Stirling, James Hutchison (b. 1820)

Stirling, James Hutchison, master in philosophy, born in Glasgow; bred to medicine and practised for a time in South Wales; went to Germany to study the recent developments in philosophy there, on his return to Scotland published, in 1863, his “Secret of Hegel: being the Hegelian System in Origin, Principle, Form, and Matter,” which has proved epoch-making, and has for motto the words of Hegel, “The Hidden Secret of the Universe is powerless to resist the might of thought! It must unclose before it, revealing to sight and bringing to enjoyment its riches and its depths.” It is the work of a master-mind, as every one must feel who tackles to the study of it, and of one who has mastered the subject of it as not another in England, or perhaps even in Germany, has done. The grip he takes of it is marvellous and his exposition trenchant and clear. It was followed in 1881 by his “Text-book to Kant,” an exposition which his “Secret” presupposes, and which he advised the students of it to expect, that they might be able to construe the entire Hegelian system from its root in Kant. It is not to the credit of his country that Dr. Stirling has never been elected to a chair in any of her universities, though it is understood that is due to the unenlightened state of mind of electoral bodies in regard to the Hegelian system and the prejudice against it, particularly among the clergy of the Church. He was, however, elected to be the first Gifford Lecturer in Edinburgh University, and his admirers have had to content themselves with that modicum of acknowledgment at last. He is the author of a critique on Sir William Hamilton's theory of perception, on Huxley's doctrine of protoplasm, and on Darwinianism, besides a translation of Schwegler's “History of Philosophy,” with notes, a highly serviceable work. His answer to Huxley is crushing. He is the avowed enemy of the Aufklärung and of all knowledge that consists of mere Vorstellungen and does not grasp the ideas which they present; (b. 1820).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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