of its political 
affairs : 

1. The Persian Wars, 490 and 480 B. c. 

2. The Age of Pericles, 467-428 B. c. 

3. The Peloponnesian Wars, 432-403 B. c. 

The first epoch is the birth and the last epoch the de 
cadence of pure Greek civilization, while the thirty-nin* 


years of the supremacy of Pericles cover the ripest 
period of Greek life. In this connection it is well to 
mention Hegel s thought that nations do not ripen in 
tellectually until they begin to decay politically (" The 
owl of Minerva does not start upon its flight until the 
evening twilight has begun to fall "). Plato and Aris 
totle do not come until after this period, when Greek 
political life had begun to wane. 

The following table is a partial list of the notable 
men of the period, with the date of their birth : 
JEschylus, 525 Anaxagoras, 500. 

(dramatist before Pericles). Empedocles, 495. 
Sophocles, 495 Protagoras, 480. 

(dramatist during Age of Peri- Democritus, 470. y 

cles). Sophists (many), 

Phidias, 490. 450-350. 

Euripides, 480 Socrates, 469. 

(dramatist of the Sophistic and Antisthenes, 440, 
the new learning). Aristippus, 435. 

Herodotus, 475. Plato, 427. 

Thucydides, 471. 
Xenophon, 430 ? 
Aristophanes, 444. 

The Persian Wars and the Rise of Athens. Tho 
blow that had been impending over Greece during the 
sixth century had been struck, but had been averted in 
the Persian Wars of 490 B. c. and 480 B. c. The power 
ful and splendidly organized " barbaric neighbor," who 
had threatened the civilization of the Greek cities of 
Asia Minor for so many years, had swept over the Helles 
pont into Greece and had been turned back. It has 
been pointed out 1 that the Persian Wars were only one 

1 Wheeler, History of Alexander the Great. 


of a series of conflicts between Oriental and Occidental 
civilizations ; and that the strip of Asia Minor along 
the Mediterranean has always been a disputed border 
land between irreconcilable hemispheres. First was the 
mythical invasion of Troy; then the Persian Wars; 
then came the arms of Alexander conquering Persia ; 
then the invasion of the Mohammedans to the very walls 
of Tours ; then the Crusades ; and to-day we still have 
the eternal Eastern question with us. While each of 
these conflicts was momentous for Europe, none was 
more important in its issues for the world than the Per 
sian Wars. For *J1U[LJJIP^ wflTS did Greece first 
come to a consciousness ofjiejrself.. Neyej before did 
nnit.pfl strmigtfr, the greatness of her 

inherited instincts*. TheJlfi^cautui^UBL^^ 

ioHS. niomentjof Greece^ if not of the world. 

Classic Greece the Greece whose thought became 
fundamental to western civilization was born from 
the Persian Wars. 

The centre of gravity of the Greek world was shifted 
after the Persian Wars from Miletus to Athens, from 
the colonies to the motherland. Indeed, the history of 
classic Greece is almost entirely the history of Athens. 
Of the large cities of Greece, Corinth, ^Egina, Sparta, 
and Thebes, Athens was naturally the locality where 
Grecian civilization would centre when the commercial 
and maritime colonies fell. The Ionian race, by whom it 
had been settled, was a mixed race, and by nature very 
versatile. Before the Persian Wars it had been under 
the wise tyranny of ^Pislstratna^gko took the first steps 
toward_tlie_jfoundiijg jof .^n__Aihmaj^jejn^ire. In the 
period between the two wars, Themis tocles had built the 
Athenian fleet and thereby made Athens the great mari- 


time and naval centre of Greece. There was, indeed, every 
reason why Athens and not some other Grecian city 
should become the new centre of classic Greece. The 
Spartans were oligarchical, stern, unintellectual, and 
offensive to strangers ; the people of Thebes were held 
under a strict aristocratic government, the people of 
Thessaly were aristocratic, luxurious, and stagnant ; but 
the Athenians were democratic, social to strangers, lit 
erary, liberal, frugal, and alert. After the Persian Wars 
the power of the Delian confederacy became more and 
more centralized in the city of Athens. Controlling the 
fleet of the Confederacy for her own defense and using 
the rich treasury of the Confederacy for her own munici 
pal improvements, Athens under the brilliant rule of 
Pericles, who summoned scholars and artists from all 
Greece, was the only city of Greece where the Renais 
sance of Greece was possible. Athens had become the 
eye of Greece, and the following description of the Greek 
Renaissance is especially significant in regard to her. 

The Greek Enlightenment. Following the Persian 
Wars there arose throughout Greece a great national 
intellectual movement. The years mark the Greek Re 
naissance, the Age of Pericles, and the time when the 
Greek masterpieces in literature and plastic art were 
produced. Perhaps the greatest Greek production was 
Athens itself, whose cultural influence was personified 
in the scholar-politician, Pericles. 

1. The Impulse for Learning. In the first place 
there was a general impulse throughout Greece for edu 
cation. Everybody seemed to want to know what the 
schools of Cosmologists had had to say about science. 
The Greeks now had wealth and therefore leisure ; they 
had come into contact with the Oriental peoples and 


therefore they had their curiosity excited. Learning, 
which had been confined in the Cosmological Period to 
a few scholars in the schools, now came forth into the 
market place. Learning in the fifth century B. c. was 
drawn from the schools into publicity. The objects of 
interest had greatly widened and the learning of the 
scholars began to filter into the general consciousness. 
Whereas in the sixth century philosophy was a matter 
between learned men, in the fifth century we find Soc 
rates and the Sophists teaching whosoever would listen. 
2. TJie Practical Need of Knowledge. But mere curi 
osity will not entirely explain the Greek intellectual 
movement. There had grown up an imperative practical 
need for knowledge. In Athens and other Greek cities 
the democracy of the fifth century B. c. had supplanted 
the tyranny of the sixth century. Duty and inclination 
together forced the citizen into active participation in 
public affairs. In these democratic cities family tradi 
tion and character were no longer sufficient for success ; 
but it became generally recognized that the most useful 
and successful man was the educated man. The com 
plex relations existing between states and between the 
citizens in the states made education absolutely neces 
sary for the politician. Nowhere was the need of an 
education more imperative than in Athens ; nowhere 
was the need more easily filled. In a very short time 
after the Persian Wars the social position of science 
changed to one of power ; and the inner character of 
science changed from the study of nature to the study 
of ethical and political problems. Scientists became 
teachers of eloquence, for the citizen now needed to be 
an orator and a rhetorician. Statesmen and generals 
must know how to persuade. Courts of law were pub- 


lie, their proceeding oral, and personal attendance was 
therefore required. There was no man in Athens who 
might not be condemned, if he could not personally in 
court refute falsehoods and disentangle sophistries. 
Besides, to be beaten in debate was as disgraceful in 
the eyes of the public as to lose one s cause. 

Two classes of men, with an importance hitherto un 
known, appear in Greek history, the rhetoricians and 
the dialecticians. Rhetoric was public oratory, necessary 
for the public defense of one s rights, or for the main 
tenance of one s dignity, or for the gratification of one s 
ambition. The dialectic was, on the other hand, argument 
employed in private..b.etagfigLt wo persons, usually friends, 
to unraYel^ji-ribacurity, to re_duce an ppppnent_tp_silence, 
to exercise one s self in the mastery of a subject,. or_lo- 
siftevidence, The dialectic, therefore, became a distinct 
mental pursuit for men who had a natural defect in 
public speaking or rhetoric. Besides rhetoric and dia 
lectic, there grew up somewhat later what was called 
the eristic. Juristic was polemical argument consisting 
of catch-phrases and logical subtleties. It was taught as 
an art of adroit argument. 

The great Greek tragedies occupy a place in the de 
velopment of the dialectic and the satisfying of the need 
of knowledge. Science, through the drama, transformed 
the old religious views and brought its new interpreta 
tion to the common people. The development of the 
fifth-century drama out of the epic of the sixth century 
was not merely a change in architectonic, but a trans 
formation of its ethical and religious spirit. The germ 
was in the previous ethics, lyrics, and gnomics, yet it was 
fully amplified in the drama. Instead of a summary of 
deeds the tragic poet makes his characters talk, defend, 


refute, accuse, lament, etc. This gives rise to exigen 
cies that require the dialectic. In the conflicting duties 
and in the justification of the wrong done by the wrong 
suffered, dialectical skill is called for in the drama to 
weigh the ethical motives in a manner that the epic 
does not demand. Thus the drama of -ZEschylus, Sopho 
cles, and Euripides was a link between the lyric and 
gnomic poetry of the sixth century B. c. and the dia 
logue literature of Plato.* 

3. The, Critical Attitude of Mind. The most im 
portant characteristic of this period is neither the in 
tensified social curiosity nor the increased social needs. 
It is rather ethical in its character. It is the "critical" 
or " individualistic " attitude of mind. This began with 
the " free city feeling " the consciousness of the free 
man in a free state in the first half of the fifth cen 
tury B. c., and developed rapidly into individualism and 
critical skepticism toward the end of that century. 

If one were to compare in a single word the history 
of Greece before the Persian Wars with that after the 
Persian Wars, he would say that the former was tra 
ditional and the latter was critical. Nevertheless, at the 
beginning of the Cosinological Period Greek traditional 
customs were being weakened by attacks upon them. 
Religious ideas were threatened by the Cosmologists. 
The subordination of the gods to the cosmic substance 
was an attack upon the established polytheism of the 
Epic, and the attack became direct in the hands of 
Xenophanes. It was " the divestiture of Nature of its 
gods by science." The Mysteries were a part of this 
departure from the traditional religion. But the new 
and more critical scientific attitude toward traditional 

* Read Grote, History of Greece, vol. viii, pp. 334-347. 


religion was only incidental to the growing criticism of 
law. In the days of the oligarchy there were two self- 
evident political assumptions : (1) that law has validity 
because it is law ; (2) that obedience to law is for one s 
advantage. When, however, the political disturbances 
began, a self-conscious individualism developed among 
the Greeks. The Gnomic Poets had been the first to 
appeal to the individual consciousness of the people. 
All through the sixth century B. c. Greece had stern ex 
periences, and the individual found himself questioning 
the sanctity of tradition and of time-honored laws. 
There was no longer a tacit acquiescence in established 
order, and the claims of authority were no longer, as 
formerly, unchallenged. Confidence in political assump 
tions began to waver, and a critical attitude was taken 
toward laws which changed from year to year. The 
appearance everywhere of the tyrant, the vigorous per 
sonality who could set up his will against the will of 
a traditional aristocracy, impressed the age with the 
power of individual egoism. The seat of authority was 
shifted from tradition to the individual reason, and all 
institutions were brought under individual criticism. 

The Persian Wars mark the point of transition from 
the traditional attitude to the critical attitude of the 
Greek mind. In themselves the Persian Wars were a 
great moral uplift, and were a return for a time to the 
traditional institutions. The changes long since begun 
were suspended for a time in the united effort of the 
Greek nation. But the tendencies became more insist 
ent when the danger was past. The Persian Wars had 
cleared the atmosphere of its pessimism and had given 
freedom to the intellectual movement. Then later, in 
the heat of that intellectual movement, individualism 


and criticism came to fullest fruitage. Doubt grew 
into positive skepticism. 

In the last part of the fifth century B. c., critical skep 
ticism became universal. In religion the anthropomor 
phism of the Epic passes under ridicule. Critias declares 
that the gods are the invention of shrewd statecraft. 
In literature the Epic, in which the gods interfere in 
all human details, yields to the naturalistic descrip 
tions of Herodotus and Thucydides, and to the per 
sonal note of lyric and satirical poetry. More impor 
tant than all was the change of attitude toward the 
laws. Instead of the law having a divine authority, vhtf 
individual placed himself above it and sat in judgmenc 
upon it. The tribal conception of guilt, that when a 
member of a tribe sinned the whole tribe would suffer 
at the hands of the gods, had given way at the time of 
the Persian Wars to that of personal responsibility 
and retribution. It was noted that laws change in 
the same state, that they differ in different states, and 
that moral customs have a great variety. All laws seem 
therefore to be made by man, and the question then 
arose, Is there any law which has universal validity ? 
Is there any real prius or " Nature " of laws? In the 
Anthropological Period, the important question was 
about the real prius or " Nature " of human institu 
tions,^ just as in the Cosmological Period the question 
was about the real prius or " Nature " of the world of 
physical phenomena. Yet the question of the Anthro 
pologists was a part of the Cosmological problem. The 
Cosmologists had called the real prius or " Nature " 
(<uVis), that which ever remains like itself, and it is 
now asked if " Nature " in itself contains any unchang 
ing and eternal politico-moral law. The contrast is thus 


drawn for all time between natural law and statute 
law, and the distinction dominates this period. Human 
legal institutions were regarded as only makeshifts, 
and often even as contradicting the divine law. The 
conflict between natural or divine law and human law 
appears worked out in the Antigone of Sophocles. 

The same interest in the foundations of morality and 
moral relations opened up the whole subject of the 
power of human consciousness to discern such relations. 
It was a logical necessity that turned thought from a 
review of man s relations with his fellows to a criti 
cism of his own constitution. What is man? What 
are his faculties ? Has he any that give him the truth 
and the reality? Or do they all deceive him so that he 
cannot detect the real from the sham of life ? What 
are the mental faculties used in disputation, and how 
are they to be trained so that man may rise to an emi 
nence of culture among his fellows ? The Greek thus 
turned to a criticism of his knowing faculties, and the 
positive social and moral demands made such a criti 
cism necessary to his well-being. Greek science took 
a strong anthropological direction, and logic, ethics, 
psychology, rhetoric, etc., took the place of natural sci 
ence subjects. The Greek in the fifth century B. c. was 
interested in man in his inner activities, his ideations 
and volitions. Of this critical and individualistic atti 
tude Euripides is the literary exponent ; Pericles is the 
political personification ; Socrates and the Sophists are 
its philosophical expression. 

The Significance of the Sophists. The Sophists were 
the direct means of bringing this intellectual change 
into Greek life. They were the bearers of this Greek 
Enlightenment, and they were the missionaries that 


spread its influence far and wide. This significance of 
the Sophists to the culture of Greece was never under 
stood by the historian until Hegel set them in their 
true light. The dark side of their character has been 
painted in blackest colors, so that the word " Sophist " 
has carried an opprobrium with it. They were, how 
ever, the exponents of the Greek illumination, and not 
the cause of it. They therefore share all its weaknesses 
and its excellencies ; and any judgment upon them is a 
judgment upon the time itself. The most accurate de 
scription of them is that they were the exponents of 
QlgejLCulture in the age of Perjcleg. ; the worst that can 
be said of them is that they stimulated the Greek spirit 
in directions in which it should have been controlled. 
Their true work was to carry the gospel of Greek indi 
vidualism everywhere ; their fault lay in the fact that 
too frequently they confused individualism with hypoc 
risy, and led their hearers to believe that appearance 
knowledge is the same as true knowledge. 

The word " Sophist" had a development among the 
Greeks. It first meant a wise man (the Cosmologists, 
from Thales to Anaxagoras, were Sophists) ; then a 
teacher of wisdom ; then a paid teacher of wisdom. 
Moreover, among the Sophists there is a difference be 
tween the early Sophists, who were inspired by a distinct 
desire to spread culture, and the later Sophists, who 
were mercenary teachers, and had on that account de 
generated into mere quibblers. In general, the ground 
of the contemporary hostility to the Sophists was the 
hatred of the conservative and reactionary party, to 
which belonged Aristophanes the satirist, 2Eschylus 
" the father of tragedy," and the exponent of institu 
tional morals, and Xenophon, who stood for a complete 


return to a patriarchal state. This party was very bit 
ter against the exponents of the new and radical spirit 
springing up in Greece. All the philosophers of the 
new learning, including Socrates, suffered at the hands 
of those who would conserve the old traditions. In par 
ticular, the accusations against the Sophists of this 
period were : they were cavilers ; they taught for pay ; 
they represented the universalizing of education against 
the old aristocracy; they menaced institutions. 

The Sophists were then primarily and, on the whole, 
the transmitters to the people of the culture of the 
time. They were the teachers of the humanities to that 
age. They were not technically philosophers, but were 
interested in philosophical questions. Protagoras was 
the only Sophist who was the author of any fruitful 
philosophical conceptions. Gorgias made occasional 
essays into philosophy. But besides Protagoras and 
Gorgias no other Sophists can be classed as philoso 
phers, except possibly Hippias and Prodicus. 

The Sophists introduced a profusion of knowledge 
among the people. They made investigations in lan 
guage, logic, and the theory of cognition. They taught 
literature, history, grammar, the principles of the dia 
lectic, the eristic, and rhetoric all subjects concerned 
with the art of human expression. They studied and 
taught the special subjects concerned with human re 
lations, like ethics, the theory of knowledge, psychology, 
and politics. Anything that had a place in Greek cul 
ture was systematically and skillfully presented by such 
men as Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, and Prodicus, 
who were men of encyclopedic erudition. The Sophist 
took the education of the Greek child at the age of six 
teen, after he had received his elementary training, first 


at home and then at the hands of the teacher at school. 
The Greek boy s education was naturally divided into 
two parts : gymnastics for the body and music for the 
soul. Under music was included geometry, performance 
on the lyre, pronunciation, the chorus and poetry, as 
tronomy, physics, and geography. At the age of sixteen 
he got his instruction by meeting public men, such as the 
Sophists, in the street, in the Agora, and other public 
places. It was at this period of his life that the Sophist 
took his education into those higher branches which 
were necessary for his success in politics, society, and 
law. Thus the instruction of the Sophist was usually 
for a specific purpose, and thus rhetoric, dialectic, and 
the mental sciences were in great demand. 

The Prominent Sophists. The list of Sophists is 
a long one. The first to call himself a Sophist and a 
teacher of public virtue was, according to Plato, Pro 
tagoras of Abdera. He was also probably the most 
eminent of the number. He was born about 480 B. c. 
Polus and Thrasymachus were the last ; and Aristotle 
mentions the Sophists as in the past. So that we may 
conclude that as a band they existed only one hun 
dred years (450-350 B. c.). Already at the beginning 
of the fourth century (400 B. c.) their importance had 
greatly diminished. In this hundred years we find some 
fourteen or fifteen prominent Sophists. There is, first, 
Protagoras, whose theory of knowledge is not only in 
itself a contribution to thought, but also of importance 
as a factor in forming the materialist atomistic doctrine 
of the school of Abdera, the school of Leucippus and 
Democritus ; Gorgias of Leontini, the head of an em 
bassy T6~ Athens, a man of eloquence, whose style was 
imitated by Thucydides and whom we might have stud- 


ied in connection with the Eleatic school, for he carried 
out still further the doctrines of Zeno ; Prodicus, the 
pupil of Protagoras and Gorgias, a brilliant man and a 
traveler, whose method of instruction was used by Soc 
rates ; Hippias, contemporary of Prodicus, remarkable 
for his mathematical, physical, and historical erudition, 
&nd a man full of vanity ; the brothers, Euthydemus 
and Dionysiodorus, teachers of eristic ; the rhetorician 
Thrasymachus and the rhetoricians of the school of 
Gorgias, viz., Polus, Lycophron, Protarchus, and Al- 
cidamus ; Evenus, rhetorician, moralist, and poet ; Cri- 
tias, the leader of the thirty ; Callicles and Hippoda- 

Many of these men were reformers. Some (as Alcid- 
amus) were opposed jto the institution of slavery in 
Greece ; some to marriage ; some (as Lycophron) to the 
nobility ; some to the inequality of property ; while 
Hippodamus was the first to propose an ideal state. 

The method of argumentation employed by the Soph 
ists was first to perplex and confuse their opponents as 
to what had been taken in the past as valid. Then they 
made their opponents ridiculous by drawing out conse 
quences from their statements. Their conclusions were 
often verbal and their witticisms vulgar.* 

The Philosophy of the Sophists. The philosophy of 
the Sophists was only the logical following out of the 
general attitude of the time toward all traditions. The 
more the old physical theories fell into disrepute, the 
more the changes of the world of politics seemed to in 
dicate instability everywhere, the more opinions differed 
on the same subject, so much the more did the possi- 

* Read H. Jackson in Encyclopedia Britannica, article 
" Sophists." 


bility present itself to the Sophists of taking two con- 
tradictories as equally true, and so much the faster did 
the whole Greek world lose faith in any valid truth and 
in any certain knowledge. The dogmatism of the Cos- 
inological Period is thus naturally followed by the 
skepticism of the Anthropological. Beginning with the 
cautious and enlightened relativism of Protagoras, there 
grew up a volume of criticism, until the later Sophists 
applied destructive doctrines to everything. The best 
representatives of the philosophical aspect of the So 
phistic movement were Protagoras and Gorgias. 

i. The Relativism of Protagoras. Although theo 
retically skepticism is the centre and logical result of 
the Sophistic movement, the teaching of the greatest 
Sophist, Protagoras, cannot be strictly called skepti 
cism. Philosophically, skepticism is not the denial of 
this or that particular belief as true, but the denial of 
the existence of any truth whatever. Protagoras refused 
to make any positive statements either in denial or 
affirmation about ultimate truth, because, as he said, 
we have no insight whatever into the nature of absolute 
truth. Our knowledge is confined to motions and the 
phenomena of motion. His teaching would be called in 
modern times relativism or phenomenalism. The funda 
mental principle beneath such a doctrine is that know 
ledge is human never absolute, but always relative. 

The relativism of Protagoras was based on two prin 
ciples : the first is that of universal change, which he 
borrowed from Heracleitus ; the second is, so far as we 
know, original with Protagoras, that sense-perception 
is the only source and only kind of knowledge. In 
Heracleitus doctrine change is universal, each term of a 
series of changes passing into another. The senses are a 


part of this flux, and since they are, according to Protag 
oras, the only source of knowledge, knowledge is ephem 
eral and unreal. Reason is extended and continued sen 
sation. A movement external to the organism stimulates 
an organ of the body and is met by a reacting movement 
of the organ. The result is perception. Perception being 
itself a process, each present moment of perception is 
the only knowledge. We cannot know things as they 
are in themselves ; there is no insight into the Being of 
things over and above our perceptions. On the contrary, 
reality is not only what it perceptually appears for each 
individual, but also what it appears at each individual 
momentary perception. 

What is the result of such a theory of knowledge ? 
Protagoras expresses it well in his famous words, " Man 
is the measure of all things." It is absolute sensational 
ism. There is no truth except that of the present mo 
ment. Each man sees the truth for himself at the 
moment of his perception. It does not matter if another 
has a different perception. It does not matter if at the 
next moment his perception differs. Each perception 
exists at the moment, is true, and at that moment is the 
only perception. There are as many truths as there are 
individuals, as many as there are moments in an indi 
vidual s life. Each individual is the measure of the true, 
the beautiful, and the good ; for a thing that is good or 
true to one man may be harmful or false to another. 
Metaphysical discussions are vain, for the only reality 
to prove is the content of the present moment. All 
causes and ultimate criteria are impossible to be known. 

2. The Nihilism of Gorgias. As the philosophy of 
Protagoras teaches that everything is equally true, that 
of Gorgias teaches that everything is equally false. 


Gorgias declared that Being, knowledge, and the com 
munication of knowledge are impossible. Starting from 
the dialectic of the Eleatic, Zeno (as Protagoras started 
from that of Heracleitus), Gorgias maintained: (1) 
Nothing is ; (2) If anything is, it cannot be thought ; 
(3) Even if it can be thought, it cannot be communi 
cated. The knowledge of the thing is different from the 
thing ; the expression of the thought in words is differ 
ent from the thought itself. 

The Ethics of the Sophists. The Application of 
their Critical Theory to Political Life. The ethical- 
political life was. of paramount importance to the 
Greek. When the later Sophists began to scrutinize 
it from the point of view of the individual, their 
skepticism became a direct menace to Greek polit 
ical institutions. The individual became a law unto 
himself, and the citizen set himself up as superior to 
society. Since the time of the Gnomic poets the con 
tent of both moral and political laws had become more 
and more a subject of reflection ; and at the time of 
the Sophists the whole foundation of law was called in 
question. When the individual man is declared to be 
the measure of all things, all legal and moral institu 
tions hang in the balance. All rules of conduct and all 
laws become then artificial and merely conventional 
products ; and just as there is no standard of truth or 
error in knowledge, so there is no standard of good 
citizenship or morality. The good man is the prudent 
man ; the good citizen is the successful and powerful 
man. Might is right. 

Thus the Sophists came to teach such doctrines as 
these : Laws are made by the strongest, represent their 
will, and must be obeyed if they cannot be disobeyed ; 


it takes a strong man to make a law, but a stronger to 
break it ; the laws are only conventions invented either 
by the many to restrain the powerful few, or by the few 
to enslave the many. Even religions are devices of the 
crafty to enchain the people. Obedience to law is there 
fore a matter of personal interest. Happiness is the 
most important consideration of the individual. Some 
times personal interest conflicts with law and law does 
not then bring happiness, for criminals are often the 
most happy. It is not obedience to law that brings 
happiness but (Polus) a shrewd calculation of ends 
with no regard to right or law. The Sophists made no 
attempt to put their theories into execution. They ex 
pressed the sentiments of the Greek people, and Greek 
public opinion then pointed to segregation and indi 
vidualism. Plato said that, after all, the Greek public 
was the great Sophist. 

It was thus that the distinction arose between positive 
law and natural law. Reflecting upon the differences 
among the constitutions of the Greek states and upon 
the constant alterations in these constitutions, the 
Sophist concluded that the greater part of them were 
of human invention. They were positive laws and were 
to be contrasted with natural law, which was such law 
as is binding on all men equally. Natural law is there 
fore of greater worth than positive law, and is set in 
antithesis to it. Sir Henry Maine says in his Ancient 
Law that the Greeks did not found any system of 
jurisprudence, because natural law was always referred 
to by them in arguing any question. The only way to 
find natural law is to strip it of the mass of conven 
tional laws. The word " nature " has been in its his 
tory one of the most ambiguous of words; and Protag- 


eras teaching that " nature " consists of primary ethical 
feelings is hardly a complete and satisfactory definition. 
The more the theory of the Sophists limited " nature " 
to human nature, and to human nature in its capricious 
and individual aspects, so much the more did statute 
laws appear antagonistic to natural law and seem to be 
detrimental to it. 


1. Although a skepticism and a criticism, Sophistry 
was a relative advance over the traditionalism and dog 
matism of the Cosmologists. 

2. Sophistry turned the attention to man and his 
interests as the principal object of inquiry. 

3. The Sophists stood for freedom of thought by 
pointing to individual consciousness as the final court 
of appeal. 

4. Although the Sophists differed very much in their 
teaching, they had a mutual dependence and common 

5. The Sophists disregarded the likenesses and em* 
phasized the differences among men. 

6. The Sophists built up their doctrines upon the 
basis of a sensationalist psychology. 


SOCRATES (469-399 B.C.). 

Socrates and Aristophanes. There were two ways 
in which the other elements in Greek society tried to 
meet the Sophists. One was led by Aristophanes, the 
other by Socrates. Aristophanes was a rich nobleman 
who looked back with pride upon the good old times. 
He would have a government of the best rather than 
of the many. He would destroy the Sophistic move 
ment, and he wrote many satires upon Greek life with 
that end in view. His satire, The Clouds, is of especial 
interest in this connection. Socrates represents the 
other way in which the Sophistic movement was met. 
He accepted the Sophistic movement, but he read more 
deeply into it than the Sophists themselves, and he tried 
to find its truth. 

The extraordinary personality of Socrates is the cen 
tral figure in this age of critical inquiry. For the first 
time do we find philosophy centred in a great person 
ality, and there is no more picturesque figure in his 
tory. The exposition of his doctrines is essentially a 
biography. He wrote nothing himself, and the literary 
sources of his life and teaching are found in Xeno- 
phon s Memorabilia and Symposium, in the writings 
of Plato, and in those of Aristotle. They throw differ 
ent lights upon his character, and together give a fairly 
complete picture. Xenophon records the sober, practi 
cal, and popular side of Socrates, caught in casual con 
versation. Plato idealizes Socrates, especially in his 


later writings, and he reveals Socrates character on its 
imaginative and spiritual sides. Aristotle is more dis 
criminating and less sympathetic, but always reliable 
because he is a generation removed. * 

The Personality and Life of Socrates. Alcibiades 
described Socrates as like the little cases sold upon the 
streets of Athens, which were made in the shape of 
Silenus and contained a carved image. The description 
was apt, for Socrates had a fine spiritual nature within 
an astonishing shell. He was short, stout, and thick-set, 
with his head set upon his shoulders. His eyes were 

* The student should read the following references in 
Plato s dialogues and Xenophon s Symposium and Memora 
bilia. The translations referred to here are Jowett s Plato 
and Cooper, Spelman, etc., translation, Whole Works of 
Xenophon. (1851.) 

For the method of Socrates, read Charmides, Lysis, and 

For the personal appearance of Socrates, read Plato, Sym 
posium, pp. 586 ff. and Xenophon, Symposium, p. 615. 

For the physical endurance of Socrates, read Plato, Sym* 
posium, p. 591. 

For Socrates dislike of nature, read Plato, Phcedrus, p e 
435, and Xenophon, Memorabilia, p. 521. 

For the charges, defense, and trial of Socrates, read Plato, 
Apology, pp. 116 and 129. 

For the confinement of Socrates in prison, read Crito, 
beginning and end of the dialogue. 

For description of the death scene of Socrates, read Plato, 
Phcedo, beginning and end of the dialogue. 

For description of the daemoniacal sign, read Plato, Apology ; 
pp. 125-126, and Xenophon, Memorabilia, pp. 531 ff., 
585 ff. 

For the oracle s statement that Socrates is the wisest of 
men, read Plato, Apology, p. 114. 


bulging, his nose flat with upturned nostrils, his mouth 
big and grinning, and his beard disordered. His pro 
truding belly was set upon slender legs, and his dress 
was slovenly. Nevertheless his geniality, his fine humor, 
the unselfishness which he manifested unstintedly toward 
his friends, exercised an irresistible charm upon all the 
remarkable personalities of his time. Over the Athe 
nian youth his influence was very great, and he sur 
rounded himself with a large circle of admirers, to the 
neglect of his home cares and his wife Xantippe. While 
the habit of the Sophists was to talk in private and for 
pay, Socrates was distinguished from all his contempo 
raries by the fact that he would talk in the public 
places with any one, rich or poor, and without remuner 

His life had its ascetic side. He was frugal in his 
needs. He went barefoot, summer and winter, and his 
clothing was the scantiest. He was abstemious in food 
and drink. While on occasion at the feast he would 
drink more wine than any one else, yet he never was 
seen intoxicated. The ascetic side of his nature is seen 
in his refusal to cultivate gymnastics, because such 
training required much food. He tried to limit his 
wants. He was a model of hardiness, self-denial, and 
self-mastery, as many an anecdote will show. " No one 
ever saw or heard anything wicked in Socrates," said 
Xenophon. " So pious was he that he never did any 
thing without first consulting the Gods, so master of 
himself as never to prefer pleasure to goodness, so sen 
sible as never to err in the choice between the better 
and the worse. In a word, he was the best and the most 
happy of men." 

At times Socrates seems intellectually stiff and pro- 


saic. This may have been incidental to his asceticism, 
or the result of it. He was indifferent to the sensuous, 
and he explained the beautiful in terms of the useful. 
He refused to walk out because trees and flowers could 
teach him nothing. Art offered no suggestions to him, 
for it is useless even if it is inspired. His unpoetic and 
prosy nature was perhaps not due so much to his lack 
of taste as to his original mind overflowing with ideas. 
He was not perceptive, but reflective. He said that as 
tronomy is a mystery, geometry is land measuring, which 
any man can do, arithmetic is merely permissible, and 
physics something to be neglected. " Ye may judge how 
unprofitable these studies are by seeing how men differ 
among themselves." He was once found dancing at 
home by himself when he was expected to be at a dance 
with others, and his practical nature is also revealed in 
the fact that at the feast he was reminded of its utility. 
The influence of Socrates daemon or divine voice 
upon him is very interesting. He felt himself divinely 
called by his daemon (Apology, 29, 33 f.) to unremit 
ting labor in the moral perfecting of society through 
an examination of himself and his fellows. Socrates 
was moved by a deep religious feeling in all that he 
undertook. This divine leading is what he designates 
as his daemon. He speaks of it as " the God " or " the 
gods " which speaks to other men through the oracles. 
This divine voice was ever with him, but as to specific 
actions it only warned him against the injudicious ac 
tion, never incited him to the correct action. Specifi 
cally it did not tell him what to do so much as what 
not to do. When he was about to prepare a defense 
beforehand that he should make to the judges, his 
daemon interposed, and so he relied upon the inspira* 


tion of the moment. On one of his campaigns he was 
observed to stand in communion with the daemon the 
whole day, unmindful of the weather. 

As to the education and intellectual training of Soc 
rates, one must say that it formed a factor of less im 
portance in his life. The uniqueness of Socrates 
character is only in small measure to be accounted for 
by his environment. He was one of those men who 
would have been great in any time. He got but little 
from his father, who was a sculptor, or from his mother, 
who was a midwife. He was not strictly an educated 
man, although he had the early education of an Athe 
nian youth, and of course no one could grow up a citi 
zen of Athens in the time of Pericles without absorbing 
its culture. His formal education probably consisted 
of music and gymnastics, and he was certainly familiar 
with the preceding schools of philosophy. Socrates 
lived a long life of contented poverty, and he dedicated 
his life to the public. Two inherited instincts were 
strong within him, which alone will account for his 
career : (1) his strong religious persuasion that he was 
acting under a mission from the gods ; (2) his great 
intellectual originality, as shown in his teaching and in 
his power over others. 

There are few striking events in Socrates career, 
except his death. He was born in Athens in 469 B. c. 
He began his divinely appointed work of redeeming 
Athens from the dangerous tendencies of the Sophists 
at the commencement of the Peloponnesian War. He 
served in three campaigns as a soldier. He also acted, 
when called upon, as prytanis, or lawgiver, although 
he stood aloof from political activity. At the advanced 
age of seventy he was accused of corrupting the youth 


and denying the gods. His life thus far would have 
seemed to be one of unimpeachable moral and brilliant 
intellectual monotony. But his death illuminates his 
life and makes it heroic, because his death shows what 
in reality his life was, the tragic epitome of the Athe 
nian social situation. His death was not due to him 
self, although he could have escaped, nor to his judges, 
although they could have acquitted him. It represents 
the inevitable conflict between the Greek ideal of uni- 
versalism and Greek individualism. Its value is there 
fore historic. His particular accusers were actuated by 
personal animosity. Behind them were many others 
whom his efforts at reform and his bitter irony had 
made hostile. Behind all was the voice of Athenian 
conservatism against the Athenian culture movement. 
The charges against Socrates were in part true, and be 
sides as a moral reformer he had been a public nuisance. 
Yet his death was a judicial murder. He was found 
guilty by his judges. To the sentence of death proposed 
by Meletus, one of his accusers, Socrates had the right 
to propose an alternative sentence, and the judges must 
.choose between the two. Had Socrates proposed a small 
fine, it would probably have been accepted by the judges. 
He proposed, however, that Athens provide for him 
at the public expense, arrogant as he was in his com 
placent sense of virtue. The judges then could do no 
thing else than pronounce the sentence of death. This 
was delayed thirty days on account of the sacrifice at 
Delos. Even then Socrates could have easily escaped 
from jail. But he refused to do the law a wrong, and 
drank the hemlock in May, 399 B. c. 

Professor G. H. Palmer points out the irony that 
characterizes the life and death of Socrates. He stands 


for the harmony of opposite qualities. He devoted 
himself to the good of Athens, and yet Athens put him 
to death. In the service of the eternal was he sacrificed,, 
His own personality is an exemplification of this irony. 
In appearance his un-Greek physical ugliness is in con 
trast with his beautiful Greek soul ; he was the most 
austere and yet the most sensitive of men ; he was al 
ways a serious moralist and yet always a jester ; he was 
scarcely out of Athens and yet he was a world s man ; 
he was the world s philosopher and yet he had no system 
of thought and left no writings. 

Socrates and the Sophists. In his point of departure 
Socrates is in entire agreement with the Sophists. He is 
a critical philosopher. Criticism is the starting-point of 
his philosophy as a whole, and he begins each particular 
argument afresh with a critical examination of its 
grounds. This means that he, like the Sophists, turns 
to the individual reason as the final court of appeal. 
Like them he refused to accept any traditional dogma 
unexamined, and he commenced a critical inquiry into 
all kinds of conceptions. Socrates and the Sophists are 
one in the spirit of the Greek illumination in their 
critical attack upon intellectual problems. Socrates 
famous saying that " virtue js_ knowledge " could 
equally well be put into the mouth of Protagoras ; and 
the doctrine of Protagoras that " man is the measure 
of all things " could be ascribed to Socrates without 

In his conclusions in one respect Socrates arrives at 
the same point as the Sophists, but in only one re 
spect. He_agrees with them as _tp_the .. worthlessness 
^pfjhe i results of naturaLscifiiLce. Natural science can 
not be worth while, because it does not lead to moral 


excellence.. The meagre results of the Cosmologists show 
the worthlessness of natural science to man. In this one 
respect Socrates criticism leads him to skepticism like 
the Sophists, to a skepticism of natural science. 

But in Jiis conclusions as to the value of human 
nature, Socrates set himself entirely against the out 
come of the reflections of the Sophists, and indeed of 
his time. In the absorbing anthropological topics of his 
time, he laid the foundations of a constructive philoso^ 
phy against the skeptical conclusions of the Sophists. 
In human matters he maintained that there is a validity 
to truth and a possibility of absolute knowledge. He 
admitted with the Sophists that there are obscurities in 
human thought, and that obviously the standard of truth 
does not belong to any one man. But while the Sophists 
emphasized these contradictions and reasoned therefore 
that no valid truth existed, Socrates cut his way through 
such contradictions and obscurities, emphasized^Jbhe 
identity in men, and maintained that the truth is in all 
men together, in humanity. It exists as an ideal to 
be striven for by men together. When Protagoras says 
that " man is the measure of all things," he means by 
" man " the individual man ; while Socrates, if he had 
used that expression, would have meant " humanity." 
And Socrates means by his principle " virtue is know 
ledge " that the knowledge of that same humanity (. e. 
insight, reason) is virtue ; while Protagoras, agreeing as 
he did formally with the maxim that " virtue is know 
ledge," would always define " knowledge " as the in 
dividual feelings. " The individual man is the measure 
of all things," Protagoras would say ; " Humanity is 
the measure of all things," Socrates would reply. 
" Virtue is knowledge gained by the feelings," Protag- 


oras would say ; " Virtue is knowledge gained by the 
reason," Socrates would reply. Beneath the changing 
capricious individual, beneath the variety of men, Soc 
rates believed that there was a common humanity, one 
unchanging man, who contained the ultimate truth. 
There are many opinions, ideas, and feelings, but only 
one knowledge. This knowledge is rational ; and human 
nature is a unity in the possession of this knowledge. 

This is the principle that distinguishes Socrates from 
the other leaders of the Greek Illumination. While he 
was imbued with the motives of the Greek culture of 
his time, curious about its results, feeling its useful 
ness, and critical of all tradition, he nevertheless 
withheld himself from its skeptical conclusions. Any 
culture illumination runs the danger of defeating itself 
and becoming skeptical of its own powers. This is what 
actually happened in the Sophistic philosophy. But 
when Socrates set himself against this superficial and 
self-destructive outcome of his age, he became in his 
constructive philosophy the clearest and most compre 
hensive expression of that age. Because he grasped the 
principle of the Greek Enlightenment deeply and for 
mulated it constructively, his intellectual reign became 
historically established. The fundamental principle of 
the philosophy of Socrates was therefore the real prin 
ciple of classic Greek civilization, and by saving that 
principle he saved Greek civilization for modern 

The Unsystematic Character of the Socratic Philo 
sophy. The casual reader is often troubled to know 
for what precisely Socrates is searching. The vague 
ness of the Socratic quest is partly due to the fact that 
he had no system. Indeed, he had no groundwork for 


a system of thought. His psychology or theory of the 
human mind was undefined. He speaks of sensations 
and perceptions, but they, with the feelings and the 
will, are considered by him to be unimportant factors 
in the conscious life. On the whole, the mind was 
thought by him to be an aggregation of conceptions or 
ideas. The feelings cloud the activity of these concep 
tions, and the only feeling to which Socrates attached 
any importance was his daemon or divine voice. This 
grew to be his mentor as he grew older. Socrates never 
made a scientific psychological analysis. He began 
rather with three assumptions which amounted to con 
victions. They were these : that only by acquiring con 
ceptions is true knowledge to be found ; that virtue, 
consists in acting according to conceptions; that the 
world has been designed according to conceptions. Con 
ceptions were, so to speak, an obsession with Socrates. * 
They were his postulates, his instruments, and his goal. 
The other factors of the mind were neglected by him. 
The Ideal of Socrates. The goal of the quest of Soc 
rates is an ideal, and in the nature of things had the 
vagueness of any ideal. The content of an ideal has to 

* What is the difference between perception and conception ? We 
have heard a good deal about perceptions in the doctrine of Protagoras. 
We have now reached a point where many of the theories will involve 
a comparison of perception with conception. An understanding- of the 
difference between perception and conception will be necessary for an 
understanding of the doctrines, especially of Democritus, Plato, and 
Aristotle. In general, perception is the consciousness of an object in 
which some actual sensation of it is present ; a conception is the con 
sciousness of an object in which no actual sensation of it is present. 
Thus I perceive a tree, when my retina is actually stimulated ; I 
conceive a tree, when I turn my head away and no sense organ is 
actually stimulated, t. e. I do not touch, see, hear the tree. To the 
Greek the perception was particular and transient ; the conception was, 
on the other hand, universal or general anil permanent. 


remain undefined until it has been gained by experience, 
and then of course it is no longer an ideal. Any ideal, 
however, can be stated formally, and the formal and 
deductive side of knowledge has had an important 
place both in practical conduct and in the history of 
science. Socrates could state his ideal formally and to 
some extent he could give it content ; but it always re 
mained for him an object to be sought. He believed 
that the ideal lay in conceptions and could be found if 
he got the truth of any one conception. So he under 
took to define such conceptions as friendship, courage, 
prudence, etc., but his search was never satisfied. 
Nevertheless, the search itself was scarcely less impor 
tant to him than its accomplishment. 
The ideal of 


andjiis L Jo.imal.j8tateinfiDJi.QlJlie__ ideal was 
is Virtue. The primal end to be striven for is wisdom, 
that is, in conceptions and by conceptions. But where 
are these conceptions to be found but in one s own 
mind ? Therefore the region of the quest of Socrates 
was his own mind, and his motto was, " Know thyself." 
And what is this Virtue of which knowledge or wisdom 
is the equivalent? It does not mean virtue in the nar 
row modern meaning of the term, nor yet in the narrow 
original meaning, of warlike prowess or valor. The 
Greek word which Socrates used was apcrrj, and is best 
translated excellence or ability. In the history of the 
word it had a variety of meanings, like the Latin word 
virtus, whose equivalent it is. It is derived from the 
same root as the word "Api??, Ares (or Mars), the name 
of the god of war. While therefore originally it meant 
military valor, it came to mean any kind of excellence. 
In modern times there appeared a book called The 


Greatest Thing in the World, which had as its aim to 
show that Christian love is the " greatest thing in the 
world." To Socrates not " Love " but " Wisdom " is 
the " greatest thing in the world," and Greek civiliza 
tion is thus contrasted with that of Christianity. 

But now the question comes, What kind of know 
ledge or wisdom does Socrates mean as the greatest 
excellence ? In contrasj^to_the Sophists^jwho rejied^upon 
the sensations and impulses as wisdom, Socrates turned 
to that element which had been the decisive factor oi 
the culture of the time. This was insight. The great 
est excellence is insight. He who acts according to his 
feelings is not sure of his knowledge, but he who acts 
according to insight has the greatest excellence in the 
world. But Socrates restricts the meaning of knowledge 
still further. Not only is knowledge to Socrates insight, 
but it is moral insight. For the problems in which he 
was interested were the problems of human life and 
principally the problem of self-examination. Thus we 
can translate the conventional formal statement of 
Socrates, viz., Knowledge is virtue, into this rather 
longer sentence, Moral insight is the most excellent 
thing in the world. For the first time in the history of 
thought philosophy is founded upon a moral postulate. 

What the Socratic Ideal involves. AVe have now 
examined the meaning of the formal statement of the 
Socratic ideal. A further question along this same line 
concerns what that ideal involves. 

1. In the first place, to possess knowledge is to act 
righteously. Knowledge = righteous conduct. Socrates 
does not mean that knowledge is merely the condition 
of right conduct ; he means that knowledge actually 
constitutes moral conduct. The development of the 


reason is actually the same as the development of the 
will. Knowledge is virtue and virtue is knowledge. 
Vice is ignorance and ignorance is vice. To have an 
insight into the truth is the principle of living. Not 
only is deficient insight the cause of evil, but it is itself 
the greatest evil. Not only does a man act wrongly be 
cause he does not know the good, but not to know the 
good is the greatest wrong that can happen to him. 

2. Not only is moral insight the same as virtuous 
activity, but this insight is always accompanied by hap 
piness. The will follows the recognition of the good, and 
the appropriate action makes man happy. Happiness 
is the necessary result of moral excellence. The Wise 
Man knows what is good for him and does it ; thus in 
his performance he becomes happy. Socrates would sub 
scribe to the proverb " Be good and you will be happy." 
Such teaching on the part of Socrates implies that he 
believed two things : (1) that man by unremitting 
earnest examination of himself and others could gain 
such perfect happiness ; and (2) that the world is under 
providential guidance. Socrates never expressly denied 
the existence of the Homeric gods and never expressly 
declared himself a monotheist. He is, however, always 
referring to one over-ruling wisdom. He had a personal 
conviction of immortality, but he never attempted its 
proof. Although Socrates had little confidence in human 
knowledge about the world of physical nature, he was 
animated by a belief that amounted to a conviction in 
the providential arrangement of the world. In such a 
divinely ordered world the good must be happy. Only 
a perfect wisdom can, however, be certain that always 
the results of his actions will gain happiness in the en 
vironment in which he lives ; but still man can be sure 


that happiness increases proportionately with know 
ledge. Greek philosophy did go beyond this point in 
ethics, and this is called, in technical language, eudce- 
monism. Eudcemonism and hedonism are pleasure 
theories that are similar. Eudaemonism is the theory 
that active well-being is the highest good in life and 
that that good is always accompanied by pleasure. In 
hedonism pleasure is the good to be aimed at. In his 
tory eudaemonism has easily degenerated into hedonism. 
3. Socrates makes moral insight the same as virtuous 
activity, and he says that its inevitable accompaniment 
is happiness. Does he also make moral insight the same 
as utility? According to Xenophon, Socrates regards 
moral excellence as that which is most useful. Indeed, 
in some of the Platonic dialogues Socrates seems to 
define insight as the art of measuring or prudence, and 
it is pointed out that Socrates developed no virtue so 
fully as self-control. In the exigencies of the argument 
Socrates also often resorted to the useful to define the 
good. The question, What is the good ? often resolves 
itself into the other question, What is the thing good 
for ? Indeed, the form of the argument often assumes 
the vicious circle : Why is the act just ? Because it is 
useful? Why is it useful? Because it is just. For the 
purposes of disputation, in which Socrates was always 
shrewd and not always scrupulous, he so frequently re 
fers the good to what is suitable to men s happiness and 
profit that his philosophy does not seem to rise above 
the relativism of the Sophists. But it is certain that 
Socrates strove to transcend this relativism, although 
not with full success and although his formulated teach 
ing does not always go beyond it. However, that he 
believed in an absolute rather than a relative good ap- 


pears in many ways : in his doctrine that it is better to 
suffer wrong than to do it ; in his strict conformity to 
law rather than to save himself from death by breaking 
the law ; in his constant interpretation of life as right- 
doing, ethical improvement, and participation in the 
good. The utility that is always in the background of 
his thought is the usefulness for the soul. We may con 
clude, therefore, that it was only superficially for the 
purposes of argumentation that Socrates made the use 
ful an equivalent of moral insight. 

The purpose of Socrates was, after all, not to teach 
men to think correctly nor to become cultured but to 
become happy and useful Athenians. Moral excellence 
is the Socratic goal ; and knowledge, happiness, and 
usefulness are only aspects of that goal. Knowledge is 
the essential means, happiness the essential result, and 
usefulness the essential sign of moral excellence. It fol 
lows as a corollary from Socrates philosophical ideal 
that he should also teach : (1) that virtue is teachable, 
and (2) that the virtues are one. Virtue is obviously 
teachable if it is knowledge. It follows also, although 
not so obviously, that all the virtues are fundamentally 
the same, and that a man cannot be virtuous in one 
thing without being virtuous in all. The really temper 
ate man is also courageous, wise, and just. 

The Two Steps of the Method of Socrates. The ex 
ternal form of the method of Socrates was conversation. 
Thinking was to him an inner conversation. The result 
of a conversation, external or internal, was evolvement, 
the implicit in thought made explicit. This was quite 
opposed to the method of the Sophists, which was the 
supplying of knowledge. Socrates did not propose to 
start from any kind of knowledge except the ideal to 


be striven for. Starting with the presupposition that 
man contained knowledge, the end which Socrates at 
tempted to reach by his method was a practical one. 
With so much in summary, let us examine the two 
steps of the method of Socrates. 

The first step that Socrates deems necessary for man 
in attaining this ideal of moral excellence is negative. 
Indeed, it is more, it is complete abnegation on the 
part of the seeker for truth. One must confess that he 
himself knows nothing, and come to a realization that 
his untested individual opinions are not the truth. He 
must approach the subject as a seeker and not as a 
teacher. This attitude of mind is the beginning of 
wisdom. Plato relates how the Delphic oracle amazed 
Socrates by announcing that he was the wisest of the 
Greeks. In reflecting upon the statement of the oracle 
he came to agree with the oracle because, as he said, he 
was ignorant and he knew it, while the other Greeks 
were ignorant and did not know it. Before Socrates 
began to examine any conception, he professed or as 
sumed to profess absolute ignorance of it. He is the 
modest inquirer. He is always described in the role of 
the questioner who is seeking information and light. 

He laid the same requirement upon others that he 
did upon himself. The dialectic conversation could not 
be successfully carried on unless his interlocutors had 
the same recognition of self -ignorance, the same meas 
ure of self-knowledge. The Sophists with whom he often 
carried 011 his discussions laid claim to knowledge on 
every known subject under the Greek sun and were ready 
to teach anything to the Greek youth. To Socrates 
mind nothing could more impede his undertakings than 
such an affectation of wisdom ; to the Sophists nothing 


could be more repugnant than such a confession which 
Socrates always obliged them to make. Although pro 
fessing to be only a seeker for knowledge, he tried first 
by his questions to scrutinize and to break down with 
his exasperating logic the half -formed conceptions of the 
egotist. This clear-cut analysis for purely destructive 
purposes, which he used in preparation for his later con 
structive conversation, is called the Socratic irony. As 
he proved himself superior to any of his companions in 
the use of the dialectic, he could begin his conversations 
in the most destructive fashion. His method was de 
structive of all prejudice and preconceived opinion that 
would in any way stand athwart perfectly free inquiry 
into the truth. His wish was to begin de novo with 
every one, so that all traditional beliefs having been 
given up and the investigators having confessed their 
ignorance, constructive study of the concept in hand 
could be begun. 

The second step in Socrates method of dialectical 
inquiry follows upon the initial destructive criticism. It 
is in this part of the conversation that we find his own 
constructive theory. The dialogue is, of course, its ne 
cessary condition ; for the truth is not in me nor in thee, 
but in us all. It is latent in the mind and not on the 
surface of any opinion. Let us rub our minds together. 
Let us sift our varied concepts, unfold our real selves, 
and briug the unborn truth to the light. Our ideas sup 
plement one another and have a common ground. In 
tellectual intercourse is an intellectual and a personal 
need, for it reveals common sympathies and a oneness 
of life. Common love of knowledge makes friends, and 
this mutual intellectual helpfulness he calls by the 
mythical term Eros. Inquiry is indefinite in duration ; 


the quest of truth is endless ; and Socrates acknow 
ledges by his fresh beginnings again and again his fail 
ure to reach the ideal. Thus the theoretical self-abne 
gation of Socrates had a twofold significance in his 
constructive philosophy. On the one hand, it was an 
invitation to his countrymen to help him in his search 
for the universal truth ; on the other, it was an acknow 
ledgment that he had failed to attain that universal 

Socrates and Athens. Socrates had a religious rever 
ence for his own mission in the Athenian community. 
He was the "gad-fly of the Athenian public " ; he was 
the educator of the time ; he was divinely appointed to 
the Athenian people. He felt himself so necessary to the 
Athenian State that at his trial he proudly suggested 
that instead of punishing him the State keep him at the 
public expense in the Prytaneum. But the educator 
creates nothing ; he only awakens and develops the 
germs of knowledge that lie latent. The human Athe 
nian nature is big with truth ; Socrates was divinely ap 
pointed to bring it forth. He called his method, after 
the profession of midwifery of his mother, the maieutic 
method. It was intellectual midwifery, and he was the 
intellectual midwife of Athens. Although he failed to 
find any concrete form of ultimate truth, he never had 
any doubt about the correctness of his method and of 
undertaking the problem afresh. He believed that his 
failure was due to the inherent weakness of human dis 
cernment ; and so far as man s discernment or insight 
is clear, so far will he know the true significance of 

Socrates believed in man, and he believed that in 
man were contained all those elements that make up a 


firm, rational, and moral society. Since he failed to justify 
this belief in a theoretical way, his belief became largely 
a matter of faith. Humanity is something to be won, 
something to be developed. He was personally the em 
bodiment of his faith, and his large influence was due to 
his unswerving confidence in ethical ideals that did not 
allow the least paltering. 

The Logical Expedients of Socrates. The examina 
tion of concepts by Socrates was an attempt to find a 
logical " Nature," just as the Cosmologists had searched 
physical phenomena to find a physical " Nature." This 
makes Socrates the first to teach by induction and one 
of the first to use definition effectively. In contrast to 
the Sophists, he tried to give words exact meanings; 
for the Sophists fixed artificial meanings to words with 
reference to particular objects. In seeking for the exact 
meaning, Socrates was looking below the changing par 
ticulars to the " Nature " of the fact and the universal 
principle. Thus he was making his hearers conscious of 
the logical dependence of the particular upon the uni 
versal. The universal is that which is common to all 
particular conceptions or opinions. It lies beneath them 
and binds them together. Thus, by logical analysis, 
Socrates is taking steps in the educational process of 
gaining the universal. Provisional definition would be 
given by him in some dialogue ; this definition would 
be tried by many facts ; thus an advance would be 
made toward a true definition and a universal principle. 
This process is that of induction. It leads to generic 
concepts by comparison of particular views and indi 
vidual perceptions, by bringing together analogous cases 
and allied relations. The subordination of the particular 
under the universal thus became a principle of science. 


However imperfect and childlike was Socrates method 
of procedure, whatever lack of caution in generalization 
and in the collection of material, however hasty often 
times his judgments, he nevertheless made the subordi 
nation of the particular to the universal a principle of 
logical procedure. Xeriophon says that Socrates was 
untiring in his efforts to examine and define goodness 
and wickedness, justice and injustice, wisdom and folly, 
courage and cowardice, the state and the citizen^ 

Socrates and the Lesser Socratics. The death of 
Socrates proved to be his transfiguration. His influence, 
widespread and profound, came more from his personality 
than from his formulated theory. He was a revelator 
without a revelation. An absolutely true end of life, the 
Good, he firmly believed to exist ; but it was an ideal to 
be won by each and all. After him, therefore, there was 
opportunity for various interpretations of his doctrine, 
and several schools were founded by his disciples. His 
truest and most discriminating pupil was Plato, who is 
in a class by himself as developing the philosophy of 
Socrates to a systematic perfectness. The philosophy of 
Plato stands with that of Democritus and Aristotle as 
one of the three systematic philosophies that Greek civil 
ization produced. Besides Plato there were the Lesser 
Socratics : Euclid (not the mathematician), Phsedo, Aris- 
tippus, and Antisthenes. Each of these was respectively 
the founder of a school. These four Lesser-Socratic 
schools were that at Megara founded by Euclid, the 
Elean-Eretrian founded by Phaedo, the Cynic founded 
by Antisthenes, and the Cyrenaic founded by Aristippus. 
The influence of the Megarian and Elean-Eretrian 
schools was unimportant. It may suffice to dismiss them 
by saying that Phaedo was the favorite pupil of Socrates, 


and that Plato was a member of the Megarian school 
for a short time after the death of Socrates. The two 
other Lesser-Socratic schools had an important influ* 
ence upon contemporary and later civilization and will 
be mentioned here. These are the Cynic and Cyrenaic 
schools. In these two schools two great types of ethical 
theory that have since existed were formulated. All 
four of the Lesser Socratics pretended to be the true 
development of the teaching of Socrates ; and these two, 
as well as the other two, differ in the accentuation that 
they place on some phase of the master s doctrine. 

Socrates own definition of ideal excellence being in 
complete, the Cynics and Cyrenaics tried to define it, 
to give it content and to show a practical way of reach 
ing it. They attempted 

(1) to answer affirmatively that there is a universal 
validity ; 

(2) to show in what it consists ; 

(3) to show how man must prepare himself in order 
to reach it. 

Both schools are individualistic and eudsemonistic. 
They maintained that to affirm that the Good is good 
for its own sake is to leave the Good contentless ; and 
to affirm that the Good is insight into the Good is 
to go in a circle. The one unambiguous answer to the 
question of Socrates, What is ideal excellence or the 
Good ? is this : Goodness is happiness. This gives a 
content to the otherwise contentless ideal of Socrates. 
The difference between the two schools consists in the 
ethical way in which this happiness may be obtained. 

It will appear, therefore, that the Lesser Socratics 
were more Sophistic than Socratic. They were diametri 
cally opposed to Socrates theory of the universality of 


truth. The excellent Good must be sought by each in 
his own way. This is individualistic virtue, and not that 
of humanity. Civilization was valued by them only 
as it satisfied individual needs. The common problem 
of individualistic happiness limited the efforts of both 
schools, while the results that they reached in solving 
it were quite different. 

There are two ways of achieving happiness ; one is 
by satisfying the desires, the other is by cutting off the 
desires. For happiness is the perfect proportion of 
desire and satisfaction. A living creature is happy if his 
desires are satisfied, whether those desires be few or 
many. In the theory of the Cyrenaic school, happiness 
is gained by increasing the satisfactions ; in the theory 
of the Cynic school, happiness is gained by decreasing 
the desires. 

The Cynic School was founded by Antisthenes, and 
numbered among its adherents Diogenes, about whom 
so many curious stories have been told, Crates of 
Thebes, his wife Hipparchia, and her brother, Metro- 
cles. Virtue in the eudsemonistic sense is the only end, 
and this school agreed with Socrates that this end is 
to be attained by knowledge. That is to say, virtue or 
knowledge is only a means of gaining happiness, and all 
other possessions the Cynics affected to despise. Virtue 
as knowledge is therefore to be sought ; ignorance is to 
be shunned ; all else is a matter of indifference. Riches, 
luxury, fame, honor, sense-pleasure and pain, and later 
with logical consistency all shame, convention, family, 
and country were objects of contempt. Man must make 
himself independent by cutting off the desires which he 
cannot satisfy or the desires that seem superfluous. 
He should keep alive only such desires as are necessary 


to existence. In independence of all outward circum. 
stance the Cynic conceives himself to be the Wise Man, 
in contrast to whom the mass of men are fools. The 
Cynic is, therefore, the equal of the undesiring gods. He 
has independent lordship and does not need the artifi 
cialities of civilization. Natural law was contrasted by 
him in a Sophistic way with statutory law, and in the 
midst of the refinements of society he preached a return 
to a state of nature. 

The Cyrenaic School was founded by Aristippus, 
who lived in Cyrene, a luxurious city of northern 
Africa. Aristippus was a man of the world. He was 
first a Sophist and later a disciple of Socrates. After 
Socrates death he returned to Cyrene. Here he founded 
his school, which included three generations of his own 
family. The prominent members of it were Arete, his 
daughter ; Aristippus, his grandson ; Theodorus, Hege- 
sias, Anniceris, and Euhemerus, the author of so-called 
Euhemerism, which taught that the gods were originally 
only great men. In opposition to the brutal bareness of 
the Cynic school, the Cyrenaics saw the true end of life 
in the pleasures of sense. Following Protagoras, Aris 
tippus said that the sensations are always true and can 
be defined in terms of motion. The school developed an 
elaborate psychology of sensation which summarizes its 
doctrine. It is as follows : (1) The intensity and not 
the duration of a sensation determines its value ; (2) 
Bodily pleasures are of greater value than mental be 
cause they are more intense ; (3) I can know only my 
own sensations, and therefore they are of greater value 
than another s ; (4) Man has a reasonable insight which 
determines him in the choice of his sensations. 

The practical problem of life for this, as it was for 


the Cynic school, was how to become individually inde 
pendent of the world. But the Cyrenaic taught inde 
pendence by enjoyment, in opposition to the Cynic s in 
dependence by renunciation. The Cyrenaic Wise Man 
knows all the pleasures of life thoroughly, from animal 
satisfactions to spiritual ecstasies. He uses them all, but 
never forgets himself. He is lord of his appetites, never 
wishes the impossible, and has perfect and serene peace. 

It is an interesting fact that this pleasure-loving 
school drew pessimism as the consequence of its theory. 
If life fails to give enjoyment, it is a failure. That life 
alone is reprehensible that has more pain than plea 
sure. It is on this ground that man should submit to 
law and custom rather than give up his pleasures. Yet 
some members of the school maintained that man is 
bound to be unhappy. While he should have pleasure, 
he is so constituted that he cannot gain it. The body 
of man is an inevitable sufferer. The highest that we 
can hope is painlessness. 

The Cynic and Cyrenaic schools occupy an important 
position in the history of philosophy. The Cynic doc 
trine was the basis of the teaching of the Stoic school, 
and the Cyrenaic was the legitimate predecessor of the 
Epicurean school. These great schools were founded in 
Athens seventy-five years later, and will be discussed 
under the Hellenic-Roman Period. 



^ The Waning of the Greek National Spirit. The 
Systematic Period extends from the death of Socrates 
to the death of Aristotle. It is only seventy-seven years 
long about the same length as the Anthropological 
and half as long as the Cosmological Period. It begins 
with those sorry days after the Peloponnesian War 
and ends with the supremacy of Macedonian power. 
The period was filled with ferocious wars among the 
Grecian cities. First came the supremacy of Sparta, 
then of Thebes (371-362 B. c.), then the invasion by 
Philip of Macedon and the battle of Chjeronea, 338 B. c. 
In 334 B. c. Alexander the Great began the conquest 
of the Orient, which he accomplished in two years. He 
thought by this that he could reunite the Greeks in a 
common cause. He failed for two reasons. In the first 
place, as a Macedonian the Greeks would not take him 
as a national representative. In the second place, the 
Greek spirit was waning. The people had lost their 
glorious ideals. Decay had set in. The worm was at 
the root of Greek life. Greek art, literature, and states 
manship had passed. 

The Place of the Three Systematic Philosophers in 
Greek History. Nevertheless, when Greek national 
life was approaching dissolution, science ripened its 
richest fruits and created its most comprehensive sys 
tems of philosophy. These are connected with the 
names of Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle. These 


great systems evidently cannot be accounted for by the 
social conditions in which they appear. Neither the 
need nor the demand of the disrupted Greece of these 
years would be a sufficient cause to explain the appear 
ance of a Plato or an Aristotle. The interests of the 
Greek people became narrower as the interests of the 
Greek philosophers became more broadly human. The 
intellectual tendency of this short period was utilitarian 
and practical. The problems that now interested the 
Athenians were the details of mechanics, physiology, 
rhetoric, and politics. The field of science was now for 
the first time systematized to logic, ethics, and physics 
a classification which, we shall find, will exist for 
many centuries. Sparta and Macedonia, not Athens 
and Abdera, represent the spirit of the period. 

If then Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle do not re 
flect the time in which they live, what relation do they 
bear to Greek civilization? They are not isolated and 
out of all relation to the life of the Greek people. On 
the contrary, they are the most comprehensive and the 
most profound expression of Greek life. One turns to 
them as the most perfect representation of Greek cul 
ture. They are the intimate expression of Greek 
thought, even if not of contemporaneous Greek thought. 
They are the final statements of the two preceding 
periods, projected into a time that had other interests. 

to -a, 

close, was its final jx^ression^and, 
form. ~Plato did the same for the Anthropological 
Period. In Aristotle the systematic cosmology of De 
mocritus and the systematic ethics of Plato find a new 
meaning, in a closer union, under a more coordinating 
principle. Aristotle was the last possible word of Greek 


philosophy, for he systematized every branch known to 
the Greeks. He not only evolved a speculative theory 
of the whole, but he organized the special sciences. It 
must be further said that no one of these three great 
Greeks could have produced the results each did pro 
duce, if each had not been the leader of a school of 
many workers. Within each school there must have 
been vigorous cooperation along lines according to the 
inclination of the individual members. Thus each school 
collected a vast amount of material which was worked 
over according to the method and purpose of the leader. 

The Fundamental Principle of the Systematic 
Period. At the beginning of this book attention was 
called to the difference between Greek, Mediaeval, and 
Modern thought. Greek thought was characterized as 
objective. It is important to reiterate this objective sig 
nificance of Greek thought at this point, when we are 
about to discuss the teachings of Democritus, Plato, 
and Aristotle. Plato s theory is often called an ideal 
ism and Democritus theory materialism, but they are 
not the idealism and materialism of modern times. No 
terms have fluctuated in their meanings more than 
such philosophical terms as these, as can be judged 
from the fact that in the Middle Ages Plato s doctrine 
was called realism. The Greeks were not idealists in 
the sense that Berkeley and Hegel were idealists. In 
general, it should be remembered that when we speak 
of Greek art, Greek politics, Greek philosophy as ideal 
istic, they are not idealistic in the modern sense.* 

The open-minded Greek sought to picture, to ascer- 

* Read Zeller, Pre-Socratic Phil, vol. i, pp. 138-149, con- 
cerning the objective character of Greek morality, art, and 


tain, to present. He was not dominated by the wish to 
show how things should be. To know and to under 
stand, to explain by understanding the abiding reason 
in things, to find out the fundamental principle in 
things rather than to adjust it to the personal desires 
this was the objective attitude of mind of the 
Greeks. The Greek saw before he reasoned ; he visual 
ized his thought in form before he subjected the form 
to rational analysis. The cosmos was a harmony and 
an art before which he stood in contemplation rather 
than in criticism. Human elements were found in it 
everywhere, but only as parts of that cosmos. " The 
unity of the spiritual and the natural, which Greek 
thought demands and presupposes, is the direct un 
broken unity of the classic theory of the world." 1 

By whatever names the great theories of the System 
atic Period are called, we must remember that they 
did not depart from this objective Greek point of view. 
At certain times the moorings of Greek thought seem 
about to be shifted, as when Plato passes beyond the 
ancient Greek attitude and anticipates Christian mo 
rality by flight from the world of sense, and when Aris 
totle elaborates his doctrine of a transcendent god. But 
the tie never breaks, and the Systematic philosophers 
remain Greek and not modern. They have the Greek 
objective attitude of mind. The inner consciousness 
does not stand with its attestations over against all 
other things. The greatest of these philosophers never 
thought of himself but as " bone of the bone and flesh 
of the flesh " of the world surrounding him. In art the 
classic Greek " could obey but not surpass nature " ; in 
religion he worshiped beings that were only superior 
1 Zeller, Pre-Socratic Phil., vol. i, p. 162. 


human beings ; in politics he was a member, of a social 
whole. To -ZEschylus, Pericles, Socrates, Protagoras, 
Aristophanes, Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle alike, 
human nature is a part of the world and not vice versa* 
The Greek mind interpreted nature rather than re 
created it. 

What, then, is the nature of the development of Greek 
thought, and in what respect does the Greek System 
atic philosophy differ from the philosophy of the Greek 
Cosmologists ? Greek philosophy in the Cosmological 
Period starts with a conception of an objective har 
mony of nature and spirit which is called hylozoism. 
Step by step in the Anthropological and Systematic 
Periods that harmony becomes broken into a dualism 
of mind and matter. The philosophy of this Systematic 
Period is a dualism of the parts of one objective world, 
not a subjective-objective antithesis. The realm of 
spirit lies side by side with that of nature, and the sep 
aration and alienation never reached the complete form 
that it did in the Middle Ages. The great Greek Sys- 
tematizers in part represent this dualistic tendency, in 
part are a scientific effort to overcome it. " In spite of 
this tendency [to a dualism] the original presupposi 
tion [a harmony between nature and spirit] asserts itself 
in decisive traits ; and we shall find that the true cause 
of its incapacity to reconcile these contradictions satis 
factorily lies in its refusal to abandon that presupposi 
tion. When that [unity] is canceled, there remains 
to it no possible way of filling up a chasm which, ac 
cording to its own standpoint, cannot exist." * 

A Summary of Greek Philosophy. At this point a 
summary of Greek objective philosophy will be help- 

1 Zeller, Pre-Socratic Phil., vol. i, p. 162. 


ful. The philosophical problem that had been working 
itself out since Thales had been this: How may we 
think the Being that abides amid the changes of phe 
nomena ? The Cosmologists scrutinized physical nature 
and, without differentiating nature and spirit, con 
ceived abiding Being to be living matter. The An 
thropologists (except Socrates) doubted if there is any 
abiding Being. Among the Systematic Philosophers 
a dualism for the first time appears. Nature and 
spirit are differentiated, but both remain entirely ob 
jective. Democritus regarded the material universe as 
abiding Being, but in so large a way as to be able to 
construct upon it a psychology and an ethics. Plato 
found abiding Being in the realm of the spirit, in 
a group of moral and aesthetic entities. Aristotle at 
tempts to overcome the opposition between materialism 
and Platonism. To him abiding Being is neither physi 
cal nature nor the spirit apart from physical nature. 
Abiding Being to Aristotle is the spirit m nature. 
Greek Philosophy (objective). 

1. The Cosmologists Hylozoism. 

Abiding Being is living nature some form of 
living matter. 

2. The Anthropologists Relativism (except Soc 
rates) . 

Being is not abiding, but consists of transitory 
mental states. This is a form of what was called 
by the schoolmen Nominalism, and summed up by 
the phrase Unwersalia post rem. 

3. The Systematic Philosophers. 
Democritus Materialism. 

Being consists in material atoms, but regarded 
in so large a way as to furnish a basis for a 
psychology and an ethics. 


Plato Objective Idealism. 

Being consists of permanent moral and aesthetic 
concepts or types. In mediaeval philosophy Pla- 
tonism was called realism and was summed up 
by the phrase Universalia ante rem. 
Aristotle Conceptualism. 

The abiding Being does not consist of material 
atoms nor in spiritual types apart from matter, 
but is an unfolding essence in matter. This was 
usually called conceptualism by the Schoolmen, 
and was summed up by the phrase Universalia 
in re. Aristotle s conception was as difficult as it 
was important. He was not always clearly a 
conceptualist, but sometimes appeared in the role 
of an " objective realist." 

Democritus and Plato Their Similarities and 
Differences. The materialism of Democritus and the 
idealism of Plato were as opposed as was possible within 
the realm of Greek thought. We must not exaggerate 
their similarities, but they had at least four common 

Their Similarities. 

1. Both develop an outspoken rationalism, 1 which 
starts as a reaction from the perception theory of Pro 
tagoras. They agree with Protagoras that perception 
cannot yield truth, and so they turn away from percep 
tion to the reason to find true knowledge. 

2. Both develop a world of twofold reality. Percep- 

1 Rationalism and sensationalism refer to the sources from which 
knowledge is obtained. Rationalism is to be contrasted with sensation 
alism. Rationalism is the belief that the reason is an independent 
source of knowledge and has a higher authority than sense-perception. 
Sensationalism is the belief that all our knowledge originates in sensa* 
tions. Empiricism is often used for sensationalism. 


tions are not regarded by them as illusions, although 
perceptions are transitory. Both make a new estimate 
of perceptions, and give to the world of perceptions a 
relative value. There are therefore two kinds of reality : 
the relative reality of the world of perceptions and the 
absolute reality of the world of reason. The result in 
both is a broad theory of knowledge. 

3. In both, reality consists in a plural number of 
objective norms. Both reach their conception of these 
norms in the same way. The changing qualities of things 
are stripped away and the true reality is discovered be 
neath. Both designate this true form by the same word, 
idea (iSe a). To both, the forms are objective entities. 

4. Both are attempts to overcome scientifically the 
dualism which had emerged from the former hylozoism 
of Greek thought. 

TJieir Differences The Development of the Mean 
ing of Idea. 1. But the forms or ideas are so vitally 
different in the doctrines of these two philosophers 
that they have nothing in common save the name. On 
the one hand, Democritus took the word " idea " just as 
he found it in popular speech. It is the shape of a vis 
ible thing, the geometrical form of physical objects. 
It gets no new content in his hands, but is merely the 
physical atom. With Plato, however, the word gets a 
new meaning. He fills the form or idea with an ethical 
content. The idea as a quantity becomes now a quality. 
The idea becomes an Idea. The forms of Plato are 
logical species and teleological causes, while the forms 
of Democritus are atom-complexes. 1 In both philoso- 

1 Teleology is the doctrine that things exist for some purpose. A 
teleological cause, which is the same as " final cause " or " end," is the 
purpose involved in an action. It ia contrasted with mechanical or efli- 


pliers they are the norms of reality. But while Democ- 
ritus still keeps his forms as the realities of physical 
nature, Plato conceives his forms to be true realities of 
objective human nature. 

2. This vital difference between the two philoso 
phers may get some explanation from the difference in 
the philosophical inheritance of each. To be sure, they 
were contemporaries, both being born in the Anthro 
pological Period and both doing their most mature 
work in the Systematic Period. Both, too, were ac 
quainted with the philosophy of the preceding time. 
But the ethical teaching of Socrates dominated Plato, 
and through it he became the legitimate perfecter of 
the Greek enlightenment and the anthropological move 
ment. But what was the influence of Socrates upon 
Democritus ? It seems to have been nothing. Why is 
Plato absolutely silent about Democritus when he men 
tions other Greek philosophers ? No one has yet been 
able to say. Democritus stands at Abdera isolated from 
the ethical movement at Athens. The only influence 
upon him from that movement came from Protagoras, 
who was a member of the school at Abdera. Democ 
ritus is the finisher of the Cosmological movement. 

The Life of Democritus (460-370 B. c.). Democ 
ritus was twenty years younger than Protagoras, 
about ten years younger than Socrates, and a genera 
tion older than Plato. He was outlived by Plato ; and 
Aristotle was a young man when Democritus died. He 
was therefore contemporary with the intellectual move- 

cient cause. A trolley car is moving and a man runs to catch it. Elec 
tricity is the mechanical cause of the movement of the car. The pur 
pose of the man is the teleological cause of his running ; the strength 
in his legs is the mechanical or efficient cause of his running. 


ment going on in Greece, with Athens as a centre. 
While he does not appear to have come under the in 
fluence of Socrates, he was well acquainted with the 
destructive epistemology of the Sophists. Abdera, where 
he lived, is in Thrace, and seems to have been outside 
the Anthropological movement at Athens. The school 
of Leucippus was at Abdera ; and Democritus was in 
structed in the Sophistic doctrine directly from Pro 
tagoras, who was a member of the Atomistic school 
before going to Athens. The three Systematic philoso 
phers were wide travelers, Democritus not less than 
Plato and Aristotle. He traveled extensively through 
Greece, Egypt, and the Orient. He then returned to 
Abdera and began his scientific activity. He remained 
five years in Egypt, and came to know the greater part 
of western Asia. He returned to Abdera about 420 B.C., 
and therefore did not begin his teaching before he was 
forty years old. The length of time that Democritus, 
Plato, and Aristotle took for their apprenticeship, and 
the advanced age before they began their mastership, 
is remarkable. Democritus was the greatest investi 
gator of nature in antiquity, and Aristotle used much 
of Democritus work for his own scientific writings. 
The ancients admired the writings of Democritus, and 
the loss of them in the fourth century after Christ 
is one of the most lamentable that has happened to 
the literary documents of antiquity. His works were 
extraordinary in number, and upon every known sub 

Democritus was the real exponent of the Atomistic 
school. The founder, Leucippus, belonged to the Cosmo- 
logical Period ; Protagoras, the Sophist, belonged to the 
Anthropological Period, and had great influence in the 


development of the school at Abdera ; but Democritus, 
in systematizing the doctrines of Leucippus and in 
accepting the perception theory of Protagoras, became 
its most notable representative. He was the great sys- 
tematizer of the Cosmologists, and yet he differed from 
all the Cosmologists in embodying in his theory the 
results of the Sophistic movement. 

TheComprehensiveness of the Aim of Democritus. 
The reconstruction of the philosophy of Democritus 
has always been difficult for the historian because, from 
the originally great mass of his writings, only fragments 
remain. The fragments show, however, many interest 
ing things : that he covered the entire range of experi 
ence in his investigations; that he was quite as much 
interested in psychical as in physical problems ; that his 
contribution to epistemology was even greater than to 
physics ; and that he was interested in the atomic theory 
because he believed that it was a working hypothesis 
for the explanation of experience of every kind. This 
last characteristic shows the systematic nature of his 
work and his right to stand with Plato and Aristotle. 
Democritus fully realized that the task of science was 
to explain experiences through a conception of reality. 
So he constructed his conception of the atom in order 
that he might explain phenomena intelligibly. He saw 
that no conception strange to experience or against ex 
perience, like the Eleatic Being, would answer scientific 
demands. A rational conception of absolute reality will 
have value only as experience testifies to it and, on the 
other hand, as it explains experience. Democritus valued 
his theory of the atoms because it seemed to explain 
all phenomena. This construction of a single funda 
mental rational principle for all kinds of phenomena 


shows how much more of a systematic scientist he was 
than the Cosmologists. 

The Enriched Physics of Democritus Hylozoism 
becomes Materialism. There is so great enrichment in 
elaboration and generalization in the physical doctrine 
of Democritus over that of Leucippus that it amounts 
to a change in principle. In all probability Leucippus, 
like other Cosmologists, was a hylozoist, and did not 
differentiate matter and life. He is to be grouped with 
the Reconcilers, or even with the Eleatics, rather than 
with Democritus. Democritus_was[ ^ materialist. The 
period of forty years between himself and Leucippus had 
been the rich period of the introduction of psychologi 
cal investigation and of the discrimination of psychical 
from physical processes. Materialism or spiritualism is 
not possible in the historical development of the human 
mind until it passes through just such a period of differ 
entiation as the Sophistic Enlightenment. Before such 
a period there is animism and hylozoism ; after such a 
period there is materialism and spiritualism of various 
sorts. Matter must be discriminated from spirit before 
one of the terms can be reduced to the other. So the 
hylozoistic pluralism of Leucippus became in the hands 
of Democritus a realistic materialism, pluralistic as well. 

The reduction of all phenomena by Democritus to a 
mechanics of atoms was theoretically an enrichment of 
physics, for it anticipated the underlying principle of 
modern physics. The apparent qualities of things and 
the qualitative changes of things are conceived by 
Democritus to be in truth only a quantitative relation 
of atoms. He set before himself the task of explaining 
in detail how this or that quality consists of atoms in 
mechanical motion. The mental life of man must be 


explained in the same way. So too, wherever he could, 
he emphasized more sharply than his predecessors the 
mechanical necessity of the movement of atoms. Im 
pact caused by contact of the atoms was the cause of 
every occurrence and change. No event is to be ex 
plained as the manifestation of some spirit, or referred 
to some spiritual agency. Mechanical cause is behind 
every event ; mechanical cause is the unifying principle 
of the doctrine of Democritus ; mechanical cause is the 
reason for the chasm between the philosophy of Plato, of 
Aristotle, and that of Democritus. It is the reason, too, 
why the theory of Democritus was obscured until mod 
ern times. All teleological conceptions and all hylozo- 
istic and animistic ideas are expelled from the theory of 
Democritus, on the assumption that spatial form and 
motion are simpler and more comprehensible terms of 
explanation. Thus for the first time we have a con 
scious outspoken materialism, and for the first time 
the world is conceived to be a universal reign of me 
chanical law. 

The physical theory of Democritus also yielded a rich 
scientific explanation of the historical evolution of the 
universe. The universe, according to Democritus, 
following the teaching of Leucippus, consists of two 
parts : the Plenum or self -moving, qualitatively similar 
atoms ; and the Void or empty space, in which the 
atoms move. The Plenum, or the atoms, is Being ; the 
Void is not-Being. The atoms differ only in form and 
size ; * they are infinite in number and therefore are of 
an infinite number of forms and sizes ; they are imper 
ceptibly small. The perceptible qualities do not belong 

1 Atoms differ primarily in form (tSe a) ; size is referred in part tc 


to them, but to their motions. Motion is an irreducible 
function of atoms, and each atom, lawless in itself, is in 
flight through space. An aggregation of atoms arises 
when the atoms meet in their cosmic flight. The shock 
causes a vortex which draws more atoms into itself. 
Like atoms are drawn together, and the heavy atoms 
press the fine fire-atoms to the periphery. Thus innu 
merable worlds are formed, for any place of the meeting 
of several atoms can be the beginning of a new world. 
Sometimes small worlds are drawn into the vortices of 
large worlds, and sometimes large worlds disintegrate 
in fatal collisions. The worlds are therefore endless 
and in endless succession. The whole swings in space 
like a ball ; the rim of the whole consists of compact 
atoms ; the centre is filled with air. To much further 
length than we can go here Democritus developed a 
theoretical description of cosmic evolution upon the 
principle of mechanical necessity and the description 
is almost modern. 

The Materialistic Psychology of Democritus. It is 
easy to understand an explanation of the physical uni 
verse as atoms in motion ; for our modern scientific 
theories of nature are set in these terms, even if we 
have transformed the Democritan static atom into a 
dynamic entity. It is rather more interesting to follow 
such a materialist as Democritus in his extension of the 
materialistic principle over upon the realm of the men 
tal life. 

In the first place, Democritus conceives man to be 
part and parcel of the world of atoms. Man is com 
posed of all kinds of atoms. His body consists of earth, 
water, and air atoms. His mind is made up of fire 
atoms, which differ from the others in being the finest, 


smoothest, and most mobile. On this account the fire 
atoms are the most perfect of all. Psychical activity is 
the motion of fire atoms. They are scattered throughout 
the universe, and wherever they are, there is life. They 
are in plants and animals as well as in man. There is 
a larger collection of them in man, and this shows his 
superiority over other living things. In man there is a 
fire atom between every two other atoms, and the whole 
is held together by breathing. The different forms of 
mental activity are simply different forms of atomic 

In the next place, our atomic make-up involves the 
presence of other atomic complexes, if we are to have 
any psychical activity. External things must stimulate 
us. But these external things are atoms in action. They 
can, however, influence us only by coming into contact 
with our bodies. Only by impact on our bodies can 
they set in motion the fire atoms which are scattered 
through our bodies. Every kind of knowledge or men 
tal life involves the participation of the fire atoms in us. 
Thus mental activity involves two factors ; the fire atoms 
within us and an external group of atoms without us. 

How did Democritus explain the varied mental life 
as the resultant of these two factors ? He employed the 
theory of effluxes, belief in which he shared with his 
time. This is a purely physiological assumption, origi 
nated by such Cosmologists as Empedocles, that some 
how external bodies send off emanations from themselves 
which strike upon our bodies. Most objects in the 
world influence us at a distance and only through the 
emission of these effluxes. Democritus conceived these 
emanations to be little copies or " eidola " of the thing 
that sends them off. To illustrate Democritus meaning : 


a tree is seen by me because little trees, thrown off by 
it, hit my eye? This theory retained its position in phi 
losophical circles until after Locke. It persists in the 
popular mind to-day. It is a general belief that a 
thought is a copy, photograph, or image of the thing. 
The words " image " and " imagination " betray their 
origin. It was believed by Democritus that such copies 
set in motion the sense organs and through them the 
fire atoms. The effluxes can, however, affect only those 
organs of the body that have similar formation and 
similar atomic motions. 

But the effluxes vary very much in the degree of 
fineness of their atomic structure. There are all sorts, 
from very fine to very coarse. Since the efflux must 
correspond to a particular sense if that sense is to be 
affected by it, the effluxes that can affect the senses vary 
respectively as to their fineness. Democritus was par 
ticularly interested in the sensations of sight and hear 
ing as examples of this. None of the effluxes affecting 
the senses are as fine as those that stimulate the reason. 
Unless they were the finest of all the effluxes, they 
could not affect the fine motions of the fire atoms of the 
reason. These finest "eidola" or effluxes are the true 
copies of things, and the reason therefore alone knows 
things truly. Thought, on the one hand, is precisely the 
atomic motion of the direct impact of the finest effluxes 
upon the fine fire-atoms of the soul. Sensation, on the 
other hand, is atomic motion from the indirect impact of 
the coarser grades of effluxes upon the fire atoms. The 
reason knows reality directly. Sensations are aroused in 
a roundabout way by the coarse effluxes setting in motion 
the corresponding sense organ, which in turn sets in 
motion the fire atoms. Thus does Democritus make the 


distinction between thought and sensation in quantita 
tive terms. Thus does he reduce his psychology to a con 
sistency with his metaphysical principle of materialism. 
Democritus Theory of Knowledge The World of 
Twofold Reality. Democritus would have been only 
one of the great Cosmologists, and he would not 
have his place by the side of Plato and Aristotle, if his 
materialism had illuminated no other subject than 
physics. Indeed, it is doubtful if his physics would have 
been so grandly comprehensive and unqualified had it 
not been strengthened by his discriminating theory of 
twofold knowledge. He might have extended and sys 
tematized his materialism so that it explained to the 
satisfaction of his time both physical and psychical 
phenomena, and still have been a hylozoist, like Leu- 
cippus, the founder of the Atomistic school. The prob 
lem of knowledge the problem of estimating our 
mental states was as incomprehensible to Leucippus 
as to the Eleatics. Democritus, however, was a ration 
alist and realist like Plato and Aristotle. He recog 
nized, as did they, that there is a difference in episte- 
mological values. His universalized materialism did 
not prevent him from evaluating our experiences from 
the same general point of view as the leader of the 
Academy and the Stagirite. He felt that a twofold 
reality is as consistent with materialistic principles as 
with idealism. So he reduced all qualities to quan 
tities, and then as quantities re-valued and classified 
them. His chief contribution was to the subject of 
epistemology and not to physics, and that is why he 
is treated among the Greek Systematizers and not 
among the Cosmologists. Probably his chief interest 
lay where he did his chief work. 


The perception theory of Protagoras was the starting, 
point of both Democritus and Plato. Both adopted 
it in order to transcend it and make it of real signifi 
cance. Democritus, upon the basis of his materialistic 
psychology, admitted that sense-perception is only a 
transitory process, and its knowledge must be as transi 
tory. But he did not agree with Protagoras that all 
knowledge is perceptual. Sense-perception_ does yield 
only relative knowledge ; Hut there is another kind of 
knowledge that is not relative but absolute. This is 
knowledge of the reason. Human beings have reason 
as well as sense-perception. Thus is Democritus a 
rationalist, although a materialist. 

The contribution of Democritus to the theory of 
knowledge consists in just this turn which he gave to 
Protagoras doctrine of perception. The relativity of 
perception becomes in the Democritan theory a differ 
ent thing from what it was in the doctrine of the great 
Sophist. To Protagoras perceptual knowledge is rela 
tive, and therefore of no value in determining what is 
real. To Democritus perceptual knowledge is relative, 
but it has a value, a relative value. It gets this rela 
tive value from the fact that the reason can determine 
absolute reality. Perception is the contributor to the 
reason, and also in turn is illuminated by the reason. 
In the same breath we may say that Protagoras was 
a contributor to the theory of Democritus, and in turn 
that the Protagorean relativism was illuminated by 
the Democritan rationalism. The result was a twofold 
knowledge in the language of Democritus, " genuine 
knowledge " and " obscure insight." 

The objects corresponding to these two kinds of 
knowledge must be of two kinds. On the one hand, 


the objects of tbejgason. or " genuine knowledge," are,. 
the genuine, primary, or real properties of^jjhe atoms 
for the atoms are reality to Democritus. These are 
.form, size, inertia, density, and hardness^ 1 A study of 
these properties of things is, therefore, a study of real 
objects. On the other hand, the objects of perception 
or "obscure insight "are the properties of atoms as 
perceived obscurely by the senses. These are color,, 

are the qualities or relative 

^properties of things. A study of these is a study of 
only what is relatively real. When materialism was 
revived by the Renaissance, the former group of objects 
were called "^primary ^qualities " and the latter "^ec- 
ondar^j^ualities. These terms have become classic, 
and have rendered permanent Democritus evaluation 
of the objects of the two kinds of knowledge. Out of 
the fragments of the teaching of the Cosmologists and 
the one-sided epistemology of the Sophists, Democritus 
constructed contemporaneously with Plato, perhaps an 
tecedently to him, a theory of twofold knowledge. 

The Ethical Theory of Democritus. The ethics of 
Democritus is another example of his general principle 
of a mechanism of atoms. His attempt to reduce all 
qualitative to quantitative relations, which gives his 
theory a unique place in Greek thought, reaches its 
highest distinction in his ethics. The influence of his 
ethical doctrine upon the Epicureans, and possibly upon 
the Cyrenaics, shows its importance in history. Further 
more, its high quality proves that a materialism can 
offer inspiring ethical doctrines. Some have placed the 
ethics of Democritus upon a level with the ethics of 
Socrates because, as it is pointed out, he placed it upon 

1 These all reduce to form, see above. 


an intellectual basis. The basal ethical principle of 
Deraocritus may be stated thus : As true knowledge is 
the ideal object of the intellect, so true happiness is the 
ideal object of our conduct. The ethics of Democritus 
is eudaemonistic, like that of Socrates. 

Pleasures have fundamental differences. They are in 
every case the results of atomic motions ; but the atomic 
motions of the intellect differ from those of the senses, 
and those of the senses differ from one another. The 
fire atoms of the intellect are small, and have a gentle, 
peaceful motion ; the atomic motions of the senses are 
coarse and violent, caused by the coarse effluxes of the 
objects that excite them. Sense-pleasures are relative, 
like the perceptions. As perception is obscure insight 
and gains the appearance and not the true reality, so 
the pleasures of sense are transitory, uncertain, violent, 
and deceitful. Intellectual pleasures are, like the intel 
lect, real, true, permanent, gentle, and peaceful. True 
happiness, the goal of human activity, attends upon that 
right insight upon the gentle atomic motions of the 
intellectual life. On the other hand, the coarse atomic 
motions of the senses disturb the intellectual calm, 
and are often violent explosions. Democritus believed 
that knowledge of the atoms, as the true explanation of 
the world, will give to the soul a measure and a har 
mony, will guard it from excitement and make it pos 
sessor of a peace which to use his happy simile is 
like the ocean calm. Two ideals seem to stand before 
Democritus, which he did not try to reconcile. Some 
times before his mind s eye the ideal happiness is purely 
intellectual pleasure and points toward asceticism. 
Sometimes he speaks of happiness as the life of perfect 
self-control and temperance. He never positively denies 


all value to sense-pleasure, but he gives to sense-pleas 
ure the relative value that he gives to the senses them 
selves. In every case the ground of happiness is intel 
lectual refinement, and the ground of unhappiness the 
lack of it. The majority of men are sensualists and are 
to be contrasted with the Wise Man, who finds his hap 
piness either in his individual life or in his friendship 
with other Wise Men. 


PLATO (427-347 B. C.) 

Abdera and Athens. The materialism of Democri- 
tus was the natural consummation of the thought of the 
Cosmological Period. The influence of the Sophistic 
psychology only enriched it, widened it, and brought 
its materialism into a systematic formulation. The 
Democritan system from the isolated centre of Abdera 
points only to the past. Upon the death of Democritus 
the school quickly disappeared. Its materialistic doc 
trine reappeared from time to time in one form and 
another, in the Skeptics, the Epicureans, and the 
Stoics. It was reintroduced as a system into Europe 
during the Renaissance. So far as Greece was con 
cerned, the school of Abdera was an early ripening and 
an early dying branch. 

The school of Athenian immaterialism, the principal 
tendency of Greek thought, arose from the centre of 
Attic civilization and pointed to the future. It drew 
its materials from practically the same sources as the 
philosophy of Abdera, but the materials were polarized 
about the ethical teaching of Socrates. The life of 
Plato coincides with the unhappy history of Athens 
after the death of Pericles (429 B. C.). The Pelopon- 
nesian War began in 431 B. c., two years before the 
death of Pericles and four years before the birth of 
Plato ; and it did not end until 403 B. c. The event 
most disastrous to the Athenians during this war 
was the Sicilian expedition in 413 B. c. Athens was 


captured by the Spartans in 403 B. c., and the great 
walls of the city were destroyed. The remainder of 
Plato s life was contemporaneous with the devastating 
wars among the Greek cities, for there was no city 
strong enough to hold the balance of power after it 
left the hands of the Athenians. In 359 B. c. Macedon 
began to loom up as a power in the north. The life of 
Plato, the formulator of Athenian immaterialism, may 
be easily remembered as covering that period between 
the rise of Sparta and the rise of Macedon. 

The Difficulties in Understanding the Teaching of 
Plato. The theory of Plato is one of the most involved 
and one of the most difficult to understand in the 
whole history of philosophy. This difficulty of inter 
preting Plato as a philosopher depends upon many 
factors : upon the artistic literary form of the dialogue 
in which his philosophy is presented ; upon the con 
flicting tendencies of thought in Plato himself ; upon 
the fact that the composition of his dialogues extended 
over a period of more than half a century ; upon the con 
stant reshaping of the content as well as the form of 
his thought ; and upon the uncertainty of the chrono 
logical order of his writings. This chronological order 
of Plato s dialogues is an important factor in determin 
ing his teaching. Since the beginning of the nineteenth 
century a vast amount of literature has been published 
on the subject, and many theories of the dialogue-chro 
nology have been proposed. There are three principal 
groups of theories : (1) those based upon purely a pri 
ori hypotheses, as, for example, that of Hermann, that 
each dialogue is a stage in the development of Plato s 
thought ; or that of Schleiermacher, that Plato had a 
systematic plan from the beginning ; (2) those based 

PLATO 121 

upon an empirical study of the historical allusions in the 
dialogues themselves (Zeller, Windelband, et als.*); (3) 
those recent theories based upon the " stylometric test," 
i. e. by an examination of the peculiarities of the style 
of Plato. Lutoslawski is a prominent representative of 
this method. 

The result to the student is bewildering, on account 
of the differing conclusions. But since some choice 
must be made, we shall follow the order laid down by 
Windelband, 1 because it is fairly orthodox and con 
servative. For convenience to the memory, the writings 
will be grouped in the periods of Plato s life. Our in 
terpretation will therefore follow Windelband in respect 
to the character of Plato s theory itself. 

The Life and Writings of Plato. Two important 
events divide Plato s long life of eighty years into three 
periods. These events were the death of his master, Soc 
rates, in 399 B. c., and Plato s return from Sicily in 387 
B. c., after having there come under the influence of the 
Pythagoreans. His first period may be called his student 
life, and was twenty-eight years long ; the second period 
was that of the traveler, and was twelve years long ; the 
third period was that of teacher of the Academy, and 
was forty years long. The first half of his life therefore 
covers the first two periods, and the second half covers 
his period as teacher. Probably he was engaged in the 
composition of the dialogues during all these periods, 
and Cicero reports him to have died " pen in hand " 
(scribens est mortuus). 

i. Plato s Student Life (427-399 B.C.). This period 
closes with the death of Socrates. His acquaintance with 
Socrates began when he was twenty years old, and there* 
fore lasted eight years. 

1 Windelband, Hist, of Ancient Phil., pp. 183-189. 


The dialogues written during this period are presenta 
tions of the doctrine of Socrates and do not contain the 
constructive theory of Plato. They are concerned either 
with Socratic subjects or with Socrates personally, and 
were written in part during Socrates life, in part di 
rectly after his death. 

(a) Dialogues written under the influence of Soc 
rates : 

Lysis, concerning friendship ; 
Laches, concerning courage ; 
Charmides, concerning moderation. 
5) Dialogues written in defense of Socrates : 
Crito, concerning Socrates fidelity to law ; 
Apology, a general defense of Socrates ; 
Euthryphro, concerning Socrates true piety. 
2. Plato as Traveler (399-387 B. c.). During this 
period Plato made one short and two long journeys, and 
after each he returned to Athens. Upon the death of 
Socrates he went to Megara, where a former pupil of 
Socrates had a school. Upon this journey he was accom 
panied by other pupils of Socrates, who, as tradition 
has it, feared violence to themselves after the death of 
their master. Plato remained in Megara but a short 
time, and soon returned to Athens. Immediately upon 
his return to Athens he went to Cyrene and Egypt, and 
was away from Athens about four years (until 395 B. c.). 
The Egyptian journey had little influence upon his 
thought, but must have stimulated his imagination. He 
then remained at Athens four years (395-391 B. c.), 
and during this time he taught a small circle and wrote 
his polemics against the Sophists. 

In 391 B. c. Plato made his first Italian journey to 
Sicily and southern Italy. This marks the second criti- 

PLATO 123 

cal point in his mental development. For at this time 
(1) he came under the influence of the Italian Pythag 
oreans, and (2) he attempted and failed in connection 
with Dion * and Dionysius to erect his ideal state in 
Syracuse. He was sold as a slave by Dionysius, re 
deemed by a friend, and returned to Athens in 387 B. c., 
having been away about four years. 

It is to be noted that Democritus and Plato were wide 
travelers, considering the difficulties of locomotion of 
the time. Both Democritus and Plato went to Egypt, 
and Democritus spent several years in Asia Minor (see 
p. 107). 

The dialogues written during this period may be 
divided into (a) the group of polemics against the 
Sophists, and (6) the Meno. 

(a) The polemics against the Sophists (written be 
tween his return from Egypt in 395 B. c. and his first 
Italian journey in 391 B. C.). 

They are an attempt to present a solid front against 
the Sophists, and to show the weakness of the Sophistic. 
Doctrines. These polemical dialogues are : 

Protagoras, a criticism of the Sophistic assumption 
that virtue is teachable, because that assumption 
is incompatible with the Sophistic fundamental 
principle ; 

Gorgias, showing how superficial the Sophistic rhet 
oric is when compared with true culture, which is 
the foundation of real statecraft ; 
Euthydemus, an exposition of the fallacies in the 

Sophistic eristic ; 

, Cratylus, a criticism of the philological attempts of 
the Sophists ; 

* Read Wordsworth, Dion. 


Thecetetus, a criticism of the Sophistic theories of 
knowledge ; 

The First Book of the Republic (the "Dialogue 
concerning Justice "), a criticism of the Sophistic 
naturalistic theory of the state. 

(b) MenO) which contains the first positive state 
ment by Plato of his own constructive theory. It is 
the first intimation of development beyond the simple 
Socratic theory of knowledge. Plato states this, how 
ever, rather timidly, by suggestions and after the man 
ner of a mathematician. 

3. Plato as Teacher of the Academy (387-347 
B. c.). These forty years were spent by Plato in Athens 
as master and teacher of his school, the Academy, with 
the exception of two journeys to Italy. He undertook 
these journeys in the hope of realizing in a practical 
way his political ideals. He made his second Italian 
journey upon the invitation of Dion, in the hope of in 
fluencing the younger Dionysius, and the third Italian 
journey in order to reconcile Dion and Dionysius. This 
last journey brought him again into great personal danger. 

What was the Academy ? It was a public grove or 
garden in the suburbs of Athens (see map, p. 219) that 
had been left to the city for gymnastics by a public- 
spirited man named Academus. It had been surrounded 
by a wall and had been adorned by olive trees, statues, 
and temples. Near this inclosure Plato possessed by 
inheritance a small estate. It was here that he opened 
his school, and few places could be more favorable for 
the study of philosophy. Plato bequeathed this estate 
to the school, which held the property in a corporate 
capacity for several centuries. The leader of the school 
was called scholarch, and he appointed his own successor. 

PLATO 125 

The school was a kind of religious brotherhood based 
upon the worship of the Muses. 

Note that Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle finished 
their education at an age much beyond what is supposed 
to be the limit in modern time. They were, in fact, mature 
men before they began their life work. Plato was 32 
before he began to teach in Athens and 40 before he 
set himself about his real life task in the founding of 
the Academy. Democritus was 40 before he returned to 
Abdera from his travels in Asia Minor. Aristotle was 
41 when he undertook to act as tutor of Alexander, and 
49 when he began his administration of the Lyceum. 

The dialogues of the third period of Plato s life con^ 
tain his constructive theory, and are his masterpieces o 
art. The topics with which they deal show the advance 
of his thought over the dialogues of his first period. 
The purely Socratic dialogues were ethical discussions ; 
these are ethical, metaphysical, and physical. 

Phcedrus, Plato s delivery of his programme upon 
his entrance into active teaching in the Academy, 
in 386 B. c. 

Symposium, an exposition of his entire doctrine in 
" love speeches." It is the most artistic of his writ 
ings, and represents the climax of his intellectual 
power (385 or 384 B. c.). 

Republic (major portion). The composition of the 
Republic extended over a long period. It is a 
discussion : (1) concerning justice (written in the 
second period, see above) ; (2) concerning the 
ideal state which shall realize justice ; (3) concern 
ing the Idea of the Good and in criticism of the 
constitutions of states. It is Plato s masterpiece 
and his life work. 


Parmenides and Sophist, written to express the ol> 
jections to the theory of Ideas, and to discuss such 
objections. (Windelband holds these dialogues 
were not written by Plato, but by some member 
of his school. This is, however, not the consensus 
of opinion.) 
Politicus, a discussion of the field of knowledge 

and of action for a statesman. 

Phcedo, Plato s final will and testament to the school, 
written shortly before his third Sicilian journey, 
in 361 B. c. It is his completed conception of the 
Idea of the Good and of the relation of other 
Ideas to it. It contains Anaxagorean and Pythago 
rean elements. 
Philebus, concerning the ingredients of the Idea of 

the Good. 

Timceus, Plato s conception of physical nature, ex 
pressed in mythical form. 
Laws, the work of Plato s old age, his revision of 

the ideal State. 

Concerning the Dialogues 1 of Plato. The early 
philosophers presented their philosophy in metrical 
form as poems " concerning nature " ; Socrates per 
petuated his teachings through conversations with men j 
Plato made his influence permanent by written dia 
logues ; Aristotle s philosophy, in the works that have 
been preserved, stands in the form of treatises whose 
sole purpose is that of exposition. Plato s dialogues 
therefore have a twofold place in the history of litera- 

1 B. Jowett, Dialogues of Plato, trans, into English with analyses 
and introductions, 4 vols. 

See p. 158 for selections from the dialogues made by Jowett for Eng 
lish readers. 

PLATO 127 

ture. On the one hand, in the history of literature 
proper we have already mentioned them as standing 
after the Greek drama in the development of Greek 
dialectics ; on the other hand, in the development of 
philosophical instruction they stand between the con 
versations of Socrates and the scientific expositions 
of Aristotle. 

Plato was the first child of Fortune, and the com 
plete preservation of his works was the most remark 
able proof of it. ^Eschylus was the author of at least 
70 writings, of which 7 are preserved ; Euripides was 
the author of 95 writings, of which 18 are preserved ; 
Sophocles had 123 writings, aside from his lyric works, 
of which 7 are preserved. Shakespeare wrote 36 plays, 
Plato wrote 35 dialogues that are genuine. All of 
Plato s writings have come down to us. Why were the 
writings of Plato preserved from the destroying hand 
of time? There are at least three causes of their 
preservation : (1) they had intrinsic beauty ; (2) there 
was contemporary public interest in them ; (3) the 
chief cause, Plato s school kept close guard over them. 

By the dialogue Plato could employ the Socratio 
method, give dramatic effect, and idealize Socrates. 
The Republic is his crowning literary effort, and the 
most complete statement of his mature political views. 
Perhaps the Philebus is the best expression of his 
idea of goodness, and presents his most complete or 
ganization of the sciences. All Plato s dialogues have 
a transparent beauty and a purity of diction ; and they 
may be taken as a revelation of himself. All are dia 
logues save the Apology, but the dialogue element 
grows less and less in his later works. Socrates is usu 
ally the spokesman in them, and to him is usually given 


the deciding word. Only a few have a fixed plan of ar 
gument. One thread and then another is followed, and 
in many no decision whatever is reached ; for the dia 
logues must always be taken as artistic products in 
which philosophical experiences are idealized. Plato 
often employs myths or parables to illuminate his ar 
guments. The situations and the literary adornments 
show the human touch, and the conversation often moves 
to a dramatic close. 

In the Republic Plato sought to formulate theo 
retically certain political conceptions of the ideal State 
that were then in the air. It is interesting to note that 
his conception influenced the political idealism of later 
time, as, for example, Cicero s De Rcpublica, August 
ine s City of God, More s Utopia, Campanella s State 
of the Sun, Bacon s New Atlantis, Macchiavelli s 11 

The Factors in the Construction of Plato s Doctrine. 

i. His Inherited Tendencies, (a) In the first 
place Plato was by instinct an aristocrat. His family 
was one of the most distinguished in Athens, and traced 
its descent from Solon and Codrus. In making an esti 
mate of his philosophy one must take account of the 
caste of society in which he was born. His metaphysi 
cal theory of Ideas is aristocratic, and in it he turns 
from all that is of the earth earthy to what is above 
the life of " opinion." His four cardinal virtues are 
possible only to the few. His political attitude was 
peculiar. He was hostile to the democracy, and yet his 
political idealism diverged so far from the practical 
politics of Athenian aristocracy that he completely ab 
stained from public life. With Plato, philosophy once 
more retires to the school. Here we have the strange 

PLATO 129 

juxtaposition of Socrates, the teacher, who had been 
engaged in a practical reformation, whose father was 
an artisan and whose mother a midwife, and Plato, his 
adoring pupil and truest interpreter, Plato, the 
idealist, " whose speculation is not like the Philistine, 
whose life is spent in the market place or the work 
shop, and whose world is measured by the narrow 
boundaries of his native town ; it is the lord of the 
manor, who retires to his mansion, after having seen 
the world, and turns his gaze towards the distant hori 
zon ; disdaining the noise of the cross-roads, he mingles 
only in the best society, where is heard the most ele 
gant, the noblest, and the loftiest language that has 
ever been spoken in the home of the Muses." 1 

(b) In the next place Plato had an instinctive love 
for the beautiful, and in this he was great, even in his 
time. Every Periclean Greek was artistic, but Plato 
was more than this. He is to be ranked among the 
great creators of the art of his day, with Phidias and 
Sophocles. He represented in his person everything 
ideally Greek. He was a man of great beauty, a human 
Apollo, a man endowed with every physical and mental 
talent, and his moral character was almost ideal in its 
purposes. His real name was Aristocles, and he got his 
name Plato from his broad frame. The artistic devel 
opment of the time appealed to him in his youth, and 
he was early interested in the writing of epic and dra 
matic poetry. This artistic instinct determined in no 
small measure not only the form of the presentation of 
his thought, but also the content of the thought itself. 
It determined his principle of conceiving the Ideas, the 
constitution of his State, his theory of pleasure, and his 
1 Goethe. 


conception of the highest Good. The artistic form of 
the presentation of his writings was as important to 
him as the matter presented. 

2. His Philosophical Sources. Plato had received 
a careful education that made him familiar with all 
the scientific theories of current interest to the Athe 
nians. The elements of the earlier philosophies, that 
were fundamental to the mechanical atomism of De- 
inocritus, were recombined in a different way by Plato 
under the influence of Socrates ethical principle. Even 
Plato s political and artistic ideals are subordinate to 
his entire absorption in the personality and teaching of 
Socrates. Heracleitus, Protagoras, Parmenides, and, 
later, Anaxagoras and the Pythagoreans, furnished 
him with his philosophical materials. We may point 
out three of the preceding philosophies that had an 
especially powerful influence upon him: those of (1) 
Socrates ; (2) Parmenides ; and (3) the Pythagoreans. 
His revered master, Socrates, furnished Plato through 
out with the conceptual principle, by which he worked 
over all his material into his daring system. The influ 
ence of Parmenides upon him was also very great. He 
speaks of the Eleatic as " Parmenides, my father." 
Plato betook himself to the Eleatic school at Megara 
upon the death of Socrates, and this shows that he 
must already have been hospitable to the philosophy 
which taught the conception of an absolute and eternal 
essence of things known by the human reason. The in 
fluence of the Pythagoreans was felt by Plato on his 
first visit to Italy. This influence grew with him, and 
seems to dominate the dialogue of his old age, the 
Laws. The Eleatic Oneness was a single, immutable 
block. In the Pythagorean doctrine of numbers he 

PLATO 131 

found the conceptual divisions of that Oneness, and he 
also found that such conceptions would give a content 
to Socrates conception of the Good. Indeed, the num 
bers seemed to be the conceptual models for which 
Socrates was searching. Mathematical truths are inde 
pendent of perception. They are innate ideas. They 
are eternal and immutable Forms. They were the 
weapons needed against the Protagorean doctrine of 
perception. While Plato agreed with Heracleitus that 
the visible world is a changing world, and with Pro 
tagoras that our sense-perceptions of that world can 
yield only relative truth, he developed his philosophy 
almost entirely on its conceptual side ; and this is due 
to the influence first of Socrates, second of Parmenides, 
and third of the Pythagoreans. Plato s completed 
philosophy was the theory of Ideas., worked over in his 
mind a half-century or more, and is in itself a history 
of the development of pure concepts. 

The Divisions of Plato s Philosophy. Plato himself 
had no clear conception of an exact division of science, 
and did not confine himself in a single dialogue to a 
single science. Aristotle, however, distinguished in the 
philosophy of his master dialectic, ethics, and physics, 
and these divisions of Plato s teaching have been tra 
ditionally adopted. The dialectic, as commonly used in 1 
his time, meant " the dialogue or conversation employed ) 
as a means of scientific investigation." It was trans- I 
formed by Plato to mean not logical but metaphysical 
discussion. Plato was concerned with the laws of Being 
rather than the laws of logic, and, as Being to him 
consisted of Ideas, his dialectic interest was to reduce 
experience by division and induction to some unity. 
Plato s dialectic was not logical but methodological, 


logical operations taken as a whole, by means of 
which the Ideas and their relations to one another were 
to be found. The physics of Plato is of little value. It 
was an afterthought to satisfy the demands of his school. 
The world of nature phenomena could never be for Plato 
the object of true knowledge. Unfortunately, the teleo- 
logical physics of Plato was regarded by the Hellen 
istic time and the Middle Ages as Plato s most im 
portant achievement. Plato wrote entirely in the spirit 
of the Enlightenment, and his works show a great inter 
est in man as a moral being, but little interest in physi 
cal nature. 

Summary of Plato s Doctrine. The interpretation of 
Plato as set forth in what follows may be thus sum 
marized : Plato began with the conceptual form of ideal 
ism, suggested by the logical method of Socrates, with 
the purpose of solving logical and ethical problems. He 
advanced to a teleological idealism, conditioned by the 
doctrines of Anaxagoras and the Pythagoreans, with the 
purpose of applying his doctrine to physical problems. 

The Formation of Plato s Metaphysics. In his ear 
liest period Plato made these very clear statements: 
(1) virtue is knowledge; (2) by knowledge is not meant 
sense-perceptions. In his final statement ofTus philo 
sophy, as he bequeathed it to posterity, he only gave a 
new evaluation of these two early principles, although 
he expressed them in a highly complex form. " Virtue 
is knowledge " is the basis of agreement between Socra 
tes and the Sophists ; and " by knowledge is not meant 
sense-perceptions " is the basis of their opposition. 
During Plato s early period he was acting as a faithful 
transcriber of Socrates in the presentation of this first 
principle : virtue is knowledge, is teachable, is one. Dur- 

PLATO 133 

ing Plato s second period he was called on to defend the 
second statement against the Sophists. Plato s formation 
of his own theory begins at this point, at the point 
where his defense of his master was keenest. From this 
time, for a full half -century, Plato developed the Socra- 
tic principles in a theory that went far beyond Socrates, 
but that was never untrue to him. 

The simplest way of stating Plato s formation of his 
own doctrine is this : he accepted the Protagorean doc 
trine of a perceptual world of relative knowledge ; he 
placed it beside the Socratic theory of conceptual reality ; 
and as a result be conceived the world to be twofold. 
Both Being and Becoming share in reality^. There are, on 
thejjnejside, the immutable concepts that compose true 
reality ; there are on the other sjde^lbe changing p p r- 
ceptions that come and go v The world of true eality_is, 
but never becomes ; the world of relative reality becomes, 
but never is. These two worlds are by nature separate ; 
one is the object of the reason, the other is the object* 
of the senses ; one is incorporeal, the other is corporeal. 
The first world is the immutable One of the Eleatics " 
presented by Plato as a plural number of Socratic con 
cepts ; the other world is the Heracleitan flux presented - 
as perceivable things. There is true knowledge, but 
Protagoras is right in saying that it cannot be found in 
the perception of the material world. It is knowledge 
of an incorporeal world, and that is precisely the world 
of Socratic concepts which now in Plato s hands become 

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that 
Plato s conception of the world was an artificial eclec 
ticism, obtained by putting two worlds side by side. To 
be sure, he never was able to bring them into an organic 


unity, and the dualism between them is often very 
marked. But they do not lie like two drawers in a 
desk, each having no vital influence on the character of 
the other. In the juxtaposition of the two worlds each 
gets a new meaning, and the value of each becomes 

In the first place, perception l gets a new value. The 
logic of the Sophistic doctrine of perception was that 
perceptions are the only form of knowledge, and even 
perceptions have no share of truthfulness. Protagoras 
himself did not go so far as this absolute skepticism, 
but this is the logic of his position. Perceptions can 
have no value, because each is a standard to itself. 
Plato incorporates the perception theory into his cwn, 
and immediately gives it a new value. Perceptions do I 

font thfty havg q \ 

relative_jvalue. They have a value for the practical \ 
world, although the highest they can give is Right Opin 
ion. When we remember that the world of that day was 
weary of its own speculations leading to nihilism, it is 
remarkable that Plato did not turn away entirely from 
the doctrine of the Sophists. On the contrary, he took 
up the Sophistic doctrine into his own and gave to it a 
value which it had not possessed by itself. 

In the second place, conception gets a new value. 
What was conception to Socrates ? It was the common 
content of opinions and perceptions ; it was the uni 
versal that was developed inductively out of many par 
ticulars. Socrates brought many particulars together in 
order to reveal their common qualities. The abode of 
conceptions was to Socrates the half -formed individual 
opinions and experiences in which conception lay, as in 

1 For the distinction between perception and conception, see p. 83. 

PLATO 135 

an envelope ; and the conversation was needed to bring 
it forth. The concept to Socrates was the logical " na 
ture " of perceptions. But now since Plato admitted the 
relative reality of all perceptions, he was obliged to look 
elsewhere to account for conceptions. If the conceptions 
are true reality, they cannot be the common quality in 
opinions, nor the logical " nature " of changing percep 
tions. The true conception cannot be contained in the 
perception. Accordingly the conception must exist in an \ 
incorporeal world and possess an independent reality. 
The concepts are hypostasized by Plato. They become 
Ideas. Thus the Socratic concept became the Platonic 

Idea and foT tJin first. ti,vn.p. in T^tivfvnp.ftfrt. tJi-QUdJlt* TCdl- 

\ty is conceived as immaterial* The conceptual world 
grows under Plato s hands to be "other than" the 
perceptual world, and this was his first step beyond 
Socrates. The_ conceptual world Jsjfche perfect reality . 
jhaj^annotj^contained in any material thing nor in ( 
the sum of all material things. The immaterial Ideas 
are the object of thought, as nature phenomena are the 
objects of perception. Ideas are not the abstractions of 
perceptions, for the process of thought is not an ana 
lysis nor an abstraction, but an intuition of reality pre 
sented in single instances. Ideas are the reality of which 
perceptions are the copies or shadows. Perceptions do 
not contain the truth. They are only the suggestions or 
promptings by which the soul bethinks itself of the 
Ideas. Material things merely hint to the soul of the 
existence of the Ideas. 

It is important in this connection to point out that 
Plato s conception of immateriality is not to be taken 
as what we mean in modern times by the spiritual or 
psychical ; for, according to Plato, our psychical funo 


tions belong to the world of Becoming, just as the funo. 
tions of our body and other perceptual things belong 
to it. Besides, even the Ideas of sense qualities have 
reality. Plato does not identify the human mind with 
the incorporeal world of Ideas, nor does he make the 
modern dualistic division of the world into mind and 
matter. The immaterial world is " other than " the 
world of perception, and bears the relation to the mate 
rial world of the unchanging to the changing, of the 
simple to the manifold, of Being to Becoming. 

The Development of Plato s Metaphysics The 
Development of Plato s Ideas in the Two Drafts. The 
twofold world with its new evaluation of the Socratic 
conception and of the Protagorean perception was, after 
all, only Plato s point of departure for his constructive 
work. It was his first and undeveloped apprehension 
of a theory of Ideas. It appeared first in the Meno in 
his doctrine of recollection and immortality, which was 
written in his second period just after his series of 
splendid polemics against the Sophists. From this time 
for a full half-century Plato developed the conception 
of a twofold world into a Theory of Ideas. In the course 
of time he found himself confronted with three prob 
lems : (1) How many Ideas are there ? (2) What is 
the relation between Ideas and physical things ? (3) 
What is the relation of the Ideas to one another ? 
Plato s answers to these three questions compose what 
is known as his Theory of Ideas. However, he answers 
these three questions differently when he first consid 
ered them than later, when his grasp upon the signifi 
cance of his problem became more mature. Plato s 
Theory of Ideas, therefore, may be said to have had a 
development in two stages. These two stages are called 

PLATO 137 

his "two drafts" (Windelband) of the Ideas. We 
shall now present, first in summary form and then in 
more detail, his answers to these three questions in the 
two drafts, and thereby show how his theory developed 
to its final formulation. 

Brief Comparison of the Two Drafts of the Ideas. 

1. The Earlier Draft of Ideas. 

(a) The Number of Ideas is infinite. 

(6) The Relation of Ideas to Physical Things is 
similarity. The Ideas on their side are spoken of as 
having a " presence " in physical things, but never fully 
appearing in them ; the physical phenomena on their 
side are spoken of as " participating " in the Ideas. 

(c) The Ideas are Related to One Another logic 
ally, as genera to species, but they are only roughly clas 
sified by Plato. 

2. The Later Draft of Ideas Plato s Final State- 

() The Number of Ideas is limited to those of 
worth, mathematical relations., and nature-products, but 
Plato never arrived at any definite selection. 

(5) The Relation of Ideas to Physical Things is 
tejejplo^icaLjrhe Ideas are the ideal or purposeful ends 
of physical objects,. 

(c) The Ideas are Related to One Another teleolog- 
ically. The Idea of the Good stands at the Lead, and 
is the purposeful end of all the other Ideas. 

Comparison of the Two Drafts of Ideas in More 

i. The Number of Ideas in the Earlier and Later 
Drafts compared. When Plato first presented the 
Theory of Ideas to himself, he conceived their number 
to be infinite. There are Ideas of everything that is 


thinkable. There are as many as there are class con 
cepts, as there are qualities of things in the universe, 
as there are common nouns in the language. But 
it was pointed out to Plato that he had only repro 
duced and paralleled in the immaterial world what 
exists in the material world ; that such a theory did 
not solve, but only doubled our difficulties. Then there 
were technical difficulties in the conception of the Ideas 
of everything of things, qualities, relations, good, 
bad, and indifferent. But what probably appealed to 
him most cogently was the raillery to which he found 
his theory subjected (see Parmenides), that he as a 
Greek could think of ugly Ideas, like hair and filth, as 
real. The result was that in the later drafting of his 
theory the number of qualities worthy to be called 
Ideas becomes very much limited. Plato makes the 
elimination from no avowed principle except that of 
worth, because as a Greek it was absolutely repel 
lent to him to regard anything as real except worth. 
Consequently in his later dialogues he speaks of (1) 
Ideas having an inherent value, like the Good arid the 
Beautiful, (2) Ideas corresponding to nature products, 
(3) Ideas of mathematical relations. Norms of value 
thus take the place of class-concepts, and in his selec 
tion of Ideas his choice is determined more and more 
by their moral worth. 

2. The Relation of Ideas and the World of Nature 
in the Two Drafts compared. Plato did not con 
struct his world of Ideas in order to explain the world 
of physical nature. His original purpose was to find 
an object for knowledge ; and his Ideas were born out 
of his striving to give a reality to the conceptions of 
Socrates. In his evaluation of the doctrine of his mas- 

PLATO 139 

ter he had drawn a distinction between the two worlds, 
but he had not thought of explaining one by the other. 
They were related and distinguished, but one threw no 
light upon the other. In Plato s first draft of the Ideas 
he speaks of this relation as imitation. The pheno 
mena are an imitation of reality. The Ideas are the 
originals and physical objects are copies. To state the 
relation in modern terms, the laws of the growth of a 
tree are permanent, while the tree changes. The lower 
world of Becoming has a similarity to the higher world 
of Being. As the Pythagoreans had conceived things! 
as imitations of numbers, Plato, strongly influenced by\ 
the Pythagoreans, thought that concrete things corre 
spond to their class concepts only in a degree. On the 
one hand, the individual thing partakes of the universal 
of the Idea, and this is called "participation" in the 
Idea. On the other hand, the word " presence " de 
scribes the way the Idea exists in the thing, which 
means that the Idea is present in the thing so long as 
the thing possesses the quality of the Idea. The Ideas 
are present and then withdraw, and thus the perception 

In the second drafting of the Ideas, Plato has become 
conscious of the need of explaining physical nature 
by the Ideas. He did not at first think of explain 
ing the nature of the physical world by his metaphysi 
cal reality. It was an afterthought, and arose out of 
the compulsion of having a systematic theory. Hi? 
conception of the world of Ideas as the world of true 
Being ultimately demanded that the world of physical 
nature should be not merely " other than " but depend 
ent upon the Ideas. The Ideas are unchanging; the 
phenomena are changing. If the Ideas are the reality 


of the changing world, in what other sense can they 
be its reality than as its cause ? The Meno, Thecete- 
tus, Symposium, and Phcedrus do not discuss this 
problem. The /Sophist proposes it, and in the Phcedo 
the thought is first expressed that the Ideas are the 
causes of physical phenomena appearing as they do 
appear. But how can the Ideas be causes, when the 
very conception of them as pure and immaterial real 
ities denies to them all qualities of motion and change ? 
The Platonic theory reached its zenith in its solution 
of this problem. The Ideas must be conceived as the 
causes of nature phenomena, and still as not moving 
nor suffering change. They are teleological causes. 
They are the realized ends of the phenomenal world. 
The world of Ideas is the actual goal of perfection for 
physical nature. The world of Ideas is not only the 
truth of all knowledge ; it is also the perfect teleologi 
cal cause of all actual change. This thought is devel 
oped in the Philebus and the Republic, where the 
Ideas as a whole, and in particular the Idea of the 
Good, to which all the other Ideas are means, 
stand as the final cause of all occurrence. The physical 
phenomena stand therefore in a teleological relation to 
the Idea of the Good. From the Good all things get 
their meaning. It permeates and explains all. 

3. The Relation among the Ideas in the Two Drafts 
compared. It was natural that the conception of a 
pluralism of Ideas should lead Plato to a consideration 
of the law of their relationship. A systematic theory 
of a multiplicity of reals involves their orderly relation 
ship. They cannot exist independently in the same 
world. What is the relationship among the Ideas ? In 
the earlier drafting of his theory Plato was principally 

PLATO 141 

attentive to the relations of coordination and subordi 
nation among the Ideas ; in the possibility of the divi 
sion of class concepts into genera and species. The 
relationship that he sought was logical relationship, the 
relationship that the scientist seeks to find in the clas 
sification of plants or rocks. Just what result Plato 
tried to reach by such a logical classification of his 
realities, it is difficult to say. He was not successful. 
His attempt to erect a logically arranged pyramid of 
conceptions with the most abstract at the apex was not 
carried out. 

In his second drafting of the Ideas, Plato felt the 
inadequacy of a mere logical relationship among them, 
and conceived them to be teleologically related. His 
reduction of the number of Ideas had naturally brought 
about a new conception of their relationship. There 
must be some principle for their elimination, for the 
rejecting of some and the keeping of others. That 
principle was the principle of their ethical worth. That 
is to say, the Idea of the Good, which had been the 
standard for eliminating some concepts from the list 
of Ideas and for retaining others, now became for him 
the principle of the relationship of the Ideas among 
themselves. Plato turned from the logical to the teleo- 
logical relation among Ideas. The Idea of the Good 
embraces and realizes all the others. It is therefore the 
absolute end of all the other Ideas, and they bear the 
relation to it, not of particulars to a general term, but; 
of means to an end. The principle in their selection 
becomes the principle of their arrangement. 

Plato s Conception of God. The above sketch of the 
formation and development of Plato s theory of Ideaa 
shows how difficult it would be to frame a short defini- 


tion of them that would at the same time be adequate. 
As he finally defined them, they are immaterial arche 
types or ideals, dominated by a moral purpose. This 
dominating moral purpose in the Ideas is the highest 
Idea of all, the Idea of the Good, which stands above 
all the others and gives to them and to everything else 
their value and indeed their actuality. 

Is this Idea of the Good the same as God? Plato 
calls the Good " Deity " and the " World Reason," and 
ascribes to it the name of Nous. Nevertheless the Idea 
of the Good is not the same as the Christian God, and 
Plato is only showing here the influence of Anaxagoras 
conception upon him. (See p. 47.) The Idea of the 
Good is not a person or a spiritual being. It is merely 
the absolute ethical end and purpose of the world. 
Plato did not attempt to give it a content, any more 
than did his master, Socrates ; but Plato presupposed 
it, because it was in itself the simplest and most com 
prehensible thing in the world. 

Plato s Conception of Physical Nature. Plato con 
structed a rough sketch of the philosophy of nature in 
his later years, in compliance with the needs of his 
School, and perhaps with the urging of his pupil, Aris 
totle. In his earlier period, he would have nothing of 
physics, and was in this respect quite in accord with 
the spirit of Socrates. To the end of his life he 
maintained that there can be no true knowledge of the 
physical world ; for it is a world of change, and there 
fore all scientific conclusions about it could be only 
probable. In a mythical account in the Timceus he drew 
a picture of the constitution of the world. He conceived 
a Demiurge or world-forming God to exist, and he 
thought that this God made the world out of not-Being 

PLATO 143 

or empty space " with regard to the Ideas." The world 
thus constructed is conceived by Plato as a huge living 
thing, composed of a visible body and an invisible soul. 
The world-soul sets the world-body in a circular motion, 
which motion was considered by antiquity to be the most 
perfect of all motions. In sharp opposition to the me 
chanical theory of the world, Plato conceived the world 
to be endowed with knowledge, of which the spherical 
motion in its return upon itself is the symbol. The world 
is unitary and unique, the most perfect and most beau 
tiful world, and its origin can be traced only to a reason 
working toward ends. Plato s physics, of which the 
above is an abbreviated account, will be seen to be of 
little importance ; but it was unfortunately, as we have 
said, this side of his doctrine that was emphasized in 
the Middle Ages. 

This mythical account shows, however, the inherent 
dualism in Plato s doctrine. The Idea never fully real 
izes itself in corporeal things, and Plato was called on 
to explain the cause of the evil and imperfection of 
the physical world. Moreover, the imperfection of the 
physical world got new emphasis in the influence upon 
him of the Pythagorean doctrine, which had set the per 
fect and imperfect worlds in opposition. What prevent! 
the Idea from fully appearing in phenomena ? The more 
Plato conceived the world of Ideas as ethical Ideals 
and a kingdom of pure worth, and the more teleological 
the Ideas became, the less could he regard the Ideas 
as the cause of imperfection in nature. Ideas are Be 
ing, and the essence of perfection. The cause of im 
perfection must therefore be that which has no being 
whatsoever. The physical world as "becoming" has 
participation, not only in that which has Being (Ideas), 


but in that which has no Being (empty space). The 
physical world has a composite character. It has sprung 
from the union of the Ideas and an absolutely negative 
factor, which Plato calls empty space. This eternal 
negative is formless and unfashioned, but it is capable 
of taking on all possible forms. The physical universe 
is therefore neither Ideas simply, nor matter simply, 
but a composition of the two. This non-Being is not 
like the matter, "unformed stuff," of Aristotle, from 
which all sensible things are made ; but it is that in 
which Ideas have to appear. The Ideas are plunged 
into this empty non-Being, which they take on as a veil. 
And just this is the origin of imperfection ; non-Being 
withholds the Ideas from perfect expression. Non- 
Being, or empty space, is an indispensable auxiliary to 
the Ideas, for without it no physical universe would be 
possible. But at the same time it is the eternal foe and 
obstruction of the Ideas. Its cooperation with the Ideas 
is at the same time a resistance to them. It is the 
perpetual negation of Being, and the primary cause of 
imperfection, change, and instability. On this account 
the universe can never be like the Ideas, but it can 
approximate them. The soul of the world, for example, 
which was regarded by Plato in Pythagorean fashion 
as number subjecting chaotic space to harmony, is 
the most perfect reproduction of the Idea of the Good. 
The existence of matter detracts from the perfection of 
the world, but it does not detract from the majesty of 
the Ideas. 

Plato s Conception of Man. Plato needed a psycho 
logy of another sort from that developed by the Cos- 
mologists. His analysis of the mental life of man stands 
or falls with his metaphysical theory of Ideas, but it 

PLATO 145 

has this importance : it is the first attempt to under 
stand the psychical life from within. 

The dualism of the two worlds appears in sharp out 
lines in the narrower field of the life of man. The soul 
of man belongs to both worlds. On the one hand, it 
belongs to the world of Becoming and partakes of that 
world through its sense-perceptions, desires, and their 
pleasures. In this lower world it is the principle of 
life and motion ; it is that which moves itself and other 
things. On the other hand, it shares in the world of 
Being through its intuitive reason or knowledge. It 
shares in the instability and change of psychical phe 
nomena ; it also possesses the immutability of reality. 
Through its perceptions it constructs its " opinions " 
or inferences of changing phenomena ; through its rea 
son it has true knowledge of the eternal Ideas. There 
fore the soul must bear in itself traits that correspond 
to the two worlds. Plato conceives man to have an ir 
rational and a rational nature ; and he divides the irra 
tional nature into two parts, the noble irrational part 
and the ignoble irrational part. The rational part of 
man is the reason, the noble irrational part is the will, 
the ignoble irrational part is the sensuous appetites. 

( Rational nature = reason. 
Man | ( Noble = will 

( Irrational nature < Ignoble = sensuous appe- 
( tites. 

This is the celebrated doctrine of the " three parts " 
of the soul. Are they three parts or three functions of 
the soul ? Plato is not clear as to this point. He some 
times speaks of them as three divisions, and treats them 
as separable in such a way that only the reason is im 
mortal and the other two parts are mortal. Again, he 


speaks of the soul as a unity, which carries with it in 
the next life all three functions. In this latter meaning 
the three parts are three natures or three different de 
grees of worth of the unitary soul. 

Plato s Doctrine of Immortality. Beginning with 
this conception of the dual nature of the human soul, 
Plato reasons both backward and forward from it: 
backward to its pre-existence, and forward to its post- 
existence, its existence after death. In the JPhcedo, 
Plato has put into the mouth of what has become his 
Platonized Socrates his final thought concerning the 
relation of this present life to its past and its future. It 
is plainly the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, 
which he got from the Pythagoreans. The soul has a 
reality that is imperishable, and the soul is rewarded 
or punished for its conduct in one existence by the kind 
of existence into which it is metamorphosed. In prison, 
on that fatal day when he drank the poison, Socrates 
explained to those around him why he was so cheerful 
at the thought of death. Is not our present existence a 
kind of death ? Is not the soul in the present life de 
terred from true knowledge by the trammels of the 
bodily desires ? The true philosopher is he who turns 
away from his body s passions, dies to them, and 
tries to live the reality of the world of Ideas. We shall 
have full knowledge when we pass beyond the grave 
and then we shall be rewarded, if we have striven truly. 
But at present our body hampers and misleads us with 
its perceptions of changing mortality around us, and 
with its transitory desires. This life itself is the reward 
or punishment for our conduct in our preceding state. 

i. The Immortality of Pre-existence. What proof 
does Plato offer for our existence before this life ? The 

PLATO 147 

Ideas, these testimonies of reality, form a part of the 
human soul. They are eternal, and have not been ere 
ated by the soul. Knowledge is not the origination of 
a new truth, but is the recognition of Ideas, whose 
presence the mind merely records. Greek psychology 
never got much farther than this. The modern psycho 
logical conception of the soul as a dynamic something, 
which creates its own content, was quite foreign to the 
Greeks. To Plato, as to all other Greeks, the soul is as 
passive as the wax that receives the impress of the seal. 
All Greek psychology was under this general limita 
tion : all ideas must be " given " to the soul. There 
fore if the Ideas are not " given " by perception, be 
cause perception is of the changing ; if nevertheless 
the soul finds itself in possession of the Ideas on the 
occasion of perception ; if the soul did not create the 
Ideas, because the soul is by nature passive ; the logi 
cal and only conclusion is that the soul was already in 
possession of the Ideas in a pre-existent state. Pre- 
existence is the only way of accounting for the full- 
born knowledge of the soul, and it is interesting to note 
how important was the pre-existent state to the imagi 
nation of the ancient world. 

Plato therefore advanced the doctrine of reminis 
cence, or as he called it, Anamnesis, as proof of our 
pre-existence. Knowledge is recollection. The Ideas 
have always been present in the mind, and when we 
recognize them we have knowledge. The Ideas have no 
past or future, but they always exist. It is the mind 
that undergoes awakening an awakening to their 
existence in itself. When the mind sees the objects of 
physical nature, it awakens in painful astonishment at 
the contrast between the sense world and the Ideas of 


its native world of immateriality. In a mythical repre 
sentation in the Phcedrus, Plato supposes that be 
fore the present life our souls have beheld the pure 
Ideas in their full reality, that the Ideas had been for 
gotten in our birth into the present life, but that the 
perception of similar corporeal things calls the soul 
back to the Ideas themselves. Then the " Eros " is 
awakened the native philosophical impulse or inborn 
love for the Ideas, by which the soul is raised again to 
the knowledge of that true reality. Only the pure Ideas 
themselves will satisfy this longing ; the embodiment of 
the Ideas in art or personalities is not adequate. The 
Eros ties us to the Ideas. God does not have this long 
ing, for He fully knows the Good. The ignorant man 
does not have this longing, for he does not suspect the 
existence of the Ideas in himself. The Eros is the 
homesickness that the lover of the truth feels. 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting, 

The soul that rises in us, our life s star, 

Hath had elsewhere its setting, 

And cometh from afar ; 

Not in entire forgetfulness, 

And not in utter nakedness, 

But trailing clouds of glory do we come 

From God, who is our home.* 

When, in the Meno, the Sophistic dilemma was pro 
posed to Socrates, " How can inquiry be made into what 
we know or into what we don t know ? " Socrates 
pointed out that the only escape from the dilemma was 
the process of recollecting, and that knowledge is the 
thing recalled. Socrates then called a slave to him, and 
by skillfully questioning him found that the slave re- 

* Read Wordsworth s Ode on Intimations of Immortality. 

PLATO 149 

cognized the mathematical relationship between the 
square on the hypothenuse of a right triangle and the 
sums of the squares on the other two sides. " The igno 
rant slave can only have been recollecting," says Soc 
rates. Mathematical knowledge is extracted from the 
sense-perception of the slave only because the slave has 
through such perception the opportunity of recollecting 
Ideas present in himself and not hitherto suspected by 
himself. In Plato s system, mathematical forms have an 
important place. They are the links by means of which 
the Idea shapes space teleologically into the sense world. 
2. The Immortality of Post-Existence. Plato s 
ground for belief in the existence of soul after death is 
practically the same as that for its previous existence. 
Its destiny hereafter depends upon how far it has 
freed itself in this earthly life from the sensuous appe 
tite. As proofs for future existence Plato mentions the 
soul s possession of the Ideas, the simplicity and unity 
of the soul, the soul as the principle of life, and t^he 
goodness of God. However weak Plato s arguments 
may be for the existence of future immortality, his ab 
solute belief in it is one of the chief points in his teach 
ing. It is interesting to note that the modern western 
world seems to have no concern in the previous state of 
the soul, but through the influence of the Christian 
religion has focused its attention upon the future life. 
Oriental religions contain the doctrine of pre-existence 
and the transmigration of souls, but not in the same 
sense as Plato. In Plato the soul possesses an identity 
that persists. It has all the qualities of the Ideas, but 
is also an entity possessing these qualities. It has non- 
origination, indestructibility, unity, and changelessness. 
The doctrine of the immortality of post-existence had 


appeared in the Greek religion, but this is the first time 
that we have found it as a part of philosophic teaching. 
The student will, of course, feel the difficulties in Plato s 
conception as he has presented it. For how can the 
soul preserve its individuality as a unity, when the soul 
belongs in part to a world which is temporal? 

The Two Tendencies in Plato. From the doctrine of 
the two worlds there are two distinct tendencies run 
ning through the entire teaching of Plato. These are 
(1) the tendency to glorify nature, and (2) the tendency 
to turn away from nature to ascetic contemplation. On 
the one hand, Plato felt within himself the light heart 
beat of the artist, and the Hellenic love of life was 
strong within him. He felt that the Idea of the Good 
was realized even in the world of sense, that there was 
pleasure in the sensuous imitation of the Idea, in prac 
tical artistic skill, and in an intelligent understanding 
of mathematical orderings. These were at least prepa 
rations for the highest Good, which consisted in know 
ledge of the Ideas. On the other hand, one finds beside 
this the ascetic tendency to be repelled by nature, a 
negative ethics that would leave the world of sense and 
would spiritualize the life. The Theaztetus sets up an 
ideal of retirement for the philosopher, and points out 
that he should find refuge as soon as possible from the 
evils of the world in the divine presence. The Phcedo 
pictures the whole life of the philosopher as a dying, a 
purification of the soul, an existence in prison, from 
which escape is only by virtue and knowledge. This 
ascetic tendency seems very anti-Greek ; and yet is it 
foreign to Greek life? In Greek history do we not 
find, by the side of the Epic and the glorification of 
nature, the Mysteries and the withdrawal of the indi 

PLATO 151 

vidual from the world ? Both these historic tendencies 
appear in Plato, and on the whole the ascetic tendency- 
is stronger. The Ideas are contrasted with the nature 
world more often than they transfigure it. The dualism 
of Heaven and earth is emphasized, and the contrast 
is strongly drawn between the reality of the Ideas and 
the temporality of sense. 

Platonic Love. Described in technical terms, in both 
Socrates and Plato, Love (Eros) is the philosophic and 
not a purely intellectual impulse. Its rather more didac 
tic character in Socrates of an attempt to engender 
knowledge and virtue in others appears in Plato in a 
larger way as the personal and practical realization of 
the truth. Reduced to its simplest terms, Platonic Love 
is the longing of the human being in his imperfectness 
for perfectness and completeness. It is the innate de 
sire for immortality. 

True love, according to Plato, takes its beginning in 
the astonishment or pain at the presentment of the 
Ideas through remembrance, and the starting-point of 
Love in an individual is the principle fundamental in 
pre-existence. The philosophic impulse for the Ideas 
takes the form of Love, because visible beauty has a 
special brightness and makes a strong impression on the 
mind. Love belongs only to mortal natures ; for they, 
since they do not possess the divine unchangeableness, 
have to propagate themselves continually. Love may be 
described therefore as the propagative impulse. On the 
one side it may be viewed as an inspiration from above, 
springing from the higher, divinely-related nature in 
man ; on the other hand it may be viewed as an aspira 
tion from below of the sensuous and human in man. 
On this side it is a yearning and not a possession ; and 


it presupposes a want. Analyzed in this way, Love is 
the middle term between having and not having. It is 
the union of the higher and lower natures in man, and 
throughout the universe there stirs this longing for the 
eternal and imperishable. 

What is the object of this Love, of this desire of the 
finite to fill itself with the eternal and to generate some 
thing enduring? That object is the possession of the 
Good, which is happiness. The possession of the Good 
is immortality. What is the external condition of Love s 
existence ? The presence of Beauty ; for this alone, by 
its harmonious form, corresponds to our desire and 
awakens it. Does this Love appear first in its complete 
realization? No; there are many kinds of beauty, and 
Love is as various in degree and kind as beautiful ob 
jects. Love rises step by step, and is realized in a gradu 
ated series of forms. There is Love for beautiful shapes, 
sexual love ; Love for beautiful souls, and this appears 
in works of art, education, and legislation ; Love for 
beautiful sciences, the seeking of beauty wherever found; 
and finally Love for the pure, shapeless, eternal, and 
unchangeable the Idea, which is immortality. All else 
is preliminary to the dialectical knowledge of the Ideas. 
In all this, man is reaching out from his sense of want 
for satisfaction, from his poverty to the completed riches 
of life. Love bears him on from height to height until, 
in religion and Love of the Good, man gains his immor 
tality. In Platonic Love all kinds of Love have place 
in pointing the soul onward to the divinely perfect. 
Yet this Love for the divinely perfect is the soul s as 
piration from the beginning, and all the preliminary 
stages are only the uncertain attempts to seize the Idea 
in the copies. Love, therefore, is this universal struggle 

PLATO 153 

of the finite to inform itself with the Idea; and delight 
in any one object of beauty is a stage in the development 
of this impulse.* 

Plato s Theory of Ethics. Plato s Theory of Ideas is, 
after all, fundamentally only an outspoken ethical meta 
physics, and his Ethics is his most fruitful accomplish 
ment. Plato s ethical teaching is therefore involved in 
all that we have said about him up to this point. An 
understanding of his ethics includes an understanding 
of the formation and growth of his dialectic, an insight 
into his physical theory, knowledge of the two tenden 
cies which run through his teaching, and especially an 
understanding of his doctrine of Love. If some of the 
pravious exposition is repeated, it will be only to bring 
out more fully his ethical teaching as a special science. 
We shall speak of three topics under this general sub- 
jact of his ethics: (1) his development of his theory of 
the Good; (2) the four cardinal virtues; (3) his theory 
of political society. 

i. Development of Plato s Theory of the Good. Plato 
betrays his ascetic tendency in his first drafting of the 
Ideas and, as we have said, the double-world theory is 
the cause of this. Only one of the two worlds is real 
and will appeal to the Wise Man. The soul belongs to 
the supersensible world, and the knowledge, of which 
virtue consists, takes man away from the sensible world. 
Since earthly life is full of evil, the soul should die to 
it and turn away as soon as possible to the divine pres 
ence. This ascetic aspect of morality is set forth in the 
Phcedo and the Thecetetus. 

* Read Edmund Spenser, Hymn in Honor of Beauty ; 
Emerson, Essay on Love, also the poem on Initial, Daemonic, 
ond Celestial Love ; Bacon, Essay on Love ; Patmore, Angel 
in the House ; Sill, The Two Aphrodites. 


In the general development of his metaphysics in the 
second drafting of his Ideas, Plato s ethical theory de 
veloped also. He not only went beyond the abstract 
statement of Socrates, but beyond his own original 
asceticism. When he brought his two worlds into teleo- 
logical relationship, he was logically compelled to aban 
don his conception of ascetic morals. The physical world 
has now a relative reality, and by the same sign sense- 
life has a relative moral value. It was Plato s firm 
conviction that moral conduct makes man truly blessed, 
in this and another world. He still held, too, that this 
blessedness, this complete perfection of the soul, this 
sharing in the divine world of the Ideas, is the Highest 
Good. Yet he now came to recognize other kinds of 
happiness as steps toward the ideal Good. There are 
varieties of Goods, as appeared in his doctrine of Love. 
Besides the intuition of knowledge and its pleasures, 
there are physical Goods and their pleasures. Intellectual 
pleasure may be unmixed with pain, but there are also 
sensuous pleasures unmixed with pain. Here is indeed 
Plato, the Greek, speaking; Plato, the Greek artist, 
impelled by the charm of the Greek world around him. 
Strongly as he combated the Cyrenaic hedonism, and 
closely as he was allied to Socrates, his Greek nature 
gave way before the manifestations of the Idea of the 
Good in the physical world. The pleasure in nature ob 
jects, in educational development, in the practical and 
plastic arts, in mathematical sciences, and in the order 
liness of life all these became for him preliminary 
stages in the full participation in the ethical Good. They 
came to have for him a relative value, as expressed in 
the Philebus, Republic, and Symposium. 

2. The Four Cardinal Virtues. But Plato went 

PLATO 155 

farther, and was not content merely to point out the 
place of human conduct in the twofold world. He de 
veloped his theory of ethics systematically. He classified 
the virtues on the basis of his threefold division of the 
soul. Naturally enough, in his first draft of his theory, 
Plato followed Socrates in reducing the single virtues 
to one, viz., the virtue of knowledge. In his second 
drafting, however, in the later dialogues, he assumed 
their distinct independence, and he reflected upon their 
respective spheres. A virtue corresponds to each part 
of the soul. Each part has its own perfection, which is 
its virtue. Moreover, in so far as one or another part 
of the soul preponderates in different men, so far are 
they suited to developing the corresponding virtue. 

{Rational nature in brain ( Wis 
dom) f Noble part in heart 
Irrational na- I (CW^e) 
ture 1 Ignoble part in liver 
(^ ( Temperance) 

From the above scheme it will be observed that the 
rational nature has the brain as its organ and reaches 
its perfection or virtue in Wisdom ; that the ignoble 
irrational nature has the liver as its organ, and reaches 
its virtue in self-control or Temperance. Finally, since 
the perfection of the whole soul consists in the orderly 
relation of its single parts, so subordinated and regu 
lated that the soul can reach its highest perfection, the 
fourth and highest virtue is Justice. The four cardi 
nal virtues are Temperance, Courage, Wisdom, and 

3. Plato s Theory of Political Society. The virtue, 
Justice, has little meaning in individual ethics, and as 
an ethical perfection can only be attained in society. 


There is no English word that is quite the equivalent 
for the Greek term, but Justice is the usual translation. 
Justice, however, does not contain the moral spirit of 
the Greek word. Consistent with his conception of the 
Ideas in his metaphysics, Plato s ideal of moral perfec 
tion is to be found, not in the individual, but in the 
species. Plato pictures less the perfect man than the 
perfect society. Perfect happiness is rather that of the 
social whole than of the individual, and this ideal of 
happiness can be reached only in the ideal State. That 
is why the dialogue, the Republic, occupies so impor 
tant a place in Plato s writings. It is an attempt to 
show how the fourth and last virtue, Justice, can be 
attained. The first book was written in Plato s early 
period, and was perhaps called a " dialogue concerning 
Justice." Justice is distinctly the social virtue found 
only in a perfect society, and it will make possible the 
fulfillment of Wisdom, Courage, and Temperance. The 
individual man is a vital being whose heart is the cen 
tral organ, whose characteristic virtue is courage. His 
courage is indeed a combination of wisdom and temper 
ance. The picture is of the individual man, not amen 
able to society, but in " a state of warfare." In such 
isolation Justice would not exist as a virtue. 

The political state is necessary if the Idea of the 
Good is to be manifested in human life. The state is 
the true educator in Justice, and at the same time the 
ideal state will be the realization of Justice. The task 
of the state everywhere is the same, to wit, to direct the 
common life of man so that every one may be happy 
through virtue. The result may be attained only by so 
ordering the relations of society that Justice may pre 
vail. Plato s Republic is a carefully worked-out plan 

PLATO 157 

of such an ideal society. The author made several at 
tempts at Syracuse with the aid of Dion to get first 
the elder and then the younger Dionysius to transform 
the tyranny into an ideal state. These attempts re 
sulted disastrously. In the disappointment of his old 
age that his ideal scheme had never succeeded, he wrote 
the Laws, which is a revised version of the Republic 
with the Pythagorean number theory as a basis. 

The Spartan state is his model. The Platonic Re 
public is aristocratic. There is paternal government in 
everything, censorship of everything. Each individual s 
course is marked out for him. When Greek political 
life was undergoing dissolution, Plato raised the ideal 
of political unity as necessary to individual happiness as 
against the anarchism of segregation. Yet even in this 
he was reflecting the current distrust of political institu 
tions. The comparison of existing polit cal conditions 
with his own political ideal reinforced his aristocratic 
leanings, and made him the more distrustful of the 
political possibilities of a democracy. He believed that 
an intelligently worked out scheme of government was 
practicable, and should be forced upon people, if neces 
sary. In no other way was political salvation possible. 

Since the State is the man " writ large," it has three 
parts, corresponding to the three parts of the human 
soul. There is (1) the working or peasant class, which 
corresponds to the appetitive part of man ; the only ob 
ject of such a class is to furnish food for the State, and 
the highest virtue of this class is temperance. The peas 
ant can only work, eat, and drink, and the highest praise 
of him is that he controls his appetites. (2) The warrior 
class guards the State within and without ; and its char 
acteristic virtue is courage. The will must show its high- 


est efficiency in guidance of the emotions. (3) Highest 
of all is the cultured class of philosophers or rulers, 
who determine by their insight the laws that should 
rule the State. The virtue of this class is wisdom, for 
is this class not the brain of the State ? The perfection 
of the entire State exists when the three classes have 
their proper distribution of power. Then does justice 
exist. The duty of the rulers is therefore to have the 
highest wisdom possible, of the warriors to be unflinch 
ing in their devotion to duty, of the peasants to exercise 
self-control. Thus Plato s Republic is an aristocracy 
in the hands of the carefully cultured, which consists 
of the two upper classes. By means of community of 
wives, the exposure of deformed infants, and the State s 
education of the children of the two upper classes, a 
continuous selection can be made, the two upper classes 
can be renewed, and all private ends can be renounced 
in favor of the State. Thus the sole end of a commu 
nity is moral education, and Plato arranges his ideal 
community with reference to that. The two upper 
classes are a great family, to whom this is intrusted. 
They have dedicated their lives to the furthering of sci 
ence and to its administration. 


By Professor Benjamin Jowett, late Principal of Balliol College, Oxford. 

The figures refer to the pages in the margin of Professor Jowett s translation of 
Plato s Dialogues; the letters (A, B, C, D, E) to the subdivisions of these pages. 


Socrates prescribes for Charmides headache. 

156 D (. . . Such, Charmides, is the nature of the charm . . .) 
-157 C (. . . my dear Charmides. ) 

PLATO 159 


We only trust those who appear to know more than ourselvef. 
206 D ( Upon entering . . .) 
-210 B ( He assented. ) 


(1) The art of fighting in armour is useless to the soldier. 

182 E ( I should not like to maintain . . .) 
-184 C (. . . his opinion of the matter. ) 

(2) The harmony of "words and deeds. 

188 C ( I have but one feeling . . .) 
-189 B (. . . the difference of our ages. ) 


(1) The Sophists at the house of Callias. 
314 B ( . . . And now let us go . . .) 

-316 A (. . . rendered his words inaudible. ) 

(2) Protagoras tells the story of Prometheus and Epimetheua. 
320 D ( Once upon a time . . .) 

-322 D (. . . a plague of the state. ) 

(3) The education of a Greek child. 

325 D ( Education and admonition . . .) 
-326 E (. . . would be far more surprising. ) 


The doctrinaire politician and the true philosopher. 
304 B ( Such was the discussion, Crito . . .) 
-to end ( . . . and be of good cheer. ) 


The significations of the various letters. 
426 B ( My first notions . . .) 

-427 C (. . . and out of them by imitation compounding 
other signs. . . .) 


(1) The philosopher must study the nature of man. 

229 A ( Let us turn aside, . . .) 

-230 A (. . . a diviner and lowlier destiny ? ...) 

(2) The banks of the Ilissus. 

230 B ( ... But let me ask you, friend, . . .) 
-E (. . . in which you can read best. ) 

(3) The soul in a figure and her transmigrations. 
245 C ( The soul through all her being . . .) 

257 A (. . . leave you a fool in the world below. ) 


(4) The true orator. 

269 E ( I conceive Pericles . . .) 

-272 C (. . . and yet the creation of such an art is not easy. J 

(5) The tale of Thamus and Theuth. 

274 C ( I have heard a tradition of the ancients . . .) 

-275 C (. . . that the Theban is right in his view about letters. ) 

(6) Speech better than writing-. 

275 C ( I cannot help feeling . . .) 

-277 A (. . . to the utmost extent of human happiness. ) 

(7) The true art of composition. 

277 B ( Until a man knows the truth . . .) 

-278 D (. . . poet or speech-maker or law-maker. ) 

The inspiration of the poet. 

533 C ( I perceive, Ion, . . .) 

-536 C (. . . not by art, but by divine inspiration. ) 

The Character of Socrates. 

(1) His fit of abstraction in the porch. 

174 A ( He said that he met Socrates . . .) 
-175 C (. . . Socrates entered. . . .) 

(2) His strange appearance and marvellous power of influencing 

215 A ( And now, my boys, . . .) 

-216 C ( . . . so that I am at my wit s end. ) 

(3) His endurance, eccentricity, and bravery. 
219 E (. . . All this happened . . .) 

-222 A (. . . a good and honourable man. ) 


Learning is only Recollection (& dfa^vu) : The Immortality of the 

Soul proved out of Pindar. 
81 A ( I will tell you why . . .) 

-E (. . . active and inquisitive. . . .) 

The whole. 

The whole. 

(1) Socrates in prison. 

57-60 C (. . . pleasure appears to succeed. ) 

PLATO 161 

(2) Why the philosopher is willing to die, although he will not take 

his own life. 

60 C ( Upon this Cebes said . . .) 
-69 E (. . . ( it will be well. ) 

(3) The Description of the Other Life. 

107 C ( But then, O my friends, . . .) 
-115 A (. . . after I am dead. ) 

(4) The Death of Socrates. 

115 A ( When he had done speaking . . .) 
-to end. 


(1) The good man desires, not a long, but a virtuous, life. 
511 A ( You always contrive . . .) 

-513 A (. . . * their own perdition. . . .) 

(2) The Judgment of the Dead. 
523 A ( Listen, then, . . .) 

-527 A (. . . any sort of insult. ) 

(3) The Moral of the Tale. 

527 A ( Perhaps this may appear . . .) 
-to end. 


I Alcibiades. 

Socrates humiliates Alcibiades by shewing him his inferiority to 

the Kings of Lacedaemon and of Persia. 
120 A ( Why, you surely know . . .) 
-124 B (. . . * ever desired anything. ) 

II Alcibiades. 
The Gods approve of simple worship. 

148 C ( The Lacedaemonians, too, . . .) 
-150 B (. . . for me to oppose. ) 

The nature of money. 

399 E ( Then now we have to consider . . .) 
400 E (. . . of no use to us ... True. ) 


Book i. 

The commencement of the Dialogue : Cephalus on Old Age. 
327-331 B (. . . * is, in my opinion, the greatest. ) 


Book ii. 

(1) The argument of Adeimantus. 

362 E (. . . But let me add something 1 more . . .) 
-367 E (. . . seen or unseen by Gods and men. ) 

(2) The true nature of God. 

376 D ( Come, then, and let us pass . . .) 
-383 A ( Your thoughts ... my own. ) 
Book iii. 

(1) Grace and beauty in art and education. 
400 D ( But there is no difficulty . . .) 

-402 A (. . . made him long familiar. ) 

(2) The good physician and the good judge. 

408 C ( All that, Socrates, is excellent, . . .) 
-409 E ( And in mine also. ) 

(3) The true use of music and gymnastic. 

409 E ( This is the sort of medicine . . .) 
-412 A ( You are quite right, Socrates. ) 

Book iv. 

Virtue the health, Vice the disease, of the Soul. 

443 C ( Then our dream has been realized . . .) 

-444 E( Assuredly. ) 
Book v. 

(1) The right treatment of enemies. 

469 A ( Next, how shall our soldiers . . .) 
-471 C (. . . like all our previous enactments, are very 
good. ) 

(2) The last wave: The Government of Philosophers. 
471 C ( But still I must say, Socrates. . . .) 

-473 E (. . . is indeed a hard thing. ) 
Book vi. 

(1) The Parable of the Pilot. 

487 A ( Here Adeimantus interposed . . .) 
-489 D ( Precisely so, he said. ) 

(2) The low estimation in which Philosophy is held by the World. 
493 E( You recognize the truth of what I have been sav 

ing ? ...) 

-497 A (. . . as well as of himself. ) 
Book vii. 

The Allegory of the Cave. 

514 A-520 E (. . . present rulers of the State. ) 

PLATO 163 

Book viii. 

Democracy and the Democratic Man. 

555 B ( Next comes democracy . . .) 
-562 A (. . . the democratic man. ) 
Book ix. 

j The Many-headed Monster. I 

( The City of which the Pattern is laid up in Heaven. ) 
588 A ( Well, I said, and now . . .) 

-to the end of the book. 
Book x. 

The Vision of Er. 

614 B ( Well, I said, I will tell you a tale ; ...) 
-to the end of the book. 


(1) The Tale of Solon. 

20 E ( Then listen, Socrates . . .) 

-26 D (. . . these ancient Athenians. . . .) 

(2) The Balance of Mind and Body. 

87 C ( There is a corresponding enquiry . . .) 
-90 D (. . . the present and the future. ) 

The entire Dialogue. 


The meeting of Socrates and Parmenidea at Athens. Criticism of the 


126 A ( We had come from our home . . .) 
-136 C (. . . and see the real truth. ) 


(1) Socrates, a midwife, and the son of a midwife. 

148 E ( These are the pangs of labour . . .) 
-151 E (. . . by the help of God you will be able to tell. ) 

(2) The Lawyer and the Philosopher. 

172 B (. . . Here arises a new question . . .) 
-177 C (. . . Let us go back to the argument. ) 


The Pre-Socratic Philosophers and their puzzles. 
241 D ( Will you then forgive me . . .) 
-246 D (. . . but seekers after truth. ) 


The Reign of Cronos. 

269 A ( Again, we have been often told . . .) 

-274 E (. . . and at another time in another. . . .) 


5 The first Taste of Logic, ) 
f The Art of Dialectic. J 

15 C ( Good ; and where shall we begin . . .) 
-17 A (. . . * and true dialectic. ) 


Book i. 

(1) The true nature of Education. 

643 A ( You seem to be quite ready to listen . . .) 
-644 B (. . . of every man while he lives. ) 

(2) Man a puppet of the Gods. 

644 E ( Let us look at the matter thus . . .) 

-645 B (. . . more clearly distinguished by us. . . .) 

Book iii. 

The Origin of Government. 

676 A ( Enough of this . . .) 
-679 E ( Very true. ) 

Book iv. 

(1) The virtuous Tyrant. 

709 C ( And does not a like principle . . .) 
-712 A (. . . granting our supposition. ) 

(2) The life of Virtue. 

715 E ( And now what is to be the next step ? ...) 
-718 A (. . . for the most part in good hope. . . .) 

Book v. 

(1) ( The honour of the Soul. 

( Precepts for a virtuous life. 

726 A-732 D (. . . both in ] est and earnest. ) 

(2) The best and second-best state. 
739 A ( The next move . . .) 

-741 A (. . . to fight against necessity. ) 

(3) Riches and Godliness. 

742 D (. . . * The intention, as we affirm . . .) 
-744 A (. . . the work of legislation. ) 

PLATO 166 

Book vii. 

(1) The good citizen must not lead an inactive life. 
806 D ( What will be the manner of lif e . . .) 

-808 C (. . . to the whole state. ) 

(2) The education of the young. 

808 D (. . . When the day breaks . . .) 
/ -809 A (. . . according to the law. ) } 
)S10 A (. . . A fair time . . .) 
I -812 A (. . . come to an end. ) ) 

Book viii. 

The evils of licentiousness. 

835 C (. . . There is, however, another matter . . .) 
-841 E (. . . wrongly indulged. ), 

Book x. 

(1) ( The three classes of unbelievers. I 
I Advice to the young. ) 

885 B (. . . For we have already said . . .) 
-888 D (. . . the truth of these matters. ) 

(2) God is not an idle ruler of the Universe ; but orders all, even tha 

smallest things, for our good. 

899 D (. . . * And now we are to address him . . .) 
-905 D (. . . any understanding whatsoever . . .) 

(3) God cannot be propitiated by the gifts of the wicked. 

905 D (. . . For I think that we have sufficiently proved . . .) 

-907 D (. . . will not discredit the lawgiver. ) 
Book xi. 

(1) The evils of retail trade, and the cure of them. 

918 A ( After the practices of adulteration . . .) 
-919 C (. . . shamelessness and meanness. ) 

(2) The honour of parents. 

930 E ( Neither God, nor a man * . . .) 

-932 A (. . . to what has now been said. . . .) 

Book xii. 

(1) The good state in its intercourse with the world. 

949 E ( Now a state . . .) 

-951 C (. . . is ill-conducted. ) 

(2) The Burial of the Dead. 

958 C ( Thus a man is born . . .) 
960 A (. . . a fitting penalty. . . .) 


ARISTOTLE (384-322 B. C.) 

Aristotle in the Academy and Lyceum. Many nota 
ble pupils gathered around Plato during his mastership 
of more than forty years. Plato s nephew, Speusippus, 
succeeded him as leader of the Academy, and for the 
next three hundred and fifty years the Academy is 
called by various names. It is the Older Academy 
under Speusippus and later ; then it is known as the 
Middle Academy; and then, about 120 B. C., it is 
known as the New Academy. The history of the Acad 
emy is, however, a part of the Hellenic-Roman Period. 
It is sufficient to say here that the leaders succeed 
ing Plato in the Academy added but little to philosoph 
ical speculation, although much to empirical research. 
The important fact is that the sceptre in philosophy 
passed from the Academy when Plato died and his 
greatest pupil Aristotle left it. Just as Plato stood 
among the pupils of Socrates as Socrates most dis 
criminating interpreter, so among the pupils of Plato 
there was one preeminent pupil, Aristotle. Aris 
totle was too great a man to be subordinated to the 
leadership of Speusippus. Upon the death of Plato he 
left the Academy, and fourteen years later he returned 
to Athens and founded the Lyceum, which became 
under his mastership the most influential Athenian 
school. The Lyceum was an inclosed space of ground, 
like the Academy. It was situated just outside the 
walls of Athens, on the right bank of the Ilissus. It 


was dedicated to Apollo, decorated with fountains, 
gardens, and buildings, and contained one of the great 
gymnasia of Athens. It was frequented by philosophers, 
and is known to have been the favorite walk of Aris 
totle and his pupils, whence they got their name of 
Peripatetics. Theophrastus, the most eminent pupil of 
Aristotle, bought a property near the grove and be 
queathed it to the school. It was a religious foundation, 
like the Academy. The method of choosing the schol- 
archs varied at different times. The name Lyceum is 
from the same root as Lycian, and was given to Aris 
totle s school from the fact that the grove was dedi 
cated to the Lycian Apollo. 

Here, in the Lyceum, Greek philosophy was brought 
to its most complete expression. Here all the threads 
of Greek cosmological and anthropological undertak 
ings were finally woven together. Here an adjustment 
was accomplished between Aristotle s two great prede 
cessors, Plato and Democritus ; and materialistic and 
idealistic realism crystallized in a theory of develop 
ment. The great form of Aristotle rises to speak the 
final word of pure Greek civilization, at a time when 
the custody of Greece had passed from the hands of 
the Athenians, the Spartans, the Thebans in succession 
to the Macedonians. He was the most influential thinker 
that history had seen. In his formative power upon hu 
man thought he has scarcely a peer. Dante called him 
" the master of those who know." " In my opinion," said 
Cicero, "Aristotle stands almost alone in philosophy." 
Eusebius said of him, " Aristotle, nature s private sec 
retary, dipped his pen in thought." Goethe remarked, 
" If now in my quiet days I had youthful faculties at 
my command, I should devote myself to Greek, in spite 


of all the difficulties I know. Nature and Aristotle 
should be my sole study. It is beyond all conception 
what that man espied, saw, beheld, remarked, ob 

The portrait that we draw of Aristotle is very dif 
ferent from that of Plato. Instead of the deeply poetic 
temper, the man who sees all things in an ideal unity 
of infiniteness and vastness, we have before us now 
the scientist in search of facts, the accurate man of 
good sense, whose imagination does not soar above 
the clouds, but at the same time has extraordinary fer 
tility in historical and scientific theoretical explana 
tions. His was a life filled with the love of truth. His 
learning took up into itself the entire range of human 
knowledge in such a way as to include its earlier de 
velopment. And what is more, he showed an equal 
interest in all departments. Aristotle was more of a 
scientist than Plato, for the theoretical rather than the 
ethical interest was fundamental in his work. He is 
the personification and completion of pure Greek 

Biography of Aristotle, 384-322 B. c. 
Brief Chronological Sketch of Aristotle s Life. 
First Period Aristotle the Student 37 years. 

384-347 B. c. 

384 Born in Stagira in Macedonia. 
367 Entered the Academy. Kemained 19 years. 
347 Left the Academy upon the death of Plato. 

Second Period Aristotle the Traveler 12 

years. 347-335 B. c. 

347 Went to the courts at Atarneus and Mytilene in 
Asia Minor. 


343 Returned to the court of Macedon at Pella, in 
response to the summons of King Philip, to 
teach the young prince Alexander. Remained 
4 years. 

340 Went from Pella to Stagira to engage in scientific 
work. Remained 5 years. 

Third Period Aristotle the Leader of the Ly 
ceum 13 years. 335-322 B. c. 

335 Founded the Lyceum in Athens. Taught and 
administered the school 12 years. 

323 Fled to Chalcis. 

322 Died in Chalcis. 

Aristotle s Biography in Detail. 

i. First Period, 384-347 B.C. Early Influences. 
Aristotle was born in Stagira in Macedonia. His father 
was court physician to King Amyntas, the founder 
of the Macedonian power and the father of King 
Philip. He came from a long line of physicians (the 
caste, Asclepiad) who traced their origin to Ascle- 
pius. Little is known about the early years of 
Aristotle except that his father and mother died, leav 
ing him in the guardianship of Proxenus of Atarneus. 
(Atarneus is the state in Asia Minor which he later 
visited.) It can scarcely be doubted that he was des 
tined by his family to be a physician, and that the 
empirical works of Hippocrates and Democritus were 
the first elements of his early education. Aristotle 
grew up in this atmosphere of medicine of Macedonia, 
which explains his respect for the results of experience 
and his accuracy in details, all of which contrasts him 
with the Attic philosophers. 

He was sent by Proxenus to the Academy in 367 Be C.. 


at the age of eighteen, and he remained there for nine 
teen years, or until he was thirty-seven. He was not 
merely a pupil in the school, but his brilliancy won for 
him immediately a prominent position there. He be 
came a teacher, an attractive writer, and champion of 
the literary spirit of the school. Even while he was a 
member of the Academy he became a famous man. It 
is difficult to say just how much influence the Academy 
had upon the casting of his thought. His scientific 
inclinations were formed before he went to the Acad 
emy ; he got his immense scientific erudition in Asia 
Minor and in Stagira later, after he left the Academy. 
Probably the spirit of the Platonic school turned his 
attention to ethical and metaphysical theories, and prob 
ably it was due to his stay in the Academy that he be 
came interested in rhetorical and purely cultural studies. 
At the same time his own influence must have been 
very great in forming the policy of the Academy, and 
he was probably responsible for its turning its attention 
to scientific matters. 

The sources from which Aristotle drew the material 
of his philosophical science were therefore (1) his in 
herited taste for medicine and empirical science ; and 
(2) the influence of the Academy in ethical, meta 
physical, and cultural subjects. Both these factors ap 
pear throughout the philosophical development of Aris 
totle. On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that 
probably Aristotle s influence upon the Academy was 
as great as that of the Academy upon him. His own 
persistence along the line of empirical science shows 
itself in his period at Atarneus, Mitylene, and on his 
return to Stagira. Much has been said about an 
Estrangement between Aristotle and his teacher, Plato. 


This is probably idle gossip. Aristotle held his master 
in great esteem, as he himself testifies in his Ethics. 
Aristotle was an independent and original mind, and 
probably even in the school he would point out defects 
in Plato s thought, when his aged teacher would lead 
his theories upon mistaken lines. Plato said that his 
pupil Xenocrates needed the spur, while Aristotle 
needed the bridle. Aristotle was called the brain of 
the Academy. 

2. Second Period, 347-335 B. c. Traveler and Col 
lector. When Plato died, and his nephew Speusippus 
became scholarch of the Academy, Aristotle, in com 
pany with Xenocrates, went to the court of Hermeias, 
ruler of Atarneus and Mitylene. Hermeias was another 
pupil of Plato at the Academy. Here Aristotle married 
twice, and here he resided for six years. In 343 B. c. 
he obeyed the summons of King Philip to come to 
Pella and become the tutor of Alexander. He acted in 
this capacity for four years, and seems to have been 
more fortunate than Plato as instructor of a king. His 
influence upon Alexander was very great. Without 
losing himself in the impracticable, Aristotle seems to 
have impressed high philosophical ideals upon the noble 
spirit of his kingly ward. Alexander says of Aristotle, 
" To my father I owe my life, to Aristotle the know- 
ledge how to live worthily." During the tedium of the 
protracted campaign in Bactria, Alexander sent for the 
tragedies of Euripides, Sophocles, and ^Eschylus. The 
Ethics of his teacher was always with him. The ideals 
of statesmanship, the wide purposes in political con 
trol, the greatness of the aims of the young conqueror, 
as well as his self-control, his aversion to meanness 
and petty things, and his sublime moderation were due 


in part to the teachings of Aristotle. Never was there a 
more fortunate conjunction of two great minds than here. 

In 340 B. c., when Alexander entered upon his admin 
istrative and military duties, Aristotle became independ 
ent of the Macedonian court. He spent the most of these 
four years (340-335 B. c.) in scientific work at Stagira, 
in intimate companionship with his young friend Theo- 
phrastus, who later succeeded him as scholarch of the 
Lyceum. " Among the special subjects of study in the 
school of Mieza and Stagira, natural history formed a 
part. . . . Alexander at one time contributed eight 
hundred talents to forward his former teacher s inves 
tigations in zoology, placed at his disposal a thousand 
men throughout Asia and Greece, with instructions to 
follow out Aristotle s directions in collecting and re 
porting details concerning the life, conditions, and 
habits of animals, and in every way made his cam 
paigns serve the purpose of scientific investigation." 1 
The reports of the ancients concerning the vast sums 
placed at Aristotle s disposal for use in scientific inves 
tigation are of course exaggerated. That he made large 
collections during this period, as well as later, is cer 
tain. This was possible to him, first, because he was a 
rich man himself, and second, because of his relations 
to the courts at Atarneus and Macedonia. 

3. Third Period, 335-322 B. c. Administrator of 
the Lyceum. When Alexander entered upon his 
campaigns in Asia, and Aristotle felt himself free from 
immediate duty to him, he went to Athens and founded 
the Lyceum. This school very soon arose above the 
Academy, and became the model of later societies of 
scholars of antiquity. Its greatness partook of the great- 
B. I. Wheeler, Life of Alexander the Great. 


ness of Aristotle, in the universality of its interests, 
in the orderliness of its administration, and in method 
ical cooperation. For twelve years he was the execu 
tive, teacher, administrator, and inspiration of this 
school developing his philosophy, accumulating ma 
terials, and instructing his pupils. The enormous pro 
duct of the school could not have been the work of one 
pair of hands. Nevertheless the writings, the immense 
collections, the ethical and political treatises, show a 
unity that speaks of one master-mind that had them 
under direction. When the Athenians began to rise 
against the Macedonian rule, Aristotle s position in 
Athens as a friend of Alexander became unsafe. He 
fled to Chalcis, excusing himself, so the tradition goes, 
because he wished to spare the Athenians a second 
crime against philosophy. He died in Chalcis the next 
year (322 B. c.). 

A comparison of these three periods of Aristotle s 
life discloses the uniformity of that life, from beginning 
to end. He was, from the time he entered the Academy 
to the founding of the Lyceum, a teacher. Even as 
pupil of Plato his original mind was influencing the 
Platonic teaching into new channels. During his second 
period he was a traveler, to be sure ; but he was more, 
a collector and a king s tutor. He was always Aris 
totle, the philosophical teacher. Hence the periods of 
his life cannot be so sharply marked as Plato s, and 
the lines that are drawn point only to phases of a life 
that had unity, like his doctrine. His life is a regular 
development from sources in his first period, and with 
no later deviating influence. 

The Writings of Aristotle. On every page of Plato s 
dialogues you meet Plato ; in Aristotle s writings the 


personality of the author is subordinated to his science. 
The collections of writings transmitted under the name 
of Aristotle do not give even an approximately com 
plete picture of the immense activity of the man. They 
form, indeed, a stately memorial, even after the spuri 
ous writings have been omitted, but their bulk is small 
compared with what we know was the product of his 
literary workshop. Forty treatises have been preserved. 
A catalogue of the library of Alexandria in 220 B. c. 
includes a list of one hundred and forty-six others, 
which have since been lost. Aristotle was writer, lec 
turer, teacher, and the administrator of the Lyceum. His 
leadership of that school, his careful direction of his 
cooperators in research and study, was not only an in 
struction but an impulsion to independent scientific 
study for all time. His great collections of scientific 
data can be explained only by their being the combined 
efforts of many different forces, guided and schooled 
by a common master. The world was ready to take an 
account of stock, and Aristotle was the first encyclo 
pedic philosopher. 

i. The Popular Writings, published by Aristotle 
himself. These were intended for a circle of readers 
wider than his own school. No one of these works is 
extant in complete form. They were written by Aris 
totle during his life in the Academy. They were dia 
logues in form ; in content they were discussions of 
justice, wealth, wisdom, rhetoric, politics, love, conduct, 
prayer, generosity, education, government, etc. They 
were less artistic than Plato s dialogues, but more ori 
ginal and striking ; and they were full of happy inven 
tions and rich thought, expressed in florid diction. The 
ancients spoke often of Aristotle s "golden flow of 


thought," but this cannot truthfully apply to any save 
these lost writings. 

2. The Compilations. These were excerpts from scien 
tific works, collections of zoological, literary, historical, 
and antiquarian data, which Aristotle and his pupils 
had gathered together. Only a few fragments of the 
total remain. There were critical notes upon the Pytha 
goreans, reports of extracts of Plato s dialogues, a 
descriptive basis for zoology with illustrations, collec 
tions of previous rhetorical theories and models, histo 
ries of tragedies and comedies, discussions about Homer, 
Hesiod, Archilochus, Euripides, and other poets ; 
there were historical miscellanies and reports concern 
ing one hundred fifty-eight Greek state constitutions. 

3. The Didactic Writings. These have in part been 
preserved, and they make up the collection of what we 
have of Aristotle s writings. They have a consistently 
developed terminology, but they are wanting in grace 
and beauty of presentation. The plan of the books is 
generally the same : the problem is precisely stated ; 
then follows a criticism of various attempted solutions ; 
then a discussion of the salient points of the problem ; 
then a marshaling of the facts ; and, finally, an attempt 
to get a conclusive result. The method is modern in 
its scientific procedure and the contrast with Plato is 
striking. Yet it must not be inferred that these books 
of Aristotle are orderly. There are repetitions, haste, 
unequal development of parts, and unfulfilled promises. 
These books were nothing else than the written note? 
which he had made the basis of his lectures and had 
intended to form into text-books in some future time. 
Only parts of the Logic seem to have been completed 
for text-book purposes. 


These didactic writings are simply arranged as fol 
lows (Wallace) : 

1. The treatise on Logic called Or g anon. 

2. Speculative Philosophy. 

First Philosophy or Theology or Metaphysics. 
Mathematics (writings not extant). 
Physics (including the history of animals and the 

3. Practical Philosophy. 

4. Poetic Philosophy. 



Aristotle s Starting-Point. The two early influences 
in Aristotle s mental development offer an explanation 
for his philosophical point of view. These influences 
were his empirical training in medicine and his con 
ceptual training in the moral ideals of the Academy. 
Plato had convinced him that if there were to be any 
true science, it must be founded on concepts that are 
unchanging. His own scientific training, however, re 
inforced by the influence of Democritus, made him re 
spect the value of empirical facts. While the philo 
sophical problem for Aristotle was the same as that for 
Plato, the difference between them was in the main a 
matter of emphasis due to their different starting- 
points. Plato started with the refutation of the Prota- 
gorean theory of perception, and consequently he em 
phasized the value of the conceptual world ; Aristotle, 
however, felt that Plato had overestimated the con- 


ceptual world, and he emphasized the importance of 
empirical facts. Both when a member of the Academy 
and later, he strongly contended against Plato s evalu 
ation of the world of Ideas, because they so transcended 
the sense world that they neither explained nor illumi 
nated it. Aristotle s reaction against Plato s theory 
furthermore gives us a more correct notion of what 
Plato really taught. If conceptions are to enter into 
knowledge, they must not exist in the clouds of ab 
straction. He maintained that Plato had increased the 
difficulty of the problem by adding a second world of 
entities quite distinct from the world of nature. The 
same problem that Plato confronted still exists unan 
swered, said Aristotle. It is the problem of the two 
fold world. If Ideas are apart from things, we could not 
know that they existed, we should not be able to know 
anything about them, nor should we be able to explain 
the world through them. It is true that Plato, in his 
later draft, had conceived Ideas to be teleologically re 
lated to the physical things, but how could this be if 
they were apart from things ? Thus in his reaction from 
Plato s theory of Ideas, Aristotle reestablished the 
world of perceptual fact. This is the starting-point of 

The Fundamental Principle in Aristotle s Philosophy. 
The first question then is, How did Aristotle reestab 
lish the perceptual fact ? What means did he employ 
to give the perceptual fact a reality? The answer to 
this question will be the statement of Aristotle s funda 
mental principle. It will show his advance over Plato 
by showing his new estimate of the perceptual world. 
Plato accepted the Protagorean doctrine of perception, 
but also gave it a new value by placing perceptions 


beside conceptions in the world of reality ; Aristotle 
developed Plato s teaching about perceptions by link- 
ing them inseparably with conceptions. Aristotle felt 
that Plato s difficulties arose from the lack of close re- 
lationship between conceptual Being and perceptua f 
fact. What is that linkage ? What binds abiding real- 
ity and changing phenomena so closely ? The linkage 
is development. Development is the relation between 
conception and perception. It is the fundamental prin 
ciple in the philosophy of Aristotle throughout and 
places a new estimate upon the value of perception. 
Perceptual facts apart from conceptions have no real 
ity; conceptions apart from perceptions are mere ab 
stractions. In the world of reality conceptual Being re 
sides in the perceptual facts, and the perceptual facts 
express conceptions. They always exist together in a 
linkage or relationship that is teleological, purposeful 
the linkage of development. An abstract statement 
of this relationship is, " Aristotle felt the conceptual ne 
cessity of the empirically actual." Perhaps the clearest 
statement of this fundamental principle can be made 
in the terms of evolution. It is this : true reality is the 
essence which unfolds in phenomena. Notice that this 
sentence has two parts equally freighted : reality is an 
unfolding essence ; reality is in phenomena. The true 
universal must be thought as realizing itself through 
its development in particulars ; the true concept as 
realizing itself through its development in percepts; 
the true abiding Being as realizing itself in its devel 
opment through change. On the one hand, reality is 
the essence of things ; on the other, reality has exist 
ence only in things. 

True reality is the individual. 


The individual consists of two aspects : (1) concept 
ual being, and (2) perceptual change. 

These two aspects always stand in a relationship. 

That relationship is developing purpose. 

Here is the key to the teaching of Aristotle that 
seems to open the doors of its many chambers. In his 
metaphysics reality is the individual developing from 
possibility to actuality. In physics individual phenom 
ena get a reality through their development from lower 
to higher types. In psychology the individual person is 
real when the particulars, the physiological and psycho 
logical states, develop toward the soul, which is their 
truth. So, too, in the great system of logic in which 
Aristotle was pioneer, he is simply trying to give the 
particular judgment a meaning by showing its linkage 
to the universal judgment. Everywhere the starting- 
point of Aristotle is the perceptual fact. Everywhere 
his purpose is to reestablish it by showing its relation 
to abiding conception in the individual. 

It may be well to remark, however, that Aristotle 
does not altogether succeed in constructing a consist 
ent theory. In spite of his criticism of Plato s tran 
scendent Ideas, in many places Aristotle does not over 
come Plato s dualism. Frequently he differs from Plato 
more in words than in meaning. We shall observe some 
of his inconsistencies in their place. We shall see that 
Aristotle as he meant to be was different from Aris 
totle as he was. Aristotle as he meant to be Aristotle 
as the opponent of Plato s dualism develops a philo 
sophy from a single fundamental principle. Aristotle 
as he was, reverts at many critical points to Plato s 

Aristotle s principle of development may appear at 


first blush very much like the modern principle of evo 
lution. As a matter of fact it was very different. In all 
Greek philosophy after Socrates the study of morals 
was fundamental. The ideal of Socrates, Democritus, 
Plato, Aristotle, and the later Schools was a moral 
ideal. Being moral it was fixed, and it fixed all the 
changes of life to it as a centre. Nature was to the 
Greek a museum of types oscillating around a perfect 
form. There was no evolution in the sense of progress. 
There was development within the individual the 
boy becomes a man, the seed becomes a flower ; but 
there was no evolution from genus to genus. Indeed, any 
variation of the individual from its type was considered 
a defect. 

Aristotle s Logic. Aristotle felt that there must be 
a science of the methods of science ; and so successful 
was he in its formulation that it has practically re 
mained as he transmitted it. We are struck by the 
way in which he divided science into the special 
sciences, each with its well-defined field. It was per 
fectly natural that he should also, with his great power 
of abstract reasoning, discuss the body of rules for 
legitimate thinking. In science there must be an art of 
investigation, just as in rhetoric there is an art of per 
suasion. At an early period these logical writings were 
collected under the name Organon, because the Lyceum 
regarded them so intimately connected with scientific 
procedure as to be the instrument or " organ " of all 
knowledge. Certain parts of Aristotle s Organon are 
of doubtful genuineness. The important sections are 
the Analytics, a masterly logical groundwork of the 
conclusion and proof, and the Topics, which treats of 
the inductive methods of probability. Aristotle there- 


fore made logic a preliminary and separate study, as 
it should be. It became the preface to his scientific 

We shall briefly discuss Aristotle s logic, because it 
is an exemplification of his general philosophical prin 
ciple. Among the subjects in the history of philosophy, 
logic is perhaps the only one that has had no internal 
history. Aristotle was the pioneer in the subject. He 
left it so finished that scarcely any changes of conse 
quence could be made in it. The external history of the 
Aristotelian logic has, however, been notable. A por 
tion of the Categories and De Interpretation was 
most influential in the history of the Middle Ages. 
The Logic had been misunderstood and misapplied by 
Aristotle s own School, so that when it came into the 
hands of the Schoolmen it had acquired the reputation 
of being only an abstract formal logic. As thus inter 
preted it was used by the Schoolmen and attacked by 
the philosophers of the Renaissance. Such a view of 
Aristotle s logic is unjust to the author. He had con-- 
ceived logic in its wholeness to be the true method to 
be used in investigating practical scientific problems. 

The Sophists had proposed rules of practical value 
in the study of individual cases ; Socrates had tried to 
fix upon some universal principle as the basis of know 
ledge ; Aristotle made a comprehensive study of the reg 
ular forms of thought and the rules that govern the ar 
rangement of these forms in right thinking. In true 
Platonic fashion he conceived physical events in nature 
to be due to some universal cause. If, therefore, logical 
procedure be scientific, ft must follow the ways of na 
ture : logic must deduce particular perceptions from some 
universal idea. The necessary thought-relations in which 


the particular stands will then appear. Deduction of 
the particular from the universal is the true scientific 
method, used in the explanation of nature-phenomena : 
so in proof the same deductive reasoning should be used 
In scientific study we are trying to show the conceptual 
necessity of an empirical fact ; in proof we are showing 
the conceptual necessity of the particular term. Whether 
we are explaining an event or proving a conclusion, we 
are employing the same logical process. Aristotle thus 
regarded his logic as the true scientific method for prac 
tical service, not as a merely abstract discipline in verbal 

Socrates and Plato confined themselves to the study of 
the concept or simple term. Aristotle also studied the 
concept. Indeed, he tried to find out what concepts are 
fundamental in our thinking, so fundamental that they 
are our thought reduced to its lowest terms. He names 
ten of these fundamental concepts and calls them cate 
gories. But Aristotle goes farther than Socrates and 
Plato, and makes his real point of departure the judg 
ment. A single term does not express truth. For truth 
we must have two terms connected by the verb " is, * 
i. e. some relation must be shown between them. This 
is a judgment. Reasoning is still more complex. It is 
the putting together or showing the relation between 
two judgments. This process takes the form of the syl 
logism. The first task of deduction is to present the laws 
of the syllogism. These will then be the laws of scien 
tific investigation. According to these, particulars can 
be derived with certainty from universal propositions, 
provided such universals are established. The syllogism 
is in the form of two premises and a derived conclusion. 
It contains three terms. The problem is to infer, from 


the relation that one of these terms bears to the two 
other terms, what the two bear to each other. The prin 
ciple employed is that of subordination ; and the dif 
ferentiations of the syllogism can be many, depending on 
the quality and quantity of the premises and the distri 
bution of the middle term. The working of the syllogism 
in inference has a certainty so great that Aristotle called 
it- apodictic. 

But there is another side to the syllogistic besides 
the deduction of proof or the explanation of empirical 
fact. This is the establishment of the premises. All de 
duction presupposes absolute premises. All deduction 
is grounded on something not deduced ; all proof on 
something not proved ; all explanation on something 
that has not been explained. These presuppositions are 
universal propositions that can be known only imme 
diately through intuitions. Aristotle is not altogether 
clear as to what these intuitions are. He names such 
axioms as the law of contradiction and the law of the 
excluded middle, and some special propositions which 
apply only to particular sciences. Since the premises 
which we actually use are not open to proof, but only 
strengthened as to the validity of their application, we 
must use the method of induction in our search for 
them. We accumulate data from opinions and varied 
experiences, and then we ascend to a generalization 
which we take as a premise. The results of induction 
cannot therefore be in themselves certain. The results 
are only probable, and can have the character of know 
ledge only as they explain phenomena. Aristotle means 
by induction something different from the present use 
of the term. Induction in modern times means a kind 
of proof , Aristotle means a method of discovery of 


relatively universal terms where the absolutely universal 
cannot be obtained. 

There is an ideal involved in this conception of logk 
that is interesting. In a perfectly intellectual society 
there would be a perfect science in which all particular 
facts could be derived with absolute certainty from pre 
mises absolutely known. Life and logic would be iden 
tical. We should then be certain not only as to our 
proof but as to our premises. Logic has sometimes been 
used very effectively in this way. When the mediaeval 
church conceived its dogmas to be the ultimate pre 
mises of truth, it could deduce from them complete 
rules for living. To the mediaeval mind the perfect 
science was formulated by deducing it from the dogma 
of the church. The dogmas were the absolute premises. 
The Renaissance did not doubt the infallibility of the 
traditional dogmas so much as the logical method, and 
Aristotle, who had been so long artificially identified 
with the proof of ecclesiastical dogma, was set aside. 

Aristotle, moreover, showed great insight into the 
present relation of thought and reality. The sequence 
of facts in our experience, he pointed out, is exactly 
the reverse of what it is in reality. What is first in 
reality comes last in our experience, and what is first 
in our experience is last in reality. To illustrate : the 
mission of the Athenian State in the eternity of things 
did not appear until every event in its history had oc 
curred. A perfect being would see the universal ground 
before the historical particulars derived from it, while 
we look from the particulars to their universal causes. 
Logic and metaphysics agree; but they stand in in 
verted parallelism to historical and psychological pro 
cesses. Knowledge is a development from the senses 


into the Ideas, and yet, on the other hand, Aristotle 
never fails to remind us that this development is the 
expression of an idea which has been present from the 

Aristotle s Metaphysics. 

i. Development is Purposeful. The conception of 
relation is, of course, quite as fundamental in Aris 
totle s theory of metaphysics as in his logic. In logic 
knowledge of the particular is possible through its 
relationship to the universal ; in metaphysics the rela 
tionship is the relationship of development the par 
ticular has significance and value through the universal 
essence that unfolds from within it. If Aristotle shows 
genius for abstract thinking by becoming the " Father 
of Logic," he shows equal genius for abstract thinking 
in his metaphysical conception of development. He be 
lieved that metaphysics applies the same conditions to 
things that logic discovers in thought. But in meta 
physics the relationship is not the abstract relationship 
that Aristotle saw in Plato, but the vital relation of 
development in the life and change of nature. 

We have already stated the fundamental principle in 
Aristotle s teaching as an unfolding essence in phenom 
ena. The unfolding is the relationship of development. 
Eeality does not consist in the particular things of 
nature, nor in something outside nature, but in this 
essential linkage of the perceptual and conceptual in 
nature. As the world is spread out before us, it pre 
sents objects that are dynamic, however much they may 
appear to be static. Everywhere matter is in the process 
of forming. The world is a forming, not a formed nor 
a formless world. So, also, if you undertook to describe 
any individual object in the world, you would have to 


define it as a forming or developing thing. A tree, for 
example, would not be adequately denned or described 
by enumerating its parts at any one moment ; but you 
must describe it as a unitary organism developing from 
a seed. The reality of the world is the development of 
its meaning in its history ; the same is true of the reality 
of any individual thing in the world. The world and 
the things therein have an unfolding essence. 

The next point to be observed about Aristotle s con 
ception is that the relationship of development is be- 
tiveen two terms. The individual must have two aspects : 
there must be that out of which the development is pass 
ing, and that into which it is passing. Aristotle calls 
these two aspects of development respectively Matter 
and Form. Every object of nature consists of Form and 
Matter, and these two terms have passed into history. 
To Aristotle everything is Matter becoming Form, or, 
in other words, Form realizing itself in Matter. The 
tree has its Matter which is becoming Formed, and its 
Form into which the Matter is growing. The principle 
which unites the two is development, the principle of 
the individual. Matter, then, is the possibility or poten 
tiality of an individual thing it is the thing given 
potentially ; Form is its actuality or reality. If you 
emphasize merely the stages in the development, you are 
regarding merely the occurrences ; if, however, you em 
phasize the stages of development as aspects of a unity, 
you see its essence. 

The relationship of development between two terms 
thus becomes under Aristotle s hands the relation of 
purpose. Aristotle calls this self-realization of the es 
sence in phenomena by the technical word entelechy, 
i.e. in opposition to the earlier conceptions of nature 


Aristotle conceived nature teleologically. Teleology or 
purpose we found Plato using in his second draft of the 
Ideas, but more as a postulate than as an efficient means 
of explanation. Aristotle uses teleology as his positive 
fundamental principle of nature. 

2. Aristotle s Two Different Conceptions of Pur 
pose. Aristotle illustrated his conception of the pur 
poseful relation in nature from two very different types : 
(1) the development of organisms ; (2) the develop 
ment that takes place when an artisan moulds plastic 
material. Manifestly here are two different kinds of 
teleological activities. In organic growth the Form that 
realizes itself in Matter is immanent in the organism ; 
the artist, on the other hand, superimposes the Form 
upon the plastic material. In the case of organisms 
Matter and Form are separable only by abstraction, and 
are only two aspects of a development which is identical 
from the beginning to the end ; in the case of artistic 
construction the Matter is first a possibility existing by 
itself, and the purpose of the artist is later added unto 
it. In the case of organisms Aristotle speaks of two 
causes, the material and the formal ; in the case of 
artistic construction he employs four causes, the mate 
rial, the efficient, the formal, and the final. Aristotle did 
not expressly formulate these two different conceptions 
of purpose, but he completely applied them in practice. 
On the one hand he regarded individual things as self- 
realizing, and on the other he looked upon them as 
realized in other things. This seemingly harmless dif 
ference is really very fundamental, for it is the differ 
ence between Aristotle as he meant to be Aristotle 
as the critic of Plato s dualism and Aristotle who 
reverts to Plato s teaching. We find therefore two Aris- 


totles; one a dynamic monist, the other a transcendent 
dualist. We cannot say that Aristotle as he meant to 
be is the true Aristotle, for he is a dualist in very many 
important doctrines. 

Aristotle s conception of purpose as exemplified by 
organisms is his original conception, and is what he in 
tended to be the basis of his philosophy. Here the truly 
real is the individual determined by its own Form. It 
is the dynamic and not the artistic view of life. Activ 
ity is directed to an end not without but within itself. 
The individual is a complete organic unity at rest within 
itself. The individual is primarily the essence or sub 
stance. Of the ten categories which he enumerates, 
substance from this point of view is to Aristotle the 
most important. The nine other categories only describe 
the states or relations of the substance. The essence of 
the individual is the substance ; and Aristotle conceives 
the substance as the species or universal in the thing. 
It is pointed out that even here Aristotle is guilty of a 
dualism in the double meaning in which he uses sub 
stance. But the conception of Aristotle here is of an 
immanent, dynamic reality. He has in mind the self- 
contained unity of the individual, whether that be a 
tree, a man, or the universe. 

Aristotle s conception of purpose as exemplified by 
artistic products preponderates over his original con 
ception of purpose. When he regards the individual 
objects in the world, not as self-contained but as rela 
tive to one another, he has a different conception of the 
world. In this case the individuals are not realities but 
have reference to a reality transcending them. The 
world is still a developing world, but the essence that 
unfolds itself is not in phenomena. It is a goal for which 


phenomena strive. The fulfillment of the purpose, is 
beyond. Individual things are only a scale of values 
relative to some transcendent standard. To illustrate : 
the bud, the blossom, the fruit, have not their realiza 
tion in themselves, but as food ; again, the growing tree, 
the timber lying on the ground, the timber in the house, 
have their realization in the completed house ; again, in 
the world at large, the original nebulous matter of the 
universe, the first-formed worlds, the early years of 
this earth, the succeeding centuries, the 20th century of 
this world, are only a scale of values for something in 
the future. 

In facing such facts, Aristotle had to depart from 
his original conceptualistic standard of the world as 
an organic unity and of individual things having their 
meaning in themselves. View a thing by itself, and it 
seems to be a self-contained reality which unfolds for 
itself alone. View a thing with reference to other things, 
and its reality is in something else. Here is Aristotle 
no longer as he meant to be, but as he really was. He 
is now Plato s pupil. Each thing now is to be regarded, 
not as containing in itself the two aspects of Form and 
Matter, but as the possibility of something and the ac 
tuality of something else. The blossom is the possibility 
or Matter of the fruit and the Form or actuality of 
the bud. The nineteenth century is the Form of the 
eighteenth and the Matter of the twentieth. But devel 
opment has a limit above and below, according to Aris 
totle : below, in Matter that is without Form ; above, in 
Form that is without Matter. Pure Form is God, who 
excludes from Himself all Matter or possibility, because 
He is perfect. Pure Matter is the lower limit, which is 
entire possibility, and exists only to be formed. Here 


is a dualism as distinct as Plato s, which Aristotle not 
only did not overcome but which he developed. In the 
same way that Plato contrasted Ideas and empty space, 
Aristotle contrasted God as pure Form and Matter as 
pure possibility. 

In this final dualistic form in which Aristotle left 
his teaching, there are three specific doctrines which the 
student must consider carefully. They are important 
because they had great influence in later orthodox the 
ology and in theories of nature. These special doctrines 
are (1) Aristotle s conception of God; (2) his concep 
tion of matter ; (3) his conception of nature. 

3. Aristotle s Conception of God. In the Aristotel 
ian system the assumption of an upper final term of 
pure Form was necessary, because Matter as the pos 
sible and potential is not endowed with the power of 
motion and generation. To Aristotle development is not 
a process with temporal beginning and ending, but is a 
kind of closed circuit. Since reality is in itself a devel 
oping essence, motion is as eternal as reality. We should 
not ask, therefore, When did the world begin, and when 
will it end? but we can legitimately ask, What is the. 
nature of reality that keeps motion alive? When we 
examine individual things, we find, according to Aris 
totle s explanation, that motion is the result of the in 
fluence of Form upon Matter. There is inherent in 
matter an impulse to be formed, and there is inherent 
in Form an active forming purpose. But we may search 
individual things in vain for the causal explanation of 
motion, since every Form is in turn the Matter for a 
higher Form. The chain would be endless and not intelli 
gible if there did not exist a pure Form, which is un 
moved. God as the unmoved mover is the cause of the 


world-motion, but God must be the cause in a different 
sense from the physical causes, which are themselves 
moved. God operates as a cause upon Matter, not as a 
mechanical cause but as pure Form, as a final or teleo- 
logical cause. God is the cause in the sense that God 
excites in Matter the impulse to be actual, like God. 

This prime mover is similar to Plato s Idea of the 
Good. As to its form it is eternal, unmovable, unchange 
able, wholly independent and incorporeal, and yet the 
cause of all generation and change. God is the perfect 
Being in whom all possibility is actuality. As to its con 
tent God is pure thought. But in respect to his thought 
God is not like human thought, which is concerned with 
external phenomena and changing things. God is thought 
that has nothing else for its object than itself and its 
own unchanging content. God is " thought of thought." 
God s contemplation of himself is his own blessed life. 
Here in Aristotle is a momentous conception formed for 
the first time in the history of thought. Monotheism is 
for the first time conceptually framed and scientifically 
grounded. The monism of Aristotle s predecessors passes 
over into a theism. God is not only immaterial in the 
sense that Plato defined the Ideas, but he is spiritual. 
In Aristotle s transcendent God, conceived as pure self- 
consciousness, we have the ripest fruit of Greek philo 

4. Aristotle s Conception of Matter. The other and 
lower limit of Aristotle s dualism is Matter, " first Mat 
ter," as Aristotle called it. In itself it is wholly unformed 
and mere possibility. But it is unlike pure Form in this 
respect, it never exists in itself. God exists apart 
from Matter, but since Matter is mere possibility, Mat 
ter never exists apart from Form. Matter has a double 


character. On the one hand Matter is that which as 
an accessory cause makes the world of phenomena pos 
sible; on the other hand it is the source of the lawless 
and purposeless in nature. Through its seeking to be 
formed it makes the presentation of the Idea possible, 
and yet it stands as a deterrent principle to the full 
presentation of the Form. On the one hand it is the 
sine qua non of physical nature, shows itself in real 
physical effects, and is the basis of mechanical causation, 
motion, and impact. On the other hand it stands in the 
way of the Forms actualizing themselves fully, and it 
prevents the universe from perfecting itself as God is 
perfect. While Matter is not an indifferent negative 
(as in Plato s teaching), but the necessary substratum 
of corporeal things, it is however the indeterminate, and 
the ground of the accidental and purposeless in nature. 
Matter is the infinite and unlimited, and is the source of 
unusual phenomena, like monstrosities and abortions. 
Both fate and accident are due to the retarding influence 
of Matter, because it obstructs the successful working 
out of Form. Quite in accord with Greek thought, Aris 
totle conceived necessity and chance to be fundamen 
tally the same, and the Greek custom of drawing lots 
shows the universality of the notion. 

5. Aristotle s Conception of Nature. Nature is there 
fore to Aristotle a far more complex world than Plato 
had conceived it. Nature has a double character to Aris 
totle, as his twofold conception of causation shows. 
Nature is composed of mechanical and teleological causes. 
Purpose and necessity are the two principles of motion 
in the world, and in this twofold conception of causa 
tion did Aristotle reconcile Plato and Democritus. How 
ever much Aristotle concedes to the Democritan idea of 


mechanical necessity, it is evident that in his conception 
of nature the principle of teleology predominates over 
the mechanical. The highest actuality is God, and he 
is a final or teleological cause ; and all results of value 
in nature come through final causes. Final causes are 
primary causes ; mechanical causes are secondary causes. 
There would be no motion whatever in the universe but 
for the highest final cause, God. Yet God is the unmoved 
mover, and matter cannot move itself. Motion occurs 
because matter feels the impulse to form itself like God. 
How different this Aristotelian conception of nature 
from our modern scientific conception of an impersonal 
nature under a mechanical causation that is universal! 
The teleological conception of nature and natural events 
was very strongly intrenched in the human mind during 
the Middle Ages, and was not dislodged easily by mod 
ern investigation. Nature was a living thing to Aris 
totle. It was at once intrinsically spontaneous, and self- 
determined and uniform. Its spontaneity was not that of 
capricious chance. Its uniformity was that of purpose 
and end. On the other hand, the Aristotelian concep 
tion of nature is not the same as either the Christian 
doctrine of created nature or Darwin s theory of evolu- 
lution. The world of Aristotle had always existed ; it is 
a limited world in space, but not in time. Also the di 
vine reason always existed in it. Yet its evolution is not 
a progressive climbing sort, like the Darwinian, in which 
new species evolve. It means only that there is a re 
lationship of rank and value among nature objects. 
Nature is a unity. Teleological change occurs within it. 
Nature is therefore a connected system of living 
beings in the process of development from Form to 
Form, approximating the Deity and existing as the 


potentiality of the Deity. There is a graded scale of 
things of relative worth. But the double standard of es 
timating the worth of nature-objects that of mechan 
ical necessity and that of teleological cause makes 
two different series, which find their union only at the 
end in God. From our foregoing description of the 
nature of God, it will be seen that he has two essen 
tial characteristics : he is Being who ever rests within 
himself and remains like himself ; and he is a pure 
reason. He therefore combines in himself the two na 
ture series in their most ideal character. Nature-objects 
in the series of mechanical necessity have as their ideal 
character just that uniformity, regularity, and order 
that we find in the abiding Being of God. The greater 
the uniformity, the more nearly like God. Nature- 
objects, in the teleological series, have as their ideal 
characteristic the reason of God. The more nearly ra 
tional such a living being is, the more nearly is it like 
God. In the one line the series of phenomena ascends 
from the disorder of the terrestrial universe to the abso 
lute uniformity of the stars, which are close to God. In 
the other line the series ascends in teleological values 
from the mechanical and vegetative characteristics of 
organisms to their rational activity. Both series termi 
nate in God. The stars have rational intelligence and 
the most uniform motions. Aristotle conceived Physics 
as the science that includes the first series, and the sec 
ond series he conceived to be included by Psychology, 
Ethics, and Politics. 

The Mechanical Series, Aristotle s Theory of 
Physics. The general astronomical assumptions of the 
time determined Aristotle s theory of the physical 
world. He adopted the old Pythagorean conception of 



the limited world-all : a hollow sphere made up of con 
centric crystalline spheres. In opposition to the Pytha 
goreans, he conceived the earth at the centre. It is 
spherical and stationary. Around it the crystalline 
spheres revolve, in which the moon, sun, five planets, 
and fixed stars are placed. The fixed stars are in 
the rim of the great sphere, are outside all, and are 
nearest therefore to God, who animates all. God as it 
were holds the world-all in the hollow of his hand. He 
moves the whole, which in turn moves the fifty-five 
concentric crystal spheres within. The principle of the 
movement of fixed stars is that of the Deity, while the 
principle of the other spheres is that of the spirits 
which reside in them. The movement of the planets 
have an influence upon terrestrial life. Aristotle made 
the usual Pythagorean division between the celestial 
and the terrestrial parts of the world-all, which has 
had so much influence upon theology. The motion of 
the world-all is most perfect, being a circle ; its form is 
most perfect, being a sphere. The celestial part of this 
world-all, which is the region lying near the periphery, 
is most like God. The motion of this heaven is circu 
lar, and it is the place of uniformity, perfectness, and 
changeableness. The stars do not change nor pass away. 
They are superhuman beings, who in their regularity 
are like the blessed gods. The terrestrial part of the 
world-all below the moon has motions in straight lines. 
This is the theatre of imperfection and irregularity, of 
increase and diminution. 

There are many interesting discussions by Aristotle 
upon particular physical matters, such as space, time, 
the elements. His conception of motion shows how the 
series of uniform nature-motions lead up to the second 


series of teleological values. In nature there are three 
kinds of motion : change of place (mechanical) ; change 
in quality (chemical) ; change in substance (organic). 
While change of place is the lowest kind of motion, it is 
necessary to chemical and organic changes. Yet Aris- 
iotle refuses to allow that qualitative changes can be 
reduced to quantitative changes, but maintains that 
quality is self-subsistent. Organic change, or change in 
substance, on the contrary, has a higher Form of reality 
than the lower changes. This stand taken by Aristotle, 
in refusing to reduce qualitative to quantitative deter 
minations, shows how comprehensive and sane a scien 
tist he was. It introduces us to a psychology and an 
ethics that are intimately linked to physics, and at the 
same time have realms of their own. Let us now turn 
to the series of qualitative nature changes, or to psycho 
logy, ethics, and politics. 

The Teleological Series : The Qualitative Changes 
of Phenomena. 

i. The Psychology of Aristotle. As the first experi 
mental psychologist, Aristotle intimately connected his 
studies in psychology with his studies in biology and 
medicine. Man is a part of the world of nature, and 
psychology is in part a comparative study. As we pass 
upward from the mechanical changes, we find chemical 
changes of quality, and then changes of organic life. 
Studying the organic realm, we find organism to con 
sist of souls of relative ranking. There are vegetative 
souls, sensitive souls, and rational souls. Plants have 
vegetative souls with the powers of assimilation and 
propagation ; besides vegetative souls animals have sen 
sitive souls, with the powers of appetition and locomo 
tion; man possesses, besides both these souls, the ra- 


tional soul. Here is a series of teleological relationships, 
where the purpose of the organism is explained only by 
the activity of its soul. The soul builds up its body as 
a system of organs, and as an organology the theory of 
Aristotle has great significance. Nature strives ever 
upward, even in the inorganic processes, through an 
unbroken series of creations to its highest Form in man. 
Each step in the upward progress is the realization of 
an entelechy, or purpose, and constitutes for the mo 
ment the goal of the impulse to strive. The whole world 
is striving to realize the perfect Form. The lower ends, 
the mechanical and vegetable and appetitive Forms, are 
not lost but are utilized in the process ; for they are 
the Matter upon which the Forms higher than them 
selves are built. Every member is both Form and Mat 
ter in the whole series. 

The psychology has therefore two parts : (1) the 
general theory of animal souls, which possesses rich 
suggestions; (2) the doctrine of the Nous as the dis 
tinctive characteristic of man. These are the empirical 
and speculative sides to Aristotle s psychology. 

Man is an epitome of all the changes in the universe. 
He has vegetative, appetitive, and rational souls. Yet 
there is unity in man, for the lower souls are subser 
vient to the reason and exist for it. The appetitive 
soul is the Form of the vegetative soul, the Matter of 
the Rational soul, etc. Accordingly, Aristotle defines the 
soul as the entelechy of the body, because bodily human 
activity is enlisted in the service of the reason. Reality 
in man is an unfolding purpose, just as it is in nature. 
The real self is this unfolding rational self, whose pos 
sibility is the body ; whose actuality is pure reason. The 
mind is actualized body, the body is potential mind. 


Aristotle made many contributions to psychology 
about the origin and value of the several sensations, 
about the feelings of pleasure and pain and the desires. 
He shows his remarkable genius in pointing to the 
necessity of a unity of consciousness, which he calls 
the " common-sensibility." His discussion of the Nous, 
or reason, is of importance for two reasons : first, be 
cause it leads to and illuminates his ethical theory ; 
and second, because it is an example of his deviation 
from his original conceptual position. The reason, ac 
cording to his first intention, is the unfolding purpose 
of the body, it is the immanent essence of the body. 
As Aristotle finally left his discussion of the Eeason, it 
is as transcendent as his God, or as any Idea of Plato. 
The Nous, or Reason, is not a Form of the body, but 
a Form of the soul. It is purely immaterial, simple, 
unchangeable, and incapable of suffering. It does not 
originate with the body as a function. It comes from 
without as a godlike activity, and will remain after 
the body passes away. Its fundamental activity is 
thought, and its object is those ultimate principles 
of Being which are the ultimate premises of logical 

Aristotle s theory of the Reason is considerably com 
plicated by his division of it into two parts, the ac 
tive and the passive Reason. Within itself, the Reason 
is to be distinguished as Form and Matter. The pas 
sive Reason is the Matter for the active Reason, and 
the active Reason is the Form for the passive Reason. 
By the passive Reason Aristotle evidently means the 
individual and developing man. The active Reason 
can alone persist after death, but whether absorbed in 
the Deity or not he does not say. Immortality to 



Aristotle in any case is not a perpetuation of the 

2. The Ethics of Aristotle. We have seen that 
nature phenomena are of two classes, those mechani 
cally related, and those related as to their purposes or 
ends. Physics is concerned with the first class ; psy 
chology is concerned with the second class. But in a 
special way are ethics and politics sciences of the phe 
nomena of the second class sciences of ideologically 
related phenomena. Moral life is an unfolding essence 
having a possibility and an actuality. The Possibility 
or Matter of the ethical life is our feelings, tempera 
ment, disposition, impulses, and perceptions just those 
psychological factors that make up the endowment of 
the human personality. The ultimate Form or actuality 
of the ethical life is the reason. The reason as the 
goal of the moral being determines its character. Man 
is distinctly a rational being. Virtue is the process of 
the ethical life from its possibilities to its actuality ; it 
is the essence of the ethical life. Virtue is that contin 
uous state of mind that makes rational activity possible. 
So much for the factors that make the ethical situation 5 
the natural endowments of the mind are its material, 
the reason is its goal, while the means of developing 
the natural endowments into rational activity is virtue. 

The situation would be simple enough for us as 
moral beings if, in our striving, each had only himself 
and his own development to consider. But man lives 
in a world of men, and his highest good is determined 
somewhat by his environment, by riches, bodily com 
forts, success. These are not essentials but only acces 
sories, and the lack of them is only a limitation. The 
essential factor is the rational activity. Nevertheless, 


these modify the definition of what we mean when we 
define rational activity as the highest Good or Form of 
the moral life. For the question which Aristotle pro 
poses in his notable treatise of Ethics is, What is the 
end or supreme good of human action ? The highest 
Good for a man among men is Happiness, or well-being ; 
that includes not only rational activity, but also the 
pleasures that accrue to such activity. But what is 
happiness ? It is an end in itself, and not the means 
to anything else ; it is the result of functioning, a state 
of conscious vitality ; it accords with the law of excel 
lence of that functioning. Perfect happiness is, there 
fore, partly the result of one s own individual effort, 
partly dependent on circumstance. While virtue is 
the measure of the worth of different pleasures, yet 
pleasures do not always attend our acts in our present 
society. The greatest Good is happiness, but since this 
depends in part on external goods, the goal to which 
we should directly attend the factor within our con^ 
trol is rational activity. 

There are two classes of virtues based on the two 
kinds of rational life, the practical virtues and the di- 
anoetic virtues. The practical virtues are those of conduct 
based upon the rational control of the impulses ; the 
dianoetic virtues are those of intellectual activity based 
upon the development of the perceptions. The perfect 
moral development of human nature will consist (1) in 
the perfect development and true regulation of the feel 
ings and desires in moral excellence ; and (2) a perfect 
development of the intellectual faculties for rational 

(a) The Practical Virtues. The essential thing for 
the individual to regard, therefore, is the training of 



his will by right rational insight. He should seek to 
direct his impulses by reason, and not only once but 
so many times that the impulses will become rational 
habits. This is what Aristotle means by training in 
virtue. It is continuity in rational activity ; it is a 
permanent development toward reason ; it is the un 
folding of the real Self. Aristotle had regard for the 
facts of life when he differed from Socrates, who said 
that virtue is knowledge. Aristotle did not conceive 
the will as psychological power independent of the 
reason. He doubted if rational insight was more power 
ful than the impulses, when the test comes. Experience 
often shows that although we may know what is right, 
an impulse will often drive us into habits not guided 
by reason. This presupposes for Aristotle a will that 
is free to choose among the desires that one which will 
lead him along the path that reason points out. 

It is impossible to formulate a rule for the acquire 
ment of the particular virtues. Each virtue must be 
treated by itself. The only principle for guidance is 
that the reason should always seek the mean between 
two extremes. Thus courage is the mean between cow 
ardice and rashness ; temperance between intemperance 
and insensibility ; friendliness between obsequiousness 
and brusqueness, etc. Moderation is the watchword in 
the cultivation of the practical virtues. 

(6) The Dianoetic Virtues are the means toward 
the attainment of pure rationality for one s self. The di- 
anoetic virtues are higher than the practical. They un 
fold the pure formal activity of the Nous, and give the 
most noble and perfect pleasure. Man finds through 
them his possible participation in the divine happiness. 
These intellectual virtues may be either theoretical or 


practical insight ; in the latter case, Aristotle meant 
knowledge of the right in art, and knowledge of jus 
tice. But the purest is Wisdom (0ewpiV), which is know 
ledge for its own sake. It is the knowledge that God 
has of himself. Man may approximate this. 

In Aristotle s ethical theory there appear three fea 
tures that are distinctly Greek. (1) The leading ques 
tion that he asks at the beginning of the Ethics, What 
is the end or Supreme Good of human action ? is Greek. 
The modern writer asks, What is the nature of duty ? 
(2) The emphasis on the " mean " is Greek. The idea 
of the " mean " was the fundamental principle in Greek 
life, and appeared in such literature as Gnomic poetry 
and Plato. (3) The subordination of individual ethical 
conduct to the conception of the state is Greek. Aris 
totle says that politics will have to settle the question 
of the Supreme Good, for the Good of the state and 
that of the individual are identical. 

The Political Philosophy of Aristotle. In the present 
real world rational activity rather than happiness is the 
chief concern of man. Happiness is, however, his high 
est Good, which he can attain if his environment favors 
him. The political environment is a moral factor to 
be considered. The state should be the fulfillment of 
the morals of the individual, and should also be his 
ethical trainer. That State is fulfilling its own possi 
bilities most completely which brings to the full its 
natural endowments. Every Constitution is right that 
has the weal of the people at heart, so that we find Aris 
totle holding this extraordinarily liberal position, that 
the external structure of the State is not so much of 
consequence as that the State should be the educator 
of its people and the actualization of its own in- 


herent possibilities. Aristotle did not construct an 
ideal state, like Plato. He merely pointed out some es 
sentials necessary to the well-being of a state, like ed 
ucation and providence for the future life of the State. 
Although the State is the offspring of necessity, and 
arises out of the needs of utility, it is the Form or 
actuality of the inner self-realization of man from his 
savagery. Race, blood, soil, and geographical position 
are all the Matter of the State ; the rational perfection 
of these is the Form ; the civic virtue is the permanent 
means of the social development. The individual in 
Aristotle s State is subordinated, but not absorbed, in 
the State. He can participate in the intellectual virtues. 
Since his own enjoyment in wisdom approximates 
God s, he himself has distinction. Aristotle was a stanch 
supporter of marriage and the family relations. No 
philosopher in ancient times so elevated the position of 
woman. He reluctantly consented to the institution of 
slavery because it seemed to him a necessity. 



Its Time Length. 

Greek Period, 300 years. 

Hellenic-Roman Period, 800 years. 

Middle Ages, 1000 years. 

Modern Period, 450 years. 

We ought to appreciate at the beginning the enor 
mous time length of this period. It seems long since 
modern thought began, but it was only about 450 
years ago. The Hellenic-Roman Period was 800 years 
long, or nearly twice as long as modern times. It is, 
furthermore, two and a half times as long as the period 
which we have just been discussing, the pure Greek 
period. Now the Hellenic-Roman Period and the Middle 
Ages together form the epoch of human history that 
is relatively uncreative. This is an extent of 1800 
years, a long interval when compared with the 750 
years of creative history, which represents the com 
bined length of the pure Greek Period and modern 
times. In European history the periods of productive 
thought have been less than half as long as those of 
the unproductive. Yet we must not be misled by such 
statistics. History is an organic growth. Its seedtime 
and growth are long ; its harvest is short. 

The Fall of the Greek Nation and the Persistence 
of its Civilization. The 800 years after the death of 
Aristotle are named the Hellenic-Roman Period, be 
cause Greek civilization burst its own national bound- 



aries and became a part of Roman civilization. The 
Greek nation died ; its culture remained. It is no 
longer pure Greek, but Greek in the environment of 
the Roman world it becomes Hellenism. With the 
death of Alexander in 323 B. c. the motherland of 
Greece became a prey to revolutions for 200 years. It 
was often the battleground of foreigners and the object 
of their contentions. Its government and population 
sank into hopeless decay. It was incorporated into the 




(Showing the spread of Hellenism eastward, beginning 334 B. c. with Alexander s 

Roman empire in 146 B. c. and shared in the depressing 
times of the Civil Wars of the first century B. c. By 
becoming a part of Rome Greece lost its uniqueness 
but the world gained its culture as a common heritage. 
Its autonomy was forever gone, but its people became 
the teachers of mankind. In political power Greece 
reached its height with Alexander, in creative thought 
with Aristotle ; then by its own momentum its civiliza 
tion persisted as a missionary force to the whole world. 


The overflow of Greek civilization was first east 
ward, to the nations of Asia. Alexander, with his mili 
tary and administrative genius, had only made a prelim 
inary conquest of these Oriental peoples. The conquest 
became permanent through Greek art, learning, and 
institutions. In the century after Alexander the habits 
and customs of the East had been Hellenized. Greek 
schools, theatres, and baths were to be found in almost 
every city of the East. In the East and Egypt an in 
exhaustible field was opened for the founding of new 
centres of culture. In the kingdoms partitioned off 
from the old Alexandrian domain, the kings were 
Greek, spoke Greek, adored Greek gods, and pre 
served Greek fashions. Amid Asiatics they sought to 
maintain Greek courts, have Greek administrative offi 
cers, and be surrounded with Greek scholars. Greek 
colonists, soldiers, and merchants were attracted to 
these kingdoms in such numbers that the natives 
adopted the costumes, religions, manners, and even the 
language of the Greeks. The Orient ceased to be 
Asiatic and became Hellenic. The Romans found there 
in the first century B. c. peoples like the Greeks who 
spoke Greek. 

Greek civilization began to overflow upon the west 
ern world when, in the second century, Greece with all 
the other countries upon the Mediterranean was ab 
sorbed by Rome. The conquest of Greece by Rome in 
146 B. c. gave currency to Greek art, letters, and 
morals in Roman life. That Greek civilization was not 
lost in this great amalgamation shows how deep and 
fundamental it was. The secondary nations disappeared 
and none remained to compete with the Greek and 
Latin. The result was the superiinposition of Greek 


culture upon Roman society. At the time of the con 
quest of Greece, Greek scholars went to Rome in great 
numbers and opened schools of eloquence and litera 
ture. Later the Roman youths went to Athens to studyr 
Art and science were gradually introduced into Rome 
The old Roman house got a Greek addition. Statues 
and paintings were transported from Greece to Rome. 
Greek artists were commissioned. By 100 B. c. the 
great Romans were living in Greek or Oriental style. 
The coarsest Greeks, too, came into Italy and mingled 
with the Roman proletariat. Thus, with the complete 
Latinizing of the peninsula of Italy in the second 
century, an increasing Hellenism went hand in hand. 

But the two civilizations never completely united. 
Roman adoption of Greek culture was never more than 
a veneer. Greek art and learning were rarely studied 
by the Roman except as a parade and luxury. As time 
went on the Roman resorted less to the classic and 
more to the frivolous modern products of the Greeks. 
For it must be remembered that when Greece was con 
quered by Rome, the Romans were still only peasants, 
soldiers, and merchants, without science, art, or philoso 
phy. Before 150 B. c. the Roman children were taught 
nothing higher than reading, writing, etc. But the 
Roman found a culture in Greece that he liked and 
imitated. He kept his costume, language r and political 
laws, but he adopted Greek letters, art, morals, and 
incorporated many elements of the Greek religion into 
his own. 

Two results came from this superimposition of Greek 
culture upon Roman society. On the one hand the 
Greek sought to create a philosophy which would make 
him a citizen of the world, since it was no longer an 


honor to be a citizen of a Greek city. On the other 
hand, to the Roman there came a mixed good. There 
was a gain to Roman literature and perhaps to juris 
prudence, but a fatal loss to Roman faith and morals. 
On the whole Roman vulgarity was only concealed by 
Greek culture, except in such spirits as Scipio, Pau- 
lus, and the Gracchi, in whom culture was genuine. 
The Roman felt the need of rich intellectual life, and 
he sought it in the rich treasures and the filth of later 
Greek culture. The Greek culture that he found was 
no longer pure Greek, but Hellenism, sometimes tinged 
with Orientalism. It acted as a poison on the Roman 
and often was bitterly opposed. 

The Two Parts of the Hellenic-Roman Period. We 
must not forget that, excepting the first 175 years of 
this period, Rome is the background upon which all phi 
losophical movements of the time are to be traced. Upon 
this background two general movements are prominent, 
which divide the period into two parts : (1) the Ethical 
Period, and (2) the Religious Period. 

1. The Ethical Period, 322 B. c.-l A. D., had its 
origin in the Greek culture that was superimposed upon 
Roman civilization. This epoch is notable for the rise 
and controversies of the four celebrated philosophical 
Schools of Athens; the introduction of the teaching of 
these Schools into Roman society ; and the final merg 
ing and reconciliation of these Schools in Eclecticism 
and Skepticism. 

2. The Religious Period, 100 B. C.-476 A. D., 
arose out of the Oriental religions that swept into 
Rome before the beginning of this era. They were mod 
ified by their Roman environment, and intellectualized 
and systematized by Hellenic culture. Neo-Pythagore- 


anism, the Alexandrian-Judaic theosophies in the first 
part, Christianity and neo-Platonisin in the second part 
of this period, are the most important philosophical re 

Note three things. (1) The spiritual life of Rome dur 
ing these 800 years has its origin in imported foreign 
movements. The source of the ethical movement is 
Greek, that of the religious movement is Oriental. (2) 
The two movements overlap. Indeed, each from its be 
ginning to its end covers about 600 years. More pre 
cisely the ethical movement did not disappear until about 
200 A. D. ; the religious movement began about 200 B. C. 
Ethical considerations dominate the first and religious 
impulses the second period. (3) The century and a half 
from 150 B. C. to 1 A. D. is a period of transition. It 
is the time when the emphasis changes from ethics to 
religion. It is a period of unsettled conditions both 
politically and intellectually. Politically it is the time 
of the Civil wars and the formation of the empire. In 
tellectually it is the time of Eclecticism and Skepti 

The Undercurrent of Skepticism in the Hellenic- 
Roman Period. If we go beneath the surface of the 
chronological divisions of this period, which have been 
given above, we shall find their significance in the un 
dercurrent of Skepticism, which runs from the begin 
ning to the end of the period, and includes both its 
ethical and religious phases. " Skepticism " is a word 
with a history of its own, but, as philosophically used, it 
means the disbelief in the possibility of true knowledge. 
Skepticism was the fundamental frame of mind that 
gradually grew to conscious expression in the entire 
ancient world, although it was entirely at variance 


with the spirit of the Greek culture that had been su^ 
perimposed upon that world. As an undercurrent 
a widespread feeling Skepticism pervaded the whole 
period, while at different times and places it appeared 
distinctly on the surface. These were 800 years of lack 
of confidence in the power of the human reason, but the 
really negative character of the time is often concealed 
by dogmatic teachings of the philosophical Schools. 
Dogmatic Skepticism does not appear except with 
reference to the positive teachings of the Schools, and 
then it appears conspicuously. The successive stages of 
Skepticism can have their clear outline, therefore, only 
after the positive philosophical teachings, contemporary 
with it and opposed by it, have been understood. This 
is the reason for treating the Skeptics after and not 
before the Schools. The reader will, however, lose the 
whole meaning of the Hellenic-Roman Period if he 
does not see that it is fundamentally Skeptical ; that 
in the Ethical Division the Schools furnished the occa 
sion of its appearance, and that in the Religious Division 
religious faith rose because Skepticism had taken pos 
session of the field of knowledge. The ethical Schools 
stood as the last representatives of the old Greek ration 
alism of the Systematic Period, but even they yielded 
to the Skeptical spirit of the time. Stoicism, Epicurean 
ism, and Skepticism seek the same end, the with 
drawal of the individual from the world and his exalta 
tion above his environment. All three valued science 
only so far as it would help ethical conduct. Skepti 
cism alone was avowedly antagonistic to intellectual 
ideals. The strength of Skepticism appears more evi 
dent when we look at its growth during this period. 
At the end of the Ethical Period the Schools weakened 


and we find a century and a half (150 B. c. - 1 A. D.) 
of Skepticism and Eclecticism. There then followed at 
the beginning of this era the Religious Period. Man 
then turned to religion because he was profoundly skep 
tical of the trustworthiness of the reason he felt 
that it was so untrustworthy as to be unable to furnish 
him even a true theory of moral conduct. 

The Skeptical undercurrent of the Hellenic-Roman 
Period was the concentration of all the negative results 
of the Greek Sophists. It therefore had more than one 
point of departure, the philosophies of Protagoras, 
of the Megarian, Cynic, and Cyrenaic Schools. This 
Sophistic undercurrent fed popular thought during the 
days of Plato and Aristotle. It took its formal begin 
ning contemporary with the rise of the Stoic and Epicu 
rean Schools ; and in Athens, Alexandria, and Rome 
there rose to the surface the problem of the possibility 
of human knowledge. Formally it modified its sweep 
ing negations, when it came in contact with the pressing 
needs of morality and of spiritual retirement, but it 
was ever present as the significant attitude of the time. 
While the nature of the Skeptical teaching stood in the 
way of its formation into a School, the doctrine itself, 
nevertheless, developed into a system and had its his 
torical growth and culmination. Weber points out that 
the first appearance of Skepticism marks in Greece the 
inauguration of the age of reason and its reappearance 
marks the decline of the age of reason. 

The Fundamental Problem of the Hellenic-Roman 
Period. The fundamental attitude of this period being 
Skepticism, the fundamental problem presented to it 
was therefore a practical one. While at heart the age 
doubted the validity of the human reason, it was con- 


sciously engaged in solving a very practical problem. 
The period had an external side that was positive. No 
age can be merely skeptical, especially for so long a 
time as 800 years. To doubt the power of the human 
reason is usually the occasion of shunting human ener 
gies along other lines. The form of the practical prob 
lem of this time was, What is the highest wisdom for 
practical life ? This is consonant with the skeptical 
attitude of the Greek as indicated by these two facts : 
(1) he had no longer an interest in speculation except 
as it afforded a basis for practical wisdom, and (2) he 
had no longer an interest in special sciences except as 
they yielded practical results. To be sure, it will be 
found that theories took to themselves airs of great im 
portance during this period and that empirical sciences 
made rapid advances ; but it will also be found that 
they were always in the service of practical living. The 
Wise Man of this age is he who has a scientific doc 
trine of the purposes and ends of human life. 

For with his entrance into world-wide relations in 
the Ethical Period the Athenian found himself con 
fronted with a very different situation from that which 
had engaged him during the age of Pericles. His na 
tional existence had gone and could no longer arouse 
his devotion, and with it his ideal of a national life 
had crumbled to pieces. His epic polytheism had be 
come a dim thing of the distant past, and there was 
no longer any external Greek institution to awaken his 
slumbering energies. He might, of course, go into re 
tirement and engage in speculative inquiry, except that 
this was an age of pressing need. He was forced to be 
awake and to adjust himself as an individual to the many 
other peoples mixing and mingling in one common civ 


ilization. His relations were enlarged, but his interests 
were circumscribed. His philosophy was focused to one 
fundamental problem, What, after all, is the object of 
human life, and what can give happiness to the indi 
vidual amid the turmoil of the time? Philosophic 
studies were narrowed to ethics, logic, and physics in 
their practical bearing. How much narrower, then, the 
scope of the intellectual life of this time than that of 
those men of retired leisure, Plato and Aristotle! 

Nor is the fundamental problem different when in 
the second part of this period we enter the great sweep 
of the religious current. The rise of religious ideals 
and the shift from ethics to religion was only the pre 
sentation of the practical problem of living with a 
different emphasis. Man was now in the dazzling glory 
of the empire, but that empire was unable to compen 
sate the individual for the loss of his political impor 
tance. Rome had given to its conquered peoples an 
organized legal unity, but no spiritual ideal. It had 
none to offer. The individual was the least important 
factor in the organization. The present life offered 
little hope to the individual, except in the light of a 
future life. Practical wisdom thus became that which 
took account of the rewards and punishments that 
would come in the life beyond. 

The Hellenic-Roman Period is kaleidoscopic and be 
wildering in its shif tings ; but amid them all is this one 
conscious problem : " Show us the man who is sure of 
his happiness, whatever the accidents of the world may 
bring to him." 

The Centres of Hellenism. 

I. Athens. With the overflow of Hellenism to the 
east and west the active history of Athens had ceased, 


but she became venerated for what she had been. Greece 
became hallowed and Athens became the shrine of 
Greece in the imaginations of men. Although the city 
was brutally ravished, she exercised a charm over thft 
human mind for eight hundred years after Alexander* 
Athens remained the intellectual centre through the 
entire period. It became the conservative university 
town, where philosophy and rhetoric were taught. It is 
remarkable how many Oriental philosophers came to 
Athens to teach, how many youths from the whole world 
came to be taught. The rhetorical schools, such as that 
of Isocrates, did much toward making Athens the centre 
of culture, and they offered for many years the highest 
practical training to Greek, Roman, and Oriental. Be 
sides the rhetorical were the philosophical or dialectical 
schools, which debated privately questions of speculative 
metaphysics. These did not offer public training, but 
groups of students were taught in the grounds attached 
to gymnasia. Four principal philosophical schools were 
thus formed, the Academy of Plato, the Lyceum of 
Aristotle, the Porch of the Stoics, and the Gardens of 
Epicurus. In the first two we have had especial interest 
in the previous period. All four, and especially the Stoic 
and Epicurean schools, will engage our attention in this 
period. They are known in history as " the Schools." 
(See map for their location in Athens.) There were 
many minor schools in Athens which later became reli 
gious cults. These Schools lost their original interest 
in speculative inquiry, and in this period devoted them 
selves to the exposition of the teaching of their respective 
founders on ethical lines. The University of Athens was 
built upon the four Schools. Its chairs were endowed by 
Hadrian and the Antonines in the second century A. D. 


It grew to have an elaborate organization. It was abol 
ished by Justinian in 529 A. D. 

2. Alexandria. There were many other centres of 
Hellenism and of other learning at this time, Rhodes, 
Antioch, Alexandria, Pergamus, Tarsus, but none of 
these could be said to rival Athens in the veneration 
of men. Some were much more active and creative than 
Athens. Alexandria surpassed Athens and all other 
cities as the centre of the natural sciences in the Ethical 
Period and of religions in the Religious Period. Here, 
too, rather than at Athens, were to be found the real 
interpreters of Plato and Aristotle. Nothing in ancient 
times can be compared to the wonders of the museum 
of Alexandria, which was its university. Scholars of 
every nation were entertained here at the public ex 
pense. A vast botanical garden, a zoological collection, 
an anatomical museum, an astronomical observatory, a 
library of seven hundred thousand volumes were here. 
Here Euclid (290 B. c.) wrote his geometry, Eratosthe 
nes pursued his astronomical, geographical, and historical 
labors, Apollonius wrote his treatise on conic sections; 
and here were made the observations that led to the dis 
covery of the precession of the equinoxes. Here Ptolemy 
and his school formulated the system of astronomy which 
was authoritative for fifteen hundred years. Here the 
Christian theologians were educated, and from this city 
neo-Platonism sprang. Literature and art, history, phi 
lology and criticism flourished. The Hebrew Bible was 
translated into Greek. All religions were welcomed. 
Buddhist, Jew, Greek, and Egyptian mingled, and com 
parative theology rose to be a science. 

General Characteristics of the Ethical Period (322 
B. c.-l A. D.) On the death of Aristotle the hitherto 


compact "body of Greek thought disintegrated into its 
several elements. Theoretical and practical knowledge, 
which had been so successfully fused in the great sys 
tems of Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle, became sepa 
rated. The whole tendency of the time was toward segre 

i. The Abandonment of Metaphysical Speculation* 
The theoretical side of philosophy, which had been 
so successfully completed by the great Greek masters, 
now became subordinated and almost completely lost to 
view. Metaphysical speculation was neglected except 
as it threw light on the practical sciences on ethics 
and the natural sciences. Knowledge was no longer 
loved for its own sake. 

2o The Growth of Science. Since theory was re 
garded as completed, attention was naturally turned 
upon the details of erudition and the specializing of 
science. The natural sciences survived the systems of 
philosophy because of their usefulness. There was great 
interest in investigations in mathematics, natural sci 
ence, grammar, philology, literary history and general 
history and all with very rich results. It was the time 
of commentaries, criticism, collaboration of the work of 
the past and completion of the special work begun by 
the past. By far the greater number of the so-called 
"philosophers" of this time are connected with special 
science and literature, and not with metaphysics. 

It was in the Greek Islands and Egypt (Alexandria) 
that this advance was made. Nevertheless, it must be 
said that the advance in science was a good deal re 
stricted. The empirical sciences are dependent on ob 
servation and experiment, and these opportunities were 
wanting at this time. Good progress was, however, made 


in mathematics and the sciences dependent on reason 
ing. Reasoning alone is incapable of advancing a science 
like physics, for physics depends on investigation. But 
even the prevalent skepticism of the time could not 
doubt the truths of mathematics. 

3. Ethics became the Central Interest. For the first 
time in the history of European thought ethics was no 
longer a part of politics. In the time of the autonomous 
Greek states ethics and politics were two sides of the same 
question both in theory and practice. Ethics and politics 
were not disjoined even by the Sophists, who neverthe 
less paved the way for the divorce of the two. Now for 
the first time ethical questions have become such that 
the individual must disregard the iron-bound political 
situation and answer them entirely with reference to 
himself. The decadent Greek state was no longer a 
moral entity in the eyes of the people, nor could the 
concentration of government in Rome raise the state to 
moral dignity. Moreover, life had become cosmopolitan. 
The nations were commingling. Ethics must meet the 
needs of men as human beings, and not as Athenians, 
Spartans, or Romans. Vices had become cosmopolitan 
and virtues must needs be cosmopolitan also. But cos^ 
mopolitanism is in the last analysis only individualism. 
The man who conceives his duty so large that it em 
braces the whole world is usually cold to any special 
interests except his own. The Roman dictators and 
afterwards the emperor were the personification of this 
cosmopolitan individualism which the subjects imitated 
so far as they could. 

Thus the public life was in danger of being swamped 
by private interests and mere enjoyment, by gain and 
the struggle for existence. The old belief in the gods, 


the vigorous political activity for great ends, the pleas 
ure in free scientific inquiry had disappeared. The only 
refuge for the reflective mind was within itself and the 
study of its own moral problems. Yet for this a definite 
science of ethics was necessary, if the individual was to 
be systematically independent of external things. Plato 
and Aristotle had prepared the way for such retirement, 
and the tendency toward ethical separation from the 
world of political events was an aspect of the cosmopoli 
tanism of the time. Ethical individuality and cosmopoli 
tanism go together. The development of the inner life 
belongs to those individuals who dwell together in spirit 
ual community. The same cosmopolitanism was sought 
by the skeptics of the period through the abandonment 
of all knowledge. 

The Schools. The beginning of the Ethical Period is 
marked by the rise of the Schools into prominence, the 
end of that period by the fusion of the Schools with one 
another through either eclecticism or skepticism. At the 
beginning of the period each School had its distinctive 
doctrine and was in open controversy with the others ; 
at the end their doctrines were much alike. The Epicu 
rean School was an exception, for it always remained 
isolated from the other Schools. While each School had 
a host of notable representatives, it would be difficult 
to find a creative thinker among them. 

We have already given the names of the four Schools : 
the Stoic or the Porch, the Epicurean or the Gardens, 
the Aristotelian (Peripatetic) or the Lyceum, the Pla 
tonic or the Academy. The Stoic and Epicurean are 
called the New Schools in contrast with the Lyceum 
and the Academy, which are called the Old Schools. The 
New Schools were of Asiatic rather than Greek origin, 



and the Old Schools departed very much from the teaching- 
of their founders ; so that we find a very different kind of 
philosophy taught in all four Schools from that taught by 
the great Greek Systematizers. All the Schools were So 
phistic rather than Socratic, and may be characterized as 
the revival of Greek Sophistry. Besides these Schools 
there was the group of Skeptics, which cannot be properly 


(The Academy was three quarters of a mile from the city, the Lyceum just outside 
the city, while the Porch was a colonnade on the market place (Agora). The location 
of the Gardens is not precisely known, but it was on the road to the Academy, jut in- 
aide the walls.) 

called a School, for from the nature of its doctrine it 
could not form an organization. In influence upon the 
period, the Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics are the most 
important. They eclipsed the Academy and Lyceum be 
cause with partisan clearness they could formulate the 
attitude of the age. The Stoic School made the most 


important contribution to succeeding history. The Epi* 
curean School had the most numerous following. Al 
though the four Schools were not endowed until the 
Empire, their life was most vigorous before the Empire 
during the Ethical Period. Succession in leadership of 
the Schools cannot be completely traced even that 
of the Academy shows great gaps. All record of leader 
ship in the Aristotelian, Stoic, and Epicurean Schools 
stops at the close of this period. 

The Old Schools The Academy and the Lyceum. 
The Academy and Lyceum have a history which in 
these respects is the same : (1) both abandoned the ideal 
of an ethical society and turned to that of individual 
happiness; (2) both deviated to Skepticism; (3) both 
afterward had a reaction from Skepticism ; (4) both de 
veloped the Sophistic teaching rather than that of their 
founders ; (5) both were in common opposition to the 
New Schools. 

i. The Academy. There were three Academies after 
Plato called three, because of the difference in their 
doctrines. Perhaps it is better to say that there were 
three successive epochs of the Academy. 

(a) The Older Academy, lasting about seventy years, 
from 347 B. c. to 280 B. c. The successive leaders of this 
were Speusippus, the nephew of Plato (d. 339 B. c.), 
Heracleides of Pontus, Xenocrates (d. 314 B. c.), Po- 
lemo, and Crates. This Academy emphasized at first the 
tendency begun by Plato in the Laws toward the Pytha 
gorean numbers, and later yielded to the contemporary 
interest in morals. 

(5) The Middle Academy, lasting about one hun< 
dred and fifty years, from 280 B. c. to 129 B. c. Of 
this epoch Arcesilaus and Carneades were the most 


prominent leaders. This Academy was a form of Skepti 

(c) The New Academy, lasting three hundred years? 
from 120 B. c. to 200 A. D. Among its leaders were 
Philo of Larissa, who was at Rome in 87 B. c., and 
Antiochus of Ascalon, who had Cicero as a pupil in 
Athens in 79 and 78 B. c. This epoch of the Acad 
emy represented a return to the dogmatism of Plato, 
but it shows the contemporary eclectic tendency by its 
including elements of Stoic and neo-Platonic teach 

On the whole, the several epochs of the Academy- 
failed to represent Plato s theory of the Ideas. The 
Academy was at first a School of practical ethics, then 
a Skepticism, then an eclecticism. It was related to 
Plato as the lesser-Socratic schools were to Socrates. 
The true developer of Plato was Aristotle and not 
the Academies. 

2. The Lyceum. From the death of Aristotle to 
200 A. D. the Lyceum was represented by individuals. 
The pupils of Aristotle were distinguished from the 
master himself in being scientific specialists. Theo- 
phrastus (370-287 B. c.), who followed Aristotle as 
leader of the Lyceum, was the most complete repre 
sentative of Aristotle, and an attempt to drive out the 
Schools in Athens in 306 B. c. failed solely by reason 
of the respect in which he was held. His significance 
lay in natural science, and his two preserved botanical 
works are of great importance. Eudemus of Rhodes 
studied history, mathematics, and astronomy. Aristox- 
enes studied music, ethics, psychology, and history. 
Dicaearchus showed the first yielding to the contem 
porary ethical interest by writing history on its practi 


cal side. Science was continued by the Aristotelians in 
Sicily, Alexandria, and the Mediterranean islands. At 
Athens the School was most interested in logic, dialec 
tics, and eristics. 

The history of the Lyceum was similar to that of 
the Academy. At first it was centred in Theophrastus, 
the brilliant disciple of the founder, an administrator 
who knew how to give an eminent position to the Ly 
ceum in the intellectual life of Athens. This was fol 
lowed by the naturalism and pantheism of Strato. The 
following generations of scholarchs were absorbed in 
empirical investigations. Then, as in the Academy, 
came the reaction back to the original purpose of the 
founder of the Lyceum. This occurred under An- 
dronicus (about 70 B. c.), the eleventh head of the 
School, and under him the original teachings of Aris 
totle were reproduced and defended. This went on for 
several centuries, until the School was merged in neo- 

The New Schools The Epicureans and the Stoics. 
The Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics represent the 
dogmatic side of this period more truly than the Pla- 
tonists and Aristotelians, for they give a radical ex 
pression to its social aspects. The Epicureans had less 
philosophical originality ; but their doctrine had been 
born mature in their founder, and had in consequence 
a unity and compactness. Stoicism, on the other hand, 
was an eclecticism composed of the successive philo- 
sophizings of its champions through many centuries. 
Stoicism was represented by many independent and 
notable thinkers, while Epicureanism had only one 
original thinker, its founder, Epicurus. Stoicism de 
veloped by changing its essentials, while Epicureanism 


could change only in its unessentials. Stoicism may be 
said to have been the characteristic philosophy of this 
period, from the fact that it was created and developed 
in Athens on the principles of Attic philosophy by men 
who had originated in the mixed races of the East, 
and by the fact that it was easily accepted and devel 
oped by the Romans. Consistent with the spirit of the 
Hellenic-Roman Period, it was by nature an eclecticism 
that became more eclectic ; and as time went on its 
teaching approached that of the Academy and Lyceum 
(second century B. c.). Epicureanism, however, always 
remained Epicureanism. Both Stoicism and Epicure 
anism were centred at Athens. Epicurus opened his 
School in the Gardens in 307 B. c., and Zeno began 
his lectures in the Porch in 294 B. c. Both schools 
were introduced into Rome in the middle of the second 
century B. C., or just before the end of the Ethical 

Epicureanism in Rome could easily be perverted 
into an excuse for the luxurious tendencies of the time, 
and since it advocated absolute government it voiced 
the feeling of the new Empire of the Emperor and 
the people. As a philosophy it was opportune and pop 
ular and at the same time easily misunderstood. It made 
no demands upon its disciples. On the other hand, Stoi 
cism was a discipline and demanded intellectual acumen 
Its insensibility to art and culture was an insuperablo 
obstacle to its progress in Greece, but on this account 
it found congenial soil in Roman society. It made rapid 
progress among the noble families, and was especially 
identified with those patrician reactionaries who stood 
for the old regime of the Republic. 

We are not surprised to find that the Stoics and 


Epicureans were violently opposed to each other. They 
were the New Schools and contesting the same ground 
for favor. They had the same aim and, with so much in 
common, their differences were naturally accentuated. 
In an age which Adam Smith has likened to the Thirty 
Years War in Germany, they sought as rivals to offer 
as an ideal the individual independent of his surround- 
ings. The Stoic presented one means of attaining this 
ideal and the Epicurean another. Both tried to substi 
tute a philosophic creed for the old religion. And the 
crowds that still went to the Academy and Lyceum, and 
were taught the old dogmatism, must have looked ask 
ance at these new dogmatic Schools. Those crowds had 
become second-rate men. The New Schools had at first 
fewer numbers, but deeper thinkers. The Greek pupils 
in the New Schools listened to foreigners teaching 
strange creeds in strange tongues. But these new rivals 
made their way. Not only at Athens, but at Corinth, 
Elis, Colophon, and Heraclea in Pontus the elegant Pla 
tonic style was being superseded by the crude aphorisms 
of Epicurus and the clumsy arguments of Zeno. 

It will be asked, How far did these doctrines during 
these eight hundred years permeate the people ? Did the 
New Schools reach the rank and file of the people to the 
same degree that the Sophistic teachings reached the 
Greeks? Are we to suppose that Stoicism and Epicure 
anism were common and popular philosophies ? By no 
means. These philosophies reached the people of the 
Roman world no farther than Greek culture permeated 
Roman society. Stoicism was consciously taken up by 
the large patrician class. The patricians were the culti 
vated Romans ; and Stoicism has so much in it like the 
Roman gramtas that it formulated for the patricians 


their attitude in this hopeless time. Epicureanism, on 
the other hand, in its pure form as Epicurus taught it, 
or later as Lucretius poetically expressed it, could find 
less favor in Rome. But Epicureanism was easily per 
verted, and no doubt the educated voluptuaries of Rome 
would find in the vitiated doctrine a support and excuse 
for their excesses. 

A Summary of the Agreements and Differences of 
the Stoics and Epicureans. 

Their Agreements. 

1. Both subordinated theory to practice. 

2. Both had the same purpose in their practical 
philosophy : 

(a) to gain peace of mind for the individual, 
(5) to gain independence of the world for the 

Their Differences. 

The Stoics. The Epicureans. 

1. Universal law is su- The individual is supreme. 


2. Man is a thinking Man is a feeling being. 


3. Independence is ob- Independence is obtained 

tained by suppress- by idealizing the feel 

ing the personal ings through serenity, 


4. The Stoics were re- The Epicureans were anti- 

ligious, religious, 

yet both schools accepted the popular gods. 

5. The world is a moral The world is a mechanical 

order. order. 


6. The universal deter- The universal is the result 

mines the individ- of the functioning of the 

ual. individual. 

I 7. The world is the ex- The world is the combina* 

pression of an im- tion of atoms, 
manent reason. 



The Life of Epicurus (341-270 B. c.). Epicurus 
was born in Samos in Asia Minor. He was a school 
teacher in Mitylene and Lampsacus, and in 307 B. c. 
he established in Athens his Philosophical School, in a 
garden within the walls on the road to the Academy 
(see map). His School was thereafter called the Gar 
dens. He claimed to have been self-taught, and he prob 
ably did not have a thorough education. He did, how 
ever, possess great personal charm and, as his doctrine 
made few demands upon its disciples and expressed the 
refilled and delicate hedonism of the time, it spread 
very wide. His disciples held him in great reverence, 
and long after his death the image of his personality 
was a living influence with them. Indeed, it was the per 
sonal work of Epicurus that was the supreme influence 
with the sect. His formulas passed on from generation 
to generation and were called " Golden Maxims."* He 
wrote three hundred separate treatises, and in the 
amount of his writings was exceeded in antiquity only 
by the Stoic, Chrysippus. His great work, On Nature, 
consisted of thirty-seven books. The other Schools 
joined in a bitter attack upon him, and in modern times 
he has been called Socrate double d un Voltaire. Since 
neither polytheism nor Christianity had any reason for 

* Read Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean; Hicks, 
Stoic and Epicurean, p. 184, for the Golden Maxims of 
Epicurus ; Teuffel, History of Roman Literature, pp. 83-86. 


preserving his writings, they have been almost entirely 
lost. Some have been found in Herculaneum, and many 
more are thought to be still in that buried city. The 
mother of Epicurus was a priestess, and her supersti 
tions probably set him against the superstitions of his 
age. His later acquaintance with the philosophy of 
Democritus gave him a scientific basis for his aggression 
against all religions. 

The Epicureans. The Epicurean body was a guild 
or sect that seemed to have been little affected by the 
vicissitudes of time. The Epicureans proselyted vigor 
ously, closely organized their society, and extended 
it throughout Greece. It was a state within a state. 
With a fixed constitution it was held together by itin 
erant preaching, correspondence, and material assis^- 
ance. It had an esprit de corps, and like religious com 
munities it brought together into one organization the 
individuals that had been scattered by the breaking up 
of political institutions. The School had special protec 
tion from the Roman emperors and existed as late as 
the fourth century A. D., having outlived all the other 
systems. It had some famous literary representatives, 
Metrodorus, Colotes, Philodemus, but especially the 
Roman poet Lucretius, who popularized the doctrine 
for the Romans. Amafinius introduced Epicureanism 
into Rome during the middle of the second century B. C., 
and the teaching was received with great favor. Its 
numerous disciples in all antiquity changed the doctrine 
only in its unessentials. The charges of immorality and 
licentiousness are not true of the teaching or of the 
practices of the founder or of the early members of the 

Some Types of Hedonism, Aristippus, Epicurus, 


and Rousseau. Epicureanism was not a philosophy of 
pleasure for people without ideals or who were merely 
seeking indulgence. The question that Epicurus asked 
was this : What enduring pleasure is possible to a man 
in these days of turmoil? He tried to give a rational 
answer to those of his day who wished to live and enjoy. 
His aim was to free man from responsibility in his 
share of the world s work and to provide for him a life 
of serenity. The pleasure theory of Aristippus, the 
Cyrenaic, was very different. Aristippus, a voluptuary 
in a luxurious city, presented a pleasure theory for the 
few who have fortunes. It is hardly more than a grad 
ing of pleasures and the setting up of a criterion of 
their selection. Epicurus goes deeper than that. His 
pleasure theory is for the few, not because they are for 
tunate, but because they are wise ; not because they 
have fortunes to gratify their passions, but because 
they are independent of all fortune. The Cyrenaic 
was a man of the world; the Epicurean was in the 
world, but not of it. 

There is a superficial resemblance between the teach 
ing of Epicurus and the message of Rousseau to the 
French people of the eighteenth century. Both sought 
an ideal of enduring plea&ure. Both would discard the 
artificialities of society. But Rousseau was a political 
reformer and attempted to find his ideal in a newly 
constructed society. Epicurus, on the other hand, was 
no political reformer, but would find his ideal in society 
as it existed. Rousseau appealed to the primitive feel 
ings. He felt " the call of the wild." Epicurus appealed 
to the refined and derivative feelings. He had no ag 
gressive propaganda. He aimed at no external reform. 
His ideal was peace, and not the sword. 


The Epicurean Ideal. The central principle of 
Epicurus is that pleasure is a good and pain an 
evil. In this he was in agreement with Aristippus, and 
from this position he never receded. He offered no 
proof of this, but rested his central principle upon the 
conviction that men pursue pleasure and avoid pain. 
He was convinced of the biological fact. But he was 
not unobservant from the beginning that the subject 
was complex. He saw that the individual has to make 
a selection of pleasure and often has to choose pain for 
r the sake of a greater pleasure. Pleasure is the only 
good, but Epicurus asks further, What is pleasure ? 
He finds that he must give a content to pleasure and 
evaluate the pleasures in the interests of pleasure it 
self. This was to Epicurus no moral appraisal, but with 
reference to the ^pleasantest possible life. 

Of the two qualities of pleasure Epicurus valued 
its duration and showed his advance over the Cyre- 
naics, who had valued its intensity. It was on this ac 
count that the Epicureans disclaimed all relationship 
with the Cyrenaics, the earlier school. The difference 
is certainly a radical one between them : to Epicurus 
true pleasure is that which endures ; to Aristippus it 
is that which is most intense, however fleeting. There 
is this to be said of the Cyrenaic theory : it could be 
easily understood. Aristippus could tell exactly what 
he meant by pleasure. It is this or that gratification of 
sense. It includes every positive pleasure, and that 
which is intensest is best. One always knows when he 
is enjoying, and in flitting from pleasure to pleasure he 
knows when he is intensely enjoying. But the Cyrenaic 
presented no ideal. While the Epicurean theory is more 
difficult to understand, it is more mature and more pro- 


found because it presents a well-conceived ideal. Indeed, 
the farther we follow Epicurus along this line of his 
pursuit of the ideal of lasting pleasure, the more are 
we impressed with his contribution to our knowledge 
of the nature of pleasure. 

In this connection Epicurus shows his comprehensive 
jrasp of the subject in determining what are the last 
ing pleasures. Although he was a materialist he re 
garded the pleasures of the mind as superior to those 
of the body. The inner pleasures, the spiritual joys, the 
control of the mind so that it could enjoy without in 
dulgence these were to Epicurus the enduring pleas 
ures. The pleasures of sense are primary, for, in the 
last analysis, the mental life is a combination of sen 
sations, and sensations are only material motions ; nev 
ertheless the secondary and derivative pleasures of the 
mind were superior, according to Epicurus, because they 
had duration. This estimate of the superiority of the 
mental pleasures was probably reinforced by two other 
reasons : such pleasures were possessed by Epicurus ; 
and such a doctrine was in accord with the Greek aes 
thetic ideal of self -enjoyment of the refined egoist. 

The most permanent state of mind is called by Epi 
curus independence of the world ^ on the one hand, and 
emotionlessness, on the other. These are the positive 
and negative sides of one and the same thing the 
Epicurean ideal of pleasure. In ancient times the con 
ception of the " affections," " passions," or " emotions " 
included all states of feeling and will in which man 
is dependent on the outer world. To be emotionless is 
to be independent of the world. The Epicurean word 
is gtaraxia^ which is variously translated as serenity, 
peace, repose, imperturbability. Since man has no con- 


trol over the world without him, he must control ite 
effects within himself. These effects are the feelings and 
desires which are by nature only mental disturbances. 
In mastering these he becomes independent of the 

If one will scrutinize his life, he will find, according 
to Epicurus, that his experiences form a stream of men 
tal disturbances. These may be divided into two classes, 
desires and positive pleasures. Desires are wants 
and want is pain. Pain is therefore exciting. Positive 
pleasure presupposes desire and want, and such pleasure 
is also an excitement, the excitement that accompanies 
the removal of want. The positive pleasures are not, 
therefore, the goal of independence of the outer world. 
There is another kind of pleasure the pleasure of re 
pose. Epicurus recognizes therefore both the pleasure of 
motion and the pleasure of repose, but they do not have 
the same importance in his system. Repose is the goal of 
all our experiences. It is a neutral state, a state of free 
dom from bodily pain and mental excitement. There is 
nothing higher than such a neutral state. We cannot 
advance beyond it. If we seek new pleasures by grati 
fying new desires, we are only returning to the old 
round of want, desire, and the pleasurable excitement 
of removing the want. The pleasure of repose is the 
only escape from this round of experiences. Emotion 
lessness is the maximum pleasure it is the repose in 
independence of the world. Any deviation from it may 
vary but it will not increase our pleasure. 

This ideal of Epicurus looks very much like the 
Cynic doctrine of absence of wants as constituting 
virtue and happiness. But Epicurus is far from re 
nouncing pleasure. He is no ascetic. On the contrary, 


the repose of the Epicurean will be the greater in pro* 
portion to the compass of his needs that are satisfied. 
But he needs insight into any given situation to tell him 
what positive pleasures should be encouraged. Epicuruf 
thus distinguishes three kinds of wants and their attend* 
ant positive pleasures : (1) wants natural and indispensa 
ble without the satisfaction of which we cannot exist ; 
(2) wants artificial and dispensable, which ought always 
to be disregarded ; (3)wants natural and dispensable 
the great mass of wants which lie between the two 
other classes. Insight is necessary to decide about this 
third class. In case of necessity they can be renounced, 
but since they give happiness, the Wise Man will seek 
to satisfy them as far as possible. 

There are three steps leading to Epicurean happi 
ness : (1) the desire or the pain of unsatisfied craving ; 
(2) the positive pleasure that removes the pain of un 
satisfied desire ; (3) ataraxia, the repose of the soul or 
true happiness. 

The Place of Virtue in Epicureanism. Epicurus 
agreed with the strictest Greek moralists that virtue 
and happiness go together. His opponents had to tes 
tify to the beneficial effects of his teaching upon the 
character of his disciples. Yet his conception of the 
place of virtue in life is in direct conflict with Stoicism. 
He felt that the Stoic conception of virtue for its own 
sake is an ideal so imaginary that it lacks all incentive to 
action. Pleasure, on the other hand, seemed to him to be 
a concrete and real object. It can be given a definite con 
tent. Virtue had for Epicurus a value only as a means 
to happiness. Moreover, virtue by itself is not necessa 
rily accompanied by happiness, but only when it is em 
ployed as a condition to happiness. Thus wisdom may 


be employed to gain the pleasure of liberation from 
the fear of the gods ; self-control may be employed in 
order to get the maximum of happiness. 

The Epicurean Wise Man. To what classes of people 
could this Epicurean ideal appeal ? Is it an ideal pos 
sible only to the favorites of fortune, wealth, and rank ? 
As presented by Epicurus it was not conditioned by ex- 
kern al circumstances of any sort and its aim was to tran 
scend all conditions. Nevertheless, it is obvious that 
the theory was restricted to those who had the desire 
to adopt it. On the whole, the unreflecting common 
people of that time were not as a matter of fact influenced 
by the Epicurean philosophy. The proof of this is the 
ease with which it was degraded into a simple pleasure 
theory without an ideaL Epicureanism as presented by 
its author was not an excuse for the voluptuary or the 
prodigal, although it was easily corrupted into that. 
v It was, however, a philosophy of the individual. The 
individual must rely upon his own common sense as 
to what among the particular satisfactions will give 
him independence of the world. Sometimes repose is 
attained by the satisfaction of all wants ; sometimes the 
satisfactions needed are few because the wants are few. 
True pleasure is possible to all reflective souls. " When 
you come," says Seneca, " to the gardens where the words 
are inscribed : Friend, here it will be well for you to 
abide ; here pleasure is the highest good ; there will 
meet you the keeper of the place, a hospitable kindly 
man who will set before you a dish of barley porridge 
and plenty of water and say, Have you not been well 
entertained ? These gardens do not provoke hunger, but 
quench it ; they do not cause a greater thirst by the drinks 
they afford. ... In this pleasure I have grown old." 



Man can use much, but he does not need much. Even 
life itself under extreme circumstances is not necessary. 
The pleasures to be sought are the permanent and 
gentle. In one place Epicurus says with a somewhat 
forced sentiment that the Wise Man on the rack will 
smile in the midst of torture and say, " How sweet ! 

The Wise Man accepts the established order and ac 
commodates himself to it. He is not like the Stoic Wise 
Man, indifferent to all pleasures, but he is nevertheless 
independent of them. He is superior to the world, a king 
and a god. Accidents cannot disturb him, for his vir 
tuous happiness lies within himself. He cannot control 
the world without, but he can control the world within 
himself. He can be happy with few or many satisfac 
tions, and he is master over the world if he is master of 
the effects of the world upon himself. To rest unmoved 
in one s inner self that is the Epicurean ideal of the 
Wise Man. In contrast to the Cyrenaic happiness, the 
Epicurean happiness seems passive ; in contrast to the 
Stoic happiness it is satisfaction. 

The Epicurean Wise Man in Society. Nevertheless 
the Wise Man is only a spectator of the world. He does 
not enter the world s work nor does he enlist as a soldier 
to fight its moral battles. His individual independence 
gives a peculiar character to his social relations. He will 
have no ties on account of their complications. Moreover, 
his inner world offers him no compensation for his loss 
of social relationship, except that the good within is 
strong and the evil weak. He looks upon political gov 
ernment as a matter of selfish convenience. He is op 
posed to civic life, and therefore a supporter of absolute 
government. He refuses the responsibility of marriage, 
but accepts friendship as the only worthy social relation- 


ship, and only because friendship is of mutual advan 
tage. Friendship means intellectual intercourse, com 
passion, and forgiveness. While there were many famous 
Epicurean friendships, one must admit that the Epicu 
rean took an unfair advantage of the state. His happiness 
presupposed a highly developed civilization of. refined 
tastes and noble sentiments. He is a parasite upon the 
community and appropriates the labor of others. The 
Epicurean ideal offers much to the individual, but no 
thing to society as a means of spiritual productivity. 

The Great Obstacles to Happiness. To universalize 
pleasure, however paradoxical it may seem, is to set up 
an individualism. It is to abandon all the claims of the 
society of other beings upon us. The logic of any pleas 
ure theory is anarchism. But Epicurus is no anarchist, 
for anarchism would be too disturbing to repose. Epi 
curus stopped far short of interfering with political con 
ditions. His teaching did not have as its end a logical 
theory, but a practical accomplishment. He therefore 
accommodated his theory to the practical circumstances 
of his time. He pointed out that in the seething times 
of the third century B. C. the individual could be happy 
if he banished from his world two obstacles. These 
were religion and culture. 

To Epicurus the sorrow in man s heart and the evil 
in his practices are mainly due to religion. The chief 
source of the wretchedness of the world is to be found 
in the crushing fears of religious belief. Epicurus has 
in mind the exaggerated ceremonies and mystical be 
liefs of the Orient, where his mother had been a priest 
ess. From this memory he was reacting. Keligion pol 
lutes men s fancies, clouds the future with superstitious 
fears, and puts repose and happiness beyond our reach. 


In the first place, religion carries with it the fear of 
< death. In modern times the idea of life after death i 
an added consolation. In the time of Epicurus death 
meant the giving up of the present life for a dim, sun 
less region of flitting shades bordering on the edge of 
Tartarus. No philosophical mind can be happy, accord 
ing to Epicurus, if it contains the religious conception 
of death and the future life. Again, religion conceives 
the world of nature as created and operated by the gods. 
It is forever explaining nature-phenomena as miraculous 
and supernatural. The tranquil mind must believe in a 
nature world that is separated from miraculous inter 
vention, and freed from oversight. The world must be a 
dependable world. Lastly, religion conceives of the gods 
as always busying themselves with the affairs of men. 
Men must secure their favor and avert their wrath by 
constant offerings. The religious man wastes his time 
and consumes his peace in the fear that the gods are 
not propitiated. The Epicurean seeks to build up the 
life of the individual. He seeks a tranquillity that is in 
dependent of everything. Religious belief with its inter 
fering gods would thwart his ideal. Hence the chief 
concern of the Epicurean was to banish from life every 
conception of divine government. The gods exist, but 
they live quite apart from men. Their dwelling is in in 
ter-stellar space amid the numberless worlds. They have 
nothing to do with the events of this world, but are 
only glorified actualizations of the philosophic ideal of 
soul-satisfying peace. The more the teleological concep 
tion of nature became the common ground of the Acad 
emy, the Lyceum, and the Porch, the more did the Epi 
cureans isolate themselves by opposing the conception. 
The other obstacle to the imperturbability of the soul 


is culture. The Stoics subordinated theory to practice^ 
but Epicurus went so far as to deprecate all culture. 
It was the philosophical protest of an Oriental against 
all for which Greece had stood. All knowledge is su 
perfluous which does not promote happiness. Know 
ledge may indirectly promote happiness, and that is the 
best you can say of it. Epicurus therefore despised the 
researches of the grammarians, the lore of history, the 
science of mathematics, the theory of music, poetry, 
rhetoric, oratory, logic. Although he set greater store by 
the intellectual than the physical pleasures, he placed as 
little value on knowledge for its own sake as upon virtue 
for its own sake. This teaching of Epicurus in Athens 
betrays the change that had come over Athenian society. 
Plato, who had been the impersonation of Athenian cul 
ture, had been dead not more than thirty years. 

Epicurus Conception of the Physical World. 
Qualified Atomism. To the cursory reader the science 
of physics seems to occupy a large place in the philosophy 
of Epicurus, and its presence appears inconsistent with 
his polemic against culture. Upon further reading one 
finds that physics, too, should be merely a servant of the 
happiness of the individual. We need knowledge of 
physics because the knowledge of natural causes will 
free us from the fears attending religion. Physics has 
no independent importance. 

Epicurus undertook to support his doctrine of indi 
vidualism by the scientific theory of Democritus. The 
materialistic theory of the great Abderite seems to 
loom large in the exposition of Epicurus. But Epicurus 
was not interested in the science of physics not even 
in the physics of Democritus. He did not build his 
theory on the teaching of Democritus, but on the con- 


trary he used the Democritan doctrine to support his 
theory of moral conduct. Epicurus needed a well-au 
thenticated theory. On account of the influence of Lu 
cretius poem, Epicurus has been called in modern times 
the scientist of antiquity. But his only contribution to 
science was that, finding the atomism of Democritus 
ready at hand although unpopular, he made it popular 
by adjusting it to his own purposes. 

The Democritan conception that Being is matter 
consisting of innumerable uncreated and indestructible 
atoms furnished Epicurus this support for his moral 
atomism. He followed Democritus in his analysis of 
psychological, physiological, and astronomical phenom 
ena all are atoms in combinations. But he lacked 
scientific insight and the Democritan doctrine was 
emasculated in his hands. The central and fundamental 
principle of Democritus theory was the universal reign 
of law. This the Stoics adopted and this Epicurus 
neglected. Epicurus was impressed by the changes of 
the atoms in the Democritan theory ; the Stoics by the 
law of such change. 

This appears in the teaching of Epicurus in two 
ways. The first example is in his explanation of the 
origin of the cosmos. Democritus had conceived that 
irregular motion was an inherent quality of the atoms 
and that the universe was produced by their combina 
tions in a purely mechanical way. Epicurus conceived 
that the original movement of the atoms was in a 
straight line from above downwards. This he called the 
"rain of atoms." To explain their intermingling he 
conceived them to be endowed with volition by which 
they arbitrarily deviated from the direct fall. Secondly, 
this physical theory of Epicurus would be unimportant 


except that it afforded him a basis for his theory of the 
individual as possessing free will. The doctrine of free 
dom of the will had been since Aristotle a presupposi 
tion indispensable to the doctrine of moral accounta 
bility among the Greeks. The Stoic doctrine of fate 
is an exception. But determinism was opposed to Epi 
curus conception of the Wise Man as an independent 
individual. The human will is self-determined, and Epi 
curus even said that he preferred the illusions of re 
ligion to a belief in our slavery to fate. He classed 
freedom and chance together as uncaused occurrence, 
and out of the combination built his conception of free 
dom. The uncaused functioning of the will in man is 
the same as the causeless deviation of the atoms. Free 
dom is the choice between different possibilities and is 
determined by no cause. The Stoics alone among the 
philosophers of this time are the forerunners of the 
study of physics. 

Epicurus introduced the conception of volition of 
the atoms to account for the origin of the cosmos. 
From that point he conceived the world to develop IR 
a mechanical way. Teleology in the nature world was 
repugnant to him. By modifying the Democritan phys 
ics, he thus succeeded in establishing the independence 
of the individual in the social world and, on the other 
hand, removing the gods from interfering in the physical 
world. This seemed to Epicurus to afford an absolute 
deliverance from superstition. The important points of 
the physical theory of Epicurus are these : (1) the 
freedom of the atoms in motion ; (2) and yet their me 
chanical development ; (3) the atomic character of the 
gods ; (4) the scattering of the atoms of the soul at 
death, which frees us from the fear of Hades. 



The Position of Stoicism in Antiquity. The Stoic 
School had a long history, and for five hundred years 
it was well-nigh the dominating system of thought. Its 
importance is shown in the attacks on all sides by 
which it was honored. It was subjected to a continued 
critical testing by the Peripatetics, Epicureans, Skep 
tics, and the Academy. It was without doubt the most 
comprehensive School of the Hellenic-Roman Period, 
and numbered as its adherents the most brilliant per 
sonalities of the time. In its importance to history its 
only rival was neo-Platonism, which came after it. Stoi 
cism accomplished much toward solving the problem 
of life, for it is one of the great inner, spiritual move 
ments of humanity. It was a system of philosophy raised 
upon the ruins of polytheism a religion for the edu 
cated classes, who tried to harmonize the old religion 
with the new philosophic needs. In the early Christian 
centuries it led the moral reform by reviving the classic 
ideals. It became a retreat into the invisible order, a 
solace amid unrest. Particularly at that time the Stoic 
felt the emptiness of human life, for his possession of 
eternity made earthly existence seem as nothing. Yet 
it was a movement of subjective reflection and indi 
vidual motive ; but as such it could not prove itself ade 
quate when the structure of Roman society broke down. 

But we must not take the Roman Stoics as the repre 
sentatives of the sect. The Stoics stood for more than 


moral reflection. The great achievement came from the 
first three leaders the achievement of giving a scien 
tific basis to morals. The Stoics made ethics an inde 
pendent science. Such an elaborate system of morals 
as that of the Stoics had never before existed. Stoi 
cism was morality with a theoretical foundation, and the 
foundation was the most imposing part of the edifice. 
This appeared in Roman jurisprudence, and in later 
times in Grotius, Descartes, Spinoza, the Calvinists and 
Puritans, and in Kant and Fichte. The writings of the 
individual Stoics have become a part of the world s 
literature, and the Stoic view of life has maintained 
itself as a dignified and independent type. 

The Three Periods of Stoicism. The five hundred 
years of the history of the Stoic School are usually di 
vided into three periods. The first is about 90 years 
long, in which the doctrine was formulated ; the second 
is 200 years long, when the doctrine was modified ; the 
third was 200 years long, when it became a popular 
moral philosophy. The first two periods were theoretical, 
the third was practical. 

1. Period of Formulation of the Doctrine (294 B. c. 
-206 B. c.), sometimes called the period of Cynical 
Stoicism. This period contains the three great leaders : 
Zeno (340-265 B. c.), Clean thes, leader of the School 
from 264 to 232 B. c., and Chrysippus (280-206 B. c.). 
Zeno of Tarsus, Diogenes of Seleucia, and Antipater of 
Tarsus were other important representatives. 

2. Period of Modified Stoicism (206 B.c.-l A.D.). 
This was the period of transition. This period shows a 
modification of the original severe Cynical character 
of the doctrine and also the spread of Stoicism to Rome. 
This modification shows an approach to Plato and Aris- 


totle. The most important representative of this period 
is Panaetius (180-110 B. C.), who introduced the doctrine 
into Rome through his friendship with Scipio Africanus. 
Other eminent Stoics of this period were Posidonius and 
Boethus of Sidon. 

3. Period of Roman Stoicism (1-200 A. D.). During 
this period Stoicism became a popular moral philosophy. 
The theoretic teachings of the first two periods were 
successfully translated by the Roman Stoics in an im 
pressive way into practical observations. Furthermore, 
Stoicism was being inspired with the rising religious 
feeling so that it expressed the noblest moral sentiments 
of antiquity. The chief representatives were Seneca 
(4-65 A. D.), Epictetus (living 90 A. D.) the philo 
sophic slave, and the emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 
180 A. D.). Other Stoics of this period were L. Annaeus 
Cornutus, M. Annaaus Lucanus, Persius, and M. Muso- 
nius Rufus. 

The Stoic Leaders. One of the striking features of 
the Stoic School is that its leaders were not pure 
Greeks. Nearly all the members before the Christian 
era belong by birth to the mixed races of Asia Minor 
and the eastern archipelago. Moreover, the later Stoics 
were mainly Romans, led by the Phrygian, Epictetus. 
The Stoics who were Greeks were third or fourth rate 
men. The Stoic School contained so many eminent 
thinkers that its doctrine was not framed once and for 
all, like the Epicurean doctrine. During the five hun 
dred years from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius, theoretic 
changes went on within the School, and the changes 
were rather modifications than development. Funda 
mentally, Stoicism remained the same, for it was a re 
ligious attitude of mind. 


Athens was the abiding-place of the Stoic School, 
but Athens of that day had little to say to it except to 
receive it. The great Stoic leaders, the first three 
Stoics, like the three tragic poets, formed a group that 
is rarely equaled. They were Zeno, Cleanthes, and 
Chrysippus. Zeno and Chrysippus came from Cyprus, 
and Cleanthes came from Assos, not far from Troy. 
Cyprus, Lycia, and Pisidia showed a strong inclination 
for the Stoic teaching. Tarsus, which is in Cilicia, had a 
strong Stoic School, and its influence on the training of 
St. Paul is seen in his theology. 

The founding of the Stoic School was the result of 
the experiences of Zeno of Citium. Having lost much 
of his wealth in commerce, he turned to philosophy at 
Athens. Impressed with the character of Socrates, he 
attached himself successively to the Cynic, Megarian, 
and Platonic Schools, but without much satisfaction. 
He made himself master of the teachings of these 
Schools, and then founded a School of his own. It is 
said that when he asked for admittance to the Acad 
emy, Polemo, the leader, replied, " I am no stranger to 
your Phoenician art, Zeno. I perceive your design is to 
creep slyly into my garden and steal away my fruit." In 
294 B. c. he began to teach in the Painted Porch (see 
map, p. 219), a painted colonnade in the Athenian mar 
ket-place. The School thereafter went by the name of 
Stoa, or the Porch. His contemporary antagonists were 
Arcesilaus in the Academy, and Epicurus. Zeno s re 
putation throughout Greece was very high and well 
deserved. He was a parsimonious man, simple and 
rude spoken. He used a bad dialect, foreign words, 
and taught a strange doctrine. He suffered a slight 
wound and, taking it as a hint of destiny, committed 


suicide, saying, " I am coming, Earth, why do you call 

Stoicism did not flourish under Cleanthes (who was 
leader of the School for thirty-two years), although 
to-day he is the best known of these three leaders on 
account of his Hymn to Zeus. He was originally 
a pugilist, and was so poor that he had to work as a 
water-carrier by night in order to attend the lectures 
of Zeno by day. He is said to have had a heavy mind, 
but it was nevertheless the mind of an inspired prophet 
and a thoughtful man of science. When Cleanthes re 
ceived the Stoic doctrines from Zeno, they were still 
plastic. He made them monistic and pantheistic, and 
introduced the doctrine of " tension." 

Under Chrysippus (280-206 B. c.) Stoicism was re 
vived and he saved it from extinction. Chrysippus was 
the systematizer of the School and its literary repre 
sentative. He wrote five hundred and five separate 
treatises, three hundred of which were on logical sub 
jects. He is said to have seldom let a day pass without 
writing five hundred lines. He was the moderating in 
fluence of the School, mediating between extremes and 
removing objections. He restated Zeno s doctrines, but 
his discourses abound in curious subtleties rather than 
argument. He was a much more scholarly man than his 
predecessors, and passed for the most learned man in 
antiquity. " Give me doctrines," he said to Cleanthes, 
" and I will find arguments for them." His haughti 
ness created many adversaries, both in the Academy 
and among the Epicureans, and he had great contempt 
for men of rank. He said, " If I thought any philoso 
pher excelled me, I would myself become his pupil." It 
was a common saying in those days, " No Chrysippus, 


no Stoa." In the hands of Chrysippus the Stoic teach 
ing became a well-rounded system. 

The Stoic Writings. Nearly all the writings of the 
early Stoics have been lost. Only fragments have been 
preserved from the writings of other men like Cicero, 
Plutarch, Sextus Empiricus, and Diogenes Laertius, 
and these men do not always distinguish between early 
and later Stoicism. The principal source of our know 
ledge of early Stoicism is Diogenes Laertius. The 
Hymn to Zeus of Cleanthes is the most noteworthy 
fragment extant of the early period. Of the later Stoics 
of the Empire many writings have been saved : the 
ethical treatises and epistles of Seneca, the Diatribes 
and Encheiridion of Epictetus, and the Medita 
tions of Marcus Aurelius. The later Stoic writings 
transmit the teaching of the earlier leaders modified by 
many foreign influences. Such second-hand authorities 
as Cicero, Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius and Sextus 
Empiricus, and the Aristotelian commentators give re 
ports so vitiated that it is doubtful if they report any 
element belonging to the earlier teaching. The doctrine 
of the Stoics, since the time of Chrysippus, however, is 
known beyond peradventure. 

The Stoics and Cynics. The Stoics tried to build 
up the life of the soul after the pattern of the vir 
tuous Wise Man, whose outlines they borrowed from 
the transfigured and lofty form of Socrates. (Noack.) 
Their teaching is not merely a refinement and ad 
vance over the Cynic School as Epicureanism had been 
to the Cyrenaic School. Stoicism and Epicureanism 
used their sources in different ways. The Stoic would 
give up more than the Epicurean, and the negative side 
of his teaching is therefore greater ; but in recompense 


he offers more in the shape of a comprehensive meta 
physics. The Cyrenaic doctrine of pleasure became the 
corner stone of Epicureanism. The Cynic sensualistic 
rigorism became in the Stoic teaching a negative and 
relatively unimportant doctrine. While the Stoic dis 
tinction of virtue was not unproductive, the most in 
fluential aspect of Stoicism was its dissemination of 
humane culture. Thus, in contrast with the Cynics, the 
Stoics had a deep interest in scientific theory. The 
Stoic, less than the Cynic, contrasted the individ 
ual with the world. The Stoics have a more intelligent, 
freer, and milder morality. To the Cynics, external 
things have no value ; to the Stoics, they have both a 
positive and a negative value. Beneath these differences 
there is the same self-sufficiency in virtue, the same 
withdrawal within, the same moral strength of will, the 
same antithesis between good and evil. Stoicism was 
original, but not enough so to mark the beginning of a 
new epoch. 

The Two Prominent Stoic Conceptions. There are 
two Stoic conceptions that rise prominently above all 
the rest of their teaching. One is the conception of per 
sonality, the other is the conception of Nature. Epicure 
anism built up the conception of personality, but it had 
no need of an objective principle of Nature ; and in 
deed the Epicurean conception of personality seems to 
be only a clever adjustment and an avoidance of the 
problems of life, compared to the clear-cut, heroic, and 
vigorous Stoic conception of personality. Thus in Epi 
cureanism there is one prominent conception, in Stoicism 
there are two. 

These two Stoic principles stand side by side. The 
Stoic builds them up together, even though he fails to 


make them entirely compatible. All the essential diffi 
culties and all the excellencies of Stoicism lie in the 
juxtaposition of the conceptions of personality and Na 
ture. In early Stoicism each conception is stated with 
great vigor. In later Stoicism their harmony is approx 
imated by the modification of each. The result was an 
ethical dualism and a metaphysical monism. 

The Conception of Personality. Against Epicurean 
ism the Stoic fought for the dignity of the soul. The 
ideal personality of the Wise Man is the central point 
in Stoicism. Even more than Aristotle did the Stoic 
emphasize the unity and independence of the individual 
soul as contrasted to its particular states. For the first 
time in European thought does the soul become an in 
dependent factor to be reckoned with. The Stoic picture 
of the ideal personality is of a life completely sundered 
from outward conditions, free from earthly trammels, 
but at the same time the organ of universal law. Con 
temporaries asked the Stoics, How can such an ideal 
be a person ? How can he live among his fellow men ? 
How can he reconcile himself to human want ? After 
setting forth this ideal during the 175 years of their 
first period, it is not strange that they were finally forced 
to modify it in response to practical demands. At this 
point we shall consider the original portrayal of the 
Wise Man. 

i. The Stoic Psychology. The Stoic built his con 
ception of personality upon a deep psychological analy 
sis. The soul in the body is like the pneuma in the 
world (see p. 255). Not only does the soul transform the 
excitations of the several sense organs into perceptions, 
but its distinguishing faculty is its power of trans 
forming the excitations of the feelings into acts of will. 


This was called by the Stoics the assent of the reason, 
and is the distinguishing feature of the Stoic concep 
tion of personality. It established for the first time 
in history the independence of the personal soul. The 
Stoic felt keenly the antagonism between the reason 
and the senses, and he also felt that by estimating the 
senses as merely relative in value they would so much 
the more dignify the reason as the fundamental feature 
of the personality. While, therefore, all knowledge 
comes from the senses, the Stoic maintained that no 
knowledge exists in the senses by themselves. The 
assent of the reason is necessary to transform the sen 
sations into true knowledge. The reason is not an aggre 
gate of sensations, but an independent function of the 
personality. It transforms the sensations into percep 
tions, the perceptions into acts of will. The reason is 
therefore a kind of generating power of consciousness 
and is free from everything external. But in contrast 
to this free rational side is the irrational nature of man ; 
for the reason is liable to suffer failure, when it allows 
itself to be hurried along to give assent to exciting 
causes. Then emotions arise, and emotions are failures, 
mental disturbances, and in chronic cases diseases. Man 
is not always able to defend himself against the excita 
tions of his environment, but he can refuse to give the 
excitations his assent. He can refuse to allow the ex 
citations to become emotions and to pour forth his life 
in passion. Man may be in the world and not of it. 
He may govern the world by controlling himself. The 
Wise Man is free from the emotions, and virtue consists 
in their absence. The virtuous man is self-sufficient in 
the proud consciousness that he can look upon pleasure 
as not a good and pain as not an evil. 


What guide does the reason have in granting or re 
fusing its assent to its perceptions from without ? What 
is the criterion of the truth? The clearness of the per 
ception the clearness in the sense that the presenta 
tion lays hold of the mind and extorts its assent. The 
truth is the "irresistible presentation" or the " appre 
hending presentation." Who can know the truth ? The 
Wise Man. By what means ? By sensation and pre 
conception. By what sign ? By the sign of its irresistible 
power. The Wise Man is perfectly free and perfectly 
necessitated he never gives assent except to what 
constrains assent. 

2. The Highest Good. What is then the Highest 
Good or happiness for such a personality ? After such 
an analysis, what would the Stoic be likely to conceive 
to be the true ends of life ? The very nature of the per 
sonality gives the answer. Personality is fundamentally 
rational activity which seeks to preserve itself and to 
gratify its own nature. The Highest Good is the law 
of its own rationality, and virtue consists in being 
rational. In reaching for the Highest Good man can 
transcend his particular faculties in his free obedience 
to his own reason ; and the wholeness of his existence 
depends upon the wholeness of his deed. Thus is the 
inner activity whole, in contrast to the partial outer 
activities. Inwardness attains complete independence 
and finds the depth of the soul. We are free and we 
are happy if the whole being goes out in contemplation 
of the world reason which is our reason, and if all the 
feelings that make us dependent on the world are ex 
cluded. Since the emotions place a false value on things, 
happiness demands a whole effort and ceaseless activity. 
We must not merely theorize, but thought must become 


conduct. Thought-action yields happiness. It does not 
matter whether man acts with reference to this or that, 
for external objects are neither good nor bad. The whole 
question is whether the reason controls the passions 
or not. If the reason controls, the end is good ; if the 
passions control, the end is evil ; all other ends are in 
different. The reason either does or does not rule, and 
an act is either good or not. Good is not relative, but 
absolute ; and such relative matters as wealth, honor, and 
riches are matters of indifference. Even life itself is 
one of the indifferent things and may be taken when it 
does not serve the ends of reason. The Highest Good 
is that inner unity that disposition which is gov 
erned by a single principle. 

The Stoic word for this ideal Good is apathy, just as 
the Epicurean word was ataraxy or imperturbability. 
Positively defined, it is virtue. Negatively defined, can 
we say it was passionlessness? This would not be quite 
correct. By apathy the Stoic means not absence of all 
feeling, but absence of control by the feelings. The 
Stoic was filled with joy, gratitude, serene confidence, 
and unwavering submission in regard to rational law. 
Apathy is not dull insensibility, but immovable firmness. 
It is absence of the emotions that render the man de 
pendent on the world, but it is not absence of the reach 
ing out of the soul for the divine. The Highest Good 
or Apathy is (1) intellectual resignation to the uni 
verse, (2) practical inner harmony, and (3) self-con 
trol. In seeking to be rational, man is following an 
impulse, the impulse of self-preservation. 

The Conception of Nature. In comparison with the 
Epicurean the position of the Stoic was peculiarly in 
volved. The ideal imperturbability of the Epicurean was 


simple in so far that it required nothing beyond itself. 
It was an individual matter and varied with the individ 
ual. But the Stoic ideal personality is based upon the 
reason, that is eternally one and the same. What is this 
absolute principle that gives to the human reason its 
absoluteness ? What is the extent of the law of the rea 
son that the human reason itself implies? Thus the 
Stoic needed to supplement his conception of personal 
ity and the Epicurean did not. Because his individualism 
was more rigorous, it needed the more to be supported. 
The Stoic principle of morality had to have its founda 
tion in the absolute nature of things. This foundation 
could not be the politico-moral principle of Greek 
national life, for that existed no longer. It could not 
be a transcendent, supersensuous, or incorporeal prin 
ciple, for his Cynic inheritance would forbid his look 
ing beyond experience. The supplementary absolute 
principle of the Stoics must be an immanent prin 
ciple, a living power in the world. A pantheistic con 
ception of Nature took its place side by side with the 
Stoic conception of personality, and this conception of 
Nature became the central point of the Stoic meta 
physics. For this the Stoics adopted the Logos doctrine 
of Heracleitus, which will be recalled as the doctrine of 
primal matter as rational, just, and fateful changing- 
ness. The Stoics were reinforced in this by Aristotle s 
teleological philosophy of nature. Yet they tried to over* 
come the dualism of matter and Form as it existed in 
Aristotle s teaching, and one feels that the Stoic pan 
theism was a conscious and avowed pantheism. The 
Stoic conception of Nature is that of a unitary, ra 
tional, and living whole, having no parts, but only de 
terminate forms. Yet it cannot be called a hylozoism, 


like the doctrine of Heracleitus, for there Form and 
matter had not been distinguished. In the interven 
ing years Form and matter had been separated, and 
the Stoic sought to put them together again. In com 
parison with the doctrine of the Old Schools, the Stoic 
teaching was (1) monistic, as against their dualism, 
(2) materialistic, as against their idealism, but (3) like 
them, it was teleological. 

1. In the first place, Nature is an all-pervading 
World- Be ing. It is God, u in whom we live and move 
and have our being." It contains in itself all cosmic 
phenomena, and processes, past, present, and future. It 
is the World-ground and the World-mind, and yet it is 
all-in-all. It is the productive and formative power, 
the vitalizing principle. In general, it is the creative 
and guiding reason ; in particular, it is Providence or 
divine government. It is the unswerving whole in 
which the single events of history take place. To the 
Stoics the cosmic Reason was so apparent in Nature 
that purpose appeared to them in everything. In their 
hands the great teleological conception of Aristotle s 
immanent purposiveness sank to the petty purposive- 
ness for human beings and for the gods. Yet it is no 
wonder that this conception of an all-pervasive deity 
became a religion to the Stoics and raised their moral 
code to the region of the sublime. The world is Fate 
so far as the minutest movements are determined. 
Nature is Providence so far as those determinations 
are full of purpose. Nature is in every part perfect and 
without blemish. 

2. In the second place, Nature is an all-compelling 
law. Nature is an inviolable necessity, an inevitable 
destiny, that holds all phenomena in complete causal 


connection. Yet this destiny only proves the complete 
purpose of the whole. The Stoic seized upon the cen 
tral principle of Democritus, which the Epicureans 
had overlooked, the supremacy of law. " The doctrine 
of Democritus passed over to the Epicureans only so 
far as it was atomism and mechanism ; with regard to 
the deeper and more valuable principle of the universal 
reign of law in Nature, his legacy passed to the Stoics." l 
There is no such thing as chance ; everything is caused. 
In Epicureanism one finds the doctrine of necessity, but 
the necessity comes from the atoms themselves. In 
I Stoicism the necessity resides in the living activity of 
I the whole. A living activity ! Herein the Stoic concep 
tion differs from the Democritan teaching. The necessity 
is a living necessity, the destiny a living destiny. 

3. In the third place, Nature, is matter. On the the 
oretical side Stoicism agrees with Epicureanism only at 
one point, both were materialistic. The materialism 
of both these New Schools got a disproportionate pro 
minence because it had to be defended against the at 
tacks of the Academy and the Lyceum. The material 
ism of the Epicureans was a mere adoption of a theory ; 
the materialism of the Stoics was only one aspect of its 
supplementary basis. Nevertheless, to the Stoic matter 
alone is real, because it alone acts and is acted upon. 
Everything is matter, nature-objects, God and the 
soul, and even the qualities, forces, and relations between 
material bodies. The Stoics regarded the presence and 
interchange of the qualities of things as the appearance 
and intermingling of bodies in these things. 

There can be no doubt about the materialism of the 
Stoic teaching, although both material and spiritual 
i Windelband, Hist, of Phil., p> 183. 


attributes are ascribed to God in a way that is start 
ling. The Heracleitan conception of fire as the primary 
substance is the Stoic conception of God. God is fire> 
air, ether, and most commonly the atmospheric currents 
which pervade all things. But God is also the World- 
soul, the World-mind, the Cosmic-reason, the universal 
Law, Nature, Destiny, Providence. He is a perfect, 
happy, and kind Being. In single statements these as 
pects are often combined and God is described as the 
Fiery Reason of the world, the Mind in matter, the 
reasonable Air-currents. The Stoic equation is Nature = 
Matter = Fire = Reason = Fate = Providence = God. 

The Stoics followed Heracleitus also in their concep 
tion of the development of the present world from the 
cosmic fire. " In all points of detail their views on what 
we call physical science are contemptible. They con 
tained not one iota of scientific thinking." 1 They fol 
lowed Aristotle, however, in their description of the 
elements and their teleological arrangements. 

The primitive substance changes by its own inner 
rational law into force and matter. Force is the World- 
soul, the pneuma or warm breath, which pervades all 
things. Matter is the World-body, and is water and 
earth. In cosmic periods the primitive fire is destined 
to re-absorb the world of variety into itself and then 
consume it in a universal catastrophe. 

The most important feature in the Stoic materialism 
is the conception of pneuma, or the force into which the 
original substance is differentiated. This is the World- 
soul. Nature is thus conceived as dynamical. The Stoic 
word for the World-soul is translated by various ex 
pressions, as " creative reason," " generative powers," 

1 Adarason, The Development of Greek Philosophy, p. 267. 


44 formative fire-mind." It penetrates all things and dom 
inates all as their active principle. Through it the uni 
verse is one, not a plurality of parts. The pneuma is the 
life of the universe. Its motion is spontaneous ; its devel 
opment is teleological. The pneuma is an extraordinarily 
condensed conception, containing as it does suggestions 
from Heracleitus Logos, Anaxagoras Nous, Democri- 
tus fire-atoms, and Aristotle s Energeia. 

The human being has a constitution analogous to the 
universe. Man is the microcosm and the universe the 
| macrocosm. The soul of man is the pneuma which 
holds his body together, and it is an emanation from the 
. divine pneuma. Mental states thought and emotions 
i are air currents. Virtue is the tension of the atmos 
pheric substance of the soul. The material, yet divine, 
pneuma constitutes man s reason, causes his activities, 
is seated in his breast. Since the pneuma is a body, it 
disconnects itself from the human corpse at death, has 
a limited immortality, and returns to the cosmic pneuma 
at the conflagration of the world. 

The Conceptions of Nature and Personality supple 
ment each other. Thus fundamentally the personality 
is identical with the cosmos it is reason. To turn the 
matter about, by reason or " nature " the Stoic means 
two things that are essentially one. He means the rea 
son of man, or the reason of the world ; to " live ac 
cording to nature " is to live according to the nature of 
man or according to the nature of the world. The life 
of the Wise Man as a harmony with physical nature 
is a harmony with itself as well. The antithesis to 
" nature " or " reason " is sensuous nature. What we 
speak of as the natural impulses were not " natural " 
at all in the Stoic teaching. 


" Nature " as universal is the creative cosmic power 
acting for ends. Coordination with this constitutes mo 
rality. It is a willing obedience to eternal necessity. 
The " fool " acts according to his sensations and im 
pulses, and therefore against " nature." But the Wise 
Man, by withdrawing within himself, is his own inde 
pendent master because he is acting universally. " Na 
ture " is the life-unity of the human soul with the 
world reason. True individual morality is therefore 
universal morality, complete humanity, universal ra 
tionality. To obey " nature " is to develop the essential 
germ in one s self. 

Thus these two points of view were obtained of 
life-unity: a universe rationally guiding in all its 
changes ; the human individual epitomizing this uni 
verse in himself as a rule for his conduct amid his 

The Stoic and Society. Men are divided into two 
classes, the entirely wise and virtuous, or the entirely 
foolish and vicious. There is no middle ground. If a 
man possesses a sound reason, he has all the virtues ; if 
he lacks this reason, he lacks all. There are only a few 
Sages ; the mass of men are fools. The Stoics were 
continually lamenting with Pharisaical pessimism the 
great baseness of men. From their sublime height they 
looked upon the Wise Man as incapable of sin, upon 
the fool as incapable of virtue. In thus denying the 
ordinary distinctions between good and evil, they were 
dangerous in politics. Their political perspective was 
not reliable. In general, they did not enter the politics 
of the democracies where they lived. They were, how 
ever, often the advisers of tyrants, and often assisted in 
removing them (as in the case of Julius Cresar). The 


Stoic School of Musonius Rufus made a splendid Puri 
tan protest against Nero and Domitian, and finally his 
disciples and friends controlled the empire for a cen 
tury (second century A. D.). 1 The Stoic regarded his 
Wise Man as attaining the same independence that the 
Epicurean claimed for his Wise Man. He is lord and 
king. He is inferior to no other rational being, not even 
to Zeus himself. 

The Stoic differs from the Epicurean in his attitude 
toward the political state. The two Schools agree that 
the sufficient Wise Man needs the state but little. The 
Epicurean teaches that society is not natural and not 
inherent in human nature. The Stoic, however, main 
tained that society is a divine institution, which gives 
way only occasionally to man s individual perfecting. 
Since man and the cosmic reason are identical, all men 
are essentially identical. When men therefore lead a 
life of reason, they lead a social life. This realm of rea 
son includes not Romans alone, but all men, gods, and 
slaves. But the political government is only secondary, 
for the Stoic s ideal is a universal empire. The Stoic s 
interest in practical politics was as weak as his ideal 
of a rational society was transcendent. His teaching of 
justice and love for man was, however, a forecasting 
of the coming religious emancipation. 

There are two antagonistic tendencies running 
through Stoicism. The first is to seek society with 
its virtues, justice, love of men, sociability or cos 
mopolitanism. The second dispenses with society to 
gain an inner freedom. Yet these two tendencies often 

They may be presented as follows : 

1 Professor C. P. Parker. 


To seek society. To dispense with society. 

1. Exaltation of justice Exaltation of inner freedom 
and love. and happiness. 

2. World citizenship. The Wise Man. 

3. Relations and degrees Absolute virtue and abso- 
of virtue. lute vice. 

4. Virtue depends some- Knowledge alone is virtue, 
what on conditions. 

5. Individual should sub- Individual should make fate, 
mit to fate. 

Duty and Responsibility. The Stoic s identity or 
human and cosmic reason elevated the law of human 
conduct into a strict, universal law of duty. It em 
bodies, on the one hand, the Cynic s protest against 
external law, and on the other the construction of the 
inner moral law. The backbone of Stoicism is sense of 
responsibility. The Stoics brought out as never before 
the contrast between what is and what ought to be. 
They were the most outspoken doctrinaires of antiquity, 
and formed a school of character building in stubborn 
ness. As time went on they substituted human nature 
for cosmic nature, and then accentuated human nature 
as conscience. The individual could then define the 
right for himself, and this sort of individualism was de 
veloped with so much skill that it admitted great laxity 
of morals. Duty commands some things and forbids 
others, but there are left a great mass of activities that 
are ethically indifferent. These indifferent matters 
offered opportunity for these men of conscience to per 
form what in the eyes of others were crimes (for ex 
ample, Brutus). Baseness is only what is uncondition 
ally forbidden. 

Yet it must not be supposed that the Stoics generally 


employed the indifferent as an excuse for moral license. 
On the contrary, the concept of life as a struggle origi 
nated with the Stoics, and from them it passed into the 
common consciousness of man. There was before them 
(1) the struggle with environment dominated by a 
false evaluation, (2) the struggle with effete civilization, 
(3) the struggle particularly with one s self. The Stoic 
hero of inner courage and greatness of soul rises above 
his fellows, not because he gains dominion over the 
world, but because in indifference to it he isolates him 
self. He exists in premeditation of doing rather than 
in the actual doing in which his power would be spent. 
Still, in the absolute contrast between the good and the 
evil, in making life a disjunctive, an " Either Or," 
duty got a definite and distinct meaning. Duty, accord 
ing to the Stoics conception, had not so much the nature 
of an imperative as of what is suitable, an act adapted 
to nature, a consistent and justifiable act. In a manner 
unknown to antiquity the ethical nature of conduct was 
thus universalized in the new conceptions of philan 
thropy, of the universality of God and man, in the ten 
dency to suppress slavery and care for the poor and 
sick. Nevertheless, as a moral force Stoicism accepted 
the world as it found the world, and did not attempt to 
make it over. 

The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Freedom. 
On the questions of moral freedom and evil, the Stoics 
suffered severe attacks from the Academy and the Epi 
cureans. Alone among the Schools of antiquity the 
Stoics preached the doctrine of Fate. The demands of 
ethical responsibility, however, required that the indi 
vidual should determine his own conduct. To suit these 
demands the Stoic did not modify his fundamental 


conception of Nature, but he tried to justify his position 
on the ground that the individual expressed the law of 
nature. His argument may be stated thus : Man is like 
God ; Man is one with God ; Man is free. It was also 
stated on psychological grounds. Man can have one of 
two attitudes toward the world-law : (1) his perform 
ance may be through blind compulsion ; (2) his per 
formance may be through an intelligent understanding 
of the law, in which case he is free. The occurrence of 
his act is fateful, but it makes great difference to the 
man whether the occurrence is in spite of him or with 
his intelligent acquiescence. The occurrence is not an 
evil in itself ; for physical evils are no evils, and things 
that appear to be moral evils are (1) subservient to the 
good ; (2) merely relative to good ; or (3) show that 
God s ways are not our ways. My will is mine though 
necessary ; my will is mine though it be law. The soul 
is free when it fulfills its own destiny. God works 
through man s will. Outer circumstances are only ac 
cessory causes, but the main cause is the assent of the 
will. At the same time the Stoics did not shrink from 
the logic of their own fatalism. Chrysippus said that 
only on the basis of determinism could correct judg 
ments of the future be made. Only on this ground 
could the gods foreknow. Only the necessary can be 

The Modifications of the Stoic Doctrine after the 
First Period. The inherent difficulties in the Stoic doc 
trine and the attacks upon it gave rise to later conces 
sion that only further complicated it. (1) The moral 
ideal was lowered to make a set of rules for the medi 
ocre man, and thereby the Stoics became the originators 
of the dangerous doctrine of a twofold morals. 


(2) By admitting any supposition instead of strict 
scientific deduction into their theory they introduced 
probabilism. An absolute personality ! An absolute 
Nature! In order to make either practical the Stoics 
had to modify both. In the course of time, when new 
leaders represented the School, there came compromises 
according to practical exigencies. The teaching of the 
Wise Man was superseded by instruction how to be 
come wise. The moral idealism was not renounced but 
the idea of progress was introduced. 

(3) The doctrine of Goods was modified. From out 
the Goods, esteemed as indifferent, there appear Goods 
as desirable. Yet these were never thought to be Goods 
in themselves, but were only adapted to further the 
Good in itself. Such were, for example, the physical 
Good of health, enjoyment of the senses, etc. On the 
side of its ideals Stoicism thus was brought into touch 
wfth practical life. 

(4) A distinction was made concerning those who 
were not Wise Men. It was recognized that all " fools " 
are not the same distance from virtue. There are then 
recognized progressive men, men who are improving. 
Apathy is thus modified by a state of progress. Even 
the Wise Man has in common with others the affections 
of his senses, such as pain. The Stoic ethical aristocracy 
became more humane. Nevertheless, the Stoic never 
yielded this point, viz., that there is no gradual growth 
in virtue. Virtue is not attained through a transition. 
It is a sudden turning about. 

(5) During the empire Stoicism became merely a 
moral philosophy, but even in this form it was an 
impressive presentation of the noblest convictions of 
antiquity. It prepared moral feeling for Christianity. 


The more Stoicism became mere moralizing, the more 
the Cynic element in it dominated it. In the first and 
second centuries Cynicism was revived by wandering, 
garbed preachers, who went about affecting beggary 
and teaching morals. 



The Appearances of Philosophic Skepticism. We 
have now traced the history of the positive and dogmatic 
aspect of the Hellenic-Roman Period through its Ethi 
cal Division and far into the Religious Division of the 
Period. The influence of the ethical movement did not 
disappear until at least two centuries after the begin 
ning of this era, and the Schools themselves did not 
disappear until they were abolished by Justinian in 
529 A. D. But the Ethical Period may be said to close 
at the beginning of this era, and even a century and a 
half before that about 150 B. c. its positive and 
dogmatic character had been lost. Eclecticism appeared 
in the Schools, and the last one hundred and fifty years 
of the Ethical Period was in character transitional and 
eclectic. This was caused by the growth and power of 
Skepticism, which we have already pointed out as the 
undercurrent of the entire period. Skepticism was the 
fundamental frame of mind of the eight hundred years 
of this time. It was the negative side of the period in 
contrast with the Schools. Philosophic Skepticism ap 
peared contemporaneously with the rise of the New 
Schools at the very beginning of the Period, and the con 
troversy between the Schools and Skepticism reached 
its height about 150 B. c. What was the result? Did 
philosophy turn, as in the Age of Pericles, back to 
greater triumphs in speculation ? No ; the world was no 
longer virile and no longer possessed the creative im- 


pulse. On account of the attacks of Skepticism upon 
the Schools, philosophy dissolved itself first into eclecti 
cism, and then later by the introduction of new elements 
from the East was superseded by religion. In the philo 
sophical sense, religion and eclecticism are both skepti 
cal both have doubts of the ability of the reason to 
reach truth. Eclecticism shows its Skepticism by doubt 
ing any one dogmatic scheme, and therefore it constructs 
a compromise of all ; religion crowns faith in place of 

Philosophic Skepticism in these times did not appear 
except with reference to the doctrines of the Schools. 
It arose as merely polemical and antagonistic to the 
Schools teaching. While the Skepticism of antiquity 
busied itself with the problem of knowledge, it was 
superficial compared with modern Skepticism. Ancient 
Skepticism did not doubt that the object of knowledge 
existed ; it did not doubt that the object of knowledge is 
external and even material. It assumed that things exist 
which, to the modern Skeptic, is the problem at issue. 

We shall look now at the appearances of philosophic 
Skepticism, and the effect of this Skepticism upon the 
Schools in their turning to eclecticism. 

The Three Phases of Philosophic Skepticism. These 
are three somewhat loosely connected appearances of 
Skepticism, and are determined in their character in 
large measure by the doctrines which they attacked. 

i. The First Phase of Philosophic Skepticism is 
called Pyrrhonism (from about 300 to 230 B. a). This 
was a Skepticism directed against the assumptions of 
the philosophy of Aristotle. From the dates above it 
will be seen to be contemporary with the founding of 
the Stoic and Epicurean Schools, at the very beginning 


of the period. The two representatives were Pyrrho 
(365-275 B. c.) of Elis and his pupil Timori (320-230 
B. c.) of Phlius. When Zeno had begun to teach in 
the Painted Porch and Epicurus in the Gardens, when 
Theophrastus had succeeded his master in the Lyceum 
and Polenio led the Academy, the Skeptic Pyrrho be 
gan his personal instruction in the city of Elis. Pyrrho 
had but little influence. He left no writings, and his 
doctrine became known to the ancients through his 
pupil, Timon, who was the literary exponent of this 
Skepticism. The teaching may be stated in the three 
following sentences : (1) We can know nothing of the 
nature of things, but only of the states of feeling into 
which they put us ; (2) The only correct attitude of 
mind is to withhold all judgment and restrain all action ; 
(3) The result of this suspense of judgment is ataraxia 
or imperturbability. The Skeptic therefore sought the 
same internal peace for which Stoic and Epicurean 
were seeking, but he was skeptical of the Aristotelian 
metaphysics as an instrument to gain it. The opposite 
of any conclusion being equally plausible, suspense of 
judgment is the only peace of mind. 

Pyrrhonism reminded the age after Aristotle that 
the problem of the certitude of knowledge is fundamen 
tal and must be settled before any philosophy can be 
constructed. The School was short lived, and people 
disposed to be skeptical joined the Academy. 

2. The Second Period of Philosophic Skepticism 
The Skepticism of the Academy (280-129 B. c.). The 
Middle Academy and its Skepticism was directed par 
ticularly against the Stoic teaching that an " appre 
hensive presentation " guaranteed its own truth by the 
conviction of immediate certainty. The two most distin- 


guished representatives of this Skeptical period of the 
Academy were Arcesilaus (315-241 B. c.) and Carne- 
ades (214-129 B. c.). Carneades must be mentioned 
particularly as a genius and a philosopher of great 
personal influence. " He was the greatest philosopher 
of Greece in the four centuries from Chrysippus to 
Plotinus ; indeed, in ability and depth of thought he 
surpassed Chrysippus." l Carneades was the most for 
midable opponent of the Stoics. He had listened to the 
Stoic lecturers, had studied their writings, and had re 
futed them on their own grounds in brilliant lectures of 
his own. 

The Skepticism of the Academy arose somewhat in 
this way. The rivalry of the Porch and the Older Acad 
emy had grown apace and had been a battle between 
two dogmatic Schools. The Academy was being worsted, 
its ancient spirit was waning, and it had gradually de 
serted speculation for ethics. Under Arcesilaus it was 
provoked to new life by the aggressive dogmatism of 
the Stoics. Speculation, which it had ignored, it now 
began to antagonize openly. Arcesilaus, in directing 
his attack against the doctrine of " apprehensive pre 
sentation " of the Stoics, came to conclusions but 
slightly different from Pyrrho. Carneades laid out for 
himself a twofold task : (1) to refute all existing dog 
mas, and (2) to evolve a theory of probability as the 
basis for practical activity. He applied his Skepticism 
not only to speculation, like Arcesilaus, but also to 
ethics and religion.* 

1 A. Hicks, Stoic and Epicurean, pp. 322 ff. 

* Read Grote, Plato, vol. iii, pp. 482-490, for the interest 
ing sophistical problems of the Liar, the Person Disguised 
under a Veil, Electra, Sorites, Cornutus, and the Bald Mao- 


The Academy did not fully adopt Skepticism, but 
used it as a weapon against the Stoics. The Platonic 
tradition was kept alive within the School, and Skepti 
cism made no advance in the Academy after Carneades. 
It did not even continue in the path marked out by 
him. In the next generation the Academy became 

3. The Third Period of Philosophic Skepticism 
Sensationalistic Skepticism (during two centuries or 
more of the Christian era). The chief representatives 
were ^Enesidemus of Cnossus (first century A. D.), 
Agrippa (about 200 A. D.), and Sextus Empiricus 
(about 200 A. D.). 

This phase of Skepticism was represented mainly 
by physicians, with arguments based upon empirical 
physiological grounds. When the Academy passed from 
Skepticism to eclecticism, Skepticism became centred in 
Alexandria. For two centuries before Galen (131-201 
A. D.) great discoveries had been made in medicine, but 
the meaning of the discoveries had not been appre 
hended. There was a general feeling among physicians 
of that time that there is no such thing as scientific 
certainty ; and skeptical arguments were constructed^ 
based on the empirical discoveries of the scientific circle 
of Alexandria. While the arguments of the Academy 
were mostly formal attacks against the Stoics, this 
Skeptical School of physicians returned to Pyrrhonism, 
immensely reinforced with scientific material. It strove 
in vain to disassociate itself from the Academy, for it 
used in one way or another the formal arguments of 
the Skeptics of the Academy. In his eight books on 
Pyrrhonism, .ZEnesidemus developed the reasons which 
induced Pyrrho to call in question the possibility of 


knowledge. These are known in philosophjr as the ten 
" tropes," or ten ways of justifying doubt. 1 They were 
badly arranged by JEnesidemus and reduced to five by 
Agrippa. 2 

The Last Century and a Half of the Ethical Period. 
(150 B. c.-l A. D.). Eclecticism. About 150 B. c. the 
Ethical Period became eclectic. After 150 years of 
passionate controversy the Schools began to compromise 
their differences and fuse into one another. They no 
longer emphasized their differences, but began to point 
to their common ground of unity. This tendency to fu 
sion applies only to the Lyceum, the Academy, and the 
Porch. The Epicurean School was never a party to this 
eclecticism and always remained relatively stationary. 
The fusion occurred only in the teaching of the Schools 
and not in their organization. Externally the Schools 
remained separate bodies for six hundred years longer. 
In the second century Hadrian and the Anton ines en 
dowed separate chairs for them in the University of 
Athens. They were not abolished as Schools until 529 
A. D., by Justinian. Internally their independent growth 
lasted only during the two centuries down to the year 
150 B. c. At this time their theoretic mission had 
been completed. Their internal history from 100 B. C. 
to 529 A. D. was one of compromise and adjustment. 
The year 150 B. c. is therefore important. At this 
time the records of the Schools stop, controversy abates, 
Stoicism and Epicureanism are introduced into Rome, 
and fusion of doctrines begins. 

The Stoic School was the first to incline to eclecti 
cism. Its own doctrine was a kind of fusion of incoher- 

1 For a statement of these tropes, see Weber, Hist, of Phil., p. 153. 
Ueberweg, Hist, of Phil., vol. i, p. 216. 


ent parts, and among the Schools it could most easily 
welcome new doctrines. About 150 B. c., under the lead 
of Pansetius and Posidonius, it adopted many of the 
Platonic and Aristotelian teachings, tempered its own 
ethical rigorism, and extended its scientific interests. At 
the same time the Peripatetics of the Lyceum united 
the pantheism of the Stoics to their own theism. After 
the death of Carneades in 129 B. C. the Academy 
turned from Skepticism back to the Platonic tradition, 
but it was a meagre Platonism adulterated with many 
foreign elements. For example, Antiochus of Ascalon 
taught Cicero from the Academy at Athens in the win 
ter of 79-78 B. c. that Platonism and Aristotelianism 
were only different aspects of the same doctrine. 

There were two factors that prepared an easy way 
for the rapid spread of eclecticism. One was the grow 
ing Skepticism that was so fundamental in Hellenism, 
and the other was the adoption of Hellenic culture by 
the Romans. Eclecticism is, after all, only another form 
of Skepticism. Both exhibit the spirit of undecided 
conviction. Neither has regard for the bonds of tradi 
tion, for both regard the individual superior to every 
tradition or system. Eclecticism, indeed, attempts to re 
concile differing systems ; but in doing this it casts a 
doubt upon the infallibility of them all only to a lesser 
degree than Skepticism. The spread of eclecticism was 
therefore only an extension from Greece of the skepti 
cal spirit upon the world, and the Roman world gave a 
glad welcome to such a spirit. The Roman character 
was naturally eclectic. After his first aversion the Ro 
man was hospitable to all philosophies arid religions. 
In his practical way, undisturbed by philosophical hair 
splittings, he selected from the different systems what 


was suited to his practical needs. Eclecticism found fer 
tile ground in Roman civilization. 

In the Schools after the year 150 B. c. there appear 
many notable names notable not because they contrib 
uted to the theoretic advance of philosophy, but for 
some other reason. In the Stoic School were Panaetius, 
Posidonius, and Boethus ; and later Seneca, Epictetus, 
and Marcus Aurelius. Among the Academicians are 
Philo of Larissa and Antiochus ; among the Peripatet 
ics of the same century is Andronicus ; and among the 
eclectic Platonists Plutarch is especially to be named ; 
these were all eclectics. The only one in this group of 
eclectics whom we shall have time for a passing examin 
ation of is Cicero. 

M. Tullius Cicero (106-43 B. c.) listened to Greek 
philosophy in all the Schools in Athens and Rhodes. 
He read a good deal of Greek literature, so that he had 
much philosophical material at his command. He did 
not show much discretion in his selection of his mate 
rial, but he displayed a good deal of tact in using what 
the Roman people would receive. The Greek mind spoke 
to the Roman through Cicero s voice almost as though 
the Roman were speaking for himself. It must be ad 
mitted that Cicero s acquaintance with Greek philo 
sophy was on the whole superficial, yet he was able to 
express certain aspects of Greek philosophy with clear- 
ness for contemporary Latin readers and for many gen 
erations succeeding them. He prided himself in his 
ability to discuss both sides of a question without him 
self arriving at a decision after the manner of the 
Middle Academy, of which he inscribed himself as a 
member. His books appeared in rather rapid succes 


Cicero does not therefore owe his prominence as a 
philosopher so much to his own profound independence 
of thought as to his skill in translating Greek thought 
to the Koman people. His metaphysics is an eclecticism 
that is at bottom a skepticism. In view of the existing 
philosophical warfare, he despaired of metaphysical or 
absolutely complete knowledge. Yet upon ethical and re 
ligious questions he spoke in no undecided manner, for 
in these realms he felt that we have more than merely 
probable evidence. Since he was unable to refute Skep 
ticism in a scientific way, he took refuge in the im 
mediate certainty of consciousness in all matters that 
pertain to morals and religion. There are certain ideas 
common to all men. These have not so much been 
taught to all men by nature as they are inborn in all. 
They are convictions implanted in us ; there is a com 
mon human consciousness from which they are derived, 
and they are confirmed by universal opinion. Ethical 
and religious consciousness thus rests on immediate 
certainty. Man has the innate ideas of duty, immortal 
ity, and God. Our belief in God s existence is sup 
ported by the teleological argument for Providence and 
divine government. The high dignity of man rests upon 
this innate conviction of freedom and immortality. 
Cicero shows his eclecticism by moderating the Stoic 
doctrine of virtue : virtue in itself is vita beata, but vir 
tue plus happiness is vita beatissima. Unoriginal and 
eclectic as Cicero s philosophical position may be, it is 
of great importance to the student of Roman history. 



The Two Causes of the Rise of Religious Feeling. 
There were two causes for the turn of the time from 
its interest in individual practical ethics to religion. 
The first was an inner cause within the nature of the 
ethical philosophy of the Schools. The rise of the re 
ligious and the supernatural was the culmination of 
the undercurrent of skepticism in the validity of reason, 
which we found growing rapidly in the Ethical Period. 
The more the Schools grew alike in their teaching, the 
less were they able to assure their disciples of any cer 
tain insight into virtue and happiness. The Ethical 
Period ended in eclecticism, and this was the impeach 
ment of the authority of each School. The Schools ex 
amined their dogmatic assumptions. The fundamental 
inner conviction grew stronger that the intellect of man 
is self-inconsistent : so inconsistent as to be undepend- 
able ; so inconsistent as not to vouchsafe man the virtue 
and happiness which the Schools had promised. As 
Skepticism became more strongly intrenched, the im 
perturbable self-certainty of the Wise Man became 
shaken, the Ethical Period disappeared, and the Reli 
gious Period was born. Belief in the authority of the 
supernatural superseded belief in the authority of the 

The second cause may be called external, and was the 
introduction of many eastern religions into the empire. 
It has been common to exaggerate the vices of the 


Romans of the first Christian centuries, and to point to 
the corruption of the times as the cause of the great rise 
of religions.* No doubt, in the city of Rome and other 
large cities the populations were very licentious and 
corrupt. But this was not the case with the people in 
the small municipalities and the country. The people 
were united in peace under one government. There 
was great commercial prosperity and widespread travel. 
Education prospered. The religion of the Romans, how 
ever, long since decadent, had become an object of de 
rision. All faith in it had been lost, and magicians and 
romancers had a large patronage. The inner life of 
man demanded some external spiritual authority to 
satisfy it, and, finding it could not be satisfied in the 
realm of sense, turned to the supersensuous. It was an 
age of universal superstitions, reported miracles, and 
the multiplying of myths. In the realm of the reli 
gious emotions everything was in flux. Even the Greek 
philosophies the Stoic, the Platonic, the Cynic, and 
the neo-Pythagorean show it in their emphasis upon 
renunciation in practical life. In place of the Grecian 
love for earthly existence, a longing for the mysterious 
was growing into a feverish desire for strange and 
mysterious cults. A great religious movement possessed 
the nations of the empire, and into Roman civilization 
of the first century A. D. there streamed many new 
religions. From the Orient came the Mithra, Magna 
Mater, Star Worship, Isis and Osiris, and many others. 
These mingled with the western religions, and their 
rivalry was energetic for the possession of men s spirits. 
The Roman people were hospitable to all religions, and 
Rome became a religious battleground. With the in- 
* Read Dill, Roman Society, first three chapters. 


terest turned from earthly to heavenly things, salva- 
tion from trouble seemed to lie in the supernatural. 

The Need of Spiritual Authority. Thus the com 
placent Ethical Period gave way to the cry for some 
authority in morals and science. Man was no longer 
confident that he could attain present happiness or his 
soul s salvation by his own strength. He turned for 
help both to the religious tradition of the past and to 
the revelation that might come to him in the present. 
The authority in either was practically the same ; for 
the past was only the crystallization of an ever-present 
divine spirit. Yet present and past revelations differ in 
their credentials : the present revelation is an immedi 
ate illumination of the spirit ; the past is presented in 
historic records. The Alexandrian school accepted both 
forms of revelation as the highest source of knowledge. 

The demand for supernatural authority found ex 
pression in many curious ways. It is notorious that 
at this time the writings and oral traditions of the 
past were greatly interpolated. The philosophers of the 
first century thought that they themselves could get a 
hearing only by inserting their own doctrines into the 
writings of Plato, Aristotle, and other heroes of the 
past. Thus the neo-Pythagoreans invented a halo of 
wisdom for Pythagoras in order to give their own sect 
its credentials. The demand for authority culminated 
in the attempt to trace the entire civilization of the 
time to some religious source. Philo on the one side, 
and the Gnostics on the other, found that Greek and 
Hebrew history have a common religious origin. Greek 
thought was found in the Oriental writings. The Greek 
sages were placed by the side of the Old Testament 
heroes. The canon of the Christians is full of cross- 


references the Old Testament giving historical au 
thority to the New Testament, the New Testament 
giving to the Old Testament the support of immediate 
revelation. There came into vogue what was called 
" allegorical interpretation," according to which an his 
torical document could be given two interpretations 
(or more) a literal interpretation and a spiritual inter 
pretation. The documents were supposed to have a body 
and a soul. The literal interpretation was of the body of 
the documents and suitable for the people ; the spiritual 
interpretation was the more liberal interpretation of 
the soul of the document and suitable for philosophers. 
At the same time a vast number of writings ap 
peared as historical revelations. It was necessary to 
separate the true from the false, but this could not be 
done by the individual without injuring the very prin 
ciple upon which revelation was supposed to rest. Con 
sequently all knowledge was generally regarded as reve 
lation. For example, Plutarch and the Stoics divided 
revelation into three classes : poetry, law, and philosophy. 
Although Plutarch disclaimed open superstitions, he 
nevertheless accepted as true all sorts of miracles and 
prophecies. The later neo-Platonists are also examples 
of the great body of those who made no discrimination 
as to what revelation is true. The Christian church 
may be said to have been alone in making a criticism 
of the records, and in setting up as criteria tradition 
and historically accredited authority. As a result of 
its criticism the Christian canon was finally decided 
upon, and the Old and New Testaments were accepted 
as alone inspired. The rivals of the church the Alex 
andrian philosophies, especially neo-Platonism had 
no organization that could decide upon a canon. They 


were consequently at a disadvantage, but they felt no 
need of an infallible historical authority or of histori 
cal criticism. Revelation to them was any immediate 
illumination of the individual. The individual man 
vho comes in contact with the Deity has possession of 
the divine truth. Although only few attain the truth, 
and these only at rare moments, there is nevertheless 
no way of determining what is fictitious and what is 
true. This difference in the conception of inspiration 
between the neo-Platonists and the Christians is im 
portant to note, for it marks an important difference 
in the two greatest intellectual movements of the next 
thousand years. The church fixed revelation on the 
basis of historical authority, and this revelation be 
came the source of the scholasticism of the Middle 
Ages ; neo-Platonism left the individual man free to 
get revelation from any source through his own per 
sonal contact with the divine, and this was the basis of 
the mysticism of the Middle Ages. 

The Rise of the Conception of Spirituality. We have 
seen that out of the widespread cry for spiritual help 
came the demand for spiritual authority. There is also 
another result, the increased importance in history of 
the spiritual personality. The men of the past became 
heroes, the great men sanctified and surrounded with 
myths. Hero worship, ancestor worship, the worship of 
the genius of the emperor inaugurated by Augustus, 
were part of this movement. Disciples began to have un 
conditional trust in their masters, and in neo-Platonism 
this worship culminated in veneration for the leaders 
of the School. This movement appears in the grand 
est form in history in the impression of the wonderful 
personality of Jesus Christ. 


The next step was to regard personality as the reve 
lation of the divine Logos. Personality is the cosmic 
reason. Nature and history are kinds of general revela 
tions, but special revelations require great personalities 
Moses, the prophets, the Greek scientists, and es 
pecially Jesus who was the Messiah, the Son of God. 
The power that these personalities exhibit must be a 
revelation, and not the working of the human reason, 
for the human unaided reason deals only with sensations, 
and is incapable of gaining divine truth. The reason 
needs the divine to illuminate it. The great personali 
ties are therefore the repositories of powers that make 
them different from ordinary men. Their revelations 
are above, and sometimes opposed to, the conclusions 
of ordinary reason. Thus personalities themselves are 
divided by religious dualism, and in them. the human 
and divine are far apart. Moreover, the more great 
personalities were apotheosized, the more the common 
run of humanity was depreciated. Then distinction was 
made between great personalities. At first, when au 
thority was sought everywhere, all great personalities 
were supposed to have divine revelation ; later, when 
the lines were drawn between the Christian and other 
beliefs, only the Christian leaders were considered by the 
Christians to be instruments of the divine. 

This spiritualizing of historical personalities laid the 
emphasis more than ever before upon the dualism in all 
human beings. All men are ensnared in the world of 
sense, and they can attain knowledge of the higher 
world only through the illumination of their higher 
natures. Aristotle alone among the Greeks had had a 
clear conception of spirituality, but he had conceived 
spirituality as applied solely to God. He had not con- 


ceived God to be a person. But the Stoic antithesis of 
reason and what is contrary to reason, and the Platonic 
antithesis of the supersensuous and the sensuous, had 
marked off in man the inner personal nature of man as 
withdrawn into itself and set over against his sensuous 
nature. The more this ethical dualism became a reli 
gious dualism, the more the conception of spiritual per 
sonality was extended to all human beings. Its most 
refined expression was in the Christian conception of 
the soul. 

The Revival of Platonism. The Platonism of the 
Academy had had little influence in the Ethical Period 
and its tradition had been barely kept alive. The Middle 
Academy had been skeptical and the New Academy eclec 
tic. The Religious Period, on the other hand, was thor 
oughly Platonic, and Plato from this time until the 
Crusades became the ruling philosophical power. For 
three hundred years his influence had been nothing; 
for the next twelve hundred he dominated men s minds, 
so far as any philosopher could in religious times. When 
the Wise Man vanished from philosophy, and the ex 
pectation of spiritual blessedness took its place, when 
Skepticism drove men from ethics, first to eclecticism 
and then to theology, when philosophy passed to mysti 
cism then did Platonism, with its antithesis between 
the sensible and the supersensible, come to its own. Of 
all the historical philosophies it could best amalgamate 
all religions. Platonism (1) absorbed Oriental religions, 
(2) furnished a didactic form for Christianity, (3) re 
created itself into the mystic neo-Platonism. The world- 
longing for the supernatural found its best medium in 
Platonism. When the Wise Man vanished, the mystic 
priest appeared. 


The Divisions of the Religious Period. Out of the 

seething religious times at the beginning of this era, 
there emerged two distinct currents of thought that 
extended through the entire length of the Religious 
Period, and carried down into the Middle Ages all the 
culture that the medieval possessed. The two move 
ments were (1) the religious philosophies of the still 
persistent Hellenic civilization, and (2) the new-born 
Christian religion, which was destined to determine the 
future of the western people. If we scrutinize these two 
movements we shall find that each has its introductory 
and its development stages, and at the point of division 
in each stands a great leader who was instrumental in 
bringing about the transition. The great neo-Platonist, 
Plotinus (204-269), marks the division line in the 
Hellenic movement ; the Christian, Origen (185-254), 
marks the division line in theological Christianity. 
While these men were contemporaries, we shall take, 
for various reasons, the year 200 as the date of division 
of the Christian movement, and the year 250 as the 
date of division of the Hellenic movement. The first 
stage of each movement we shall call its Introductory 
Period, and the second its Development Period. 

During their Introductory Periods the two movements 
tried to draw together under the influence of the philo 
sophical eclecticism which colors this time. In their 
Development Periods the two movements draw apart, 
become closed and mutually repellent. The historical de 
velopments of the two movements from beginning to end 
are very different. The tide of Hellenism floods with 
Plotinus, its greatest representative, and after him there 
is a gradual ebb. On the other hand, Christianity shows 
a continuous growth, both internally and externally, and 



the mighty Origen only points to the mightier Augus 
tine. Both movements finally merge in Augustine. 

Hellenic Religious Phi 

1. Introductory Period 
(100 B. C.-250A.D.). 

(1) Greek-Jewish phi 
losophy of Alex 

Philo (25 B. c.- 
50 A. D.). 

(2) Neo-Pythagoreau- 

ism (100 B. c.- 
150 A. D.). 

2. Development Period 
Neo-Platon i sm . 
Plotinus (204-269). 
Jamblichus (d. 330 
Proclus (410-485). 

II. Christianity. 

1. Introductory Period 
(31 A. D. -200 A. D.). 
(1) Period of simple 
faith (until the 2d 
century A. D.). 

(2) Period of Earlier 
Formulation of 
Apologists (2d 
Gnostics (2d cen 

Old Catholic The 
ologians (2d and 
3d centuries). 
2. Development Period 

(1) Period of Actual 
Formulation of 

The School of 
Catechists. Ori 
gen (185-254). 

(2) The CEcumenical 
Councils and the 
establishment of 


The Hellenic Religious Philosophies. Alexandria and 
not Athens was now the intellectual centre of Hellen 
ism. The position and history of the city, as well as the 
character of its population, were most favorable for the 
mingling of religions and philosophies. In the "uni 
versity " of this great commercial metropolis the treas 
ures of Greek culture were concentrated and scholastic 
work was vigorously pursued. Here all philosophies 
met, and all religions and cults were tolerated. Ex 
hausted Greek philosophy here came in contact with 
those fresh Oriental ideas which previously, at a dis 
tance, had excited the imagination of the Greeks as 
something mysterious. The result was a new phase of 
philosophy, theosophy, comparative religion, or eclec 
ticism of philosophy and religion. 

In no instance were the authors of these religious 
philosophies Greeks. The philosophy of Philo was a 
Hellenism, but the Hellenism of a Jew. Neo-Pythago- 
reanism seems to have had representatives from every 
country except the motherland of Greece. The author 
of neo-Platonism was born in Egypt. Of the two intro 
ductory movements, the Greek-Jewish philosophy ac 
corded more with Oriental life, neo-Pythagoreanism 
with Greek life. Both go back to the principles that 
were fundamental in the Pythagorean mysteries. 

The Introductory Period of Hellenic Religious Phi 
losophy (100 B. C.-250 A. D.). The Turning to the 
Past for Spiritual Authority. 

I. The Greek- Jewish Philosophy of Philo. The Jews 
lived in great numbers in Alexandria, and many of 
them were wealthy and influential. In Alexandria the 
Old Testament had been translated into Greek, and 
through it the Greeks had become acquainted with the 


religion of the Jews. While the Old Testament con- 
tained the philosophy of the Jews, these Alexandrian 
Jews had learned in Alexandria to admire greatly the 
philosophy of the Greeks. So great was their admiration 
that they soon conceived Plato to be in their Law and 
their Law in Plato. They argued that since the Old 
Testament was their revelation, all the best Greek phi 
losophy must be in the Old Testament. The Alexan 
drian Jews used Greek conceptions wherever they 
found them ; and this tendency toward eclecticism ap 
peared as early as 160 B. c. in Aristobulus and Aris- 
teas. At that time these Jews used Greek philosophy 
in interpreting the Old Testament and employed the 
"allegorical method of interpretation." This eclectic 
tendency was brought to completion by Philo (25 B. c. 
-50 A. D.), who was the most notable philosopher of 
this time. Philo was guided in his eclecticism by some 
such rules as these: (1) Revelation is the highest 
possible authority and includes the best of Greek 
thought; (2) Greek philosophy is derived from the 
fundamental principles of the Old Testament ; (3) 
Jewish revelation is expressed in symbols, while Greek 
philosophy is expressed in concepts. 

Philo s teaching contains, in unsymmetrical form, 
both Stoicism and Platonism, and in it can be found 
the seeds of all that grew up m Christian soil. His 
philosophy was a bridge from the philosophy of Juda 
ism to Christian theology. It has been called a " buffer " 

God is the ultimate cause of the world, but He is so 
transcendent that He can be described only in negative 
terms. This method of defining God got the name in 
later times of " negative theology." It was the common 


method in these Alexandrian days. God is absolutely 
inconceivable and inexpressible to man ; to Himself 
He is " I am who am." The goodness of God impelled 
Him, and His power enabled Him, to create the world. 
From this point of view Philo is a monist. But in man 
reason and sense meet. Man s soul is from God, but his 
sense-body is from matter, and from this point of view 
Philo is a dualist. Matter is outside God. God is so 
transcendent that He cannot come in contact with mat 
ter, and so He created the world and rules the world 
through mediators or "potencies." These "potencies" 
are the same as the Ideas of Plato, the " reasons " of 
the Stoics, the numbers of the Pythagoreans, the angels 
of the Old Testament, or the demons of popular myth 
ology. The sum-total of God s activity in the world was 
called by Philo the Logos. Philo speaks of the Logos 
in two ways : sometimes as the plural number of tele- 
ological forces in the world ; sometimes as the unity of 
these forces, " the first begotten of God," " the second 
God," " the son of God." The Logos represents the first 
attempt to overcome the dualism between matter and 
God. The Logos is the high priest standing between 
God and the world. It is the everlasting revelation of 
God s presence. Philo s world is made by God and not 
by others, and is the expression of God s thought in 
infinite forms and forces. God is not defiled by coming 
into contact with matter. God gives orders, the Logos 
obeys. Philo believed in transmigration of souls, and 
to him the most important problem is, How the spirit 
can become like God. The answer is (1) by the acquire 
ment of the Stoic apathy, (2) by possessing the Aris 
totelian dianoetic virtues, (3) by complete absorption 
in God. 


2. Neo-Pythagoreanism. The history of Pythago- 
reanism is extremely varied. Its body of doctrine from 
epoch to epoch was continually changing. The onlj 
characteristic common to its entire history was its 
practical tendency toward asceticism and its affiliation 
with the Mysteries. Let us review the history of Pytha- 
goreanism down to the time of neo-Pythagoreanism. 
In 510 B. c., at the battle of Crotona, the early band 
of Pythagoreans was dispersed, and about 504 B. c. 
Pythagoras died. His scattered followers formed a 
school centring at Thebes around the philosophy of num 
bers, and this school lasted until 350 B. C. In 350 B. C. 
Pythagoreanism no longer existed as a school, for its 
members had either joined the Academy or formed one 
of the Mysteries. In 100 B. C. Pythagoreanism again 
emerged under the name of neo-Pythagoreanism, and 
this is the body which we meet in the introductory 
stage of the Religious Period. Alexandria was its 
centre, but it drew its disciples from every part of the 
earth. Among them Apollonius alone rises as a distinct 
figure. He was widely known, for he traveled every 
where as a religious teacher and wonder-worker. Other 
neo-Pythagoreans were P. Nigidius Figulus, a friend 
of Cicero, Sotion, a friend of the Sextians, Moderatus 
of Gades, and in later times Nicomachus of Gerasa and 
Numenius of Apamea. Another, and rather numerous 
group, allied to the neo-Pythagoreans, should be men 
tioned here. These were the so-called Eclectic Platon- 
ists, the representatives of whom were Plutarch (50125 
A. D.), and Celsus (about 200 A. D.), the opponent of 
Christianity. The only important difference between 
the neo-Pythagoreans and the Eclectic Platonists was 
that the former referred to Pythagoras as their religious 


model, and the latter to Plato. Both were mystical, 
ascetic, and eclectic. 

Neo-Pythagoreanism first became noticeable in the 
first century B. c., on account of the great number 
of writings appearing under the names of Pythagoras 
and Philolaus. About these there arose a large neo- 
Pythagorean literature, about ninety treatises by fifty 
authors. The writings under the name of Pythagoras 
were, for many centuries, the cause of the misconcep 
tion of the true teaching of the original Pythagoras. 
The advent of the neo-Pythagorean literature marks the 
return at Alexandria to the older systems of thought, 
and is coincident with the learned literary investigations 
in the University of Alexandria. The particular revival 
of Pythagoreanism in the form of neo-Pythagoreanism 
came at the same time with the renewal of the Homeric 
form of poetry. 

Neo-Pythagoreanism, as its history shows, is the phi 
losophy of a half-religious sect with ascetic tendencies. 
Its transcendental philosophy was better suited to a 
people under an autocratic government, and ruled by 
Oriental traditions, than was the ethical teaching of the 
four Schools. The system of the ethical Schools arose 
out of the needs of the individual ; but at this time the 
cry was for an absolute object which transcends both 
the individual and nature. The demand was for a god 
who could be served not by sacrifice, but by silent 
prayer, wisdom, and virtue. There are many points of 
similarity between the doctrine of Philo and neo-Pytha 
goreanism. The neo-Pythagoreans were monotheistic, 
but at the same time they accepted within their mono 
theism the hierarchy of the gods. They held to the com 
monly accepted doctrines of their time, viz., the trans- 


migration of the soul, the dualism of the mind and 
body, the mediation of a graded series of celestial beings 
between man and God. They interpreted God in a 
spiritual way, but they conceived the ideas in God s 
mind to be the Pythagorean numbers just as Philo 
conceived them to be the Old Testament angels. 

The Development Period of Hellenic Religious 
Philosophy (250-476 A. D.). The Turning to the 
Present for Spiritual Authority. Platonism and Neo- 
Platonism. Neo-Platonism is the final statement of 
Hellenic culture, and the question may be asked, In what 
form did it present Hellenism ? The answer is, It sets 
forth the Hellenic feeling as mysticism. The contribu 
tion of Plotinus was the destruction of the classic Greek 
ideal with its definiteness of form, and was the substitu 
tion of a new ideal of soaring spiritual exaltation. One 
has only to look back to the art, science, and philosophy 
of the Periclean Age to appreciate how far this last sur 
vival of Greek culture had drifted from its original 
moorings. Nevertheless, neo-Platonism is not so very far 
distant from that powerful ascetic principle in the Greek 
mysteries which is one aspect of the doctrine of Plato 
himself. Neo-Platonism was Platonism exaggerated on 
this mystic and ascetic side. Plotinus said that he was 
ashamed that he had a body; that the soul looks on and 
weeps at the sinf ulness of the body ; that it is not enough 
to regulate the body, but that the body must be ex 
terminated. As the voice of Hellenism, neo-Platonism 
is speaking in an age when consciousness is weighed 
down with the sense of the enormity of evil and the 
need of salvation. Neo-Platonism feels that the moral 
conflict in the human soul is repeated in the universe; 
that the eternal struggle between matter and spirit goes 


on in the macrocosm as well as the microcosm. Plotinus 
held to the ancient Greek conception of the personifica 
tion of the powers of nature, of the derivation of happi 
ness from activity, of the supremacy of the intellect over 
the other faculties. But in accepting the ancient Greek 
doctrine of the subordination of man to the universe, he 
conceived man to be absorbed by the universe. 

Neo-Platonism and the Two Introductory Philoso 
phies. Neo-Platonism, therefore, shares in the mysti 
cism of the philosophies of Philo and the neo-Pythago- 
reans. All three teach the transcendence of God ; all 
three were metaphysically monistic and ethically dual- 
istic ; all three conceive the existence of intermediaries 
between God and man. The introductory philosophies 
sought to build eclectic doctrines, while neo-Platonism 
became eclectic only in its last phases. Plotinus con 
structed a positive and original philosophy, and among 
the three systems the teaching of Plotinus is carefully 
worked out. Indeed, Plotinus is by far the greatest 
thinker of this religious period. In the philosophy of 
Plotinus the relations between man and God are given 
a more aesthetic character, and the doctrine of imme 
diate experience is more carefully discussed and has 
greater importance than in neo-Pythagoreanism and the 
teaching of Philo. 

Neo-Platonism and Christianity. Neo-Platonism and 
Christianity have one thing at least in common. They 
have the same problem, how to spiritualize the uni 
verse. This was the problem that both Plotinus and 
Origen attempted to work out. With the development 
of the consciousness of spiritual personality and the 
need of a revelation, the Divine seemed to both to be 
correspondingly farther away. God is unknown and 


incomprehensible, and so pure that He cannot come in 
contact with earthly existence. What, then, is the bond 
between the heavenly and the earthly ? From the point 
of view of cosmology and of ethics, neither succeeded in 
overcoming the dualism. The sensuous was regarded as 
alien to God, and as a thing from which the spirit must 
free itself. Metaphysically their efforts to construct a 
spiritual monism were more successful, but their efforts 
were along different lines. The Christian conceived the 
universe of God and matter to be bound together by 
the principle of love ; the neo-Platonist, by a series of 
countless grades of beings in diminishing perfections 
from the All-perfect. Then again, to the neo-Platonist 
the question of the return of man to God was a ques 
tion of the personal inner experience of the individual; 
to the Christian theologian it was included in the 
larger problem of the historical process by which the 
whole human race is redeemed. Thus the metaphysical 
solution of each works out differently and with different 

Both neo-Platonic and Christian theology tried to 
prove that their respective religious convictions were 
the only true source of salvation. Both originated in the 
Alexandrian School. Christian theology was preceded 
by the fantastic system of the Gnostics, as Plotinus 
was preceded by the Pythagoreans and Philo. In their 
development the differences between the two appear. 
Christianity was supported by a church organization 
which had an internal vitality and a regulative power ; 
neo-Platonism was supported and regulated by individ 
uals, without organization, who had assimilated every 
faith. Christian theology was founded on a faith that 
had already expanded, while neo-Platonism was at the 


beginning an erudite religion that tried to develop an 
extended faith and, incidentally, later to assimilate other 
cults. Outwardly neo-Platonism, as the final stand of 
the pagan world to save itself from destruction, was 
unsuccessful in that it failed to perpetuate itself as an 
organization. Really it achieved a marked success. Not 
only did it live a long life of two hundred and fifty 
years, but it also lived in the development of its antag 
onist, Christianity. For neo-Platonism, by the irony of 
fate, was one of the important factors that entered into 
the building up and strengthening of Christianity. In 
its lingering death-struggle Hellenism was creating the 
conceptions that the Christian, Augustine, later em 
ployed in shaping Christian theology for the Middle 

The Periods of Neo-Platonism. 

(1) The Alexandrian School about 240. 
Neo-Platonism presented as a Scientific Theory. 
The leader was Plotinus (204-269). 

(2) The Syrian School about 310. 

The Attempt to Systematize all Polytheisms. 

The leader was Jamblichus (d. about 330). 
, (3) The Athenian School about 450. 

The Recapitulation of Greek Philosophy. 

The leader was Proclus (410-485). 
The Alexandrian School. The Scientific Theory of 
Neo-Platonism. The Life and Writings of Plotinus 
(204-269 A. D.). Plotinus was born in Lycopolis in 
Egypt, and received his education in Alexandria, under 
Ammonius Saccas, who was Origen s teacher. He cam 
paigned with the emperor, Gordian, against the Per 
sians, in order to pursue scientific studies in the East. 
He was especially interested in the Persian religion. In 


this way Plotinus became acquainted at first hand with 
the mysticism of the Orient. In 244 he appeared at 
Rome as a teacher, and was received with great eclat by 
the people, and in the highest circles he gained the 
most reverent recognition. His school contained repre 
sentatives from all nations and from almost every call 
ing, physicians, rhetoricians, poets, senators, an em 
peror and empress. Plotinus lived in a country estate 
in Campania, and he almost succeeded in inducing the 
emperor to found a city of philosophers in Campania. 
It was to be called Platonopolis and, with Plato s Be- 
public as a model, it was to be an Hellenic cloister for 
religious contemplation. The literary activity of Plo 
tinus occurred in his old age, and he wrote nothing until 
after he was fifty. His works consisted of fifty-four 
Corpuscles which his pupil, Porphyry, combined into 
six Enneads. For the next three hundred years his 
school became the centre of the Hellenic movement 
the centre of science, philosophy, and literature. The 
literature of neo-Platonism was enormous, on account 
of the many commentaries on the philosophy of Plato 
within the neo-Platonic circle. 

The General Character of the Teaching of Plotinus. 
There is a great division of opinion about the value of 
the teaching of Plotinus, for he drew his philosophy 
only in the broadest outlines, and he made no attempt 
to advance from a general view of the world to exact 
knowledge of it. Intellectually his philosophy is an ab 
straction ; and yet emotionally, in an intimate way, it 
touched deeply an age weary with culture. Thus one 
can see how the actual achievement of Plotinus was 
small, but how at the same time its force and influence 
was very great. It was a religious teaching which rose 


to magnificent heights of contemplation from miserable 
intellectual surroundings. Nevertheless, the philosophy 
of Plotinus was an extreme form of intellectualism 
it was an intellectual ennobling and transforming of 
religion. The earlier philosophy had supported the 
happiness of the individual by offers of infinitude ; but 
Plotinus thought of the individual as never isolated 
from the Infinite, but as always longing for the Infinite. 
Fellowship with God is knowledge of Him, but it is 
knowledge of a peculiar kind. It is enthusiasm, intui 
tion, ecstasy. There is a chasm between man and God, 
which Plotinus would bridge by placing reality so 
deeply within consciousness as to annihilate all anti 
theses and contradictions. Thus this deep reality be 
low consciousness is cosmic and not human ; .and the 
religion of Plotinus is cosmocentric and not anthropo- 
centric. Plotinus intensifies and summarizes Greek cul 
ture in order to consolidate and defend it. But in thus 
thinking out the Greek conceptions to their logical 
completeness, those conceptions collapse. 

The Mystic God. There are two characteristics that 
distinguish the mystic God of Plotinus, 

1. The first characteristic is the supra-consciousness 
of God. God is the indefinable, original Being who is 
above all antitheses. He is swpnz-everything, even 
supra-conscious. Nothing can be attributed to Him, not 
even thought or will, for these imply two elements and 
God is a unity. Any description of Him must be in 
negative terms ("negative theology"). If we speak of 
Him as the One, the First, the Cosmic Cause, Good 
ness, or as Light, we are only relatively and not really 
describing Him. God is present in all, yet He is not 
divided ; He is the source of all, and yet He himself is 


perfectly finished. In his conception of God as compared 
to the world, Plotinus added the realm of the supra-con 
scious and the sub-conscious to the conscious. 

2. In the second place Plotinus conceived God in His 
relation to the world in the terms of dynamic panthe 
ism. This is a pantheism of a peculiar type. God does 
not create the world ; the world is not the act of His will ; 
nor is the world the result of a transference of part of 
His nature. In ordinary pantheism the world is a diffu 
sion of the substance of God and the whole is static. 
Not so in the teaching of Plotinus ! God permeates the 
world by His activity, and the world is dynamic through 
and through. But this dynamic activity of God must 
not be conceived as an historical or time process. The 
process is timeless. It is a process of essence or worth. 
The grades in the process are those of significance or 
value. All are within the all-embracing unity of God 
and each particular draws its life from Him. This is 
called the theory of emanations. Plotinus used the 
figure which mystics have always employed in this con 
nection, the figure of the sun and its rays of light in 
the darkness. The rays become less and less intense 
with the increasing distance from the Godhead, until 
they end in darkness. The process is an overflowing 
from the Godhead in which the Godhead remains un 

The Two Problems of Plotinus. Starting with this 
conception of the Godhead as a dynamic coiitentless 
Being, Plotinus is bound to explain the world of sense- 
phenomena. His problem is twofold : he must explain 
the sequence of phenomena from the Godhead, which is 
the metaphysical problem ; he must explain how man, liv 
ing in the world of sense, can rise to communion with 


the Godhead, which is the ethical problem. Metaphysics 
and ethics are to Plotinus in inverted parallelism. 

The World of Emanations. The Metaphysical 
Problem of Plotinus. The aim of Plotinus in this is to 
construct a metaphysical monism out of the dualistic 
factors which had so long been present in Greek thought. 
The two fundamental principles upon which he raised 
his structure were (1) his dynamic series of emanations, 
and (2) his conception of matter as entirely negative. 
The highest Being, God, by an excess of energy or 
goodness, has the natural impulse to create something 
similar to himself. This creative impulse exists in each 
creature in turn and the movement propagates itself. 
Stage is added to stage in a descending series, until the 
impulse dies out in non-Being as the limit. The ordinary 
pantheism of co-existence of phenomena is transformed 
into a succession of stages of values, and all make up a 
harmony of more or less distinct copies of God. There 
are three steps in which the process of emanation pro 
ceeds, spirit, soul, and matter. 

The Spirit or Nous is the first emanation from the 
One in point of significance. It is the image of the One 
sent forth by its overflow of energy. This image in 
voluntarily turns toward its original, the One, and in 
beholding it becomes Spirit, Nous, or intellectual con 
sciousness. It turns to the One and recognizes itself as 
the image of the One. Thus, in the first degree away 
from God, the duality of thinker as subject, and of the 
thing thought as object, appears. The unconsciousness 
of the One is thus contrasted with consciousness, and 
the dual nature of consciousness is thus brought out ; and 
for the first time an exact formulation of the psychologi 
cal conception of consciousness is given. 


The Nous is a unitary function of the One, like the 
Logos of Philo. At the same time the Nous contains 
within itself, as content, the Platonic Ideas or arch- 
types of individuals. These Ideas are not mere thoughts, 
but have their own existence. The Nous is their unity, 
however, just as a unity exists for the theorems of a 
science. These Ideas are pure intellectual potencies and 
the final causes of the world of nature. 

The Soul is the second degree removed from the One. 
It stands in the same relation to the Nous as the Nous 
to the Godhead. The Soul belongs to the world of 
light, but it stands just on the boundaries of the world 
of darkness. It is the image of an image and therefore 
doubly dual, it consists of a higher or world-soul and 
the lesser souls. The world-soul is divided into two 
forces, the formative power of the world, and the body 
of the world. Individual souls are divided into the super 
sensible or intellectual soul (the part that has pre-exist- 
ence and undergoes metamorphosis), and the sensible 
part which has built up the body as an instrument of 
its working power. The soul is present in all parts 
of its body. The individual souls are called plastic 

Matter is the emanation which is most distant from 
the One. The Nous is the emanation of the One, the 
world-soul is the emanation from the Nous, individual 
souls are a kind of intermediate emanation from the 
world-soul, and matter is the emanation of the individ 
ual souls. That is to say, the world-soul, with the forces 
that are native to it, generates matter and then, by 
uniting itself through its forces with matter, produces 
the world of corporeal things. What is the character 
of matter with which the world-soul forms this union? 


It is space. Space conditions all earthly existence. It 
is the same as Plato s conception of the absolutely nega 
tive non-Being and the merely possible. It is absolute 
sterility, entirely evil and devoid of good. Matter has 
no dualistic independence of the One. What is the char 
acter of the nature world ? It has the same character 
and quality as the formative forces that unite with this 
negative matter it is no more and no less eternal. 
The world of nature to Plotinus is one of magic, and 
not merely teleological. He says that the heavens are 
the union of a perfect soul with matter ; the stars are the 
visible gods united with matter ; the powers of the air 
and sky are daemons, which mediate between the stars 
and the souls of men, united with matter ; the body of 
man is the human soul united with matter; inorganic 
nature is the lowest of the plastic forces united with 
matter. Wherever there is matter (space), there is 
found imperfection and limitation and evil. Man as an 
individual is sympathetically and mysteriously bound 
to all parts of the universe. Scientific investigation of 
nature is entirely ruled out by this neo-Platonic teach 
ing. It never could be the instrument for penetrating 
a magical universe. Faith and superstition take the 
place of science, and prophecy alone undertakes to 
solve nature s riddle. 

The world of nature is thus broken in two. In one 
sense it is bad, ugly, and irrational. In another sense it 
is good, beautiful, and rational, because it is formed by 
the souls that enter into it. In opposition to the Gnos 
tics Plotinus praised the harmony and beauty of the 
world, and promulgated his metaphysics of the beautiful 
as a last farewell of Hellenic civilization. Beauty is not 
composite, but the simple Idea of worth shining through 


the world of sense. Beauty is from the inner and for 
the inner. Art does not imitate nature, but expresses 
the reason ; it supplements the defects of nature and 
creates something new. Yet the world of nature is beau 
tiful, because down to the lowest deeps it is permeated 
by the divine. 

The Return of the Soul to God. The Ethical Prob 
lem of Plotinus. In his discussion of moral conduct 
Plotinus started from the point opposite to that of his 
metaphysics. He looked from the point of view of man 
up the series which descended from the Godhead. Men 
immersed in matter have nevertheless a share in the di 
vine life, and their goal is independence of the world. 
They must free themselves from sense. Man s ethical 
task is to separate the two worlds and to turn away 
from the material, not only in its abnormalities but in 
every way. The practical virtues have little value in 
such a sublimation of the soul, for these only bind the 
soul more closely to the world of matter. The political 
virtues are only a preparation by which the soul learns 
how to be free from sense. The intellectual virtues are 
necessary, but the goal of salvation is not reached by 
knowledge alone. "The wizard king builds his tower 
of speculation by the hands of human workmen till he 
reaches the top story, and then he summons his genii 
to fashion the battlements of adamant and crown them 
with starry fire." Out of the mental condition of con 
templation the soul will rise on the wings of ecstasy to 
the God from whom it came. The call of Plotinus is to 
the ascetic life. The development required is that of 
spirituality. Ethically Plotinus doctrine is dualistic, 
because it requires the rejection of matter as evil. The 
return is not an evolution nor an innovation in which 


reform of the old world is demanded. There is no indi 
vidual progress, but a penetration into the foundation 
of things. But what incentive has man to undertake 
this return ? What arouses him from his sleep ? Not 
3ense-perception nor reflection, but his love for the 
beautiful. The innate impulse of Platonic love turns 
the soul away from matter to the illuminating Idea, 
lie who has an immediate recognition of the pure Idea 
is gaining the higher perfection. Only when man is in 
ecstasy an ecstasy which transcends every subjective 
state does he get complete contact and union with God. 
In such a moment of consecration he forgets himself 
and becomes God. This final step never comes unless 
God himself . illuminates the soul by a special light so 
that it can see God. This final state comes only to few 
souls, and to those but seldom. 

The Syrian School. The Systematizing of Poly 
theisms. Jamblichus. This school existed about a 
generation after the death of Plotinus. Its founder was 
Jamblichus (d. about 330), whose teacher was Por 
phyry, the pupil of Plotinus. Jamblichus was a Syrian, 
who got his instruction from Porphyry at Rome, and 
then went back to his native country to set up for him 
self a school of neo-Platonism. He soon became rever 
enced as teacher, religious reformer, and worker of 
miracles. He wrote commentaries on Plato, Aristotle, 
and the theological works of the Orphics, Chaldeans, 
and the Pythagoreans. Among the crowd of his enthu 
siastic disciples, one notes the names of the Emperor 
Julian and Hypatia.* 

The neo-Platonism of Jamblichus contained no new 
point of view. Metaphysically and ethically his teach- 
* Read Charles Kingsley, Hypatia, a novel. 


ing was identical with that of Plotinus. He tried to 
complete the religious movement by coordinating all 
cults, excepting Christianity, into a unity. This was an 
eclecticism by which Jamblichus came naturally, for 
Syria was a land where eclecticism thrived. It was here 
that Gnosticism had its stronghold. With free eclectic 
hand Jamblichus filled in all the intermediary grades 
between the Godhead and man with the multitude of 
gods of all religions. In his system he placed 10 supra- 
terrestrial gods, 365 celestial beings, 72 orders of sub- 
celestial beings, and 42 orders of natural gods. To find 
places for them all, he had to increase the number of 
intermediaries ; and to systematize this complex poly 
theism, he employed the Pythagorean numbers. His 
theory shows how persistent was the Hellenic civiliza 

The Athenian School. Recapitulation. Proclus. 
The Syrian school failed to restore the old religions, and 
we find neo-Platonism, after revivals here and there, 
again at Athens. The city that had been the original 
sanctuary of Greek culture was the last stronghold of 

The Athenian school made its appearance about 410, 
and its leading representatives were Plutarch, Syrianus, 
and Proclus. Proclus (410-485), the pupil of Syrianus, 
was the most important representative of the Athenian 
school, and he may be said to have uttered the last word 
of dying Hellenism. Born at Constantinople, of a Ly- 
cian family, he received his education at Alexandria ; 
and when he became leader of the school at Athens, he 
received the extravagant worship of his pupils. Con 
nected with the Athenian school were the great com 
mentators, Philoponus and Simplicius, whose works on 


Aristotle became of great value to later times. Theii 
erudite compilations stand out sharply against the im 
aginative speculations of their age. In connection with 
this school Boethius must not be overlooked. He was 
a neo-Platonist who called himself a Christian, and he 
was an important figure in the history of education. 
His translations and expositions of Aristotle s logic and 
of the Isagoge of Porphyry were very influential in the 
Middle Ages. 

Proclus was a theologian like Jamblichus, excepting 
that he tried to put theology upon a philosophical basis. 
By means of the dialectic he sought to systematize the 
entire philosophical thought of the Greeks. His insati 
able desire for faith was accompanied by wonderful 
dialectical ability, with the result that his teaching was 
an intricate formalism united with mythology. He 
carried out his dialectical plans to the minutest detail. 
He drew the materials of his system from both bar 
barians and Greeks, and he himself had been initiated 
into all the Mysteries. Every superstition of the past 
and present influenced him, and in framing a universal 
system he did not feel satisfied until every transmitted 
doctrine had found a place in that system. He was the 
systematizer of paganism and its scholastic. He con 
ceived that the fundamental problem was that of the One 
and the Many, and that the One is related to the Many in 
three stages, permanence, going-forth, and return. The 
Many as a manifold effect is similar to the unity of the ori 
ginal cause and yet different from it. Development is the 
striving of the effect to return to the original cause, and 
this strife for a return to God was illustrated by Proclus 
in every realm of life, and he repeated it again and again 
in application to every detail. He conceived that the de* 


velopment of the world from the Godhead was continu 
ally going through this triad system of change. His 
philosophy, however, shows no originality other than 
being an ingenious formal classification in which every 
polytheism found a place. 



The Early Situation of Christianity. The Orient was 
the source of the Gospel, as of the other religions of 
this time. The power of Christianity lay in the sponta 
neous force of its pure religious feeling, with which it 
entered the lists for the conquest of the world. Chris 
tianity was not a philosophy, but a religion. It appealed 
to a different class than did the Alexandrian schools. 
The lower class received it first, and so the questions of 
science and philosophy occupied the early Christians 
but little. They were neither the friends nor the foes 
of Hellenism, and they took no interest in political 
theories. The Christian society was a spiritual cosmo 
politanism, which was inspired and united by belief in 
God, faith in Christ, and in immediate communion with 
Christ. Conviction of the Second Coming of the Lord 
determined the conduct of the early Christians. Indeed, 
that moral reformation and moral conduct were the dom 
inating aims of the Christian communities is proved by 
the following facts : the documents dealing with Chris 
tian life of that time are almost wholly moral ; the 
discipline upon the members was for moral and not doc 
trinal reasons. Still these early Christians had some sim 
ple doctrines, which were seemingly taken for granted; 
and the danger is, to conceive the early Christians as 
either (1) too sample or (2) too ignorant. They be 
lieved that there is one God, that man has personal re 
lations to God, that history has a dramatic course, that 


right was God s command and absolutely different from 
wrong, that the Last Judgment would surely come. 

But about the middle of the second century Chris 
tianity was obliged to change its attitude towards both 
science and the State. Between 150 and 250 a great 
change took place among the Christians. The docu 
mentary records are full of doctrinal struggles, so that 
little room was left for recording the struggles for moral 
purity. Morality became subordinated to belief, and the 
intellectual side of Christianity was emphasized at the 
expense of the ethical. The Second Coming of our 
Lord was less emphasized. This doctrine was either 
pushed into the background or its realization was looked 
upon as not immediate. Furthermore, the Christian 
sect had spread over the empire and had come into posi 
tive relations both with circles of culture and with polit 
ical affairs. Various statistics of the numerical growth 
of the Christians are given ; among them is the follow 
ing statement : in 30 A. D. they numbered 500, in 100 
A. D. 500,000, in 311 A. D. 30,000,000. In the second 
century the self -justification of Christianity could no 
longer be put upon the basis of the feelings and inner 
convictions. It must justify itself to the world without, 
and to its own cultured communicants as well. It was 
being attacked by philosophy, and, unless its own fur 
ther growth were to be thwarted, it found that it must 
use the weapons of philosophy. Its increase of power 
antagonized both the Roman state and Hellenistic cul 
ture, and from 150 to 300 the fight between Christian 
ity and the old world of things was to the death. Chris 
tianity eventually conquered Rome and Hellenism ; but 
this would have been impossible if it had maintained 
its original attitude of indifference to culture. Its suo 


cess was due to the wisdom that it has since so often 
shown. It adapted itself to its new situation by taking 
over and making its own the culture of the old world, 
and by fighting the old world with that culture. Chris 
tianity thereby shaped its own constitution into such 
strength that it could obtain possession of the state with 
Constantine in 300. From this impregnable political 
position, it was able to deal with its rivals on an entirely 
different footing. When old Rome fell in 476, the 
church did not fall with it, but on the contrary it came 
into possession of the city. 

But this political success was the result and not the 
cause of the growth of Christianity. It could never have 
conquered so intrenched a government as Rome, if it 
had not first been victorious over the more persistent 
civilization of Greece. It made itself inherently strong 
by Hellenizing itself strong both for polemical and 
for constructive purposes. But it is obvious that little 
philosophical originality may be expected during this 
period. When the church fathers began to employ Hel 
lenistic philosophy, they took it on the whole as they 
found it. They varied it only to suit their own legiti 
mate purposes. Christianity entered the religious con 
troversies of the time when victory would belong to the 
sect which could use Greek civilization most effectively 
in defending itself against the hostility of other reli 
gions, and in constantly renewing the confidence of its 

But in the adoption of Hellenistic culture the church 
created a new danger to itself. It must guard its own 
conceptions lest they be smothered by this same Hel 
lenism. It must keep its fundamental beliefs in their 
integrity. Greek philosophy must be a servant so con- 


strained as to bring out only the implicit meaning of 
the fundamental Christian doctrines. Philosophy must 
not corrupt these doctrines and transmute them into 
Hellenism. The simple faith of the first century and its 
doctrines must be so formulated by Hellenic wisdom 
that it would be stated for all time. The church needed 
a dogmatic system, a creed that could forestall any fu 
ture innovations. The long series of O3cumenical councils 
of the church, beginning with the Council of Nica?a in 
325, were united efforts in this direction. After that 
first council, dogma became more gradually fixed and, 
from time to time, this and that group of men were 
separated from the church as heretical. 

Patristics is this philosophical secularizing of the 
Gospel which accompanied the internal and external 
development of the church body during the two or three 
centuries after the year 150 A. D. 

The Philosophies influencing Christian Thought. 
The Greek philosophies most influential upon the de 
velopment of Christian doctrine were Stoicism and neo- 
Platonism. The philosophy of Philo was also influential, 
but it was really only a bridge from philosophical Ju 
daism to Christian theology. It contained both Stoicism 
and Platonism in an unsymmetrical form, and Philo s 
writings "contain the seeds of nearly all that after 
wards grew up on Christian soil." l Greek philosophi 
cal influence upon the early Christian world was felt 
in two ways : in ethical theory and practice ; in the 
construction of theology. During the fourth century 
Stoic ethics of a Cynic type replaced the early Chris 
tian ethics. The basis of Christian society was no longer 
the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount, but rather that 
i Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, 1888, p. 182. 


of Roman Stoicism. This is shown by the character of 
that book on morals (De Officiis Ministrorum) by 
St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (340-397). In theology 
the Christian doctrine had no need to borrow from the 
Greeks the conception of the unity of God or that of 
the creation of the world by God. But the Greek in 
fluence is seen in the doctrines on subjects allied to 
these : mainly on the questions of the mode of creation 
and the relation of God to the material world. In the 
discussion of these questions the influence of the Stoic 
monism, tending toward dualism, and the influence of 
Platonic dualism, tending toward a threefold conception 
of God, Matter, and Form, will appear in the examples 
which subsequently follow. 

The most formidable opponent of Christianity dur 
ing this time was neo-Platonism, but neo-Platonism and 
Christianity were not, however, long separated. Although 
neo-Platonism met its fate at the hands of scholasticism, 
it influenced in a thousand ways both orthodox and 
heretical Christianity. The rivalry of these two bodies 
ended and with it came the ending of the Hellenic- 
Roman period of philosophy in a complete and ori 
ginal theology. This was the theology of St. Augustine, 
who marks the end of antiquity and the beginning of 
the Middle Ages. 
The Periods of Early Christianity (30 A. D. -476 A. D.). 

1. Introductory Period, 30-200. 

(1) Period of Primitive Faith (during the 1st 
century A. D.). With great simplicity of doc 
trine and ceremonies the Christians were pre 
paring through faith and the practice of vir 
tue for the Second Coming of our Lord. 

(2) Period of the Earlier Formulation and De* 


fense of Christian Doctrine (during the 2d 

century A. D.). 

(a) The Apologists (2d century). 

(6) The Gnostics (2d century). 

(c) The Old Catholic Theologians (2d and 

8d centuries). 
2. Development Period (200-476). 

(1) The Period of Actual Formulation of Doo 
trine (200-325). The Catechetical School 
of Alexandria Origen (3d century). 

(2) The Period of the Establishment of Dogma 
(325-modern times) as seen in the Council of 
Nicaea and other ecumenical councils. It was 
a period in which church dogma was developed 
on the basis of doctrine already established. 

While the origin and development of the Christian 
church is an interesting story in itself, only one aspect 
of it is germane to the history of philosophy. That is 
the influence of Hellenism upon the formation of the 
theology of the church. The origin and development of 
the church organization lies beyond our field. Also the 
periods before the influence of Hellenism the Period 
of Primitive Faith during the first century, and the 
period after dogma had become well established, the time 
after the Council of Nicsea in 325 will be omitted 
from our discussion here. Only the period of the Earlier 
Formulation and that of the Actual Formulation of Doc 
trine, that is, the one hundred and seventy-five years 
(150-325), are of interest to us. This time is known 
in history by the name of the period of Patristics. 

The Apologists. Only such Christians as were trained 
in Greek philosophy could rally to the first defense of 
the Christian doctrine. The new faith was, on the one 


hand, on the defensive against the mockery of Greek 
wisdom, and, on the other hand, it was obliged to take 
a positive stand to show that it was the fulfillment of 
the human need of salvation. The Apologists tried to 
make the Christian teaching as consistent as possible 
with the results of Greek philosophy and, at the same 
time, to read into Greek philosophy Christian meanings. 
They did not at all intend to Hellenize the Gospel, but 
they wanted to make it seem a rational one to the cul 
tured world. " Christianity is philosophy and revela 
tion. This is the thesis of every Apologist from Aris- 
tides to Minucius Felix." l Their very act of defense 
was unintentionally the first step toward the incorpora 
tion of Greek philosophy as a part of Christian teach 
ing. The most important Apologists were Justin Mar 
tyr (100-166), Athenagoras (d. 180), and among the 
Romans Minucius Felix (about 200) and Lactantius 
(d. 320). The life of Justin Martyr is characteristic. 
He was born in Sichem, Samaria, but was Greek in 
origin and education. Having investigated several sys 
tems of philosophy and religion, he came to the con 
clusion that the Christian religion was the only true 
philosophy, and he died in defense of it at Rome. 

To prove that Christianity is the only true philosophy, 
the Apologists asserted that it alone guaranteed correct 
knowledge and true holiness here and hereafter. They 
proclaimed its preeminence because it is a perfect reve 
lation of God through Jesus Christ. Since man is im 
prisoned in the world of the senses and ruled by dae 
mons, he can never be saved except through a perfect 
revelation. To be saved is to become rational, and man 
can become rational only by divine aid. Revelation has 

1 Harnack, Outlines of the Hist, of Dogma, p. 120. 


not been restricted to Christianity, but God s inspira 
tion has been at work in all mankind. The truth in 
Socrates, Plato, and Pythagoras has not been their own, 
but has sprung from this same divine inspiration, for 
truth never is the product of man s unaided reason. 
Socrates and Plato got their truth in part from God s 
direct revelation to them, in part indirectly from read 
ing the works of Moses and the prophets. But revela 
tion outside of Christianity has not been complete nor 
continuous. The first perfect revelation was in Jesus 
Christ, for He is the first to reveal the divine Logos com 
pletely. He is the first in whom the Logos has become 
man. He is the Son of God because the complete essence 
of the inexpressible Deity is unfolded in Him. 

The Apologists thus identified reason and revelation. 
The Logos is the same in revelation, nature, or history. 
The Stoic conception of the Logos, which Philo had 
stripped of its materialistic character, was identified 
with Christ and revelation. Justin could regard as in 
spired what the Greeks had looked upon as natural in 
their own doctrines. Christ is the world-reason, in whom 
the divine has been incarnated, and the Apologists had 
the enormous advantage over the neo-Platonists of being 
able to point to Jesus as the definite and historical in 
carnation of God. The Apologists could summon the 
prevailing Platonic dualism of God and matter to their 
aid in showing the need of such a revelation ; for mat 
ter is altogether without reason and goodness. Thus a 
summary of their doctrine is as follows : the world is 
bad and needs a revelation ; the Logos of God has al 
ways been present in history, but has especially appeared 
in Jesus Christ, the man, in order to redeem men from 
their sin and establish the kingdom of God. 


The Gnostics. Gnosticism is the name applied to a 
movement of hostile reconstruction of Old Testament 
tradition instead of a spiritual interpretation of it. It 
was a great syncretic movement in the second and third 
centuries, which sought to form a world religion in which 
men should be rated on the basis of what they intellect 
ually and morally knew. The Gnostics tried to trans 
form the Christian faith in a large way into know 
ledge that would still be Christian ; and their efforts 
show how strong the philosophical interest among the 
Christians was beginning to be. The conditions for the 
development of such a doctrine as Gnosticism were 
everywhere present in the empire, yet two principal 
centres are pointed out : one at Alexandria and the 
other in Syria. Gnosticism was a most fanciful mix 
ture of Oriental and Occidental cults and mythologies, 
very much more fantastic than either neo-Pythagorean- 
ism or neo-Platonism. It was a philosophy in which 
the essential Christian principles were lost under the 
weight of esoteric knowledge. The Gnostics themselves 
were steeped in Hellenic culture, and in many localities 
formed only bands of Mysteries. They finally lost all 
sympathy with the Christians, and were classed as here 
tics by the church. The leading Gnostics were Saturni- 
nus, Carpocrates (about 130), Basilides, Valentinus 
(about 160), and Bardesanes (155-225). Only a few 
fragments of their many writings remain, and about all 
that we know of their doctrines is what their opponents 
say of them. Valentinus, the most notable, was born 
at Rome and died at Cyprus. Bardesanes was born in 
Mesopotamia. Carpocrates lived at Alexandria and was 
a contemporary of Basilides, who was a Syrian. The 
records of their careers are very meagre. 


The Gnostics were the first philosophers of history. 1 
They undertook to make Christianity a world religion 
by conquering Hellenic culture for Christianity and 
Christianity for Hellenic culture. The only way they 
could do this was by dislodging Christianity from its 
historical anchorage in the Old Testament. The Gnos 
tics were in open hostility to Judaism. They trans 
formed every ethical problem into a cosmological prob 
lem, they regarded human history as the continuation 
of natural history, they viewed the Redemption as the 
last act in the cosmic drama. This shows how closely 
related their teaching was to that of Philo and Plotinus 
and how consistent with the theoretic spirit of the 
time. Since the salvation of the world by Christ stands 
as the central point of their philosophy of history, their 
philosophy of history amounted to a philosophy of 
Christian history. 

The victory of Christianity over paganism and Ju 
daism was conceived allegorically by the Gnostics as the 
battle of the gods of these religions. The Redeemer 
was then conceived to appear at the psychological mo 
ment and to win the victory ; and this appearance of 
Christ as Redeemer is not only the highest point in 
the development of the human race, but it is the de 
nouement in the drama of the universe. Nature was 
therefore conceived by them to be a battle-ground of 
the gods and the strife to be waged between the forces 
of good and evil. The good gets the victory by means 
of Christ. The battle was conceived in the neo-Py- 
thagorean form of the dualism of matter and spirit, 
but was expressed in mythical terms. The heathen 
gods and the god of the Old Testament, who took the 

1 Windelband, Hist, of Ancient Phil., p. 357. 


form of the Platonic demiurge, were the powers in the 
world which the highest God had to overcome. 

The dualism of good and evil was conceived to be 
the same as between spirit and matter, and was elabo 
rated in a fashion true to the Alexandrian school. The 
space between God and matter was conceived to be 
filled in by a whole race of daemons and angels, ar 
ranged according to the Pythagorean numbers. The 
lowest was so far from the divine perfectness as to be 
in touch with matter, and he is the demiurge who 
formed the world. The battle then was between good 
and evil, light and darkness, until the Logos, the Nous, 
Christ, the most perfect of the intermediary beings, 
came down and by incarnation released from matter 
the imprisoned spirits of men and even of the fallen 
angels, like the demiurge. This is, in brief, the Gnostic 
explanation of history. 

This dualism was quite consistent with contemporary 
Christian ethics, which had then become Stoic. But 
this dualism was not consistent with monotheism, the 
fundamental Christian principle. The internal danger 
in Patristics of swamping the fundamentals of 
Christianity through Hellenizing them appears thus 
early. The early Christian found at the beginning an 
antagonism between his fundamental monotheistic meta 
physics and Greek dualistic ethics. 

The Reaction against Gnosticism. The Old 
Catholic Theologians. We have seen that the original 
position of the Christians was one of indifference to 
both politics and philosophy ; that then came the em 
ployment of Hellenism in the defense of the Gospel. 
This resulted in the extreme attempt of the Gnostics 
to transform Christianity into a factor in a cosmic the- 


osophy. Gnosticism had tried to capture the new re 
ligion by force and make it subserve the interests of 
Hellenic and Oriental philosophy. This danger was 
averted only after years of controversy. Gnosticism 
was the gravest danger that the early church had to 
meet, and the Gnostics left their mark upon the church, 
although they were expelled ; for the church never re 
turned to its original simplicity of doctrine. Gnosticism, 
however, produced an extreme reaction, for a time, 
against the use of philosophy, and was represented by 
the"Old Catholic Theologians," Iremeus (140-200), 
Tertullian (160-220), and Hippolytus. These theo 
logians stood against turning faith into a science and 
tried to limit dogma to the articles of the baptismal 
confession interpreted as a rule of faith. Tatian (170) 
saw in Hellenism the work of the devil. Irenseus con 
ceived a unity in the process of creation and redemp 
tion, creation as a divine method of bringing hu 
manity up into the church by way of redemption. 
Tertullian went so far as to affirm that the Gospel is 
confirmed by its being in a certain sense contradictory 
to reason. Credo quid dbsurdum. By this he means, 
not that faith rests in things absurd, but that faith 
rests in things so far above reason as to make reason 
absurd. This reaction was against Gnosticism and not 
against rationalism, for these men used both philosophy 
and tradition to support their arguments. 

The reaction against a systematic theology failed to 
establish itself, for the need of Greek philosophy was 
found to be necessary. The result was that a median 
position was taken by the help of Greek philosophy 
in the formulation of the dogma of the church. This 
was scientifically stated by the Alexandrian School of 


Catechists, of which Clement and Origen were the 

Origen (185-254) and the School of Catechists. 
Origen, whose surname was Adamantine, was an early 
teacher in the School of Catechists, which had been 
under the direction of Clement. Like Plotinus, Origen 
had been a pupil of Ammonius Saccas. Origen endured 
much persecution on account of his teaching, and had 
to flee from Alexandria to Caesarea and Tyre, where he 
spent his old age. He was the most influential theolo 
gian of the Eastern church, and he was the father of 
Christian theological science. 

In manner of life Origen was a Christian; in his 
thought he was a Greek. He was the Christian Philo, 
although he was a rival to the neo-Platonic philosophers. 
His Christian theology competed with the philosophical 
systems of his time. It was founded on both Testa 
ments, and it also united in a peculiar way toward a 
practical end the theology of both the Apologists and the 
Gnostics. He was convinced that Christianity could 
be expressed only as a science, and that any form of 
Christianity without scientific expression is not clear tc 
itself. Although the church was offended at some of 
his doctrines, it made his philosophical principle and 
his theory of development its own. In trying to state 
Christianity in terms of intellectual knowledge, Origen 
did not make the mistake of burying its principles 
under philosophy or mythology, as was the case with 
the Gnostics. The Gnostics had created a new Christian 
ity ; Origen developed Christianity from within itself. 
He was an orthodox traditionalist, a strong Biblical 
theologian and idealistic philosopher. He maintained 
that there were several ways of interpreting the Scrip- 


tures (allegorical interpretation). The masses see only 
the somatic or outward meaning as it has been devel 
oped in history. A deeper or moral interpretation gives 
a psychical meaning to the Gospel truth. More pro 
found still is the spiritual interpretation, which gives to 
the Gospels a pneumatic or spiritually esoteric meaning. 
Christianity is superior to all other religions because it 
is a religion for all classes, even for the common man. 
Christianity is the only religion which, without being 
polytheistic, can have its truth in mythical dress. 

The aim of Origen was less to show how the world 
came to be, than to justify the ways of God to men in 
the world s creation and history. The central principle 
in his teaching is spiritual monotheism. God is an un 
changing spirit, the author of all things, and He tran 
scends human knowledge. What distinguishes Him most 
is the absolute causality of His will. He is essentially 
creative, and this creative activity is co-eternal with Him 
self. God can have no dealings with changing individ 
uals directly, since although creative He is unchanging. 
He has direct connection only with the eternal revela 
tion of His own image, the Logos. The Logos is a per 
son, a special hypostasis, the perfect likeness of God 
with nothing corporeal about him. He is not the God, 
but still God, yet a second God, with no sharing of 
divinity. 1 The Holy Spirit bears the same relation to 
the Logos as the Logos to the Father. In his relation 
to the world the Logos is the Idea of Ideas, the norm 
according to which things are created. 

Origen followed Philo in believing that the original 
creation consists of a world of beings that are pure 
intelligences, and that the cause of creation is God a 

1 Harnack, Outlines of the History of Dogma, p. 159. 


goodness. He further believed that the Logos or Wis 
dom of God is God s Son. Both the creation of the 
ideal world of intelligences and the existence of the Son 
is from eternity. The origin of the visible world is to be 
contrasted with this eternal creation. The visible world 
had its beginning in time and is only one of a series of 
worlds. It will finally return to God, and has in God its 
beginning and end. Thus man lives in a visible world 
of time with eternities on either side. Creation, viewed 
as a whole, is everlasting, and consists of an endless 
number of beings who are destined to become a part 
of the divine holiness and to participate in the divine 
blessedness. These beings are endowed with freedom of 
will, and they fall away from God. The visible world of 
matter has been created to purify the fallen spirits, and 
in consequence we find materialized spirits graded into 
angels, stars, mankind, and evil demons. 

In his emphasis on the will as the fundamental 
mental part of man, Origen is distinctly Christian and 
opposed to Greek intellectualism. The will of God and 
the will of man form the corner stone in his system. 
The will of God is the eternal development of His 
being, but the will of spirits is their temporal free 
choice. The will of God is reality itself; the will of 
spirits is phenomenal and changing. Freedom of the 
will of the spirits is the ground of their sin, and con 
sequently of their materiality. Thus it is by the free 
dom of the spirits that Origen explains evil and the 
existence of imperfect matter without impeaching the 
eternal purity of God. Origen thus reconciled the ethi 
cal transcendence of God as creator with his imma 
nence in the material world. God is the creator without 
being the creator of sin. Through the conception of 


free-will Origen reconciled the two antithetical princi 
ples, of Christian metaphysics : faith in divine omni 
potence and consciousness of sin. 

The function of the church is thus an important one 
in the divine plan. For the fallen spirits try to rise bj 
their own wills from the matter to which they are con 
demned for purification. They never lose their divine 
essence, however low they may falL They cannot rise 
alone, nor are they compelled to, but they always have 
the help of divine grace, which is always active within 
man and has also been perfectly revealed in Jesus 
Christ. After the manner of the Apologists, Origen 
makes use of the Stoic and Platonic conceptions, for 
the eternal Logos takes form in the divine-human unity 
of Jesus. Through His physical suffering redemption is 
made possible to all believers, and through His essence 
illumination has been brought to those especially in 
spired. There are different grades of redemption : faith, 
or a religious understanding of the perceptual world ; 
knowledge of the Logos ; final absorption in God. All 
shall finally be saved through the combined forces of 
freedom and Grace, and then shall all material existence 

The controversies within the church during the suc 
ceeding centuries over the theory of Origen are theo 
logical rather than philosophical, and so our account of 
the relation of Greek philosophy to Christianity in the 
Hellenic-Roman period closes here. Origen s under 
taking was a private one, approved at first in only lim 
ited circles and on the whole disapproved by the church. 
In his scientific dogmatics the particular changes which 
he planned pertain especially to the conception of sal 
vation and the place of Christ in the universe. In his 


teaching about Christ he emphasized more the cosmo* 
logical than the soteriological aspect, but neither was 
fully developed. The history of the early church shows 
that Christianity seized the ideas of ancient philosophy 
and insisted on revising them with its own religious 
principle before it used them. We shall find that the 
next period is introduced by a greater than Origen, in 
whom again the Christian and the ancient worlds will 
meet in new and richer combination, St. Augustine. 


THE MIDDLE AGES (476-1453) 



Comparison of the Hellenic-Roman Period and the 
Middle Ages. The Middle Ages can be conveniently 
remembered as approximately the 1000 years between 
the fall of old Rome, in 476, and the fall of new Rome 
(Constantinople) in 1453. Together these two period* 
make a long and a philosophically unproductive stretch 
of 1800 years. The intellectual materials which the two 
periods possessed, differ but little, although during the 
first half of the Middle Ages such materials were very 
few. There is, however, a decided difference in the way 
the two periods look at things. The ancient had started 
with Aristotle s interest in knowledge for its own sake ; 
the ancient had passed from that to the need of 
knowledge in ethical conduct ; he had finally made use 
of knowledge only in formulating religion. On the other 
hand, the history of thought in the Middle Ages was 
exactly the reverse. The medieval man starts satisfied 
with religion as thus formulated by the preceding pe 
riod, and seeks to regain pure knowledge. The perspec 
tive in the two periods is therefore different. Hellenic 
thought began in freedom and ended in tradition ; me 
diaeval thought begins in tradition and, borne by the 
youthful German, who brings with him few original 


ideas, pushes forward toward freedom. No doubt one 
can discover in mediaeval times many fresh transforma 
tions of ancient thought and a new Latin terminology, 
but, on the whole, all the problems of the Middle Ages, 
as well as their solutions, can be found in antiquity. 
One may find, too, the germs of modern thought in the 
Middle Ages, but they come from mediaeval pupils and 
not from mediaeval masters. In the Middle Ages hu 
manity is again at school ; its problems appear in suc 
cession, but they always are expressed in the conceptions 
of the ancients. 

The Mediaeval Man. Antiquity had brought together 
three civilizations, those of Greece, of Rome, and of 
Christianity. Greek civilization in the form of an in 
tellectual culture, called Hellenism, had been superim 
posed upon Roman political society. The result was a 
society with a twofold stratum, and in such a society the 
Christian church had grown as an organization of con 
trolling cultural and political influence. It was into this 
society that the German barbarians, by a series of in 
vasions, entered during the first three centuries of the 
Middle Ages. 

The Middle Ages began and antiquity ended when 
these German tribes finally broke down the barriers of 
the Roman empire. It was a new period ; for a new 
race had taken upon itself the responsibility of bearing 
the burden of the future of western Europe. The Ger 
man was of course unconscious of the magnitude of his 
self-imposed burden, for the German was young, vigor 
ous, and moved by primitive instincts. He had leaped 
into the world s fields as a conqueror ; he remained as 
a laborer. 

At the beginning the German seemed likely to de 


stroy the entire product which antiquity had bequeathed. 
He was quite unprepared to assimilate the rich fruits of 
that ancient civilization. He had, indeed, less mind for 
the elaborate forms of Greek philosophy than for the 
lighter forms of Greek art. In his first contact he could 
understand neither. Moreover ancient society was so 
weak that it could not educate him, who was its con 
queror, into its culture. Nevertheless, there was one ele 
ment in that ancient society that did appeal to the 
German. That was the spiritual power of the Christian 
church. Alone amid the ruins of antiquity the power of 
the church had grown so strong that the men of the 
north bowed before it, and religion accomplished through 
the emotions of the Germans what art, philosophy, and 
statecraft failed to achieve. The preaching of the Gos 
pel laid hold of the feelings of these primitive people, 
for the church in its pretensions, and sometimes in fact, 
represented the old Koman political unity. Moreover 
the church was also the repository of what was left of 
Greek science. The church expressed for the German 
his own ideal of the personal inner life. The Germans 
became the supporters of the church, and in this way 
the protectors of ancient culture. Mediaeval history in 
western Europe is therefore the record of the develop 
ment of the Germans under the influence of the Chris 
tian church. In contrast with the development of the 
Eastern church, which was the development of a state 
church, the Western church was the development of an 
ecclesiastical state. The Western church, and not the 
later empire, was the true successor of the Roman 
empire. Thus the early beginnings of the Middle Ages 
rested with the church, but the later development of the 
Middle Ages rested with the German people. 


How the Universe appeared to the Mediaeval Man. 
The mediaeval man had very indistinct ideas about the 
world around him, since his interest did not lie in the 
earthly realm, but in the spirit that controlled it. He 
was content in his sciences with conclusions without 
their demonstrations. Although it is said that relations 
of space and number are never indistinct in the mind 
of the civilized man, the man of the Middle Ages cer 
tainly did not possess such conceptions in so vigorous 
a manner as to enable him to discover new truths. We 
must, furthermore, make a sharper distinction between 
mediaeval popular opinion and mediaeval scientific opin 
ion than we should about popular and scientific opinion 
of modern times ; for the results of science did not 
reach the people then as now. To the ordinary mediaeval 
man the world in which he lived was what it appeared to 
be to his eye. The earth was flat ; the sky was a mate 
rial dome, which sustained the waters of the world above 
it. Through this sky-floor the water sometimes breaks 
and the earth receives showers of rain. These popular 
notions sometimes appeared in the verse of the time. 

The mediaeval scientific opinion was based on the 
theory of Ptolemy and his school of Alexandrian astro 
nomers, who lived in the second century A. D., some de 
tails to the theory having been added by the Arabians. 
Ptolemy says, " The world is divided into two vast re 
gions ; the one ethereal, the other elementary. The ethe 
real region begins with the first mover, which accom 
plishes its journey from east to west in twenty-four 
hours ; ten skies participate in this motion, and their 
totality comprises the double crystalline heaven, the fir 
mament and the seven planets." (See diagram.) The 
mediaeval man of science thought that, inasmuch as he 



was upon the earth, he was therefore standing at the 
centre of things. Directly above him was the cavity of 
the sky, ruled by the moon ; and below the moon were 
the four elements, fire, air, water, and earth. This 
region was the realm of imperfection. But above the 




A diagram showing the division of the universe into the ten spheres or heaven 

(From the private library of Profetaor R. W. Willion of Harrard Unitenitj) 

moon the scientist saw a series of nine other heavens, 
each with an orderly revolution of its own ; and beyond 
all is God. The universe was therefore to Ptolemy a 
great but a limited sphere, consisting of ten spheres 
one inside another (like the rings of an onion). Each 


planet moved with the motion of its own heaven (on 
sphere), which was sometimes called " crystalline " be 
cause it was transparent. The movements of the heav 
enly bodies, each in its own revolving heaven, were 
contained in the whole sphere, which revolved with a 
motion of its own. By ascribing other movements to 
the planets within their respective heavens, the medieval 
astronomers were able to predict every conjunction and 
eclipse to the minute. These separate movements of the 
planets were called epicycles, the form of which is 
shown in the diagram on the opposite page. 

Such a scientific astronomy would easily lend itself 
to the theological conceptions of the time. The realm of 
perfection above the moon was supposed to be under 
the direct supervision of God and to be inhabited by 
spirits. Thus the conjunction and relation of the heavenly 
bodies were thought to have influence upon human life, 
and they furnished the basis of the astrology, necro 
mancy, and spiritism so common in the Middle Ages. 
The ninth heaven embraced all the others. It swept 
around them all, without interfering with their own 
special motions, and completed its revolution in twenty- 
four hours. The ninth heaven was both the source and 
the limit of all motion and all change. Beyond it lies the 
eternal peace of God, which the Christian astronomer 
regarded as " the abode of the blessed." This was called 
the tenth heaven or the Empyrean. This, in Dante s 
words, is " the heaven that is pure light ; light intellect 
ual full of love, love of the good full of joy, joy that 
transcends all sweetness." The tenth heaven is Paradise 
and is within the life of God. It is important to note 
that the Ptolemaic conception of the universe is the 
background upon which Dante constructs his Divine 



Comedy (see diagram, p. 376),* and appears in part 
at least as the cosmological basis of the Paradise 
Lost of Milton. For thirteen centuries from 200 
to 1500 conviction remained unshaken in the Ptole 
maic system of astronomy as an adequate explanation 
of the universe. 


(Showing the Epicyclic Movements of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in respect 
to the Earth) 

The Mediaeval Man at School. In the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries there was a revival in intellectual in 
terests that was deep and broad, and the characteris- 

* Read Rossetti, Shadow of > Dante >, pp. 9-14 ; Karl Witte, 
Essays on Dante, pp. 99 ff. 


tics of this revival will be discussed subsequently (see 
Transitional Period, p. 329). Our curiosity, however, is 
aroused upon our entrance into the Middle Ages, as to 
what the man of the early Middle Ages studied and how 
much he learned. We must remind ourselves at the out 
set of the oft-repeated fact that, on the whole, in west 
ern Europe, for the first five hundred years of the 
Middle Ages, the only people who had any book-learning 
were the churchmen. Furthermore, with them the learn 
ing was very meagre. Their purpose in study will show 
this, for it was to enable them " to understand and ex 
pound the Canonical Scriptures, the Fathers, and other 
ecclesiastical writings." The training was as follows : 

1. Theological. Elementary instruction in the Psalms 
and church music, but no systematic training in theo 
logy, just enough training to enable the priest to 
understand the Bible and the Church Fathers. 

2. Secular training. Knowledge in the " Seven 
Liberal Arts," i. e. the trivium, grammar, rhetoric, 
and dialectic ; and the more advanced quadrivium, 
music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. These 
names are suggestive of a vast amount of knowledge, 
while, in truth, very little was known or taught in these 
subjects. Astronomy and arithmetic were employed to 
find the time of Easter. Geometry included some pro 
positions of Euclid without demonstrations. Music in 
cluded plain song and a mystic doctrine of number. 
More was made of grammar, the study of rhetoric from 
Latin classics, and dialectics. Dialectics was logic in 
the Middle Ages, and its mysteries fascinated the 
mediaeval man. But even in logic there were only some 
remnants of the Aristotelian logic known. 

A Mediaeval Library. Here again is an interesting 


question: What did this mediaeval churchman read? 
But we must make a distinction between books most 
commonly read, books that the scholars might use, and 
books most influential upon thought. 

1. Books most commonly read. These would be the 
text-books used in instruction. They are as follows : 
The Psalms. 

The Grammar of Donatus. 

The Christian poets : Prudentius, Psycliomachia ; Ju- 

vencus, Gospels in Verse ; Sedulius, Easter Hymn. 
Dionysius Cato, Disticha de Moribus^ a collection of 

proverbs (moral maxims) in rhyming couplets. 
Virgil, Ovid, and the rhetorical works of Cicero. 
M sop s Fables (in Latin). 

2. Books that the scholars might use. It is difficult 
to say what any particular scholar actually did read, for 
the libraries of monasteries differed enormously in the 
character and number of their books ; some monasteries 
had several hundred books, some none at all. Some libra 
ries were composed almost entirely of works of the 
Fathers ; some possessed a good many works of ancient 
classical writers. One might expect to find any one or 
more of the following works in a scholar s library : 
Aristotle, De Interpretatione and the Categories in 

Boethius translation. 

This explains why the logical problems occupied 
the almost exclusive attention of the first schoolmen. 
Plato, the Timceus. 

This was known to the Irish monks perhaps in 
Greek, but on the continent in a translation by Chal- 
cidius. The only other sources of knowledge of Plato 
were in the works of Augustine and the neo-Platon- 


Commentaries on Aristotle, The Isagoge by For- 
phyry, in a translation into Latin by Boethius, and 
some commentaries by Boethius himself on Aristotle s 
De Interpretation and Categories. 

Cicero, the rhetorical and dialectical treatises, such as 
the Topica, De Officiis. 

Seneca, De Beneficiis. 

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura. 

Augustine s works and some pseudo-Augustinian writ 

The works of the Church Fathers, Clement of Alexan 
dria and Origen. 

The Pseudo-Dionysius, translated from the Greek by 

The encyclopedic collections of some of the last of the 
scholars of antiquity, like Cassiodorus, Capella, Boe 
thius, and the Etymologies of Isidore of Seville. 
3. The Books most influential philosophically upon 

the time. These were not necessarily the books most 

widely read, but the epoch-making books, so to speak. 

They were as follows : 

Augustine, City of God. 

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy. 

Aristotle, De Interpretations and the Categories in 
translation by Boethius. 

Pseudo-Dionysius, translated by Erigena. 

Porphyry, Isagoge translated by Boethius, an introduc 
tion to Aristotle s Categories. 
The Three Periods of the Middle Ages. 

1. Early Period, 476-1000. 

2. Transitional Period, 1000-1200. 

3. Period of Classic Scholasticism, 1200-1453. 
There is one great natural division line of the Middle 


Ages, the year 1200. At this time the surging of the 
western peoples eastward in the Crusades was at its 
height, and the works of Aristotle were coming into west 
ern Europe from the East. These events mark a change 
in the political and intellectual situation in Europe. But 
this change did not take place suddenly. There are in 
tervening two centuries that are indeed transitional, but 
at the same time are animated by a distinct and inde 
pendent philosophical motive. These two centuries may 
be set apart as a period, different from the earlier and 
the later periods. We shall call these three periods the 
Early Period, the Transitional Period, and the Period 
of Classic Scholasticism. 

The Early Period takes us from the fall of old Eome 
(476) to the birth of modern political Europe (1000). 
It is a period of religious faith governed by the theo* 
logy of Augustine. Mysticism has no independent fol 
lowing, but on the contrary rules within the church. 
The Christian principle of individual personality and 
the Greek Platonic conception of universal realities are 
not fused, but they are held without arousing contra 
versy. This is because the human reason has no stand 
ard code, nor does it yet feel the need of one. The only 
two philosophers, Augustine and Erigena, of the period 
are animated by neo-Platonism. 

The Transitional Period extends from, the birth of 
political Europe (1000) to the arrival of the works of 
Aristotle (about 1200). This epoch is one of logical 
controversy, in which the Christian and the Greek mo 
tives conflict. This controversy gives rise to the first 
group of great schoolmen, who discuss the reality of 
general ideas in their application to dogma. Mysticism 
still rules the churchman, but now in a modified form, 


Plato has become the standard of the reason in orthodox 
circles and Aristotle in those inclined to heresy, but 
as yet only fragments of the works of either are known. 
The Period of Classic Scholasticism extends from 
1200 to the end of the Middle Ages (1453). It is a 
period when a theological metaphysics arises by the 
side of the logical controversy and predominates over 
that controversy. The problem now concerns the re 
spective scopes of the reason and faith. The period is 
Aristotelian, and Aristotle s philosophy is made the 
standard code for the churchman for all time. Mysticism 
has now no place of authority in the church, but has an 
independence. The period contains the greatest school 
men of the Middle Ages. 

Summary of the Political and Educational Worlds of 
the Mediaeval Man. 

I. Early Period, 476-1000. 

395 The Koman empire di- (Augustine, 354-430) 

vided into Eastern 

and Western empires. 

476 Fall of the Western 476-800 Disappearance 

empire, the Eastern of municipal and im- 

empire lasting about perial schools and rise 

1000 years longer. of episcopal 

375-600 Northern barba- and 

rians overrun the monastic schools. 

Western empire in 

series of invasions. 525 Boethius died, the last 

600 Koman power almost notable Roman scho- 

entirely in hands of lar who knew Greek. 

barbarians. 529 Closing of philosophi 
cal Schools at Athens ; 


622-732 Mohammedans 
conquer Arabia, 
Northern Africa, and 

732 Mohammedans re 
pulsed at the battle 
of Tours. 

600-800 Fusion took 
place among German 
and Roman peoples. 

800 Empire of Charle 
magne founded. Civ 
ilization higher than 
the German, lower 
than the Roman. 

900-1000 Empire of 
Charlemagne broken 
up. Demoralization. 
Invasions by Danes 
and Northmen from 
the north; Saracens 
from south by sea; 
Slavs, Hungarians, 
Russians, and Poles 
by land. The church 
demoralized, Papacy 

founding of monastic 
school by St. Benedict. 

476-800 Dark Ages. 

800-1000 Benedictine 
Age : only period in 
We stern JZurope 
when education is 
entirely in hands 
of monks. The Pal 
ace school ; episcopal, 
cathedral, and monas 
tery schools. 
(Erigena, 810-88V, 
the forerunner of 

900-1000 Dark century 
with decline of learn 




pears, feudalism 
places empire. 



II. Transitional Period, 1000-1200. 

1000 France and Ger 
many get their first 
form as nations just 
before this year ; Eng 
land just after. Be 
ginning of new birth 
of Europe, caused by 
conversions of north 
ern nations, by en 
lightened rule of the 
Ottos, by regenera 
tion of Papacy, by 
development of civic 

Beginning of politi 
cal order, ecclesiasti 
cal discipline, and 
social tranquillity. 
Revival of architec 
ture followed by re 
newal of art. The Ro 
manesque appeared 
about 1000, the 
Gothic about 1150. 
Poetry of Trouveres 
in north and of Trou 
badours in south. 


First Scholasticism. 

(Anselm, 1033-1109) 



1000 Passion for inquiry 
takes the place of the 
old routine. 

1160-1200 Traces of the 
origination of the 
earliest universities. 

1150-1250 Translation 
into Latin directly 
from Greek of the 
works of Aristotle, 
previously unknown 
in Western Europe. 



III. Period of Classic 
1200 Crusades at their 


1200-1453 Commerce of 
Europe with Asia be 
gins to grow to large 
proportions in coun 
tries on the Mediter 
ranean. The Third 
Estate grows in 
strength, national 
governments prevail 
over the feudal system 

Scholasticism, 1200-1453. 
1200 The Mendicant 


Classic Scholasticism* 

(T h o m a s Aquinas, 


(Duns Scotus, 1270- 


(William of Ockam, 
1300-1453 The period is 

well supplied with 
. schools. 

1350-1453 Deterioration 

of Scholasticism, 



The General Character of the Early Period. It is no 
accident that these five hundred years of the Middle 
Ages were spiritualistic. Both the political disturbances 
and the intellectual inheritance from the Hellenic-Ro 
man period made the period such. The troubles during 
the long death agony of the Roman empire had de 
prived the people of their interest in this world. The 
world of kingdoms and material things presented no 
ideals ; and the age would have been pessimistic had 
not the Church through Augustine presented a heavenly 
ideal and the means to win that ideal. Both what the 
material world had taken away from man and what the 
spiritual seemed to offer him, made the age an age of 
faith. The principle of inner spirituality was moved to 
a central position. All things pointed to the super 
natural and the transcendent. Men dwelt upon the 
nature of God, the number and rank of the angels, the 
salvation of the soul. In this, as in the Transitional 
Period following, little was known of Aristotle except 
some fragments of his logic ; and little was known of 
Plato except in the form of neo-Platonism. But in this 
period (before the year 1000) the pupil was instructed 
in both Aristotle and Plato, and held them both to 
gether without controversy. Mysticism had little inde 
pendence of church doctrine, as appears in the case of 
Erigena, the consequences of whose doctrine were not 
at first seen. The monastery became the fundamental 


social organization and the central social force. Organ 
ized ascetic life permitted an absorbing contemplation 
of heaven. Prayer superseded thought ; faith prescribed 
knowledge. The intellectual world was dominated by neo- 
Platonic idealism, and the all-important topic in men s 
minds was that of God s grace. Augustine stood at 
the beginning of the period and organized its concep 
tion of grace for it. Erigena stood near the end and stated 
the neo-Platonism of the period in extreme form, pre 
senting the issue for the scholasticism of the many years 


from 1. KCMM I Evolution of Gtograp\y 

(Cosmas was an Egyptian monk who had once been a merchant and traveler. He 
did not use the records of his own travels to supplement the Oreek and Roman plans, 
but he laid down as a fact that the earth is flat. Then he piously adduced evidence 
from the Scriptures to support his view. The maps drawn by Cosmas are the earliest 
Christian maps that have survived. Their crudeness, compared with the maps of the 
Romans and Arabs, reveals the low state of knowledge among the Christians.) 

to come. The presentation of the doctrine of these two 
men will therefore be the philosophical exemplification 
of the attitude of the time. 

The Historical Position of Augustine. The Middle 
Ages were inaugurated by a mind of the highest order, 


Augustine.* If one were to select the most influential 
figures in the history of philosophy, Augustine might 
be chosen to stand with Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, and 
Kant. " In some respects Augustine stands nearer to 
us than Hegel and Schopenhauer." 1 For the church, 
but no less for the period, it was a fortunate circum 
stance that Augustine should have lived just as anti 
quity was closing and the medieval period beginning. 
Through him the various influences of the past were 
gathered up and presented in a scientific statement for 
the Middle Ages. " The history of piety and of dogma 
in the West was so thoroughly dominated by Augus 
tine from the beginning of the fifth century to the era 
of the Reformation, that we must take this whole time 
as forming one period." 2 

In his relation to antiquity Augustine drew especially 
upon the fundamental teachings of St. Paul, the neo- 
Platonists, and the Patristics for the presentation of his 
own doctrine. He was familiar with a great number of 
the doctrines of antiquity, and was the medium of their 
transmission to the Middle Ages. He does not seem to 
have known the system of Aristotle, but the importance 
which he attached to the dialectic in the explanation of 
the Scriptures contributed a good deal to the use of the 
logic of Aristotle by the scholastics of the Middle Ages. 
He had some knowledge of the Pythagoreans, the Stoics, 
and the Epicureans through the writings of Cicero. 
But the most important philosophical influence upon 

* Read Eucken, Problem of Human Life, pp. 219-221, 
232, 236, 245-248 ; Turner, Hist, of Philosophy, p. 226 ; De 
Wulf , Hist, of Mediceval Phil., pp. 90-98 ; Harnack, Hist, 
of Dogma, vol. v, pp. 36. 

1 Eucken, Problem of Human Life, p. 247. 

2 Harnack, Hist, of Dogma, vol. v, p. 3. 


Augustine was the neo-Platonic teaching of Plotinus 
and Porphyry. Neo-Platonism, the Pauline theology, 
and the Patristic are the large factors in the doctrine 
of Augustine. 

In his relation to the Middle Ages, what in brief was 
the position of Augustine ? By means of neo-Platonism 
and a discriminating psychological analysis he trans 
formed the previous belief in God as a judye into a 
belief in the personal relations between God and man. 
That is to say, he carried out monotheism spiritually, 
and in doing this the influence of neo-Platonism is very 
strong in him. Augustine made one of the centres of 
his teaching the living relation of the soul to God. He 
took religion out of the sphere of cosmological science, 
where it had been placed by Origen and the Gnostics, 
and made it personal. Furthermore, he offered with this 
new ideal a plan of salvation ; for Augustine made it 
his task to show (1) what God is, and (2) what the 
salvation of the soul requires. Whereas before Augus 
tine the only dogmatic scheme had presented the place 
and function of Christ in salvation, Augustine was in 
terested in the place of man in salvation. Thus he 
elaborated monotheism into spiritual monotheism and 
delineated the inward processes of the Christian life, i. e. 
of sin and grace. This important advance made by 
Augustine must be attributed to the influence of philo 
sophy neo-Platonism upon him. 

But it must not be supposed that the total teaching 
of Augustine and the total influence of his thought is 
contained in this single change in Christian piety, as 
we have stated it. The various Pagan and Christian 
elements, as they lie in his system, have little coherence; 
and Augustine does not settle the rival claims between 


them. As the mediaeval period advanced, what in his 
teaching had been a mere incoherence became in the 
hands of others positive discord. He gave the church 
impulses of the highest spiritual quality, but he left no 
well-organized capital. These impulses toward spiritual 
piety have never been lost, but the profusion of ideas 
and views in Augustine, unharmonized by himself, were 
also a permanent bequest to posterity that produced 
both vital movements and violent controversies. The le 
gal and moral party of the church resisted his teaching 
at the beginning, and in the sixth century, under the 
influence of Gregory the Great, toned down Augustine s 
teaching in the direction of a conception of the church 
as a juristic organization. 

Augustine was thus the beginner of a new line of 
development by his incorporation of neo-Platonism into 
Christian doctrine and by his use of the dialectic to 
present, defend, and develop the doctrine of the church. 
Although the years of his life fall in antiquity, although 
he is the collector of all the threads of the neo-Platonic 
and Christian religions, he belongs in the Middle Ages 
as the teacher of the Middle Ages. His doctrine acted 
as an authoritative spiritual guide for the new German 
peoples. They took up the problems of antiquity from 
the new point of view of individual spirituality, and 
created out of them the philosophy of the future. But 
philosophically Augustine was far in advance of his age, 
and in the intellectually torpid times that followed him 
little philosophical development could be expected. Not 
until after Charlemagne does philosophical development 
springing from Augustine appear. Later Luther and 
the Reformation reverted to him, and our modern phi 
losophy is founded on the principle which he made cen 
tral in his conception of piety. 


The Secular Science. At the same time it must not 
be supposed that the teaching of Augustine was by any 
means the only source from which this first period of 
the Middle Ages drew its materials of knowledge. A 
glance at the list of books in a mediaeval library (see 
p. 327) will not confirm such a supposition. Augustine 
does not include in his doctrine massive as it is all 
the factors that finally made up mediaeval civilization. 
Even at the beginning there was a tendency toward 
secular science derived from Plato and Aristotle. No 
ticeable as this was at first it became prominent later. 
Secular science tried at first to modify scholasticism, 
and then later to gain an independence for itself. The 
doctrine of Augustine did not contain the germs of sci 
ence. But at the start the Middle Ages had writings 
on science in the inadequate compendiums of Capella, 
Cassiodorus, and Boethius, and in the fragments of the 
logic of Aristotle. 

The Life of Augustine (354-430). Aurelius Au 
gustine, often called " the Plato of Christianity," was 
born in Thagaste, Numidia. His father was a Pagan, 
his mother a Christian ; and it was his mother who con 
tributed chiefly to the formation of his character. He 
was a boy of brilliant gifts, and was educated in the 
schools of Madaura and Carthage. At Carthage his life 
was full of dissipation, which he has described in his 
Confessions. He took up in succession all the scientific 
and religious problems of his time. He gave up the 
teaching of rhetoric, which he had practiced in several 
towns in Asia Minor and Italy, and began to study 
theology. He was troubled by his religious doubts and 
tried to find relief first in Manichasism, then in the 
skepticism of the Academy, and then in neo-Platonism. 


He was converted to Christianity through three influ 
ences : his study of Plato, the eloquence of St. Ambrose, 
and the unremitting moral influence of his mother. He 
became a priest, then a bishop, and was untiring in his 
activity both in the practical organization of the church 
and in the theoretical construction of its doctrines. He 
was especially active in his literary attempts to refute the 
Pelagian and ManichaBan heresies, whose doctrines he 
had previously professed. His life falls at the time when 
the barbarian invasions were beginning and when Rome 
was crumbling. Moved by his Platonic idealism, he wrote 
his City of God, which, in an elaborate philosophy of his 
tory, shows that God s city is not on earth, but in heaven. 
The Two Elements in Augustine s Teaching. The 
great masses of thought in Augustine s mind reveal 
motion in two directions. On the one hand, he is the 
theologian who holds on high the conception of the 
authority of the church. On the other hand, he is the 
philosopher who speaks for the principle of immediate 
certainty for the individual. These are two foci about 
which his thought is in constant flux and often in con 
tradiction. Augustine has, therefore, two criteria for 
truth : the truth that comes from an authority without, 
and the truth that comes from consciousness itself. 
The authority of the church and the authority of the 
immediate consciousness of the individual these are 
the two central thoughts in Augustinianism. Augus 
tine s conception of the authority of the church acted 
upon him as a lofty ideal which both inspired and at 
the same time constrained his speculations. As he grew 
older he gravitated more and more toward it, and 
thereby became more conservative. But it was the other 
central thought the authority of immediate conscious- 


ness which he made the basis of a philosophy of 
original power. Through this he transcended his own 
time and became himself a modern, leading the Middle 
Ages up to him. 

Augustine did not define accurately the spheres of 
philosophy and theology. He did not show whether 
reason or revelation had the higher authority. He did 
not try to decide between the intelligo ut credam and 
credo ut intelligam, that is, between the respective 
authorities of reason and faith. That became, in conse 
quence, a central philosophical problem for the school 
men. Nevertheless, the great inheritance which Augus 
tine left the world was along the philosophical line of 
intelligo ut credam (of knowledge as the basis of faith 
instead of faith as the basis of knowledge). 

The Neo-Platonic Element : the Inner Certainties 
of Consciousness. Augustine was not original in making 
the starting-point of his philosophy the inner certainties 
of consciousness. That was the point of view of his time, 
and the starting-point of the ascetic tendency both of 
Christianity and of neo-Platonism. He was dissatisfied 
with the world without, and turned away from it to the 
world within to find reality. But this had been a grow 
ing tendency ever since the time of Plato. Augustine s 
originality lies in his psychological description of these 
certainties. He is the master of self -observation and 
introspection. He can describe inner experiences as well 
as analyze them. He puts his philosophy upon a solid 
anthropological basis by developing a psychology of the 
certainties of consciousness. In doing this he placed the 
inner experience in the central position of control. Thus 
he reached a well-defined position of " internality " for 
which the Stoics, Epicureans, neo-Platonists, and the 


preceding Christian theologians had been groping ; thus 
he anticipated Descartes and modern philosophy. 

Man clings to life in spite of all its evils. This shows 
that there is a reality for the soul. The material world 
may pass away, but the reality of soul-life is assured. 
Man s inner life is ever present and cannot be imagin 
ary. The fact that there is such a thing as probability 
implies the existence of certainty. Where shall I look 
for certainty ? In myself. Certainty is there as a fact of 
inner observation. There are my inner mental states 
my sensations, feelings, etc., whose existence cannot be 
doubted even if the existence of the objects to which 
they correspond is doubted. I am certain also of my 
own consciousness at that moment. To doubt my exist 
ence is to assert my existence. To doubt also implies 
that I will remember, live for doubt rests upon these 
former ideas. The temporary character of the material 
world only strengthens the reality of this inner world. 
The existence of the material world cannot be demon 
strated, and so man is driven inward to find a basis for 
its reality. Thus by a deep insight, although without 
much logical reasoning, Augustine transcends Aristotle, 
and anticipates modern thought by finding reality in 
the unitary personality^ whose existence is an inner 

But Augustine is driven farther inward ; for the cer 
tainty of the existence of God is involved in this inner 
certainty. My doubt about the character of the world 
of material things implies that their truth exists and 
that I have the capacity for measuring it. Such truths 
are universal. They transcend the individual conscious 
ness, and their mutual agreement unites all rational 
beings in a common standard. On the other hand, this 


unity of truths implies the existence of God. Truths 
are the Ideas (Platonic) in God s mind. 1 

Full knowledge of God is denied to man in this life, 
but, nevertheless, all morality consists in love for God ; 
all science is only an interest in the working of God in 
nature ; all the beauty in the world around us points to 
the harmonious ordering of God ; the history of the 
world is only the free act of God. Thus, in brief, does 
Augustine centralize the principle of inner spirituality 
of " internality." Thus does he put into control the 
certainty of consciousness. 

This was Augustine s great contribution to the 
world both in the sphere of philosophy and religion. 
We shall see how important this principle is in our 
tracing of modern philosophy. Its importance upon the 
growth of religion was so very great that we cannot 
pass it by without remark. " Augustine was the re 
former of Christian piety." In the midst of religion he 
discovered religion. He looked into the human heart 
and found it to be the lower good ; he looked to God 
and found Him to be the higher good. In love for 
God, man becomes exalted to another being. This is 
the " new birth." By this personal religion nature and 
grace are separated, but morality and religion are 
united. Sin is the disposition to be independent by liv 
ing in a state of unrest in the desires. Sin is a state of 
lust and fear. All is sin in the heart of the natural 
m an in the heart apart from God. The pre-Augus- 
tinian religion of morality and baptism, animated by 

i There is this difference between Augustine s position and that of 
Descartes. Augustine s Quod sifallor, sum is a refutation of the doctrine 
of probability of the Academy, not a demonstration ; Descartes Cogito, 
ergo sum is positive, a subtle but an important difference between 
^he two thinkers. 


hope and fear, was supplanted by him with the concep 
tion of the desire to be happy by sharing in the bliss 
of God. Augustine passed from Christian pessimism to 
Christian optimism, to a confidence in pardoning grace. 
By faith and love God calls us back to himself and the 
soul acquires what God requires. Religion is personal 
and a thing of the heart. " Love, unfeigned humility, 
and strength to overcome the world, these are the ele 
ments of religion and its blessedness ; they spring from 
the actual possession of the loving God. This message 
Augustine preached to the Christianity of his time and 
of all times." l 

But Augustine philosophically breaks with his own 
Platonism at one point, and finds not in the intellect, 
but in the will, the primary characteristic of this con 
sciousness of inner certainty. The will is the inmost 
core of our being. All our mental states are formed 
under the direction of the purposes of the will. The 
striking exception to this is the cognition of the higher 
divine truth, in the presence of which the mind can be 
only passive. Revelation cannot be the production of 
the finite activity, but it is an act of grace before which 
the will is expectant and passive. Knowledge of the 
divine truths of the reason Is the blessedness that re 
sults from the will of God and not of man. The will of 
man is transformed into faith, and yet even then an 
element of the human will is present, although passive, 
for the appropriation of the truth is an act of will. 
Thus, in regard to this difficult subject of the nature 
of the will, there are two observations to be made : (1) 
Augustine conceives the will, memory, and intellect ag 
so intimately related as not to be faculties of the per- 

1 Harnack, Hist, of Dogma, vol. v, p. 337. 


sonality like the properties of a substance. They rather 
form an indissoluble unity of the substance of the soul. 
(2) The will is theoretically free, and Augustine is one 
of the most forcible defenders of free-will because he is 
also a defender of ethical responsibility and the justice 
of God. Theoretically the will is a force existing above 
sensuous nature and formally possesses the capacity of 
following or resisting inclination. Actually it is never 
free to choose, but it has the higher function of being 
determined by the Good. Only the good will is free. 1 

The Authority of the Church according to Augus 
tine. With the fall of ancient Rome, the church was 
hard pressed, for the young peoples who came into the 
church were Arian and the only German Catholic na 
tion was the Franks. Augustine was a man of vigor, 
but he seemed to lack the peculiar power of forcing the 
church to adopt as dogma the truths for which he stood. 
He always submitted himself absolutely to the tradi 
tion of the church, and yet in a general way he accom 
plished two things for the church at large : (1) He 
established tradition as the authority and law of the 
church ; (2) He offered the church a scientifically con 
structed plan of salvation. 

There now appears in Augustine s teaching the 
second centre around which the masses of his thought 
group themselves. This is his conception of the church 
in its authority and law. Here is the principle of uni 
versality and historical universality and it runs 
counter to the principle of spiritual individualism which 
his psychological analysis had built up. Augustine is 
just as vigorous a champion of the idea of the church 
as the means to salvation as he is champion of the indi- 
1 Harnack, Hist, of Dogma, vol. v, p. 112, n. 4. 


vidual certainty of truth. The two antithetical proposi 
tions lie together in his mind. Asa pietist, he was an 
individualist ; as a priest, he was a loyal subject to 
dogma. We have discussed his teaching as it centred 
about man ; now the discussion centres about God as 
represented by His church. In practical life the will of 
man is important, but in the eternal life the central in 
fluence is the grace of God. Between the will of man 
and the grace of God there is a chasm. This is felt the 
more by Augustine, and the necessity of a God-centred 
doctrine seems the greater, when he beholds the contrast 
between the perfectness of God and the evil world of 
men. Evil now appears to him as a great stream flow 
ing through the world. Humanity is by nature void of 
God. Theoretically man is free, but in the actual world 
he is chained to his senses and to sin. Adam, the first 
man, alone could have possessed freedom ; but Adam 
in his freedom sinned, and his sin was that of the whole 
human race. Sin is therefore original to all men now 
living, and no man personally deserves salvation, how 
ever meritorious his conduct. Moreover, as the result 
of Adam s sin, all men would be damned were it not 
for the grace of God. The God-man by death brought 
power to replenish empty humanity with divine love. 
Divine love is the beginning, middle, and end of salva 
tion. Out of this love God has sent His Son and 
founded His church. Universal man died, and only 
universal man can save. Belief in Christ is the only 
means of salvation, yet belief in Christ comes only by 
God s grace, and divine grace is not conditioned on 
human worthiness. Thus it is only by grace even now 
that man is saved ; and no injustice would be done 
to men were all damned. On the other hand, divine 


justice demands that some men at least should be ex 
cluded from salvation in order that the punishment 
for Adam s sin be permanently maintained. The choice 
of the favored ones depends entirely upon the unsearch 
able decree of God. These are elected as monuments 
of His loving grace, while the others are elected to be 
damned as monuments of His justice. The apparent 
calamity to the majority of mankind only shows the 
goodness of God the more. For, in the first place, evil is 
not positive like the good. It is only negative and prim 
itive the absence of the good. The condemnation of the 
wicked is therefore no defect in this theocratic system. 
In the second place, the wicked only receive justice, 
for the salvation of only a few is a gratuitous act of 
love, which testifies to God s mercy. But, after all, it is 
the integrity of the whole spiritual imperial govern 
ment of God that is the important thing to consider. 
The King is law and goodness, and all His subjects 
are testimonies of His magnificent power. 

The Dark Ages (476-800). The traditional estimate 
of the Middle Ages as altogether " dark " has been re 
vised by modern scholars. The period now called the 
Dark Ages has been restricted to the three hundred 
years between the fall of old Rome (476) and the 
founding of the empire by Charlemagne (800). More 
over, it is now thought that even in that period the 
intellectual conditions were better in Italy than north 
of the Alps. In northern Italy the lay teacher seems 
always to have existed ; and education never to have 
fallen entirely into the hands of the monastery as it did 
in northern Europe between 800 and 1000. After 800 
the content of education north and south of the Alps 
seems to have been different. Everywhere, to be sure, 


education was comprised by the " seven liberal arts," 
but the emphasis in the two regions was different. 
North of the Alps the dialectic was made important, and 
theology and logic flourished. In Italy the emphasis was 
upon grammar and rhetoric, and " literary Paganism " 
was always kept alive. Thus, when the revival came in 
1200, it appeared in the form of theological controversy 
north of the Alps, while in Italy in the form of legal 
science. The analysis in the summary of the Middle 
Ages given above (see p. 330) applies more truthfully to 
the northern countries than to Italy. At the same time 
it is more pertinent to the history of thought, for in 
these northern regions, especially at Paris, medieval 
philosophy was developed. 

Nevertheless, it is easy for the modern scholar to go 
too far in trying to play fair with the Middle Ages. 
The first three centuries of this time were a Dark Age 
everywhere in Europe. Wave after wave of barbarian 
invasion swept over the land. It is not so much a mat 
ter of surprise that four hundred years lie between the 
first two philosophers, but the matter of surprise is 
that there were any philosophical fruits whatever. In 
this respect the year 529 is significant significant 
both in pointing backward to ancient culture and also 
in pointing forward to the feeble effort to retain some 
of that culture. In 529 Justinian abolished the philo 
sophical Schools at Athens; in 529 also, St. Benedict 
founded his monastic school at Monte Cassino (near 
Naples). These two events stand for the death of an 
tiquity and the birth of mediaeval life. In this begin 
ning of the monastic movement by St. Benedict in 
western Europe was lodged, as it turned out, the hope 
of education for the mediaeval man. During the two 


hundred years between the year 800 and the year 1000 
mediaeval education was entirely in the hands of the 

The Revival of Charlemagne (800-900). The dark- 
ness of the Early Period of the Middle Ages is broken 
by the somewhat abortive renaissance of Charlemagne. 
Connected with this revival is the name of John Scotus 
Erigena (810-880). Note that during these five hun 
dred years there are only two notable philosophers, 
Augustine and Erigena. Note that a span of four hun 
dred years lies between them. Also note that the first 
philosopher, Augustine, was a Roman and the second, 
Erigena, was an Irishman. Thereby hangs a tale. Dur 
ing all those long centuries of the Dark Ages after 
Augustine and until Charlemagne, the light of science 
shone scarcely in northwestern Europe. In the whole 
western hemisphere there were only three places where 
learning prospered : one was in the far east, among the 
Arabians ; another was at Constantinople ; the third 
was in the far west, in Britain. Thus it was from Britain 
that Charlemagne had to call his educators, Alcuin and 
Clement, to promote learning among the Franks ; and 
it was from Britain, too, that his successor, Charles 
the Bald, called the Irishman, Erigena, for the same 
purpose. During the renaissance of the great Charles 
and his successors, Irish scholars could be found in 
every monastery and cathedral in the empire. The 
teaching was soon called the " Irish learning." Still it 
must be said in qualification that the renaissance at the 
court of Charlemagne was a rather childish attempt to 
unite antiquity with theology. Excepting in the case of 
Scotus Erigena, the revival was very feeble. It consisted 
of a new effort to understand Augustine, to master the 


simplest rules of logic, and to think out dogma by means 
of Hellenism. The period from 800 to 1000 is called the 
Benedictine Age, because learning was entirely in the 
hands of the Benedictine monks. From the impulse 
given by the Irish scholars many celebrated monastic 
and cathedral schools originated, like those of Tours, 
Fulda, Rheims, Chartres, and the school at Paris. From 
the many monastic schools emerge the names of Alcuin 
of York, Rhabanus Maurus of Fulda, and Gerbert at 
Rheims. But among these scholars the only one of phi 
losophical importance is John Scotus Erigena. 

John Scotus Erigena (810-880) : Life and Teaching. 
When his contemporaries were only lisping at philoso 
phy and his immediate successors were absorbed in dis 
connected problems, Erigena worked out a connected 
system. Like Augustine, Erigena stood far in advance 
of his age. He was not only the one great thinker of 
the revival of Charlemagne, but he was one of the most 
remarkable personalities of the Middle Ages. Born in 
Ireland, he had the benefit of an education in the 
schools of that centre of learning, which he could not 
have obtained on the continent of Europe. In 853 he 
was called by Charles the Bald to carry on the work 
begun by Alcuin under Charlemagne. Three centuries 
after his death the church condemned him as a heretic 
(1209) on account of his writings on predestination 
and tr an substantiation. His learning was so great that 
he has been called " the Origen of the North." He read 
Greek, and this was a rare accomplishment in those days, 
for even Alcuin scarcely knew the Greek alphabet. His 
most notable original work is De Divisione Naturae, 
which was neo-Platonism in Christian dress. His most 
influential work was his translation of the pseudo-Dio 


nysius, the Areopagite. It proved, in fact, to be one of 
the most influential books of this period, and was in 
strumental on account of its large circulation in propa 
gating neo-Platonism in the Middle Ages. 

Erigena was neither a scholastic nor a dialectical 
theologian. He neither assailed nor defended church 
doctrine. He calmly pushed neo-Platonism to the bor 
ders of pantheism. He was an Irishman with a Greek 
mind, a neo-Platonist under the veil of a Christian 
mystic. No churchman ever expressed neo-Platonism so 
frankly. The writings from which Erigena got his doc 
trine are called the Pseudo-Dionysius writings because 
the authorship was falsely attributed to a companion 
of St. Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite. They were, how 
ever, probably written in the fifth century, for they 
are essentially neo-Platonic and border on pantheism. 
Erigena translated them at the request of Charles the 
Bald, and their appearance produced great astonishment 
in Europe (858-860). Erigena s own work, De Divi- 
sione Naturae, is an extreme pantheistic statement of 
the doctrine in the Pseudo-Dionysius. Briefly stated 
Erigena s teaching is as follows. God is an incompre 
hensible being and can be described only in negative 
terms (negative theology). (See chapter on Philo.) 
God is the same as Being or Nature, and He unfolds 
Himself as a fourfold series. These are: God, the 
world in God, the world outside God, God after the 
world has returned to Him. God contains in Himself 
through the Logos all the primordial types of things 
formed before creation. Creation is the logical unfold 
ing of particulars from the universal. Immortality con 
sists in the particulars again becoming universal. In 
the types of things God is creating Himself, and they 


are graded from God down to concrete objects. But all 
will finally return to God, and Erigena thought he found 
analogies of this return everywhere in nature. 

The Greek Principle which Erigena formulated for 
the Middle Ages. These details of the teaching of 
Erigena are unimportant except as they throw light 
upon that Greek underlying principle which he formu 
lated for the Middle Ages. The Heal is the Universal. 
Tlie more universal a thing is, the more real and there 
fore the more perfect it is. If we have an idea of a uni 
versal, that universal has existence because it is uni 
versal. The idea of God is universal, therefore God 
exists. The idea of the world is a universal, but not so 
universal as the idea of God, and therefore not so surely 
existent. But the idea of the world has more reality 
than the idea of a tree. Mediaeval philosophy becomes 
from this time on a logical theism. In the case of 
Erigena it is a logical pantheism. The world is a logical 
mosaic. Keal dependence is logical dependence, and 
what we in modern times call the causes and effects be 
tween natural objects are regarded by the Middle Ages 
as sufficiently explained if put in logical arrangement. 
This is the core of medieval thinking, and the student 
will fail to understand the civilization of the Middle 
Ages unless he grasps this central principle. 

But this realizing of the logical universal is Greek 
and betrays the fundamentally Greek character of me 
dieval civilization. The objective spiritual church has 
merely taken the place of objective nature. Mediaeval 
history is a conflict between Greek universalism and 
the Christian conception of the individual. In Erigena 
the Greek element appeared in overwhelming domi 
nance. Erigena is a smaller Augustine Augustine 


uncontrolled by great masses of thought and uninspired 
by practical ideals of building up the church. Erigena 
is a " belated Gnostic." Why was it that his nee-Pla 
tonic pantheism did not overcome entirely the individ 
ualistic element in Christian dogma ? Why, on the con 
trary, did it bring out far-reaching issues of conflict 
when a century later the significance of his teaching 
was understood ? Because inherently and fundamentally 
in the nature of the German peoples, as appearing in 
their customs and laws s was the conviction of the rights 
of the individual personality. In the teaching of the 
Christian fathers the element of the spiritual personal 
ity found a deep echo in the German nature. The Ger 
man could tolerate and did actually live under the later 
church doctrine of a moderate realism ; but the meas 
ured calm of the Greek pantheistic conception of Eri 
gena deprived the German of all his inherited ideals. 
Thus when intellectual activity was aroused a century 
later, the conflict became hot over the issue in Erigena s 
doctrine. Erigena was the forerunner of the scholastics. 
It was he who tossed the apple of discord among the 
thinkers of the Middle Ages. 

The Last Century of the Early Period (900-1000). 
The century following Erigena was one of demoraliza 
tion. All learning declined with the renewed invasions 
from the north, east, and west. The empire of Charle 
magne was broken up and the Papacy temporarily dis 
appeared. There is a persistent tradition that the Chris 
tians at this time believed the end of the world to be 
near. This has been proved to be a legend, but back of it 
lies the truth that there was a fresh rise of piety which 
ksted until 1300. With this movement we enter upon 
the next period of the Middle Ages. 



The General Character of the Transitional Period. 
The first century of the Transitional Period was as dif 
ferent from the last century of the Early Period in its 
intellectual attitude and emotional tone as can be im 
agined. It was the century of the new birth of Europe 
a century when the beginning of political order was 
accompanied by a passion for inquiry. The spirit of 
pietism took possession of all institutions and in the 
thirteenth century the mediaeval system seemed to have 
reached its perfect form. The Transitional Period gives 
meaning to the Crusades. "If ever ideals were carried 
out in the world and gained dominion over souls, it hap- 
pened then." l " It was as if the world had cast aside 
its old garment and clothed itself in the v; 1 ite robe of 
the church." 2 The ardor of the Crusades wa r s the speci 
fic expression of this religious revival. All the pent-up 
energies of the previous mediaeval life were passing 
through a rapid period of growth. 

Philosophically this period is the time when neo- 
Platonic mysticism, as elaborated by Erigena, came into 
conflict with the Christian conception of the individual. 
These two motives had been held together without con 
troversy in the Early Period ; now they develop into 
controversy. The philosophical theories evolved by this 
controversy go by the name of scholasticism. While 

1 Harnack, vol. vi, p. 7. 

2 Glaber, Hist., lib, III, 4. 


theoretically secular studies were supposed to be dis 
carded and ancient literature was considered to be the 
temptation of the devil, yet practically one is surprised 
to find a trained skill in the use of dialectic, and the 
employment of many of the materials of antiquity as a 
means of culture and the refutation of heresies. There 
was a knowledge of the classics, of dialectic, of neo- 
Platonism, and of Augustine. The spirit of Platonic 
realism prevailed among the group of schoolmen of 
these two centuries. The problem before this group is 
different from that presented to the schoolmen of the 
next period. The scholastics or schoolmen of this period 
whom we shall consider in some detail are, 

Anselm, 1033-1109. 

Roscellinus, d. 1100 about. 

Abelard, 1079-1142. 

What is Scholasticism? In a general sense scholas 
ticism is philosophic thought, but historically the term 
is usually restricted to the philosophic thinking of the 
Middle Agr . It has been pointed out that scholastic 
philosophy does not differ from any other philosophy. 
It had its prejudices, its dependence on authority, its 
employment of deduction, its use of observation like 
all philosophy. The scholasticism of this time, however, 
is distinguished by its general reference to church dogma 
as authority and its imperfect use of experience. The 
scholasticism of the Middle Ages may therefore be de 
fined as the application of dialectic or logical methods 
to the discussion of theological problems. It was the 
attempt to present the doctrine of the church in a scien 
tific system of philosophy. Sometimes such an attempt 
resulted in heresy when the result was a changing of 
dogma. Generally, however, the scholastic was not so 


ambitious, for he usually sought to keep within the 
authoritative doctrines of the church. He feared the 
anathema of the church. Scholasticism therefore, in 
general, had two characteristics: (1) It assumed that 
church dogma was unquestionable and infallible ; (2) 
It tried to clarify dogma by rational explanation, or to 
show that dogma was at least not contrary to reason. 
Dogma may in some cases be explained by the reason. 
In some cases it may be so far above reason that the 
only thing the reason can say is, " The doctrine does 
not contradict me." In the words of an eminent church 
man, " Dogma says, Deus homo (God became man). 
Scholasticism asks, Cur deus homo ? (Why did God 
become man ?) " Revelation is assumed ; scholastic phi 
losophy is permitted; independent rational science is 
denied. The remainder of the history of the Middle 
Ages shows no conscious attempt to form a new body 
of doctrine for the church ; and only here and there 
does there appear an effort to modify the existing doc 
trine. The thinkers are employed in this scholastic 
clarifying of the doctrine. In this period scholasticism 
takes the form of the logical problem of the relation of 
universals and particulars. In the period of Classic 
Scholasticism this logical problem changes into the 
metaphysical one of the respective scopes of reason and 

The problem of the relation of universal conceptions 
to particular experiences had become a central one to 
the Greeks after Socrates. (See summary, p. 103.) It 
was natural that the same problem should arise with the 
new mediaeval man and should delight him as an enig 
matical question. But conditions were less favorable for 
the medieval scholastic than for the Greek. The mediae- 


val had scanty literary materials, no opportunity of test 
ing his discussions by empirical observations, and his 
mind was untrained. In the Early Period scholasticism 
had the character of a mental game in logic. It con 
sisted, on the whole, in the subtle spinning out of logical 
questions with the few fragments of Aristotle as a guide. 
This was dangerous to faith, but the church could not 
prevent it, for it was the only mental diversion open to 
monks of the schools of Charlemagne. The arguments 
often reveal great mental acuteness, although they have 
the appearance of triviality. The schools of the ninth 
century were given over to barren formalism, and this 
threatened to submerge the vigorous movement inaugu 
rated by Erigena. " Can a prostitute become a virgin 
again through divine omnipotence?" "Does a mouse 
that eats the sacrament eat the body of God?" "How 
many angels can stand on the point of a needle?" 
These are examples of the prevailing verbal gymnastics 
of that time, and such problems can be found even in 
the works of Peter Lombard, Thomas Aquinas, and 
Duns Scotus. 

Logically stated the problem is that of the relation 
of particulars to universals. It is usually called the prob 
lem of the reality of general ideas. The question was 
started by a passage in that universally used text-book 
of the time the Isagoge of Porphyry, which was an 
introduction to Aristotle s Categories. (See p. 102.) 
Porphyry divides the problem into three parts: (1) 
Do genera and species exist in nature, or do they exist 
as mere products of the intellect? (2) If they are 
things apart from the mind, are they corporeal or incor 
poreal things? (3) Do they exist outside the individ 
ual things of sense, or are they realized in the latter ? 


Upon the problem involved here the thinkers of the 
Middle Ages were divided into three schools, realists, 
conceptualists, and nominalists. 1 The realist maintained 
that the general idea had reality, while the particular 
was only a defective imitation of it. The nominalist, on 
the contrary, held that the universal is only a name 
(nomen) or an abstraction derived from the real par 
ticular thing. The conceptualist tried to mediate be 
tween the two by showing that reality exists only in the 
particular. To use the mediaeval phrases, realism is uni- 
versalia ante rem ; nominalism is universalia post rem ; 
conceptualism is universalia in re. (See p. 103 for table 
of comparison with Protagoras, Plato, and Aristotle.) 
The question was of great practical importance to the 
church. Is the universal church real and therefore all 
its dogma authoritative, or are the particular churches 
real and authoritative ? This was a vital matter to the 
churchman of that day who was trying to establish the 
primacy of Rome among the separate churches. Fur 
thermore, to show that humanity was less real than the 
particular human beings would destroy the church doc 
trine of sin and redemption, for these dogmas depended 
on the assumption of the solidarity of the human race. 
The church universal and its universal dogma were not 
mere names to the schoolmen, and that is why the ortho 
dox churchmen were nearly always realists. Religious 
principles were universals, while particulars were secu 
lar. Dogma had become fixed, with which traditional!] 
the church had become identified. To emphasize par 
ticular experiences would mean the continual correcting 
of tradition and a substitution of private judgment for 

1 In this period the conceptualists were confused with nominalist! 
and called nominalists. 


church decrees. When nominalism is completely worked 
out, it will be found to conflict with church dogma at 
every point. The result is skepticism. Still the church 
man later saw that there is great danger also in a thor 
ough-going realism like that of Erigena s. It became 
pantheism. Both realism and nominalism were danger 
ous doctrines for the church if they were driven to their 
logical conclusions. 

Anselm (1033-1109): Life and Position in Medi 
aeval Philosophy. Anselm lived during the monastic 
revival which had begun in the tenth century. He was 
in fact the last of the monastic teachers, for during his 
declining years occurred the first of the Crusades, and 
the epoch following him witnessed the transference of 
learning from the monasteries to the universities. He 
was born of a noble family in Aosta, Lornbardy, and 
entered in early life the monastery of Bee. Here he 
succeeded Lanfranc as abbot, and again he succeeded 
Lanfranc in the archbishopric of Canterbury. He was a 
man of genuine piety, of speculative bent, and of un 
swerving faith in the dogma of the church. As primate 
of England he resisted with much sagacity the encroach 
ments of the secular power. His Cur Deus Homo was 
a treatise on the doctrine of the redemption and atone 
ment, and was one of the most important books of the 
Middle Ages. 

Anselm brought about a great change in theological 
teaching. Berengar of Tours had but recently made an 
attack upon the doctrine of the real presence of Christ 
in the Eucharist, and was the immediate cause of the 
" storm and stress " period of scholasticism that fol 
lowed. Anselm s teacher and predecessor, Lanfranc, had 
defended the doctrine. The doctrine had not yet been 


settled, and each side claimed the basis of .authority. 
Anselm was therefore a witness of the first attempt to 
apply philosophy to dogma, and he was the first to use 
dialectics with the serious purpose of defending dogma. 
From this time on, dialectics was no longer an intel 
lectual diversion. He, the last of the monastic teachers, 
was the first to employ dialectics with the new purpose 
of instructing the believer. His entire life was animated 
by the desire to add knowledge to faith by the means 
of philosophy. 

Anselm s scholasticism therefore circulates about the 
Patristic theology as a centre ; and his spirit and method 
is so similar to that of Augustine and the Apologists, 
that he has been justly called "the second Augustine" 
and " the last of the Fathers." Beside the safe and tra 
ditionally centralized teaching of Anselm, the imagina 
tive pantheism of Erigena seems like a body that had 
been loosened from its natural place and was floating 
away beyond control. Both Erigena and Anselm were 
inspired by the Platonism that until the year 1200 
dominated the Middle Ages. That is, both were realists. 
The realism of Erigena, however, expressed in full the 
mystic element of Platonism. It destroyed all grades of 
reality below God, and made unnecessary the church 
and its offices. Erigena was an extreme realist ; Anselm 
was consistent with the attitude of the church in being 
a moderate realist. The credo ut intelligam (faith as 
the basis of intellectual belief) was the anchor which 
saved him and became the safeguard of all future or 
thodox scholastics. The world to Anselm is a hierarchy 
of universal reals, such as the sacraments, the church, 
and the Trinity. To such dogmas of the church he ap 
plied philosophy, not because they needed support, but 


in order to make them clear by analysis. Philosophy 
shall only clarify dogma. 

Anselm s Arguments for the Existence of God. The 
so-called " Anselmic Arguments for the Existence of 
God " are the best known parts of Anselm s teaching, 
and in the eyes of the churchman place his theodicy in 
the " status of a finished science." To get their cogency 
we must remember the underlying thought of mediaeval 
realism ; the more universal a thing is, the more real it 
is the more it exists and the more perfect it is. (See 
p. 352.) In his Monologium he developed the so-called 
cosmologlcal argument : A single perfect and univer 
sal being must be assumed as ths cause of all lesser 
beings. God s essence must involve his existence. Every 
other being can be thought as coming into existence 
from some external cause, while God alone exists from 
the necessity of his own nature. In his Proslogium he 
elaborated his more famous ontological argument: Man 
has the idea of a perfect being; Perfection involves 
among other qualities that of existence, otherwise we 
could think of a more perfect being or one who did pos 
sess existence ; Therefore God exists. 

Roscellinus (d. 1100 about): Life and Teaching. 
Roscellinus, a canon of Compiegne, was the first scholas 
tic to attempt to modify dogma by the dialectic, not 
that there had not occurred throughout the history ot 
the church many theological controversies. Before thk 
time such controversies had on the whole arisen over 
doctrines that had not yet become dogma. The particu 
lar object of the attack of Roscellinus was the dogma 
of the Trinity, and the base of his attack was none 
other than philosophy. Roscellinus completely failed in 
getting the church to modify this particular doctrine, 


but lie succeeded in a larger way than he ,could have 
imagined. He brought out into distinctness the issue 
between reason and revelation. The fundamental ques 
tion thereafter was as to the rights of the human rea 
son and the rights of divine revelation. Roscellinus 
supplied a powerful shock to faith and awakened the 
schools to the consequences of questions which had 
seemed before to be merely logical problems. 

Roscellinus was a nominalist, and it was from the 
point of view of nominalism that he attempted to 
change the dogma of the Trinity. He made a life-long 
defense of the doctrine that the Godhead was three 
different substances, agreeing only in certain qualities. 
This is tritheism and not a Trinity. But this was only 
the most striking example of his application of the gen 
eral principle of nominalism. In general, universals are 
only names and have an existence only in the human 
mind. Universalia post rem. Individuals alone exist. 
The groups formed out of many individuals by addi 
tion, or the parts of an individual formed by division, 
are mental affairs and have no reality. Roscellinus was 
opposed by Anselm, condemned by the church, and 
obliged to recant. He fled to England, returned to 
France, and again preached his doctrine. 

Storm and Stress. After the issue was brought to a 
head by the nominalism of Roscellinus, the twelfth cen 
tury was torn in battle over the reality of general ideas. 
The realists, on the one hand, tried to grade universals 
and to show how universals are related to particulars 
all of which Anselm had left to faith. How do uni 
versals, such as the persons in the Trinity, the church, 
the sacraments, exist in one universal God? Grotesque 
explanations were offered, like the imaginative work of 


Bernard of Chartres and the symbolic number theory 
of his brother, Theodoric. William of Champeaux, a 
teacher of Abelard, almost reduced realism to a pan 
theism. Nothing exists but the universal ; all individ 
uals are accidental modifications of the universal. Pan 
theism was so inherent in the blood of realism that it 
was always appearing here and there. 

Such pantheistic deductions by the realists brought 
out nominalism in opposition, in spite of the repression 
of nominalism by the authorities of the church. The 
nominalists sought protection and authority under the 
name of Aristotle, for his conceptualist doctrine was not 
known at this time. The few writings of Aristotle then 
known were very imperfectly interpreted. One of the 
most ironical situations in the history of the Middle 
Ages is that, up to the Period of Classic Scholasti 
cism, Plato was the authority of the orthodox and Aris 
totle of the heterodox. 

The Life of Abelard (1079-1142). Abelard had 
both Roscellinus and William of Champeaux as teach 
ers. He quarreled with them both and set up a rival 
school of his own. He taught in various places and was, 
with some interruptions, in Paris from 1108 to 1136 , 
The university did not exist until a generation after 
him, but he was its true founder, for he inaugurated 
the movement out of which the early universities sprang. 
His method was transferred from philosophy to theology 
and thence to all studies. It was a didactic method of 
drawing conclusions after an empirical enumeration of 
the pros and cons. Abelard was acquainted with no 
Greek writings except in Latin translations. His great 
talent as a teacher and his keen French intellect, that 
was impatient of all restraint, made him, however, the 


most brilliant of the schoolmen. Two synods condemned 
his teaching. Probably his modern popular reputation 
rests upon his unfortunate love-relations with Heloise. 
Abelard s Conceptualism. Universals exist in the 
Particulars. Abelard formed the storm-centre of the 
strife over the technical relations between particulars 
and universals. His position has been misunderstood 
because he, the pupil and opponent both of Roscellinus 
and of William of Champeaux, fought each with the 
weapons of the other. He was repelled from pantheism, 
which appears to him to be the logic of realism, and he 
recoiled equally from the sensualistic outcome of nom 
inalism. Universals are the indispensable forms of 
knowledge, and they must therefore have some exist 
ence in the nature of the things which we know. This 
existence consists of the similarity of the essential char 
acteristic of things. This likeness is not a numerical 
identity, but a unity which makes our knowledge of the 
particular things possible. This likeness or similarity 
between things is the same as the types created by God. 
Thus the universal has no independent objective exist 
ence, and on the other hand it is not a mere word out 
of all relation to things. The universals exist in three 
ways : (1) they exist before the things only as Ideas in 
the mind of God ; (2) they coexist with the things as 
the essential likenesses of things ; (3) they exist after the 
things in the human mind, when it has knowledge of 
things. Abelard developed his theory only polemically 
and never worked it out systematically. On the techni 
cal side of this question the preceding lines of thought 
come into an unsystematic unity. His theory was ac 
cepted by the Arabian philosophers and is practically 
that of Aquinas and Duns Scotus. With Abelard the 


problem was not solved indeed, but it came to a pre 
liminary stop in this statement universals have an 
equal significance, ante rem in the mind of God, in re 
in nature, post rem in human knowledge. 

AbelarcTs Rationalism. The Relation between 
Reason and Dogma. The proud, self-reliant, self-con 
scious Abelard could be nothing else than a rationalist. 
He was the type of the controversial metaphysician. He 
was the fighting dialectician, intolerant of restraint, 
devoid of respect for authority, seeking the prize of 
victory at any cost. Erigena, as a mystic, harmonized 
reason and dogma because they are equal; Anselm, as 
an orthodox scholastic, harmonized them because reason 
is subordinate to dogma and conforms to it ; Abelard, 
as a rationalist, harmonized reason and dogma because 
dogma is subordinate to reason and conforms to reason. 
To Anselm reason merely clarifies dogma ; to Abelard 
"dogma is only a provisional substitute for reason." 
Anselm never questions dogma, while Abelard calls 
dogma before the bar of the reason and then acts as 
dogma s advocate. We must try all dogma in court, and, 
contrary to modern legal practice, we must doubt it 
until it proves its innocence. For " it is through doubt 
we come to investigation, and through investigation to 
the truth." A good example of Abelard s attitude ap 
pears in his Sic et Non, a treatise in which he sets the 
views of the Fathers over against one another so that 
the reason may decide upon the truth. Another example 
of his method appears in his examination of the doo 
trine of the Trinity, and in the third book of Chris 
tian Theology he cites twenty-three objections and^ in 
the fourth book answers them. This rationalizing spirit 
led him to advocate the doctrine of free-will, to place the 


responsibility of moral conduct and theoretical belief 
upon the individual, to regard Christianity as the con 
summation of all religions and not as the presentation 
of anything new. 

If in these discussions he was more brilliant than 
profound, if he wrote upon many questions without 
solving any, if the weight of his personality could not 
prevail in his controversies, it was because the science 
of the twelfth century offered him little empirical sup 
port against the actual power of the church and the 
mighty inward strength of faith of the people. What 
means had Abelard to support his position that rational 
science should determine faith ? Nothing but the hollow 
methods of scholastic logic and the traditions of the 
church the very things against which he was rebel 
ling. Abelard set for himself a problem, but he lacked 
the means of its solution. It was, however, a problem 
that has never vanished from the memory of the Euro 
pean peoples. 

The unrest in Abelard s teaching is representative 
of the last century of this period, which he brought to a 
close. There was growing a general revolt from the un 
fruitful methods of the scholastic dialectic, coupled with 
feverish desire for knowledge. There was, on the one 
hand, a great reaction toward mysticism with the Victo- 
rines, Bernard of Clairvaux and Bernard of Tours, and 
toward eclecticism with John of Salisbury and Peter 
the Lombard. On the other hand, there was an interest 
ing growth in empirical science. But these theoretical 
interests were but eddies in the great current of events. 
For Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the memorials in 
earthly form of all the ideals sacred to the mediae va] 
mind, had fallen into the hands of the infidel ! The 


western world was preparing for the rescue, and the 
Crusades were the last and the frenzied expression of 
the Platonic idealism of the Middle Ages. They bring 
the first two periods to a spectacular climax. Is it a 
mere coincidence that Abelard brings to a close the 
dominance of idealism on the theoretic side at the time 
when earthly symbols of that idealism were being de 
stroyed ? 



The General Character of this Last Period. The 
first one hundred and fifty years of this period was the 
golden age of scholasticism ; the remaining one hundred 
years was a period of decline. The period of Classic 
Scholasticism was a natural growth from the Transi 
tional Period. At the end of the Transitional Period 
the church, in spite of Mohammedans, Jews, heretics, 
and the classics, outshone all else, and its life and dogma 
were the most worth while. In this period appeared a 
theology, adequate to its life and dogma, a theology 
which was floated by the wave of piety of the Mendi 
cant Orders. Acquaintance with the true Aristotle was 
the needed stimulus. The favorable conditions for that 
stimulus were (1) the triumph of the church and papacy, 
(2) the intense piety of the Mendicants, (3) the gen- 
eral culture derived from an inner development of the 
church and from contact with the East in Constanti 
nople, Palestine, and Spain. Aristotle and the Mendi 
cants were the new forces, and they achieved their 
position against the hostility of the old Orders, the uni 
versities, and the teachers. The triumph was possible 
because the new forces contributed nothing really new, 
but merely completed the old scheme of things. The 
new Aristotle, as it was understood, taught metaphysics, 
epistemology, and politics in a way to vindicate dogma 
as against the opposition of William of Champeaux and 
Roscellinus. The Mendicants on their part vindicated 


all dogma by blending it with faith on the one hand, 
and with reason on the other. 

The scholasticism of the Transitional Period was 
predominantly controversial, while the character of this 
period, which we are now entering, is synthetic and con 
structive. The infusion of fresh blood into culture, from 
not only the logical but the physical works of Aristotle, 
resulted in the renewal of interest in the dialectic and 
in the construction of systems of metaphysics and 
psychology. The central problem now concerns the re 
spective scopes of reason and faith, and to its solution 
logic and psychology are applied. A complete solution 
seemed to be made by Thomas Aquinas, which had its 
literary expression in Dante. Without the introduction 
of any new philosophical principle the world of nature, 
as interpreted by Aristotle, was apparently brought by 
Thomas into theoretical harmony with the Augustinian 
conception of the world of grace. But no sooner did 
Thomas seem to have formulated scholastic philosophy 
for all time, than controversy broke out afresh. For 
pantheistic mysticism gained its independence through 
one of Thomas s own brother Dominicans, Eckhart ; then 
Duns Scotus, a Franciscan, drew up a metaphysical pro 
gramme based upon the Augustinian theory of the will, 
and gave a new direction to philosophy ; and further 
more nominalism grew great upon Aristotle s logic and 
the new empirical psychology. For the churchman, phi 
losophy reached its completeness in Thomas Aquinas. 
The later tendencies are regarded by the churchman as 
deteriorations, and even modern philosophy is looked 
upon as but temporizing with the classic system of 

The Two Civilizations. This is one of the periods of 




thought resulting from the shif tings of distinct civiliza 
tions. We have already noted the influence of the strug 
gles of the Orient and the Occident in the Persian wars 
and in the campaigns of Alexander ; and we have lately 
seen an entirely new epoch ushered in by the invasions 
of the northern tribes into Rome. With the new epoch 
before us, we find ourselves confronted with another 
new ethnic situation. The civilization of the Moham 
medan had grown in mighty strength in the East, had 
possessed itself of Asia Minor, northern Africa, and 
Spain, and was now facing Europe from the east, west, 
and south. All through the First Period of the Middle 
Ages the Christian and Mohammedan civilizations had 
been contestants for supremacy. Only as late as 732 the 
Mohammedan claim upon Europe had been defeated at 
the battle of Tours. Mohammed (570-632) converted 
the whole of Arabia to Islam during the ten years 
between his Hegira (622) and his death. His succes 
sors took Palestine (637), Syria (638), Egypt (647), 
Persia (710), all north Africa (by 707), invaded 
Spain (711), and were repulsed at Tours (732). All 
this occurred within a century, and for the next two 
hundred years (800-1000) the Mohammedans harassed 
Rome and the islands of the Mediterranean. With the 
two civilizations facing each other on the Mediterranean, 
only mutual religious fanaticism could stand in the way 
of their mutual cultural influence. In point of fact, be 
cause of fanaticism the cultures of the two civilizations 
during the first centuries of the Middle Ages touched 
each other but little. In those first centuries of the 
Middle Ages, when western Europe was shrouded in 
darkness, the schools of the Arabs at Bagdad, Basra, 
Kuf a, and other cities were enjoying a splendid intellect- 


ual life. From 850 to 1100 the centre of learning of 
the world was in the Arabian cities of the East. 1 In 
1100 the fanatical faction of the Arabians crushed this 
intellectual movement in the East, the scholars fled to 
Spain, and for a century longer Saracen learning flour 
ished in Spain, especially in Cordova. In 1200 the 
Arabian orthodoxy made itself felt in Spain, and the 
Arabian scholars there had to find refuge among the 
Jews or Christians. 

The First Contact of the Two Civilizations. From 
the beginning of the Middle Ages the point of contact 
between the two civilizations was either war or com 
merce. The Jew was the globe-trotter of that day, and was 
constantly bringing into Europe reports of Arabian civ 
ilization. He was a philosopher, a monotheist, a Semite, 
like the Arab, and he had an interest in more than com 
mercial matters. About the end of the Early Period 
of the Middle Ages he found it profitable to make first 
Hebrew and then Latin translations of Arabian learn 
ing, and to sell them in Europe. In this form, between 
1000 and 1100, medical and astronomical knowledge 
entered Europe. Greek philosophical writings came 
next in translations from the Arabic, which had previ 
ously been translated from the Syriac. Thus for the 
two hundred years, between 1000 and 1200, the Chris 
tian schools were beginning to read portions of Greek 
philosophy in Latin, which had previously passed 
through Syriac and Arabian (and sometimes Hebrew) 
translations. Before 1200, there were none but these 
Arabic versions. A pertinent example of these was the 
works of Aristotle. Before 1200 all of Aristotle s writ- 

1 Historians are attaching- more importance than formerly to Con 
stantinople as an intellectual centre of that time. 


ings, except the Or g anon, appeared in Europe in this 
form, and the Organon as a whole was not known until 
1150. In 1125 some of Aristotle s physics was known 
by the school of Chartres ; in 1200 all the physics, meta 
physics, and ethics were known in translations from the 
Latin and Hebrew. These were accompanied by Ara 
bian commentaries, which interpreted Aristotle as if he 
were a neo-Platonic pantheist. There were many church 
men interested in the work of translation, as, for ex- 
ample, Gerbert, and Raymond of Toledo. Roger II of 
Sicily (d. 1154) and Frederick II (d. 1250) had their 
courts filled with Arabian philosophers. Frederick had 
many translations made and presented to the Universi 
ties of Oxford, Paris, and Bologna. 

Thus the influence of the Arabian upon the Chris 
tian culture before the Classic Period of the Middle 
Ages was not inconsiderable. But this must be said of 
Arabian culture it was mainly borrowed. Arabia * 
acted merely as a transmitter of the materials of know 
ledge from the Greeks and Hindoos ; and so far as 
philosophy was concerned, the Arab was returning to 
Europe, in a perverted form, the Aristotle which had 
been deposited with him centuries before. The Moham 
medans were the world s carriers of a considerable body 
of science and of many new agricultural products ; and 
of the amount which they introduced into Europe only 
a small portion was their own. At the end of the twelfth 
century the Christian at Rome and York was richer in 
the principles of discovery, but poorer in the amount of 
traditional learning and of scientific wealth, than the 
Mohammedan at Bagdad and Cordova. 

* Read on this point Seignobos, Hist, of Mediceval Civil* 
zation, pp. 117 f. 


The Conflict between the Two Civilizations. The 
Crusades.* The rivalry between the two civilizations 
became intensified into an open conflict about the year 
1100. Up to the year 1000 the Mohammedan leaders 
were Arabians, but in the eleventh century these Ara 
bians were conquered by tribes of Turks or Mongolians 
from the north of Asia. These became converted to 
Mohammedanism, but they had no love for culture nor 
reverence for the places in Palestine, which were sacred 
alike to the Christian and the Arab. From the fourth 
to the twelfth century the pilgrimages of the Chris 
tians, individually or in multitudes, largely increased, but 
in the eleventh century the new race of Mohammedan 
Turks made the access to Jerusalem more difficult. 
They began to subject the pilgrims to cruelties, so that 
the Christian was beginning to find the door of his Holy 
Land closed to him. Then did Platonic Christianity 
rush to the rescue of those sacred places that symbol 
ized its ideals. This onslaught upon the Mohammedans 
came in a series of surges, traditionally spoken of as 
the eight Crusades. 1 The Crusades resulted quite con 
trary to the expectations of the church, for the Crusad* 

* Read Emerton, Mediaeval Europe, pp. 358-397 ; 
Adams, Civilization during the Middle Ages, pp. 258-278. 


Major Crusades Minor Crusades 

First Crusade, 1096-1099 Fifth Crusade, 1216-1220 

Second " 1147-1149 Sixth " 1228-1229 

Third " 1189-1192 Seventh " 1248-1254 

Fourth " 1202-1204 Eighth " 1270-1272 

Children s " 1212 

It will be noted that five of these nine Crusades occurred within 
thirty years of the year 1200. The First Crusade resulted in the cap- 
ture of Jerusalem and the founding of a kingdom. The other Crusadea 
were directly or indirectly concerned with the defense or recapture ol 
that kingdom. 


ers failed in permanently recapturing Jerusalem, But 
the Crusades accomplished the unexpected thing they 
awakened Europe. The effect of the Crusades upon 
Europe was far greater than upon the Orient. The re 
sults may be enumerated as follows : 

1. The dormant European intellect was shaken up by 
contact with the heathen, whom the Europeans had previ 
ously despised, but whom they found to be their superiors. 

2. A new national rivalry was aroused among the 
Christian soldiers. This national spirit was helped nega 
tively by the losses among the feudal lords. 

3. Commercial activity was given an immense im 
pulse. A new social class was formed, which allied itself 
with the kings against the feudal lords. Trade was 
opened with the East, revealing new luxuries and new 
needs. Venice, Pisa, and Genoa, and in a secondary way 
also the German, French, and English towns, became 
prosperous commercial centres. 

4. The power of the Latin church was extended. 

5. The works of Aristotle were introduced in tra?is- 
lations direct from the original Greek. In the fourth 
Crusade Constantinople was captured by the Crusaders 
(1204), and in this way the treasures of the Greeks 
were opened to the western scholars. The complete 
works of Aristotle were introduced into western Europe 
at a time when Aristotle was being interpreted as a 
pantheist by the Arabian commentators. 

The Revival of Learning. The need of learning, that 
had been felt in the twelfth century, was now being 
satisfied. The entire logic of Aristotle and his entire 
natural science gave the new materials for knowledge. 
These came into Europe within the century between 
1150 and 1250, (1) through translations from the Ara 



bic, and then (2) directly through translations from the 
Greek. Aristotle s logic revived scholasticism and hia 
science became the foundation of metaphysics. Medise- 




From Eossetti s Shadow of Dante 

(Showing its divisions of Hell (at centre of the earth), Purgatory, and the nine heavens^ 
The evident plan beneath this is the Ptolemaic cosmography) 

val thought was ready for this and there was a com* 
plete readjustment without the introduction of a new 
philosophical principle. The side of Augustine s teach* 


ing that emphasized the intellect rather than the will, 
gained by being confirmed by the systematic intellect- 
ualism of Aristotle. The founder of this was Albert 
of Bollstaedt ; the organizer and literary codifier wati 
Thomas Aquinas ; the poetic expression was Dante. 
The new centres of learning were Paris and Constan 
tinople. The centres of teaching were transferred from 
the monasteries to the new Universities (1100-1300). 
Salerno had its beginnings in the latter part of the 
eleventh century. Bologna in law, Oxford in general 
culture and theology, Paris in the same studies, show 
traces of general organization between 1160 and 1200. 
There were established seventy-nine of these universi 
ties between 1150 and 1500. They were not " founded, * 
but grew up as part of this movement.* 

Nevertheless, the struggle was a full century long 
before official recognition of Aristotle came. The name 
of Aristotle had been associated with pantheism for 
many years, on account of the Arabian versions of his 
teaching. The neo-Platonic doctrine of emanations, 
with its pantheism in the Arabian versions, was a 
tendency of which the church had been shy since the 
days of Erigena. Until the theistic character of Aris 
totle s teaching became assured by the direct Latin 
translations from the Greek, there was a powerful 
reaction against the whole of the new learning. The 
church had condemned the Physics in 1209 and the 
Metaphysics in 1215. But in 1254 Aristotle was offi 
cially recognized, and fifty years later he became the 
guide of the church, whom no one could contradict with 
out being accused of heresy. 

* Read Norton, Readings in the Hist, of Education, pp, 


The Catholic church never showed its ability to 
greater advantage than in its dealings with the new 
problems of this period. The people of a purely reli 
gious epoch now came into possession of Aristotelianism. 
For centuries the intellect had been starving on formal 
logic. An intellectual revolution was imminent. Here 
in Aristotle was presented a rich theory of nature that 
the church had never considered. Yet it is doubtful if 
Aristotle would have been accepted, had the Mendicant 
Friars the Dominicans and Franciscans not suc 
ceeded in establishing chairs in the University of Paris. 
These monks did not love philosophy in itself. They 
saw, however, that philosophy must be able to defend 
itself against infidel philosophy by the weapons of phi 
losophy. But curiously enough, Aristotelianism, which 
was the spring of this renaissance, became, by its incor 
poration into the church, the great obstacle to the real 
Renaissance two hundred and fifty years later. 

The Strength and Burden of Aristotle to the Church. 

i. The Strength of Aristotle to the Church: (1) 
Aristotle elaborated for the church, with great clear 
ness, the conception of a transcendent God. This was 
a weapon for the church against neo-Platonism and 
mysticism. (2) Aristotle gave to the church a theory 
of nature that supplemented its theory of grace. (3) 
Aristotle established a philosophical standard for the 
truth of things. This proved of great value to the 
church because it was under the control of the church. 
In the first two periods of the Middle Ages philosophi 
cal thought had a relative independence because it was 
without a recognized standard ; now philosophy could 
be controlled by the standard of Aristotle. For exam 
ple, with the coming of Aristotle there came certain 


standard definitions of substance, person, nature, acci 
dent, mode, potency, and act. 

2. The Burden of Aristotle to the Church: (1) 
Aristotle encouraged a taste for science and analysis. 
At first the Aristotelian influence in this direction was 
very small, but its growth was only a question of time. 
(2) Aristotle became for the church a second standard. 
The problem for the churchman now became a double 
one : (a) Is my teaching consistent with church dogma ? 
(i) Is my teaching consistent with Aristotle ? " My 
son," was the reply to a youth who thought he had dis 
covered spots on the sun, "I have read Aristotle many 
times and I assure you there is nothing of the kind in 
him." Dogma, not now the only standard, is not in 
fallible. The reason need not follow dogma, but its own 
standard. Revelation became a realm of mystery which 
the reason could not reach, but to which it pointed. A 
doctrine thus might be of such a nature that it might 
be philosophically true, but theologically not true. 

The Predecessors of Aquinas. Many distinguished 
names stand at the close of the Transitional Period 
and the beginning of the Classic Period. These express 
the transitional character of the thought of the thresh 
old of this time. They show, like Abelard, the tend 
ency toward rationalism. Alexander of Hales (d. 1264), 
William of Aubergne (d. 1249), Vincent of Beauvais 
(d. 1246), Albert of Bollstaedt, called Albertus Magnus 
(d. 1280), show the influence of the new Aristotelian 
science. Albert was the teacher of Thomas Aquinas. 
The attempt of Thomas to form a theological system 
for the church was anticipated by the so-called Sums 
of the twelfth century, of which the work of Peter the 
Lombard was the model. The four books of Sums 


of Peter were collections of opinions of the Fathers on 
questions of dogma. They show the influence of Aris 
totle and the method of Abelard. The Sums of Peter 
became for several centuries the text-book of the schools 
and the subject of innumerable commentaries. It was 
the core of Classic scholastic literature, and around it 
grew up the problems of metaphysics and psychology. 

The Life of Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274). The 
Founder of the Dominican Tradition. Thomas belonged 
to a noble house which was related to the royal family. 
He studied in the University of Naples, but at the age 
of nineteen, upon resolving to enter the Dominican 
order, he was captured and kept a prisoner by his bro 
thers. After two years he made his escape, and, his 
family having consented to his taking orders, he went 
to Cologne under the instruction of Albert. He was 
then sent to Paris, where he obtained his degree in 1257. 
He was a successful lecturer at Paris until 1261, when 
he was called by the Pope to teach philosophy in Eome, 
Bologna, and Pisa. During this period he composed his 
greatest work, Summa Theologiae. He declined pre 
ferment and finally resided at Naples. He always en 
joyed the highest consideration of the church authorities. 

Thomas, the founder of the " Dominican tradition," 
was the first to formulate Christian Aristotelianism and 
to draw for the church the line between the realms of 
reason and faith. He did not so much create doctrine as 
he transformed and assimilated it. The sources from 
which he drew were many : the Scriptures, the Fathers, 
Greek philosophy, and the teaching of contemporary 
Arabians and Jews. If, as some historians maintain, he 
was not a thinker of the first rank, he at least relieved 
the church from a delicate situation by means of a con- 


ciliating theology. Certainly his predecessors and con 
temporaries stand eclipsed by him. He satisfied the 
mediaeval demand for order and he prevented deteriora 
tion in the church doctrine. He did not rise above his 
age, although he stood at the head of its intellectual 
movement. He was, on the contrary, the most perfect 
expression of scholasticism, and he was affectionately- 
regarded as doctor angellcus and again as doctor uni- 
ver sails. 

The Central Principle of Thomas s Doctrine The 
Twofold Truth. The life-purpose of Thomas was to 
bring Christianity into closer relation with civilization 
and science. He sought to give all departments of 
knowledge their rights and at the same time to protect 
the ascendency of religion. This was to him the same 
as bringing Christianity and Aristotle together, for 
Aristotle meant to him the entire product of ancient 
civilization. To the mediaeval world of grace he added 
a world of nature, and, fully dominated by the mediae 
val love of order, he unfolded so comprehensive a view 
of life that he included all its problems. He felt that 
the natural and the revealed must not become a contra 

To accomplish this Thomas found in Aristotle his 
own ideal estimate of things. Looking at Aristotle 
through his own neo-Platonism, he naturally found in 
Aristotle more of the inner and religious estimate oi 
nature than the facts will allow. Yet it was evident to 
Thomas that there was in Aristotle a great interest in 
nature and a great reserve on ultimate questions. Na 
ture was, according to Aristotle, an essence unfolding in 
a system of grades. This became the central principle 
of Aquinas in this form: Nature is a sketch in outline 


of the, world of grace. Before the eye of the religious 
mind these two truths should appear : (1) the world of 
faith and the world of nature are two properly distinct 
worlds ; (2) the world of faith is a continuation of the 
world of nature. The world of grace and the world of 
nature are two grades of the whole of existence. Nature 
is the lower stage of development, and the point of con 
tact between it and the world of grace is the soul of man. 
Keligion and philosophy thus have different spheres, but 
they are not contradictory. Grace does not destroy, 
but it perfects nature. Nature is subordinate to grace 
as man is subordinate to the Christian, the state to the 
church, the Emperor to the Pope. 1 

The difference between philosophy and theology is 
not that theology treats of God and divine truths, and 
philosophy does not. Philosophy discusses divine truths. 
But the difference lies here, that theology views truths 
in the light of revelation, while philosophy views them 
in the light of reason. Yet there are truths that belong 
to philosophy, truths that belong to theology, and truths 
that belong to both. The problems of the existence of 
God, the immortality of the soul, and the relation of the 
world to God are theological problems, yet they can also 
be demonstrated by the reason of philosophy; but the 
mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the tem 
poral creation are beyond the scope of the reason and 
belong to theology. Philosophy and theology are distinct, 
yet they are in harmony. Theology supplements philo 
sophy with faith ; philosophy supplements theology by 

1 Dante in De Monarchia did not share in Thomas s subordination of 
the state to the church. Both Dante and Thomas believed that destiny 
lies in the race, but the great poet regarded man as destined equally 
for earthly and heavenly happiness. To Dante the church and the state 
are powers of like authority. 


(1) establishing preliminary motives, (2) supplying 
analogies, (3) answering objections. Thomas accepts 
both propositions which had divided his predecessors : 
credo ut intelligam and intelligo ut credam. 

Above historical revelation there is something even 
higher, which could be called another realm, were it not 
more of a hope than a possession of man. Its appear 
ance in the doctrine of Thomas shows the influence of 
Plato upon him. It is the immediate union of the indi 
vidual with God in mystic ecstasy. 1 It is the dome of 
the religious temple that Thomas has built. But Thomas 
was careful to insist that this heavenly glory could not 
be gained except through the offices of the church. The 
individual cannot reach God through his own unaided 
efforts, but the sacraments of the church form the mys 
terious background of the religious life. 

The Problem of Individuality The Relation of 
Particulars and Universals. The all-absorbing question 
of the Transitional Period, of the relation of particulars 
and universals, became for Thomas and his successors 
the problem of individuality. For the schoolman was 
obliged to define the individual and fix his place in his 
Aristotelian world, if he was to be successful against 
the pantheism of the Arabian Aristotelianism. What 
is the nature and standing of the individual? What 
constitutes the difference between individuals? The 
whole theological edifice of Thomas would collapse in 
mystic unity, the immortality of the soul would be lost 
and the offices of the church would be nullified, unless 
Thomas showed the positive nature of the individual. 

1 Dante follows Thomas in placing the intellectual virtues above the 
practical, and in pointing 1 to the intellectual intuition of God as the 
goal of human attainment. Beatrice is Dante s expression of this ideal. 


In this connection we must remember that on the whole 
the Middle Ages had accepted Abelard s analysis of the 
problem of the relation of universals and particulars : 
the universals exist in three ways, ante rein or in God s 
mind ; post rem or in man s mind ; in re or in nature. 
To Thomas the universals as abstractions (imiversalia 
post rem) in the human mind cannot be individuals, for 
they have no real existence. To have real existence the 
universal must exist in re, in the many, as the essence 
of things ; not as abstraction beside the many. 

The question of individuality therefore to Thomas 
concerns properly only objects in re, or objects in the 
corporeal world. 1 These are objects of Form and Mat 
ter. The question is, whether the Form or the matter 
of corporeal things is the principle of its individuality. 
Thomas says that matter is this principle, not inde 
terminate matter, but matter with quantitative deter 
minations. The difference between earthly individuals 
is numerical a difference of time and space relations. 
The Forms of nature objects change continually accord 
ing to their material conditions, but these conditions do 
not change. Nevertheless the quantitative determina 
tions of individuals are not the cause, but the condition, 
of their existence. 

But the question about the status of beings in the 
spiritual world, " separate Forms," is a more difficult 
one for Thomas. This is the problem about God, the 
angels, and the souls of men. They are evidently not 
individualized by matter. What is the principle that 
distinguishes them from one another? They are Forms 
without matter and they are individualized through 
themselves, since they have no need of material deter- 
i De Wulf , Hist, of Mediceval Phil, p. 323. 


minations. Thus God is distinguished from everything 
else as pure Form or pure actuality. He is the unique 
individual in whom all differences merge. Bat so also 
are the angels actualized through themselves. What is 
the difference between God and the angels ? God is an 
absolute genus ; the angel is a relative genus, i. e. it is 
the only one of its kind. But what is the condition of 
the souls of men ? Are they all alike or do they have a 
principle of distinction? Yes, they are distinguishable, 
for each soul upon separation from its body carries with 
it a love for its former body, and that distinguishes it 
from other souls. 

The Primacy of the Will or the Intellect. Up to this 
time there had been no psychological dispute as to which 
of the faculties was fundamental. Now the question ap 
pears in full force. Much of the literature of this period 
is upon the question of the primacy of the will or the 
intellect, and it appears to be almost the leading motive 
of the time. Augustine had placed the will in the fore 
ground of his teaching. His successors had never dis 
puted the subject, but had been engaged in discussing 
what products of the intellect are real the particulars 
or the universals. With the introduction of the intel- 
lectualism of Aristotle, there almost immediately arose 
defenders of Augustine. To them Aristotelianism was 
too rationalistic. Thomas follows Aristotle uncondition 
ally, and with him stand the German mystics. Intellect- 
ualism becomes the central principle of what is known 
as the " Dominican tradition." Duns Scotus was a Fran, 
ciscan monk. He took up arms for the primacy of the 
will, and this became the central principle of the "Fran 
ciscan tradition." On this point the nominalists were 
his allies. 


The problem of the will arose first with reference to 
the human will. Thomas contended against Duns Sco- 
tus that man is free so far as he follows his knowledge 
of the good. The intellect is therefore primal, for it de 
termines the will by showing the will what the good is. 

The question next arose as to the priority of the fac 
ulties in God. Does God s will dominate His intellect or 
His intellect dominate His will? This was a vital point 
in the Augustinian theodicy. Does God will the good 
to be good, or does His will act according to what He 
knows to be good ? Here lies the point at issue between 
the Dominican Thomas and the Franciscan Scotus. 
Thomas maintained that the intellect of God determines 
His will. The intellect is determined by the truth so 
long as the intellect is true to itself. Why should not 
the will be determined by the truth in the same way ? 
With God this freedom for the truth is God himself. 
The world is the best possible world, for God has willed 
it out of himself. 

The world is determined by goodness and man s will 
is determined by the same goodness. When the sense 
(Conquers the morally determined will, there is sin. The 
.senses, and not the will, are the cause of sin. 

Duns Scotus (1270-1308), the Founder of the Fran 
ciscan Tradition Life and Philosophical Position. 
Thus the Middle Ages did not come to a standstill with 
Thomas. A greater movement existed after him than 
is often thought. The leading minds who succeeded 
Thomas refused to follow the middle course which he 
lhad mapped out. New attempts were made to relate the 
world of grace and the world of nature. One was mys 
ticism, represented by Eckhart (d. 1372). The other 
was the reaction of the Augustinian s against the intel- 


lectualism of the new Aristotelianism as represented by 
Thomas. The leader in this was Duns Scotus. The seat 
of this movement was Oxford. 1 

Duns Scotus was born in Ireland and at an early age 
he joined the Franciscan order. He graduated from Ox 
ford, which at that time was anti-Thomistic. He then 
taught theology and philosophy at Oxford for ten years. 
His lectures were largely attended and his fame spread 
over Europe. He went to Paris in 1304, where he taught 
for four years. He was then transferred to Cologne, 
where he died. 

Scotus was the Kant of scholasticism. The time of 
construction of scholasticism had passed, and the time 
of criticism and analysis had come. Scotus was the in 
tellectual knight-errant who refused to accept any the 
ory without subjecting it to criticism. He was the acut- 
est mind of the Middle Ages and was called the doctor 

Duns Scotus s Conception of the Twofold Truth. 
The Separation of Science and Religion. The distinc 
tion between revelation, theology, and philosophy, that 
appears in this period of Classic Scholasticism, was 
sharply drawn by Scotus. In Thomas s conception of a 
graded world of development the distinction between 
theology and philosophy was not emphasized. Philosophy 
now in the hands of Scotus becomes science, having the 
marks of exactness that compel belief, but is, however, 
restricted to its own realm. By philosophy Scotus means 

1 Roger Bacon (1214-1292) lived at Oxford two generations before 
Scotus. He was so versatile that he was not able to dogmatize in any 
one field. He believed that theology was based on the will of God, all 
other science on the reason. He influenced both Scotus and Ockam to 
turn from authority to experience. Morality was to him the content of 
universal religion. 


logic. In matters of faith logic has nothing whatever to 
say, for at that extreme stands revelation possessing the 
absolute truth that compels faith. Between revelation 
and philosophy Scotus squeezes theology the science 
that his predecessors had used to clarify revelation. 
With Scotus it becomes a domain that is poor indeed. 
Its objects are the highest, but it can never reach them. 
It has not the divine assurance of revelation nor the 
exactness of logical science. Its highest conclusions are 
only probable, and it can help revelation only in a nega 
tive way. It cannot prove the doctrine of the Trinity, 
incarnation, creation, immortality, and even its proofs for 
the existence of God have no cogency. Philosophy and 
revelation both profit at the expense of scholastic theo 
logy. After Scotus scientific heresy frequently shielded 
itself on the ground that its conclusions apply only to 
the realm of science, while the opposite may be true in 

The Inscrutable Will of God. Revelation is thus 
placed beyond the reach of the human reason because it 
rests on the inscrutable will of God. Revelation is God s 
free act. God must be free. If Thomas s conception of 
God s will as determined by his intellect were true, God 
would not be free. The intellect in man or God must 
be the servant of the will, if the will be free. In man 
consciousness produces at first a number of indistinct 
and imperfect ideas. Those ideas become distinct upon 
which the will fixes its attention, while the others cease 
to exist because they are unsupported by the will. 

God s will is more fundamental than the good. God 
makes the good to be good. Both Thomas and Scotus 
say that the moral law is the command of God. Thomas 
conceives it to be God s command because it is in ac- 


cord with the good ; Scotus, for no other reason than 
that it is God s command. The good might be different 
if God so created it. In opposition to Thomas, Scotus 
maintained that God does not have to create what He 
does create, and that this is not the best possible world. 
God creates what He wills ; He can, therefore, grant 
dispensation, and so can the church. If God s will were 
determined by His intellect, Pie would have no inde 
pendence, He would not even exist, He would be only 
nature or one of its causes, there could be no evil nor 
accident. He can supersede the moral law by a new 
law, just as He superseded the Mosaic law by the Gospel. 
Individuality, revelation, salvation, and all objects of 
faith have their existence only in the groundless and in 
scrutable will of God. For this reason there can be no 
rational theology. 

This founder of the " Franciscan tradition " of practi 
cal piety and meritorious action could not have other 
than the freedom of the will as his central principle. 
An Augustinian he refused, however, to follow Augustine 
in centralizing freedom in God. The object of faith is 
the will of God, the subject of faith is the will of man. 
Human freedom consists in cooperation with divine 
grace. Man can help in the work of God. His freedom 
is partly formal : he can will or not will. It is partly 
material: he can will A or B. There is no ulterior 
ground to determine the human will, and this unde 
termined freedom is the ground for merit, provided the 
human will coincides with the divine. 

The Problem of Individuality. The problem of in- 
dividuation was a favorite one with Scotus. While Sco 
tus agrees with Thomas as to the threefold existence of 
the universal, the individual and not the universal is 


the ultimate fact. The individual cannot be deduced 
from the universal, nor can it be constituted by the quan 
titative determinations of matter. It is already individ 
ualized and substantialized. Form, not matter, individ 
ualizes. The definite individual form, the " thisness " 
(hazcceitas), is the ultimate fact. The individual can 
only be verified as actual fact. The individual is irre 
ducible, and no further explanation can be made than to 
say that it is an individual. Thus the inquiry into the 
Principium indimduationis has no meaning. 

After Duns Scotus. The church failed to canonize 
Scotus ; for though he claimed to be its most faithful 
son, he taught the dangerous doctrine of freedom of the 
individual will. His doctrine also marks the beginning 
of empirical investigation of nature and the decadence 
of formal logic. Although a most faithful follower of 
the church, he brought scholasticism to the point where 
it no longer served the church. The result was ultra- 
rationalism not what Scotus intended. But when 
revelation no longer rests upon rational ground, and 
when there exists by its side a philosophical science 
whose basis is rational, it is only a question of time 
when revelation shall lose its authority for men. When 
philosophy passed from Scotus to Ockam, Ockam s con 
ception of the individual as the ultimately real and of 
the unrationality of revelation gave him the old name 
of nominalist. This is a misnomer, for the doctrine of 
Ockam is quite different from the nominalism of Ros- 
cellinus. The temper of the time was different from 
those days when Roscellinus followed upon Anselm, for 
the superior minds were now turning away from ortho 
doxy. Disciples of both Thomas and Scotus were be 
coming nominalists. It was an epoch when scholasticism 


was being discredited by the universities, when theology 
was less a study in the curricula, when religion was be 
ing superseded by magic, when there were rival claim 
ants for the Pope s chair, when there was strife between 
the church and the state. The spirit of the age was 
toward nominalism in every form. The command, in 
1339, to the University of Paris not to use Ockam s 
works shows how powerful had become his following 
during his lifetime. Dominicans and Augustinians 
went over in crowds to nominalism. This beginning of 
nominalism betrays the growth of European national 
life, modern languages, art, and the sciences. It shows 
the beginning of Protestantism in all departments. The 
church attempted to crush it in the way that it had 
crushed Roscellinus. But this nominalism had too deep 

William of Ockam (1280-1349) : Life and Teaching. 
Ockam was called Doctor Invincibilis. He was born in 
Ockam, England, and studied at Oxford, where he prob 
ably had Scotus as a teacher. After teaching in Paris 
(1320-1325), he left Paris and joined the opponents 
of the temporal power of the Pope. He was imprisoned 
at Avignon, but escaped to the court of Louis of Ba 
varia, where he died. To Louis he made his celebrated 
promise, " If you will defend me with your sword, I will 
defend you with my pen." He has been called " the 
first Protestant." 

The nominalism of Ockam was more complex than 
that of Roscellinus, and yet it was essentially a tend 
ency to simplification by discarding all metaphysics and 
psychology as useless. " Ockam s razor " was the nick 
name of his philosophy. He regarded concepts as sub 
jective signs or " terms " of actual facts. Hence his 


philosophy was also called terminism. There was also 
in it a naturalistic tendency which was the result of the 
scientific studies of the Aristotelian Arabians. With 
these logical and naturalistic motives were united the 
Augustinian doctrine of the will. These were the three 
factors of a nominalism that felt the conviction of the 
importance of the inner life as well as the need of an 
extended investigation of nature. 

It is, moreover, no accident that Ockam was conserv 
ative, for he belonged to the Franciscans, the most con 
servative of the monastic bodies. This nominalism was 
a reaction against scholasticism, in order to strengthen 
the supernatural character of dogma. Ockam felt that 
scholasticism had waxed too great that under the 
guise of serving religion it had virtually subordinated 
religion. The reactionary Franciscans proclaimed the 
entire separation of religion and philosophy in order to 
make room for faith. Faith could be purified only by 
renouncing scholasticism. The temporal power must be 
given up by the church, the state and the church must 
be separated. No new knowledge about faith can be ob 
tained. The dogma must be left impregnable, even 
though scientifically men become skeptics. 

Consistent, therefore, was it for this movement to 
disjoin entirely the parts of the twofold truth. Scotus 
had almost crowded out natural theology ; Ockam com- 
pleted the work of Scotus. Scholasticism or natural 
theology is a rubbish-heap of hypotheses. The church 
should abandon speculation and emphasize faith. It 
should return to the simplicity and holiness of the 
Apostolic church. Ockam was devoted to the true up 
building of the church and was a follower of St. 
Francis. It was his love for the church that made 


him take sides against her pretensions to temporal 

Ockam was the natural precursor of his fellow- 
countryman John Locke, and the English empirical 
school. Individual things have the reality of original 
Forms, for they come to us intuitively. Our ideas are 
only signs of them. This is a relation of the " first in 
tention." As individual ideas are related to individual 
things, so general ideas are related to individual ideas. 
This is the relation of the " second intention." The 
general idea referring thus indirectly to an individual 
thing is therefore arbitrary and capricious. Real science 
deals with things intuitively observed ; rational science 
only with the relations between ideas. Nevertheless 
real science deals only with an inner world, even if its 
material is intuitively known. Intuitions are only re 
presentatives of the real world. How much less real 
must the world of rational science then be, since it pre 
supposes these inner intuitions of real science. The uni 
versal, therefore, has no reality. It is a name, a sign of 
many things, a term. Only the individual is real. 

After Ockam. William of Ockam was the last school 
man. When his doctrine of terminism was united with 
Augustine s powerful doctrine of the will, forming 
an extreme individualism, the glimmering of the dawn 
of modern times appears. The movement was made 
still stronger by the study of the history of develop 
ment psychologically, and it became a kind of idealism 
of the inner life. Already, too, there were beginning 
investigations in natural science, based upon empirical 
study. Modern subjectivism was at hand ; scholasticism 
had run its course. The representatives of the scholar 
tic philosophy of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 


forgot the principle of the Classic Schoolmen and be* 
came mere commentators of the leaders of the tradi 
tion to which they belonged. Their verbal subtleties 
were too refined to be understood. The efforts of Nic 
olas Cusanus to bring secular science under a system 
of scholastic mysticism only promoted the modern 
movement. Cusanus therefore belongs to the next pe 
riod, and of him we shall subsequently hear. 




Abdera, 107, 119. See Atomists. 

Abelard, life of, 363 ; his conceptual- 
ism, 364; his rationalism, 365-367. 

Academy, the, what it was, 124; after 
the death of Plato, 166 ; and Aris 
totle, 169-171; Older, Middle, and 
New, 220, 221; the skepticism of, 
266-268 ; eclecticism in, 270. 

Adams, G. B., Civilization during 
the Middle Ages, 374 n. 

Adamson, Robert, The Development 
of Greek Philosophy quoted, 255. 

jEnesidernus, Skeptic, 268. 

Agrippa, Skeptic, 268, 269. 

Albertus Magnus. See Bollstaedt. 

Alcidamus, Sophist, 68. 

Alcuin, 349, 350. 

Alexander of Hales, 379. 

Alexandria, a centre of Hellenism, 
215; in the Middle Ages, 282. 

Alexandria*! School of neo-Platon- 
ism, 290-298. 

Ammoniu* Saccas, 290, 314. 

Anamnesis, 147-149. 

Anaxagoras, his life, 43; his philoso 
phy, 45-47. 

Anaximander, 24, 25. 

Anaximenes, 25. 

Ancient Philosophy, length of, 1; 
underlying character of, 2; divi 
sions of, 4, 5 ; literary sources of, 6. 

Animism, 19. 

Anselm, life and position in mediae 
val philosophy, 359-361; his argu 
ments for the existence of God, 
361 ; on reason and dogma, 365. 

Anthropological period of Greek 
philosophy, 12, 13; discussion of, 
55-97; historical summary of, 55. 

Anthropologists, 103. 

Anthropology, defined, 13. 

Antiochus of Ascalon, 270, 271. 

Antisthenes, founder of the Cynic 
school, 93, 95. 

Apathy, Stoic, 251. 

Apollonius, neo-Pythagorean, 285. 

Apologists, the, 307-309. 

Aquinas, Thomas, on the problem 
of reason and faith, 369, 377; the 
predecessors of, 379, 380; life of 
(founder of the Dominican tra 
dition), 380, 381 ; the central princi 
ple of his doctrine, 381-383; the 
problem of individuality accord 
ing to, 383-385; on the will and the 
intellect, 385, 386. 

Arabian, schools, 371, 372; transla 
tions of Greek works, 372, 373. 

Arcesilaus, 267. 

aperTj, meaning of, 84. 

Aristippus, founder of the Cyrenaic 
school, 93, 96; and Epicurus, 229, 

Aristophanes, opposed the Sophists, 

Aristotle, his place in Greek history, 
98-100, 103; conceptualist, 104; ad 
vanced age at which he finished 
his education, 125; in the Academy 
and Lyceum, 166-168 ; chronological 
sketch of his life, 168, 169; his bio 
graphy in detail, 169-173; the writ- 
ings of, 173-176; his starting-point, 
176, 177; the fundamental principle 
in his philosophy, 177-180 ; his logic, 
180-185; his metaphysics, 185-194; 
development is purposeful, 185- 
187; his two different conceptions 
of purpose, 187-190; his conception 
of God, 190, 191 ; his conception o* 
matter, 191, 192 ; his conception of 
nature, 192-194; his theory of phy 
sics, 194-196; his psychology, 196- 
199; his ethics, 199-202; his political 
philosophy, 202, 203; in the Middle 
Ages, 332, 363, 368,369; Arabic ver 
sions of his works, 372, 373; works 
of, introduced into Western Eu 
rope, 375-378; the strength and 
burden of, to the church, 378, 379; 
and Thomas Aquinas, 380, 381. 

Arnold, Matthew, 43 n. 

Astronomy, of the Pythagoreans, 40- 
52, 53; Ptolemaic, 322-325. 


Ataraxia, of Epicurus, 231, 233 ; of 
the Skeptics, 266. 

Athenian school of neo-Platonism, 
290, 299-301. 

Athens, rise of, 57, 58 ; and Socrates, 
91; and Abdera, 119; a centre of 
Hellenism, 213-215. 

Atomism of Epicurus, the, 238-240. 

Atomistic school, the, 107. 

Atomists, the, philosophy of, 47, 48. 

Atoms of Democritus, the, 109-114, 
116, 117. 

Augustine, the historical position 
of, 306, 318, 335-338; the life of, 
339, 340; the two elements in his 
teaching, 340, 341; the neo-Pla- 
tonic element : the inner certain 
ties of consciousness, 341-345; the 
authority of the church accord 
ing to, 345-347. 

Aurelius, Marcus, 243, 246. 

Bacon, Francis, Essay on Love, 
153 n. 

Bacon, Roger, 387 n. 

Bardesanes, Gnostic, 310. 

Basilides, Gnostic, 310. 

Becoming, word how used, 22; in 
Heracleitus s doctrine, 29; accord 
ing to Plato, 133, 136, 129. 

Being, word how used, 22; in Par- 
menides doctrine, 33-35; Pythago 
rean conception of, 49-51 ; aspects 
under which it was conceived of, 
in Greek philosophy, 103, 104; ac 
cording to Plato, 133, 136, 139. 

Benedictine Age, the, 350. 

Berengar of Tours, 359. 

Boethius, 300. 

Bollstaedt, Albert, 377, 379. 

Bologna, University of, 377. 

Burnet, John, Early Greek Philoso 
phers cited, 17 n. 

Bury, J. B., History of Greece cited, 
12 n. ; quoted, 16. 

Carneades, 267. 

Carpocrates, Gnostic, 310. 

Carthage, 15, 16. 

Catechists, the School of, 314-318. 

Catholic theologians, the old, 312- 

Cause, teleological, final, mechan 
ical, and efficient, 105 n. See Final 
cause, Efficient cause. 

Causes, Aristotle s, 187. 

Change, Heracleitus s doctrine of, 
28, 29; has no existence in Par- 
menides philosophy, 34, 35 ; as con 
ceived by the Pluralists, 40. 

Charlemagne, the revival of, 349, 350. 

Christianity, and neo-Platonism, 
difference in their conception of 
inspiration, 276, 277; rise of, 279, 
280; summary of its history, 281; 
and neo-Platonism, 288-290; the 
Hellenizing of, 302-318; the early 
situation of, 302-305; the philoso 
phies influencing, 305, 306 ; early, 
the periods of, 306, 307; the Apolo 
gists, 307-309; the Gnostics, 310- 
312; the reaction against Gnosti 
cism (the old Catholic theolo 
gians), 312-314; Origen and the 
School of Catechists, 314-318; and 
Mohammedanism, 371-375. 

Chrysippus, 242, 244, 245. 

Church, authority of, according to 
Augustine, 345-347; strength and 
burden of Aristotle to, 378, 379 ; and 
state, Aquinas s and Dante s views 
of, 382. 

Cicero, on Aristotle, 167; his work, 
271, 272. 

Civilizations, Christian and Mo 
hammedan, 369-372 ; the first con 
tact of, 372, 373; the conflict be 
tween, 374, 375. 

Classic Scholasticism, period of, 333, 

Cleanthes, 242, 244-246. 

Clement, 314. 

Conception, and perception, 83 n. ; 
importance of, to Socrates, 83 ; ac 
cording to Plato, 134, 135; in Aris 
totle, 177-179. 

Conceptualism, of Aristotle, 104 ; in 
the Middle Ages, 358, 364, 365. 

Consciousness, formulation of the 
psychological conception of, 294; 
the inner certainties of, according 
to Augustine, 341-345. 

Constantinople, an intellectual cen 
tre, 372 n. 

Cosmas map, the, 335. 

Cosmological period of Greek phi 
losophy, 12, 13; treated, 15-54. 

Cosmologists, characteristics of the, 
18-20; table of, 20; their philoso 
phical question, 20, 21 ; where they 
lived, 21 ; results of their philoso 
phy, 53, 54. 


Cosmology, defined, 13. 

Crates of Thebes, 95. 

Critical attitude of mind, among 
the Greeks, 61-64; of Socrates, 80. 

Crusades, the, 374, 375. 

Cusanus, Nicolas, 394. 

Cynic school, the, 93-97. 

Cynics and Stoics, 246, 247. 

Cyrenaic school, the, 93-97. 

Cyrenaics, their teaching, and Epi 
cureanism, 229, 230. 

Dante, on Aristotle, 167; used Ptole 
maic conception of the universe, 
324, 325 ; diagram of his poetic con 
ception of the universe, 376; his 
view of the state and the church, 
382 n. ; placed the intellectual vir 
tues above the practical, 383 n. 

Dark Ages, the, 347-349. 

Deduction, 182. 

Definition, Socrates one of the first 
to use it correctly, 92. 

Democritus, his place in Greek his 
tory, 98-100, 103; and Plato, their 
similarities and differences, 104- 
106; life of, 106-108; comprehen 
siveness of his aim, 108; the en 
riched physics of, 109-111 ; the ma 
terialistic psychology of , 111-114; 
his theory of knowledge, 114-116; 
the ethical theory of, 116-118; a 
wide traveler, 123; advanced age 
at which he finished his education, 

Development, according to Aristo 
tle, 178, 179, 185-187. 

De Wulf , History of Mediaeval Phi 
losophy, 336 n., 384. 

Dialectic, defined, 60, 131. 

Dill, Samuel, Roman Society cited, 
274 n. 

Diogenes, 95. 

Dionysiodorus, 68. 

Dogma. See Reason. 

Dominican tradition, Thomas Aqui 
nas the founder of, 380, 381 ; intel- 
lectualism the central principle in, 

Doxography, 6. 

Drama, the Greek, 60, 61. 

Dualism, defined, 51 n.; the Pytha- 
gorenn, 51, 52; of the Systematic 
period of Greek philosophy, 102, 

Dynamic pantheism of Plotinus, 293. 

Eckhart, 369, 386. 

Eclectic Platonists, the, 285. 

Eclecticism, 264, 265, 269-272. 

Efficient cause, introduction of con 
ception of, by the Pluralists, 41; 
defined, 105 n.; Aristotle s concep 
tion of, 187. 

Elean-Eretrian school, the, 93. 

Eleatic school, and Milesian school, 
Xenophanes the connecting link 
between, 26; lives of Parmenides 
and Zeno, 32, 35; teaching of, 
compared with that of the Mile 
sians and Heracleitus, 22 f.; the 
philosophy of, 33-37 ; and Heraclei 
tus, results of the conflict be 
tween, 37, 38. 

Element, the, as conceived by the 
Pluralists, 40, 41. 

Eleusinian. See Mysteries. 

Emanations, the world of, according 
to Plotinus, 294-297. 

Emerson, R. W., Essay on Love, 
153 n. ; Initial, Daemonic, and 
Celestial Love, 153 n. 

Emerton, Ephraim, Mediaeval 
Europe, 374 n. 

Empedocles, his conception of 
change, 40; his conception of the 
element, 40; his doctrine of the 
efficient cause, 41; his life, 43; 
the philosophy of, 44, 45. 

Empiricism, 104 n. 

End, defined, 105 n. 

Entelechy, 186. 

Epic, Greek, importance of the, 8- 

Epictetus, 243, 246. 

Epicureanism, one of the New 
Schools, 222-225; and Stoicism, 
summary of agreements and dif 
ferences, 225, 226; and the teaching 
of Aristippus, 229; ideal of, 230- 
233; the place of virtue in, 233; the 
"Wise Man of, 234-236. See Epicurus. 

Epicureans, the, 228. 

Epicurus, life of, 227, 228 ; and Aris 
tippus, 229; his ideal, 230-233; his 
conception of the physical world, 
238-240. See Epicureanism. 

Epistemology, Democritus contri 
bution to, il4-116. 

Erigena, John Scotus, 349, 350; life 
and teaching of, 350-352 ; the Greek 
principle which he formulated for 
the Middle Ages, 352, 353. 



Eristic, defined, 60. 

Ethical period of the Hellenic-Ro 
man period, 208; general charac 
teristics of, 215-218. 

Ethics, tendency toward, among 
early Greeks, 11, 12 ; of the So 
phists, 71-73; of Democritus, 316- 
118; Plato s theory of, 153-158; of 
Aristotle, 199-202; of Plotinus, 297, 

Eucken, Rudolf, Problem of Human 
Life, 336 n. 

Euclid, founder of the school at Me- 
gara, 93. 

Eudsemonism, 87. 

Euhemerisin, 96. 

Eusebius, on Aristotle, 167. 

Euthydemus, 68. 

Evil, the problem of, according to 
Stoicism, 260, 261. 

Fairbanks, Arthur, First Philoso 
phers of Greece, 6 n. 

Falckenberg, Richard, History of 
Modern Philosophy, 3 n. 

Final cause, denned, 105 n. ; accord 
ing to Aristotle, 187. 

Fire, Heracleitus s doctrine of, 30-32. 

Form and Matter, in Aristotle, 186- 
192, 197-199; in Thomas Aquinas, 

Formal cause, 187. 

Franciscan tradition, the, 385-387. 

Freedom, the problem of, accord 
ing to Epicurus, 240; according 
to Stoicism, 260, 261; according to 
Origen, 316,317; according to Au 
gustine, 345; according to Duns 
Scotus, 389. 

Gerbert, 350. 

Glaber, quoted, 354. 

Gnomic poets, Greek, 10-12. 

Gnosticism, 310-312; the reaction 
against, 312-314. 

God, Plato s conception of, 141, 142; 
Aristotle s conception of, 190, 191 , 
His will and His intellect, 386, 388, 

Goethe, quoted, 129, 167. 

Good, Plato s Idea of the, 140-142, 
144; Plato s theory of the, develop 
ment of, 153, 154; the, of the Stoics, 
250, 251. 

Gorgias, 66, 67; the nihilism of, 70, 

Gospel, the Hellenizing of, 302-318. 
See Christianity. 

Greece, after the Persian Wars, 57-64. 

Greek Enlightenment, the, 58-64, 82. 

Greek-Jewish philosophy of Philo, 
281-284 ; and neo-Platonism, 288. 

Greek nation, the fall of, and the 
persistence of its civilization, 204- 

Greek national spirit, waning of, 98. 

Greek philosophy, three periods of, 
12-14 ; summary of, 102, 103. 

Greek thought, was objective, 2, 100, 

Greeks, early, geographical environ 
ment of, 7; political environment 
of, 8, 9, 15, 16; native tendencies of, 
9-12; perils to, in the new religion, 
16-18; monistic philosophies, 22 f. 

Grote, George, History of Greece, 
61 n. ; Plato, 267 n. 

Happiness, according to Socrates, 86; 
according to the Cynics and the 
Cyrenaics, 94-97; according to 
Democritus, 117, 118; according to 
Aristotle, 200; according to Epi 
curus, 233-238. 

Harnack, Adolf, Outlines of the His 
tory of Dogma quoted, 308, 336, 344, 
354; cited, 315 n., 345 n. 

Hatch, Edwin, Hibbert Lectures 
quoted, 305. 

Hedonism, and eudaemonism, 87; 
some types of, 228, 229. 

Hellenic-Roman period, 204-318 ; its 
time length, 204; the fall of the 
Greek nation and the persistence 
of its civilization, 204-208 ; the two 
parts of, 208,209; the undercurrent 
of skepticism in, 209-211; the fun 
damental problem of, 211-213. 

Hellenism, 205-208; the centres of, 

Hellenizing of the Gospel, 302-318. 

Heracleitus, life, 28; his teaching 
compared with that of the Mile 
sians and Eleatics, 22, 23; his phi 
losophy, 28-31; and Parmenides, 
results of the conflict between, 37, 
38; practical philosophy of, 31. 

Hesiod, 11. 

Hicks, R. D., Stoic and Epicurean 
227 n.; cited, 267 n. 

Hipparchia, 95. 

Hippias, 66, 68. 



Hippodamus, 68. 

Hippolytus, 313. 

JJomoiomeriai, 46. 

Human nature, value set upon, by 
Socrates, 81. 

Hylozoism, denned, 19; and Plural 
ism, 41; the breaking up of pre- 
Socratic, 47; becomes materialism 
with Democritus, 109-111. 

Hylozoists, the Cosmologists were, 

Hypatia, 298. 

Idea, development of the meaning 
of (Democritus and Plato), 105. 

Ideal of Socrates, the, 83-85; what it 
involves, 85-88. 

Idealism, of the Greeks, 100; ob 
jective, 104. 

Ideas, of Plato, 133, 135; the develop 
ment of, in the two drafts, 136, 137; 
brief comparison of the two drafts 
of, 137; fuller comparison of the 
two drafts of, 137-141 ; in the doc 
trine of anamnesis, 147, 148. 

Immortality, Plato s doctrine of, 

Individuality, the problem of, ac 
cording to Thomas Aquinas, 383- 
385; the problem of, in Duns Sco- 
tus, 389, 390. 

Induction, 1)2, 183. 

Intellect or will, the question of the 
primacy of, 385, 386, 388, 389. 

Ionic School. See Milesian school. 

Irenaeus, 313. 

Irish learning, the, 349. 

Irony, Socratic, 90. 

Jackson, H., article " Sophists," in 
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 68 n. 

Jamblichus, 298, 299. 

Jewish (Greek-) philosophy of Philo, 
281-284; and neo-Platonism, 288. 

Julian, Emperor, 298. 

Justin Martyr, 308. 

Kingsley, Charles, Hypatia, 298 n. 

Knight,William A., Life and Teach 
ing of Hume, 3 n. 

Knowledge, in Socrates ideal, 83-86, 
88; according to the Cynics, 95; 
Democritus theory of, 114-116. 

Lanfranc, 359. 

Law, positive and natural, 72. 

Learning, the impulse for, among 
the Greeks, 58, 59; the Revival of, 

Leucippus, his life, 43, 44; his philo 
sophy, 47, 48, 109, 110; founder of 
the Atomistic school, 107. 

Logic, Aristotle s, 180-185. 

Love, Platonic, 151-153. 

Love and Hate, Empedocles doc 
trine of, 44. 

Lucretius, 228. 

Lyceum, the, Aristotle in, 166, 167, 
172, 173; after Aristotle, 220-222; 
eclecticism in, 270. 

Lycophron, 68. 

Maine, Sir Henry, cited, 72. 

Man, the philosophy of, 13, 55-97; 
Plato s conception of, 144-146. 

Material cause, 187. 

Materialism, hylozoism becomes, 
with Democritus, 103, 109-111; 
Stoic, 254, 255. 

Materialistic psychology of Demo 
critus, 111-114. 

Matter, and Form, in Aristotle, 186- 
192, 197-199, 384 ; of Plotinus,295, 296. 

Mean, the, Aristotle s doctrine of, 
201, 202. 

Mechanical series of Aristotle, 194- 

Mediaeval geography, 335. 

Mediaeval library, a, 326-328. 

Mediaeval Man, the, 320, 321 ; how the 
universe appeared to, 322-325; at 
school, 325, 326; summary of the 
political and educational worlds 
of, 330-333. 

Mediaeval philosophy, length of, 1 ; 
underlying character of, 3; divi 
sions of, 4 ; treated, 319-394. 

Megarian school, 93. 

Mendicants, the, 368. 

Metaphysical problem, the, early 
formulation of, 22, 23. 

Metaphysics, Plato s, the formation 
of, 132-136; Plato s, the develop 
ment of, 136-141; Aristotle s, 185- 
194; abandonment of , in Hellenic- 
Roman period, 216; of Plotinus, 

Metrocles, 95. 

Middle Ages, characteristics and 
conditions of, 319-333; and the 
Hellenic-Roman period, compari 
son of, 319, 320 ; the mediaeval man, 



320, 321; how the universe ap 
peared to the mediaeval man, 322- 
325 ; the mediaeval man at school, 
325, 326; a mediaeval norary, 326- 
328 ; the three periods of, 328-330 ; 
summary of the political and edu 
cational worlds of the mediaeval 
man, 330-333; the early period of, 
330-332, 334-353; the transitional 
period of , 332, 354-367; the period 
of classic scholasticism, 333, 368- 

Milesian school, 24; the members of, 
24, 25; the philosophy of, 25, 26; 
the teaching of, compared with 
that of Heracleitus and the Eleat- 
ics, 22, 23. 

Milton, John, 325. 

Modern philosophy, length of, 1; 
underlying character of, 3; divi 
sions of, 4. 

Mohammedanism, growth of, dur 
ing the Middle Ages, 370-372; first 
contact with Christianity, 372, 373; 
conflict with Christianity, 374,375. 

Monism, defined, 10 n.; of the early 
Greeks, 10 ; displaced by pluralism 
in Greekjphilosophy, 39. 

Monists, list of "early Cosmologists 
who were, 20; discussion of the, 

Monotheism, defined, 10 n. ; for the 
first time conceptually framed, 

Monte Cassino, founding of the mo 
nastic school at, 348. 

Moral postulate, philosophy for the 
first time founded upon, 85; of 
Socrates, 85-88. 

Motion, according to Aristotle, 195, 

Mysteries, Orphic and Eleusinian, | 
16-18, 38 ; Orphic, dangers of, 
averted by Cosmologists, 54. 

Mysticism, in neo-Platonism, 287. 

Natural Science. See Physics. 

Nature, the philosophy of , 15-38; the 
word as used by the Sophists, 72, 73 ; 
a logical, Socrates attempt to find, 
92; physical, Plato s conception of, 
142-144; Aristotle s conception of, 
192-194; Stoic conception of, 251- 

Reo-Platonism, and Christianity, 
difference in their conception of 

inspiration, 276, 277 ; rise of, 279, 
280; summary of its history, 281; 
and Platonism, 287, 288; and the 
philosophies of Philo and the neo- 
Pythagoreans, 288 ; and Christian 
ity, 288-290; the periods of, 290; 
the Alexandrian school (scientific 
theory of neo-Platonism, life and 
writings of Plotinus), 290-298 ; the 
Syrian school (the systematizing 
of polytheism, Jamblichus), 290, 
298, 299 ; the Athenian school (Pro- 
clus), 290, 299-301; its influence on 
Christianity, 306. 

Neo-Pythagoreanism, 281, 285-287; 
and neo-Platonism, 288. 

Nominalism, 103, 358, 362-365, 391, 

Norton, Arthur O., Readings in the 
History of Education, 377 n. 

NOILS, Anaxagoras conception of, 
47; of Plotinus, 294. 

Numbers, Pythagorean conception 
of, 49-51. 

Objective character of Greek philo 
sophy, 2, 100, 101. 

Objective Idealism, 104. 

Objective Realism, 104. 

Ockam, William of, 387 n., 390; the 
course of philosophy after, 393, 

Order, thought of, developed into 
clearness by Cosmologists, 54. 

Origen, 280, 281, 314-318. 

Orphic. See Mysteries. 

Oxford, University of, 377. 

Palmer, G. H., on Socrates, 79. 

Panaetius, 270, 271. 

Pantheism, defined, 10 n. ; dynamic, 
of Plotinus, 293; of Erigena, 351- 
353 ; of the realists, 363. 

Paris, University of, 377. 

Parker, C. P., cited, 258 n. 

Parmenides, life, 32; develops the 
doctrine of Xenophanes, 32 f . ; his 
philosophy, 33-35; and Heraclei 
tus, results of the conflict be 
tween, 37, 38. See Elentic School. 

Particulars and Universals, accord 
ing to Thomas Aquinas, 383-385. 

Pater, Walter, Marius the Epicu 
rean, 227 n. 

Patmore, Coventry, Angel in the 
House. 153 n. 



Patristics, 302-318. 
Perception, and conception, 83 n.; 
according to Plato, 134 ; in Aristo 
tle, 177-179. 
Pericles, 58. 

Periods, of philosophy, the three 
general, 1-4; of Greek philosophy, 

Peripatetics. See Lyceum. 
Persia, 15, 16. 
Persian Wars, their importance, 55- 

57, 62. 

Personality, spiritual, increased im 
portance of, in history, 277-279. 
Pessimism, result of theory of Cyre- 

naics, 97. 

Peter the Lombard, 379, 380. 
Phsedo, founder of the Elean-Ere- 

trian school, 93. 
Philo, Greek-Jewish philosophy of, 

281-284; and neo-Platonism, 288. 
Philoponus, 299. 

Philosophic skepticism. See Skep 

Physical universe, early Greek ten 
dency toward scientific explana 
tion of, 10, 11. 

Physics, Socrates view of, 80; en 
richment of, under Democritus, 
109-111; Plato s conception of, 142- 
144; Aristotle s theory of, 194-196; 
of Epicurus, 238-240. 
Plato, 104 ; parts of works to be read 
75 n. ; his place in Greek history 
93, 98-100, 103, 104; and Democri 
tus, their similarities and differ 
ences,104-106 ; the period of his life 
119, 120; the difficulties in under 
standing the teaching of, 120, 121 
the chronology of his dialogues 
119, 120 ; the life and writings of 
121, 126; his student life, 121, 122 
as traveler, 122-124; as teacher ol 
the Academy, 124-126; concerning 
his dialogues, 126-128 ; the factors 
in the construction of his doc 
trine, 128-131; his inherited ten 
dencies, 128-130; his philosophica 
sources, 130, 131; the divisions o 
his philosophy, 131, 132 ; summan 
of his doctrine, 132 ; the formatioi 
of his metaphysics, 132-136; the 
development of his metaphysics 
^the development of his ideas in 
the two drafts), 136-141 ; his con 
ception of God, 141, 142 ; his con- 

caption of physical nature, 142- 
144 ; his conception of man, 144- 
146 ; his doctrine of immortality, 
146-150 ; the two tendencies in, 
150, 151; Platonic love, 151-153; hia 
theory of ethics, 153-158 ; develop 
ment of his theory of the Good, 
153, 154 ; the four cardinal virtues, 
154, 155 ; his theory of political so 
ciety, 155-158; a selection of pas 
sages from, for English readers, 
158-165; in the Middle Ages, 331, 
337, 338, 360, 363. 
Platonism, the revival of, 279 ; and 

neo-Platonism, 287, 288. 
Platonists, Eclectic, 285. 
Pleasure, of Epicurus, 230-233. See 


Plotinus, 280, 287, 288; life and writ 
ings of, 290, 291 ; general character 
of his teaching, 291, 292 ; the mys 
tic God of, 292, 293 ; the two prob 
lems of, 293 ; the metaphysical 
problem of, 294-297; the ethical 
problem of, 297, 298. 
Pluralism, tried to reconcile ex 
tremes of Milesian school, 39, 40; 
and hylozoism, 41. 

Pluralists, list of later Cosmologists 
who were, 20; their new concep 
tion of change, 40; their new con 
ception of the unchanging, 40, 41 ; 
introduction of conception of effi 
cient cause by, 41 ; summary of 
similarities and differences in the 
ories of, 41, 42; their lives span the 
fifth century, 42. See Empedo- 
cles, etc. 

Plutarch, neo-Platonist, 299. 
Political philosophy of Aristotle, 

202, 203. 
Political society, Plato s theory of, 


Polytheism, Homeric, 19. 
Polytheisms, the systematizing of, 

298, 299. 

Porphyry, 291, 298, 357. 
Posidonius, 270, 271. 
Primary and secondary qualities, 


Probabilism in Stoicism, 262. 
Proclus, 299-301. 
Prodicus, G6, 68. 

Protagoras, 66, 67 ; the relativism of, 
69, 70; his point of view compared 
with that of Socrates, 81. 



Psychology, materialistic, of Demo 
critus, 111-114; Plato s, 144-146; o 
Aristotle, 196-199; the "Stoic,"* 248- 

Ptolemy, his cosmography, 322-325. 

Purpose, Aristotle s conceptions of 

Pyrrho, 266. 

Pyrrhonism, 265, 266. 

Pythagoras, 17. 

Pythagoreanism, neo-, 281, 285-287 
and neo-Platonism, 288. 

Pythagoreans, the early, 17; the 
later, 44, 48, 49 ; their conception of 
Being, 49-51 ; their astronomy, 
52, 53; their dualism, 51, 52. 

Qualitative changes of phenomena, 

Rationalism, defined, 104 n. ; of Plato 
and Democritus, 104; of Abelard, 

Realism, 100, 104, 358, 362^365; object 
ive, 104. 

Reason and dogma, the relation be 
tween, 355, 356, 360-362, 365-367. 

Reconcilers. See Pluralists. 

Relativism, of Protagoras, 69, 70; 
represented by the anthropolo 
gists, 103. 

Religion, of the Greeks, organiza 
tion of, 8, 9, 10 ; the new, perils of, 
16-18; in Epicurus s system, 236, 
237 ; and science, the separation of, 
under Duns Scotus, 387, 388. 

Religious feeling, two causes of the 
rise of, 272-274. 

Religious period of the Hellenic- 
Roman period, 208, 209; treated, 
273-301 ; the divisions of, 280, 281. 

Religious philosophies, Hellenic, rise 
of, 280, 282 ; summary of history of, 
281 ; introductory period of, *281- 
287; development period of, 281, 
287, 288. 

Revival of Learning, the, 375-378. 

Rhabanus Maurus, 350. 

Rhetoric among the Greeks, 60. 

Romans, their conquest of Greece, 

Roscellinus, life and teaching, 361, 

Rossetti, Christina, Shadow of 
Dante cited, 325 n. 

Kousseau and Epicurus, 229. 

St. Ambrose, 306. 
Salerno, University of, 377. 
Scholasticism, what it is, 355-359 ; of 
Anselm, 359-361; of Roscellinus, 
361, 362; of Abelard, 363-367; clas 
sic, period of, 333, 368-394. 
School, in early Greek philosophy, 

meaning of, 19 

Schools, the, 214, 218-226; fusion of 
doctrines in, 269; after 150 B. c., 
notable names in, 271. See Acad 
emy, Lyceum, etc. 
Science, early tendencies toward, 
among the Greeks, 10, 11; growth 
of, in Hellenic-Roman period, 216, 
217; secular, of the age of Augus 
tine, 339; and religion, the separa 
tion of, under Duns Scotus, 387, 

Scotus, Duns, gave a new direction 
to philosophy, 369; upheld the 
primacy of the Will, 385, 386; the 
founder of the Franciscan tradi 
tion (life and philosophical posi 
tion of), 386, 387; his conception 
of the twofold truth, 387; the in 
scrutable will of God, according 
to, 388, 389; the problem of indi 
viduality, according to, 389, 390; 
the course of philosophy after, 390, 
Secondary and primary qualities, 


Secular science of the age of Au 
gustine, 339. 
Seignobos, Charles, History of Me- 

diceval Civilization, 373 n. 
Seneca, quoted, 234. 
Sensationalism, defined, 104 n. 
Sensationalistic skepticism, 268, 269. 
Sextus Empiricus, 268. 
Sill, The Two Aphrodites, 153 n. 
Simplicius, 299. 

Skepticism, what it is, 69; the un 
dercurrent of, in the Hellenic- 
Roman period, 209-211; philoso 
phic, the appearances of, 264, 265; 
the three phases of, 265-269 ; of the 
Academy, 266-268 ; sensationalis tic, 
268, 269. 

Socrates, and Aristophanes, opposed 
the Sophists, 74 ; works on, for 
reading, 75; personality and life 
of, 75-80; his daemon, 77,83; and 
the Sophists, 80-82 ; unsystematic 
character of his philosophy, 82,83; 



tbe Ideal of, 83-86 ; what his ideal 
involves, 85-88; the two steps of 
his method, 88-Ul ; and Athens, Ul; 
the logical expedients of, 9 2, 93; 
and the Lesser Soeratics, 93-95. 

Socratics, the Lesser, and Socrates, 

Sophists, significance of, 64-67; the 
prominent, 67, 68; the philosophy 
of, 68-71; the-ethics of, 71-73; sum 
mary of their work, 73; met in 
two ways by Socrates and Aristo 
phanes, 74 ; and Socrates, 80-82. 

Soul, Plato s doctrine of, 145-150; ac 
cording to Aristotle, 196, 197; of 
Plotinus, 295, 297, 298. 

Spenser, Edmund, Hymn in Honor 
of Beauty, 153 n. 

Spiritual authority, the need of, 275- 
277; the turning to the present 
for, 287, 288. 

Spirituality, rise of the conception 
Of, 277-279. 

State, Plato s doctrine of, 155-158; 
and church, Aquinas s and Dante s 
Views of, 382. 

Stoic school, the, 222-225; inclines to 
eclecticism, 269, 270. 

Stoicism, and Epicureanism, sum 
mary of agreements and differ 
ences, 225, 226; position of, in an 
tiquity, 241, 242; the three periods 
Of, 242, 243; leaders of, 243-246; 
writings of, 246 ; the two promi 
nent conceptions of, 247, 248; the 
conception of personality, 248 ; the 
psychology of, 248-250 ; the highest 
good, 250, 251; the conception of 
nature, 251-256 ; conceptions of na 
ture and personality supplement 
each other, 256, 257; and society, 
257-259; duty and responsibility, 
259, 260 ; the problem of evil and 
the problem of freedom, 260, 261 ; 
modifications of, after the first 
period, 261-263; its influence on 
Christianity, 305. 

Stoics and Cynics, 246, 247. 

Storm and Stress, 362, 363. 

Sums, of Peter the Lombard, 379, 380. 

Syllogism, the, 182. 

Syrian school of neo-Platonism,290, 
298, 299. 

Syrianus, 299. 

Systematic period of Greek philo 
sophy, 12-14; treated, 98-203; the 

three philosophers of, their place 
in Greek history, 98-100; the fun 
damental principle of, 100-102. 

Tatian, 313. 

Teleology, defined, 105 n. 

Terminism, 392. 

Tertullian, 313. 

Teuffel, W. S., History of Roman 
Literature, 227 n. 

Thales, 24, 25. 

Theological series of Aristotle, 196- 

Thrasymachus, 68. 

Timon, 266. 

Transitional period of Middle Ages, 
332, 354-357. 

Turner, William, History of Philoso 
phy, 336 n. 

Twofold reality, world of, Democri- 
tus theory of, 114-116. 

Ueberweg, History of Philosophy, 
quoted, 6; cited, 269 n. 

Unchanging, the, as conceived by 
the Pluralists, 40, 41. 

Universalia ante rem, 104, 358, 362- 
365, 384. 

Universalia in re, 104, 358, 364, 365, 

Universalia post rem, 103, 358, 362- 
365, 384. 

Universals and particulars, accord 
ing to Thomas Aquinas, 383-385. 

Universe, diagram of Dante s con 
ception of, 376. 

Universities, the establishment of, 

Useful, the, according to Socrates, 

Valentinus, Gnostic, 310. 

Vincent of Beauvais, 379. 

Virtue, meaning of, 84; according to 
Socrates, 84-88; according to the 
Cynics, 95; according to Aristotle, 
199-202; place of, in Epicureanism, 

Virtues, the four cardinal, in Plato, 
154, 155. 

"Weber, History of Philosophy cited, 

Wheeler, B. I., Life of Alexander 
the Great, cited, 66 n.; quoted, 



Will, freedom of. See Freedom. 

Will or intellect, the question of the 
primacy of, 385, 38G, 388, 389. 

William of Aubergne, 379. 

William of Champeaux, 363. 

Windelband, History of Ancient 
Philosophy, 37 n.; cited, 121 n., 
311 n. ; quoted, 254. 

Witte, Karl, Essays on Dante, 325 n. 

Wordsworth, William, Dion, 123 n. ; 
Ode on Intimations of Immortal 
ity quoted, 148. 

Xenophanes, religious philosopher, 

26 f . ; philosophy of, 27 f . 
Xenophon, parts of works to be read, 

75 n. ; on Socrates, 76, 93. 

Zeller, Edward, Pre-Socratic Phi 
losophy, 3 n., 100 n.; quoted, 101, 
102; Greek Philosophy, 37 n. 

Zeno, Eleatic, his life, 35 f.; his 
philosophy, 36, 37. See Eleatic 

Zeno, Stoic, 242, 244, 246. 



Cushman, Herbert Ernest 

A beginner s histor/ of 
philosophy. Rev. ed.