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men to a degree that is unparalleled. This is due, in part, to the fact that every member of a civilized community uses the results of science, and credits science with them. Science is credited, and justly credited, with the enormous increase of convenience, comfort, and efficiency, which human life has in the last century enjoyed. Transportation, manufacturing, hygiene, every activity employing physical means, has been revolutionized. And this fact is brought home to every man in his daily occupations. The telephone with which he orders his supplies, the trolley-car or automobile which he takes to his place of business, the elevator with which he rises swiftly to the top of a towering structure of steel
ucture of steel — these, and a hund like items, testify perpetually to the glory of science.
Even more impressive to the popular mind than the applications of science, are its discoveries and inventions its perpetual novelties. Here is an enterprise whose steady advance can be measured. Knowledge is added to knowledge; and every increment opens new prospects of increase. The miracles of yesterday are the commonplaces of today. Science thus commands attention; it stirs the blood; it even makes news!
But there is a deeper reason for the appeal of science to the popular mind. The recent advancement of science has fulfilled the Baconian prophecy, of power through knowledge. Nature has lost its terrors. It has submitted
. to the yoke of human interests, and been transformed from wilderness into civilization. The brilliancy of scientific achievement has given man a sense of proprietorship in this world; it has transformed the motive of life from bare preservation to conquest. And so frequently has science overcome the accepted limitations of practical achievement, and disclosed possibilities previously unsuspected, that man now greets the future with a new and unbounded hopefulness. Indeed this faith in the power of life to establish and magnify itself through the progressive mastery of its environment, is the most significant religious idea of modern times. And through its relation to this idea science has been justly exalted.
There is a further explanation of the prestige of science, and of naturalism as well, in the distinction and popularity of scientific writers. The philosophical utterances of Spencer, Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, Du Bois-Reymond, Lord Kelvin, Ostwald, Haeckel, Arrhenius and others, have obtained a publicity only very rarely enjoyed by the recognized leaders of philosophy proper. The same difference obtains between the lesser scientists and the lesser philosophers. And this is not due to the accident of individual genius, style, or manner. For the popular mind, scientific ideas have an immediate intelligibility and a prima facie probability, which philosophical ideas have not. If we can explain this fact we shall have advanced far in the direction of a clearer understanding of what science is.
§ 3. There is a distinction made by logicians between the denotation and the connotation of terms. A term is said
to denote' certain concrete individuals, and The Agreement between Science to 'connote' certain properties. Thus the and Common term 'planet' denotes Neptune, Jupiter, etc., Sense
and connotes the property or relation of 'satellite to the sun. The instances of a term constitute its denotation; the meaning or definition of a term, its connotation. Now it is a significant fact that the denotation of scientific terms is peculiarly clear or unambiguous to com mon sense. The instances of science are readily identified; one knows what the scientist is talking about. We can follow his eye to the natural locality which he is obserying, or take into our hands the natural body with which he is experimenting. When the philosopher, on the other hand, discourses on the true, the beautiful, and the good, we do not know where to turn. If his face were to assume a rapt expression, and we were sentimentally or mystically inclined, we should feel moved or exalted. For we take such things in good part when seers and poets utter them. Or were his eye to twinkle, we should laugh with him —
and feel relieved. But ordinarily the philosopher looks as secular and literal as any scientist; and in proportion to the hardness of our hearts, we are contemptuous or embarrassed. The scientist alone seems to suit the word to the mood of serious discourse. There is evidently a tacit understanding between him and common sense which, in the case of the philosopher, is wholly lacking. Science speaks in the native tongue of common sense; philosophy in unfamiliar accents that shock and mystify.
The explanation of this lies in the fact that science and common sense agree in unconsciously accepting a classification or map of experience which it is the business of philosophy consciously to criticise. This map or classification is sometimes referred to as the natural world-order.' In this order, a thing is a body, and the world is the spacial field and temporal sequence of bodily events. The instance, case, example, which a word denotes, is always some individual body or group of bodies - occurring somewhere, at some time, and capable of being identified beyond doubt by gesture or manipulation. To think in these terms is the habit of common sense, and the method of science.
The strength of this habit is illustrated by the efforts of the mind to deal with things the corporeal character of which is expressly denied. An almost irresistible propensity inclines the imagination to regard God, spirit though he be, as having a place in the heavens, whither at death the soul may resort. The soul itself, by definition the antithesis of body, is nevertheless commonly imagined as a diaphanous or subtle body-within-a-body, moving with the mortal body before death, and independently of it after death. Similarly, the attempt at clear demonstration almost invariably impels one to the use of spacial diagrams. And the spacial figure is so interwoven in ordinary speech as to be well-nigh ineradicable. A great difference is a 'wide' difference, the better is the 'superior' or 'higher,' the reliable is the 'solid,' and the distinct the 'tangible.'
This habit of thought and speech is not accidental on
the part of common sense, nor reprehensible on the part of science. For it is the primary function of the human mind to discriminate and relate bodies. This function is first in order of practical importance. The human mind, like the heart and lungs, is an organ, calculated to assist the adaptation of one body to an environment of other bodies. This function with reference to other bodies is not only the mind's original function, but remains, during a man's natural lifetime, its most indispensable function. “Our intelligence, as it leaves the hands of nature," says Bergson, “has for its chief object the unorganized solid. When we pass in review the intellectual functions, we see that the intellect is never quite at its ease, never entirely at home, except when it is working upon inert matter, more particularly among solids . . . where our action finds its fulcrum, and our industry its tools."! Intelligence is first of all the attentive discrimination of bodies, and a responsiveness to their proximity, motion, or change of property. And when life becomes less preoccupied with its own preservation and more largely engaged in constructive enterprises, it is on its control of its bodily environment that it mainly relies both for security and for power. Science elaborates and perfects this form of intelligence. Through science it becomes methodical and exact. The use of speech and record makes it an institution supported and utilized by society as a whole; its specialization and expansion beyond the demands of present exigencies renders it a means of resourcefulness and initiative.
Common sense and science (the one unconsciously, the other with an increasing degree of consciousness) thus move within the same limits. They share the same unreflective classification of experience, employ the same axes of reference, have the same notion of an individual thing. This is thought's original sin, its inertia and line of least resistance. It is responsible for the sympathy between common sense and science; and for the somewhat strained relations between both of these and philosophy, whose business it has ever been to remind them that their favorite assumption is uncritical and dogmatic.
i Creative Evolution, trans. by A. Mitchell, pp. 153-154, ix.
$ 4. We must now attempt a more careful account of that common sense notion of a thing, which is the subjectThe Properties matter to which science addresses itself, and of Bodies which its terms denote. I have as yet but roughly indicated it by the terms 'body' and “physical event.' It is not to be expected that either common sense or science should analyze this notion. They analyze one body into lesser bodies, visible bodies into invisible bodies; they' distinguish and classify bodies; but they do not attempt to enumerate the generic bodily properties. This is a philosophical task which we must undertake for ourselves.
In describing the unambiguous denotation of the terms of science, I have alluded to gesture and manipulation as means of identification. A body can always be pointed to, or one can ‘lay one's hand on it.' Eliminating the accidental human reference, this means that a body has locality, or spacial position. It is somewhere. But when we say 'it is somewhere,' we indicate that the body does not consist of the position alone. There is something which is at the position, or bears to the position the relation of 'occupancy.'' Again, it is essential to bodies that they have a history, and thus occupy time as well as space. They are somewhere at some time. The relation of that which occupies space and time, to its spacial and temporal positions, may be either of two kinds. The spacial position may remain the same while the temporal position varies, in which case we speak of a body's being at rest; or the spacial position may vary continuously as the time varies continuously, in which case we speak of motion. Finally, except in the hypothetical case of material points, bodies
1 The best account of the relation of space, time, body, and motion is to be found in B. Russell's writings. Cf. "Is Position in Time and Space Absolute or Relative?” Mind, N.S., Vol. X, 1901; and Principles of Mathemalics, Ch. LI, LIII, LIV.
• For the meaning of continuous,' cf. Russell, op. cit., Ch. XXIII.