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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/447

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443
THE VALUE OF SCIENCE

analysis and 'discourse,' just by that condemns itself to being intransmissible, it is a philosophy essentially internal, or, at the very least, only its negations can be transmitted; what wonder then that for an external observer it takes the shape of scepticism?

Therein lies the weak point of this philosophy; if it strives to remain faithful to itself, its energy is spent in a negation and a cry of enthusiasm. Each author may repeat this negation and this cry, may vary their form, but without adding anything.

And yet, would it not be more logical in remaining silent? See, you have written long articles; for that, it was necessary to use words. And therein have you not been much more 'discursive' and consequently much farther from life and truth than the animal who simply lives without philosophizing? Would not this animal be the true philosopher?

However, because no painter has made a perfect portrait, should we conclude that the best painting is not to paint? When a zoologist dissects an animal, certainly he 'alters it.' Yes, in dissecting it, he condemns himself to never know all of it; but in not dissecting it, he would condemn himself to never know anything of it and consequently to never see anything of it.

Certes, in man are other forces besides his intellect, no one has ever been mad enough to deny that. The first comer makes these blind forces act or lets them act; the philosopher must speak of them; to speak of them, he must know of them the little that can be known, he should therefore see them act. How? With what eyes, if not with his intellect? Heart, instinct, may guide it, but not render it useless; they may direct the look, but not replace the eye. It may be granted that the heart is the workman, and the intellect only the instrument. Yet is it an instrument not to be done without, if not for action, at least for philosophizing. Therefore a philosopher really anti-intellectualistic is impossible. Perhaps we shall have to declare for the supremacy of action; always it is our intellect which will thus conclude; in allowing precedence to action it will thus retain the superiority of the thinking reed. This also is a supremacy not to be disdained.

Pardon these brief reflections and pardon also their brevity, scarcely skimming the question. The process of intellectualism is not the subject I wish to treat: I wish to speak of science, and about it there is no doubt; by definition, so to speak, it will be intellectualistic or it will not be at all. Precisely the question is, whether it will be.

 

§ 2. Science, Rule of Action

For M. LeRoy, science is only a rule of action. We are powerless to know anything and yet we are launched, we must act, and at all