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Is German Philosophy responsible…


Is German Philosophy responsi- ble for German Militarism ? AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE TH CAMWY FYDD SOCIETY, TRELEW, ON OCT. 15, 1916. II. Let us now pass on to the third great name of German Critical or Idealist Philosophy— that of Hegel, who was born in 1770 and died in 1831. Of all German metaphysicians—with the doubtful exception of Kaiit-fleoel has done most to constitute a definite school of thought in England, and this in spite of the extremely abstract character of his leading works. These, in fact, were by no means incapable of a concrete application. And we find a recent writer of the School declaring: "It was in "Hegel that the Idealistic Philosophy reached "its fullest development, and its most decis- .4 ive political influence." It is on this politic- al side of his system that we may perhaps mid a point of contact with the imperial dreams of modern Germany, so far as these can be said to have had their origin in an excessive glorification of the Prussian State Upon the side of Metaphysics—that is to say, the systematic study of such abstract conceptions as Being and Knowing, Space and Time, Matter and Spli-it,-Ile--el attempted to sweep away the ambiguity and c ualism of Kant's Theory of Knowledge. He will not admit the gulf supposed to be fixed between Things-in-themselves, and Things-as-known- to-us. In all genuine knowledge, he says, we are in touch with actual reality. Ideal- ism, as he understood it, involved no denial of, nor disdain for, the existent and'the real. And he had a faith, extra-ordinarily strong for a non-scientific metaphysician of any land, not only in the essential rationality of the universe, but also in the power of the hu-, man mind to penetrate, by gradual degrees I the innermost recesses of world-wisdom, and to reach, one distant day, a Cosmic Philosophy that should be worthy of the name. The logical scheme of thought that led up to these conclusions—thought admittedly double-edged "did hot, Th the case of the originator, conduce to abandonment of the Lutheran creed in which he was brought up, and which he always strove, in a liberal spirit to defend. It would, in truth, be diffi- cult to name any man of any countrv who so well deserved the title of Supreme Christian Philosopher of the 19th Century. Within the last two years, and upon the ground ot Hegel's manifest leaning to the Prussian form of monarchy, there have been some attempts to make good against him the accusation of being the philosopher of the present militarist tradition. But the justifi- cation of this charge is small. He would have none of the doctrine that the State rests upon force. In his Philosophy of Right he insists: "The binding cord is not force, but the "deep seated feeling of order that is possess- ,4 ed by all of us." And he denounces Haller, the Treitschke of his time, for confusing the force of right with the right of force. War," said Clausewitz, a contemporary military writer, "is the continuation of politics." No. Hegel would have answered, it is the failure of politics The continuation of politics is art, science, philosophy, religion, for the full development of which he conceived a highly organised State to be essential. How little he sympathised with vast mili- tary glory, as such is proved in his saying that Napoleon "had brought the highest gen- "ius to victory only to shew how little victory "alone could achieve." With respect to Hegel's view of the des- tiny of his own people, we may note the fol- lowing words of his, uttered in the year atter Waterloo Now that the German nation, lie said, has redeemed itself by the sword from the worst of tyrannies [the Napoleonic jj one] and regained its nationality, the foun- 41 ditioi; of all Iii- dation of all higher life--we may hope that, H besides political and otherworldly interests, 41 science and philosophy, the free interests "of intelligence, may rise to newness of "life." We may fairly conclude that Hegel, no less ttaaa Fichte or than Kant, is entirely- iniiocelit of having in any sense presided at this rise r Wthat Prussian militarism which has, with- in. the last generation, dominated the inner and more active forces of German statesman- ship. Yet, with the influence of a quite other school of thought. And Dr. Muirhead-an Oxford Hegelian, who is now Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham—declared last year that: "It is not in the Hegelianism but in the violent reaction against the whole Ideal- ist Philosophy, that set in shortly after his death, that we have to look for the philoso- (iphicnl foundations of present-day militar- ism." This view is also that of many religious works who have put, their opinions on record I since the starting of the war. And it de- serves our close attention. ELLIS THURTELL. f To be continued.)

—————? ————— I Llaeth Sur.


Betsi Cadwaladr.

. - - , Gwroldeb.