Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sider the second alternative, “if infinity of extension subsist not without a substratum, then, it being a contradiction to deny there is infinity of extension, it is a contradiction to deny there is a substratum to it.” To this substratum, required by the exclusion of the first alternative, and the acceptance of the second, Mr. Gillespie gives the name of Being or Substance, observing that the term has never been employed to denote anything better entitled to the appellation than the substratum of infinity of extension. This reasoning has been the subject of unfavourable criticism. The substratum has been designated “unproved," “unborn,” a mere supposition, which the author surreptitiously introduces, dignifies with the name of substance, and thus gains his point. But this criticism proceeds upon a total misunderstanding of this part of the argument. The author has shown, that by necessary division, all real existence must be categorised as substance or attribute, and as infinity of extension by proposition I, is a reality, therefore it must be categorised as that which subsists by itself, and is a substance; or, as that which does not subsist by itself, but inheres in a substratum or substance. The first alternative is considered and it is shown that if it be accepted, the proposition is accepted. Then if it be excluded the second must be accepted. And in admitting it the proposition is received. But how-when the first alternative comprehended in the necessary division is excluded and the second accepted—any one professing to have an acquaintance with the argument, can speak of the substratum, as unborn—that is, having no existence—or as a supposition unwarrantably introduced, by which, through the use of an imposing nomenclature the author blinds both himself and his readers, is more than we can understand. The first and second propositions granted, the third cannot be denied. And by logical consequence the fourth proposition, that “ The Being of infinity of extensionis necessarily of unity and simplicity,” follows. For, as infinity of extension is real and indivisible, then whichever alternative comprehended in the necessary division stated under proposition III is accepted, the Being of infinity of extension must be of unity and simplicity. And as stated in proposition v, “ There is necessarily but one Being of infinity of expansion.” A similar course of argument in relation to duration is pursued in Part II.

In Part III the conclusions gained are unified, and it is affirmed that “There is necessarily a Being of infinity of extension and infinity of duration.” Here the necessary division to which we have referred recurs. Infinity of expansion and infinity of duration each subsists by itself and is a Being, or each subsists not apart from but in a substratum or Being. The first alternative is shown to be excluded since its acceptance leads only to absurdity; the second therefore must be accepted. Infinity of expansion and

Z

we

are of

infinity of duration are then not different Beings but different attributes of the same being. And this being is necessarily of unity and simplicity, and there is necessarily but one such being.

In the second division of the argument Mr. Gillespie proceeds to show that the sole and simple being of infinity of expansion and infinity of duration must be intelligent. Here the fact of intelligence implied in conciousness is assumed, and this opinion the author has a right to assume. The fact of intelligence is not established by observation, it is not the result of an inductive process, it is given in conciousness. No observation of the outward gives us the fact of intelligence, for the observation supposes it and requires it as its condition. No process of introspection yields the fact of intelligence, for the very process implies it, and demands a recognition of it as the only basis upon which introspection admits of explanation. Now certainly if any- . thing is primary this fact of intelligence is primary. And as the a priori method only professes to develop the logical necessity contained in man's fundamental beliefs, and in the primary grounds and conditions of all knowledge, it may, we think, legitimately employ the fact of intelligence without forfeiting its character. We necessarily conclude either that intelligence began to be, or it did not begin to be. All intelligence of which beginning may

be affirmed must be attributed to an intelligent cause. If there be intelligence which had a beginning there must be intelligence which had no beginning. If this be denied, and intelligence be affirmed to have had absolute beginning, it must either have proceeded from an unintelligent cause, which is impossible, or there must have been intelligence before intelligence began to be, which is a contradiction. And since to affirm absolute beginning of intelligence leads only to contradiction and absurdity, it is evident that it has not had absolute beginning,-in other words, that it is of infinity of duration. And since the previous division of the argument establishes that there is necessarily but one being of infinity of expansion and infinity of duration, it follows that this being “is necessarily of intelligence.” And since

a being of intelligence who is of infinity of expansion and of duration, is convertible with an all-knowing Being,” it follows that “the simple, sole being of infinity of expansion and of duration is, then, necessarily intelligent and all-knowing.” All-mightiness and absolute freedom are also shown to belong to the Infinite Being. And thus by establishing in relation to the Infinite Being the main elements of personality the argument is freed from all pantheistic tendency.

The third division of the argument proceeds to establish the supreme blessedness and perfect goodness of the Infinite Being.

And thus the argument fulfils its pretensions and shows that the

can

innate principles of the human mind, the primary grounds and conditions of all knowledge render the Divine existence a logical necessity to human reason. It has been frequently admitted that if the first three propositions of Mr. Gillespie's argument be granted, the rest logically follow. We see not how these propositions be denied without sapping the foundations of all certainty and leaving us the helpless prey of universal scepticism.

We may here notice briefly an objection which has been alleged against Mr. Gillespie's argument: “But regarding space and time as entities ”- that is, we suppose, as realities—“it is surprising it should never occur to Mr. Gillespie that his premises are identical with his conclusion. Take the following premise in his own words : 'Infinity of extension is necessarily existing. Now infinity of extension in Mr. Gillespie's sense is an infinitely extended being,' for he says, “though infinity of extension and the being of infinity of extension are not different, as standing to each other in the relation of mode, and subject of the mode, but are identical.' That is, infinity of extension and a being of infinity of extension are one and the same thing. Now what is the conclusion? There is necessarily a being of infinity of extension.' What is the difference then between the premises and the conclusion? There is none; it is a petitio principii.We are at a loss whether to regard this as serious criticism, or mere joking; it certainly appears more like the latter than the former. The sentence quoted may be found in section III, under proposition III, in the first part of division I. In establishing the proposition Mr. Gillespie states that all real existence must be categorised as substance

or attribute, and that as infinity of extension is a reality it must belong to one of these categories. They are considered successively, and it is shown that whichever is accepted the proposition is accepted along with it. The sentence quoted is appended as explanatory to the supposed acceptance of the first alternative, but Mr. Gillespie does not say that this is the alternative which must be accepted: when he proceeds to decide this point which he does in division I, part IIJ, proposition I, he shows that this alternative is the one which must be excluded, and that infinity of extension and the being of infinity of extension are different as standing to each other in the relation of mode and subject of mode. Thus it happens that in this criticism, Mr. Gilespie is not only credited with a view bie never advances, but a view which he shows cannot be received, and the contrary of which he definitely accepts. The argument as stated by Mr. Gillespie is ampliative, and cannot be charged with identity between premise and conclusion.

To some persons the a priori method is futile and vain, to us it is neither, while the a posteriori method held in such high estimation by many, appears to us defective. We cannot by any process of induction reach infinity. All that we are conversant with in the province of experience is conditional and finite. No multiplication of finites can give us the infinite, and hence by the induction of the finite we cannot establish the existence of an Infinite Being. The argument from experience cannot invalidate the theory of succession. We may observe that objects are dependent and successive, but observation cannot pass beyond this and reach a self-existent being. Neither the perfect goodness nor the unity of God can be established upon the basis of observation. The fact of intelligence is not reached inductively. If by any other method we can establish the existence of an infinite and all-perfect intelligence, we may by observation gather abundant confirmatory illustration ; but if we cannot, induction will leave us where we begin with it, in the region of the finite, and separated from the infinite by all the distance between the two.

To any thoughtful person desiring to become acquainted with the best statement of the a priori argument we commend Mr. Gillespie’s work. There is an occasional acerbity of temper and extreme contempt for an opponent manifested in the volume that we cannot approve of. The style is also abrupt, and the form perbaps too severely mathematical for the majority of readers. But unquestionably it will repay a prolonged and attentive study. The late Sir William Hamilton classed it among very

ablest specimens of speculative philosophy which this age has latterly exbibited.” To those who desire to become acquainted with speculative philosophy in its theological applications, the volume is indispensable and invaluable.

A. J.

66 the

ART. V.- THE ARGUMENT A POSTERIORI.

OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.

WHERE are two great objections, or rather two classes of objec

tions, brought against the a posteriori argument in its theological application. These we may denominate radical and nonradical ; the former being brought against the principle of the argument, the latter questioning only the extent of it.

We may, I think, fairly class Professor Jowett's objections under both heads. Arguing against the principle of the argument, he

says: “The apparent beauty and force of the argument rests really on the image of the watch ; if we say that God stands in the same relation to the world as a carpenter to a chair or table, the illustration becomes at once inappropriate and unpleasing. . . . . As certainly as the man who found a watch or piece of mechanism on the sea-shore would conclude, here are marks of design, indications of an intelligent artist, so certainly, if he came across the meanest or the highest of the works of nature, would he infer, “this was not made by man, nor by any human art or skill?' He sees at first sight that the sea-weed beneath his feet is something different in kind from the production of man.” (Jowett's St. Paul's Epistles). “But surely the force of the teleological argument does not turn upon the similarity of the objects, but on their analogy. The point of comparison is, that in the works of nature, as well as in those of art, there is an adaptation of means to ends, which indicates an intelligent author. And such an adaptation may exist in an organized body, no less than in a machine, notwithstanding numerous differences in the details of their structure. The evidence of this general analogy is in nowise weakened by Professor Jowett's special exceptions." (Mansel's Bampton Lectures, p. 245.) But generally, the principle of the argument is only questioned by the Atheistic school. And, surely, of this class, Holyoake is by this time an exception; for, in his discussion with Townley, be plainly conceded that the marks of intelligence manifested in the adaptations of the material world indicate an intelligence above and beyond the material world itself. (See Report of Discussion.) He only questioned whether such a being was indicated as the God of the Bible. But this was attempting to evade, after admitting the point in dispute; for the question is not the God of the Bible, the God of the Koran, or of the Vedas, but whether there is an intelligent personal agent operating in, controlling, and manifesting Himself by the material and mental phenomena presented to us in the universe.

But, lamentably, there still seems to be, here and there, a thorough-bred and full-fledged atheist, of the type of Compte and Bradlaugh, who, while acknowledging the adaptations of things, one to another, yet deny that they are indicative of design at all, but are simply "conditions of existence.” But here, as Professor Rogers says, “the misfortune is that it explains nothing, but leaves the whole argument just where it was ... it being still asked how so many conditions of ecistence came so happily to conspire; as, before, it was asked, how so many marks of design came to exist without any design ?” And, as the same acute author says, “ Manifold adaptations are not "conditions of being' merely, but conditions of well-being; man doubtless could exist, though he had a score of deformities—a hump on his back, club féet,” &c.

« AnteriorContinuar »