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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/365

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"NATURALISM AND AGNOSTICISM."

writing the later ones; and my failure to do both prompts sarcastic allusions.[1]

In further illustration of the feeling Professor Ward brings to his task, I may quote the following passage, in which he interposes comments on my mode of writing:—

"By the persistence of Force [capital F], we really mean the persistence of some Power [capital P] which transcends our knowledge and conception. The manifestations, as recurring either in ourselves or outside of us, do not persist; but that which persists is the Unknown Cause [capitals again] of these manifestations."

The matter itself is trivial enough. It is worth noticing only as indicating a state of mind. Supposing even that capitals were in such cases inappropriate—supposing even that small initial letters would have been more appropriate; it is clear that only one having a strong animus would have gone out of his way to notice it.

After thus enabling the reader to judge in what temper the criticisms of Professor Ward are made, I may pass on.

 

As implied at the outset, my intention is not to discuss Professor Ward's own philosophy—the less so because I discussed a like philosophy nearly a generation ago. His position is that "Once materialism is abandoned and dualism found untenable, a spiritualistic monism remains the one stable position. It is only in terms of mind that we can understand the unity, activity, and regularity that nature presents. In so understanding we see that Nature is Spirit."

(Preface.) This was the position of Dr. Martineau in 1872 (and probably is now). He argued, that to account for this infinitude of physical changes everywhere going on, "Mind must be conceived as there," "under the guise of simple Dynamics." My criticisms on this view, given in an essay entitled "Mr. Martineau on Evolution," can not here be repeated. But I held then, as I hold now, that "the Ultimate Power is no more representable in terms of human consciousness than human consciousness is representable in terms of a plant's functions." Briefly the result is, that in saying "Nature is Spirit" (capital N and capital S!), Professor


  1. Candor often brings penalties, as witness the announcement "stereotyped edition." When another thousand of a work has been ordered, the printers do not always refer to the author for correction of the title-page, but, as a matter of course, put "second edition," or "third edition," as the case may be. When my attention has been drawn to such matters, however, I have directed that the words "stereotyped edition" shall be put on the titlepage if the printing is from plates, and if the work is unaltered: objecting to a usage which betrays readers into the false belief that new matter is forthcoming. I did not perceive that an antagonist might transform the words "stereotyped edition" into an assertion that the work needed no changes. Experience should have warned me that adverse interpretations are inevitable wherever they are possible. To the question—"Why did you stereotype?" the obvious reply is—"From motives of economy."