The New Psychology[1] G. Stanley Hall



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The New Psychology[1]

G. Stanley Hall (1885)

First published in Andover Review3, 120-135, 239-248.



Posted October 2001
 

The department of psychology is in some sense new in this country as a university specialty. On one side it represents, in part, that oldest and most unsettled of collegiate branches, philosophy. Thrice in its academic history the latter has been the dominant intellectual passion of the ablest and most ingenuous young men, and has spread itself over a large part of the entire field of knowledge. First it degenerated with the Greek mind; in the Middle Ages theology, and later science, absorbed much of its domain and led it into dishonorable captivity. We look in vain to the practice of its professed teachers in Europe or in this country, past or present, for any such agreement concerning its methods, problems, or scope as marks off work for other chairs, while sections of its acknowledged area are covered by a rank growth of popular idols and presuppositions long since eradicated elsewhere. On this university foundation philosophy is likely to find little of the academic ease and leisure which some of its ablest representatives in the past have thought its needful soil, and none of the factitious dignity which sometimes invests it, in curricula where little science is learned, as a finishing or culminating study taught only to seniors, and by the president alone.  In this high normal school for special professional teachers where so many fashions in higher education are now set, with a virgin field free from all traditions so apt to narrow this work, and just as we are entering an age when original minds in all fields are giving increased attention to its problems, and perhaps, as is now said from several high and impartial standpoints, to be known in the future as the psychological period of intellectual interest and achievement,-- if philosophy is to strike root in such soil and season and thrive in an air so bracing, it should, I strongly believe, take on some new features, may attempt some scientific [p. 121] results beyond exposition, and must satisfy some of the crying educational and religious needs of our nation.



With your indulgence, then, I will roughly and hastily sketch the present condition of the department:--

I. Schelling well said that one of the best tests of a philosophy was the way it regarded what is somewhat vaguely called instinct, which has been a perhaps unconscious punctum saliens of a number of more or less developed systems since the old Natur-Philosophie which may be called its apotheosis.  Most of the voluminous literature on this subject in our libraries is of little scientific worth. It is about as illogical to say, either in the sense of the Stoics or of Descartes, that what seems sensation and intelligence in animals is really mechanical, as it is to reason from their unconscious wisdom to a world-soul guiding toward an unknown pole of human destiny and making history in fact very different from the history of man's purposes; or to revere them, as Herder did, as nearer to God than man is, or as teachers of medicines and many arts; or even to practice augury from their greater wisdom or finer senses, as perhaps transmigrated souls. Neither the instinctive nor the conscious should be allowed to become the key or type by which to explain the other, as has so often occurred. Facts here must not be uncritically described in the language of human sentiments and institutions, as if actions that accord with wisdom implied a conscious purpose in the agent. Even in saying that the tailor-bird sews, the beaver makes a dome, wasps make paper, bees live in a state, we reduce them to human standards, and interpret rather than record observations. Yet it must never be forgotten that from another standpoint this gives the deep and religious satisfaction of feeling the world rational to the root,-- an atonement between consciousness and its unconscious foundation. Hence the joy of finding beneath us traces of purpose and design. Again, evolutionists have in some cases regarded instinct, as Lotze did many reflexes, as lapsed or fallen intelligence,-- even memory being instinct in the making,-- while others conversely view it with Darwin as rudimentary mind on its way to consciousness. When we reflect on the vast and mysterious past of experience involved in all instincts, and that some of them are possibly -- if we can accept Palméns doubtful methods -- older and more unchanged than the bed of the Mediterranean, and that, save in the case of a few domestic breeds, we know almost nothing of the history of instinct, conjectures like the above must also be pronounced premature. What is now [p. 122] wanted here is many painstaking studies of single species or animals like Erber's long moonlight studies of trap-door spiders, Spaulding's experiments upon chickens on emerging from the shell Morgan's observations of beavers, Darwin's researches on the intelligence of earth-worms, Forel, Moggridge, McCook, and Lubbock on ants, such as, with a few dozen more of like method, constitute all the really valuable literature on the subject. Scientific ingenuity in devising methods of experimentation is perhaps nowhere greater or surer of fresh and valuable results which may be obtained by the study of any form of animal life about us. In the articulates, at least, where instinct seems to attain its greatest perfection, it is hardly less fixed, complex, hereditary, or finely and characteristically differentiated among species than their anatomical structure itself. Its study is also not only no less scientific, but, as in the case of parasitic insects, and those harmful to vegetable life, and of those forms of disease in man fixed by the habits of colonies of minute animal forms, no less practical. By sets of questions so devised as to enable hunters, trappers, trainers, stock-raisers, keepers of pets, etc., to supply facts, and by sifting the incidental literature of the chase, the domestic animals,-- as, e.g., of the horse in the days of knight-errantry, when he was taught a score of fancy gaits and tricks, and when he was psychically far nearer to man from closer intercourse, and because ridden on, and not behind,-- both these methods will surely yield, with much chart, many kernels of valuable observation and insight. The smallest -- if well selected -- zoölogical collection in every city park would not only be of high educational value to every child, but might find, if not its Brehm, yet no less acute observers than he to make it tributary to the rapidly-growing science of comparative psychology, by which so much once thought accessible only by introspective or speculative methods is treated objectively and with great methodic advantage. Thus, besides their intrinsic and their practical value, such studies shed light on the nature, and often on the psychic genesis, of what is a prioriand innate in man. Not only his automatic nature generally, with impulses, desires, and appetites, but conscience and the movement and rest of attention, are, in a sense, instinctive; so that so far from being inversely as reason, as is often said, much that makes the human soul really great and good rests on and finds its explanation in animal instinct. Still lower and broader is the field which Mr. Taylor has very prematurely called vegetable psychology.  The root penetrates the [p. 123] soil with a motion like, and no less fit than, the worm, and the tip of the root in many ways resembles in functions a tiny brain. The tricks of carnivorous, and the movements of climbing, plants, and, in fine, the boundless plasticity which fits every condition and fills full every possibility of life, show a wisdom beneath us we cannot escape if we would, and on which, when conscious purpose and endeavor droop, we can rest back, with trust, as on " everlasting arms."

II. More central, and reduced to far more exact methods, is the field of experimental psychology.  This properly begins in the physiology of the excised nerve and the striated or voluntary muscle. The action of the latter is the only exponent we have, except the wave of negative electrical variation, of what takes place during the transmission of a psychic impulse in the fibre which Henle thinks even more important for it than the nerve cell itself. For a long time after Galvani's discovery of the marvelous reanimation of these tissues by contact with two dissimilar metals, scientific men no less sagacious than Humboldt, who recorded two volumes of now worthless observations, thought themselves near a demonstration of vital force. The problems that thus arose really became accessible only after the invention of the multiplicator and the double astatic needle, which were first combined in their study by Nobilis in 1826.  Since then Du Bois-Reymond and Matteucci, whose work the former strangely underrates, and many younger investigators, have explored many effects of several stimuli under varied conditions, which no one interested in the study of voluntary movement can safely ignore. The facts are too complex and the theories at present too unsettled and conflicting for exposition here. Whether it be right or wrong, it is the hypothesis that the nerve-muscle preparation is only a mechanism with no vital principle in it, and could be made to give (although results have, it must be confessed, been often less exact than was hoped for) perfectly constant curves and currents if all its conditions a could be controlled, that has prompted nearly all work in this field.



When nerve cells occur between the stimulus and the muscle, we have what is called reflex action, from the curious conception of Astruc, who first used the term, that impressions going inward along the hollow nerve tubes struck the smooth, inferior surface of the corpus callosum, and were reflected outward along motor tubes with equal angles of incidence and reflection. In its modern sense this term now designates one of the most fundamental categories [p. 124] of physiological psychology; and its needlessly laborious demonstration by Bell, because studied on the cranial instead of the spinal nerves, in 1821, and by Magendie independently later, marks the most important epoch in the history of neurology. It was made just at a time when anatomists were disheartened by the apparent lawlessness of the nervous system, and were turning back to Haller, and even Galen, and aroused at once -- especially when introduced into Germany by Johannes Müller in the next decade -- the greatest interest and activity. Even neural anatomy, which had made little progress since the great brain-dissectors of the seventeenth century, was resumed in epoch-making works like those of Van Deen and Stilling on the spinal cord, and physiology began to go beyond the microscope in Türck's determination of the peripheral distribution of each pair of sensory spinal nerves. There were speculators who objected that to give a solid structural basis to the distinction between sensation and motion, instead of admitting that all fibres mediated both, was to restrict the freedom of the soul, and to dualize, if not to phrenologize, it into a posterior and an anterior soul (rather than a right and a left brain-soul, functioning alternately, as Dr. Wigan had said). The researches on inhibition begun by Setschinow,-- so suggestive for the study of the negative field of attention if not of hypnotism, -- the light shed on the problem of automatism vs. a psychic rudiment by the observations of Marshall Hall and of Pflüger, the studies of Ludwig's school,-- again the most valuable in this field, and on the most mechanical hypothesis,-- Wundt's explanation of his observations,-- which, however conjectural, has the great merit of unifying many  partial hypotheses of ultimate nervous action,-- the ingenious experiments of Goltz, and scores of other special studies of various aspects of reflex action have cleared up and made more tangible many important psychic concepts. Unscientific as it would be to assume with Spencer, who writes without knowledge of these, or of German. researches generally, that a "reflex arc" and its function is the unit out of which brain and mind are compounded, still it is wise to conceive the former as a complex reflex centre of many mediations between the senses and the muscles, and human faculty in general as measured by the strength, duration, freedom, accuracy, and many-sidedness of our reactions on the various  stimuli which reach us. 

Consciousness itself was first subjected to methods of exact experiment by E. H. Weber, who published the results of nearly twenty years of the most painstaking observations on the senses [p. 125] of touch and pressure in a monograph of almost ideally perfect form, written and rewritten in German and Latin, more than fifty years ago, and who wrought out the first form of the psycho-physic law, the exact application of which is now reduced to very narrow limits. The study especially of the retina -- genetically a part of the brain and in a sense the key to its mysteries and an index of its morbid states, itself now so accessible to observation, and its functions to experiment -- has enabled us to penetrate into the problems of visual form and color, and in connection with touch (under the long tuition of which vision is educated in our infancy, till it finally anticipates, abridges, and reduces its processes to a rapid algebra of symbols) has brought us into far closer quarters with the nature and laws of motion, reality, and space itself, than Locke, Berkeley, Hume, or Kant could penetrate. Not only physiological optics, but acoustics, is now almost a science by itself. By their psychic chemistry, elements of mind long thought simple and indecomposable have been resolved into ulterior components. This analysis Helmholtz, a few years ago, characterized as the most important scientific achievement of recent times, which have seen many philosophic themes till lately thought accessible only to speculation enter the laboratory, to be greatly cleared up by restatements, and often to be solved. The difficulties of experimenting on smell and taste, dizziness and the muscle sense, are being slowly overcome, and new sensations, such as local signs and innervation-feelings,-- no more accessible to direct experience than atoms,-- are postulated. All who have absorbed themselves in these studies have seen the logical impossibility of every purely materialistic theory of knowledge. Another line of researches which have greatly aided those must be mentioned. The rapidity with which neural processes traversed the nerves was thought by physiologists of the last century to be near that of light or of electricity. In 1844: Johannes Müller declared that their rate could never be measured, and Du Bois-Reymond published his great work on the electrical properties of nerves and muscles in 1849 with no mention of the subject; yet the very next year this velocity was measured, with much accuracy, by Helmholtz. Now the personal equation (or the shortest possible time intervening between, e.g., the prick of an electric shock on the surface of the first finger of one hand, and the pressure of a key by the other, occupying perhaps fifteen one-hundredths of a single second) is resolved into several elements, enabling us to measure with great chronoscopic accuracy the time, and by inference [p. 126] the complexity and familiarity of many simpler psychic processes, and to explore many kinds of memory, association, and volition under the action of attention, toxic agents, fatigue, practice age, etc. When we add to this the rhythms, beginning perhaps fine intermittency in all nervous action, breaking vocal utterance into articulation, cadence, and rhyme, and widening into the larger periodicities now just beginning to attract attention in health and disease, it is plain at least that the old treatment of time as a simply form or rubric of the sensory was perhaps still more superficial than that of space, and that those who still persist in speaking of acts of human thought as instantaneous, or even independent of time, may be asked to demonstrate at least one such act or thought. Although thus far chiefly applied to the study of elements fundamental to consciousness rather than to is more complex processes, these methods are now rapidly multiplying and extending their scope, and even apart from all results have a quickening educational influence on all who seriously work them as a unique field of applied logic.

The brain itself, the most complex and unknown of all the bodily organs, is now studied with as much specialization of both   field and method as modern astronomy. If in one patient the right arm is lost or paralyzed, and after death certain bundles of fibres and certain cortical areas are found decayed, the inference that they are connected is strong. It is still stronger it conversely in other patients brain lesion, by wound or tumor, causes loss of function in the arm; and stronger still, it these fibres acquire their medullary sheath before others around them in the embryo, and can be traced from the arm to the same part of the cortex, By the consilience of these methods, supplemented by physiological experiment on animals, and in part by patiently tracing normal fibres with the microscope, approximate localizations of brain centres for the movements of the legs and, especially, the arms now seem established. General centres for speech and, perhaps, vision, though subject to individual variation, and not sharply defined, now seem also made out.  Munk's distinction between central and penumbral spheres, Meynert's bold designation of the arched fibres that join convolutions as association fibres, a mild form of Goltz's theory of functional regeneration, the ascription of either commissural, reproductive, or balancing function to the cerebellum and of motor mediation mainly to the striate, and sensory to the thalamic body, seem, if less certain, and resting on very different kinds and degrees of evidence, now very probable. [p. 127] So far, the temporal regions of the brain seem most and the frontal region least crowded with functions, liable to decay, and sure to show functional impairment from slight lesions.  The range of individual variation, and how far we may infer from experiments on animals to man, is by no means made out. Experiment and disease show that there are psycho-neural processes localized in fibres that can be approximately counted,-- as those of the optic nerve and the cervical cord have been,-- and dependent on the integrity of specific cell groups, which no one who knows the facts, now easily shown, could think due only to an imponderable principle mediating freely between parts without necessitating connection of tissue. But if all cells and fibres involved in each act of the mind or emotional state might be conceived to be numbered and weighed, and all the circulatory, thermal, chemical, and electrical changes exactly formulated, the sense of utter incommensurability between these objective relations and the closer, more intimate consciousness of such acts and states would be sufficient as a corrective of materialism and as a positive justification of an idealistic view of the world.

The study of symptoms and abnormal states of every type and degree has also lately received new impulses. Painstaking- monographs are now multiplying on such subjects as the periodicities of the insane; detailed explorations of the mental states of individual lunatics, with the history of each illusion from its inception; or extended comparative studies of single deliriums, as of persecutions or of greatness; the writing or drawing of the insane; the complex psycho-physics of epilepsy, with all its finer shadings up into perfect health; the detailed elaboration of manifold types of aphasia; or again the special psychology of each crime class; biographies and family histories of great criminals ; the study of the blind, deaf, pauper types and other defectives, and of dreams. Nothing is just now more needed or more promising here than a comparison of carefully taken psychic observations of cases of acute mania with the cortical discoloration which commonly attends it. The successful student of these states requires the rare combination of an insinuating, sympathetic temper, of a perhaps itself infinitesimally neurotic type, with power to trace all morbid psychic phenomena in others to and identify them with fainter experiences of his own, along with the most objective discriminating sagacity. The infection of these states is so subtle in imaginative minds and the katharsis so long and serious that they should be undertaken by the general student of psychology very rarely or [p. 128] not at all. Yet all who would teach or profoundly study the laws of mind must now know something of its disease forms, both for their high practical and their pedagogic value, and all our public institutions where these unfortunate classes are gathered should offer every facility and encouragement to competent observers. Even a course of reading in psychiatric literature is now sure to transfuse and reanimate several quite atrophied departments of mental science.

Experimental psychology, in fine, seeks a more exact expression for a more limited field of the philosophy of mind (while widening its sphere to include the physical, emotional, and volitional as well as the intellectual nature of man), to which its fundamental and, in the future, conditionary relation is not all unlike that of physical geography to history. Baconian, or, more historically, Roger Baconian, methods, after reconstructing thought in other fields, are at last being applied to the study of those qualities and powers by which man differs from animals, and which in medical study and practice have been of late far too much ignored, and by metaphysics far too exclusively considered. The time was when the doctor, who can see human nature in its weaknesses and extremes no less transparently from his standpoint than the clergyman from his, studied to control the mind and heart and imagination of his patient, instead of leaving this for quacks, as well as to drug his body; when, before the power to take the whole man into account had been lost in easier micrologic medical specialties, he really deemed nothing human alien from himself, and often merited the Hippoeratic beatitude, " Godlike is the doctor who is also a philosopher." This part of psychology has been termed medical and physiological by Lotze and Wundt respectively, who have tried to compile its results, and surely merits the high place it is now winning in the best medical as well as philosophical courses of study, and unquestionably has a great future before it. With all the resources of the biological laboratory and your vast hospital here freely at its disposal, some good work in these lines may surely be hoped for here.



III. The needs of the average student, however, are no doubt best served, not by comparative, or even experimental, but by historicalpsychology, which seems no less adapted to the need of humanistic than the former to those of scientific students. As German teachers slowly realized that the force of the great systems in vogue there half a century ago was spent, and that further progress in those directions was impossible, they came to see in [p. 129] how important a sense to know truly is to know historically, and rescued their department from decay by renouncing construction for the exposition and criticism of philosophic opinion in the past. To this work nearly half the courses in Germany in this department are now devoted, and philosophic curricula in tins country are becoming more and more historical, and with great gain. Indoctrination into one finished system, with no knowledge of others, makes real philosophizing impossible, and weakens the capacity to take in others' views unchanged, which is well conceived as one chief end of education. There is a vast mass of| reasoned truth in the past, acquaintance with which restrains young men from wasteful extravasation of thought, by holding them to the normal consciousness of the race, and yet at the same time deepens mental perspective and gives a wider comparative habit of mind, by rousing a love of many sides and points of view. A good teacher can secure this end without confusing inexperienced minds by conflicting theories and without danger of the depressive influence which comes from mere acquisition, or from more reading than reflection.

Historical psychology seeks to go back of all finished systems to their roots, and explores many sources to discover the fresh, primary thoughts and sensations and feelings of mankind. These some are seeking in the stages of individual development from the earliest infancy up through the ferment and regeneration of the prolonged period of adolescence. Others develop the tact to extract them at first hand from savage races, among whom their traces grow more sacredly secret as tribes lose their ethnic originality. Others elaborate them from the history of the meanings of words and from folk-lore; while yet others are critically reconstructing them by long comparative study of all the recorded habits,  beliefs, rites, taboos, oaths, maxims, ideals of life, views of death, family and social organizations, etc.;-- in short, not only from the entire field of the muthos or logos, but from what Maurice calls, the ethos, and Grote the nomos of extinct civilizations. This "higher anthropology" searches for such primeval notions of things as a naturalist for new species, and has a passion for pooling all sentiments, opinions, and views that have been actually entertained, even if they do not instantly fit as missing links in any elaborated scheme. When in the development of a race such material shoots together in cosmogonies, national epics, or ethnic -- as very distinct from revealed -- bibles, the psychic basis for a period of culture is laid, a spiritual cosmos begins. Of this same [p. 130] mother-lye, too, philosophy :it its best is but a more elaborate organization. Thus constituted, philosophy always labors to start from the common vulgar standpoint, and to dignify homely, commonplace things and duties, as Socrates did; it is always saturated with local color, and -- instead of being gaspingly thin and abstract, as it appears to those who in periods of strong discipleship and little originality study the great systems from the texts, ignoring the psychic environment whence they sprung -- always seems the most warm and condensed of all the manifold expressions of man's needs and ideals. With a different ethnic basis all systems would thus have been different, so that the "exhaustion method" that works by thought possibilities, if not far wiser than it knows, is forced, and sooner or later its work must be done over again. Neither the popular consciousness of any one nor of all races combined can be said to have exhausted the possibilities of thought; much less can this be said of any or all of the historic systems, of which life -- which could not be conducted a day by the systems (without some form of which not only civilization but intelligence would collapse), which cannot be studied by them save as the sun is studied from shadows, from which they sprung, and into which they sink again -- is always far ahead. All this was best illustrated among the Greeks, where both the name and the thing philosophy originated. There it was indigenous, freely determined by all the past, and homogeneous as the Greek blood. I am of those who think of Plato at his best, as a genial artist, who before the critical spirit of science had limited the sphere of invention, and at a time when conviction was decaying and egoism was undermining all foundations, fell in love with the ideal of the beautiful-good (), and combined old philosophemes with the deeper insights of his own day, and sought moral regeneration by infecting men with a passion for his ideal. Like every living philosophy, it was essentially national. It was literature at its highest and best, and became dogma only in its decline, and was ethically inspired.

In view of all this we may say, not, I think, that psychology is all there is of philosophy, as Wundt does, nor even that it is related to the systems as philosophy to theology, nor that it is a philosophy of philosophy, implying a higher potence of self-consciousness, but only that it has a legitimate standpoint from which to regard the history of philosophy,-- a standpoint from which it does not seem itself a system in the sense of Hegel, but the natural history of mind, not to be understood without parallel [p. 131] study of the history of science, religion, and the professional disciplines, especially medicine, nor without extending our view from the tomes of the great speculators to their lives and the facts and needs of the world they saw. It strives to catch the larger human logic within which all systems move, and which even at their best they represent only as the scroll-work of an illuminated missal resembles real plants and trees, in a way which grows more conventionalized the more finished and current it becomes. In a word, it urges the methods of modern historic research, in a sense which even Zeller has but inadequately seen, in the only field of academic study where they are not yet fully recognized.



From this standpoint we must regard the chief traditions or philosophemes in the history of thought, as three, now characterized somewhat as follows: The first took earliest shape under the obstetric art of Socrates as the concept, and was better defined by Plato's doctrine of ideas or forms. In another way it appears again in Aristotle's theory of categories, half deduced, half gathered from the agora, and which Kant assumed without criticism and with too little change; and later in the universals, innate ideas, exemplary forms and species of the schoolmen, as Hegel's diamond net-work, which made the universe real because it made it rational, as the pure entities in the artistic contemplation of which Schopenhauer thought the soul found its only surcease from pain, and even as the natura ipsissima of God himself, to know which was conscious immortality, while it is no less historically represented in the theory of fixed types in nature, which have constituted the chief obstacle which evolution has had to encounter in every field and form. This assumption of fixed substantial norms or forms -- precious because brought forth by such severe travail of soul,-- now thought to be immanent, now transcendent, here in the field of nature, there of mind, partly inherited from the Greeks, yet instinctive in every mind -- needs to be traced through its many forms, as the key to much of the thought and many of the great controversies of the world, and properly treated is of the highest educational value. On every hand, however, are rutty, ultra-categorical minds and books whose whole philosophizing consists in adopting or adapting some set of categories from the many by no means accordant tables of them, and pigeon-holing among them all facts of matter or mind with an often ill-concealed "air of repressed omniscience," as if they were  hierophants initiating into esoteric mysteries and jealously guarding all metaphysical orthodoxies. Easily made changes in the [p. 132] name, number, order, or prominence of these norms meets any exigencies of controversy or morals, and few as they are, and many as are the books, they are by no means exhausted, nor the vast mental spaces that can be thus "triangulated" by their definition alone explored. Substance, cause, time, space, and all the rest are not simple, as is assumed, in the sense of indecomposable by psychic analysis. They mark the points where thinking stops as well as starts, and no definition of them can be so exact as to sustain a long argument unswervingly. Without such norms, knowledge and experience could no more become objects of science than physical nature if there were no laws, but they will submit to more adequate formulation if we study their validity rather than their fit or consistency. The influence of psychology upon the creations of speculative genius in this field is not unlike that of science upon poetry. It is opening to it a new world, and rendering the charm, of the old still more subtle.

The second historic standpoint is the mechanical. Though older than Democritus, it entered the modern world as a result of the great discoveries and inventions which heralded the Reformation. Descartes, who could not think except in visual and mathematical terms, and Borelli, by his great work on the motions or animals, and the iatro-mechanical school of medicine thus founded, which treated digestion as trituration, secretion as sifting. circulation as hydrodynamics, and nerve action as vibration, and made mathematics for a long- time the preliminary study of physicians, represents its "storm and stress " period. Part of the force of this tendency expended itself in practical inventions, part was lost in the vagaries of popular materialism, and the best of its impulses were revived and are still felt in the German school of physiology since Weber, which has raised the whole art and science of medicine in that country from a very low to its present commanding estate. Not content with the attempt to reduce inanimate nature to terms of measurable force and matter, it prompted Herbart's effort to resolve the mutual action of concepts to exact static and dynamic terms, proposed the psycho-physic law and the hedonistic calculus and a logic so exact as to be literally mechanical, and ever since Spinoza has cherished the assumption that philosophic problems might be reasoned out by geometrical methods, and favors mechanism in thought and morals by emphasizing every material trope and analogy. It is the standpoint of which Lange is the best historian, and against which the main current of Lotze's philosophizing was from the first directed, and which [p. 133] he called universal in extent, but everywhere subordinate in function. If on the one hand it is often less respectful to the great traditions of humanity, if it breeds an indifference to many themes yet held in highest reverence that recalls the old agnostic maxim, quœ supra nos, quid ad nos, if taken extremely it eliminates freedom, responsibility, and immateriality from the problem of life,-- let us not forget that it has also brought the human mind to a sharper focus with less dispersive fringes than ever before in the history of thought, on to all things within its range, even though others beyond it are blurred and distorted.

For the third historic standpoint I know no better name than that of self-consciousness, a far narrower term and thing than self-knowledge. The remote result of the Reformation was to raise the question in a few of the most vigorous and serious minds of Europe: What if even our philosophy, too, be but the most refined of superstitions, and all articulate systems idolatry, and we must make tabula rasa of all current hypotheses and presuppositions about ultimate truth, and seek some kind of ataraxia in knowing that we can know nothing. Self-examination reduced them to the condition of primitive thinkers with no consensus, facing a universe perhaps too vast to have any character assignable by man, because greater than all that can be called thought, before, as it were, an unrevealed logos, an unrelated absolute, an unheteronomized ought, an unobjectified will. Hume would not have said that we must doubt all that we cannot prove, yet it was natural in an age of such rapidly deepening self-involution of thought that he should be taken far more seriously than he meant by Kant, who, more than any other, has made men content with a rational and practical arrangement of concepts, even if they cannot express the real nature of things, but only our thought of them. From this standpoint many have seemed to seek proof of, if not, indeed, a substitute for, the objective validity of ideas in the fit and consistency with which they can be juxtaposed, assuming that from their contact in individual minds the only real continuity in thought could be inferred. Others, by an introspective involution of thought, have believed that thus it could be made as deep as the ego and as broad as the all, and raised to a potence almost divinely creative. Taken extremely and alone, or in some of its manifold combinations with the first standpoint, this philosophic tradition tends to reduce both the world of matter and all the great realities of religion to a system of long-accumulating deposits and projections of the human consciousness, or to resolve [p. 134] nature as well as theology into anthropology. Man's mind is the measure of all things, the secondary and even primary qualities of matter, and all spiritual goods are alike subjectively conditioned or even constituted. The degenerate forms and products of this philosophic direction are too complex to be traced here.

These three spheres of thong-lit, to tracing the details of which through the various systems the history of philosophy is devoted, are still to a great extent unharmonized.  The psychologist, at least, is not satisfied with any attempt to reduce the categories to an organic unity of consciousness. The Greek conception of form and the self-affirmation of Protestantism are now seen to be segments of a larger orbit of thought than this. The second of the above standpoints is not yet satisfactorily mediated with the notion of fixed and constant types of any sort, and mechanism stops short at consciousness. To secure the unique culture-power of the first and last of the traditions of philosophy to students of science, and of the second to students of general history and the humanities, is the chief duty, and to aid in mediating the now and higher unity now impending between the three is, in my opinion, the chief task, of the psychologist to-day. If there was ever a time when the student and teacher of religion needed to ponder these problems, to be fit for his work amidst the light and heat of popular interest and discussion these large adjustments are now exciting, it is to-day. It is the function, not of psychology, but of revelation only, to give absolute truth; but we must not forget in our land, where the very depth and strength of religious instincts makes us too satisfied with narrow and inadequate mental expressions of them, that the first step towards securing an adequate theoretic training of those sentiments, in which religion and morality have their common root, is to rescue the higher mythopœic faculties from the present degradation to which prejudice and crass theories have brought them. That deeper psychologic insights, in directions to which attention in this field is already turning, are to effect a complete atonement between modern culture and religious sentiments and verities is now becoming more and more apparent. The development of these insights will gravely affect the future of religion.

In fine, I cannot agree with John Stuart Mill that universities exist in order that philosophy may be kept alive, unless we define it, with Zeller, as the university itself, and not merely the philosophical faculty, so organized that each department shall be brought into closest and most fruitful reciprocity with that nearest allied to [p. 135] it. That it is a science of sciences, organizing the minto[sic] a hegemony or using them as its alphabet, that it must profess the universe in the sense of either Comte, Humboldt, Hegel, or Spencer, that it is nothing if not all, comparatively few would now care to maintain. Suggestive as some of the connections of thought in all the great systems have been, fascinating as is the grouping of large departments of knowledge as a refreshment from specialization that makes even a learned society often a babel where workers do not understand each other's terminology, and useful as it is for dividing the field of anthropological research, for educational curricula and the organization of scientific and other academies, psychology is content with the more definite field of being to the other disciplines of philosophy, and even ultimately to the humanities in general, what mathematics is to the more exact sciences, having its place among them wherever it can formulate fundamental relations more precisely, objectively, and in a way more surely and universally verifiable by others.

Most of the great philosophers lived very close to the practical needs of the masses of men about them. Their spirit will best animate us if we strive, however humbly, to do for our land and day what they did for theirs. The soil of our present American life will yield as choice a philosophic vintage as any other if we have the wit to cultivate it aright. Though very different in form from all past philosophies, it will be no less satisfying and seemingly final for us then than they were in their day at their best. If we could gather into it all the wisdom that lies about us scattered and ineffective in many minds till it really express the total life of our people, it will, more nearly than any other has done, express the life of the race, and be the long-hoped-for, long-delayed science of man.





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