Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/134

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ing less than "the culmination of philosophy in its intimate and precise alliance with all the special sciences, and with every phase and form of human life, individual and collective.

No doubt the reason thus given why this philosophy has made its way so slowly has truth in it, as large and extensively ramified and complex conceptions can not be grasped and mastered except through corresponding effort. But there is probably another reason which has also been operative in hindering the study of "Universology." Mr. Andrews is an erudite philologist and a man of great mental independence. As a consequence he uses his vast lingual resources with a freedom that borders upon license. Rules are lightly regarded—he makes his own rules; and, being an irrepressible inventor, he coins new words as easily as he breathes. These qualities are of course necessary to the constructor of a new and universal language; but the practical effect has been that even his English expositions of universological doctrine have been so inlaid and overlaid with new, technical, and, according to accepted standards, outlandish terms, that they have frightened off readers and been a powerful hindrance to the students of his system. A universal science and a universal language, coming all at once and from the same party, have favored both discouragement in their acquisition and a grave suspicion as to the genuine quality of so vast an undertaking. And this doubt has been unquestionably much re-enforeed by the general acceptance in recent years of evolutionary ideas, which imply slow growth through long periods, by small increments of change, in the mental as well as in the material world. These considerations, even if indecisive and illegitimate, may help to explain the reluctance, if not the prejudice, with which Mr. Andrews's system has been received.

But, aside from the enormous friction of the lingual medium employed, a system of universal science is at best hard to reproduce in a newspaper article. Mr. Andrews's radical idea is that of similarity or parallelism of method or of analogy among the sciences. He maintains that this is their most fundamental relation, and that it forms itself a distinctive and all-comprehensive science. The analogy of individual life to the collective life of society, propounded by Plato, expounded by Hobbes, and worked up into the modern doctrine of "the social organism," may be taken as an example of analogy among the sciences. But in this case all the phenomena are of a common kind, and fall within the single category of biological science. An example of remoter analogy is furnished where we compare organic with inorganic sciences. In his celebrated discourse on geological reform, given in his "Lay Sermons," Professor Huxley develops this idea very clearly in tracing out the analogy between our knowledge of the living creature, biological knowledge, and our knowledge of the constitution of the globe, or earth-knowledge, as he terms it. He brings both these phenomenal spheres under the large conception of "Evolutionism," and points out the structural, functional, and developmental similarities that are traceable between them. Assuming the validity of this idea, Mr. Andrews proceeds to carry it out systematically, and to bring all departments of knowledge into unity on the analogical basis. His work is done with great learning and great ingenuity. He has served a long apprenticeship at finding analogies, and he sees them everywhere. Not only are the sciences as now advanced correlated by innumerable traces of cousinship, but all the past stages of science are filiated by the same ties—his net brings in everything. Not only physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, astronomy, geology, but metaphysics, ontology, philology, archæology, history, and all the stages of inquiry are enmeshed in a grand analogical unity. The old doctrine of fire, air, earth, and water, though now to the scientific mind only representing a crude stage of thought, altogether erroneous but useful in an age of ignorance, is installed in Mr. Andrews's exposition, as may also be the total product of the mind of man in all the stages of its growing intelligence.

The real question, of course, is as to the value of this immense work, and to what extent it has been pushed into the sphere of mere fancy. To what degree is it legitimate science? It is not to be denied that the history of scientific ideas is full of the examples of futile effort in tracing out fan-