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beside and before Aristotle's Logic, by which a period was put to sophistry. Next to his contributions to Ideology, Rosmini's most important work was in Psychology, in which he showed, for the first time, the true nature of the Ego, its double relation to being and sensation, and the necessary nature of the term of the latter. His two works, Anthropology and Psychology, which deal with this subject, are acknowledged as marking an epoch in its history, even by those who are most bitterly opposed to the rest of his system. Next in importance to his contributions to Psychology are those which he made to the inferential Science of Morals, for which he discovered a rational and objective basis in the same principle which furnishes the criterion of theoretical truth, showing that right is merely truth accepted as a standard of action. Besides these, he made many and great contributions to other sciences, especially Logic, Law, Politics, Cosmology, Ontology, and Natural Theology. His great work, the Theosophy, which was intended to deal exhaustively with the last three subjects, he did not live to complete, and the same is true respecting several other great works, including one on
Mathematics. Many of his writings still remain unpublished. *
From what has been said, it will be easy to understand the relation of Rosminianism to the other systems of our time. To the various sensistic systems, whether calling themselves materialistic or idealistic, it stands in the relation of a corrector and complement; to the spiritualistic systems, in the relation of a guide and foundation. It completes the former, by showing them the way out of mere subjectivity and persuasion into a world of objectivity and truth ; it imparts strength and vision to the latter, by placing them upon a basis of rational insight. To the special sciences it furnishes unity and aim. Doubtless, Rosminianism will in many points undergo modification or correction, and in many more receive extensive development; but that it supplies a basis for a new and unprecedented progress in philosophy, will hardly be doubted by any one who, with sufficient knowledge of previous systems and sufficient freedom from prejudice, will give it a thorough examination.f
If such is the nature and importance of Rosmini's system, it may well be asked why, having been before the world more or less completely for half a century, it has thus far made so little impression upon it, that, outside of Italy and the circle of Rosmini's religious order, its very existence is almost unknown. The answer to this is very simple. Rosmini was an Italian and wrote in Italian ; he was Catholic priest and a very sincere one; and, worse than all, he was a staunch opponent of the narrow policy which a certain party in the Church has followed for the last fifty
* See the list of his works, pp. lii.-Ixviii.
† Some people, fond of finding brief names for things, rather discredit Rosmini's system by calling it Objective Idealism. It is one great merit of the system that, not being one-sided, it is not covered by any one name. must call it something, then, to be just, we ought to name it : Objective Ideal. ism, Subjective Realism, and absolute Moralism.
years. The first of these circumstances renders his works inaccessible to the greater number of persons who are fitted to appreciate them ; the second prejudices against them the majority of the remainder, who differ from him in creed ; and the third rouses against them the odium politicum of by far the larger number of the thinkers of his own confession. Scholars who have been wont to believe that all modern thought deserving of consideration must come from Germany, France, or England, are not inclined to learn Italian, in order to study the works of a Catholic thinker whose name does not occur in most of the histories of philosophy; Protestants and Rationalists are not prepared to believe that a profound and rational system of philosophy can originate with a devoted priest of the Catholic Church ; and Catholics of the ordinary stripe are not prepared to look with favour upon the works of a man who did his best to reform and purisy ecclesiastical discipline, and to lead the Church back to her primitive simplicity, humanity, and faith. Hence Rosminianism, having nothing but truth in its favour, has thus far struggled almost in vain against a world of prejudice. Not altogether in vain, however ; for the system has, especially in Italy, a small but select number of very warm adherents, who, in the long run, will do more to propagate it than ten times the number of lukewarm disciples. Truth at last is sure to prevail, and therefore Rosminianism can afford to bide its time without haste or fear. When that time comes, the system will be found to contain not only all the truth of ancient and of modern philosophy, combined and systematized, but also a groundwork on which philosophy may henceforth advance, like the other sciences, instead of continuing to be held in scorn as a baseless phantom for ever whirling aimlessly in a vicious circic.