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Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

Aim And Method Of Naturalism

The aim and method of the strict type of naturalism may be easily defined.
In its details it will become more distinct as we proceed with our
analysis. Taking it as a whole, we may say that it is an endeavour on a
large scale after consistent simplification and gradual reduction to lower
and lower terms. Since it aims at explaining and understanding everything
according to the axiom principia non temere esse multiplicanda
[principles are not to be heedlessly multiplied], explaining, that is,
with the fewest, simplest, and most obvious principles possible, it is
incumbent upon it to attempt to refer all phenomena to a single, uniform
mode of occurrence, which admits of nothing outside of or beyond itself,
and which regulates itself according to its own system of fundamentally
similar causal sequences. It is further incumbent upon it to trace back
this universal mode of occurrence to the simplest and clearest form
possible, and its uniformities to the fewest and most intelligible laws,
that is, ultimately, to laws which can be determined by calculation and
summed up in formulae. This tracing back is equivalent to an elimination of
all incommensurable causes, of all "final causes," that is, of ultimate
causes and "purposes" which, in an unaccountable manner, work into the
network of proximate causes and control them, and by thus interrupting
their connectedness, make it difficult to come to a clear understanding of
the "Why?" of things. And this elimination is again a "reduction to
simpler terms," for it replaces the "teleological" consideration of
purposes, by a purely scientific consideration of causes, which inquires
only into the actual conditions antecedent to certain sequences.

But Being and Becoming include two great realms: that of "Nature" and that
of "Mind," i.e. consciousness and the processes of consciousness. And
two apparently fundamentally different branches of knowledge relate to
these: the natural sciences, and the mental sciences. If a unified and
"natural" explanation is really possible, the beginning and end of all
this "reducing to simpler terms" must be to bridge over the gulf between
these; but this, in the sense of naturalism, necessarily means that the
mental sciences must in some way be reduced to terms of natural science,
and that the phenomena, processes, sequences, and laws of consciousness
must likewise be made "commensurable" with and be linked on to the
apparently simpler and clearer knowledge of "Nature," and, if possible, be
subordinated to its phenomena and laws, if not indeed derived from them.
As it is impossible to regard consciousness itself as corporeal, or as a
process of movement, naturalism must at least attempt to show that the
phenomena of consciousness are attendant and consequent on corporeal
phenomena, and that, though they themselves never become corporeal, they
are strictly regulated by the laws of the corporeal and physical, and can
be calculated upon and studied in the same way.

But even the domain of the natural itself, as we know it, is by no means
simple and capable of a unified interpretation. Nature, especially in the
realm of organic life, the animal and plant world, appears to be filled
with marvels of purposefulness, with riddles of development and
differentiation, in short with all the mysteries of life. Here most of all
it is necessary to "reduce" the "teleological view" to terms of the purely
causal, and to prove that all the results, even the evolution of the forms
of life, up to their highest expressions and in the minutest details of
their marvellous adaptations, came "of themselves," that is to say, are
quite intelligible as the results of clearly traceable causes. It is
necessary to reduce the physiological and developmental, and all the other
processes of life, to terms of physical and chemical processes, and thus
to reduce the living to the not living, and to derive the organic from the
forces and substances of inanimate nature.

The process of reduction does not stop even here. For physical and
chemical processes are only really understood when they can be resolved
into the simplest processes of movement in general, when all qualitative
changes can be traced hack to purely quantitative phenomena, when,
finally, in the mechanics of the great masses, as well as of the
infinitely small atoms, everything becomes capable of expression in
mathematical terms.

But naturalism of this kind is by no means pure natural science; it
consciously and deliberately oversteps in speculation the bounds of what
is strictly scientific. In this respect it bears some resemblance to the
nature-philosophy associated with what we called the first type of
naturalism. But its very poverty enables it to have a strictly defined
programme. It knows exactly what it wants, and thus it is possible to
argue with it. The religious conception of the world must come to an
understanding with it, for it is quite obvious that the more indifferent
this naturalism is to everything outside of itself, and the less
aggressive it pretends to be, the more does the picture of the world which
it attempts to draw exert a cramping influence on religion. Where the two
come into contact we shall endeavour to make clear in the following pages.

Next: Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism

Previous: The Two Kinds Of Naturalism

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