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the phenomena of moral approval and disapproval, of guilt, self-accusation, and remorse, are the facts demanding some explanation which shall not destroy their reality in the very act of attempting to explain them. Here it is that the materialistic psychology breaks down. Nor can it be said that this is opposing a doctrine by merely pointing out its mischievous consequences. The affirmations of conscience referred to as putting to rout the advocates of materialism are as truly perceptions and judgments as are any of the propositions that result from the exercise of the senses or the understanding. If materialistic evolution, as predicated of moral action, be true, the rational nature is at war with itself. There is an insoluble contradiction in human intelligence itself, which no sophistical juggle of words can avail to cover up, much less to remove.”—Princeton Review, January 1878, pp. 210, 211.

Principal Tulloch, in the first of his ‘Croal Lectures,' makes some interesting remarks to the same effect. What he says of "sin,” for example, in the following passage may be applied to all the phenomena of our moral consciousness. “It”—the doctrine of materialistic evolution—"leaves no room for the idea of sin. For that which is solely a growth of nature cannot contain anything that is at variance with its own higher laws. If the individual and social man alike are merely the outcome of natural forces working endlessly forward toward higher and more complex forms, then, whatever man is, he is not and cannot be a sinner. The mixed product of internal and external forces of what is called organism and environment-he may, at certain stages of his progress, be very defective. But he has not fallen below any ideal he might have reached. He is only at any point what the sum of natural factors which enter into his being have made him. The two conceptions of sin and of development, in this naturalistic sense, cannot coexist. I cannot be the outcome of natural law and yet accountable for the fact that I am no better than I am.”

Carneri, Jaeger, and others have attempted to apply Darwinism to morals. Miss Cobbe, Ebrard, R. Schmid, Trümpelmann, Wigand, and others, have criticised it in this relation.

Note XX., page 183.


The chief works regarding positivism published before 1874 are mentioned on p. 259 of my · Philosophy of History in France and Germany.' The following publications may be specified as among the most important which have appeared on the subject since that date : Many excellent papers by M. Pillon, and some by M. Renouvier, in the 'Critique Philosophique' for the years 1875 and 1878; ‘La Philosophie Positive,' a review, edited by MM. Littré and Wyrouboff; ‘La Revue Occidentale,' edited by M. Pieree Lafitte; the articles of Mr Harrison on “The Religious and Conservative Aspects of Positivism,” in the Contemporary Review,' vols. xxvi. and xxvii. ; É. Littré, ‘Fragments de Philosophie Positive' (1876); and M. Ferraz, 'Étude sur la Philosophie en France,' ch. vi. (1877).

Positivists who acknowledge any allegiance to Comte may be thus grouped in relation to him. First, those who accept his system as a whole—the philosophy, the polity, and the religion. Their head, the present Comtist pontiff, is M. Lafitte ; and among their representatives in France are M. Audiffrent, Dr Robinet, and M. Sémerie; and in England Dr Bridges, Mr Congreve, and Mr Harrison. Their literary organ is the “Revue Occidentale. Second, those who accept the entire general philosophy of Comte, but reject his polity and religion. Their acknowledged chief is M. Littré; and M. Naquet, Dr Robin, and M. Wyrouboff are among their best known representatives. Their organ, ‘La Philosophie Positive,' was founded in 1867. Third, those who do not accept even the philosophy of Comte as a whole, but who profess to receive the spirit, method, and principles of his teaching as to the doctrine of science. They are often called English positivists, although, of course, writers like M. Taine must be included among them. They are simply phenomenalists and experimentalists. They have no common system of doctrine, and their Comtism is so variable as to be indefinable.

Positivism is a hopelessly ambiguous term, and has been claimed by and applied to diverse and dissimilar theories. Some consider themselves positivists because they are positive that matter is the only reality; others because they are positive that sensation is the source and measure of all knowledge; others because they are positive that there is no God, no soul, and no future life ; others because they are positive that there is nothing positively certain ; and others for other reasons.

Note XXI., page 193.


Mr J. Morley and Dr Paulsen have expressed their dissent from my views as to Comte's so-called “law of three states,” but neither of them has ventured to face the facts which I adduced as irreconcilable with it. My account of its history has been abundantly confirmed by M. Pillon in Nos. 6, 8, 10, 11, 23, 24, and 25 of the “Critique Philosophique' for 1875. These articles gave much offence to M. Audiffrent, Robinet, Sémerie, and the orthodox positivists generally, but they are most accurate and conclusive.

Dr Paulsen's reason (see his able review of my · Philosophy of History' in the 'Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie,' Bd. 8, Hft. 4) for maintaining the consistency of Comte's alleged law with theism, is that theism is a form of belief, but not a kind of knowledge. There is here involved a twofold oversight: for, first, Comte's law is not a law of states of knowledge, but of states of belief; and, second, the assertion that theism is belief but not knowledge is unproved, and stands in great need of proof.

Note XXII., page 209.


There is an excellent account of the Comtist religion, and much interesting information as to its history, in the article “ Positivism” in the North British Review,'Sept. 1868.

As to the French orthodox positivists, M. Ribot remarks,—“Many of them are animated with a truly religious faith, and I have heard them speak with an enthusiasm worthy of the brightest epoch of the middle age.” They can hardly surpass in zeal and unction some of their English brethren. The 'Sermons' of Mr Congreve, and the articles of Mr Harrison on the religious aspects of positivism, show pulpit qualifications of a very high order, and especially a fervour which reminds one sometimes of Jeremy Taylor, and sometimes of Samuel Rutherford.

Dr M‘Cosh’s ‘Positivism and Christianity' is less rhetorical but more reasonable. Mr C. Staniland Wake, in “The Evolution of Morality,' vol. ii. ch. viii., takes, perhaps, somewhat too favourable a view of the “Religion of Humanity." He recognises, however, the defects in Comte's conception of the Grand-Être, and justly insists that the merits which it possesses are ethical rather than religious.

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