Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/559

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541
REPLIES TO THE QUARTERLY REVIEWERS.

REPLIES TO THE QUARTERLY REVIEWERS.
By HERBERT SPENCER.

WITH the concluding paragraph of the previous article replying to criticisms I had hoped to end, for a long time, all controversial writing. But, while it was in the printer's hands, two criticisms, more elaborate than those dealt with above, made their appearance; and, now that the postponed publication of this latter half of the article affords the opportunity, I cannot, without risking misinterpretations, leave these criticisms unnoticed.

Especially do I feel called upon by courtesy to make some response to one who, in the Quarterly Review, for October, has dealt with me in a spirit which, though largely antagonistic, is not wholly unsympathetic, and who manifestly aims to estimate justly the views he opposes. In the space at my disposal, I cannot of course follow him through all the objections he has urged. I must content myself with brief comments on the two propositions he undertakes to establish. His enunciation of these runs as follows:

"We would especially direct attention to two points, to both of which we are confident objections may be made; and, although Mr. Spencer has himself doubtless considered such objections (and they may well have struck many of his readers also), we nevertheless do not observe that he has anywhere noticed or provided for them.
"The two points we select are:

"1. That his system involves the denial of all truth.

"2. That it is radically and necessarily opposed to all sound principles of morals."

On this passage, ending in these two startling assertions, let me first remark that I am wholly without this consciousness the reviewer ascribes to me. Remembering that I have expended some little labor in developing what I conceive to be a system of truths, I am somewhat surprised by the supposition that "the denial of all truth" is an implication which I am "doubtless" aware may be alleged against this system. Remembering, too, that by its programme this system is shown to close with two volumes on "The Principles of Morality," the statement that it is "necessarily opposed to all sound principles of morals" naturally astonishes me, and still more the statement that I am doubtless conscious it may be so regarded. Saying thus much by way of repudiating that latent skepticism attributed to me by the reviewer, I proceed to consider what he says in proof of these propositions.

On those seeming incongruities of Transfigured Realism commented on by him, I need say no more than I have already said in reply to Mr. Sidgwick, by whom also they have been alleged. I