Mansey, Henry Longueviille

Mansey, Henry Longueviille, one of the leading English divines of our day, noted particularly for his ability as a philosopher of the Hamiltonian school, was born in 1820 in the parish of Cosgrove, Northamptonshire, of which his father was then rector. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, and later at St. John's College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1843. He was shortly after ordained, and served the Church in various positions until 1855, when he was appointed reader in moral and metaphysical philosophy at Magdalen College, Oxford, and in 1859 became the Waynfiete professor. In 1867 he was made regius professor of ecclesiastical history, and at the same time also canon of Christ Church, Oxford. In October, 1868, he was appointed dean of St. Paul's, London, and died in the English metropolis in 1871. His works are: Aldrich's Logic, with Notes (1849): — Prolegomena Logica (1851): — article "Metaphysics," in the 8th ed. of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1857), afterwards published separately: — Bampton Lectures — The Limits of Religious Thought (1858): — The Philosophy of the Conditioned (1866), in reply to Mill's Review of Hamilton's Philosophy. He was also one of the editors of Sir William Hamilton's Lectures. Mansel wrote in a clear and elegant style. His Bampton Lectures occasioned much controversy, both theological and philosophical. In the first one mentioned, on The Limits of Religious Thought, which passed through a number of editions, both in England and in this country, he takes as the basis of his arguments Sir W. Hamilton's position that "the unconditioned is incognizable and inconceivable." This treatise of Mansel is regarded as "one of the most important applications of the Hamiltonian philosophy to questions of religion." Farrar (in his Crit. Hist. of Free Thought. p. 470) thus speaks of The Limits of Religious Thought: "It is a work which is valuable for its method, even if the reader differs (as the author of these lectures does in some respects) from the philosophical principles maintained, or occasionally even from the results attained. It is an attempt to reconstruct the argument of Butler from the subjective side. As Butler showed that the difficulties which are in revealed religion are equally applicable to natural, so Mr. Mansel wishes to show that the difficulties which the mind feels in reference to religion are parallel with those which are felt by it in reference to philosophy. Since the time of Kant a subjective tone has passed over philosophy. The phenomena are now studied in the mind, not in nature; in our mode of viewing, not in the object viewed. Hence Butler's argument needed reconstructing on its psychological side. Mr. Mansel has attempted to effect this; and the book must always in this respect have a value, even to the minds of those who are diametrically opposed to its principles and results. Even if the details were wrong, the method would be correct, of studying psychology before ontology; of finding the philosophy of religion, not, as Leibnitz attempted, objectively in a theodicee, but subjectively, by the analysis of the religious faculties; learning the length of the sounding-line before attempting to fathom the ocean." See The Nation (N.Y.), Jan. 10, 1867, p. 27 sq.; Grote, Review of Niel's Examination of Hamilton's Philosophy (Lond. 1868, 18mo), p. 43 sq.; McCosh, Intuitions of the Mind (see Index); Porter, Human Intellect (Index). SEE HAMILTON, SIR W. (J. H. W.)

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