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• Whatever nation has given up Philosophy,-whatever nation has given up
Metaphysics,- is in a state of intellectual insolvency. Though its granaries
should be bursting; though its territories should be netted with railroads ;
though its mil foundries be the busiest in the world ; the mark
of the beast is upon it, and it is going the way of all brutality.'

RECENT BRITISH PHILOSOPHY,

LONDON:

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

1866.

265.j

26.

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THE BATTLE

OF

THE TWO PHILOSOPHIES.

The little interest usually manifested in this country in questions of abstract philosophy, was agreeably exchanged last spring for the hearty applause which welcomed Mr. Mill's “Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy." Whilst its pages were yet hot from the press, it was pronounced by the writing public to be a complete success; and the joy with which the overthrow of Sir W. Hamilton's authority and the destruction of his philosophical system was proclaimed, was almost equal to that which welcomes the victory of the popular champion in the more ignoble strife of the Ring. Any interest shown in such discussions must be regarded as a healthy sign, even though it arises from our interest in the victor rather than in the victory. It is something to have learnt that metaphysical speculations are not wholly ridiculous and trivial. . It is a healthy sign when a nation learns to be proud of its intellectual superiors ;

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and it may lead us to better things still; it may lead us to study their thoughts. Taking, however, all the circumstances of the battle into consideration, there is nothing to be surprised at, there may be something to be learnt, from this general outburst of enthusiasm. Besides the natural delight which British souls must ever experience in watching welldelivered and down-right blows, given in any fair fight whatever; besides that from the practical nature and utility of Mr. Mill's philosophcial writings, and from their great merit, he has long been the best known of our greater thinkers ; and that just before this last work of his appeared, the events of the Westminster election had shown us that he is looked upon by foreigners as in some sort our national intellectual champion; besides all this, the philosophy he seeks to destroy is the very one it most behoves us to get rid of, would we bring our physical science and our mental philosophy into full harmony, by finally subjecting the elder to the younger and more vigorous brother, as modern thought demands.

On the other hand, Sir W. Hamilton has been comparatively little known. A name rather than a teacher to most of us, the grounds of his acknowledged authority have not been generally understood; but his system of philosophy has been felt to be wholly obstructive to that advance which the sciences of matter have been of late. years so earnestly striving to make into the territory hitherto

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