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NATURALISM


713


NATURALISM


L., cxxviii, 897 sqq.). Since the story of Mary's Na- tivity is known onl3' from apocryphal sources, the Latin Church was slow in accepting this oriental festi- val. It does not appear in many calendars which con- tain the Assumption, e. g. the Gotho-Gallican, that of Luxeuil, the Toledan Calendar of the tenth century, and the Mozarabic Calendar. The church of Angers in France claims that St. Maurilius instituted this feast at Angers in consequence of a revelation about 430. On the night of S Sept., a man heard the angels singing in heaven, and on asking the reason, they told him that they were rejoicing because the Virgin was born on that night (La fete angevine N. D. de France, IV, Paris, 1S64, 188); but this tradition is not sub- stantiated by historical jjroofs. The feast is found in the calendar of Sonnatius, Bishop of Reims, 614-31 (Kellner, "Heortology ", 21). Still it cannot be said to have been generally celebrated in the eighth and ninth centuries. St. Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres (d. 1028), speaks of it as of recent institution (P. L., cxli, 320, sqq.) ; the three sermons he wrote are the oldest genuine Latin sermons for this festival (Kellner, " Heor- tology", London, 1908, 230). The octave was insti- tuted by Innocent IV (a. 1243) in accordance with a vow made by the cardinals in the conclave of the autumn of 1241, when they were kept prisoners by Frederick II for three months. In the Greek Church the apodosis (solution) of the feast takes place 12 Sept., on account of the fea.st and the sulrninity of the Exaltation of the Cross, 13 and 14 Sept. The Copts in Kgypt and the Abyssinians celebrate Mary's Nativity on 1 May, and continue the feast under the name of "Seed of Jacob" 33 days (Anal. Juris Pont., xxi, 403); they also com- memorate it on the first of everv month (priv. letter from P. Baeteman, C. M., Alikiena). The Catholic Copts have adopteil tlic Greek feast, but keep it 10 Sept. (Nilles, "Kal. man.", II, 696, 706).

Lucius-Anrich, Anfdnge des HeiligenkuHus (Tubiugen, 1904); HOLWECK, Fasti Mariani (Freiburg, 1S94), 11.S sqq.

Frederick G. Holweck.

Naturalism is not so much a special system as a point of view or tendencj' common to a number of philosophical and religious systems; not so much a well-defined set of positive and negative doctrines as an attitude or spirit pervading and influencing many doctrines. As the name implies, this tendency con- sists essentially in looking upon nature as the one orig- inal and fundamental source of all that exists, and hence in attempting to explain everything in terms of nature. Either the limits of nature are also the lim- its of existing reality, or at least the first cause, if its existence is found necessary, has nothing to do with the working of natural agencies. All events, there- fore, find their adequate explanation within nature itself. But, as the terms nature (q. v.) and natural are themselves used in more than one sense, the term nnt- uralism is also far from having one fixed meaning. (I) If nature is understood in the restricted sense of physi- cal, or material, nature, naturalism will be the tend- ency to look upon the material universe as the only reality, to reduce all laws to mechanical uniformities, and to deny the dualism of spirit and matter. Mental and moral proces.ses will be but special manifestations of matter rigorously governed by its laws. (II) The dualism of mind and matter may be admitted, but only as a dualism of modes or appearances of the same identical substance. Nature includes manifold phe- nomena and a common substratum of the phenomena, but for its actual course and for its ultimate explana- tion, it requires no principle distinct from itself. In this supposition, naturalism denies the existence of a transcendent cause of the world and endeavours to give a full account of all proces.ses by the unfolding of potencies essential to the universe under laws that are necessary and eternal. (Ill) Finally, if the existence of a transcendent First Cause, or personal God, is ad- mitted as the only satisfactory explanation of the


world, Naturalism claims that the laws governing the activity and development of irrational and of rational beings are never interfered with. It denies the possi- bility, or at least the fact, of any transitory interven- tion of God in nature, and of any revelation and per- manent supernatural order for man.

These three forms are not mutually exclusive; what the third denies the first and the second, a fortiori, also deny; all agree in rejecting every explanation which would have recourse to causes outside of nature. The reasons of this denial — i. e., the philosophical views of nature on which it is based — and, in con.sequence, the extent to which explanations within nature itself are held to suffice, vary greatly and constitute essential differences between these three tendencies.

I. Materialistic Naturalism asserts that matter is the only reality, and that all the laws of the universe are reducible to mechanical laws. What theory may be held concerning the essence of matter makes little difference here. Whether matter be considered as continuous or as composed of atoms distant from one another, as being exclusively extension or as also en- dowed with an internal principle of activity, or even as being only an aggregate of centres of energy without any real extension (see Atomism; Dynami.s.m; Mech- anism), the attitude of Naturalism is the same. It claims that all realities in the world, including the pro- cesses of consciousness from the lowest to the highest, are but manifestations of what we call matter, and obey the same necessary laws. While some may limit their materialistic account to nature itself, and admit the existence of a Creator of the world, or at least leave this question open, the general tendency of Materialism is towards Atheism and exclusive Natu- ralism. Early Greek philosophers endeavoured to re- duce nature to unity by pointing to a primordial ele- ment out of which all things were composed. Their views were, implicitly at least. Animistic or Hylozois- tic rather than .Matrrinlistic, and the vague formative function attributed to the A^om,s, or rational principle, by Anaxagoras was but an exception to the prevailing naturalism. Pure mechanLsm was developed by the Atomists (Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius), and the soul itself was held to be composed of special, more subtile, atoms. In the Christian era materialism in its exclusive form is represented especially by the French school of the latter half of the eighteenth cen- tury and the German school of the latter half of the nineteenth century. Since matter is the only reality, whatever takes place in the world is the result of ma- terial causes and must be explained by physical ante- cedents without any teleology. Life is but a complex problem of physics and chemistry; consciousness is a property of matter; rational thought is reduced to sensation, and will to instinct. The mind is a pow- erless accompaniment or epiphenomenon of certain forms or groupings of matter, and, were it suppressed altogether, the whole world would still ]3roceed in ex- actly the same way. Man is a conscious automaton whose whole activity, mental as well as phy.siolcjgical, is determined by material antecedents. W'liat we call the human person is but a transitory i)hase in the special arrangement of material elements giving rise to special mental results; and it goes without saying that in such a system there is no room for freedom, re- sponsibility, or personal immortality.

II. Pantheism in its various forms asserts that God, the First Reality, World-Ground, or Absolute, is not transcendent and jiersonal, but immanent in the world, and that the |)henomena of nature are only manifestations of this one common substance. For the Stoics, He is the immanent rea.son, the soul of the world, communicating everywhere activity and life. According to Scotus Eriugena, "God is the essence of all things, for He alone truly is" (De divisione naturae, III); nature includes the totality of beings and is di- vided into (1) uncreated and creating nature, i. e., God