Though he disclaims being a follower of Herbart, his formal definition of philosophy and his conception of the object of metaphysics are similar to those of Herbart, who defines philosophy as an attempt to remodel the notions given by experience.
It exhibits the leading features of the Reformed theology, but " disclaims Divine authority for any fixed form of church government or worship."
Thus Ultramontanism disclaims any moral subjection to secular authority or law, and will recognize the state only in so far as it conforms its rules to those of the Church.
In the very characteristic preface to the new edition of 1871 he proposes never to reprint his earlier works on art; disclaims many of the views they contained, and much in their literary form; and specially regrets the narrow Protestantism by which they were pervaded.
He disclaims the intention of making his work a substitute for the actual narrative contained in the Bible.