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AUTONOMY OF SPIRIT.

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
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Genius
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
Heredity
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Immortality
Individual Development
Individuality
Intuitions Of Reality
Irritability
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
Mysticism
Natural Selection
Naturalism
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Parallelism
Personality
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Self-consciousness
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
Underivability
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
Weismannism
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook



Parallelism








The independence and underivability of the psychical, the incomparability
of its uniformities with those of mechanical or physico-chemical laws, has
proved itself so clear and incontrovertible, notwithstanding all the
distortions of naturalism, that it is now regarded as a self-evident fact,
not only among philosophers and epistemologists, and technical
psychologists, but for the last decade even among all thinking men, and
"materialism" is now an obsolete position. It was too crude and too

contrary to all experience to define the relation between physical and
mental, as if the latter were a mere secretion of the former, although a
very subtle one, or a mere epi-phenomenon of it, in such a way that all
reality and effectiveness was on the side of the physical.

In place of this, another theory has become widespread, which claims to
define the relation of the two series of phenomena better and more
adequately: the theory of psychophysical parallelism. It is not new. There
are occasional indications of it even in Aristotle's psychology. It was
suggested by Descartes in his automaton theory, by the occasionalists in
their parable of the two watches running in exact agreement; it was
developed by Spinoza and Leibnitz, and refined by the idealistic
philosophers, by Schopenhauer, Fechner, and the modern psychologists. The
form in which it is most prevalent now is that given to it by Spinoza, and
he is usually referred to in connection with it. Its general tenor is as
follows: The physical cannot be referred back to the psychical, nor the
psychical to the physical. Both orders of phenomena run side by side as
parallels that never separate. Both represent a concatenation of causes
complete in itself, that is never broken, or interrupted, or completed.
And in both there is real causality. Thought really causes thoughts and
feelings. Movement really causes movements. But the one series is always
strictly correlated with the other, and corresponds with it. And thus all
existence is double, and man is an obvious illustration of this. To every
thought, feeling, or exercise of will there corresponds some excitement,
movement or change in the body. I will: my arm moves. Subtle nervous
processes run their course in my brain, and I think. That I will has its
sufficient reasons, its causes lie entirely in the preceding state of my
mind, in motives of feeling, in ideas which again have their efficient
causes in a previous psychical condition, and so on. And that my arm moves
has its efficient cause in the stored-up energies of the muscle-substance,
in the stimulus and impulse conveyed by the motor nerve from the brain.
And these conditions have their purely physiological causes and reasons
again in preceding purely physiological states and processes. (It goes
without saying that a mechanical theory of life is the necessary
presupposition of this parallelistic theory.) But both sets of processes
correspond exactly one to another, and the first is only the inner aspect
of the second, and the second the outer aspect of the first. Thus it is
quite true that my arm moves when I will. But in reality it is quite as
true to say that when my arm moves I will. But we must not substitute
"because" for "when." This theory must maintain, and does maintain, that
even the most abstract and subtle ideas, the deepest processes of
consciousness, have some corresponding bodily processes, either in the
brain or in the nervous substance generally, and, on the other hand, that
no physical process is without this psychical inwardness. The result is
that this inwardness and soul are attributed also to the purely material
world, the world of "dead" matter. In this way it is believed that
everything gets its due; the thorough mechanical explicability of bodily
phenomena, and the law of the conservation of energy and of matter, and,
on the other hand, very decisively also, the independence and uniqueness
of law which can no longer be denied to the psychical. And from this
latter standpoint sharp protests are raised against all materialistic
distortions. The only thing denied is the old idea of the "influxus
physicus," the idea, that is, that mind can operate beyond itself and take
effect on the physical world, and conversely the physical world upon it.
This again is regarded as a breach of the law of the conservation of
energy. For if the bodily affects consciousness, then at a given moment a
certain amount of energy must be transformed into something that is not
energy. And if consciousness affects the bodily, a process of movement
must suddenly occur, for which no previous equivalent of energy can be
shown.

This standpoint is most impressively set forth in Paulsen's widely read
"Introduction to Philosophy." The same ideas form the central feature in
the work of Fechner, which is having such a marked renaissance to-day.

It seems as though all higher estimates of spirit, even the religious
estimate, could quite well rest upon this basis. For full scope is here
given to the idea that mind and the mental sciences have their own
particular field. God, as the absolute all-consciousness and
self-consciousness, comprehending within Himself all individual
consciousness, is thought of as the eternal correlate of this universe in
space. And the theory has room also for a belief in immortality. Of all
imaginative attempts to make the idea of immortality clear and possible,
undoubtedly that of Fechner is the grandest and most effective. And it,
too, is based entirely upon the idea of parallelism. (Yet as a matter of
fact it could be shown that neither mortality nor immortality really fit
into the scheme of this conception.)

Though its main features are very similar as set forth by its various
champions, this theory differs according to the way in which this
astonishing and mysterious co-ordination, this parallelism itself, is
explained. How is it that "thought" and "extension" can correspond to one
another?

The answer may be either naively dogmatic, that this is one of the great
riddles of the universe, and that we must simply take it for granted.
Others declare with Spinoza that the two series of phenomena are only the
two sides of one and the same fundamental being and happening, which may
be designated as natura sive deus, and that what is inwardly unified
expresses itself outwardly in these two forms of being. But because both
sides, thought and extension, are only expressions of one and the same
fundamental substance, they correspond exactly to one another. The best
illustration of this is Fechner's simile of the curved line. It is concave
on one side, convex on the other, and thus entirely different on the two
sides. But at every point the concavity corresponds exactly to the
convexity. And this is possible because the two are the inner and the
outer aspects of the same line.

Others, again, go back to the fundamental ideas of critical idealism, and
declare the whole extended world accessible to the senses and the
mechanical-physical nexus of cause and phenomena, to be simply the form of
appearance in which the fundamentally spiritual existence presents itself
to our senses. Body, movement, physiological processes, are all nothing
more than the will, to speak with Fichte and Schopenhauer, or the idea, or
the spirit itself, which appears thus to sensory beings. Other theories,
some of them new, are also put forward.





Next: No Parallelism

Previous: Personality



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