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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 purify 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 circle.




PHILOSOPHY is the science of ultimate grounds. What is


sophy? It will be seen, by reference to the tabular view of the sciences in the Introduction, that Rosmini draws a clear distinction between the terms philosophy and metaphysics, employing the latter in the limited sense of Science of the Real, which, according to him, includes Cosmology, Ontology, and Natural Theology. Thus the term metaphysics, while narrower than philosophy, is wider than ontology (cf. Preface to Metaphysical Works, in Psychology, vol. i. pp. 5-16, where these distinctions are treated at length).

The above definition of Philosophy does not differ materially from that of Leibniz, who calls it “the science of sufficient reasons"; or from that of Descartes, who makes it "the science of things evidently deduced from first principles" (cf. Hamilton's Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, vol. i. pp. 48-53, where a list of the more famous definitions of philosophy, ancient and modern, are given). It approaches, perhaps, still more closely the definition which Aristotle gives of wisdom (copía), “the science which considers first principles and causes (επιστήμη των πρώτων αρχών και αιτιών Dewpntiký.Metaph., i. 2, 982 b,9); and it coincides with the definition of first philosophy, which St. Thomas in part borrows from Aristotle. “The philosopher," says he, mean


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ing Aristotle, “determines it (i.e. first philosophy) to be the science of truth, not of truth in general, but of that truth which is the origin of all truth, that is, which relates to the first universal principle of being (primum principium essendi omnibus)(Summa contra Gent., cap. i.; cf. Aristotle, Metaph., i.? 1, 993 b, 20). Rosmini condemns several other definitions of philosophy, especially those of Hobbes, Galluppi, Plato, and Wolf. Hobbes had defined philosophy as “a knowledge, acquired by correct reasoning, of effects or phenomena from their conceived causes or generations, and also of possible generations from known effects” (Computatio sive Logica, cap. i.). In regard to this Rosmini says, "Since from effects alone or from phenomena alone, without the aid of the ideal object, we can know only the proximate causes, or, more properly speaking, the laws, according to which sensible things change, philosophy is destroyed by this definition, and there remain only physics and the natural sciences, usurping the title of philosophy ” (Pref. to Metaph. Works, § 14). Of Galluppi's definition, which makes philosophy “the science of human thought,'' he says, “But human thought is only the instrument wherewith philosophy finds and contemplates its objects, and these, among which the greatest is God, cannot in the smallest degree be reduced to thought. It would be a most manifest absurdity to say that the science of God, which certainly belongs to philosophy, treats of nothing but human thought” (Ibid., § 15). In regard to the remark of Plato, that the philosopher “devotes himself always to the idea of being” (τη του όντος αεί προσκείμενος ιδέα. Soph. 254, A), he says, “On the contrary, the idea of being must guide the human mind to discover the absolute and most real being, this being the end of all its speculations-an end which it reaches, not through any idea, but through affirmation and intuition” (Ibid., § 16). To Wolf's definition of philosophy as “the science of things possible,” he objects : " Possibilities do not by any means constitute the grounds of things in their completeness, being but a single element of those grounds. Contingent things, for example, do not exist merely because they are possible, but because, being

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