Page:The Monist Volume 2.djvu/463

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BOOK REVIEWS. 451 eological view of the universe. By this is meant, that philosophical teleology should concentrate itself upon the proof that there is an end of evolution, " that there is an organic unity or purpose binding the whole process into one and making it intelli- gible in one word, that there is evolution and not merely aimless change, "-such as is supposed in a purely mechanical view of the universe. As to the nature of the end, although the lecturer accepts Hegel's view that all things are relative to man as rational, he cannot accept "the abstraction of the race in place of the living children of men." 12.

Der Menschliche Weltbegriff. By Dr. Richard Avenarius, Ord. Professor der Philosophie an der Universität Zürich. Leipsic: O. R. Reisland. 1891.

This monograph is as it were a self-confession. The author endeavors to attain clearness in his own philosophical standpoint. He looks back upon the path he has traveled and feels that “the solution of the problem attained is fundamentally a personal self-liberation” (Preface, ix). This book is most commendable reading to all idealists and agnostics. It is an interesting and instructive little work, tracing with a keen psychological criticism the vagaries of certain philosophical conceptions, through which not alone the author but the thinkers of mankind in general have strayed. The philosopher begins with what Avenarius calls the “natural world-conception.” But this natural world-conception leads to contradictions and the evil spirit of speculation leads us in a circle through the barren fields of idealism. Avenarius asks: “Is the world really of such a nature that it appears unitary and consistent only to the superficial thinker, while it leads every one astray who attempts to grasp it more precisely in its entirety—the more so the more consistently the thinker proceeds?” (p. xiii.)

The author proposes the question: “In what consists the inevitableness of the contradiction to which every general world-conception seems to have led? Or, if the world really be unitary what is the evil spirit that leads those astray who hunger and thirst after a true cognition of the world?”

The author has entirely abandoned the idealistic standpoint, an inclination to which he showed in his first publication, “Philosophie als Denken der Welt gemäss dem Princip des kleinsten Kraftmasses.” He says: “Doubt of the correctness of my way heretofore pursued was induced through the barrenness of theoretical idealism in the field of psychology; and yet cognition and experience should belong to this science as psychological ideas.”

The author in explaining the development of thought as it takes place in man proceeds in a personal way, so much so that every idealist ought to be satisfied. There are whole pages which teem with ME’s and I’s. The method of notation is what might be called American. Europeans often complain about our abbreviations, the Y. M. C. A., the S. A. S., the C. B. & Q. Ry., etc., which are great puzzles to the uninitiated newcomer. In a similar way Avenarius introduces such algebraic signs as R and E, which means reality and the sensations which our fellow-men are sup-