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NATURAL


7i;


NATURE


Stoics, formulated first by Zeno, that we must live consistently or harmoniously {ri) ofioXoyovfih'us f^r), and stated more explicitly by Cleanfhes as liic iil)liKii- tion to live in conformity with nature (ri 6iJio\oyovij.^i>oii^ TTi <j>iau ^riv) gave rise to several interpretations, some understanding nature exclusively as human nature, others chiefly as the whole universe. Moreover as man has many natural tendencies, desires, and appe- tites, it may be asked whether it is moral to follow all indiscriminately; and when they are conflicting or mu- tually exclusive, so that a choice is to be made, on what ground must certain activities be given the pref- erence over the others? Before the Stoics, the Cynics, both in theory and in practice, had based their rules of conduct on the principle that nothing natural can be morally wrong. Opposing customs, conventions, re- finement, and culture, they endeavoured to return to the pure state of nature. Rousseau, likewise, looks upon the .social organization as a necessary evil which contributes towards developing conventional stand- ards of morality. Man, according to him, is naturally good, but becomes depraved by education and by con- tact with other men. This same theme of the opposi- tion of nature and culture, and the superiority of the former, is a favourite one with Tolstoi. According to Nietzsche, the current standards of virtue are against nature, and, because they favour the poor, the weak, the suffering, the miserable, by commending such feel- ings as charity, compassion, pity, humility, etc., they are obstacles in the way of true progress. For the progress of mankind and the development of the "Superman", it is essential to return to the primitive and natural standard of morality, which is energy, activity, strength, and superiority; the most powerful are also the best.

If ethical naturalism is considered in its relation with the three philosophical views explained above, it sometimes means only the rejection of any duties based on a Divine Revelation, and the assumption that the only source of right and wrong is human rea- son. Generally, however, it means the more radical tendency to treat moral science in the same manner as natural science. There is freedom nowhere, but abso- lute necessity everywhere. All human actions, as well as physical events, are necessary results of antecedents that are themselves necessary. The moral law, with its essential distinction of right and wrong conduct, is, not an objective norm, but a mere subjective result of associations and instincts evolved from the experience of the useful and agreeable, or of the harmful and pain- ful, consequences of certain actions. It is, neverthe- less, a motive that prompts to act in certain directions, but the effectiveness of which is strictly determined by the degree of its intensity in a given individual com- pared with the resistance it encounters on the part of antagonistic ideas. Thus, the science of ethics is not normative: it does not deal with laws existing ante- cedently to human actions, and which these ought to obey. It is genetic, and endeavours to do for human actions what natural science does for physical phe- nomena, that is, to discover, through an inference from the facts of human conduct, the laws to which it happens to conform.

It is impossible to state in detail the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the assumptions, implica- tions, and consequences of Naturalism. Naturalism is such a wide and far-reaching tendency, it touches upon so many points, its roots and ramifications ex- tend in so many directions, that the reader must be referred to the cognate topics treated in other articles. In general it can only be said that Naturalism contra- dicts the most vital doctrines of the Church, which rest essentially on Supernaturalism. The existence of a personal God and of Divine Providence, the spirit- uality and immortality of the soul, human freedom and responsibility, the fact of a Divine Revelation, the existence of a supernatural order for man, are so many


fundamental teachings of the Church, which, while recognizing all the rights and exigencies of nature, rises higher, to the Author and Supreme Ruler of na- ture.

Balfoub, The Foundations of Belief QieviYoA, 189.5); Lloyd Morgan, Naturalism in MonisI, VI (189S-96), 76; Ward, Nat- uralism and A(/nosticism (New York, 1899) ; Rademacheh, Gnade und Nalur (1908); ScHAZLER, Natur und Uebernatur (Mainz, 1865): ScHEEBEN, iVafur und Gnarfe (Mainz, 1861); Schrader, De triplici ordine, naturali, supernaturati et pT(Etematurali (Vienna, 1864) ; Baldwin, Diction, of Philos. and Psychol. (New York and London, 1901); Eisleh, Worterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe, See also Grace, Miracle, etc.

C. A. DUBBAY.

Natural Law. See Lavf, Natural.

Natural Right. See Right.

Nature etymologically (Latin naiura from nasci, to be born, like the corresponding Greek ipiais from <f)i€iv, to bring forth) has reference to the production of things, and hence generally includes in its connota- tion the ideas of energy and activity. It will be con- venient to reduce to two classes the various meanings of the term nature according as it applies to the na- tures of individual beings or to nature in general.

I. In an individual being, especially if its consti- tutive elements and its activities are manifold and complex, the term nature is sometimes applied to the collection of distinctive features, original or acquired, by which such an individual is characterized and dis- tinguished from others. Thus it may be said it is the nature of one man to be taller, stronger, more intelligent, or more sociable than another. This mean- ing, however, is superficial; in philosophical terminol- ogy and even in ordinary language, nature refers to something deeper and more fundamental. These fea- tures are manifestations of a man's nature; they are not his nature. Nature properly signifies that which is primitive and original, or, according to etymology, that which a thing is at birth, as opposed to that which is acquired or added from external sources. But the line that divides the natural from the artificial can- not be drawn with precision. Inorganic beings never change except under the influence of external agencies, and in the same circumstances, their mode of activity is uniform and constant. Organisms present a greater complexity of structure, power of adaptation, and variety of function. For their development out of a primitive germ they require the co-operation of many external factors, yet they have within themselves the principle of activity by which external substances are elaborated and assimilated. In any being the changes due to necessary causes are called natural, whereas those produced by intentional human activity are called artifical. But it is clear that art supposes nature and is but a special adaptation of natural aptitudes, capacities, or activities for certain aesthetic or useful purposes. Stars, rivers, forests, are works of nature; parks, canals, gardens, and machines are works of art. If necessary conditions are realized, where the seed falls a plant will grow naturally. But the seed may be placed purposely amid certain surround- ings, the growth of the plant may be hastened, its shape all cred, and, in general, the result to be expected from iuitur;d activities may be modified. By training (he uptiludesof an animal are utilized and its instincts adapted for specific ends. In such cases the final re- sult is more or less natural or artificial according to the mode and amount of human intervention.

In scholastic philosophy, nature, essence, and sub- stance are closely related terms. Both essence and substance imply a static point of view and refer to constituents or mode of existence, while nature im- plies a dynamic point of view and refers to innate tendencies. Moreover, substance is opposed to ac- cidents, whereas we may speak of the nature and essence not only of substances but also of accidentu like colour, sound, intelligence, and of abstract ideals like virtue or duty. But when applied to the same