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There is only space to refer very briefly to the other main thesis of the book-viz. as to the meaning of good. Good is defined as what fulfils a need-any nced whatever, such as the craving of a morphiomaniac (pp. II, 113). However, a man's
greatest good' is what brings most fulfilment to the needs of his whole nature; and it is pointed out with great force that we have no measure of needs (ch. 4). This view of the meaning of good is contrasted with the intuitionist's, that it is a peculiar property in good things; and he is supposed, because he thinks that goodness cannot be defined in other terms, to think that goods cannot differ in kind. Similarly, ‘this ought to be’ is said to mean 'this is what is needed'; but if need covers craving, surely we may ask whether what is needed ought to be. The author defends herself against the intuitionist by saying that 'we have become rather more confirmed in the habit of trying to explain everything in terms of other things' (p. 14). The habit may go too far.
The Problem of Theism, and other Essays. By A. C. Pigou, Pro
fessor of Political Economy, Cambridge. (Macmillan and Co.
1908.) 35. net. It is very doubtful whether it was judicious for a young Professor of Political Economy to publish in book-form these sketches in fields where he regards himself as occupied only with by-work. As papers read before societies, to initiate discussion or for the clearing of the writer's own mind, they did very well ; but ' tentative' and 'provisional'as he confesses them to be, he would have been better advised had he retained them for further working out. As it is, he who would run with Mr. Pigou must run very fast. The facades of great philosophical structures rise before us, but we only pause before them for a brief glance, with a rapid criticism, until we arrive at the author's own somewhat shadowy residence. In philosophy, for example, we are told that the whole structures of Green and Caird rest upon plausibilities so weak that they amount to being solely due to an ambiguity of terms, and their untenability is so obvious' that a single page suffices to annul the work of two of the principal teachers of recent British philosophy.
However, taking the sketches for what they are, we can allow that there is a crispness and a vivacity in Mr. Pigou's rapid march, especially in the corrosive criticisms which fly in every direction. His own positions are, in brief, these. In metaphysics he stands for a ‘Critical Realism,' i.e. realism because we know a real world, but 'critical' because we know appearances also, and we can distinguish between these and reality. As to freedom, determinism is neither proved nor probable : after considering Dr. M'Taggart's objections, Mr. Pigou stands with Sidgwick upon the validity of the verdict of introspection, and the common-sense belief in freedom may continue. In ethics, the good is known by direct perception, and he accepts the possibility that the good of one individual may be incompatible with that of other people without feeling obliged to regard this as fatal to the theory, or as necessitating, as Sidgwick thought, reference to a future life. The essays on Nietzsche, Browning, and Meredith are suggestive. He mitigates the current hostility to Nietzsche by means of the distinction between means and ends : Nietzsche, he thinks, sought the ends of common men, but was angry with the means approved by modern thought ; while his Over-man is not a reality, but a methodological device, like the Stoic's Wise Man, for lifting our thoughts above the concrete ethical ideas embodied in contemporary civilization. As for Browning and Meredith, they are both optimists, but in different senses. Their attitudes are therefore quite personal, no valid grounds for them being shewn : they are poets, and must not be mistaken for philosophers. A brief paper on the ethics of the Gospels runs parallel in its treatment: we must not look there either for reasoned ethics, or for system ; they contain intuitive perceptions of good, propounded more prophetico, and on occasions not comprehensively. In Mr. Pigou's claim that the Love which is taken to be fundamental is that Pure or Disinterested love in which regard for self disappears, we touch one of the most acute problems of ethical psychology.
The essay on the Problem of Theism' is the longest in the volume, and contains the most solid work. Mr. Pigou's position is that it is in religious experiences that we have the proper field for scientific theism to work in : it is reflexion upon these which constitutes the true philosophy of religion for our day. For himself he is able, by resting ultimately in the Realism of his first essay, to allow some probability to certain limited elements of theistic doctrine. He considers with some care objections taken to the validity of the recorded experiences of mankind as material for such reflexion, and decides in their favour. But the outcome of the reflexions which he has applied is neither far-reaching nor copious-spirituality, power, and will-for-good are the constituents of the theistic idea ; the data do not justify us in inferring either unity, or omnipotence, or even supremacy, and we must not stretch beyond relationship to the human field from which we started to inferences about the whole universe. The design argument is discussed acutely, Mr. Pigou's decision being against it both as to its datum and its inference. But he expressly sets small store upon the speculative elements in religion ; it is the relation to Will and Feeling which gives the substance to religious conviction. At the same time, he disallows the value-judgement theory, though here it seems that he has a misconception of what this theory aims at, and that in reality he is in agreement with what the theory means. On the whole there are some good points in this essay, but its general result is so obviously out of all proportion to the variety and richness of religious experience that its tentative character is manifest. Yet its quality is such as to lead us to hope that though Mr. Pigou is now in charge of the teaching and study of political economy at Cambridge he will not desert the fields so rapidly traversed in the papers before us, but eventually reach some richer and more positive results than his first adventures have brought him. It is well-known that Sidgwick lamented his own failure to leave anything like a School behind him, and had, indeed, grave suspicions as to this being due to the over-critical character of his own mind. Miss Constance Jones valiantly continues his teaching in ethics, especially on its positively intuitional and utilitarian sides; but in Mr. Pigou's general standpoints, both negative and positive, we have the nearest approach to a thoroughgoing discipleship. What is Religion ? By WILHELM BOUSSET. Translated by
F. B. Low. (London: T. Fisher Unwin. 1907.) 5s. net. This is in many ways a book of high value. Dr. Bousset is one of the new school of German theologians, who write for the main body of educated people rather than for the student class, and his book ought to be useful to many in our own country who have but little time for study. We do not know of any book which gives within so small a compass so much valuable information about the great religions of the world, and even where we least agree with the author, he states his case so fairly that we often find in his own pages the very arguments which we should urge against him.
The book frequently reminds us of Professor Harnack's What is Christianity ? but, as the title implies, the subject is wider. Dr. Bousset's purpose is to vindicate the abiding necessity of religion, and to shew how Christianity, as he understands it, is the final and perfect religion in which all that is best in other religions finds its place and its completion. Religion, he maintains, is 'a fundamental element in the mental life of mankind, of a primary and not a derivative character.' It is quite distinct from the universal fear of ghostly presences. It is a 'feeling of self-surrender to the Godhead, and healthy religion must always contain an element of personal interest'; it must be personal relationship, a desire to surrender, but likewise to receive.' Moreover, it implies choice,' the entering into definite relationship with one out of many, with the chosen object of our worship in contrast with others who might receive it. Having laid down these fundamental positions, the author proceeds to a most interesting classification of the great religions of the world. Chapter II. gives us 'The Religion of SavagesTribal Religion.' Here Dr. Bousset holds, with St. Paul, that the savage 'recognizes Almighty God, but prefers to enter into relation with lower spirits, fetiches, spirits of ancestors.' In Chapter III. we have ‘National Religions,' much being said of the religion of Babylon. In Chapter IV. we have ‘The Prophets and the Religion of the Prophets,' giving the writer's view, not only of the prophets of Israel but of Zarathustra and the great teachers of the Greeks. Chapter V. gives us 'The Religions of the Law- Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islamism’; Chapter VI. 'The Religions of Redemption--Buddha, Plato'; while in Chapters VII. and VIII. 'The Nature and Future of Christianity' are dealt with.
What strikes us at once in this classification is that Dr. Bousset gives nothing like its true place to the preparatory religion of Israel, and separates within it the Law from the Prophets in a way which the Prophets themselves would not for a moment have countenanced. His view of the religion of Israel is neither clear nor consistent. He seems unwilling to separate it from the other imperfect religions of the world, and yet is continually being brought up against facts which make this separation inevitable. Thus, for example, he says that the 'bond between Jehovah and His people was a perfectly natural one,' like that, apparently, of other tribal divinities to their people ; and yet he frankly points out that the relation in the case of Jehovah is represented as resting upon a divine choice. Obviously, if Jehovah chose one nation out of many, He had a fundamental relation to all nations, and the bond between Himself and the chosen people was not at all a merely natural one. So again, though Dr. Bousset represents the inspiration of the prophets as nothing more than the possession of strong moral convictions, he points out that in the religion of Babylon there are no traces of prophetic personalities, and that to say that the prophets of Israel are the spiritual scholars of Babylon is the same as saying that the sculptor stands in a spiritual “ relation to the quarryman.' The same kind of hesitation appears in the account of the relation of the Prophets to the Law. On the one hand they are represented as individualistic reformers protesting against tradition, law, custom, and popular usage, while on the other hand we are told that the early prophets of Israel were zealous supporters of the worship in the Temple. The fact, of course, is that, so far from the prophets being individualistic reformers and originators, they were essentially true members of the body corporate of Israel, recalling their people to the ancestral religion to which they had been unfaithful.
We think that the most valuable part of the book is found in Chapters V. and VI., where the author points out that, while the Religions of the Law fail to be Religions of Life, and the Religions of Redemption lose hold upon morality, Christianity provides us with a religion which is a religion both of morality and of new life. The characteristics of the legal religions are admirably pointed out. All alike tend to lose the universal character, which monotheism ought to give to them, by the importance which they attach to the observance of purely national customs. Religion threatens to fall into ruin through an excess of regulations. Creeds and sacred books become too important, and the learned, who have studied the sacred books, too important also. “There is no conception of religion as a spontaneous stretching forth towards God, or that the good life, as God wishes it, is a unity, a whole.' In the Religions of Redemption, on the other hand, there is an earnest attempt to believe in and to strive after a higher life. But this is done to the disparagement of ordinary human life, the thought of God grows dim, and morality is relegated to an inferior position. Now Christianity, Dr. Bousset urges, unites the good points of both these types of religion while avoiding their characteristic weaknesses. Jesus freed religion from nationality, from ceremonial observances, and from the tyranny of erudition. On the other hand, the teaching of the Gospel 'rests on the most profound sense of the dignity and individuality of human life.' 'In comprehending God as the Creator, the Doer, the Preserver, the Father of our spiritual and higher nature, the Gospel at the