Alleged Mentality in Nature at issue with Uniformity
1. IT is a widespread idea1 that the essence of individuality conflicts with the postulates of the Uniformity of Nature and of universal law. We shall not be able to grasp the true character of the individual, and the bearing of the argument of the previous lecture, till we have disposed of these misconceptions. They arise from the confusion between the abstract and concrete universal; between the recurrence of similars and the identity of a differentiated system.
It is held that a spiritual philosophy requires mentality in nature, that mentality demands variability, and that high variability is incompatible with the principle of uniformity. The principle of Uniformity is thus misconstrued and a fatal opposition set up between it and the nature of mind; just as, more generally, it is held that Individuality excludes the fulfilment of general law. Thus we have a fallacy affecting the whole interpretation both of nature and of man. The responsiveness of nature to spirit, their magnificent opposition and reconciliation, is frittered away into a remote resemblance between them, depending on a characterthe character of variabilitywhich is exaggerated by a forced hypothesis in the case of nature, and abstracted from its conditions and true significance in the case of what we know as mind.
Uniformity as similar repetition dist. relevancy.
2. To begin with, the Uniformity of Nature is taken for this purpose, not in the sense in which it has been held to constitute a logical principle, but in the popular and prima facie sense, disclaimed by logicians, that the future will resemble the pastthat the procedure of nature is regular, is a mode of repetition, and its elements similar, in a very high though unspecified degree.
It is then argued that actual purposiveness and spontaneity, assumed to be evinced by variation and irregularity, are more widely distributed in nature than Uniformity so construed would admit; while on the other hand, an appearance of such uniformity can be generated even in human conduct, which we know to be spontaneous, by the use of methods analogous to those which give rise to the impression of extreme regularity and resemblance as prevalent in nature. The conclusion is that the spontaneity which we know to prevail in what we recognise as mind, may also prevail in what we are accustomed to think of as external nature, accompanied by a similar variability, which our methods of enquiry disguise.
The Law of Uniformity, then, in the logical sense of the term,2 in which it means rational system, such that all changes and differences are relevant to each other, is not here expressly in question. On the other hand, unless it is intended by the way to impeach this lawto affirm, that is, inexplicable or irrelevant variation as a proof of spontaneitythere seems to be no contention. To say that there are more differences in nature than some people have thought is to say nothing. To say that there is, in supposed inorganic constants, rational, progressive, and significant variation, would be to say something; but to this, as we shall show, the facts lend no kind of countenance. To say, first, that variability in conduct due to minds establishes indeterminate spontaneity, and that this excludes Uniformity in the logical sensewhat I prefer to call relevancyand, further, that such spontaneity is also to be presumed as a fact in what we take for natural elements, and in their behaviour, would, indeed, be to say something. And considering the belief in an antagonism between individuality and general law which accompanies the views we are discussing, it seems probable that we are really in presence of such an attempt to discredit the conception of logical nexusthe conception of relevancy, which is what logicians mean by uniformityalike in nature and in what we know as mind. This may be disclaimed; but, strictly speaking, it is the only thing that can be meant.3 The contention, otherwise interpreted, to the effect that atoms of the same element are not, in fact, all of the same size, is not a philosophical contention at all. The point is worth examining, if only to throw light on the true interest of Social Statistics.
Physical measurements compared to social averages.
3. The argument rests on a comparison of social statistics with those physical measurements which can only be carried out with reference to enormous numbers of units en masse. You cannot, it is urged, isolate an atom of oxygen. When you represent its atomic weight by 16, all you mean is that this figure results from the measurement en masse of an enormous number of atoms, the result being attributed with hypothetical equality of distribution to each single atom; in short, you have got an average figure like the average height or weight of school children of a certain age, or like an actuarial estimate of the prospect of life for individuals under certain conditions. Such average figures, of course, are true of a class or group as a whole for certain purposes, but not of each individual; and, indeed, their value lies, we might say, in not pretending to represent the individual but in simply serving the purpose for which they are computedsome collective result or comparison.
So, too, it is urged, the atoms of oxygen, for all we know by measurement, may not be rigidly equal at atomic weight 16, but may oscillate round this amount, as any statistical figures oscillate round the arithmetical mean. In the physical measurement, it is said, we have only the total, from which we infer an average, and we cannot get at the individuals to measure them separately; in social statistics enumeration and separate measurement are possible, and, therefore, we are able to criticise the average figure, and the criticism gives rise to the suggestion before us.
In this way, the contention is, we can see that a figure representing some character of a social group is single and may be constant, without indicating any absence of variety among the individuals composing the group. And, therefore, analogy suggests that minute physical elements may after all be various, and endowed with life and spontaneity, seeing that there may be what one might call social constants, as well as physical constants, though no one doubts the variability of the members of the social group.
To me all this argumentation sounds like special pleading. The distribution of mentality in nature seems to be a mere issue of fact. It is the suggestio falsi as to Uniformity and its antagonism to mind that I desire to combat. I will mention one or two points.
Average and Constant distinguished.
i. Am I wholly wrong in thinking it necessary to say, first of all, that we must distinguish an average from a constant? You can strike an average from any set of figures; but whether it is or is not a constant depends on a comparison of averages representing groups in some way different. Thus, it is true that if an atomic weight is only a single average, it admits of any degree of variation in the actual atoms; but, for the same reason, if the social statistic is only a single average, it offers no suggestion of constancy in the social phenomena. So far, there is nothing against the suggestion that physical elements vary; but there is nothing for the suggestion that social phenomena can present the appearance of constancy. You can take the average of 2, 10, and 10,000 without the slightest implication that the figures averaged show any uniformity.
In comparing group averages the analogy breaks down.
ii. To establish a constant average, the averages of different groups or periods must be compared, or else the approximation of the several figures averaged, to their average, must be directly noteda method ex hypothesi impossible with minute physical elements.
But here, when we compare physical and true social phenomena, the analogy breaks down. The physical measurements, for all accessible groups of units with the same name (similar atoms, similar wave-lengths, etc.) are ex hypothesi identical; true social measurements, as opposed to physical ones, for comparable groups under different conditions and in different periods, deviate as a rule progressively and intelligibly. It is not true, on the whole, that they oscillate round constant amounts or tend to come back to them in the long run.4 The early statistics, which seem to have created this impression, were in part, I suspect, fallaciously handled, and were also drawn from inadequate periods of time.5
True social statistics, figures which depend directly or indirectly on human conduct, such as the records of crime and pauperism, and in a great degree those of health, are marked in general by extraordinary sensitiveness, being subject, for different groupings or successive periods, to definite adapted or progressive variations, which show no sign of oscillation round a fixed point, and are readily explicable in connection with changes of moral and material conditions. The records of crime and pauperism for the nineteenth century are ample proof of this.6 If these facts are considered the alleged analogy between physical and social constants, beyond the fact that any one group of figures can be represented by an average figure, disappears.
Physical statistics would be second-class. Social are first-class.
4. And it seems necessary to distinguish between the principle of what may be called second-class and first-class statistics. Second-class statistics are those which aim at discounting unknown causes by including, as near as may be, their whole cycle. Such is the method we instinctively adopt, if in order to estimate the number of words in every line of our MS., we count them for, say, a dozen lines, and take the average as our guide to the normal number in a line. We hope that the main causes of difference in the number of words per line will have occurred within the single dozen, and that the average on the whole, perhaps of ten thousand lines, will be much the same as that in the dozen which we have counted. We do not trouble ourselves to think what may cause the numbers to vary, but merely hope that we have got a fair sample of, all the effects of the unknown causes, and that our average, therefore, is a constant. Of such a nature would be, according to the hypothesis before us, the measurement of atomic weights and of ethereal vibrations; such is the determination of average durations of life in specified callings or for specified categories of the population. The essence is the absence of all attempt to suggest causes of the observed variations. The method is one which deals with them qua unknown.7
But as Sigwart has said,8 it is really by their variations that statistics are suggestive; and it is when we come to such comparisons as different death-rates under different sanitary conditions, or different rates of pauperism under different systems of administration, that we approach the province of what might be called first-class statistics. In these we no longer operate with numbers of recurrences of effects, admitting our ignorance of their causes. It is like the difference between a statement of chances giving, say, the chance of an individual dying of smallpox, based on the ratio of cases to population, and the statement based on highly complete causal knowledge giving, say, the chances for the throws of a perfect die. We pass beyond the disjunction of ignoranceunder X, so many cases a, so many b, we have not the least notion whyinto the province of the disjunction of knowledge; x being a gives a, being β gives b, etc., and we know there is nothing persistent in favour of a more than of β and the rest, and vice versa. Variations in ratio of crime and pauperism, variations in the occurrence and fatality of diseases, variations of the general death-rate of a community, and perhaps also of its birth-rate, are capable in different degrees of being correlated with assignable causes, and become more intelligible as they become more divergent, and so in the superficial sense less constant. It is true that statistical conclusions as such remain hypothetical as regards incidence on individuals. We may see that a death-rate must diminish, but we do not know which individuals will be saved, nor, from the death-rate alone, which have been saved. But the unexplained variation is no longer the typical datum, nor the assumption of it the ideal of method. We can go to meet the statistical figure from the other end, with precise analytic explanations of the individual case, given his health, his morals, his economic history.9 In dealing with social phenomena, this, the variable and individual element, is the climax of intelligibility. Not constancy, but explicable or relevant variation is the typical character of the measurements involved. Even the roughest methods, properly used, can give no such analogy as is asserted by the argument we are discussing. And the more we perfect the measurements, the less the analogy holds.
Misconception of Uniformity due to theories of similarity and repetition.
5. It was suggested above that the argument in questionthe argument from non-uniformity to spontaneity in naturedepends on a false conception of the Uniformity of Nature. It aims at disproving what we may call the uniformity of Similarity, expressed in the principle that the future will repeat or resemble the past, or, more generally, that one thing of a kind will simply repeat another. But this, as was observed above, is not the meaning of Uniformity as a logical principle or postulate of Science. No doubt the name Uniformity, proposed by Mill, was a misleading appellation for the postulate of rational system and coherence in the world of experience. But Mill, like others after him, clearly explained that the Uniformity of Nature does not mean that the future will resemble the past. This may seem a superfluous discussion of a familiar point. But, in truth, the prejudice which interprets the Uniformity of Nature as the principle of science, in the sense which Mill was careful to reject,10 is at the root of the whole recent polemic against the intelligence, and rests on something far deeper than a mere verbal confusion. It springs from a deep-rooted impulse to misconceive and mutilate the whole activity of thought, which is, in essence, a recrudescence of the superstition that its work is purely analytic. Wherever in recent literature, from John Henry Newman to Mr. Kidd, from M. Tarde and Professor Baldwin to M. Bergson and his followers, we find emphasised the solvent and analytic character of intellect, or the antithesis of Imitation and Invention, of Repetition and Creation, there, I am convinced, we have a fundamental error of principle depending on a vicious logical theory.11 The hopeless failure of all these theories to deal with the nature of genius, with creation and invention,12 shows that we have before us an abstraction of elementsthe elements of identity and diversity, which in the attempt to dissociate them become unmeaning and contradictory. Invention and creation are really present in every pulse of thought, in every employment of significant language, and pure repetition is an impossibility for intelligence.13
Uniformity, then, as a principle of science, is a uniformity not in the way of resemblance but in the way of identity; not a repetition of resembling elements but the coherence of differences in a whole. It should be called by some such name as Relevancy. An argument which is directed against the former and leaves the latter standing, admits everything that can be demanded by a reasonable mechanistic view of the universe. Nothing is gained against uniformity by making it probable that atoms vary in size, if their variation is not assumed to be in principle irrelevant to their conditions.
The argument set out to show that a psychical or at least a spontaneous character, incompatible with mechanical uniformity, might be presumed in, physical objects; and offered to reveal how the appearance of constancy in them was analogous to one which must arise in connection with subjects whom we know to be psychical. But what has appeared on examination of it is that the only true principle of uniformity (Relevancy), so far from being incompatible with a psychical character, is in the highest degree applicable to the prerogative case of mind, and that the more nearly as we approach the individual subject.14 So that instead of defeating the principle in alleged physical objects, the argument has forced us to assert it in true psychical objects. The important point is to disown the idea that the establishment of great de facto variety either disproves true Uniformity (Relevancy) or proves a psychical nature; and that there is any kind of connection between the disproof of the one and the proof of the other. Such an idea sets us wrong ab initio in our attitude to the characteristics of consciousness, teaching us to connect it with eccentricity and capricethe negation of coherent systeminstead of with system and rationality. The same fundamental error identifies the spontaneity of life with an unmotived diversity, and intelligence proper with an impotent identity.
It is not indefinite variation but coherent progressiveness and adaptiveness that we take as indications of consciousness. And in this feature, as we have seen, the argument has failed to sustain the alleged approximation of what is called matter to mind.
The point is somewhat subtle, and I will restate it against an objection which might be drawn from our own reasoning. Why you complain, it may be replied, of taking breach of uniformity of resemblance as a proof of psychical character, and yet such a breach is the very difference which you allege between inorganic and social statistics to prove that the latter do and the former do not suggest conscious spontaneity.
Our answer would be, insisting on what we have said, that what we allege to indicate psychical spontaneity is not mere breach of the uniformity of resemblance, but systematic progressiveness and adaptiveness of response. What we combat is the suggestio falsibased on confusing rational identity in diversity with the recurrence of resemblancesthat we approach the psychical by coming near to the inexplicable; a suggestion by which the argument for universal mentality draws the popular love of the marvellous to its side. Treating this suggestion, however, as indefensible and probably not meant to be defended, we confine ourselves to explicable variation, which, in any degree of it, is no breach of the uniformity (Relevancy) of Nature. This kind of variation we see no reason to deny, if theory requires it, in physical phenomena hitherto supposed to be uniformly similar; but we insist on the fact that in regions which we know to be psychical there is not only variation but progressive and adaptive variation correlated with changes of volition. And therefore a we maintain the prima facie difference between material and psychical existence; and β we insist that in the mental province the true Uniformity of Nature exhibits itself in the fullest and completest sense. The conception of relaxing uniformity to make room for mind in nature means a failure to face the problem of externality as the antithesis of subjective mind on the one hand15 and the problem of free initiative or creative logic on the other.16
Individuality implies precisely determinate response.
6. The same fallacy is apparent in the idea that the conditions of individuality conflict with the postulate of universal law.
It does not much matter in what details this idea asserts itself. It is the same thing throughout; a denial of relevant adjustment, confused with a denial of similar repetition. An efficient cause, we are told, for example, need not be uniform in its action.17 This is intended, it would seem, to guard the spontaneity of true causal activity, considered as that of a subject. It can only mean that a cause A, without variation of conditions as between B and C, can produce out of itself alternatively effects b and c. Such spontaneity, of course, would mean not adjustment, but failure of adjustment, a complete denial of Relevancy. To stimulus B, A might respond with reaction c, to stimulus C with b. We are told again, that Individuality is unique and the self impervious.18 This is its character, not accidentally, but essentially; its essence is to be sui generis.19 It is the playground of contingency. Laws cannot be shown to be absolutely exact; purposive life cannot coexist with rigid routine conformity to general law.20 Everywhere the polemic is against the character of rigidity, fixity, repetition, supposed to be inherent in the nature of law, and to be the same thing with adequacy and precision of measurable adjustment. Spontaneity is held to be throughout in escaping from general rules, i.e. rules of recurring resemblance. The idea of identity in difference seems never to be applied. For if it were, fineness of adjustment, precision, and relevancy of determinate response, would be recognised as the very incarnation of the universal, and so of life and spontaneity which are one with it. The whole contention, there can be little doubt, reflects the modern tendency to pronounce intelligence not merely in fact but in principle inadequate to life and reality.21 It is difficult indeed to see how this tendency can accord with the attempt sometimes conjoined with it, to enthrone the finite consciousness as the director of history and evolution. But the fact is, that we are here on the edge of pluralism and voluntarism, and although the term direction is employed, the guidance by the finite consciousness as the independent controller and reformer of destiny, divorced from an immanent real, is a blind leading of the blind. For Ward no less than for Bergson reality is richer than thought, history is the type of the Absolute, and the true concrete world of philosophy drops away.22
At all events what we have to deal with is this. The work of the intelligence is conceived as the formulation of general rules of repetition or resemblance, by which everything new is analysed in terms of the old.23 And the principle of intelligence, thus understood, is naturally conceived to have no grasp or purchase on vital and purposive reality.24 The conception of teleology, indeed, is exploited to eke out the missing character of rationality. We shall see later how far it justifies the attitude adopted.
Our attitude is, on the other hand, that the principle of life and reality is one throughout, and is the principle of individuality, and that this can be traced in all forms of experience, none of which are to be taken as superseding or as discontinuous with each other. Finite intelligence, for example, will not be superseded by but also will not supersede, any other form of finite experience, though it may lead up to a perfect experience other than itself. We must avoid the two complementary errors, of which modern philosophy appears to us to be full, and which have one and the same root. We must not identify intelligence with cognitionthe error of alleged Intellectualism, committed mainly if not exclusively by its antagonistsand make it, so interpreted, the guide and rule of life. We must not, on the other hand, influenced by aversion to this error, set up as sovereign any form of spontaneity, activity, subjective teleology, or intuition of life, against the character of intelligence as the active form of totality and nisus towards the whole. We must distinguish the character of thought in its widest and deepest sense as the active form and logical spirit which lives in all modes and contents of experience, from the discursive abstract thinking which is one shapea typical or schematic outlineof the operations of mind. We must understand how all sides and features approach their respective completions concurrently and convergently as the underlying principle of individuality expresses itself more thoroughly through a more determinate grasp of the content of the world. The conscious intelligence is not to be dethroned; it remains above the unconscious, as a revelation of what is there implicit, and as a fuller phase of the remodelling of self by adaptation to the whole. But it is not to be one-sidedly sovereign either as abstract cognition or again as finite mind or will, furnishing direction out of its own isolated contingency. It is neither a subordinate means to evolution, nor an independent rational agent in a world which is mere material for its spontaneity. It is simply the principle of Individuality permeating all experience, but when taken in abstract shape constituting that side of experience which we call discursive thought. We will now follow more in detail the nature of the fallacy which sets Individuality and Spontaneity in contrast to universal law.
i. We may start from Lotze.25
False ideas of what Law involves.
The Absolute is no magician, it does not produce Things in appropriate places out of a sheer vacuum, merely because they correspond to the purport of its plan. All particular cases of its operation are based on a system of management according to law, adapted to its operation as a whole. But I must repeat: it is not here as it is with man, who cannot do otherwise; rather this uniformity with general principles is itself a part of what is designed to exist. Hence it is, that each stage in the development of organic life seems to arise step by step out of the reactions which are made necessary for the combined elements by their persistent nature; nor is there anywhere an exception to the dependence of Life on mechanical causes.
Here we find stated the view which seems Prima facie reasonable. But the protest which accompanies it suggests the contrast of law and individuality, which since Lotze's day has developed so as to destroy the doctrine to which in his hands it was subordinate.
The protest, which opposes the idea of law to the idea of an individual system, rests on the fallacy that a plurality of undifferentiated points of application is essential to the universality of a lawthat the universality of a law, in a word, must be embodied in a class of similars. This fallacy is the same at its root with the negative or exclusive doctrine of individuality. It depends, as has been pointed out, on the confusion of similarity and identity, by which a scientific truth is supposed to be essentially the expression of an attribute in which a great number of instances resemble one another. But the view of sound logic is rather that a scientific truth is the expression of a definite connection of contents within a systeman identity pervading a number of distinct determinations whose connection does not lie in resemblance of the elements to one another, although certain resemblances may and must result from the interconnection.26 Thus, for example, it is possible to regard the law of gravitation as a record of certain resemblances between all particles of matter. But this resemblance is really secondary. The point which constitutes the theory27is the conception of the systematic relation between the distance and the attraction, and the contribution which this conception makes to the further determination of the nature of the physical world. When the nature of the gravitating system is so far revealed, the resemblances following from the partial identity so far established between portions of matter are a corollary. But the basis of the resemblances could not be established, except by analysing them into the precise partial identity which is expressed in the determinate interrelation of parts within the gravitating system. So in the easy example of a machine, say, a steam-engine. The universal in which the members participate is the working of the engine, which primarily depends upon the differing adaptations of the members to their purpose. Certain partial identities, giving rise to resemblances, are involved in these adaptations, as, for example, that all the parts must share a certain degree of strength and toughness and durability. But no machine, no city, no system, could be made out of merely similar members. Even a number of undistinguishable coins, if they are to operate upon each other's value, must be taken as affecting one another by a relation which is not their resemblance, i.e. the relation of cooperating towards the supply of some demand. The distinction is no doubt a truism. But it is an embarrassing fact that forgetfulness of such truisms forms a leading feature of the most modern philosophy. If they were not forgotten, no one could treat a Universal Law or statement of a uniformity of nature as a generality which depends for its truth on the recurrence of similar qualities or events.And consequently there could be no reason for suggesting that a universal law is not a necessary element in the conception of a system or individual. The fact is that Plurality and Repetition, which are the medium of generalities as commonly understood, are relatively unimportant subforms of universality. This is a consideration which goes very deep into the modern attitude towards the intelligence. We are constantly being told28 that the intelligence call deal with nothing but repetitions. This is simply an echo of the Logic of extension and classification which, greatly as it has been amplified of late, can never, surely, give a genuine account of knowledge.
Every Individual system is a complex of Laws.
ii. We may take the matter further than this. The relation of the universal law to the individual system is closely typified by that of the Hypothetical to the Categorical Judgment, or of Science to Philosophy. The individual is essentially the province of Categorical judgment, the abstract universal of the Hypothetical; and we might venture to say that the Categorical judgment is the sphere of Philosophy, the Hypothetical of science. Philosophy deals with affirmations about the universe; Science with the interdependence of details within the universe29the precise consequents of conditions precisely assigned. Thus every Hypothetical judgmentevery relation of antecedent and consequentis within, and founded upon, a categorically asserted ground or relatively individual system. Geometrical truth is only true if there is space;30 economic truth holds only within the economic world; biological truth belongs to the kingdom of organic life. The abstract truth traces the detailed connections which go to constitute the concrete being; and the nature of the relation implies that every concrete being is a system, the analysis of whose detail may be expressed as abstract truth. We are not saying that any number of Hypotheticals can be equivalent to a categorical truth, or that a series of abstractions taken together can be equivalent to an individual reality; but we are saying that every individual, every living world, as, on the one hand, it has its own system of truths which hold good only within and presupposing it, so, on the other hand, possesses in these truths a system of determinations, each of which, when its background and foundation are made explicit, realises the character of a universal nexus as once true always true. It is always true, because it carries its full conditions with it. A judgment of colour harmony, or of decorative or dramatic fitness, or of appropriate biological response to environment, or of morality, may, or rather must be, the proper background presupposed, as necessary as a geometrical axiom; and if equally necessary, it possesses, considering the greater fulness of its content, a considerably higher degree of truth. If the background or basis of relation is wanting the judgment is meaningless and cannot be thought.
The universality of such a determination, which derives from the nature of the whole present within it, lies in its embodiment of the spirit of the whole to which it belongs. A potential plurality of similar instances under ita potential generality or repetition, follows as a corollary in finite experience. But it is a character of imperfection in such experience, and not of perfection. For the ideal of uniqueness, if rightly understood, is in truth one which attaches to a perfect individuality and its members. A misinterpretation of this character of uniqueness is at the root of the view which finds an antagonism between individuality and universal law. So far from uniqueness being antagonistic to universality, the ideal of a universal nexus is to be embodied in the unique. This must be so, if the identity of Indiscernibles is a true principlea mere repetition is pro tanto fatal to comprehensiveness,31 because it tends to collapse into featureless unity, leaving no differences to comprehend. And in fact, the nearer any experience approaches to an unmotived repetition, the more we feel ourselves in the province of error and confusion. Why should any being express a second time what has been adequately expressed before, or how can such a repetition carry knowledge forward? A repetition which is not unmotived but demanded stands on different ground; the mere fact that it is demanded (as in a decorative repeat) rests on a difference in the situation and makes it in principle unique. The thing is obvious if we think of the ultimate universal as the spirit of a single system, constituted by differences which have for their function to develop and manifest the content of its nature. The nexus of these differences, in the system which is the universal, is a system of laws, each of which is general by holding together the diverse expression of the one life and spirit. It is no less obvious if we think of the completest types of individuality which finite experience furnishes, such as a work of art, or a person, or a highly unified society. In a work of art, a picture, or a poem, every particular effect is unique in the sense that it says something special and distinctive, dependent on the nature of the whole which reveals one of its aspects in that determinate arrangement on which the effect depends.32
And we must have read Plato's Philebus and Aristotle's Ethics to very little purpose if we do not understand that, in principle, the fullest universal of character and consciousness will embody itself in the finest and most specialised and unrepeatable responses to environment; and that life, and especially its intensified forms as morality or knowledge, do not consist in observing general rules, but in reacting adequately, with logical, that is, with fine and creative adjustment to the ever-varying complexities of situations. Precision, measurableness, and universal law, these are in the moral act, but they are features of the solution of problems by constructive organisation, and not of obedience to abstract rule, and the same thing is relatively true of the adjustments and arrangements of a highly unified society.33
Now every such determinationthe relation of every colour, point, and line in a Turner picture, of the members of the rhythm in a poem, of intervals of time in an act of patience or courageall these are more well and truly to be designated universal laws and connections than the truths of number and geometry, or statements of the characters of an organic genus or species. They presuppose indeed a far more special and concrete world or background than the world of space and time in the abstract, or than the world of plants or animals. But they are no less necessary, and much more universal; for they imply the world of spatio-temporal abstraction, and many other worlds besides, and embody a system of differences much more profoundly connected, and a much fuller and more coherent grade of reality and revelation of the nature of things.34
True, a shallower world does not give law to a deeper.
iii. What we really mean in contrasting Individuality with general law is explained by the contrast between different degrees of Individuality, of which the lower enter into but do not complete the higher. Thus, as we have seen, it is perfectly true that laws of the world of time or space will not furnish the content of art or personality. But this is simply because they fall short of the requisite universality. They have too little to say of what there is in the world, and their necessity is dependent on a far simpler background than that of the living whole within which the fine adjustments of art or of morality have their inevitable place.
This contrast, which is incontestable, and which applies also in its degree to the chemical and biological worlds as compared with the province of self-conscious and volitional life, is apt to be exploited with a recklessness and ruthlessness which falsifies the theory of individuality, and cuts the membership of the universe apart with a hatchet.
The Laplacean imagination of the ideal calculator is being held up in terrorem35 as representing the presumptuous pretensions of the intelligence and furnishing their reductio ad absurdum. Now it cannot be doubted that the ideal in question not merely is, as Laplace observed, at an infinite distance from the possibility of practice, but contains a theoretical defect. But it is very important in what we take this defect to consist, and how far it goes to suggest an inadequacy of intelligence to the real.
In the first place, it is a mistake to assume that such a scheme of calculation is typical of the real work of intelligence in connecting individuality with universal law. And in the second place it is an exaggeration to argue that calculations of the type imaginedfounded, that is, on very general characteristics of the spatio-temporal worldhave in principle no value at all for the interpretation and even the prediction of what is most individual.
First, then, such a scheme of calculation is not truly typical of intelligence in its dealings with law. Intelligence is fundamentally creative and synthetic, and the more so, the more concrete the world with which it deals. Now though there is literally no such thing as a purely analytic work of intelligence, yet in the treatment of homogeneous quantity the synthetic element is reducible to a minimum. We might perhaps assume the supposed calculation to take a form not exposed to the extreme objection, based on a theoretical defect, that from the movements of a matter conceived as absolutely homogeneous and uniform no difference and therefore nothing could arise.36 For the knowledge of data assumed in the hypothesis might furnish a basis for scientific prediction apart from the extreme conception of homogeneity criticised by Leibniz and later writers; and it would still remain a question of theoretical importance how far predictions of life and conduct could be deduced by calculation from any physical data whatever. If the responses of mind were to be known beforehand as readily as the phases of youth and age, or of disease, or of the reactions of the lower organisms, that would still be prediction on a relatively mechanical basis. The restitution of a newt's hand is a peculiar feat, but it responds, I take it, absolutely to very simple conditions, and the ordinary course of many diseases is predictable with certainty.
But it is not clear whether Laplace's imaginary calculator, whatever his primary data, is supposed ad hoc to stand to the world of mind as a physicist stone-deaf from birth would stand to the theory of sound; or whether in his knowledge of all forces and of the respective situations of all beings in the world at a single moment there would be included the full experience of mind and its actual objects. In the former case it is obvious that the significance of his results would not be appreciable by himself,and their interpretation and valuation would be a further and independent operation. But it does not follow from this that the two operations together could give no results of supreme importance. In the latter case, which we may suppose Laplace to have contemplated, the calculator is in principle assumed to have both types of data in his hands, and the substantive question is whether by mere calculation he could, in developing the physical data, develop with them the psychical data and the world of quality, making his knowledge of the universe as complete as the knowledge of a piece of music would be to one who could both predict the vibrations and interpret their musical values.
Now for our immediate purpose the point is this. Whether or no it would be theoretically possible for the calculator to determine the physical basis of every occurrence beforehand, we are not bound to say. But it is certain that, on the extreme assumption that this is conceivable, he would yet be very far from doing the work of the intelligence in the full sense.37 In order to pass from moral or social experience given by the hypothesis in his complete view of the world at the moment to the unknown phases of such experience correlative to his physical conclusions, he would have to control and to manipulate in thought wholly different worlds from that of physical nature, worlds aesthetic, moral, politicalthe, regions of life and mind. I n any case, give it what assumptions we will, the work of calculation can never be typical of the work of intelligence in grasping reality. We must choose between the types of the deaf physicist, and the physicist-musician. In the former case the work is not done; in the latter a vast additional assumption is employed to make it conceivable.
But secondly, it is false in principle to deny that calculations of the kind imagined might be able to throw light on the operations of mind, whether past, present, or future. We must not forget the continuity of worldsthe building up of the fuller upon the shallower individuality. It would not amount to nothing if a man could do, say, for the analysis of pain and pleasure what the theory of wave propagation has done for the analysis of sound. To say that the comprehension of feeling, or even its experience or actual being, could not or might not be affected by a knowledge of its physical concomitants seems rash if not plainly false. Besides, the world of things in space comprises the organic and human world in simpler ways, which do not amount to nothing. It is something to know, if we do know, that, as a thing in space, an organism cannot be in two places at once, and can only communicate with other organisms under conditions of space and time. In short, it is easy to show that the abstractions of the sciences which deal with things as in space are not everything; but it is a great mistake to suppose that they are nothing, more especially if, in supposing this, one argues at the same time that they are all of actual life which intelligence can comprehend and predict.
It is argued as a matter of general principle that nature is not self-dependent, that it presupposes mind, and that mind cannot be subordinate to or definable by that which apart from it is nothing. I cannot think this an important consideration, apart from a definite exhibition of the modus operandi of mind in asserting its superiority. Such an exhibition will be attempted at a later stage of this work. But prima facie the experiences which we sum up as nature are none the less what they are because we accept them as coming to us through mind. Such a general consideration does not alter their content or loosen their connection with the self. To say everything is experienced through mind makes no more difference than to say that everything is the work of God. On the contrary, its prima facie result is to bring them into nearer intimacy, and to tinge all psychical being with something of their character.38 In short, all that we know of the worlds of space and time, and of the causally connected appearances which we treat as matter, are already universal connections partially defining the individual real. The real, so far as they define it, may be incomplete and inconsistent, but the whole cannot be cut loose from it. The supreme individuality, and still more any individuality which can be attained in finite experience, is characterised by this fact of appearance in a nature; and the further features which seem to us more appropriate to self-determining mind are also universal connections, but within worlds of conduct, which though fuller than what science calls nature, both pre suppose and rest upon it. There can be no reason, prima facie, to deny that what science calls a know ledge of natural law is a partial analysis, and in principle might lead to a high degree of prediction, of what we call individual activity;39 and it is false in principle to deny that what we call in the highest sense individual characteristics, are, within the world to which they belong, universal laws. What possible interest or significance could they possess if it were not soif, say, all Cromwell's actions were not respectively cases under the same universalthe same pervading spirit?
We should instinctively resent prediction of our conduct, it has been well said, based on mere scientific calculation from data existing previous to our birth. We do not resent prediction based on observation and experience of our formed individual character.40
The reason is, that the former kind of prediction seems independent of our individuality, while the latter is founded upon it. It is natural to argue, in harmony with this instinct, that the former is impossible, and the latter is possible. The important point, again, is to make a clear distinction between calculation and intelligence. Calculation, in the main, cannot suggest new ideas; intelligence has this creative insight for its fundamental function. In the nature of things, there seems nothing to hinder the previous calculation of all physical movements and the behaviour of all physical systems such as organic bodies. It must be remembered that this would involve the construction of the whole environment, as it is only in relation to the environment that the development of organic bodies can be understood. Assuming, purely for the curiosity of the speculation, this monstrous possibility, there could be no reason why the accumulation of capacity for complex automatic responses to stimulithe physical correlate of teleological actionshould not be naturally explicable and capable of being scientifically predicted.41 But new ideas, the significance of things, according to our previous distinction, would be inaccessible to the calculator as such.42 If, however, we were to speak not of pure calculation, but of calculation plus intelligence, then no limitation seems theoretically tenable.
It may be said that you could not predict individual conduct, because the data of individual character could not be complete while any thing remained to be predicted. But in principle intelligence is one; and new ideas and motives, which could be generated out of new fact, are not inaccessible to forethought in presence of a forecast of the facts. The real answer then would be that, on the extreme speculative hypothesis proposed, calculation plus intelligence might in principle predict the whole of individual character and conduct; but this would only be possible if and because the intelligence in question was able to pre-construct the ideas and habits of the future individual. It cannot be said that we know of no facts at all analogous to this possibility. Intelligence being essentially one, this would be, and is, no detriment to the later individual. It would be as when an earlier thinker or statesman has anticipated the ideas or furnished a solution of the practical problems which are presented independently to a later one.43 The latter's individuality, practical and intellectual, is thus in its main lines covered by that of the former; but it is no detriment to his freedom or to his separate actuality. It is merely that finite mind, repeating itself because of its imperfection, has to all appearance needlessly doubled a part. The thing is only too common; it occurs, e.g. in the case of every scientist or philosopher whose work wholly fails to transcend at any point that of his predecessors. No doubt this only applies in practice to the main outline of a man's thought and work, and not, as a rule, to the details of his history; though it is common, of course, for others to know that two people are in love before they know it themselves. But there it is an actual and common and an all-important fact; and we produce it only as an analogy for a very remote speculation. As a fact, however, it is too little noticed, and it has a real bearing on our main issue. In all essentials, the lines of individuals' life-work can be and constantly are either unconsciously anticipated or consciously laid down and predicted by others who come before them, or are close upon them in similar enterprises.44 Or, reversing the point of view, surely we may say that to all appearance there are many individuals who in many ways fall within others, and so are surplusage, and never would be missed, though we must suppose that the apparent repetition has a value which we do not see. Not that to carry out what another mind has predicted is necessarily a defect.
In the above argument, the interest of the question has carried us farther than we were bound to go. Our problem was the relation of Individuality to universal law. And all we were bound to show was the possibility of analysis or explanation, and not the possibility of calculation or prediction. It is enough to insist that an individual system, being a nature or spirit which is universal throughout its differences, necessarily determines between those differences a nexus, which itself is, as embodying a side of the system, universal and necessary. And that it is not repeated in a number of resembling instances is, as we saw, a feature belonging to its universality. Repetition suggests groundlessness or failure. What truly fills its place as a successful expression of the whole at that place, can fill no other. But its nexus within the whole is intelligible to the mind thinking in terms of the whole, and this is the very type of a necessary law.
And in all the repetitions which every day generalities express, the true type of the universal, however abraded by careless handling, is ultimately to be found. We may fail to observe the differences in or in spite of which a repetition takes place. But it is certain that if they were riot there, there could be no repetition; that the two cases or examples, having nothing to hold them apart, could not be two but one. The nature of the universal is traceable even within the bare numerical series, and a fortiori in every constituent of an organic whole.
Every nexus, so far as a universal law, is a necessary determination within and hypothetical upon an Individual wholewhether a world-whole or a member of it, a macrocosm or a microcosm, makes no difference of principle. This is as true of the Law of Contradiction as of the rhythm of the first line of Lycidas,45 and vice versa.
To change a response the system must be inwardly changed
7. I cannot but hold it to be a confusion if subjective teleology is held to be incompatible with the views which have just been advanced. You cannot have individuality or spontaneity along with universal law, so the allegation runs, because universal law would require the individual world to repeat its behaviour if the same situation is repeated; and this, if its end or purpose in the two cases is different, it will not do, but will respond differently.46 The question of teleology will be entered upon more fully in the next lecture, but this much seems clear at once. The end or purpose can be nothing but the nature of the whole,47 which is the spirit of the individual world, in as far as its accomplishment is deferred in time, and therefore arouses a sense of want and contradiction because the individual system is sensitive to the delay. It follows that if the purpose is different in two apparently identical cases, the identity is an illusion due to superficial inspection. Within the world which constitutes the individual's being, the contradiction has in some way shifted its place, and this fact cannot possibly mean a new suggestion, an additional idea, tacked on, so to speak, without affecting the organised system, concerning only the future and not the present or the past.48 There must have been, in principle, a dislocation of the whole system, a rearrangement of views, acquiescences, attitudes, and perceptions. The circumstancesthe elements of the situation which stand round the centre of the individual world and take their colour and reciprocal bearing from the adjustment of its contentthemselves, as a whole, are liable to have undergone in such a case any degree of transformation, however much their external or fragmentary aspect may remain unchanged. But all this is no contingent or arbitrary new determination; it is the reorganisation of a microcosma change of apperception. The truth may well be illustrated by Leibniz's conception of self-developing monads, even though we accept the accession of suggestions from without. For the suggestion from without can only operate by modifying the distribution and connection of the whole; so that ultimately we have, as Leibniz said, a progression of thought and appetition dependent at every stage on the previous phase of thought and appetition. A man who has yielded to temptation once, and who resists the same temptation successfully when it recurs, has not merely exchanged volition A for volition B, as one might pick up this pebble instead of that; he has modified his view and sentiment of past, present, and future. His world has dislocated and reshaped itself, so that its main contradiction would now be found in doing what before it was an intolerable contradiction not to do. Purpose, in a word, is secondary; what is primary is the nature of our microcosm; and, of this, purpose is an unfulfilled corollary.
Therefore subjective teleology brings with it nothing to invalidate our conclusion, which is as follows:
Individuality and Spontaneity are not antagonistic to Uniformity of Nature and General Law, if these are rightly understood, but include and necessitate them.
The Uniformity of Nature or principle of Relevancy means that every variation is a member in an intelligible system. It excludes spontaneity only in the sense of behaviour responsive to nothing. Variation is a means of adjustment or response, and to establish its existence in a high degree is not inconsistent with, but evidence of, the uniformity of nature in the true sense. The proof of genuine spontaneity is not mere variation, but progressive and adapted variation. Individuality, therefore, meaning not empty eccentricity, but the character of a system as self-contained and coherent, is fully in harmony with the Uniformity of Nature.
Universality lies in the expression of the nature of a system by each and all of its parts suitably to the place or function of each. A system so expressed or organised is a universal, and the nexus between its parts, though none is primarily similar to or a repetition of any other, is a universal nexus or law. It is true that in finite experience, the uniqueness of parts within individuality, or of individuals as parts of the universe, is never perfect. Thus they not only are universals in the true sense, and are built up of universal nexuses, but, in finite experience, necessarily occasion the approximate repetitionsan imperfectionwhich are expressed in ordinary general law. Every nexus in finite experience has a potential class or plurality corresponding to it. Individuals are therefore doubly accessible to the intelligence, and, indeed, in many typical instances are its work, though not necessarily the work of cognition nor of discursive thought. Hence there is no occasion to deny that intelligence is in principle capable of anticipating the nature of individuals, their action and cognition; but this is not to say that every form of intelligence, such as calculation per se, is adequate to every type of individual world. The best way to think of the finite individual is to bear in mind the nature of a work of art, or of the moral temper as analysed by Aristotle,49 or of an organic being as the continual source of adaptation by fine adjustments of extreme determinateness and precision. And subjective teleology, understood as it should be of the shaping and reshaping of a world in the endeavour to find itself and its whole, has nothing to urge against our views. We will speak of it more fully in another lecture.
The general position which I am criticising is to be found in Ward, Naturalism, i. 108; cf. ii. 241, 280; Taylor, Elements, 221 ff.; Royce, World and Individual, ii. 191, 195. Professor Ward does not indeed explicitly argue for pan-psychism (though note p. 108, the order of an ever-living spirit), and his sharp contrast between inorganic and organic Nature would be in conflict with such a tendency. Yet I can hardly understand his desire to discredit uniformity throughout the material world in any other sense.
Mill, Logic, chapter on Ground of Induction; Green, Works, ii. 282, 288-90, The Conception of the Unity of the World author's Logic, 2nd ed., ii. 164, 183.
It is clear, I think, that both Ward and Taylor are prepared to maintain that a given cause may vary its operation spontaneously. See below, p. 96, note.
Contrast Taylor, Elements, p. 221.
Presupposing, of course, that no statistical constancy could be relevant to Buckle's anti-freewill conclusions (cf. Ward, i. III), it still remains a question of some interest whether the sort of constancy which impressed him, Quetelet, and even Mill (Logic, ii. 529) really existed or exists. I can see nothing in Quetelet's tables to justify his own saying, that from the figures of one year it is possible to predict those of the next. I have not been able, as I had wished, to find completer material in order to criticise the famous instance of the percentage of unaddressed letters on the whole number posted. But modern statistics of true social phenomena, as I point out in the text, show no signs of fixity, and if any uniformity at all, it is a uniform rate of change of ratio. It is more than a mere matter of curiosity, for I feel sure that, e.g., Venn and Ward and Taylor have been influenced by the audacity of the Quetelet and Buckle statements, as to the degree of constancy in the long run which they allow to be assumed. See Venn, Empirical Logic, p. 580; Taylor, Elements, p. 221; Ward, loc. cit, There is extraordinary laxity of statement on such matters, e.g. Venn (Logic of Chance, 3rd ed., p. 241) speaks and makes Laplace speak of the number of unaddressed letters remaining the same year by year. All other authorities speak of the proportion (ratio). I have not seen the tables. With what number Quetelet expected the next year's figures of suicides to agree, whether the average, or actual figures of the current year, or the ratio to population, I can form no idea.
E.g. Chart of principal Classes of Crime, 1858 to 1898 (Criminal Statistics, 1898), or any chart of pauperism for the latter half of the nineteenth century. No doubt a progressive decrease must have a limit; but an irreducible minimum, e.g. in pauperism, such as experts conceive of, would not be a mere statistical mean, but would be a new fact, causally explained. To show how slippery is this question of the persistence of social constants I cite two passages from Venn, which the slight difference of the subjects concerned does not seem to me sufficient to reconcile: Empirical Logic, p. 580 (Murder, Thefts, Suicides, Sums expended in charitable or other such purposes, or Insurances effected in the year): But of such portions of human conduct as of most other portions, it is a simple datum of experience, that in the long run, when we extend our observations over a sufficient space, a great and growing degree of uniformity is generally observable. Cf. Logic of Chance, p. 91: These conditions (health, circumstances, manners and customs of the parents; the question is of the ratio of sex to sex at birth) partaking of the nature of what we term generally Progress and Civilisation, cannot be expected to show any permanent disposition to hover about an average.A careful study of Buckle, Quetelet, and the authorities cited by them leaves no doubt that what they, like Mill, mean to insist on is relevant variation, i.e. that the figures are constant under constant conditions, and vary with varying ones. But adopting the unfortunate terms uniformity and regularity, they are to some extent hypnotised by them, as appears I think from the case in which Mr. Rawson uses the word constants, cited in Buckle, i. 31. I cannot help repeating the suggestion, rash as it may appear, that an undue influence is exercised in discussions of constancy by the fact that an average figure can be struck for any single period, however prolonged, containing recurrent counts; which, of course, apart from the comparison of averages for parts of the period, is a mere arithmetical tautology, leading to no inference of any kind.
It may be said, that the very specification of the category to be dealt with involves the suggestion of a cause; e.g. duration of life of bachelors, married men, clergy, saw grinders, etc. The fact is that a unity which has an interest, has also an incipient causal presumption. It is true that when comparison begins to work in this way, a transition to first-class statistics is suggested. But primarily, e.g. for actuarial purposes or for simple compendiousness in keeping records, no such suggestion is involved.
Eng. Trans. ii. 501. This, I think, must be borne in mind as a mitigation of Taylor's statement that taking an average must always give results which have a mechanical appearance (Elements, p. 331)
Taylor seems to exaggerate the opposite view to this (Elements, pp. 234-5).
I do not forget that Professor Taylor believes himself faithful to the law of Ground and Consequent (op. cit. P. 230). But I cannot reconcile this attitude with his prolonged advocacy of inexactness in nature. What point can there be in this, if it only means that some variations, relevant and grounded, escape our notice?
See author's Logic, 2nd ed., vol. ii. p. 174 ff.
See Lect. VIII. below.
Nettleship on use of language, Remains, i. 128.
The living organism, so far from being outside the province of intelligence (Bergson, Évolution créatrice) being in the strict sense the only thing we can really understand (Caird, Kant, ii. 530). See, however, note, p. 168, on Bergson's Intuition
See Lect. X.
See Lect. IX.
Ward, Naturalism, ii. 241. Contrast Joseph, Introduction to Logic, p. 374: Let us ask what is involved in the conception of a cause not acting uniformly; we shall see that it is the same as if we denied the existence of causal connections altogether.
Seth, Hegelianism and Personality, pp. 225-8; cf. Taylor, Elements, p. 282.
Ward, Naturalism, ii. 163-66.
Taylor, Elements, p. 223.
As in Bergson passim, e.g. Évolution, p.175. It is important to note how old this tendency is, dating at least from Schopenhauer, and backed by revived religionism (J. H. Newman).
See, however, as to Bergson A. D. Lindsay's Philosophy of Bergson, ch. v. I adhere to the statement in the text.
Bergson, Évolution, p. 177.
The grasp of universals, it is held, marks the failure of insight and interest (ward, Naturalism, i. 110 ii. 90).
Metaphysic, sect. 233; cf. Introduction, Eng. Trans. p. x.
See author's Logic, 2nd ed., ii. 174 ff
Green, Works, ii. 288.
e.g. Bergson, passim. Ward (Naturalism, ii. 280) points out that in History, where we have less of repetition, we understand better, than, e.g. in exact science. Cf. P. 94 for a similar contrast between Caird and Bergson. In Paulsen, Einleitung, p. 384, to which Ward refers, the polar antithesis of Begreifen and Verstehen is suspect to me. It involves saying that you drop determinateness as you approach true concreteness, which I do not believe.
Caird, Kant, ii. 312.
I suppose this would he disputed on the ground that geometrical reasoning is independent of experience. I cannot think that such a view is tenable. It is one thing to distinguish inference from observation of fact; another thing to say that you can think or infer in any matter without immersing the mind in that matter. As for the truth of new kinds of geometry, I suppose that they are affirmed of reality under a precise reservation, and so may be necessary even if their objects are impossible.
Taking comprehensiveness, width, inclusiveness, generality, as simple equivalents of universality, indisputable even to common sense.
Cf. Essentials of Logic, p. 57.
The general law, it may be said, is a statement of some common character which can be elicited from the relevant reactions of members in a system. But where the universal is well developed, there will be no similarity in the sense of repetition. There will be a completing of one element by others. Cf. on the whole subject a paper on Theoria in Aristotle's Ethics, International Journal of Ethics, January 1911, reprinted below in Appendix II.
I hold it to be a fundamental error, and a most instructive one, on the part of M. Bergson to think that the human intelligence is especially at home in geometry, and less satisfied and less efficient as its work is remote from cognition of that type. The error is due to measuring the at homeness of intelligence by its apparent purity or independence; but this purity just means that it has hardly begun to discover its full self. Cf. pp. 94 ff.
Ward, Naturalism, i. 41; Bergson, Évolution créatrice, p.41; Verworn, Allgemeine Physiologie, Eng. Trans. 31 ff. Dubois Reymond apparently pointed out that an astronomical knowledge of the brain could never indicate to us how consciousness arises; a limit which is analogous to the limit suggested below, that without special experience it could never indicate to us what consciousness would accompany each special physical condition. Cp. Nous devons donc envisager Pétat présent de I'univers comme l'effet de son état antérieur et comme la cause de celui qui va suivre. Une intelligence qui, pour un instant donné, connaîtrait toutes les forces dont la nature est animée, et la situation respective des êtres qui la composent, si d'ailleurs elle était assez vaste pour soumettre ces données à l'analyse, embrasserait clans la même formule les mouvements des plus grands corps de Punivers et ceux du plus léger atome; rien ne serait incertain pour elle, et Pavenir comme le passé serait présent à ses yeux. L'esprit humain offre, dans la perfection qu'il a su donner à l'Astronomie, une faible esquisse de cet intelligence. Ses découvertes en Nécanique et en Géométrie, jointes à celle de la pesanteur universelle, Pont mis à portée de comprendre dans les mêmes expressions amalytiques, les états passés et futurs du système du monde. En appliquant la même méthode à quelques autres objets de ses connaissances, it est parvenu à ramener à des lois générales les phénoménes observés, et à prévoir ceux que des circonstances données doivent faire éclore. Tous ces efforts dans la recherche de la vérité tendent à le rapprocher sans cesse de l'intelligence que nous venons de concevoir, mais dont it restera toujours infiniment éloigné.Laplace, Essai philosophique sur les probabilités, p. 3.
See Leibniz on the movement of a uniform wheel (Latta's Leibniz, p. 221). This appears to give what is the essence of Professor Ward's criticism of mechanistic science. See Naturalism, i 133, where Ward repeats that argument of the Monadology in illustration of which Latta cites the reference to the wheel from Epistola ad Des Bosses.
Here I am glad to agree with Professor Ward, ib. 44.
Note, for instance, the growing idea that psychical states may be extended. I have strong sympathy with much in Professor Alexander's point of view. But it is plain to me that its moral lies in the expansion of psychical and logical characteristics to be characters of things, in compensation for cutting down the content of minds. Here I am afraid we should differ. Cf. Professor Varisco's account of external things as elements of consciousness, only, qua things, not included in the unity of any subject (I Massimi Problemi, p. 30)
There are, of course, all sorts of things which we can predict out of mere natural law about organic beings on our earth; and though for the most part common form, these things, e.g. the need of food, may at any moment leap up into vast moral and historical importance.
Bradley, Eth. Studies, p. 18. Cf. Taylor, Elements, p. 220. We dislike not really the foretelling, but the reduction to something which leaves out all we are. In a word, prediction does not matter if it depends on an understanding of what we are, and not on reducing us to what we are not. Cf. A Study in Bergson, Inter. Journ. of Ethics, October 1910.
On the correlation of these with psychical process, see Mitchell's Structure of the Mind.
If the calculator (speaking always from the point of view of theoretical curiosity) could predict the wordsthe mere soundsthat would be used, but not the ideas, or the movements which make history and not the motives, is this a reductio ad absurdum? It may seem so, but really there is not much in it. The ideas, of course, would come with the cerebral activities which produce the sounds, but the calculator, officially so to speak, would have no cognisance of them, just as the electrician who instals or even who operates a duplex system has no official knowledge of the significance of the messages to be sent, or that are being sent. A battle or a parliamentary debate would be to the calculator like an earthquake or a thunderstorm; or like a treatise to the compositor. Why not?
See A Study in Bergson, loc. cit.
The history of inventions affords many cases. The reinvention of the lever and the screw is a striking instance. The reinvention had been covered by the unknown earlier mind. You can predict in short, in as far as you are the same with the individual predicted, and this is not a prohibitive condition, because there can be real identity between different individuals. All mutual intelligence depends upon the fact that individuals cover each other in some degree.
I am assuming that the nexus of this rhythm approves itself to expert thought as necessary in its place.
Taylor, Elements of Metaphysics, p. 224.
Does this way of stating it suppose every purpose to be right? Only in as far as the Individuality is right, free from defect and deformity. Ultimately, it might be said that to have a purpose is a proof of being somehow wrong. But the wrong may or may not be rightly conceived by the individual.
See below on the continuity of purposive adjustment with habitual system.
See Appendix II.