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History of Philosophy
English Philosophy
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)

Contemporaneously with the deistic and the general empirical movement of the eighteenth century there arose in England the school of associational psychology and utilitarian ethics, which dominated English thought during the greater part of the nineteenth century.

Associational Psychology. [1] The physician David Hartley (1705-1757) is regarded as the founder of the association school of psychology. He reduces all mental phenomena to the sensation and association of vibrations of the white medullary substance of the brain and spinal cord. He does not, however, identify the brain with the thinking substance, or soul; for vibrations merely affect the body, the sensation of vibrations affecting the soul. Sensations on being repeated leave traces which are simple ideas. Simple ideas are, by association, amalgamated into complex ideas. Similarly, assent and belief are to be explained by association. Hartley protests against the materialistic identification of soul with body; he maintains that there is a correspondence between cerebral and psychical processes, but contends that the latter cannot be reduced to the former.
[1] Consult Bower, Hartley and James Mill (London, 1881); cf. Porter's Appendix to Ueberweg's History of Philosophy, II, 421 ff.
Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), theologian, philosopher, chemist, and physicist, brought out the materialism which was latent in Hartley's psychology. He teaches that the soul is material, that thought is a function of the brain, and that psychology is merely the physics of the nerves. He maintains, however, that psychological materialism does not imply the denial of the immortality of the soul or of the existence of God.

Priestley is best known by his great contribution to chemical science, -- the discovery of oxygen (1774).

Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), who was a botanist, philosopher, and poet, is reckoned among the associationists of this period. In his Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life (London, 1794-1796), he teaches that nature is made up of two substances: matter, which produces motion, and spirit, which receives and communicates motion. He teaches further that motion is of three kinds, gravitation, chemistry, and life. To the last-named kind of motion belong ideas, which are defined as "contractions, motions, or configurations of the fibers which constitute the immediate organs of sense." All the complex phenomena of mental life, namely sensation, comparison, judgment, reasoning, volition, are explained by the association of ideas which come to us not singly but in companies or tribes.

This associational psychology necessitates the utilitarian view of human conduct, -- the view, namely, that certain actions are to be performed mainly or primarily because they are means to our enjoyment. This principle was developed into a system of ethics by Jeremy Bentham.

Utilitarian Ethics. [2] The founder of modern English utilitarianism is Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) and in his Deontology (1834) he formulates the principle that the end of morality is "the greatest happiness of the greatest number." Utility means the power of an action to produce happiness. Bentham's system has consequently been described by J. S. Mill as utilitarianism. [3] In ultimate analysis it is hedonism; for it teaches that "every virtuous action results in a balance of pleasure." It is, however, a hedonism which unites altruism with egoism; for it maintains that while each one's primary care should be for his own welfare, the interest of the individual is inseparable from that of the community. The determinants of utility are, according to Bentham, the act, the circumstances, the intention and the consciousness, all of which should be taken into account in the estimation of the moral value of an action. All virtue he reduces to two kinds, prudence and benevolence. [4]
[2] Cf. Leslie Stephen, English Utilitarians (3 vols., London, 1900); Albee, History of English Utilitarianism (New York, 1902).

[3] Mill was the first to bring this word into common use. Bentham, however, had employed it.

[4] Cf. Falckenberg, op. cit., p. 457 (English trans., p. 565).
Revived Associationalism and Utilitarianism. The most important of Bentham's co-workers was James Mill (1773-1836), author of the Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1829).

In psychology James Mill combines the doctrines of Hartley with those of Hume, teaching that sensations are kinds of feeling, and that ideas are what remains after the sensations have disappeared. He was the first to formulate the doctrine of inseparable association, by which he explains belief of every kind, -- belief in events, belief in testimony, and belief in (assent to) the truth of propositions. Similarly, by means of association, he explains the phenomena of volitional and emotional life.

In ethics James Mill reasserts Bentham's doctrine that moral value is identical with utility, and proceeds to give a more definite method of estimating moral worth. He distinguishes three successive stages in the evolution or education of the moral sentiments: namely, the association with certain actions of pleasure or pain, the association with certain actions of the pleasure or pain arising from the praise or blame of others, and finally, the association with certain actions of the idea of future praise or blame.


Life. John Stuart Mill, son of James Mill, was born in London in 1806. From 1823 to 1858 he was clerk and chief examiner of correspondence at the India House. The remainder of his life, with the exception of two years (1863-1868), during which he was member of Parliament, was spent at Avignon, where he died in 1873.

Sources. Mill's most important philosophical works are the System of Logic (1843), Utilitarianism (1863), and An Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy (1865). He contributed valuable essays and treatises to the literature of social and political philosophy and to the history of positivism. Consult Bain, John Stuart Mill, a Criticism (1882); Douglas, John Stuart Mill (Edinburgh, 1895).


Logic. Mill defines logic as the science of the operations of the understanding which are concerned in or subservient to the estimation of evidence; and evidence he defines as "that which the mind ought to yield to, not that which it does or must yield to." [5] His logical inquiry includes, therefore, an investigation of the nature of mental assent, and an empirical analysis of intuition and belief, as well as of judgment and reasoning; so that in spite of Mill's frequent repudiation of the title of metaphysician, he is obliged in his System of Logic to take up the study of many of the fundamental problems of metaphysics. Thus, in the chapter entitled "Of the Things denoted by Names," [6] he draws up the following scheme of categories: (1) feelings, or states of consciousness; (2) minds which experience these feelings; (3) bodies which cause certain of these feelings; and (4) the successions, coexistences, likenesses, and unlikenesses between feelings or states of consciousness. Having, however, resolved to make experience the sole source of knowledge, and to reject all a priori, or intuitive, knowledge, Mill is obliged to reduce body to "the permanent possibility of sensations," and mind to "the series of actual and possible states." He is aware of the difficulty incident to any phenomenalistic concept of mind; he cannot see how a series can be aware of itself as a series, and admits that "there is a bond of some sort among all the parts of the series which makes me say that they were feelings of a person who was the same person throughout, and this bond, to me, constitutes my ego." [7]
[5] Logic, Bk. III, Chap. 21.

[6] Op. cit., Bk. I, Chap. 3.

[7] Cf. notes to the Analysis, II, 175. Mill's notes to his edition of his father's works are important sources of information with reference to his own psychological doctrines.
Here Mill definitely abandons the associationist view of matter and mind, and practically admits a noumenal cause of sensations and a noumenal mind, thus opening, as some one has said, a trapdoor in the middle of his own philosophy.

Insisting on the principle that we must make experience the test of experience, Mill maintains that the fundamental axioms of logic and mathematics are merely generalizations from experience, that the law of contradiction is simply a summing up of the experience which tells us of the incompatibility of belief and non-belief, and that the peculiar accuracy supposed to be characteristic of the first principles of geometry is hypothetical, that is to say, fictitious. [8] The law of causation is likewise a generalization from experience; for causation is nothing but "invariable and unconditional sequence." [9]
[8] Logic, Bk. II, Chap. 5.

[9] Op. cit., Bk. III, Chap. 5.
Mill recognizes but one kind of inference, namely, inference from particulars to particulars. The syllogism he teaches is not a proof, for it involves a petitio principii: its function is to decipher or interpret the major premise which is a record of particular experiences, these experiences being the only evidence on which the conclusion rests. [10]
[10] Cf. op. cit., Bk. II, Chap. 3.
Mill's most important contribution to logic is the formulation of the rules and methods of experimental inquiry. This is the most successful portion of his work, and it is this which has earned for him the title of the Aristotle of Inductive Logic. His success is, however, marred by his inability to give a satisfactory account of the basis of induction; the uniformity of nature, which he sets down as the ground of all induction, depends, according to him, on induction, and is not unconditionally certain.

Ethics. In the opening chapters of the sixth book of the Logic, Mill endeavors to show that the doctrine of philosophical necessity does not imply that our actions are performed under compulsion, but merely that they follow the motive causes by a certain unconditional sequence which renders the scientific study of human nature possible. [11]
[11] Cf. Dr. Ward's refutation of Mill in Dublin Review.
Mill adopts the utilitarian doctrine that in the effects of an action, that is to say, in its power of promoting happiness, we possess a clear and natural standard by which to judge its moral worth. With Bentham he holds that the aim of human action should be the promotion of the greatest happiness of all sentient beings. He differs, however, from Bentham in his analysis of the moral feeling, in his addition of qualitative to quantitative distinction of pleasures, and, in general, in his attempt to bring utilitarianism into closer harmony with the requirements of subjective ethics. He is an altruist, whereas Bentham was, in ultimate analysis, an egoist.

Alexander Bain (1818-1903), author of Senses and Intellect (third edition, 1868), The Emotions and the Will (third edition, 1875), Mental and Moral Science (third edition, 1872), and Mind and Body (third edition, 1874), etc., is one of the most distinguished recent representatives of the English school of psychology. He avails himself of the aid which contemporary physiological science affords in the study of mental phenomena, and while he is commonly reckoned among the associationists, he seems to abandon the fundamental tenet of associationism, when he acknowledges similarity as the basis of all association of ideas.

Doctrine of Evolution. Evolution, in the sense of a transition from the simpler to the more complex, from the lower to the higher forms of existence, is a concept almost as old as philosophy itself. The evolution of the physical universe from a primitive mass by a process of purely mechanical changes was implicitly contained in many of the ancient and in some modern systems of philosophy, notably in Descartes' and Kant's. The idea of development was applied to history by Herder (1744-1803), to astronomy by Laplace (1749-1827), to the zoological sciences by Buffon (1707-1788), Lamarck (1744-1829), and Cuvier (1769-1832), to anatomy and embryology by Wolff (1733-1794) and Von Baer (1792-1876), and to geology by Lyell (1797-1875). The history of evolution in the modern meaning of the word, namely that of the development of the sum of living beings from less perfect forms of existence, by means of natural causes, begins with the name of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), who was the first to establish the doctrine of development as a scientific theory in biology. [12]
[12] Consult Truth and Error in Darwinism, by Hartmann, trans. in Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vols. XI-XIII; Wallace, Darwinism (London, 1889); Roinanes, Darwin and after Darwin (3 vols., London, 1892-1895); cf. Weber, op. cit., pp. 560 ff.; also T. H. Green, Works, I, 373 ff.
As in the case of Newton, Galileo, and Copernicus, Darwin's scientific discoveries, while belonging to the history of natural science, are of interest in the history of philosophy because of the new point of view which they established. For, just as Newton had unified the whole physical universe by means of a single law, so Darwin unified the phenomena of the biological world under a single concept, and revealed the existence of continuity in a region where up to that time continuity had not been scientifically demonstrated; and just as Lyell had shown that the present state of the earth's surface is to be explained by the agency of natural causes, which are even now at work, so Darwin undertook to show that the flora and fauna of the earth originated by development, and that the agencies in the process of development were the same as those which are in operation at the present time.

Darwin's method affords an interesting example of the use of inductive and accumulative argument. During his voyage on the Beagle (1831-1836) he began his observations on the fauna of South America, noting especially the geographical distribution of species and the similarity and difference existing between the present and preexisting forms. On his return to England Malthus [13] (1766-1834) Essay on Population suggested to him the idea of the struggle for existence. This may be regarded as his provisional hypothesis, to the verification of which he devoted twenty-one years preliminary to publishing his celebrated work, the Origin of Species (1859). The observations on which the process of verification is based may be reduced to (1) observations of the effect of artificial selection, (2) observations of the kinship existing between extinct species and species which are extant, (3) observations of the geographical distributions of animals, and (4) observations of the embryological development of animals. In the work entitled The Descent of Man (1871) Darwin applied the evolution theory to the origin of the human species. He was, however, willing to concede that there are what have since been called "gaps" in evolution; he confessed his inability to account for the origin of life, and always regarded the first beginning of variation as something mysterious.
[13] Cf. Flint, Agnosticism (New York, 1903).
Darwin laid the foundation of modern evolutionistic ethics by referring the moral feeling to natural selection, or the struggle for existence, which fosters such qualities and faculties in the individual as confer the greatest benefit, not on the individual, but on the group or species.

A. R. Wallace (born 1822), who shares with Darwin the honor of establishing the doctrine of natural selection, was more careful than Darwin to exclude from the general process of development the higher powers of the human mind, and to give a large scope to the operation of the teleological principle in the evolutionary process.

W. K. Clifford (1845-1879), John Tyndall (1820-1893), George J. Romanes (1848-1894), and Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) are the most distinguished among those who applied the Darwinian doctrine to the different departments of natural science. It was the last mentioned who in 1859 first used the word agnostic to designate one who is conscious of the inadequacy of our knowledge to solve the problem, What is the reality corresponding to our ultimate scientific, philosophical, and religious ideas? I None of these men, however, with the exception of Clifford, attempted to construct a system of metaphysics, or to evolve a theory of reality from the principles of evolutionistic philosophy. This task was reserved for Spencer.


Life. Herbert Spencer [14] was born in 1820 at Derby. It was at first intended that he should adopt the profession of teacher, to which his father belonged; but he decided to take up civil engineering. At the age of twenty-five he abandoned this profession to devote himself to literary work. In 1850 appeared his first important publication, entitled Social Statics. This was followed by the Principles of Psychology (1855), and Progress: its Law and Cause (1857), in which, two years before the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, the view was expounded that all development is a transition from homogeneity to heterogeneity, and the principle of evolution was enunciated as a universal law. The First Principles (1862), Principles of Biology (1863-1867), Principles of Sociology (1877 ff.), and Principles of Ethics (1879-1893) form parts of a scheme of Synthetic Philosophy. [15] Spencer died December 8, 1903.
[14] Cf. Hudson's Introduction to the Philosophy of Herbert Spencer (New York, 1894).

[15] For the outlines of this scheme, cf. Spencer's Prospectus, prefixed to the First Principles; cf. also Collins' Epitome of the Synthetic Philosophy (New York, 1889). Consult Bowne, The Philosophy of Herbert Spencer (New York, 1874).

The historical antecedents of the synthetic philosophy may be reduced to three: (1) from Hamilton and Mansel, and thus ultimately from Kant, Spencer drew his metaphysical principles, namely, relativity of knowledge and agnosticism; (2) from Comte and the Comtists he derived the positivism which appears in his definition of the scope of science and in a general way in his plan of the coordination of sciences; and (3) from Wolff the anatomist, from Von Baer the embryologist, and from Lyell the geologist he borrowed the principle of development which the publication of Darwin's work elevated to the rank of a scientific law in the biological world. [16]
[16] Cf. McCosh, Realistic Philosophy, II, 255 ff.
1. Agnosticism. Neither scientific ideas nor religious beliefs can express the ultimate nature of reality. The highest scientific ideas, such as space, time, matter, involve contradictions (antinomies), and theologians themselves admit the inadequacy of our idea of the Infinite; for "to think that God is as we think Him to be would be blasphemy." Moreover, the nature of consciousness itself shows that all knowledge is relative. The conclusion, therefore, is inevitable, that ultimate religious ideas and ultimate scientific ideas are merely symbols of the actual, not cognitions of it, and that "if religion and science are to be reconciled, the basis of reconciliation must be this deepest, widest, and most certain of facts, -- that the power which the universe manifests to us is utterly inscrutable." The ultimate philosophical, as well as the ultimate religious, is unknown and unknowable. [17] Therefore, when Spencer teaches that the ultimate, or Absolute, reveals itself in the forms and laws under which phenomena occur, -- "The persistent impressions, being persistent results of a persistent cause, are for practical purposes the same as the cause itself, and may be habitually dealt with as its equivalents," [18] -- he practically abandons the position of the agnostic and confesses that the Absolute is not utterly unknowable.
[17] First Principles, P. 1.

[18] Op. cit., par. 47.
2. Definition and Data of Philosophy. All knowledge is confined to the relations of things. Common knowledge is ununified knowledge; science is partially unified knowledge; philosophy is completely unified knowledge. The data of philosophy are: (1) the existence of likenesses and differences, as is proved by the permanence of our consciousness of congruity and incongruity; (2) the distinction of self and not-self, the former being constituted by the current of faint manifestations, and the latter by the current of vivid manifestations, of the unknowable power; (3) space, time, matter, motion, and force, these being "certain most general forms" into which the manifestations of the unknowable are separated, and the reality of which science at every moment assumes; for by reality we are to understand persistence in consciousness, and the persistence of space and time consists in this, that they are the universal relations of coexistence and sequence, by which (as postulates) we think, while the persistence of matter, motion, and force consists in the indestructibility, continuity, and persistence, respectively, of these ultimate scientific ideas.

Passing now from these analytic truths, we come to inquire, What is the law of universal synthesis? What is the universal formula which shall combine all the particular formulas of science and philosophy? The answer is, The continuous redistribution of matter and motion, which involves the double process of evolution (an integration of matter and a dissipation of motion) and dissolution (a disintegration of matter and an absorption of motion). If, now, the word evolution is taken to designate the process of development in all its complexity, "Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation." [19] This is proved by induction to be the law of the physical universe and of psychic and social life. And just as in Hegel's philosophy, development implied three stages, so in Spencer's theory, evolution starts with the instability of the homogeneous, and proceeds, through the multiplication of effects and segregation, to the equilibration of forces which constitutes the impassable limit of evolution, -- the point where dissolution begins.
[19] Op. cit., par. 144. In the sixth edition (1901) of the First Principles, the word " relatively" is inserted before the words "definite" and "indefinite."
3. Special Philosophy of the Sciences. The other portions of the synthetic philosophy, namely the special philosophy of biology, psychology, sociology, and ethics, are merely the application of the evolution formula to the different branches of philosophic inquiry.

Biology. Spencer defines life as "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations." [20] He then proceeds to the study of growth, function, adaptation, genesis, heredity, variation, etc. Taking up [21] the problem of the origin of life, he contrasts the special-creation hypothesis with the evolution hypothesis, and adduces in favor of the latter arguments from classification, embryology, morphology, and distribution. The factors in organic evolution are, he teaches, both internal and external.[22] "He excludes all consideration of the question how life first arose, though it is clear that he regards the lowest forms of life as continuous in their essential nature with sub-vital processes." [23] For Darwin's phrase, "natural selection," Spencer substitutes "the survival of the fittest."
[20] Principles of Biology, par. 30.

[21] Op. cit., Chap. V.

[22] Op. cit., pars. 148-158.

[23] Sully, in Encyc. Brit. (ninth edition), article, "Evolution."
Psychology. Applying to the study of mental phenomena the method found to be so fruitful of results in the study of vital phenomena in general, Spencer arrives at the conclusion that among mental phenomena there are no organic differences, -- reflex action, feelings, instinct, intelligence being merely different stages in the process of development from the simple to the complex, from the indefinite to the definite, from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous.

With regard to the substance of mind Spencer holds that all mental action whatsoever is explained by the continuous differentiation and integration of states of consciousness. He is not, however, a phenomenalist: "Existence," he says, "means nothing more than persistence; and hence in mind that which persists in spite of all changes, and maintains the unity of the aggregate in defiance of all attempts to divide it, . . . is that which we must postulate as the substance of mind in contradistinction to the varying forms it assumes." [24] This substance of mind is unknowable.
[24] Principles of Psychology, par. 59.
With regard to the origin of ideas, Spencer, rejecting on the one hand the empiricism of Locke and Hume, and on the other hand the absolute a priorism of Leibniz and Kant, teaches that while the universal and necessary elements of intellectual knowledge are a priori with reference to the individual, they are not a priori with reference to the race. Between the theory of the empiricist, who refers all the elements of knowledge to the experience of the individual, and that of the transcendentalist, who regards the universal and necessary elements of thought as "forms of intuition," Spencer finds a via media. In accordance with the general principle of evolution, he refers the elements characterizing intellectual thought to "organized and semi-organized arrangements," which, existing in the cerebral nerves of the child, sum up the experience of all his ancestors. Here as elsewhere Spencer seems to forget that the survival of the organized and semi-organized arrangements merely proves their practical utility in the struggle for existence, and can in no way guarantee their validity as tests of absolute truth. [25]
[25] Cf. Höffding, op. cit., II, 474.
From such inherited dispositions arises our inability to conceive the contradictory of certain principles and truths of fact. This inability to conceive the contradictory is the ultimate test of all beliefs, the criterion of truth. The universal postulate may therefore be formulated as follows: "A cognition which we are obliged to accept because we cannot conceive its contradictory is to be classed as having the highest possible certainty." [26]
[26] Cf. Principles of Psychology, par. 426.
Epistemology. Spencer's epistemology is comprised in his doctrine of transfigured realism. He rejects idealism on the ground of the priority, immediateness, and superior distinctness of the realistic conception of mental processes. [27] He next proceeds to show that "while some objective existence, manifested under some conditions, remains as the final necessity of thought, there does not remain the implication that this existence and these conditions are more to us than the unknown correlatives of our feelings and the relations among our feelings." [28] This realism "stands widely distinguished from crude realism; and to mark the distinction it may properly be called transfigured realism." [29]
[27] Op. cit., pars. 406-408.

[28] Op. cit., par. 473.

[29] Ibid.
Sociology. In his various treatises on sociology Spencer conceives society, after the manner of the individual organism, as possessing a variety of organs and functions, and as tending to evolve itself by a series of adjustments to the social and physical environment. He insists on the innerness of the principle of social development, and emphasizes the truth that societies and constitutions are not made, but grow. He is, however, careful to point out one very important distinction between the individual organism and the social organism: in the individual the parts exist for the sake of the whole, while in the society the whole exists for the sake of the parts. This distinction is overlooked in those forms of society in which militarism and officialism predominate. Industrialism is the basis of modern social reconstruction. The highest type of social organization will, however, be reached when freer scope shall be given to the play of those activities which are exercised for the sake of the satisfaction they afford, and not for the sake of obtaining the means of subsistence.

Ethics. Spencer's system of ethics may be briefly described as the substitution of rational utilitarianism for the empirical utilitarianism of the school of Bentham. The goal of the process of ethical development is the ideal man in the ideal state, -- a view which combines, as the earlier form of utilitarianism had combined, altruism with egoism. But instead of insisting on the "hedonistic calculus" of the earlier utilitarians, Spencer emphasizes the rational deduction of the moral ideal from the necessary laws, -- physical, biological, psychological, and sociological, -- the recognition of which, rather than the calculation of the happiness to which human action leads, furnishes the cognitive basis for moral action. Moral phenomena must be considered as part of the aggregate of phenomena which evolution has wrought out; the moral sense itself is a product of evolution: "I believe that the experiences of utility organized and consolidated throughout all past generations of the human race have been producing corresponding modifications, which, by continued transmission and accumulation, have become in us certain faculties of moral intuition, -- certain emotions responding to right and wrong which have no apparent basis in the individual experiences of utility." [30]
[30] Letter to Mr. Mill, quoted by Bain, Mental and Moral Science, p. 722.
The most distinguished of the opponents of utilitarian ethics in England was Dr. Martineau (1805-1900), author of Types of Ethical Theory (1885). He defended what is known as the preferential theory of ethics, according to which the morality of an action is not to be judged by its pleasure-producing effect, but rather by the perfection of the motives inspiring it, virtue being defined as the rejection of lower and the adoption of higher motives.

St. George Mivart (1827-1900) occupied a unique position among the English representatives of the philosophy of evolution during the latter half of the nineteenth century. In The Genesis of Species (1871), On Truth (1889), etc., he appeared as the defender of theistic evolution, and sought to reconcile the evolutionistic hypothesis with the essential doctrines of Scholastic philosophy.

Idealism. German idealism was first introduced into England by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). During the latter half of the nineteenth century the Hegelian philosophy found many able exponents in Great Britain, of whom the most prominent are J. H. Stirling (born 1820), John Caird (1820-1898), Edward Caird (born 1835), and Thomas Hill Green (1836-1882). [31] Green's Prolegomena to Ethics (fourth edition, 1899) represents the first important contribution to English Hegelianism. Green considers that metaphysics is the foundation of ethics, and that without a metaphysical theory a theory of ethics is "wasted labor." The primary questions of metaphysics are: What are the facts of my own individual consciousness? and, What is the simplest explanation I can give of the origin of these facts? That is necessarily true which is required to explain my experience. Applying this test to the evolution doctrine, Green, while admitting the fact of the biological evolution of man, protests against any biological explanation which cannot account for the facts of individual consciousness. "If there are reasons," he writes, "for holding that man, in respect to his animal nature, is descended from 'mere' animals, . . . this does not affect our conclusion in regard to the consciousness of which, as he now is, man is the subject, a conclusion founded on analysis of what he now is and does." [32]
[31] Cf. Fairbrother, Philosophy of Thomas Hill Green (London, 1896). Green's Works were edited by Nettleship (3 vols., London, 1885-1888).

[32] Prolegomena to Ethics, par. 83.
The "whole" is not material, but spiritual, -- a world of "thought relations" consisting of three main facts, self, cosmos, and God. Self is first in the order of knowledge: God the Eternal Consciousness, which manifests itself in the spiritual cosmos, is first in the order of being. "The unification of the manifold in the world implies the presence of the manifold to a mind, for which, and through the action of which, it is a related whole. The unification of the manifold of sense in our consciousness of a world implies a certain self-realization of this mind in us through certain processes (life and feeling) of the world which only exist through it." [33]
[33] Proteg., par. 82.
In his ethical doctrines Green insists on self-reflection as the only possible method of learning what is the inner man or mind that our action expresses, and he emphasizes the importance of man's looking forward to a moral ideal to be attained by conscious effort, rather than backward to a series of natural changes through which man came to be what he is. "Our ultimate standard of worth is an ideal of personal worth," not the well-being of the race but the perfection of human character according to the divine plan. [34]
[34] Op. cit., par. 180-291.
Historical Position. It is impossible to judge with anything like definiteness systems of thought, some of which are still in the process of formation, while others are in the process of dissolution. When, however, we look back over the course of English philosophy during the nineteenth century, two conclusions appear to be indisputable; namely, that the associationist account of the mind and of mental processes has been definitely abandoned, and that whatever changes the evolution doctrine may have wrought in the method and standpoint of philosophy, its importance as a contribution to ultimate philosophic truth must depend largely on whether it will materially affect the great gnostic idealistic movement, which during the last quarter of a century has apparently superseded the agnostic empirical movement. It is not to the evolutionistic synthesis of Spencer but rather to the idealistic constructions of such men as Green that we must look for a solution of the question, What is the present tendency, and what is likely to be the future trend, of philosophical speculation in England?


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