« PreviousContinue »
THE “ History of Materialism" was hailed, upon its original publication in Germany, as a work likely to excite considerable interest. In this country, Professor Huxley suggested, in the "Lay Sermons, Lectures, and Addresses (published in 1870), that a translation of the book would be “a great service to philosophy in England.” Soon afterwards there was published a second-thoroughly remodelled and re-written-edition of the work. And then, in the autumn of 1874, attention was again specially directed to it by Professor Tyndall's acknowledgment of his indebtedness “to the spirit and to the letter” of the work in his memorable address as President of the British Association at Belfast.
It was shortly after this that, seeing with regret that the book had so long awaited a translator, I ventured to apply to the author for his authority to undertake the task. The causes that have delayed its completion, since they are personal to myself, it would be an impertinence to trouble the reader with. The only one that is not so, is to be deplored on other grounds besides that of mere delay. The lamented death of the author, in November 1875, deprived me of the hoped-for opportunity of submitting my rendering to his friendly criticism.
The impatience expressed in many quarters has decided us to defer publication no longer; and accordingly the reader has now before him the first instalment, to be speedily followed by two other volumes, which will complete the work. The division into three volumes instead of two-which in some respects might have been preferable-has been dictated by practical considerations.
The difficulties attending the translation of a philosophical German work into English are notorious. It would be absurd to suppose that I have always succeeded in meeting or eluding these difficulties; but I have endeavoured everywhere to translate as literally as was consistent with English idiom.
It may serve also to explain possible obscurities to remember that the book is written with continual reference to the problems and questions under discussion in Germany, and to the forms of speculation current there. It has been treated, indeed, by Von Hartmann as a polemic, eine durch geschichtliche Studien angeschwollene Tendenzschrift.’1 And as an assertion of the Materialistic standpoint against the philosophy of mere ‘Notions' (' intuitionless conceptions,' in Coleridge's phrase), and of the Kantian or Neo-Kantian standpoint against both, no doubt it is a polemic; but it is, at the same time, raised far above the level of ordinary controversial writing by its thoroughness, its comprehensiveness, and its impartiality.
E. C. T.
2 SOUTH SQUARE, GRAY's Inn.
1 See Eduard von Hartmann : Neukantianismus, Schopenhauerianismus und Hegelianismus in ihrer Stellung zu den philosophischen Aufgaben der Gegenwart. Berlin, 1877.
FREDERICK ALBERT LANGE:
FREDERICK ALBERT LANGE was born at Wald near Solingen, in the district of Düsseldorf, on the 28th of September 1828. He was the son of the well-known Bible Commentator, Dr. J. P. Lange, now Professor in Bonn, who has also shown himself possessed of special capacities by rising from the position of a carter and labourer to be one of the leading Evangelical theologians of Europe.
The boy's early life was spent in Duisburg; but at the age of twelve, his father having received a call as Professor to Zürich, Switzerland became his second Fatherland, and until the last he retained a strong love for the Republic and a keen interest in its politics. Already in his earlier years this interest must have been excited, for in that stirring period political passions extended even to the boys at school.
In 1848, having already attended the University of Zürich for two sessions, he followed the German custom of migrating from university to university, and went to Bonn to attend lectures on philology. His journey had to be inade through a country shaken by the storms of that revolutionary period; and he wore for his protection while travelling a cockade of black gold and red. This he, with the patriot Arndt, was one of the last in Bonn to lay aside. All the struggles and activities of the time he followed with interest and enthusiasm. In a letter written in May 1849, he asks, “Should it not be clear to every reasonable man that civilised Europe must enter into one great political community ?” Unfortunately, twenty-eight years have done little to bring us nearer to this ideal. Another of his aspirations, expressed somewhat later, was destined to be realised. Germania was to wake up, like the heromaiden in Schiller's poem, and cry, “Give me my helm !”
Having taken his degree of Doctor, he became an assistant-master in the 'Gymnasium,' or grammar-school, at Cologne; and in the following year he married.
But in 1855 he returned to Bonn as Privat-docent' of philosophy, lecturing on the History and Theory of Education, on the Schools of the Sixteenth Century, on Psychology, on Moral Statistics, and finally, in the summer of 1857, upon the History of Materialism. At the same time he was studying natural science, attending the lectures of Helmholtz upon physiology, and profiting by intimate intercourse with Frederick Ueberweg, the author of the well-known “System of Logic," and the “History of Philosophy.”
In 1858, however, he was fain to take a mastership once more, this time at the Gymnasium at Duisburg; and there he continued until political considerations caused him to resign in 1861. He had now devoted himself to social and economic questions and to political agitation; and, amongst numerous other offices, filled the position of secretary to the Chamber of Commerce at Duisburg. In this post he gave evidence of a genius for finance which astonished and delighted the merchants and manufacturers of Duisburg. He was still, moreover, steadily working at his “History of Materialism," and was at the time delivering privately courses of lectures on the History of Modern Philosophy. From 1862 until 1866 he was one of the editors of the daily newspaper the “Rhein- und Ruhrzeitung," and maintained the principles of freedom and progress against the onslaught of reactionary government. His occupations were still further multiplied by his becoming a partner in a publishing and printing business, in which he undertook the direction of the printing establishment. He was anxious for the spread of information amongst the people. Among the various works which he published at this period were his "Arbeiterfrage" (Labour Question), 1865, third edition 1874; and “John Stuart Mill's Ansichten über die Sociale Frage und die angebliche Umwälzung der Socialwissenschaft durch Carey," 1866 (Mill's views on the social question and the asserted revolution worked in social science by Carey). He founded also a newspaper to represent the interests of labour in the Rhenish and Westphalian provinces, but the attempt was continued for nine months only.
His own position was meanwhile becoming very difficult. His bold and independent treatment of the social question, which was then in the full tide of the agitation led by Ferdinand Lassalle, caused some coldness between Lange and his political friends. At the same time he was harassed by the press prosecutions which German Governments seem unable to avoid, and which the German people still continue to endure. Under these circumstances, he accepted overtures of partnership made to him by an old schoolfellow, who was proprietor of the well-known democratic newspaper, the “ Landbote" of Winterthur, then, as now, a paper of great influence. To Winterthur, accordingly, he removed with his wife and family in November 1866; and he was speedily engaged to fill as many municipal and public offices as he had already held at Duisburg.
But the love of teaching, which had always been strong within him, led him to join the University of Zürich as a Privat-docent,' although he continued to live in Winterthur, until, in 1870, he was called to Zürich as Professor of Philosophy. For two years he worked zealously here, and declined a call to Königsberg. But much as he loved Switzerland, yet Germany was his true home, and a feeling of home-sickness (as he says) came over him when, in 1872, he was again invited by the Minister Falk to become Professor at Marburg. He accepted the invitation, and once more removed.