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We cannot indorse the opinion of Mr. Hallam, flaunted forth with so much of flourish in his History of the Middle Ages: "Fame is more partial to sucessful aggression than to patriotic resistance." The statement is a libel upon human nature-bad as it is, in some of its exemplifications. Success
is the criterion of ephemeral fame only. Truth, in the long run, is the sole standard whereby to measure real merit. Often assailed, sometimes baffled, always courageous, it has hitherto, in all its conflicts with error, finally emerged crowned with garlands of laurel or of oak. Never yet did it yield to victor or take on the chains. And is it taxing an honest credulity too severely to believe that truth is as mighty now as ever before-that it is invincible-and in the future, as in the past, it will go forth, clad in mailed armor, prepared to turn the edge of every sword and blunt the point of every bayonet that may ring upon its harness?
"Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again—
The eternal years of God are hers."
And this assured hope it is, which fixes our faith in the bringing back of the Federal Government to its former self; to its primal principles; to the Constitution of the Fathers; to a Federal Union of consent, not a nation of constraint; to "a government of laws and not of men"-as Harrington so tersely and so nobly expressed it. When that auspicious day shall dawn, Stephen A. Douglas will be accorded his proper pedestal among the apotheosized in the Pantheon of republican liberty.
He was comparatively young when the curtain fell and closed his career. His sun went down suddenly-alike in glory and in gloom-while it was yet day. For the growing man he was, he had not reached his meridian, the grand climacteric of his mental strength. That the distractions of his country hastened his end, we do not doubt. He could not be a pall-bearer to the corse of his country and of his hopes. He lived to see the gathering clouds, the first flashes of their lightning, and to hear the angry mutterings of their thunder; but it was graciously spared his eyes to behold the
result. Was he not, therefore, as fortunate in the time of his death as in the opportunities of his life? He died younger than many others who have left footprints on the sands of time-to be effaced only when the last memory of America shall vanish.
2d Series: VOL. VI.-NO. I.
ART. X.-REVIEWS AND CRITICISMS.
On Mr. Spencer's Formula of Evolution, as an Exhaustive
ONE of the first elements of profitable discussion is to agree on the premises of the subject discussed or to be discussed. Were premises agreed upon or adjusted, there would be less grounds of difference on subjects of philosophy--none at all, indeed, between men of equal information and logical ability.
Much of the controversy in respect of the bearings of systems of philosophy of the present day-nearly all of past days and times-has been devoid of utility for want of a proper understanding of first principles. Men have engaged in polemics very much as they have entered into physical combat, apparently for the love of it, regardless of the truth to be established, or the error to be overthrown or refuted. It is not for us to say that such controversy, or such physical warfare, is entirely without utility in the economy of nature. In the broader view there can be no act without a certain kind of recompense attached to it, or accompanying it, just as these walking or rowing matches, while they tend to dehumanize the mental character, augment the development of the victim's calves. But, if any one will show us any advantage to be derived from a controversy between an evolutionist and a Presbyterian-between a typical Herbert Spencer and a typical John Calvin, other than that which is due to an exercise in polemics, we will undertake to show the utility of Great Britain's raid on the Afghans, or that of the war of the United States on the frontier Indians.
Another requisite of profitable discussion is a mutual understanding of the definitions of terms. To discuss a subject, or to attempt to controvert an opponent, in ignorance of the precise meaning of the terms which he uses, is like attempting a surgical operation without a knowledge of the instruments one is to use, or prescribing medicines when ignorant of their actions on the normal organism. All these things are common enough, unfortunately, and one finds it hard to say which is the most stupid proceeding.
The latter may be more disastrous to human life than the formerfor, surely, polemics never hurt anybody; but both proceedings should be relegated to the domain of doubt and uncertainty, or classed with the practices of the ignorant and foolish.
It should not be overlooked, however, that there are many terms in science and philosophy that have various meaningsabstract terms, such as life, mind, soul, as well as the method that treats of them-science and philosophy. It is a curious anomaly that thinkers are not agreed as to the nature of life, the commonest thing that one meets with. Nor are they any more agreed as to the nature of mind. And in respect of the nature of soul they are still more widely at variance, many doubting its existence altogether. While the use of the term is sufficiently common in philosophy, it has not yet secured recognition in science, its use being superfluous in interpreting the phenomena of the universe; at least, according to the scientific method, or the formula of evolution. The definitions of philosophy, even, are at variance. According to Mr. Spencer, "philosophy is completely-unified knowledge," by which we suppose him to mean, the facts of existence reduced to order, and rationally interpreted. Pythagoras, who first introduced the term, gave it a different signification, one implying method of thinking-speculation. Hence, in his day there were as many kinds of philosophy as there were systems or schools of thought. Dr. Whewell's view of the subject is not inconsistent with that of the father of the term, viz.: "Right reason and facts to reason upon." In this sense knowledge and philosophy are identical.
The author of the critique on Mr. Spencer's "Formula of Evolution" finds fault with the latter's definition of philosophy for the reason that it comprehends only "the summary of our knowledge,' while the critic implies that philosophy ought rather to be "a representation of the changes of the universe." The point seems to us a hair-split one, for it is correct observation of the changes of the universe that constitutes our knowledge of it. So also in respect of the definition and interpretation of the hypothesis of evolution. Most critics of Mr. Spencer's formula, from the theological point of view, fail rightly to apprehend its precise meaning. Mr. Spencer has himself defined its scope, limiting its application to the knowable, and implying that outside that limit there is a vast beyond into which finite faculties cannot penetrate. The fierce opponents of the hypothesis, however, by a strange, but no uncommon, mental perversity, give insufficient attention to the limitations of Mr. Spencer's philosophy, and proceed to point out its insufficiency to explain the "Unknowable!" No one who reflects upon the course of things needs to be reminded that the abstract nature of anything is inscrutable. The First Cause--if such a conception be admissible, which we do not believe-is no more past finding out than is the nature of the tiniest speck of dust that floats in the air and is made visible
by the solar beam. The recognition of this truth by Mr. Spencer forms the bulwark of his hypothesis, against which his opponents cannot prevail, from the very nature and limitations of their faculties; unless, indeed, some new and unknown quality of vision is awakened within them, which shall enable them to get behind the vail of the finite and probe the mystery of the Infinite.
We by no means underrate the merits of Mr. Guthrie's critique. The author presents the deficiencies and limitations of Mr. Spencer's formula of evolution with judicial fairness, and exhibits excellent analytical powers; but, at the same time, not without making certain défauts, a few of which may be briefly noted.
The formula of evolution given by Mr. Spencer is as follows: "Evolution is an integration of matter, and concomitant dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity, and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation." It is seen therefore that matter and motion are the factors on which the hypothesis is based. "Matter and motion," be it observed, not matter in motion, as Mr. Guthrie puts it. Matter in motion cannot be two factors.
Again: matter in motion implies matter at rest; according to science there is no such condition as the latter. But Mr. Guthrie is not satisfied with these two factors, and thinks it would enlarge the scope of the hypothesis if consciousness were added, making a third factor; and further on he discovers that another factor must be added, in order to escape a difficulty which, however, he himself makes, viz.: the behavior of atoms towards one another. This other factor is gravitation. Here, then, is the beginning of things, according to Mr. Guthrie: matter, motion, consciousness, gravitation. Does not Mr. Guthrie perceive that consciousness predicates every relation between the human mind and outward nature? Yet the mind can think of nature apart from itself. And we are compelled to believe that the forces of nature were at work, æons before organism existed, in the same way as we perceive them now. As for gravitation being a factor, it simply expresses the relation between matter and motion. It cannot, therefore, be a factor. The fact of atoms being in a different position one towards the other would vary their force, and this variation brings about a condition which we call gravitation. To our mind, Mr. Spencer's chapter on the "Instability of the Homogeneous clears up the difficulty; but although Mr. Guthrie gives copious citations from it, he does not consider it satisfactory. He says:
The only cases where heterogeneity ensues upon the homogeneous is where internal influences produce it "— implying that there is no external influence acting on the imaginary first assemblage of atoms. But can Mr. Guthrie imagine a mass of moving atoms, without also imagining a something rarer than themselves, which they move about in? This something is external influence.