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when she hesitated, he told her he would cut off her head if she refused. He then asked this piece and several other things of value from the King, and packed them off for Petersburgh, without ceremony. In a few days after, he took his departure; leaving the palace in which he had been lodged in such a state of filth and dilapidation as to remind one of the desolation of Jerusalem.”
THE PHILOSOPHY OF KANT.
66 WELL, I do think,” said Egeria, one morning in attempting to read Villers' account of the Transcendental Philosophy of Kant, “ that the history of philosophy may be described as the history of human folly ; and yet the art of philosophizing purposes to itself the development of the truths and principles of Divine wisdom !—I begin to suspect, that the slow progress which the generality of mankind make in the science of the mind, is owing in a great measure to the many dogmas which every system of metaphysics entertains obnoxious to common sense. But of all systems, that of this ethereal German seems the most pregnant with these sort of absurdities; and yet it is impossible to deny to the author the praise of great acumen, and a degree of subtlety almost without parallel. The history of the man indeed demonstrates, that, by the course of reflection and meditation which he adopted, he neces
sarily disqualified himself from advancing the improvement of mankind,—the sole end and object of all science; for, beyond question, the only authors that have helped forward the process of intellectualizing in the world, are those who have mixed much with the bustle and business of life. There is no example of a mere literary man ever having done much good to his species, except in the capacity of a schoolmaster,-if, in that capacity, it be fair to consider him as exclusively literary; for, perhaps, few situations are more trying, or require more of address to manage, and of discernment to perceive the peculiarities of those to be managed, than that of a schoolmaster.”
66 What is the history of Kant?” said Benedict; “ I never recollect to have heard much either of him or of his philosophy,—but that implies nothing derogatory either to his wisdom or his genius. The tardiness with which the discoveries of Newton,-so simple and so important, and so readily corresponding with the general habits of science, were adopted among ourselves, is well known; and, therefore, we need not wonder that Kant's philosophy should be so little studied or understood in this country.”
“ It will never be either studied or understood in England, you may rely on that, Benedict,” replied the Nymph; “we are much too practical a people to waste our time or thoughts on the unprofitable phantoms of a flatulent imagination. Kant, the sage or visionary of Köningsberg, is reputed as having, in a life of nearly eighty years, sequestrated himself from the world,—his admirers say, contenting himself, in the true simplicity of a sage, with the occu
pations of study and the society of a few favoured friends. It does not appear in his case more than in that of any other of your solitaries, that retirement is favourable to modesty ; for it would seem it is not merely as a metaphysician that he claims to be considered ; there is scarcely a science that he has not ventured to attempt to illustrate. "He is,' says his disciple, "a mathematician, an astronomer, a chemist ;- in natural history, in physics, in physiology, in history, in languages, and literature and the arts, -in all the details of geography, as they relate to the exact situation of the parts of the globe, their inhabitants and productions, every thing is familiar to him ;' that is to say, he was a dabbler and a meddler with every thing of which books treat, and did nothing worth the consideration of a tyro in any of them. It is true, that Monsieur Villers contends, that the planet which Herschell discovered ought to have been known to astronomers under the ridiculous name of the Kant;' because, twenty-six years before the discovery of that portion of the solar system, its existence had been predicted by Kant in some conjectures on the heavenly bodies, which probably went beyond the orbit of Saturn, published in 1755, in a work entitled, " The Natural History of the World, and Theory of the Heavens, on the Principles of the Newtonian Philosophy. This is a very silly claim to set up. It ought rather to have been called “The Newton ;' for, after the demonstration which the English philosopher gave of the Copernican system, the existence of unknown planets, both within and without the orbit of Saturn, could not be doubted. The discovery of them depends on the patience and telescopes of the observers.”
“ I see you are no admirer, Nymph as you are,” said the Bachelor, “ of the metaphysical German ; “ but what can you tell me of his system-his philosophy ?"
"I can tell you nothing," replied Egeria, “ and I hope ever to be prevented from having it in my power : but, if you have any curiosity on the subject, look into the first volume of the Edinburgh Review, and there you will find quite enough to satisfy you that it very little deserves the attention of things of flesh and blood.”
« Philosophy, in relation to the process which it adopts, is considered by Kant as of three kinds. It is dogmatical, when it founds a system on principles assumed as certain ; sceptical, when it shows the insufficiency of those principles which the dogmatist has assumed ; and critical, when, after adopting the objections of the sceptic, it does not rest satisfied with doubt, but proceeds to inquire from what principle of our nature the allusions of the dogmatist have arisen, and, by a minute analysis of the cognitive powers of man, traces the whole system of his knowledge through all the mos difications of its original elements, by his independent and fundamental forms of thought. It is in this analysis that the spirit of the critical philosophy is to be found : and till the process have become familiar, the whole system must appear peculiarly unintelligible ; but, when the reduction of all our feelings to their objective and subjective elements is well understood, though we may still be perplexed by the cumbrous superfluity of nomenclature, we are able to discover,
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through the veil that is cast over us, those dim ideas which were present to the author's mind. According to Kant, then, it is necessary, in investigating the principles of knowledge, to pay regard to the two sets of laws on which the nature of the object and of the subject depends. It is from their joint result, as directing the influence of the thing perceived, and as directing the susceptibilities of the percipient, that knowledge, which is thus in every instance compound, arises; and this compound of objective and subjective elements might be modified equally, by the change of either set of laws;. as the impression of a seal may be varied alike, by a change of figure in the gem, or by a difference of resistance in the parts of the wax which are exposed to its pressure. The subjective elements are by Kant denominated forms; and each function of the mind has its peculiar forms, with which it invests its objects, uniting with them so intimately, as to render apparently one that feeling, which cannot exist but as combined of different elements. Nothing therefore is known to us as it is; since we acquire the knowledge of an object, only by the exertion of those laws, which necessarily modify to us the real qualities of the object known. Philosophy, therefore, in relation to its belief of external things, is empirical, when it believes them to exist exactly as they appear to us in each particular case ; it is transcendent, when, using reason to correct the false representation of the senses, it believes that the objects of our senses exist in a manner really known to us, after this correction, though different from their immediate appearance in particular cases. In both these views it has relation only to their objectivity, or to their qualites as independently existing in themselves; and is therefore erroneous, as those qualities cannot be discovered by us. It is transcendental, when, considering them in relation to our own powers, it investigates the