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the idea of progress is dynamic, and the idea of continuity is static.
We know that Leibnitz, in his explanation of the universe, had imagined monads, a kind of metaphysical atoms, having all possible degrees, from the simple antitype to the most perfect aperception. According to their nature, they constitute brute matter, or the living being, the animal, the man, or the angel. And as, in the universe, nothing is isolated, a certain monad being given, all the universe acts upon it, and thus expresses it. Each monad is then a mirror which reflects differently. Set this grand conception free from the metaphysical phraseology which is proper to it, and there remains a positive incontestable truth. Place in the same spot different beings, a stone, a tree, a dog, a savage, an European, Newton or Shakespeare ; each will reflect it according to his nature, one a little, the other much. There will exist between the being and its place that which Mr. Herbert Spencer calls a correspondence, and the degree of life will be measured by the degree of correspondence, the ideal mode of life being perfect correspondence. The man who could attain to that degree would reflect in himself, in a complete manner, all the reality of the universe; he would be a microcosm adequate to the microcosm. This idea of a correspondence, which holds the chief place in our author's psychology, as we shall see, appears to me to be a translation of Leibnitz's words into the language of experimental psychology; every monad is a mirror which reflects the universe.
One of the chief traits of the philosopher who occupies us at present is his systematic character. This is to be noted. Certainly, the country which has produced Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, without mentioning the Scotch philosophers, and Mr. Herbert Spencer's contemporaries, has done much for philosophy ; but the English genius has generally preferred researches into detail to great collective views; according to Buckle, it finds pleasure in induction and analysis. In Mr. Herbert Spencer, on the contrary, there is great boldness and breadth, some would perhaps say rashness. But even that proves his power, for fertile minds err rather through audacity than through timidity. His System of Philosophy, of which only the two first parts have been entirely published, will embrace an immense number of facts and problems. It would be inappropriate to our subject to speak of it here, and it is not a work to be judged passingly or in haste. The First Principles are, as it were, the vestibule of this great building. The purpose of this work, which, if we were not afraid of being misunderstood, we would call the Metaphysics of Positivism, is to show that outside of science there is a region inaccessible to its processes and its methods, that outside of the knowable is the unknowable, and thus to place the old quarrel between religion and science, demonstration and faith, on new ground, by showing that there is absolutely nothing in common between them,—to endeavour, by a daring synthesis founded upon the positive sciences, to bring everything back to the law of equivalents or of correlation of forces; and to show that all phenomena are convertible between themselves, from physical manifestations, even to life, thought, and the development of history; thus to condemn spiritualism and materialism, and to reject both as vain solutions. This work is followed by the Principles of Biology, which traces the morphological and physiological evolution of life; the Principles of Psychology, now in course of publication; which will be followed by the Principles of Sociology, and the Principles of Morals. Add to these two important volumes of essays, a treatise on Moral, Intellectual, and Physical Education, one on Social Statics, in which are determined the essential conditions of human happiness, and a Classification of the Sciences, and we can form an idea of the various subjects which this fertile mind has entertained, and on each of which it has produced profound and original ideas sufficient to make the reputation of one less prolific.
We cannot discuss, even passingly, all these titles to fame in this place, where we are principally concerned with psychology. As, however, the fundamental doctrine of evolution is frequently expounded in the Essays, and applied to the most various questions, and this work is but little known in France, though it is calculated to make the philosophy of the author familiar, we propose to make a special study of it.
THE LAW OF EVOLUTION.
The Law of Evolution. 1. Progress consists in the passage from the
homogeneous to the heterogeneous : its law-2. The hypothesis of the nebulus—3. Living organism and social organism-4. The genesis of science-5. The knowable and the unknowable.
Our purpose is to explain the doctrine of progress and development, according to the Essays," and to show how Mr. Herbert Spencer applies it to the different orders of phenomena. After having seen what is to be understood by progress, we shall follow the law of evolution in its explanation of the cosmical genesis, of the development of the social organism, and finally of the genesis of science.
The idea which is generally attached to the word progress is not only vague, but erroneous. Progress in itself is confounded with that which accompanies it, with the benefits and useful results which it brings to man.
The vice of the current conception arises from its being teleological ; facts are judged by their relation to human happiness, the only concern felt is for that which increases or tends to increase it. This process takes the shadow for the reality. In order to understand what progress is, we must study, apart from our own interest, what is the nature of the changes which produce it.
The German physiologists have established that in individual organisms progress consists in the passage from a homogeneous to a heterogeneous structure. Every germ at its origin is an uniform substance, in the double sense of its texture, and its chemical composition ; by successive and almost infinite differentiations, that complex combination of tissues and organs which constitutes the animal or the adult plant is produced. This is the
1 Essays; Scientific, Political, and Speculative. London, 1861. be found in a much more learned form in the First Principles.
history of every organism. Mr. Herbert Spencer proposes to show that this law of organic progress is the law of all progress; that the development of the earth, of the life on its surface, of society, of government, of industry, of commerce, of language, of literature, of science, and of art, supposes the same evolution of the simple into the complex by successive differentiations.
In the first place, if the hypothesis of the nebulus be admitted as true, the formation of the solar system furnishes us with a verification of this law. In its first condition, it consisted of a medium indefinitely extended, and almost homogeneous in density, temperature, and other physical attributes. The first progress towards consolidation brought about a differentiation between the space still occupied by the nebulous mass and the unoccupied space which it had formerly filled. At the same time differences in density and temperature are produced, between the interior and the exterior of the mass, then in the speed of the motion of rotation, which varied according to the distance from the centre. Let us reflect upon the numerous differences between the planets and satellites, with respect to distance, to the inclination of their orbits, the inclination of their axes, the time of their rotation, their density, their physical constitution, etc. ; and we shall see how heterogeneous the solar system is, compared to the almost complete homogeneity of the nebulous mass from which it is supposed to have issued.
But as this is only a hypothesis, each person may take it for as much as he pleases; this does not in any way prejudice the general doctrine which we are about to verify on more solid ground. Let us take our globe. In the beginning, according to almost all geologists, the earth was a mass of matter, in a state of fusion, and consequently was of homogeneous consistence, and relatively homogeneous temperature. And now, merely looking at its surface, how heterogeneous it appears to us! Igneous rocks, sedimentary strata, metallic veins, endless irregularities, mountains, continents, seas, differences of climates, in short, such a variety of phenomena that all the geographers, geologists, mineralogists, and meteorologists put together, have not yet succeeded in enumerating them. If we pass on from the earth
to the planets and the animals which are now living, or have lived, facts to verify the law are wanting ; not that it is doubtful that in the individual organism progress is made from the simple to the compound; but, if we pass from the individual forms of life to life in general, we cannot say whether the modern flora and fauna are more heterogeneous than those of the past. The actual data of palæontology do not permit us to affirm anything. Nevertheless, the facts, taken together, tend to show that the most heterogeneous organisms are the last produced. To go no further than the branching off of vertebrates, the first known to us are fishes, the most homogeneous of all; reptiles appear later and are more heterogeneous; mammifers and birds appear still later, and are yet more heterogeneous. Then, the most ancient remains which we know of the class of mammifers are those small marsupials which are the lowest type of this class, whilst the highest type, man, is the most recent. We must observe, that taking the vertebrate fauna as a whole, the palæozoic period, entirely composed of fishes (in so far as we know) was much less heterogeneous than the present period, which, besides reptiles, comprehends birds and mammifers of widely various kinds.
But, if we choose to leave the question open on this point, it is at least clear that as regards man, the most heterogeneous of animals, heterogeneity has been most largely produced in the civilized subdivisions of the species; that the species has become more heterogeneous in virtue of the multiplication of races and the differentiation of races among themselves.
The Papuan, whose body and arms are often well developed, has very
small legs, resembling in this the quadrumanous kind, while in the case of the European, whose legs are longer and more massive, there is more heterogeneity between the upper and lower limbs. The differences between the skulls and the faces of men are greater than in any other race of animals, and greater among Europeans than among savages. Ethnology, by its divisions and subdivisions of races, puts this progress in heterogeneity beyond a doubt. Within a few generations, has not the Saxon race given
1 See Vogt, Léçons sur l'homme, chap. ii.