Imagini ale paginilor

convey the true meaning of Rosmini's thought to others in my own language convinced me that the difficulty of presenting it was far greater than I had supposed. Seeing myself, therefore, shut up to the third course, I came to the conclusion that I should best attain my end by adopting, as the basis of my work, the Sistema Filosofico or résumé of Rosmini's system, compiled by the author for Cantù's Storia Universale, accompanying it with explanations of my own and parallel passages from his longer works. In this way, I hoped to afford a general notion of the whole, and at the same time to impart a special knowledge of its more characteristic and essential features. The sections of the Sistema, therefore, correspond to the Dictałe which German philosophers not unfrequently read to their students to be written down verbatim, while the notes or excursus answer to their viva voce explanations or lectures. The Introduction is intended to show the position which Rosmini's philosophy occupies with reference to other systems, ancient and modern, and in the universal history of human thought.

As far as possible I have allowed Rosmini to speak for himself. Only in a few cases have I introduced condensations, explanations, and criticisms of my own, and several of these last deal with the relation of Rosmini's doctrines to systems that have been promulgated since his death. In all ways it has been my aim to make clear what seem to me the essential points of the system, those points which constitute it a remedy against the idealisms, materialisms, and scepticisms by which the thought of the present day is wasted.

In reference to the sketch of Rosmini's life, I ought to say that I have written it from a standpoint not entirely my own. This I deemed both courteous and permissible, all the more so that in an article in the Fortnightly Review I have dwelt with sufficient emphasis on what seem to me the limitations of his character and the defects of his religious creed.

The Bibliography is as nearly complete as I have been able to make it. Of its defects I have spoken in a note prefatory to it.

The footnotes, which are all due to me, will, it is hoped, be useful to the reader, and will not draw upon the writer the charge of excessive pedantry.

I have tried to turn Rosmini's somewhat diffuse Italian into readable English, and, I am well aware, with only partial success. Those, however, who best know the difficulties of rendering the philosophical style and terminology of one language into those of another, will, I am sure, be most indulgent toward my shortcomings. I would respectfully ask those who may feel inclined to blame me for employing such words as intuite, exigence, etc., to suggest other less objectionable words fitted to fill with credit the places of these. I would likewise ask those who, from an outside point of view, whether Hegelian, Comtian, Spencerian, or any other, may, at the first glance, feel inclined to cast aside Rosminianism as merely resuscitated Scholasticism, to reserve their judgment until they are sure they have a full and complete comprehension of the system. It is difficult to comprehend : this ought to be frankly admitted. This difficulty, however, is due, not so much to the system itself, as to the fact that much of the terminology in which it is expressed has, in recent centuries, been so wrested from its proper use and meaning as to be now almost incapable of conveying truth. This is especially true with regard to such terms as subject, object, intuition, perception, intelligence, feeling, etc., which in the mouths of most modern thinkers have little or no intelligible meaning For years I found it very difficult to enter into Rosmini's thought, and I feel quite sure that no one, without a most careful study of his terms, will be much more fortunate than I was.

With a view to facilitating this study, I have included in

my notes as many definitions as possible, and have placed an index of them at the end of the volume.

As the whole of the work, with the exception of the translation of the Sistema and a few parts of the Bibliography, was written in a remote village of the Piedmontese Alps, where I had access to few books beyond that portion of my own library which I had been able to transport thither, a few quotations and references had to be taken at second hand. For any inaccuracy that may occur in these I must crave the reader's indulgence.

In conclusion, I beg to return my most sincere


thanks to the members of the Rosminian Order for numerous acts of kindness and courtesy displayed to me in the course of my researches into the life and philosophy of their Founder, and to say that, though they have encouraged me in the publication of this work, they are in no way responsible for any opinion expressed by me in reference either to the doctrines of Rosmini or to the views and purposes of those who have attacked these doctrines. I am informed, on good authority, that they intend soon to publish an English translation of Rosmini's first important work, the New Essay on the Origin of Ideas. I have further to thank my friend, Dr. J. BurnsGibson, for reading over the proofs of the work.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »