Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/142

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unconscious, or the unknowable, and many others whose life has been short. Still, careful investigation into the leading traits of past centuries often reveals the existence of at least one thinker, sometimes of several thinkers, whose ideas and accomplishments have given character and prominence to his century. Thus we have the century of Augustine, that of Scotus Erigena, that of Anselm, that of Thomas Aquinas, that of Lord Bacon, that of Rousseau and Voltaire, who in a time of comparative quiet really prepared the way for the strife and destruction of the revolution. Perhaps there are men now living, even if we do not recognize them, whose thought and deeds will in the distant future characterize our times.

It has been well said that thought runs from the exact mathematical form to the vaguest religious form, from demonstration to feeling, from knowledge to faith. By this it is not meant that faith does not lay hold of realities, but that its objects are not the objects which awaken and retain the interest of the man of science, or of the lover of exact thought. Philosophy occupies herself with the region which lies between that of science and that of faith. We have therefore three kinds of thought, scientific, philosophical, religious, or as Kant might express it, transcendental. These may be united in a mind sufficiently capacious, as they surely are in the divine mind, but of this union this is not the place to speak.

In Germany from 1800 to 1830, perhaps a little later, the chief interest was in philosophy, as well it might be when such men were living as Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and their illustrious pupils. In France it was in science, of which the results were set forth in books or reports whose literary form was well nigh perfect, when men like Arago, Cuvier and their associates in the Paris Academy of Sciences were in their prime. In England it was the influence of individual thinkers, appearing here and there, often unexpectedly. For a time the writings of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Shelley and later of Browning and Tennyson affected thought, as in Germany the writings of Schiller, Lessing and Goethe had done. In a certain sense, as Merz remarks, the century began and ended in a ferment of opinion. In England and Scotland Wordsworth, Coleridge and Burns are followed by Byron. In Germany Kant is followed by degenerate materialistic systems of philosophy which he would have abhorred, as well as by some that were idealistic which yet would not have won his approval. It will be observed that the destructive schools of philosophy introduce nothing that is entirely new to the thinking world. Yet the cultivated mind is seriously at work, so that as the century progresses new ideas are formulated and are proving themselves constructive in character. This the words employed indicate, e. g., energy, its conservation or dissipation. The words, individualism, personality recall Lotze with