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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/84

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treated them as the suggestions of a very able man indeed, but as suggestions in winch men of sound mind would soon lose their interest.

In 1800, in order to meet and oppose romanticism, the theme discussed was 'Goths and Gothism.' A question which had been propounded several times without eliciting a satisfactory answer related to the advance in German metaphysics since the time of Leibniz and Wulff. The prize for the discussion of the theme which this question presented was finally divided between three men, Schwab of Stuttgart, receiving one half, Albricht of Erlangen one fourth, and another fourth going to Reinhold, the parish minister in Kiel. Although Kant wrote on this theme as early as 1791, for some reason he did not send in his paper to the academy, though some of his thoughts upon it were published by Einkin in 1804. In one of his incomplete essays he defines metaphysics as 'the science of advancing from the knowledge acquired through the senses, by means of reason, to the supersensuous. 'Such questions were also considered as 'What is the origin of all our knowledge?' 'Is there an immediate inner perception?' 'What is the relation of the faculty of the imagination to that of feeling?' 'What was the influence of Descartes upon Spinoza?' In 1796 a military man living in Kopenick left 10,000 thalers ($7,500), the interest to be given as a prize once in four years for the best treatment of some theme in speculative philosophy. In 1805 this prize was won by Franke for a treatise on analytic methods in philosophy.

Interesting themes in philology were also suggested. A prize was offered in 1794 for a satisfactory comparison of the chief languages of Europe, living or dead, in reference to wealth, regularity, strength, harmony or other advantages, the successful essay to show in what respect one language is superior to another, and which language, then existing or having existed, comes nearest perfection. The prize was won by Jenisch, a clergyman preaching in Berlin. There was great interest in the jubilee prize of 1800 which was won by Gebhard, another Berlin preacher, who sought to trace and estimate the influence which Frederick the Great had exerted on the spirit of his age, in reference to progress and freedom. In 1804 the academy asked, 'Why civilization has always proceeded from the east and has never developed originally in the west?'

The fact that no one of the treatises on ten different themes in mathematics, physics and astronomy was accounted worthy of a prize seems to show that these branches of study were not pursued in Germany to such an extent or with such thoroughness as in other European countries. The backward state of chemistry is indicated by the question for an essay, 'Has it been sufficiently demonstrated that there are only five species of elementary earths? Can these elements be transmuted into one another? If so, how is it done?' Practical matters, relating