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Becker, and Ueberweg, to identify grammar and logic, might certainly have learnt much from the logicians of those ages, for they made earnest efforts at a logical analysis of all grammar, and in doing so at least succeeded in creating a new language, at whose barbarism the Humanists could never express sufficient horror.
In Aristotle the identification of grammar and logic is still naive, because in this case, as Trendelenburg has very rightly observed, both sciences sprang up from a common root : indeed, to Aristotle came certain penetrating gleams of light upon the distinction of word and notion, though they are not as yet sufficient to scatter the general darkness. There appear in his logic always only subject and predicate, considered as parts of speech, noun and verb, or the adjective and copula instead of the verb; in addition negation, the words that indicate the extent to which the predicate applies to the subject, as 'all,' 'some,' and certain auxiliaries used to express the modality of judgments. The Byzantine logic, on the other hand, such as it was, as it spread in the thirteenth century over the West, had not only brought the adverb into play, enlarged the circle of auxiliary verbs used in logic, and treated the signification of the cases of the noun, but had above all things perceived and endeavoured to overcome the ambiguities which are brought in by the relation of the noun to the group
of ideas that it denotes. These ambiguities are in Latin, which possesses no article, much more numerous than in German; as, for example, in the well-known example in which a drunken studeut says that he has not drunkóvinum,
' because he avails himself of the reservatio mentalis of understanding by 'vinum,' wine in its full extent, that is, all the wine that exists, and the wine that exists in India, or even in his neighbour's glass, he has, of course, not drunk. Such sophisms, indeed, formed the regular business of the late Scholastic logic, and its extravagance in this respect, as well as in the subtle application of the Scholastic distinctions, has rightly been condemned, and has often enough helped the Humanists to victory in their contest with the Scholastics. Yet the main motive to this activity was a very serious one, and the whole problem will, perhaps, sooner or later, have to be taken up again-of course in another connection, and with another ultimate purpose.
The result of the great experiment was so far negative, that a perfect logic was not to be reached by this path, and a natural reaction against the extravagance of its artificiality soon caused the child to be thrown away together with the bath. And yet there was attained not merely a habit of precision in the expression of thought which had been “unknown to the ancients,' as Condorcet says, but also a view of the nature of language admirably harmonising with empiricism.
Sokrates had thought that all words must originally have expressed as completely as possible the true nature of the things they denoted; Aristotle, in a moment of his empiricism, declared language to be conventional; the school of Occam tended, though it may have been without a full consciousness of it, to make the language of science conventional, that is, by an arbitrary fixing of the notions, to free it from the type of expressions that had become historical, and so to get rid of innumerable ambiguities and confusing by-notions. This whole process was, however, necessary if a science was to arise which, instead of creating everything out of the subject, should allow the things themselves to speak, whose language is often quite other than that of our grammars and dictionaries. This one circumstance alone makes Occam a most important forerunner of a Bacon, a Hobbes, and a Locke. This he was, moreover, by the greater activity of independent speculation, instead of mere repetition, which was part of his tendency; but above all, by the natural harmony of his logical activity with the bases of the old Nominalism, which in all'universals' finds comprehensive terms only for the only substantial things, the concrete, individual, sensible things that alone exist outside human thought. Nominalism was, for the rest, more than a mere opinion of the schools, like any other. It was really the principle of scepticism asserting itself against the whole medieval love of authority. Cultivated by the Franciscans in their standpoint of opposition, it turned the edge of its analytical modes of thought against the edifice of the hierarchy in the Church's constitution, just as it attacked the hierarchy of the intellectual world, and therefore we must not be surprised that Occam demanded freedom of thought, that in religion he held fast to the practical side, and that he, as did later his countryman Hobbes, threw the whole of theology overboard by declaring the doctrines of the faith to be incapable of proof.39 His doctrine that science, in the last line, has no other subject matter than the sensible particular, is in our day the foundation of Stuart Mill's “Logic;" and thus he expresses generally the opposition of the healthy human reason to Platonism, with a keenness which gives him a lasting significance.40
39 Prantı, iii. 328. The demand 40 At the same time Occam by no for freedom of thought applies indeed means mistakes the value of unionly to philosophical principles (comp. versal propositions. He teaches exthe remarks in the following chapter pressly that science is concerned with about twofold truth in the middle universals (and not directly with inages); but as theology remains essen- dividual things), but yet it does not tially only a province of belief, and treat of universals as such, but merely not of knowledge, the demand ap- as the expression of the particulars plies to the whole sphere of scientific included in them. Prantl, iii. 332 thought.
foll. esp. note 750.
THE RETURN OF MATERIALISTIC THEORIES WITH THE
REGENERATION OF THE SCIENCES.
In the place of positive achievements, the domination of Scholasticism in the sphere of the sciences resulted only in a system of notions and terms, which was deeply rooted, and consecrated by many centuries. Progress had indeed to commence its work by shattering this system, in which were embodied the prejudices and fundamental errors of the traditional philosophy. Nevertheless, even the fetters of Scholasticism in their time rendered important services to the intellectual development of humanity. Like the theological Latin of the same period, so the formulas of Scholasticism formed a common element of intellectual intercourse for the whole of Europe. Apart from the formal exercise of thought, which remained very important and real even in the most degenerate form of the Aristotelian philosophy, this community of thought, which the old system had created, soon became an excellent medium for the propagation of new ideas. The period of the renascence of the sciences formed a connection among the learned men of Europe such as has never existed since. The fame of a discovery, of an important book, of a literary controversy, spread, if not quicker, at all events more generally and thoroughly, than in our own days, through all civilised countries.
If we reckon the whole course of the regenerative movement, whose beginning and end are difficult to fix, as from the middle of the fifteenth to the middle of the seventeenth century, we may then distinguish within this term of two centuries four epochs, which, although not sharply marked off from each other, are nevertheless in their main features clearly distinguishable from each other. The first of them concentrates the chief interest of Europe upon philology. It was the age of Laurentius Valla, of Angelo Politiano, and of the great Erasmus, who forms the transition to the theological epoch. The dominion of theology is sufficiently indicated by the storms of the Reformation era : it suppressed for a long time almost all other scientific interests, especially in Germany. Then the natural sciences, which had been gaining strength since the beginning of the renascence in the quiet workshops of inquirers, in the brilliant era of Kepler and Galilei, first took up a commanding and prominent position. Only in the fourth line came philosophy, although the culminating point of Bacon's and Descartes' activity in establishing principles falls not much later than the great discoveries of Kepler. All these epochs of creative labour were still exercising an unslackening influence upon their contemporaries, when the materialistic physic was again systematically developed, about the middle of the seventeenth century, by Gassendi and Hobbes.
In placing the regeneration of philosophy at the conclusion of this course, we shall scarcely meet with any serious objection if we take the renascence,' the revival of antiquity,' not in a mere literal sense, but in the sense of the true character which belongs to this great and essentially homogeneous movement. It is a time which enthusiastically clings to the efforts and traditions of antiquity, but in which, at the same time, there are everywhere present the germs of a new, a great, and an independent period of thought. It might indeed be possible to separate from the renascence,' in the strict sense, this character of independence, and the appearance of new and completely modern efforts and aims, and, with the names of Galilei and Kepler, Bacon and Descartes, to begin an entirely new period; but, as in all attempts to mark off