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objects, but with their respective forms of expression. Science, the interest in the proximate causes of things, becomes the unique example of theory: and religion, the interest in the ultimate causes of things, the unique example of belief.
84. It is clear, however, that this correlation is arbitrary. Theoretical science is eventually assimilated to life, and
finds expression in popular and applied science. The Confusion of the Philo
In other words, there is a belief concerning Motive. The Place proximate causes.
proximate causes. And similarly there is a of a Purely place for the dispassionate theoretical study of Theoretical ultimate causes. In other words, as popular or Philosophy
applied science is related to pure science, so religion is related to pure philosophy.
If this correlation indicates the proper place of philosophy, then it must be recognized that the traditional philosophy has reached no such clear separation of its theoretical motive as has been reached, on its part, by science.
And it may be objected that the cases are not parallel. There is a reason why the practical motive should outweigh the theoretical in the examination of ultimate causes. For it is undoubtedly the pressure of practical necessity — the brevity of life, and the momentousness of the issues involved — which in this case forces a conclusion when the evidence must necessarily be incomplete. Whereas in the field of science theory may advance far beyond belief, accumulating an ever increasing surplus of knowledge over practice, here the reverse is the case. For the saving of his soul, a man must convert theoretical probabilities into subjective certainties: he must believe more than he knows. In the conduct of his worldly affairs he may live within his means, but in his religion he must run into debt. Thus a strictly theoretical conclusion respecting ultimate causes will always be more limited and tentative than the corresponding belief. And belief, with its greater positiveness, with its daring and its air of finality, will tend to obscure the cautious hypothesi. of theory, and to fix itself in the minds of men as the only expression of the interest in ultimate causes. That for this reason the work of the human intelligence tends to be divided between scientific theory concerning proximate causes and the religious belief concerning ultimate causes, cannot be disputed.
1 Cf. below, pp. 265-267, 345-347, 369-370.
But it is evident that if life is served by a theoretical detachment in the one case, the same will be true in the other case. A rigorously theoretical philosophy, in which ultimate causes are examined by the method of critical analysis, in which the passions are repressed and the application held in reserve, affords the greatest promise of an enlightened, and therefore effective, religion. For the virtue of belief, whatever be its object, whether it be the particular inter-relations of the parts of nature, or the ground and constitution of nature as a whole, is its truth. And the speediest and most reliable access to truth lies in the specialization and rigorous exercise of the theoretical method. No faith will be sound at the core which does not contain within itself whatever theory is available. Doubtless faith must overlap theory, as it must be more stable and conservative; but the method of faith cannot supersede or confuse the method of theory, without corrupting its most faithful servant. Strictly speaking, it is as important for religion to promote the development of a rigorously theoretical philosophy, as it is for engineering to promote the development of theoretical physics.
$ 5. The present ambiguous position of philosophy is due to the modern opposition of science and religion, and to
this habit of linking pure theory with science, The Subordination of Science and ultimate questions with religion. Those to Ethics and philosophers who are governed by the theoReligion in Ancient and retical motive, and to whom philosophy is Mediæval first of all a disinterested attempt at exact Thought
knowledge, tend to identify it with science; those on the other hand, with whom the subject matter
of philosophy is of paramount importance, whose chief object of interest is the ultimate cause or world-ground, tend to identify it with religion.
But the disjunction between science and religion is a comparatively recent development. In ancient and mediæval times it was largely prevented by the general acceptance of the method of teleology. The dominant categories of Greek thought were forged in the Socratic age, and expressed its characteristic humanism and moralism. The Platonic theory of knowledge, adopted by Aristotle, continued by the Neo-Platonists, and bequeathed to Christian scholasticism, was centred in the conception of the good. To understand a thing was to see the good of it.' In so far as this theory of knowledge prevailed there was no inevitable opposition between religion and science, other than the general opposition between tradition and enlightenment. The method of religion — the interpretation of nature for life, was also the method of science. In the application, in the use or value of objects, was found also their theoretical explanation. The basal science, the model of scientific procedure, was not a physics which abstracted from life, but an ethics which rationalized life. And where science and religion employed the same method, philosophy was not compelled to take sides. It could be at once an extension of science, and the refinement of religion. Philosophy was simply the sustained and systematic pursuit of wisdom: the finishing of knowledge, as distinguished from the fragmentariness of science; and the grounding of belief, as distinguished from the careless superficiality and complacent dogmatism of religion.
The Platonic theory of knowledge was both retained and reinforced by Christianity. In Platonism, teleology had been derived from ethics and extended to religion; in Christianity, it was originally derived from religion. But there was in both the same priority of the fundamental principle of life. Mediæval thought, like ancient thought, was biocentric or anthropocentric. Nature was accounted for and explained in terms of its bearing on man. It was grounded in the dispensation and providence of God with reference to the well-being of his creatures. The perfection of the ultimate cause, the beneficence of the creative design, was held to afford the most truthful account of the course of nature. In short, theology displaced ethics in the system of knowledge. And with theology as the basal science, it is evident that there was as yet no ground for a radical difference between science and religion. Nor was there any radical difference between either and philosophy. That which theology understood by the light of revelation, philosophy explored by the natural light of reason; while between philosophy, and science in the narrower sense, there was no difference save that between complete and partial knowledge.
1 See below, pp. 115, 167.
$ 6. So long as science was thus dominated by the categories of religion, philosophy suffered no embarrassing The Extension necessity of taking sides. When this domina
tion came to an end with the decline of scholReligion in the asticism, an attempt was made to keep the Seventeenth and Eighteenth peace upon a new basis. Whereas the cateCenturies
gories of religion had formerly been imposed upon science, the categories of science, independently derived, were now to be extended to religion. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries philosophy derived its impetus from the new scientific movement, and consisted primarily in the attempt so to generalize the method of science as to enable it to afford a proof of the great tenets of traditional belief. This common motive appears in the otherwise widely contrasted tendencies of these two centuries.
The Cartesian movement, which dominated the seventeenth century, was inspired by the rise of mathematical physics. In mathematics Descartes found a clearness and cogency in which the traditional philosophy was notably lacking. It revealed to him something of the possibilities
of Science to
of knowledge, if the natural intelligence could but be freed from ulterior motives and from the heavy burden of accumulated tradition. He was astonished "that foundations, so strong and solid, should have had no loftier superstructure reared on them.” i Such a superstructure Descartes and his followers essayed to rear, adopting the “analytical method” from mathematics, and applying it to a metaphysic of God and the soul. This attempt culminated in the system of Spinoza, with its mathematical terminology, its deductive order, its rigorous suppression of anthropomorphism, and its conversion of God into the ultimate and indifferent Necessity.
The Baconian movement, which began coincidently with the Cartesian movement, but did not assume the ascendancy until the following century, was inspired by the rise of empirical and experimental science. Bacon expressed the spirit of discovery - the significance of Galileo's telescope rather than of his analytical laws of motion. Hence the movement which emanated from Bacon employed the method of observation rather than the method of mathematical deduction. Locke, to whom the movement owed its ascendancy in the eighteenth century, was associated with the experimental physicists of his day, and was suspicious of a priori necessities. He proposed to pursue “the plain historical method." But neither Locke, nor the Deists who followed him, had any doubt of the possibility of establishing the truths of religion by the method of science. Christianity was not only “not mysterious,” but was proved beyond reasonable doubt by empirical evidence. God was a simple inference from effect to cause; from the existence of nature to the existence of its creator, and from the contrivances of nature to the intelligence of its creator.
During these two centuries, then, there was no impassable
1 Discourse on Method, trans. by Veitch, p. 8. * 1632-1677. • 1632-1704.