The Philosophers of Foufouville

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" One somewhat unorthodox modern writer, named Anthon, calls their notions ' a train of fanciful concep- tions, numbers, ideas, proportions, qualities, and element- ary forms, in which philosophers took refuge as the asylum of ignorance.' " In reading their absurdities, one is tempted to fancy that if the individual who asserted that the moon was made of green cheese, or old Mother Goose, who declared that the cow jumped over it, had been so fortunate as to have lived a few thousand years ago,
...they also might have set up for philosophers.
"These old fellows appear. to have written their lucu- brations rather for the sake of displaying their rhetorical or argumentative powers, than for any useful purpose ; in fact, they constantly assert, in their works, that it is be- neath the dignity of philosophy to endeavor to alleviate the physical sufferings, or to add to the material comforts 9 98 TD.E PHILOSOPHERS OF FOUFOUVILLE.
of life. The learned men — that is to say, the men of science — of modern times, write, and not only write, but study and labor in order to discover facts that may ben- efit their fellow-men ; and the classical scholar, who studies by gas-light, who travels by steam, who sends an important message by the electric telegraph, who under- goes a surgical operation, which, owing to the influence of chloroform, seems like a pleasing dream, or who has been saved from the small-pox by vaccination, is certainly unappreciative and ungrateful, if he does not acknowl- edge that the men to whom he owes these blessings have done more for his happiness, and are more deserving of admiration than all the stoic, epicurean, platonic, peri- patetic, laughing and crying philosophers that ever lived." Longshanks now paused to take breath.


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