The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays

Chapter 2: Nature and Its Good: A Conversation[1]

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A GROUP of people are scattered near one another, on the sands of an ocean beach; wraps, baskets, etc., testify to a day's outing. Above the hum of the varied conversations are heard the mock sobs of one of the party.

Various voices. What's the matter, Eaton?

Eaton. Matter enough. I was watching a beautiful wave; its lines were perfect; at its crest, the light glinting through its infinitely varied and delicate curves of foam made a picture more ravishing than any dream. And now it has gone; it will never come back. So I weep.

Grimes. That's right, Eaton; give it to them. Of course well-fed and well-read persons-with their possessions of wealth and of knowledge both gained at the expense of others-finally get bored; then they wax sentimental over their boredom and are worried about " Nature " and its relation to life. Not everybody takes it out that way, of course; some take motor cars and champagne for that tired feeling. But the rest-those who aren't


(21) in that class financially, or who consider themselves too refined for that kind of relief-seek a new sensation in speculating why that brute old world out there will not stand for what you call spiritual and ideal values-for short, your egotisms.

The fact is that the whole discussion is only a symptom of the leisure class disease. If you had to work to the limit and beyond, to keep soul and body together, and, more than that, to keep alive the soul of your family in its body, you would know the difference between your artificial problems and the genuine problem of life. Your philosophic problems about the relation of " the universe to moral and spiritual good " exist only in the sentimentalism that generates them. The genuine question is why social arrangements will not permit the amply sufficient body of natural resources to sustain all men and women in security and decent comfort, with a margin for the cultivation of their human instincts of sociability, love of knowledge and of art.

As I read Plato, philosophy began with some sense of its essentially political basis and mission--a recognition that its problems were those of the organization of a just social order. But it soon got lost in dreams of another world; and even those of you philosophers who pride yourselves on being so advanced that you no longer believe in " another world," are still living and thinking with


( 22) reference to it. You may not call it supernatural; but when you talk about a realm of spiritual or ideal values in general, and ask about its relation to Nature in general, you have only changed the labels on the bottles, not the contents in them. For what makes anything transcendental-that is, in common language, supernatural-is simply and only aloofness from practical affairs--which affairs in their ultimate analysis are the business of making a living.

Eaton. Yes; Grimes has about hit off the point of my little parable-in one of its aspects at least. In matters of daily life you say a man is " off," more or less insane, when he deliberately goes on looking for a certain kind of result from conditions which he has already found to be such that they cannot possibly yield it. If he keeps on looking, and then goes about mourning because stage money won't buy beefsteaks, or because he cannot keep himself warm by burning the sea-sands here, you dismiss him as a fool or a hysteric. If you would condescend to reason with him at all, you would tell him to look for the conditions that will yield the results; to occupy himself with some of the countless goods of life for which, by intelligently directed search, adequate means may be found.

Well, before lunch, Moore was reiterating the old tale. " Modern science has completely trans-


(23) formed our conceptions of Nature. It has stripped the universe bare not only of all the moral values which it wore alike to antique pagan and to our medieval ancestors, but also of any regard, any preference, for such values. They are mere incidents, transitory accidents, in her everlasting redistribution of matter in motion; like the rise and fall of the wave I lament, or like a single musical note that a screeching, rumbling railway train might happen to emit." This is a one-sided view; but suppose it were all so, what is the moral? Surely, to change our standpoint, our angle of vision; to stop looking for results among conditions that we know will not yield them; to turn our gaze to the goods, the values that exist actually and indubitably in experience; and consider by what natural conditions these particular values may be strengthened and widened.

Insist, if you please, that Nature as a whole does not stand for good as a whole. Then, in heaven's name, just because good is both so plural (so " numerous ") and so partial, bend your energies of intelligence and of effort to selecting the specific plural and partial natural conditions which will at least render values that we do have more secure and more extensive. Any other course is the way of madness ; it is the way of the spoilt child who cries at the seashore because the waves do not stand still, and who cries even more franti-


(24) -ally in the mountains because the hills do not melt and flow.

But no. Moore and his school will not have it so: we must " go back of the returns." All this science, after all, is a mode of knowledge. Examine knowledge itself and find it implies a complete all-inclusive intelligence; and then find (by taking another tack) that intelligence involves sentiency, feeling, and also will. Hence your very physical science, if you will only criticise it, examine it, shows that its object, mechanical nature, is itself an included and superseded element in an all-embracing spiritual and ideal whole. And there you are.

Well, I do not now insist that all this is mere dialectic prestidigitation. No; accept it; let it go at its face value. But what of it? Is any value more concretely and securely in life than it was before? Does this perfect intelligence enable us to correct one single mis-step, one paltry error, here and now? Does this perfect all-inclusive goodness serve to heal one disease? Does it rectify one transgression? Does it even give the slightest inkling of how to go to work at any of these things? No; it just tells you: Never mind, for they are already eternally corrected, eternally healed in the eternal consciousness which alone is really Real. Stop: there is one evil, one pain, which the doctrine mitigates-the hysteric senti-


( 25) -entalism which is troubled because the universe as a whole does not sustain good as a whole. But that is the only thing it alters. The " pathetic fallacy " of Ruskin magnified to the nth power is the motif of modern idealism.

Moore. Certainly nobody will accuse Eaton of tender-mindedness-except in his logic, which, as certainly, is not tough-minded. His excitement, however, convinces me that he has at least an inkling that he is begging the question; and like the true pragmatist that he is, is trying to prevent by action (to wit, his flood of speech) his false logic from becoming articulate to him. The question being whether the values we seem to apprehend, the purposes we entertain, the goods we possess, are anything more than transitory waves, Eaton meets it by saying: " Oh, of course, they are waves; but don't think about that-just sit dawn hard on the wave or get another wave to buttress it with! " No wonder he recommends action instead of thinking! Men have tried this method before, as a counsel of desperation or as cynical pessimism. But it remained for contemporary pragmatism to label the drowning of sorrow in the intoxication of thoughtless action, the highest achievement of philosophic method, and to preach wilful restlessness as a doctrine of hope and illumination. Meantime, I prefer to be tender-minded in my attitude toward Reality, and to make


( 26) that attitude more reasonable by a tough-minded logic.

Eaton. I am willing to be quiet long enough for you to translate your metaphor into logic, and show how I have begged the question.

Moore. It is plain enough. You bid us turn to the cultivation, the nurture, of certain values in human life. But the question is whether these are or are not values. And that is a question of their relation to the Universe-to Reality. If Reality substantiates them, then indeed they are values; if it mocks and flouts them-as it surely does if what mechanical science calls Nature be ultimate and absolute-then they are not values. You and your kind are really the sentimentalists, because you are sheer subjectivists. You say: Accept the dream as real; do not question about it; add a little iridescence to its fog and extend it till it obscure even more of Reality than it naturally does, and all is well! I say: Perhaps the dream is no dream but an intimation of the solidest and most ultimate of all realities; and a thorough examination of what the positivist, the materialist, accepts as solid, namely, science, reveals as its own aim, standard, and presupposition that Reality is one all-exhaustive spiritual Being.

Eaton. This is about the way I thought my begging of the question would turn out. You in-


( 27) -sist upon translating my position into terms of your own; I am not then surprised to hear that it would be a begging of the question for you to hold my views. My point is precisely that it is only as long as you take the position that some Reality beyond-some metaphysical or transcendental reality-is necessary to substantiate empirical values that you can even discuss whether the latter are genuine or illusions. Drop the presupposition that you read into everything I say, the idea that the reality of things as they are is dependent upon something beyond and behind, and the facts of the case just stare you in the eyes: Goods are, a multitude of them-but, unfortunately, evils also are; and all grades, pretty much, of both. Not the contrast and relation of experience in toto to something beyond experience drives men to religion and then to philosophy; but the contrast within experience of the better and the worse, and the consequent problem of how to substantiate the former and reduce the latter. Until you set up the notion of a transcendental reality at large, you cannot even raise the question of whether goods and evils are, or only seem to be. The trouble and the joy, the good and the, evil, is that they are; the hope is that they may be regulated, guided, increased in one direction and minimized in another. Instead of neglecting thought, we (I mean the pragmatists) exalt it, because we say that intelli-


(28) -gent discrimination of means and ends is the sole final resource in this problem of all problems, the control of the factors of good and ill in life. We say, indeed, not merely that that is what intelligence does, but rather what it is.

Historically, it is quite possible to show how under certain social conditions this human and practical problem of the relation of good and intelligence generated the notion of the transcendental good and the pure reason. As Grimes reminded us, Plato.

Moore. Yes, and Protagoras -- don't forget him; for unfortunately we know both the origin and the consequences of your doctrine that being and seeming are the same. We know quite well that pure empiricism leads to the identification of being and seeming, and that is just why every deeply moral and religious soul from the time of Plato and Aristotle to the present has insisted upon a transcendent reality.

Eaton. Personally I don't need an absolute to enable me to distinguish between, say, the good of kindness and the evil of slander, or the good of health and the evil of valetudinarianism. In experience, things bear their own specific characters. Nor has the absolute idealist as yet answered the question of how the absolute reality enables him to distinguish between being and seeming in one single concrete case. The trouble is that for him


( 29) all Being is on the other side of experience, and all experience is seeming.

Grimes. I think I heard you mention history. I wish both of you would drop dialectics and go to history. You would find history to be a struggle for existence for bread, for a roof, for protected and nourished offspring. You would find history a picture of the masses always going under-just missing-in the struggle, because others have captured the control of natural resources, which in themselves, if not as benign as the eighteenth century imagined, are at least abundantly ample for the needs of all. But because of the monopolization of Nature by a few persons, most men and women only stick their heads above the welter just enough to catch a glimpse of better things, then to be shoved down and under. The only problem of the relation of Nature to human good which is real is the economic problem of the exploitation of natural resources in the equal interests of all, instead of in the unequal interests of a class. The problem you two men are discussing has no existence-and never had any-outside of the heads of a few metaphysicians. The latter would never have amounted to anything, would never have had any career at all, had jot shrewd monopolists or tyrants (with the skill that characterizes them) have seen that these speculations about reality and a transcendental world could be


(30) distilled into opiates and distributed among the masses to make them less rebellious. That, if you would know, Eaton, is the real historic origin of the ideal world beyond. When you realize that, you will perceive that the pragmatists are only half-way over. You will see that practical questions are practical, and are not to be solved merely by having a theory about theory different from the traditional one--which is all your pragmatism comes to.

Moore. If you mean that your own crass Philistinism is all that pragmatism comes to, I fancy you are about right. Forget that the only end of action is to bring about an approximation to the complete inclusive consciousness; make, as the pragmatists do, consciousness a means to action, and one form of external activity is just as good as another. Art, religion, all the generous reaches of science which do not show up immediately in the factory-these things become meaningless, and all that remains is that hard and dry satisfaction of economic wants which is Grimes's ideal.

Grimes An ideal which exists, by the way, only in your imagination. I know of no more convincing proof of the futile irrelevancy of idealism than the damning way in which it narrows the content of actual daily life in the minds of those who uphold idealism. I sometimes think I am the only true idealist. If the conditions of an equitable and


(31) ample physical existence for all were once secured, I, for one, have no fears as to the bloom and harvest of art and science, and all the " higher " things of leisure. Life is interesting enough for me; give it a show for all.

Arthur. I find myself in a peculiar position in respect to this discussion. An analysis of what is involved in this peculiarity may throw some light on the points at issue, for I have to believe that analysis and definition of what exists is the essential matter both in resolution of doubts and in steps at reform. For brevity, not from conceit, I will put the peculiarity to which I refer in a personal form. I do not believe for a moment in some different Reality beyond and behind Nature. I do not believe that a manipulation of the logical implications of science can give results which are to be put in the place of those which Science herself yields in her direct application. I accept Nature as something which is, not seems, and Science as her faithful transcript. Yet because I believe these things, not in spite of them, I believe in the existence of purpose and of good. How Eaton can believe that fulfilment and the increasing realization of purpose can exist in human consciousness unless they first exist in the world which is revealed in that consciousness is as much beyond me as how Moore can believe that a manipulation of the method of knowledge can yield considerations of a


(32) totally different order from those directly obtained by use of the method. If purpose and fulfilment exist as natural goods, then, and only then, can consciousness itself be a fulfilment of Nature, and be also a natural good. Any other view is inexplicable to sound thinking-save, historically, as a product of modern political individualism and literary romanticism which have combined to produce that idealistic philosophy according to which the mind in knowing the universe creates it.

The view that purpose and realization are profoundly natural, and that consciousness-or, if you will, experience is itself a culmination arid climax of Nature, is not a new view. Formulated by Aristotle, it has always persisted wherever the traditions of sound thinking have not been obscured by romanticism. The modern scientific doctrine of evolution confirms and specifies the metaphysical insight of Aristotle. This doctrine sets forth in detail, and in verified detail, as a genuine characteristic of existence, the tendency toward cumulative results, the definite trend of things toward culmination and achievement. It describes the universe as possessing, in terms of and by right of its own subject-matter (not as an addition of subsequent reflection), differences of value and importance-differences, moreover, that exercise selective influence upon the course of things, that is to say, genuinely determine the events that occur.


( 33) It tells us that consciousness itself is such a cumulative and culminating natural event. Hence it is relevant to the world in which it dwells, and its determinations of value are not arbitrary, not obiter dicta, but descriptions of Nature herself.

Recall the words of Spencer which Moore quoted this morning: " There is no pleasure in the consciousness of being an infinitesimal bubble on a globe that is infinitesimal compared with the totality of things. Those on whom the unpitying rush of changes inflicts sufferings which are often without remedy, find no consolation in the thought that they are at the mercy of blind forces,--which cause indifferently now the destruction of a sun and now the death of an animalcule. Contemplation of a universe which is without conceivable beginning or end and without intelligible purpose, yields no satisfaction." I am nave enough to believe that the only question is whether the object of our " consciousness," of our " thought," of our " contemplation," is or is not as the quotation states it to be. If the statement be correct, pragmatism, like subjectivism (of which I suspect it is only a variation, putting emphasis upon will instead of idea), is an invitation to close our eyes to what is, in order to encourage the delusion that things are other than they are. But the case is not so desperate. Speaking dogmatically, the account given of the universe is just-not true. And the doctrine of evo-


( 34) -ution of which Spencer professedly made so much is the evidence. A universe describable in evolutionary terms is a universe which shows, not indeed design, but tendency and purpose; which exhibits achievement, not indeed of a single end, but of a multiplicity of natural goods at whose apex is consciousness. No account of the universe in terms merely of the redistribution of matter in motion is complete, no matter how true as far as it goes, for it ignores the cardinal fact that the character of matter in motion and of its redistribution is such as cumulatively to achieve ends-to effect the world of values we know. Deny this and you deny evolution; admit it and you admit purpose in the only objective=that is, the only intelligible-sense of that term. I do not say that in addition to the mechanism there are other ideal causes or factors which intervene. I only insist that the whole story be told, that the character of the mechanism be noted-namely, that it is such as to produce and sustain good in a multiplicity of forms. Mechanism is the mechanism of achieving results. To ignore this is to refuse to open our eyes to the total aspects of existence.

Among these multiple natural goods, I repeat, is consciousness itself. One of the ends in which Nature genuinely terminates is just awareness of itself-of its processes and ends. For note the implication as to why consciousness is a natural good:


(35) not because it is cut off and exists in isolation, nor yet because we may, pragmatically, cut off and cultivate certain values which have no existence beyond it; but because it is good that things should be known in their own characters. And this view carries with it a precious result: to know things as they are is to know them as culminating in consciousness; it is to know that the universe genuinely achieves and maintains its own self-manifestation.

A final word as to the bearing of this view upon Grimes's position. To conceive of human history as a scene of struggle of classes for domination, a struggle caused by love of power or greed for gain, is the very mythology of the emotions. What we call history is largely non-human, but so far as it is human, it is dominated by intelligence: history is the history of increasing consciousness. Not that intelligence is actually sovereign in life, but that at least it is sovereign over stupidity, error, and ignorance. The acknowledgment of things as they are--that is the causal source of every step in progress. Our present system of industry is not the product of greed or tyrannic lust of power, but of physical science giving the mastery over the mechanism of Nature's energy. If the existing system is ever displaced, it will be displaced not by good intentions and vague sentiments, but by a more extensive insight into Nature's secrets.

Modern sentimentalism is revolted at the frank


(36) naturalism of Aristotle in saying that some are slaves by nature and others free by nature. But let socialism come to-morrow and somebody-not anybody, but somebody-will be managing its machinery and somebody else will be managed by the machinery. I do not wonder that my socialistic friends always imagine themselves active in the first capacity-perhaps by way of compensation for doing all of the imagining and none of the executive management at present. But those who are managed, who are controlled, deserve at least a moment's attention. Would you not at once agree that if there is any justice at all in these positions of relative inferiority and superiority, it is because those who are capable by insight deserve to rule, and those who are incapable on account of ignorance, deserve to be ruled? If so, how do you differ, save verbally, from Aristotle?

Or do you think that all that men want in order to be men is to have their bellies filled, with assurance of constant plenty and without too much antecedent labor? No; believe me, Grimes, men are men, and hence their aspiration is for the divine even when they know it not; their desire is for the ruling element, for intelligence. Till they achieve that they will still be discontented, rebellious, unruly-and hence ruled-shuffle your social cards. as much as you may.

Grimes (after shrugging his shoulders contempt-


(37) -uously, finally says): There is one thing I like about Arthur: he is frank. He comes out with what you in all your hearts really believe-theory, supreme and sublime. All is to the good in this best of all possible worlds, if only some one be defining and classifying and syllogizing, according to the lines already laid down. Aristotle's God of pure intelligence (as he well knew) was the glorification of leisure; and Arthur's point of view, if Arthur but knew it, is as much the intellectual snobbery of a leisure class economy, as the luxury and display he condemns are its material snobbery. There is really nothing more to be said.

Moore. To get back into the game which Grimes despises. Doesn't Arthur practically say that the universe is good because it culminates in intelligence, and that intelligence is good because it perceives that the universe culminates in-itself ? And, on this theory, are ignorance and error, and consequent evil, any less genuine achievements of Nature than intelligence and good? And on what basis does he call by the titles of achievement and end that which at best is an infinitesimally fragmentary and transitory episode? I said Eaton begged the question. Arthur seems to regard it as proof of a superior intelligence (one which realistically takes things as they are) to beg the question. What is this Nature, this universe in which evil is as stubborn a fact as


(38) good, in which good is constantly destroyed by the very power that produces it, in which there resides a temporary bird of passage-consciousness doomed to ultimate extinction-what is such a Nature (all that Arthur offers us) save the problem, the contradiction originally in question? A complacent optimism may gloss over its intrinsic self-contradictions, but a more serious mind is forced to go behind and beyond this scene to a permanent good which includes and transcends goods defeated and hopes suborned. Not because idealists have refused to note the facts as they are, but precisely because Nature is, on its face, such a scene ,as Arthur describes, idealists have always held that it is but Appearance, and have attempted to mount through it to Reality.

Stair. I had not thought to say anything. My attitude is so different from that of any one of you that it seemed unnecessary to inject another varying opinion where already disagreement reigns. But when Arthur was speaking, I felt that perhaps this disagreement exists precisely because the solvent word had not been uttered. For, at bottom, all of you agree with Arthur, and that is the cause of your disagreement with him and one another. You have agreed to make reason, intellect in some sense, the final umpire. But reason, intellect, is the principle of analysis, of division, of discord. When I appeal to feeling as the ultimate organ


(39) of unity, and hence of truth, you smile courteously; say-or think-mysticism; and the case for you is dismissed. Words like feeling, sensation, immediate appreciation, self-communication of Being, I must indeed use when I try to tell the truth I see. But I well know how inadequate the words are. And why? Because language is the chosen tool of intelligence, and hence inevitably bewrayeth the truth it would convey. But remember that words are but symbols, and that intelligence must dwell in the realm of symbols, and you realize a way out. These words, sensation, feeling, etc., as I utter them are but invitations to woo you to put yourselves into the one attitude that reveals truth-an attitude of direct vision.

The beatific vision? Yes, and No. No, if you mean something rare, extreme, almost abnormal. Yes, if you mean the commonest and most convincing, the only convincing self-impartation of the ultimate good in the scale of goods; the vision of blessedness in God. For this doctrine is empirical; mysticism is the heart of all positive empiricism, of all empiricism which is not more interested in denying rationalism than in asserting itself. The mystical experience marks every man's realization of the supremacy of good, and hence measures the distance that separates him from pure materialism. And since the unmitigated materialist is the rarest of creatures, and the man with faith in an unseen


(40) good the commonest, every man is a mystic-and the most so in his best moments.

What an idle contradiction that Moore and Arthur should try to adduce proofs of the supremacy of ideal values in the universe! The sole possible proof is the proof that actually exists-the direct unhindered realization of those values. For each value brings with it of necessity its own depth of being. Let the pride of intellect and the pride of will cease their clamor, and in the silences Being speaks its own final word, not an argument or external ground of belief, but the self-impartation of itself to the soul. Who are the prophets and teachers of the ages? Those who have been accessible at the greatest depths to these communications.

Grimes. I suppose that poverty-and possibly disease are specially competent ministers to the spiritual vision? The moral is obvious. Economic changes are purely irrelevant, because purely material and external. Indeed, upon the whole, efforts at reform are undesirable, for they distract attention from the fact that the final thing, the vision of good, is totally disconnected from external circumstance. I do not say, Stair, you personally believe this; but is not such a quietism the logical conclusion of all mysticism?

Stair. This is not so true as to say that in your efforts at. reform you are really inspired by the


(41) divine vision of justice; and that this mystic vision and not the mere increase of quantity of eatables and drinkables is your animating motive.

Grimes. Well, to my mind this whole affair of mystical values and experiences comes down to a simple straight-away proposition. The submerged masses do not occupy themselves with such questions as those you are discussing. They haven't the time even to consider whether they want to consider them. Nor does the occasional free citizen who even now exists-a sporadic reminder and prophecy of ultimate democracy-bother himself about the relation of the cosmos to value. Why? Not from mystic insight any more than from metaphysical proof; but because he has so many other interests that are worth while. His friends, his vocation and avocations, his books, his music, his club-these things engage him and they reward him. To multiply such men with such interests that is the genuine problem, I repeat; and it is a problem to be solved only through an economic and material redistribution.

Eaton. Gladly, Stair, do all of us absolve ourselves from the responsibility of having to create the goods that life-call it God or Nature or Chance-provides. But w e cannot, if we would, absolve ourselves from responsibility for maintaining and extending these goods when they have happened. To find it very wonderful-as Arthur


( 42) does-that intelligence perceives values as they are is trivial, for it is only an elaborate way of saying that they have happened. To invite us, ceasing struggle and effort, to commune with Being through the moments of insight and joy that life provides, is to bid us to self-indulgence-to enjoyment at the expense of those upon whom the burden of conducting life's affairs falls. For even the mystics still need to eat and drink, be clothed and housed, and somebody must do these unmystic things. And to ignore others in the interest of our own perfection is not conducive to genuine unity of Being.

Intelligence is, indeed, as you say, discrimination, distinction. But why? Because we have to act in order to keep secure amid the moving flux of circumstance, some slight but precious good that Nature has bestowed; and because, in order to act successfully, we must act after conscious selection --after discrimination of means and ends. Of course, all goods arrive, as Arthur says, as natural results, but so do all bads, and all grades of good and bad. To label the results that occur culminations, achievements, and then argue to a quasimoral constitution of Nature because she effects such results, is to employ a logic which applies to the life-cycle of the germ that, in achieving itself, kills man with malaria, as well as to the process of human life that in reaching its fullness cuts short the germ-fulfilment. It is putting the cart before


(43) the horse to say that because Nature is so constituted as to produce results of all types of value, therefore Nature is actuated by regard for differences of value. Nature, till it produces a being who strives and who thinks in order that he may strive more effectively, does not know whether it cares more for justice or for cruelty, more for the ravenous wolf-like competition of the struggle for existence, or for the improvements incidentally introduced through that struggle. Literally it has no mind of its own. Nor would the mere introduction of a consciousness that pictured indifferently the scene out of which consciousness developed, add one iota of reason for attributing eulogistically to Nature regard for value. But when the sentient organism, having experienced natural values, good and bad, begins to select, to prefer, and to make battle for its preference; and in order that it may make the most gallant fight possible picks out and gathers together in perception and thought what is favorable to its aims and what hostile, then and there Nature has at last achieved significant regard for good. And this is the same thing as the birth of intelligence. For the holding an end in view and the selecting and organizing out of the natural flux, on the basis of this end, conditions that are means, is intelligence. Not, then, when Nature produces health or efficiency or complexity does Nature exhibit regard


(44) for value, but only when it produces a living organism that has settled preferences and endeavors. The mere happening of complexity, health, adjustment, is all that Nature effects, as rightly called accident as purpose. But when Nature produces an intelligence-ah, then, indeed Nature has achieved something. Not, however, because this intelligence impartially pictures the nature which has produced it, but because in human consciousness Nature becomes genuinely partial. Because in consciousness an end is preferred, is selected for maintenance, and because intelligence pictures not a world just as it is in toto, but images forth the conditions and obstacles of the continued maintenance of the selected good. For in an experience where values are demonstrably precarious, an intelligence that is not a principle of emphasis and valuation (an intelligence which defines, describes, and classifies merely for the sake of knowledge,) is a principle of stupidity and catastrophe.

As for Grimes, it is indeed true that problems are solved only where they arise-namely, in action, in the adjustments of behavior. But, for good or for evil, they can be solved there only with method ; and ultimately method is intelligence, and intelligence is method. The larger, the more human, the less technical the problem of practice, the more open-eyed and wide-viewing must be the corresponding method. I do not say that all things


( 45) that have been called philosophy participate in this method; I do say, however, that a catholic and farsighted theory of the adjustment of the conflicting factors of life is-whatever it be called-philosophy. And unless technical philosophy is to go the way of dogmatic theology, it must loyally identify itself with such a view of its own aim and destiny.

Notes

  1. Reprinted from the Hibbert Journal, Vol. VII., No. 4, July, 1909.

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