In modern times the work has been the theme of a generous appreciation in several pages of Humboldt's Cosmos (ii.
Rather than ethical; Clarke's view being that the apparently arbitrary particularity in the constitution of the cosmos is really only explicable by reference to creative free-will.
It would seem that, in the extreme spiritual vicissitudes of his life, conscious alternately of personal weakness and of the largest speculative grasp, he at times threw himself entirely on the consolations of evangelical faith, and at others reconstructed the cosmos for himself in terms of Neo-Platonism and the philosophy of Schelling.
The Keplerian like the Pythagorean cosmos was threefold, consisting of the centre, or sun, the surface, represented by the sphere of the fixed stars, and the intermediate space, filled with ethereal matter.
This was not the first time that approaches had been made to such a doctrine, and Diogenes of Apollonia in particular was led to oppose Anaxagoras, who distinguished Nous or Thought from every other agent within the cosmos which is its work by postulating as his first principle something which should be at once physical substratum and thinking being.
While, again, legitimately insisting upon personality as a fundamental constituent in any true theory of reality, the relation between human individualities and the divine Person is left vague and obscure; nor is it easy to see how the existence of several individualities - human or divine - in one cosmos is theoretically possible.
Seth Pringle-Pattison, Man's Place in the Cosmos (1897); H.
On the other hand, nearly all systems of philosophy have discussed the underlying problems. Such questions as the origin of the cosmos as a whole, the production of organic beings and of conscious minds, and the meaning of the observable grades of creation, have from the dawn of speculation occupied men's minds; and the answers to these questions often imply a vague recognition of the idea of a gradual evolution of things.
At a time when all nationalities, and at the same time all bonds of religion and national customs, were beginning to be broken up in the seeming cosmos and real chaos of the Graeco-Roman Empire, the Jews stood out like a rock in the midst of the ocean.
Seth Pringle-Pattison in his Man's Place in Cosmos (1897, p. 307).