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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/85

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THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE.

to roads, crops., agriculture, also received attention. In 1782 Cothenius left 1,000 thalers ($750), the income of which was to be used every alternate year for a prize on some economic, agricultural or horticultural topic. PSM V65 D085 Friedreich Wilhem I.png

It was in an era of empiricism in philosophy, or with some enlightened thinkers, of eclecticism, in a time when the influence of romanticism was showing itself in such men as Nicolai, the originator of Die allgemeine deutschen Bibliothek, and in an extensively circulated Berlin monthly magazine, that Kant's critiques appeared. Empiricism quailed before them. The eclectics were startled. The academy was compelled to recognize the appearance of a new and a great thinker. Some of the more eminent philosophers in the academy, like Merian, Ancillon and Selle, brought forward what they regarded as weighty objections to Kant's positions. A few, far from sympathizing PSM V65 D085 Friedreich Wilhem III.png with Kant, did not fail to perceive his power and hesitated to enter the field against him, while others, like Nicolai and his friends, were hostile and ready to fight from the first. The majority in the academy distrusted the a priori and the practical reason upon which Kant laid such stress. But in spite of the determination of the philosophical element in the academy to defend empiricism, a change in feeling toward it began to show itself as early as 1800. This change was due, certainly in part, to the mental attitude of those classes in the academy which devoted thought and time to other subjects than those that were metaphysical. Such men as Hufeland, Dr. Walter,