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      The rest was lost to me, for the men crowded round the innkeeper, who now aired his knowledge about the occurrence and evidently spoke with true conviction. At the end of the conversation they took their tankards from the bar, and shouted and cried: "Ah, well, if that is so, vive la Hollande! vive la Belgique! vive notre roi!" Suddenly we were the best of friends.


      "So near and yet so far," said Balmayne between his teeth. "The best thing would be to climb the railings and hide in one of the gardens, only it would mean abandoning the car. And we might just as well give ourselves up as that."Once the Ideas had been brought into mutual relation and shown to be compounded with one another, the task of connecting them with the external world became considerably easier; and the same intermediary which before had linked them to it as a participant in the nature of both, was now raised to a higher position and became the efficient cause of their intimate union. Such is the standpoint of the Philbus, where all existence is divided into four classes, the limit, the unlimited, the union of both, and the cause of their union. Mind belongs to the last and matter to the second class. There can hardly be a doubt that the first class is either identical with the Ideas or fills the place once occupied by them. The third class is the world of experience, the Cosmos of early Greek thought, which Plato had now come to look on as a worthy object of study. In the Timaeus, also a very late Dialogue, he goes further, and gives us a complete cosmogony, the general conception of which is clear enough, although the details are avowedly conjectural and figurative; nor do they seem to have exercised any influence or subsequent speculation until the time of Descartes. We are told that the world was created by God, who is absolutely good, and, being without jealousy, wished that all things should be like himself. He makes it to consist266 of a soul and a body, the former constructed in imitation of the eternal archetypal ideas which now seem to be reduced to threeExistence, Sameness, and Difference.157 The soul of the world is formed by mixing these three elements together, and the body is an image of the soul. Sameness is represented by the starry sphere rotating on its own axis; Difference by the inclination of the ecliptic to the equator; Existence, perhaps, by the everlasting duration of the heavens. The same analogy extends to the human figure, of which the head is the most essential part, all the rest of the body being merely designed for its support. Plato seems to regard the material world as a sort of machinery designed to meet the necessities of sight and touch, by which the human soul arrives at a knowledge of the eternal order without;a direct reversal of his earlier theories, according to which matter and sense were mere encumbrances impeding the soul in her efforts after truth.


      Until now we had walked along the right bank of the canal, until we crossed one of the many bridges. The little girl was well-nigh exhausted; from time to time I gave her a rest, and then again I carried her a part of the way.


      IV.

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      In modern parlance, the word scepticism is often used to denote absolute unbelief. This, however, is a misapplication;124 and, properly speaking, it should be reserved, as it was by the Greeks, for those cases in which belief is simply withheld, or in which, as its etymology implies, the mental state connoted is a desire to consider of the matter before coming to a decision. But, of course, there are occasions when, either from prudence or politeness, absolute rejection of a proposition is veiled under the appearance of simple indecision or of a demand for further evidence; and at a time when to believe in certain theological dogmas was either dangerous or discreditable, the name sceptic may have been accepted on all hands as a convenient euphemism in speaking about persons who did not doubt, but denied them altogether. Again, taken in its original sense, the name sceptic is applicable to two entirely different, or rather diametrically opposite classes. The true philosopher is more slow to believe than other men, because he is better acquainted than they are with the rules of evidence, and with the apparently strong claims on our belief often possessed by propositions known to be false. To that extent, all philosophers are sceptics, and are rightly regarded as such by the vulgar; although their acceptance of many conclusions which the unlearned reject without examination, has the contrary effect of giving them a reputation for extraordinary credulity or even insanity. And this leads us to another aspect of scepticisman aspect under which, so far from being an element of philosophy, it is one of the most dangerous enemies that philosophy has to face. Instead of regarding the difficulties which beset the path of enquiry as a warning against premature conclusions, and a stimulus to more careful research, it is possible to make them a pretext for abandoning enquiry altogether. And it is also possible to regard the divergent answers given by different thinkers to the same problem, not as materials for comparison, selection or combination, nor even as indications of the various directions in which a solution is not to be sought, but as a proof that125 the problem altogether passes the power of human reason to solve.


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