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be held as continuously determining the use to which the property and means of the Church must be put. A constitution is held to be in the nature of a permanent instruction; it may be whatever its framers intend and devise, but, being adopted, it has all the force of a standing decree. By being a religious body, a Church is not raised above this law.” The constitution may, of course, be altered; but any property held on the basis of the principles departed from in virtue of the alteration is forfeited. It is for this reason that I spoke of the moral consequences of this decision. These consequences, let it be noted, are already beginning to be felt. The London Daily News has said that "if the House of Lords is right, there is not a single Nonconformist body in England which can look at the truth without fear of ruin.” If this were true, it would be nothing less than a shameful confession. If it were true, it would mean that the standards of the churches are so false that a glance at thetruth would betray them. Thisisa grossexaggeration. None the less, all churches are now being made to see that, in view of the inevitability of progress, their constitutions must needs make open and explicit allowance for alteration. The message of science and philosophy to the ecclesiastics of this country is now enforced by “the strong arm of the law.” The question is all the more pressing, because the creed-bound churches have gone beyond their creeds; the Confessions they profess to hold by are all dying or dead, are standards of belief only in name; and yet these standards, in virtue of their nominal maintenance, work more mischief and hindrance to truth and progress than can easily be told. It is for this reason that the official spokesmen of our churches do not know where they stand, and on many great intellectual, moral, and spiritual issues of the present time have no message to give, or a message uttered in uncertain, halting tones. A better day will dawn for the world when all churches shall have cast aside the last remnants of their broken-down dogmas, and shall be free to become the world's pioneers of Truth and Light, and not be dragged reluctantly behind the wheels of progress, as they have been hitherto.
S. H. MELLONE. HOLYWOOD, BELFAST, IRELAND.
BOOK REVIEWS. A PHILOSOPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO Ethics: An Advocacy of
the Spiritual Principle in Ethics from the Point of View of Personal Idealism. By W. R. Boyce Gibson, M. A., Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of London. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Lim., 1904. Pp. viii, 223.
The main objects of this book are, it appears, two: to advocate “the spiritual principle in Ethics,” and to advocate "the point of view of Personal Idealism.” Mr. Gibson apparently desires to convince us chiefly of the two propositions: (1) that there is a “spiritual principle in morality” (p. 71), and (2) that “the individual's own inviolate spiritual experience is the central fact in Moral Philosophy" (p. v). We may, then, hope to do justice to his book, if we endeavor to discover, first, precisely what it is that he means by these two vague phrases, and secondly, how far he is successful in showing that what he means is true.
What, then, does he mean when he says that there is a “spiritual principle in morality”? He tells us that by showing this, he will establish the existence of Moral Philosophy, as distinguished from what he calls "Ethical Science." In general, he says, there are two ways of considering facts: we may either “identify" a fact with “the object known through an experience" (p. 49); and it is only with such facts as these that "Science" deals: or we may take a fact "concretely as including the relation between ourselves, who experience, and the objects experienced" P. 50); and it is with facts so taken that Philosophy deals. To take a fact in the latter way is apparently to recognize the "spiritual element present in it” (p. vi); and that all facts may be so taken—that there is a spiritual element present in them all—Mr. Gibson apparently takes to be proved by that argument of Green's, in which he tries to show that “the fact known necessarily implies the knowing subject" (p. 70). In short, in order to prove the "presence of a spiritual principle in all facts," it is, it appears, only necessary to establish the well-known idealistic position, that nothing can exist at any time, unless it is simultaneously known by a knowing subject.
It would appear to follow at once that there is a spiritual element in moral facts, since, if Green's argument is correct, they too, being facts, cannot exist unless they are known. But at this point we first meet with a perplexity; for it appears, from the
author's words, that the presence of a spiritual principle in morality is, after all, not proved by the above argument of Green's, but only by an argument of “precisely the same kind” (pp. 71, 82). This new argument is apparently directed to showing that a "motive” is “toto genere different” from a mere "want," since it is "first constituted by the reaction of the man's self upon (such a want], and its identification of itself" with the object of such a want (p. 84).
It seems plain that this argument is supposed to be analogous to the former one, owing to the fact that, whereas the former tried to show that all facts have a certain relation to the knowing subject, this tries to show that, where we speak of "motives," a "want” has also a relation (though quite a different one) to the knowing subject. But it seems also plain that the two arguments are far from "precisely similar." For whereas the first tries to show that every fact is related to the knowing subject, in the manner described by saying that it is known by it; this only maintains that some wants are related to the knowing subject in the manner described by saying that the knowing subject identifies itself with their object.
We find, then, that when Mr. Gibson tells us that there is "a spiritual principle" in a fact, he may be expressing his belief in either of two very different propositions. He may mean (1) that the fact in question is simultaneously known by a knowing subject; or he may mean (2) that the fact in question is a "want" and that a knowing subject “identifies” itself with the object of this want. We find moreover, that whereas in the first view there is a spiritual principle in all facts, in the second there is a spiritual principle only in "wants," and not even in all wants, but only in those which are called by certain names.
But this is not all that he means by the phrase; for to say that there is a "spiritual principle in facts” is also, it appears, , to say that there is "purpose" in them—that they are "snatched from the realm of mechanism into that of teleology” (p. vi). "We have," Mr. Gibson says, “in the spiritual factor in an experience, the very presence of purposive activity, so that to take experience in its integrity necessitates our treating it teleologically” (p. 50). And accordingly, as we were before told that philosophy is distinguished from science by recognizing the spiritual elements in facts, so we are told, again and again, that it is distinguished by its "teleological method” (p. 49). We have it, then, that part of what Mr. Gibson desires to advocate is the view that “purposive activity is present in every fact,” and that, consequently, every fact may be “treated teleologically." What precisely does he mean by this?
In the first place, we are told that “the teleological point of view, characteristic of true moral philosophy, is well represented by its dominant question: How do facts express spiritual purpose”? (P. 29). And we are further told that “to explain a thing, in the most fundamental sense of the term, is to point out the purpose which it serves” (p. 52). I think, then, that when Mr. Gibson tells us that "purposive activity is present" in every fact, and that consequently every fact can be treated by the teleological method, which is characteristic of philosophy, he does at least mean us to understand that every fact both “expresses" and "serves" a "purpose."
But what precisely does Mr. Gibson mean by a "purpose"? For any
definite answer to this question we must turn to Lecture IX, in which Mr. Gibson maintains that Prof. Stout's psychology is “teleological.” “All consciousness, with Prof. Stout,” he says, "is conative consciousness" (p. 199); and "Prof. Stout's theory of Conation is essentially teleological in character." Of this “teleological” theory of conation Mr. Gibson gives us an account, from which we may elicit the following information:
All conation, we are told, "tends invariably towards an end in one or both of the two senses of that word, 'aim' or 'ending' (p. 199). But all conation, which tends towards an end in the sense of "aim,” also, we find tends towards an “ending” (ib.); and hence we may infer that such conation, as tends towards an end in one only of the two senses, does not tend towards an "aim.” We have, therefore, two kinds of conation-one which tends only towards an “ending" and not towards an "aim,” and one which tends towards both; and these two kinds are apparently those spoken of on the next page (p. 200), the first as “directed blindly," the second as "directed deliberately," "to an end." In both cases, Mr. Gibson tells us, the conation "is manifestly purposive,” though "only in the latter case" can we “strictly speak of its being teleological” (ib.).
We find, then, that Mr. Gibson does not always use the word "purpose" in that common sense in which it is equivalent to "aim”; since he tells us that even those conations, which are characterized by the absence of any "aim," are yet "manifestly
purposive.” In what sense, then, does he use the word? We can, I think, form some positive idea of his meaning by considering two other passages which occur in the same connection. On p. 201 he quotes from Prof. Stout the sentence: “The process would not be a process towards an end, if it could persist without variation in an unsuccessful course”; and he himself, on P. 198, expresses the same view by saying that all process which is directed to an end must vary “such tentative efforts as fail to prove purposive." It is plain that Mr. Gibson here uses the word "purposive" in the same sense as that in which Prof. Stout uses "successful”; and we seem justified in inferring that, whatever else he may mean by “purpose,” he does, at least, mean that ”to serve a purpose" is to produce a successful result. In short, it appears that, though “aim” and “ending" are the two senses of the word “end,” yet no process which tended towards an "ending" would be tending towards an end, unless it also tended towards a "successful ending."
It appears, then, that when Mr. Gibson tells us that "there is a spiritual principle” in a fact, he may mean at least three different things. We have indeed, by no means exhausted the richness of meaning which he attaches to the phrase; but to show that there is a “spiritual principle” in moral facts, in at least these three senses, appears to be essential to his purpose. How far is he successful in showing it?
(1) In the first sense, as we have seen, he maintains that there is a spiritual element in all facts, and he gives no separate argument to prove it of moral facts. But in order to prove that all facts are simultaneously known, his only argument seems to consist in emphasizing the tautology that whatever we know is known (pp. 76, 77). And from this indisputable truth, it does not seem to follow either that all facts are known at any time, or that what is known at one time cannot exist without being known at the time when it exists. I think, therefore, that Mr. Gibson's demonstration of his first point can hardly be regarded as successful.
(2) As for his second point, it is, as has been said, of quite a different nature from the last. We must assume that Mr. Gibson identifies "moral facts" with "motives" or "acts of will”; and he is then merely maintaining that "moral facts," understood in this sense, differ in an important respect from another class of mental facts, which may be called mere "wants.” Now it may,