Thus the extent to which our quantitative previsions have been carried in any direction, indicates the depth to which our knowledge reaches in that direction. And here, as another aspect of the same fact, it may be observed that as we pass from qualitative to quantitative prevision, we pass from inductive science to deductive science. Science while purely inductive is purely qualitative; when inaccurately quantitative it usually consists of part induction, part deduction; and it becomes accurately quantitative only when wholly deductive. We do not mean that the deductive and the quantitative are coextensive; for there is manifestly much deduction that is qualitative only.
We mean that all quantitative prevision is reached deductively; and that induction can achieve only qualitative prevision. Still, however, it must not be supposed that these distinctions enable us to separate ordinary knowledge from science; much as they seem to do so. While they show in what consists the broad contrast between the extreme forms of the two, they yet lead us to recognize their essential identity, and once more prove the difference to be one of degree only. For, on the one hand, much of our common knowledge is to some extent quantitative; seeing that the amount of the foreseen result is known within certain wide limits.
And, on the other hand, the highest quantitative prevision does not reach the exact truth, but only a near approach to it. Without clocks the savage knows that the day is longer in the summer than in the winter; without scales he knows that stone is heavier than flesh; that is, he can foresee respecting certain results that their amounts will exceed these, and be less than those Edition: current; Page: [ 8 ] —he knows about what they will be. And, with his most delicate instruments and most elaborate calculations, all that the man of science can do, is to reduce the difference between the foreseen and the actual results to an unimportant quantity.
Moreover, it must be borne in mind not only that all the sciences are qualitative in their first stages,—not only that some of them, as Chemistry, have but lately reached the quantitative stage—but that the most advanced sciences have attained to their present power of determining quantities not present to the senses, or not directly measurable, by a slow process of improvement extending through thousands of years. So that science and the knowledge of the uncultured are alike in the nature of their previsions, widely as they differ in range; they possess a common imperfection, though this is immensely greater in the last than in the first; and the transition from the one to the other has been through a series of steps by which the imperfection has been rendered continually less, and the range continually wider.
These facts, that science and ordinary knowledge are allied in nature, and that the one is but a perfected and extended form of the other, must necessarily underlie the whole theory of science, its progress, and the relations of its parts to each other. There must be incompleteness in any history of the sciences, which, leaving out of view the first steps of their genesis, commences with them only when they assume definite forms. There must be grave defects, if not a general untruth, in a philosophy of the sciences considered in their interdependence and development, which neglects the inquiry how they came to be distinct sciences, and how they were severally evolved out of the chaos of primitive ideas.
Not only a direct consideration of the matter, but all analogy, goes to show that in the earlier and simpler stages must be sought the key to all subsequent intricacies. The time was when the anatomy and physiology of the human being were studied Edition: current; Page: [ 9 ] by themselves—when the adult man was analyzed and the relations of parts and of functions investigated, without reference either to the relations exhibited in the embryo or to the homologous relations existing in other creatures. Now, however, it has become manifest that no true conceptions are possible under such conditions.
Anatomists and physiologists find that the real natures of organs and tissues can be ascertained only by tracing their early evolution; and that the affinities between existing genera can be satisfactorily made out only by examining the fossil genera to which they are akin. Well, is it not clear that the like must be true concerning all things that undergo development?
Is not science a growth? Has not science, too, its embryology? And must not the neglect of its embryology lead to a misunderstanding of the principles of its evolution and of its existing organization? We may expect to find their generalizations essentially artificial; and we shall not be deceived. Some illustrations of this may here be fitly introduced, by way of preliminary to a brief sketch of the genesis of science from the point of view indicated.
And we cannot more readily find such illustrations than by glancing at a few of the various classifications of the sciences that have from time to time been proposed. To consider all of them would take too much space: we must content ourselves with some of the latest. Commencing with those which may be soonest disposed of, let us notice, first, the arrangement propounded by Oken. An abstract of it runs thus:—. Part I. He explains that Mathesis is the doctrine of the whole; Pneumatogeny being the doctrine of immaterial totalities, and Hylogeny that of material totalities.
Part II. The first of these are the heavenly bodies comprehended by Cosmogeny. These divide into elements. The earth element divides into minerals— Mineralogy. These unite into one collective body— Geogeny. The whole in singulars is the living, or Organic , which again divides into plants and animals. Biology , therefore, divides into Organogeny, Phytosophy, Zoosophy.
First Kingdom. Mineralogy, Geology. Part III. A glance over this confused scheme shows that it is an attempt to classify knowledge, not after the order in which it has been, or may be, built up in the human consciousness; but after an assumed order of creation. It is a pseudo-scientific cosmogony, akin to those which men have enunciated from the earliest times downwards; and only a little more respectable. As such it will not be thought worthy of much consideration by those who, like ourselves, hold that experience is the sole origin of knowledge. Otherwise, it might have been needful to dwell on the incongruities of the arrangement—to ask how motion can be treated of before space?
Physio-philosophy is, therefore, mathematics endowed with substance. From the English point of view it is sufficiently amusing to find such a dogma not only gravely stated, but stated as an unquestionable truth. Here we see the experiences of quantitative relations which men have gathered from surrounding bodies and generalized experiences which had been scarcely at all generalized at the beginning of the historic period —we find these generalized experiences, these intellectual abstractions, elevated into concrete actualities, projected back into Nature, and considered as the internal frame-work of things—the skeleton by which matter is sustained.
But this new form of the old realism, is by no means the most startling of the physio-philosophic principles. We presently read that,. Mathematics is based upon nothing, and, consequently , arises out of nothing. If now we deny, as we do deny, that the highest mathematical idea is the zero—if, on the other hand, we assert, as we do assert, that the fundamental idea underlying all mathematics, is that of equality; the whole of Oken's cosmogony disappears. Let us pass on to another of the German systems of knowledge—that of Hegel. He divides philosophy into three parts:—. Of these, the second is divided into the natural sciences, Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] commonly so-called; so that in its more detailed form the series runs thus:—Logic, Mechanics, Physics, Organic Physics, Psychology.
Now, if we believe with Hegel, first, that thought is the true essence of man; second, that thought is the essence of the world; and that, therefore, there is nothing but thought; his classification, beginning with the science of pure thought, may be acceptable. But otherwise, it is an obvious objection to his arrangement, that thought implies things thought of—that there can be no logical forms without the substance of experience—that the science of ideas and the science of things must have a simultaneous origin. Hegel, however, anticipates this objection, and, in his obstinate idealism, replies, that the contrary is true.
He affirms that all contained in the forms, to become something, requires to be thought; and that logical forms are the foundations of all things. It is not surprising that, starting from such premises, and reasoning after this fashion, Hegel finds his way to strange conclusions. Out of space and time he proceeds to build up motion, matter, repulsion, attraction, weight , and inertia. He then goes on to logically evolve the solar system. In doing this he widely diverges from the Newtonian theory; reaches by syllogism the conviction that the planets are the most perfect celestial bodies; and, not being able to bring the stars within his theory, says that they are mere formal existences and not living matter, and that as compared with the solar system they are as little admirable as a cutaneous eruption or a swarm of flies.
The only efficient mode of treating systems like this of Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] Hegel, is to show that they are self-destructive—that by their first steps they ignore that authority on which all their subsequent steps depend. If Hegel professes, as he manifestly does, to develop his scheme by reasoning—if he presents successive inferences as necessarily following from certain premises; he implies the postulate that a belief which necessarily follows after certain antecedents is a true belief; and did an opponent reply to one of his inferences that, though it was impossible to think the opposite, yet the opposite was true, he would consider the reply irrational.
The procedure, however, which he would thus condemn as destructive of all thinking whatever, is just the procedure exhibited in the enunciation of his own first principles. Mankind find themselves unable to conceive that there can be thought without things thought of. Hegel, however, asserts that there can be thought without things thought of.
That ultimate test of a true proposition—the inability of the human mind to conceive the negation of it—which in all the successive steps of his arguments he considers valid, he considers invalid where it suits his convenience to do so; and yet at the same time denies the right of an opponent to follow his example. If it is competent for him to posit dogmas which are the direct negations of what human consciousness recognizes; then is it also competent for his antagonists to stop him at any moment by saying, that though the particular inference he is drawing seems to his mind, and to all minds, necessarily to follow from the premises, yet it is not true, but the contrary inference is true.
Or, to state the dilemma in another form:—If he sets out with inconceivable propositions, then may he with equal propriety make all his succeeding propositions inconceivable ones—may at every step throughout his reasoning draw the opposite conclusion to that which seems involved. Hegel's mode of procedure being thus essentially suicidal, the Hegelian classification which depends upon Edition: current; Page: [ 15 ] it, falls to the ground. Let us consider next that of M.
As all his readers must admit, M. Comte presents us with a scheme of the sciences which, unlike the foregoing ones, demands respectful consideration. Widely as we differ from him, we cheerfully bear witness to the largeness of his views, the clearness of his reasoning, and the value of his speculations as contributing to intellectual progress. Did we believe a serial arrangement of the sciences to be possible, that of M.
Comte would certainly be the one we should adopt. His fundamental propositions are thoroughly intelligible; and, if not true, have a great semblance of truth. His successive steps are logically co-ordinated; and he supports his conclusions by a considerable amount of evidence—evidence which, so long as it is not critically examined, or not met by counter evidence, seems to substantiate his positions. But it only needs to assume that antagonistic attitude which ought to be assumed towards new doctrines, in the belief that, if true, they will prosper by conquering objectors—it needs but to test his leading doctrines either by other facts than those he cites, or by his own facts differently applied, to show that they will not stand.
We will proceed thus to deal with the general principle on which he bases his hierarchy of the sciences. Let us compare these assertions with the facts. That there may be perfect fairness, let us make no choice, but take as the field for our comparison, the succeeding section treating of the first science—Mathematics; and let us use none but M.
Comte's own facts, and his own admissions. Confining ourselves to this one science, we are limited to comparisons between its several parts. Comte says, that the parts of each science must be arranged in the order of their decreasing generality; and that this order of decreasing generality agrees with the order of historic development. Our inquiry will be, then, whether the history of mathematics confirms this statement.
Carrying out his principle, M. The one possesses the highest possible degree of generality; for all things whatever admit of enumeration. The others are less general; seeing that there are endless phenomena that are not cognizable either by general geometry or rational mechanics. In conformity with the alleged law, therefore, the evolution of the calculus must throughout have preceded the evolution of the concrete sub-sciences.
Now somewhat awkwardly for him, the first remark M. Comte with teaching, after the fashion of Hegel, that there can be thought without things thought of. We are content simply to compare the assertion, that analysis arose out of the contemplation of geometrical and mechanical facts, with the assertion that geometrical conceptions are founded upon analytical ones. Literally interpreted they exactly cancel each other. Interpreted, however, in a liberal sense, they imply, what we believe to be demonstrable, that the two had a simultaneous origin. The passage is either nonsense, or it is an admission that abstract and concrete mathematics are coeval.
Thus, at the very first step, the alleged congruity between the order of generality and the order of evolution, does not hold good. But may it not be that though abstract and concrete mathematics took their rise at the same time, the one afterwards developed more rapidly than the other; and has ever since remained in advance of it? No: and again we call M. Comte himself as witness.
Fortunately for his argument he has said nothing respecting the early stages of the concrete and abstract divisions after their divergence from a common root; otherwise the advent of Algebra long after the Greek geometry had reached a high development, would have been an inconvenient fact for him to deal with. Again, having divided the calculus into algebraic and arithmetical, M. Comte admits, as perforce he must, that the algebraic is more general than the arithmetical; yet he will not say that algebra preceded arithmetic in point of time.
And again, having divided the calculus of functions into the calculus of direct functions common algebra and the calculus of indirect functions transcendental analysis , he is obliged to speak of this last as possessing a higher generality than the first; yet it is far more modern. Indeed, by implication, M. But though the transcendental is logically independent of the ordinary , it is best to follow the usual method of study, taking the ordinary first.
Comte makes admissions that are diametrically opposed to the alleged law. In the succeeding chapters treating of the concrete department of mathematics, we find similar contradictions.
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Comte himself names the geometry of the ancients special geometry and that of the moderns general geometry. So, too, in mechanics. Before dividing it into statics and dynamics, M. Comte treats of the three laws of motion , and is obliged to do so; for statics, the more general of the two divisions, though it does not involve motion, is impossible as a science until the laws of motion are ascertained. Yet the laws of motion pertain to dynamics, the more special of the divisions. At the first glance it does not appear the most rational—dynamics being more complicated than statics, and precedence being natural to the simpler.
It would, in fact, be more philosophical to refer dynamics to statics, as has since been done. This was accomplished when Lagrange supplied, as the basis of the whole of rational mechanics, the single principle of virtual velocities. Thus it is not true that the historical succession of the divisions of mathematics has corresponded with the order of decreasing generality.
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It is not true that abstract mathematics was evolved antecedently to, and independently of, concrete mathematics. It is not true that of the subdivisions of abstract mathematics, the more general came before the more special. And it is not true that concrete mathematics, in either of its two sections, began with the most abstract and advanced to the less abstract truths. It may be well to mention, parenthetically, that, in defending his alleged law of progression from the general to the special, M. Comte somewhere comments upon the two meanings of the word general , and the resulting liability to confusion.
Without now discussing whether the asserted distinction exists in other cases, it is manifest that it does not exist here. In sundry of the instances above quoted, the endeavours made by M. Comte himself to disguise, or to explain away, the precedence of the special over the general, clearly indicate that the generality spoken of is of the kind meant by his formula. And it needs but a brief consideration of the matter to show that, even did he attempt it, he could not distinguish this generality which, as above proved, frequently comes last, from the generality which he says always comes first.
For what is the nature of that mental process by which objects, dimensions, weights, times, and the rest, are found capable of having their relations expressed numerically? It is the formation of certain abstract conceptions of unity, duality, and multiplicity, which are applicable to all things alike. It is the invention of general symbols serving to express the numerical relations of entities, whatever be their special characters. And what is the nature of the mental process by which numbers are found capable of having their relations expressed algebraically? It is the same.
Edition: current; Page: [ 21 ] It is the formation of certain abstract conceptions of numerical functions which are constant whatever be the magnitudes of the numbers. It is the invention of general symbols serving to express the relations between numbers, as numbers express the relations between things. Just as arithmetic deals with the common properties of lines, areas, bulks, forces, periods; so does algebra deal with the common properties of the numbers which arithmetic presents.
Having shown that M. Comte's alleged law of progression does not hold among the several parts of the same science, let us see how it agrees with the facts when applied to the separate sciences. By choosing to exclude from terrestrial physics those laws of magnitude, motion, and position, which he includes in celestial physics, M. Comte makes it appear that the last owes nothing to the first. Not only is this unwarrantable, but it is radically inconsistent with his own scheme of divisions.
If now celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies exhibit sundry leading phenomena in common, as they do, how can the generalization of these common phenomena be considered as pertaining to the one class rather than to the other? If inorganic physics includes geometry which M.
Comte has made it do by comprehending geometrical astronomy in its sub-section, celestial physics ; and if its other sub-section, terrestrial physics, treats of things having geometrical properties; how can the laws of geometrical relations be excluded from terrestrial physics? Clearly if celestial physics includes the geometry of objects in the heavens, terrestrial physics includes the geometry of objects on the earth.
And if terrestrial physics includes terrestrial geometry, while celestial physics includes celestial geometry, then the geometrical part of terrestrial physics precedes the geometrical part of celestial physics; seeing that geometry gained its first ideas from surrounding objects.
Until men had learnt geometrical relations from bodies on the earth, it was impossible for them to understand the geometrical relations of bodies in the heavens. So, too, with celestial mechanics, which had terrestrial mechanics for its parent. What were the laws made use of by Newton in working out his grand discovery?
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The law of falling bodies disclosed by Galileo; that of the composition of forces also disclosed by Galileo; and that of centrifugal force found out by Huyghens—all of them generalizations of terrestrial physics. Yet, with facts like these before him, M. Comte places astronomy before physics in order of evolution! He does not compare the geometrical parts of the two together, and the mechanical parts of the two Edition: current; Page: [ 23 ] together; for this would by no means suit his hypothesis. But he compares the geometrical part of the one with the mechanical part of the other, and so gives a semblance of truth to his position.
He is led away by a verbal illusion. Had he confined his attention to the things and disregarded the words, he would have seen that before mankind scientifically co-ordinated any one class of phenomena displayed in the heavens, they had previously co-ordinated a parallel class of phenomena displayed on the surface of the earth.
Were it needful we could fill a score pages with the incongruities of M. Comte's scheme. But the foregoing samples will suffice. So far is his law of evolution of the sciences from being tenable, that, by following his example, and arbitrarily ignoring one class of facts, it would be possible to present, with great plausibility, just the opposite generalization to that which he enunciates. Comte's own work, numerous facts, admissions, and arguments, might be picked out, tending to show this.
We have already quoted his words in proof that both abstract and concrete mathematics have progressed towards a higher degree of generality, and that he looks forward to a higher generality still. Just to strengthen this adverse hypothesis, let us take a further instance. Edition: current; Page: [ 24 ] From the particular case of the scales, the law of equilibrium of which was familiar to the earliest nations known, Archimedes advanced to the more general case of the lever of which the arms may or may not be equal; the law of equilibrium of which includes that of the scales.
Should we ever succeed in reducing all orders of phenomena to some single law—say of atomic action, as M. Comte suggests—must not that law answer to his test of being independent of all others, and therefore most simple? And would not such a law generalize the phenomena of gravity, cohesion, atomic affinity, and electric repulsion, just as the laws of number generalize the quantitative phenomena of space, time and force? The possibility of saying so much in support of an hypothesis the very reverse of M. Comte's, at once proves that his generalization is only a half-truth.
The fact is that neither proposition is correct by itself; and the actuality is expressed only by putting the two together. The progress of science is duplex. It is at once from the special to the general, and from the general to the special. It is analytical and synthetical at the same time.
Comte himself observes that the evolution of science Edition: current; Page: [ 25 ] has been accomplished by the division of labour; but he quite misstates the mode in which this division of labour has operated. As he describes it, it has been simply an arrangement of phenomena into classes, and the study of each class by itself. He does not recognize the effect of progress in each class upon all other classes: he recognizes only the effect on the class succeeding it in his hierarchical scale.
Or if he occasionally admits collateral influences and intercommunications, he does it so grudgingly, and so quickly puts the admissions out of sight and forgets them, as to leave the impression that, with but trifling exceptions, the sciences aid one another only in the order of their alleged succession. Every particular class of inquirers has, as it were, secreted its own particular order of truths from the general mass of material which observation accumulates; and all other classes of inquirers have made use of these truths as fast as they were elaborated, with the effect of enabling them the better to elaborate each its own order of truths.
It was thus in sundry of the cases we have quoted as at variance with M. Comte's doctrine.
It was thus with the application of Huyghens's optical discovery to astronomical observation by Galileo. It was thus with the application of the isochronism of the pendulum to the making of instruments for measuring intervals, astronomical and other. It was thus when the discovery that the refraction and dispersion of light did not follow the same law of variation, affected both astronomy and physiology by giving us achromatic telescopes and microscopes.
It was thus when Bradley's discovery of the aberration of light enabled him to make the first step towards ascertaining the motions of the stars. Edition: current; Page: [ 26 ] It was thus when Cavendish's torsion-balance experiment determined the specific gravity of the Earth, and so gave a datum for calculating the specific gravities of the Sun and Planets.
It was thus when tables of atmospheric refraction enabled observers to write down the real places of the heavenly bodies instead of their apparent places. It was thus when the discovery of the different expansibilities of metals by heat, gave us the means of correcting our chronometrical measurements of astronomical periods. We can with certainty predict that it has a high degree of abstractness; seeing that it is common to such infinitely-varied phenomena. We need not expect to see in it an obvious solution of this or that form of progress; because it is equally concerned with forms of progress bearing little apparent resemblance to them: its association with multiform orders of facts, involves its dissociation from any particular order of facts.
The only obvious respect in which all kinds of progress are alike, is, that they are modes of change; and hence, in some characteristic of changes in general, the desired solution will probably be found. We may suspect a priori that in some universal law of change lies the Edition: current; Page: [ 37 ] explanation of this universal transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous.
Thus much premised, we pass at once to the statement of the law, which is this:— Every active force produces more than one change—every cause produces more than one effect. To make this proposition comprehensible, a few examples must be given. When one body strikes another, that which we usually regard as the effect, is a change of position or motion in one or both bodies. Besides the visible mechanical result, sound is produced; or, to speak accurately, a vibration in one or both bodies, which is communicated to the surrounding air; and under some circumstances we call this the effect.
Moreover, the air has not only been made to undulate, but has had currents caused in it by the transit of the bodies. Further, there is a disarrangement of the particles of the two bodies in the neighbourhood of their point of collision; amounting, in some cases, to a visible condensation. Yet more, this condensation is accompanied by the disengagement of heat.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
In some cases a spark—that is, light—results, from the incandescence of a portion struck off; and sometimes this incandescence is associated with chemical combination. Thus, by the mechanical force expended in the collision, at least five, and often more, different kinds of changes have been produced.
Take, again, the lighting of a candle. Primarily this is a chemical change consequent on a rise of temperature. But accompanying this process of combination there is a production of heat; there is a production of light; there is an ascending column of hot gases generated; there are inflowing currents set going in the surrounding air. Moreover, the complicating of effects does not end Edition: current; Page: [ 38 ] here: each of the several changes produced becomes the parent of further changes.
The carbonic acid given off will by and by combine with some base; or under the influence of sunshine give up its carbon to the leaf of a plant. The water will modify the hygrometric state of the air around; or, if the current of hot gases containing it comes against a cold body, will be condensed: altering the temperature of the surface it covers. The heat given out melts the subjacent tallow, and expands whatever it warms.
The light, falling on various substances, calls forth from them reactions by which its composition is modified; and so divers colours are produced. Similarly even with these secondary actions, which may be traced out into overmultiplying ramifications, until they become too minute to be appreciated. And thus it is with all changes whatever. No case can be named in which an active force does not evolve forces of several kinds, and each of these, other groups of forces. Universally the effect is more complex than the cause. Doubtless the reader already foresees the course of our argument.
This multiplication of effects, which is displayed in every event of to-day, has been going on from the beginning; and is true of the grandest phenomena of the universe as of the most insignificant. From the law that every active force produces more than one change, it is an inevitable corollary that during the past there has been an ever-growing complication of things. Throughout creation there must have gone on, and must still go on, a never-ceasing transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous.
Let us trace this truth in detail. Without committing ourselves to it as more than a speculation, though a highly probable one, let us again commence with the evolution of the Solar System out of a nebulous medium. The hypothesis is that from the mutual attraction of the molecules of a diffused mass whose form is unsymmetrical, there results not only condensation but rotation.
While the condensation and the rate of rotation Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] go on increasing, the approach of the molecules is necessarily accompanied by an increasing temperature. As the temperature rises, light begins to be evolved; and ultimately there results a revolving sphere of fluid matter radiating intense heat and light—a sun. There are reasons for believing that, in consequence of the higher tangential velocity originally possessed by the outer parts of the condensing nebulous mass, there will be occasional detachments of rotating rings; and that, from the breaking up of these nebulous rings, there will arise masses which in the course of their condensation repeat the actions of the parent mass, and so produce planets and their satellites—an inference strongly supported by the still extant rings of Saturn.
Should it hereafter be satisfactorily shown that planets and satellites were thus generated, a striking illustration will be afforded of the highly heterogeneous effects produced by the primary homogeneous cause; but it will serve our present purpose to point to the fact that from the mutual attraction of the particles of an irregular nebulous mass there result condensation, rotation, heat, and light.
It follows as a corollary from the Nebular Hypothesis, that the Earth must once have been incandescent; and whether the Nebular Hypothesis be true or not, this original incandescence of the Earth is now inductively established—or, if not established, at least rendered so highly probable that it is an accepted geological doctrine. Let us look first at the astronomical attributes of this once molten globe. From its rotation there result the oblateness of its form, the alternations of day and night, and under the influence of the moon and in a smaller degree the sun the tides, aqueous and atmospheric.
From the inclination of its axis, there result the many differences of the seasons, both simultaneous and successive, that pervade its surface, and from the same cause joined with the action of the moon on the equatorial protuberance there results the precession of the equinoxes. Thus the multiplication of Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] effects is obvious. Let us now, however, observe the multiplied changes afterwards arising from the continuance of this one cause.
The cooling of the Earth involves its contraction. Hence the solid crust first formed is presently too large for the shrinking nucleus; and as it cannot support itself, inevitably follows the nucleus. But a spheroidal envelope cannot sink down into contact with a smaller internal spheroid, without disruption: it must run into wrinkles as the rind of an apple does when the bulk of its interior decreases from evaporation. As the cooling progresses and the envelope thickens, the ridges consequent on these contractions will become greater, rising ultimately into hills and mountains; and the later systems of mountains thus produced will not only be higher, as we find them to be, but will be longer, as we also find them to be.
Thus, leaving out of view other modifying forces, we see what immense heterogeneity of surface has arisen from the one cause, loss of heat—a heterogeneity which the telescope shows us to be paralleled on the face of Mars, and which in the moon too, where aqueous and atmospheric agencies have been absent, it reveals under a somewhat different form. But we have yet to notice another kind of heterogeneity of surface similarly and simultaneously caused.
But as fast as the crust thickened and gained corresponding Edition: current; Page: [ 41 ] strength, the lines of fracture from time to time caused in it, must have occurred at greater distances apart; the intermediate surfaces must have followed the contracting nucleus with less uniformity; and there must have resulted larger areas of land and water.
In place of islands homogeneously dispersed amid an all-embracing sea, there must have gradually arisen heterogeneous arrangements of continent and ocean. Once more, this double change in the extent and in the elevation of the lands, involved yet another species of heterogeneity—that of coast-line. A tolerably even surface raised out of the ocean must have a simple, regular sea-margin; but a surface varied by table-lands and intersected by mountain-chains must, when raised out of the ocean, have an outline extremely irregular both in its leading features and in its details.
Thus, multitudinous geological and geographical results are slowly brought about by this one cause—the contraction of the Earth. When we pass from the agency termed igneous, to aqueous and atmospheric agencies, we see the like evergrowing complications of effects. The denuding actions of air and water, joined with those of changing temperature, have, from the beginning, been modifying every exposed surface.
Oxidation, heat, wind, frost, rain, glaciers, rivers, tides, waves, have been unceasingly producing disintegration; varying in kind and amount according to local circumstances. When the exposed land consists of several unlike kinds of sedimentary strata, or igneous rocks, or both, denudation produces changes proportionably more heterogeneous.
The formations being disintegrable in different degrees, there follows an increased irregularity of surface. The areas drained by different rivers being differntly constituted, these rivers carry down to the sea different combinations of ingredients; and so sundry new strata of unlike compositions are formed.
And here we may see very simply illustrated, the truth, which we shall presently have to trace out in more involved cases, that in proportion to the heterogeneity of the object or objects on which any force expends itself, is the heterogeneity of the effects. A continent of complex structure, exposing many strata irregularly distributed, raised to various levels, tilted up at all angles, will, under the same denuding agencies, give origin to innumerable and involved results: each district must be differently modified; each river must carry down a different kind of detritus; each deposit must be differently distributed by the entangled currents, tidal and other, which wash the contorted shores; and this multiplication of results must manifestly be greatest where the complexity of surface is greatest.
Here we might show how the general truth, that every active force produces more than one change, is again exemphfied in the highly-involved flow of the tides, in the ocean currents, in the winds, in the distribution of rain, in the distribution of heat, and so forth. But not to dwell upon these, let us, for the fuller elucidation of this truth in relation to the inorganic world, consider what would be the consequences of some extensive cosmical catastrophe—say the subsidence of Central America.
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The immediate results Edition: current; Page: [ 43 ] of the disturbance would themselves be sufficiently complex. Besides the numberless dislocations of strata, the ejections of igneous matter, the propagation of earthquake vibrations thousands of miles around, the loud explosions, and the escape of gases; there would be the rush of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to fill the vacant space, the subsequent recoil of enormous waves, which would traverse both these oceans and produce myriads of changes along their shores, the corresponding atmospheric waves complicated by the currents surrounding each volcanic vent, and the electrical discharges with which such disturbances are accompanied.
But these temporary effects would be insignificant compared with the permanent ones. The currents of the Atlantic and Pacific would be altered in their directions and amounts. The distribution of heat achieved by these ocean currents would be different from what it is. The arrangement of the isothermal lines, not only on neighbouring continents, but even throughout Europe, would be changed. The tides would flow differently from what they do now.
There would be more or less modification of the winds in their periods, strengths, directions, qualities. Rain would fall scarcely anywhere at the same times and in the same quantities as at present. In short, the meteorological conditions thousands of miles off, on all sides, would be more or less revolutionized. Thus, without taking into account the infinitude of modifications which these changes would produce upon the flora and fauna, both of land and sea, the reader will perceive the immense heterogeneity of the results wrought out by one force, when that force expends itself upon a previously complicated area; and he will draw the corollary that from the beginning the complication has advanced at an increasing rate.
Before going on to show how organic progress also depends on the law that every force produces more than one change, we have to notice the manifestation of this law in yet another species of inorganic progress—namely, Edition: current; Page: [ 44 ] chemical. The same general causes that have wrought out the heterogeneity of the Earth, physically considered, have simultaneously wrought out its chemical heterogeneity. There is every reason to believe that at an extreme heat the elements cannot combine. Even under such heat as can be artificially produced, some very strong affinities yield, as, for instance, that of oxygen for hydrogen; and the great majority of chemical compounds are decomposed at much lower temperatures.
But without insisting on the highly probable inference, that when the Earth was in its first state of incandescence there were no chemical combinations at all, it will suffice for our purpose to point to the unquestionable fact that the compounds which can exist at the highest temperatures, and which must, therefore, have been the first that were formed as the Earth cooled, are those of the simplest constitutions. These are combinations of the simplest order—are but one degree less homogeneous than the elements themselves.
Higher than these in heterogeneity are the hydrates; in which an oxide of hydrogen, united with an oxide of some other element, forms a substance whose atoms severally contain at least four ultimate atoms of three different kinds. Yet more heterogeneous and less stable still are the salts; which present us with molecules each made up of five, six, seven, eight, ten, twelve, or more atoms, of three, if not more, kinds. Then there are the hydrated salts, of a yet greater heterogeneity, which undergo partial decomposition at much lower temperatures.
After them come the further complicated supersalts and double Edition: current; Page: [ 45 ] salts, having a stability again decreased; and so throughout. Without entering into qualifications for which space fails, we believe no chemist will deny it to be a general law of these inorganic combinations that, other things equal , the stability decreases as the complexity increases. When we pass to the compounds of organic chemistry, we find this general law still further exemplified: we find much greater complexity and much less stability. A molecule of albumen, for instance, consists of ultimate atoms of five different kinds.
Fibrine, still more intricate in constitution, contains in each molecule, atoms of carbon, 49 of nitrogen, 2 of sulphur, of hydrogen, and 92 of oxygen—in all, atoms; or, more strictly speaking, equivalents. And these two substances are so unstable as to decompose at quite ordinary temperatures; as that to which the outside of a joint of roast meat is exposed.
The cause has all along been a composite one: the cooling of the Earth having been simply the most general of the concurrent causes, or assemblage of conditions.
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And here, indeed, it may be remarked that in the several classes of facts already dealt with excepting, perhaps, the first , and still more in those with which we shall presently deal, the causes are more or less compound; as indeed are Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] nearly all causes with which we are acquainted. Scarcely any change can rightly be ascribed to one agency alone, to the neglect of the permanent or temporary conditions under which only this agency produces the change.
Perhaps it will be further objected, that to assign loss of heat as the cause of any changes, is to attribute these changes not to a force, but to the absence of a force. And this is true. Strictly speaking, the changes should be attributed to those forces which come into action when the antagonist force is withdrawn. But though there is inaccuracy in saying that the freezing of water is due to the loss of its heat, no practical error arises from it; nor will a parallel laxity of expression vitiate our statements respecting the multiplication of effects.
Indeed, the objection serves but to draw attention to the fact, that not only does the exertion of a force produce more than one change, but the withdrawal of a force produces more than one change. Returning to the thread of our exposition, we have next to trace, throughout organic progress, this same all-pervading principle. And here, where the evolution of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous was first observed, the production of many effects by one cause is least easy to demonstrate. The development of a seed into a plant, or an ovum into an animal, is so gradual, while the forces which determine it are so involved, and at the same time so unobtrusive, that it is difficult to detect the multiplication of effects which is elsewhere so obvious.
But, guided by indirect evidence, we may safely conclude that here too the law holds. Note, first, how numerous are the changes which any marked action works upon an adult organism—a human being, for instance. Similarly in cases of disease. Medicines, special foods, better air, might in like manner be instanced as producing multipled results. Now it needs only to consider that the many changes thus wrought by one force upon an adult organism, will be in part paralleled in an embryo organism, to understand how here also, the evolution of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous may be due to the production of many effects by one cause.
The external heat, which, falling on a matter having special proclivities, determines the first complications of the germ, may, by acting on these, superinduce further complications; upon these still higher and more numerous ones; and so on continually: each organ as it is developed serving, by its actions and reactions on the rest, to initiate new complexities. The growth of each tissue, by taking from the blood special proportions of elements, must modify the constitution of the blood; and so must modify the nutrition of all the other tissues. The nervous connexions established among the viscera must further multiply their mutual influences; and so continually.
Still stronger becomes the probability of this view when we call to mind the fact, that the same germ may be evolved into different forms according to circumstances. Thus, during its earlier stages, every embryo is sexless—becomes either male or female as the balance of forces acting on it determines.
All which instances suggest that the proximate cause of each advance in embryonic complication is the action of incident forces upon the complication previously existing. Indeed, we may find a priori reason to think that the evolution proceeds after this manner. For since no germ, animal or vegetal, contains the slightest rudiment or indication of the future organism—since the microscope has shown us that the first process set up in every fertilized germ, is a process of repeated spontaneous fissions ending in the production of a mass of cells, not one of which exhibits any special character; there seems no alternative but to suppose that the partial organization at any moment existing in a growing embryo, is transformed by the agencies acting upon it into the succeeding phase of organization, and this into the next, until, through ever-increasing complexities, the ultimate form is reached.
Not indeed that we can thus really explain the production of any plant or animal. We are still in the dark respecting those mysterious properties in virtue of which the germ, when subject to fit influences, undergoes the special changes that begin the series of transformations. All we aim to show, is, that given a germ possessing those Edition: current; Page: [ 49 ] particular proclivities distinguishing the species to which it belongs, and the evolution of an organism from it, probably depends on that multiplication of effects which we have seen to be the cause of progress in general, so far as we have yet traced it.
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Though, as was admitted in the first part of this article, the fragmentary facts Paleontology has accumulated, do not clearly warrant us in saying that, in the lapse of geologic time, there have been evolved more heterogeneous organisms, and more heterogeneous assemblages of organisms, yet we shall now see that there must ever have been a tendency towards these results. We shall find that the production of many effects by one cause, which as already shown, has been all along increasing the physical heterogeneity of the Earth, has further involved an increasing heterogeneity in its flora and fauna, individually and collectively.
An illustration will make this clear. Suppose that by a series of upheavals, occurring, as they are now known to do, at long intervals, the East Indian Archipelago were to be, step by step, raised into a continent, and a chain of mountains formed along the axis of elevation. By the first of these upheavals, the plants and animals inhabiting Borneo, Sumatra, New Guinea, and the rest, would be subjected to slightly modified sets of conditions.
The climate in general would be altered in temperature, in humidity, and in its periodical variations; while the local differences would be multiplied. These modifications would affect, perhaps inappreciably, the entire flora and fauna of the region. The change of level would produce additional modifications: varying in different species, and also in different members of the same species, according to their distance from the axis of elevation. Plants, growing only on the sea-shore in special localities, might become extinct.
Edition: current; Page: [ 50 ] Others, living only in swamps of a certain humidity, would, if they survived at all, probably undergo visible changes of appearance. While still greater alterations would occur in the plants gradually spreading over the lands newly raised above the sea. The animals and insects living on these modified plants, would themselves be in some degree modified by change of food, as well as by change of climate; and the modification would be more marked where, from the dwindling or disappearance of one kind of plant, an allied kind was eaten. In the lapse of the many generations arising before the next upheaval, the sensible or insensible alterations thus produced in each species would become organized—there would be a more or less complete adaptation to the new conditions.
The next upheaval would superinduce further organic changes, implying wider divergences from the primary forms; and so repeatedly. But now let it be observed that the revolution thus resulting would not be a substitution of a thousand more or less modified species for the thousand original species; but in place of the thousand original species there would arise several thousand species, or varieties, or changed forms. Each species being distributed over an area of some extent, and tending continually to colonize the new area exposed, its different members would be subject to different sets of changes.
Plants and animals spreading towards the equator would not be affected in the same way as others spreading from it. Those spreading towards the new shores would undergo changes unlike the changes undergone by those spreading into the mountains. Thus, each original race of organisms, would become the root from which diverged several races differing more or less from it and from each other; and while some of these might subsequently disappear, probably more than one would survive in the next geologic period: the very dispersion itself increasing the chances of survival.
Not only would there be certain modifications thus caused by change of physical conditions and food, but also in some Edition: current; Page: [ 51 ] cases other modifications caused by change of habit. The fauna of each island, peopling, step by step, the newly-raised tracts, would eventually come in contact with the faunas of other islands; and some members of these other faunas would be unlike any creatures before seen. Herbivores meeting with new beasts of prey, would, in some cases, be led into modes of defence or escape differing from those previously used; and simultaneously the beasts of prey would modify their modes of pursuit and attack.
We know that when circumstances demand it, such changes of habit do take place in animals; and we know that if the new habits become the dominant ones, they must eventually in some degree alter the organization. Observe now, however, a further consequence. There must arise not simply a tendency towards the differentiation of each race of organisms into several races; but also a tendency to the occasional production of a somewhat higher organism. Taken in the mass these divergent varieties which have been caused by fresh physical conditions and habits of life, will exhibit changes quite indefinite in kind and degree; and changes that do not necessarily constitute an advance.
Probably in most cases the modified type will be neither more nor less heterogeneous than the original one. In some cases the habits of life adopted being simpler than before, a less heterogeneous structure will result: there will be a retrogradation. But it must now and then occur, that some division of a species, falling into circumstances which give it rather more complex experiences, and demand actions somewhat more involved, will have certain of its organs further differentiated in proportionately small degrees,—will become slightly more heterogeneous. Omitting detailed explanations, and allowing for the qualifications which cannot here be specified, we think it is clear that Edition: current; Page: [ 52 ] geological mutations have all along tended to complicate the forms of life, whether regarded separately or collectively.
In this case, as in previous ones, we see that the transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous is consequent upon the universal principle, that every active force produces more than one change. The deduction here drawn from the established truths of geology and the general laws of life, gains immensely in weight on finding it to be in harmony with an induction drawn from direct experience. Just that divergence of many races from one race, which we inferred must have been continually occurring during geologic time, we know to have occurred during the pre-historic and historic periods, in man and domestic animals.
And just that multiplication of effects which we concluded must have produced the first, we see has produced the last. Single causes, as famine, pressure of population, war, have periodically led to further dispersions of mankind and of dependent creatures: each such dispersion initiating new modifications, new varieties of type. Whether all the human races be or be not derived from one stock, philology makes it clear that whole groups of races now easily distinguishable from each other, were originally one race,—that the diffusion of one race into different climates and conditions of existence, has produced many modified forms of it.
Similarly with domestic animals. Though in some cases—as that of dogs—community of origin will perhaps be disputed, yet in other cases—as that of the sheep or the cattle of our own country—it will not be questioned that local differences of climate, food, and treatment, have transformed one original breed into numerous breeds now become so far distinct as to produce unstable hybrids.
Moreover, through the complication of Edition: current; Page: [ 53 ] effects flowing from single causes, we here find, what we before inferred, not only an increase of general heterogeneity, but also of special heterogeneity. While of the divergent divisions and subdivisions of the human race many have undergone changes not constituting an advance; while in some the type may have degraded; in others it has become decidedly more heterogeneous. The civilized European departs more widely from the vertebrate archetype than does the savage. Thus, both the law and the cause of progress, which, from lack of evidence, can be but hypothetically substantiated in respect of the earlier forms of life on our globe, can be actually substantiated in respect of the latest forms.
If the advance of Man towards greater heterogeneity is traceable to the production of many effects by one cause, still more clearly may the advance of Society towards greater heterogeneity be so explained. Consider the growth of an industrial organization. When, as must occasionally happen, some member of a tribe displays unusual aptitude for making an article of general use—a weapon, for instance—which was before made by each man for himself, there arises a tendency towards the Edition: current; Page: [ 54 ] differentiation of that member into a maker of such weapon.
His companions—warriors and hunters all of them,—severally feel the importance of having the best weapons that can be made; and are therefore certain to offer strong inducements to this skilled individual to make weapons for them. He, on the other hand, having not only an unusual faculty, but an unusual liking, for making such weapons the talent and the desire for any occupation being commonly associated , is predisposed to fulfil each commission on the offer of an adequate reward: especially as his love of distinction is also gratified and his living facilitated.
This first specialization of function, once commenced, tends ever to become more decided. On the side of the weapon-maker practice gives increased skill—increased superiority to his products. On the side of his clients, cessation of practice entails decreased skill.
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Thus the influences which determine this division of labour grow stronger in both ways; and the incipient heterogeneity is, on the average of cases, likely to become permanent for that generation if no longer. This process not only differentiates the social mass into two parts, the one monopolizing, or almost monopolizing, the performance of a certain function, and the other losing the habit, and in some measure the power, of performing that function; but it tends to initiate other differentiations. The advance described implies the introduction of barter,—the maker of weapons has, on each occasion, to be paid in such other articles as he agrees to take in exchange.
He will not habitually take in exchange one kind of article, but many kinds. He does not want mats only, or skins, or fishing-gear, but he wants all these, and on each occasion will bargain for the particular things he most needs. What follows? If among his fellows there exist any slight differences of skill in the manufacture of these various things, as there are almost sure to do, the weapon-maker will take from each one the thing which that one excels in making: he will exchange for mats with him Edition: current; Page: [ 55 ] whose mats are superior, and will bargain for the fishing-gear of him who has the best.
But he who has bartered away his mats or his fishing-gear, must make other mats or fishing-gear for himself; and in so doing must, in some degree, further develop his aptitude. Thus it results that the small specialities of faculty possessed by various members of the tribe, will tend to grow more decided. SPENCER has achieved a high position as an original and comprehensive thinker, who subjects the most abstract and subtile questions to a searching and exhaustive analysis, with a rare efflux of illustration and a lucid and attractive style.
These traits are fully displayed in the variety of articles constituting the present volume. Several of the papers, as "Representative Government -- What it is Good For;" "Reform: Its Dangers and Its Safeguards;" "Prison Ethics;" "State Tamperings with Money and Banks," and the "Morals of Trade," discuss the fundamental principles of government and society, and have an interest for all classes at the present time.