« Prev Lecture III. Note G.—P. 105. Rational Realism. Next »



This argument is well stated by Pfleiderer in the following words: “The agreement, therefore,” he says, “ of the ideal laws of thought, which are not drawn from the outer world, and the real laws of being, which are not created by our thought, is a fact of experience of the most incontrovertible kind; the whole certainty of our knowledge rests on it. But how are we to account for this agreement? There is only one possible way in which the agreement of our thought with the being of the world can be made intelligible: the presupposition of a common ground of both, in which thought and being must be one; or the assumption that the real world-ground is at the same time the ideal ground of our spirit, hence the absolute Spirit, creative Reason, which appears in the world-law on its real, in the law of thought on its ideal side. The connection of thought and being, subject and object, in the finite and derivative spiritual being, points back to the unity of the two in the infinite Spirit as the ground and original type of ours. This is the meaning of the ‘ontological ’ argument, as indicated even in the word. We may find it anticipated even in Plato, in the thought that the highest idea, or the Deity, is the cause both of being and of knowledge; and Augustine follows him in this, frequently and in a number of turns of thought, tracing back our faculty of knowing the truth to the fact of our participation in God, who is the substantial truth, the unchangeable law both of the world and of our thought. In modern times this thought forms the foundation and corner-stone of speculative philosophy.”—Religionsphilosophie, iii. p. 274 (Eng. trans.).

The germs of this theory are found in Leibnitz, Herder, Goethe, and most of the deeper thinkers. It is the thought which underlies Mr. Green’s Prolegomena to Ethics. Professor Samuel Harris, of Yale College, makes it the ground of his Philosophical Basis of Theism; and it largely influences current thought.

« Prev Lecture III. Note G.—P. 105. Rational Realism. Next »


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |