Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/525

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WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?.

the highest aim of the particular branches of natural science to cooperate in obtaining a comprehensive conception of nature.'[1]

A further evidence of the intensification of philosophical activity is offered by the increased sale of philosophical books, the publication of philosophical journals, and the strengthening and establishment of departments of philosophy in our universities. Our own country, though frequently accused of being the most materialistic nation on the globe, is becoming a zealous admirer of philosophy. Our philosophical journals are increasing in number and in circulation, and improving in scientific merit, while our great publishing houses are issuing the works of noted authors of all countries, and rendering them accessible to a wider sphere of students.

We have been discussing in the foregoing the fortunes and nature of philosophy proper, during the immediate past. We identified the term philosophy with metaphysics, or the science of first principles. But philosophical study does not occupy itself wholly with metaphysics. That in truth is its very highest and hence latest function. It cannot attempt to offer an explanation of the facts of the world, until it has become acquainted with a large body of these facts. Now the world as a whole presents us with two sets of phenomena, physical and mental, and corresponding to this division we have two classes of sciences, physical or natural science and mental science. The former deal with the manifestations of the external or physical universe, with lifeless and living matter; the latter, with the manifestations of the inner world, with consciousness or mind. The fundamental mental science is called psychology, which analyzes, classifies and explains states of consciousness. On it are based such studies as logic, esthetics, ethics and the philosophy of religion. Psychology asks such questions as these: What are the nature and conditions of sensation, perception, imagination, memory, conception, emotion, instinct, impulse, attention, volition; all of these states being facts of mind or consciousness. Logic asks: How does the mind act when it reasons, when it reaches sentences that we regard as true? What are the forms or laws or principles of reasoning? What are the methods employed by the scientist in his investigations? What, in short, are the rules of deduction and induction? Æsthetics asks: What in the soul and in objects is it that makes us call things beautiful or ugly, sublime or ridiculous? What makes a production a work of art; what are the laws or principles governing the artistic? Ethics asks: What are the characteristics of morality? Why do we designate one act as right, another as wrong? What forms the criterion or standard with which moral facts are measured? We feel that certain courses of conduct are wrong. What is the nature and origin of this feeling? How is it developed? What,


  1. Wundt, Essays, p. 4.