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carry scepticism or the worship of the Unknowable to the length of combating Hegel's position that, in any given stage of advance, philosophy and art alike may hope to seize hold of what in some sort are grand world-outlines; or that the latter may, after all reservations, be comfortably accepted as real and permanent factors of the absolute truth of the World. And so far, we are ready, most of us, if anyone prefers the term, to speak of art's ideals as “absolute," and yet to grant them direct objective validity. Let me repeat and emphasise this concession, that in so far as by the idealism of art is meant only that in its "criticism of life" it applies deep-lying, large schematic norms, and by its truth that these norms are justifiable as enduring, fundamental traits of the ultimate reality itself of thingsso far, unless we be complete, all-around sceptics and agnostics, we may cheerfully assent that art's idealism is compatible with a very actual outer truth, and need not dread very strenuous controversies in the matter. But is this all that art's idealism signifies, all that its claims of truth involve? We straightway come upon a chance for radical divergences the moment we insist on pressing either of two reflections. First, can the entire truth ever be told in terms of so-called essential principles—can any interpretation involving abstraction be absolutely adequate? Secondly, is there ever realized such a thing as a stage of truth unconditionally achieved—such a thing even as a perfect and completed system of categories ? Or, to put this second query another way, can the mind, by sheer power of insight or of pure activity within itself, and without waiting on experience and history, compass an unconditionally closed circle of truth-even of the nakedly universal sort? The orthodox Hegelian of the old school, so far as I have followed him, appears to me to answer both these questions with an affirmative; for him, the whole essential and imperishable truth is summed up in the categories, and he pretends to put before us the entire body of them. Consequently there should exist for him no reason why he could not pronounce the ideals bodying themselves forth in mature and elevated art, as capable not alone, of an unequivocally final adequacy-of an absolute absoluteness, if we may put it so—in themselves as mere ideals, but also of an absolutely unqualified objective verity. But how does the case stand with such of us as are of little faith? Suppose we refuse to believe in an absolutely absolute philosophy, much rather looking upon the Universe as literally inexhaustible, not simply as regards the infinite variety of its “contingent” particulars, but likewise as to the wealth of "essential” principles which it is able to unfold. One may conceivably be unprepared to assent that, as to its vital core, the drama of history was all played out within some few thousands of years and, as Lotze has pointedly commented, in and around the basin of the Mediterranean; so that one may be unwilling to accept even a final body of categories. Of course, the situation is not improved if, further yet, we do not believe anyway that reality ever can be exhaustively described in categories, or any “essential” traits, generalities, or abstractions whatsoever, but that out of the limbo of despised contingency and residual phenomena, new essential principles as well as a new history are ever rising to sight. Obviously, on such a view, absolute
, compassing of truth is not to be looked for in our ideals, whether created and given utterance in the form of art, or in any possible other finite mode of theory or projection outward. because all alike do involve abstraction. And suppose now, lastly, that our doubting goes a greater length still, in that, first, we cannot feel an unconditional objective cogency in any necessity of a merely inner, or moral, or subjective, or any other species divorced from demonstration, in the literal sense of showing forth, in the world of outer experience; while, secondly, at the same time, we do hold that over and above all (in the just-noted sense) demonstrable ideals, the mind keeps always irresistibly positing such supreme ideals as God, Freedom, and a total World, and these, in their last reaches, are ever turning out subjective and indemonstrable—or while, indeed, we hold it to be of the very nature of all ideals to have this indemonstrable residuum, if so we may call it, which, accordingly, like all subjective contents, is constantly liable to revision, correction, and illusoriness. In these circumstances, plainly, the ideality of art-its high vision of the ought-to-beis not an unreservedly true vision, but subject to revision and renewed attempts at demonstration, with the attendant opportunities for renewed doubt, or occasional not altogether silly despair over the possibility of demonstration at all. And hence the recurrent opportunities, too, for artistic expressions, not of optimism solely, but of agnosticism, scepticism and blank negation. The artist-mind, no less than the philosophic mind, may doubt or repudiate its own idealism.
In conclusion, that we may not appear to have hung back too timidly, for even these few pages, in mere interrogations and suppositions, I would urge that at least the following affirmative items, if not in every case expressly enlarged on, yet can all be gathered from our discussion, and may be regarded as summarising its substantial drift and upshot. They are:
(1.) That the aims of art are, in their last intent, serious; namely, revelation, truth in some sort, if only of the needs and nature of the spirit itself.
(2.) That art is an expression in terms of sense and feeling, but of and for reason through these; and therefore its communications need produce gratification in no other fashion than do the pronouncements of reason through the medium of philosophic reflection. They should produce the pleasure of insight, in which, however, in every other respect, that sense of furthered being which we call pleasure, may be thwarted, quite as conceivably as it can be in the outcome of legitimate speculation.
(3.) That its content is ideals—mind-born demands on the World—which apart from the question of whether the relatively more appropriate mode of having them is in sensuous perception or pure thought, are simply in themselves as ideals final or finite, complete or incomplete, in just the same sense and in the same way as those of philosophy itself.
(4.) That its ambition, too, of vindicating these ideals in the sphere of external reality is just as much and just as little attainable as in philosophy—it is capable of achieving a truth precisely as absolute and as relative, as "objective” and as "subjective," as is philosophy. Whether the sensuous concreteness of the æsthetic ideals is to be accounted a drawback or an advantage for their objective truth, depends upon whether we
regard sensuous individuation as a "contingency” and clog to be worked free of, or as something indispensable to completeness of being and insight.
(5.) That, lastly, from all the preceding points together, it appears that the movements of art are thorough counterparts to the phases of philosophy; so that once more we may conclude, that if in the one region we are able to find legitimate room, not for optimistic syntheses alone, but as well for moments of positivism, agnosticism, scepticism, and pessimism, so likewise must we do in the other.
GEORGE REBEC. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.
THE VIVISECTION PROBLEM.
(A Reply.) The thoughtful article on vivisection which appeared in a recent number of this periodical* is suggestive of conclusions with which some of its readers are not inclined to agree. By a process of reasoning, based, we think, upon an imperfect acquaintance with the facts, the writer has apparently come to believe that animal experimentation is so carefully and humanely carried on, so free from all abuse and so productive of benefit to humanity that it should be permitted to continue, untouched by the criticism of the "sentimentalist” and unhindered by restriction or restraint. What defects are to be found in Mr. Myers' line of reasoning? Why do arguments, such as those which he has so ably presented, fail to convince some whose regard for the progress of science is as genuine as his own? Against the suggestion or claim that vivisection is, in effect, altogether right, how is it that some intelligent men believe that certain phases of the practice are unjustifiable and wrong? Within the limits of a brief paper, it is, of course, impossible to bring forward all the reasons for dissent; but some outline may be given, sufficient to define the differing standpoint of those who believe that without definite limitations, the practice of vivisection is sometimes carried to an extent which is not ethically just.
* "Is Vivisection Justifiable?” C. S. Myers in April number, 1904.
Is vivisection ever painful? Does it sometimes imply prolonged agony.
This seems to us a matter of no little importance. We think that the decision regarding the morality of the practice rests almost entirely upon the answer to this one question. Could it be demonstrated beyond doubt that a dog undergoing vivisection suffers no more of what we call pain, than a tuft of grass torn out by its roots, or a flower pulled to pieces, the justifiability of animal vivisection would be assured. The impeachment of unlimited vivisection rests wholly upon the conviction that in some of its phases, it is productive of agony. A few years ago, hardly anybody in the medical profession questioned the fact. To-day, nearly every apologist for the method, attempts, as Mr. Myers has done, to show the absence of any great degree of discomfort. Every effort, he assures us, is made to diminish pain; "an anæsthetic is always administered;" the pain of certain inoculations is but that of a needle-prick; and even the cries and contortions of a vivisected creature are to be regarded for the most part, as an illusion. “When an animal manifests the appropriate signs, the sentimentalist at once leaps to the conclusion that the behavior that he observed in others implies the presence of the same state of feelings in them as would induce the same behavior in himself.” But this, Mr. Myers assures us, is an error of the kind known as the “psychologist's fallacy;" we really know nothing about it. "Considerations of this kind only show what control the layman should exercise over the springs of his natural pity, when he reads of seemingly painful, but really painless experiments upon the internal organs of living animals." That during such operations (which, by the way, are sometimes extended over weeks and months) the animals are put under the influence of an anæsthetic; that in England this is demanded by law, that in other countries it is the voluntary custom of physiologists—all this he most confidently and fervently seems to believe. It is not denied that occasionally, some pain may ensue; but to this writer, this apparently seems of such a trifling character that he passes it without criticism.