Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/524

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cross-sections of reality while we wish to get a comprehensive view of the whole. Physics may be able to explain its facts by assuming the existence of homogeneous atoms and force, but can the chemist understand his phenomena without presupposing the qualitative difference of such atoms? Can the biologist undertake to interpret life with purely mechanical principles; can he reconcile the purposiveness of organisms with the mechanical theory of causation? Will the psychologist, who deals with states of mind or consciousness, be able to account for the existence of these from the physicist's principles, atoms and motion? A science is needed that will consciously and methodically aim to bring order into this chaos, that will consider all the facts, and, if possible, unify these facts. It will subject the principles offered by the various sciences to the most critical examination, compare them with one another, point out their inconsistencies where such exist, it will in short, rectify, harmonize and if possible unify results. Such a science is philosophy. Its need is apparent. If men are bound to philosophize at all, it is a reasonable demand that they should do the work well. We cannot leave the solution of the greatest problems to chance, to the haphazard methods of persons unskilled in such work, and prejudiced enough to adjust the facts to their theories. Here as everywhere else, he will do the best work who has the best training, and concentrates his entire time and energy upon the field of his choice.

Such reflections as these have brought the modern world back again to philosophy. The philistine is defined as the man without intellectual needs, and the philistine alone sees no need of philosophy. The great scientists do not allow their occupation with the details of reality to blunt their vision of the whole. They look up from their microscopes occasionally; they can not rest satisfied with blindly staring at the minutiae; they aim to understand things by seeing them in their relations to the whole.

The measurement of the time required for a current to pass through the sciatic nerve of a frog will not, taken by itself, make us any the wiser. Mere facts must be made the stepping-stones to something higher. Our age is becoming more fully aware of the need of philosophical study. This is evident from the renewal of the philosophical activity in all departments of knowledge. Protestant theology is striving after a rational explanation of dogmas—heresy trials show that! Catholicism has its philosophy; it accepts the conceptions of Thomas Aquinas, whose source is Aristotle. In jurisprudence, economics, politics, sociology and history the philosophical tendency is manifesting itself. Mathematicians, too, are speculating concerning the nature of number, space and related notions. In the words of Wundt the view is spreading among natural scientists 'that the mere description and combination of the facts of a limited field will no longer suffice, but that it is