A Brief History of Modern Philosophy/Book 7

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A Brief History of Modern Philosophy by Harald Høffding
Sixth Book: Positivism.


SEVENTH BOOK

A. Positivism


The two great intellectual tendencies of the nineteenth century are romanticism and positivism. The former starts with the forms and ideals of the intellect, the latter with given facts: "positive" signifies first of all the "actual, established, given." Despite their wide divergence, even opposition, they both nevertheless indicate, each in its own way, a reaction against the century of the enlightenment, of criticism, of revolution. The supreme aim of both tendencies is to attain a more thorough mastery of the profound realities of nature and of history.—Positivism did not originate as a reaction against romanticism, even though it only came into prominence just as the prevalence of romanticism began to decline. The roots of both tendencies can be traced back historically to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Whilst Germany is the home of the romantic philosophy, positivism belongs more particularly to France and England. We are here using the term positivism in the broad sense, according to which not only Comte, but likewise such men as Mill, Spencer, Dühring and Ardigo are positivists.

1. French Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century before Comte.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century we can distinguish three philosophical schools in France, one resting on the principle of authority, another psychological ("ideological"), and a third sociological. The first represents a radical reaction against the eighteenth century; the second represents a continuation and correction of the French enlightenment; the third represents a new formation which contains the germ of positivism.

1. Joseph de Maistre, the most important exponent of the principle of authority, assails both philosophy and natural science, the moment they presume to undertake anything beyond wholly specialized investigations. And yet he has a philosophy of his own, which is closely affiliated with that of Malebranche. Whatever is material cannot be a cause; every cause is essentially mental and the type of all causality is given in the immediate consciousness of volition. Our world theory is not to be determined by investigators and thinkers, but by the authorities instituted by God in state and church. Has not history indeed sufficiently exposed the impotence of human reason! The philosophy of the eighteenth century was indeed a veritable conspiracy against everything sacred. The only thing which can put an end to human misfortune and establish social peace is the acknowledgment of the infallibility of the Pope (Les Soirees de St. Petersbourg, written 1809, not published until 1821).

2. Amid the storms of the revolution there was a small group of thinkers who remained loyal to philosophical investigation. These had been disciples of Condillac, but they introduced important corrections into his doctrine. Thus, for example, the physician, Cabanis, places special emphasis on the influence of the inner organic states upon the development of mind. He describes vital feeling as something which is only indirectly determined by external impressions, and hence forms a basis for psychic life which is relatively independent of the external world. The instincts which presuppose an original motive equipment are intimately related to vital feeling. Hence man is not entirely passive in the presence of the objective world as Condillac had taught (Rapport du physique et du moral de l'homme, 1802). There are a number of separate passages in which he appears to approach closely to materialism — as, e.g., when he says that the brain secretes thought like the liver bile. But it was not his intention to furnish a metaphysics, and in another treatise, posthumously published, he rather expressed himself spiritualistically (Lettre sur les causes premières). — The Élements d' Idéologie (1801) of Destutt de Tracy shows a tendency similar to that of Cabanis. By the term ideology he simply means the theory of ideas. Napoleon, who found the men of this school the pronounced opponents of his despotism, on the other hand used the term "Ideology" sarcastically to describe a visionary and abstract idealism. Picavet has written a learned monograph on the theoretical and practical significance of this whole movement (Les idèologues, 1891).

Maine de Biran (1755-1824) at first likewise cooperated with Cabanis and Tracy. Biranheld high legislative and administrative positions under the republic, the empire and the restoration; but his talents and inclinations were directed towards the inner life. Introspection and analysis gradually led him to ascribe far greater importance to psychical activity than Condillac and the ideologists had done. He held that immediate self-consciousness (apperception immediate) refutes Condillac's theory of passivity. He describes the antithesis of passive states and of inner activity by very interesting analyses. His native temperament seem to have been peculiarly adapted to experiences of this kind (Journal intime, by Naville; Maine de Biran, sa vie et ses pensées, 1857.—Cf. also Rapports du physique et du moral, Œuvres philos.,IV).—Maine de Biran takes issue with de Maistre and his school as well as with Condillac. According to them in the last analysis the soul is likewise passive, because it receives everything from the authorities (just as, according to Condillac, from external objects).

De Biran discovers both the origin of the categories (especially causality) and the basis of morality in the consciousness of volitional activity.—Later on his psychologism culminated in mysticism, on account of the fact that he—in adherence to Kant's distinction between phenomena and thing-in-itself—regarded "la vie de l'esprit" as an immediate participation in something which transcends every phenomenon, and places this "life of the spirit" above "la vie humaine," the active life of reason and of will (Nouveaux essais d'anthropologie, 1859).

The famous physicist, A. M. Ampère (1775-1836), with whose philosophical ideas we are acquainted more particularly from his interesting correspondence with Biran (published by Barthelemy St. Hilaire in Philosophie des deux Amperes), was led, by the theory of his friend, to investigations concerning the combinations of sensations and ideas which are independent of our conscious activity. He distinguishes blending (concretion) and' association of independent ideas (commemoration); to the first he ascribes immediate recognition. In epistemology he departs from Biran (and Kant) by ascribing absolute validity to the relative concepts (causality, number, time, space) and discovers in them a bridge from phenomena to things-in-themselves (Essai sur la philosophie des sciences, 1834-43).

The so-called eclecticism, which was for a long time regarded as the official philosophy of France, started originally with the psychological school. After Royer Collard, with Reid's philosophy of common sense as his basis, had attacked the theory of Condillac at the Sorbonne, Victor Cousin (1792–1867) began his brilliant professional career, in which he first undertook to combine the theories of Reid and Biran, and later offered a popular and rhetorical exposition of the ideas of Schelling and Hegel. He thought it possible to attain to a point by psychological observation where universal reason would be evident and truth could be directly conceived. He finds it possible, by means of this intuition, to abstract the true and the sound elements in the various systems, each of which is one-sided in itself, and organize them into a single system (Du vrai, du beau et du bien, 1838).

3. The origin of positivism must be sought within the sociological school founded by Saint Simon (1760–1825). The task of Saint Simon was to prepare the way for a social reformation. But he thought that the only possibility of such a reformation involved the founding of a new world-theory which might accomplish for the present age what Christianity had done for the Middle Ages. Such a new world-theory, in the opinion of Saint Simon, must be constructed on the foundation of an encyclopedia of the positive sciences. This is all the more true, because it must now transpire that men shall make common cause in the exploitation of nature instead of the mutual exploitation of each other. The history of the sciences reveals the fact that they begin with theological presuppositions, but gradually build upon purely natural presuppositions. As soon as this development is completed it will be possible to establish the positive philosophy (Doctrine de Saint Simon, par Hippoly te Carnot, 1829).—It was under the influence of Saint Simon that Auguste Comte produced his first important work: Plan des travaux scientifiques pour réorganiser le société (1822).


B. Auguste Comte (1798–1857).

Comte was a student at the polytechnic institute in Paris. But when this was closed by the Bourbons on account of the revolutionary ideas still prevalent there, he continued his studies privately, at the same time giving them an encyclopedic character, to which his association with Saint Simon contributed. This association came to an end because, according to Comte's opinion, the master wanted to subordinate sciences too completely to his reformatory ideas. Comte then carried forward his encyclopedic exposition of positive philosophy with marvellous energy and concentration. During the years of his life his reflections assumed a more subjective and mystical character, so that he regarded himself as the founder of a religion of humanity and even instituted a kind of worship.

a. Our modern civilization is suffering,—and on this point Saint Simon and Comte agreed,—from an excess of critical and revolutionary spirit. There is a lack of fellowship in the mode of thought and sentiment, and hence also in cooperation towards common ends. Society, under the old order of things, had a common foundation in theology. Now positive science is the only thing which can serve as such a foundation. There must be a thought structure erected which can speak with the same authority as the special sciences within their respective spheres. History reveals the fact that there is an intimate relation between the evolutional stages of society and the evolutional stages of science. It is this therefore that accounts for the tremendous importance of the evolution of the sciences through the three stages, the theological, the metaphysical and the positive. In his chief work, Cours de philosophie positive (1830–42), Comte develops the law of the three stages by furnishing both a clarification of the sciences and an encyclopedic exposition of the positive knowledge of his age.

At the theological stage human knowledge governs but a very small portion of experience, and hence the imagination plays an important part. The bond which at this stage unites the facts for the human mind is the idea of gods and spirits. The only way of explaining the events which transpire in the universe is by reference to these ideas, and the importance of theology in the history of civilization rests upon the fact that it was the intellectual bond upon this primitive stage of science. It was likewise of practical importance, because morality was essentially founded on religious authority. Within the theological stage the transition from fetichism to polytheism is especially significant because, by the removal of divine beings from the particular phenomena of nature, it became possible to subject these phenomena to an empirical investigation.

At the metaphysical stage the explanation of natural phenomena is no longer found to consist of personal beings, but in universal energies or ideas. There are just as many distinct energies postulated as the number of distinct groups of phenomena require; thus we speak of a chemical energy, a vital energy, etc., and finally we postulate the idea of nature (an abstract equivalent of the idea of God) for the total aggregate of phenomena. Speculative reflection has taken the place of religious imagination. The advance consists in this, namely, that energies or ideas indicate a greater degree of uniformity and invariability than was to be expected of deities and spirits. But the metaphysical stage is still predominantly negative and critical. It destroys the authorities and yet fails to attain to a new basis of certitude. It is the period of individualism.

At the positive stage both imagination and reflection are subordinated to experience. The only criterion of truth consists of the agreement with the facts. Positivism does not however permit the facts to remain in isolation; it seeks after the laws, i.e., the constant relations of the phenomena. Science builds on the invariability of natural law, which was anticipated already by the Greeks, but clearly expressed in modern times by Bacon, Galileo and Descartes, the real founders of positive philosophy.—It is impossible to refer the numerous laws to a single law. Our knowledge cannot attain objective unity,—unity is only subjective. Subjective unity consists in the fact that the same method—the explanation of facts by facts—is consistently applied everywhere. This unity of method furnishes a basis for the fellowship of minds, which has not existed since the Middle Ages.

The point of difference between these stages is partly due to the difference in the range of experience, partly to the different viewpoints which are postulated in the explanation of nature. Before this explanation could be found in the facts themselves it was necessary to postulate imagination and speculation in the interpretation of nature.

b. The classification of the sciences coincides with the theory of the three stages. It rests first of all upon the serial order in which the various sciences entered the positive stage. Mathematics comes first, which had even become positive already among the Greeks, then successively Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Sociology (theory of society). But this serial order likewise presents a successive passage from the simplicity of the objects considered to their complexity: the simpler the objects of a given science, the sooner it will become positive. The serial order furthermore reveals a constant passage from universality to particularity: the laws of mathematics are valid of all phenomena, whilst the astronomical, physical, chemical and biological laws apply to an increasingly smaller group, and those of sociology to the most circumscribed group of all. Finally we likewise find in this serial order a gradual passage from the predominance of the deductive method to the predominance of induction.—These four principles of classification, as may be readily observed, are closely related.

The various departments of experience corresponding to the different sciences are not connected in a single continuum. Discontinuity manifests itself even within one and the same department, as e. g., between the various physical energies, between the organic species, etc.,—Comte was not acquainted with the law of the conservation of energy, which however did not receive general recognition during his lifetime, and he did not survive the appearance of Darwin.

His classification omits logic and psychology, of which the former should be placed before mathematics and the latter between biology and sociology.—In his later years Comte himself added ethics as a seventh science. According to his conception, ethics is more specialized than sociology, because it goes more into details, especially in the fact that it places special emphasis on the affections, which receive but little attention in sociology.

c. Comte's positivism is not empiricism. As a matter of fact the theory of stages presupposes that the facts must always be combined; the only question is, whence is the combining instrument to be derived. In the positive stage the combination can be effected in two ways. We associate phenomena which are given simultaneously according to their similarity of structure and function. We naturally arrange phenomena which follow in succession in a temporal series. The former is a static explanation (par similitude); the latter is a dynamic explanation (par filiation). We satisfy our mind's native impulse for unity by both methods and thus discover the constant in the midst of change (Discours sur l'esprit positif, 1844).

Of this combining function of the mind, which Comte here presupposes, he made no further investigation. His works contain no epistemological nor psychological analyses. His conception of knowledge is biological. Our knowledge is determined by the interaction of our organism with the objective world, of our understanding with the milieu. The elaboration of the impressions received from without follows the laws of our organization, and all knowledge is therefore determined by a relation of subject and object. Comte is of the opinion that in this biological theory of knowledge he is a follower of Kant and Aristotle.—In his later years he came to emphasize the subjective character of our knowledge more and more, until he finally proposed a subjective system instead of the objective system given in the Cours de philosophie positive.

d. The term sociology was formulated by Comte and, despite its philological indefiniteness, it has gradually come to mean the rights of citizenship in scientific terminology. In Comte's sense, the term sociology covers what has generally been called the philosophy of history, and in addition thereto, political economy, ethics and the major portion of psychology. Just as in other departments of science, so likewise in sociology we must distinguish between statics and dynamics.

Social statics includes the doctrine of the reciprocal relation of the factors of society, e. g., ideas, customs and institutions. The business of institutions is simply to regulate whatever has been evolved in the course of unconstrained cooperation. As compared with spontaneous development, law and the state are of subordinate importance, and the concept of law is subordinate to the concept of duty. The concept of duty originates from the individual's consciousness of being a member of the social whole. And this consciousness arises at the moment when the solidarity of the human race is first felt and recognized. Mankind spontaneously follows the social impulse, and only later discovers the advantages which thus accrue. On this point Comte regards Hume and Adam Smith as his predecessors. He discovers the first germs of solidarity in biology: in the sexual instinct and in the instinct to care for offspring. In the realm of mankind there is a constant progressive discipline towards altruism (which term was likewise formulated by Comte). The individual, considered by himself and in isolation, is a mere abstraction. The family is the social unit; here we have more than a mere association, it is a complete union. In larger societies the cooperation of individuals towards common ends and under the inspiration of common ideas is of peculiar importance. The supreme idea is the idea of humanity, to which all individual and social development should be subservient.—Comte challenges the distinction between private and public functions. This distinction belongs to modern thought; it was unknown to the Greeks and to the Middle Ages. It is the duty of positive philosophy to develop a sentiment by means of which all should be enabled to regard themselves as co-laborers of the one great body of humanity. It is especially important to incorporate the proletariat, which has arisen since the abolition of slavery, into the social system.

The law of the three stages, with which we are already acquainted, belongs to social dynamics. The various stages of intellectual development correspond to definite stages of social and political development. Militarism corresponds with the theological stage. This is the period of regulative authority. The control of the jurists ("legislators") corresponds with the metaphysical stage; their specific task consists in regulating the rights of the various classes, particularly the rights of the middle class, of the military and of the clergy. Industrialism corresponds with the positive stage; the distribution of power is now determined by productive capacity, and social problems take the place of the political problems.

e. In a later work (Politique positive, 1851-4) Comte undertook to lay the foundation of a new religion, the Religion of Humanity. (The complete title therefore reads as follows: Politique positive, ou traité de sociologie instituant la religion de l'humanité.) Whilst in his Cours he made the world or nature his starting-point and aimed to attain an understanding of man on the basis of the knowledge of nature, he would now replace this objective method by a subjective method. Nature as a whole must be construed from the human standpoint and humanity described as the highest being (le grande être). The affections and not merely the understanding are now to be the final arbiter, and synthesis, i. e., the conception of unity, is to be regarded as superior to analysis and specialization. The new religion is to be a worship of humanity, of which we are all members,—those now living as well as those who have died and those as yet unborn. Every thought and action is to be directed towards the development of this Grand être. The constitution of the future is to be a Sociocracy, a social community without fixed institutions. The patricians direct production, whilst the proletariat represent the dynamic, the philosophers the reason, and the women the affections of the social body. Public opinion and the right of refusal to cooperate will furnish an adequate check against any misuse of power on the part of the spiritual or temporal authorities.—Thus the founder of positivism ends up as a Utopian romantist. His school divides on this point, several of them (as e. g. Littré) maintaining the theory of the Cours, whilst others (such as Lafitte and Robinet) regarded the Politique positive as the actual culmination of the positive philosophy.

C. English philosophy in the Nineteenth Century before John Stuart Mill.

Both in Germany and in France the transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century was effected by a revolution—in Germany by the romantic revolution in the sphere of thought, in France by the political revolution. In England on the other hand there were a number of energetic philosophic thinkers who endeavored to make a practical application of the principles discovered by the eighteenth century to the problems of the nineteenth century. The English philosophy of the nineteenth century therefore, in its chief representatives, bears the stamp of radicalism and empiricism. Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, pronounced adherents of the radical enlightenment, produced a profound impression on the first decades of the century. John Stuart Mill afterwards undertook on the one hand a consistent development of their principles, and on the other to adapt them to the changed setting of the problem,— namely, that brought about by the romanticism represented by Coleridge and Carlyle and the criticism represented by Hamilton and Whewell.

1. Jeremy Bentham's (1748-1832) most important philosophical writings had appeared already in the eighteenth century (A Fragment on Government, 1776; Principles of Morals and Legislation, 1789). But they did not make much of an impression until after the dawn of the new century. Bentham, who, as a private scholar, devoted himself uninterruptedly to his efforts for social and legislative reform, assumed as his chief task the reform of English legislation. He demanded a codification of the laws (he formulated the term codification himself), a reduction in the costs of legal processes, prison reform and an extension of political franchise. Theoretically he assumed the principle of the greatest happiness to the greatest number, previously advocated by Hutcheson, as the fundamental principle of morality. This principle, which to his mind is self-evident, is to govern our judgment of every institution, every action, every quality and every motive. Bentham attacks the so-called natural rights as well as the morality which is founded on authority and tradition. He examines the intensity, persistence, certainty, intimacy, purity and fruitfulness of pleasurable feelings which follow our acts and which condition the value of an act. He investigates the motives of action in order to discover what motives should be fostered and what others should be restrained. He regards self-interest, properly understood, as the most reliable motive, because he believed that self-interests, properly understood, are harmonious, so that the individual must necessarily be interested in the general welfare even for prudential considerations. This idea is expressed very one-sidely and harshly in a work (Deontology) that was published posthumously, and perhaps interpolated by the publisher.

Bentham's friend, James Mill (1772-1836), was a zealous exponent of the radical application of the principle of utility. This energetic man, whose high official position in the East India Company excluded him from Parliament, acted as counsellor of the radical politicians who were working for parliamentary reform, and above all else the emancipation of the middle classes. He undertook the theoretical task of furnishing a psychological basis for Bentham's ethical theory, the so-called utilitarianism. He discovered such a basis in the Associational psychology founded by Hume and Hartley, which he greatly simplified by referring all combinations of ideas to association between such ideas as frequently take place together (association by contiguity) (''Analysis of the Human Mind, 1829). He attaches special importance to the fact that the association may be so completely subjective that an entirely new totality may arise, without containing any traces of the original elements whatever. By this method he aims to show, i. e. to explain, how selfless ("disinterested") feelings may arise. Such feelings are secondary; they arise from the fact that something which is at first capable of exciting pleasure only as a means afterwards becomes an end and then acts as a pleasurable stimulus directly. This is the psychological explanation of the immediacy of conscience. (The best exposition of this theory is given by James Mill in appendix B. of his polemical essay, Fragment on Mackintosh, 1835.)

2. Against these enthusiastic advocates of empirical and analytical psychology and ethics there arose a romantic tendency, under German influence, whose most noted representatives were Coleridge and Carlyle.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) in his early youth was an ardent disciple of the associationist psychology. But he later became an opponent of all analysis and of every effort to explain mental life by elementary principles, and, in adherence to Schelling, he proclaimed the awe-inspiring totality of all things as intuitively apprehended, in opposition to the empiricism which breaks everything to pieces. He however attaches special importance to the Kantian antithesis of "understanding" and "reason." He charged all religious criticism to the account of the pure "understanding," and then refuted it by an appeal to the higher court of "reason," the faculty of ideas and the theory of totality. He not only hurls his polemics against the free-thinkers, but likewise against the theology which has degenerated into barren dogmatic formulas. His great work which was intended to show the agreement of Christianity and philosophy was never written. We gather his ideas from his essays on Church and State (especially the appendix) and from his Biographia Liter aria and his Table Talk.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) did not care to attain any "higher" knowledge. He satirized Coleridge's "transcendental moonshine." He proposed a new basis of faith and for the guidance of life to which he was led by the study of Goethe and the romantic philosophy. His effort was directed towards securing independence from the never-ending investigations of science. After having extricated himself from materialistic theories in his early youth, he cherished a romantic aversion towards analysis and criticism. His polemic applies especially to the "philosophy of cause and effect" and the utilitarian ethics. In his profoundest essay, Sartor Resartus (1833), he develops a "philosophy of old clothes," based on Kant's distinction between phenomenon and thing-in-itself: The world is the garment of Deity; natural science examines the garment without knowing its wearer. Nature is a mighty symbol, a revelation of ideas which no scientific method is capable of conceiving. It is the duty of philosophy ever and anon to inspire the sense of the mysterious majesty of being when men have fallen asleep through familiarity. Even our ideas of belief are garments of Deity;—but the garment of Deity must be woven anew from time to time.

Carlyle's practical view of life reveals two distinct characteristics.—Everything great takes place quietly, in silence. Great deeds are accomplished without any express consciousness of the fact. A full and clear consciousness makes everything small and mechanical. The highest truth, so far as man is concerned, can only exist in the form of a symbol: the symbol withholds and expresses, obscures and reveals at one and the same time.—The highest revelation consists of the great men, the heroes (On Heroes and Hero-worship, 1841). They are the guides and patterns, the founders of everything that is good. The hero may appear as prophet, poet or statesman; but he always represents great, concentrated energy of life, and his words and deeds reveal the hidden ideas of the movement of life. Such heroes are especially necessary for the solution of the social problem. Carlyle was one of the first authors, who—in opposition to the then dominant school of political economy—noted the existence of this problem. He made no specific investigations. Empirical science was too distasteful to him for that.

3. In the same year (1829) that James Mill published his Analysis, the most important work of the associationist psychology, William Hamilton's profound treatise on The Philosophy of the Unconditioned likewise appeared, in which he severely criticized all philosophy that treated the unconditioned as an object of knowledge. Hamilton (1788-1856) spent a number of years in fruitful professorial activity at the university of Edinburgh.— Whatever we apprehend and conceive—by the very fact of its apprehension and conception—is related to something else, by which it is limited and conditioned. To think is to condition. We neither conceive an absolute whole, nor an absolute part; each whole is a part, and each part is a whole. We only know the conditioned finite. We define whatever we know in terms of space, time and degree (extensively, protensively and intensively) and even the law of causality is likewise nothing more than a special form of the law of relativity. Hamilton regards the principle of causality as the expression of our incapacity to conceive an absolute addition of reality. On account of this incapacity we try to conceive the new (as effect) as a new form of the old (as cause). If cause and effect should fail to fully correspond to each other, we should be compelled to assume an absolute beginning of the new. Hence, according to Hamilton (like Cusanus), philosophy ends in a docta ignorantia. Its value consists in its constant seeking, by means of which the energies of the mind are exercised.

Hamilton is nevertheless convinced that faith in the unconditioned is necessary in order to establish our spiritual existence. The more refined definitions of unconditioned being can only be secured by analogy with human personality.—This argument was applied to the defense of the orthodox faith by Hamilton's disciple, Henry Mansel (Limits of Religious Thought, 1858).

William Whewell (1795-1866), professor at Cambridge, demonstrated the principles of the critical philosophy from another point of view. He endeavored to verify Kant's fundamental principles as the necessary presuppositions of the inductive sciences (History of the Inductive Sciences, 1837; Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, founded on their History, 1840). Induction signifies not only a collection of facts, but their arrangement according to some governing principle. The organization of the facts is possible only in case the investigator brings such a principle with him (as e.g. Kepler brought the idea of the ellipse to his studies of the planets). We must finally go back to the fundamental concepts which express the very principles of our cognitive faculty, principles which form the basis of all sense perception and all induction. Such fundamental concepts are: time, space, cause (in mechanics), end (in biology), and duty (in ethics). These cannot be analyzed into simpler concepts.


D. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).

John Stuart Mill, the son of James Mill, was trained in the ideas of the radical enlightenment, as they had been developed by his father and Bentham, and he accepted them as a veritable gospel. In his very interesting autobiography he describes how the ideas adopted during his childhood and youth came into sharp conflict with the ideas and moods of a later period which likewise agitated his very soul, and how he was then compelled to struggle through a mental crisis. This contradiction not only appears in his life but likewise in his works, and the inconsistencies which, despite his vigorous intellectual effort, his theories reveal, are partly due to this fact. There likewise exist an intimate relation between his theoretical views and his efforts for social reform. The fact that in philosophy he seeks to derive everything from pure experience does not rest upon pure theoretical conviction alone, but he likewise regarded it as a weapon against the prejudices which impede progress (similar to the French philosophers of the eighteenth century).—Like his father, Mill was an officer of the India Company; after its dissolution he was a member of Parliament for a short time.

a. Stuart Mill's System of Logic (1843) contains the answer of the English school to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and at the same time the most radical form of empirical epistemology. According to Kant's fundamental principle, all real experience contains a rational element, which can be discovered by analysis. Mill now undertakes to show not only that all knowledge proceeds from experience, but that experience itself involves no antecedent presuppositions. He would make experience the standard of experience. "We make experience its own test!"—By experience (like Hume) he means a sum of impressions, and his problem consists in showing how universal principles can be derived from such a sum.

Mill bases his logical investigations partly on historical and partly on psychological principles.

In matters pertaining to the history of thought, as he openly acknowledged, he was greatly benefited by Whewell's work on the History of the Inductive Sciences. John Herschel's book On the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831) was likewise one of his preparatory studies. Mill's problem consisted in describing the fundamental methods of inductive thought by an analysis of the methods of the empirical sciences as these had been developed during the past three centuries, and then to examine what presuppositions underlie this thought.— He discovers four methods of induction. The method of agreement infers, from a series of cases, in which two circumstances (A and B) always succeed each other, whilst all other circumstances vary, a causal connection between A and B. But this inference is not certain until we can at the same time apply the method of difference because it shows that B does not appear whenever A is excluded, and vice versa. This is the chief inductive method. To this is added the method of residues, in which everything previously explained is eliminated and an inference is then drawn concerning the relation of the remaining circumstances, and the method of proportional variation, in which we have two series of experiences which vary proportionally between each other and infer a causal relation between them. Mill illustrates these methods by striking examples from the history of the sciences. He attempted, by this exposition, to substitute a systematization of inductive logic for the Aristotelian systematization of deductive logic; his logic was a continuation of Bacon's work. He differs from Bacon not only in the wealth and quantity of the examples at his disposal but likewise by his clearer insight into the necessity of forming hypothesis and by the interchange of induction and deduction. The deductive method becomes necessary especially in cases where there are large numbers of contributing factors. We must then examine each factor separately by induction and then test by deduction from the results of these separate investigations whether the interplay of all the factors is explainable.

The final analysis of thought reveals the psychological basis of Mill's logic. According to Mill every deduction presupposes an induction. For—in his opinion—deduction starts from a general proposition; but whence can this proposition be derived, if not from experience? Every general proposition implies a reference to a number of experiences. We ultimately come back to the particular impressions. The beginning of the whole knowledge-process consists in the fact that two phenomena take place coincidently. Once this has happened frequently, the presence of the one phenomenon will arouse an expectation of the other. This is the fundamental form of inference. It does not however start from a general proposition, but rather proceeds from particulars to particulars. The child withdraws its hand from the burning taper, not because of its knowledge of the general proposition, that contact with fire is painful, but because the sight of fire immediately arouses the idea of pain. It is therefore an objective association (association by contact) that forms the original basis of all inference: all logical principles are eliminated. The transition from one idea to another takes place immediately, and, according to Mill, this means, without ground.—In the theory of causality Mill would likewise eliminate all presuppositions. Mill concedes however that the inductive methods are demonstrable only on the presupposition of the causal principle. Notwithstanding the fact that B always follows A, and B does not appear in the absence of A, nevertheless our only ground of inference to a causal relation between A and B is the presupposition that B must have a cause. What then is the source of the causal principle? Mill answers: the same as all general propositions, experience, i. e., induction.—The circumlocution which is here apparent in Mill's argument has been clearly exposed by Stanley Jevons (in a series of articles under the title, Stuart Mill's Philosophy Tested—(1877–1879)—reprinted in Pure Logic and other Minor Works). Jevons had already demonstrated in his Principles of Science (1874) that the principle of identity is presupposed as the basis of all inference, because of the fact that the proof of an induction always consists of a deduction, which carries its inference back from a hypothetical proposition to the given impressions.

Mill's attempt therefore to furnish a system of logic which is wholly inductive did not succeed. This attempt forms the counterpart to Hegel's attempt to invent a logic which is wholly deductive. Mill tried to spin the forms of thought from their content, Hegel the content of thought from its forms. It is in these two men that the contrast between romanticism and positivism is most sharply drawn.

b. The pyschological presuppositions at the basis of Mill's logic come from James Mill's Analysis. They were the presuppositions of the "Associational Psychology." When, in his later years (1869), Stuart Mill published a new edition of the Analysis, in his appended notes he modified his psychological theory. Following Alexander Bain (whose chief works are The Senses and the Intellect, 1856, and The Emotions and the Will, 1859), he here shows that the objective association (association by contact) constantly presupposes a subjective correlate (association by similarity). He had even before that, in his Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy (1865), indicated a still more radical change in the fundamentals of his psychology. He then saw that such phenomena as anticipation and recollection cannot be accounted for by the theory of consciousness underlying the "Associational Psychology"—viz., that of a mere sum of elements. The phenomena mentioned prove—so he thinks—that the bond by which the psychical elements are held together is just as real as the elements themselves, and that it cannot be derived from these elements. And the term "Ego" applies to this bond alone. Mill therefore once more revives Hume's "uniting principle," which had been forgotten in the "Associational Psychology," and as a matter of fact even accorded it a central position. Had he then been able to revise his logic, the possibilities were present of developing the principles of knowledge as idealized psychical tendencies.—The modifications and even the inconsistencies contained in Mill's theories bear witness to the indefatigability and candor of his investigations.

c. In ethics even as in psychology Stuart Mill was also originally a disciple of his father; here he was likewise a disciple of Bentham. The objectivity and onesideness of Bentham's utilitarianism had however been brought to his attention even in his early youth, especially through the influence of Coleridge and Carlyle. Nevertheless, he never surrendered the presupposition that the ultimate criterion for the evaluation of human actions must be sought in their effects on human happiness. The aim is not the greatest possible happiness for the actor himself, but the greatest possible happiness for all who are affected by the results of the action. Stuart Mill bases this principle, not on the self-interest of the actor properly understood as Bentham had done, but on the psychological nature of the moral sentiment (Utilitarianism, 1863). In his theory of this sentiment he adopted the doctrine of the metamorphoses of sentiments as developed by Hartley and James Mill. The origin of the moral sentiment is due to the coöperation of a large number of elements: sympathy, fear, reverence, experiences of the effects of actions, self-esteem and the desire for the esteem of others. It is in this complex nature that the cause of the mystical character attaching to the idea of moral obligation is to be found. The complex may however become so completely subjective and perfect that the sentiment itself will appear as unitary. Its development ordinarily takes place under the influence of social life by which individuals are accustomed to regard common interests and to enlist united efforts. In this way a sentiment of solidarity and unity evolves which may even (as in the case of Comte's religion of humanity) assume a religious character.

But Mill not only modified utilitarianism by the emphasis which he placed on the subjective factor, but likewise by the assumption of the qualitative differences of the sentiments. He thinks "happiness" must not be estimated according to quantity alone, but likewise according to quality. He says, like Plato (in the ninth book of the Republic), that he alone who knows the various qualities of happiness from personal experience is in position to furnish a valid estimate of their different values. A Socrates dissatisfied is better than a satisfied idiot.

These modifications reveal the fact that the ethical problem is far more consequential and difficult than the older utilitarians ever dreamed. Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900), who, in his penetrating work The Method of Ethics (1877), distinguishes definitely between two distinct kinds of utilitarianism, of which the one is based on self-interest, the other on altruism, saw this clearly. He likewise shows that the practical ethics (the morality of common sense) which prevails at the present time rests unconsciously upon a utilitarian presupposition.

d. Mill produced a number of important works in the department of social ethics, which made a profound impression upon the life of the age. Thus, e. g., in his book On Liberty (1859) he asserted the right of the individual to the free development of his native powers, and endeavored to establish definite limits for the interposition of legislation and of public opinion. His fundamental principle is that the impulse to everything noble and great proceeds from individual geniuses, who are the salt of the earth. In his Subjection of Women (1869) he makes a peculiar application of the principle of liberty to the position of woman. He likewise holds that our ideas of the "nature" of woman have been derived from the subordinate and retiring position which woman has hitherto occupied, and he anticipates splendid contributions to human culture after women are enabled to develop their faculties just as freely as man has already done for ages. In his Considerations on Representative Government (1861) he regards the political issue at the present time as a conflict between democracy and bureaucracy, which must be brought to an end by the former enlisting the services of the latter and only retaining a general control. He likewise recommends a proportionate franchise in order to guarantee the rights of the minority. Mill's future ideal however went beyond a political democracy. He is convinced that personal and political liberty cannot be secured without great social and economic changes Principles of Political Economy, 1849). Here he is confronted by the profound, according to him, diametrical antithesis of individualism and socialism, and he frankly acknowledges that he is at a loss to know how to reconcile them. He holds however that neither the individualistic nor the socialistic fundamental principle has been theoretically and practically developed in its best possible form. Hence, e. g. the right of private property might readily be maintained, if the laws would take even as much pains to reduce its difficulties as they now take in order to increase them. Socialists are wrong when they make competition the ground of social evil. The cause lies in the fact that labor is subject to capital, and Mill expects great things from the trades unions and producers unions, especially because they encourage the virtues of independence—namely, justice and self-control.

e. Mill's religious views appear only by way of suggestion in the works published by himself. He holds, in opposition to Comte (in his book on Comte, 1865), that theological and metaphysical theories are not necessarily destroyed by the attainment to the positive stage of science, but they must not contradict the results of scientific investigation. There are some open questions! But he protested vigorously against the teaching of Hamilton and Mansel (especially the latter), that the concepts (particularly ethical concepts) must be treated as having an entirely different content when applied to deity than when applied to man. He would refuse to call any being good—even if that being were able to condemn him eternally for so doing—who is not what we mean when we call a man good.

He expresses himself more fully in his posthumous Essays on Religion (1847). He denies that he can infer an omniscient, omnipotent, and absolutely good Creator from the facts of nature. He regards it possible however on the other hand to believe in a personal God, who, in constant conflict with uncreated and persistently resistant matter, is seeking to bring about a beneficent order of nature. Man can therefore, by his own effort, be a co-laborer with God, and, according to Mill, the real religious attitude consists in the sentiment aroused by this fellowship. He attaches great importance to the fact that such thoughts and sentiments elevate man above the limitations of experience and the prosiness of ordinary life.

E. The Philosophy of Evolution.[edit]

About the middle of the nineteenth century the theory of evolution came into vogue and was recognized as an essential element of human thought. The romantic philosophy had indeed likewise spoken of evolution, but they simply meant by this a purely logical or systematic relation of the forms and types of being, not a real process, taking place in time. The idea of evolution had already made itself felt however in various departments of thought. Thus, e. g., in the astronomical hypothesis of Kant and Laplace, in the theory of epigenesis (i. e. the theory of the gradual evolution of the embryo from a simple rudiment) as formulated by the anatomist, Caspar Wolff, in the psychology of Spinoza, Hartley and James Mill, in the eighteenth century belief in the evolution of history, in Comte's theory of the three stages. Lamarck finally announced the theory of a continuous evolution of organic species by means of a progressive transformation of the organs brought about through the constant exercise of its powers. But the evolutionary theory only received general recognition as a fundamental principle in wider circles after the announcement of Darwin's hypothesis of the origin of the organic species by the process of natural selection. Herbert Spencer at the same time undertook to determine the fundamental forms of evolution by analysis of the phenomena in the various departments of experience, after having previously shown how characters which are unexplainable from the viewpoint of the experience of the individual may be explained from the viewpoint of race-experience.

1. The great naturalist, Charles Darwin (1809-1881), deserves a place in the history of philosophy, because, like Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, he is of profound significance in the treatment of philosophical problems, not only on account of his results, but likewise on account of his theory of science and its sphere. After a tour of the world covering three years, upon which he collected his large supply of specimens and observations, he lived in the solitude of the country as a quiet investigator.

His effort to explain the origin of the species was in complete harmony with the spirit of positivism. He referred to a fact which was actually operative in nature: namely, the necessity for every living being to possess the attributes and equipment essential to the preservation of life, or as he expressed it figuratively, the struggle for existence. If we persist in saying that the species were created, each one independently, this, in the eyes of Darwin, is but a pious way of expressing our ignorance. The struggle for existence however is not the whole cause. It presupposes that individual organisms reveal variations which may be either more or less favorable to their preservation or to the preservation of the species to which they belong. Those individuals which show favorable variations would naturally survive in the struggle for existence (Origin of Species, 1858).

Darwin found the proof of his theory in the "intelligible thread" by means of which a vast array of facts can be combined. He did not regard his theory as a dogma, but rather as an instrument of research. He always insisted on tracing out the significance which a given character, function or organ possessed for the struggle for existence.—He regarded the problem concerning the origin of the variations by virtue of which natural selection takes place as a weakness in his hypothesis. He assumes the fact that such variations exist, and for the time being calls them "chance-variations," only meaning by this however that their causes are unknown. He takes a similar attitude to the problem of life in general.

Darwin's assumption that very small variations furnish a real advantage in the struggle for existence was perhaps an error. Hugo de Vries has quite recently undertaken to show that very important variational "leaps" ("mutations") may take place and that a new type may thus arise at once, which must then establish itself in the struggle for existence. It has become apparent, furthermore, that these mutational types are very tough. The contrast between the types and variations consequently becomes even sharper than Darwin, and especially the Darwinians, who have frequently been more dogmatic than their master, ever supposed.

Darwin saw no reason for regarding man an exception from the general biological laws. In his opinion the actual value and the actual dignity of man suffers no diminution by regarding him as having evolved from lower forms. For the theological and romantic conception, which regarded man as a fallen angel, he substituted the realistic conception of man as an animal which has evolved a spiritual nature (The Descent of Man, 1871).

Darwin elaborates his views on the problems of moral philosophy in the third chapter of his book on the origin of man. He sympathizes with the view represented by Shaftesbury, Hutcheson and Hume. He starts with the principle that a group of animals or men among which the idea of sympathy and mutual helpfulness prevails would be favorably situated in the struggle for existence. He thus discovers a biological foundation for the moral sentiment. According to Darwin this sentiment presupposes, besides sociability and sympathy, the faculty of recollection and comparison. With these conditions given we have the basis for a more or less conscious estimate and judgment of actions. After the faculty of language has been evolved mutual praise and blame can likewise exert its influence. Public opinion can then take form. Habit and exercise in efforts for the common welfare would also tend to give permanence and strength to the social motives and instincts. The characters thus acquired may perhaps likewise be transmitted by inheritance (as Lamarck had assumed).

Touching religion Darwin was still a believer in revelation when he returned from his famous tour. His views changed gradually, without any painful rupture, and he finally (in 1876, and published in Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, 1887), adopting a form of expression introduced by Huxley, declared himself an agnostic, i. e. one who knows that the solution of the problem of being is beyond our powers. That is to say, his philosophy culminates in a docta ignorantia. He regarded the idea that the world is the result of chance (brute force) quite as incredible as that it should be the product of conscious design. His statement of the problem at this point reminds us of that given by Kant in the Critique of Judgment.

2. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) gave up a life of practical affairs in order to devote himself to philosophical investigations. In his early youth he was an engineer, but soon acquired an interest in social problems and ideas which in turn led him to the study of psychology and biology. He was a self-made man. He never attended a university and never took an examination. He was peculiarly gifted in observing facts which might serve to illuminate general principles. His philosophy sprang from the necessity of discovering a governing principle which would serve the purpose of organizing a series of studies in natural science, psychology and social science into a system. He has described the course of his development in his Autobiography (1904). He remained a private citizen all his life, occupying himself with his studies and his writings.

Spencer's ideas are expressed in their purest, most original form in a series of essays, published in three volumes under the title: Essays, Scientific, Political and Speculative. From the literary point of view, the Essays form the most valuable portion of the Spencerian writings.—He had even before this, in his Social Statics (1850), applied the idea of evolution to social life. Following Coleridge he regarded the complete unfolding of life as a divine idea which is to be realized gradually. Later on he regarded this conception as too theological. He then began to search for a concept of evolution which could be applied to every sphere of experience.

According to his conception philosophy is unitary knowledge. Its task consists in the discovery of general principles under which the particular principles postulated by the special sciences can be organized. But this unitary knowledge can neither be attained by the a priori, deductive method, followed by Hegel, nor by the simple, encyclopedic collation of facts, as Comte thought. Spencer seeks to discover what is common in the special principles and laws by means of the comparative method. During the course of thirty-six years (1860-1896) he produced a detailed exposition of his Synthetic Philosophy filling ten large volumes. The first volume, containing the First Principles (1861), furnishes the fundamental principles of his world-theory and defines the concept of evolution both inductively and deductively as the fundamental concept of all science. The remaining volumes apply the special forms of this concept to the departments of biology, psychology, sociology and ethics. — Otto Gaup has published a valuable characterization and exposition of Spencer's philosophy (Frommann's Klassiker, Herbert Spencer, 1897).

a. Spencer's theory of knowledge shows the influence of both Stuart Mill and William Hamilton (and, through the latter, Kant). He challenged pure empiricism, on the ground of the fact that perceptions require elaboration before knowledge can arise and this elaboration presupposes both a faculty and a standard. The ultimate basis of all knowledge consists of the faculty of distinguishing the like from the unlike; even radical skepticism must presuppose this basal principle. The ultimate standard by which truth and error are distinguished consists of the principle that a proposition which is inherently self-contradictory cannot be true. Truth implies a perfect agreement between our ideas {representations of things) and our impressions (presentations of things). Every inference and every postulate assumes the truth of the criterion contained in the principle of contradiction. This criterion cannot therefore be derived from mere experience: it is a priori. Every individual must possess the innate faculty of comparing impressions and drawing inferences from impressions, but this faculty cannot be derived from the impressions alone. But the a priori appertains to the individual alone. If we inquire into the origin of this faculty we must appeal to the race from which the individual has sprung. Empiricism is in error only in so far as the particular individual is concerned, not as respects the whole race. The experiences acquired by the race during the course of countless generations, the incessantly recurring influence to which it was subjected, evolve dispositions which form the basis upon which single individuals begin their course of development. That is to say, the single individual possesses in his native organization the clear profit of the experiences of untold generations. That which is a priori in the case of the individual is racially a posteriori.

Even in first edition of his psychology (1855) Spencer, who had early become an evolutionist, referred to the fact that the things which are inexplicable on the basis of individual experience might be explained by race experience. He imagined that this amounted to a final disposition of the controversy between empiricism and a priorism. He nevertheless perceives that in the find analysis he concedes the correctness of empiricisin, and declares himself a disciple of Locke rather than of Kant. He extends the scope of the older empiricism by going back of the individual to the race. He failed to see however that the actual problem of epistemology is not the matter of the factual origin of knowledge, but its validity. In the construction of his own theory of the factual origin of knowledge he, as a matter of fact, simply assumes the criterion of truth! Furthermore, the distinction between the race and the individual is not fundamental, because the race at any given time is represented by definite single individuals. Every generation, even as every individual, must possess its own a priori faculty.

Spencer had advanced the hypothesis of the natural origin of the species, which in 1885 he applied to psychology, in an essay even as early as 1852. Darwin therefore regards him as one of his precursors. At that time however he stood closer to Lamarck than to Darwin, because he was not yet acquainted with the idea of the struggle for existence in its bearing on the theory of evolution. It was impossible for him therefore to construe knowledge as an instrument in the struggle for existence.

b. According to Spencer the sphere of knowledge is determined by the fundamental function of thought, which, as a matter of fact, consists in distinguishing like from unlike. We can only know such things as can be compared with other things, i. e. relative to other things. Here Spencer adheres closely to William Hamilton, except that he dropped the latter's theological viewpoints. The things which we presume to know must necessarily be relative, i. e. they must bear definite relations and they must therefore be limited. The absolute and unconditioned cannot be related to anything else, neither can it be defined in terms of likeness or unlikeness.

The absolute, according to Spencer, is nevertheless a positive concept. We are always under the necessity of assuming something which can be defined, marked out, compared—something which is independent of the definite form ascribed to it by our thought. We represent it to ourselves, after the analogy of our own energy, as a universal energy which underlies all objective and subjective changes and forms the content of our knowledge—but which cannot itself be expressed by any concept.

Spencer moreover regards this as offering a possible solution of the controversy between religion and science. It is the common aim of all religions to furnish knowledge of the universal energy. But it is still only in its most primitive stages that religion pretends to furnish complete knowledge of the absolute. The higher the development of religion, the more readily it concedes the existence of an inexplicable mystery. When the evolution of religion has once been perfected religion and science will join hands in the common acknowledgment that the real nature of things is unknowable, and religion will cease to oppose the scientific explanation of phenomena.—Spencer is well aware of the fact that men are loath to surrender the well-defined intuitive ideas of the various religions. He nevertheless anticipates a progressive development in this direction. He fondly hopes that the emotional side of religion, its musical temper, may be able to survive, even though its dogmas must perish.

Spencer failed to overccme the discrepancy between the so-called absolute and relative. Even though, e. g., he assumes the applicability of the concept of evolution to every sphere of phenomena, he nevertheless denies that this concept applies to "the Absolute" itself.

c. Philosophy, as unitary knowledge, is in search of a common principle or a general type of all phenomena. Spencer discovers such a principle by the method of induction and analysis, which he afterwards seeks to deduce from a general principle.

The principle which philosophy has been seeking is the principle of evolution. Every phenomenon has come into being, so far as we are concerned, by a process of evolution, and we understand a phenomenon whenever we know its evolution. But what is evolution? There are, according to Spencer, three characteristics by which it can be described.

In its simplest forms evolution consists of concentration, a transition from a more attenuated to a more permanent state of coherence. The formation of a pile of sand on the ocean beach is a simple example. The evolution of the solar system (in its primitive phase, as the formation of the primeval nebula) and the earth (by its assuming the spherical form within the original nebula), the growth of an organism by means of assimilating nourishment, the origin of a people from its stems and groups, etc., furnish examples on a larger scale.—Differentiation goes hand in hand with integration, especially on the higher levels. There follows then a transition from a state of greater homogeneity to one of greater heterogeneity. It is not the whole, as such, that differentiates itself; different parts within the whole differentiate themselves from one another and assume definite forms. Thus the various heavenly bodies of the solar system have taken form, and each of the heavenly bodies in turn develop differences between the respective parts of their surfaces and their internal structure as well as between the parts of the surfaces themselves. The various organs are developed by the process of specialization during the course of the evolution of the organism. Organic life on earth divides into various species. And in the sphere of social life we have an example in the division of labor. — Whatever differentiation proceeds one-sidedly, dissolution quickly follows. A third characteristic of evolution must therefore be added, namely, that it consists of a determination which presupposes a definite harmony between integration and differentiation.

The concept of evolution just described applies to every particular phenomenon, and to every phenomenal sphere (but not, as some have misunderstood Spencer, to "the universe" as a whole). It has been discovered by induction, but it must also be verified by deduction. Here Spencer falls back on a principle which he regards the foundation of all real science: the principle of the persistence of energy. With Spencer this principle (as with Hamilton and even Descartes and Spinoza) is really identical with the principle of causality. Every experiment rests upon the assumption of this principle: for if energy could originate or be lost during the course of an experiment it would be impossible to draw any inference. It follows therefore that similar elements must be similarly affected by similar energies, which establishes the principle of integration. It follows further that similar elements must be differently affected by different energies; which establishes the principle of differentiation. Proof of the necessity of the third characteristic determination is lacking. It is not a mere accident that Spencer was unable to establish this principle. From the viewpoint of experience it is impossible to furnish any guarantee for the harmony of integration and differentiation, whilst the hypothetical conditions demand the presence of both processes. Notwithstanding his sublime optimism, Spencer was therefore unable to furnish a proof of harmonious evolution. With Hegel "the higher unity" was a logical necessity; but a final deduction is impossible in the case of Spencer's systematic positivism, even though the problem which here arises did not clearly occur to him.

d. The series of works which furnish a detailed development of the theories advanced in the First Principles contain a gap, due to the fact that Spencer failed to furnish a specific treatise on evolution in the sphere of inorganic phenomena. On the other hand he demonstrates the general forms of evolution in the realms of biology, psychology, sociology and ethics in detail.

Life, according to Spencer, consists of an adjustment of internal relations to external relations. Organisms are not only directly determined by external factors, but there are indirect factors likewise developed from within by means of which they are enabled to adjust themselves more advantageously to future conditions than in the past. That is to say these influences lead to a transposition of the orgarnic elements; the structure changes under the influence of function. This gives rise to variations which then endeavor to survive in the struggle for existence. Spencer attaches greater importance to the adaptation resulting from the exercise of the functions than to that ting from the loss and death of such forms as are ill-adapted by "natural selection" (which Spencer prefers to call "the survival of the fittest").

Consciousness is likewise a form of adaptation. As soon as the number of objective impressions increases, the corresponding subjective states can only adjust themselves advantageously by arranging them in serial order, and such arrangement is the characteristic function of conciousness.

Psychology is a division of biology. We must nevertheless make a distinction between subjective and objective psychology. Objective psychology consists of the natural science of the material processes with which the phenomena of consciousness are ordinarily associated. Subjective psychology rests upon introspection and forms the correlate of all the other sciences; with the single difference, that it treats of the knowledge process as such, whilst all others treat of the objects of knowledge.

In the sphere of consciousness we again discover the general characteristics of evolution: concentration, differentiation and determination. We rise by gradual transitions from reflex movement through instinct and memory to reason in a constantly increasing concentration, and likewise from the simplest sensory discriminations to the most refined distinctions of the intellect. And we find that each stage is modified by the necessary correspondence with the conditions of life and its relations.

Spencer seems to be somewhat vacillating on the problem of the relation existing between consciousness and matter. He at first conceives this relation as a case of metamorphosis of natural forces accordg to which consciousness bears a relation to the brain process analogous to that of heat to motion. Later on however he regarded mind and matter as two irreducible empirical forms of universal energy. This theory however has not been consistently carried out in his works. The task which Spencer had set for himself was to discover the fundamental principles of the evolutionary theory in every department of science, and for this purpose it was really immaterial what psychological theory was subsumed. He says however—in harmony with his attitude towards subjective psychology as compared with all other sciences—that if he were to choose between the two alternatives of referring psychical phenomena to material processes or vice versa, he would regard the latter solution as the most acceptable.

In sociology Spencer lays the chief stress upon its direct bearing upon the actual problems of life. The struggle for existence is intended to develop human character, and hence no social ordinance and no state institution dare be interposed between the individual and real life. Because of the fact that the whole matter turns on the development of character, evolution progresses slowly and Spencer is far less sanguine at this point than Comte and Mill.—His pedagogical theory is governed by the same line of argument. The child is to acquire independent experiences as early as possible and be under the guidance of authority and tradition as little as possible. Otherwise twofold adjustment would be required, namely, first to the authority and then to the actual conditions of life (Education, 1861).

Concentration prevails during the earlier stages of social evolution, i. e. the individual is subordinate to the whole. It is conditioned by the necessities of common protection. It is here that militarism enjoys its classic period. Later on—as the individual forges to the front—a differentiation takes place. Individuals are then able to realize their own ends according to their pleasure, and they can advance their mutual interests by the free organization of individual energies. The struggle between militarism and industrialism is still in full sway. But Spencer anticipates a third stage in which labor for the sheer necessities of life will no longer occupy the central place, but in which devotion to occupations which are valuable per se will be far more general than now.

It is the duty of ethics to develop the content of the highest stages of social life. The method of ethics is essentially constructive: from the highest principles of evolutionary theory it constructs the idea of the perfect life as a harmony of concentration and differentiation, a complete determination. In the perfect organic type the development of the one suffers no limitation save the recognition of the corresponding right of the other to development, and the individual is not coerced to undertake occupations which offer no immediate satisfaction. Altruism on the contrary furmishes the individual opportunity to develop faculties and dispositions which would otherwise remain fallow. The contrast between altruism and egoism is thus reconciled. For the present we are still far removed from such an ideal state. For this we can only have a relative ethics, not an absolute system; but the absolute ethics can nevertheless be formulated and serve as a guide to relative ethics.

Spencer regards the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill as too empirical. The highest ethical ideas can be discovered only by the theory of evolution. But in his ethics as in his theory of knowledge, he still differs from his precursors only in the matter of having extended the horizon.

F. Positivism in Germany and Italy.

As we have already observed, positivism is by no means to be conceived merely as a movement which is opposed to romanticism. It is the result of well-defined intellectual motives which are peculiar to it alone. Within the positive school (in its broader sense) we have seen men like Stuart Mill and Spencer, each taking their own course. We have likewise found investigators outside of France and England, who have become positivists independently. Among these we wish to describe Eugen Dühring of Germany and Roberto Ardigo, the Italian.

1. Eugen Dühring (born 1883), despite the fact that he became blind early in life, has shown a remarkable activity as a teacher and author. His external misfortunes were due to his severe opposition to and distrust of academic authorities; on account of which he was dismissed from his position as a Privatdocent at the University of Berlin. He has published a characteristic autobiography under the title, Sache, Leben und Feinde Als Hauptwerk und Schlüssel zu seinen sammtlichen Werken (1882).

His first work of any consequence was Natural Dialectic (1855). Here he is still in close touch with the critical philosophy, and he distinguishes sharply between formal and real science. The intellect is constantly striving to discover continuous transitions and to form infinite series (i.e. capable of continuation according to the same principle). In mathematics, e.g. we have the concept of infinity and in logic the principle of sufficient reason. But we must not transfer this tendency to continuity to the sphere of real bring. Here the principle of definite number prevails, as experience shows. Astronomy, physics and chemistry show how completely the character of natural processes and natural elements are governed by the law of definite proportions. Each separate series of causes which nature reveals consists of a finite number of members.

Dühring's theory of the vital relation between the laws of thought and being presents a singular contrast to the above distinction. Thought is a continuation of being. The uniformity revealed in nature as well as in the interplay of nature's forces corresponds to the combinations and deductions of the intellect; the identical nature of particular elements under varied conditions corresponds to the logical principle of identity; the real relation of cause and effect corresponds to the logical relation of premise and conclusion, etc. The fact that man is capable of knowing nature rests upon the fact that the laws of human consciousness are likewise nature's laws.

This latter view is decidedly in the ascendent in Dühring's later writings, where he indulges in vigorous polemic against the critical philosophy, which makes a distinction between our knowledge of things and the things-in-themselves. Dühring here regards this distinction as an attempt to enlist the services of philosophy in the defense of transcendental fancies. His positivism vanquishes his criticism (Cursus der Philosophie, 1875—rewritten under the title Wirklichkeitsphilosophie, 1895; Logik und Wissenschaftslehre, 1878).

The problem of the philosophy of reality consists in formulating a "world-scheme," a problem which must be solved by the systematization of experience. It is evident that the forces of nature constantly act in a definite way, and in a way moreover that the results of their coöperation invariably show definite totals. This provides for the origin of beings which not only exist and act, but which are likewise conscious of their existence and action and the enjoyment which it produces. The possibility of such an evolution is due to the combination of different forces. The idea of an everlasting conflict of forces would be an absurdity, and a universe wholly unconscious would represent the anomaly of a half-done performance. But nature contains a logic of its own which precludes absurdity. True, the antagonism of forces likewise plays an important part; but this antagonism is the very condition of the potential discharges of motion and experience. The value of life and the attainment of its higher planes depend wholly upon the differences and rhythms of nature. The profound satisfaction which life furnishes would be impossible without the cruel, the bitter and the painful (Das Werth des Lebens, 1865).

Dühring, like Comte, finds the germinal principle of the moral life in the instinct of sympathy. The sufferings of others have a direct effect upon individual feelings, and its influence increases with civilization. Moral progress however consists both in individualization and socialization. Crude force is still the governing principle in existing states, but in the free organizations of the future the interest of the individual will be devoted directly to his work, not merely to the products of his work. The ideal of the future does not consists in socialistic concentration, but in the growth of free industrial communities. Dühring anchors his hope to a progressive evolution by the progressive unfolding and survival of the good, and he strongly opposes Darwin's struggle for existence and Marx's catastrophe theory.—The contemplation of the majestic order of the universe, which has made such an evolution possible, begets a universal affection,—the equivalent of the religious sentiment of the past (Ersatz der Religion durch Vollkommneres, 1883).

2. In Italy a period of depression and lassitude followed the promising mental activity of the period of the Renaissance, and the general history of philosophy has but few names to record that are of any consequence in the general trend of the evolution of thought. The nineteenth century produced a new Renaissance, which at first assumed a romantic speculative form. During the first half of the century Rosmini and Gioberti developed a kind of Platonism by which they hoped to harmonize religion and science. These philosophical efforts were intimately associated with political issues, because it was generally believed that the head of the church would lead the movement for political rehabilitation. But the hopes of Italy were to be realized by an entirely different method. The harmony of religion and science was broken{{--}}in the first place because the head of the Catholic church sanctioned the scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages as the only one permissible, and, secondly, because philosophy assumed a more critical and positive character. We shall here treat of Roberto Ardigo (born 1828), a representative of the latter tendency.

Ardigo became a positivist by a process of gradual development. His studies in natural science and philosophy carried him step by step, without being aware of it at the time, away from the scholasticism which he had practiced as a Catholic ecclesiastic. The growth of his ideas proceeded so smoothly, that, when all of a sudden the veil was withdrawn, he thought he had always been a positivist. The evolution experienced in his own intellectual life became the theme of his philosophizing when he accepted the chair of philosophy at Pavia after quitting the church. He regarded his own course of development as a type which reveals the general characteristics of all development, no matter in what department it. Whilst Spencer really started from the analogy of organic evolution, Ardigo starts from the analogy of intellectual evolution,—"this most remarkable of all natural formations." He did not become acquainted with the French-English positivism until later. He calls himself a positivist, but at the same time emphasizes that the essential element of positivism consists in its empirical starting-point, rather than its systematic conclusion. He says: the positivist proceeds step by step, with a constantly widening horizon.

He elaborated his theory of evolution in connection with an analysis of the Kant-Laplace theory which he regarded a typical example of the scientific method of explanation (La formazione naturale nel fatto del sistema solare, 1877). The present state of the solar system came into being by a process of separation (distinzione), in which smaller bodies (distinti) were formed within larger undifferentiated bodies (indistinto). The larger body is not destroyed by this process. It persists and forms the basis of the interaction of the smaller body. There exists therefore an inherent continuity between the larger body and the smaller bodies which constitute its parts. The possibilities potentially contained within each of these indistinto (as "forze latente or virtuale") can only be developed by interaction with other objects! Each indistinto is therefore in turn a part of a more comprehensive whole, so that the distinction between indistino and distinti is merely relative. Science is here confronted by an infinite series of processes; but its only task consists in explaining the fundamental relation of indistinto and distinti in each particular case, because it assumes that all differences, no matter where they occur, proceed from one whole and are forever comprehended within it.

The theory of knowledge is but a special case of the general theory of evolution. Every explanation consists of a differentiation, an analysis; there is nothing understood which is not differentiated (indistinto). The theory has a certain tendency to stop with finite elements (distinti finiti); but the principle that every particular is part of a whole imposes the necessity of an infinite continuum. Hence, since even thought is simply a special case of the natural process, it is impossible to deduce the whole process of nature from thought. We never attain a final term.—There is a problem at this point which Ardigo fail to estimate correctly, in that knowledge is nevertheless the natural process through which alone we acquire our knowledge of all other processes of nature. On the other hand he (especially in La Ragione, 1894) describes the cognitive functions in detail, especially emphasizing the intimate relationship of recollection and judgement, and finding once more the relation of indistinto and distinti in the rhythm of synthesis and of analysis. He likewise extols the services of Kant to the morphology of knowledge in this work. And he afterwards emphasized Kant's theory of the synthetic unity of consciousness in his chief work L'unita della coscienza (1898) in still stronger terms. Psychic life consists of a continuous synthetic process. There is a profound tendency in things to combine all elements and functions in a single stream. This confluence (confluenza mentale) is the only explanation of the association of ideas. It is impossible to explain this unity of consciousness as a product of separate elements, because the only way we can discover the elements is by an analytic process of thought which already presupposes a given whole. Ardigo's admiration for Kant, whom he called il secondo Galilei da filosofia nei tempi moderni, does not prevent him from severely criticizing the theory of the thing-in-itself (L' idealismo nella vecchia speculazione, 1903).

Ardigo likewise applies the theory of the indistinto and of the distinti to the problem of soul and body. The facts given in experience consist of the psychophysical reality in its undifferentiated form. But our investigations must in this case be divided into psychology and physiology, each of which is obliged to deal with abstractions. The psychical and the physical never exist in reality apart from each other; one and the same reality (reale indistinto) underlies both (La psicologia come scienza positiva).—As a psychologist Ardigo reveals a remarkable faculty of describing both the continuity as well as the more refined nuances of psychical phenomena.

Ardigo's fundamental viewpoint likewise has a striking application to ethics. Each individual is a distinto whose real existence is in an indistinto, i.e. in a society. Each individual is evolved within a social body (family, state, etc.), and thus learns to judge human actions from the viewpoint of the whole, which provides for the evolution of an anti-egoistic tendency. It is in this that what Ardigo calls "the social ideality" consists. This tendency assumes the form of a holy affection at its culminating points, which impels to sacrifice and begets a faith in The Eternal despite the tragedy of human life.