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Applying structuralism to cultural worldviews is central to this argument. Structuralism traces invariant patterns of development over time. Studying cultural history and the evolution of worldviews through time is a useful way to contextualize the origination of any idea or philosophy.
Common methods for this third-person view of interiors are cultural anthropology, cultural history, and ethnomethodology for collective worldview development. This approach to understanding worldviews has been explored by tracing patterns of perspective or meaning-making through cultures and history.
Any critique or discussion of philosophy in chiropractic that does not account for worldview development will miss central elements at the heart of the philosophy. The only exceptions to this are historical approaches that emphasize cultural worldviews, yet these approaches rarely acknowledge the genealogical or structural aspect of worldview development. Thus, they too are limited. Chiropractic historians have focused on retrospectively linking concepts and theories from chiropractic's principles to the roots of the ideas in the past.
Unfortunately, many historians downplay DD Palmer's philosophical insights while emphasizing other scientific or philosophical roots. For example, Donahue links the concept of wellness and treating the whole body to the ancient Greek followers of Hippocrates, the Coans from Cos. He suggests that we should get rid of DD Palmer's personal beliefs about spirituality and stick to these ancient wellness concepts.
Robert Fuller writes:. I think that Donahue, as well as other current historians seeking to show chiropractic's early commitment to scientific research, minimizes the metaphysical dimensions that Palmer had injected into the movement in its early days. Chiropractic historians who feel uncomfortable with the Palmers' religious views, embarrassed by their anti-medical statements, and eager for the profession to achieve scientific legitimacy have unjustifiably in Moore's view minimized the ongoing influence of harmonial chiropractic.
Moore's approach is illustrative of one of the exceptions noted above. Moore acknowledges the cultural and historical aspects to the philosophy of chiropractic but does not include a structural or genealogical approach to how these ideas emerged. This leaves the analysis of the philosophy incomplete and could lead to a false equivalence between premodern ideas and DD Palmer's ideas.
One of the biggest problems with this approach centers on the use of the term metaphysics. Metaphysics is often used in different ways in the literature, in the classical sense as a branch of philosophy and in the cultural religious sense, usually as in the shelf in the new-age bookstores. For example, Phillips and Leach write:. While the branch of philosophy dealing with metaphysics i.
In the above quote, the authors confuse philosophical metaphysics with metaphysical religiosity, include a host of attributes to such religiosity ghosts, magic, etc , and then suggest that philosophers of chiropractic that include metaphysics accept all of that. The second definition of metaphysics deals with the full spectrum from contemplative and energetic experiences associated with meditation practices and alternative and complementary medicine, to religious experiences associated with a communion between the spiritual realm and the physical realm, to magical belief systems.
When using the term metaphysics in regards to the philosophy of chiropractic, a distinction should be made as to exactly how the term is being applied and defined. I have suggested, 5 as has Gunther Brown, 31 that Albanese's distinction of definition be used when discussing chiropractic's origins. This is a useful approach because Albanese has captured how the term was used during DD Palmer's time and in relation to Palmer and similar healing traditions specifically. Albanese writes:.
The human world and mind replicate either ideally, formerly, or actually—a larger, often more whole and integrated universe, so that the material world is organically linked to a spiritual one. Albanese explicitly applies this to Palmer. Fuller even suggests that DD Palmer made advances to the various approaches of the day by creating specific terminology II and UI and pathways through which these energies can heal and enlighten the world chiropractic.
Metaphysics as a branch of philosophy can however be applied to interpreting aspects of Palmer's philosophy. The main problem with Albanese's overall approach, which can be said for most approaches that capture the interior and cultural elements behind chiropractic's origins, is the lack of structural genealogy. Among the many historical approaches linking chiropractic's origins to the history of philosophy, 4 , 28 , Albanese, 1 Moore, 4 Gaucher-Pelsherbe, 3 and Fuller 30 come the closest to capturing the interiors of the culture underlying Palmer's worldview.
They do not however situate that knowledge within an evolution of worldviews. By adding the structural and genealogical aspect of worldview development, we can truly understand Palmer in an entirely new light, construct a philosophy of chiropractic, and make new sense of the many debates in the profession for more than the last years. One very important way this new approach can be used to further the philosophy of chiropractic is by dispelling the misleading historical interpretation that chiropractic's philosophy only exists because of legal survival.
This was most recently applied to chiropractic in terms of the history of philosophy by Phillips. A genealogical approach to the history of ideas and consciousness and Palmer's place in that milieu remedies this limited interpretation. Hopefully, the alternate approach offered in this article will create a more complete context for the emergence of chiropractic and its philosophical ideas without a political agenda, which is so obvious in the legal argument. There are 3 important ways to look at premodern worldviews and their impact on chiropractic's philosophical roots: structures of consciousness, self-identity, and ideas.
Each one of these is interwoven, as they complement, reinforce, and help to shape each other. Structures of consciousness and self-identity are best understood using the methodologies of cultural anthropology, ethnomethodology, hermeneutics, structuralism, and phenomenology. As previously described, 20 none of these are well represented in the literature on chiropractic's philosophy.
This is very important because the chiropractic concepts of II and UI are very similar to premodern conceptions of the soul, the body, and God. Innate intelligence is defined as the inner organizing force of all living systems. DD Palmer writes of Innate:. It continues to care for and direct the organic functions of the body as long as the soul holds body and spirit together. Innate is embodied as a personified part of Universal Intelligence; therefore, co-eternal with the all-creative force. This indwelling portion of the Eternal is in our care for improvement.
The intellectual expansion of Innate is in proportion to the normal transmission of impulses over the nervous system; for this reason the body functions should be kept in the condition of tone. He believed II could be developed biologically, mentally, and spiritually as a deep intuition and connection to the cosmos. By sorting out these ideas from the haze of premodern worldviews, locating their foundation in the modern identity, and also teasing out the newer elements from postmodern perspectives, we can more adequately deal with these philosophical questions in their proper context.
Cultural historian Jean Gebser is one of the most important scholars of culture from the last century because he was able to explain the chaos of modern times in relation to the evolution of consciousness and the emergence of a new worldview. His magnum opus, The Ever Present Origin , 9 was first published in His emphasis was on Western consciousness and the development of perspective through time. Gebser's book was translated into English in There is a move in academia to dismiss structural approaches to the history of ideas or consciousness mainly because such approaches were used in the past to assert social and cultural superiority in various ways.
Recently, Munzinger, a legal history scholar, critiqued the chiropractic profession on the way it writes its own history. That type of false teleology is important to note in this context. Gebser's work does trace the history of consciousness in a seemingly progressive route to the latest advances in perspective. It flies in the face of Munzinger's admonition against teleology.
And yet, Gebser and other similarly minded theorists like Wilber, Combs, and Taylor are not suggesting that the latest developments in consciousness were inevitable and that history's purpose was to get us to this point. Nonetheless, there is an advance in consciousness being studied in all of their theories; and thus, to understand the philosophy of chiropractic from this perspective, we need to set aside judgment of this approach in the spirit of open-minded scholarship and pluralism.
Gebser's 5 structures of consciousness, Archaic, Magic, Mythic, Mental, and Integral, are a useful way for us to explore the evolution of worldviews over time. This is especially important because of Gebser's emphasis on what he called the Integral aperspectival Structure , which began around the turn of the 20th century, the time of chiropractic's emergence.
According to Combs, 10 Gebser's 5 levels referred to the worldviews that were implicit in the structures of consciousness. These were complete experiential ways of understanding and relating to the world, as well as ways of perceiving and knowing. In each epoch, one structure became dominant enough for most adults in a culture to achieve it. In any one culture, there could be many people at various worldviews; but the dominant one left its mark on art, literature, science, and history. The earliest structures of consciousness were Archaic, Magic, and Mythic. There are virtually no extant data to corroborate the Archaic structure or the way our ancient human ancestors viewed the world.
The Magic structure originated in the Stone Age Paleolithic humans. Hallmarks of this structure are early cave paintings, shamans, cyclical time, as well as the interchangeability of space and time, and the one-dimensional point. Negative forms are evident in mass movements such as Nazi Germany or other lessened forms such as repression and projection. The Mythic gave rise to gods and goddesses, and mythic imagination; space was viewed as 2-dimensional, and time was not yet linear as we understand it today.
The Mental structure began in the premodern era before the ancient Greeks and has dominated the 20th century in much of the world. Understanding the difference between the premodern and modern sense of self will help us to draw distinctions around DD Palmer's concepts of Innate and Universal Intelligence from similar concepts in history and also help us to situate chiropractic in a postmodern or postconventional worldview, what Gebser referred to as Integral aperspectival. The hallmark of the Mental structure is the use of rationality and also the development of perspective.
Perspectival consciousness developed as a worldview during the Renaissance in the architecture of Brunelleschi and the art of da Vinci. It was a new way of viewing the world, one that situated the viewer in the point of view of the artist. Before this, art did not capture the perspective of the artist. For the first time, 3 dimensions are captured in art.
By looking at the art, you are able to view the spatial depths from the artist's 3-dimensional perspective. The Magic and Mythic structures were marked by 2-dimensional and preperspectival consciousness, such as cave paintings, where the images were dreamy; Egyptian paintings, with 2-dimensional beings; or Medieval tapestries, where the figures were floating with no ground or perspective.
In those examples, there is an unreal quality and no third dimension is captured. Just by looking at perspectival art, like the Mona Lisa , a mutation of consciousness spread; and the world was never the same. Once an individual grasps the world in a new and more authentic way, such as from a 2-dimensional perspective to a 3-dimensional perspective, his or her worldview is forever changed.
The only modern analogy is childhood development. It is well documented that young children cannot take another person's point of view. The whole world revolves around them. As they grow and develop, they can begin to put themselves in another's shoes. Once this ability develops, an individual does not regress except perhaps in cases of brain injury. Individuals can still retain remnants of that previous level of egocentric perspective such as narcissism, but they now have the ability at least to see the world from another's perspective.
In the past, such development was not yet a fully realized worldview for adults. Today, we take them for granted as the course of normal development. This new perspective or 3-dimensional worldview soon translated to the microscopic, the telescopic, and the geographic. It not only brings one's point of view to the world, but tends to divide up, split up, and cause arguments over small matters. The Mental structure is not a structure complex enough for the 21st century!
Innate Intelligence was defined as both a biological category and a spiritual category. A category mistake is when 2 categories or levels are defined by one term. This philosophical distinction was first made by Gilbert Ryle. The original definition of Innate Intelligence did something similar; it used the same term to describe the eternal spirit and the director of biological organization.
For example, DD Palmer wrote:. That which I named Innate born with is a segment of that Intelligence which fills the universe. This universal, All Wise, is metamerized, divided into metameres as needed by each individualized being. This somatome of the whole, never sleeps nor tires, recognizes neither darkness nor distance, and is not subject to material laws or conditions. It continues to care for and direct the functions of the body as long as the soul holds body and spirit together. Innate's existence and consciousness are not dependent upon its body, no more than we on the house we live in.
It is invincible, cannot be injured or destroyed by material changes. It is invulnerable, is not subject to traumatic or toxic injuries, is not subordinate to material substance. Biological functions are one category. In modern times, biology as a discipline has its roots in the Mental structure of consciousness. The invulnerable and invincible spirit is the spiritual category and has its roots in the premodern Magic and Mythic structures.
Palmer thus combined 3 levels: body, soul, and spirit or Mental, Mythic, and Magic. The category error can be corrected by viewing these levels as emerging from different structures of consciousness and Palmer's attempt to unite them as a new and emergent structure. Nowhere is the need for such a correction more evident than with the critiques of II, which are based on II's premodern roots. Concrete proof comes from a modern worldview. If accepting II on faith was the only claim to its validity, it would represent a premodern concept and Donahue would be correct.
He is not. Incorporated into the definition of II is an empirical approach from the Mental structure of consciousness, the modern worldview. DD Palmer may not have been trained in the scientific method; but he did distinguish faith, belief, and knowledge in regards to science. Palmer wrote:. Science is accepted, accumulated knowledge, systematized and formulated with reference to the existence of general facts—the operation of general laws concerning one subject.
Chiropractic is the name of a classified, indexed knowledge of successive sense impressions of biology—the science of life—which science I created out of principles which have existed as long as the vertebrate. Science is the knowledge of knowing. Scientific religion embraces a systematic knowledge of facts which can be verified by conscious cerebration. Knowledge is superior to faith and belief. Faith is an inward acceptance of some personal act; we believe thon is trustworthy, therefore, we have faith.
Faith is a union of belief and trust. Belief is an intellectual process, the acceptance of some thing as true on other grounds than personal observation and experience. This will allow us to separate these categories or levels and distinguish appropriate language for each, whether we are comparing premodern to postmodern, preconventional to postconventional, or just body to mind to soul to spirit.
His goal was to better understand the modern self-identity and its sources of morality. Taylor's examination of the history of philosophy in search of how and where the modern self emerged can help us understand how DD Palmer's sense of self, for instance, was distinct from that of previous philosophers from Socrates to Augustine and Descartes to Kant.
Taylor's insights have been applied to the philosophy of chiropractic in 2 instances: the first was by Smith, 74 who applied these ideas to the development of psychosomatic medicine from the history of ideas; and the second was a precursor to this article by the author. Using Taylor's approach to the development of the self gives us yet another way to understand how DD Palmer's worldview was very different from the premodern or the modern worldview.
This is because we can now understand more precisely not just the worldview but the self within that worldview. As Taylor has shown, one of the most comprehensive ways to do so is to study the development of ideas through the history of Western thought. In Pythagoras BCE , we find an emphasis on the structure of a thing to define its causes of behavior. It is in the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle that we can see the most explicit premodern roots to chiropractic's philosophy.
Bergson, Henri Louis
In the teachings of Socrates, teacher of Plato, we find the first turning within to point reason to the soul instead of just the universe. To say that Innate Intelligence is an aspect of Universal Intelligence is rooted in this idea. In Plato's Timaeus , however, 77 comes the idea that the many emanate from the one, the Good.
The Good can be viewed as the ultimate source of all the Ideal Forms. In terms of Palmer's approach, we can now locate individual Innates, as many coming from the one universal, an even deeper debt to Plato. And yet, we might say that Palmer's view of Innate is closer to Aristotle, who expanded upon Plato's theory of forms. Aristotle brought the Ideal Forms down into the world as things striving to express their ideal. His word for this was entelechy. According to Wilber, 11 the tone for Western philosophy was set by this dialectic tension between the ascent to the One and the descent from the One to the many.
Building upon Alfred North Whitehead's famous observation that all of Western philosophy is footnotes to Plato, 79 Wilber points out that the footnotes are fractured because most philosophers have chosen one or the other path and there is no real way to integrate the two. Wilber writes:. The split in philosophy between spirit and matter really began with the emergence of the Mental structure as exemplified in Plato and the attempt to reconcile this split by Aristotle.
Wilber brings this point to the forefront. We can now see that the attempt to heal the split between mind and body that chiropractic represents goes further back in history than previously supposed with the Cartesian dualism. And the first real attempt to overcome it was by Plotinus, the inspiration to generations of philosophers, including the philosophic lineage of DD Palmer.
The many is another term for the separateness between things or forms in the world. All individuals are parts of the many and the One. For Plotinus, the ascent went from matter to life to mind to soul and then to the One. DD Palmer considered Innate to be the creator of thought and life. His hierarchy emphasized the descent and went from UI to II to intelligent life soul , which was the link to matter. Innate created living functions and thought EI.
For him, the progression and perfection of II the ascent extended to life and beyond. In his midlife, BJ Palmer described the descent from the One to the many. He wrote:. My Innate Intelligence is not God, but for want of better I shall refer to it as an emanation. This supply of superior force is being supplied constantly, but it is not Innate in me until it passes thru transitions.
This sunbeam, as it were, must pass thru a sieve called mental. What remains passes onward, thru the mind. Each step brings it nearer to a physical, utilizable level. Having passed thru the two ethereal processes, let us now make of it a practical substance by proceeding thru the brain, converting it to a reality—mental impulse—physical power—life.
In his later life, after more than 60 years of developing chiropractic, its philosophy, and his own self, BJ Palmer wrote of the ascent to Universal or the infinite. The process of ascent started through the healthy function of biological expression of the intelligence as a result of the chiropractic adjustment and was then evolved further by the EI's acceptance of II as a wiser intelligence, which could ultimately result in a total sublimation to UI in the form of infinite awareness.
BJ Palmer wrote:. Should that time come when his finite mind could and did know the infinite mind WITHIN, then his external finite mind would cease to be, because it would then be infinite in scope, understanding, and application. Again, we can find the roots to these ideas here but not their essence because the ontic self of Plotinus was far from the perspectival modern and aperspectival postmodern selves of the Palmers. According to Taylor, 26 St Augustine CE makes the next major discovery in terms of the relationship between the subjective self and the universal other. Augustine inverts Plotinus' ascent to the One or ascent to Plato's Ideal Forms and ascends by going within.
His ascent was frozen. Wilber considered this a holdover of the Mythic structure holding back the Mental structure. The philosophers of the West were stuck, according to Wilber. They could not go fully within nor could they fully explore the outer world, as Goodness was now to be found on the interior, where God was, and not in the exterior, where sin was. According to Wilber, the West would wait until Boehme and then Bruno to find the goodness outside in nature, enough so that exploring nature would be akin to exploring God's Goodness.
It is a philosophy that grew out of this tradition and drew from the developments that came after Augustine. There were several notable vitalistic philosophers and physicians before the Western Enlightenment whose systems could also be viewed as roots of DD Palmer's II, UI, and conception of chiropractic. Some historians have objectively noted this connection in their writings. By acknowledging a difference between DD Palmer's prerational and postrational ideas, a gigantic leap forward is made toward establishing a discipline of philosophy in chiropractic.
Structuralism as it is applied to individuals and cultures is the key to making these distinctions between pre and post. Paracelsus sought to create harmony between man and nature, and microcosm and macrocosm by using herbs, plants, and minerals to assist the body's natural powers to heal. He referred to this power as archeus , a vital principle. His follower, von Helmont , created a hierarchy with the soul directing the main archeus, which then directed the archeus of each organ. Boehme had a similar notion to Paracelsus' archeus, which he called primus. Boehme mixed the magical views of Paracelsus with mystical views of Meister Eckart and Plotinus, combined with Augustine's interior.
This paved the way for modern science and an embrace of the world as good rather than sinful. Boehme also had a great influence on Swedenborg, Schelling, as well as several early spiritual communities in America. The conception of nature by these vitalistic philosophers was not yet modern and so not really representative of Palmer, his worldview, or his self.
With the life of Giordano Bruno , 85 we can see the beginning of the Modern world. Bruno was a true martyr to the modern self because he was burned at the stake by the Inquisition because of his beliefs. Bruno combined Plotinian philosophy with the findings of Copernicus. He reasoned that if the universe overflowed with the Good of God and if earth revolved around the sun as his contemporary Copernicus espoused , then stars were filled with planets teaming with life as an expression of God's goodness.
The universe was divine life. Chiropractic's most basic concepts of II and UI have their roots in premodern worldviews. Such structures are represented by Magic, Mythic, and early Mental-Rational structures of consciousness. The development of these worldviews is also characterized by the development of perspective through time.
The advent of the modern worldview coincided not only with the development of a unique sense of self but also with the 3-dimensional perspective as characterized by the Renaissance art, spatial awareness, and individualized consciousness. All of these developments can be explained as precursors to the concepts of II and UI; and thus, these concepts are not equivalent to premodern ideas. None of the premodern ideas can truly be equated with DD Palmer, BJ Palmer, or the philosophy of chiropractic because they grew from worldviews so foreign to the way DD Palmer viewed the world.
The Greeks, St Augustine, the vitalists, and even Bruno considered life from a different perspective from either of the Palmers. Thus, roots to the ideas that are central to chiropractic can be found in premodern philosophy, the premodern worldview, and the self associated with those eras; but that was only the beginning. By understanding how the elements of chiropractic's philosophical theories come from premodern worldviews, magic, mythic, and early-mental structures of consciousness, and the history of the self, we can more accurately contextualize and develop a philosophy of chiropractic.
Much of the criticism of the philosophy of chiropractic has been aimed at the premodern roots to the philosophy. An adequate context using ethnomethodology to understand the development of cultural worldviews and hermeneutics to interpret the meaning individuals gave to their ideas over time opens up the interpretations of chiropractic's ideas in a new way. DD Palmer, the founder of the chiropractic, was a modern individual at the turn of the 20th century, fully steeped in the metaphysical religious culture of his time and the current state of scientific knowledge of his time.
As an individual, he embodied a worldview and a sense of self that could never be equated to the worldviews or selves of philosophers of premodern times. For this reason, it is very important when developing a philosophy of chiropractic to acknowledge the importance that philosophers of the past and worldviews of the past may have played in planting chiropractic's roots; but that is all they will ever be.
Roots of the ideas and roots of the self are not the ideas or the self, no matter how similar they may sound to modern and postmodern ears or interpreted through today's worldviews. Thus, chiropractic can be more fully understood as a unique attempt in a particular time, place, and culture to come to grips with all that has come before, which included an attempt to honor certain premodern truths from a modern worldview, which may imply a new and emergent worldview, one that bridges the gap between modern and premodern; for now, let us call it postmodern.
Gebser referred to it as Integral aperspectival. Simon Senzon has received from the Global Gateway Foundation a writing grant to further the objectives of the Foundation. No conflicts of interest were reported for this study. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List J Chiropr Humanit v. J Chiropr Humanit. Published online Oct Simon A. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Senzon: moc. Chestnut St, Asheville, NC All rights reserved. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Objective The philosophy of chiropractic can be framed as an attempt to correct the problems inherited from the Western Enlightenment.
Discussion The worldview or cultural mindset the philosophy arose from must be situated in the context of its time, the birth of the unique postmodern worldview, aperspectival consciousness, and the modern sense of self. Key indexing terms: Chiropractic, Philosophy, Vitalism, Metaphysics. Introduction Chiropractic emerged from a unique worldview in the history of Western thought.
Palmer continues: Knowing that our physical health and the intellectual progress of Innate the personified portion of Universal Intelligence depend upon the proper alignment of the skeletal frame, we feel it our bounden duty to replace any displaced bones so that physical and spiritual health, happiness and the full fruition of earthly life may be fully enjoyed. Open in a separate window. Fig 1. Robert Fuller writes: I think that Donahue, as well as other current historians seeking to show chiropractic's early commitment to scientific research, minimizes the metaphysical dimensions that Palmer had injected into the movement in its early days.
For example, Phillips and Leach write: While the branch of philosophy dealing with metaphysics i. Premodern worldviews: chiropractic's roots There are 3 important ways to look at premodern worldviews and their impact on chiropractic's philosophical roots: structures of consciousness, self-identity, and ideas. Defining II and UI Innate intelligence is defined as the inner organizing force of all living systems. DD Palmer writes of Innate: It continues to care for and direct the organic functions of the body as long as the soul holds body and spirit together.
Approaching structures of consciousness Cultural historian Jean Gebser is one of the most important scholars of culture from the last century because he was able to explain the chaos of modern times in relation to the evolution of consciousness and the emergence of a new worldview. Magic and Mythic structures Gebser's 5 structures of consciousness, Archaic, Magic, Mythic, Mental, and Integral, are a useful way for us to explore the evolution of worldviews over time. Mental structure and perspective The Mental structure began in the premodern era before the ancient Greeks and has dominated the 20th century in much of the world.
Categorical errors in chiropractic ideas Innate Intelligence was defined as both a biological category and a spiritual category. Palmer wrote: Science is accepted, accumulated knowledge, systematized and formulated with reference to the existence of general facts—the operation of general laws concerning one subject. He wrote: My Innate Intelligence is not God, but for want of better I shall refer to it as an emanation. BJ Palmer wrote: Should that time come when his finite mind could and did know the infinite mind WITHIN, then his external finite mind would cease to be, because it would then be infinite in scope, understanding, and application.
Some vitalistic philosophers There were several notable vitalistic philosophers and physicians before the Western Enlightenment whose systems could also be viewed as roots of DD Palmer's II, UI, and conception of chiropractic. Brunonian revolution With the life of Giordano Bruno , 85 we can see the beginning of the Modern world. From premodern to modern Chiropractic's most basic concepts of II and UI have their roots in premodern worldviews. Say, if you like, that the intellect is capable of progress, that it will see more and more clearly into a greater and greater number of things; but do not speak of engendering it, for it is with your intellect itself that you would have to do the work.
The objection presents itself naturally to the mind. But the same reasoning would prove also the impossibility of acquiring any new habit. It is of the essence of reasoning to shut us up in the circle of the given. But action breaks the circle. If we had never seen a man swim, we might say that swimming is an impossible thing, inasmuch as, to learn to swim, we must begin by holding ourselves up in the water and, consequently, already know how to swim. Reasoning, in fact, always nails us down to the solid ground.
But if, quite simply, I throw myself into the water without fear, I may keep myself up well enough at first by merely struggling, and gradually adapt myself to the new environment: I shall thus have learnt to swim. So, in theory, there is a kind of absurdity in trying to know otherwise than by intelligence; but if the risk be frankly accepted, action will perhaps cut the knot that reasoning has tied and will not unloose.
Besides, the risk will appear to grow less, the more our point of view is adopted. We have shown that in-. And further we compared the intellect to a solid nucleus formed by means of condensation. This nucleus does not differ radically from the fluid surrounding it. It can only be reabsorbed in it because it is made of the same substance.
He who throws himself into the water, having known only the resistance of the solid earth, will immediately be drowned if he does not struggle against the fluidity of the new environment: he must perforce still cling to that solidity, so to speak, which even water presents. Only on this condition can he get used to the fluid's fluidity. So of our thought, when it has decided to make the leap. But leap it must, that is, leave its own environment. Reason, reasoning on its powers, will never succeed in extending them, though the extension would not appear at all unreasonable once it were accomplished.
Thousands and thousands of variations on the theme of walking will never yield a rule for swimming: come, enter the water, and when you know how to swim, you will understand how the mechanism of swimming is connected with that of walking. Swimming is an extension of walking, but walking would never have pushed you on to swimming. So you may speculate as intelligently as you will on the mechanism of intelligence; you will never, by this method, succeed in going beyond it, You may get something more complex, but not something higher nor even something different,, You must take things by storm: you must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will.
So the vicious circle is only apparent. It is, on the contrary, real, we think, in every other method of philosophy. This we must try to show in a few words, if only. At first sight, it may seem prudent to leave the consideration of facts to positive science, to let physics and chemistry busy themselves with matter, the biological and psychological sciences with life.
The task of the philosopher is then clearly defined. He takes facts and laws from the scientists' hand; and whether he tries to go beyond them in order to reach their deeper causes, or whether he thinks it impossible to go further and even proves it by the analysis of scientific knowledge, in both cases he has for the facts and relations, handed over by science, the sort of respect that is due to a final verdict. To this knowledge he adds a critique of the faculty of knowing, and also, if he thinks proper, a metaphysic; but the matter of knowledge he regards as the affair of science and not of philosophy.
But how does he fail to see that the real result of this so-called division of labor is to mix up everything and confuse everything? The metaphysic or the critique that the philosopher has reserved for himself he has to receive, ready-made, from positive science, it being already contained in the descriptions and analyses, the whole care of which he left to the scientists.
For not having wished to intervene, at the beginning, in questions of fact, he finds himself reduced, in questions of principle, to formulating purely and simply in more precise terms the unconscious and consequently inconsistent, metaphysic and critique which the very attitude of science to reality marks out. Let us not be deceived by an apparent analogy between natural things and human things.
Here we are not in the judiciary domain, where the description of fact and the. Here the laws are internal to the facts and relative to the lines that have been followed in cutting the real into distinct facts. We cannot describe the outward appearance of the object without prejudging its inner nature and its organization. Form is no longer entirely isolable from matter, and he who has begun by reserving to philosophy questions of principle, and who has thereby tried to put philosophy above the sciences, as a " court of cassation" is above the courts of assizes and of appeal, will gradually come to make no more of philosophy than a registration court, charged at most with wording more precisely the sentences that are brought to it, pronounced and irrevocable.
Positive science is, in fact, a work of pure intellect. Now, whether our conception of the intellect be accepted or rejected, there is one point on which everybody will agree with us, and that is that the intellect is at home in the presence of unorganized matter. This matter it makes use of more and more by mechanical inventions, and mechanical inventions become the easier to it the more it thinks matter as mechanism. The intellect bears within itself, in the form of natural logic, a latent geometrism that is set free in the measure and proportion that the intellect penetrates into the inner nature of inert matter.
Intelligence is in tune with this matter, and that is why the physics and metaphysics of inert matter are so near each other. Now, when the intellect undertakes the study of life, it necessarily treats the living like the inert, applying the same forms to this new object, carrying over into this new field the same habits that have succeeded so well in the old; and it is right to do so, for only on such. But the truth we thus arrive at becomes altogether relative to our faculty of action. It is no more than a symbolic verity.
It cannot have the same value as the physical verity, being only an extension of physics to an object which we are a priori agreed to look at only in its external aspect. The duty of philosophy should be to intervene here actively, to examine the living without any reservation as to practical utility, by freeing itself from forms and habits that are strictly intellectual. Its own special object is to speculate, that is to say, to see; its attitude toward the living should not be that of science, which aims only at action, and which, being able to act only by means of inert matter, presents to itself the rest of reality in this single respect.
What must the result be, if it leave biological and psychological facts to positive science alone, as it has left, and rightly left, physical facts? It will accept a priori a mechanistic conception of all nature, a conception unreflected and even unconscious, the outcome of the material need. It will a priori accept the doctrine of the simple unity of knowledge and of the abstract unity of nature.
The moment it does so, its fate is sealed. The philosopher has no longer any choice save between a metaphysical dogmatism and a metaphysical skepticism, both of which rest, at bottom, on the same postulate, and neither of which adds anything to positive science. He may hypostasize the unity of nature, or, what comes to the same thing, the unity of science, in a being who is nothing since he does nothing, an ineffectual God who simply sums up in himself all the given; or in an eternal Matter from whose womb have been poured out the properties of things and the laws of nature; or, again, in a pure Form which endeavors to seize an unseizable multiplicity, and which is,.
All these philosophies tell us, in their different languages, that science is right to treat the living as the inert, and that there is no difference of value, no distinction to be made between the results which intellect arrives at in applying its categories, whether it rests on inert matter or attacks life. In many cases, however, we feel the frame cracking.
But as we did not begin by distinguishing between the inert and the living, the one adapted in advance to the frame in which we insert it , the other incapable of being held in the frame otherwise than by a convention which eliminates from it all that is essential, we find ourselves' in the end, reduced to regarding everything the frame contains with equal suspicion. To a metaphysical dogmatism, which has erected into an absolute the factitious unity of science, there succeeds a skepticism or a relativism that universalizes and extends to all the results of science the artificial character of some among them.
So philosophy swings to and fro between the doctrine that regards absolute reality as unknowable and that which, in the idea it gives us of this reality, says nothing more than science has said. For having wished to prevent all conflict between science and philosophy, we have sacrificed philosophy without any appreciable gain to science. And for having tried to avoid the seeming vicious circle which consists in using the intellect to transcend the intellect, we find ourselves turning in a real circle, that which consists in laboriously rediscovering by metaphysics a unity that we began by positing a priori, a unity that we admitted blindly and unconsciously by the very act of abandoning the whole of experience to science and the whole of reality to the pure understanding.
We shall find that the inert enters naturally into the frames of the intellect, but that the living is adapted to these frames only artificially, so that we must adopt a special attitude towards it and examine it with other eyes than those of positive science. Philosophy, then, invades the domain of experience.
She busies herself with many things which hitherto have not concerned her. Science, theory of knowledge, and metaphysics find themselves on the same ground. At first there may be a certain confusion. All three may think they have lost something. But all three will profit from the meeting. Positive science, indeed, may pride itself on the uniform value attributed to its affirmations in the whole field of experience. But, if they are all placed on the same footing, they are all tainted with the same relativity.
It is not so, if we begin by making the distinction which, in our view, is forced upon us. The understanding is at home in the domain of unorganized matter. On this matter human action is naturally exercised; and action, as we said above, cannot be set in motion in the unreal. Thus, of physics-so long as we are considering only its general form and not the particular cutting out of matter in which it is manifested-we may say that it touches the absolute.
On the contrary, it is by accident-chance or convention, as you please--that science obtains a hold on the living analogous to the hold it has on matter. Here the use of conceptual frames is no longer natural. I do not wish to say that it is not legitimate, in the scientific meaning of the term. If science is to extend our action on things, and if we can act only with inert matter for instrument, science can and must continue to treat the living as it has treated the inert. But, in doing so, it must be understood that the further it penetrates the.
On this new ground philosophy ought then to follow science, in order to superpose on scientific truth a knowledge of another kind, which may be called metaphysical.
Henri Bergson - Wikiwand
Thus combined, all our knowledge, both scientific and metaphysical, is heightened. In the absolute we live and move and have our being. The knowledge we possess of it is incomplete, no doubt, but not external or relative. It is reality itself, in the profoundest meaning of the word, that we reach by the combined and progressive development of science and of philosophy.
Thus, in renouncing the factitious unity which the understanding imposes on nature from outside, we shall perhaps find its true, inward and living unity. For the effort we make to transcend the pure understanding introduces us into that more 'vast something out of which our understanding is cut, and from which it has detached itself. And, as matter is determined by intelligence, as there is between them an evident agreement, we cannot make the genesis of the one without making the genesis of the other.
An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both. Into this reality we shall get back more and more completely, in proportion as we compel ourselves to transcend pure intelligence. Let us then concentrate attention on that which we have that is at the same time the most removed from externality and the least penetrated with intellectuality.
Let us seek, in the depths of our experience, the point where we feel ourselves most intimately within our own life. It is into pure duration that we then plunge back, a duration in which the past, always moving on, is swelling. But, at the same time, we feel the spring of our will strained to its utmost limit. We must, by a strong recoil of our personality on itself, gather up our past which is slipping away, in order to thrust it, compact and undivided, into a present which it will create by entering. Rare indeed are the moments when we are self-possessed to this extent: it is then that our actions are truly free.
And even at these moments we do not completely possess ourselves. Our feeling of duration, I should say the actual coinciding of ourself with itself, admits of degrees.
Bergson’s Two Ways of Knowing
But the more the feeling is deep and the coincidence complete, the more the life in which it replaces us absorbs intellectuality by transcending it. For the natural function of the intellect is to bind like to like, and it is only facts that can be repeated that are entirely adaptable to intellectual conceptions.
Now, our intellect does undoubtedly grasp the real moments of real duration after they are past; we do so by reconstituting the new state of consciousness out of a series of views taken of it from the outside, each of which resembles as much as possible something already known; in this sense we may say that the state of consciousness contains intellectuality implicitly.
Yet the state of consciousness overflows the intellect; it is indeed incommensurable with the intellect, being itself indivisible and new. Now let us relax the strain, let us interrupt the effort to crowd as much as possible of the past into the present. If the relaxation were complete, there would no longer be either memory or will-which amounts to saying that, in fact, we never do fall into this absolute passivity, any more than we can make ourselves absolutely free.
But, in the Emit, we get a glimpse of an existence made of a present which recommences unceasingly -- devoid of real. Is the existence of matter of this nature? Not altogether, for analysis resolves it into elementary vibrations, the shortest of which are of very slight duration, almost vanishing, but not nothing. It may be presumed, nevertheless, that physical existence inclines in this second direction, as psychical existence in the first.
Behind " spirituality" on the one hand, and " materiality" with intellectuality on the other, there are then two processes opposite in their direction, and we pass from the first to the second by way of inversion, or perhaps even by simple interruption, if it is true that inversion and interruption are two terms which in this case must be held to be synonymous, as we shall show at more length later on. This presumption is confirmed when we consider things from the point of view of extension, and no longer from that of duration alone.
The more we succeed in making ourselves conscious of our progress in pure duration, the more we feel the different parts of our being enter into each other, and our whole personality concentrate itself in a point, or rather a sharp edge, pressed against the future and cutting into it unceasingly. It is in this that life and action are free. But suppose we let ourselves go and, instead of acting, dream.
At once the self is scattered; our past, which till then was gathered together into the indivisible impulsion it communicated to us, is broken up into a thousand recollections made external to one another. They give up interpenetrating in the degree that they become fixed. Our personality thus descends in the direction of space. It coasts around it continually in sensation.
We will not dwell here on a point we have studied elsewhere. Let us merely recall that extension. No doubt we make only the first steps in the direction of the extended, even when we let ourselves go as much as we can. But suppose for a moment that matter consists in this very movement pushed further, and that physics is simply psychics inverted. We shall now understand why the mind feels at its ease, moves about naturally in space, when matter suggests the more distinct idea of it. This space it already possessed as an implicit idea in its own eventual detension, that is to say, of its own possible extension.
The mind finds space in things, but could have got it without them if it had had imagination strong enough to push the inversion of its own natural movement to the end. On the other hand, we are able to explain how matter accentuates still more its materiality, when viewed by the mind. Matter, at first, aided mind to run down its own incline; it gave the impulsion. But, the impulsion once received, mind continues its course. The idea that it forms of pure space is only the schema of the limit at which this movement would end.
Once in possession of the form of space, mind uses it like a net with meshes that can be made and unmade at will, which, thrown over matter, divides it as the needs of our action demand. Thus, the space of our geometry and the spatiality of things are mutually engendered by the reciprocal action and reaction of two terms which are essentially the same, but which move each in the direction inverse of the other. Neither is space so foreign to our nature as we imagine, nor is matter as completely extended in space as our senses and intellect represent it.
We have treated of the first point elsewhere. As to the second, we will limit ourselves to pointing out that perfect spatiality would consist in a perfect externality of parts in their relation to one another, that is to say, in a complete reciprocal independence. Now, there is no material point that does not act on every other material point - When we observe that a thing really is there where it acts, we shall be led to say as Faraday was that all the atoms interpenetrate and that each of them fills the world.
On such a hypothesis, the atom or, more generally, the material point, becomes simply a view of the mind. Yet it is undeniable that matter lends itself to this subdivision, and that, in supposing it breakable into parts external to one another, we are constructing a science sufficiently representative of the real. It is undeniable that if there be no entirely isolated system, yet science finds means of cutting up the universe into systems relatively independent of each other, and commits no appreciable error in doing so.
What else can this mean but that matter extends itself in space without being absolutely extended therein, and that in regarding matter as decomposable into isolated systems, in attributing to it quite distinct elements which change in relation to each other without changing in themselves which are "displaced," shall we say, without being "altered" , in short, in conferring on matter the properties of pure space, we are transporting ourselves to the terminal point of the movement of which matter simply indicates the direction?
We cannot reason indefinitely on the notions of heat, color, or weight: in order to know the modalities of weight or of heat, we must have recourse to experience. Not so of the notion of space. Supposing even that it is given empirically by sight and touch and Kant has not questioned the fact there is this about it that is remarkable that our mind, speculating on it with its own powers alone, cuts out in it, a priori, figures whose properties we determine a priori: experience, with which we have not kept in touch, yet follows us through the infinite complications of our reasonings and invariably justifies them.
That is the fact. Kant has set it in clear light. But the explanation of the fact, we believe, must be sought in a different direction to that which Kant followed. Intelligence, as Kant represents it to us, is bathed in an atmosphere of spatiality to which it is as inseparably united as the living body to the air it breathes. Our perceptions reach us only after having passed through this atmosphere. They have been impregnated in advance by our geometry, so that our faculty of thinking only finds again in matter the mathematical properties which our faculty of perceiving has already deposed there.
We are assured, therefore, of seeing matter yield itself with docility to our reasonings; but this matter, in all that it has that is intelligible, is our own work; of the reality " in itself" we know nothing and never shall know anything, since we only get its refraction through the forms of our faculty of perceiving. So that if we claim to affirm something of it, at once there rises the contrary affirmation, equally demonstrable, equally plausible.
The ideality of space is proved directly by the analysis of knowledge indirectly by the antinomies to which the opposite theory. Such is the governing idea of the Kantian criticism. It has inspired Kant with a peremptory refutation of "empiricist" theories of knowledge. But, in what it affirms, does it give us the solution of the problem? With Kant, space is given as a ready-made form of our perceptive faculty-- a veritable deus ex machina, of which we see neither how it arises, nor why it is what it is rather than anything else.
If the unknowable reality projects into our perceptive faculty a "sensuous manifold" capable of fitting into it exactly, is it not, by that very fact, in part known? And when we examine this exact fitting, shall we not be led, in one point at least, to suppose a pre-established harmony between things and our mind an idle hypothesis, which Kant was right in wishing to avoid? At bottom, it is for not having distinguished degrees in spatiality that he has had to take space ready-made as given-whence the question how the "sensuous manifold" is adapted to it. It is for the same reason that he has supposed matter wholly developed into parts absolutely external to one another; -whence antinomies, of which we may plainly see that the thesis and antithesis suppose the perfect coincidence of matter with geometrical space, but which vanish the moment we cease to extend to matter what is true only of pure space.
Whence, finally, the conclusion that there are three alternatives, and three only, among which to choose a theory of knowledge: either the mind is determined by things, or things are determined by the mind, or between mind and things we must suppose a mysterious agreement. This alternative consists, first of all, in regarding the intellect as a special function of the mind, essentially turned toward inert matter; then in saying that neither does matter determine the form of the intellect, nor does the intellect impose its form on matter, nor have matter and intellect been regulated in regard to one another by we know not what pre-established harmony, but that intellect and matter have progressively adapted themselves one to the other in order to attain at last a common form.
This adaptation has, moreover, been brought about quite naturally, because it is the same inversion of the same movement which creates at once the intellectuality of mind and the materiality of things. From this point of view the knowledge of matter that our perception on one hand and science on the other give to us appears, no doubt, as approximative, but not as relative.
Our perception, whose role it is to hold up a light to our actions, works a dividing up of matter that is always too sharply defined, always subordinated to practical needs, consequently always requiring revision. Our science, which aspires to the mathematical form, overaccentuates the spatiality of matter; its formulae are, in general, too precise, and ever need remaking. For a scientific theory to be final, the mind would have to embrace the totality of things in block and place each thing in its exact relation to every other thing; but in reality we are obliged to consider problems one by one, in terms which are, for that 'very reason, provisional, so that the solution of each problem will have to be corrected indefi-.
It is in this meaning, and to this degree, that science must be regarded as conventional. But it is a conventionality of fact so to speak, and not of right. In principle, positive science bears on reality itself, provided it does not overstep the limits of its own domain, which is inert matter. Scientific knowledge, thus regarded, rises to a higher plane. In return, the theory of knowledge becomes an infinitely difficult enterprise, and which passes the powers of the intellect alone. It is not enough to determine, by careful analysis, the categories of thought; we must engender them.
As regards space, we must, by an effort of mind sui generis, follow the progression or rather the regression of the extra-spatial degrading itself into spatiality. When we make ourselves self-conscious in the highest possible degree and then let ourselves fall back little by little, we get the feeling of extension: we have an extension of the self into recollections that are fixed and external to one another, in place of the tension it possessed as an indivisible active will. But this is only a beginning. Our consciousness, sketching the movement, shows us its direction and reveals to us the possibility of continuing it to the end; but consciousness itself does not go so far.
Now, on the other hand, if we consider matter, which seems to us at first coincident with space, we find that the more our attention is fixed on it, the more the parts which we qaid were, laid side by side enter into each other, each of them undergoing the action of the whole, which is consequently somehow present in it. Thus, although matter stretches itself out in the direction of space, it does not completely attain it; whence. We hold, therefore, the two ends of the chain, though we do not succeed in seizing the intermediate links. Will they always escape us? We must remember that philosophy, as we define it, has not yet become completely conscious of itself.
Physics understands its role when it pushes matter in the direction of spatiality; but has metaphysics understood its role when it has simply trodden in the steps of physics, in the chimerical hope of going further in the same direction? Should not its own task be, on the contrary, to remount the incline that physics descends, to bring back matter to its origins, and to build up progressively a cosmology which would be, so to speak, a reversed psychology? All that which seems positive to the physicist and to the geometrician would become, from this new point of view, an interruption or inversion of the true positivity, which would have to be defined in psychological terms.
When we consider the admirable order of mathematics, the perfect agreement of the objects it deals with, the immanent logic in numbers and figures, our certainty of always getting the same conclusion, however diverse and complex our reasonings on the same subject, we hesitate to see in properties apparently so positive a system of negations, the absence rather than the presence of a true reality.
But we must not forget that our intellect, which finds this order and wonders at it, is directed in the same line of movement that loads to the materiality and spatiality of its object. The more complexity the intellect puts into its object by analyzing it, the more complex is the order it finds there. And this order and this complexity necessarily appear to the intellect as a positive reality, since. When a poet reads me his verses, I can interest myself enough in him to enter into his thought, put myself into his feelings, live over again the simple state he has broken into phrases and words.
I sympathize then with his inspiration, I follow it with a continuous movement which is, like the inspiration itself, an undivided act. Now, I need only relax my attention, let go the tension that there is in me, for the sounds, hitherto swallowed up in the sense, to appear to me distinctly, one by one, in their materiality.
For this I have not to do anything; it is enough to withdraw something. In proportion as I let myself go, the successive sounds will become the more individualized; as the phrases were broken into words, so the words will scan in syllables which I shall perceive one after another. Let me go farther still in the direction of dream: the letters themselves will become loose and will be seen to dance along, hand in hand, on some fantastic sheet of paper.
I shall then admire the precision of the interweavings, the marvelous order of the procession, the exact insertion of the letters into the syllables, of the syllables into the words and of the words into the sentences. The farther I pursue this quite negative direction of relaxation, the more extension and complexity I shall create; and the more the complexity in its turn increases, the more admirable will seem to be the order which continues to reign, undisturbed, among the elements.
Yet this complexity and extension represent nothing positive; they express a deficiency of will. And, on the other hand, the order must grow with the complexity, since it is only an aspect of it. The more we perceive, symbolically, parts in an indivisible whole, the more the number of the relations that the parts have between themselves necessarily increases, since the same undividedness of the real whole continues to hover over.
A comparison of this kind will enable us to understand in some measure, how the same suppression of positive' reality, the same inversion of a certain original movement, can create at once extension in space and the admirable order which mathematics finds there. There is, of course, this difference between the two cases, that words and letters have been invented by a positive effort of humanity, while space arises automatically, as the remainder of a subtraction arises once the two numbers are posited.
All the operations of our intellect tend to geometry, as to the goal where they find their perfect fulfilment. We shall be convinced of this if we consider the two essential functions of intellect, the faculty of deduction and that of induction. Let us begin with deduction. The same movement by which I trace a figure in space engenders its properties: they are visible and tangible in the movement itself; I feel, I see in space the relation of the definition to its consequences, of the premisses to the conclusion.
All the other concepts of which experience suggests the idea to me are only in part constructible a priori; the definition of them is therefore imperfect, and the deductions into which these concepts enter, however closely the conclusion is linked to the premisses, participate in this imperfection.
But when I trace roughly in the sand the base of a triangle, as I begin to form the two angles at the base, I know positively, and understand absolutely, that if these two angles are equal the sides will be equal also, the figure being then able to be turned over on itself without there being any change whatever. I know it before I have learnt geometry. Thus, prior to the science of geometry, there is a natural geometry whose clearness and evidence surpass the clearness and evidence of other deductions. Now, these other deductions bear on qualities, and not on magnitudes purely.
They are, then, likely to have been formed on the model of the first, and to borrow their force from the fact that, behind quality, we see magnitude vaguely showing through. We may notice, as a fact, that questions of situation and of magnitude are the first that present themselves to our activity, those which in-.
The savage understands better than the civilized man how to judge distances, to determine a direction, to retrace by memory the often complicated plan of the road he has traveled, and so to return in a straight line to his starting-point. You cannot present this space to yourself without introducing, in the same act, a virtual geometry which will, of itself, degrade itself into logic.
All the repugnance that philosophers manifest towards this manner of regarding things comes from this, that the logical work of the intellect represents to their eyes a positive spiritual effort. But, if we understand by spirituality a progress to ever new creations, to conclusions incommensurable with the premisses and indeterminable by relation to them, we must say of an idea that moves among relations of necessary determination, through premisses which contain their conclusion in advance, that it follows the' inverse direction, that of materiality.
What appears, from the point of view of the intellect, as an effort, is in itself a letting go. And while, from the point of view of the intellect, there is a petitio principii in making geometry arise automatically from space, and logic from geometryon the contrary, if space is the ultimate goal of the mind's movement of detension, space cannot be given without positing also logic and geometry, which are along the course of the movement of which pure spatial intuition is the goal.
It has not been enough noticed how feeble is the reach of deduction in the psychological and moral sciences. From a proposition verified by facts, verifiable consequences can here be drawn only up to a certain point, only in a. Very soon appeal has to be made to common sense, that is to say, to the continuous experience of the real, in order to inflect the consequences deduced and bend them along the sinuosities of life. Deduction succeeds in things moral only metaphorically, so to speak, and just in the measure in which the moral is transposable into the physical, I should say translatable into spatial symbols.
The metaphor never goes very far, any more than a curve can long be confused with its tangent. Must we not be struck by this feebleness of deduction as something very strange and even paradoxical? Here is a pure operation of the mind, accomplished solely by the power of the mind. It seems that, if anywhere it should feel at home and evolve at ease, it would be among the things of the mind, in the domain of the mind. Not at all; it is there that it is immediately at the end of its tether. On the contrary, in geometry, in astronomy, in physics, where we have to do with things external to us, deduction is all-powerful!
Observation and experience are undoubtedly necessary in these sciences to arrive at the principle, that is, to discover the aspect under which things must be regarded; but, strictly speaking, we might, by good luck, have hit upon it at once; and, as soon as we possess this principle, we may draw from it, at any length, consequences which experience will always verify.
Must we not conclude, therefore, that deduction is an operation governed by the properties of matter, molded on the mobile articulations of matter, implicitly given, in fact, with the space that, underlies matter? As long as it turns upon space or spatialized time, it has only to lot itself go. It is duration that puts spokes in its wheels. Deduction, then, does not work unless there be spatial intuition behind it. But we may say the same of induction.
The consciousness of the animal already does this work, and indeed, independently of all consciousness, the living body itself is so constructed that it can extract from the successive situations in which it finds itself the similarities which interest it, and so respond to the stimuli by appropriate reactions.
But it is a far cry from a mechanical expectation and reaction of the body, to induction properly so called, which is an intellectual operation. Induction rests on the belief that there are causes and effects, and that the same effects follow the same causes. Now, if we examine this double belief, this is what we find. It implies, in the first place, that reality is decomposable into groups, which can be practically regarded as isolated and independent.
If I boil water in a kettle on a stove, the operation and the objects that support it are, in reality, bound up with a multitude of other objects and a multitude of other operations; in the end, I should find that our entire solar system is concerned in what is being done at this particular point of space. But, in a certain measure, and for the special end I am pursuing, I may admit that things happen as if the group water-kettle-stove were an independent microcosm.
That is my first affirmation. Now, when I say that this microcosm will always behave in the same way, that the heat will necessarily, at the end of a certain time, cause the boiling of the water, I admit that it is sufficient that a certain number of elements of the system be given in order that the system should be complete; it completes itself automatically, I am not free to complete it in thought as I please.
The stove, the kettle and the water being given, with a certain interval of duration, it seems to me that the boiling, which experience showed. What is there at the base of this belief? Notice that the belief is more or less assured, according as the case may be, but that it is forced upon the mind as an absolute necessity when the microcosm considered contains only magnitudes. If two numbers be given, I am not free to choose their difference. If two sides of a triangle and the contained angle are given, the third side arises of itself and the triangle completes itself automatically.
I can, it matters not where and it matters not when, trace the same two sides containing the same angle: it is evident that the new triangles so formed can be superposed on the first, and that consequently the same third side will come to complete the system. Now, if my certitude is perfect in the case in which I reason on pure space determinations, must I not suppose that, in the other cases, the certitude is greater the nearer it approaches this extreme case? Indeed, may it not be the limiting case which is seen through all the others and which colors them, accordingly as they are more or less transparent, with a more or less pronounced tinge of geometrical necessity?
Oh no, there's been an error
But my imagination acts thus only because it shuts its eyes to two essential points. For the. Induction therefore implies first that, in the world of the physicist as in that of the geometrician, time does not count. But it implies also that qualities can be superposed on each other like magnitudes. If, in imagination, I place the stove and fire of to-day on that of yesterday, I find indeed that the form has remained the same; it suffices, for that, that the surfaces and edges coincide; but what is the coincidence of two qualities, and how can they be superposed one on another in order to ensure that they are identical?
Yet I extend to the second order of reality all that applies to the first. The physicist legitimates this operation later on by reducing, as far as possible, differences of quality to differences of magnitude; but, prior to all science, I incline to liken qualities to quantities, as if I perceived behind the qualities, as through a transparency, a geometrical mechanism. Our inductions are certain, to our eyes, in the exact degree in which we make the qualitative differences melt into the homogeneity of the space which subtends them, so that geometry is the ideal limit of our inductions as well as of our deductions.
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The movement at the end of which is spatiality lays down along its course the faculty of induction as well as that of deduction, in fact, intellectuality entire. It creates them in the mind. But it creates also, in things, the "order" which our induction, aided by de-. This order, on which our action leans and in which our intellect recognizes itself, seems to us marvelous. Not only do the same general causes always produce the same general effects, but beneath the visible causes and effects our science discovers an infinity of infinitesimal changes which work more and more exactly into one another, the further we push the analysis: so much so that, at the end of this analysis, matter becomes, it seems to us, geometry itself.
Certainly, the intellect is right in admiring here the growing order in the growing complexity; both the one and the other must have a positive reality for it, since it looks upon itself as positive. But things change their aspect when we consider the whole of reality as an undivided advance forward to successive creations. It seems to us, then, that the complexity of the material elements and the mathematical order that binds them together must arise automatically when within the whole a partial interruption or inversion is produced.
Moreover, as the intellect itself is cut out of mind by a process of the same kind, it is attuned to this order and complexity, and admires them because it recognizes itself in them. But what is admirable in itself, what really deserves to provoke wonder, is the ever-renewed creation which reality, whole and undivided, accomplishes in advancing; for no complication of the mathematical order with itself, however elaborate we may suppose it, can introduce an atom of novelty into the world, whereas this power of creation once given and it exists, for we are conscious of it in ourselves, at least when we act freely has only to be diverted from itself to relax its tension, only to relax its tension to extend, only to extend for the mathematical order of the elements so distinguished and the inflexible determinism connecting them to manifest the interruption of the creative act: in fact, inflexible determinism.
It is this merely negative tendency that the particular laws of the physical world express. None of them, taken separately, has objective reality; each is the work of an investigator who has regarded things from a certain bias, isolated certain variables, applied certain conventional units of measurement. And yet there is an order approximately mathematical immanent in matter, an objective order, which our science approaches in proportion to its progress. For if matter is a relaxation of the inextensive into the extensive and, thereby, of liberty into necessity, it does not indeed wholly coincide with pure homogeneous space, yet is constituted by the movement which leads to space, and is therefore on the way to geometry.
It is true that laws of mathematical form will never apply to it completely. For that, it would have to be pure space and step out of duration. We cannot insist too strongly that there is something artificial in the mathematical form of a physical law, and consequently in our scientific knowledge of things. But we may go further. In a general way, measuring is a wholly human operation, which implies that we really or ideally superpose two objects one on another a certain number of times.
Nature did not dream of this superposition. It does not measure , nor does it count. Yet physics counts, measures, relates "quantitative" variations to one another to obtain laws, and it succeeds. Its success would be inexplicable ,. To effect this prolongation of the movement, our intellect has only to let itself go, for it runs naturally to space and mathematics, intellectuality and materiality being of the same nature and having been produced in the same way.
If the mathematical order were a positive thing, if there were, immanent in matter, laws comparable to those of our codes, the success of our science would have in it something of the miraculous. What chances should we have indeed of finding the standard of nature and of isolating exactly, in order to determine their reciprocal relations, the very variables which nature has chosen? But the success of a science of mathematical form would be no less incomprehensible, if matter did not already possess everything necessary to adapt itself to our formulae.
One hypothesis only, therefore, remains plausible, namely, that the mathematical order is nothing positive, that it is the form toward which a certain interruption tends of itself, and that materiality consists precisely in an interruption of this kind. We shall understand then why our science is contingent, relative to the variables it has chosen, relative to the order in which it has successively put the problems, and why nevertheless it succeeds. It might have been, as a whole, altogether different, and yet have succeeded.
This is so, just because there is no definite system of mathematical laws , at the base of nature, and because mathematics in general represents simply the side to which matter inclines. Put one of those little cork dolls with leaden feet in any posture, lay it on its back, turn it up on its head, throw it into the air: it will always.
So likewise with matter: we can take it by any end and handle it in any way, it will always fall back into some one of our mathematical formulae because it is weighted with geometry. But the philosopher will perhaps refuse to found a theory of knowledge on such considerations. They will be repugnant to him, because the mathematical order being order, will appear to him to contain something' Positive. It is in vain that we assert that this order Produces itself automatically by the interruption of the inverse order, that it is this very interruption.
The idea persists, none the less, that there might be no order at all , and that the mathematical order of things, being a conquest over disorder, possesses a positive reality. In examining this point, we shall see what a prominent part the idea of disorder plays in problems relative to the theory of knowledge. It does not appear explicitly, and that is why it escapes our attention.
It is, however , with the criticism of this idea that a theory of knowledge ought to begin, for if the great problem is to know why and how reality submits itself to an order, it is because the absence of every kind of order appears possible or conceivable. It is this absence of order that realists and idealists alike believe they are thinking of-the realist when he speaks of the regularity that "objective" laws actually impose on a virtual disorder of nature, the idealist when he supposes a "sensuous manifold" which is coordinated and consequently itself without order under the organizing influence of our undemanding, The idea of disorder, in the sense of absence of order, is then what must be analyzed first.
Philosophy borrows it from daily life. And it is unquestionable that, when ordinarily we speak of disorder, we are thinking of something. But of what? It will be seen in the next chapter how hard it is to determine the content of a negative idea, and what illusions one is liable to, what hopeless difficulties philosophy falls into, for not having undertaken this task. Difficulties and illusions are generally due to this, that we accept as final a manner of expression essentially provisional.
They are due to our bringing into the domain of speculation a procedure made for practice. If I choose a volume in my library at random, I may put it back on the shelf after glancing at it and say, "This is not verse. Obviously not. I have not seen, I never shall see, an absence of verse. I have seen prose. But as it is poetry I want, I express what I find as a function of what I am looking for, and instead of saying, "This is prose," I say, "This is not verse.
Now, if Mons. Jourdain heard me, he would infer, no doubt, from my two exclamations that prose and poetry are two forms of language reserved for books, and that these learned forms have come and overlaid a language which was neither prose nor verse. Speaking of this thing which is neither verse nor prose, he would suppose, moreover, that he was thinking of it: it would be only a pseudoidea, however. Let us go further still: the pseudoidea would create a pseudo-problem, if M. Jourdain were to ask his professor of philosophy how the prose form and the poetry form have been superadded to that which possessed neither the one nor the other, and if he wished the professor to construct a theory of the imposition of.
His question would be absurd, and the absurdity would lie in this, that he was hypostasizing as the substratum of prose and poetry the simultaneous negation of both, forgetting that the negation of the one consists in the affirmation of the other. Now, suppose that there are two species of order, and that these two orders are two contraries within one and the same genus.