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NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS 167 they regard as the Standard of every Thing, and which they will not submit to the superior Light of Revelation?" (p. 21) is the Hume we have come to accept, Hume the philosopher, Hume the foe of superstition and enthusiasm. Indeed, upon reading the Letter it seems that one must ask himself if Hume;s desire for this position--and the financial security it would offer--has not affected his response. We know that in his later life Hume flatly refused to debate the multitude of clergymen who attacked his works. Not even so respectable a philosopher as Thomas Reid could elicit a public response from him. Why then did he reply to a philosophical scoundrel such as Wishart? Of course, one could suggest that Courts and Kames and perhaps others may have urged Hume to this reply in his own interest. But that, to me, is precisely the point: Why so unusual a concern in just this case, and why one which seems to undercut some of what are thought to be Hume's most daring and creative analyses? These are not rhetorical questions, but queries of importance to those who wish to see Hume and his work whole. The Letter ]rom a Gentleman does shed important light on the Treatise. Professor Mossner was quite correct in his surmise. But I believe that it raises more questions than it answers--and for this reason too we are fortunate that it has been added to the Hume bibliography. DAVZDFATE NORTON Edinburgh, Scotland THE HEGELIAN DANTE OF WILLIAM TORREY HARRIS William Torrey Harris is remembered as the foremost American exponent of Hegelianism; as founder of the Philosophical Society (1866); as editor of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy (1867-93); as U.S. Commissioner of Education (1889-1906); and as founder, with Miss Susan E. Blow, of the first permanent public school kindergarten in America. He also gave Melville Dewey the order of the ten subiect classes of his famous book classification system, and was co-founder of the Library Journal. Harris was born in North Killingsly, Connecticut in 1835. He studied at Phillips Andovcr Academy, and at Yale University, from which he withdrew in his junior year to accept a teaching position in St. Louis, Missouri in 1857. In St. Louis he met Henry C. Brockmeyer, a German immigrant and intellectual, and under his influence began a lifelong commitment to the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. He states that Hegel's philosophy became the center of all his thinking , but he nevertheless ~vent on to study the works of the other great thinkers, including those of Dante Alighieri. In 1883-84 he gave a series of lectures in St. Louis on Dante, and again in 1886 at the Concord School of Philosophy. These lectures were later expanded and published as The Spiritual Sense o] Dante's Divina Commedia, in Boston, by Houghton in 1889, and reissued in 1896. 168 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY The form of the Divina Commedia is a massive triadic structure of written words developed by exhaustive repetition of the terza rima. Structurally it is a development of the concept of The Trinity. The reader who knew not a single word of Italian could not escape having the Trinitarian notion hammered into his consciousness. Harris, however, was more concerned with meaning than form, and so he considered the triadic format a relatively trivial matter. Harris uses the Commedia to illustrate by imaginative representation the dialectic of the Holy Trinity to the American Protestant while explaining it with Hegelian logic. In summary he writes, "The doctrine of the divine form, or the self-activity of the absolute, involves the common nature of man and God, or God as divine human. This is the great central truth (of which the doctrine of the Trinity is the symbol) on which all modern civilization is built, and it is its open secret." Dante's Inferno corresponds with Hegel's logical and ontological level, called "Sein," the realm of abstract-unconscious-being-for-another. The Purgatory corresponds with his level "Wesen," the realm of mediated being in which the self is conscious of its being-in-and-for-another...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 167-170
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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