« הקודםהמשך »
method for solving the problem: Given intermixed effects to find their cause, a process highly approved and very familiar in physical science.1 A scientific explanation of phenomena is found in their
Looking abroad on the world of nature, we behold a bewildering multitude, a vast complexus of objects and events. To explain these severally, science investigates their proximate or second causes. In explanation of the great total, the universe, let us posit hypothetically an adequate personal first cause. That this is a possible conception is evinced by the fact that it is the faith of millions of men.
The personal cause in the hypothesis is a vera causa, that is, an agency known to be effective in other connections. Every person knows himself and his fellows to be efficient causes, originating causes, creators or builders of new things from material at hand. We shall claim only this for the posited first cause.
The supposed adequacy of the personal first cause is an indefinite extension of such powers as are known to belong to ordinary persons.
It becomes thereby a complete and sufficient explanation of the totality of the phenomena under consideration. So the geologist, in positing early cataclysmic causes, supposes these to be such forces as are now under observation, and that they acted with vastly greater intensity.
Thus the two prime conditions of a soundly scientific hypothesis are fulfilled in that we posit a vera causa, and one that explains all the facts. It is therein superior to Dalton's atomic hypothesis which does not posit a vera causa, to Darwin's development hypothesis which does not explain all the facts, and to Huygen’s luminiferous ether hypothesis which does neither; yet these are generally approved by scientists, and claimed as invaluable parts of the sum of positive knowledge. But our hypothesis, notwithstanding its excellence, remains an hypothesis, an unproved proposition, unless we can show also that no other hypothesis will explain the facts.
1 See this method of investigation explicated and exemplified in Elements of Inductive Logic, § 82 sq.; see also $ 97. 2 See Professor Cown's admissions in his Evolution of To-day,
p. 117 sq.; and Mill's System of Logic, 8th ed. p. 355 note.
Now a first cause is the only possible explanation; for its sole alternative is an infinite regressus of causes, and this can make no pretense to be an explanation, for evidently it merely pushes explanation back, away, out of reach, in fact denies any explanation to be attainable, which is essentially the agnostic position. Therefore an explanation of the universe must posit a first cause. By like process of proof, that no other hypothesis would explain the facts, Newton established the theory of gravitation.
Furthermore, the first cause must be either personal or impersonal. The latter alternative is proposed to us in the unintelligent deity of the pantheist, its manifestations being unconsciously worked out by the inward necessities of its nature. This banishes freedom in willing from the universe. Moreover, how an unconscious, unintelligent being, which is not a person but merely a thing, could originate personal beings, beings consciously intelligent, is inexplicable; which is to say, the impersonal hypothesis does not explain the facts. Therefore the tenable hypothesis of a personal first cause, no other hypothesis being tenable, having thus fulfilled the prime and the final conditions of strict logical proof, should be accepted as an established scientific theory.
1 By the same logical process the existence of Neptune was proved, before its revelation by the telescope.
Lord Bacon says: “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion ; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confe ate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity." — Essay xvi.
An additional word may be said in reference to the moral element in personality. The moral law, the most important factor in a world of intelligences, is necessarily referred to the personal first cause as an expression of his will, which, further, is an expression of his nature. This law demands holiness. Therefore his nature must be holy.1
Now it is to be admitted that the foregoing argument, like the teleological argument, does not establish the infinity of the divine attributes. The power and wisdom are seen to be indefinitely great, but this falls short of infinite. Moreover, the bringing into being what was not, is unproved. The personal first cause herein concluded is, therefore, no more than the demiurge of the early Greek philosophers, an architect, building with material at hand. But let it be observed that, while the passing from the indefinitely great to the infinite may have insufficient logical ground, still it is an easy step for faith. Also be it observed that creation, in an absolute sense, is for philosophy an impossible conception, since it is an attempt to think a relation of one term, which is absurd.3
We have touched briefly upon the great theses of philosophy, freedom, immortality,4 and God. For while Psychology is merely a system of natural order, and Ethics a system of natural jurisprudence, Philosophy is properly a system of natural theology. Science, in its full comprehension, is knowledge of myself, of the world, and of God. This is its beginning, its mean, and its end. The problem of the ages is : Given self, to find God.
1 The unity of this First Cause may be inferred from the unity of the reciprocal relation existing between parts of the world, as portions of an existing edifice; an inference which all our observation favors, and all principles of analogy support.
2 See supra, § 12, fourth paragraph.
8 Absolute creation means : Nothing becomes something. Herein is no subject, for nothing is — well, no thing, a pure and total negation. For like reason annihilation is an impossible conception. Physicists hold it impossible that any particle of matter, or any pulse of energy, can cease to be. The Hegelian, however, setting aside the law of contradiction, also holding that nothing is a thing, and that becoming mediates nothing and something, presumes otherwise.
4 Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Introduction, $ 3, et al.
§ 14. In preparation for an ethical doctrine founded on personal relations, it is needful to examine the philosophy of relations taken in a more general sense.
Nature, under which term we here include all objective realities, presents only individual things, or individual groups of things, in certain relations. The things are real, and their relations are real. This statement assumes the doctrine of Natural Realism, as opposed to Idealism.
An individual, as the form of the word indicates, is a thing or a group of things, indivisible in itself, while divisible from every other thing. This means that its parts are not kinds of the whole taken generically, but are new individuals, and that it is distinguishable, at least numerically, from every other thing. Moreover, an individual is, as to its mere existence, independent of other things.
The general, which is the logical opposite of the individual, has no objective existence. It is wholly subjective, a state of mind, a conception, a product of thought, or simply a thought. All common nouns, as stone, tree, man, are merely signs or expressions of thoughts. They have no general object corresponding to them in nature, and their generality consists solely in being predicable of any one of a plurality of individual things.
1 The Scholastics, following Porphyry, define an individual to be ens indivisum in se, et divisum ab omni alio; id cujus proprietates alteri simul convenire non possunt. Also as ens per se subsistens. " Whatever occupies a distinct portion of space is an individual object of external intuition ; and whatever occupies a distinct moment of time, without extension in space, an individual object of internal intuition. · . The general notion as such is emancipated from all special relation to space or time.”—MANSEL, Metaphysics, pp. 37, 39.
While generalities have no objective reality, the particular relations of individual things are evidently not less real than the things themselves, though indeed they are not objects of sensuous but only of intellectual cognition. These relations are reciprocal, and when thoroughly traced, each is seen to be illimitable. All things in the universe are mutually related. Plurality and unity interpenetrate and condition each other. Each is in all, and all in each.
For let us consider that every particle of matter occupies and is contained in space. Each particle is related to every other as to its position, a geometrical relation, and as to its motion, a mechanical relation. Any change of position places it in a different and distinguishable relation. Relative rest and relative motion are the only kinds of rest and motion known. These reciprocal spatial relations combine the plurality of things into the unity of a corporeal whole.2
Consider also temporal relations. Space is extension, having three dimensions ; time is protension, having but one dimension. Yet every event is related temporally to every other as precedent, simultaneous or subsequent. These relations also are reciprocal, comparative and measurable. They combine the plurality of events into the unity of an historical whole.
Together with spatial and temporal relations are relations of causative interaction.
Every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other. All are in motion, and mutu
1 Some philosophers, in opposing the doctrine of the Absolute or Being without relation, emphasize the reality of relations, regarding them indeed as the very essence of all reality. So Lotze : 6 Sein heist in Beziehungen stehen, und das Wahrgenommenwerden ist selbst nur eine solche Beziehung neben andern." — Grundzüge der Metaphysik, $ 10.
2 World and universe are proper synonyms, the latter from Lat. ad unum versus, turned into one, equivalent to e pluribus unum. Aristotle defines Nature as the complex of objects having a material constitution and involved in necessary motion or change. Physica, ii, 1 ; cf. De Coelo, i, 1.
3 Hence each material particle is the center of a sphere of force filling