Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/81

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the current doctrines of the soul. The ages of psychic evolution through which we have passed have not only cast their shadows down the ranks of time to our own day, but their life is now coursing in our mental pulses as literally as in our corporeal. He goes on to say:

The best and only key to truly explain mind in man is in the animals he has sprung from and in his own infancy which so faintly recapitulates them; for about every property of the human mind is found in animal mind, as those of higher animals are found in the powers of the lower. . . . The conscious adult person is not a monad reflecting the universe, but a fragment broken off and detached from the great world of soul, always maimed, defined by special limitations, like, yet different from, all others, with some incommensurability parting it off as something unique, well fitted to illustrate some aspects and hopelessly unable to exemplify or even know other regions in the cosmos of soul.

But the trouble is that as soon as a professional philosopher approaches the problems of the cosmic past of mind he is clapped automatically into some metaphysical pigeon hole, whose rigid and often misshapen walls determine that every effort which he puts forth must be molded by past tradition. The very assimilation of the newer data of science, which are the philosopher's meat and drink, involves their incorporation into a metaphysical system already thoroughly organized, and so we read our metaphysics backward through the cosmic process.

The naturalists, accordingly, are calling for a new Naturphilosophie which shall be 'anti-metaphysical,' and yet every new such attempt on their own part seems to present more serious metaphysical vices than the preceding. It is obvious that the hope for an anti-metaphysical philosophy is vain, for human philosophic systems flow into metaphysics as the sparks fly upward.

But what shall be the foundation of that metaphysic and the manner of its building is the naturalist's own problem. Shall it be an a priori system based upon ancient and mediæval dialectic or shall it be an organic growth whose roots sink deep into the soil of scientific observation and induction? This is a very burning question; for while we can have a practically efficient hod-man type of science without metaphysics, there can be no hope of a future for any metaphysics which is not built up and sustained by the progress of science.

This, of course, can only mean that our metaphysics can not be bound down by the rigid categories of formal logic (which is but a crystallization of the past workings of the human mind); it too must be alive with the lusty vigor of active growth. That such a metaphysic is not unattainable is evident. Certain present tendencies are nothing less than revolutionary in the direction of a really vital metaphysic, and not a few men of science are making their contributions to the same end.

And herein lies the great hope and promise of an immediate fruit-