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Title: Religion and Science - From Galileo to Bergson
Author: Hardwick, John Charlton
Language: English
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RELIGION AND SCIENCE



RELIGION AND SCIENCE

FROM GALILEO TO BERGSON

BY

JOHN CHARLTON HARDWICK

  "Philosophy will always be hard, and what it promises even in the end
  is no clear theory nor any complete understanding or vision. But its
  certain reward is a continual evidence and a heightened apprehension
  of the ineffable mystery of life, of life in all its complexity and
  all its unity and worth."

  F. H. BRADLEY, _Essays in Truth and Reality_, p. 106.


LONDON

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE

NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.

1920



TO

MY FATHER



PREFACE


The chapters which follow are not intended as even a slight sketch of
the history of Thought since the Renaissance. Their object is more
modest, i.e. to illustrate the thesis that mankind, being "incurably
religious," insists (however hopeless the enterprise may sometimes seem)
upon interpreting the universe spiritually.

Thus it is quite natural that only a few typical names should find their
places here: and often no sufficient reason may appear for one being
included rather than another. For instance, in the tenth chapter, T. H.
Green, F. H. Bradley, and A. J. Balfour are mentioned, while Martineau
and the Cairds are passed over. Needless to say, there was no doctrinal
prejudice here. Again, in the fourth chapter, Pascal is dealt with at
some length, but Boehme, an equally important thinker, is ignored. And
so on.

I should like to acknowledge here my obligation to Dr. Mercer, Canon of
Chester, for his advice upon books, especially with regard to material
for the final chapters. Also to the Rev. H. D. A. Major, Principal of
Ripon Hall, for suggestions about the general plan of the book; and to
the Rev. E. Harvey (a mathematical graduate of Trinity College, Dublin,
at present studying medicine) for valuable information about the present
position of psychic research.

                                                              J. C. H.

  ALTRINGHAM, _March 23rd, 1920_.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I
    INTRODUCTORY                                                    PAGE

      Religion and Science defined. "Accurate and systematic
      knowledge" necessarily affects our "attitude to life." Can
      our systematised knowledge sanction a religious attitude?
      This the "religious problem." Religious harmony of Middle
      Ages. Will it return?                                            1

    CHAPTER II
    THE DISSOLUTION OF THE OLD SYNTHESIS

      The old World-Scheme described. Aquinas and Scholasticism.
      Cusanus criticises conventional ideas of space. The
      New Astronomy of Copernicus. Bruno and an infinite
      universe. Galileo's telescope. The New Physics and an
      automatic universe. The New Logic                                8

    CHAPTER III
    GROWTH OF THE MECHANICAL THEORY

      The New Science creates a New Philosophy. Universality
      of Mechanics. Importance of Harvey's discovery. Descartes
      extends the mechanical theory to cover physiology and psychology.
      Hobbes and a naturalistic ethic. Newton extends the
      operation of law from the earth to the heavens. Religious
      attitude of these thinkers. Significance of their thought       18

    CHAPTER IV
    SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY REACTIONS

      A Law of Thought. Spinoza. A Mechanical Universe
      spiritually interpreted. _Natura Naturans_, what it means.
      The _Ethics_. Spinoza's mysticism. His personality. Leibniz
      and a philosophy of personality. His monads. Pascal. His
      significance. _The Pensées._ The eternal protest of religion.
      Man defies the universe. Results                                28

    CHAPTER V
    RISE OF AN ANTI-RELIGIOUS SCIENCE

      Anti-clericalism in eighteenth-century France. Voltaire's
      propaganda. Diderot and the Encyclopædists. Holbach's
      _System of Nature_. Laplace's astronomy. Lavoisier and the
      New Chemistry. Dalton's atomic theory. Results for religion     42

    CHAPTER VI
    RISE OF GERMAN IDEALISM

      Importance, for the mechanical view, of Locke's theory of
      knowledge. Weakness of speculative philosophy. Rise of the
      "critical" philosophy. Kant. He seeks to solve the problem:
      How is knowledge possible? Kant's view of the mind's
      function in knowledge. Mechanism a "form of thought,"
      subjective not objective. Kant's view of reality. Can we
      know reality? The two worlds                                    52

    CHAPTER VII
    THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT

      Kant clears the ground for a new philosophy. Significance
      of Rousseau. His attitude to culture. The new philosophy in
      Germany, its goal. Fichte. Hegel a rationalistic-romanticist.
      His method. Hegelianism. Significance for religious thought
      of Schleiermacher. The autonomy of religion and religious
      experience                                                      62

    CHAPTER VIII
    MECHANISM AND LIFE

      Rise of bio-chemistry and bio-physics in Germany. Significance
      of these movements. The Origin of Species. Lamarck.
      The new geology. Darwin. Results of his theory                  74

    CHAPTER IX
    MATERIALISM AND AGNOSTICISM

      Early decline of Romanticism in Germany. Comte and the
      "positive" philosophy. Materialism in Germany. Darwinism
      and the "argument from design." Haeckel. Spencerian
      evolutionism. Spencer's moral idealism. His philosophy of
      religion. Agnosticism. Rise of philosophic pessimism.
      Significance of Nietzsche                                       84

    CHAPTER X
    REACTIONS IN PHILOSOPHY

      German idealism naturalised in England by Coleridge and
      Carlyle. These writers described. _Sartor Resartus._ Idealism
      at Oxford, T. H. Green. F. H. Bradley. Balfour's plea for a
      philosophy of science. Revival of Idealism in Germany.
      Lotze. His view of "values" and reality                         98

    CHAPTER XI
    SOME RECENT TENDENCIES IN PHILOSOPHY

      A new philosophy of Science. Mach on "Economy of
      Thought." "Abstractness" and artificiality of scientific
      method. Boutroux and natural law. James' view of the
      mind carried further by Bergson. His view of the intellect.
      What it can, and what it cannot, do for us. Intuition.
      Indeterminism and Pluralism. Leibniz revived. Ward's
      philosophy of personality                                      110

    CHAPTER XII
    SOME RECENT TENDENCIES IN SCIENCE

      The "New" Physics. New theories of matter. The "New"
      Biology. Driesch and neo-vitalism. The "New" Psychology.
      "Spiritualism." The outlook for the future                     125

    CHAPTER XIII
    SOME FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

      History of Thought supplies no material for dogmatising.
      Yet a progress of ideas is evident. Permanency of "spiritual"
      view of reality. Its continual revival. Sabatier's saying.
      Need of freedom, alike for religion and for science            137



RELIGION AND SCIENCE



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY. RELIGION AND SCIENCE


Numerous attempts to define religion have made it evident that religion
is indefinable. We may, however, say this much about it, that religion
is _an attitude towards life_: a way of looking at existence. It is
true that this definition is too wide, and includes things which are not
religion--there are certain attitudes to life which are definitely
anti-religious--that of the materialist, for instance. However, it will
serve a purpose, and we can improve upon it as we proceed. It is a
mistake to put too much faith in definitions: at any rate it is better
to have our definitions (if have them we must) too wide than too narrow.

Science is, fortunately, much easier to define. _Accurate and systematic
knowledge_ is what we mean by science--knowledge about anything,
provided that the facts are (so far as possible) accurately described
and systematically classified. Professor Karl Pearson, the highest
authority on the principles of scientific method and theory, writes:

"The man who classifies facts of any kind whatever, who sees their
mutual relation and describes their sequences, is applying the
scientific method and is a man of science. The facts may belong to the
past history of mankind, to the social statistics of our great cities,
to the atmosphere of the most distant stars, to the digestive organs of
a worm, or to the life of a scarcely visible bacillus. It is not facts
themselves which make science, but the method by which they are dealt
with. The material of science is co-extensive with the whole physical
universe, not only that universe as it now exists, but with its past
history and the past history of all life therein. When every fact, every
present or past phenomenon of that universe, every phase of present or
past life therein, has been classified, and co-ordinated with the rest,
then the mission of science will be completed."[1]

Science, then, is systematic and accurate knowledge; and when we have
systematic and accurate knowledge about everything there is to be known,
the programme of science will be complete. This is only to say that the
task it has set itself is one that will never end.

So much, then, for our definitions. Religion is "an attitude to life":
science is "systematic and accurate knowledge." How does the one affect
the other? What are the relations between the two? That is the topic
which will occupy our attention during the chapters that follow. To
answer the question properly will involve a certain amount of
acquaintance with the history of ideas. We must first put the
preliminary question: How, as a matter of fact, have men's scientific
ideas affected their religious ideas (or _vice versa_) in times past?
Having tried to answer this question, we shall be in a better position
to approach the religious problem as it presents itself to-day.

Meanwhile a few remarks of a general character will not be out of place.
It is evident that "science" can hardly fail to affect "religion."
Systematised knowledge necessarily affects an individual's (or a
society's) attitude to life--either by broadening and elevating that
attitude, or by debasing it. Our knowledge, or what we believe to be
such, tends to create certain preconceptions which make our minds
hostile to certain beliefs or ideas. A man reared from his cradle on
mechanical science will tend to regard miracles with suspicion; if he be
logical (as he generally is not) freedom of the will, even in the most
limited sense, will appear chimerical. Nor will his general attitude to
life remain unaffected by his views on these points.

Systematised knowledge may thus conceivably come into conflict with the
presuppositions or the ideals of some particular religion. It is then
that a "religious problem" arises. A religion indissolubly associated
with a geocentric conception of the universe would tend to become
discredited as soon as that conception had been disposed of by
"systematic knowledge." Science may even tend to produce an attitude to
life hostile not only to a particular religion but to _all_ religion. If
materialism should ultimately be found to be consistent with systematic
and accurate knowledge, it is difficult to see how any attitude to life
which could be appropriately described as "religion" could survive. The
religious problem would then, at any rate, cease to trouble us. The
religious apologists would be free to turn their attention to matters of
more moment. But it is not only with the cessation of religion that the
religious problem slumbers. There are certain happy periods when
religion flourishes undisturbed by obstinate questionings. These
classical ages of religion exist when systematised knowledge seems to
support the contemporary religious outlook--when science and religion
speak with one voice. Such unanimity seems to us to-day too good to be
possible, but that is only because our own age is exceptional--not
because those happier ages were exceptional; they, in fact--if we trace
history backwards--would seem rather to have been the rule.

Primitive man, it would seem, was troubled by no discords of the kind
which disturb our peace. His systematic knowledge--such as it was--was
entirely in accord with his religion, the two were, in fact, in his case
practically one. His science _was_ his religion. It may not have been
very sound science, nor very elevated religion, but it served his
purpose admirably. He was too busy with the struggle for survival to
indulge in speculation. His religion was severely practical, and he was
faithful to it because experience seemed to indicate that it paid.

But the Stone Age hardly deserves (in spite of its freedom from
religious difficulties) to be described as one of the classical ages of
religion; absence of struggle does not necessarily mean richness of
life. There are ages which better deserve that appellation. There are
times when all existing culture--even of a high level--is closely
associated with the current religion, endorses its ideals, sanctions its
hopes, puts the stamp of finality upon its faith. Such an age cannot
perhaps hope to be permanent; for life means movement, and movement
upsets equilibrium, and human knowledge tends to increase faster than
the human mind can adapt itself to it or digest it. But such ages are
looked back upon with regret when they are past, they shed a golden
radiance over history, their tradition lingers, they even leave behind
them monuments of art and literature which are the wonder, and the
inimitable models, of succeeding generations.

Such an epoch was that which left to us our Gothic cathedrals. These are
the creation of one of those classic ages "when all existing culture is
cast or bent in obedience to the religious idea." When scientist,
scholar and ecclesiastic spoke with one voice and listened to one
message; when prince and peasant worshipped together the same
divinities; when to be outside the religious community was to be cut off
from the brotherhood of mankind. "The Church" was then co-extensive with
civilisation: those without the fold were barbarians, hardly worthy of
the name of man.

That time of splendid harmony, however, is now past; no lamentations
will restore it. We have reached another world.

But it need not remain only a memory; it ought also to serve as an
inspiration. The conditions of affairs during the classic ages of
religion, however impossible at the moment, must remain our ideal. Head
and heart must some day speak again with one voice, our hopes and
beliefs must be consistent with our knowledge. Science must sanction
that attitude towards existence which our highest instincts dictate.

It is only too likely that this consummation is yet distant. Yet even if
our generation has to reconcile itself to spiritual and moral discord,
it should never overlook the existence of a happier ideal, and even the
possibility of its fulfilment. Fortunately for the interests of
religion, men feel they _must_ effect some kind of a reconciliation
between the opposing demands which proceed from different sides of their
nature. Each for himself tries to approximate science and religion, and
the struggle to do this creates in each individual spiritual life.
Tension sometimes creates light, and struggle engenders life. So long as
there are men sufficiently _interested_ in religion to ask for a
solution of its problems, religion will remain superior to the
disintegration towards which all discord, if unchecked, proceeds.

It is sometimes said that the religious harmony of the Middle Ages, of
which we have spoken, having been due to imperfect knowledge, is never
likely to repeat itself, unless we sink back into the ignorance of
barbarism: and (it is urged) we know too much to be at peace. Having
tasted of the fruits of knowledge, the human race is cast forth from its
Paradise. This view is unduly pessimistic. There is no valid reason for
excluding the possibility that our knowledge of reality and those ideal
hopes which constitute our religion may actually coincide. Religion and
science, approaching the problem of existence from contrary directions,
may independently arrive at an identical solution. That the two actually
do attack the enigma from different sides has led many people to regard
the two as hostile forces. Such is not the case. Religion and science
regard reality from different angles, but it is the same reality that is
the object of their vision, and the goal of their search.

Religion looks at existence as a whole, and attempts to determine its
meaning and value for mankind. Religion, we may say, stands at the
centre of existence, and regards reality from a central position.

The province of science, on the other hand, is not to take so wide a
survey, but to gain knowledge piece-meal: to locate points inductively,
and thus to plot out the curve which we believe existence constitutes.
If the _loci_, as they are successively fixed, seem to indicate that the
curve is identical with the circle which religion has already
intuitively postulated, the problem of existence would have been solved.
Science and religion working by different methods would have described
the same circle. When science has completed its circle, its centre may
be found to stand just at the point where religion has always
confidently declared it to be. Knowledge and faith will then, and not
till then, be one.



CHAPTER II

THE DISSOLUTION OF THE OLD SYNTHESIS


We have seen that there are classic religious periods when faith and
knowledge have seemed to approximate to one another. The Middle Ages in
Europe constituted such a period; no "Religion _v._ Science" controversy
could then be said to exist; the best scientific knowledge of the time
seemed to sanction the popular religious notions. Learned and lay
thought in the same terms; the wolf lay down with the lamb.

THE OLD WORLD-SCHEME.--It is important to grasp the main features of a
world-scheme which as late as the fifteenth century passed everywhere
without criticism.

The father of it was Aristotle. His conception of the universe rested
upon the plain contrast, which strikes the unsophisticated observer,
between the unembarrassed and regular movements of the heavenly bodies
and the disordered agitations of sublunary things. Hence the heavenly
region was eternal, and the region of earth transitory: yonder, the
motions that take place are eternal and regular; here, motion and rest
alternate, nothing "continueth in one stay."

At the centre of the universe stands Earth: hence we mount through three
sublunary strata to the region of the celestial ether, which is purer
as distance from the Earth increases.

These strata form three concentric "spheres" which, solid yet
transparent (like crystal), revolve around the earth. The first contains
the moon--like a fly in amber; the second, the sun; the third, the fixed
stars; which last sphere is also the first of several successive
heavens, the highest of which is the seat of Deity.

This Aristotelio-Ptolemaic system[2] formed a coherent framework for
biblical world-notions. Here too, earth stands still while sun and stars
revolve; here, too, the seat of Deity is the highest heaven. This was an
universe where men could feel their feet on firm ground; their minds
found rest in those simple and definite notions which make religious
conceptions easy to understand and accept; their imaginations were not
yet disturbed and disquieted by thoughts of space and time without end
and without beginning.

AQUINAS.--Such was the "world of nature," the theatre for that "world of
grace" which Revelation spoke of, and which led eventually to the
eternal "world of glory" in which the faithful should have their
portion. _Natura_, _gratia_, _gloria_ was the ascending series (like
another set of celestial spheres), and the whole economy was elaborated
into a logical system, known to the historians of thought as
Scholasticism: a philosophy which found its most perfect and memorable
expression in Thomas Aquinas (1227-74), the _doctor angelicus_ of
Catholic theology, canonised less than fifty years after his death. The
_Summa Philosophica_, where Aquinas deals with the rational foundations
of a Christian Theism, and the _Summa Theologica_, where he erects his
elaborate structure of theology and ethics, together constitute "one of
the most magnificent monuments of the human intellect, dwarfing all
other bodies of theology into insignificance."[3] In him the erudition
of an epoch found its spokesman; he was the personification of an
intellectual ideal. To his contemporaries he stood beyond the range of
criticism. In the _Paradiso_ (x.8.2) it is St. Thomas who speaks in
heaven.

Nevertheless, the Scholastic world-scheme, though based on "the evidence
of the senses, the investigations of antiquity, and the authority of the
Church," and though Aquinas had set the seal of finality upon it, was
destined to gradual discredit and ultimate extinction.

DISINTEGRATION BEGINS.--It was open to attack on two sides. _Either_
observations or calculations might be brought forward, conflicting with
it, or making another conception possible or probable: _Or_ the validity
of conventional ideas of space might be disputed.

The latter type of criticism was the first to occur. Nicholas Cusanus
(1401-1464), an inhabitant of the Low Countries, subsequently bishop and
cardinal, developed unconventional notions about Space. He suggested
that wherever man finds himself--on earth, sun, or star--he will always
regard himself as standing at the centre of existence. There is, in
fact, no point in the universe which might not appropriately be called
its centre, and to say that the earth stands at the centre is only (what
we should now call it) an anthropomorphism. So much for _place_; and
similarly with _motion_. Here, too, there is no absolute standard to
apply: motion may exist, but be unnoticed if there be no spot at
absolute rest from which to take bearings.

"We are like a man in a boat sailing with the stream, who does not know
that the water is flowing, and who cannot see the banks: how is he to
discover whether the boat is moving?" Cusanus, in fact, denies the
fundamental Aristotelian dogma that the earth is the central point of
the universe, because, on general grounds, there _can_ be no absolute
central point. This gave a shock to the "geocentric theory" from which
it never recovered.

Worse shocks, however, were to come. The name of the man who actually
(as Luther complained) turned the world upside down, is notorious
enough. Poles and Germans alike have claimed the nationality of Nicolaus
Copernicus (1473-1543); who, having been a student at Cracow and in
Italy, became a prebendary in Frauenburg Cathedral.

THE NEW ASTRONOMY.--The general criticisms of Cusanus were elaborated by
Copernicus. The senses cannot inform us (when any motion takes place)
_what_ it is that moves. It may be the thing perceived that moves, or
the percipient--or both. And it would be _possible_ to account for the
movements of celestial bodies by the supposition that it is the earth
that moves, and not they. Copernicus' whole work consisted in the
mathematical demonstration that this hypothesis could account for the
phenomena as we observe them. In fact, when these demonstrations were
eventually published (it was only on his death-bed that Copernicus
received a copy of his book--and he had already lost consciousness) they
were introduced by a discreet preface, which intimated that the whole
thing might safely be regarded as a _jeu d'esprit_ on the part of an
eccentric mathematician. And this editorial _caveto_, though written by
another hand, preserved the Copernican theories from the notoriety that
might otherwise have attended, and afterwards did attend, them.

Copernican conceptions were semi-traditional. The sun displaces the
earth as the central point of the universe: around it revolve the
planets--including the earth; and, at an immeasurable distance, is the
immovable heaven of the fixed stars. Copernicus left it an open question
whether or no the universe was infinite. It remained for his successor,
the greatest of the Renaissance thinkers, Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) to
declare it to be limitless, and to contain an infinity of worlds like
our own. The fixed stars became, for him, suns surrounded by planets.
The traditional distinction between the celestial and sublunary spheres
had vanished. The bewilderment and indignation excited by these ideas,
revolting to the conscience of his time, cost their author his life.

GALILEO.--The criticism of the old world-conceptions was, however, to be
based on yet more sure ground by one who relied, not on general
considerations, but on observation and experiment. Galileo (1564-1642)
studied philosophy, physics, and mathematics at Pisa; and as professor
expounded the old astronomy long after he had ceased to regard it as
adequate. Not until 1610, after he had constructed a telescope and
observed the satellites of Jupiter, did he openly confess his adherence
to the system of Copernicus. The observation of sun-spots and the phases
of Venus confirmed his opinion.

Aristotelian astronomers declined to witness these phenomena through his
telescope, and perhaps Galileo was right in observing with a sigh that
were the stars themselves to descend from heaven to bear him witness his
critics would remain obdurate.[4]

It was not until 1632 that a complete exposition of the conflict between
the two world-systems was produced by Galileo. It took the form of a
dialogue between three speakers--conservative, mediating, and extreme.
The views of the author, however, were not sufficiently concealed, the
book was prohibited, and Galileo summoned to Rome, and upon threat of
torture, subdued into a recantation and a promise not to offend in the
future. That Galileo perjured himself is not open to doubt, nor did he
change his convictions. A subsequent work, surreptitiously printed in
Holland, contained the same heresies expressed with less reserve.

THE NEW PHYSICS.--It might be said, then, that the fabric of the
universe had been reconstructed by the thinkers whose explorations we
have hitherto followed. This achievement, however, though sufficiently
startling in itself, was not the only, and perhaps not the most
important, of their performances. The question still awaited solution:
_By what forces and laws is the new world-system maintained in
activity?_

The traditional reply had been that the universe was kept in motion by
the operation of the Deity. While the truth of this reply was not
questioned by the advocates of the "new" science, it did not seem to
them to dispel the obscurity surrounding certain points about which they
required information. It was Galileo who observed that the appeal to the
divine will explains nothing just because it explains everything. It
takes the inquirer back too far--behind those details of method which
arouse his speculative interest.

This desire to understand those methods of operation which natural
objects appear to follow, led philosophers to enunciate certain "laws"
about them. These served as "explanations" of particular classes of
phenomena. It was the phenomena of _motion_ that especially attracted
their attention; and many ingenious experiments were performed by
Galileo, in particular, which led him to conclusions which then seemed
paradoxical, but now serve as axioms of physical science; for "the laws
of motion contain the key to all scientific knowledge of material
nature." When Galileo, after careful experiment, established the
proposition that a body can neither change its motion of itself, nor
pass from motion to rest, the fundamental "law of inertia"--of such
incalculable importance to the development of modern physics--had been
established.

AN AUTOMATIC UNIVERSE.--A proposition of this kind may not at first seem
to involve important philosophical or theological consequences. But we
only have to consider that it provided a natural explanation of the
continued and untiring motion of the heavenly bodies. It did not, it is
true, explain how that motion arose; but the motion being "given," it
had now been shown how it would, in the absence of obstructions, be
perpetual. In fact, speculations of this kind opened up the way to the
_mechanical_ explanation of nature, a theory which had been already
speculatively held by Leonardo da Vinci, who is already convinced that
"necessity is the eternal bond, the eternal rule of Nature."

SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS.--It was not only, however, the spectacle of a
system running automatically that suggested to observers a mechanical
theory to explain it. There was also the fact that phenomena were
observed to occur in accordance with certain simple mathematical laws.
Galileo's experiments with falling bodies led him to foreshadow
principles which were afterwards elaborated and fully demonstrated by
Newton, who may be said to have been the first to construct a mechanical
universe. The principle had already been formulated by a contemporary of
Galileo--Johannes Kepler--in the axiom _ubi materia, ibi geometria_.

RESULTS.--The thinkers whose speculations have engaged us were indeed
responsible for creating a revolution in ideas. For a finite universe
whose centre was the earth, and which was kept in motion by the
operation of the Deity, they had substituted the conception of
illimitable space sown with innumerable systems like our own; and had
created the beginning of a mechanical conception of nature.

THE NEW LOGIC.--But it was not only the scientific dogmas of the old
system that had been so rudely overthrown--the very principles upon
which those dogmas rested had been submitted to a destructive criticism.
The new science produced a new logic. This order of events is not
unusual: first, the new scientific discoveries, and then in the wake of
the discoverers, comes the innovating critic who systematises the
logical or scientific methods to which the new knowledge seems to have
been due. First, Kepler and Galileo, who used the "inductive" method,
and then Lord Bacon of Verulam (1561-1626), who discovered the inductive
logic, and established it as a system.

FRANCIS BACON.--Bacon's doctrine may be summarised by his own epigram,
"If a man begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he be
content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties." Which is
really a criticism of what is known as the a priori method, whereby the
inquirer starts with certain predefined theories to which all phenomena
must conform, and which all experience must verify. If facts will not
suit the particular theory, so much the worse for the facts: one could
always disregard them, and apply a blind eye to Galileo's telescope.
Such is always the procedure of the dogmatic mind, which is already so
certain of the truth of its notions that no evidence can persuade it to
the contrary. But it is not by such means that knowledge is advanced,
and it was for a reversal of these that Bacon pleaded.

Leonardo da Vinci had already anticipated the Baconian logic (which did
not wait for Bacon until it was applied) when he laid down the
proposition that wisdom was the daughter of experience, and rejected all
speculations which experience, the common mother of all sciences, could
not confirm. Hence, knowledge was the product of time; the process of
collecting material for a judgment must often be slow, but the results
were worth the labour--these would not be speculative, but true. Nor
need it be supposed that Bacon excluded imagination from playing a part
in increasing knowledge, he did not plead _only_ for a mechanical
collection of material. It is imagination which in face of abundant
material creates the hypothesis which accounts for it being what it is.
And he was prepared to admit the value of preliminary hypotheses which
might be replaced as further facts were collected, or as insight became
more clear. Here, too, Bacon describes the method followed by modern
science.

PRESTIGE OF NEW METHODS.--And so, by the time when Bacon had laid down
his pen after writing the _New Logic_, the work of discrediting the old
system, elaborated with such ingenious industry by Aquinas, was
tolerably complete. The new science had begun already to be fruitful in
results, both practical and speculative. The successors of Galileo and
of Bacon applied the new principles with vigour, and reached astonishing
results. Justified by these, the new methods secured a prestige which
has not decreased for three centuries.



CHAPTER III

GROWTH OF THE MECHANICAL THEORY


DECLINE OF SCHOLASTICISM.--By the time of Lord Bacon, the Scholastic
philosophy might have been described as extinct; it no longer survived
as a living system. The loss was a serious one to mankind, which was
poorer by the discrediting of an authoritative body of thought, a
possession it seems ill able to dispense with. The Baconian philosophy
was an imperfect substitute; it was little more than a system of
enquiry, a manual of scientific procedure, for Bacon himself was not in
the philosophical sense a profound or constructive thinker, though he
was one of those men of talent who can give utterance to the tendencies
of an epoch.

THE NEW PHILOSOPHY.--The task, however, of constructing a new philosophy
of the universe was courageously taken in hand by a succession of
thinkers, and the energy of thought which the great problem generated is
characteristic of perhaps the most vigorous century of European
history--the seventeenth.

The tendency of the new discoveries in science had not been obscure, and
Modern Philosophy starts with an attempt to represent the universe as a
self-working machine--a co-ordinated whole, throughout which the
principles of mathematics are universally valid. The trend of ideas set
in motion by the new discoveries in astronomy seemed to point in this
direction. But to introduce mechanics into the celestial regions, though
an important step, was but a beginning. Mechanics must be _universally_
valid--even in the human body--or the new teaching was vain. Exceptions
may prove a rule, but they destroy a philosophy.

THE SUBJUGATION OF PHYSIOLOGY.--It was an Englishman who provided the
necessary facts to fill the gravest gap in the mechanical theory. It was
already known in the previous century that the blood of animals
circulated throughout the body; the existence and use of veins and
heart-valves was also known, but it was William Harvey (1578-1657) who
discovered the heart to be the organ responsible for _maintaining_ the
circulation of the blood, by purely mechanical means. This was a fact of
the utmost significance. In the sphere of physiology, where theories
about mysterious powers of blood or soul had been hitherto
authoritative, it effected a revolution. Indeed it is true to say that
Harvey "is to physiology what Galileo was to physics." He proved that
"the general laws of motion are valid within as well as without the
organism"--an important extension of the mechanical theory.

DESCARTES.--Among the leading men who accepted Harvey's theory, one of
the first was René Descartes (1596-1650). Well might this thinker
welcome it, for it was a most important contribution to the imposing
philosophic fabric for which he was industriously collecting materials.
Descartes, apart from his philosophical speculations, is an interesting
character, being a Frenchman of noble birth who was educated by the
Jesuits, saw something of contemporary life in Paris, served as a
military officer in Holland and Germany, and made some original
discoveries in mathematics.

The mathematical mind, accustomed as it is to deal with highly abstract
ideas, takes kindly to metaphysics. And it very often solves the mystery
of the universe by expressing all its contents in mathematical terms.
Such, at least, was Descartes' method. The simplest and clearest ideas
which we can have of anything are mathematical, i.e. extension and
mobility. And it is by concentrating our attention upon this simple and
mathematical aspect of things that we shall arrive at a proper
understanding of all that goes on in the material world.

UNIVERSALITY OF MATHEMATICS.--A phenomenon was, in Descartes' eyes,
"explained" only when a "cause" which is its exact _mathematical
equivalent_, has been indicated. The "cause" and the "effect" are two
sides of a mathematical equation (_Causa aequat effectum_). Anything
that happens in the material world (the fall of a stone, the beat of a
heart, the rising of the sun) is really nothing more than a
redistribution of portions of that sum of motion which, once generated
at the Creation, has remained unaltered, and unalterable, in the
universe ever since. The sum of motion is constant, there can be no
addition to or subtraction from it. In this sense it would be true that
"there is nothing new under the sun": only ever-new distributions of the
old.

THE UNIVERSE A MACHINE.--Once assume that all phenomena can be
interpreted in terms of motion, and add the proposition (already
enunciated by Galileo) that motion once set going will proceed for ever,
unless some impediment from outside intervenes, and the mechanical view
of the universe is complete. The universe is a machine, i.e. a thing
that works (1) according to mathematical principles, (2) automatically.

ELABORATIONS OF THE MECHANICAL THEORY.--The importance of Descartes lies
not in his having invented this conception (we have already seen it in
the hands of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and others), but in his having
elaborated it. This he did in two directions: (1) he attempted to supply
a mechanical theory of the evolution of the world-system; _i.e._ to show
how the heavenly bodies came into being by natural and mechanical
processes; (2) he applied the mechanical theory to organisms; animals
and men were complex machines. (Here, as we have seen, the discovery of
Harvey was of prime importance.)

It is hardly necessary to describe at length Descartes' mechanical
theory of the evolution of the world-system, though an interest attaches
to it as being the ancestor of the modern "nebular hypothesis." Matter
in whirling motion around fixed centres is the original _datum_ from
which Descartes evokes the universe. With regard to the mechanical
theory of organisms, Descartes developed it at some length in various
treatises. All the functions and actions of animals were regarded by him
as entirely involuntary and mechanical. "That the lamb flees at the
sight of a wolf happens because the rays of light from the body of the
wolf strike the eye of the lamb, and set the muscles in motion by means
of the 'reflex' currents of the animal spirits."

In the case of human beings, owing to the phenomenon of "consciousness,"
Descartes felt compelled to assume a "soul"--a _thinking_ substance in
reciprocal action with the _material_ substance (of the brain). This,
too, is an anticipation of the modern theory of "psycho-physical
parallelism."

CARTESIANISM.--The ideas of Descartes had considerable influence among
his contemporaries, and Cartesianism, as it was called, became
fashionable in intellectual circles. It developed a tendency towards
free enquiry and independent thought; and it was even more significant
as an atmosphere than as a system of ideas. Though in this respect too,
it was both important and vital; as we have observed, modern mechanical
theories find their parent in Descartes.

Nor was it only, we may remark, among philosophers and men of science
that Cartesian ideas were popular; they were accepted and elaborated by
the religious thinkers who hoped to harmonise and humanise theology and
science. Pascal, Bossuet and Fénelon, the finest minds in the French
Church, were eager Cartesians.[5]

This aspect of the matter, i.e. the significance of Cartesianism for
religion, we can for the present postpone.

RESULTS SO FAR.--Successive breaches in the Scholastic system have now
been noted. Copernicus had introduced a new astronomy, Galileo a new
physics, Descartes (with the help of Harvey) a new physiology, and the
beginnings of a new psychology.

CONTRIBUTIONS OF HOBBES.--The step that remained was taken by an
Englishman, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who attempted to provide a system
of ethics and a theory of politics upon a purely naturalistic basis.
Hobbes was a particularly energetic thinker. He worked out a psychology
of the feelings, which reduced everything to the impulse of
self-preservation and the instinct for power. Men were induced by these
instincts to agree to certain rules of conduct, for the sake of
expediency. Social life seems essential if men are to live together--the
instinct of self-preservation demands it--and social life in turn
demands certain renunciations: thus fidelity, gratitude, forbearance,
justice, etc., must be practised.

Thus Hobbes attempted to banish all mysterious or obscure forces from
morality, which was the characteristic and inevitable product of human
nature and human circumstances. This way of looking at things seemed
strange to all, and even revolting to some, of Hobbes' contemporaries.
As the mystical powers of motion which the Scholastics had believed in
were banished by the new physics and the new physiology, so the new
psychology could allow of no mystical faculty which can decide in all
problems of good and evil.

With Hobbes, then, a naturalistic view of the universe may be said to
have been tolerably complete: it embraces physics, psychology, and
ethics. There still remained, of course, a number of gaps in scientific
knowledge, and consequently any philosophy based thereupon could not yet
be regarded as secure. These gaps, however, as research proceeded and
successive discoveries were made, tended to diminish both in size and
quantity.

NEWTON.--The seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries were
fruitful in revelations of this kind, and natural knowledge steadily and
even rapidly progressed. And one thinker, who may be regarded as a link
between the seventeenth century and that which succeeded it, may now
claim our attention.

The name of Newton (1642-1727) is as familiar to Englishmen as that of
Shakespeare, and the discovery by him of the "law of gravitation" is one
of those scraps of information which we acquire, and perhaps fail to
understand, in early childhood.

Newton's scientific method is a no less important aspect of his work
than its results. The _Principia_, in which he gave his discovery to the
world, is "a model for all scientific investigations which has never
been surpassed." It was, indeed, a brilliant application of the
principle of inferring the unknown from the already known, without any
dogmatic leaps in the dark. The principle with which he began was that
what is true in the narrower spheres of experience (e.g. in the case of
an apple falling) is true also in the wider spheres (e.g. in the
movements of the celestial bodies). He then made a careful mathematical
deduction of what would happen in the case of the planets, assuming that
the laws of falling bodies on the earth were applicable to them also.
And he concluded by showing that what would happen according to
mathematics under this assumption _actually does happen_. The conclusion
follows that the same force, i.e. "attraction," operates in both cases.
It is no wonder that this final and successful operation was performed
by Newton "in a state of excitement so great that he could hardly see
his figures."

SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS DISCOVERY.--The philosophic importance of the
discovery that the motions of the planets may be explained by the "law
of gravitation" was twofold. In the first place, it now became possible
to understand how the universe held together (a problem which the new
astronomy had not solved); and in the second place, the theory
constituted a large extension of the mechanical view. It demonstrated
that "the physical laws which hold good on the surface of the earth are
valid throughout the universe, so far as we can know anything of it."
Thus the area of existence in which physical law held good was at once
infinitely widened. The mechanical theories of Galileo, Descartes, and
others, not only received confirmation, but became more comprehensive
than before.

So that Newton may be said to have put the finishing touch upon the
achievements of his predecessors, and to have crowned their labours with
success. And his work has the characteristic of permanency: his
"gravitation formula" has stood the test of time. "It still stands
there," says a careful and authoritative writer, "as almost the only
firmly established mathematical relation, expressive of a property of
all matter, to which the progress of more than two centuries has added
nothing, and from which it has taken nothing away."[6]

RELIGIOUS COROLLARIES.--It would be a profound mistake to assume that
the creators of the mechanical view, as it has hitherto met us, were
animated by any hostility to religion. Nor did they believe their
theories to involve any disastrous consequences in that sphere.

The new astronomy of Copernicus had actually been made the basis of a
spiritual view of the universe by the profound genius (both
philosophical and religious) of Giordano Bruno. And the fact that the
ecclesiastical authorities rejected his view need not divest it of
importance or of value in our eyes. Bruno's own faith was not disturbed
by the infidelity of his persecutors. "Ye who pass judgment upon me
feel, maybe, greater fear than I upon whom it is passed," were his last
words to them. Had they _believed_, they need not have been afraid, and
might have been content with the policy of Gamaliel.

As for Descartes and Hobbes, their notions were no doubt distasteful to
conservative minds (the Jesuits were no friends to either), but
Descartes regarded himself, and would fain have been regarded by others,
as a good Catholic; and Hobbes, theologically, was what in these days we
might call a Liberal Protestant. Cartesianism, as we have seen, came to
be a name for a type of thought which studied to harmonise science and
theology, and one of the most profound religious geniuses of any
age--Pascal, was (as we have seen) a Cartesian.

As for Newton, his view of the universe was essentially a religious one,
though he did not allow theological speculations to intrude upon his
strictly scientific work. His attitude is indicated by a reply to the
inquiry of a contemporary theologian as to how the movements and
structure of the solar system were to be accounted for.

"To your query I answer that the motions which the planets now have
could not spring from any natural cause alone.... To compare and adjust
all these things together (i.e. quantities of matter and gravitating
powers, etc.) in so great a variety of bodies, argues the cause to be
not blind and fortuitous, but very well skilled in mechanism and
geometry."[7]

Still, the mechanical view contained within it sinister possibilities;
and the instincts of conservative thinkers were not altogether at fault.
The mechanical view in itself need not be hostile to a spiritual and
rational religion (though it is fatal to most forms of superstition);
and yet that view can be used in the interests of anti-religious
prejudice--and, as we shall see, it was so used, and with considerable
effect.

Meanwhile, however, we shall pass on to consider the work of three
thinkers who are typical of a revolt from what was in danger of becoming
the all-absorbing tyranny of mechanics. This reaction (for so it may be
termed) we shall proceed, in the following chapter, to examine.



CHAPTER IV

SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY REACTIONS


A LAW OF THOUGHT.--Whenever a tendency of thought has been vigorously
prosecuted for any length of time, a reaction invariably displays
itself. This rule is illustrated by the history of thought in the
seventeenth century. Mechanical categories, as we have seen, had been
steadily extending themselves for the better part of two centuries, and
with the materialism of Hobbes the process seemed fairly complete.

Meanwhile, however, human thought began to explore other avenues. Though
reaction from mechanical ways of thinking did not (at any rate, in the
circles with which we are concerned) take the form of an obscurantist
retreat into prejudice or superstition, the results of the new science
and its attendant mechanistic philosophy served as a base for further
explorations. The principles which Descartes and Hobbes had laid down
were criticised by being carried out to their logical conclusions.

SPINOZA.--The philosopher with whom we shall first concern ourselves was
a Jew of Spanish extraction, living in what was then the freest country
in Europe--Holland. Spinoza (1632-1677) was undoubtedly the greatest
thinker of his own age, which was highly fertile in that respect, and he
still stands as one of the most notable figures in the long history of
European thought. Not only is his outlook comprehensive, and his thought
many-sided, but his standpoint was "detached" to a degree hitherto
unknown. He was untainted, so far as a human being ever can be, by
"anthropomorphism"; he endeavoured to transcend the merely human
outlook. Here is always the dividing line between the great and the
merely mediocre thinker.

SPINOZA'S METHOD.--Spinoza's philosophical ancestry may be traced back
to Bruno, whose acquaintance we made in a previous chapter, but in whose
company we did not long remain. This highly original mind had already,
by the doctrine of the infinitude and the divinity of nature, shown how
the concept of God and the concept of nature might be closely bound up
together. By similar means, Spinoza hoped to indicate the reality of the
spiritual, without disturbing the mechanical world-conception which the
new science and new philosophy had created between them. He wished
somehow to find God not outside, but _in_ Nature; not in disturbances of
the order of Nature, but _in that order itself_.

THE TERM NATURE.--It would be a misapprehension to suppose that the
terms "God" and "Nature" are regarded by Spinoza as interchangeable,
though his numerous critics were accustomed to declare that this was the
case. On the contrary, Spinoza, in order to anticipate the
misunderstanding which he saw might arise on this point, reintroduced
into philosophy a pair of terms which the Scholastics had long before
brought into currency, but which had since fallen out of
fashion--_Natura naturans_ and _Natura naturata_. We might perhaps
translate the former of these, "Creative Nature," and the latter,
"Created Nature." _Natura naturans_ is equivalent to "Nature as a
creative power," or "The creative power immanent in Nature." _Natura
naturata_ is equivalent to "Nature as it is when created," or "The
results of the creative power immanent in Nature." And the _Natura
naturans_ is active in the _Natura naturata_ at all points: the creative
power is immanent in creation. As Spinoza puts it in one of his letters:

"I assert that God is (as it is called) the immanent, not the external
cause of all things. That is to say, I assert with Paul, that in
God all things live and move.... But if any one thinks that the
_Theologico-Political Treatise_ (one of his works) assumes that God
and Nature are one and the same, he is entirely mistaken."[8]

Thus, for Spinoza, the order of nature, which had seemed to so many of
his contemporaries, from the religious point of view, such a devastating
conception, as leaving no room for the spiritual, was itself only
explicable if interpreted spiritually.

"Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can exist or be conceived without
God" (_Ethics_ i. 15) sums up his attitude. All things may be, as the
new science taught, 'determined' but they are determined "by the
necessity of the divine nature" (_Ethics_ i. 29).

THE "ETHICS."--Spinoza may rightly be termed a man of one book. In his
_Ethics_ is to be found a complete and final expression of his
philosophy. "How boundless," says Goethe of this great book, "is the
disinterestedness conspicuous in every sentence, how exalted the
resignation which submits itself once for all to the great laws of
existence, instead of trying to get through life with the help of
trivial consolations; and what an atmosphere of peace breathes through
the whole!"

According to its teaching the true happiness and highest activity of men
is to be found in what Spinoza terms "the intellectual love of God." The
phrase seems to have been used to designate that full and clearer
knowledge which is aware that we ourselves and all the conditions of our
life are determined by the infinite Nature, by God Himself, who moves in
us as well as in all things acting upon us. The initiated no longer
regard themselves as single, isolated, impotent beings, but as included
in the divine nature. Themselves and all things are seen under the form
of eternity. This thought is, according to Spinoza, the fruit of the
highest activity of the human mind; this is the _amor intellectualis
dei_; and the supreme good for man.

His doctrine of immortality is bound up with this intellectual form of
religious mysticism--knowledge of God involves participation in His
immortality:

"Death is the less harmful the more the mind's knowledge is clear and
distinct, and the more the mind loves God.... The human mind may be of
such a nature that the part of it which we showed to perish with the
body may be of no moment to it in respect to what remains."

He who is "affected with love towards God" has a mind "of which the
greater part is eternal." Thus the soul achieves its emancipation by
identifying itself with God--who is the object of its knowledge and
love. The path is arduous, and the closing passage of the _Ethics_
admits this:

"If the road I have shown is very difficult, it can yet be discovered.
And clearly it must be very hard when it is so seldom found.... But all
excellent things are as difficult as they are rare."

SPINOZA AND RELIGION.--It is interesting to note that Spinoza, though a
"free-thinking" Jew, adopts towards the fundamental dogma of
Christianity an attitude which approximates to the classical expression
of it in the Fourth Gospel. He held that "God's eternal wisdom, which
reveals itself in all things, and especially in the human mind, has
given a special revelation of itself in Christ."

Perhaps his ethic, like that of the Stoics, with whom he had so much in
common, was better adapted to satisfy the needs of the philosopher than
of the ordinary man. But, in the seventeenth century, it was the
philosophers and learned men that were in need of a spiritual
interpretation of the universe; common men had theirs already, in the
traditional pietism which philosophers are often too ready to despise.
To Spinoza--and this is one of the many indications of the genuine
profundity of his thought--the simple believers seemed already to be in
possession of too much of the truth for it to be desirable or profitable
for them to indulge in speculation. To the question of his landlady at
the Hague as to whether she could be saved by the religion which she
professed, his reply was that her religion was good, that she should
seek no other, and that she would certainly be saved by it if she led a
quiet and pious life.

SPINOZA'S PERSONALITY.--The figure of Spinoza stands as one of the most
imposing and attractive in the whole history of philosophy, and his was
an unworldliness, a simplicity, and a humility purely Franciscan. Like
all Jews then, he knew a trade--that of lens grinding--and by this he
was able to live frugally, while he elaborated his thought. He dedicated
his life to the labour of quiet contemplation; nor was he ambitious of
recognition, which indeed generally came to him in the form of abuse. He
did not escape "the exquisite rancour of theological hatred," but it was
his belief, and the conviction inspired his life, that--

"Neither riches, nor sensuous enjoyment, nor honours, can be a true good
for man"; but on the contrary, "that the only thing which is able to
fill the mind with ever-new satisfaction is the striving after
knowledge, by means of which the mind is united with that which remains
constant while all else changes."

"The God-intoxicated," was the name given to Spinoza long afterwards in
Germany. He died (like St. Francis) at forty-five, worn out with the
toil of thought. And it renews one's faith in the perspicacity of
commonplace people to learn that his barber, sending in a bill after the
death of the philosopher, alluded to his late customer as "Mr. Spinoza
of blessed memory." It was left to a contemporary theologian to describe
him as "an unclean and foul atheist."

LEIBNIZ.--Spinoza had taken over from Descartes and Hobbes their
mechanical and determinist conception of nature, though he gave to it,
as we have seen, an interpretation of his own. His attitude was a blend
of that rationalism and mysticism which were characteristic of so much
seventeenth century thought. A far more complete reaction, however,
displays itself in the system of a contemporary of Spinoza's--Gottfried
Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716); who, when already a youth, had become an
enthusiastic devotee of the new science; the study of Kepler, Galileo
and Descartes caused him to feel as though "transported into a different
world." Though a German by birth, Leibniz lived continuously in France,
and wrote habitually in the language of that country.

CONTRAST TO SPINOZA.--Spinoza and Leibniz stand as examples of two
distinct methods of eluding the despotism of mechanics--methods which
will meet us again in the course of our survey. Spinoza accepts the
mechanical view as being inevitable and even desirable, but subjects it
to a spiritual interpretation--he regards it as the way in which the
_Natura naturans_ works.[9] Leibniz, on the other hand, viewed existence
from an entirely different standpoint. He was bold enough to reject the
mechanical view altogether; or rather he preferred to regard it as a
convenient abstraction, or a useful formula, which might reflect certain
aspects of reality, but could not do justice to its concrete richness
and complexity.

A PHILOSOPHY OF INDIVIDUALS.--Leibniz's criticism of Descartes and the
mechanical school proceeded along different lines from that of Spinoza,
who, as we have seen, accepted the mechanical view as the basis of his
speculation.

An axiom of that view was (as we know) the conservation of motion. For
this conservation of _motion_, Leibniz substitutes the conservation of
_force_ as being logically the more fundamental concept. True reality,
according to him, is not _motion_ itself, but the _force which is its
cause_. Force and existence became for him identical terms; to work and
to exist were the same. That force is the true reality, Leibniz
expressed in the language of his time by saying, "Force is substance,
and all substance is force"--a proposition which would not be repudiated
by modern science--and upon this statement his philosophy is built.

But it was not "force in general" or some "universal force" that was
regarded by him as the final reality: Leibniz was not a forerunner of
Herbert Spencer. Reality for him consisted in _individual centres of
force_--a multitude of individual and independent beings, each with its
own idiosyncrasy, and following its own lines. Existence was, in fact,
for him, _individual_. It was the _individual_ centres of force--not
_general_ principles, universal substances, laws or forces--that make up
reality.

DOCTRINE OF MONADS.--This view of reality was formulated by Leibniz in
his famous doctrine of "monads." "Monad" was the technical name applied
by him to those absolute individuals which he regarded as constituting
true reality. The word, meaning "unity," was simple and appropriate. And
he declared that the "monad," to be rightly understood, must be regarded
as analogous to our own souls. This principle of analogy was described
by Leibniz as _mon grand principe des choses naturelles_. Thus reality
was interpreted by him not in physical but in psychical terms, or if the
expression be preferred, in terms of personality.[10]

Of these "monads" there exist, according to this view, infinitely many
degrees. In fact all existence differs only in degree from our own.
Even between mind and matter there is only a quantitative and not a
qualitative gulf. For there are sleeping, dreaming, and more or less
waking monads; and matter is a form of unconscious mind; the monads
which compose material objects being "minds without memory," "momentary
minds."

Let Leibniz speak for himself:--

"Each portion of matter is not only infinitely divisible, but is also
actually subdivided without end.... Whence it appears that in the
smallest particle of matter there is a world of creatures, living
beings, animals, entelechies, souls. Each portion of matter may be
conceived as like a garden full of plants, or like a pond full of
fishes.... Thus there is nothing fallow, nothing sterile, nothing dead
in the universe...."[11]

Leibniz may indeed be said to have been the first to outline a theory of
"panpsychism" (as it is termed), according to which there is nothing
that is not, in its degree, alive. As we shall have occasion to observe,
Leibniz was here (as elsewhere) a forerunner of much recent philosophy.

The significance of the Spinozist and Leibnizian systems of thought,
though regarding existence from such diverse standpoints, was, for
practical purposes the same. Both alike led out, though by different
paths, beyond the mechanical theory of the universe. They, indeed,
represent two types of thought which attempt to reach the same end by
different methods. Their counterparts will meet us again as this history
proceeds.

PASCAL.--But before passing out from the seventeenth century, one
thinker ought to detain us; for from more than one point of view he was
a notable personality, and of first-rate importance in the history of
religious, as distinct from purely philosophical thought. He was indeed
one of those figures who are distinguished among distinguished men of
all times.

Blaise Pascal was born in 1623, and was a boy of precocious mathematical
ability. By the age of twelve he is said to have worked out
independently most of the first and second books of Euclid; at sixteen
he wrote a treatise on Conics which attracted the attention of
Descartes; at nineteen he completed a calculating machine--a device that
had never been dreamt of before. At this point it is not surprising to
learn that his health broke down.

Pascal is not a systematic philosopher; but his acute intellect was
united to an inner restlessness of soul. Neither science nor philosophy
could bring him peace, for his needs were far deeper than any merely
rational systematisation of ideas could satisfy. Some have said of him
that he was fundamentally a sceptic, but one for whom religious faith
was essential; certainly in him were united an acute critical faculty
and an intense religious experience. Perhaps the two are not so
incompatible after all.

THE "PENSÉES."--Pascal is chiefly famous for two works, the _Lettres
Provinciales_ and the _Pensées_. The former is controversial literature,
but yet a classic of the French language: in sum, it is an attack on the
Jesuits; but it need not here detain us, for with theology, as such, we
are not concerned, and still less with ecclesiastical systems. The
_Pensées_ is a collection of fragments, the material for an Apology for
Christianity which was never written. The autograph MS. preserved in
the _Bibliothèque Nationale_ at Paris "is made up of scraps of paper of
all shapes and sizes, written often on both sides ... and dealing with
all sorts of subjects." One is reminded of the mythical scraps of
manuscript from which the genius of Carlyle distilled the philosophy of
the sagacious Teufelsdröch.

But it is in these detached fragments that Pascal has expressed his
spiritual and intellectual struggles; they contain his philosophy of
life. And, however unsystematic in arrangement, they do reveal a fairly
definite temper and attitude of mind.

PASCAL'S PHILOSOPHY.--In the first place, the _Thoughts_ voice a
reaction against the "Cartesian intellectualism" which was then the
prevalent tendency in scientific and philosophical circles. "The last
attainment of reason is to recognise that there is an infinity of things
beyond it" might perhaps have been published by Pascal's predecessors.
"To laugh at philosophy is to be a true philosopher" would have seemed
like blasphemy or nonsense to most of his contemporaries, but it was
neither of these.

Behind sayings of this description lay the strong conviction that mere
logic was incapable of probing the depths of existence. "The heart has
its reasons of which reason knows nothing," is sound psychology, and not
scepticism or obscurantism. Of course it all depends what one means by
"reason." Too many of Pascal's contemporaries applied the word to a more
or less shallow rationalism utterly opposed to a spiritual view of
things, whereas reason properly understood is "the logic of the whole
personality."[12]

That Pascal was no mere narrow anti-rational obscurantist is evident,
not only from his own extraordinary insight, but from his continual
reiteration of his idea that the essential dignity of man lies in his
thought:

"All bodies, the firmament, the stars, the earth and its kingdoms, are
not worth the smallest mind, for a mind knows them, and itself, and
bodies know nothing."

Here lies the true greatness of man. In respect of material bulk he is
nothing, but his thought cannot be measured. "Man is only a reed, the
feeblest reed in nature, _but he is a thinking reed_." The saying has
become famous, and the words that follow are hardly less so; they remove
the overpowering and crushing incubus of man's illimitable material
environment, which, since Copernicus, had weighed upon thinkers like a
nightmare:

"Were the universe to crush him, man would still be more noble than that
which slays him, because he knows that he dies, and the advantage that
the universe has over him: of this the universe knows nothing. Thus all
man's dignity lies in his thought."[13]

PASCAL'S PESSIMISM.--It has been said that an unbridgeable gulf lies
between those who believe and those who disbelieve in mankind. It is to
the latter category that Pascal belongs. His faith in the dignity of man
is paradoxically associated with a realisation of his weakness and
imbecility:

"What a chimera, then, is man! What an oddity, what a monster, what a
chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all
things, senseless earth-worm; depository of truth, cloaca of
uncertainty and error; the glory and the refuse of the universe."

"We desire truth, and find in ourselves only uncertainty; we seek
happiness, and find only misery and death. We are unable not to wish for
truth and happiness, and incapable either of certainty or felicity."

In fact, we may say that Pascal was the first, in an age of exaggerated
reverence for logic (the _damnosa hereditas_ of the Scholastic
theologians) to understand that the best arguments for religion are the
facts of human experience, and the conditions of human life.

"In vain, O men, do ye seek within yourselves the cure for your
troubles! All your knowledge can only teach you that it is not within
yourselves that ye find the true or good!" Here we have the language of
religious experience. The result of Augustine's meditation upon life was
the same: _Inquietum cor nostrum dum requiescat in te._ It is a tongue
that the "psychic man" can never understand; it seems to him
affectation; such language is foreign to the easy optimism of an age of
confidence. Indeed Pascal, though so intensely modern, is a stranger,
and his words often enigmas to our time.

_Vanitas vanitatum_ is thus the verdict that he passes upon human
experience. "The last act is tragic, however fine the comedy of all the
rest."

SIGNIFICANCE OF PASCAL.--It is not as a systematic thinker that Pascal
is of importance to the historian of thought. He typifies that more or
less inarticulate and unreasoned revolt which the arrogance and optimism
of a new science or a new philosophy arouse against themselves. He
voices the eternal protest that it is not by bread alone that men live.
As is generally the case with such protests, the pessimism of Pascal
was no doubt exaggerated; but exaggeration is necessary if minds are to
be impressed; and those who feel strongly see only one side of a
question.

RESULTS.--Thus in the three figures that have passed before us, we see a
threefold protest against that exclusion of the spiritual from the human
view of life. Spinoza, the pantheist, sees God everywhere;[14] Leibniz
finds in every recess of nature the principle of personality; Pascal
finds the only cure for human frailty and misery in religion.



CHAPTER V

RISE OF AN ANTI-RELIGIOUS SCIENCE


ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS.--As we have seen, a mechanical view of the
universe was not felt by thinkers like Descartes or Newton, or even
Hobbes, to involve any consequences that were necessarily hostile to
religion. The new science sometimes might be anti-theological, because
the current theology still seemed too much infected with Scholasticism,
but it was not, in the hands of its most notable exponents,
anti-religious. Science had no quarrel with religion as such, nor even
with a rational type of theology.

Of course the new views aroused many suspicions, and did not escape
criticism at the hands of Church authorities, both Protestant and
Catholic. And (as we have seen) some early scientists paid very dearly
for their allegiance to the spirit of scientific enquiry; but as time
went on, actual persecution became impossible, morally and practically.
But theologians were never, during the seventeenth century at least,
quite reconciled to a science and a philosophy which seemed to them to
be leading men towards areas quite uninhabitable for religion. But in
spite of suspicions on either side, and the prevalence of some measure
of intolerance, it cannot be said that relations between the scientists
or philosophers and the theologians were very seriously strained until
well on in the eighteenth century.

ANTI-RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA.--That this comparatively pacific state of
affairs came to an end was the fault, primarily, at least, neither of
the theologians nor of the scientists. A different atmosphere gradually
began to envelop and to embitter the controversy. Orthodox religion,
especially in Catholic countries, came to be associated with political
reaction, and the most envenomed onslaughts began to be made upon what
seemed to be the chief stronghold of a discredited regime. Especially
was this the case in France, where corrupt political conditions were
aggravated by the intense social misery which they had created.

Thus France became the cradle of the phenomenon known as
anti-clericalism, which is the product not so much of disbelief in a
creed as of hatred of a system; it was the correlative of a Church in
which religion was extinct, for genuine Catholicism had been rooted out
of France early in the eighteenth century, just as Protestantism had
been drowned in blood a century before.[15]

SCIENCE POPULARISED.--In two respects France, during the second half of
the eighteenth century, was far in advance of other countries. No other
literature of that age can be compared with the French for the skill and
charm with which scientific views were expressed. There was no lack of
first-rate propagandists. And not only in the popularisation, but in
the systematic teaching of science, France for a long period led the
way.[16] Whereas the history of English or German literature of the
eighteenth century could be written almost without reference to science,
it is with scientific problems that the names of some of the most
brilliant French _littérateurs_ are associated. And whereas in England,
scientific men worked (in spite of the existence of the Royal Society)
more or less in isolation, in France the savants have always been a
brotherhood.[17]

VOLTAIRE.--One of the most notorious names associated with the type of
propaganda referred to is that of Voltaire (1694-1778). Voltaire's
polemic cannot be described as anti-religious, for he himself was a
theist. It was, rather, political in character. The object of his attack
was the Catholic Church as existing in France in his day, which he
regarded as the chief surviving obstacle to human progress. _Écrasez
l'infâme_ was his motto; and if this seems a trifle fanatical, let us
not forget, as an acute critic has observed, "that what Catholicism was
accomplishing in France in the first half of the eighteenth century was
not anything less momentous than the slow strangling of French
civilisation."[18]

Voltaire was an industrious and prolific writer (his works are numbered
by scores), but he was also a master of French prose, and he was
universally read. From the point of view of the history of European
thought his importance lies in his popularisation in France of the
Newtonian physics.[19] _Newtonisme_ was a word coined by him, and became
associated with a mechanical view of nature. He also conducted a
vigorous polemic against certain religious notions, then current, but
now out-of-date, and which need not here detain us. Voltaire was an
anti-clerical, but he was not hostile to religion; he was chiefly
regarded as an exponent of English (i.e. progressive) ideas.

LA METTRIE.--An advance in the materialistic direction was taken,
however, by La Mettrie (1709-1751), who approached the problem from the
side of physiology (he was a physician by profession). His two important
contributions were _Histoire naturelle de l'âme_ (1745), and _L'Homme
Machine_ (1748). The titles are sufficient to indicate the scope of
these works. That of the latter points back to Descartes, who had
applied the mechanical theory to animals only, and not to man. La
Mettrie extended his application to include man. The implications of
this theory did not escape La Mettrie's contemporaries.

DIDEROT AND HIS ENCYCLOPÆDIA.--A definite period in the history of
thought is certainly marked by the successful attempt on the part of a
group of progressive thinkers, to extend the circle open to scientific
ideas by the publication of an Encyclopædia which should contain all the
latest knowledge and speculation. The credit for this notable
performance was due to Diderot, who in spite of immense difficulties,
which were aggravated by the ecclesiastical authorities and the
supporters of reaction in general, carried the work through to a
triumphant conclusion. The first volume appeared in 1751. The work was
composed with an eye to current prejudices; the language was guarded,
but the anti-clerical tendency of the whole was by no means obscure.
Diderot, however, did not obtrude in the Encyclopædia the definitely
anti-religious opinions which he had developed and which are revealed in
his correspondence.

HOLBACH.--A disciple of the Encyclopædist--Holbach, a young German
settled in Paris--was bolder than his master, and published, under the
name of a savant who had recently died, a book which became widely
notorious, and has been called the Bible of materialism--the _Système de
la Nature_ (1770). Like Voltaire's _Élémens_, and La Mettrie's _L'Homme
Machine_, it was published in Holland. "The book is materialism reduced
to a system. It contains no really new thoughts. Its significance lies
in the energy and indignation with which every spiritualistic and
dualistic view was run to earth on account of its injuriousness both in
practice and in theory,"[20] is the estimate of a distinguished and
impartial writer.

Rumour gave the credit of its authorship to Diderot, who was so
disturbed by the compliment as hastily to leave Paris for the frontier.
His admiration of it is, however, recorded. After proclaiming his
disgust at the contemporary fashion of "mixing up incredulity and
superstition," he observes that no such fault is to be found in the
_System of Nature_. "The author is not an atheist in one page, and a
deist in another. His philosophy is all of a piece."

Certainly to those with an appetite for negative dogmatism the work left
nothing to be desired. The following passage indicates the attitude and
method of the author, who, in the matter of style, did not fall short of
the French tradition:

"If we go back to the beginning, we shall always find that ignorance and
fear have created gods; fancy, enthusiasm or deceit has adorned or
disfigured them; weakness worships them; credulity preserves them in
life; custom regards them, and tyranny supports them in order to make
the blindness of men serve its own ends."

The philosophy of religion which inspired these sentences may appear to
us sufficiently crude. And indeed an impartial reader will have to
confess that much of this eighteenth century polemic against religion,
however well-intentioned, is singularly wide of the mark. It is all
characterised by an imperfect knowledge of the psychological foundations
of religion, and quite devoid of what is now termed the "historic
sense." The faults of Voltaire and Holbach, however, were those of their
age, which was often short-sighted in its recognition of facts, and
superficial in its reasoning from them. Even Dr. Johnson, who found this
section of contemporary French literature so distasteful, never laid his
finger upon its real weakness; the fundamental fallacies upon which it
rested escaped him. He, like Voltaire and the rest, was a child of the
age.

PROPAGANDA NOT SCIENCE.--It is very doubtful whether the genuine
scientists, who devoted themselves not to propaganda but to research,
could have been ready to sanction the uses to which their own
discoveries were put. From the exhaustive references of Lange in his
_History of Materialism_ (Engl. Trans., Vol. II, pp. 49-123), it is
evident that "the extreme views of La Mettrie, Diderot, and Holbach
cannot be fathered on any of the great scientists or philosophers, but
were an attempt to supply scientific principles to the solution of
philosophical, ethical, or religious questions, frequently for practical
and political purposes."[21]

There are certainly risks attached to the popularisation of the results
of scientific research. Theories have to be presented with an appearance
of finality which does not legitimately belong to them, and sometimes in
a somewhat startling aspect, otherwise the reader is left cold, for it
is excitement rather than genuine information that attracts the
majority. As a judicious writer has observed:

"No ideas lend themselves to such easy, but likewise to such shallow
generalisations as those of science. Once let out of the hand which uses
them in the strict and cautious manner by which alone they lead to
valuable results, they are apt to work mischief. Because the tool is so
sharp, the object to which it is applied seems to be so easily handled.
The correct use of scientific ideas is only learnt by patient training,
and should be governed by the not easily acquired habit of
self-restraint."[22]

SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS.--Alongside of this rigorous propaganda, which
prepared the way for the upheaval of 1789, genuine scientific progress
was being made, especially in the regions of Astronomy, Botany and
Chemistry. The ideas of Newton were taken up and elaborated by means of
more efficient mathematical processes--especially the theory of
infinitesimals--by the distinguished astronomer, Laplace, in his
_Système du Monde_ (1796), and in the successive volumes of his
_Méchanique Céleste_ (1799-1825), which has been called a new
_Principia_.

Important advances in chemistry are associated with the name of
Lavoisier (1743-1794), who introduced into that science a principle
which has become axiomatic, and which to-day remains the foundation of
all work in the laboratory. To Lavoisier belongs the merit of
introducing what is known as the "quantitative method" into chemistry,
and thus establishing that science upon the exact--that is to say
mathematical--basis, where it now rests and putting exact research in
the place of vague reasoning. His principle was that _in all chemical
combinations and reactions, the total weight of the various ingredients
remains unchanged_; there is (in spite of appearances) neither loss nor
gain of actual matter. "The quantity of matter is the same at the end as
at the beginning of every operation." It was Lavoisier who finally
established the correct theory of combustion; that it consisted in the
combination of a special element called oxygen, with other bodies or
elements.

THE ATOMIC THEORY.--Lavoisier had opened a door to researches which
naturally led the way to the establishment of the atomic theory of
matter on an experimental, and not merely a theoretical basis. That
theory is indeed nothing more than the elaboration of Lavoisier's own
principle. John Dalton (1766-1844), a Manchester quaker, published in
1810 his _New System of Chemical Philosophy_, where highly important
conclusions are drawn both from Lavoisier's facts and from experimental
results of other chemists. Of these, Dalton gave an account and an
explanation which has ever since been the soul of all chemical
reasoning. This explanation is known as his Atomic theory.

The two facts of which Dalton's theory is an explanation are as follows.
_First_ (Lavoisier's fact), that the total weight of substances remains
always the same, be they combined in ever so many different ways.
_Second_, that all substances, be they in large or in small quantities,
combine with each other, or separate from each other, in definite and
fixed proportions. The theory of Dalton was that these combinations take
place between independent particles of matter, which are indestructible
and indivisible. These "atoms" of the various elements have definite
weights which are responsible for the proportion in which they are found
to combine. These facts of proportion in combination, or "chemical
affinity," could not be accounted for by the theory which regards matter
as "continuous," but only by the opposite theory that it is "discrete"
(i.e. divided up into particles).

PHILOSOPHICAL COROLLARIES.--These strictly scientific theories
associated with the name of Laplace, Lavoisier, and Dalton tended to
strengthen in the popular estimation, the philosophical conclusions of
writers like Holbach. The scientists themselves remained "agnostic" with
regard to questions that lay outside their scope: they maintained here
the correct attitude for scientific research. The question put by
Napoleon to Laplace, why he had not introduced the name of God into the
_Méchanique Céleste_, was out of place, and deserved the crushing reply
it received. Scientific research is not concerned with questions of
philosophy.

Still, it did not escape popular attention that the old pillar of a
mechanistic view of the universe now seemed to be reinforced by another.
The theory of _the conservation of energy_ was now supplemented by that
of the _indestructibility of matter_ (Lavoisier). And to crown all, the
old atomic theory, which Lucretius had made the foundation of his
dogmatic materialism, was now re-established on an experimental basis.

So far as physical science was concerned, the situation seemed menacing
to a religious view of life. Men felt that they inhabited a world of
indestructible matter, moved by a certain measure of force, unchangeable
and fixed. The prison of determinism and matter was closing around
them.



CHAPTER VI

RISE OF GERMAN IDEALISM


AN UNSTEMMED TIDE.--In spite of those important reactions of thought
which we have associated with the name of Spinoza, Leibniz, and Pascal,
the mechanical view had not ceased, as the last chapter has shown us, to
extend itself during the eighteenth century, when it became highly
fashionable in progressive circles.

COMMON-SENSE PHILOSOPHY.--The strength of this mechanical view lies in
the fact that it stands on the shoulders of a natural science which
itself has its feet firmly planted on the irrefragible rock of
sense-experience. The mechanical view thus rests, in the last resort,
upon the belief (which is held everywhere with confidence by plain men)
that sense-experience is a sound foundation for knowledge.

The importance of this belief had been recognised by the English
philosopher, Locke (1632-1704), who in his _Essay concerning Human
Understanding_ (1690), lays it down that all human knowledge is based,
ultimately, upon sense-experience. This highly important work had an
immense influence, and, under Locke's tutelage, many thinkers regarded
with suspicion any knowledge which might seem not to be derivable, in
one way or another, from that source.

As the strength of Samson lay in his unshorn hair, so the strength of
the mechanical theory lay, and still lies, in the acceptance of Locke's
theory of human knowledge, i.e. that it is all derived from the senses.
And the Delilah who can shear away Locke's conclusions, leaves Samson
helpless; mechanical materialism becomes a discredited theory. Hence the
truth of the saying that the problem of knowledge is the preliminary
question for philosophy.

WEAKNESS OF SPECULATIVE PHILOSOPHY.--Spinoza and Leibniz may be said to
have dispensed with this foundation. Taking the scientific knowledge of
their time for granted, they drew certain conclusions therefrom; but
their results, however imposing, were felt to be the result rather of
speculation than of reason. Such was the more or less unexpressed
estimate of their work. It was undervalued, for both Spinoza and Leibniz
were thinkers of the first calibre; and yet there was some justice in
the charge. By the end of the eighteenth century the days of merely
speculative philosophy were past.

THE CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY.--The time was ripe for a new metaphysic--for a
fresh step forward in philosophic method. That step was taken by the
celebrated Immanuel Kant, who is the originator of what is known, in the
history of thought, as the Critical Philosophy.

The word _critical_ signifies a particular method of approaching the
problem of existence, a method which must be contrasted with that of the
_speculative_ philosophy, of which Spinoza and Leibniz are examples.

The critical philosophy, before attempting (as Spinoza had done) to
tackle the problem of _existence_, first attacked the problem of
_knowledge_. Before asking _What is the truth?_ it put the preliminary
question, _What are the means at man's disposal for reaching the
truth?_ It prefaced all philosophical enquiry by an examination into the
nature and scope of human thought. Such was the preparatory
investigation which was to place metaphysics upon a secure and
scientific foundation. For the new philosophy, the gateway to all sound
knowledge is the reflection of the human mind upon itself. "Know
thyself," is its advice to the inquiring spirit of man. Here, if
anywhere, is to be found the philosopher's stone.

IMMANUEL KANT.--The celebrated Immanuel Kant was born at Königsberg in
1724, and died in his native town in 1804. Between those dates he lived
the industrious and uneventful life of a university professor. The Seven
Years' War and the French Revolution left him undisturbed, though not
unmoved. He was a man of quiet, regular habits, and his fellow-townsmen
would set their clocks by his daily promenade.[23] But the adventurous
originality of his thought serves as a contrast to this peaceful
picture.

Kant, indeed, laid the foundations of philosophy afresh. With
characteristic insight, he went to the very root problem of all, and
challenged human thought itself. Before we can know anything, we must
first of all demand the credentials of the instrument by which knowledge
is gained. Before asking, _What_ do I know? the preliminary question
should be, _How_ do I know? Otherwise we cannot say whether we are in a
position to give any answer to those ultimate problems, the answers to
which constitute philosophy.

It is far from easy to present Kant's criticism of knowledge at once
simply and accurately. This philosopher has a not undeserved reputation
for obscurity, and had he written in any other language than German, he
would perhaps have found no readers.

THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE.--It had already been realised by the
predecessors of Kant that what is called "sense-experience" is a less
simple process than it seems, and that our senses cannot be said to
reveal to us any object as it actually _is_. John Locke himself was not
the first to point out that the so-called "secondary qualities" of any
material object (i.e. colour, taste, etc.) are produced just as much by
the person who perceives, as by the object which is perceived. Galileo,
Descartes, and Hobbes, besides others, had been aware of this fact,
which indeed becomes evident to the most superficial analysis of
sense-experience.

The "primary qualities," i.e. density, extension, etc., continued to be
regarded as subsisting _in_ the objects themselves, and independently of
any perceiving consciousness. But even this view did not prove
permanent, and it was the episcopal philosopher, George Berkeley
(1685-1753) who demonstrated in his _New Theory of Vision_ that not even
_these_ qualities could rightly be regarded as subsisting independently.

Thus it had already been realised, long before Kant wrote his _Critique
of Pure Reason_ (published, 1781), that our senses are far from
revealing to us things as they _are_; it is only the _appearances_ of
things and not the _things themselves_ that the senses present to us.
Indeed, as is well known, the Scotch philosopher David Hume (1711-1776),
who was a master in the art of raising problems, extended this line of
criticism until it reached to pure scepticism. He put the question, If
all our knowledge is derived from sense-experience, and _if_
sense-experience only supplies us with appearance and not reality, what
degree of trustworthiness can there be in human knowledge? And he was
not afraid to give the logical answer--None. Hume may thus be said to
have brought things to an impasse. As a matter of fact, what he had done
was to refute Locke's theory of knowledge (i.e. that it is derived
entirely from sense-experience) by means of a _reductio ad absurdum_.

THE KANTIAN CRITICISM.--Kant says that it was Hume who "awoke him from
his dogmatic slumbers." By this he meant that Hume made him realise that
it was no use indulging in philosophic speculation generally, or
listening to the speculations of others, until "the Problem of
Knowledge" was satisfactorily solved. To this problem Kant applied
himself. And recognising Locke to be the _fons et origo malorum_, he
subjected his theory of human knowledge to a close analysis, and exposed
it as being fallacious.

Far from sense-experience being responsible for all our knowledge, Kant
proved that important elements of knowledge are quite independent of
sense-experience; especially was this so in the case of certain
mathematical propositions. (Hence the question, How is pure mathematics
possible? was put by Kant at the beginning of his philosophy.)

But it is neither necessary nor desirable to enter into the arguments by
means of which Kant proved his thesis, which was that the human mind
contains in itself certain principles of knowledge (e.g. the idea of
cause and effect, the ideas of mathematics, and so on) which it does not
owe to sense-experience.

KANT'S COPERNICAN HYPOTHESIS.--Kant called these principles of
knowledge, _forms of thought_ or _categories_. The name, perhaps, is
irrelevant to our purpose; all that we need to understand is that Kant
turned the tables upon Locke. Locke said that the mind was a _tabula
rasa_ which passively received impressions from outside. Kant said that
the mind is nothing of the kind; it is not passive, but active; it does
not "receive" whatever is offered, it "selects" what it wants; and _it
imposes its own "forms of thought" upon the outside world_.

Photography had not been invented at the time of this controversy, but
Kant might have said: The mind is not a photographic plate receiving
impressions from without, it rather resembles the lens which impressions
must pass through, and be transformed by, before they can create a
picture.

Kant had, in fact, by this theory, instituted a revolution. His new
dogma was: _The mind is the mould into which all our knowledge must be
cast; and the constitution of our mind predetermines the shape that our
knowledge takes._

Thus Kant had discovered that not only sensuous perception, but rational
understanding also, has its forms and presuppositions. Just as we become
aware of objects only by means of senses which perhaps hide or distort
as much as they reveal; so also our rational knowledge is conditioned by
the nature of our understanding, which dictates to reality the "forms"
under which it can be understood and known.

MECHANISM UNDERMINED.--How did this affect the mechanical theory? The
connection is obvious. Mechanism is nothing but one of the forms of
thought that the mind imposes on phenomena. Just as Copernicus had
discovered that it is due to our position on the earth that the heavenly
bodies _appear_ to move round us, so Kant had discovered that it is due
to the nature of our senses and understanding that we perceive things in
space and time, and understand them as being mechanically determined.
The space and time, and the mechanical determinism are not in the
things, _but in our minds_. The fact is that we can only grasp things
under these forms. Space, time, mechanical causation are forms and laws,
_not_ of nature, _but of the human intellect_, which is so constituted
as to see things in this way.

Thus those axioms of science and of mathematics which lie at the base of
all exact knowledge, and which had hitherto been regarded as
_objective_, i.e. as inherent in the nature of things, were shewn by
Kant to be, as a matter of fact, _subjective_, that is (in Kant's own
phrase) "they express the conditions under which alone we are able to
apprehend or understand the object." Thus all knowledge is conditioned
by our nature, by the framework, so to speak, not only of our senses but
of our minds.

In this way the mechanical view was outflanked; that view certainly
seems to us inevitable and certain, but this is due to the constitution
of our minds; the world seems to us to be determined, just as it seems
blue to a person wearing blue spectacles. But there is no sufficient
reason for supposing that it _is_ either determined or blue. The law of
mechanical causation is an axiom, but it is a subjective axiom.

APPEARANCE AND REALITY.--This may not seem much of an advance on Hume's
position. Human knowledge still seems precarious, if we assume the mind
to be a kind of dictator which imposes its own laws upon nature. And
Kant indeed frankly admitted that neither our senses nor our reason were
able to reveal to us things as they _are_, but only things as they
_seem_; we grasp _appearance_, not _reality_, and (to use Kant's
phraseology) _phenomena_ not _noumena_. Thus Kant cut away the ground
from under all rationalistic _dogmatism_; he shewed its presumptuous
futility.

THE PATHWAY TO REALITY.--Kant, however, did not remain satisfied with
the negative results of his critical philosophy, valuable as these were.
Reality, it is true, lies out of range of the human reason, but it is
not entirely inaccessible to us, and scepticism about the ultimate
nature of things is not the necessary corollary of Kant's, as it was of
Hume's, philosophy.

Kant drew a distinction between the "Theoretical Reason," which his
_Critique of Pure Reason_ had dealt with, and the "Practical Reason,"
which he discusses in his _Critique of Practical Reason_ (1788).

THE "PRACTICAL REASON."--By the "practical reason" Kant meant the moral
consciousness, and the law of the "practical reason" is the moral law,
the fulfilment of which constitutes duty. This law springs neither from
outside authority nor from experience; it is autonomous. And it is upon
the existence of this autonomous moral consciousness that Kant plants
his foothold in his endeavour to find a refuge from the philosophic
agnosticism to which his analysis of the "theoretical reason" had led;
and upon this rock he founded his belief in "God, Freedom, and
Immortality."

By means of his "practical reason," man gets into touch with that real
world, which his "theoretical reason" is unable to reach. In fact, the
"practical reason" itself (or moral consciousness) is an element in
man's nature which belongs to the _real_, as opposed to the _phenomenal_
world. For man himself is a citizen of both worlds, and has (so to
speak) a dual nature, a foot on either shore. He is an inhabitant both
of the world of mechanical phenomena, and of the "timeless world of
freedom," which lies altogether outside of all mechanical conceptions.

KANT AND RELIGION.--"Religion we must seek in ourselves, not outside
ourselves," is a saying of Kant's that gives the clue to his general
attitude.

It is only in that world which cannot be interpreted mechanically (i.e.
the inner world of freedom of which we never cease to be conscious) that
we may seek, or can hope to find the source of religion. It is not the
spectacle of the mechanically determined world of nature, but the
demands of the moral consciousness that create religion.

For instance, it is the gulf that yawns between the ideal commands of
the moral law, and the actual possibilities (so poor and meagre) of
fulfilling and satisfying them, that creates, in the view of Kant, the
need of God and immortality. These alone can guarantee the realisation
of the ideal claims of the moral consciousness.

RELIGIOUS FAITH.--Thus the "practical reason" leads on to convictions
concerning what lies beyond the limits defined by the "theoretical
reason." The nature of the demands of the moral consciousness give us an
insight into the nature of the super-phenomenal (transcendental,
noumenal) world. That world must be of such a kind as to sanction and
guarantee our moral ideals; it must be friendly and not hostile or
indifferent to those ideals which man cherishes, but which his
"phenomenal" experience seems to contradict. Thus we see the truth of
the saying that "The universe as a moral system is the last word of the
Kantian philosophy."[24]

KANT'S INFLUENCE.--Kant was one of those thinkers who are responsible
for turning the stream of thought into fresh channels. Through his
researches into the nature of human knowledge, he discovered the
conditions upon which it rests, and defined the limits beyond which it
cannot pass. Thus, once for all, he put an end to dogmatism.

And to Kant also belongs the credit of having established the reality
and validity of _inner_ experience. The rock upon which his philosophy
is built is no external fact or event--nothing in time or space--but the
moral consciousness itself. And thus he restores, as the central
interest of philosophy, the human individual, with all his experiences
of need, of hope, and of insight. Personality is the principle of his
philosophy. In this he is the true successor of the Reformation.



CHAPTER VII

THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT


KANT AND AFTER.--With Kant the hey-day of rationalism terminated. He had
put an end to the superficial psychology upon which it rested. For the
rationalists, the life of the mind had consisted in _intellectual
ideas_; but a more careful analysis indicated the presence of
deeper-lying elements, which had hitherto been disregarded; there
existed other important constituents besides the intellectual.

Kant's criticism of "pure reason" did much to discredit the old view;
and by founding his philosophy upon the non-intellectual "moral
consciousness," he heightened the prestige of feeling as against reason
(in the narrow and limited sense of that word).

Thus Kant is not undeservedly called the father of a philosophy which
succeeded him, and which was based upon the idea of the supremacy of
feeling. But, at the same time, that title is more accurate as an
estimate of another philosopher of rather different characteristics.

ROUSSEAU.--Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a man of unique genius
whose figure occupies a prominent position not only in the annals of
philosophy, but in social, political, and literary history. Even more
than Voltaire was he responsible for sowing seeds of thought which bore
fruit in the events of the Revolution. And indeed, it is as the author
of the notorious _Contrat Social_ that he is most widely known.

ROUSSEAU'S "SENSIBILITY."--Rousseau was one of those philosophers whose
character is the formative element which gives shape to their doctrines.
His was a profoundly emotional temperament. He left behind him an
invaluable document which lays bare all the psychological sources of his
philosophy. The _Confessions_ reveal to us a man highly sensitive and
morbidly introspective, the slave of unreasoning impulses and passions.
In the eyes of some short-sighted persons, these first-hand revelations
will obscure or cast doubt upon the capacity and genius of the man, for
they do little to prejudice opinion in his favour.

HE DEFIES THE ZEITGEIST.--Rousseau's profound originality lies in his
having dared to dispute a dogma to which the prestige of an axiom then
attached. He endeavoured to undermine the popular faith in scientific
and philosophic culture. He went right back to Pascal, who, a century
before, had raised the question as to the value of scientific knowledge
for personal life, by proclaiming "The whole of philosophy is not worth
an hour's study."

Rousseau's first philosophical work was occasioned by the offer of a
prize on the part of a provincial academy for a thesis on the problem
"Whether the restoration of the sciences and arts has contributed to
purify manners?" "The question pierced Rousseau's soul like a flash of
lightning." He felt (he tells us) that he saw a new world, and felt a
new man; he saw no longer the world of culture, of science, of
philosophy (which he felt to be as artificial as it was ineffective and
vain), but the _real_ world of personality, of living feeling, of the
inner life. It flashed upon him that it was the primitive and elementary
feelings, the great and simple relations of life, which gave to
existence its value. The rest was superficial and irrelevant.

ROUSSEAU AND RELIGION.--The intellectualist is ever the aristocrat.[25]
Voltaire and the philosophers of the "enlightenment" spoke of the
unenlightened multitude as _la canaille_. Its beliefs were
superstitions. Rousseau knew that the things which men have in common
are more vital than those in which they differ, and the primitive
instincts of the race which we all share, are the most important part of
our nature.

Among these primitive instincts, indomitable and irrepressible, is the
instinct of religion. Thus Rousseau transferred the religious problem
from the sphere of external observation and explanation of the world (to
which the rationalists had promoted or degraded it), back to inner
personal feeling. This marked an epoch in the philosophy of religion.

Moreover, Rousseau was able to write in a convincing fashion of
religion, because (and here he differed from the intellectuals of his
day) he had personal experience of what it meant. Hence wherever he
alludes to religion his language has the ring of sincerity; it is always
spontaneous, and sometimes it is passionate and poetic. His religious
experience took the form of nature-mysticism, undogmatic (because
non-intellectualist), but rich and deep:

"I can find no more worthy adoration of God than the silent admiration
which the contemplation of His works begets in us, and which cannot be
expressed by any prescribed acts.... In my room I pray seldomer and
more coldly; but the sight of a beautiful landscape moves me, I cannot
tell why. I once read of a certain bishop, who, when visiting in his
diocese, encountered an old woman whose only prayers consisted in a sigh
'Oh!' The bishop said to her, 'Good mother, always pray like that; your
prayer is worth more than ours.' My prayer is of that kind."[26]

Here we have one form of the religious spirit; for the mystic it is
always true that "there is neither speech nor language." The mystic and
the dogmatist stand at opposite poles, for dogmatism is always an
attempt at definition even when that which is to be defined is
indefinable; and here is to be found the common denominator between Kant
and Rousseau. The former, by his analysis of reason, discredited
dogmatism: the latter, by his apotheosis of feeling, contributed towards
the same result.

ROMANTICISM IN GERMANY.--This strong movement of feeling, created on the
one hand by Kant's _Critique_, and by the mysticism of Rousseau, took
different forms in the two countries to which these two philosophers
belonged. In France the new philosophy became the hot-bed of
revolutionary ideas; whereas in Germany it found vent in a ferment of
speculative systems, and in an outcrop of artistic production. It
produced the philosophies of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, and the prose
and poetry of Goethe and Schiller.

"It was the age of 'beautiful souls' and of 'noble hearts'; men believed
themselves capable of the highest things; the immediate needs of the
heart were set over against reason ... under many successive forms
Romanticism prevailed in literature, effecting the re-birth of human
fancy after the long labour of intellect."[27]

THE GOAL OF PHILOSOPHY.--Philosophic young Germany had set itself an
ambitious programme. Kant, indeed, had cleared the ground for them, but
his warnings that an eagle cannot soar beyond the atmosphere which
supports it, were disregarded.

The philosophy of Kant himself was felt by the successors to be lacking
in the _idea of totality_--in the conception of a whole. His division of
existence into Appearance and Reality seemed to indicate a certain lack
of finish in his philosophy; and they set themselves to explore the root
of reality which to Kant seemed undiscoverable, but in which the
sensuous and super-sensuous worlds are united, and from which they have
emerged. This task became and remained the grand problem of philosophy
for a whole generation of thinkers. All externality, isolation, and
division were to disappear, all existence must be shown to be but
degrees and phases of the one infinite reality. Spinoza's work had to be
done again in the light of increased psychological knowledge.

FICHTE.--Of the thinkers who addressed themselves to this ambitious
task, only two need be considered here; and these are chosen because
they attacked the problem from different directions.

In the first place, Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), who had been the
first to lay down the programme of thought with explicitness, realised
and admitted that the task which philosophy had set itself was beyond
the powers of any logical train of thought. The "higher unity" of
existence, the demonstration of which was the goal of philosophy,
could be reached only by a process of intellectual intuition,[28]
it must be guessed or divined; for it presents itself (and this is
a characteristically "Romanticist" idea) to the human mind in the
immediacy of feeling, and not by discursive thought.

It was of the essence of Fichte's philosophy, as it had been of
Spinoza's, that a point may be attained where the mind feels itself to
be at one with the truly real, and only when this point is reached--i.e.
_sub specie aeternitatis_, will it arrive at and retain the conviction
of the universal order and unity of existence. From this standpoint, and
from this alone, does it become possible to grasp "the meaning of those
dualities and contrasts which we find around and in us, the differences
of self and not-self, of mind and matter, of subject and object, of
appearance and reality, of truth and semblance."

HEGEL.--It has been said, perhaps with justice, that "philosophy is the
finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct." The remark
might seem, at least in the eyes of some, to be particularly applicable
to the work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). Not because
his arguments are bad, but because he attempted to establish by strict
logic the conclusions which Fichte sought to reach by means of
intuition, and which perhaps are only attainable by that method. Hegel
attempted to climb, by a strict process of reasoning, to the position
from which the Fichtean landscape might spread itself below as a
logical whole: he claimed to be a reasoner as well as a seer. And
thereby he may be said to have furnished "the programme of thought for a
certain class of intellects which will never die out."

Thus Hegel was something of a hybrid, and may be described as a
rationalistic-romanticist. Nor are his arguments the easiest to
understand. "The only thing that is certain," writes a commentator
who stands at an opposite philosophical pole, "is that whatever you
may say of his procedure, some one will accuse you of misunderstanding
it. I make no claim to understanding it; I treat it merely
impressionistically."[29] And this is all we can do here.

HEGEL'S METHOD.--Hegel proceeds by means of what he calls the
_Dialectical Method_. He understands by "dialectic" (1) a property of
all our _thoughts_ in virtue of which, each particular thought
necessarily passes over into another; and also (2) a property of
_things_, in virtue of which every particular thing necessarily belongs
to, or is related to, all other things. A thing "by itself" is nothing.

Hence a similarity or parallelism between the _method of thought_ and
the _nature of things_. Logic is of the nature of things. The way in
which thought reaches truth is also the way in which things exist. Hegel
expressed this in his well-known saying "the real is the rational, and
the rational is the real." Perhaps more poetically or obscurely the same
proposition is expressed by declaring: "When we think existence,
existence thinks in us," and "The pulse of existence itself beats in our
thinking."

Hegel's logic may, in fact, be described as an attempt to conceive the
movement of thought as being at the same time the law of the universe.
Logic (to repeat what we said before) is of the nature of things:
reality is rational, and what is rational is real.

Thus logic for Hegel did not mean (as it meant for Kant) the forms or
laws of thought: it signified the very core of reality. For all that
Kant knew, reality might or might not be rational: all he asserted was
that the human mind rationalised reality (or parts of it). For Hegel,
logic or reason was the living and moving spirit of the world. The
essence of reality and the essence of thought were one. The absolute
reality was spirit.[30]

HEGELIANISM.--Hegel's philosophy may be described as an attempt to reach
the standpoint of religious mysticism by means of purely rational
processes. It is the finding of rational grounds for supra-rational
intuitions. The attempt is laudable, and, in the eyes of many, it was
successful. And, as we shall see, Hegelianism had an important future,
especially in England; nor, as a system of thought, is it yet extinct.
Its central conception is that which, in one shape or another, will
never cease to appeal to mankind--that existence is, at bottom,
spiritual in character--that spirit is the only ultimate reality.

That Hegelianism provides a rational basis for a spiritual religion is
obvious enough; nor is it necessary to indicate the possibilities of
linking up the Christian doctrine of the Logos with a philosophy for
which Reason was the very core and ground of existence. Hegel may indeed
be said to have laid the foundation of Christian theology afresh; or
rather to have restored what was best in the old theology, and given it
the prestige of modernity.

RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY.--In fact, for Hegel as for all rationalists
whose attitude is also religious, religion and philosophy were two forms
of the same thing. Religion contains philosophic truths under the form
of imagination: philosophy contains religious truth under the form of
reason. The difference is one of form only, not of content. This had not
been the view of Rousseau, nor is it the deepest view; and it was not
the view of a thinker of the Romantic school who did more than any
individual among his predecessors to bring the religious problem to the
point where it now stands.

SCHLEIERMACHER.--While the sun of Romanticism was at its zenith, the
spirit of Kant's critical philosophy was kept alive by a thinker of as
deep spiritual and intellectual insight as Hegel himself.

Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher (1768-1834) brought the religious
problem down from those altitudes to which Romanticist metaphysics had
raised it, to what Kant had called "the fertile bathos of experience."
He approached religion from the side of inner experience, the point of
view of psychology. The profound insight of Kant had already shown that
this was the direction on which future thought would travel, by tracing
back the religious problem to a _personal need_ more clearly and
penetratingly than ever before--a need set up by the incongruity of the
real and the ideal.

HIS VIEW OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS.--Just as Rousseau, owing to his own
religious experience, was in a better position to attack the religious
problem than the philosophers of the "enlightenment," so Schleiermacher
had the advantage of some Romanticists. As a boy, he had been put to
school with the Moravians, and throughout his own life he never ceased
to declare that the years spent among them had been of vital importance
to the development of his views. In 1801 he writes:

"My way of thinking has indeed no other foundation than my own peculiar
character, my inborn mysticism, my education as it has been determined
from within."

And his own experience of religion established in him the conviction
that the innermost life of men must be lived in feeling, and that this
alone can bring man into immediate relation to the highest. His
acceptance of Kant's criticism of reason led him to understand that
intellectual concepts, in the religious sphere, (i.e. dogmas) must
always be of secondary importance: _experience_ comes first. And his
profound originality lies just here, and it is just here that
Schleiermacher stands out as the forerunner of the modern view. He it
was who first made it evident that religious ideas derive their validity
from that inner experience which they are an attempt to describe. If a
dogma is an expression of an experience felt by man in his innermost
life, it is a _valid_ dogma, even if philosophic criticism hesitates to
sanction it.[31]

WHAT IS RELIGION?--The distance of this position from that of the
eighteenth century intellectualism which regarded religion either as a
form of philosophy or of superstition, is obvious. Schleiermacher
attacks two intellectualist prejudices in particular: (1) That according
to which religion is conceived of primarily as a doctrine (either
revealed, or grounded on reason), and (2) That which regards religion as
merely a means towards morality.

Religion, according to Schleiermacher, has an existence independent of
(though, no doubt, associated with) philosophy, superstition, or
morality. Its essence consists neither in speculation nor in action, but
in a certain type of feeling, of inner experience. Schleiermacher
characterised this particular type of feeling as _a feeling of
dependence_: the immediate consciousness that everything finite exists
in and through the infinite, everything temporal in and through the
eternal.

That Schleiermacher should have described the specifically religious
feeling in this particular way is comparatively irrelevant so far as our
present purpose is concerned. The point of importance is that he was the
first to recognise the _independence_ of religion, to see in it a
legitimate and natural form of human activity, which exists, not for the
sake of knowledge or of morality, but for its own sake, and on its own
account.

Here, though Hegel took a different view, Schleiermacher is one in
spirit with the Romantic school; indeed, he may be said to have drawn
the logical conclusions of Romanticism. The independence and originality
of religion is the necessary consequence of a philosophy which set
itself against the unbalanced intellectualism of the "enlightenment."

The permanent significance of Romanticism lies here: That it discredited
once for all the notion that there is only one road to reality--that of
logic. It is not only philosophy, but religion and art that remove the
veil which hides the supra-sensible world from us. And to close our eyes
to the facts of religious experience, or to attempt to discredit them by
the application of irrelevant terms such as "superstition," is not only
to display ourselves as philistines, but also to forsake the highest
traditions of science--veneration for experience, and the realms of
fact.



CHAPTER VIII

MECHANISM AND LIFE


RECAPITULATORY.--We have already observed the mechanical theory, in the
hands of Descartes, expanding itself to cover organisms and the
phenomena of life, and in La Mettrie's _L'Homme Machine_, reducing even
human beings to the status of automata. These theories were, however,
known to be insecurely based upon somewhat hasty generalisations, for,
in point of fact, the science of biology was as yet in its infancy; the
_data_ for a complete vindication of the mechanical position were as yet
wanting.

ADVANCE OF BIOLOGY.--Biological science, however, during the first half
of the nineteenth century made considerable advances, and research
continually kept bringing to light facts which seemed to substantiate
the brilliant, if premature, hypothesis of Descartes. It will not be
necessary for us to do more than take hasty note of certain important
developments.

It was in 1828 that the German chemist Whöler (1800-1882) for the first
time in biological history prepared an organic compound (urea) from
inorganic materials--an achievement universally recognised to be of the
utmost significance. As a distinguished historian of the science of
chemistry puts it:

"This discovery destroyed the difference which was then considered to
exist between organic and inorganic bodies, viz. that the former could
only be formed under the influence of vegetable or animal vital forces,
whereas the latter could be artificially produced."[32]

Ten years later another German, Schleider (1804-1881) propounded the
cellular theory of the structure and growth of plants, a theory which
was soon extended to animal organisms by Schwann (1810-1882). The
publication of this famous theory was described by a contemporary as "a
burst of daylight"; it indeed illuminated what had hitherto been buried
in mystery and mythology--the structure and method of growth of plants
and animals. It seemed to render superfluous any form of the old
conception of a "vital force" to explain the phenomena of growth, if it
could now be assumed that the cells automatically absorbed outside
material, increased in number by the division of individuals, and built
up the organism by continual repetition of this process.

Schwann was also responsible for initiating a number of minute
physiological investigations which led to a far more intimate knowledge
of the action of nerves and muscles, and interpreted these in mechanical
terms. "Investigations which were carried on with all the resources of
modern physics regarding the phenomena of animal movements, gradually
substituted for the miracles of the 'vital forces' a molecular
mechanism, complicated, indeed, and likely to baffle our efforts for a
long time to come, but intelligible, nevertheless, as a mechanism."[33]

Subsequent researches, notably of Helmholtz (1821-1895) and Meyer, lent
strong support to this interpretation. The conception of the
conservation of energy (an important axiom of the mechanical theory) was
successfully applied by them to the economy of organisms. The organism
was found not to _create_ energy, but only to contain remarkably
efficient means of deriving it from materials absorbed as food. Thus
animal warmth and the power of motion are originally "sunlight
transformed in the organism of the plant," and afterwards appropriated
by the animal. The power with which we move our limbs is as much the
product of combustion as is the power of a steam engine, the only
difference being that the organism is, of the two, the more efficient
converter of energy.

THE MECHANICAL THEORY SUBSTANTIATED.--Thus, whether biologists were
considering the _structure_ or the _behaviour_ of organisms, they were
arriving at the same conclusions. The structure was revealed as physical
and chemical structure, and the behaviour as the resultant of familiar
physical and chemical processes. Hence biology came to be regarded as a
compartment of physics and chemistry, for life itself was nothing but a
complex physical or chemical phenomenon. Life could thus be
satisfactorily expressed in terms of matter and energy. The speculations
of Descartes seemed to be established by experimental science.

THE FINAL OBSTACLE.--The situation, already satisfactory to those whose
hope it was to see the mechanical theory impregnably established, was
marred, however, by one untoward circumstance. The phenomena of organic
structure, growth, and behaviour having been reduced to order, and
expressed in terms of physics and chemistry, certain important facts
still resisted explanation, and stood out as a last stronghold of the
older view.

THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES.--The existence of definite forms of animal and
vegetable life, whose infinite variety and complexity was continually
being increased by research[34]--still remained a mystery. How did these
innumerable species naturally and automatically come into being? was the
question that must be satisfactorily answered before the mechanical view
could be held to cover all the facts.

The direction in which to look for a reply had been indicated by a
number of thinkers. The French naturalist Buffon, the philosopher Kant,
and the poet Goethe--besides other thinkers--had already in the
eighteenth century familiarised the idea that species are not immutable,
but that, by some means or other, new forms of life are derived from
pre-existing ones. The conception had gained a firm foothold in England,
where it was hospitably entertained by Mr. Herbert Spencer, and where it
formed the staple of a book which caused a good deal of controversy in
its day, and which is not yet forgotten.[35]

LAMARCK.--The evolutionary idea, however, though attractive to
philosophers, and even to men of science, was insufficient as an
explanation of the origin of species so long as the processes of
transformation remained obscure. Naturalists could not accept an
hypothesis for which there seemed to be such imperfect evidence. An
ingenious French scientist, J. Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) had
indeed, in 1809, propounded the theory--ever since known by his
name--that the use or disuse of particular organs might, after a long
series of generations, result in the formation of new species. (The
ideas denoted by the words "environment," "adaptation," "acquired
habits"--now so familiar--may be said to have been introduced by him).
But the scientific prejudices of the time were against Lamarck's
theories, and he had to lament their inhospitable reception. Indeed
Lamarck's critics did not hesitate to exercise their powers of ridicule,
or to make fun of the giraffe who derived his long neck from the
attempts of his ancestors to browse on high trees. Darwin himself talks
of "Lamarck's nonsense," and of his "veritable rubbish"--language,
however, which he was subsequently able to retract.

THE NEW GEOLOGY.--Perhaps the most stubborn obstacle which Lamarckian
theories had to meet was the current prejudice as to the age (or youth)
of the earth. Contemporary geologists were by no means prepared to grant
Lamarck the illimitable periods of time which his transformation
processes seemed to require. Consequently it is not surprising that the
new theories, perhaps for the first time, received a measure of justice
at the hands of one who himself became responsible for a revolution in
the science of geology.

"I devoured Lamarck _en voyage_," writes Charles Lyell, describing a
journey from Oxford in 1827. "His theories delighted me more than any
novel I ever read, and much in the same way, for they address themselves
to the imagination.... That the earth is quite as old as he supposes,
has long been my creed."[36]

In spite of the fascination of these theories, however, Lyell was not
carried away by them, and it was not for some years that he estimated
them at their true value. Meanwhile the new geology made its appearance
with the publication of the three volumes of his own _Principles of
Geology_, between 1829 and 1833. The significance of the book for
biological speculation--for theories of the origin of species--lay in
its thesis that the present condition of the earth is the product of
geological processes incalculably long. Hitherto the "catastrophic
theory" had been dominant--the notion that a series of immense
catastrophic events (like the Deluge) had been responsible for the
present condition of the earth's surface. For this Lyell substituted his
"Evolutionary Theory," according to which the almost invisibly slow
geological processes which we may now see operating around us, are
typical of the behaviour of the crust of this planet for incalculable
periods of time; for even the slowest changes, if sufficient time is
allowed them, are capable of producing the most stupendous results.
Lyell may be said to have extended the age of the earth _ad infinitum_.
Just as Galileo removed all barriers of space, Lyell removed those of
time. Their joint achievement was to present to humanity a universe
infinite both in space and time--a staggering conception.

RESULTS OF LYELL'S THEORY.--Though Lyell's boldness disturbed a good
many of his contemporaries, those biologists who were engaged upon
seeking the origin of species were thankful to one who had removed the
chief obstacle to the solution of their difficulties. They were now
relieved of one embarrassment: Lyell gave them the power to draw on the
Bank of Time to any extent; bankruptcy was no longer possible.[37]

Indeed, Lyell seems himself to have been convinced of the evolutionary
origin of species (though the mode of its operation still remained a
mystery for him no less than for the biologists themselves). In fact, it
became quite evident that the idea of "continuity" which the _Principles
of Geology_ had established in the inorganic world, must be equally
applicable to the organic world.

DARWIN.--The theory of a common descent of species had occurred, as
early as 1837, to an enthusiastic student of Lyell's writings, who was
also a personal friend. Charles Darwin had collected much geological,
botanical, and zoological matter on his voyage with the _Beagle_ round
the world, and continued for twenty years to accumulate an immense
volume of _data_ to substantiate a theory which had first suddenly
suggested itself to him in 1838 as the result of reading for amusement
Malthus' _Essay on the Principle of Population_.

This celebrated book, first published in 1798, had attempted to describe
the forces which ensure the multiplication, or check the increase of
population. The proposition laid down by Malthus was that population
tends to vary with the means of subsistence. He had studied his problem
from a social or political point of view, but the same principle was
seen by Darwin to apply to all living creatures. Two forces are seen
everywhere in conflict: (a) the luxuriant powers of reproduction
possessed by and exercised by each species; (b) the difficulties and
obstacles by which the species tend to be eliminated. The contest
between the powers of reproduction and those of elimination--this
"over-production" and "crowding-out"--is what was afterwards termed the
"struggle for existence."

"NATURAL SELECTION."--Darwin's momentous theory was that this struggle,
proceeding for untold ages, had resulted in the continual formation of
new species. Granted that the numerous offspring of any individual
member of a species tend to vary, those variations survive which happen
to be best fitted to cope with the environment. These in their turn
leave offspring, the variations and the selections are repeated, and so
on _ad infinitum_; and the result is that entirely new species are
formed by a long process of insignificant changes. This, briefly put, is
the celebrated theory of "Natural Selection."

The habit of scientific caution was characteristic of Darwin, who at
first would not write down "even the briefest sketch" of his hypothesis,
but devoted nearly twenty years to the accumulation of evidential
_data_. His friends continually warned him that he would be forestalled,
and this actually occurred, as is well known, in 1858, when the book
which was to give the new theory to the world was already half written.
The naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, on a collecting expedition in
the East Indies, "in a flash of insight" while sick with fever, found
the same solution of the mystery that had puzzled biologists so long.
Wallace's letter to Darwin, containing the abstract of his theory, came
"like a bolt from the blue."

The behaviour of the two men was worthy of the highest traditions of
scientific research. The matter was put into the hands of Lyell, and
Wallace's paper, together with certain extracts from Darwin's
unpublished notes, were read before the Linnean Society, and the
preparation of Darwin's book was hurried on. In November, 1859, _The
Origin of Species_ was published.

RESULTS OF DARWIN'S THEORY.--The importance (for the general trend of
thought) of this joint achievement of Darwin and Wallace was
considerable, and could not but be regarded as an extension of the
mechanical theory. The origin of species might still to some extent
remain mysterious (for "natural selection" was soon realised to be only
one of many factors at work in evolution), yet the area of mystery was
patently reduced, and the "inexplicable" driven further back. A formula
had been provided, which seemed to be as valid, and likely to prove as
permanent and fruitful in biological research as Newton's law of gravity
had been in the realm of physics.

In point of fact, Darwin had only substituted new problems of
"variation" and "heredity" for the old one of the diversity of species;
but an impression was created by the new discoveries that a purely
mechanical explanation of the origin of life and even of mind was within
reach.

THE DESCENT OF MAN.--With regard to "mind," the impression was
re-inforced by Darwin's next book--the _Descent of Man_, where the gap
between man and the animals was finally bridged. The work was merely an
extension of the principles previously applied by him, and as a theory
it had been present to Darwin's mind as far back as 1837. As soon as he
had become "convinced that species were mutable productions," he could
not "avoid the belief that man must come under the same law."[38]
Indeed the Descent was nothing more than a corollary to the _Origin
of Species_. The earlier work contains the whole of Darwinism.

THE POSITION REACHED.--And with the full publication of Darwin's
theories a point was reached when a more or less consistently
materialistic position seemed possible. The foundations of such a
position had been strengthened by the scientific atomism of Dalton, and
the results of German research in the field of _organic_ chemistry
seemed to open up possibilities of expressing even life in terms of
matter. And, finally, the evolutionary hypothesis had reduced some of
the most obscure biological problems to manageable proportions. The
prospects for a purely naturalistic philosophy were phenomenally
bright.



CHAPTER IX

MATERIALISM AND AGNOSTICISM


FROM SCIENCE TO PHILOSOPHY.--The record of certain important scientific
discoveries has occupied us in two recent chapters, and it is now time
to examine the philosophic results that were drawn from them. It is true
that the generalisations drawn from the results of scientific research
were sometimes hasty, and not always sanctioned by the gifted minds to
whom these results were due; yet they were assured a popular reception,
and exercised an immense influence. It is not always the most accurate
thinkers whose ideas gain the widest currency.

DISCREDIT OF ROMANTICISM.--The Idealistic movement in philosophy which
we have seen flourishing in Germany at the beginning of the nineteenth
century, had begun, after the lapse of a generation, to decline.[39] The
causes of decline, as often happens, were in part, at least, other than
intellectual. Hegelianism had become associated with political reaction,
and "a philosophy has lost its charm when it enters the service of
absolutism." And a rising spirit of enterprise in commerce and industry
also contributed to a change of attitude, for as material interests
develop, men have less leisure for speculation, and often lose their
taste for ideals. Probably there should also be taken into account the
sentimentality that had attached itself to Romanticism and with which
men were sated. This revolt has its most pointed expression in the prose
writings of the poet Heine, who attacks with satiric bitterness "the new
troubadours, so morbid and somnambulistic, so high-flown and
aristocratic, and altogether so unnatural."

METAPHYSICS REJECTED.--The reaction against the philosophy of
Romanticism took the form of a complete revolt against speculative
philosophy. But instead of going back to Kant, and taking up a
vigorously critical attitude, it took refuge in the prejudices of
"common sense." The new movement must be associated in the first place
with a French thinker, Auguste Comte (1798-1857), who made the attempt
to substitute scientific and _positive_ knowledge for the vague
speculations which had hitherto passed for philosophy. He was, in fact,
the founder of that system of ideas known as Positivism, which (as we
shall see) gained great vogue later, especially in England. Comte's
doctrine was that, all spheres of Nature now being brought under the
sway of positive science, the time had arrived for men, when
constructing their conceptions of life and the world, to reject all but
such ideas as positive science can accept. The age of theology and
speculation was past; the new age of positive science, where both
imagination and argumentation should be subordinate to observation, was
at hand. Comte, as is well known, became the founder of what he hoped
might develop into a new Catholicism--the "Religion of Humanity," and an
atmosphere of moral idealism permeates his thought.

GERMAN EXTREMISTS.--In Germany, the home of Romanticism, the revolt took
a radical shape in the hands of writers like Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72)
and Büchner. "I unconditionally repudiate absolute, self-sufficing
speculation--speculation which draws its material from within," says the
former, in the Introduction to his _Essence of Christianity_[40] (1841)
and asserts that he "places philosophy in the negation of philosophy."
Büchner, a far less acute thinker than Feuerbach, adopts a similar
attitude, protests against pedantry, and appeals (the appeal is always
dangerous) to common sense:

"Expositions which are not intelligible to an educated man are scarcely
worth the ink they are printed with. Whatever is clearly conceived can
be clearly expressed."

It is not surprising that the book _Force and Matter_ (1855)--in the
preface to which these sentiments are expressed--went through sixteen
editions in thirty years and was translated into most European
languages. It is an extreme expression of the most thorough-going
materialism, and the circumstance that its conclusions were acceptable
neither to cautious scientists nor to critical philosophers, did not
compromise its authority with the general public. As was only natural,
for materialism is a creed for which the evidence is all on the surface,
and to which the objections, being less obvious, escape notice. And
Büchner's pleas for intelligibility and clearness, though in some sense
justified by the inconceivable pedantry of much German metaphysics, was,
in point of fact, only a form of cant; for "there are difficulties
lying in the subject-matter itself which cannot be banished from the
sphere of philosophy." Appeals to popular prejudices are not a more
legitimate form of philosophic, than of scientific controversy; serious
thinkers do not thus stoop to the expedients of the politician.

EFFECTS OF DARWIN'S THEORY.--It would be a serious mistake, then, to
imagine that materialistic naturalism had to wait for the publication of
the _Origin of Species_ (1859) before it could become a formidable
theory. And yet the appearance of Darwin's book had important effects,
and among these is to be reckoned a certain weakening of the old
"Argument from Design," according to which the complexity and delicacy
evident everywhere in the world of nature, could not be attributed to
chance, but pointed to the existence and activity of a divine Designer.
Paley, during the eighteenth century, had elaborated the argument with a
wealth of detailed instances of "contrivance":

"The pivot upon which the head turns, the ligament within the socket of
the hip-joint, the pulley or trochlear muscles of the eye; the
epiglottis, the bandages which tie down the tendons of the wrist and
instep," and so on.

And it was not so much the doubt cast by it upon the separate creation
of particular species that was the disturbing element in Darwin's
hypothesis (few men now regarded the book of _Genesis_ as a manual of
natural science, or faith in it, as such, as a matter of religious
obligation); it was rather that the new doctrine of "natural selection"
seemed to invalidate the "argument from design." Design or chance had
been the alternatives offered by Paley, and chance only had to be
mentioned to be rejected; but Darwin made it possible to escape from the
dilemma. He showed how, if certain conditions were granted, the whole
process of the manufacture of species would naturally and inevitably
follow. Neither design nor chance was the explanation: there was another
alternative, _the influence of environment_. Thus Paley's instances of
elaborate "contrivance" were explained by Darwin as instances of
adaptation. The environment under which these organs had developed had
made them what they were; they could not, under the given circumstances,
have been different. As a very lucid writer puts it:

"Before Darwin's great discovery, those who denied the existence of a
Contriver were hard put to it to explain the appearance of contrivance.
Darwin, within certain limits and on certain suppositions, provided an
explanation. He showed how the most complicated and purposeful organs,
if only they were useful to the species, might gradually arise out of
random variations, continuously weeded by an unthinking process of
elimination."[41]

DARWINISM EXPLOITED.--In fact, it became evident that popular
materialism had been strongly reinforced by the new biology; and though
Darwin himself was cautious in adding philosophic or religious
corollaries to his own propositions, some of his more eager disciples
did not hesitate to fill in his blanks, and to draw conclusions which
the master was too conservative, too blind, or perhaps too scientific to
sanction.

The distinguished zoologist Haeckel (1834-1919) may be reckoned the most
notable amongst these. He was one of the first German scientists to give
his adherence to Darwin, who seems to have considered him too zealous a
disciple. "Your boldness sometimes makes me tremble," he wrote (November
19, 1868). It is not every scientist who can perceive the limits of an
hypothesis, or who insists so conscientiously as Darwin did, upon the
necessity for its verification.

HERBERT SPENCER.--Though there were not wanting in England writers to
exploit Darwinian theories in the interests of a narrow secularism,
their work was not of first-rate importance, and need not detain us. A
new evolutionary philosophy was, however, worked out by a conscientious
thinker of a different calibre--Mr. Herbert Spencer. He indeed may be
described as the Aristotle of a new world-view. He attempted to
co-ordinate and unify all human knowledge, and to present the world with
a final philosophy based upon the _data_ supplied by natural science. To
this ambitious task he devoted a lifetime of patient work, broken by
intervals of ill-health. In 1850 the _System of Synthetic Philosophy_
was projected; its _First Principles_ were published in 1862, but it was
not until 1896 that the gigantic enterprise was complete.

Spencer was inspired neither by hostility to religion in general, nor to
Christianity in particular. The motive of his work was a more honourable
one. He felt, with many of his contemporaries, that the foundations of
the old religion were no longer secure, and that the old sanctions of
morality were already gravely compromised; and he wished to supply a new
creed and a new discipline in the place of these. His principal objects
were social and ethical. And in this important respect he may be
associated with Comte. Both were sociologists and moralists before they
were philosophers, which accounts for their overlooking and
underestimating various important philosophic difficulties.

A few remarks about Spencer's system are here not out of place. He
attempted to reduce experience to a unity by seeking evidence for the
existence of a single and universal _law_. This unifying principle he
found in a general law of evolution. He formulated this law in language
which is perhaps less obscure than it seems, and which practically
amounts to this, that there is a perpetual process going on which
reduces disorder to order, undifferentiated sameness to specialised
variety.[42]

The _First Principles_ was published before the _Origin of Species_, and
the confirmation which Darwin's work supplied to Spencer's theory must
have recommended the latter to the minds of scientifically trained
thinkers. Moreover, Spencer sanctioned a hopeful outlook; evolutionary
optimism was an attractive and an idealistic, as well as a reasonable
philosophy. It demanded the subordination of the individual to society,
it urged the necessity of self-discipline and of industry, and pointed
(if these conditions were fulfilled) to a brighter future, and to a new
humanity. The generous idealism of the following passage is
characteristic of Spencer's outlook, and of those who thought--and
hoped--with him; it occurs at the end of his _Principles of Ethics_:

"The highest ambition of the beneficent will be to have a share--even
though an utterly inappreciable and unknown share--in 'the making of
Man.'... As time goes on, there will be more and more of those whose
unselfish end will be the further evolution of Humanity. While
contemplating from the heights of thought that far-off life of the race
never to be enjoyed by them, but only by a remote posterity, they will
feel a calm pleasure in the consciousness of having aided the advance
towards it."

Spencer, then, evidently deserves the important place that he occupies
in the history of thought. For though he was forced, for lack of those
final scientific results which he vainly hoped might soon be
forthcoming, to leave some vital gaps in his scheme,[43] he had made an
imposing attempt to systematise and unify all human experience. And his
attempt to base an idealistic morality upon sure grounds of natural
science was valuable and important.

SPENCER'S PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION.--At the same time, Spencer could not
remain satisfied with a mere _description_ of natural phenomena, however
complete and comprehensive such description might seem; he desired to
offer, besides this, an _explanation_ of these phenomena--how did they
come to be, and how do they continue to exist? To provide this
explanation, Spencer postulated the existence of an Unknown Power which
is at once the origin and the sustaining ground of everything. This
power he regarded as lying quite out of range not only of the human
senses, but of the human intellect. It was not only unknown but
_unknowable_. This celebrated doctrine of the Unknowable is not the
least interesting or important part of Spencer's system, and it is
perhaps more germane than any other speculation of his to our present
subject, as this _terra incognita_ was allotted by him to religion as
its peculiar province. He hoped that the undisputed possession and
occupation by religion of this territory might put an end to its
perpetual conflict with science, and substitute for this a reasonable,
if not cordial, understanding. Science might contentedly appropriate the
sphere of the knowable, and leave to religion the undefined and perhaps
infinite area of the unknowable; and he hoped this division of labour
would be both fruitful and permanent.

THE VICTORIAN AGNOSTICS.--Through this doctrine of the Unknowable,
Herbert Spencer was the father of that form of belief or disbelief which
was pertinently named Agnosticism by the most celebrated of its
exponents--Huxley. This combination of Positivism in science with
Agnosticism in religion and philosophy, became highly popular in a wide
circle in England during the last third of the nineteenth century,
especially among the scientifically educated. Leslie Stephen, with the
pride of a disciple and the pardonable zeal of a propagandist, claimed
for it the distinction of being "the religion of all sensible men."

This austere faith owed much to the qualities of those who preached it.
Their wide culture, their power of literary expression,[44] their
intellectual vigour, and above all their moral earnestness and social
enthusiasm recommended what had otherwise seemed a barren and
unpromising creed. The generous humanitarian sympathies of Comte
supplied the idealistic elements without which no faith can become
popular, and the apparent stability of its scientific basis seemed to
those impatient of speculative doubt, a great rock in a desert of
shifting sand. This new scientific Humanism had an immense vogue, and
its effects upon national life were, on the whole, of a quite healthy
character. Occasional lapses into intolerance, no doubt, occurred; but
much may be excused in the self-confidence of a new faith, not yet
tested by the experiences and the criticisms of years.

THEOLOGICAL POLEMICS.--The attacks of orthodox apologists upon this new
orientation, though carried through with the best intentions, were too
often conducted on mistaken lines and certainly on too narrow a front. A
particular theory of scriptural inspiration (now widely abandoned), and
of the miraculous, seemed to obsess the controversialists. Nor were the
Agnostics (it must be confessed) any more alive to the real issues.
Hence, to the modern student, an oppressive atmosphere of deadness and
sterility seems to brood over these vigorous but superannuated polemics;
and hence the complete oblivion into which this literature has fallen.
The saying is profoundly true that "nothing so quickly waxes old as
apologetics." Even the contributions to the subject by so accomplished a
journalist as Huxley--his _Essays on Science and Christian
Tradition_--can only be read by those whom an almost Teutonic industry
characterises. Once so eagerly perused and earnestly pondered, the
controversial literature of this interesting epoch (which now seems so
remote) reposes on the higher shelves of libraries, accumulating the
peaceful dust of oblivion. These projectiles have, in fact, done their
work, and if they have proved less fatal than was hoped by those who
launched them, they were dispatched with good intentions, and their
explosion cleared the air.

The most effective method of attack would have been to suggest that what
was good in the new system was as old as Christianity, and that the rest
was disputable science and still more disputable philosophy. The latter
half of this task was, as we shall subsequently find, creditably
performed by an important school of critical thinkers. But its former
half, i.e. the task of proving that what was valuable in the new
Humanism, was Christian--might, one would suppose, have been more
successfully performed by the official champions of orthodoxy. These
might have left science to the scientists, to have left off advertising
their own incompetence in that sphere by passages of arms such as took
place between Bishop Wilberforce and Huxley at the Oxford meeting of the
British Association in 1860, which are never very desirable, and always
discreditable to the discomfited party.[45]

ILLOGICALITY OF NATURALISTIC IDEALISM.--In point of fact, "the religion
of all sensible men" (in spite of its philosophic weakness) was
equivalent to Christian stoicism; its social enthusiasm, its
humanitarianism, its conscientious truthfulness, were the fruit of a
stock grown on Christian soil. Its ethical presuppositions were entirely
Christian, nor were they sanctioned (in spite of Herbert Spencer's
elaborate apologetic) by the new biology. Nietzsche was a far more
legitimate child of Darwinism than was Huxley. Indeed, towards the close
of his life, some doubts invaded the mind of the latter, and he was
constrained by an intellectual sincerity which does him and his school
the highest credit, to utter a word of warning. We refer to his famous
_Romanes Lecture_ of 1894.

The thesis of this important utterance was that the field of human
interests is a narrow heritage carved out from a hostile environment
into which it is destined one day to relapse. It is a cultivated garden
with the wilderness all around; created only at the cost of infinite
sacrifice and perpetual toil, and preserved only with difficulty. The
implacable jungle seeks everywhere to encroach on the borders of the
clearing, whose ultimate engulfment can only be postponed, not
prevented. Two quotations may suffice:

"Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society
depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away
from it, but in combating it."

"The theory of evolution encourages no millennial expectations. If, for
millions of years, our globe has taken the upward road, yet, sometime,
the summit will be reached, and the downward route will be commenced.
The most daring imagination will hardly venture upon the suggestion that
the power and intelligence of man can ever arrest the procession of the
great year."[46]

PESSIMISM.--Coming, as it did, at the end of a generation of dogmatic
optimism, this pronouncement is symptomatic of a certain disillusionment
which had already begun to mar the fair picture of Positivist prophecy.
The human race seemed destined to an ambiguous future; the parabola of
progress would one day reach its summit, and the fall begin. At last
upon our planet the episode of Life would pass, and be neither forgotten
nor remembered; the world would sink into the eternal silence, from
which for one transitory and insignificant moment, it had awakened.[47]

NIETZSCHE.--As might have been expected, it was in Germany that the
logical conclusions of a naturalistic outlook were drawn. Here,
philosophic pessimism had already been introduced by Schopenhauer
(1788-1860), and his disciple Nietzsche was not afraid to formulate a
scheme of ethics based on the conception of "the survival of the
fittest," and equivalent to an apotheosis of barbarism. The virtues of
self-assertion, ruthlessness, and pride were to eradicate the vices of
abnegation, pity, and humility. Christian morality was a disease;
Christianity itself was the appropriate product of the degenerate epoch,
and of the loathsome environment that gave it birth. This radical
thinker, free from English "compromise," could be satisfied with no
morality which was parasitic upon Christianity. He had clearness of
vision to see whither the naturalistic road would carry its pious
wayfarers. To him the moral idealism of Spencer was moonshine or
stupidity--"the milk of pious sentiment."

SIGNIFICANCE OF NIETZSCHE.--Nietzsche has come in for a fair share of
abuse, but it is only just to say that philosophy stands heavily
endebted to this thinker. He was not afraid to draw logical
conclusions, and to put questions which more conventional philosophers
had preferred should remain in the background.

It is well for a moralist to arise, once in a generation, who will clear
his own mind of cant and, without undue respect for the conventions,
approach the really fundamental questions in a spirit of sincerity. The
extravagant impieties of Nietzsche may have shocked his hearers, but
they have cleared the air. He exposed, perhaps with too little
_finesse_, the nakedness of Naturalism, and tore off that mantle of
idealism under which it had been masquerading. And he may be said, by so
doing, to have written _finis_ at the foot of a chapter in the history
of philosophy.



CHAPTER X

REACTIONS IN PHILOSOPHY


VICISSITUDES OF IDEALISM.--At the beginning of the last chapter we
noticed the early collapse of idealism in Germany. But the prophets
of Romanticism, when they were no longer honoured at home, found an
hospitable reception elsewhere, and especially in England. Indeed,
even before the prestige of idealism had begun to decline in Germany,
Englishmen had been introduced to it by the writings and translations
of S. T. Coleridge (1772-1834) and Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). These
two popularisers of German ideas were _littérateurs_ rather than
professional philosophers, but for that very reason their vogue and
influence were the wider.

COLERIDGE.--Coleridge was in spirit a genuine Romanticist; being, as
were some of the most notable of the German school--e.g., Goethe and
Schiller--a poet as well as a philosopher. In his _Biographia Literaria_
he has left behind the story of his intellectual and spiritual
development. He acknowledges his debt to Kant, to the Romanticists, and
in particular to Schelling, whose "intuitionism" was naturally congenial
to him. Coleridge was never able to embody his philosophical creed in
any single work; he does not seem to have possessed the necessary power
of application. He was unfortunate in being a man of weak character,
and his ineffectiveness struck his contemporaries. But in spite of these
disadvantages--his sentimentality, the lack of clearness of his thought,
his weakness for opium--he certainly exercised an important influence,
especially in the realm of theology. His ideas, though vague, were
calculated to awaken the speculative habit, and, introduced as they
were, to a wide circle, were fruitful and stimulating. English theology
had been, in the eighteenth century, of an arid kind, and the English
philosophical tradition lacked, for the most part, appreciation of those
deeper aspects of reality which had appealed to German thinkers.
Coleridge, by introducing German speculation to his countrymen, was able
"to free theology of some of its narrowness, and to deepen and enlarge
the spiritual outlook of his age."[48]

THOMAS CARLYLE.--Carlyle was a man of a very different temper, whose
attitude towards Coleridge was "half contemptuous, half compassionate."
A typically Carlylean characterisation of him may be found in the _Life
of Sterling_:

"He was thought to hold--he alone in England--the key of German and
other Transcendentalisms.... A sublime man, who alone in those dark days
escaped from black materialisms and revolutionary deluges with God,
Freedom, Immortality, still his. The practical intellects of the world
did not much heed him, or carelessly reckoned him a metaphysical
dreamer; but to the rising spirits of the young generation he sat there
as a kind of Magus, girt in mystery and enigma...."

"The good man ... gave you the idea of a life that had been full of
sufferings ... the deep eyes, of a light hazel, were as full of sorrow
as inspiration; confused pain looked mildly from them, as in a kind of
mild astonishment. The whole figure and air, good and amiable otherwise,
might be called flabby and irresolute; expressive of weakness under
possibility of strength.... He spoke as if preaching--preaching
earnestly and hopelessly the weightiest things."

Carlyle himself had all the character and industry that Coleridge
lacked, and it was another side of German idealism that had appealed to
him. The Scotchman was of the same fibre and stock as that other
half-Scotchman, Kant. Here was the source from which he had drawn his
inspiration. We see in Carlyle the same moral earnestness, the same
"toughness" of thought, the same absence of "sentimental moonshine."
From Kant, too, he derives a vigorous independence of thought, a
religious respect for individuality, a horror of shams and affectation.
Kant was a true child of the Reformation, and Carlyle is a genuine
disciple.

In a single important respect, however, he differed from (and improved
upon) his master. Kant lacked, or at least did not display, the saving
grace of humour; in Carlyle this quality looks out from every
page--keen, satirical, sometimes bitter, sometimes grotesque; he
ridiculed his own generation, its vices, its prejudices, its
superstitions.

SARTOR RESARTUS.--For our purpose, _Sartor Resartus_--that profound and
humorous book--is Carlyle's masterpiece: here all the characteristic
Kantian doctrines may be found.

The "philosophy of clothes"--which is the quaint title behind which
Kantian idealism is made to masquerade--starts from the thought that
just as an acquaintance with his clothes will not reveal to us the man,
so an acquaintance with _phenomena_ (which is all that science can claim
to give us) cannot reveal to us the real ground of existence, which
remains an inscrutable mystery. We must "look on clothes till they
become transparent," if we could understand reality.

"To the eye of vulgar Logic what is man? An omnivorous biped that wears
breeches. To the eye of pure Reason what is he? A Soul, a Spirit, and
divine Apparition."

And so with Nature; to science it is a mechanism, to the understanding
heart it is "the living garment of God."

"It is written, the Heavens and the Earth shall fade away like a
Vesture; which indeed they are: the Time-Vesture of the Eternal.... The
whole External Universe and what it holds is but Clothing...."

The visible world is but a symbol of a profound and awful reality; and
all Nature's products, in their degree, symbols as well: but of these,
man is the highest. "The true SHEKINAH is Man: where else is the GOD'S
PRESENCE manifested, not to our eyes only, but to our hearts, as in our
fellow-man?"

This leads up to the essential doctrine of the Kantian system: that man
is a creature of two worlds, who has a foot in either; hence in the
phenomenal world he can never find satisfaction.

"Man's Unhappiness, as I construe, comes of his Greatness; it is because
there is an infinite in him, which, with all his cunning, he cannot
quite bury under the Finite. Will the whole Finance Ministers and
Upholsterers and Confectioners of modern Europe undertake, in
jointstock company, to make one Shoeblack Happy? They cannot accomplish
it, above an hour or two, for the Shoeblack also has a Soul quite other
than his Stomach...."

"There is in man a HIGHER than Love of happiness: he can do without
happiness and instead thereof find Blessedness! has it not been to
preach forth this same HIGHER that sages and martyrs ... have spoken and
suffered; bearing testimony to the God-like that is in man?"

CARLYLE'S INFLUENCE.--In spite of Carlyle's strange literary mannerisms
and his grotesquely Germanic phrases, his writings had great
attractiveness for those of his contemporaries who felt themselves
smothered by the materialism and utilitarianism of early Victorian
England. He was able to re-vitalise idealism amongst them. Moreover he
appealed strongly to those to whom the Coleridgean speculations were
uncongenial. The strongly developed _moral_ element, both in his
writings and in his own somewhat stern and austere personality--what
Taine called his "puritanism"--appealed strongly to a certain side of
English feeling. His countrymen felt that his was a native genius that
they could understand. In fact we may say that the influence of Carlyle,
especially among the young and generous minded, has been incalculable in
extent and invaluable in quality. Spiritual life in England stands under
a deep obligation to him.

ROMANTICISM AT OXFORD.--Englishmen were thus not entire strangers to
German idealism, which had possessed its interpreters in the earlier
half of the nineteenth century. Not, however, until it had experienced a
decline in Germany (a reaction which occupied our attention in the last
chapter), did Romanticism become naturalised in England by being
adopted in academic circles.

Among the most notable of English idealists was T. H. Green--fellow and
tutor of Balliol College, Oxford. In this thinker we have a widely
different type of mind from that of either Coleridge or Carlyle. He was
a thinker rather than a poet or a prophet, and he belonged to what we
have noticed as the intellectualist--i.e. Hegelian--wing of Romanticism.

Green's chief work was his _Prolegomena to Ethics_ (published
posthumously in 1883), where arguments, which were familiar to those
acquainted with Hegel, presented themselves. Green begins with an
analysis of experience, and leads to the conclusion that Nature--if by
it we mean "the connected order of experience"--implies "something other
than itself, as the condition of its being what it is." And "of that
'something' we are entitled to say, positively, that it is a
self-distinguishing consciousness" (section 52).

If these conclusions be valid, the bottom falls out of Naturalism, for
if nature "implies something other than itself," it does not stand
alone; and that nature _does_ stand alone is the beginning and end of
all naturalist theory. And, furthermore, this "something other than
itself," which Nature involves, is "a self-distinguishing
consciousness"; i.e. something to which we can attribute personality.

GREEN AND SPENCER CONTRASTED.--This theory has only to be compared with
that of Herbert Spencer for a fundamental difference to declare itself.
The two systems do indeed adopt as axiomatic the conception of the
uniformity and unity of nature, which works in accordance with a single
law. But Spencer saw in that law the expression of a blind force, an
unknowable power, of which it would be no more and no less true to say
that it was "spiritual" than that it was "material." But for Green the
law was the expression of a spiritual principal analogous to our own
intelligence--a manifestation (to use theological language) of God.

F. H. BRADLEY.--Undoubtedly the most notable of English Hegelians is F.
H. Bradley, whose metaphysical essay, _Appearance and Reality_, was a
work of genuine originality. The book is not of a type to make much
appeal outside academic circles, though it is written in an easy and
attractive style: its results may seem, to the unsophisticated reader,
somewhat too ambiguous. "Ultimate Doubts" is the title of the last
chapter, and "It costs us little to find that in the end Reality is
inscrutable," is a remark not uncharacteristic of the author. Yet this
really profound thinker and acute reasoner played an important part in
helping to discredit that negative dogmatism which was so much in vogue
during his own lifetime. He pointed out the limits beyond which natural
science could not transgress without lapsing into "dogmatic
superstition."

"Too often the science of mere Nature, forgetting its own limits and
false to its true aims, attempts to speak about first principles. It
becomes transcendent, and offers us a dogmatic and uncritical
metaphysics" (p. 284).

Though the fault has not always been on the side of the scientists:
"Metaphysics itself, by its interference with physical science, has
induced that to act, as it thinks, in self-defence, and has led it, in
so doing, to become metaphysical. And this interference of metaphysics I
would admit and deplore, as the result and the parent of most injurious
misunderstanding.... So long as natural science keeps merely to the
sphere of phenomena and the laws of their occurrence, metaphysics has no
right to a single word of criticism" (p. 285).

This critical handling of the problem of the relations of science and
philosophy did much to draw attention to the confusion of thought lying
at the base of much popular materialism. It began to be realised that
the principles of physical science are only fruitful of good results in
the sphere properly belonging to them; and that the uncritical use of
these principles results in a hybrid philosophy, which is neither sound
science nor rational metaphysics.

A. J. BALFOUR.--Before Bradley's essay was published, a somewhat similar
line of criticism had been developed by Mr. A. J. Balfour in his
_Defence of Philosophic Doubt_ (1879). Its title sounds unpromising, but
the book voiced a demand for a rational philosophy of science which was
practically non-existent at that time; and consequently, in the absence
of any adequate examination of the principles of science, uncritical
dogmatism flourished quite unchallenged. Balfour, elsewhere, indicates
the objects with which he wrote the book--to elicit from the disciples
of natural science a _rationale_ of their method:

"A full and systematic attempt, first to enumerate, and then to justify,
the presuppositions on which all science finally rests, has, it seems to
me, still to be made. After the critical examination which I desiderate
has been thoroughly carried out, it may appear that at the very root of
our scientific system of belief lie problems of which no satisfactory
solution has yet been devised."[49] Thus Balfour drew attention to the
fact that the common-sense philosophy of naturalism rested upon a tacit
agreement to overlook certain important problems which are the
indispensable preliminaries to any thinking which can be called
critical, or lay claim to be regarded as philosophy in the strict sense.
That some of these problems seem artificial, and the questions raised by
them gratuitous, to the eye of "common sense" is an irrelevant
consideration, for "nothing stands more in need of demonstration than
the obvious."

NATURALISM CHECKED.--Thus Bradley and Balfour between them, merely by
adopting a critical attitude, created an embarrassing situation for
naturalism. Between them these writers administered a serious check to
that naively uncritical dogmatism which, backed by the prestige of
natural science, had sought to impose itself on the world as a new
orthodoxy less liberal, in some ways, than the old.

Nor did they stop short at negative criticism, but substituted
(according to the idealistic tradition) a spiritual view of reality for
the mechanistic materialism that had become so popular. _Appearance and
Reality_ is a book of which the trend might seem too obscure, but it
ends with a note that is definite enough:

"Outside of spirit there is not, and there cannot be, any reality; and,
the more that anything is spiritual, so much the more is it veritably
real," are Bradley's closing words.

As for Balfour, he leads his readers up to a point which he describes as
"the threshold of Christian Theology." And having propounded the
perplexities in which the "common sense" philosophy (on which naturalism
depends) is involved, he says:

"I do not believe that any escape from them (the perplexities) is
possible, unless we are prepared to bring to the study of the world the
presupposition that it was the work of a rational Being, who made _it_
intelligible, and at the same time made _us_, in however feeble a
fashion, able to understand it."[50]

REVIVAL OF IDEALISM IN GERMANY. LOTZE.--We have perhaps dwelt at too
great length upon the backwash of the idealistic wave in England, for
idealism is not a native philosophy amongst us; possibly, because we are
not metaphysically-minded in the same sense as are the purer Teutonic
breed. And it is time to pass on to pay a brief tribute to the work of a
German philosopher who accepted the mechanical theory in its totality,
without sacrificing what we may call the spiritual values of existence.

Hermann Lotze (1817-1881) was inclined to feel that the weakness of
Romanticism lay in a tendency to despise or overlook what Kant had
called "the fertile bathos of experience." The Romanticists had too
often neglected natural science, which, in the shape of naturalistic
materialism, had its revenge by destroying them. Büchner was the Nemesis
of an idealism which was at once vague and sentimental.

LOTZE'S "MICROCOSMOS."--Lotze's attitude and method are conspicuous in
his well-known work, which took him eight years to complete
(1856-1864)--the _Microcosmos_. After guiding his readers "through the
realms of natural phenomena and historical evolution," thus constructing
a sufficiently stable basis out of _facts_--he leads them on to an ideal
world composed of what he calls "values."

His position may thus be summarised: The world presents itself to the
observer in three aspects--(1) The world of individual "things," which
are bewildering and intricate; (2) the laws (i.e., "laws of nature")
which the human intellect has discovered among them, thus finding
regularity and order; (3) the "values" which the human soul applies to
things, and which it is the human task to cultivate.

This world of ideals or values (3) is that for the sake of which the
worlds of phenomena and law (1 and 2) exist. These (1 and 2) constitute
respectively the material _in_ which, and the forms _through_ which, the
world of "values" is to be realised.[51]

Thus phenomena and law are the raw material out of which "values" are
created; and these "values" themselves constitute (in the eyes of Lotze)
a higher reality. Thus the central doctrine of his system is that the
truly Real is what has supreme worth: it is _worth_ that creates
reality. The paradoxicality of this may make it difficult to accept; but
Lotze is only expressing in his own way the fundamental thesis of all
forms of idealism, that "the ideal is the real"; that the world of
phenomena is secondary to and dependent upon a "world of spirit," or an
"ideal world."

Lotze himself in the introduction to the _Microcosmos_, expresses what
is at once the foundation and the kernel of his system: he says it is
his purpose to show "_how absolutely universal is the extent_, and at
the same time how _completely subordinate the significance, of the
mission which mechanism has to fulfil in the structure of the world_."
(E.T., p. xvi.)

Mechanism is universal, _because_ it is the raw material, so to speak,
out of which reality is to be made. That reality can be expressed in
terms of mechanism is true, just as a poem can be described as a scrap
of paper scratched upon with a pen; but this reduction of reality to its
lowest terms, ends by emptying reality of content. Mechanism is a
_universal_ feature, but it is a _subordinate_ feature, of reality.
Nature requires, if we are to arrive at the truth about it, not only to
be described and analysed, but also interpreted in the light of the idea
of _value_ or _worth_.

LOTZE AND THEOLOGY.--Lotze's theories exercised an important influence
upon the development in Germany and elsewhere of a type of theology
known as Ritschlianism. Albrecht Ritschl, a disciple of Lotze, attempted
to dissociate religion from metaphysics, and to base it upon "judgments
of value." Christian dogma, for instance, is an attempt to express, in
philosophical terms, _the unique value to humanity of the moral and
religious consciousness of Christ_. So far as a dogma is faithful to
that central idea, and makes a genuine attempt to express it, so
far--and so far only--is it true.

This type of theology, uniting itself with certain philosophical
tendencies which will engage our attention later, became the basis of
what was known as the Modernist movement in the Roman Catholic Church.

CONCLUSIONS.--Thus in the nineteenth century, in England (and indeed on
the continent also) the idealistic attitude, though it sometimes might
seem compromised, was never submerged; in spite of the materialistic
outlook of an age only too preoccupied with scientific discovery and
commercial expansion.



CHAPTER XI

SOME RECENT TENDENCIES IN PHILOSOPHY


THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE.--In the last chapter we heard A. J. Balfour
complaining of the absence of "a full and systematic attempt, first to
enumerate, and then to justify, the presuppositions on which all science
finally rests." And Mr. F. H. Bradley also drew attention to the absence
of any critical philosophy of science in England. The need was for
scientific standpoints to be investigated _de novo_; and the process
had, as a matter of fact, already been begun on the Continent.

MACH.--Ernst Mach, Professor of Physics at Prague, and subsequently
Professor of Physics at Vienna (thus combining the roles of scientist
and metaphysician--always a highly instructive and fruitful combination)
had as early as 1863 laid it down as the task of science to give "an
economic presentation of the facts." By which phrase he meant that
science takes account only of the salient features of phenomena,
selecting only those which seem strictly serviceable to its own purpose.

SCIENCE "ABSTRACT" OR "SELECTIVE."--Mathematical science (which is the
"pure" science _par excellence_) deals not--as is generally
supposed--with "things," but with _certain selected aspects_ of things.
For example, for purposes of arithmetic, every leaf on a tree is an
"unit" (i.e. all are "identical"); but, in point of fact, there exist no
two leaves that are alike, as Leibniz, long ago, pointed out. Again, for
geometrical purposes two fields may be regarded as of like area; but no
two fields are, or ever have been, so.

Thus mathematics--where scientific method is seen at its
purest--proceeds by deliberately disregarding individuality; it regards
the differences between individuals as non-essential, and irrelevant to
its purpose.

ECONOMY OF THOUGHT.--And mathematical science is justified in acting in
this way. This method, highly abstract as it is--in fact, just because
it is highly abstract--leads to invaluable results. It's justification
is that it is _economical of thought_; disregarding all irrelevant
considerations, it is able, by using a short-cut, to reach its goal. Did
the mathematician have to take into consideration all the manifold and
complex aspects of each concrete "thing" (whether it be leaf, or field,
or lever, or what not) with which he deals, he would never be able to
cut his way through the jungle. His method of abstraction carries him at
once to his goal.

MACH ON THE "MECHANICAL VIEW."--Mach's criticism of the mechanical view
of nature proceeded upon similar lines. He termed that view
"analogical," by which he meant that mechanical "laws of nature" serve
us as formal patterns to which the processes of nature may (for
convenience sake) be represented as conforming. A clear account, though
not a _complete_ account, of all physical processes may be given in
terms of mechanical "law."

And in fact it remains a question, Mach observed, "whether the
mechanical view of things, instead of being the profoundest, is not in
point of fact, the shallowest of all."[52]

SCIENCE NOT INVALID BUT INCOMPLETE.--This line of criticism of
scientific method--i.e. that it deals with abstractions and analogies
rather than with _things_, for the sake of economy and convenience of
thought--does not deprive science of validity, but only invalidates that
superficial dogmatism which had crept into so many investigations. A
critical estimate of scientific methods makes it evident how much and
how little we have the right to expect from them. They will enable us to
give a simple description of _phenomena_ as they are seen when reduced
to their simplest terms of matter and motion; but of ultimate and final
causes they will tell us nothing.

"The system of conceptions by which the exact sciences try to describe
the phenomena of nature ... is symbolic, a kind of shorthand,
unconsciously invented and perfected for the sake of convenience and for
practical use ... the leading principle is that of Economy of Thought"
(Merz, Vol. III, p. 579).

BOUTROUX.--This criticism of the mechanical method of dealing with
reality was seconded by Boutroux's criticism of the principle of Natural
Law. Émile Boutroux (1845-1918)--Professor at the Sorbonne--in two
important treatises, examines with great minuteness this aspect of the
scientific method. In the earlier of these works, _The Contingency of
the Laws of Nature_ (1879) he suggests that these laws only give, so to
speak, the _habits_ which things display. They constitute, as it were,
"the bed in which the stream of occurrence flows, which the stream
itself had hollowed out, although its course has come to be determined
by this bed" (Höffding, _Modern Philosophers_, p. 101).

In his _Natural Law in Science and Philosophy_ (1895), Boutroux lays it
down that the laws of nature, as science describes them, may indeed
represent, but are by no means identical with, the laws of nature as
they really are. The laws of science are true, not absolutely but
relatively, i.e. are not elements in, but symbols of, reality. The
notion that everything is "determined" (i.e. the opposite of
"contingent"), though absolutely indispensable to the mechanical theory,
is nevertheless a way of looking at things rather than a faithful
picture of reality--a way in which we see things rather than the way
things exist in themselves.

As Boutroux himself puts it in his final chapter: "That which we call
the 'laws of nature' is the sum total of the methods we have discovered
for adapting things to the mind, and subjecting them to be moulded by
the will."

RESULTS.--Here we have Boutroux approaching very closely to the
standpoint of Mach; indeed the theories of the two men are complementary
to one another. For Mach, the mechanical view is a way of looking at
things, distinctly useful for understanding and using them--an "economy
of thought." For Boutroux, the determinist view is also a way of looking
at things that is useful for the same purposes.

Thus the interpretation of reality in terms of mathematics and
"unalterable law," is artificial; an abstract way of thinking which
deals not with reality itself but with certain deliberately selected
aspects of it.

RISE OF A NEW PHILOSOPHY.--This examination of the principles of natural
science was the beginning of what afterwards proved to be a revolution
in thought. What had been more or less negative criticism in Mach and
Boutroux, became the basis of a new philosophy in the hands of William
James and Bergson. The names, and even the ideas, of these two original
thinkers are familiar far outside strictly philosophical circles, and it
will almost be possible to presume upon a certain acquaintance with them
on the part of our readers.

WILLIAM JAMES.--James himself, like Mach, was led to philosophy by the
road of scientific investigation. He was a psychologist, and it is as
the author of his _Principles of Psychology_ that his name will be
remembered. This work is notable as containing the first complete
application of the Darwinian theory to the evolution of mind. Mental
action is there represented as a capacity developed by the organism to
enable it to deal with its environment. As an exponent of James puts it:

"The mind, like an antenna, feels its way for the organism. It gropes
about, advances and recoils, making many random efforts and many
failures; always urged into taking the initiative and doomed to success
or failure in some hour of trial."[53]

The corollary which attaches to propositions of this kind is that
knowledge in all its varieties and developments arises from _practical
needs_. And the mind (here is an echo of Mach) _selects_ those aspects
of reality which concern it, and out of that selected material makes up
a new (mental) world of its own. Which world is far from being a
"picture" of reality, but which is "symbolic" of it (here is another
memory of Mach).[54]

This view obviously cuts the ground from under dogmatic materialism. The
world which that philosophy regards as _reality_, is, to the critical
eye, a collection of abstractions, a mental creation arising out of the
practical needs of life.

HENRI BERGSON.--This line of criticism, that of the evolutionary
psychologist, opened up by James, has been carried to extreme lengths by
the French philosopher Bergson. "Dig to the very roots of nature and of
mind" is his advice. He begins by asking, How, as a matter of history,
has human intellect developed? He then, and then only, proceeds to put
the question (which uncritical thinkers always put _first_), What can
the intellect do for us?

His theory of the origin of intellect is the same as that of William
James. Life (through the evolutionary process) has produced it. But the
conclusion that he draws from this hypothesis is that _the intellect,
being itself a product of life, or a form of life, cannot understand the
whole of life_. This thesis is elaborated with a wealth of illustration
and erudition, both scientific and philosophic, and with a literary
grace and charm possible only for a Frenchman, in the famous work
_Évolution Créatrice_ (1907).

BERGSON'S ADVANCE ON MACH AND JAMES.--Those thinkers who had made a
serious attempt at a philosophy of science, had demonstrated that the
"mechanical view" of nature was a mental abstraction, and not a complete
representation of reality. Such is the debt of philosophy to the
researches of Mach, Boutroux, James, and others who worked along their
lines.

But it remained for Bergson to demonstrate that the mechanical view was
_the inevitable product of the mental processes which we describe by the
word "intellect."_

The path which led Bergson to this goal will have to be briefly
indicated by us.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INTELLECT.--What is the "intellect," to which we
look in vain for any _complete_ explanation of existence? This is the
preliminary question.

Our intellect is, as James had taught, a faculty developed by the
evolutionary process in our species to enable it to deal with its
_material_ environment. And Bergson was the first to point out that as a
consequence of its having been developed for this particular purpose
(i.e., dealing with a _material_ environment), intellect is "never quite
at its ease, never entirely at home, except when it is working upon
inert matter." If it has to deal with "living" matter, it "treats it as
inert, without troubling about the life that animated it."

Such is the first characteristic of the intellect: it feels at home in
dealing with dead matter, and living matter it prefers to treat "as
inert."

Another characteristic of intellect is that, just as it treats the
living as if it were non-living, so it prefers to treat the mobile as
though it were motionless. Motion is a thing which the intellect simply
cannot grasp; it has to treat it artificially, and represent a process
which in reality is continuous and indivisible, as discontinuous and
divisible--a succession of points, out of which no magic can conjure
motion. Philosophy became aware of this as soon as it opened its eyes.
Hence the paradox of Zeno, that Achilles will never overtake the
tortoise, if the latter once gets a start. For if space and time are
infinitely divisible (as intellect holds them to be), by the time
Achilles has reached the tortoise's starting point, the tortoise has
already got ahead of _that_ starting point, and so on _ad infinitum_;
the interval between them being endlessly diminished, but never
disappearing.

Zeno's paradox arises because of an innate fault in the "intellectual"
method of dealing with motion; a method which Bergson calls
"cinematographical," because it regards a single movement as a
succession of infinitely small motions. That method is hopeless; and if
we expect to understand motion by its means,

"You will always experience the disappointment of the child, who tries,
by clapping its hands together to crush the smoke. The movement slips
through the interval, because every attempt to reconstitute change out
of states implies the absurd proposition that movement is made up of
immobilities."[55]

So that the intellect is best fitted to deal, not with living and
moving, but with dead and motionless matter. Of the latter it can form a
clear idea; but in dealing with the former, it finds itself at a loss;
it has to abstract the life and the motion from what lives or moves, and
what it cannot grasp, it must treat as non-existent.

BERGSON'S ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM.--A penetrating remark of James' will
help us, at this point, to understand the significance for philosophy
of these new theories.

"In spite of sceptics and empiricists, in spite of Protagoras, Hume, and
James Mill, rationalism has never been seriously questioned, for its
sharpest critics have always had a tender place for it in their hearts,
and have obeyed some of its mandates. They have not been consistent,
they have played fast and loose with the enemy, and Bergson alone has
been radical."[56]

Bergson's philosophy is, in fact, a reaction against intellectualism or
rationalism; by which is meant the theory that pure reason is competent
by its nature to give a complete and exhaustive account of reality.

But according to Bergson, intellect, which is a faculty developed to
enable men to subdue and turn to advantage their material environment,
and which is, as it were, "fascinated by the contemplation of inert
matter," will not reveal the true meaning and nature of existence; it
gives us "a translation of life in terms of inertia," and can do no
more.

This criticism of the intellect (if it be sound), though it does not
invalidate the work of that faculty in its own proper sphere,
necessarily involves its discredit as a key to the unlocking of the
final mysteries of life and of being. These things lie outside its
province. "Whether it wants to treat of the life of the body, or the
life of the mind, it proceeds with the rigour, the stiffness, and the
brutality of an instrument not designed for such use."[57]

INTELLECT AND INSTINCT.--Since intellect, by its methods, has induced
men to turn their backs on reality, and to look on abstractions
instead, the only hope of reaching reality is through an entire change
of method and direction. There is, according to Bergson, a
non-intellectual variety of knowledge, which (from his point of view) it
was a kind of original sin ever to depart from; an original sin which
has vitiated all our philosophic thinking from the days of Plato.

This variety of knowledge is more original and fundamental than any
which the processes of the intellect, vitiated as these are by certain
inherent perversions, can give us. Intellect cannot correct itself; we
must call in the aid of some other faculty if we would understand
reality.

Bergson finds this faculty in what he calls "instinct." According to
him, consciousness has developed in two divergent directions--instinct
and intellect; and the difference between these is not one of intensity
or degree, but of _kind_.[58]

They are two divergent developments of the same original consciousness,
of which common origin they both retain traces, for they are not
entirely dissimilar, nor is either of them ever found in a pure state.

Intellect is characteristic of man. Instinct is most highly developed
among certain insects, notably the _hymenopterae_ (i.e., bees and
ants).[59]

BLINDNESS OF INTELLECT.--And the difficulty of the philosophical problem
for man arises from the anomalies of his own constitution (as
interpreted by Bergson in the light of his theory of instinct and
intellect). As he puts it:

"There are things that Intelligence (or intellect) alone is able to
seek, but which, by itself, it will never find. These things instinct
alone could find; but it will never seek them." (_Creative Evolution_,
p. 159).

"If the consciousness which slumbers in instinct were to wake up ... if
we knew how to question it, and if it knew how to reply, it would
deliver to our keeping the most intimate secrets of life."

Thus Bergson regards it as impossible that intellect should ever supply
us with the complete truth about reality; there are things, e.g. life
itself--which altogether elude its grasp.

INTUITION.--The situation, however, is not entirely hopeless. Man
possesses some measure of instinct, which, when it has "become
disinterested, self-conscious, and capable of reflecting upon its
object," Bergson calls intuition. By means of this faculty, man is able,
darkly perhaps but not ineffectually, to grope his way towards an
understanding of reality.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW PHILOSOPHY.--Just as the criticisms of
Cusanus and others freed thought from an incubus which seemed likely to
prevent its further development, so the movement initiated by Mach and
culminating (for the present) in Bergson, has done much to discredit "a
certain new scholasticism that has grown up during the latter half of
the nineteenth century around the physics of Galileo, as the old
scholasticism grew up around Aristotle."[60]

Mechanical determinism was characteristic of much nineteenth-century
thought in Europe, not only amongst materialists, but also, in certain
cases, amongst idealists as well. Against this aspect of contemporary
philosophy, the work of James and Bergson has been a revolt.
"Indeterminism," i.e. a belief in the reality of freedom and
spontaneity, is an essential part of their system. Their indeterminism
is indeed the necessary and logical accompaniment of their
anti-intellectualism. For determinism is "a fabrication of the
_intellect_," a device which makes reality more manageable, more
amenable to logic, more easily systematised. Freedom, like life and
motion, eludes the categories of the intellect.

THE MECHANICAL VIEW ASSAILED.--Such are the lines upon which the new
criticism of the mechanical view (the most radical criticism it has had
to meet since Kant) proceeds. That view, and the idea of predetermined
human action which it involves, is an inevitable product of an intellect
naturally incapable of understanding freedom and spontaneity. These, as
they destroy its scheme of thought, it casts out as an illusion.
"Incorrigibly presumptuous," it insists on interpreting freedom by means
of those notions which suit inert matter alone, and therefore always
perceives it as necessity. So that all life, far from being subjected to
mechanical necessity, as had seemed the inevitable conclusion of
naturalistic philosophy, was spontaneity (so to speak) materialised and
embodied:

"All the living hold together, and all yield to the same tremendous
push. The animal takes its stand on the plant, man bestrides animality,
and the whole of humanity ... is one immense army galloping beside and
before and behind each of us in an overwhelming charge, able to beat
down every resistance and clear the most formidable obstacles, perhaps
even death."[61]

We have indeed travelled a long way from the austere abstractions of Mr.
Herbert Spencer. The new evolutionism is very different from the old. It
substitutes for "mechanism" another conception--that of "dynamism,"
according to which the process of evolution is something undetermined
and impredictable--"creative," in fact. The world of organic life is
embodied "creative activity," and what this "creative activity" is, we
ourselves experience every time we act freely.

PLURALISM.--The philosophy of Bergson is a reaction against the
mechanical evolutionism (i.e. naturalism) of the nineteenth century.
Closely allied with it is another movement of thought, known as
_pluralism_. This, too, is a reaction, not so much against naturalism,
as against certain forms of idealism.

Idealism, it will be remembered, seeks to interpret reality in terms of
mind or spirit. And it does this in certain cases--notably in the case
of F. H. Bradley--by regarding all _phenomena_ as forms or aspects of
the one absolute mind or spirit.

This has seemed to many thinkers a philosophy too abstract and too
remote from the world of experience. Hence the question arose whether it
might not be possible to interpret nature in terms of mind without being
compelled to take refuge in the abstractions of "absolutism." And
pluralism is an attempt to solve the problem.

LEIBNIZ REVIVED.--Leibniz' system of "monads," the nature of which will
hardly have been forgotten, has been the model to which philosophers
have looked in constructing their new system. And the "Monadology" may
be taken as the type to which all modern attempts to construct a
"pluralistic" philosophy more or less conform.

The essence of "pluralism"--whether Leibnizian or other--lies in the
proposition that there exists an indefinite variety of beings, some
higher, some lower than ourselves. The pluralist agrees with the
idealist in declaring that the essence of reality is _spirit_, but
differs from him in declining to allow independent spirits to be
absorbed by an "all-devouring Absolute."

PLURALISM AND THEISM.--William James himself, in a work _A Pluralistic
Universe_ (1909) outlined a philosophy of spirit radically opposed to
"Absolute Idealism," which he subjects to a good deal of criticism.
Another important work, written from a similar point of view, is
Professor James Ward's _Pluralism and Theism_ (1911).[62]

With regard to modern pluralism, the notable features are two. In the
first place, it is a philosophy of _personality_, which it regards as
the most fundamental form of reality; and also, that it is _theistic_ in
a sense peculiar to itself. It believes in a God who may be termed the
supreme monad, i.e. the head of a system of monads; but whose power may
be said, in certain respects, to be limited. And indeed some such
position seems to be the _logical_ conclusion that follows from the
premises with which pluralists start, and also (we may add) from the
facts of experience.[63]

Pluralists unite in affirming that their God is (what they deny the
idealistic Absolute to be) the God of the religious consciousness. James
elaborates this thesis with his usual resourcefulness and skill. The
controversy, however, is one into which it does not seem necessary for
us to enter. Pluralism and idealism are or may be both definitely
spiritual philosophies, and perhaps they appeal to different types of
mind. We, at any rate, shall not undertake to judge between them. Both
alike are preferable to dogmatic naturalism.



CHAPTER XII

SOME RECENT TENDENCIES IN SCIENCE


SCIENTIFIC METHOD.--In the last chapter, attention was drawn to some
important attempts to supply science with a sound philosophy of method,
i.e. to give a critical account of those processes, logical and
otherwise, which issue in what is called "scientific knowledge."

The general results of these attempts was to re-enforce the validity of
sound scientific method _within its own sphere_. But, at the same time,
it was felt likely to prove an unreliable guide elsewhere.

THE NEW PHYSICS.--Meanwhile, while the logic of science was being
scrutinised by philosophers, scientific research was itself going
steadily forward, and fresh discoveries of a highly important nature
were coming to light. In the sphere of physical science, more
especially, revolutions of Copernican proportions quietly took place.

The whole subject of physics is of a highly technical nature, quite
unsuitable for discussion here, and, indeed, entirely beyond the range
of the present writer.

To indicate the nature of the discoveries which were made, however,
involves few technicalities: though the method by which these were
demonstrated and established must remain obscure to all but mathematical
specialists.

COLLAPSE OF THE ATOMIC THEORY.--Dalton's theory of atoms was described
in a previous chapter. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the
importance attached by materialists, ever since Lucretius, to the
conception of indivisible and indestructible atoms. It was regarded as
integral to materialism, and never was the prestige of this theory
higher than during the nineteenth century, which "will go down in
scientific history as the era of the atomic theory of matter."

Towards the close of the century, the theory collapsed. Atoms were found
to be neither indivisible nor indestructible; and the process of the
breaking up of the atom has actually been observed.

As is very generally known, it is in the case of a particular element,
_radium_, that this phenomenon occurs. That substance, wherever it
occurs, is undergoing a continual process of disintegration; radium
atoms are continually breaking up into more elementary bodies.

Were it not for the fact that radium itself is the product of the
disintegration of another element, it would be impossible to account for
its survival. It continually evaporates (the life of radium is only 2500
years) but it is as continually renewed by the infinitely slower
disintegration of uranium.

ELECTRONS.--The particles into which the radium atom disintegrates are
known as _electrons_. And according to the new theory of matter, not
only radium atoms, but the atoms of all the other elements (hitherto
regarded as irreducible) are composed of electrons, differently grouped.
The radium atom is infinitely more unstable than the atoms of the other
elements; but it is possible to conceive of the disintegration of these
also. They are all alike composed of the same elementary
particles--different compounds of the same primitive substance.

MATTER A FORM OF ELECTRICITY.--And the most remarkable part of the new
theory is that these primitive particles of which material atoms are
composed, are themselves the units which constitute what we call
"electricity." Thus matter and electricity are now expressed in common
terms--they are regarded as different manifestations of the same
substance. And of the two conceptions--matter and electricity--it is the
latter that is the more simple and fundamental. As a high authority puts
it:

"Whereas through the greater part of the nineteenth century, 'matter'
was the concept which was looked upon as fundamental in physical
science, and of which there was a curious accidental property called
electricity, it now appears that electricity must be more fundamental
than matter, in the sense that our more elementary matter must now be
conceived as a manifestation of extremely complex electrical
phenomena."[64]

As to whether the electrons themselves, in their turn, are irreducible
units, there may be room for doubt. According to Professor J. Larmor the
electron is "a nucleus of intrinsic strain in the ether."[65] If this
view be sound, matter may be regarded as a manifestation of the ether;
"a persistent strain-form flitting through an universal sea of ether."
As to the nature of the ether, that is a subject of speculation among
physicists. It is variously described as an "elastic fluid," and as "a
fairly close packed conglomerate of minute grains in continual
oscillation."[66] It may indeed be said that modern physical theories
have succeeded in reducing matter, which seems comparatively knowable,
to a substance of which little is known and, therefore, of which much
can be postulated; it can be called sub-natural, or super-natural,
according to taste.

We may, perhaps, satisfy ourselves with the words of Professor Tait: "We
do not know, and are probably incapable of discovering, _what_ matter
is"; and "The discovery of the ultimate nature of matter is probably
beyond the range of human intelligence."[67]

And yet we can agree with Mr. Arthur Balfour when he says[68] "we know
too much about matter to be materialists." That, in itself, a generation
ago would have been regarded as a large admission from the standpoint of
physical science.

RESULTS OF THE NEW PHYSICS.--The reduction of knowable and tangible
matter to intangible electricity or unknowable ether may not seem to be
much of an advance from the point of view of those who are interested in
establishing a spiritual theory of the universe. But electricity is a
species of energy which can be expressed in terms of will--which is the
only kind of energy that we are acquainted with at first hand. "What is
objectively energy is subjectively will; or, in other words, manifested
energy is the visibility of will."[69] And so far as the "unknowable"
ether is concerned, it gives less scope to those powers of dogmatism,
the exercise of which characterised scientists of the old materialistic
school; and it is the habit of oracular pronouncements which does the
harm, by rendering any intellectual or spiritual progress impossible. In
any case, whatever be the substitute which is to replace the old theory,
we may congratulate ourselves, with Professor J. S. Haldane, that "we
have parted once for all with the notion of a real and self-existent
Material universe; and we must remember where we now are."[70]

THE NEW BIOLOGY.--But if the results of the new physics have been
disturbing to those who had hoped that materialism was a finally
established theory, the results of recent biological research have been
equally embarrassing to them. The anti-mechanistic trend of recent
biological theory is only too evident. The organism is regarded no
longer by the majority of biologists as fully explicable in terms of
mechanics and chemistry. To quote Professor Haldane again, "The main
outstanding fact is that the mechanistic account of the universe breaks
down completely in connection with the phenomena of life.... In the case
of life, the facts are inconsistent with the physical and chemical
account of phenomena."[71]

The organism can no longer be regarded as even an extremely complex kind
of machine; that word will not cover the facts, and biologists are
compelled to look elsewhere for a less misleading terminology. To
describe the organism as a machine, is to give to that word a very
comprehensive connotation. For the organism is a machine different in
kind from any that has been constructed by man; it is "a self-stoking,
self-repairing, self-preservative, self-adjusting, self-increasing,
self-producing engine."[72]

THE RESEARCHES OF DRIESCH.--Just as modern physics is concerned with the
infinitely small--the ultra-microscopic, in fact--so modern biologists
are concentrating attention upon microscopic organisms, where life is
seen at its lowest terms, and where (if anywhere) they may expect to
discover what are the _differentia_ of life, i.e. what are the qualities
that distinguish living organic from inorganic matter. Perhaps the most
notable of the researches conducted in this sphere, of recent years,
have been those of Professor Driesch, who expounded his results in the
_Gifford Lectures_ for 1907-1908 (_The Science and Philosophy of the
Organism_).

The phenomena upon which Driesch lays considerable stress are those
which occur upon a division of certain living embryos. An embryo, when
cut in half, displays remarkable powers of self-adjustment and continued
development. Each half can, as it were, regulate itself, and make a
fresh start; a process which results in two self-contained organisms,
though of smaller size than would have resulted from a single undivided
organism. The cells which compose the organism seem able to adapt
themselves to whatever demands are made upon them. Like workmen building
a bridge, all of them _can_ do every single act--if need arise--and the
result of their labours is a perfect bridge, even if some of the workmen
fall sick or are killed or injured in an accident.

Driesch sums up the results of his researches by saying:

"There is something in the organism's behaviour--in the widest sense of
the word--which is opposed to an inorganic resolution of the same (i.e.
to its complete expression in terms of chemistry and physics), and which
shows that the living organism is more than a sum or aggregate of its
parts; that it is insufficient to call the organism 'a typically
combined body' (i.e., a machine), without further explanation."[73]

THE PROBLEM OF LIFE.--The problem is: What is it in an organism which
causes it to behave in a fashion so impossible for any machine? To
answer this question satisfactorily would be to have solved the mystery
of life. Biologists do not answer the question; they do not say what
this peculiar potency is, but they give it a name. Driesch calls it
_entelechy_, i.e. "purposiveness," and he also speaks of _psychoids_,
i.e. "primitive minds." Names do not carry us very far; but the mere
fact that biologists have gone to the trouble of providing a name, is
important. It constitutes an admission on their part that there is
something mysterious about the organism; for it has been a principle of
modern science since the days of Galileo never to appeal to mysterious
causes if known ones can be found. The _deus ex machina_ method seems to
them fundamentally unsound, and so it is. If every difficulty were
considered solved merely by the word "mystery," knowledge would never
advance. Labelled ignorance is still ignorance. It is not names, but
things that are important. But in this particular instance the
application of the name _entelechy_ indicates that, in the opinion of
such an authority as Driesch, at any rate, something exists which no
merely physical or chemical term can completely describe. And Driesch
is typical of the trend of much modern biology. It is only the very
extreme optimists who now look for a final explanation of the living
organism in terms of physics and chemistry.

RESULTS OF THE NEW BIOLOGY.--But if life resists all attempts to reduce
it to matter and motion, we are confronted with the breakdown of the
mechanical theory of the universe, which has been slowly but
progressively elaborated since the days of Leonardo da Vinci, and
applied impartially to the organic and the inorganic spheres. But this
ultra-dogmatic theory now seems too cramped to contain the facts; even
scientists resent the claims of materialist-mechanical orthodoxy. Some
indeed adopt not merely a critical, but a provocative attitude, and seek
to discredit the prestige of mechanics. Professor J. S. Haldane not only
vindicates the freedom, but prophesies the speedy advance of biology to
a position of pre-eminence. Not only are biological phenomena
irreducible to terms of mechanics, but it is mechanics that will have to
be re-interpreted in terms of biology.

"It is at least evident that the extension of biological conceptions to
the whole of nature may be much nearer than seemed conceivable even a
few years ago. When the day of that extension comes, the physical and
chemical world as we now conceive it--the world of atoms and
energy--will be recognised as nothing but an appearance ... it will
stand confessed as a world of abstractions like that of the pure
mathematicians."[74]

THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY.--Not only physical and biological, but psychological
science will contribute very largely to the reconstruction of view which
is now taking place. Particular attention is due to those branches of
psychology which deal experimentally with the subconscious, with
instincts, with the phenomena of thought transference, psychotherapy,
and of so-called "spiritualism." In none of these spheres can research
yet be said to have proceeded far enough to justify the luxury of
dogmatising over results. Considerable confusion of opinion may still
exist, but it is now generally recognised that there is a wide sphere of
research in psychical regions which is practically a _terra incognita_.
And those most competent to judge of results seem to be most cautious in
their statements. We are in the position of not knowing what a day may
bring forth; and an expectant agnosticism with regard to many problems
is perhaps the right attitude to adopt. The somewhat arrogant negations
of the last generation are now out of place; they were never, in the
strict sense, scientific, and they are now demodés. It is extremely
difficult to imagine a return to the view which dismisses "mind"
from the universe as being an obscure by-product of matter, or a
comparatively insignificant "epiphenomenon" accompanying certain obscure
chemical or mechanical processes. The old theories, gratifying in their
simplicity, will no longer cover the facts.

PSYCHICAL RESEARCH.--One particular branch of experimental psychology,
which has attracted a large measure of public attention, calls for a few
remarks. The attempt has been made to give experimental proof of the
existence of "disembodied spirits," human or otherwise. The whole
subject, exceptionally exposed as it is to the influence of prejudices
of various kinds, requires to be treated with great caution, and it is
inadvisable, in the present condition of the problem, to make dogmatic
statements in any direction.

What appears to be certain is that the occurrence is well established of
various _phenomena_ which it is extremely difficult to explain in
accordance with our present knowledge of matter, of space, or of mental
action.

The occurrence of such phenomena is no longer disputed; but it is over
the _explanation_ of them that controversy is active. And it seems quite
certain that the very least in the way of concessions that these new
facts will force from conservative scientists is _a radical revision of
current notions of the range of human mental action_. The mind is
evidently capable of producing certain effects--even upon matter--which
would have seemed incredible a short while ago.

So much is the least that may be expected. But in the view of many
competent and highly scientific observers, some far more radical
revision of our notions may be necessary. Some scientists of good repute
(e.g. Sir Oliver Lodge, in England, and Flammarion and others on the
Continent) are convinced that the facts can only adequately be explained
by reference to another world--interlocked, as it were, with this.[75]
And it has to be admitted that this, what may be called more "advanced"
explanation, is more in accordance than the other with a rather
universal tradition or assumption of mankind in all ages.

It will be easily seen that the whole subject is one of the most extreme
difficulty. There is a general hesitancy in accepting what is called the
"spirit hypothesis," so long as any other can be found; a hesitancy
justified in view of the extreme complexity of the world we live in
(where so much is even yet unknown), and in view of the great difficulty
which there seems to be in adducing _exact_ proofs of the "spirit
theory."

A REASONABLE ATTITUDE.--We shall, no doubt, be wise at present to refuse
to cry "Proven," and whilst admitting that all things are
possible--perhaps even probable--to await with patience the results of
further investigation.

It has to be admitted that, while many people are superstitious and
easily attracted by picturesque theories, there are others who are as
prejudiced, in their way, against new ideas, as were those astronomers
who, being committed to Ptolemaic views, refused to look through
Galileo's telescope. It is not only theologians who have, in the history
of thought, been guilty of obscurantism. In the early days of hypnotic
experiments the scientific world in general "pooh-poohed" the idea of
hypnotism; and it took a considerable time before it would allow itself
to be convinced that such a thing was possible. Facts, in the end, were
too strong even for prejudice. It is facts, eventually, that decide
matters; and, no doubt, before a very long period has elapsed,
sufficient facts will have accumulated to allow the scientific world to
form more definite and better-grounded opinions than are possible
to-day.

Meanwhile, the ordinary man will do well to remember that the universe
is really a very wonderful place, and that the knowledge of the wisest
of us about it can only be described as infinitesimal. The traditions of
nineteenth-century materialism are still strong amongst us, even with
those who are least conscious of them. But there are more things in
heaven and earth than are dreamt of in that philosophy.

RESULTS.--These new conceptions of matter, of life, and of mind, which
are the products of the new physics, the new biology, and the new
psychology respectively, may be confidently left to themselves to work
out their own salvation. They have the strength of youth. What is
evident is that we have crossed the threshold of a new era in the
history of science. The outlook of the future will be as different from
that of the recent past as was the new science of Galileo, Descartes,
and Newton from the dogmatic but fanciful notions which the Scholastic
theologians had borrowed from Aristotle, and sought to impose as a
permanent revelation.

The current of thought is never stayed. The future is obscure, but one
thing is certain, that the coming generations will see catastrophic
changes in the outlook of science; and the materialistic and mechanistic
_weltanschauung_, which lately seemed so formidable, may soon become as
superannuated as astrology. The theory which overshadowed the religious
life of a century, and which had become more and more menacing as
scientific knowledge increased in extent and popularity, has fallen into
discredit. Its prestige will not revive.



CHAPTER XIII

SOME FINAL CONSIDERATIONS


VALUE OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY.--It may perhaps be felt that our
protracted excursion has not advanced us far beyond the position at
which we stood in the opening chapter. Indeed, the history of philosophy
may seem not to establish any very definite conclusions; and those who
study the subject in the hope that it will supply them with material for
dogmatising are likely to be disappointed. We have to reconcile
ourselves to the fact that the riddle of the universe has as yet
received no final solution at the hands of the metaphysicians. It is
only too evident that, as the poet says:

  "Our little systems have their day,
  They have their day, and cease to be."

And yet it would be an error to suppose that this lack of finality about
philosophical opinion, or the want of unanimity among philosophers,
indicates that no progress has been made. There are certain landmarks in
the history of philosophy--such as Kant's _Critique of Pure
Reason_--which mark a point behind which we shall not again regress
(assuming that our culture and civilisation is preserved). Even if we
have not grasped the whole truth about things yet, we are still
justified in assuming that we are gradually, if painfully, getting
nearer to the goal.

But surely we are entitled to believe that it is not the crude appetite
for metaphysical dogma that attracts men to the history of philosophy.
Its fascination rather resembles that of the history of religion: both
are, as it were, Odysseys of the human spirit; nor is there any activity
of man that has not its appeal to the human heart: for _cor ad cor
loquitur_.

And, again, we should reflect that those who ask for final conclusions,
forget that the _search_ for truth may be, in and for itself, of the
highest spiritual value. The best starting-point for the history of
philosophy is a famous passage from Lessing.

"Not the truth which is at the disposal of every man, but the honest
pains he has taken to come at the truth make the worth of a man. For not
through the possession, but through the pursuit of truth do his powers
increase, and in this alone consists his ever-increasing perfection.
Possession makes us quiet, indolent, proud.... If God with all truth in
His right hand, and in His left the single, unceasing striving after
truth, even though coupled with the condition that I should ever and
always err, came to me and said, 'Choose!' I would in all humility clasp
this left hand and say, 'Father, give me this! Is not pure truth for
Thee alone?'"[76]

But there is another respect in which some knowledge of the history of
thought may be an important advantage. It may not bestow upon us the
liberty of dogmatising ourselves, but it does bestow upon us a certain
imperturbability in the face of the dogmatisms of others. Airs of
systematic omniscience, "the pride of a pretended knowledge," will leave
us unimpressed and undismayed. The latest pretentious product of
popular philosophy will, in the majority of cases, be recognised as an
old heresy in a new garb; "new" thought will not impress (at least, by
its novelty) those who know that it is old.

But it is against the crudities of materialistic naturalism that even a
slight acquaintance with the history of ideas will form an antidote. The
various exposures of it, from Hume and Kant to Bergson, will be to some
extent familiar; and it will be a recognised fact that its chief popular
attraction is at the same time its chief philosophic weakness; and this
is that it is nothing more or less than a systematisation of the
prejudices of common sense. "As a theory of first principles, the best
that can be said of its pretensions is that they are ridiculous."[77]

SOME DEDUCTIONS FROM HISTORY.--But, it may be asked, what definite
conclusions have the foregoing chapters to offer? Some, if we are not
mistaken, of a genuinely positive character. It will be necessary to
recall certain facts and reflections to the minds of our readers.

In the early chapters we noted the rise of an independent science, and
the collapse of the medieval world view with which popular religious
notions were associated so closely, that many conservative thinkers
expected to see both involved in a common ruin. Science seemed to
threaten the existence of a religion bound up with conceptions of space
and of force which were being brought into discredit.

These misgivings turned out, however, to be ill-founded. Certain
advantages, no doubt, of simplicity and definiteness, which had
belonged to the old notions, had been irrecoverably lost; but thinkers
like Giordano Bruno showed that the conception of an infinite universe
was by no means hostile to religion; but that, on the contrary, it might
be a conception of the highest spiritual value. Such are the sentiments
expressed in some sonnets which precede Bruno's dialogue "On the
Infinite Universe."

"It seemed to Bruno as if he had never breathed freely until the limits
of the universe had been extended to infinity, and the fixed spheres had
disappeared. No longer now was there a limit to the flight of the
spirit, no 'so far and no further'; the narrow prison in which the old
beliefs had confined men's spirits had now to open its gates and let in
the pure air of a new life."[78]

The scientific did not seem to him incompatible with a fundamentally
religious conception of the world, at least for those who were not
afraid "to take ship upon the seas of the infinite."

DANGERS OF THE "MECHANICAL VIEW."--Thus it was not _science_ that was
hostile to religion. This was not the case until science began to be
associated with a certain fairly definite philosophy of a mechanistic,
and later of a materialist, description. Religion could not have
survived the final establishment of such a philosophy as this, for the
indispensable element in a religious attitude of life is the idea that
_somehow there lies behind things a power or essence that has something
in common with our own natures_--something that can, without an abuse of
language, be called personal. Any philosophy that rules out this idea
creates an atmosphere in which religion cannot breathe.

And it was just this atmosphere that the mechanistic view, unless
amplified by considerations of another kind (as it was e.g. in the case
of Spinoza) tended to create.

THE "MECHANICAL VIEW" NEVER UNCHALLENGED.--And with regard to this
mechanistic philosophy, we have to observe that it never seems to have
commended itself, as a final and complete solution, to the best minds.
In the seventeenth century, it will be remembered, the mechanical
conception was transcended (though in entirely different ways) by
Spinoza and by Leibniz, and the religious consciousness of the age, in
the person of Pascal, protested against it.

And although, during the eighteenth century, this philosophy persisted,
and was considerably reinforced (with the help of further discoveries in
the realm of physics) by the school of Holbach and Diderot, yet it had
still to face the radical criticism of Kant. This criticism, as we shall
remember, indicated that the mechanical view is a way in which the human
mind--owing to its constitution--regards phenomena. If it is to
understand them, the human mind cannot help viewing them in that
fashion; it must subject things to the mould in which all its thought is
cast. Mechanism is the _medium_ through which the mind understands
phenomena. It belongs not to the things in themselves, but to our way of
understanding them. And attached to this radical criticism of mechanical
notions, was an idealistic philosophy of the most genuinely religious
and spiritual character. Kantian idealism is one of those contributions
to human thought behind which we shall not again regress. It is a
phenomenon of incalculable value and importance.

The immediate results of Kant's critical idealism was a luxuriant
growth of a spiritual type of philosophy upon the ground he had cleared
and prepared. Romanticism may be regarded as a revolt of those sides of
human nature upon which the tyranny of mechanism pressed
hardest--religion, speculation, poetry, music, art. "You may expel
nature with a pitchfork, but she persists in returning." The Horatian
remark is true also of the human mind; you may try to weed out religion
and poetry, but your success will only be temporary; for nature herself
is more persistent than the most earnest of materialists and (what is
more) she outlives him.

And with regard to the materialist or mechanistic view, it is highly
interesting to note that its greatest attraction has consisted in
something which, strictly speaking, is not its own property. In the
eighteenth century in France, and in the nineteenth century in Germany
and England, the popularity of this view was derived from its altogether
illegitimate association with a high moral and social idealism, which
(it is only too evident) had been borrowed--without sufficient
acknowledgment--from the Christian tradition. The rather self-conscious
atheism (for instance) of Shelley or Byron--which they had presumably
derived from Diderot and his contemporaries--was less a denial of God
than an affirmation of the rights of humanity. This generous philosophy
of revolt from contemporary tyranny and pharisaism is atheistic only in
name. The callous and cynical powers, both political and ecclesiastical,
that were the object of their bitter attacks were the embodiments of
atheism, for "He alone is the true atheist to whom the predicates of the
Divine Being, e.g. love, wisdom, justice, are nothing."[79]

THE PRESENT SITUATION.--During the nineteenth century the mechanical
view received some accession of strength owing to the reduction of
biology to what seemed like subjection. But, at the same time, an
idealistic philosophy had taken a strong hold in England, and towards
the end of the century critical students of scientific method cast doubt
upon the _finality_ of the mechanical view. They regarded it as
artificial, abstract, and symbolic only of reality. This critical
movement may be associated with the names of Mach, Boutroux, and
(perhaps above all) of Bergson.

Moreover, towards the end of the century, a number of new facts in
physics, biology, and psychology came to light and tended to discredit
the mechanical view as a final explanation of reality. The
indestructibility of matter, even the conservation of energy and of mass
(corner stones of the mechanico-materialist view) began openly to be
questioned, not by metaphysicians, but by men of science themselves. The
foes of materialism were those of its own household.[80]

Thus assailed from without by the philosophers, and from within by the
scientists themselves, the mechanical view, after a reign of three
centuries (disturbed though these may have been by successive
rebellions) seems destined to disappear. It may indeed subsist as an
approximate and convenient way of regarding reality, of which it will no
longer pretend to give an absolute and complete account. It will
continue to reign as a constitutional monarch, but the days of its
tyranny are at an end. And it is not unlikely that future generations
will look with surprise upon our respect for a theory which to them will
wear something of the same aspect as medieval astrology now presents to
ourselves.

SOME DEDUCTIONS.--If the history of thought showed no other results than
the impaired prestige of naturalism, it would be worth attention and
study. The facts undoubtedly compromise that prestige, for history
indicates that at no period has naturalism been able to impose itself
permanently. If there has been a movement in that direction, it has
elicited a corresponding reaction. The human mind seems unable to remain
satisfied with the negations which systematised common sense seeks to
impose upon it. There is an instinctive appetite in humanity for a
spiritual view of things, and Sabatier was undoubtedly right in
observing that mankind is "incurably religious." Neither Hobbes, nor
Holbach, nor Büchner, with the best will in the world, can exorcise from
the human heart that instinct which seeks for itself personal relations
with the universe--which sees a mind behind phenomena. This is one of
those instincts of which it is true that the more you repress them the
more insurgent they become--they will have their way in the end.

Thus naturalism, blind to the mutilation of our nature of which it is
guilty, is psychologically unsound. And yet, our nature is not so easily
mutilated after all. Naturalistic dogmatism has it in its power to
create an atmosphere which is unhealthy for religion, but that growth
has its roots too deep for it to be easily destroyed. Springing as it
does from the depths of our nature, it will prove as permanent as
humanity itself.

This is not to deny that this type of dogmatism may do, as it actually
has done, a great deal of harm. A plant may be strong and vigorous, but
under unceasing bitter weather, it will tend to become discouraged.
Otherwise it would not be worth while to write criticisms of naturalism.

FREEDOM.--Perhaps the best service we can do is to protest against
indulging an appetite for negative dogmatism. Such an attitude is a
negation of the freedom of thought. And it is in an atmosphere of
freedom that both religion and science flourish best. A hard and fast
naturalistic outlook may prove, and actually has proved, an incubus from
which even scientists themselves may pray to be delivered.

Nor has religion always enjoyed that full measure of freedom which is
indispensable to its vigorous life. The curious and sad fact is that the
human mind seems to delight in creating prisons for itself. The
scientific spirit created a mechanico-materialistic scheme which has
ended by becoming the enemy of scientific research, and which (besides
this) asks, as a sacrifice, the mutilation of our spiritual instincts.

And so with religion. The religious instinct (like the scientific) tends
to create its prisons. The pride of, a pretended knowledge reduces to a
mechanical scheme the mysteries of life and death; it provides
superficial standardised solutions for the problems of existence.

Of course, it is clear enough, that in religion as in science, we
cannot, even if we would, start each of us from the beginning. We have
to accept and to revere the riches of knowledge and experience
accumulated by those who have gone before. And yet, in religion as in
science, life consists in movement; we must go forward. The past may be
an inspiration, but it must not be the limit of our thought, or it
becomes an incubus. The glance must be forward not backward; the stream
flows, and we are borne on its bosom. Humanity, like an explorer, has
its face set towards the unknown. Both science and religion are children
of freedom, without which the creative spirit in man is crushed.

And here, with this note of warning (though perhaps rather of
encouragement) we may close.



FOOTNOTES:


[1] _The Grammar of Science_, pp. 12, 13.

[2] Ptolemy of Alexandria: 127-151 A.D.

[3] J. M. Heald in art. "Aquinas" in _Encyclopædia of Religion and
Ethics_.

[4] Monks and theologians were betrayed into some controversial
asperities. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven"
formed the appropriate text for a sermon by a Dominican.

[5] In spite of this, however, Descartes' works, in 1663, appeared in
the Index of forbidden books: and his doctrines were banned by Royal
decree from the French universities. Jesuit influences, which were not
at all favourable to _native_ religion in France (or elsewhere!), may
have been responsible for this obscurantist policy.

[6] Merz, _History of European Thought in the Nineteenth Century_, Vol.
I, p. 384.

[7] Quoted by Ward, _Naturalism and Agnosticism_, p. 4.

[8] Höffding, _History of Modern Philosophy_, Vol. I, p. 315.

It may set the scruples of some at rest to be reminded that Aquinas
himself applied the term _Natura Naturans_ to God as the cause of all
existence. Eckhart and Bruno had made a similar application of it (cf.
Martineau, _Study of Spinoza_, p. 226).

[9] Here we may note, by way of an anticipation, a truth that Kant
afterwards was the first to grasp clearly: that it is only when the
mechanism of phenomena is proved, that religion can be purged of
materialism.

[10] Cf. letter to Arnauld, quoted by Höffding, I, p. 347: "The
substantial unity presupposes a complete, indivisible being. Nothing of
this kind is to be found in figure or motion ... but only in a soul or a
substantial form similar to that which we call an 'I.'"

[11] The _Monadology_ (quoted by Pattison, _Idea of God_, p. 180).

[12] Inge, _Christian Mysticism_, p. 19.

[13] Cf. "With space the universe encloses me and engulfs me like an
atom, but with thought I enclose the universe." A great saying.

[14] Novalis called him "the God-intoxicated": a bold phrase.

[15] We refer, of course, to the promulgation of the Bull _Unigenitus_,
procured from Pope Clement XI by the Jesuits; when their opponents, the
Jansenists "of all professions and classes, were subjected to
imprisonment, confiscation, and every species of oppression" (Jervis,
_Student's History of France_, p. 415).

The manoeuvre is characterised by another historian as a "struggle of
narrow-minded fanaticism, allied to absolutely unscrupulous political
ambition, against all the learning and virtue which the French clergy
still possessed" (Chamberlain, _Foundations of the Nineteenth Century_,
Vol. II, p. 379).

[16] Even before the age of the Revolution, Paris possessed many great
schools. The _Collège de France_ was founded in 1530; there was the
_College et École de Chirurgie_, the _Jardin des Plantes_, the _École
royale des Mines_, etc. (cf. Merz, _History of European Thought_, Vol.
I, p. 107).

[17] Merz says of Newton: "In his own country that fruitful
co-operation which can only be secured by an academic organisation and
by endowment of research was wanting" (I, p. 99). As late as 1740 the
whole revenue of the Royal Society was only £232 _per annum_.

[18] Morley, _Voltaire_, p. 41.

[19] He published his _Élémens de la Philosophie de Newton_ in 1738.

[20] Höffding, Vol. I, p. 481.

[21] See note in Merz, Vol. I, p. 145.

[22] Merz, Vol. I, p. 143.

[23] The receipt and perusal of Rousseau's _Emile_, are said to have
interrupted the walk on one occasion, to the great astonishment of the
Königsbergers.

[24] Pringle Pattison, _Idea of God_, p. 26.

[25] "Atheism is aristocratic," was the reply of Robespierre to one who
mocked at his _Être Suprême_.

[26] _Confessions_, Book XII.

[27] Höffding, Vol. II, p. 9.

[28] Fichte's word is _Anschauung_, for which the English language
possesses no exact equivalent. It "implies something akin, though
perhaps superior to, seeing or perceiving by means of the senses," and
it approaches less closely to "inspiration" than does the English word
"intuition." The term acquired a meaning somewhat akin to the _amor
intellectualis Dei_ of Spinoza, which we have met before. (See note in
Merz, III, p. 445.)

[29] William James, _A Pluralistic Universe_, p. 92.

[30] Here again a certain ambiguity surrounds the German word. _Geist_
is inadequately translated by either "mind" or "spirit": it comprises
the meaning of both words (cf. Merz, III, p. 466).

[31] This does not mean that what is not good enough for philosophy is
good enough for religion. The idea behind Schleiermacher is that what
philosophy cannot sanction, religious experience _can_ sanction. And it
has to be remembered that, as a follower of Kant, he assigned very
definite limits to the powers of philosophy. He was not an
Hegelian--Hegel's and Schleiermacher's views of the religious problem
are quite incompatible--the one believed, the other did not believe,
that reason could solve that problem.

[32] Kopp, _Geschichte der Chemie_, Vol. I, p. 442 (quoted by Merz, Vol.
I, p. 191).

[33] Merz, Vol. I, p. 218.

[34] According to one authority (Judd, in his _Coming of Evolution_) the
number of known species of plants and animals must be placed at 600,000
(p. 10).

[35] _Vestiges of Creation_, published anonymously in 1844, passed
through nine large editions by 1853. The author was Robert Chambers
(1802-71), a geologist.

[36] _Life and Letters_, Vol. I, p. 168 (_vide_ Judd, _Coming of
Evolution_, p. 89).

[37] As a matter of fact, biologists soon demanded more than even
Lyell's geology could give them. Recent discoveries about the nature of
matter have, however, further extended the possible age of our planet.

[38] Darwin, _Life_, Vol. I, p. 93.

[39] "If we wish to fix a definite point to describe as the end of the
idealistic period in Germany, no such distinctive event offers itself as
the French Revolution of July, 1830" (Lange, _History of Materialism_,
E.T., Vol. II, p. 245).

[40] A famous book which, though negative in its conclusions, places its
author alongside Schleiermacher as one of the founders of the modern
science of Religious Psychology.

[41] Balfour, _Theism and Humanism_, p. 36.

[42] "Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation
of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite incoherent
homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity, and during which the
retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation."

[43] Spencer confessed that of the _Synthetic Philosophy_ "two volumes
are missing," the two important volumes on Inorganic Evolution, leading
to the evolution of the living and of the non-living (cf. criticisms by
Professor James Ward in his _Naturalism and Agnosticism_, Lecture IX).

[44] For an instance of the masterly work turned out by this school and
of the attractiveness of their propaganda, read Huxley's lecture, "On a
Piece of Chalk," delivered to the working men of Norwich during the
meeting of the British Association in 1868.

[45] For this famous encounter, see _Life of Huxley_, Vol. I, pp.
179-89, and _Life of J. R. Green_, pp. 44, 45.

[46] As we shall subsequently find, this cosmic pessimism is less well
grounded than Huxley believed. Still, Spencer's own scientific
presuppositions were the same as Huxley's, so that the passage remains a
pertinent criticism of the Evolutionary Philosophy as elaborated by him.

[47] It is instructive to observe that a similar note of latent
pessimism is struck by the last notable survivor of the School we have
endeavoured to describe. Viscount Morley at the end of his
_Recollections_ (1917), questioned as to the outcome of those generous
hopes entertained with such confidence by his contemporaries, is
compelled to ejaculate with philosophic brevity, _circumspice_, as he
contemplates a spectacle of unparalleled horror.

[48] Storr, _Development of English Theology in the Nineteenth Century_,
p. 329. See which book for a valuable chapter upon Coleridge.

[49] _Foundations of Belief_, p. 98.

[50] _Foundations of Belief_, p. 309.

[51] For this summary of Lotze's doctrine, see Merz, Vol. III, p. 615
and ff.

[52] Quoted by Ward in _Pluralism and Theism_, p. 103. For a brief yet
adequate treatment of Mach's criticisms see Höffding's _Modern
Philosophers_, pp. 115-21.

[53] R. B. Perry, _Present Philosophical Tendencies_, p. 351.

[54] It is impossible to go deeper into James' "theory of knowledge"
without using technical language. A few of his own phrases, however, may
help to elucidate things. "Abstract concepts ... are salient aspects of
our concrete experiences which we find it useful to single out"
(_Meaning of Truth_, p. 246).

Elsewhere he speaks of them as things we have learned to "cut out" from
experience, as "flowers gathered," and as "moments dipped out from the
stream of time" (_A Pluralistic Universe_, p. 235).

I owe these quotations to Perry, op. cit.

[55] _Creative Evolution_, p. 325.

[56] _A Pluralistic Universe_, p. 237.

[57] _Creative Evolution_, p. 174.

[58] i.e. Intellect is not (as it is generally represented to be) a
developed form of instinct, nor instinct an embryonic form of intellect.

[59] The extraordinary and miraculous phenomena of instinct--especially
as celebrated by the distinguished French scientist Fabre--cannot be
rightly understood by trying to interpret them in terms of intellect.
This is to misread them completely.

[60] Bergson's characterisation of Spencerian Evolutionism (_Creative
Evolution_, p. 391).

[61] _Creative Evolution_, p. 286.

[62] Other notable pluralists in England are F. C. S. Schiller and Dr.
MacTaggart.

[63] The _logical_ conclusion, we say, though this may not be the
ultimate truth about the matter. The most attractive theories are often
the most superficial.

[64] Professor Cunningham in Pearson's _Grammar of Science_, Part I, p.
356.

[65] Quoted by W. C. D. Whetham in his _Recent Development of Physical
Science_, p. 280. No reference is given by him.

[66] One theory attributes the existence of matter to occasional misfits
among these grains.

[67] Quoted by Bishop Mercer. _Problem of Creation_, Appendix B.

[68] In _Theism and Humanism_.

[69] Mercer, op. cit., p. 106.

[70] _Mechanism, Life, and Personality_ (1913), p. 81.

[71] Op. cit. pp. 64, 66.

[72] Professor J. Arthur Thomson, in an article entitled, "Is there one
Science of Nature?" (_Hibbert Journal_, Oct., 1911).

[73] _The Science and Philosophy of the Organism_, Vol. II, p. 338.

[74] Op. cit. p. 101.

[75] Other names of distinguished scientists holding this view are: Sir
W. Crookes the Physicist and Sir W. F. Barrett, F.R.S., in England, Dr.
Hodgson and Prof. James Hyslop in America, Lombroso in Italy, Richet in
France.

[76] From his _Duplik_. Quoted by Höffding, _History of Philosophy_,
Vol. II, p. 21.

[77] F. H. Bradley on "Phenomenalism" (_Appearance and Reality_, p.
126).

[78] Höffding, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 129.

[79] Feuerbach, _Essence of Christianity_, p. 21.

[80] We now learn that conceptions of space of a highly unorthodox
character are entertained by physicists and mathematicians, as the
result of recent researches in the sphere of the gravitation of light.



INDEX


  Agnosticism, 92

  Anti-clericalism, 43

  Aquinas, 9 f., 30 _n._

  Aristotle, 8, 136

  Atomic theory, the, 49
    collapse of, 126


  Bacon, Lord, 16 f.

  Balfour, A. J., 105 f., 110, 128

  Bergson, 115-121, 143

  Berkeley, 55

  Boutroux, 112 f., 143

  Bradley, F. H., 104 f., 110, 122, 139

  Bruno, 12, 25, 29 f., 140

  Büchner, 86, 144

  Buffon, 77


  Carlyle, Thomas, 38, 99-102

  Coleridge, S. T., 98 f.

  Comte, 85, 89, 92

  Copernicus, 11, 22, 25, 58

  Cunningham, Prof., 127

  Cusanus, 10


  Dalton, 49, 83, 126

  Darwin, 80-83, 87 f.

  Descartes, 19-22, 26, 37, 43, 55, 74, 136

  Design, Argument from, 87 f.

  Diderot, 45 f., 48, 141, 144

  Driesch, 130 f.


  Eckhart, 30 _n._

  Encyclopædia, The, 45

  Electrons, 126


  Feuerbach, 85, 95

  Fichte, 65-67


  Galileo, 12-15, 22, 55, 79, 136

  Goethe, 30, 65

  Green, T. H., 103 f.


  Haeckel, 88

  Haldane, Prof. J. S., 129, 132

  Harvey, William, 19, 22

  Hegel, 67-70

  Heine, 85

  Helmholtz, 75

  Hobbes, 22, 26, 43, 55, 144

  Holbach, 46-48, 141, 144

  Hume, 55 f., 58

  Huxley, 92 f., 95


  Inge, 38 _n._


  James, William, 114 f., 123

  Jansenists, the, 43 _n._

  Jesuits, the, 22 _n._, 26, 37, 43 _n._

  Johnson, Dr., 47


  Kant, 53-61, 66, 70, 77, 85, 137, 141
    and Hegel compared, 69
    and Locke compared, 57
    and Rousseau compared, 65

  Kepler, 15


  Lamarck, 77

  La Mettrie, 45, 48, 74

  Lange, 47, 84

  Laplace, 48 f.

  Larmor, Prof. J., 127

  Lavoisier, 49 f.

  Leibniz, 33-36, 41, 52 f., 122, 141

  Leonardo da Vinci, 14, 16, 132

  Lessing, 138

  Locke, 52 f., 55 f.

  Lodge, Sir O., 134

  Lotze, 107-109

  Lyell, 78-80


  Mach, 110-114, 143

  Malthus' _Essay on Population_, 80

  Meyer, 75

  McTaggart, 123 _n._

  Modernism, 109

  Monads, 35 f., 122


  "Natural Selection," 81, 87

  Newton, 23-26, 43, 44 _n._, 48, 82, 136

  Nietzsche, 94, 96 f.


  Paley, 87

  Pascal, 22, 36-41

  Pearson, Prof. Karl, 1

  Pessimism, 95

  Positivism, 85, 95


  Ritschl, 109

  Rousseau, 54 _n._, 62-65, 80


  _Sartor Resartus_, 100

  Schelling, 65

  Schiller, 65

  Schiller, F. C. S., 123 _n._

  Schleider, 75

  Schleiermacher, 70-72

  Spencer, Herbert, 35, 77, 89-92, 122

  Spinoza, 28-33, 41, 52 f., 67, 141

  "Spiritualism," 133-136

  Stephen, Leslie, 92


  Tait, Prof., 128

  Thomson, Prof. J. A., 130 _n._


  Voltaire, 44 f.


  Wallace, Alfred Russell, 81 f.

  Ward, Prof. James, 26 _n._, 91 _n._, 123

  Whöler, 74


  Zeno's paradox, 117



  Printed in Great Britain at
  _The Mayflower Press, Plymouth._ William Brandon & Son, Ltd.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:


Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

Spelling, grammatical and typographical errors have been corrected in
the text:

    Page 68: "understand" changed to "understands"
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