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most vulgar reality, if you are searching for something under facts and above them, you enter into an ideal world. The poet conceives it to be in the image of ours, but more beautiful, more harmonious; life in it is wider and has more flavour; he contemplates living forms, visible, palpable, concrete, more real to him than reality itself. To the metaphysician it is quite different. It is a region of abstract truths, of laws and formulas, accessible only to pure spirit, the mysterious domain of the impossible and the invisible, where the principles of all things reign, like the mothers of the second Faust, 'who are enthroned in the infinite, eternally solitary, their heads encircled with the images of life active, but without life.' Both are creators in their several ways; one because he understands the handling of colours, words, the picturesque forms which give life and drapery to ideas; the other because he believes that he has seized the hidden springs which make the world move, the fruitful formulas which translate the laws of the universe, and whence the flow of phenomena issue as from an inexhaustible spring. Hence those philosophical constructions which resemble great poems. Hence it is that, in general, metaphysics and the high order of poetry meet and mingle, as in the Paradise of Dante. Each reflects the genius of a people. In India, the Bhagavad-gita is the episode of an epopee. The reserved and, at bottom, little subversive Cartesianism, in which, as Ritter says (Histoire de la Philosophie Moderne, vol. i.)—the thought of the limitation of our knowledge evidently dominates,' resembles the sober and measured poetry of the seventeenth century. Hegel's Logic borders on Faust. Who was more of a poet than Plato and Plotinus ? We should go through the whole history of metaphysics, in order to show how closely it resembles poetry. They shared between them the ardent minds of the Renaissance, of which Giordano Bruno is the most complete type. When Hegel maintains (Gesch. d. Phil., p. 194, vol. iii.) that the mystics only knew how to philosophize,' does he not say that the higher metaphysics reaches the more it resembles an effusion or a reverie? They who, like Aristotle, seem to have nothing of the poet about them, arrive at astonishing conceptions—that of a world which, in its ultimate depths aspires to good, is drawn by love, moved by a ‘metaphysical Newtonism.' A great German poet, Heinrich Heine, has said of the driest of metaphysicians: 'The reading of Spinoza lays hold of us like the aspect of great nature in its living calm; it is a forest of thoughts, as lofty as the sky, whose crowned crests undulate harmoniously, while their indestructible stems plunge their roots into the eternal earth. In his writings one feels a breath which moves one in an indefinable way; it is as though one were breathing the air of the future.' Metaphysicians are poets, whose aim is the reconstruction of the synthesis of the world.

Are these great cosmogonic epopees to disappear? Will the repeated experience of their insufficiency condemn them hopelessly? Is philosophy to continue to give us poetry for science, to drape its fictions in undecipherable formulas, and to announce to the world for the hundredth time that it has found the key to its enigma?

Why not? There are many in these days who think that the human mind ought to renounce those researches, to put them aside like the toys of childhood. This seems neither desirable nor possible. If positivism limited itself to stating that metaphysics could not be seriously regarded as a science, because it affirms but is unable to verify or demonstrate, no contradiction could be offered without shutting our eyes to evidence. When positivism applies itself to the elimination of all metaphysics from experimental sciences, it also does a service, since it follows the rules of a good method, separating the knowable from the unknowable; preventing us from sacrificing everything to hypothesis; from bending facts to theories ; from letting go the substance for the shadow. But to condemn all researches into ultimate reasons as a • vain and dangerous illusion,—to consider all time lost which was

consecrated to them,—to desire to cure the human mind of them, as if of a chronic infirmity, is in reality to lessen the human mind. The importance of studies is not measured by their success. To seek without hope is neither senseless nor vulgar,—one may discern without finding. The true nobility of human intelligence consists less in the results which it obtains, than in the end which it proposes to itself, and in the efforts by which it essays to attain that aim. Experience is much, but it is not all. And, besides, who shall prove to us that facts are of more value than ideas, discoveries than researches ? Philosophy must ever remain an eternal attempt upon the unknown. It will never find the last word of all things; and that is well, because it may be said, without any paradox, that if metaphysics were to give all it promises, it would be better to force it to keep silence. Let us suppose all our questions concerning God, nature, and ourselves, finally answered, —what would remain for human intelligence to do? This solution would be its death. All inquiring and active minds will be of Lessing's opinion on this point :-*There is more pleasure in coursing the hare than in catching it.' Philosophy will keep up its activity by its magical and deceiving mirage. Were it never to render any other service to human intelligence than that of keeping it always on the alert, of elevating it above a narrow dogmatism, by showing it that mysterious beyond, which surrounds and presses upon it in every science, philosophy would do enough for it.


Now let us approach the proper object of this studypsychology; the preceding remarks are merely prefatory. Our purpose is to show that psychology may be constituted an independent science, to investigate the conditions of such constitution, and to see whether that independence is not an accomplished fact among several contemporaries. At first sight, I know, this proposition may appear unacceptable. Is not psychology the basis of philosophy, and the object of its most constant if not most ancient study ? How can they be separated? There is an equivoque in this which must be removed. Psychology, like every science, like physics, chemistry, or physiology, contains ultimate, transcendental questions,-questions of principles, of causes, of substances. What is the soul ļ whence does it come? whither is it going? These are purely philosophical discussions. But there is more than that in psychology. There are facts of a special nature, difficult to observe, still more difficult to classify, but which do not the less constitute the most solid and the most indisputable portion of the science.

It is the pure and simple study of these facts which can constitute an independent science. I observe that, since Wolf, a distinction is commonly made between an experimental psychology which occupies itself with phenomena only, and a rational psychology which occupies itself with substance only. But as, according to Wolf and those who follow him, these two studies are the complementary parts of one same whole, to our mind this experimental psychology alone constitutes all psychology; the remainder belongs to philosophy, or metaphysics, and is, consequently, outside of the science.

Having laid this down, we propose, in the following pages, to examine the current conception of psychology, particularly in France, and to see to what results it leads. We shall then investigate purely experimental psychology, in what it consists and how it proceeds; and finally, we shall endeavour to sketch its divisions.


Let us turn to the most accredited treatises on psychology for a definition of that science. “Psychology,' says Jouffroy,i ' is the science of the intelligent principle, of the man, of the me.' ' Psychology is that part of philosophy whose object is the knowledge of the soul and of its faculties, studied by the single means of consciousness.'—(Dict. des Sciences Phil., Art. Psychol.)

The first criticism to be made upon these definitions is, that they confound two very different things, psychological phenomena and their substratum ; or, as Kant would say, phenomena and

Without going into the question whether we actually have a knowledge of things in ourselves, we must at least grant that it is very vague, since there is no common accord on this subject, and that it is not scientific, since it cannot be verified. I am not ignorant that of late years it has been repeated, after Maine de Biran and Jouffroy, that 'the soul knows itself, lays hold on itself, immediately.' But not only have these psychologists passed twenty or thirty years in study before they discovered this immediate knowledge (which is sufficiently surprising),—their discovery does not seem to advance us much ; because, when we


1 Mélanges Philosoph., p. 191. He even endeavours to establish that psychology is the science of the whole man, physiology occupying itself with the animal only.

have long and scrupulously sought what this intimate essence thus revealed is, we succeed only in finding such vague expressions as 'absolute activity,' 'pure spirit outside of time and space,' whence we may conclude that still the clearest part of our knowledge consists in phenomena. The fault of the current definition, then, is that it confounds two essentially distinct things, psychological facts with ontological speculations. Hence it happens that the study of facts, which is fruitful, is so often abandoned for the construction of theories, which is sterile and slow,—useful observation forsaken for the rash and ruinous process of hypothesis.

Nor is this all. We are told that psychology is the science of the human soul. That is a very narrow and incomplete idea of it. Is biology ever defined as the science of human life? Has physiology ever believed, even in its infancy, that its only object was man ? Have they not considered, on the contrary, that everything which has organized and manifested life belongs to them, —the infusoria, as well as man? Now, unless we admit the Cartesian opinion of animal machines—which has no longer, to my knowledge, an adherent,—we must acknowledge that animals have their sensations, their sentiments, their desires, their pleasures, their pains, their character, just like ourselves; that there is a collection of psychological facts which one has no right to subtract from the science. Who has studied those facts ? The naturalists, and not the psychologists. If we were to go further, we might show that ordinary psychology, in restricting itself to man, has not even included the whole of mankind ; that it has taken no heed of the inferior races (black and yellow), that it has contented itself with affirming that the human faculties are identical in nature and various only in degree, as if the difference of degree might not sometimes be such as to be equivalent to a difference of nature; that in man it has taken the faculties already constituted, and rarely occupied itself with their mode of development; so that, finally, psychology, instead of being the science of psychical phenomena, has simply made man, adult, civilized, and white, its object.

We have seen how psychology understands its object, let us now see how it understands its method. This consists entirely


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