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    2020-08-11 12:47:07


    This absolute separation of Form and Matter, under their new names of Thought and Extension, once grasped, various principles of Cartesianism will follow from it by logical necessity. First comes the exclusion of final causes from philosophy, or rather from Nature. There was not, as with Epicurus, any anti-theological feeling concerned in their rejection. With Aristotle, against whom Descartes is always protesting, the final cause was not a mark of designing intelligence imposed on Matter from without; it was only a particular aspect of Form, the realisation of what Matter was always striving after by virtue of its inherent potentiality. When Form was conceived only as pure thought, there could be no question of such a process; the most highly organised bodies being only modes of figured extension. The revival of Atomism had, no doubt, a great deal to do with the preference for a mechanical interpretation of life. Aristotle had himself shown with masterly clearness the difference between his view of Nature and that taken by Democritus; thus indicating beforehand the direction in which an alternative to his own teaching might be sought; and Bacon had, in fact, already referred with approval to the example set by Democritus in dealing with teleological enquiries.

    268But the enthusiasm for science, however noble in itself, would not alone have sufficed to mould the Epicurean philosophy into a true work of art. The De Rerum Natura is the greatest of all didactic poems, because it is something more than didactic. Far more truly than any of its Latin successors, it may claim comparison with the epic and dramatic masterpieces of Greece and Christian Europe; and that too not by virtue of any detached passages, however splendid, but by virtue of its composition as a whole. The explanation of this extraordinary success is to be sought in the circumstance that the central interest whence Lucretius works out in all directions is vital rather than merely scientific. The true heroine of his epic is not Nature but universal life—human life in the first instance, then the life of all the lower animals, and even of plants as well. Not only does he bring before us every stage of man’s existence from its first to its last hour106 with a comprehensiveness, a fidelity, and a daring unparalleled in literature; but he exhibits with equal power of portrayal the towered elephants carrying confusion into the ranks of war, or girdling their own native India with a rampart of ivory tusks; the horse with an eagerness for the race that outruns even the impulse of his own swift limbs, or fiercely neighing with distended nostrils on the battlefield; the dog snuffing an imaginary scent, or barking at strange faces in his dreams; the cow sorrowing after her lost heifer; the placid and laborious ox; the flock of pasturing sheep seen far off, like a white spot on some green hill; the tremulous kids and sportive lambs; the new-fledged birds filling all the grove with their fresh songs; the dove with her neck-feathers shifting from ruby-red to sky-blue and emerald-green; the rookery clamouring for wind or rain; the sea birds screaming over the salt waves in search of prey; the snake sloughing its skin; the scaly fishes cleaving their way through the yielding stream; the bee winging its flight from flower to flower; the gnat whose light touch on our faces passes unperceived; the grass refreshed with dew; the trees bursting into sudden life from the young earth, or growing, flourishing, and covering themselves with fruit, dependent, like animals, on heat and moisture for their increase, and glad like them:—all these helping to illustrate with unequalled variety, movement, and picturesqueness the central idea which Lucretius carries always in his mind.

    The Platonic influence told even more efficaciously on Galileo’s still greater contemporary, Kepler. With him as with the author of the Republic, mysticism took the direction of seeking everywhere for evidence of mathematical proportions. With what brilliant success the search was attended, it is needless to relate. What interests us here is the fact, vouched for by Arago, that the German astronomer was guided by an idea of Plato’s, that the world must have been created on geometrical principles.552 Had Bacon known anything about the work on which his adventurous contemporary was engaged, we may be sure that it would have afforded him another illustration for his Id?la, the only difficulty being whether it should be referred to the illusions of the Tribe, the Den, or the Theatre.

    It has been mentioned that Carneades was the head of the Academic school. In that capacity, he was the lineal inheritor of Plato’s teaching. Yet a public apology for injustice, even when balanced by a previous panegyric on its opposite, might seem to be of all lessons the most alien from Platonism; and in a State governed by Plato’s own laws, it would certainly have been punishable with death. To explain this anomaly is to relate the history of Greek scepticism, which is what we shall now attempt to do.

    We have also to consider in what relation the new193 Scepticism stood to the new Platonism by which, in common with every other school, it was eventually either displaced or absorbed. The answer usually given to this question is that the one was a reaction from the other. It is said that philosophy, in despair of being able to discover truth by reason, took refuge in the doctrine that it could be attained by supernatural revelation; and that this doctrine is the characteristic mark distinguishing the system of Plotinus from its predecessors. That a belief in the possibility of receiving divine communications was widely diffused during the last centuries of polytheism is, no doubt, established, but that it ever formed more than an adjunct to Neo-Platonism seems questionable; and there is no evidence that we are aware of to show that it was occasioned by a reaction from Scepticism. As a defence against the arguments of Pyrrho and his successors, it would, in truth, have been quite unavailing; for whatever objections applied to men’s natural perceptions, would have applied with still greater force to the alleged supernatural revelation. Moreover, the mystical element of Neo-Platonism appears only in its consummation—in the ultimate union of the individual soul with the absolute One; the rest of the system being reasoned out in accordance with the ordinary laws of logic, and in apparent disregard of the Sceptical attacks on their validity.


    Descartes’ theory of the universe included, however, something more than extension (or matter) and motion. This was Thought. If we ask whence came the notion of Thought, our philosopher will answer that it was obtained by looking into himself. It was, in reality, obtained by looking into Aristotle, or into some text-book reproducing his metaphysics. But the Platonic element in his system enabled Descartes to isolate Thought much more completely than it had been isolated by Aristotle. To understand this, we must turn once more to the Timaeus. Plato made up his universe from space and Ideas. But the Ideas were too vague or too unintelligible for scientific purposes. Even mediaeval Realists were content to replace them by Aristotle’s much clearer doctrine of Forms. On the other hand, Aristotle’s First Matter was anything but a satisfactory conception. It was a mere abstraction; the390 unknowable residuum left behind when bodies were stripped, in imagination, of all their sensible and cogitable qualities. In other words, there was no Matter actually existing without Form; whereas Form was never so truly itself, never so absolutely existent, as when completely separated from Matter: it then became simple self-consciousness, as in God, or in the reasonable part of the human soul. The revolution wrought by substituting space for Aristotle’s First Matter will now become apparent. Corporeal substance could at once be conceived as existing without the co-operation of Form; and at the same stroke, Form, liberated from its material bonds, sprang back into the subjective sphere, to live henceforward only as pure self-conscious thought.

    Had then been reared: no ploughshare cut the clod

    Institute of Plasma Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (ASIPP, HFIPS) undertakes the procurement package of superconducting conductors, correction coil, superconducting feeder, power supply and diagnosis, accounting for nearly 80% of China's ITER procurement package.

    "I am so proud of our team and it’s a great pleasure for me working here," said BAO Liman, an engineer from ASIPP, HFIPS, who was invited to sit near Chinese National flay on the podium at the kick-off ceremony to represent Chinese team. BAO, with some 30 ASIPP engineers, has been working in ITER Tokamak department for more than ten years. Due to the suspended international traveling by COVID-19, most of the Chinese people who are engaged in ITER construction celebrated this important moment at home through live broadcasting.

    One of ASIPP’s undertakes, the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (or PF6 coil) , the heaviest superconducting coil in the world, was completed last year, and arrived at ITER site this June. PF6 timely manufacturing and delivery made a solid foundation for ITER sub-assembly, it will be installed at the bottom of the ITER cryostat.

    Last year, a China-France Consortium in which ASIPP takes a part has won the bid of the first ITER Tokamak Assembly task, TAC-1, a core and important part of the ITER Tokamak assembly.

    Exactly as Bernard BIGOT, Director-General of ITER Organization, commented at a press conference after the ceremony, Chinese team was highly regarded for what they have done to ITER project with excellent completion of procurement package.


    The kick-off ceremony for ITER assembly (Image by Pierre Genevier-Tarel-ITER Organization) 


    the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS) 


    ITER-TAC1 Contract Signing Ceremony (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS)

    World dignitaries celebrate a collaborative achievement

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