Science, philosophy and religion : second symposium : conference on science, philosophy and religion in their relation to the democratic way of life Inc

293 42 42MB

English Pages [584] Year 1942

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Science, philosophy and religion : second symposium : conference on science, philosophy and religion in their relation to the democratic way of life Inc

  • Author / Uploaded
  • coll

Citation preview

^li\0>^

^tu

Science,

Philosophy

and

Religion

SECOND SYMPOSIUM

/

.•^*

All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

CL COPYRIGHT, 1942 BY THE CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION IN THEIR RELATION TO THE DEMOCRATIC WAY OF LIFE, INC. Printed in the United States of America

The

papers included in this

for die second

volume were prepared

meeting of the Conference on Science,

Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the

Democratic

Way

of Life, which

lumbia University on September

was held at Co10 and 11, 1941.

8, 9,

Each paper represents only the opinion of the individual author. Lyman Bryson and Louis Finkelstein have served

as editors.

:

Table of Contents

PAPERS

THE NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES IN THEIR RELATION TO THE DEMOCRATIC WAY OF LIFE I

Democracy's Challenge to the

Scientist, Caryl P.

Hast{ins

i

COMMENTS

II

by:

Karl K. Darrow Raphael Isaacs

ig

Hugh

22

S.

14

Taylor

Democracy and the Natural

Sciences,

Karl F.

Herzfeld III

24

Some Comments on Hoagland COMMENTS BY

Science and Faith,

Hudson 53

:

Howard Chandler Robbins

41

Walter B. Cannon

43

/.

Seelye Bixler

44 46

Mar\ Graubard Kenneth V. Thimann

47 48

Leonard Wheildon

W.

J.

Eliot

Crozier

IV The Comparative Study posive

Cultivation

Margaret

49 50

D. Chappie of Culture of

Mead

COMMENTS BY Ruth F. Benedict Clyde Kluchjiohn

and the Pur-

Democratic

Values,

56

^ 72

s

: :

Contents

viii

Dorothy D. Lee Geoffrey Gorer

Gregory Bate son

V

The

Basis for Faith in

Democracy,

Max

Schoen

98

PHILOSOPHY AND JURISPRUDENCE IN THEIR RELATION TO THE DEMOCRATIC WAY OF LIFE

VI

Pragmatism, Rehgion and

Education, John

L.

no

Child

VII

Liberal Education and Democracy, Theodore

M.

Greene VIII

A

122

Philosophy of Democratic Defense,

Charles

Hartshorne

IX The Role

130

Law

of

a

in

Democracy, Fran\ E.

Horac]{^, Jr.

173

COMMENTS BY Huntington Cairns

186

Robert H. JacJ{son

187

Harno

187

Wiley Rutledge

188

M.

193

Albert

X

Pluralism

T.

J.

Van Hec\e

and

Democracy,

Intellectual

Alain

Locke COMMENTS by:

XI

196

Lyman Bryson

209

Erwin R. Goodenough

211

Lawrence K. FranJ^

212

Empiricism,

Religion

and

W. Morris

Democracy,

Charles 213

COMMENTS BY James H. Tufts

237

Rudolf Carnap

238

Contents

ix

Willard V. Quine Carl G.

238

Hempel

239

Herbert Martin Van Meter Ames XII

239

240

Philosophical Implications of the Prevalent Con-

ception of Democracy, Gerald B. Phelan

XIII

The

Spiritual

Basis

of

Democracy,

242

Princeton

Group

XIV Thomism

XV

251

and Democracy, Yves R. Simon

Democracy and the Rights COMMENTS by: Morris R. Cohen Curt

of

258

Man, Paul Weiss

273 285

Ducasse Charles Harts home

291

DeWitt Henry Parser

292

Ralph Barton Perry Wilbur M. Urban

1^6

J.

292

295

THE STAKE OF ART AND LITERATURE IN THE PRESERVATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC WAY OF LIFE

XVI The

Stake of Art in the Present

Crisis,

George

Boas

XVII

"The

297

Irresponsibles":

A

Comment, Douglas Bush

COMMENTS by: Hoxie N. Fairchild Harry S. V. Jones Edward K. Rand Warner G. Rice XVIII

An Approach

to the

307

331

332 334

334

Study of History, William G.

Constable

COMMENTS by: Emanuel Winternitz

336 341

Contents

X

XIX

Literature

and the Present

Crisis,

Joseph

Wood

Krutch

350

XX How Long Is XXI

Democratic Poetry,

the Emergency, MarJ^

Culture

Amos N.

the

in

Light

Van Doren of

Modern

Wilder

358

COMMENTS by: Van Wyck^ Brookj Hoxie N. Fairchild Warner G. Rice Harry S. V. Jones Edward K. Rand

373 373 375

376 377

THE RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND OF DEMOCRATIC

XXII Democratic Aspirations Ben Zion Bo\ser

in

Talmudic

IDEAS

Judaism, 382

XXIII

Democracy in the Hebrew-Christian Tradition; Old and New Testaments, Millar Burrows

XXIV

Christianity

View

399

and Democracy from the Point of

of Systematic Christian Theology, Nels

F. S. Ferre

XXV

355

413

Philosophical Foundations of Religion and De-

mocracy, William O'Meara

XXVI The

Patristic Christian

435

Ethos and Democracy, Al-

bert C. Outler

COMMENTS

446

by:

John T. McNeill

471

ADDRESSES I

The

Faith and Philosophy of Democratic Gov-

ernment, A. A. Berle, II

The Function

of

Law

Charles E. Clar\

472

Jr.

in a

Democratic Society, 480

Contents III

The

xi

and the Democratic

Artist

Way

of Life,

Walter Pack

IV

V

Democracy

in

493

Our Times, M.

The ReUgious Background

L. Wilson

506

of Democratic Ideas,

Simon Greenberg, Clarence Manion, Luther A. Weigle

517

PROGRAM Conference on Science, Philosophy and ReUgion

September

8, 9, 10,

and

11,

1941

549

Preface

THIS volume contains the papers discussed at the Second Conference

on Science, Philosophy and Religion, held at ColumSeptember 8, 9, 10, and 11, 1941. The only paper

bia University,

omitted

is

that read by

Van Wyck

Brooks, which, because of a

previous commitment, w^as published in the Yale Review, Sep-

tember, 1941.

The

addresses delivered at the evening sessions are

S. C. Northrop, which has appeared elsewhere in slightly different form. Each of the papers is printed as it was submitted in September. The 1941 Conference differed from the 1940 Conference not only with regard to the wider range of disciplines represented and the greater number of participants, but also with regard to technique. The papers of the First Symposium were individual products. The majority of papers in the Second Symposium are group papers. These fall into three types. In the first, such as that by Caryl P. Haskins, the original draft was submitted to selected members of the same discipline as the author. In the light of their criticism the original was reconsidered, and then presented at the September meetings together with the various comments. In the second, such as the paper by Hudson Hoagland, the same method was applied, but the collaborators in-

also included,

with the exception of that by F.

cluded representatives of several disciplines other than that to

which the drafter belonged. In the third, such as that by Max Schoen, the papers resulted from a series of discussions by faculty

members

of several departments at a university. Several

papers in the volume were completed too late for

comment and

adaptation before the September meetings, but were subjected to considerable discussion at the

Conference

itself.

The

general

discussion has been preserved, but due to recent events there are

no plans for its publication. In the hope that world conditions

will permit a third

Con-

Preface

xiv ference in the

autumn

of 1942, papers are

now

in the course of

preparation. These will investigate the influence of ideas

man

affairs; the basis for

on hu-

value judgments; the meaning of such

terms as "man," "human dignity," "human civilization," and "democracy"; and the theory of the cycUcal rise and decline of civilizations.

The members

of the Conference feel that their concern for the

definition of the ultimate objectives

civiHzed

life, is

present war

If the

and basic principles of

profoundly relevant to the problems of our day. is

largely ideational, the future peace

must

have secure ideational foundations. However, in order to be fective, ultimate objectives

able

human and

must be

ef-

translated in terms of avail-

material resources.

Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to

efforts to create a

world order has been man's inabiHty to apply all his intellectual and spiritual resources to the complex task. We will approach world problems blindly, unless we can create a mechanism by which scholars can, across differences of interest and training, freely exchange information. One theoretical question which must affect our consideration of immediate problems is the relationship between our period and that of "the decline of the ancient world." That is a term frequently used by historians, philosophers and other scholars, rational

is no consensus of opinion components of "the decline of the

with different connotations. There

among

scholars as to the

ancient world," the correctness of the term, or the existence of

any basic resemblance between that general period and our own.

Confusion regarding one of the most significant phenomena in

human

come from the failure of from different fields Conference will shed some light on

history has in a large measure

scholars to integrate

of study.

We

all

the

hope the 1942

known

facts

the subject.

To

understand and cope with the immediate problems of the

and varied as that needed for an appreciation of the end of the Roman Empire of the West. It has been suggested that because of its broad repre-

present, requires information at least as broad

xv

Preface sentation, the Conference

well qualified both to consider

is

means

current problems and effective ingly,

an effort

is

being

and university

college

made

meet regularly for discussion and reconstruction.

editors are deeply grateful for the assistance of the partici-

pants in the Conference program,

and

papers,

whom

Accord-

groups in various

centers, to

of various problems of peace

The

for their solution.

to create informal

this

all

who

collaborated on the

especially the original drafters or reporters, without

volume could not have appeared. The complete list program on 551-558. The editors

of participants appears in the also

wish to thank Jessica Feingold for her help in the preparaarrangement of the September

tion of this volume, as well as the

meetings.

One

criticism of the First

the editors, an error which

Symposium was is

the anonymity of

being corrected in the present

volume.

The

Editors.

I

I

CHAPTER

I

Democracy's Challenge to the

By

CARYL

P.

Scientist

RASKINS

Union College

A

YEAR AGO

we met

to discuss Science,

in relation to the democratic

world trends in the

as

we saw them

names of our various

Philosophy and ReHgion

way

then,

of

life.

We

deplored

and pledged ourselves,

disciplines, to play at least a small

part in the maintenance of democratic idealism and a cratic

way

of thought at

This year has seen significance in

world

demo-

home.

many

things take place of overwhelming

history. It has demonstrated,

among

matters, the scientific thoroughness of preparation with

other

which

war was undertaken on the part of those who initiated it. of the preliminary dust-clouds have rolled away since our meeting of last year, and the field of battle is much more clearly to be seen. It is now very evident that 1940 and 1941 were not years of unorganized or desperate, if indeed unthis

Many

provoked, aggressions,

ill

prepared or rashly undertaken.

It

war did not begin in 1939, as we perhaps thought a year ago, but with the civil war in Spain and with the invasion of China by Japan. It has become very obvious to us that the thinking and the strategy that underlie this mighty totahtarian effort date from the last century and that whole generations of minds among the very best of an intellectually great people have been brought to bear on these problems. is

clear that the

The of

attack has been well prepared, both in the broad phases

its

stupendous strategy and in the implements of warfare

Science, Philosophy

2

by which that strategy very fully occupied for

is

and Religion

be consummated. We shall be in combating and vanquish-

to

some time

ing the greatest threat of four centuries to the democratic

way

of Hfe.

Careful, unremitting thought in the basic philosophy strategy of

war and

of the warrior, even

the psychologies of the peoples

who were

more

and

careful study of

to be the instruments

in carrying out the plans, extending over very

many

years, are

which make the enemy so vitally dangerous. The immediate agent which has made possible the effecting of his plans, as we all know, has been technology and science. Perhaps the most important factors which will allow him to prolong the war will be science, and above all, the scientist, who will devise the technology of the future on the battlefield, and if the need arises, will at least preserve the peoples at home from starvation with ersatz materials, for many years to come. It is equally evident that, if science is perhaps the most powerful of all the immediate weapons of modern warfare, and scientists of the totalitarian states have therefore become in a very real sense the most important and effective exponent the broad factors

for the destruction of the democratic

way

of

life,

the scientists

of the democracies have an equal potentiality in the saving of it.

It

has become their most solemn duty to devote themselves,

for the present, to the task of

stemming the

tide of totalitarian-

ism with every energy they have, for they are a vital cog in the machinery which can insure the present survival of the democratic way, if anything can. Numbers of them are engaged in that pursuit, as we know, and yet others will undoubtedly soon be marshalled. Nothing is easier, or simpler, or, in a way, less intellectually challenging than the facing of an immediate and difficult emergency. The natural ability of human beings to call on all their powers and to work at the highest possible efficiency when confronted with a single great peril, for which a single coherent line of activity

is

the appropriate solution,

courageous facing of a danger, once

it

makes the

has arrived, almost a

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

3

We have been trained as animals to do this, through the aeons of our evolution, and it is second nature to

matter of course.

and less natural carefully to analyze the causes which have brought the danger about, and to conceive and to design modes of action whereby its recurrence may be preus. It is less easy

vented.

immediate duty of science and the and it is an easy one to undertake. Clearly, the totalitarian powers must be technologically defeated, and defeated decisively, if there is to be any democratic way of life to be served. This is a task which brooks of no delay, and it is naturally in the way of science and the scientific method to undertake it. For,

So

it is

scientists

that the present

is

clear to everyone, including themselves,

although pure science has never taken

much

account of

human

and engineering science has long recognized that developments in pure research are both intensely helpful and intensely inimical to mankind, and has realized that often enough only the very faintest line of demarcation distinguishes the two classes. reactions to the entities with

which

Engineering science has taken for

it

its

deals, applied

own

especial province the

development of both helpful and harmful things, and so occupies a position of immense practical importance in this war. But there is another side to the picture. In the years of supposed peace before 1939, what was done with the helpful and harmful technical ideas, originated and developed by science, did not primarily depend upon the scientist, but upon the policy formulated by that class of humans applicational

which, in the scientist.

were

final

analysis,

controlled the activities of the

In democratic countries, the inimical physical things

housed to gather dust, in the vague eventuality might be needed for defense against some unnamed and ill-defined aggressor. In the totalitarian states, these chemical and physical weapons were given no such ignominious treatment, but were carefully developed, and husbanded, and laid aside,

that they

when they should find nightmare on earth. It is be-

worshiped, perhaps, against the day their use in the realization of a

Science, Philosophy

4

and Religion

cause of this fundamental difference in outlook between the policy makers of totalitarian states

and those of democratic

countries, not, fundamentally, because of any difference either in the science or the scientists of these states, that

we

are

faced with a war today. Scientists, in fine, have acted essentially

group of people whose wishes they have enough, those people could never have proved effective, could never have hoped to set the world ablaze, unless they had been able to induce the scientists to work for them, to carry out to the letter their designs and aims, to bend every effort of heart and brain and will to make physically possible the realization of an insane dream of which the scientists were not the originators. This is the more ironic when one considers that, on the whole, the very scientists who have undertaken these subservient activities are, on the average, the intellectual superiors of their masters. It is evident enough that pure intellect alone is no effective tool in preserving righteousness in the world, and this fact, it must be said to his discredit, was before the war perhaps generally unrecognized as tools for another

served.

And

yet, ironically

by the average brilliant scientist. This issue carries a more imminently practical danger than we might be inclined to suspect. For there is little doubt that scientists, organized under a totalitarian system in times of

war or in preparation for war, can, over the short term, function more effectively than scientists in a democratic nation, as is true of all professions. While we believe that in this emergency the tremendous recuperative powers that inhere in any democracy through the willing services of its peoples will be sufficient to more than reclaim the margin in efficiency between democratic and totalitarian nations, the margin in another great emergency may be as much wider than it is in this as this is from the margin of 1914, and we cannot afford to give the enemy a greater advantage than we have done already. For the leaders of the totalitarian states are of rare brilliance, and they profit readily by their errors and have a diabolically, unbelievably patient, cat-like persistence in rectifying them.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

5

way of hfe Never since the last World War has the direction been more definitely pointed, nor has it been easier to follow. Until this war has been won, the supreme effort of the scientist must merely be to work harder along lines with which he is already familiar, merely to apply more rigidly disciplines and techniques in which he already has faith and which he already knows. There is little question that he will do this well, for he has done it brilliantly before, and the average scientist today is perhaps, on the whole, more able than he has ever been, and he is

The

task of science in preserving the democratic

will, for the

next few years, indeed be crystal

certainly better equipped.

and we

He

we must

clear.

will accept the challenge eagerly,

he will succeed. But with success, will inevitably come self-satisfaction, and the feeling that the old techniques of science, even with their old believe, as

limitations, are

peace.

There

scientist,

sufficient

will

to

believe, that

safeguard good in a society at

be the greatest danger, in that day, that the

convinced of the effectiveness of his handiwork and

blind to the narrowness of the field in will, let

perhaps a

the

human

for better

little

which he has labored,

smugly, return to his tasks as of old, and

events of the world take their course again,

or worse, until, perchance,

another conflagration

and its extinction claims his attention. Then, depending upon whether he has unconsciously become the tool of democratic forces or of forces which carry a menace equivalent to those of the totalitarian states, in the intervening years, he will again, briefly, become a staunch defender or an effective enemy of the way of life to which all of us are pledged. Rightthinking himself, he may unwittingly become a most powerful

arises

agent of wrong-doing. Since the rise of science as an organized and recognized discipline, scientists

have admittedly contributed

the intellectual progress of the world,

have actually guided

it

brilliantly to

and occasionally they

for brief periods. Like the theologians

and the philosophers, they have made activities possible and kingdoms accessible for all peoples, which would have remained

Science, Philosophy

6

and Religion

had they never Uved. Their record in this field may be been one of distinction. Yet, v^^here theology and sometimes philosophy have led the world in action as well as in thought on many significant and at times revolutionary occasions, science has rarely actively done so. It has not only ignored important opportunities which have fallen to it to do closed,

said to have

this,

but

The

it

has often deliberately avoided them.

reasons for this reluctance for action

deep within

lie

the philosophy of the professional scientist, and of the calling

The

majority of the "purest,"

the most intensely idealistic and the

most highly dedicated

which he has dedicated

to

scientists of the past

have emphasized the

in their minds, lay in the

two masters

as

—the

apprentice in the

his life.

way

of serving

difficulties

which,

what they considered

impossibility of at once being a faithful

world of

player on the stage of

intellectual

human

action.

achievement and a held, and I

They have

all of us have at one time or another believed that, beyond the boundaries of purely intellectual activity, interrupt the intense concentration which is required in

think that to look to

solving problems of the environment, to visualize the ultimate uses to which those solutions might be put,

was

in

some way

be unfaithful to, or to desecrate, one's calHng. By definition, science dealt with the facts of the universe. It had no concern to

for the

manner

in

which these

facts

might impinge upon mangood or evil use. That

kind, or whether they might be put to

province belonged to other groups of people, usually rather

vaguely conceived and defined.

This definition of the sphere of science with little doubt had origin in the extremely intense concentration which is neces-

its

sary for the successful solution of natural problems. Science is

a difficult

and demanding profession,

astrous temptation to scatter effort

is

to be sure,

and

dis-

often presented by the

The definition was one article many ways an effectively prohibitory,

very interest of the discipline.

and in which had more than one point of similarity with the Ten Commandments. But the fundamental difficulty of this of a prohibitory, creed,

Science, Philosophy

we

article, as

now

are

and Religion

able to see, lies in

Science may, on the one hand, disclaim

7

basic inconsistency.

its

all

interest in

human

and disavow, or attempt to disavow, most connections with them; but on the other hand, the very effort to which scientists have dedicated their lives has yielded as its most important byproduct a knowledge of physical things, which, for good or evil, cannot but have the most profound influence affairs,

on human progress. Science, again, may claim

human

terested in

human

but

affairs,

social structure as a

position

which

it

is

it

to

be disin-

support from the

receives

matter of course, and the social

accorded, and which

it

accepts,

refuse

responsibility

for

the

in the very social structure to

which

it

is

consequences

and

fabric

of the very highest importance, to

to integrating its

of

own

social

activities

better,

leadership

more

fabric,

and

to

To

activities

its

which nurtures

attempt to understand the nature of that functions

of

of

is

mutually great importance for the scientist and society.

it,

and

make no

with a view assuming the

competently,

which,

whether it wishes or no, science has had forced upon it as a consequence of its mode of operation, is to exhibit a degree of misguided intellectual negation which constitutes, perhaps, the gravest criticism which can be leveled against some practitioners of the discipline. It is noteworthy that both philosophy and religion, older and wiser disciplines than their younger sister, have clearly recognized their importance for human affairs, and to a very considerable extent for philosophy, and as a major activity for religion, have undertaken to fill the role and the obligations

of active leadership.

They have gained

inseparability of responsible conduct

a clear concept of the

and of human guidance

in

framework. They have reahzed that the acceptance of the responsibilities of leadership is the recognition of an existent condition, and a most urgent duty, not, as some scientists have believed, the egotistical assumption of powers and prerogatives not rightfully their own. Whether scientists will be able to rise above the narrow confines of the latter concept,

any

social

Science, Philosophy

8

and Religion

coming scope of their work, both and outside of the framework which they know, will be democracy's greatest challenge for the present and the to a full realization of the

inside

future.

The

realization will not

come

easily, for it will

involve

much

hardship of both a moral and an intellectual nature for many scientists, and perhaps even more practically important, it will, in

many

it is

cases,

vital for

and come

contravene the dictates of

taste.

Nevertheless,

the future of society that the appreciation come,

preparation for executing the

clearly. Further, the

which scientists will certainly be called upon to fill, must be begun now, for the training will be more difficult and demanding than anything which students of science have

new

roles

hitherto experienced.

Human

as

societies,

we

dictated in their activities

are

aware, are not primarily

all

by conscious

intellectual processes.

Yet there is no denying the continuingly increasing influence which the quality of intellect has had in this function, even within historic times. Society

itself is

aware of the survival value

which has always attached recognition given to minds of unusual

to intellect, as

world.

It is

human

common

throughout the

highly probable, to be sure, that the course of

social activities will

regulated.

witness the

brilliance

never be completely intelligently

Yet the trend toward

its

predominant direction by

among the human social fabric of today, and are the actual creators of many of its problems. Their leadership in its broad-scale activities, however, largely by their own wish, intellectual forces

unmistakable. Scientists are

is

leaders in thought of the

has been almost negligible. Yet they have provided the sinews of leadership to others less fitted than they by natural

ment

to exercise the function,

bitterly well, all too

eminently

leader of the best sort, to

the creator of the

results, as

often disastrous.

intellect of the scientist are

human

with

The

too

idealism and the

fitted to

make him

endow-

we know

make him

a

the user as well as

power which now he allows those

responsible and less high-minded to grasp. His

endowment

less fits

Science, Philosophy

him superbly

and Religion

9

to the task of properly using the facts

which he

has wrested from nature. Only training and taste are lacking,

and these

The

will be almost his duty, in future, to supply.

it

very disinterested high-mindedness and the concentra-

tion of the scientist have predisposed him, in the past, to be

the tool for

men

of

much

lesser stature. Scientists themselves

Only very recently, Professor A. V. Hill has written of the subject, in connection with the war effort, in the British scientific publication. Nature. One of the have been well aware of

this.

most powerful

factors in the deplorable situation has

carry-over into

human

priate, of

affairs,

where

an attitude which the

and inclined

it

both constrained

scientist is

to take in the face of nature

been the

eminently inappro-

is

— the

attitude of in-

and the passive acceptance, amounting often

tense respect

to

reverence, of nature, the antagonist. Scientists are inclined to forget that the

men

of affairs with

whom

they deal are not

of the stature of that omnipotent nature that they daily confront,

and are

to be dealt

with in a different fashion, involving

often the realization of the existence of

phases of behavior

more

many

motivations and

self-centered than those to

which they

are themselves accustomed. Infinite reverence in the face of

nature, infinite skepticism, coupled with a clear appreciation of

human

frailties

among men,

is

a far better rule of conduct

for the scientist.

When

the

war ends,

racies, science will

use of

its

ends successfully for the democ-

if it

have achieved a very great victory, by the

old techniques and

its

old disciplines. Scientists

may

be inclined to rest on their laurels, to shrug their shoulders,

and

to return to their

work.

If

they do

this,

they will be guilty

of a neglect that will be almost treasonable in

its

seriousness.

More, they will have missed their very greatest opportunity to be of supreme service to mankind, if they have not prepared themselves to take a very important share in the activities of readjustment and reconstruction, which will surely follow so long and exhausting a war. There will be a chance then to

remold certain aspects of human

social life

along far better

Science, Philosophy

10

and Religion

and to implement and to maintain standards and of human justice of a better sort than most societies of the world have known in a word, to make good the chance which was almost taken, but was lost for the lines, to create

of

human

equality



lack of suitable persistence in execution, at the close of the

That opportunity must be seized and improved this time, for it may never come again. Philosophy and religion will play their own important parts in this drama. It will require no radical departure from their

last great conflict.

basic

mode,

to enable

them

to

do

so, for

admittedly primarily concerned with the progress. But for science,

of

human

part, will

The

progress or

they have ever been

human

side of

human

which physically implements so much

human

be infinitely more

retrogression, to play properly

its

difficult.

plain necessity of this condition, in terms of the indi-

demands a clear percipiency and a wide familiand working knowledge in two very different departments of thought and action. The education which will be required to enable the scientist to be a real power in the broadest human application of his work and thought, without losing his vidual scientist, arity

creative effectiveness in his

widest, and of the

most

own

field, will necessarily

difficult character.

that the techniques of thinking in

schooled for his

own work

He

must

be of the

first realize

which he has been

rigidly

are often quite inapplicable in the

social field, in the present state of

human

social evolution.

He

must recognize the intuitive methods of operation of the practical sociologist, and must become familiar with them, if he is to open the road to his own effective idealism in human affairs. Such mastery will be intensely difficult for him, for none of the rules and techniques of precise study, which are his own working instruments, will avail him in the least here, and he must find ways and means anew. He must gain a feeling for the pulse of human society, must be able to think in terms of the hearts as well as of the heads of common man, must acquire the intimate understanding of the ways of the human social organism and the vision in human affairs of the great states-

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

ii

man. Most important of all, he must exercise this knowledge and practice of great human leadership, and at the same time must preserve his present training and ideals and outlook intact in the research and technical fields which now are his own. For, if he is to be successful, it is vital that he be at once a great scientist and a great humanist. This is a tremendous assignment for the devotees of any discipline. It may be an impossible one for all but the truly great, yet it is one which is clearly demanded by the times in which we live, and it constitutes the most ringing and the most vital challenge, poses the most difficult job which scientists, those proverbial lovers of hard tasks, have yet been called upon

in the actual capacity

to undertake.

Since the present war seems likely to be a conflict of long quite probable that the burden of the huge task which must succeed its termination, will fall upon those younger workers who are at present in the early and duration,

it is

for science,

plastic portions of their research experience, or, perhaps,

actually are

now

in schools

and

colleges.

How

who

can they best

prepare themselves in anticipation of this task?

The question

one which none can answer fully, since it has before, but there are certain salient features of a reply which appear to stand forth clearly. The scientist of the future must be formally equipped with a far wider cultural background than falls to the lot of the average is

never been answered

The practical necessity of close specialmany workers of the opportunity of any the structure into which their work must fit,

student of science today. ization has robbed

general grasp of

and has impaired the ized training

is

directive efficiency of their efforts. Special-

indispensable for the scientific worker,

be of real service in his chosen

calling. Yet, so

is

to

is

familiar only with his specialty, he will be

work, never to control

good

specialist,

and

standing generalist, exactly

a is

its

ultimate use.

To

profound, broad a

what our leading

formidable scientists

fit

if

he

long as he

only to do the

be at once a really

and deeply under-

achievement, yet

must become,

if

it

is

they are

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

12

to take full advantage of their opportunities for service,

and

to

discharge really usefully the obligations of their high calling.

who aspire to be true leaders, therefore, broad educational background in human affairs, must have a Future

scientists

as well as in those of their scientific specialties,

important that those

who

and

equally

it is

are training for formal leadership

acquire a background in the spirit and purposes of science.

More important than

formal training, scientists must have

this

acquired a viewpoint which recognizes, in the earnest attempt

understand the workings of

to

human

worthy and

affairs, as

necessary, an activity as the acquisition of technical proficiency

and all

from the

human are

understanding.

scientific

among

too prevalent affairs

beings,

of the

must be

The

present attitude, which

human world adds to their value as The young men who

radically reversed.

entering scientific fields

must come

they possess as good an understanding of

past, in addition to being competent

they have failed to potential position.

to

comprehend

Not many

task will fully succeed in

it

feel

human

humans who have used

those less worthy

of the

until

that,

society as have

their

scientific

work

in the

investigators,

the real magnitude of their

who

of those

at first, for

attempt

no more

this gigantic

or

difficult

highly dedicatory role has ever been assigned to calling.

is

complete detachment

scientists, that

men

more

of any

But no barrier has yet been thrust athwart the progress race so great that a few of the best and the most

human

earnest were not able to surmount

it.

And

once the obstacle

has been conquered by a few courageous leaders, the

have become both clear and relatively easy. The task

way will may be

huge, but the rewards in opportunity for service are indeed great. It is vital

that the reahzation of the importance

of this effort

come

been more

and urgency

quickly, for never have the tides in

human

and never has there been a more propitious opportunity for a well qualified and idealistic band of men to correct many of the ills of mankind, which are better affairs

critical,

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

13

exposed to attack at present than they have been for many decades.

A

we

year ago,

discussed the contribution to the democratic

framework of society which the basic ideaUsm of science has to make. Then we thought of the structure of science as in some measure exemplary for the structure of a democracy, at once as a model, imperfect though it was, for democratic organization, and as a continuous, if unseen, influence for democratic principles in our democratic nation. The part which we visualized for science was then a passive one. It is too late now for passive roles. The danger is too imminent, and it is the duty of science and scientists, as it is that of every other body of thinking and of feeling men, to assume a far more active position. Science has gone to the battlefield today to wage a practical fight in the manner that it understands best. That job is a relatively easy one. It only demands of the scientist the techniques and the methods and the attitudes with which he has had previous experience, for which, in fact, he has been basically trained. The issues of war are simple and clean cut, and war, above all, is the theater for direct applicational thinking, to which the engineering scientist is accustomed.

But the peace which comes

after a debilitating

war makes

wholly different demands. In those few plastic days or months or years,

when

weary world, scarce knowing that its struggle first half-heartedly, and then with increasreadjust itself to new conditions and to a new a

has ceased, seeks at

ing vigor to

scale of living, then

for

is

the time that the democratic principles

which true science and worthy

serted, can be

that religion

made

scientists stand

can be

to take eflect in telling fashion. It

and philosophy

will

do

it

work, and by manifold ex-

perience of the same kind throughout history. Science

pared to undertake a part of the thinking in at present

tion of

its

it is

as-

then

their greatest

they are ready and prepared to undertake

but

is

this

is

pre-

situation,

not equipped to initiate the effective execu-

thought

— to

take up effective warfare against the

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

14

forces of darkness

know

which are ever present

only too well

how

in our societies, that

to assert themselves with telling effect.

Science must prepare

itself

for

this

task,

first

and most

importantly in attitude, and secondly in knowledge and in-

which flow more naturally, once the first step is It must be well on its way in that preparation by the time the supreme call comes, at the end of the present conflict, yet in the meantime it must not neglect its task of tuition,

achieved.

effective defense.

This

the incomparably vast challenge of

is

which democracy flings to the scientist, and if the scientist is worthy of his steel, is true to the short but high tradition which lies behind him, he will, perhaps imperfectly, haltingly and with many errors, but courageously and ultimately effectively, somehow undoubtedly manage to meet it. the twentieth century

APPENDIX Karl K. Darrow, Bell Telephone Laboratories: I like many aspects of Dr. Haskins' paper, but

since you apwant suggestions for alterations in it, I will confine myself to these and ask you to take my praises for granted. In general, I wish that the paper were more specific. Thus I can imagine that Dr. Haskins means any one (or two or more)

parently

of several different proposals.

(a)

Does he wish

scientists to

undertake researches on

ent problems from those which they

now

differ-

what what motives should guide them? (b) Does he wish scientists to treat their problems in different ways from those which they now use? If so, what changes

problems?

me

make

in their procedures?

Does he wish

say emphatically,

sense

If so,

or,

should they (c)

elect?

scientists to I

go into

politics?

(Here,

let

use "politics," not in the derogatory

which has unluckily become attached

to

the

word

in

America, but in the noble sense of attention to the problems of the State.) If so, I think that his advice must be directed to the elder generation among them; for effective action in politics requires so much of a man's time and energy, that a young

Science, Philosophy

man

and Religion

15

engaged in building a career in science simply cannot dare

to divert the requisite

amount

into that other field.

He must

postpone this decision until the age when a man is already established, and is free to decide whether he shall continue as

become a dean or an executive, or write books for the public, or take up social service or retire. I agree that it would be well if a greater proportion of successful scientists of middle age were to emulate K. T. Compton, R. A. Millikan and Sir William Bragg in taking part in public affairs, or even to emulate Wendell Willkie in seeking high ofl&ce. It is not, however, a proposition for the young man, or for any but the already very successful older man. (d) It may, however, be contended that the young men should form, or at any rate join, organizations of scientific workers such as exist in this country and England. I have the impression that these are mainly of a strong leftist tinge. Now you may reply that I ought to go out and form an organization of a strong rightist tinge. Assume for the sake of the argument that somebody does so: we then have a fight, instead of a unification of scientists seeking ends on which all are in agreement. I am afraid that this is bound to happen. If organizations of scientists for other than strictly scientific purposes are formed, they will get all tangled up in the battle between socialism and capitalism, leftism and rightism, new-deal-ism and old-deal-ism or whatever you choose to call it. If you reply

a research scientist, or



that the clear vision of the scientist will abolish this battle, I

must answer

On

that in

page 13

I

my

note:

".

view you are much too optimistic. .

.

Either the scientist should control

the application of his work, or he should cease to

gether

.

.

."

Lawrence

(omitted in

final draft)

Does

this

mean

work

alto-

that Ernest

to quit building and operating cyclotrons unless Lawrence, can control every use that may thenceforward be made of all the radioactive substances it produces? That W. M. Stanley is to quit studying the tobacco mosaic virus unless W. M. Stanley can control every use that may thenceforward be made of his studies? That T. H. Morgan is

he, Ernest

is

H. Morgan can control, be sure that this will never happen, unless

to quit studying genetics unless T.

etc.

.

.

.

We may

Lawrence and Stanley and Morgan and everyone

else give

up

Science, Philosophy

i6

and Religion

science in disgust and the scientific era ceases. that

Lawrence and Stanley and Morgan

ganization of scientific workers decide

and when they

work being

to

shall quit, the

is it

when

meant an

they shall

or-

work

condition for their continuing

that the organization shall control every use

may thenceforward be made

that

Or

et al. shall let

of their researches?

This

would be unionization on the grandest scale; and if scientists were willing even to consider it, they would first have to fight out the question whether the union should be leftist or rightist. I begin to wonder whether we should regard the scientist as a

when he

scientist,

we

enters into the field of public affairs. Should

not rather regard him as an intelligent man,

laudably sets aside a part or

all

of his time

from

his former interests, in order to devote himself to

Now

entirely different?

way committed Haskins and the

I

rest will

prime or something

realize that this conference is in a

the opposite belief

to

who most

his

make out

—so

a very

I hope that Dr. good case for the

latter.

Caryl

P. Haskins:

Dr. Darrow's points are numerous and highly pointed and specific, so that I

the order in (a)

It

should like to consider them one by one, in

which he has made them.

was not

my

the types of problems

thought that scientists should alter either which they now undertake in their work

or their methods of handling them, except as scientific experi-

ence and gains in

scientific

knowledge

will continually suggest

such alterations, as they always have. The question of the distribution of scientific effort

among

the scientific fields

now

and difficult one, which this paper does not attempt to touch. For the purposes of this paper, scientific research, in the sense in which it hr- always been regarded among the foremost and most idealistic scientists, must be our ideal of scientific and technical work of the future. We may improve upon the content as our background becomes richer with succeeding generations, but it is doubtful if we can ever improve upon the spirit of work of the best available

is

a tremendously intricate

scientists.

(b) This point

is

essentially

answered under (a).

Science, Philosophy (c) Essentially, yes.

I

and Religion

believe that the ideal condition

17

would

be either to have a certain number of influential scientists actually in "politics" (in the sense of the word used by Dr. Darrow) or influential over the policies of those

whose work

lies

in

This is not to say that I would wish all, or indeed, more than a very small percentage, of scientists to be active in such fields, and, as Dr. Darrow suggests, the practical exigencies of living would require that such men would have to be mature in years and successful in careers. But I do feel very strongly that some of the idealism and some of the vision which have characterized the best of scientists, and some of their spiritual values, need very badly to be introduced into politics. These qualities are adaptable to all subject matters, and there is no reason why they cannot make as profound a change in the field of politics as they have in the field of alchemy. For this to occur, it is vastly important that all scientists, including young ones, gain a real knowledge and appreciation of the arena of statesmanship and of the atmosphere of political events which take place about them and which may limit or otherwise shape the future scope of their own lives and those of other citizens. In order to be able to present a political fields.

which they stand, few of their number who may be active in fields of statesmanship, and to lead in the development of a more appreciative citizenry, scientists must widen their cultural background, and must come to include matters quite foreign to scientific effort within the orbit of their interest and solidly appreciative front for the ideals for to

be able to

assist those

appreciation, although not necessarily within the scope of their

work, which will quite usually be impossible for younger men. (d) I had no thought, in this paper, of such organizations as the. Association of Scientific Workers, in England or in America, or for other associations of similar type. Scientists active

are typically diflScult to regiment, on other than scientific grounds, for their greatest stock-in-trade is their originality

and independence, and in general they tend to look askance on such organizations. There is no doubt that such associations can do much good, but I believe the time is not yet ripe to judge them. I had no reference to them in this paper.

Science, Philosophy

i8

and Religion

Note on comment on Page 13—

Either the scientist should control the application of his work, or he should cease to

work

altogether.

".

.

.

." .

.

This rather incautious statement was intended only to frame should in the most general terms the concept that the scientist play a part in shaping the basic motivations of the society in

which he lives, as well as furnishing the sinews for their execuspeak, tion, and was intended to represent the terminus, so to scienfor absurd obviously be would It condition. ideal an of tists, at this

time, to cease

partial control of the

unfortunate

end

work because they have only very it, but it would be equally

results of

ultimately,

if,

professional

militarism

dominate the world and scientists were to active, essentially in its service.

terminal state,

it

would

were to

become ever more

Under such

conditions, as a

certainly be less dangerous for

man-

altogether until the spirit of

kind if scientists did cease work complete militarism were under control. The situation is of course fanciful either way, because of the essential variability reof humanity and of scientists. So long as a portion of the sults of the investigative

work

of the scientist

is

constructively

work is worth while, and what portion will be used

used for the benefit of humanity, that it is

of course impossible to foretell

constructively and

what

destructively.

I

do

believe, however,

that the scientist can ultimately play a part in shifting that percentage toward the constructive side, and this is a very

important duty. I had no thought of the "unionization" matter suggested by Dr. Darrow, for I believe that every effort to control specifically the work of research scientists will and can only end in the suppression of the best research. should be much more basic than this.

The

control

Final paragraph of Dr. Harrow's letter I

believe that Dr.

Darrow

is

quite correct in his statement,

although the matter seems to me one primarily of definition. The qualities and the methods of work of the scientist have made him preeminently successful in a given field. It is a field which is more directly susceptible of the application of such

methods than most

others, primarily because in the past

it

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

19

has been readily demonstrable that these were the only approaches which would solve the problems involved. It is com-

show up "shoddy" efforts of a man in scientific and only excessively rarely has such a man ever been successful. The rewards for righteousness and the punishments for wrongdoing, as it were, are automatic and fairly immediate here, and in consequence there has been a rapid and thorough selection for able, conscientious and devoted men, and an paratively easy to fields,

prompt elimination of the unfit. It is this factor, which has made scientists the above-average able and devoted group which they are. Other fields are less fortunate, and men of lesser ability and conscientiousness are able equally

primarily,

and are not so easily selected out. This is not however, that the qualities of mind or of devotion which

to survive longer,

to say,

are necessary to the

making

of real contributions in such fields

are at base in any wise different

believe that they are the same,

from those of the scientist. I and such men exist in every

of work, including the political. In the fields of statesmanship, however, they form a fairly "dilute" culture, and reinforcement and encouragement and instruction from the field

ranks of scientists would be infinitely helpful, fore, that

we may

say, statesmen,

he

say that is

when

I

think, there-

a scientist enters the ranks of,

not changing his essential mental out-

look, nor, essentially, changing his

most fundamental methods

of attacking problems. Indeed,

he does, he loses his value

entirely.

He

is

if

merely changing his subject matter. The man, all when he works in two fields

therefore, does not change at

successively or at once. He is still a scientist, with the same primary motivations and basic techniques for which the word stands.

From

the standpoint of professional rating, of course, he

has changed.

He may

never go back to the same classification

or the same kind of a job which he previously had. But he will

continue to be exactly the same kind of a force in our society.

Raphael

Isaacs, University of

Michigan:

Professor Haskins bases his thesis on the concept that scientists can discover the answer to any problem at will (p. 2, par. 3),

and that

scientists

have the choice of discovering laws that

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

20

be "good" or "bad" for civilization. In actual practice, while hundreds of men may be working on a certain problem, manner inthe solution dawns on one or two of them in a distinguishable from "inspiration." The scientist (term not at just discover laws of all synonymous with "science") cannot will

nature that will be "good" for humanity, and toss observations back into the river, much as Kingsley's "Water Babies," if no they will lead to something wicked. The scientist has the on fall should "blame" choice in the matter. Possibly the the authority in power who orders the technologist to use discoveries of the scientist.

The

technologist

may

take chlorine

and disinfect water or wounds, or he may pour it into a bomb and drop it into the enemy's camp. Professor Raskins touches on this concept on page 3. However, scientists cannot be told by a dictator what to discover, but technologists may be ordered to use the discoveries in a certain way.

A

dictator

may

order a scientist to discover a lethal ray to kill people, but there Nevertheless, a scientist may is no guarantee that he can do it. X-rays, etc. (an accident studying while discover a lethal ray

known

as "serendipity").

human

P. 6. If

come under

the

follow "laws," then they of course

affairs

domain

of the scientist.

P. 7. Actual practice has shown that it is not feasible for a assume scientist to pursue his studies and at the same time "active leadership in human affairs." In most universities the

head of a department usually is able to engage in very mediocre on research work while he has the running of his department and compromise would Raskins his hands. Possibly Professor have the leaders of handling

human

human

present stage, because so

use the methods of science in would be rather premature at the

affairs

beings. This

little is

known

of the laws governing

of science (experiment and ob-

and the method would be of little value. It is, however, being used and to some extent and laws (legal enactments) are made changed depending on how well they control and fit in with the

human

affairs

servation)

facts.

P. 10. 1 certainly agree with Professor Raskins that the education of the scientist should be of the "widest character" (P. n),

"a far wider cultural background."

— and Religion

Science, Philosophy Science alone

(i.e.,

the

21

body of knowledge obtained by ob-

servation and experiment) may some day be a guide for human conduct, but as there is much human conduct to be guided in the meantime, science must be supplemented by other helps e.g., religion of some type,* for some years to come.

Caryl

P, Haskins:

Dr. Isaacs makes a number of points in his should like to consider individually. (a) It

is

letter,

which

I

evident that individual scientists, on the basis of would have a hard time for-

existing experimental knowledge,

mulating stated laws by which humanity should work. Such a concept would assume a far greater maturity in sociological thought than exists today. However, the same condition applied

mathematics and ancient alchemy, and the present which has eventually been evolved has been the result of the composite earnest thought and carefully recorded observations of many generations. I see no fundamental reason why this methodology of scientific people should not be applicable to matters of human affairs, with an ultimate clarification of concepts, and I believe that this can be shown to have been true in some individual cases of detail. Admittedly in ancient

beautiful codification of laws

the job

is

not one for a single generation, either of scientists or I do believe, however, that the weight of scien-

of any one else. tific

opinion should be thrown behind such an

basic scientific techniques that

we want, not

effort. It is the

the specialized

ones which have been developed in direct connection with the present

work

of the scientist. Clearly, the

proaches are not applicable in the two tists

fields,

same detailed apbut capable scien-

should be broad enough to perceive this fact and not to

attempt

it.

Many men of religion and many capable philosophers have become among the very best of scientists, as well as of public men, in just this way. I believe that the scientist, if he will withdraw only a little from his too specialized position, can do the same. believe that this has been covered in the preceding

(b)

I

•I.e.,

rules of

experiment.

conduct arrived

at

by means other than observation and

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

22

paragraph. "Laws," of course, are in any case matters of definition only. (c)

I

think that Dr. Isaacs

is

very correct, in general, in his

statement that active leadership in to a scientist's research. is

I

think

it

human

affairs is

damaging

can be demonstrated that this

all depends here, of course, on man. The answer to this is, of the only thing that is damaged is the set of special-

by no means always true, but

the individual nature of the course, that

ized particular techniques that the scientist actually uses in his laboratory work, not the basic underlying motives,

which are

wanted. The evident solution will be to have the man who is not capable of covering both fields at once (and very few are) cover them one at a time. In the course of normal evolution, the capable scientist is apt to do pure research in his earlier years, really

and then

to apply his talents in other fields as well, as

he gets

Darrow has pointed out. This probably will result in more meager and poorer research from the man as he gets older. However, it is to be noticed that, except in unusual cases, older, as Dr.

the man's research will deteriorate in any event after he has

passed middle age.

With

certain striking exceptions, experience

is done young men in their twenties and thirties, who receive wide recognition long after their peak of pro-

has indicated that the highest quality of actual research in general by

usually

ductivity has been passed.

Last paragraph in Dr. Isaacs' letter

would go considerably further than Dr. Isaacs here to exit is science which should supplement religion and philosophy in the conduct of human affairs. It cannot and should not hope to do more than this for many, I

press the opinion that

many

years,

if

ever.

The

thesis of this

paper

is

that scientists

should be actively interested in offering the assistance to ligion and philosophy which they can surely do.

Hugh

re-

S. Taylor, Princeton University: So far as it (the article by Dr. Haskins) goes, it is excellent, but I do not think it goes far enough. It stresses the undoubted need for the expansion of the social horizons of the future

Science, Philosophy scientist; that,

seems to me,

it

and Religion

is

23

only a "stage on the road."

Unless the scientist can recover some of the spiritual horizons of earlier scientists, before the materialistic scientific age that

the 19th century brought to us and out of

which the science of

the totalitarian states has produced such a dreadful spawn,

we

duty of scientists to the democratic way of life. This may not be a usual point of view of a modern scientist, but it is, I believe, an inevitable goal for which the shall fail in the fullest

scientists of the future

Caryl

must

cultivate their talents.

P. Haskins: I

am more

comment

than heartily in accord with Professor Taylor's

that the

most vital task of the scientists of tomorrow and to hold the spiritual horizons of the

will be to recapture

Lavoisiers, the Faradays, the Henrys, the Pasteurs, of another

day, or, in our

own

time, of the Curies, the Langmuirs, the

Arrheniuses, the Braggs, and of Professor Taylor himself. subject with

"way stage"

which in

this

paper deals

is

The

frankly considered as a

such an evolution and constitutes a

call

to

scientists to prepare to resist the materialistic pressures that

will

undoubtedly be brought to bear on them in the future, and temptation themselves.

to resist materialistic

:

CHAPTER

II

Democracy and the Natural By

KARL

F.

Sciences

HERZFELD

Catholic University of America

democracy and the natural sciences

THE RELATION between

is

not as close as that between democracy and the social

sciences.

That can be

man, but not with

understood because some of the

easily

natural sciences deal with

man

all,

while others deal with

Only anthro-

fundamentally concerned with these, but

pology

is

usually

numbered among the

The

not at

his social-political activities.

political

and

this

is

social sciences.

social conditions necessary for the

proper

functioning of the natural sciences have been discussed very

completely and competently by Karl K. Darrow in his article on "Interplay of Theory and Experiment in Modern Physics" in last year's symposium. The present article then will deal with the following two

problems First,

what can science do

for

democracy?

Second, what role has science played in the present

Western

crisis

of

civilization?

In discussing the

our subject

is

first

question,

it

must be emphasized

that

not what science can do for society in general,

but what

it can do for a democratic society mocracy function better. What science can give directly to democracy

34

to

is

make

its

de-

the "scientific"

Science, Philosophy

To

spirit.

understand



every day work.

this,

and Religion

we must watch

course not

the scientists in their

all scientists

in their application of the scientific spirit.

25

are equally perfect

But the better ones,

can easily be seen, have the following characteristics in

as

their

work:

They know that one should not judge before a considerable amount of facts have been accumulated. They know that there are normally no shortcuts to a worth while goal, but that results can be found only after long, patient search, a search that

is

tiresome, often concerned with minutiae,

but unavoidable. a new fact is found or a new theory is announced, they accustomed never to let the new fact or theory stand by itself, but always to see how it fits into the whole mass of already known facts or theories. This means that they are not satisfied except provisionally with a lot of unrelated blocks of knowledge, but seek to coordinate them. If something new comes along, they feel that they must explore the remotest consequences of the newcomer, before they really If

are



accept

it.

They know this



that while nature

uniformity

a great

number

lies

is

uniform to a great extent,

very deep, so that a detailed explanation of

of complicated facts

is

not possible in simple

slogans.

Furthermore, the

and

scientists,

and

particularly the

mathema-

have learned, or perhaps learned again, what some of the mediaeval philosophers knew, ticians

theoretical

physicists,

to mistrust words which are not sharply defined. One of the most important tasks in teaching physics students is to train them to precision of expression. Finally, they have become sufficiently detached from their

subject that the personal side, while

still

important in the

form of ambition or the wish for personal promotion, out of scientific debate.

too

many

is

kept

years ago, controversies

still had occasionally the character of conbetween Homeric heroes, but that has gone out of

in scientific journals

troversies

Not

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

26 style

and so present day

scientists will rarely think their ad-

scoundrels or traitors, versaries in scientific controversy intellect. in lacking as consider them i£

they In connection with this

trait is

even

the almost complete absence

sciences have here the advantage over o£ wishful thinking. The hard test of reality is apt to come the humanities in that the wishful thinking is of the most very soon, and so, in science, disadvantage. In applied science, an

obvious and immediate influence his bridge buildengineer who lets wishful thinking

wreck on his hands and no alibi ing will very shortly have a be that if this scientific spirit could

Now

it

seems to

me

political decisions, it shared by the majority in their government. democratic of the greatest advantage to

In like

RepubHc presupposed something be formed when they expected poUtical decisions to

fact, it,

would be

the founders of this

such and consideration. It seems clear that unemoimpartial after must be formed a decision, to be right, sides. It is facts and arguments on all the of weighing tional can be situations difficult that further clear, from experience, patient, by only but remedied not by quick-acting panaceas,

after full debate

constant struggle. . i extent this scientific spirit is at work If we now ask to what disappointing. the answer is somewhat in our democratic Ufe, themscientists the consider Unfortunately this is so even if we •



several quarters that the '^The opinion has been expressed in took a if only the scientists world would be much better off larger part in governing

it.

It is

recognized that scientists have

of technical problems done outstanding work in the solution completely changed the which confront society. They have

important public health picture, are doing tritional field,

contributions.

We

the nu-

a

justly estimated, to

must

all

multiplied in the future. the other hand, in public

On

m

conservation

change in soil mention only a few such hope that these examples will be

and have wrought

that cannot yet be

work

pronouncements on matters ot

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

27

general policy, on political subjects outside their fields, the scientists have shown neither more caution, more regard for the facts, nor more impartiahty than the general public/ That

goes not only for pubhc utterances but also for active participation in politics. Painleve vv^as Minister of War in France, and

probably a good one, but

showed any

am

I

not aware that as such he

traits particularly characteristic

of a mathematician. Before 1914 scientists were often made members of the Upper House in Austria and Germany and filled their positions satisfactorily, cal

but again no influence of their science on their

behavior was noticeable.

The

actively into politics recently in

shown more enthusiasm than Perhaps

it

is

too

scientist gets in his

havior.

scientists

politi-

who have gone

England^ have, in

my

opinion,

scientific spirit in their activities.

much to own field

expect that the training that a will in general react on his be-

understand that educational psychologists say that however, the conscious effort of transfer were made, the gain for democracy would be great. I

this "transfer of training" is rather rare. If,

If

we

consider

whole, one must,

now I

the

homo

politicus

Americanus

diink, be agreeably surprised at

as

a

how much

of the spirit which the is

Founding Fathers thought essential if not based on scientific trainThe American people do still dehberate slowly and care-

still

ing.

active in the land, even

fully before

going into action.

in patent medicines, pohtical in the

American mind of

On

the other hand, the befief

and otherwise,

is

also ingrained

old.

Many trends in modern education, however, are deeply inimical to the scientific spirit. The life of all of us, scientists or non-scientists, even for the most fortunate, consists for the

most part in disagreeable out, which we must learn

imposed upon us from withperform in good spirit. In many

tasks,

to

^here is an excellent article on this whole subject by A. V. Hill of the Royal Society in Science 93, 579 (June 20, 1941). "Professor Polanyi has emphasized this in detail in one particular case (see Polanyi, "Manch. Sch. of Ex. and Soc. Studies," Oct. 1939).

M.

Science, Philosophy

28

and Religion

work seems to be mathematics and physics, are being more and more eliminated from the curriculum of secondary schools. Similarly, judging from the results, sufficient emphasis is not being placed in the secondary schools on training for critical, independent, logical thinking. Instead, our schools, disciplinary training for this kind of

neglected.

The

difficult subjects, like

secondary education, so far as

it is

not vocational, puts principal

on the verbal, i.e., it is a lawyer's and a salesman's education. There is, in American speech and American education, a high achievement as far as implications and mental associations evoked by words are concerned, but little stress on the stress

exact significance of the words.

One is

most

of the

characteristic expressions of this attitude

the popular opinion that

it

has completely done away with

morals by calling them "taboos"; that

name can change

of a

named, which

is

name

nology, however far

trick.

But to appear

has to be taken from scientific termiuse

its

may be from

the scientific spirit.

a higher level, this misuse of scientific concepts

more

The

distressing.

so, that

also

that the associations

an advertiser's or lawyer's

respectable, this

On

is,

or prove something about the thing

experiment

know

that

it

is

scientists

is

even

have proclaimed, and rightly

the basis of scientific progress.

But they

has to be carefully directed experiment, that

the handling of experiments has to be learned.

Contrariwise,

recommends have been scientist.

students line,

there

philosophical

far

from

desirable,

which

is

life,

school

which

and the

results

not astonishing to the

The scientist is not accustomed to tell his physics to make "experimentally" a short circuit in the power

although he might show them what happens in a short

circuit

on

a very small scale

experience.

He

does not

to get very close to

how

a

exists

the "experimental" attitude to

it feels.

and then

recommend

refer

them

to historical

to his chemistry students

an explosion, so that they can experience I heard of medical students being ad-

Nor have

vised to get themselves fatty degeneration of the liver before treating this disease in others.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

29

This whole question of subjecting everything without excepis bound up with the more general problem treated in the second part of this article. tion to personal experience

Finally,

method

we

new

If a

scientist or trial

find a similar lack of appreciation of scientific

in problems of government.

scale.

ments, then

process

is

to be tested

engineer will dare try

The if

usual procedure

it

by experiment, no applied immediately on an indus-

is,

first,

these go well, experiments

semitechnical scale, and only

if

laboratory

experi-

on an intermediate

these succeed, will the process

basis. The reason for this sequence is one cannot predict how an experiment will work out or it would not be an experiment. If the laboratory tests fail, there may be a loss of a few hundred dollars, while the same experiment, if tried immediately on an industrial scale, might have resulted in a loss of a hundred thousand dollars in case of failure. Only when the kinks have been ironed out in laboratory and semitechnical tests, will the final big-scale trial be under-

be tried on a production that

taken.

In the social and economic

fields, however, where experiundoubtedly also necessary, this is all too often undertaken immediately on a scale involving a hundred million

ment

is

people. II

We

my mind, has problems of Western civilization for the last 600 years, the problem of permanence and change. The reconciliation of these two seemingly contradictory principles in the external world was one of the fundamental problems of Greek philosophy. In a different field, that of the come now

to the discussion of what, to

been one of the most

difficult

human mind and

of the civilization which man has built, they form an unresolved antinomy. The problem briefly is this: There exist certain ideas and rules that are permanent; a number of fundamental philostill

sophical principles, truths of religion, the basic attitude toward

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

30 life,

the rules properly called morals, the laws that used to be

called natural laws.

On the other hand, there are many ideas and rules that change continuously: our knowledge and our views about natural science, the rules properly called manners, the prescriptions called positive laws, the mode of life as determined by the technical and economic situation. The to

difficulty consists in allocating a particular idea or rule

one of the two categories.

two groups has been represented

Historically, each of the

by persons

who

claimed for the realm they represented as

rules or ideas as possible.

understand,

swinging

While

that

is

pendulum

has often resulted in catastrophe, the

it

now

many

psychologically easy to

in one, then in the other direction.

The mediaeval

synthesis started^ to break

down

in the four-

had achieved its unity by developing particularly the "permanent group" of ideas in theology and philosophy. But it had, of course, also to assimilate a large teenth century.

number

It

of the transient things, contemporary ideas about the

upon the economic situation "new knowledge" showed these tran-

material world, a society based of feudalism.

When

the

sient accretions untenable, the

contemporary representatives of

them nevertheless

the "philosophia perennis" claimed

as

be-

longing to their system, with the result that the system as a

whole

fell

into disrepute.

Similarly, artisan

when

the feudal system

and tradesman

— the

city

fell,

dweller

was

with the

—and

rise of the

when

later the

by the official representatives of the social order that they could not accommodate themselves to the changed conditions. The result was that, in

industrial revolution took place,

it

felt

the course of several centuries, the organic order of society, in

which economics was subordinated principles, collapsed.

occasionally,

e.g.,

We

at least in theory to

see an analogous process

where the representatives of

problems of manners,

like

^Of course this historical sketch

still

moral

going on

religion claim

smoking, as matters of morals, or is

highly simplified and schematic.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

31

condemn something as immoral, like the study of medicine by women, which simply runs contrary to "hallowed national tradition" but has nothing to

of

good and

On

do with the unchangeable laws

evil.

the other hand, the representatives of change

we can with good ground such —have made the opposite, much graver intellectual level,

—and on the

call the scientists

mistake. Because

our knowledge in the field of science progresses continuously, and much of what was once firmly believed turned out to be

were enthusiastic were much more so. Similarly, because part of our behavior, that part determined by technical and economic environment, had to change, all our rules of behavior were considered as being likewise thus determined and therefore subject to change. If modern industry permits us to change to a new model of car every year, then why not wrong, nothing was

certain. If the scientists

in their claims, the popularizers

also to a

A

new model

of wife?

particularly strong

sequences

is

found

example of

in the case

this process

and

its

of legal philosophy.

To

conthe



Founding Fathers the existence of natural law not in the scientific, but in the moral meaning of the word was selfevident, and they considered that the Constitution could stand on a firm basis only if this natural law were generally recognized by the people. They knew also, of course, of the existence of impermanent "positive" laws and provided for their easy



change by simple act of Congress. In the however, legal philosophers

—partly

late

nineteenth century,

influenced by philosophic

thought, partly perhaps by what they believed to be anthropological results

—came

more and more

to regard all laws as

purely positive, enacted laws. Today, the idea of natural law in

political

science

and jurisprudence

outside of Catholic circles.

As

is

widely disregarded

a result, the State

is

often con-

sidered supreme, not subject to any higher rule, and any law is

considered justifiable.

The moral and natural

political

outcome of an

anarchy in which

attitude

we

live

is

the

which does not admit the

Science, Philosophy

32

and Religion

permanent truth* and unchangeable moral laws. Here, therefore, seems to He a task of the utmost importance for the fate of Western democracy in which the people as a existence of

whole determine

society.

The

philosopher must draw the divid-

ing line between the permanent and the changeable, the

reli-

group to be maintained as the standard and general rule under all circumstances, the latter to be adapted open-mindedly to progress and changing circumstances. Of course we do not believe that when this intellectual task is accompUshed, all strife will be eliminated. Even if theoretically the line is drawn, there are always people temperamentally unable to keep the finely adjusted balance that is necessary in all human affairs.® There vsdll always be the persons to whom all change is distasteful, the type who are shocked at the idea of moving the buffet from the place where grandmother had it, and the other group, the temperamental rebels to whom every restraint is distasteful. Nothing can be done with these groups by an intellectual argument, but they form a minority which will gain dangerous influence only if the majority has not gious-moral and the scientific-economic; the

first

learned to judge their exaggerations for what they are worth. In this paper, exist a it

right,

we

it

has been taken for granted that there does

body of ideas of unchangeable one of the aims of

cannot, in spite of

many

this

value. If

conference

is

diversities, agree

we understand

whether on these permato see

nent ideas as a necessary background for democracy. *0£ course

it was once very popular to disregard the importance of ideas and importance of behavior only. This distinction to me is silly, as silly as if one would say of a surgeon: I do not care whether he knows anatomy, provided he can operate well. As if one could operate well without knowing anatomy!

stress the

*I

believe

mainly in

the

so-called

disagreement between religion and science consists and temperamental difficulty.

this psychological

CHAPTER Some Comments on By

III

Science and Faith

HUDSON HOAGLAND Clcir\ University

DURING

met monthly at the House American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston

the past winter a group

of the

by the 1940 New York Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion. This informal group of twenty or thirty men, of which I was chairto discuss questions of the sort raised

man, consisted of Catholic and Protestant theologians, proand philosophers. No general statement is available from our group at this time, and the comments in

fessional scientists

this

paper

What

reflect

value,

if

only

degree to which they other scientists.

my own

reactions to our discussions.

may have inheres, however, in the may be representative of the views of

any, they

Most

of us felt at the

end of our

series

of

Boston meetings that our conferences were of value in promoting the personal meeting of diverse minds and in helping representatives of the various disciplines to understand each other's

philosophical views in terms of our backgrounds as

human

beings.

Several of the speakers at the 1940

New

York Conference

stressed the importance of religion as a necessity for effective social behavior in

our confused times.

It

was pointed

out, for

example, by Sorokin that the development of our "sensate" culture, with

its

debiHtating effect on society,

is

a direct result

of the loss of the religious faith of one's forefathers. Other

speakers at the Conference in

New 33

York urged,

either directly

Science, Philosophy

34

and Religion

or by implication, a return to the faith and discipline of neoscholasticism.

Without wishing to criticize the desirability of must, it would appear, accept them as im-

we

these aims,

possible of achievement.

served

if

we

I

believe this conference can be better

accept as given certain fundamental differences in

on the part of philosophers, theologians and sciand endeavor to stress not these differences, but rather the common grounds on which we may meet to consider a constructive program of action. It is simply a fact that many,

orientation entists,

may be

if

not most, scientists are agnostics.

is

the basis for the poor participation of scientists in the

It

this fact that

New

York Conference. It is certainly not due to any lack of concern on their part with the present world crisis. Their agnosticism is

as

deeply ingrained as

is

the religious faith of

many

of their

friends.

Knowledge

to the scientist

regarded in terms of a certain

is

degree of probabiHty that a relationship that

it

mentally.

God

is

true in the sense

can be tested by observation or acted upon experi-

We

are told that even

if

the existence of a personal

cannot be proved by any methods acceptable to science,

the probability

To many

is

none the

pragmatically worth betting on.

less

of us this probability

is

too remote to warrant

acceptance as a working hypothesis, even though

we

its

should

and despite our respect and even envy for our who disagree with us. It might be worth while to indicate why to some scientists the probability of a personal God, as it is understood by the organized religions, is not a concept which can yield for them a faith for action. The like to

more

do

so,

religious friends

following reasons are scientists

among

a

reluctantly to regard

number

that force so

themselves as agnostics.

many Our

views are often naive. Scientists, like the rest of mankind, are

and rather curious culture pattern measure made us what we are, and we may

a product of a particular that has in large

well be criticized for oversimplification of our concepts of

knowledge and

faith.

in learning to sav

A

"We

fundamental part of our discipline don't know."

To

is

say this often runs

and Religion

Science, Philosophy counter, as

35

show, to strong biological tendencies

I shall try to

to dispose of our problems in terms of satisfying configurational

meanings.

But

care."

To if

say

we

"We

know" seldom means "We don't for our hypotheses we know

don't

care too

much

view inevitably colors our and is perhaps the principal between science and religion.

that science will cease to exist. This

thinking about religious matters basis for the so-called conflict

we know is a product of the functioning of our nervous systems. Our neurosensory apparatus is itself a direct product of biological evolution. We, together with other conAll that

temporary living organisms, are here today as the resultant of inefficient process of eUmination. For every sur-

an extremely

viving species

many thousands of species have perished. For many billions of potential organisms in

every living organism

form of

the

their parents'

germ

have perished. Animals

cells

eliminated in the course of evolution are, in large measure, ones that, as

a result of genetic accidents,

have failed to develop

mechanisms to cope with the vicissitudes of their environments. All knowledge of our universe, including a knowledge of God, comes to us strained, if you will, suitable physiological

through a

series

of highly involved

central nervous system.

We

physicochemical events

and responses mediated by the

constituting sensory reception

experience not the properties of

own

objects but the properties of our

nervous systems.

We

can thus have no direct knowledge of reality beyond the

symbols that

we

systems,

it

is

all

men

others

who have

have similar nervous

impossible for some of us to accept indefinable

and unsharable ways tion,

upon with

learn to agree

similar nervous systems. Since

naturalistic

to a superior

interpretations

knowledge of God. In addiof

religious

anthropological and psychological terms

phenomena

preclude for

in

many

of us the type of faith enjoyed by others.

One

of the

most fundamental

successful organism It

that

it

characteristics of a biologically

reacts to situations as a whole.

shown experimentally that complex behavior is made up by the addition and compounding of simple

has been

not

is

Science, Philosophy

36 reflex

responses, but rather

and Religion

from the simplest embryos

on,

integrated behavior manifests itself by responses of the or-

ganism as a whole to its environment. These responses may later become individuated into analysable reflex patterns. This tendency toward a sort of gestalt response is not only fundamental to the lower organisms but is also a property of the of

reactions

intellectual

human

beings.

From

the

startle

response of a new-born infant to the appreciation of a picture or to the metaphysics of a philosopher,

integrated

way

The animal

we

are reacting in an

to configurational aspects of our environments.

enemies in the forest does so by climbdodging into a hole, or surprising its opponent from behind a rock. Such patterned configurational responses clearly have considerable biological survival value. Instincts and tropisms are examples, as indeed are also the insight and intelligence of the higher vertebrates. Religion appears to me to be a culmination of this basic tendency of organisms to react in a configurational way to situations. We must resolve conflicts and disturbing puzzles by closing some sort of configuration, and the religious urge apescaping

ing the nearest

its

tree,

pears to be a primitive tendency, possessing biological survival value, to unify our environment so that we can cope with it. This same basic urge is perhaps the source of esthetic pleasure in art and in science. Since art forms and scientific theories

are limited in their scope,

from

more

extensive satisfaction

religious interpretations of the

are especially satisfying

if

is

life.

derived

These

they can unify cosmology and views

about values in one theology.

mainspring of many

meaning of

The same

motivation

is

the

which give a basis for extrapersonal unity of belief and action. For this reason, the totalitarian faiths of the Nazis, Fascists and Communists appear to stem from the same basic biological source as does the faith of the devoutly religious man. The very name, totalitarian state,

is

social philosophies

suggestive of this.

correct, there is no necessary connection between religion and problems of good and evil. Good and evil If this

view

is

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

which

good and bad

37

organism Thus, ethics may be something quite independent of religion, although when sound ethics can be combined with the basic religious drive, as has often happened, refer to that

is

for a particular

at a particular time.

desirable social conditions are likely to follow.

On

the other

hand,

when bad

drive,

such as that behind Nazism, bad social conditions will

ethics

become combined with

a

religious

follow.

Science

is

not an adequate substitute for religion, although

the individual scientist engaged in

work which may modestly

help towards an understanding of some aspect of the universe

may men

not feel the need of a personal in other occupations. It

God

as

much

do some

as

probably not possible ever to

is

have a complete science of anything. There will always be lower level questions or upper level questions, if you prefer, that

we cannot

answer.

The

fascination

of science in

part

unending possibilities of new discoveries. No matter how cornpact a body of knowledge may be, some fresh discovery which upsets basic assumptions from which the body of knowledge was developed, may start a whole new train of orientation. This has been dramatically illustrated in the

resides in these

physical

sciences

when we way

sensory equipment by

are

of

able

new

to

extend our natural

A

instrumentation.

good

an addition to our limited inherited sensory apparatus, but since possibilities of expanding evidence are unlimited, no limitation can be put on scientific method, especially in fields of such tremendous complexity as those

instrument

involving

To

is

essentially

human

behavior.

speak personally, science

is

to

me

sum

merely the

total

of acceptable techniques for gaining evidence. These techniques

preclude authoritarian dictates and preclude ways to knowledge

transcending comprehensible and sharable procedures.

The

cedures of science are very limited, but they seem to

me

the only ways to ability in

pro-

to

be

knowledge possessing a maximum of prob-

reaching an approximation to truth.

truth itself anything that

I

Nor

is

abstract

can regard as an object of religious

Science, Philosophy

38

and Religion

When important problems confront me and I am unable to give satisfactory explanations I must reply simply that I do not know the answers. I cannot take the step which my worship.

tendencies suggest of putting faith into systems and views which seem to have no basis in reliable experiences. I

gestalt-ish.

am thus left repeatedly only with agnosticism concerning most matters dealing with problems of faith, but being a representative of an evolutionarily successful species, I find myself reacting to complex situations as a whole and responding, sometimes even adequately, in ways which are inexplicable on any scientific basis. I never expect to understand most of the things

that

value most highly— the

I

or the love

dirill

of a sunset, of a symphony,

have for certain persons. But I prefer to admit my failure to understand rather than accept explanations based on a type of evidence I cannot accept as vahd. It should be emphasized that diis failure to understand implies neither a denial of the importance of poetic, religious and other forms I

of imaginative thought, nor an assertion of the adequacy of science to reveal ultimate truth. Scientists, in general,

and

tivities

in

ideals

beHeve strongly in certain ethical accontrolling them. Empirically there is

such a thing as the good life, and one need not justify it by supernatural sanctions. The Hves of such men as Socrates, Christ and Lincoln, in contrast to Nero, Napoleon and Hitler' speak for themselves. Most agnostic scientists

hght for

are as ready

their ideals as they

be sanctioned by

God-or by

a threat to to

human

me

if

they believed

them

to'

to

science for that matter

I for stands for, because 'it is dignity and to the values and kindnesses

example, hate Nazism and

which

would be all

that

it

are the most important things in life. The history of his societies gives us grounds for value iud/ments as to what is good and bad. The degree of certainty as to the truth of these judgments can never be as great as the relatively greater but never absolute certainty we obtain from physical experiments, but it is adequate for action and we must act. To wait in the realm of human relations for the

of

man and

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

39

higher degrees o£ assurance of the exact sciences

relatively

would be impossible nonsense. Those problems of

this

of us concerned with the

Conference, whether they agree with

me

or

not on the subject of religion, doubtless share in the main

most of the same

ethical views concerning

the purposes of this Conference, this isn't it

is all

man. Perhaps

we may

share.

for

But

enough.?

The world is faced today by a conflict of two irreconcilable viewpoints. One stresses the all-importance of the state, and degrades the individual to insignificance. This viewpoint held in

common, under varying

groups in

Italy,

forms,

is

by the controlling

Germany, Japan and Russia. The other view-

point, characteristic

at

the present

time of America, Great

and her English-speaking dominions, and also of many crushed and inarticulate groups throughout Europe, upholds the dignity of the individual and regards the state merely as Britain

a vehicle for

pends for

its

its

development. Neither of these viewpoints deon a belief in any particular conception

success

God of our fathers. We cannot turn the clock back and accept the theological doctrines which once gave power to this God in the minds of men. We cannot have Him rescue us from the distorted and false gods of the dictator-controlled countries. These latter countries are powerful because they have in large measure channeled the basic religious drives of men in terms of false gods. These gods are as false to the scientist as they are to the theologian. Their development has prostituted science, philosophy and theology. In the face of this situation, the religious man and the agnostic scientist can stand together in joint opposition to the threat to their fundamental tenets of human faith. But such opposition must be made effective in terms of a program of action. At the close of the first World War many of us beHeved that the intrinsic wretchedness of nationalistic ambition had proved itself and that a League of Nations, with power to of the

would be developed. Shorton both sides of the Atlantic

enforce a sane international law, sighted

political

jealousies

Science, Philosophy

40

and Religion

and made necessary the present conflict. saw clearly in the early 1920's what the inevitable outcome would be. There is a colossal task ahead for all enlightened men; it is the task first of winning a war we are engaged in and then of insisting upon a form of federalism for the civilized world. Without the agencies of pressure groups and propaganda, such a federalism cannot be realized. There is already active in this country a movement known as "Union frustrated this plan

Many

of us

Now," aiming

at this objective.

What

better function could this

conference serve than to consider carefully a plan for promoting a federation too strong to be attacked

and capable of popular

self-government after the manner of our

ment? As

we

a group,

own

federal govern-

program of which probably most

are in a position to help a

this sort to realization. It is a

program

to

and one which, if successful, appears to hope of a decent world. The totalitarian powers have backed the democracies to the

of us can subscribe, offer the only

wall because

they have harnessed

religious drives.

vantage false

—lost

A

the

equivalent of man's

century ago democratic ideals had this ad-

now

in

large

measure in America through a

sense of security and a tarnishing of catchwords

that

were once representative of great endeavors. The power of early Christianity in large measure resided in its disregard of class, creed and nationaHsm, in bringing together in social bonds men of good will, with a faith in human dignity as well as in God. In terms of a democratic international federation, we may again imbue democracy with power of action. But for the present, we must use the vehicle of a unified nationalism to save us for these later achievements.

The

foregoing paper was kindly submitted by Dr. Finkel-

stein to a

group for

criticisms,

with the suggestion to

me

that

the paper might later be revised in the light of these criticisms.

Many

of the

comments, however, are so excellent that

I

prefer

submit them in the form they were presented rather than try substantially to modify the original paper, which would to

thus tend to obscure the discussion. Only minor modifications

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

have been made from the original

41

After the criticisms,

text.

add a few further comments. Unfortunately,

it has not been possible to include all of the criticisms that have been made. Professor Brightman, for example, made his remarks in the form of marginal notes. Henry Dennison, Denys P. Meyers, Dugald C. Jackson, Alfred C. Lane and Maxwell Savage also commented extensively and cogently on the paper, but in a form not suitable for reproduction in the limited space

I shall

The critics represent a variety of disciplines, may interest the reader to know the backgrounds

available here.

and since

it

of the commentators, their professions are included with their discussions.

The

writer,

incidentally,

is

himself

a

general

physiologist.

APPENDIX Howard Chandler Robbins In

commenting upon

{theologian): the paper,

I

shall

not attempt to criticise

the grounds of the position of religious agnosticism

which

Professor Hoagland has so lucidly stated, but merely to point

out practical

difficulties

which would have

position were to be generally accepted.

"Good and ticular

evil refer to that

organism

which

is

at a particular time."

root of totalitarian ideology.

The

to

be faced

if

the

On

pp. 36-37 he remarks, good and bad for a par-

This

relativity lies at the

totalitarians construe

good

with reference to the Reich, the State, and proceed accordingly. I do not see how the ethical distinctions and values which characterise democratic thinking can be preserved without a much wider reference. In the Hebrew-Christian tradition the reference is ultimately to the character and will of God as that will has been revealed in the Scriptures and in history. Justice is required of man, not because it is a relative good, but because, being based upon the revealed character and will of God, the requirement is absolute; mercy has the same sanctions. One may accept this revelation, one may reject it, or one may take a position of agnosticism with respect to it, but one cannot escape from the fact that belief in it is determinative of conduct. It was certainly determinative in the thought and conduct of the

and

evil

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

42

men who

in Britain

New

and Holland and in

England were

the founders of our democratic institutions. Puritanism

summed up eignty,

upon

and the

may be

theologically in the doctrine of the divine soverin that sense our

theological

whole political system is based which totalitarianism so ve-

doctrine

hemently denies. "Every great political issue always involves a theological issue." Nils Ehrenstrom goes on to remark that "all political practice and philosophy presuppose a definite faith and definite however inarticuassertions concerning God, man, the world late and unconscious these may be. In the vast and chaotic struggles of the present between political movements and ideals which fill men with glowing enthusiasms and the bitterest hate, ultimately it is problems of faith which are at stake." The democracies of the Old World and of the New stand in the Hebrew-Christian tradition. Their political traditions are based upon their religious faith. This is the pit from which they were digged, and I do not see how democracy and the freedoms which characterise it can survive here or abroad with-



out a strong revival of that polity-creating faith. Professor Hoagland speaks not only for himself but for

all

who

stand in the

Hebrew-Christian tradition when he says, "I hate Nazism and all that it stands for, because it is a threat to human dignity and to the values and kindnesses which to me are the most important things in life." But why are they important? Not science, but religion, has conditioned us so to regard them. Human dignity is sacred because we believe man to be made "in the image of God." Truth, justice and mercy have absolute claims because they have as their foundation, not some political or social relativity but His character as revealed by the Hebrew prophets and in Christ.

These religious insights are

to a very limited extent

susceptible to scientific exploration. But

they are essential to the democratic tution can get

away from

its

roots,

way

ties of

conscience and of general

it

I

me that No human insti-

seems to

life.

and our

rooted in the faith of their founders. that "only in such a tradition can

of

free institutions are

agree with

we have

civil liberties,

the very essence of the religious position."

Amos Wilder

guarantees of liber-

springing from

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

Walter I

are

B.

Cannon

43

{physiologist):

would agree with Dr. Hoagland that most men of science agnostics with regard to many of the points on which the-

ologians feel fairly convinced that they have full knowledge.

This does not seem

to

me, however,

so far as the general population for authoritative statements of

to

be an important matter

The world is avid an aflErmative character and the is

concerned.

men who

testimony of a relatively small number of scientific say

"we do not know"

Furthermore,

no

I

is

not impressive.

should agree with Dr. Hoagland that there

is



between religion and ethics at least theoretically. In fact, however, with the great mass of Europeans and Americans there is a close relation between the two. Ethical standards get their support from religious beliefs and convictions. Moreover, the religions themselves base commandments and rules on a belief in an authoritative God. Moses brought the tablets from Mt. Sinai as coming from Heaven, and Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule as the Son of God. Practically, therefore, ethics and religion are closely related. I think that many would agree that formal religion has lost a great deal of its power as a vivid and intimate experience. Hell no longer presents terror to those who do wrong, and Heaven with golden streets and continuous performance on musical instruments no longer seems rewarding. In the circumstances, the support for ethics has, I fear, fallen back largely on the limitations of the law and such habits as are instilled by essential relation

parents in their children. sirable in

human behavior

Dr. Hoagland

Of that

course, there is left

is

much

that

is

de-

out under those conditions.

calls attention to the

importance of religion as

a great unifying concept. I should like to raise the question

whether biologically and

we haven't quite as great a human beings and human a long evolution and that we

socially

unifying concept in the idea that society are the consequences of are in the process of developing

still

further. It

seems

to

me

that

concept of continuance of growth could be made a basis for ethical standards which would have the sanction of experience and social consequences. Professor S. J. Holmes of the this

University of California has

made an attempt

to

develop ethics

Science, Philosophy

44

and Religion

and Professor E. G. Conklin, formerly of Princedone likewise. I should be inclined to lay stress on the desirability of an effort to formulate statements of the essential

on

that basis,

ton, has

features

of

admirable ethical behavior, in consideration of

present circumstances, rather than paying

much

attention to the

At best that would be condemnatory, whereas the valuable contribution of the conference should be positive and constructive. It is noteworthy that the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule give directions for individual behavior. There are obviously ethical standards which are badly damaged in the behavior of nations and races toward one another. Is it not high time that an effort should be made based again on human experience and social consequences to declare the principles that should govern these inter-relations between larger groups so that there may be lasting benefits for both the groups and present war and the action of the totalitarian states.

— —

for the individuals within the groups?

I

have a suspicion that

experience which has been found beneficial in the actions of

beings toward one another may be found beneficial also between groups. Thus, the evidence that one gains virtue through service has recently been proved true in business to

human

such an extent that it is now regarded as a business principle. Conceivably nations might learn this lesson perhaps the Scandinavian nations have already learned

it

— —and

instead of going

forth to kill one another they might go forth to yield

mankind

the greatest benefits possible.

J.

Seelye Bixler {theologian)'. Professor Hoagland's statement seems to me to be admirable as a description of the start made by our Boston group of scientists, philosophers and theologians toward understanding one another's positions. I think he is right in saying that the value of the meetings for all concerned came less from the semitechthough these were nical discussions of professional subjects than from the opportunity interesting enough in themselves offered for comparing human attitudes and personal points of





view. Most of us felt that we really made a start toward finding a basis for agreement and that another year should help us to see

whether our differences were

really

fundamental.

Science, Philosophy Naturally, as a theologian

I

and Religion

find

it difficult

45

to accept all of

Professor Hoagland's statements about the relation of science

what

to religion.

For example, while

we know

a product of the functioning of our nervous systems,

it

seems

is

to

this alone.

it is

true, as

he

says, that

me that we should emphasize the fact that it is not Our nervous systems function with regard to an ex-

ternal world and what we know is a product of our nerves and what they work on. It is obvious that this external world is colored in transmission and that our knowledge of it is only probable, yet we do have means of checking our knowledge and of comparing types of probability.

My own

belief is that religion is not so

much

a "culmination

of a basic tendency of organisms to react in a configurational

way

to situations" as

it is

the culmination of a tendency of organ-

and appreciatively to what they find to be of worth in their world. Thus I would differ from him when he says that there is no necessary connection between religion and problems of good and evil. For me religion must be defined in terms of our attitudes toward good and evil. I think that the possibility of knowledge of what is good and a reasonable attitude to the source of the good is not ruled out by the fact that we lack precision in this field and have no techniques comparable to those of science. The real question, then, is whether knowledge of values and their source is possible. Here I think we have just begun to scratch the surface and are just catching isms to react

critically

a glimpse of the

Knowledge

God

way

the questions

should be formulated.

presumfrom knowledge of empirical fact, but I think one can admit the differences and still claim that its methods are a development and application of the methods of science rather of

as a reasonable object of loyalty is

ably different

than their denial.

To my mind,

therefore,

further exploration of

what

what our group needs is

just

now

is

a

involved in our personal attitudes,

knowledge hope that the entire subject and I am espe-

plus a further consideration of the limits of the term

where

non-scientific data are concerned. I

conference cially

may be

able to examine this

eager that our group, with the friendly relationship

already developed, will be able to continue

Professor Hoagland's

own

its

it

has

discussions under

capable and stimulating leadership.

Science, Philosophy

46

Makk Graubard (^biochemist): To me the significance Hoagland's paper ion of

many

of the philosophical section of Dr.

lies in its

scientists.

and Religion

value as representative of the opin-

The majority

of scientists,

cept Dr. Hoagland's definition that "Science total of acceptable

be, to religion, ethics

The Is it

who

I

believe, ac-

merely the

sum

techniques for gaining evidence," and then

out to apply this method, which

set

is

is all

they claim science to

and values.

question, "Is this a correct procedure?" presents

itself.

not rather analogous to the case of a pedantic physician views all relations between man and woman as sex because

only concerned with physiology and understands nothing and therefore terms all sentiment usually involved as superstition, ignorance or tradition? Scientists view religion in the same light. It never occurs to the scientist or the physician that perhaps before passing decision on the folly and superstition of humanity it might be better to study its behavior. Perhaps religion fills a need which has nothing to do with a desire for accurate knowledge, just as love paints the chosen one in unrealistic colors. Moreover, as observers from the outside, we know that the one in love is in no position to be realistic and critical. Is it possible that the person who finds that religious sentiment and philosophy are an excellent vehicle for his emotional attitude to man and the world does not care to check the truthfulness of each element of his creed any more than a poet cares about literal exactness of his images or similes? It is the unreality of poetry,

he

is

else,

its

imaginativeness, that heightens

not be that heightens

it

is

appeal?

its

scientists irrelevant It

seems

to

its

beauty. Similarly,

may

it

the idealism and symbolism of religion that

me

that

If

and that

is

so,

is

not the approach of

false? if

the Conference will consider these

aspects of religion and science instead of the incomprehensible (to

me and

all

other participants

I

have questioned so far)

time, some common ground may be found between the three disciplines. We would also approach the main subject, man, his needs, conduct, and past and present approaches to problems he considers important.

philosophic

subjects

The second

it

discussed

last

or social part of Dr. Hoagland's paper

is

to

me

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

equally valuable, not only for the problems

it

47

raises,

but

its di-

and simple approach. That too seems to me should be taken more seriously than last year's Conference condescended to do. Why talk abstractly about values when our life values scream at us from the front page? The approach to practical matters displayed by last year's Conference would have been most embarrassing were it not so ludicrous. What did the Conference yield by way of strengthening our much maligned and weakened faith in the democratic philosophy? What weaknesses did it uncover and what means did it suggest of rectifying them? rect

What

contribution did

cultural

it

make

in laying the foundation for a

group that would aid the country's thought and

spirit

in these critical days?

This paper states the plain truth in simple language and It needs elaboration and expansion. It may also need

thought.

suggestions for the concrete role the three disciplines are to play in this struggle of democracy to survive. But

it

must be

the basis for discussion rather than those fantastic papers of-

fered last year.

Kenneth V. Thimann

{plant physiologist):

Professor Hoagland puts forward the view,

thinking scientists, that reality

because

we

we can have no

common

direct

to most knowledge of

experience only the properties of our nervous

systems.

This statement makes the usual presumption that reality is something external, to be apprehended through the senses. It seems to me, however, not at all improbable that realization, as opposed to knowledge in the Machian or sensual sense, is something internal, to be reached only by some contemplative or meditative process.

The mystic who simply

focuses his atten-

on the eternal, and claims to be able gradually to realize at least some inkling of it, may have access to a different method from that of the more extroverted scientist, who focuses his attention on the evidence of his senses. Furthermore, since many mystics have emphasized that with sufficient practice this realization can be achieved by anyone, it would not seem to be, as Professor Hoagland indicates, "unsharable." It is true that it is hard to define, and as impossible to describe to one who has not tion

Science, Philosophy

48

experienced

it

and Religion

would be impossible to man. Nevertheless, we scientists should not,

as the sensation of light

describe to a blind

in the absence of any personal experience of this sort, exclude it

in others.

For a successful mystic, this realization, though he cannot give it to anyone else, would be religion. For a scientist, similarly, his

work

takes the place of religion, although

it is

not a

kind of religion he can impart to others. It is merely that the fact of being already engaged in the search for truth takes the urgency out of the need for organized religion. The professional golf player, though his game may be much the better, has lost something of the excitement of the game which captures the enthusiasm of the amateur. In my own experience this has been very clear; as my interest in science and my understanding of it deepened, the urge for religion gradually faded away. Science, as Professor Hoagland points out, is not a substitute for religion. The mountain of facts, theories, and even the esthetically satisfying general laws which comprise science, cannot take the place of religion for a layman. But the experience of working in science to a certain extent does. This is not an experience which can be convincingly communicated to others, and the bare statement of

it

may seem

the mystic that "I and

my

just as bald as the statement of

Father are one."

Leonard Wheildon {journalist)'. Most religions embody a concept of God, a concept of the universe, and a concept of man. To me, the last of the three seems more basic than either of the other two. That is the ethical aspect, which, at one point in your paper, you deny has any connection with religion.

I

cannot conceive of a religion with-

The thesis I suggest to you is and cosmology are the dispensable aspects. It is certainly true that ethics is the common factor in comparative religions. And in the historical development of the religion with which we are most familiar, ethics is the most constant factor. Concepts of God and the universe are various and varying, but the concept of man as a responsible moral be-

out ethics, explicit or implied. that theology

ing remains relatively fixed.

On page 38 you

suggest that certain "ethical views concerning

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

49

which members of the conference may But by precluding the possibility that these shared views are religious, you force yourself to the negative conclusion that any effort to reconcile the disciplines on a religious basis is futile. If you accept my thesis that "ethical views concerning man" are the heart of religion, you (and the people who think like you) may have as much in common with religion as the various kinds of religion have with each other. It isn't quite clear to me what you mean by "ethical views." At one place (pp. 36-37) you say: "Good and evil refer to that which is good and bad for a particular organism at a particular time." Later (page 38) you say: "Empirically there is such a thing as the good life, and one need not justify it by supernatural sanctions." Yet you talk of ideals and behavior "inexplicable on any scientific basis." If the good life is indeed purely empirical, I agree with you that it has nothing to do with religion. But it seems obvious that you, like the literally God-fearing man, cherish an ideal of the good life, a concept of man, which has no empirical basis. The only rules of conduct which I would call empirical are

man"

are the only views

share.

the primitive ones of survival.

They

accommo-

are the rules of

dation to environment. But these are prudential rules, not moral ones.

and it

And most men,

like you, are moral.

They

act in terms of non-empirical ideals of

conscience, call

it

constantly think

good and

the categorical imperative,

moves men, regardless of their faith in formal more civilized men are the stronger this tendency it

This tendency,

I

suppose,

Man

is

evil.

Call

there,

and

religion.

The

it is

is

in them.

part of the urge to close

some

stomach himself merely as an organism and, therefore, by a gymnastic exercise of imagination, he makes himself something different, a creature actuated by non-empirical moral imperatives. The difference between this configuration and the cosmological ones which you reject is the fact that you can make it come true. You can simply conform to the ideal you have made for yourself. sort of configuration.

W.

J.

can't

Crozier {general physiologist):

During the past winter I have been a member of the discusupon whose talks Professor Hoagland has based his

sion group

Science, Philosophy

50

and Religion

Broadly speaking, I am in agreement with the position he outlines. In a number of minor points I should prefer slightly difJerent statements, the preference being derived from my own

article.

conception of the physiological basis for experience and "knowing."

On

page

34, for

example,

entists are forced to regard

they do so reluctantly. Gestcdt

think

should question that

many

sci-

themselves as agnostics, or that

should also regret the use of the term

connection employed on page 36 because has been taken out of its original meaning.

in

it

I

I

the

I

These are very small matters, of course, and with the broader I am in complete sympathy. One of the main things which has been impressed upon me during the discussions of the past winter is a sense of the witless futility of continual talk. Formal agreements among persons of quite different experience and occupation usually are no more than a matter of politeness or of convention with respect to words words which actually have quite difconclusions stated in Professor Hoagland's paper,



ferent connotations for different individuals, although this

may

not be recognized at the time. The only real basis for understanding and harmony without uniformity of views is to be

found in action. This form of union is certainly desperately needed in the society of intelligent men. It can be based upon common action, because acts have at least the quality that one need not discuss whether they have occurred. The large scale action which we all need is something in which more persons can take part than could, for example, in an international campaign for medical advance. All thoughtful persons can collaborate in a program for mental sanitation. The primary disease is Hitlerism. Psychologically it is more important to unite in action to destroy this social disease than tive

it is

to discuss the rela-

meanings of religion and science.

Eliot D, Chapple {anthropologist)'.

am

agreement with Professor Hoagland's premneeded at the present time is a constructive program for action rather than arguments as to the relative merits of science, religion and philosophy. I am not so sanguine, however, that any group of theologians, philosophers and scientists I

ise that

in complete

what

is

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

51

can work out such a program. Judging from general observaefforts of the discussion group which met at Academy of Arts and Sciences in American the House Boston, all such discussions are rendered futile by two assumptions which are held implicidy both by scientists and by theologians and philosophers. The first of these is that cosmology and religion are necessarily interrelated. The second is that problems of human relations as expressed in terms of ethics and

tion,

and from the of the

values are by definition outside the realm of scientific investi-

my

gation. In

fuse the issues

opinion, both these assumptions completely con-

and are

also incorrect.

The assumed dependence

of cosmology

and religion seems

to

be more firmly held to by scientists and philosophers than by theologians. Consequendy, much valiant effort is wasted in controversy because of the naive belief that religion disappears

cosmology

more

is

overthrown. Sophisticated theologians

phenomena

familiar with religious

who

if

a

are

are less liable to be

taken in by this assvimption. Religious

phenomena

most

are

characteristically manifested

during periods of disturbances to individuals or groups. These disturbances occur in the adjustments of individuals to one another, and they are accompanied by profound emotional disturbances. Religion consists of the techniques and symbols by which the equilibrium of individuals and groups is restored after

such disturbances. For very definite physiological reasons,

certain types of stimuli produce changes in behavior correlative emotional states.

This

ing power of religion."

most

It is

of crisis. For the student of

is

why

there

is,

and

strikingly manifested in times

human

relations, therefore, the un-

derstanding of religious phenomena involves the scientific vestigation of such crises.

It

its

in fact, a "heal-

in-

includes the analysis of the exact

changes in the relations of individuals and of their correlative emotional activities. In the larger sense, it is a physiological study.

Phenomena which we

man

affairs,

call religious

appear constantly in hu-

because the situations producing this kind of

re-

action in the organism are constandy occurring. People are born,

they marry, and they die.

loved ones.

With

They become

ill

or suffer the loss of

others, they experience changes in the activity

Science, Philosophy

52 of group are the tory,

there

life

and Religion

as a result of changes in the environment.

phenomena which,

These

since the beginning of recorded his-

have produced religious techniques to meet them, and is no possibility that they will disappear, as long as we, as

human

beings, retain our present physiological properties.

Religious experience, therefore,

is

entirely

independent of any

given set of symbols, for the symbols are only labels by which we refer to the experience. Through conditioning, the behaviors

and

their associated

bolic configuration.

emotions can become attached to any syma slight acquaintance with the diverse

Even

symbolic systems of different peoples at different times that.

The

tells

us

symbols in

fact that people often try to locate their

space and time

is entirely secondary to religious experience itThis will continue, whatever the linguistic framework by which it is symbolized. The basic problem of religion is to un-

self.

derstand the properties of a certain class of phenomena, and not

why

to try to explain

those

about

a particular set of rationalizations

phenomena have appeared.

The second assumption,

that

problems of

human

relations as

expressed in terms of ethics or values are outside the realm of scientific investigation, is equally stultifying,

reinforced by the the scientists

first.

who

The

chief reason for

and

its

is,

of course,

strength

that

is

take part actively in such discussions are

who are usually as much in the dark about problems of human relations as their religious and philosophical confreres. They are further hindered by the fact that, unlike the theologians, at least, they have never had any direct expephysical scientists

phenomena. Religious leaders, after all, make field, and they have much intuitional knowledge of the phenomena, which is not, however, expressed scientifically. The physical scientists, on the other hand, are laymen both in experience of religious phenomena and in the posrience of religious

many

observations in this

session of scientific operations to deal with them. Since they are scientists

and cannot operate

scientifically in the field of

relations, they therefore argue that science of

any

human

sort is inap-

plicable. Since they consider themselves the authorities

on

ence, they remain ignorant of the fact that science

already

operating in this tions

possess

field,

is

and that the phenomena of human

the necessary

characteristics

sci-

rela-

of functional de-

and Religion

53

for scientific procedures to be applied.

Their opinion

Science, Philosophy

pendence is

then picked up by philosophers and theologians as the clinch-

ing proof of the bankruptcy of science in this field. But even if these conclusions should be accepted by a discussion group, and the

two assumptions abandoned, the

corollary

not to formulate a program of federalism at the meetings of the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion, as Professor Hoagland suggests, but rather to develop a of this acceptance

is

plan of scientific investigation into democratic organization, the results of

What

which could be used

as the basis of

are the existing systems of

tries to

human

an action program.

relations in the coun-

What would be the organization of a which would be able to operate efficiently and

be federalized?

federal system

harmoniously in terms of the

realities of existing national sys-

tems of relations? What would be the precise steps by which such an organization would be put into operation? These questions will have to be answered by scientific investigation and not by a dependence upon good intentions. No matter how logical a plan may be, it will have the same fate as the League of Nations unless the logic on which it is based is the result of careful investigation and planning of the way in which human beings operate. The democratic way of life has a foundation in fact, but to my knowledge, very few of those who wish to establish it on earth can describe it objectively in such a form that an administrator could hope to set it into operation. Until this is done, and until we can define objectively the precise differences between "totalitarian" and "democratic" systems of government, we ought to agree only that we need a program of action, and bend every effort to see to it that the necessary research be accomplished.

Hudson Hoagland: It

has been pointed out by several commentators that the

ethical aspects of religion are in practice of

fundamental im-

portance, and Dr. Bixler has given an excellent definition of religion in terms of values.

of discourse,

we may be

so puzzling to agnostics.

By limiting

religion to this universe

able to escape

As Chappie

some

of the difficulties

has said, most scientists

have no operational procedures for dealing with values. His

Science, Philosophy

54

and Religion

how this gap may be bridged via the social and anthropology are interesting. Dr. Brightman has remarked that I imply that knowledge of the nervous system is in itself absolute. This implication is certainly not intended. Surely no knowledge of the nervous system could solve any of the fundamental problems of philosophy. suggestions as to sciences

The

role of the

nervous system in relation to the nature of

knowledge does seem to make absolute knowledge of Reality with a capital "R" meaningless. The properties of the nervous system determine not only the qualities of our sense data but our introspective life and higher mental processes. The ap-

also

preciation of a

symphony

not exceptions to

or the experiences of a mystic are

this.

Perhaps the reason that many agnostics share with their more common views about human values is because we are all a product of the same Hebrew-Christian culture patreligious friends

tern.

Our behavior and ideals are conditioned by we give to justify our values and

but the reasons

both theologians and plain

and

justify

scientists, rationalizations

this tradition,

ethics are, for

designed to ex-

our actions in terms of the logic of our pro-

is an and ingrained value concepts, the origins of which come from the cultural roots of our group traditions. In the realm of values, theology has given us an absolute basis for our rationalizations of ethical conduct. In the realm of cosmology, it has failed to make sense, and science has done better. The difficulty that some of us face is that these two aspects of religion dealing with cosmology and values cannot satisfactorily be separated, since man and his values are part of the cosmos and "man is a measure of all things." Concerning my statement that the history of man and his societies gives us grounds for value judgments, Mr. Henry Dennison has written as follows: "It (history) gave Nietzsche, Spengler and (perhaps) Rosenberg grounds for opposite judgments. And to Wheeler and Lindbergh? And to a significant number of Middle-Westerners? Mere assertion that we have adequate groimds for anti-Nazi action won't get us far. Precisely what

fessions. Reason, in short, does not lead, but follows. It effect,

not a cause.

It

interprets our behavior

we're trying for

is

crucial point

what can we do who don't get

is,

assertion plus-plus a rational basis. lit

.

.

.

The

up on your

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

55

own unsupported assertion that you find groiinds for action?" This criticism is similar to that so well expressed by Dr. Robbins in his discussion of relativism in the field of values. But if history has failed us as a guide to the "good life," so, too, has religion, with its revealed and absolute sanctions. Hitler, of all people, has recently called upon the world for a holy war on infidel Russia! Combatants in most wars have justified cruelty and injustice in the name of God and religion. Surely, we have not escaped these misfortunes by referring to an absolute justice

and mercy dependent on the will of God. The prayers of both sides in a conflict, the wronged and the wrongdoer, may both go sincerely to the same God. For these reasons, one must question the necessary dependence of democracy on religion, despite the important role

it

has played in the history of our

own

particular

democratic institutions.

The

suggestions of Chappie seem to be highly pertinent for

our conference,

i.e.,

"to develop a plan of scientific investigation

which could be used an active program" directed towards an ulti-

into democratic organization the results of as the basis of

mate plan of international federalization. Dr. Cannon has suggested a similar aim for our conferences. Such an investigation might clarify many matters pertaining to the realm of values, and should furnish this conference a concrete objective with the various disciplines co-operating, as they must have done at the time of our own early American ventures in Federalism.

Today

a

new

group, the social scientists, should be able to give

strong aid to any conference tackling the enormous job of

bringing post-war order out of international chaos.

If

we

lose

war because of dissension, we won't have to make any decisions, and these conferences will have been in vain. If we win it, and lose the subsequent peace, as we did the last one, through

the

our isolationist policies, these conferences will also be of

little

assume that we shall not repeat the mistakes of the past indefinitely, and that we can be of service in helping to develop an antidote to international anarchy.

use.

Let us

at least

CHAPTER The Comparative Study

IV and the

of Culture

Purposive Cultivation of Democratic Values By

MARGARET MEAD

American Museum of Natural History

OF THE pressing problems in democratic living ONEneed to develop ways of thinking together which result

either

in

the formation of slavishly

imitative

is

the

shall

not

schools

around leaders, the elimination of all individuality in an attempt to find a least common denominator of theory, or an arid individualism in which each speaks for himself alone. The Conference has made a distinct contribution to this problem in the plan for papers which we are following at this session. In order to give the fullest expression to

my

belief that

the most productive and most democratic procedure results from the orchestration of the ideas of several individual thinkers working on the same problem, rather than from the simple merging or boihng down of these ideas, I planned my paper in the hope that each of my collaborators would not merely criticise but would make a distinct contribution of his or her own to the solution of the problem as I presented it. I saw

my

task not as that of merely stating a viewpoint but as that

of stating a viewpoint evocatively.

As

I

my

hoped,

collabora-

have made distinctive contributions. I am therefore leaving their papers as they wrote them, arranging them for the greater tors

convenience of the reader in order of immediacy of the reactions to the specific points

made

in

my

paper.

I

have not

corporated their criticism or suggestions into the body of paper.

I

have, however,

made

a

few

56

final revisions in

my

in-

my

paper

Science, Philosophy

and where

I

have

felt that

and Religion

57

these alterations might have in-

comments of my collaborators had they had them, have added them as footnotes to preserve a clear record of the

fluenced the I

collaborative enterprise.

Some

slight clarification of phrasing

on points with which none of my collaborators took issue have been introduced directly into the text. The collaboration has suffered from one handicap typical of ail co-operation among anthropologists. Dr. Willard Park is "in the field" in South America and his comments have not reached us in time. This paper will confine

itself

rigorously to suggestions as to

what the comparative study of cultures can contribute to the ends to which this Conference has committed itself ^its recorded belief that "modern civiHzation can be preserved only by a recognition of the supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual human person." The Conference has set up this touchstone, and every cultural institution which it surveys or envisages must be tried and tested by it. What, then, can the comparative study of cultures signify



to those

who have

taken

this

firm stand,

who have

selected

would suggest several possible functions: It can demonstrate, from data on other cultures (and, by virtue of their relative simplicity and the extent to which they differ from our own culture and represent

and acclaimed

parallel

of our

this particular

standard?

I

developments rather than ancestral or divergent forms culture, particularly from primitive cultures) that

own

every culture must be seen as a whole, with

its value system as an inextricable component. It can refute and brand as unscientific, irresponsible, and dangerous the use of cross-cultural data for purposes of devaluating any given cultural system by

the demonstration that other cultures have placed different

emphases and different values on some isolated havior. Historically, those

some

who

detail of be-

are desirous of breaking

showing that some other different moral

a miscellaneous assortment of divergent practices, this

down

particular traditional value for our society have arrayed

and that other people, or indeed ourselves

period in history, regarded a given practice in a

at

light,

in

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

58

arguing that, therefore,

moral practices are limited

all

time and place and therefore lack any ultimate validity.

This mischievous and uninformed use of cultural material often mistakenly called cultural relativity, but that

what

not, for cultural relativity

it is

demands

is

is

exactly

that every item

of cultural behavior be seen as relative to the culture of which

and in that systematic setting every item has positive meaning and value. Even where items of cultural behavior, so-called cultural traits, have been so easy to identify and so alluring to the members of other cultures that they have diffused progressively borrowed by the members of different cultures in contact one with another modern social anthropology has shown how a trait which appears to be objectively the same may have markedly different meaning and function in it is

a part,

or negative





different cultural settings. therefore, that

we

shall

when we

attend

always

random, indiscriminate be

strictly

material,

The

science of culture can insist,

consider contrasting types of behavior the

to

complete system, and that

citations of cultural contrasts in detail

recognized for what they are, iconoclastic polemic

ammunition

for

agitators,

but

with no

scientific

validity.

The precise and detailed data which has been accumulated on some of these alien cultural systems provides an exercise in the appreciation of the degree to which every detail of a culture

is

interdependent with every other

detail, so that

items

of behavior which have not historically been considered to be in the

same sphere of discourse

—the way a mother handles her

baby, the attitude toward the supernatural, methods of classify-

ing relationships, the style of literary composition, the rambling scribblings of children in the sand,

toward which the all

will

power

and the type of

of the dying

is

self-control

directed

of these are systematically related to the whole.

consideration of cultural data

may

—that

Such

a

lead to a recognition of the

extent of our problem, that the system of values involves in the end the whole culture. It

one time more

difficult,

makes the problem of values

at

demonstrating the width and depth

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

59

and more exigent, in that it constitutes further documentation of the dependence of any people upon of their ramifications,

their culture

—their

on the theme

The i.e.,

that

system of values

man

does not

—a

live

sort of primitive atlas

by bread alone.

discipline of looking objectively at other cultural systems,

seeing

them

as systems

with their

own

coherent and

self-

contained ethic and not introducing into them intrusive ethical

own system, can also be used in mainwhen a group such as this Conference

considerations from our taining perspective

meets

and

attempt to lead a whole

civiliza-

the systematic inter-relationship

of dif-

to affirm a faith

to

tion in a given direction.

By

insisting

upon

warn against any planning which disregards essential components whose relevancy may not be immediately apparent to those whose eyes are directed along more special Hnes. It can provide an underpinning and groundwork for an understanding, which must ferent elements of culture, anthropology can

otherwise remain intuitive, of the importance of certain social trends, of the relevancy of certain moves. It can insist

necessity traits

of

devising

or practices

psychological-cultural

which

social

upon

equivalents

the for

thinking decides should be

altered or abolished.

As an

illustration, I

compulsory

should like to

cite

here the question of

sterilization of the unfit, seen as a

measure

to save

community the expense and social waste of a large subnormal population. Although legislation providing for such

the

sterilization has it is still

been passed in a great proportion of our

to rage about the absolute right or

measure.

states,

almost entirely uninvoked. Controversies have tended

A

wrong involved

comparative science of culture would

in such a shift

the

between the attempt to save and augment the emphasis upon the "supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual human person" and the forces within our society which seek to put the efficiency, economy, and rationale of the state above the importance of the individual. Legislation permitting any governmental body

issue to the relationship, in the year 1941,

— Science, Philosophy

6o to exercise is

still

and Religion

such a discretionary power in a region where there

such popular uncertainty and difference of opinion as

to the ethics involved will be seen as

dangerous

—at

present

and the cost of maintaining institutions for the feeble-minded as a most minimal individual tax, when seen in the light of what might be endangered by this method of their abolishing them. Such legislation, with its arbitrary character and its emphasis upon sacrificing the admittedly innocent for the sake of Society and particularly of Society's pocket opens the way for the types of state euthanasia which are preached, if not extensively practiced, as part of the Fascist dogma. But such a judgment as this would have nothing whatsoever to say about the ultimate rightness and wrongness of putting legislation of this type into full practice at some other time. It would consider as quite possible that our culture may develop a form of society in which government is so morally responsible, and so committed to the furtherance of democratic values, that the exercise of such governmental power might have no morally detrimental effect upon those who exercised it, just as the judge





who

today sentences to death a

and calculated murder

is

man

convicted of cold-blooded

not morally endangered by such an

exercise of power, since he acts as the executive of a convinced

community which regards murder

as behavior for which the presumably responsible. Among the Arapesh of New Guinea, children are valued and welcomed. Parents make every sacrifice that their children may thrive and grow, and the whole culture is oriented toward the needs of the next generation. Yet infanticide is part of the

murderer

is

standard cultural behavior. lactation taboos

on sex

If,

in spite of rigorously observed

relations until at least a year after each

child's birth, a woman bears more children than she and her husband can care for, or if the next oldest child is still sickly and needs great care, then it is the duty of the parents to put the new baby to death. Living on very poor land, with a most meager technology, infanticide is a moral act for the Arapesh. If, however, they were transplanted to more fertile land, their

and Religion

Science, Philosophy scanty supply of food crops

6i

augmented with new and more

nourishing food plants, their inadequate technology improved, infanticide

would cease

to

be compatible with the central value

on the importance of producing and practice of infanticide were abanchildren. Unless the raising changed conditions, it is probable that the doned, under these whole generous ethic of the Arapesh would undergo an alteration compelled by the incongruity between a practice no longer consistent with the exigencies of Arapesh life and the avowed Arapesh ethical ideal. The fashion in which nomadic people, who have traditionally abandoned their aged because they hindered the absolutely essential search for food, altered this practice when means of transportation, or storing food were discovered, is another instance of the way in which an item of behavior may alter its moral implications as the context alters. These are, it is true, very simple examples of simple peoples, whose ethics were necessarily adjusted to a precarious existence. But in a complex society like ours, there is as exigent a relationship between one institutional pattern and another as there is in the relationship between a nomadic culture and the food supply. It should be in their culture, the stress

the special contribution of anthropologists to identify points of inter-dependence which are in danger of being overlooked,

and

to

warn those who would give

ever they ignore vital patterns or to

meet needs which

us ethical leadership

fail

to provide

their leadership

new

will inevitably

Anthropologists can underHne the need for a

when-

patterns create.

critical re-evalua-

tion of our culture in the light of the changes resulting

from

the extraordinary advances in technology which have intro-

duced so many discordances into our way of

life

and our

value system.

An

illustration

might be taken from the relationship between

parent and child, a subject which

is

particularly crucial to the

maintenance of the type of character structure upon which any system of values depends. Leaders in ethical thinking might question the extent to which the parent has assumed moral

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

62

commands which he gives the more compatible with the trends of a

and

responsibility for the

child,

claim that

relativistic

it is

culture for the parent to abrogate his historical claims to

what

is

and what

right

wrong.

is

A

cogent case can be

know

made

for

such a position, but, before setting the stamp of approval upon

our increasingly confused system of child rearing, pause and ask:

From whence comes our

An

tance of moral responsibility?

we may

belief in the

well

impor-

examination of the child-

rearing systems of other cultures will reveal that the degree to

which parents among us assume the onus of making moral

choices and standing by

beUion, even hatred,

we

In other cultures

them

in the face of their child's re-

a special characteristic of our culture.

is

find, as standard procedure, that parents

rely upon a shared fear of the supernatural, or inculcate in their children a devastating fear of public opinion, or teach

them

that the only absolute

is

anger. It

rare,

is

however, for

parents to face their willful small children and say, "I insist

upon

because

this

I

believe

that our peculiar dedication to

it

is

right." It

moral values

is

is

very possible

specially fostered

by such a system of child rearing, and that that dedication could not survive if this system were rudely torn away. However, it is necessary to distinguish sharply between taking moral responsibihty before one's child in

condemning

his act,

and the

old-fashioned authoritarian position in which the parent said:

"You

You do mean the

are bad.

sponsibility

own code

I

not obey me." By assuming moral

re-

parent will be willing to stand by his

of ethics, that he will insist that ethical choices are

important, that he will not "spoil" his child by giving or permitting him that which he himself believes to be wrong in order to

buy peace, and

that he will not

moral concessions or tion.

The

line

trick

between

woo

the child's affection by

him by some imaginary outside

this position

of a single ethical system, ruthlessly enforced tion,

is

a difficult

one to draw. But

it is

is

left in

no doubt

upon each genera-

possible that a system of

child rearing, essentially democratic, in free to choose, but

sanc-

and the authoritarian one

which the child is left moral necessity

as to the

Science, Philosophy

more

of choice, can develop

easily

complete parental control than of a system in

if

and Religion

63

out of the older system of

we

wait for the development

which the parent has abrogated

all

sense of

moral responsibility. Unless we democratize family life it is idle to talk of democracy. We have heard much of the way in

which their

which they

children.

A

upon

a residue from an age of faith, however, powerless to transmit to comparative anthropologist who sees the

faithless ages live

a residue

are,

system of child training as an integral part of any cultural system would point out the importance of this problem and warn the ethical leader to pause and consider.

The

anthropologist must, furthermore,

take

into

account

even the special value of seeming discrepancies, infelicities, and contradictions in the culture which we are seeking to shape. Adolescent revolt against the parental values, which appears to

be a minus value in our

a nevertheless necessary

civilization,

component

might then be seen as and

of a belief in progress

an impetus to work actively for a better world.^ He should also be sure to identify obscure connections which are not immediately apparent to those is

whose vantage ground

merely a point of moral elevation inside the system they

who wished at and respect and regard for human life and hatred of cruelty might think offhand that anti-vivisection campaigns such as that conducted in the press last summer could not but make for a general and desirable hatred of cruelty, the student of culture might be able to show the way in which such campaigns actually arouse and stimulate sadistic impulses and prepare people for outrages, rather than would feign improve. Where the all

ethical leader

costs to encourage gentleness

^Scientific inquiry may appear to many to be merely an instrument for undermining established beliefs, but it may also be seen as producing a ferment out of which a far greater degree of human enlightenment will develop. On the other hand, many cultural practices which are at present viewed with complacency by ethical leaders, such as the intense emphasis upon the importance of competition, or the way in which adolescents are debarred from any meaningful participation in the community under the guise of "education," may be found to be completely incompatible with democratic goals.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

64

for gentleness.

In this

connection

it

interesting

is

that

an

elaborate anti-vivisection campaign was run in the government-

controlled press in

Germany

ficially

stimulated pogroms.

In

the contributions

all

just a short time before the of-

which

I

have sketched so

far,

the

anthropologist has played the role of placing items of culture in proportion, of relating disparate items to

whole systems, comparison of one system with another to enhance appreciation and knowledge of the way in which such systems are internally consistent and inter-related, issuing warnings and pointing out the impHcations of various changes or trends within the chaotic, heterogeneous culture which the members of the Conference seek to lead and change in the direction of greater democracy. All of these possible contributions rest utilizing the

upon

the hypothesis that cultures are systems of greater or less

degrees of coherence and integration, but that even in the most

fragmented and incoherent culture there

exists

intricate inter-dependence far in excess of that

a degree of

which

is

usually

recognized.^ This proposition cannot be demonstrated in the

space of this paper;

upon

its

final

acceptance

the willingness of the student

rests, in

from other

most

fields to

cases,

under-

take the labor and the discipline of mastering the record of at least

one simple primitive culture in

its

entirety.

authoritative position to require such an exercise

member of as one who

this

Conference, and

I

am in no from every

I

can only, therefore, speak more extreme

has undergone this discipline in the

form of being charged with the responsibility of recording entire cultures, and who has found them systematic. Anthropologists with other interests might offer a contrasting, but perhaps equally valuable contribution, by using cross-cultural data to

show

has met.

I

the universal needs of man, which every culture

feel,

however, that

we

are concerned, not with the

"Because of this intricate inter-dependence full

men

cannot

live in a culture as

of discrepancies and contradictions as our present culture without paying

very heavily in terms of isolation, impaired ability, ill-health, unhappiness and loss of

human

dignity.

— Science, Philosophy universal needs of

man which

except in so far as they set a

which

cultures

65

must somehow meet a lower limit below

minimum,



and survive but with the universal mankind, which is the task of culture to develop.

a culture

potentials in

and Religion

Comparison of

cannot

fall

different cultures demonstrates that

man may

low or high, that he may cast himself and that as he casts himself, so will he live, and his children after him. According to the extent we are concerned with minimums, we are tied closely to the way in which culture meets and is limited by man's basic biological set his spiritual goal

a cheap or a heroic role,

make-up. To the extent that we are concerned with maximum human development, we are concerned with what human cultures are able to make of that most precious of material, human beings, after—long after—the simple universal needs

An emphasis on needs alone confines us to an acceptance of any number of makeshifts, which pass for spiritual food and drink and which, by stressing the common solutions that mankind has reached at different times and in have been met.

different places, loses sight of the

uncommon

them may be counted the great

solutions.

religions of the

Among

world, by

which the dignity of man in his quest for spiritual values has been reinforced and enhanced. The emphasis upon cultural systems as creations of man's imagination, conforming to law but subject to any number of fortuitous events, including the

and the happy accidents of comfrom different cultures, defines the area of interaction between the anthropologist as scientist and the spiritual leaders. The leaders say: These are the values which we would foster. The anthropologist then places them in their cultural context and makes his contribution accordingly. So far, in this role for which we have been casting the anthropologist, there has been no conflict between the idea of free moral responsibiUty for the individual and the contribution of the scientist. If, however, we push the question one step further and say: "We have established the direction in which we want to move. Now you social scientists, specialists in culinsights of «piritual geniuses

binations of values

Science, Philosophy

66 ture, tell us

program

dom

how

for us!"

and Religion

You implement

to get there.

our spiritual

Have we then reached

a point at which free-

and

procedure clash? Does

of the individual will

scientific

not the implementation of a defined direction

call for control,



and does not control measured, calculated, definite control; control which really attains its ends by its very existence invalidate democracy, necessarily raising up some men to exercise the control and degrade all others to be its victims? You can implement loyalty to the state, or rigid conformity to law, habits of uncomplaining industry or absolute obedience to a religious functionary. This has often been done without the aid of science. Fascism is showing us how much more efficiently it can be done with scientific aid. But to implement moral



responsibility for the individual means, in effect, the develop-

ment

of a kind of social order within which moral responsibility

will be

developed in every child and given free flexible play This task is a far more complicated one, yet I

in the adult.

think

it is

possible.

is called upon to implement a program of greater democracy, however, it is necessary for those who invoke his help to recognize one essential difference between social science and natural science. In the natural sciences, progress has been made by the systematic exclusion of the observer, his errors, his biases, and human fallibility, from any experimental observation which was made. In the

Before the social scientist

social sciences, every effort to repeat this

with

sterility,

a

natural sciences.

performance has met

pseudo-social science hollowly imitating the

Advance

in the social sciences

the systematic inclusion of the

depends upon

human experimenter

within

the experiment, in terms of his constitution, culture, idiosyncratic

life

history,

and the

constellational

significance

which

he has for his subjects. Instead of attempting to rule these out, in which case we are confronted with a vacuum, the position of the experimenter in these various defined respects

the point of reference tion,

and only

from which we define

as his position

is

known

becomes

a field of observa-

can the

field

be known.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

This leads us to a further step in cultural

67

which

relativity,

too infrequently taken, to the realization that were the world

is

we dream

members of that new world would be from ourselves that they would no longer value it in the same terms in which we now desire it. In order to implement a spiritual future which transcends our present cultural values, we need humility to realize that we would no longer be at home in such a world; that we who have dreamed it could not live it. The very imperfections which gave impetus to our dream would unfit us for its execution. Yet cultures have no of attained,

so different

real existence outside the habituated bodies of those

them. Here, then,

is

a

involves the scientist,

It

planner, for he

is,

serve

it.

It

means

who

is

live

faced.

the executant as well as the

of necessity, a part of his culture

same time

aspirations, at the

who

dilemma which must be squarely

that he

would bend

and

its

his skill to

that implementation can never take the

form must involve direcdirection in which new

of finished blue prints of the future, but

an orientation of the culture in a under the first impetus of that direction, can, and will, take us further. It means that the student of tion,

individuals, reared

its development by and so makes his plans for an, inter-action between altered institutions and altered individuals, which will proceed slowly enough to maintain the direction which he has determined upon. He must lay his hand upon a process with a control none the less sure, none the less adjusted to everything that he knows of the processes of culture and the peculiar nature of his own culture, for all that he cannot, nay he must not, envisage the end toward which

culture realizes that culture

the individuals

he

is

who must

is

limited in

administer

it,

setting that process in motion.

For a detailed picture of the end, the future of the absolutely desirable

a finished blue print of

way

of

life,

has always

been accompanied by the ruthless manipulation of human beings in order to fit them, by the use of wrack, torture and concentration camp if necessary, to the decreed pattern. When such attempts have been merely the blind intuitive gropings

Science, Philosophy

6S

and Religion

and the power-driven, they have been sufficient upon which the democratic way of hfe is based. Implemented by science, as they could be implemented, a new hideousness is created unguessed at in the darkest torture chambers of the past. The victims of such a process become progressively more apathetic, passive and lacking in spontaneity. The leaders become progressively more paranoid. Only by devoting ourselves to a direction, not a fixed of the fanatical

to destroy all the values

development of and think the choice all important and be strong, healthy and wise in choosing, can we escape this dilemma. This conclusion may sound Uke a pronouncement on spiritual values, but it is also, I believe, a conclusion which can

goal, to a process, not a static system, to the

human

beings

who

will choose

be supported by the findings of social science. revolutions

is

replete with documentation of the

The

history of

dependence of

human executants and the inability of who dreamed and fought and guillotined for their Utopia carry it out. The comparative science of character forma-

any Utopia upon the those to

dependence of the child upon the culture mediated to it by those who handle it in infancy, and the absolute dependence, therefore, of any cultural system upon tion demonstrates the

which those

is

who

transmit

social science

it.

in appreciation of the

of every individual

is,

that

the increase

is

supreme worth and moral

human

ing the spontaneity

That

The most complete implementation

can then offer those whose aim

responsibility

person, are techniques for preserv-

and

initiative

of each

new

generation.

within a cultural frame progressively better suited to

the realization of the ideals

which they are progressively better

suited to live out and pass on, with moral impetus, to their children.

Summary I

have suggested that those students of comparative cultures

who have devoted

themselves to studying cultures as wholes,

:

and Religion

Science, Philosophy as

make

systems of dynamic equilibrium, can

69 the following

contributions

1.

Affirm and document the importance of an integrating

system of values as almost an abstract synonym for the culture as a whole.

Document

2.

the extent to which any single item of be-

when

havior has ethical significance only

seen in rela-

tionship to a whole cultural system.

Place present and proposed institutions of our culture

3.

against

the

total

cultural

Implement plans

for

scientifically

avowed democratic ends

the sort to which this Conference 4.

and

perspective

assay their relationship to the

our

altering

is

of

devoted.

present

culture,

by

recognizing the importance of including the social scientist

within his experimental material, and by recognizing

working toward defined ends we commit ourand therefore to the negation of democracy. Only by working in terms of values which are limited to defining a direction, is it possible for us to use scientific methods in the control of the process without the negation of the moral autonomy of the human spirit. that by

selves to the manipulation of persons,

APPENDIX Ruth

F. Benedict,

Dr. tivity,

Columbia University:

Mead has and made

well stated the implications of cultural relaa distinction clear

Cultural relativity, as she defines

it,

which

is

not usually made.

refers not to the great

gamut

of religious practices in the world, for instance, nor to the

many

forms of marriage current in different cultures, but to the inescapable interdependence of cultural traits one with another,

and of the individual and his

society.

Her

first

three points are

stimulating discussions of the technical problems arising from

Science, Philosophy

70

this inter-dependence,

and

I

and Religion

believe these problems to be

some

of the most important that face civilizations today.

Dr. Mead's fourth point concerning "ends" and "directions" can read with agreement, or with disagreement according to the meanings I give these words, and I imagine many other

I

readers will accept or reject her statements according to definitions

which

paragraphs article

will be completely opposite to I shall

one another. In these

define these two in the spirit of Dr. Mead's

and give the definitions which bring

me

into complete

accord with her argiiment.

We

are extremely loose in our use of the

"blue-prints."

We

do not usually use them To those who are engaged

paraging sense. civil

words "ends" and Mead's dis-

in Dr.

in such programs,

service reforms or progressive education are "ends" for

which to strive; to those in the Trade Union movement, strong and responsible organization of the workers is a "blue-print" for the future. But in Dr. Mead's terms, such activities need state; they may only be directional. The "ends" to which she has reference are such hard and fast principles as that workers and capitalists must, in any good society, be organized in opposing camps, or that the functions of the

not blueprint a future

State

must

in

Utopia be minimal, or that they must be gargancommitment is not usually put at the opposite

tuan. This latter

pole from the "directional" conviction that in a given situation the only

but Dr.

body which can cope with the

Mead

correctly opposes them.

bases any current decision

absence of alternatives;

it

tion and can adapt itself

difficulties is the State,

The

upon strong

"directional". attitude

cultural habits

and the

cue from the present situato changing conditions without tragtakes

its

edy. The "blue-print" attitude fights for the principle itself, come "hell or high water." The history of Collective Security slogans from the last war to the present

attitude.

is

another illustration of this tragic blue-print

Those who committed themselves

to the principles of

an "end" thought they had a blue-print which absolved them from inquiring into the programs of the allies with whom they proposed to associate themselves. They were the more deceived. Similarly those who espoused isolacollective security as

tionism as an "end," whether 25 years ago or now, took

it

as

an

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

absolute principle which absolved

71

them from considering the

nature of the struggle from which they isolated themselves, or the kind of threat to themselves which they refused to parry.

The dilemma upon

of our younger generation

to prepare for

war

is,

who

are

now

called

in great part, a consequence of the

mistook an immediate and relative fact There would be no talk of a "rightabout face" if we had taught them that under no circumstances could they be absolved from making a realistic assay of dangers and values. They could then have made their decision today without having to unlearn what they mistook for a principle. If we distinguish clearly between ends and directions in this fashion. Dr. Mead gives the obviously correct criterion by which we can tell when we are inadvertently working toward ends in her disparaging sense, i.e., that such activity commits us to "the manipulation of persons and hence to the negation of democ-

fact that their elders

for an absolute principle.

racy." It attempts to ordain the fluid; therefore it gets itself

outcome instead of leaving

it

involved in putting something over

on people, something which is over and above giving them the and adaptabilities on the basis of which they can themselves decide and act. Thus propaganda comes into existence with all its boomerangs. On the other hand, the criterion by which we can identify "directional" activities is that these latter either modify social institutions or educate the individual so that his power to cope adequately with any situation earning

facts



a living, deciding

how

to cast his vote, serving illustriously as



an important leader is increased. Dr. Mead's first three points seem to me to be relative and relational though no less important in comparison with this last point about ends and directions. This latter states an attitude toward cultural change which cannot be overlooked without tragedy in any free society. It states that such a society must be willing to work to spread initiative and spontaneity more widely among its members without specifying in advance the decisions and acts of these future more initiating and spontaneous citizens. In any case, these advance blue-prints will by that time be out of date, and the fact that they were raised as altars upon which to sacrifice will stultify and endanger the whole endeavor.





Science, Philosophy

72

and Religion

Clyde Kluckhohn, Harvard University: By and large, I find myself in complete and enthusiastic agreement with Dr. Mead's paper. But I should like to make one suggestion and also a rather extended commentary with one sentence of Dr. Mead's paper as a text.

My

suggestion touches matters which

Dr. Mead's paper as to raise. In

my

it

lie

outside the scope of

stands but the issue seems crucial enough

opinion, one of the great contributions which

the comparative study of cultures ought to

preservation of the democratic the techniques

own

of our

which

culture.

it

The

way

of life

is

make toward

the

the application of

has developed to the systematic study sociologists have, of course, given us

valuable information. But, in general, their canvases have been too vast and their approach neither so rigorous nor so holistic

which students of non-literate societies have perforce While Dr. Mead once referred to our culture as "chaotic and heterogeneous" I sometimes had the uncomfortable feeling that she was failing to face the existence of our differentiated (though overlapping) class and regional sub-culas that

had

to maintain.

tures.

Can we

properly speak of one "integrating system of

New

England and the Southwest, for the members and the farmers of the Middle West? Each one of us can make a rough induction on the basis of imperfect personal experience, and there are some persons whose impressionistic judgments would be of great value. But I submit that we cannot deal with these matters scientifically until these various sub-systems of our social system have been sampled in the same careful and holistic way as the social system of the Arapesh. We cannot "implement plans for altering our present culture" until we know that culture in the same detailed and coherent way which we know certain of the best described non-literate cultures. This suggestion is possibly implicit in Dr. Mead's paper, but it would seem to me important to make it explicit. Agreement that "indiscriminate citations of cultural contrasts in detail" have "no scientific validity" (p. 58) must not values" for

of the C.I.O.

lead to the proposition: denials of ultimate validity for cultural traits are fallacious in

fairly certain to

fallacious

is

me

every sense. Ensuing passages

that Dr.

Mead

here

means only

to

make

it

show how

the qualitative comparison of isolated cultural traits

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

73

taken out of their total matrix. With this any contemporary anthropologist would heartily concur. However, at the risk of stale supererogation, it

seems to

me worthwhile

to set

down

reflections arising out of this point, for the passage as

some

stands appears susceptible of unfortunate misinterpretation.

recognize that what

I

it

I

paraphrase of

shall say is in part only a

what Miss Mead has written.

One

great contribution of anthropology

some persons with some detachment from

is

that of providing

the conscious and un-

conscious emotional values of their culture. The phrase, "some detachment," must be emphasized. An individual who viewed

detachment would almost cerand unhappy. But I can prefer (i.e., feel affectively attached to) American manners while at the same time perceiving certain graces in English manners which are his social system with complete tainly be disoriented

Thus while unwilling an American and hence with no desire to ape English drawing room behaviors, I can still derive a lively pleasure from association with English people on "social" occasions. Whereas if I have no detachment, if I am utterly prolacking or

more

grossly expressed in ours.

to forget that I

vincial,

lous,

I

am

am

likely to regard English

manners

uncouth, perhaps even immoral.

shall certainly

as utterly ridicu-

With

that attitude

not get on well with the English and

I

am

I

likely

any modification of our manners in the Engany other direction. Such attitudes clearly do not make for international understanding, friendship, and co-operation. They equally make for a too rigid social structure. Anthropoto resent bitterly

lish or

logical

documents and anthropological teachings

are valuable,

therefore, in that they tend to emancipate individuals

from a

too perfervid allegiance to every item in the cultural inventory.

The person who

has been exposed to the anthropological per-

is more likely, oh the one hand, to "live and let live" both within his own society and in his dealings with members of other societies; on the other hand, he will

spective by incongruity

probably be more flexible in regard to needful changes in social to meet changed economies.

organization

The

point

is

changed

technological

structure

and

may

lack

precisely that certain cultural traits

"ultimate" validity.

What

they have, or

may

have,

is

validity

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

74

within the particular cultural system. That

is,

they have validity

within, and only within, the framework of a particular time and

which have been integrated by the accidents of history or by the necessities of time and place. Because of this integration which Dr. Mead so rightly emphasizes it may well be vicious for "social planners" to tamper with any specific "institution" because of the intricate mutual inter-dependence which other "institutions" have with it. Thus the consequences of the Prohibition Amendment extended far beyond the simple categories "drinking" and "not-drinking." The well-intentioned persons who recognized drunkenness, wasting of money on liquor, etc., as evil were right according to the prevalent value system of our culture, but they were guilty of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. They erred in their social planning because they failed to take account of the equilibrium existent between various aspects of our social organization. One cannot isolate one segment of group behavior and alter that without effects (often amazing to those place or as associated with other cultural traits

who

are unsophisticated in matters of social organization)

sorts of other realms of behavior. All of this,

all

upon

however, has

nothing to do with the "ultimate validity" of the category "free-

dom if

purchase alcoholic beverages.

to

correct,

model

mean

only that

in a certain

it

.

.

."

may be unwise

way) given

These inferences, to

remodel (or

institutionalized behaviors

re-

which

appear to be inconsistent with the generalized value system or to have

consequences which are undesirable from the .point of

view of that value system.

At some

the

same time the

cultural traits

possibility

may have

must be

freely envisaged that

"ultimate validity"

—that

essary relevance to any cultural system in any period

is,

nec-

which

is

supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual human person." To discover whether or not there are such I would take to be another prime task of the comparato preserve "the

Are there

certain cultural features

which

remain constant in those cultures which give high value

to the

tive study of cultures.

individual

—regardless of the

total structuring of the culture, re-

gardless of the juxtaposition of these features with other differ-

ing

traits.?

The answer

to this question is a purely empirical

one

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

and can be settled only by exhaustive induction.

me

appear to

to be

task

would

eminently worthwhile.

In sum, then, those

vation

75

The

who wish

to further "the purposive culti-

democratic values" ought to proceed from these

of

premises:

The

1.

very existence of a certain cultural

part of our social system

means

that

it

trait as

a working

has one kind of validity,

a determinate relationship to other cultural features. Society

i.e.,

must, therefore, not meddle with an abstracted "institution" unless the place of that "institution" in the total value system

has been carefully studied and some sound basis been reached

upon other

for prediction as to the effects of alteration

"institu-

tions."

The

2.

a priori assumption must not be

tural trait has "ultimate" validity.

That

is,

made

that any cul-

the possibility

must

be kept open, in default of evidence to the contrary, that any

given

trait

can be changed without damage to the major cul-

tural integration

(which

Perhaps the cultural are

compendently

trait

it

is

wished

to preserve unaltered).

can be safely changed only

altered, perhaps

it

if

others

can be changed only slowly

over a long period of time and in accord with careful re-education of the associated sentiments. But any assumption of ulti-

mate

validity for all parts of the social system

means

of course

defeatism. 3.

Equally, the a priori assumption that no traits have ultimate

validity

must be avoided. Rough induction suggests that the some sort of regulations over sexual conduct

biological family,

(to take only banal examples) may be needful "institutions" in any society. Some such institutions may have a kind of absolute moral superiority in so far as the maximization of the individual is

possible only so long as they exist.

I

cannot agree with Dr.

Mead when

she intimates (page 65) that the study of the universal needs of man and of the varied ways which human

beings have devised of meeting them

importance.

ment

When

she speaks of

—long

is

of

somewhat secondary

"maximum human

after the simple universal

develop-

needs have been met" is she not neglecting the evidence psychopathology has provided of the intimate connection between the ways in which basic needs are met and the typical forms of spiritual .

.

.

after

Science, Philosophy

76 and

and Religion

development? In any

intellectual

case, the

of the range of dispersion of the varied particular basic need has great value even tion

is

considered

(temporarily)

apart

We know

specific cultural contexts.

limits as to the plasticity of

documentation of meeting a

means

when from

that distribu-

the

all

at least certain

"human nature"

many

minimum

in that particular

regard. If the range for the institution meeting a certain basic

need

is

very sharply delimited that constitutes for the social

planner an important warning signal.

It

indicates

the need

for very specially careful study before attempting by legislation or "education" (or, usually, by a combination of

means)

many

to restructure that institution.

Further,

I

am

social science

slightly

more optimistic than Miss Mead

that

can be helpful with "aims" as well as with "gen-

I agree entirely that social science cannot and must not provide detailed blueprints. I follow entirely her argument that "we who have dreamed it could not live it." But I

eral direction."

think

it

is

possible that the comparative study of cultures can

indicate that certain combinations of institutions are of their

very nature inimical to a harmonious social order. careful scrutiny of the anthropological record

clues as to features of culture

may

I

think the

give valuable

which are peculiarly harmonious

seems to me altogether posmight usefully be incorporated into our culture without distortion to its major configurations. I am not bold enough to assert flatly that all of this is true. I do assert that there is enough presumptive evidence to make the trial worthwhile. If society, American society, will provide social scientists with material means even roughly comparable to those which have been given to the sciences of matter and the medical with a democratic way of sible that

some

sciences there

life. It

of these

is

every reason to believe that the skills of social

scientists could be

made

practically useful in the preservation

and improvement of the democratic order. Dr. Mead's own book "Co-operation and Competition," is perhaps the most impressive evidence that such cross-cultural comparisons would be worthwhile.

Dorothy D. Lee, Vassar College: Margaret Mead makes an excellent statement of the contribution which Anthropology can make toward a program for

Science, Philosophy the maintenance of a democratic ciety.

I

and Religion way

of life in a changing so-

my

agree substantially with what she says. However, to

thinking, she treats "the individual parate a

component

of society.

As

human person"

as too dis-

a corollary to this, she pre-

sents the paradox that social influence, sively

77

on the one hand,

is

pas-

absorbed by the individual in the form of social values;

and, on the other hand, in the form of public opinion,

is

made

the basis of his rational and calculating choices.

The

point, that the individual

first

from infancy, that

implicit in the thesis of her paper.

a course of action

disapproval,

is

is

shaped by his society

his values are the values of his society,

is

The

is

second, that choice of

calculated in accordance with fear of social

phrased concretely in the section on moral

re-

Here the author speaks of "other cultures" where parents bring up their children to choose their course of action sponsibilities.

a "devastating fear of

guided by a "fear of the supernatural," or public opinion."

Now

I

believe that there

is

no such contrast of

passive absorption of values and rational choice of action; that the basis of choice

is

neither the passive inability to step out of

one's ingrained social role, nor the calculating desire to avoid

displeasing one's social contemporaries.

It

seems

to

me

that

from

infancy each social being derives an active satisfaction from participating in the values of his society, lies at

and

that this satisfaction

the basis both of acquiring social values and of acting

according to them, choosing a course of action. I should say that fear of displeasing the supernatural, the guardian of tradi-

merely the articulation of something negative, and for is only of secondary importance as a motive for action; that it is the society's formulation of the dissatisfaction which comes with being at outs with one's predecessors. The individual gets a profound satisfaction out of acting according to tradition, the type of satisfaction which a bride in our society gets out of wearing her mother's wedding dress or using her tion, is

most people,

grandmother's spoons. In our society, only during the violently individualistic twenties

abrogated.

It

is

was

this type of satisfaction consciously

the satisfaction that comes from identifying

oneself with one's society, in this case with the past.

Again, "fear of public opinion"

may

choice; but the motivation for action

is

play a role in one's

at the

same time more

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

78 positive

and

direct,

and

less rational,

than this factor might sug-

gest. I should say that to act in accordance is

really to participate in

with

it

ciety,

contemporary

with public opinion

social value. It brings

the satisfaction of identifying oneself with present so-

and

maintain

its

motivation

is

the non-rational urge to

this identification. In

particularly

among groups who

our

own

make

or

culture, this is true,

are less educated in the individ-

our society. I may seem here to imply that the maintenance of values is impossible in a changing society, since change involves deviation and individual disparity. This is not my meaning. On the contrary, I hold that the belief that change, with all it involves, ualistic tenets of

is

good,

itself is

one of the values of our

society.

And

I

should

urge that the social scientist recognize the necessity both of individuality and of merging; that he recognize that, to maintain our values, including the value of change, the individual needs to be in direct, interactive contact with his society. In this connection, I have a minor criticism to make. The author says that in our culture the parent stands by a moral choice in the face of a child's rebellion, with the statement, "I

upon

this

rare parent

who

insist

because

I

believe

it is

don't do this," or social authority are

as to

in the last section.

how we

ing in

mind

I

"What will the neighbors much more frequent.

To my mind, Margaret Mead's most comes

right."

feel that it is a

takes this stand. Phrases such as, "Little girls

I

think she

is

say.?"

invoking

significant contribution right.

Yet

I

am

not clear

can determine the desirable direction without hav-

the goal toward

which the direction leads. Does not trial and error?

direction without a goal degenerate into

Geoffrey Gorer, Yale University: Although I am in general accord with Dr. Mead's position (pp. 57-59) that cultures must be viewed as integrated wholes, and that it is illegitimate to isolate single features for comment or contrast,

I

nevertheless feel that cross-cultural comparisons

are capable of yielding

more information and more

practical

suggestions than Dr. Mead's paper would indicate. Although the total configuration of every culture is

unique, and the unique

system of values all-pervading, yet cultures are not

illogical

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

79

conglomerates of otherwise unconnected items, nor

is

the con-

between cultures and cultural value-systems no comparisons can be assayed. The most valuable tech-

trast so absolute

that



nique one already developed by Dr. Mead in "Cooperation and Competition Among Thirteen Primitive Societies," would appear to be that of multiple correlation. It is possible and profitable to take one trait or complex which has been reported

from a number of

cultures, and, by the

relation, to discover

what other

traits

method

of multiple cor-

or complexes always ap-

trait or complex what others appear completely incompatible.

pear in conjunction with the

in question, I

and

should like to

suggest for future investigation seven hypotheses concerning

supreme worth and moral

the correlation between "the sponsibility of the individual traits 1.

human person" and

re-

other cultural

and complexes.

Social goals.

The concept

of the

responsibility of the individual

is

supreme worth and moral

positively correlated with the

cultural phrasing of social goals (success) as attainable by the

great majority of the population; and negatively correlated with the high valuation of social goals petitive

and exclusive;

i.e.,

which

are phrased as

com-

the phrasing, "If the other person at-

I cannot," is incompatible with a high valuation supreme worth of the individual. Furthermore, the concept of the supreme worth of the individual is positively correlated with the number of different social goals considered as equally honorific, and negatively correlated with the concept of one particular social goal as exclusively honorific. To take examples from primitive societies, a people such as the Kwoma, who will grant a man esteem if he is a good warrior, or a good hunter, or a good gardener, or a good singer, or a good musician, or a good carver, will place more emphasis on the supreme worth

tains the goal,

of the

of the individual than will peoples such as the Masai, who only esteem the good warrior, or the Ifugao, who only esteem the man of large property. Cultures with a strong emphasis on a single social goal are liable to depreciate those people

who from

temperamental or other causes are unfitted for that particular pursuit. 2.

Social structure. Except in the very simplest societies, every

culture ascribes to

some

of

its

members

positions of authority

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

8o

where they have the duty of controlling the counter-social behavior of people in the society and of planning for the prosperity of the total society or portions of it. Other things equal, the concept of the supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual

is

positively correlated with the higher propor-

tion of socially eligible people

who

participate in these responsi-

bilities. 3.

Social status. Status, positions of deference within the so-

ciety,

may be

(through birth in a particular

either ascribed

family lineage, class, caste, religious group, etc.) or achieved

(through election, competition,

etc.).

Other things equal, the

concept of the supreme worth and moral responsibility of the is positively correlated with the number of achieved and negatively correlated with the number of ascribed

individual statuses, statuses. 4.

Rights and duties.

To

the extent that rights and duties are

separately ascribed to different individuals or groups within the

population, to that extent will deference be withheld from those individuals and groups

no

rights.

who

The concept

have ascribed to them duties and

of the

sponsibility of the individual

is

social separation of social rights

women and

supreme worth and moral

re-

negatively correlated with the

and duties.

The concept of the supreme 5. worth and moral responsibility of the individual is positively correlated with the extent to which women and children are given socially significant, responsible, and esteemed roles in the life of the community. Roles of

6.

children.

Accessibility of property.

The

greater the difference in the

accessibility of property for socially equivalent persons

(e.g.,

adult males, fathers of families, old people, etc.) the greater the

tendency to depreciate the propertyless. The concept of the

supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual is negatively correlated with contrasts in accessibility of property. 7. Knowledge. The more any type of knowledge, considered socially significant, is restricted to only a portion of the total

potential knowers, the less value

groups

who

lack this knowledge.

is

placed on individuals or

The concept

of the supreme

worth and moral responsibility of the individual

is

positively

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

correlated with the accessibility of

8i

knowledge considered

so-

cially significant. It

should be emphasized that these seven propositions are

only hypotheses, which would have to be tested against the available evidence before they could be accepted. It should also

be emphasized that undoubtedly a very great lar

hypotheses could be

set up.

number

of simi-

These hypotheses have been

constructed as a model of the potential contribution of anthro-

pology to the aims of the Conference. Given the desire of the Conference to produce a "recognition of the supreme worth

and moral responsibility of the individual human person," anthropology can show what concomitant traits and complexes have, in other human societies, been found compatible, and what incompatible, with this aim.

Gregory Bateson, Cambridge University: Let me take as focus for this comment the last item^ in Dr. Mead's summary of her paper. To the layman who has not occupied himself with the comparative study of human cultures, this recommendation may appear strange; it may appear to be an ethical or philosophical paradox, a suggestion that we discard purpose in order to achieve our purpose; it may even call to mind some of the basic aphorisms of Christianity and Taoism. Such aphorisms are familiar enough; but the layman will be a little surprised to find them coming from a scientist and all the paraphernalia of analytic thought. To other anthropologists and social scientists. Dr. Mead's recommenda-

dressed in

more

tions will be even

and perhaps more meanand "blue-prints" are an essen-

surprising,

ingless, because instrumentality

^Dr. Mead writes: ". those students who have devoted themselves to studying cultures as wholes, as systems of dynamic equilibrium, can make the following contributions: .

.

.

"4.

Implement plans

.

.

for altering our present culture

by recognizing the importance of including the social scientist within his experimental material, and by recognizing that by working towards defined ends we commit ourselves to the manipulation of persons, and therefore to the negation of democracy. Only by working in terms of values which are limited to defining a direction

is it

possible for us to use scientific

in the control of the process without the negation of the

of the

human

spirit."

(Italics hers.)

methods

moral autonomy

Science, Philosophy

82

and Religion

science sees it. tial ingredient in the whole structure of life as Likewise, to those in political life, Dr. Mead's recommendation will be strange, since they see decisions as classifiable into policy-making decisions versus executive decisions. The gov-

ernors and the scientists alike (not to mention the commercial world) see human affairs as patterned upon purpose, means

and ends, connation and satisfaction. purpose and inIf anybody doubts that we tend to regard the old consider him human, let strumentality as distinctively quip about eating and is

living.

The

creature

who

"eats to live"

human; he who "lives to eat" is coarser-grained, human; but if he just "eats and lives," without at-

the highest

but

still

tributing instrumentality or a spurious priority in time sequence to either process, he is rated only among the animals, and some, less kind, will regard him as vegetable.



Dr. Mead's contribution consists in this that she, fortified by comparative study of other cultures, has been able to transcend the habits of thought current in her own culture and has been able to say virtually this: "Before we apply social science to our

own

national affairs,

we must

re-examine and

means and change our habits of thought on classify beto setting, cultural our in ends. We have learnt, ends defining on go we if and 'ends' and 'means' into havior the subject of

from means and apply the social sciences as crudely instrumental means, using the recipes of science to manipulate people, we shall arrive at a totalitarian rather than a democratic

as separate

solution which she offers is that we look and "values" implicit in the means, rather than looking ahead to a blue-printed goal and thinking of this goal as justifying or not justifying manipulative means. We have to find the value of a planned act implicit in and simultaneous with the act itself, not separate from it in the sense that the act would derive its value from reference to a future

system of

life."

The

for the "direction,"

Mead's paper is, in fact, not a direct preachment about ends and means; she does not say that ends either do or do not justify the means. She is talking not direcdy about ends and means, but about the way we tend to think about ways and means, and about the dangers inherent in our

end or

goal. Dr.

habit of thought.

— (

Science, Philosophy It is specifically at this level

and Religion

that the anthropologist has

to contribute to our problems. It

common

83

factor implicit in a vast variety of

or inversely, to decide whether

most

his task to see the highest

is

human phenomena,

phenomena which appear

to be go to one South Sea community, such as the Manus, and there find that though everything that the natives do is concretely different from our own behavior, yet the underlying system of motives is rather closely comparable with our own love of caution and wealthaccumulation; or again he may go to another society such as Bali and there find that, while the outward appearance of the native religion is closely comparable with our own kneeling to pray, incense, intoned utterances punctuated by a bell, etc. the basic emotional attitudes are fundamentally different. In Balinese religion we find an approval accorded to rote, nonemotional performance of certain acts instead of the insistence upon correct emotional attitude, characteristic of Christian

similar are not intrinsically different.

He may



churches.

In every case the anthropologist

is

concerned not with mere

description but with a slightly higher degree of abstraction, a

wider degree of generalization. His

first

task

the meticulous

is

collection of masses of concrete observations of native life

but the next step is

is

not a mere summarizing of these data;

rather to interpret the data in an abstract language

shall

it

which

transcend and comprehend the vocabulary and notions

explicit

and implicit

in our

own

culture. It

is

not possible to

give a scientific description of a native culture in English

words; the anthropologist must devise a more abstract vocabwhich both our own and the native culture can be described. This then is the type of discipline which has enabled Dr. Mead to point out that a discrepancy a basic and fundamental discrepancy exists between "social engineering," manipulating people in order to achieve a planned blueprint society, and the ideals of democracy, the "supreme worth and moral ulary in terms of



responsibility of the individual flicting



human

person."

The two

con-

motifs have long been implicit in our culture, science

has had instrumental leanings since before the Industrial Revolution,

and emphasis upon individual worth and responsibility

Science, Philosophy

84

and Religion

even older. The threat o£ conflict between the two motifs and has only come recently, with increasing consciousness of, spread simultaneous motif and democratic emphasis upon, the is

lifeof the instrumental motif. Finally, the conflict is now a shall or-death struggle over the role which the social sciences an play in the ordering of human relationships. It is hardly

exaggeration to say that this war

this— the

role

ideologically about just

is

of the social sciences.

Are we

to reserve the

techniques and the right to manipulate people as the privilege individuals, of a few planning, goal-oriented, and power-hungry appeal? natural makes a science of instrumentality whom the to

Now

we have

that

the techniques, are we, in cold blood, going

to treat people as things?

to

do with

difficulty as well as

urgency,

Or what

are

we going

these techniques?

The problem

one of very great

is

doubly

because we, as scientists, are deeply

and it is soaked in habits of instrumental thought— those of for

whom

difficult

science

is

us, at least,

a part of life, as well as a beautiful

dignified abstraction. Let

us try to

surmount

and

this additional

source of difficulty by turning the tools of science upon this habit of instrumental thought and upon the new habit which Dr. Mead envisages— the habit which looks for "direction" and "value" in the chosen act, rather than in defined goals.

both of these habits are ways of looking at time sequences. In the old jargon of psychology, they represent different ways of apperceiving sequences of behavior, or in the newer jargon of gestalt psychology, they might both be described as habits of looking for one or another sort of con-

Clearly,

textual frame for behavior.

The problem which Dr. Mead—

who advocates a change in such habits—raises is of how habits of this abstract order are learned. This

most

is

the problem

not the simple type of question which is posed in laboratories, "under what circumstances

psychological

dog learn to salivate in response to a bell?" or, "what variables govern success in rote learning?" Our question is one degree more abstract, and, in a sense, bridges the gap

will a

between the experimental work on simple learning and the approach of the gestalt psychologists. We are asking "how does the dog acquire a habit of punctuating or apperceiving

\

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

85

the infinitely complex stream of events (including his

havior) so that this stream appears to be

made up

own

be-

of one

type of short sequences rather than another?" Or, substituting the scientist for the dog, we might ask "what circumstances determine that a given scientist will punctuate the stream of events so as to conclude that all is predetermined, while another will see the stream of events as so regular as to be susceptible of control?" Or, again,

us ask

—and—

this

on the same

question

is

level of abstraction let

very relevant to the promotion of

"what circumstances promote that specific habitwhich we call 'free-will' and those others which we call 'responsibility,' 'constructiveness,' 'energy,' 'passivity,' 'dominance,' and the rest?" For all these democracy

ual phrasing of the universe

abstract qualities, the essential stock-in-trade of the educators,

can be seen as various habits of punctuating the stream of experience so that it takes on one or another sort of coherence

and

sense.

operational

They are abstractions which begin meaning when we see them take

conceptual level

assume some on a between the statements of simple learning and to

their place

those of gestalt psychology.

We

can, for example, put our finger very

simply on the

process which leads to tragedy and disillusion whenever

decide that the "end

justifies

the

means"

men

in their efforts to

achieve either a Christian or a blue-printed heaven-on-earth.

They ignore

the fact that in social manipulation, the tools are

not hammers and screw-drivers.

A

screw-driver

ously affected when, in an emergency,

we

use

it

is

not

as a

seri-

wedge;

and a hammer's outlook on life is not affected because we sometimes use its handle as a simple lever. But in social manipulation our tools are people, and people learn, and they acquire habits which are more subtle and pervasive than the tricks which the blue-printer teaches them. With the best intentions

in

the world, he

may

train

their parents in order to eradicate

children to

some tendency

spy upon prejudicial

to the success of his blue-print, but because the children are people they will do more than learn this simple trick they



whole philosophy of life; future attitudes towards authority. When-

will build this experience into their it

will color all their

ever they meet certain sorts of context, they will tend to see

Science, Philosophy

86

these contexts as structured

may

blue-printer

and Religion

on an

earlier familiar pattern.

The

derive an initial advantage from the chil-

dren's tricks; but the ultimate success of his blue-print

may

be destroyed by the habits of mind which were learned with the trick. (Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that the

Nazi blue-print

down

will break

for these reasons. It

is

probable that the unpleasant attitudes here referred to are envisaged as basic both to the plan itself and to the means it. The road to hell can also be paved with bad though well-intentioned people find this hard to

of achieving intentions, believe.)

We are dealing, apparently, with a sort of habit which is a by-product of the learning process. When Dr. Mead tells us that we should leave off thinking in terms of blue-prints and should instead evaluate our planned acts in terms of their immediate implicit value, she is saying that in the up-bringing and education of children, we ought to try to inculcate a sort of by-product habit rather different from that which we acquired and which we daily reinforce in ourselves in our contacts with science, politics, newspapers, and so on.

She

states perfectly clearly

that this

new

shift in

the

em-

phasis or gestalt of our thinking will be a setting forth into

We

know what manner of human we be sure that we ourselves would feel at home in the world of 1980. Dr. Mead can only tell us that if we proceed on the course which uncharted waters.

cannot

beings will result from such a course, nor can

would seem most natural, planning our applications of social science as a means of attaining a defined goal, we shall surely hit a rock. She has charted the rock for us, and advises that we embark on a course in a direction where the rock is not; but in a

new,

tion of

still

how we

uncharted direction. Her paper raises the quesare to chart this

new

direction.

Actually, science can give us something approaching a chart. I

indicated above that

terms



free-will,

ness, passivity,

we might

predestination,

dominance,

etc.

see a

mixed bunch of abstract

responsibility,

—as

all

of

constructive-

them descriptive of

apperceptive habits, habitual ways of looking at the stream of events of which our these habits might

own

all

behavior

be, in

some

is

a part,

and further that

sense, by-products of the

Science, Philosophy learning process. sort of chart, list

is

Our next

and Religion

task, if

clearly to get

we

are

to achieve

which

shall

some

something better than a random

We must reduce this show how each of these

of these possible habits.

classification

87

list

to a

habits

is

systematically related to the others.

We meet in common agreement that a sense of individual autonomy, a habit of mind somehow related to what I have called "free-will," is an essential of democracy, but we are still how this autonomy should be defined What, for example, is the relation between "autonomy" and compulsive negativism? The gas stations which refuse to conform to the curfew are they or are they not showing a fine democratic spirit? This sort of "negativism" is undoubtedly of the same degree of abstraction as "free-will" or "determinism"; like them it is an habitual way of apperceiving contexts, event sequences and own behavior; but it is not clear whether this negativism is a "sub-species" of individual autonomy; or is it rather some entirely different habit? Similarly, we need to know how the new habit of thought which Dr. Mead advocates is related to the others. Evidently our need is for something better than a random list of these habits of mind. We need some systematic framework or classification which shall show how each of these habits is related to the others, and such a classification might provide us with something approaching the chart we lack. not perfectly clear as to operationally.



Mead tells us to sail into as yet uncharted waters, adopting new habit of thought; but if we knew how this habit is related to others, we might be able to judge of the benefits Dr.

a

and dangers, the possible pitfalls of such a course. Such a chart might provide us with the answers to some of the questions which Dr. Mead raises as to how we are to judge of the "direction" and value implicit in our planned acts. You must not expect the social scientist to produce such a chart or classification at a moment's notice, like a rabbit out



of a hat, but

we can you

I

think

we can

take a

first

step in this direction;

suggest some of the basic themes

— upon

which the

—the cardinal points,

must be built. have noted that the sorts of habit with which we are concerned are, in some sense, by-products of the learning if

We

like

final classification

Science, Philosophy

88 processes,

and

phenomena clue.

We

it

is

and Religion

therefore natural that

we

look

first to

the

of simple learning as likely to provide us with a

are raising questions one degree

more

abstract than

those chiefly studied by the experimental psychologists, but to their laboratories that

is still

Now there

so

it

is

a

we must

it

look for our answers.

happens that in the psychological laboratories

common phenomenon

of a

somewhat higher degree

of abstraction or generality than those which the experiments are planned to elucidate. It

mental subject

is

a

commonplace

that the experi-

—whether animal or man, becomes a better sub-

ject after repeated experiments.

He

not only learns to salivate

moments, or to recite the appropriate nonsense syllables; he also, in some way, learns to learn. He not only solves the problems set him by the experimenter, where each solving is a piece of simple learning; but, more than this, he becomes more and more skilled in the solving of problems. at the appropriate

In semi-gestalt or semi-anthropomorphic phraseology, we might say that the subject is learning to orient himself to certain types of contexts, or

is

acquiring "insight" into the

contexts of problem solving. In the jargon of this paper,

may

we

say that the subject has acquired a habit of looking for

contexts and sequences of one type rather than another, a habit of "punctuating" the stream of events to give repetitions of

a certain type of meaningful sequence.

argument which we have followed has brought meet statements about gestalt and contextual structure, and we have reached the hypothesis that "learning to learn" is a synonym

The

line of

us to a point at which statements about simple learning

for the acquisition of that class of abstract habits of thought

with which

which we

this

call

paper

is

concerned; that the states of mind

dominance, by a process which we may equate

"free-will," instrumental thinking,

passivity, etc., are acquired

with "learning to learn." This hypothesis is to some extent new^

to psychologists as

papers bearing upon this problem of the relationship and simple learning are very numerous, if we include all who have worked on the concepts of transfer of learning, generalization, irradiation, reaction threshold (Hull), insight, and the like. Historically, one of the first to pose these questions was Mr. Frank (Frank, L. K., "The

Psychological

between

gestalt

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

well as to laymen, and therefore

I

must

89

digress at this point

with a more precise statement of my meaning. I must demonstrate at least my willingness to state this bridge between simple learning and gestalt in operato supply technical readers

tional terms.

Let us coin two words, "proto-learning" and "deutero-learning," to avoid the labor of defining operationally

terms in the etc.).

in

all

the other

Let us say that there are two sorts of gradient discernible continued learning. The gradient at any point on a simple

learning curve

(e.g.,

a curve of rote learning)

chiefly represents rate of proto-learning. If,

shall find that in

we

however,

will say

we

on the same

a series of similar learning experiments

we

all

(transfer of learning, generalization, etc.,

field

inflict

subject,

each successive experiment the subject has

somewhat steeper proto-learning gradient, that he learns somewhat more rapidly. This progressive change in rate of

a

proto-learning

From

this

we

will call "deutero-learning."

point

we

can easily go on to represent deutero-

whose gradient shall repreSuch a representation might be

learning graphically with a curve sent rate of deutero-learning.

obtained, for example,

by intersecting the

learning curves at some arbitrarily chosen

series

number

of proto-

of

trials,

and noting what proportion of successful responses occurred in each experiment at this point. The curve of deutero-learning would then be obtained by plotting these numbers against the serial numbers of the experiments.^ Problems of Learning," Psych. Rev., 33:329-351, 1926); and Professor Maier has recently introduced a concept of "direction" which is closely related

to

the notion of "deutero-learning."

He

says:

"direction

...

is

the force which integrates memories in a particular

manner without being "The Behavior Mechanisms Concerned

memory itself." (Maier, N. R. F., with Problem Solving," Psych. Rev., 47:43-58, 1940). If for "force" we substitute "habit," and for "memory" we substitute "experience of the stream of events," the concept of "deutero-learning" can be seen as almost synonymous with Professor Maier's concept of "direction." a

be noted that the operational definition of deutero-learning is somewhat easier than that of proto-learning. Actually, no simple learning curve represents proto-learning alone. Even within the duration of the single learning experiment we must suppose that some 'It

will

necessarily

deutero-learning will occur, and this will

make

somewhat steeper than the hypothetical gradient

the gradient at any point of "pure" proto-learning.

Science, Philosophy

90

and Religion

100

80 PER CENT '^^ CORRECT RESPONSES

ss

NUMBER OF Fig.

I.

TRIALS

Three Successive Learning Curves with the same

subject,

show^ing increase in rate of learning in successive experiments.

80

PER CENT CORRECT RESPONSES AFTER TEN

70

TRIALS

SS

±13 SERIAL

Fig.

2.

NUMBERS OF EXPERIMENTS

Deutero-learning Curve derived from the three learning

experiments in Fig.

i.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

91

In this definition of proto- and deutero-learning, one phrase

remains conspicuously vague, the phrase "a series of similar experiments." For purposes of illustration, I imagined a series of experiments in rote learning, each experiment similar to the last, except for the substitution of a new series of nonsense syllables in place of those already learned. In this example, the curve of deutero-learning represented

increasing proficiency

in the business of rote learning, and, as an experimental fact,

such increase in rote proficiency can be demonstrated.*

Apart from rote learning, it is much more difficult to define what we mean by saying that one learning context is "similar" to another, unless

we

are content to refer the matter

back to

the experimentalists by saying that learning contexts shall be

considered to be "similar" one to another whenever

shown experimentally

it

can be

that experience of learning in one con-

text does, as a matter of fact,

promote speed of learning

in

another, and asking the experimentalists to find out for us

what

sort of classification they can build

criterion.

We

may hope

that they will

hope for immediate answers

to

do

up by use of this;

but

this

we cannot

our questions, because there

way of such experimentation. Experiments in simple learning are already difficult enough to control and to perform with critical exactness, and experiments in deutero-learning are likely to prove almost impossible. There is, however, an alternative course open to us. When we equated "learning to learn" with acquiring apperceptive are very serious difficulties in the

habits, this did not exclude the possibility that such habits

might be acquired in other ways. To suggest that the only method of acquiring one of these habits is through repeated experience of learning contexts of a given kind would be logically analogous to saying that the only way to roast pig is by burning the house down. It is obvious that in human education such habits are acquired in very various ways. We are not concerned with a hypothetical isolated individual in

with an impersonal events-stream, but rather with who have complex emotional patterns of relationship with other individuals. In such a real world, the

contact

real individuals

*Hull,

C, "Mathematico-Deductive Theory

Press, 1940.

of Rote Learning," Yale Univ.

Science, Philosophy

g(i

and Religion

individual will be led to acquire or reject apperceptive habits

by the very complex phenomena of personal example, tone of voice, hostility, love, etc. Many such habits, too, will be conveyed to him, not through his own naked experience of the stream of events, for no human beings (not even scientists) are naked in this sense. The events-stream is mediated to them through language, art, technology, and other cultural media which are structured at every point by tramlines of apperceptive habit. It

therefore follows that the psychological laboratory

the only possible source of

knowledge about these

may

contrasting patterns

turn

instead

the

to

explicit in the various cultures of the

We

anthropologists.

can amplify our

habits by adding those

not

is

we

habits;

implicit

and

world studied by the list

of

these

which have been developed

obscure

in cultures

other than our own.

Most

profitably,

I

believe,

we can combine

the insights of

the experimental psychologists with those of the anthropolo-

taking

gists,

contexts

the

of

experimental learning in the

laboratory and asking of each what sort of apperceptive habit

we should expect to find associated with it; then looking around the world for human cultures in which this habit has been developed. Inversely, we may be able to get a more definite

will"

if

—more we

operational

ing context would

we

"How would we

rig the

anthropomorphic

rat

impression of his

own

The

—definition of such habits

ask about each,

classification

"What

devise in order to inculcate this habit.?"

shall

maze

or problem-box so that the

obtain a repeated and reinforced

free-will?"

of contexts

of experimental

learning

as yet very incomplete, but certain definite advances

made.** It

is

as "free-

sort of experimental learn-

is

have been

possible to classify the principal contexts of positive

^Various classifications have been devised for purposes of exposition.

Here

I follow that of Hilgard and Marquis (Hilgard, E. R. and Marquis, D. G., "Conditioning and Learning," N.Y., Appleton Century Co., 1940).

These authors subject their own classification to a brilliant critical analysis, and to this analysis I am indebted for one of the formative ideas upon which this paper is based. They insist that any learning context can be described in terms of any theory of learning, if we are willing to stretch and over-emphasize certain aspects of the context to fit onto the Pro-

— Science, Philosophy learning

distinct

(as

and Religion

93

from negative learning or inhibition,

learning not to do things) under four heads, as follows: I. Classical Pavlovian Contexts. These are characterized by a rigid time sequence in

which the conditioned stimulus

(e.g.,

buzzer) always precedes the unconditioned stimulus (e.g., meat powder) by a fixed interval of time. This rigid sequence of events

may

not altered by anything that the animal

is

do. In

these contexts, the animal learns to respond to the conditioned

stimulus with behavior

(e.g.,

which was formerly

salivation)

evoked only by the unconditioned stimulus. II.

Contexts of Instrumental Reward or Escape. These are

characterized by a sequence which depends

The unconditioned

behavior.

usually vague (e.g., the whole the animal

is

stimulus

sum

in

upon

the animal's

contexts

these

put, the problem-box) and

may be

is

which

of circumstances in

internal to

the animal (e.g., hunger). If and when, under these circumstances, the

animal performs some act within

its

behavioral

and previously selected by the experimenter lifts its leg), it is immediately rewarded. III. Contexts of Instrumental Avoidance. These are repertoire

characterized by a conditional sequence.

stimulus

is

usually definite (e.g., a

also

The unconditioned

warning buzzer) and

followed by an unpleasant experience

is

(e.g.,

(e.g., electric

unless in the interval the animal performs

some

this

shock)

selected act

(e.g., lifts leg).

IV. Contexts of Serial and Rote Learning. These are characterized by the predominant conditioned stimulus being an act of the subject.

He

learns, for

example, always to give the

conditioned response (nonsense syllable B) after he has himself uttered the conditioned stimulus (nonsense syllable A). crustean bed of the theory.

my

I

have taken this notion as a corner-stone of

thinking, substituting "apperceptive habits" for "theories of learning,"

and arguing that almost any sequence of events can be stretched and warped and punctuated to fit in with any type of apperceptive habit. (We may suppose that experimental neurosis is what happens when the subject fails to

am

achieve this assimilation.)

also indebted to Lewin's topological analysis of the contexts of reward and punishment. (Lewin, K., "A Dynamic Theory of Personality," N.Y., McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1936) I

Science, Philosophy

94

and Religion

This small beginning of a classification^ will be sufficient to with which we are concerned and we can now go on to ask about the occurrence of the appropriate illustrate the principles

apperceptive habits interest

—because

among men

least

familiar

of various cultures.

—are

the

Of

Pavlovian

greatest

patterns

and the patterns of rote. It is a little hard for members of Western Civilization to believe that whole systems of behavior can be built on premises other than our own mixture of Instrumental Reward and Instrumental Avoidance. The Trobriand Islanders, however, appear to live a life whose coherence and sense is based upon looking at events through *Many people

that the contexts of experimental learning are so have no bearing upon the phenomena of the real world. Actually, expansion of this classification will give means of defining systematically many hundreds of possible contexts of learning with their associated apperceptive habits. The scheme may be expanded in the following ways:

oversimplified

a.

feel

as

to

Inclusion of contexts of negative learning (inhibition). cases in which salivation, with its meat powder, is also instrumental in obtaining the meat powder). Inclusion of the cases in which the subject is able to deduce some sort of relevance (other than the physiological) between some two or more elements in the sequence. For this to be true, the subject must have experience of contexts differing systematically one from another, e.g., contexts in which some type of change in one ele-

b. Inclusion

of

mixed types

(e.g.,

physiological relevance

c.

ment

to

constantly accompanied by a constant type of change in

is

another element. These cases can be spread out on a lattice of possibilities, according to which pair of ejements the subject sees

There are only five elements (conditioned stimulus, conditioned response, reward or punishment, and two time interas inter-related.

any pair of these may be inter-related, and of the intermay be seen by the subject as determining the other. These possibilities, multiplied for our four basic contexts,

vals), but

related pair, either

give forty-eight types. d.

The

list

of basic types

may be extended by

including those cases (not

as yet investigated in learning experiments but

personal relationships)

in

which the

common

roles of subject

in inter-

and experi-

menter are reversed. In these, the learning partner provides the initial and final elements, while some other person (or circumstance) provides the middle term. In these types, we see the buzzer and the meat powder as the behavior of a person and ask: "What does

this

person learn?"

A

great part of the

gamut

habits associated with authority and parenthood texts of this general type.

is

of apperceptive

based on con-

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

95

Pavlovian spectacles, only slightly tinted with the hope of instrumental reward, while the life of the Balinese is sensible if

we

accept premises based

upon combining

rote

with

in-

strumental avoidance. Clearly, to the "pure" Pavlovian, only a very limited fatalism

would be possible. He would see all events as pre-ordained and he would see himself as fated only to search for omens, not able to influence the course of events able, at most, from his



reading of the omens, to put himself in the properly receptive state, e.g., by salivation, before the inevitable occurred. Trobriand culture is not so purely Pavlovian as this, but Dr. Lee,' analyzing Professor Malinowski's rich observations, has shown that Trobriand phrasings of purpose, cause, and effect are profoundly different from our own; and though Dr. Lee does not use the sort of classification here proposed, it appears from

Trobriand magic that these people continually exhibit a habit of thinking that to act as if a thing were so will make it so. In this sense,

we may

describe

them

as semi-Pavlovians

who

have decided that "salivation" is instrumental to obtaining "meat powder." Malinowski, for example, gives us a dramatic description of the almost physiological extremes of rage^ which the Trobriand black magician practices in his incantations, and we may take this as an illustration of the semi-Pavlovian frame of mind in contrast with the very various types of

magical procedure in other parts of the world, where, for example, the efficacy of a spell may be associated not with the intensity but with the extreme rote accuracy of the recitation.

Among

the Balinese^

'Lee, Dorothy,

"A

we

find another pattern

which con-

Primitive System of Values," ]our. Philos. of

Set.,

7:355-378, 1940. *It is

possible that semi-Pavlovian phrasings of the stream of events tend,

experiments which are their prototypes, to hinge particularly upon autonomic reactions that those vi^ho see events in these terms tend to see these reactions, which are only partially subject to voluntary control, as peculiarly effective and powerful causes of outside events. There may be some ironical logic in Pavlovian fatalism which predisposes us to believe that we can alter the course of events only by means of those behaviors which we are least able to control. like the

The



Balinese material collected by Dr.

been published in extenso, but a

Mead and myself

brief outline

has not yet

of the theory here sug-

Science, Philosophy

96 trasts

own and with

sharply both with our

that of the Trosuch that they learn as composed of connative sequences ending in

brianders.

The treatment

not to see

life

satisfaction,

and Religion

of children

composed of rote sequences a pattern which is to some pattern which Dr. Mead has recom-

but rather to see

it

as

inherently satisfying in themselves

extent related to

that

is



mended, of looking

for value in the act itself rather than regarding the act as a means to an end. There is, however, one very important difference between the Balinese pattern and

that

recommended by Dr. Mead. The

Balinese pattern

is es-

from contexts of Instrumental Avoidance; they see the world as dangerous, and themselves as avoiding, by the endless rote behavior of ritual and courtesy, the everpresent risk of faux pas. Their life is built upon fear, albeit that in general they enjoy fear. The positive value with which they endow their immediate acts, not looking for a goal, is somehow associated with this enjoyment of fear. It is the acrobat's enjoyment both of the thrill and of his own virtuosity sentially derivative

in avoiding disaster.

We

are

now,

after a

somewhat long and

technical excursion

and foreign

cultures, in a posi-

into psychological laboratories

examine Dr. Mead's proposal in somewhat more concrete terms. She advises that when we apply the social sciences we look for "direction" and "value" in our very acts, rather than orient ourselves to some blue-printed goal. She is not telling us that we ought to be like the Balinese, except in our time-orientation, and she would be the first to disparage any suggestion that fear (even enjoyed fear) should be our basis tion to

for assigning value to our acts. Rather, as

I

understand

it,

this



some sort of hope not looking to some far-ofi future, but still some sort of hope or optimism. In fact, we might summarize the recommended attitude by saying that basis should be

it

ought

to

be formally related to Instrumental Reward, as the is related to Instrumental Avoidance.

Balinese attitude

Such an attitude is, I believe, feasible. The Balinese attitude might be defined as a habit of rote sequences inspired by a thrilling sense of ever-imminent but indefinite danger, and I gested esis

is

available



cf.

Bateson, G.,

"The Frustration-Aggression Hypoth-

and Culture," Psychological Rev., 48: 350-355, 1941.

Science, Philosophy think that what Dr.

Mead

is

and Religion

97

urging us towards might be

defined in like terms, as a habit of rote sequences inspired by a thrilling sense of ever-imminent but undefined reward.

As

to the rote

component, which

is

almost certainly a neces-

sary concomitant of the peculiar time orientation advocated

by Dr. Mead, that

it

I,

personally,

would be

of accuracy

after

would welcome

it,

and

I

believe

compulsive type Anxious taking-care and

infinitely preferable to the

which we

strive.

automatic, rote caution are alternative habits which perform the

We

same function.

matically looking before

can either have the habit of auto-

we

cross the street, or the habit of

remembering to look. Of the two I prefer the automatic, and I think that, if Dr. Mead's recommendation implies carefully

an increase in rote automatism, we ought to accept it. Already, indeed, our schools are inculcating more and more automatism in such processes as reading, writing, arithmetic, and languages. As to the reward component, this, too, should not be beyond our reach. If the Balinese is kept busy and happy by a nameless, shapeless fear, not located in space or time, we might be kept on our toes by a nameless, shapeless, unlocated hope of enormous achievement. For such a hope to be effective, the achievement need scarcely be defined. All we need to be sure of is that, at any moment, achievement may be just around the corner, and, true or false, this can never be tested. We have got to be like those few artists and scientists who work with this urgent sort of inspiration, the urgency that comes from feeling that great discovery, the answer to all our problems, or

great

creation,

the

perfect

sonnet,

is

always

only

just

mother of a child who feels that, provided she pay constant enough attention, there is a real hope that her child may be that infinitely rare phenomenon, a great and happy person. beyond our reach, or

like the

CHAPTER V The

Democracy

Basis for Faith in

By

MAX SCHOEN

Carnegie Institute of Technology

SHALL begin with a definition of freedom and with a thesis about democracy in relation to human Ufe that I propose

I

defend on biological and psychological grounds. is the feeling a person has that he is safe to be himself, that he can speak as he honestly believes and act as he to

Freedom

thinks best, on condition that he insist

on the

individual to do likewise, and provided that he

willing to be he does. organization which pro-

held responsible for everything he says and

Democracy

right of eve?y is

all

form of social and defends the right of every human being and the pursuit of happiness, which means to the

is

claims, guarantees to

life,

liberty

conduct

his life in his

own

way,

if

his

way

is

that of a person

fully conscious of his responsibilities as a social being.

My his is

thesis

own

is

terms,

that this right of every is

man

to his

own

life,

on

not merely a proclaimed right, but one that

deeply rooted in the very nature of animal existence in human existence in particular. This being so,

general and of it

follows that democracy

the only

mode

of

is

communal

neither a wish nor a hope, but life

in

and which can have permanence,

which there can be peace

for whatever constitutes a

life, and life will either destroy normal course or be destroyed itself. I turn first to a consideration of the relationship of Ufe and liberty. That life is identical with liberty is implied by every-

threat to liberty, also threatens that

which obstructs

its

98

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

99

thing that the investigation of animate things reveals about

What

the nature of an organism versus that of a mechanism. the science of hfe

that an animal organism

is

is

a self-

and

self -developing

self-adjusting,

self-selecting,

acting,

us

tells

self-

experiencing body. First, a living

body, which

is

whether a body

when some

body

is

force

is is

in contrast

self-acting,

outer-determined in

dead or

alive

applied to

it.

its activities.

with a dead

We

recognize

by observing what

it

does

responses are of a sort

If its

that indicates that they are altogether determined by the ap-

plied force, then

we know

that the only resistance inertia,

trolled.

it

to

be a

lifeless

body. This means

offers to the stimulation

it

is

its

own

and its activities can, therefore, be predicted and conBut when the body acts in a manner that cannot be

completely accounted for in terms of the outer force, we know the body to be that of a living organism. For this reason, it is impossible to predict what an animal will do under a given set

we

of conditions, unless

experiences and

its

also

know

all

the facts of

present organic state.

No

its

past

two organisms

respond in exactly the same way to the same situation, nor does the same organism react twice to the same situation in precisely the same manner. Life does not duplicate itself, nor

remain stationary. Variation and modification constitute the laws of its being. Because each life is unique, and because its activities are directed from within itself, it can obey no laws other than those of its own making. Life is over when conformity to outer forces becomes the rule rather than does

it

the most rare exception.

All

life

is

then resistive just because

is

arises

from the evolutionary

the position of the animal

becomes havior

it

is

self-active.

But

a difference in the degree of the resistance, which

there

its

insistence

increases

vertebrate yields vertebrate,

in

status of the organism. is

on the

upon self-management, while

discrimination

more

The

higher

scale of life, the greater

or

intelligence.

its

be-

The

in-

readily to outer pressure than does the

and the lower vertebrate

is

more complacent

in

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

100

the face of arbitrary compulsion than is the higher mammal. Degree of resistance thus means degree of livingness. Here we may have the biological reason why we speak of some persons as having no backbone.

Furthermore, rises

as the resistance increases in intensity,

from an impulsive

to

an intelligent

level.

The

it

also

cat in the

puzzle box, the rat in the maze, engage in a mass of random movements to reach the food box. Some of the higher apes is beyond immediate conquest and acting only after a promising solution has been reached. The human creative mind solves the problem by modifying the situation to conform with its desires. So there is a progression in resistance to the outer, from overcoming it by blind chance, to conquering it by a process of deliberation. But in any case, where there is Ufe, there is resistance, with the degree of resistance shown being the sole

give evidences of thinking over the situation that

criterion of the degree of life present.

Second, an animal organism

a self-selective body. It can-

is

not accept anything and everything in

its environment on equal any particular time which needs on that occasion. Consequently, what one organism

terms. Only that it

accepts as

do

is

agreeable to

good another may

it

at

reject as harmful.

so in order to survive. Indiscriminate activity

would

upon

And it must would destroy

from without. It is but the good for itself, so that those who would treat it for its welfare can know what to do only by inquiring of the organism steadily and patiently. The animal can be directed by a knowledge of the laws of its individual being, but not dictated to as to what it must or should do. Even the grower of plants and vegetables cannot assume arbitrarily that he knows what is good for his seed, without

it,

as

activity forced

organism that can

know what

it

is

running the risk of ruining his crop. He is safe only when his procedure is based upon a study of the nature of the seed. The breeder of animals knows that he must follow the laws of genetics, even if he is to have no more than a chance of getting

what he wants. The physician knows he must follow

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

loi

the laws of health, as these operate in a particular case, in order to benefit his patient. The body takes in a variety of foods, assimilates

what

needs, and discards the rest.

it

command

cannot

the body to thrive on what

conference to be good for held to be a law of

it.

the

If

body

the body. All this applies to intellectual

dietitian

decided by

obey what is wrong and not

fails to

the law that

its life, it is

The is

is

and moral health,

as

does to physical well-being, but with the one important difference, that persistent mistreatment of the body culminates in physical extinction, while prolonged violation of the laws it

mind and behavior through regimentation produces the Hfe compared with which physical death is a blessing.

of

Third, the animal

is a self-adjusting body. It has been said an adjustment between organism and environment. This is true. But it is also a fact that, if the organism is to adjust to the environment, the environment must be adjustable

that life

is

to the organism.

That

the environment

is,

must contain the and to develop body does not conform to its

elements the organism needs to sustain in a

A

normal manner.

surroundings.

wood

It

living

them.

uses

A

itself

rock rolling downhill, or a

downstream, is an adjusting body. behaves in accordance with the conditions under which it moving. But an organism is more than an adjusting body;

bit

is

of

floating

self-adjusting, for

find out

what

is

it

good

explores

for

it

its

harmful. activity is

If it persists is

good

for

it.

will

harm

which

in an activity, It is,

it

it

it.

This means

has found to be

it

does so because that

of course, possible that the

a mistaken one, but in that case the activity

organism's choosing.

is

surroundings in order to

and what

that an organism never chooses that

It

is

good

not of the

has been forced upon

it by abnormal body seeks to destroy itself under normal conditions. If what it does turns out to be harmful, the purpose of the act was nevertheless the promotion of a

circumstances.

good.

No

The drug

It

living

addict does not persist in his evil

way with

the intention of poisoning his system; he does so because the

poison

satisfies his appetite,

but

his appetite

is

unwholesome.

Science, Philosophy

102

and Religion

However, he did not deliberately set out to cultivate that appetite. It was forced upon him by conditions he was unable to resist or of which he was ignorant. He was ill to begin with, and his drug addiction came about as a result of his attempt to adjust himself to abnormal conditions. The thief does not remain a thief for the evil there is in it, but for the good he hopes to obtain from it. The bad child is bad because of the satisfaction it derives from it. There can be but one indication whether an organism finds an act to be or not to be and that is its behavior. Whether it acts or refrains from acting, the motive is survival and not destruction. Fourth, an organism is a self-developing body. Life means growth and change, and when growth ceases, life is on the decline. And growth is a bringing forth, a reaching out, a striving for the realization of the inherent powers of a particular life. For this reason, growth cannot be dictated to, as to

desirable,

as to the direction

Whatever

it

to follow or the state

it is

can become as an actuality,

it

it

is

to reach.

possesses within

So it is but the careful nurturing of posthrough which wholesome actuaHties may be realized.

itself as a possibility.

sibihties

Such nurturing must follow the knowledge of the nature of the as yet undeveloped powers of the individual growing body. For this reason, it has been well said that "where anything is growing, one former is worth a thousand reformers." For every case that stands in need of reforming indicates thereby that the forming process has been a false one. It is only misdirection that calls for redirection, the undoing of what has been done in order

to

make

who

a

new

start.

Professional reformers

need for reforming, and they are hence the wrong persons to do it; for by assuming that the original stuff needed reshaping, they started it out on the wrong trail. Lost souls have been invariably lost by those who set out to save them, because they started out by saving that which only needed sure guiding. The only good that can be done to others is to provide them with every possible opportunity to find out what is good for themselves, are the very people

create the

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

103

and the only evidence there can be that this has been done is that there is no need for reforming. Fifth, an organism is a self-experiencing body. It is a trait life that each contact with its objective world is regand retained, and influences all subsequent experiences. The animal is an historical creature, with its past functioning in the present and the present influencing its future. Life is a flow, a stream of experiences. Even the new is recognized as

of animal istered

being

new

only because of the consciousness of

ship to the old as a development out of

new

of the old, the

But the

is

not

real,

body

its

relation-

Without the presence

but a delusion.

more than a self-experiencing. The

living

it.

is

consciously experiencing

outside world does not pour events into a passive receptacle which retains them and even uses them. What is given from the outside is modified by what is already present within. The organism therefore does creature. It

is

all. It creates them. What comes from without is but the raw stuff for the creative inner life. The world of every organism is thus of its own making. It is not the objective situation that matters so much as its meaning to a particular creature, and that meaning does not reside in the situation but in the individual mind. Hence, there are as many worlds as there are individuals in it, and what is a reality to one life is not the same sort of reality in kind or degree, or no reality at all, for another life. Experiences are, for this reason, not impressed on an organism, but expressed by it, and each experience is a manifestation of a subject, not of an object. Life is a construction, a building, a home, erected

not receive experiences at

out of the material of objective reality to suit the conveniences of a particular occupant.

For

accept with complacence a into

which

it is

to

it

will

so, will feel I

If it is

proceed to rearrange

cramped and

have thus

far

an organism cannot it by another and

built for

move and accommodate

with a prearranged order.

home

this reason,

home

itself in

accordance

forced to dwell in such a it,

and,

if it is

unable to do

frustrated.

attempted to show the identity of

life

and

Science, Philosophy

104

liberty to substantiate

Uberty

is

denied

it,

my

thesis that,

I

now

whenever and wherever

U£e will struggle to destroy the repressing

and oppressing conditions, even destruction.

and Religion

at the risk or cost of self-

wish to indicate that for man, because of

his psychological status as a self-conscious creature, liberty is

a necessity for the pursuit of happiness, the

which, as Aristotle pointed out centuries ago, of

all

human

enterprises.

To show

this

is

attainment of the final goal

common ground

of

and happiness, I shall consider one of man's enterprises, namely, work, and raise the question as to the difference between a person working joyfully and laboring grudgingly. Consider a man engaged in a game of chess, on one occasion, and, on another, hanging the window screens. In both liberty

is working, since work is but the exertion of effort directed towards the accomplishment of a set purpose. Nevertheless, working at chess is play, while working with the screens is

he

labor.

man

From

hours of strenuous concentration on chess, the

but happy. But the exertion of protecting the house against insects leaves him weary, if not also grumpy. The difference between the two occupations is not in the work done, but in that of freedom versus compulsion, which arises tired

between happiness and misery. The in self-defense; but playing chess was screens had to motive for play is inner, the work Because the a free choice. self-realizing. The player seeks to also is self-expressive and improve his game, and as he grows in skill, he is growing in happiness. So the chess player boasts of his game, but the screen hanger bemoans his lot. What, now, are the conditions that must prevail, if work is

also

the

difference

be hung

of any sort

is

to

be a source of gratification to the worker.?

I

consider the answer to this question to be crucial in arriving

between human hfe, and the pursuit of happiness, and, therefore, as revealing the fundamental nature and indispensability of democracy. There are at least five traits of work as play, each one bearing at a conclusion as regards the relationship

liberty

noble testimony to the necessity of freedom.

Science, Philosophy

One

requisite for happiness in

and Religion

work

is

105

security. In order to

be expressive in his work, the worker must be free from worry

about a

Uving. This freedom does not entail financial af-

his

fluence;

man

it

is

means no more than the assurance

wiUing

to

work, he

is

food, shelter and clothing for himself

minimum

this

that, so

certain of adequate

of security, he

is

and

long as

sufficient

and dependents. Without

a slave to

circumstances for his bare existence and

is

the accident of

unhappy. Living

it possible for the worker to center his interest doing and, therefore, also on the way he does it,

makes

security

on what he is and this is the substance of artistry. The laborer is not born, he is made; for it is not the work that is laborious, but the spirit in which it is done, namely, the feeling that the effort put forth is the price that one must pay simply to keep alive. Work under such conditions is a threat and a penalty, when it should be a privilege and a promise. Another requisite for artistic endeavor is mental and physical fitness. The worker can be interested in his work only when he is capable of turning out a product of which he can be proud.

And

it

is

aptitude that generates interest, not interest

that creates aptitude.

The

musically talented child, for instance,

spurred to continued effort by the comparative ease with

is

which

it

attains gratifying performance, while the non-gifted

discouraged by the clumsy fruits of prolonged plodding.

is

No he

matter is

how

poorly

endowed by nature some one

nevertheless best fitted for

better than for any other,

and

it

is

a person

may

be,

vocational pursuit

only in that pursuit that

he can function happily by attaining masterly control of the tools and materials of his trade. Monotony is not a quafity of

work to be done, but the result of the worker's inabiHty to make his work creative because of his lack of a natural capacity to grow in skill of performance. When this is the case, the worker is enslaved to his work, from which he endeavors to emancipate himself by reducing the working process to a dull routine.

A

third variable in

happy work

is

individual recognition.

Science, Philosophy

io6

"No more

fiendish

and Religion

punishment could be devised," wrote Wil-

liam James, "were such a thing physically possible, than that

one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof. If no one turned round when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met 'cut us dead,' and acted as if we were non-existing things, a kind of rage and impotent despair would ere long swell up in us, from which the crudest bodily tortures would be a relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad might be our own plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to be unworthy of attention at all." The worker is first a human being and second a worker, and unless the working conditions adhere to this psychological fact, the worker cannot be happy. Industry puts the cart before the horse, and does itself a disservice by its practice of valuing the product before its producer, thereby reducing the person to the status of a machine. The consequence of this is that the work is done in the manner of a machine, without regard for the quality of the work. But when the worker is made to feel that his personality is recognized and respected, he will work consciously and conscientiously in order to maintain his respected position in the eyes of his fellow-workers his handiwork. Men do not work for power or possessions as ends in themselves. They desire the power and the possessions in order to impress themselves

by the excellence of

with themselves by calling attention to themselves. It is a blunder to suppose that labor strikes and labor unrest have their

main cause

in the desire for better pay.

gether in the interest of individual

freedom,

Men band

to-

through the

strength of group action, and they strike in order to assert this

freedom.

system

itself,

What

is

wrong with

but the abuse of

the profit system

it

to

is

not the

enslave those through

the profit is made. No worker can or does object to having his employer make a profit on his business; but he

whom

does and must object

whom human

life is

to

when money be offered for

has become the god to sacrifice.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

A

work

107

The worker he is performing is held in proper social esteem. The importance of this factor in human work has been well stated by L. P. Jacks. "Of all the factors and forces," he writes, "that make a human being what he is for good or ill, by far the most important, the most vitally influential on his mind and character, is the daily work of his vocation whatever that may be, from shoveling coals into fourth requisite for happy

must be made

dignity.

is

to feel that the function



a furnace to presiding over the

man

gets

no culture out of

he will get precious

little

High Court

work

impossible for the worker to find his is

of Justice. If a

work, out of his vocation, out of anything else." Now it is

his daily

cultural unless

considered to be such in the culture of the group.

fore, a vicious social habit to classify

work

into high

and low,

noble and ignoble, thereby fixing the social worth of a

being by his occupation. Because one

is

it

It is, there-

human

a physician, minister,

more deserving of

engineer or teacher, he

is

also held to be

honor and respect than

is

the barber, plumber, street cleaner

or ditch digger.

plumber than

is

A plumber may be several times a better some physician as a physician, or minister as

a minister, or professor as a professor; nevertheless, the poorer physician, minister or professor

being than

man

is

is

thus penalized for

rewarded for being a to

a

taken to be a higher

is

human

By this false standard, one doing a good job and another is

the superior plumber.

failure.

This

is

the reason for the rush

the so-called higher vocations, with the result that

promising butcher, instead of cutting steaks

wields a surgeon knife fatally,

plumbs clumsily

into

human

many

souls

skillfully,

many often

a promising plumber

from the

pulpit,

and many

mind some barbers would do as poor a job cutting hair as is done by some preachers and teachers, they would not last a month in their trade. Yet the barber is accepted socially as being in the main a utility, a tool, thereby becoming a social slave, while the minister and teacher are

a promising hair-cutter

makes

of youth in the classroom. If

a botch of cutting into the

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

io8 respected

no matter how poorly the one may

persons,

as

preach and the other teach. Fifth and

the factor of opportunity as an eswork. The worker may have security, may be vocationally well-adjusted, may receive full measure of individual recognition and may be fully conscious of the dignity of his occupation, but he will nevertheless find his work distasteful if he is oppressed by the idea that conditions will not permit him to rise above his present position, A man without the door to the future open for him is an animal at bay. An animal may have no desire to change its position; but, when pinned down so it cannot move, it will fight. Likewise, a man may show no ambition for advancement, or may there

last,

is

sential for self-expressive

even refuse to take advantage of opportunities offered him to

do

But

so.

him get

let

denied him, that he disgruntled.

human

There

in,

and he becomes

nothing perverse in

is

Nor

nature.

want something

the feeling that the opportunities are

hemmed

is

is

there anything paradoxical about

when

first

it

denied

is

denial has served to arouse our need of

and

of our freedom

may be is

is

far

he does not

as

why

the reason

own" and knows efforts,

no room

life

for

or

fails

who

is

rise

to

man

"on

by his than

is

it.

his

own the

forced into the belief that there

above. Free competition

may

is.

man

is

not only the

himself,

no matter

be.

democracy and the I have tried to general and the condi-

brief for the natural foundations of

indispensability of

show

man who

frequently an unhappy

him

his business

My

The worker

himself imprisoned in

of business, but of the business

what

freedom

is

now

that the nature of animal

tions of it is

feel

the professional

that he rises

less

"worker in industry is

but as an assertion

as a protest against its abuse.

quite satisfied, and even happy with his assignment,

but only so long

This

We

it.

not because the

us,

it,

and

restless

manifestation of

this

human

life

at

in

an end.

happiness in particular point to the fact that

only in a democracy that the

normally, because

it is

human being can

function

only a democracy which recognizes that

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

109

laws and institutions exist to serve the individual, not the individual who exists to be used by those who make the laws

and control the

The

institutions, for their

history of the

life

own

arbitrary purposes.

of humanity, as pointed out by Croce,

which "operates in every epoch now in one guise and now in another among now greater and now lesser difficulties, at times as the law-giver and the governor, at times as opposition and rebellion; just as breathing goes on so long as there is life, indoors and outdoors, on the plain and on the hills, painfully or in deep draughts." We are now in the midst of an epoch when the breath of liberty is not only heavy and painful, but appears to be in danger of complete extinction. But the breath of liberty can suffer no more than a temporary obstruction to its free flow, and it is as certain as is the continuation of life that a government by the people, of the people and for the people shall not only not perish from the earth, but that it will not, because it cannot, perish from the earth. is

in truth the story of liberty,

and

in every section of history,

CHAPTER

VI

Pragmatism, Religion and Education

By

JOHN

L.

CHILDS

Teachers College, Columbia University

one of the oldest interests of the human race. the world today, not as a mere survival from an earlier cultural period, but as a living tradition within which many of our ideal meanings and objects of devotion are en-

RELIGION .

is

It exists in

symbols,

shrined. Its paintings,

myths,

its

architecture,

its

and

its

its

literature,

holy places,

its

music,

its

holy days,

its

its

an organic part of our social heritage. This religious tradition embodies much that man has learned from all that he has done and undergone, and its pattern is too deeply woven into the texture of our spiritual culture either to be suppressed or ignored. We

heroes,

shall

its rituals

its

ethical principles are

continue to refine, to reformulate, and to re-enact this

but

tradition,

we

But religion

human beliefs

are not Hkely ever to repudiate

is

association

it

wholesale.

mode

not merely an historically rooted

and

ethical aspiration;

it

is

also a

of

body of

about the origin and nature of the world, and the origin,

nature and destiny of man. Historically, the theological beliefs

and the

social ideals of religion

indeed, this connection that

they

doubt the

theological foundation

sophical

problem

is

social

to

have been intimately associated;

considered by ideals

disintegrate.

for those

who

many

could

to be so organic

survive

The

were the

recurring philo-

thus believe that the ideal

meanings, ethical aspirations and motivations of mankind depend upon the continued acceptance of this body of religious

Science, Philosophy doctrines

show how

to

is

all

and Religion

iii

new developments

in

human

perspective and thought can be harmonized with this traditional outlook.

Pragmatism signifies a break with this conception of the problem and the purpose of philosophy. It refuses to accept the burden of apologetics, which so easily degenerates into a form of special pleading. It has faith that the human enterprise

when men have

will fare better

knowledge

learned not to subordinate

system of

to a traditional closed

ever knowledge they acquire. that morality

must, above

which

Pragmatism,

re-

to what-

holds that an ethical and

It

all,

new

but to

make them correspond

construct their beliefs so as to

spiritual religion

belief,

be faithful to the practice of

intelligence.

is

as a philosophy, therefore, has little in

common

with those tendencies in modern thought which seek to mini-

mize the importance of the developm.ent of experimental science. It believes that a method of inquiry, which has demonstrated its ability to achieve the kind of understanding which makes prediction and control possible in so many different fields, is worthy of careful study and analysis by all who are concerned to learn the character of the world in which man lives.

in

Science

is,

to

be sure, a

an environment, and

cause

it

because

is it is

its

able to

adapted to the

do

human

tool. its

But

a tool operates

work not simply

be-

organism, but primarily

adapted to the characteristics, or structures, of that

environment in which by

is

human

it

environment can

operates.

it

Only

as a tool

serve as an efficient

ing or controlling that environment.

What

is

conditioned

means

for utiliz-

holds for physical

instruments, pragmatism has had the insight to perceive, like-

wise holds for intellectual instruments, for they also are tools for

dealing with our

environment. Hence, pragmatism has

not been concerned either to eulogize or to minimize ex-

perimental science.

It

has rather sought to study the pattern of

experimental inquiry, in order to define

and

to discover

what

its

distinctive features,

they disclose about the nature of

knowl-

Science, Philosophy

112

and Religion

we

edge, and the character of the world in which

Hve,

move

a

mode

and have our being. Its

conclusion

first

of response of the

is

that experimental inquiry

human organism

to

is

environment, not

its

is in no way know. Accepting the implications of biological evolution, pragmatism also assumes that this human mind, or knowing subject, emerged without remainder from within a natural biosocial process. This feel-

the detached view of a beholding mind, which

involved in the conditions

ing, active,

human

seeks to

it

creature, having achieved through language

and communication with its fellows that degree of awareness which enables it to make ideas out of its doings and undergoings, is stimulated to try to get knowledge, when it encounters a doubtful situation a situation in which its activities are blocked because of some discordance or uncertainty. Thus,



doubt,

it

should be noted,

situation, which includes

and

is

is

a property of a total behavioral

environment

as

well as

organism,

not the exclusive property of the behaving creature.

Accepting without discount

analysis

this

under which experimental inquiry

arises,

of

the

conditions

the pragmatist con-

cludes that a world which generates doubt acterized by a plurality of events

manner as to uncertainty and plural in such a

pirical

account of

in a diversified,

which

all is

is a world charand processes which interact

genuine

result in situations of possibiHties.

human

conflict,

In other words, an em-

experience discloses that

man

lives

changing and contingent world, not one in

uniformly fixed, finished and certain.

This qualitatively diversified and changing world surrounds the

human

creature with conditions which both sustain and

threaten its interests. Taken as a totality, the world seems unconcerned about the welfare of the human form. It is only

through struggle and selective reactions to

its

environment that

human creature continues to live. On the human being is a product of these natural the

were there not a certain congruence between

other hand, the conditions, and, its

organic struc-

Science, Philosophy tures

and Religion

113

and functions and surrounding conditions,

could

it

neither have emerged, nor survived.

Pragmatism beheves that we should accept these characterof the world as given in experience at face value. It holds

istics

important implications for man's basic atThe mature mind, it contends, will not seek to read out as "mere appearance" those ugly, harsh and unfavorable conditions which render human existence that

they

carry

titude toward his world.

precarious. Neither will

it resort to superstition and magical win the favor of these environing affairs, for it does not assume that attributes of will and intelligence which

practices to

human

appear at the

level of experience must non-human world. Nor will other extreme and cut man oil from the natural being, and view him as an alien pilgrim in a acteristics

of the

which conspires these

life

to frustrate his every desire

and

also be charit

go

the

to

sources of his hostile world, effort.

All of

seem to the pragmatist decidedly inferior which accepts nature as man's natural home,

attitudes

to the attitude

and the scene of his experience and creative activity, and which refuses to praise or to condemn nature as a whole, the source

but which, by respect for

its actual conditions, and by proand devotion to its possibiHties, seeks to reshape it into a better abode for human beings. In any event, living in our kind of world is intrinsically an

gressive understanding

affair

of adjustment, of experiment.

It

is

the faith of prag-

matism that our experience will be both more meaningful and more sure in its power of control, if we make it deliberately experimental in present time, situations

all

of

many

its

various modes. Unfortunately, at the

of our responses to emerging novel

are not experiments

life

any significant intellectual sense, for we are prone to act on authority, or by routine habit, or by impulse, or by sheer trial and error. Pragmatism contends that there

is

in

a vast difference

kind, and behavior which

is

between behaviors of

this

consciously experimental, for

it

holds that the essence of experiment is response to the novel, or the doubtful, by an action informed by an idea, or guided

Science, Philosophy

114

and Religion

by a plan. The idea functions in a two-fold manner: through analysis of conditions, it defines and makes as precise as posbe undertaken, kind of situation which

sible the nature, or the pattern, of the action to

and

it

also projects in imagination the

will result

when

an experiment, occurs

the action

as

we check

when we put

is

we

completed. Thus,

learn

from

our expectations by what actually

the idea, or the hypothesis, to the crucial

This controlled method of experimental inquiry cannot, to be sure, guarantee that our ideas will be wisely chosen, but it does, nevertheless, provide a procedure by which we can learn from our failures as well as from our successes. It was the contribution of Peirce to discern the imphcations test of action.

of experimental activity for a reconstructed view of the nature of meaning. In describing the individual who has acquired the habits of thought associated with the practice of experimental inquiry, he affirmed:

"Whatever assertion you make

to him,

he will either understand as meaning that if a given prescription for an experiment ever can be and ever is carried out in act, an experience of a given description will result, or else he

no sense at all in what you say." He ception of meaning over into his analysis of will see

carried this cona concept

when

the conceivable

he declared: "If one can define accurately experimental phenomena which the affirmation or denial of a concept would imply, one will have therein a complete definiall

tion of the concept."

For our purposes here, two features of

this

theory of mean-

ing require emphasis. First, meaning implies action. The meaning of an idea lies precisely in the occurrences which it prompts us to expect, to anticipate, to predict will take place, when the action it defines is actually performed. In other words, an idea, to be significant,

tion

which

into a design for an ac-

must be formulated

some determimeaning are distinc-

will bring about observable results in

nate situation. Hence, tions of practice of

all

some

distinctions of sort or other.

Second, the verification of the idea is by the consequences to which it leads. Without consequences that are open, public,

;

:

and Religion

Science, Philosophy observable, there can be prediction.

It is

verification.

Hence, truth impHes which

a property, not of existences, but of ideas

can be verified.

framed in the

no

115

And

form of

ideas can be verified only as they are defipite acts to be

performed under pre-

scribed conditions.

This pragmatic, or functional, test of meaning and truth has its philosophical consequences. As Professor Lewis has stated,

even if we grant that this pragmatic criterion "dictates no metaphysical theses, at least it rules out a good deal which has

been put forward under the caption, and

it

operates

as

a

principle of orientation in the search for positive conclusions."

He

further declares

dictum draws our attention to the fact that there is which is implicit in the pragmatic test: What can you point to in experience which would indicate whether this concept of yours is applicable or inapplicable in a given instance? What practically would be the test whether your conception is correct? If there are no such empirical items which would be decisive, then your concept is not a concept, but a verbalism."-*^ "Peirce's

a kind of empiricism

we

In the paragraphs that follow,

shall define three conse-

quences for our thought about religion, which seem to be volved in this pragmatic test of significance. It implies, in

which

is

wholly a

the

first place,

that this process of finding out,

the process by which

human

enterprise.

we

We

discover and test truth,

also can

is

can have knowledge only of

those affairs which disclose themselves in

and which

in-

human

experience

be reduced to questions which can be dealt

with experimentally. According to

this

pragmatic criterion, any

question which cannot be put to our environment of things and persons in the form of an action sufficiently definite to produce observable consequences significance. *C.

I.

Hence, that

is

a question devoid of intellectual

class of inquiries

Lewis, "Pragmatism and Current Thought,"

p. 239, April 24, 1930. Vol.

XXVII., No.

9.

which seeks The Journal

to find "a

of Philosophy,

Science, Philosophy

ii6 first

and Religion

cause" or "a final goal in existence" denotes inquiries

which "make assumptions that render themselves ing." As one pragmatic writer has recently said: "They

are self-defeating because in principle

or logical inference a statement

self-defeat-

no observation

drawn from observations can ever

whose subject

is

verify

the whole universe, the totality,

the scheme of things entire. Genuine problems and questions

They are always such that we can tell what would constitute evidence one way or another to make the answers to them more or less probable."^ are always specific.

The experimental methodology,

to be sure, has no authority can deny our right to speculate about matters of

by which

it

this sort,

but

it

does cut the ground from under the claim that

these speculations have the status of knowledge.

Knowledge

is

mediated through action, and hence is not to be had by revelation from on high or by immediate grasp or intuition. The pragmatic criterion implies, in the second place, that certain kinds of explanation are ruled out. It rejects the view

of those

who

method

it

hold that science is merely a method, and that as must be equally hospitable to all varieties of explanation. An empirical method is limited to empirical subjectmatters. A subject-matter, or phenomenon, is considered empirical only when it can be so determined and defined that we can draw experimental consequences from its behavior. Morris Cohen has described the error in that theory of science which holds that it is a bare, neutral method, which in, and of, itself has nothing decisive to say about what will be considered evidence, and what can be accepted as explanation. "It

is

frequently

asserted

that

the

principle

of

scientific

method cannot rule out in advance the possibility of any fact, no matter how strange or miraculous. This is true to the extent that science as a method of extending our knowledge must not that

let

accepted views prevent us from discovering

may seem

to

new

facts

contradict our previous views. Actually,

'Hook, Sidney, "John Dewey,"

p. 21 ii,

John Day, N.Y., 1939.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

117

however, certain types of explanation cannot be admitted within the body of scientific knowledge. Any attempt, for instance,

explain

to

physical

providence or disembodied principle

of

rational

phenomena spirits,

is

as

due

directly

to

incompatible with the

determinism. For the nature of these

deduce from them. The Will of Providence, for instance, will explain everything whether it happens one way or another. Hence, no experiment can possibly overthrow it. An hypothesis, however, which we cannot entities is not suflBciently determinate to enable us to

definite experimental consequences

possibly refute cannot possibly be experimentally verified.

"In thus ruling out ghostly, magical and other supernatural influences,

it

would seem

that scientific

method impoverishes

however, to remember that a world where no possibility is excluded is a world of chaos, about which no definite assertion can be made. Any world

our view of the world.

It is well,

containing some order necessarily involves the elimination of certain abstract or

minds of the

ungrounded

possibilities

such as

Finally, the pragmatic, experimental theory of a

tains

fill

the

insane."^

supremely important

ethical

principle.

meaning conAs we have

already emphasized, pragmatism accepts, without quaUfication, the view that

all

knowledge begins

achievement, not heaven-born.

lem

is

how

to

make

this

On

human

in opinion,

and

is

a

human

this basis, the critical

more than a purely personal, arbitrary Obviously, knowledge and truth can have no important something

if

prob-

process of getting knowledge affair.

status

they can be reduced to merely a matter of personal taste in

How, human

ideas.

then, can

we do

full justice to

the necessary role of

we discover, and and get whatever knowledge we enjoy, and at the same time make knowledge objective, not merely relative to the perspectives, the bUnd spots, the prejudices, and the preferences of the individual? In knowledge, as in other aspects of human experience, this kind of rampant individualism can be overcome

the

agent in this process by which

test,

'Morris R. Cohen, "Reason and Nature," Harcourt Brace and Co., 1931, pp.

158-9.

Science, Philosophy

ii8

and Religion

only as

we commit

method

of experimental inquiry, with

practices

which

ourselves to a socialized procedure.

result in the

The

on public

insistence

its

kind of empirical consequences or

evidence which can be observed and checked by other inquiries in the field, defines the attempt to socialize the procedure

by knowledge and establish belief. As such, it signifies a profoundly important development in the ethical life of the race, and is justified in resisting all efforts, no matter

which we

how

attain

well intentioned, to supplant

it

by an authoritarian, or a

purely personal, arbitrary procedure. In an important article on

meaning and truth, Professor Burtt indicates done well to repudiate the kind of individuahsm which William James contemplated in his "Will the problem of

why

the pragmatists have

He

to Beheve."

"But

we

if

this

justifies

make no believe

says: erect a theory of

meaning or

of truth

which simply

individualism, as James appears to do,

social progress in

what we happen

our thinking.

We

sit

down

we can each to

and not worrybelieve something else.

to feel like believing,

ing about the fact that other people will This attitude is the complete negation of the scientific spirit. If we ask why, the answer must be given in ethical terms. We feel that meaning and truth carry the implication of universality, that a certain social responsibility is bound up with them, that the reflective progress we desire is precisely in the direction of such responsibility, that, in short, concepts ought to mean the same thing to all minds, and that if any statement is to be called true it ought to be possible for any interested person to verify it as such. A concept may, at present, in point of fact, mean something different to you from what it does to me, but if so, we ought to find some way of interpreting

meaning

the

may,

so that

it

at present, take

may become some

a

common

possession.

assertion to be true that

I

You

take to

we ought

to devise a technique of verifica-

tion that will determine as

between these conflicting claims

be

false,

and

but

if so,

definitely refute

one or the other of them.

the very essence of the scientific attitude to postulate.

It

make

is

perhaps

this ethical

Science, Philosophy

"Once

and Religion

plausibility we may be accepted

view gains

this

that the operations that

make

on the one hand meanin nature by this

see

as establishing

ing or truth will be definitely restricted ethical consideration.

119

They must be operations such

possible the attainment of social agreement

as will

on meanings

in questions, and any operations not of this character cannot be regarded as having any relation to meaning or truth. We

on the other hand why

see

acteristics

of

scientific

empirical?

science

it

is

that certain prominent char-

method have become

Why

such.

that can be pointed out to the senses of other people

same terms

is

Because only externally observable data

as to our

own

can furnish an adequately

on the

common

Other foundations of knowledge prove are hypotheses and theories to be tentatively held? Because no matter how much they may appeal to their inventor, he must not assert them as true till he has discovered some way of establishing them as such to basis of scientific truth.

in the

end too

esoteric.

Why

the satisfaction of other inquirers."*

In conclusion,

I

shall refer to the significance of this prag-

matic interpretation of meaning and truth for democracy and education.

The importance

method and

of maintaining, unimpaired, the

the ethic of experimental activity in a democratic

society can scarcely be exaggerated.

mon man it

is

A

society in

which the com-

the ultimate locus of authority can survive only as

institutionalizes a reliable

common method by which

all

share in formulating and evaluating the controlling ideals

can

and

Thus, the empirical, public, co-operative procedures of

beliefs.

experimental inquiry are an indispensable part of the social

means of any regime which strives to achieve common and ideals without resort to imposition and coercion by

political

beliefs

external authority. In other words, the use of the experimental

method

is

a necessity, not a luxury, in a democratic society.

Understanding of

this

method, and

not biologically transmitted. attitudes,

and the

*Burtt, "Essays in

loyalties

Honor

of

loyalty to

The young

its

acquire the

bound up with

ethic, are skills,

the

the use of this

John Dewey," Henry Holt & Co., 1929, pp. 74-75.

120

Science, Philosophy

method only

as they learn

them.

and Religion

It is, therefore,

the conviction

of pragmatism that a critical need of a democratic society

is

a

common schools which will cultivate these basic attiand common loyalties in the lives of its children. Prag-

system of tudes

matic educators have labored to develop a theory and practice of education in harmony with this democratic and scientific

way of life. Today we are told by some that this ethic of the experimental way of life is merely a "secular" ethic, and, consequently, fatally

inadequate to provide the spiritual foundations for a

democratic society. Even a number of the papers read at conference

last

this

year advocated the undergirding of this "secu-

and methodology with the cosmic beliefs and faith Only as we beUeve, it was held, that the universe in its total pattern is on the side of human personality lar" ethic

of historic religion.

can the ideal of respect for the individual have the kind of grounding which is required to make the democratic movement a success. As one important means for achieving this result, it was urged that religion be made an inherent part of the program of the common schools of our country. A very important question is raised in the mind of the pragma tist educator by these suggestions. If the subject-matter of religion, including its historic outlooks and beliefs, is to be introduced into the program of the public school, under what precise conditions is it proposed that this be done? Are these beliefs and practices of religion to be given a favored position, or are they to be subjected to the same empirical procedures and tests which are applied to other aspects of the work of the school.? If it is merely proposed that the ways of life and thought of religion are to be studied in the school in exactly the same manner in which the school deals with other subjectmatters, the pragmatic educator has no ground for objection. He may well wonder, however, what sanction this proposal carries from the organized reHgious groups of our country. He may also ask how soundly based is the expectation that the outcome in personal attitude and faith, which it is held are essen-

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

121

to our democratic way of life, will actually follow from such empirical study of the doctrines and practices of historic tial

religion.

But

if

the proposal to put religion in the public school im-

important that they should be exempted from empirical study and analysis, and plies that religious beliefs are so critically

should be inculcated into the young through a process of habituation, then, both the method and the ethic of the experimental way of life are most seriously involved. Such a proposal,

even though

would seem

it

be advanced by honest, sincere minds,

to the pragmatist not to signify ethical advance,

but ethical retreat. Democracy, as he understands it, would not be strengthened, but weakened, were this movement to

change the policy of public education in our country, ceed.

to suc-

CHAPTER Liberal Education

and Democracy

THEODORE

By

VII

M.

GREENE

Princeton University

{Note: A small group in Princeton has submitted to the Conference a statement entitled "The Spiritual Basis of Democracy." I have here attempted to explore some of the educational implications of this statement. All quotations are 1.

The If

from

this statement.)

dual function of hberal education

man

is

a "spiritual being"

whose "highest good should be

defined in terms of spiritual values," the primary function of directly to man's spiritual democracy is "perhaps the best poUtical means yet found" to promote "the reaHzation in human society of certain ideals human dignity, moral responsibility and spiritual freedom" ideals without which democracy, in turn,

hberal education

development.

to contribute

is

And

if





cannot survive, an important secondary function of liberal education is to make political democracy possible by educating men for civic responsibility

and the democratic way of

life.

The

defended is that Hberal education is (a) essential to the cultural and spiritual welfare of the individual, and (b) essential to political democracy and the democratic way of life. thesis here

2.

Primary objectives of

The

liberal

education

nature of a liberal education can perhaps best be de-

fined in terms of (a) Free liberal if it

its

primary objectives.

inquiry and reflective commitment. Education

promotes free inquiry into every

field of

is

human

Science, Philosophy interest. Inquiry

truth,

an

whatever

is

its

free

when

it is

and Religion

dedicated to the search for

human import. This search human freedom and the expression,

nature or

essential condition of

123

is

at

the cognitive level, of man's responsibility as an enlightened agent.

But man as a spiritual being must also evaluate, decide and and education, to be liberal, must promote such reflective evaluation and commitment. Evaluation is reflective when it is based upon the fullest exploration of objective values and is determined by the nature of the values thus explored; commitment is reflective in proportion as it is informed and guided by reflective evaluation. Liberal education is thus equally opposed to propaganda and indiflferentism, if propaganda be defined as the attempt to precipitate unreflective commitment, and indifferentism, as a denial of objective values and of the possibility of responsible evaluation, decision and action. All truths are valued by man as a free spirit. But insights in the realm of objective value are of pecuHar importance to him because they alone can enable him to judge and act as a responsible agent. Liberal eduact,

cation values truth for

its

own

nificance to normative insights

sake, but attaches special sig-

and

to

commitment

in the light

of these insights.

(b) Scope, discipUne, and integration. Since man's total environment is highly complex and diversified, his exploration of this environment, and his activities in it and towards it, are correspondingly diverse. Education, to be liberal, must therefore be catholic in scope, acquainting die student with every

major

field

of

human

inquiry

and endeavor. The student

should be introduced to the investigations of the natural and social scientists, to man's artistic creations and to his moral and religious insights; it should encompass man's knowledge and control of nature, his social and artistic achievements and his moral and religious beliefs and aspirations.

This introduction necessarily involves training in the skills and to a comprehen-

requisite to these diversified inquiries

Science, Philosophy

124

and Religion

if a student is to come must learn the languages (mathematical, verbal, artistic, etc.) in which this heritage has been preserved and transmitted; if he is to communicate with his fellows, past and present, and participate in their activities, he must have a control of the vehicles of communication, inquiry and creation. He must also learn how to think clearly and correctly and how to explore the realms of objective values with

sion of these various activities. For

into his cultural heritage he

imaginative understanding. All these disciplines are essential to liberal education.

Since the several liberal studies have become so highly specialized,

the student should be introduced to the nature of

speciaHzed inquiry as such,

i.e.,

to the acquiring

and

testing of

evidence, the constructing and verifying of hypotheses, and the relating of fact

made aware

and theory

to

one another.

He

should also be

of the contrasting presuppositions, methods,

and

findings in the major fields of liberal study and should be able to assess these for himself in wise perspective.

One

man

of the basic functions of a liberal education

is

to enable

and spiritual myopia and to see Hfe steadily and as a whole. Those who are ignorant of the past, or who are so immersed in the past that they are unable to relate it to the present, can understand neither the past nor the present, and are thereby precluded from wise consideration of the future. The only cure for such myopia is the enlightened study of history and the acquisition of an historical perspective. Most people today are merely contemporary in their outlook; to be really modern involves interpreting the past and the present in their relation to one another and to an envisaged future. Those, in turn, whose preoccupation with some one specialized activity

to escape cultural

has kept

them

human endeavor zation. The only

largely or wholly ignorant of other fields of

from the myopia of narrow specialiis a wider orientation; a philosophical perspective must be achieved through the systematic study and evaluation of all man's major activisuffered

cure for this type of myopia

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

125

and achievements. Education is liberal if it liberates man from the provincialisms which beset him and enables him to see himself and his environment in historical and systematic perspective. It v/ill promote such cultural integration, not by dogmatic utterance or by authoritarian fiat, but by assisting the student to understand the conditions and methods of integration, to investigate the classic patterns of integration, and to appreciate the penalties of myopia and provincialism. (c) Individualism and social responsibility. Liberal education rests on the major premise that every individual is a being of intrinsic value and that his freedom and initiative must be safeguarded at every cost. The benefits which the individual derives from a liberal education are ultimate in that they require no further justification. The central purpose of liberal ties

education

ment

to enrich the life of the individual; this enrich-

is

from the liberal point of view, an end in itself. But what applies to each member of society applies to all. Hence the rights and privileges of each carry with them corresponding responsibilities to others. An education which cultivates a sense of special privilege and which fails to evoke a is,

sense of social responsibility

is

not truly

liberal.

A

liberal

edu-

cation will arouse and deepen the student's sense of his duties

towards

his fellow

men, not by indoctrination or propaganda,

but by helping him to understand man's nature being and the implications of

human

as a spiritual

dignity.

(d) Spiritual maturity. These three objectives are of the

synoptic

objective

of

maturity.

spiritual

credulous and craves absolute certainty.

An

all

A

adolescent

cal and critical and craves freedom from all restraint. grows childishness and adolescence when he comes

that nothing

much more

is

absolutely certain, but that

some

aspects

child is

is

skepti-

Man

out-

to realize

beliefs

are

reasonable than others; and that he must assume

ultimate responsibility for all his beliefs and actions, but that he can profit immeasurably from the funded knowledge of the race.

The

hall-mark of spiritual maturity

is

the ability and the

126

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

willingness itiative

to combine reflection and belief, individual and cultural perspective. Education is liberal as it

inas-

the individual to achieve spiritual maturity. The importance of liberal education for the individual and for a democratic society

sists 3.

Liberal education, so conceived,

is

essential to the spiritual

development of the individual. It alone can free him from the tyranny of provincialism, from childish credulity, and from adolescent skepticism and doubt. It alone can enable him to

come

into his cultural heritage, to share in the insights of the

race, to achieve perspective,

and

to indulge in reflective

com-

mitment. equally essential to the efiFective functioning of democFor only in proportion as the members of a society are enlightened and critical, mature and morally responsible, can that society hope to preserve the democratic way of life; only It is

racy.

thus can the democratic forms of government maintain their There is no education for democracy other than a hberal education; alternative proposals are of necessity propagandistic and therefore anti-democratic in spirit. Liberal education is as essential to democracy as is propaganda to vitality.

totali-

tarianism. In our democratic society,

and

particularly in a crisis

such as the present, liberal education

prime

Without it, eulogy of pohtical democracy 4.

necessity.

all

is not a luxury, but a mihtary effort is in vain, all

idle.

Educational institutions Schools, colleges and universities are not, of course, the only with the responsibihty of providing our

institutions entrusted

citizens with a liberal education. The home, the state and the church, to mention but three other major institutions, must each make its distinctive contribution. Without their aid, the best efforts of formal educational institutions will

be largely

ineffectual.

None

the

less,

institutions

of formal instruction

have a unique responsibility. If this responsibility is to

education should be

be discharged, Hberal and vocational

clearly

distinguished.

Since

body and

Science, Philosophy spirit,

practice

and Religion

127

and theory, means and ends, are so intimately

blended in human experience, liberal education and vocational training cannot be divorced and should not be considered in

complete

isolation.

Yet

tinguish the vocational training

from the

liberal

dis-

to

approach. Vocational

skills requisite to

designed to teach specific

is

and imperative

possible

is

it

the at-

tainment of ends which man, as a spiritual being, cannot accept as ultimate. Liberal education, in contrast, is focused

upon ends which ing

is

are of intrinsic

justifiable in

control the

means

essential because

it

human

proportion as

it

value. Vocational train-

enables the individual to

to these higher ends; liberal education clarifies

vidual to organize his

life

these ends

and enables the

is

indi-

towards their progressive realization.

would be foohsh and idle to deprecate the value of vocational training. But it would be equally foohsh and short-sighted to

It

deny the prior importance of

liberal

education for the indi-

vidual in a democratic society.

Liberal education can in all

thing depends the the

some measure be made

the educational levels and to

more

able

all

available at

types of students. Every-

upon the wisdom and skill of the teacher. But and the more advanced the student, the greater

possibiHty

for

notable

achievement

along

these

hues.

Those in charge of primary and secondary school education must provide the great bulk of our population with whatever formal liberal education they are capable of acquiring. Their contribution is of intrinsic value to each individual student and of incalculable importance to our democratic society. Scholars and teachers at the college and university levels have the responsibility not only of further enriching the individual

hves of their students but also of providing our society with disciplined and enlightened leaders. The common notion that

democracy justified

is

opposed or indifferent

either

quires leaders as

theoretically

much

or

to leadership cannot

historically.

Democracy

be re-

as totalitarian states require dictators.

But these leaders must be capable of leading by means of reflective persuasion rather than by authoritarian fiat. They

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

128

must command the confidence and respect of their constituents and justify their positions of responsibiUty by their wisdom and spiritual integrity. Such leaders can be produced only if men and women of special ability are given every opportunity throughout the educational process, and particularly at the coland university level, and thus fit themselves for lege

to cultivate

their

special aptitudes

effective leadership in

some

field of

social activity.

The

success or failure of our institutions of liberal educa-

depend in part on the administrators and faculties in on the individuals and communities to whom they must turn for financial and moral support. A school, college or university can be no better than its administration and faculty. Only if the administrative officers and the faculty are themselves aware of, and dedicated to, the objectives of a liberal education can the institution in question hope to provide its students with such an education. But bricks cannot be made without straw; no liberal educational institution can tion will

charge, in part

flourish

Many

without the support of an enlightened constituency.

a notable educational venture has

been wrecked by a

short-sighted legislature or by the lack of vision of private individuals capable of providing financial assistance.

Our many

failures

today are in part occasioned by the fact that

of our teachers, scholars

and administrators,

at all the

educational levels, are themselves unaware of the nature and implications of a liberal education.

Hence

the current educa-

nostrums and panaceas, the short cuts and substitutes, which are being advocated by professional educators in positions of authority; hence the increase of vocational training, often at the expense of liberal education; hence the narrow specialization and lack of cultural perspective in our institutions of higher learning; hence the widely prevalent doctrine

tional

of laissez faire,

i.e.,

the abnegation of educational leadership by

those in charge,

who

tutes

education.

circle,

a

liberal

cannot decide what

Here we

the blind leading the blind.

it is

that really consti-

are caught in a vicious

The

only solution

is

for the

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

129

blind gradually to improve their vision through patient and co-operative effort. But such effort on the part of teachers, scholars and administrators will not suffice. Students and parents, legislators and patrons must support these efforts v^^ith shrewd discernment and resolution, for the task in hand is so gigantic that only the utmost co-operation of all the enlightened members less

of the

community can

suffice to vitalize liberal

country sufficiently for

it

in our democratic society.

to

become

education in this

a positive force for

good

CHAPTER

A

VIII

Philosophy of Democratic Defense

By

CHARLES HARTSHORNE University of Chicago

THE ESSENCE of dcmocracy

IF self-determination, and

is

self-government, or collective

war is the attempt at group by another, then it might seem difficult to relate democracy and war, except as opposed and hostile to each other. True, the "rule of the majority" impHes some element of coercion of minorities, but what is today meant by democracy as an ideal is that even the majority is subject to certain basic rights of all the people, in power and out of power, living and yet unborn. These rights are safeguarded in constitutional agreements, written or embodied in custom, and having a better foundation in the national wisdom than the mere will of the momentary majority. This better foundation has two main aspects. There arc rights inherent in the nature of man as a rational and social animal, rights to deny which is to deny the meaning of right itself. For example, the right to seek out the truth, and to help others in the same search. Then there are rights which accrue to citizens as citizens of a given country, with its own unique the essence of

brutal coercion of one

concrete traditions. All

men

should be "free," but the concrete

devices thrf)ugh which, and the limits within which, freedom in its

various dimensions

tries

is

a right of the citizens of various coun-

vary with the countries and their histories.

Men

cannot

repudiate their pasts beyond a certain point, without intolerable internal confusion

and

loss.

Hence, when men 130

criticize political

Science, Philosophy ideas as "foreign,"

it

is

and Religion

131

not necessarily a sufficient answer to

say that, foreign or not, the question

is,

are they true or right?

For, unless the ideas really concern absolutely universal ethical

may be

a very

important question

or political principles,

it

whether or not they

the existing political habits and

ries

fit

memo-

of a country sufficiently well to be genuine possibilities for

that country. This

is

part of the

argument against aggression,

domination by a foreign power. It remains true that democracy involves an element of coercion, not only of minorities by the majority, but even of the majority by that minority, which is the actual officialdom, able to command the poUce power, at a given time. All democratic

government

is

more

or less "representative,"

and those repre-

sented are subject to potential coercion by their

own

representa-

tives.

Were the world one great democracy, there would be no problem of war as distinct from police action. As the world actually is, there is a problem of war or military force as distinct from police force. War is collective aggression, or collective self-defense, against another collectivity, whereas police action

is

collective aggression or self-defense against the

bers of the given collectivity.

compared

to police

The moral

objections to

mem-

war

as

action are like those to individual self-

defense, chiefly three: the nation acting in

its

own

defense or in

"good cause" may be weaker than the "aggressor" nation; the nation must itself decide "in its own cause" whether or not it will be the aggressor, or in the wrong, should it fight; and finally, as a result of the foregoing, self-defense between groups, as also between individuals, is not a very effective method of discouraging wrong-doing, since there will so often seem at least a chance of victory for the less just cause, and since men are a

usually able to think their cause

is

just,

or at least that their

no more so than their own. There seem, therefore, only two main remedies for the evil of war. Either we try to give war more and more the character of police action, which should mean that it will more and opponent's cause

is

Science, Philosophy

132

and Religion

more express

the interest and ethical sense of the worldand should also mean that, like ordinary police will more and more function as the potential use, the

collectivity,

action,

it

threat, of injury, rather than its infliction; or else

first

(as

one

down tion,

men

we

try

to

renounce the use of weapons altogether. The remedy points toward Umitation of national sovereignty

persuade

to

isolationist

the flag") political,

;

it

not without exaggeration, "pulling

says,

means

juridical,

the development of world organiza-

economic.

reluctant to face this implication.

Some interventionists are The other remedy points

toward the disappearance of aggressive tendencies, or their control without the use of military means, even as a last resort; it implies the ultimate conversion of a large part of mankind, if not of practically everyone, to complete "pacifism." The pacifist solution (of which more below) seems to most persons to overlook the fact that, while it takes two to make a just peace, it takes only one to make war, unless submission be invariably a tolerable alternative to resistance. True, there are

schemes of "non-violent resistance," but their practicality is doubly doubtful: first, because there is no strong reason for thinking a whole population can ever be induced to try them out (India has never been a united and military nation, and is otherwise highly untypical), and second, because it is by no means clear that they would really frustrate conquest and tyranny. (Bertrand Russell, an erstwhile advocate, says the schemes "would not work against the Nazis.") Thus, either the philosophy of democracy must include a theory of national defense, or else democracy must be admitted an impracticable ideal until the world has become one state or commonwealth. No doubt a perfect democracy is impossible so long as the world is not politically integrated, but perfection is not the immediate goal of political action, and it may be that to sacrifice such local democracy as exists on the ground that, being local, it is not worthwhile, would be to delay, not hasten, the approach of world democracy. For there might be a world tyranny, built on the ruins of the undefended democracies, and to democratize

and Religion

Science, Philosophy this

133

tyranny might be harder than to develop increasing co-

operation and finally federation between the existing democracies

and near-democracies. The very

be largely forgotten

if

control of tyranny. It

is

like to

which

democracy might all under the

the local democracies, even small ones,

which keep alive the ideal. It would seem, moreover, that self-defense, a democratic group

own members

ideal of

the political agencies were

if

any group has a right to

has. It practices

toward

its

those principles of self-determination and the

it

appeals in order to

condemn

its

foreign aggres-

Moreover, a very mild degree of democratic virtue exhibited internally is enough to make foreign attack appear in an ugly light. And even a very tyrannous regime probably has sor.

some claim ply, as in

to

be

let alone,

provided

powerful countries,

this

at least,

it

tyranny does not im-

perhaps always does,

a tendency to express itself also in foreign policy.

But

if

a democratic regime

is

consistent in defending itself

possible by international poHce action, but military efforts)

if

not, by

its

(if

own

against aggression or intolerable injustice,

it

might seem no less true that a tyrant who takes advantage of every weakness within his realm is consistent in taking advantage of foreign weaknesses also. The only objection is that, as philosophers have long ago demonstrated, the doctrine that justice

is

the will of the stronger

is

not ultimately defensible.

Everyone, with some corner of his mind, believes there are obligations other than that of the

weak

not further discuss. But

to give

way

to the

if any group has the right to self-defense against other groups, a democratic group has this right par excellence, by virtue of the principles which it practices toward its own members. It seems clear that the use of force against injustice between groups is likely to be at least as necessary as between individuals (where it is chiefly exercised indirectly, through the police). For individuals can be restrained largely by their own sense of decency, as reinforced by the approval and disapproval of those immediately around them and by the knowl-

strong. This

I

shall

I

repeat that,

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

134

edge that they can hardly fight the whole community. But large groups are comparatively cut off

from intimate contact

with other groups, the opinions of the "others" concerned are not so obvious or so easily understood, and the sense of decency, as

Niebuhr points out, is apt to be pretty well exhausted and in devotion to the group, which devo-

in personal matters

tion tends to appear in so brilhant a light that devotion to

masses of far away strangers appears pale and intermittent, a luxury

among

be cast aside in times of

virtues, to

stress.

These

disadvantages belong to group relations, not merely temporarily or accidentally or due to corrigible faults of education, but in

some degree inherently and by virtue of the nature of man. It would be a contradiction in terms for groups to be as intimate with each other as individuals can be, to understand each other easily

as

Thus,

it

and is

to

sympathize with each other as thoroughly.

dreaming

irresponsible

to

suppose that nations can

be brought to stop quarreling and fighting by the sheer power of preaching. Centuries of energetic preaching to individuals

concerning individual relations controlled by saying,

can be coerced a

"Do

at times,

man from behind and

it

still

leave

much

that has to be

or else!" Fortunately, individuals

without bodily injury,

as

by seizing

binding him. There seems no way of

equally harmlessly taking a renegade nation under control.

Economic sanctions which

really coerce

mean

actual bodily in-

jury, especially to children. It

the

must be admitted

that there are also serious difficulties in

way

war

of converting

into police action.

The formation

of larger political units, entailing sacrifice by smaller groups of

some

is not easily brought Americans are perhaps among the most hesitant to undertake such a sacrifice. Indeed, one can easily show that many important features of American policy during the past half century have had serious hampering effects upon the efforts of the world to transcend international anarchy. What

about.

of the privileges of sovereignty,

We

are the prospects that such efforts will succeed in the future?

The achievement

of a measure of world order can

come about

Science, Philosophy in one of coercion.

and Religion

two ways by voluntary federation or by :

The two methods can be

blended.

135 imperialistic

The Axis can

claim

with some truth to be a voluntary federation, even though a federation to coerce as much of the rest of the world as possible. Also the Allies, if they win, can exert a certain amount of compulsion in bringing about a federated

Europe or

per-

haps world. But even though one argues that a wholly voluntary federation is unlikely, there may yet be important differences in the

amount

of coercion involved in various pro-

grams which blend coercion and free co-operation, and immensely important differences in the extent to which the basic human rights, to which democracy is dedicated, are given a chance to

The

flourish.

League of Nations may be thought to prove that a democratic transition to a world order is imfailure of the

and that consequently we may as well accept an world order as at least no worse than the present chaos. And as the "New Order" is already, in considerable measure, in operation, why not, some ask, call a halt to the bloodshed and let the Germans do what the Allies twenty years ago failed to do? But in what sense did the League fail? The League failed at the critical points because its members had less faith in the League method than in the alternative method of independent action by each state acting in its own defense. It is this alternative method which has failed if ever anything did fail. National sovereignty has proved a hopelessly inadequate instrument to safeguard freedom and peace. Wise men knew in advance it would be so, unwise men like Hoare and Chamberlain did not. But now harsh facts have shown where wisdom lies. It is no longer abstract theory, but concrete demonstrapracticable,

imperialistic

tion, that points the

way

to the only solution, a

new

effort in

the general direction of the League, though with important

reforms.

When is

a thing

must be done sooner or

not to be practically hopeless,

it is

later, if

the future

illegitimate to conclude

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

136

cannot be done from the mere fact that the

first attempt any means obvious that the Nor is by to do it has effort of twenty years ago to advance the cause of w^orld democracy really did completely fail in comparison with what might have happened had Germany not been defeated. Germany is not yet complete master of Europe and the Atlantic Ocean; perhaps had she won the last war she would be closer to that position of mastery now, and perhaps that would have put the cause of democracy in far worse plight than it is in

that

it

failed.

fact.

Thus,

it

is

it

not a truism that a future victory of the de-

you wish to quibble, of the less undemocratic countries) can have nothing to offer. (The role of Russia will mocracies (or

be considered

if

later.)

But can democracy,

who

as such,

be victorious.? There are those democracy is im-

say that military action in the interest of

possible because military action

or anti-democratic, and

dom way tical,

which

that

is

in essence non-democratic

war

is total,

the loss of free-

involves will also be total. This seems to be a right, that democracy is impracworld is not a single state. Any destroy a democracy by force must be al-

of saying that Hitler

is

so long at least as the

power lowed

who

it

now

that wishes to to

do

so, since

defense will be self-refuting. That some

way should suppose themselves

to have faith democracy seems to argue a lack of training in political philosophy. Moreover, it is an error in principle to confuse military discipline, even though extended over much of the talk in this

in

national

life

during the period of the defensive struggle, with

law does not automatically or even usually supplant civil law as the basic and permanent law of the land. You might as well say that men must go on shooting at empty air or at their friends after their enemies have surrendered because they have acquired the habit of shooting. The Americans who fought against a king did not make their commander-in-chief a king when the war was over. The end of a war tends to bring about a drastic revulsion against military habits. (The last war was followed by a number of tyranpolitical tyranny. Martial

— Science, Philosophy

and Religion

137

nies, but chiefly in the defeated or semi-defeated countries, and these had never been particularly democratic. Furthermore,

there were

many

causes for these tyrannies besides the war.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

may

be fallacious here as well as

was at least one quite new deelsewhere. Czechoslovakia, which mocracy, was successful, on the whole, until it was overrun. Moreover, it is not established, to say the least, that England today, in the midst of her struggle, has become an imitator of the tyranny she fights, or has in any comparable way or degree abandoned civil liberties and the basic Besides,

there

love of liberty.)

What

are the philosophical principles

relevant to

the

de-

democracy against foreign aggression? First, the principle that conflict, suffering, destruction and death, as involved in and produced by war, are not necessarily worse than, or so bad as, the more passive, but perhaps far more enduring and widespread, forms of conflict, suffering and destruction that may sometimes be the price of submission, of the decision not to fight. The alternative to a particular war may be the enslavement of a whole people, an enslavement lasting for generations, rather than for the two, or five, or seven years which are the most that a war is likely to endure. Further, it is not by any means clear that the enslavement will ever end, except through a war of liberation, which might much better and more cheaply have been a war of prevention. Tyrants may die or fall out of fense

of

favor, but there are always persons ready to

step into their

becomes dangerous to do so because of some large body of armed men ready to fight for the reinstatement of Uberal institutions. We must remember that men can be killed in other ways and worse ways than on the battlefield place, until

it

in concentration

camps, subjected to every indignity such as do not know, or through slow starvation

soldiers in general

and disease produced by economic exploitation for the benefit of the conquering nation. Nor has it been proved that the Hfe men live under such conditions will involve less spiritual degradation than the

life

of people

who

believe they are fighting for

Science, Philosophy

138

their liberties. Indeed, self-sacrifice

because

kept

is

men

if

and Religion

a generous spirit of hope, courage

alive, it will

will cherish the

probably,

if

and

not certainly, be

thought of armed rebeUion

as the

ultimate outcome. Thus, the doctrine of absolute pacifism does

not seem defensible.

The evil,

killing of a

and only

if

man

is

certainly the production of a great

a greater evil be thereby prevented, can the

kiUing be justified. But

it is

an error to suppose that kilHng

is

the greatest possible, or an absolute, evil, so that nothing could

and kiUing a man is not the creation of an absolute difference between dying and not dying, but the creation of a relative difference between dying earlier and dying later. To spend money on a new automobile rather than on charity or some public cause may very well amount in its effects to deciding that someone will die sooner than he or she would have otherwise, since the milder forms of undernourishment are common, are in good part due to poverty, and may certainly shorten life. In this and many other ways, it can be shown that the soldier is not the only one who shortens human lives. Every pacifist, unless he lives in dire poverty, shortjustify

it.

For

all

ens lives for his

The question

men

own

die,

comfort.

for the pacifist to face

is

whether the

loss in

under prolonged submission to a terribly unjust alien regime may not sometimes be a greater evil than the loss in quantity, in length of life, entailed by war. To this the pacifist no doubt answers that he sees a high quality of Ufe in the brave and loving endurance of such conditions. He is thinking chiefly of himself, I suspect, in this. Will most men, will the new generation, educated less by him than by the new quality of

life

masters, feel

much

of these noble sentiments?

(The two preceding paragraphs were partly suggested by some remarks of Professors Demos and Lee.) The doctrine that we should never fight oppression by military means is open to the reductio ad absurdum that it offers the unscrupulous a monopoly on the use of the power to take life, a power which above all others belongs, so far as it can

— Science, Philosophy

and Religion

139

be kept there, in the hands of the scrupulous. (To say be in no hands at

all, is

to forget that

men do

because they are told they have no right to

men who

are

right,

such

and

it

should

not lack a power

it,

so long as there

disregard right, or have a diflferent theory of

will

men from

any

pacifist

go

the

human

scene in the predictable future?)

bail for

the disappearance of

always wrong, then only wrongdoers will fight. group of wrongdoers combine to dictate to the rest of mankind, then the latter will divide into the stubborn passive-resisters, who can be reduced to corpses or helplessness at the will of men with weapons, and the mass of mediocre men, who being neither very good nor very bad, will certainly If to fight is

And

if

a

not join the suicide squads, but will submit.

To

insist

that

must alone be used by good men in dealing with other men, however bad, is to hold that the worst men are more open to influence by "moral" means than the average man is by the fear of death and torture and the denial of a livelihood. It is in principle however at this or that moment things may seem to be going to deliver the world to the most unscrupulously ambitious men, not for the time being, but permanently and on the "moral means," that

is,

in this usage, persuasion,

average. It may be said that a bad means can be justified by no end, however important. In that case, one could not justifiably amputate a limb to save a life. For, surely, amputation is bad. But, you say, amputation is not morally bad, whereas war is. The reply is that the moral status of war is what is in question. Nor can the matter be settled by pointing out that, in war, we will the death of other men. Submission may also doom multitudes of men to a miserable death, which war might prevent. A means is bad only if it is unadapted to attain its end or if its use prevents the attainment of some other important end. For by definition only ends count. Now to be sure, war does conflict with important ends, and, therefore, all good men are pacifists in the broad sense of trying to avoid war whenever there is a tolerable alternative. But the tragic fact seems to be

Science, Philosophy

140

that there are times

when

and Religion

the important

human ends

will fare

even worse under submission or refusal to fight than under war. There may, in the distant future, come a time when the will to aggression has so fallen into abeyance that actual war will never again

lesser of the evils confronting a na-

tion.

this

be the But the coming of

time will not necessarily be has-

tened by the spread of absolute pacifism, for the simple reason that pacifism spreads unevenly in the various countries, and its rapid growth in one country may very well stimulate the growth of aggressiveness in another, as apparently has happened during the last twenty years, which saw a perhaps unprecedented growth of pacifism in America, England, France and Norway, and a no less remarkable development of the belief in war as an inevitable and even desirable method of increasing the national power in Italy, Germany and Japan. But the effort may be made to prove that war is an inexcusably bad means because it contradicts religious ethics and metaphysics, the doctrines that love is the essence of God and the highest law for man. What, then, is love, in the ultimate metaphysical or religious sense? It can hardly be a mere mild-

ness or tameness or harmlessness of action; for in that case, there

is little

room

for the divine action in this

death and discord. But

we need

world of

such an argument ad deum. Love would seem to ciation of the feelings, needs

and

based on such appreciation.

It

injury,

not rest our objection upon

mean

interests of others, is

social

appre-

and action

realization,

taking

from any such definition, at least, it would not follow that one would never, out of love, inflict injury. For if one loves A, B and C, and if A can be prevented from kiUing or torturing B and C only by being others as seriously "as ourselves." But

threatened with loss of his

own

life,

then there

choice between A's interest and those of is

not

less true

through

become

it

all

an enforced this

the interests, including A's, have,

as one's own. What love does mean is A, one destroys or defeats a part of oneself, were, but with the sole alternative of seeing an even love,

that, in killing

as

because

is

B and C, and

Science, Philosophy larger part of oneself

doomed

and Religion

to

frustration.

141

The

religious

must deny that any such terrible enforced option can ever obtain. He must say that a God whose essence is love would not allow it. But this is claiming to see very intimately into the meaning of perfect love, by hypothesis radically superhuman, and into the possibilities of existence as such, in order pacifist

to

know whether

or not

God

(or any conceivable being) could

arrange matters that individuals

so

should never oppose themselves to the

endowed with freedom vital interests of others.

Free individuals arrange themselves, they cannot simply be arranged, even by omnipotence, in whatever sense this concept compatible with the existence of freedom in the creatures.

is

The

alternative to God's permitting tragic conflicts of the type under discussion might be a dull lack of individuality even more destructive of the things which love cherishes. A divine love which lacked the generosity to grant initiative to others might better deserve another name. This much may be conceded to pacifism, that, as a division of labor,

it

even the

is

spirit

or personal die.

perhaps well that some persons stand aside from of conflict

human

The Friends

and cultivate those supernational which must never be allowed to

interests,

are largely pacifists in this sense, that they

which it may be should be done, but which who are devoted to victory will be unlikely to do. It seems to be human nature that we can hardly act except by exaggerating the significance of our act, that we can hardly seek to mitigate the harshness of war without falling into the dogma

do

certain things

those

that victory

is

never important nor a legitimate objective.

Pacifism, or the complete rejection of military means, militarism, or the

undue

reliance

upon such means,

and

are clearly

two extremes, with the mean a discriminating or limited reUance upon military force. But these extremes with their mean are special cases of a more general philosophical contrast. Military power is control over men through physical instruments. It is the fallacy of idealism (in the bad sense) to think that intentions or ideas can do practically anything, regardless of the

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

142

An example of this conquered and disarmed peoples will rebel against machine guns, tanks and planes. This is to look to magic for salvation. Rebellion will be successful only if and when the enemy's weapons are more or less neutrahzed by opmaterial resources at their disposition. fallacy is the idea that

posing weapons, only

when

defeated, or

when

the conquerors are already half-

the conquered have been rearmed by un-

defeated aUies.

There nations

other forms of the fallacy of idealism. For

many

are

instance, there

on the

is

the attempt to decide between the warring

basis of their intentions only,

the physical factors of these intentions.

of

its

which

without regard to

will further or hinder the execution

The question

not which nation, by virtue

is

comparatively angelic character, deserves victory.

The

which nation, by virtue partly of its character and by virtue also of its geographic position and other physical features, will, in the event of victory, be the least dangerous and the most useful to humanity. To separate the question of good or bad character or intention from the question of power or ability, is to fall into hopeless confusion, as when men speak as though the recent dictatorship in Greece made that country a threat to democracy in the sense in which Germany is such a threat, or when men say that the aid of Russia against Germany compromises the British case because Russia, like Germany, is hostile to liberty. question

is

Unless there

is

a reasonable likelihood that Russia will survive

the attack with reserves

—sufficient cluttering

—military,

industrial

up the argument with

the

first efFective

and

ability alike,

Would

see tyranny

it

may be he who

blow against the one power which, is

it

overthrown

who

strikes

and

to

argue in this way really prefer to

at the cost of the lives of those trained

in liberty, rather than

who do

understand

its

liberty,

only

in intent

certainly dangerous to other peoples

the people

is

irrelevancies to see in Stalin's

record a reason for regretting that

liberty.

and psychological

for the subsequent conquest of Europe,

through the death of those but are forced to fight against

not

enemies.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

143

and in this fight are bound, even if in spite of themselves, to weaken the power of their own tyrant to wreak harm upon the world? For never forget, if there are two tyrants, and the stronger is overthrown by the relatively democratic nations in an exhausting war, this will leave the tyrant who is second in power with an unexhausted army and abundant supplies to confront victorious but weary free nations with embarrassing

demands

or even assault. It

pitiful as well as

is

dangerous that

men

should not see (fortunately the majority do see) that for the two tyrants to get into a war with each other actually strengthens rather than weakens the moral case for a war of liberation; for

it

means

that the liberation can be attained at

those peoples

less cost to

standard of liberty tyrants does not

who

—always

are the present bearers of the

provided that the stronger of the

win over the other

so easily, quickly, or

com-

pletely as to be in a position to exploit the resources of both

countries against the democracies, or, at least, to profit by the

elimination of the risk of a two-front war. In addition to

given regime

this, a

may be

tyrannical in

its

all

internal or even

its

previous external policy, and yet in a particular war in which is

between nations.

ideal of democratic behavior as tirely ethical to

to

it

involved be essentially in the right and in accord with the

defend

man

a

It

may be

en-

extend aid to such a nation, just as for the law against theft does not in the least imply that

he has never himself been a thief or a wrongdoer, or that one

must accept

And

if it

his career as

worthy of admiration or emulation.

be feared that defending the past thief against present

theft will contaminate the defender,

that a

man

some

time,

those

who

in desperate need, is

at least as

open

should be considered

it

which

is

likely

to

endure for

and instruction from Thus, all the arguments

to influence

can help him as the reverse.

except those based on false axioms of the object of political action, support the giving of such help.

action tice;

is

and

to bring if

The

object of political

about results of general welfare and of

only those

who on

all

jus-

other issues have been or are

Science, Philosophy

144

and Religion

in the right can support the right side of a given issue, then clearly the right side will find few or no supporters.

which only an unsound ideaUsm will negcharacters and locations of countries. A nation surrounded by water will have to transport troops and tanks by sea to conquer other peoples, and an off-

Among

lect

the factors

the geographical

are

continental island country will have to make long flights to any but one or two of the continental countries, whereas

bomb

power can roll its tanks and armored vehicles any direction, overwhelming small nations, or putting down rebellion in conquered nations, practically overnight, or it can subject any of the other continental powers it chooses to the a mid-continental in

bombing from nearby

devastating effects of

thus centrally situated

is

bases. If a nation

also larger than its neighbors, then,

its citizens are angels of mercy and wisdom, the only hope for justice on that particular continent is that the remaining nations should combine in self-defense, until such time as the geographically most dangerous nation has come

unless

to see that position,

it

will not

be allowed to take advantage of

and has enrolled

itself as a

(or broader) federation, in to be used as a check

may show

itself.

It

upon

is,

member

its

power

of a continental

which the power of

the states

is

the will to aggression, wherever

it

all

therefore, quite unnecessary to prove

that the situationally dangerous nation

is

abnormally greedy

or politically undeveloped in order to justify the contention that

it

should be prevented from expansion by conquest, or if it has so expanded. And if it be said that federa-

driven back

tion can only be attained, in certain cases, by force,

still,

true that the last nation able usefully to play this role

very nation which, from a mihtary view, to

usurp

can be

it.

For the chief problem

made

to accept only

is

is

most

precisely

is

it

is

the

likely to try

how

that nation

rightful degree of influence,

and mere ease of military conquest will never define right so long as right means anything, any more than a big man should be allowed to rob a small one. On the other hand, an off-continental island power might be just the one best situated to compel its

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

145

power will find it too and expensive to maintain the federation by brute force, and hence will, even though without any abnormal wisdom or nobility of character, be more or less inclined to yield the continental federation, since such a

difficult

self-control to the federation as

exert

it.

soon

as the latter

(In Asia, the lack of industrialization

is

able to

on the continent

When-

gives the one industrial nation a dangerous advantage.)

ever international affairs are discussed, without regard to such

by no means

trivial

physical factors, the decisive issues cannot

be clearly grasped.

Another example of

fallacious idealism

is

the notion that,

if

only one country were to exhibit a working democracy, the

perception that democracy can be suffice to

countries. This

news

made

undermine the influence of the is

fallacious, for

sufficiently to destroy

(i)

it

to

work, would alone

dictators in their is

own

not hard to distort

much, though indeed not

all,

of the

such an exhibition of successful democracy upon the people of another country; (2) the primary charge of dictators effect of

against democracy

is

not

its

internal inefficiency, but

inability to take care of itself in a

its

alleged

world of nations competing

for power, so that the convincing counter-demonstration

must

include successful military action; and (3) it is by no means sure that in a country in which the will to resist is side-tracked

by

isolationist

arguments

will be politically possible to

have democracy. Fear, admiration in spite of ourselves of the enemies' successes, an armament race enduring for decades, the suspicion of having deserted the it

a healthy rebirth of interest in

cause of freedom, or the knowledge that

we must

await attack

enemy, when all possible allies have been eliminated, these are not very promising conditions for the sort of democratic development in question; and the list at the discretion of the

The exhibition the world awaits is democracy defending itself at last, summoning the hardihood to renounce the enjoyments of peace, in order to show that humanity is not the helpless prey of ambitious men who love power more than they dislike war. could easily be lengthened. of

Science, Philosophy

146

quite true that those

It is

should practice

it,

and

who

that, if they

and Religion seek to defend democracy do not do so, to the utmost

that miUtary exigencies permit, they will dangerously their case,

even in their

own

eyes, as

Norman

weaken

Angell (see his

Matters") and others have pointed out. In-

"Why Freedom

deed, military efficiency is by no means always increased by the suppression of hberties.Daladier was hardly made more effective in war by the fact that he used his emergency powers to evade criticism or advice. Quite the contrary, it would appear.

The advantages

of co-operative action

are not confined to times of peace,

shows, wholly unappreciated, even in in that regime, liberty

is

and freedom of criticism and are not, as Angell the German regime. But

in the interest of military efficiency,

not of political ideals. There

is only such liberty as seems necesdemocracy at war, there should be as much liberty as is compatible with war, whether or not it is necessary to it. The burden of proof will be on the suppressors of hberty, which will have its political ground independent of war. In addition, a democracy at war will, even to win, have to ex-

sary to war. In a

hibit

not

more tell

its

democracy. sence,

it

liberty than a tyranny at war, since the latter will

soldiers

To

that they are fighting for

suppose

that,

because war

is

freedom and

coercion in es-

cannot be undertaken except by discarding

all

faith

methods of political action, is to forget that coercion employed as a means against coercion is different from coercion for the sake of exploitation, somewhat as surgery is different from torture or murder. If, again, it be objected that every nation seeks power and will exploit others if it is able to, we have merely passed from one fallacy to another, this

in non-coercive

time the fallacy of non-comparative (or inaccurately comparative) estimates. In saying that a certain nation fights for ex-

and another fights against exploitation, we are not speaking of absolutes, but of relatives, matters of degree. And ploitation

it is

not purely a question of intention, but of the complex of which will determine the use to which victory would

factors,

be put, as well

as of the actual

conformity or otherwise of the

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

147

conduct of the nation with international law and agreement. Opposite to the fallacy of idealism is that of materiaUsm, the

power of ideals. Man is neither a mere thinking mere animal; he is an animal who thinks, dreams, and has antipathies and sympathies for his fellows. To call a country invincible, because it has immense armaments and a well-organized industry and army, is to forget that armies and factory workers are men, and that what men do depends upon factors other than resources and organization. Here we may discuss a dangerous form of materialism, often exhibited by those who consider themselves idealistic, the notion that to go to war is to admit that might makes right. The error is somewhat subtle. Whoever wins will have had the might, and it seems that only the might will have enabled him to win. If man were a beast, this would be true; for the strongest (or cleverest) beast wins. But "strength" in man is complex, and includes a moral factor. Military strength rests upon exertion and sacrifice, both on the field and at home or in the factory.

neglect of the being, nor a

And

while

men

will exert themselves for

many

reasons, includ-

ing the desire to be on the winning side, the knowledge, well protected against doubts by solid evidence, that one

is

fighting

and humane government and for reasonable interests of a large part of mankind as well as of one's own country, is itself a cause of might in the military sense. Thus, war as arbiter is not equivalent to mere blind or immoral force as arbiter. The will to sacrifice and to run desperate personal risks for others is not brute force, though it produces it. The objection to war as arbiter, where a better one can be obtained, is in addition to the obvious and terrible evils of war that the increment which right makes to might under a reasonably

just





may be insufficient to decide the outcome. The ultimate solution of the problem is to

organize mankind

so that might, wrongfully used, will encounter both the sense

of right and (where that does not suffice) the might of the total

community.

It will

then more and more be taken for granted

that nothing can be obtained by arbitrary force, apart

from

Science, Philosophy

148 right,

and more and more nations

and Religion will present their claims or

demands. The whose efficacy the pacifist praises, or the just arrangements of economic matters, will have their best chance to yield desired results when it is clear that mere force can no longer successfully be used by parts of the world community against other parts, no matter to what end, but only by the community against any parts which defy its rules of action. Generous offers to bandits in an anarchic society may their votes rather than their threats or their

means of moral

suasion,

only help to transform the bandits into the tyrannical rulers

and enslavers

of

all

men. Christian love did not originate

in

the midst of anarchy, and the problems of such anarchy are not

The Roman Empire was

discussed in the Gospels. international

poUce force of which

definite way, so

much

as to

stricted the liberties of the

dream

men were

of at the time,

conquered peoples

the only

able,

any

in

and

chiefly in

it

re-

ways

which seemed necessary in order to exercise its irreplaceable function. To go a second mile with a centurion was not to submit to a system of slavery which otherwise might have been avoided. Today, on the contrary, there is a definite dream of a federated Europe and world, and there is, I beheve, a definite preference among the majority of nations and the majority of individuals as to which peoples, governments and poHtical systems should, and which should not, assume the lead in realizing this

dream.

has ever been decided

It

may be questioned

—even

implicitly

—in

if

any such issue

the pure pacifist

sense by any great philosopher or any great prophet, although

good many minor prophets who would so decide Bertrand Russell, the only great philosopher ever to have advocated pacifism, regards it as inapplicable today. there are a

it.

to the contrast between the neglect of physical and the neglect of psychological and moral factors, is that between the undue emphasis upon national self-interest and the undue reliance upon international altruism. Both interventionists and non-interventionists frequently speak as though

Related

factors

a country could not conceivably fight, except solely in

its

own

Science, Philosophy interest.

The corresponding

and Religion

assertion

149

concerning

vidual, that all his motives reduce to self-interest,

the is

indi-

familiar.

This doctrine has been refuted, although the crucial phase of too little known. It can be shown that it is from interest in the interests of others as truly as one can act from interest in one's own interests. Both self-interest and altruism involve two levels of interest, the difference between which is so far from fanciful or speculative that the two may be separated by a time interval of months, years, or even centuries. There is always the interest felt and the refutation

is

possible to act

satisfied at the

we

moment

without the

live

of action or decision and, except

least

concern for the future, there

is

when

always

some interest which is expected to be felt and satisfied at some future time. Now, while the temporally earlier interest belongs to the individual whose motivation is being considered, the subsequent interest, "in" whose eventual satisfaction the also

individual

now

is

interested,

may

be either a future feeling of

which that individual looks forward to experiencing as his own, or a feeling of interest attributed expectantly to others, to posterity, for example one's children after one's own death, or one's fellow countrymen, whose liberties one hopes to buy through perhaps losing one's life. Only by confusing the two temporally distinct phases of interest has it ever been interest,

possible to

truism.

An

make

plausible the denial of the possibility of al-

expected future happiness of others gives the

self-

happiness now, but so does the expected future happiness of the self give the self-happiness

pectation

is

be by altering the the self

own

is

now, and

solely in the present, so that

future

if

the altruistic ex-

shown to be really selfish, then it can only meaning of selfish to read: the true aim of

thereby

is

as impossible as

genuine interest in one's

genuine interest in anyone

else's

Without arguments which lead logically to this reductio ad absurdum the self-interest theory will be unable to present any arguments worthy of the name, except such as prove merely that self-interest is usually more or less predominant future.

among

motives.

Science, Philosophy

150

Now,

in a similar way,

it

and Religion

can be shown that,

if

individuals

ever really act for the sake of their country, they can also,

though perhaps much less frequently, act for the sake of other and hence countries, which depend upon the motives of individuals, will themselves not be governed by self-interest as their sole and absolute law, though nations are perhaps far countries,

more

limited in their possibilities for generous

individuals. It should be an empirical

and

relative

far the interest in the interests of other nations

function in national decisions.

No

nation

is

to be so influenced

matter

how

can actually

actually totally un-

influenced by sympathies for other peoples.

ought

action than

And

ethically

it

whatever extent action in the interest of other nations can be effective without sacrifice of equally important interests in the nation's own welfare. We ought to be willing to mold our actions with some reference to

to the welfare of Europe, even beyond the extent to which it can be proved that this will redound to our national advantage.

To make

self-interest absolute, means that national sovereignty can never suffer any diminution in favor of world integration, and is, in effect, to admit the very principle of irresponsibiHty, which the declared foes of democracy profess. If we can only

serve our

and

own

nation, then that nation to us

Such idolatry

is

God

almighty

becomes those who are trying to check the ravages of the same disease elsewhere. However, it is true that each nation must be modest as to its ability to discern what is to the interest of other nations. Meddlesome good-will can be harmful in private affairs, and surely it could be so in international ones. But it is an abuse of this

all-good.

truism to declare that

more

ill

we Americans,

for example, have

no

insight into the true welfare of the Dutch, the Belgians,

the Chinese, than have the conquerors or military enemies of these peoples. For, after all, supposing the Nazis or the Japanese have leisure honestly to inquire into these matters,

and

have a sincere opinion as to them,

we

could

still

set

our opinion

on the ground that the Dutch, the Belgians and the Chinese are entitled to have their own views of their own against theirs

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

151

view of their attackand it does not appear that the "New Order" in either Europe or Asia is welcome to those upon whom it is being imposed. And in any case, while no man is so wise or good that he can ascribe infaUibility to his own view of the true welfare interests taken at least as seriously as the ers,

of others,

it

does not follow that

men

all

or incapable of wisdom, and that the

bad or mediocre

men

to settle things

badness or mediocrity.

The

are equally capable

good man should allow

by force to

vicious claim to

suit their

own

superhuman

in-

desperate measure than that of

sight can be escaped

by a

less

declaring that those

who

apparently are not even trying to

execute disinterested justice, but something admittedly very different, are as likely to

be wise and benevolent

At what point must a democratic nation attack upon a foreign nation is a threat to cause to which

it

is

committed.?

What

as ourselves.

consider that an itself or

to

some

are the principles by

which "intervention" may be justified.? How far is a nation independent of and without obligations to the larger whole of which it is a part, the world of nations? It is a philosophical axiom that the nature of the whole affects the nature of its parts.

A man

cannot be any sort of

man

he pleases, regardless

and neither can a nation. The question is, how far does this dependence go? In particular, one might ask, when is a local war not a local war, but in its implications a world war? Again, when is murder a merely private affair, and when does it concern all citizens? The two cases are, indeed, very different, but the analogy between them is scarcely a mere fancy. Perhaps the following generalizations are valid. A war is more than merely local in proportion as one or more of these conditions are realized: (a) the implied or not improbable outcome of the war is a radical shift in the control of the oceans, in the identity and nature of the dominant sea powers; (b) the war is calculated to establish of the sort of society in which he lives,

a precedent of

world-wide influence as to the chances of sucworld is economically interdepend-

cessful aggression; (c) the

ent;

(d) the communication of information about the causes

Science, Philosophy

152

and Religion

and progress of the war is sufficiently extensive so that the peoples of neutral nations will live through the affair with such vividness that their political conceptions will be poweraffected,

fully

their

sympathies

vitally

aroused,

the

face

of

things intimately changed for them; (e) one of the contestants is likely, in case of victory, to have the will and the power to

do

far

more than

the other to

promote rather than retard

development of world-democracy, the spread of selfgovernment, national and international, as devoted to the basic human rights, [(e) has been added as a result of suggestions by Professors Weiss, Demos and Lee. It sums up and completes the

the preceding principles.] It

is

the task of isolationists to dis-

pute these principles, or to show, in terms of recent history and the geographic and other facts, that they do not apply to the present case

seem,

—a task

also, that

which some will not envy them. It would no American can have the right to judge the

possibilities of isolation

without considering the

effect,

appar-

and wholly unfortunate, of American creditor and tariff policies in stimulating the growth of international antagonisms. Examples of (b) will occur to anyone reflecting upon the past decade. As to (a) it should be self-evident that the seas are not, as some appear unconsciously to suppose, politically neutral by a law of nature or Act of God. And as to ently powerful

(d)

its

importance appears to be overlooked by some of the

There is at least some degree of conflict between non-participation in international action and the free and full use of the radio and press, which makes events in other countries, no matter how distant, vie with or even surpass home affairs in interest and familiarity. It is even apparent that degrees of spiritual isolation, under such circumstances, will have a tendency to be correlated with sluggishness of imagination or insensitivity, or lack of knowledge of foreign countries so complete as to deprive the news of the sense of

ablest of isolationists.

reality. It is

have to

thus apparent that a policy of non-participation will

rely particularly

even though there

upon persons with such

may be some whose

spiritual

deficiencies,

independence

I

Science, Philosophy of world affairs

is

due rather

and Religion

to the fact that,

153

though their through

sympathies are broad, their patriotism, interpreted

is so intense as to keep all other concerns under control. Yet, though some noble and gifted souls will come under this last category, on the whole, there will be some degree or other of interventionism which will be required, if the more imaginative, informed and sensitive citizens

an

isolationist theory,

rigidly

embodied in the national pohcy. must be some degree of interventionism

are to have their conceptions

And

similarly, there

which

is

required because of the interdependence of the world

in respect to

economic

factors, sea

power, and the effect of

precedent in the violation of international agreements. Finally, it is

obvious that there will be some degree of interventionism

which action

will exaggerate the extent to at

a

given

which the world

is,

for

moment, one system. There seems no

philosophical justification for the idea that every nation

is al-

ways equally concerned with every other in whatever occurs. Such absolutes do not apply to human action. Accordingly, to give an example to an otherwise fearfully vague proposition, a philosopher should be willing to give a fair hearing to the

idea that a nation might have sufficient grounds for naval participation in a given war, yet not, at the

moment

at least, suffi-

grounds for participation in land operations, except in whatever degree, which might be minor, they were a necessary part of naval tactics. In other words, if military men are able to

cient

discern a relatively sharp distinction between a complete "shooting war" and the use of naval ships and planes to estab-

freedom of the seas for the immediate future, a philosopher need not quarrel with this distinction on some supposed ground that one is either in or not in a given war. It is precisely such lish

simple alternatives that philosophy might well teach us to suseven if recent history had not shown how far from simple the definition of "war," even of "shooting war," may be.

pect,

(e) there are many fallacies to be not do, for example, to demonstrate that both sides in the contest have committed what appear to be serious

In applying principle

avoided.

It will

Science, Philosophy

154

offenses against world democracy,

there

is

nothing

much

to

and Religion and from

this to infer that

choose between them. This

is

doubly

between two great evils may one infinite itself be a very great difference (in mathematics may be infinitely greater than another), and (2) some of the evils charged against one side may be evils which there is no reason to think the other side would correct, and which, therefore, are largely irrelevant to die issue. Example, British refusal to grant freedom to India; by contrast there is good reafallacious, for (i)

the difference

son to think Britain would correct the present oppression of the conquered European countries, but no such reason to think a victorious

Germany would

correct

it.

Another example of an

irrelevant or at least inconclusive charge

is

that the "have"

nations by that fact alone are sinners against the "have-not" nations.

To make

the charge relevant

it

must be shown

to be

probable that the have-nots will be more generous, should they by victory become the "haves," to an extent great enough to justify the terrible evils of

war. For

we cannot have

the world

torn up every Uttle while merely so that unjust privileges can

be shifted from one group to another. All groups tend to lose

by such a process. And to correct the essential evil of unjust distribution, the primary necessity is a change in economic policy, in tariffs, for example, and pohtical changes only so far as

required to bring this about.

A common

confusion

between considerations which

is

will

be relevant to the peace discussions after the war, and those

which are relevant to discussion of the question: Whose victory ought to precede such discussions? It is pathetically or tragically inept to argue about rights and wrongs, without inquiring into the question

:

Which

side, if

it

wins, will tolerate

something like a reasonable discussion of right and wrong, and which side will act with no appreciable regard to such discussion?

An

important principle, corollary to (e),

is that no national however great, can constitute a claim to trample upon most of the world in the process of rectifying such griev-

grievances,

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

155

(The hundreds of milUons of Chinese, the hundreds of miUions of Europeans and Russians and South Africans and South Americans, and perhaps Hindus, are not rightfully to be delivered to the new conqueror simply because some part ances.

and a

of one

half

hundred miUion Germans and ItaUans and

Japanese think that certain of their

own

troubles will be thereby

alleviated. Such an argument simply lacks proportion. Hence, all sound reasons for considering Germany an unjustly treated and unfortunate country (there are such reasons) do not affect the main issue, which is that dozens of countries have by that country just been treated as having no rights worth mention-

and further countries are being threatened with similar treatment. A nation which puts itself so far in the wrong can have its own wrong rectified only after the wrongs it has itself freshly committed have been put a stop to, and partially ing,

undone.)

The

foregoing does not

that peace aims should not

means rather that such discusshould be distinguished from discussion of the question:

be discussed during a war. sion

mean

Whose

victory

is

It

likely to give the better

peace aims a chance

of realization?

Of course, there are make good use of

those

who

say that neither side in a

war

and hence one should try to produce a stalemate. This means, if one is realistic, that one should try to ruin a good part of the world for a long time to come. A condition in which both sides are ready to quit, without either having attained the power to impose its major aims, would probably be a condition of hopeless exhaustion on both sides, of dire ruin. Men fight to win, as history shows, and they

will

victory,

quit without winning only under very stances.

The

British quit in their

exceptional

circum-

two wars with us because

our "victory" was not over them, or a threat to them, but merely demonstrated that retention of the colonies, as such, would cost more than it was worth. The nations today are

much more desperately important, surGermans can be convinced that they have some

fighting for something vival. (If the

Science, Philosophy

156

and Religion them

survival in defeat, this will help to induce

good chance of

any case the Nazis can be given no such assurance of personal survival as a government. If one could give such a guarantee, vi^ould it be right to do so ? In any case the Allies are committed on the point. So the thing will have to surrender, but in

to be fought out until either the Germans, or at least the Nazis, cannot go on, or until neither side can go on. The second outcome will mean the greater general ruin, with no guarantee

that there will be better peace terms.

For who

strength and courage to organize Europe }

we so wise and The question

will

be

left

We Americans

?

with

Are

so ambitious?)

of whether,

and when, and how

far, to inter-

vene should not be decided without some regard to the possibility of curtailing the

sufferings of multitudes of people by

shortening the war and freeing the oppressed

much

sooner

than they could otherwise be freed, perhaps thereby saving

them from widespread

starvation

and epidemics. There are

who

urge non-intervention in the interest of ending the war through a negotiated peace, in a situation which those, indeed,

makes side.

with the victory of the relatively unjust one might hesitate to contribute to the continuing

this identical

Now

of the fight,

if

the threatened oppression were sharply

curely localized (assuming that

it

ever can be in the

and

se-

modern

world), but where victory for the oppressor means control of a vast area, with confinement even to that area highly problematic, then lives,

it is to be remarked that, if liberty is ever worth then the removal of an indefinitely vast threat to Hberty

worth

many

removal requires. The question can the war be shortened, but how can defeat of the oppressors be hastened. To deny this is in prin-

is

as

then becomes, not ciple to

renounce

lives as the

how

liberty.

i

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

157

APPENDIX A

A

Miniature Reading List

A. N. Whitehead, "Adventures of Ideas," The Macmillan Company. R. B. Perry, "Shall Not Perish from the Earth," Vanguard Press. Norman Angell, "Why Freedom Matters," Penguin Books. Herbert Agar, G. A. Borgese, and others, "The City of Man: A Declaration on

World Democracy," The Viking Press. for Rough Waters," Doubleday Doran.

Waldo Frank, "Chart

APPENDIX B Metaphysical Foundations of Democracy historical evidence that democracy derives, in part from a metaphysical premise, the belief in a God Who loves all men, and Who wishes all to love Him in return. Greek democracy was slave-owning, hence not in the full sense a democracy. But the Hebrews and Christians saw in

There

at

is

least,

the relation of

God

to

man

a

common

factor in

To

human

beings

and Being inconceivably superior. Yet the least of men can worship God, and feel that he is precious to God. The greatest of thoughts is the one none can think and yet all can think. And this thought, so far from being irrelevant to lesser thoughts, is the sum of any meanings such lesser thoughts can have, with infinitely more

more

significant than all the differences.

wisest of

men God

is

the greatest

a mystery, a

Men

are equal before God, not because they are of God, but because all are valued by Him for their own sakes and not merely as means to the value of others. God is the ultimate concrete unity of all values, and every man, so far as he has love, is an "image" of this unity, worthy

besides.

no value

to

of respect accordingly.

There are two

difficulties

in

way of such a religious many good and wise men

the

interpretation of democracy. First,

today seem unable to believe in God. Yet they are able to

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

158 believe in

and defend democracy. They cannot be rejected from

of the democratically faithful, since it is only democratic to respect the honesty of their attitude toward religion. Atheists also are precious to God, is the religious

the

company

version of such tolerance. are w^ays of conceiving

The second

God, and our

are inimical to democracy.

The

difl&culty is that there

relation to

Him, which

God is the Supreme God depends in no way

idea that

Power upon which all depend, while upon others, makes God the absolute non-democrat, the ruler

joy

is never ruled, the one who gives but cannot receive sorrow, the wholly non-mutual or non-social Being.

who

or

Also, the notion that God's will

whom He

imply that those to

is

absolute

may be taken

to

has revealed Himself are in

men how they shall behave. In a God is on their side are claiming absoluteness for a relative human cause. That good and wise men sometimes do not believe in God is due, I believe, primarily to the fact that many theologians a position to dictate to other

who

war, those

feel

have harbored intolerable misconceptions of the nature of God, misconceptions which atheists have rightly judged unacceptable. What more natural than that men should drag

God down to their own level, even while supposing that they exalt Him? The fact that some men make a profession of interpreting God is not a guarantee that human fallibility has away from them. I shall not here attempt to argue, but do wish to state, my conviction that God, as philosophy and theology are at last coming to interpret Him, can be made eminently credible to any man of intelligence and good-will,

fallen I

or, at the

very

theologies

The second that

God

sponsor of

least,

can be

made

far less incredible

than older

made Him. is

all

difficulty

in relating

democracy

to religion is

conceived rather as a supertyrant, the lesser tyrannies than as the superdemocrat, the

usually

inspiration of democracy; or again, that

God

as the absolute,

imparts to His believers an absolutistic attitude which con-

with the

democratic tolerance and answer is that God is to be conceived as "loving" in a more genuine sense than any tyrant-conception understands, and that the absoluteness of God, so far as He

flicts

mutuality.

relativity essential to

Now my

J

Science, Philosophy absolute,

is

incommunicable

is

and Religion as

159

such to even His most

faithful believers.

Let us take the second point first. If absolute means inthere is no way in v^^hich an absolute being can impart

fallible,

absolute knowledge of himself to men. Revelation as

from God into all

human

too

is

divine, but as received by

men, above

language, a most imperfect instrument,

human. Neither the Romanist attempt

belief in the infallibility of the church,

it is

coming all

put

human,

to justify the

nor the early Protestant

attempt, apparently revived by Barthianism, to justify belief the

in

corollary

infallibility

from

of

belief in

the

Scriptures,

seems a

convincing

God. Some men may know the nature

of God better than others; but it does not follow that any man knows that nature in any aspect or implication beyond possibility of error. It

is,

I

the Protestant churches are solutistic claims

believe, well for

much

less

democracy that

inclined to such ab-

than formerly. (Some churches, indeed, for

example the Jewish, never have claimed infallibility.) The supposition that one's own group cannot be wrong on this or that matter, is a good recipe for bringing out the natural arrogance of human beings, and concrete illustrations would be easy to give.

As

from the tyrant conception to a genGod, this is made possible by the discovery that we need not choose between a merely absolute, "impassive," independent being, and a merely relative and dependent one, but that God may be conceived to have both an absolute and a relative aspect, in such fashion that He is not cut off from social, that is, mutual, relations, relations to give and take, and in the proper sense, of love. In discussing pacifism, we have defined "love" to mean taking the interto the transition

uinely social conception of

ests

of others into one's

own

sphere of interest.

that, if there are, as in fact is the case, discords ests,

It

follows

among

inter-

then such discords will, through love, become discords

it might be God. But theologians and philosophers are coming to see that the proper meaning of such terms as perfect or absolute is a very delicate matter. There is need for exact definition of the conceivable varieties of

within the loving Being, and this contradicts, held, the "perfection" of

Science, Philosophy

i6o

and Religion

perfection in order to see which,

if

any, of these can con-

function in the combination, "perfect love." Until or unless this is done, the notion of divine love must be regarded as intellectually irresponsible and equivocal. Nor is the sistently

importance of the matter for democratic defense limited to its relevance to the pacifist issue. To act energetically for an ideal in the tragic issue of war is doubly difficult, if one is forced to choose between an atheistic conception of the universe as, in

its

foundations, neutral to value and ideals, and

a theistic conception

which

of evil. In either case one

is

implicitly denies the very existence really saying that,

from the ultimate

or cosmic point of view, our efforts are meaningless.

same whether one

It is all

the

says that our efforts contribute nothing to

existence because existence as a whole

is

blind to values, or

whether one says that our efforts contribute nothing because God is perfect without our efforts, and because the perfect plus the imperfect cannot be more than the perfect alone. Thus, the denial of divine perfection and the assertion of a perfection so absolute that it cannot be increased come to the same thing for our action, the same denial that we can add an iota of value to the cosmic and everlasting. "Perfect" seems to mean the finished, made to the end. But God is the primordial or unmade Being, so he is not literally finished. What then? Well, we may say that God is "complete" in the sense that He lacks nothing He would be better by possessing, that He has as much value as possible. This means not only that nothing we do will matter, since all possible value is in any case eternally actualized, but it implies that "as much value as possible" is itself possible. This is not self-evidently valid. "As great a number as possible," is a meaningless expression, as mathematicians have proved. Why may not "as great a value as possible" be likewise meaningless? In that case, either there

is

no perfect God, or His perfection must be otherwise

defined.

There is an alternative mode of definition, which is very old, but whose accurate analysis is recent. This takes "perfect" to

mean, "superior

to all other beings,

whether actual or conceivopen whether or

able," the definition to be construed as leaving

not the "perfect"

is

such that

it

can never be superior to

itself;

Science, Philosophy whether, that

"itself"

is,

in

and Religion

an improved

"other" being. In other words, the "perfect" rivalled

by others than

rivalled. It is the

itself,

or

concerned, improve upon his

rivalled-by-others

may have two

is

would be an which is un-

that

unrivalled unless

champion whose record

than that of any competitor, but is

is

state

i6i

it

be

self-

will always be better

who may, so far as "perfection" own record. Moreover, the unaspects, in

one of which

incapable of self-rivalry, but in the other of which

it

it is

could sur-

The first aspect would poswhat we may call static or absolute perfection, the second what we may call dynamic or relative perfection, but both would be literally in accord with the definition of "perfect" as meaning "better than all others than self." In still other words, "perfect" is what "Supreme Being" becomes, if we take it to mean supreme in comparison with all possible as well as actual beings other than self, but allow at the same time that the surpasser of all others may yet, in some aspect, but not in all aspass itself and so increase in value. sess

pects, surpass itself.

Static perfection

is

"completeness"

—that

to

which nothing

could be added. Dynamic perfection involves no deficiency as

measured by any being other than the perfect, but it would admit additions as self-measured. Hence, if there is an aspect of dynamic perfection in God, our human efforts may determine some part of the increment which the divine value received from moment to moment for in respect to this aspect, God would not be immutable, though He would be strictly immutable in any aspects in which He possessed static perfection. Moreover, that God was not in all aspects statically perfect might be due, not to any defect in Him, but to the self-contradictory nature of an absolute maximum in certain aspects of



value as such.

Applying all this to our problem of "perfect love," it might be possible to give good reasons for believing that there is a cosmic love, which is statically perfect in the completeness with which it embraces, and the goodness with which it responds

to,

but which

the de facto universe forming the object of the love, is

dynamically perfect in that the

ment additions

of

new

moment

to

mo-

creatures to the universe enriches the

content, and so the beauty and joy, of the love.

To

love

all

that

— Science, Philosophy

ifn.

and Religion

both times anything existent overlooked; yet there is a different "all" each time. There are many trends in philosophy and theology today (for example, the philosophy of Whitehead) which support the eidsts

now, and

later to love all that exists then, is at

equally to love all that exists, since in neither case

is



view that such a doctrine is free of self-contradictions ^whatever mig^t appear at first glance and that it removes contradictions that have worried metaphysicians and others for long



centuries.

A

love static-and-dynamic in

within

its

own

sometimes the

its

perfection could include

content such conflicts of interest as render war lesser evil than refusal or failure of the

wronged

party to resist by force of arms. This completes our critique of

which seems

pacifism,

to evade rather than face the tragedy of

existence.

There

is

another way in which recent metaphysical results

can help democracy through the

difficult

times ahead.

The two

great errors in political thought are abstract individualism and abstract collectivism.

Man

does not

live to

equally, he docs not live merely to give

other a certain character or status.

The

What

himself alone, but

some human group or then does he live for?

good of the greatest number? But the final end must be concrete, the good of individuals, for only the individual is actual. How can the many individuals constitute one good which includes the value of each and every one of them, assigning to each his true place? For whom is the sum of ingreatest

dividual values

itself

a realized value?

There have been two attempts to answer leaving aside attempts to ignore or dismiss

this question

it.

(a) Some have held that human groups, such as nations, or perhaps humanity as a whole, are genuine organic individuals. This involves three difficulties: the evidence for it is not generally

found convincing;

it

tends to reinstate individualism on

the national level, since humanity is not a very concrete object of perception and devotion to most people, and it is in practice only a form of abstract collectivism. As to the last point, my

meaning

is that the national unity does not perceptibly include anything like the concrete fullness of the individual, but rather

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

163

life which can be made public and These are the less individual and intimate and subtle aspects of the man. Thus, the national unity lacks

only those aspects of his politically effective.

concreteness.

(b) Religion has held that, since

we

are

all

created by

God

and valued by Him, we must all contribute to some total value in the divine experience. Thus, the greatest good of the greatest number would be something concrete, a sum which was no mere sum, and yet really did include the many individual values. But the religious answer was partly nullified by being generally held in a relatively abstract or one-sided form. God was not, in fact, usually and distinctly thought of as the actual inclusive unity of values, but rather as the exclusive supreme value, cause indeed of each lesser value but not contributed to or in part constituted by

it.

God was

thought of as behind or wholly

"above" the world, not as a concrete organic unity of the world. Thus, each man felt himself related by a sort of mysterious vertical line to this mysterious "above." He was not effectively related to

God

the

life,

we are all memmembers of the body or

horizontally, by the truth that

bers one of another because

we

are

of Deity. Only the church

all

was

said,

none too convinc-

such an organic unity, and the church was something abstract and selective; it did not include all of those

ingly, to be

"neighbors" to

whom

Jesus said

we have

obligations. Attention

was further diverted from the concrete by an abstract notion of immortality.

The harmful effects of abstract conceptions in religion can be seen in two examples. There is the tendency to restrict the application of religious ethics to the non-political sphere, polthe authorities, whose power "derives from man. This combines the tyrant conception of the King of kings, subject, like those under Him, to no influence from below; and the notion that men, as they concretely are and live, are of secondary importance, since, being itics

being

God" God

left to

rather than



contaminated by the Fall, nothing much is to be expected of them, save in individual and isolated cases which must be unimportant politically. Whatever the truth expressed in the saying,

"My kingdom

is

not of this world"

may

be,

it

had

better,

Science, Philosophy

\

for the sake of both the church

somewhat and

ethics

Then ally a

and Religion and humanity, be sought in a

different conception of the relation of politics to religion.

there

is

the tendency in

all

churches, but

made

doctrine in at least one church, that whatever

is

virtu-

harmful,

one might almost say inconvenient, for the church is vicious to be slandered and attacked wherever it may with impunity be so treated, and whatever is convenient for the church is to be praised and supported, even though its name be Franco, and its crimes and incompetence be better established than its

and

merits. This

is due to an abstract conception of the immanence one visible church, as compared to His immanence elsewhere, together with an unmistakable influence of the tyrant conception of Deity.

of

God

in

The new concepts of perfection, along with other recent metaphysical discoveries second to those of no period, now

make it possible to show that there is no force in the old arguments against seeing in God the actual unity of all, to whose value, bound together by love, every individual literally contributes. Therewith the vicious errors of abstract individualism, abstract collectivism, and abstract theism, are shown to be avoidable, without any resort to "pantheism," which, as the term was understood by earlier theologians, was also an abstract or

new situation in pure metaphysics is an immense opportunity for the spiritual life of man, an opportunity, however, which will have to be made available by one-sided doctrine. This

writers, preachers,

and others better able to reach mankind than professional philosophers can do. No doubt, too, men will always differ in their ability to conceive God without resort to oversimplifying abstractions. But the way is technically open

and men

will

no longer need

to be misled

by metaphysical

experts.

In regard to the widespread notion that democracy, being allied

with the

method and with empiricism, must be upon metaphysics, certain distinctions Metaphysics is not a general method for investigatscientific

hmdered by any are in order.

mg

reliance

problems, competitive with the empirical method. Metais the study of the necessary aspects of being, and of nothing else. All contingent being is outside the province of physics

Science, Philosophy

and Religion God

metaphysics. All individual beings except

165

are contingent,

and so are all specific kinds of beings. There is even a side of God's nature that is contingent, the side which is relatively, not absolutely, perfect. Metaphysics does only two things, it describes the necessary aspect of the one and only necessary being, including the requirement that this being have some non-necessary aspects or other, and it describes what all contingent beings have in

common

(for these

common

features are necessary)

and what distinguishes them generically from the necessary being, even in its contingent aspects. This leaves for the empirical method all that science actually deals with or, if it is clearheaded, can ever wish to deal with. It leaves all contingent truths,

including

studies,

which

all

quantitative

tary to be sure, of the divine life in

Further, the metaphysical

reason and

human

its

method

democratic as the empirical in

human

laws,

collectively are building

its

non-metaphysical

to

up a

picture, fragmen-

contingent contents.

is,

in

sphere.

proper sphere, as

its

Both use the

common

experience, both are in the broadest

sense "empirical" (or based on experience) and "rational." But

while science relies on experiences of the contingent details of the world, as disclosed in visual and tactual sensations, meta-

physics interprets the generic and essential factors in experience,

such as the sense of value, the sense of unity or purpose with others, the sense of belonging to a whole, inclusive of valuefor-self

and of value -for-others.

Metaphysics and science are entirely compatible so long as metaphysicians and scientists avoid the intellectual imperialism of trying to "take over" the

domain

physics conflicts with democracy only

of the other.

when

it

And

metawith

allies itself

which, however, as I have suggested, does not logically follow from any metaphysical doctrine; or when it arrives (illegitimately) at the tyrant conception of God;

ecclesiastical absolutism,

or

when

it

follows an esoteric

historical learning,

which

method leaning

in reality has

no

heavily on minute

essential role to play

in the logical interpretation of those depths of experience

which

are our awareness of being so far as necessary; or finally,

when

the metaphysician yields to the temptation, to be

met with

everywhere in the intellectual life, to overestimate the validity of his own arguments as compared to those of others.

Science, Philosophy

i66

and Religion

Scientificism, or the attempt to banish metaphysics, has the

unfortunate for democracy, that even contingent truth

result,

meaning, and no ideal is safe from skeptical measure which is not in the same sense or exclusively relative. Metaphysics, which shows that it

loses intelligible

denial.

The

relative requires a

is necessary that accidents, some accidents or other, should happen, also shows to what, in the last analysis, they happen, and

for

which they become

objective, everlasting facts. It gives

scientific truth a dignity it

could not otherwise have, namely,

the dignity of describing portions of the history of the cosmic

Being.

which

Similarly, is

metaphysics

the measure of

all

indicates

the

absolute

value,

relative values, as well as the super-

which is the integrated ever-growing sum of them all. Without metaphysics, we must admit that we have no objective intelligible standard by reference to which we can decide between conflicting human ideals, including Hitler's ideal of ruthrelativity,

power. The rational answer to Hitler is a metaphysical one, namely, that his ideal does not lend itself to the construction of an adequate metaphysics. The cosmic Being cannot possibly less

be egoistic; for all beings must be dear to the inclusive Being by virtue of this inclusiveness. The will to power is not ultimate,

or, if

cause

it is

you

prefer, love is the ultimate

form of power be-

the only conceivably cosmic form.

putes of metaphysicians,

I

With

all

believe that in the end the

fective basis of self-criticism

man

the dis-

most

ef-

can have, the best weapon

against overindulgence in merely personal preferences and prejudices, as against those of others, the final resort of a democratic attitude,

"Can

is

to force oneself to

this principle of

make

the experiment of asking:

mine reasonably generalize

itself into a metaphysics, in competition with the other possible principles.?"

The

trouble with a merely empirical argument for an ideal

is

empiricism, the preference for factual truth over error, like every value judgment, must rest at last that, since the trust in

upon something which

is

not contingent, but

the whole contingent and relative world. therefore, simply begs the question. as an ideal are already

committed

to

is presupposed by Such an argument,

Those who accept science something which some

men

reject. It is all very well, again, to say that, since ideals are

rationally demonstrable,

we

not should be tolerant; on the contrary,

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

167

is rationally demonstrable we should impose our own preference on others. What is needed is a metaphysical basis, at least for the principle of tolerance. This basis is that none of us is God, and yet there is a God. Without

say some, since nothing try to

its

positive part, this proposition does not justify tolerance or

modesty;

no God, what is truth itself or goodness as the Nazis say? It is metaphysics own limits and the place and significance

for, if there is

human

but a

prejudice



which explains both

its

of science; whereas

more

science can explain neither itself nor

ground of alternano alternative. True, Hitler uses the word "God," but he gives no evidence of using it responsibly. He is so illiterate theologically and metaphysically as apparently to see no great difference between the Deity and himself; or at least, his followers are allowed to that non-contingent basis of contingency, that

tives to

which there

can, of course, be

The proper answer, I suggest, more reasonable metaphysics and religion for

think of the matter in this light. is

to substitute a

this

of

unreasonable one, not to issue blanket denials of the value

all

metaphysics and

all

theology.

Democracy and science are indeed allied, but they have the same metaphysical root, the sense

it

because

is

of deity.

The

only "ground of induction" anyone has been able to think of

the super-inductive

is

and Whitehead,

that suggested by Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz

knowledge of the divine unity of

all

things.

worth studying, and men are brothers, for the same reason God. Democracy and science devoloped together, as men began to substitute the concrete and social conception of

The world

is



God

for the abstract tyrant conception, or for a miscellaneous

polytheism.

It

was the overcoming of polytheism, and the

achievement of a moderate degree of concreteness in theology, as achieved

in Aquinas,

in

some ways

more

still

in

Bruno,

Spinoza and Leibnitz, that made science possible. Democracy, however, needs the

full

God. In Whitehead, first

concreteness of the social conception of

this concreteness is

made

available for the

From

time in a really great system of philosophy.

forth stinct,

men

will not have to live democratically merely

but will be able to relate their instinct to

ground.

A

sound instinct might be better than

a

its

hence-

by

in-

ultimate

bad theory of

Science, Philosophy

i68

and Religion

the ground, but a sound instinct and a sound theory best of

would be

all.^

APPENDIX C Comments Comments upon

the

first

draft of this paper have

been

re-

ceived from Professors Paul Weiss, Otis Lee, Raphael Demos, A. E. Murphy, A. C. Garnett and Oliver Martin. The two last

mentioned expressed agreement with the entire argument. Professor Murphy felt in "complete agreement with the moral and political philosophy," but not with the theological doctrines. Professors Demos and Weiss thought the theological doctrines were of doubtful relevance, and as a result, I have removed them to an appendix, and also have tried to point out some of the ways in which they are relevant to the defense of democracy. I might add that many citizens in every democracy are religious, and that for them there is bound to be some psychological relevance, at least, of religious questions to political

questions.

As a result of convincing criticisms by Professor Weiss and remark of Professor Martin's, the explanation of democracy contained on page one of the original paper has been drastically revised. I wish here to endorse the account of democracy given in Professor Weiss's own paper presented to this conference, and to add some valuable statements by Professor Demos. "I should define democracy as involving two things: government by the people, and government by reason. The first rea

^The

metaphysical

doctrine

of

God

referred

to

may

be

the last chapter of A. N. Whitehead's "Process and Reality"

millan

found in (The Mac-

Company, 1929), or expounded

in greater detail and with more marshal the evidence in the present author's "Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism." (Willett, Clark & Co., 1941. The second chapter of this book discusses the method of metaphysics.) An early approximation is Fechner's "Zend-Avesta." Pardy analogous views will be found in many recent writings of philosophers and theologians, for effort to

example, E. S. Brightman's "Problem of God," W. P. Montague's "Ways of Things," and J. E. Boodin's "God." On the relations of science and metaphysics see Whitehead's "Science and the Modern World" and

"The Function

of Reason."

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

169

quirement excludes Plato's government by philosophers; the second excludes Hitler's type of government with its 99% majorities. Now government by reason, in turn, involves two things: (i) government in accordance with the right (of justice), which is a principle of reason; (2) government by persuasion, which is a method of reason / is more important than 2; justice is the primary end of democracy, not abstention from force." Professor Demos also suggests, as an "argument for intervention," that "democracy is based on Platonic rationalism; the realistic doctrine of universal and eternal values, common to all humanity. ... In short, the right is neither personal nor racial, nor tribal." The six critics appeared to agree that absolute pacifism is not a sound doctrine. Nor did any defend "isolation." But Professors Lee and Demos thought my arguments against pacifism in.

sufficient.

absolute

Demos

.

.

argues that "the taking of

evil, for it is

human

the taking of physical

life is

life; it is,

not an

therefore,

not a matter of spiritual values (a view differing from and yet with Socrates' statement that it is not survival which is good, but honorable and just survival)." Lee questions the com-

parallel

patibility of love (the definition of

with

"God evil

and

anxious that

which he does not discuss)

we

should avoid claiming that with us" in a war. He suggests "(a) that there is moral in the world great enough to merit destruction; and (b) killing,

is

is

that human judgment is fallible." Then "(a) man at least does not automatically violate the precepts of religion in killing his fellows;

and (b) he does not arrogate

He may

to himself the attributes

war because of faith that he is right, rather than because he knows the enemy is wrong. Democracy needs a metaphysical or theological basis, and the lack of one in the modern world has been its weakness, but if theology of divinity.

enter a

.

is

.

.

invoked in behalf of wars, they will increase rather than di-

minish."

My comments Omniscient

is

would be

on

that he himself

as follows:

his side does not

is

knowledge

if

he

is

says the

clear-headed,

omniscient, even as to the attitude of om-

niscience on the point at issue. able

The man who

mean,

He means

that even the survey of

he has faith or prob-

all

creation

would not

Science, Philosophy

170

and Religion

furnish any reason in his enemy's behalf (so far as his deserving of victory is concerned) as good as the reasons in his own be-

This does not mean that God sees all the claims and rights of the two sides as any man does, but only that on the single crude question, whose victory is, on the whole, preferable. God is believed to agree with the claimant. As to love, Lee says that a man is a moral being, and hence not analogous to an arm half.

which one may

feel forced to

with oppression, conquest or a case of either



or.

Not

amputate. But the man threatened slavery, is also a moral being. It's

only does love justify the principle of

least sacrifice in case of conflicting interests,

but without love

would be meaningless, since, if we did not love our enemies, their claims would seem to us, not less than ours, but nothing at all. I do not see that one has to say the enemy is the principle

so non-moral that he ought to die as valueless or worse. One need only say that he is less deserving of continued life than are those he threatens (perhaps much of mankind), deserving either of death or of being forced to live on a low level. It is man as moral that will be injured, whether one fights or does not fight. Professor Weiss thinks the arguments for intervention are not sufficiently philosophical. I am sure they could be more so.

He

also suggests that those

"who

believe they are fighting for

found only in England and in the United States. Now I am glad to have a chance to remark that, of course, I regard the better part of the entire world as fighting in one sense or another for liberty as threatened by the Axis. But I cannot admit at all, on the other hand, that to the same their liberties" are not to be

degree the Germans believe or

make

a decent pretense of be-

lieving that they are fighting for liberty or "the

"No one kind."

I

good and true." around the cry to enslave themselves or manknow of no student of recent events in Germany who rallies

would endorse this statement as applied to the Nazis without much more severe qualifications than would be required if it were applied to the British or the Norwegians. Nietzsche (and Thrasymachus) have surely not lacked vocal followers in the Third Reich, and one reporter remarked that he could talk to Nazis for hours and never encounter an ethical idea. They have boasted of their freedom from such "prejudices and inhibitions."

And

the boast

is

not merely

idle.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

171

Professor Lee feels that, as a matter of principle, one must either intervene or stay out, though, as a matter of strategy, he

agrees with the paper that one might be justified in partial participation.

He

also thinks the issue

must be taken

as essentially

whether or not the war has a vital relation to the extension of world democracy. I agree, and suggest that the issue is simple, and that it is the existence of a new type of slave-state which proposes and, for all we can know, would be able (barring American intervention) to extend itself by force indefinitely, and thereby establish something like the extreme opposite of world democracy. I close by quoting in entirety a statement by Professor Garnett, offered "in full agreement" with the paper, as an alternasimple, and that this simple issue

tive, terse

is

formulation.

"Democracy

is

the application to politics of the principle of

equality of rights. This principle principle of the equality of

all

is

a corollary of the religious

men

before God, as children of

the one Heavenly Father.

To

physical support, but

widely maintained either as a

is

the naturalist

lacks this meta-

it

self-

evident ethical insight or as a postulate or principle justified by experience.

"Rights imply obligations and obligations imply responsibilities.

But responsibilities are

vidual.

entailed

man

relative to the capacity of the indi-

become modified by the capacity to bear the responsibilities; and equality of rights means that every

Thus

rights

has rights relevant to his capacity to

fulfill

his obligations.

Rights and duties are also relevant to station. But the principle of equality of rights

means

that differences of station should be

designed so as to secure to each person, as far as possible, the full rights relevant to his capacities.

intellectual

and moral

The

as well as physical.

relevant capacities are

Thus

crime, revealing

moral incapacity, involves relevant surrender of rights, and justifies the use of force by the state in the maintenance of rights.

And

political structure

does not depart from the demo-

cratic principle of equality of rights

of differing moral

and

when

it

takes cognizance

intellectual capacity of individuals

and

groups. But equality of rights involves equality of opportunity to develop capacities

and therefore constantly tends

to eliminate

Science, Philosophy

172

and Religion

deficiencies in those capacities that are relevant to general political rights.

"The aries.

principle of equality

The

within the state rights,

not limited by national bound-

is

logical corollary of a democratic political structure is

therefore

the

recognition of equality of

and therefore of opportunities,

as

between

states, limited

only by the relevance of rights to the capacity to bear the entailed responsibilities.

This may

justify the

temporary keeping

of certain states or territories in a condition of political depend-

ency and of others in enforced disarmament, but

it

does not

abrogate the right of the people of such states and territories to equality of opportunity. In so far as an international political is lacking, it is an imfounded on the democratic principle to seek to erect such a structure. The extension of law to any field of human behavior hitherto in a state of chaos and conflict is a restriction upon the wrongdoer but an extension of liberty

structure to secure the rights of nations

plicit obligation of states

to the rightdoer.

sary to enforce

does not exist

The

use of such

law where it but is needed,

minimum

exists, is

the democratic state to exercise

of force as

is

founded."

necesit

therefore not only a right of if it

pleases, but an obligation

implicit in the fundamental ethical principle

mocracy

is

and extend law where

on which de-

I

CHAPTER The Role By

of

Law

FRANK

E.

IX

in a

Democracy

HORACK,

Indiana University School of

SO-CALLED advancc of civilization, THE century inspired confidence and

JR.

Lmw

which

in

the

last

optimism, seems to have led us to confusion and despair. Indeed, this meeting reflects our misgivings concerning the future of democracy and

its

institutions.

The

last

century neither questioned nor examined

its

phi-

was confident that science had conquered the external world, and that law and government were natural and unchanging phenomena which insured order and security. The century had hardly ended, however, before the old philosophies and religions were challenged, the decalogue of science tumbled on its own head, and the order which government and law was supposed to have established broke into open chaos. Our day is the product of this confusion and insecurity. Philosophy and religion find hard going in a mechanistic society. Science discovers that the world is more complicated and its own answers less certain. Law and government face a fundamental challenge to their authority. Swinburne's exultalosophy or religion;

tion, all

"Glory to

it

man

things," seems an

in the highest: for

empty

boast.

Man

Our plan

is

the master of

for

government,

morality and education has failed to create a glorious era.

Despairingly religion

we

inivestigate

suggestions

for

and philosophy, some demand a return 173

reform. to

In

the old

Science, Philosophy

174

and Religion

deny the need for reHgion, and a few want a streamHned version of the old moraUty. Science, too, has had its troubles. Dr. Hooton demands a hohday for science, hoping to escape the nightmares of a

virtues; others

machine age by a return

we can

only

let

to the simple Hfe.

the pace of science continue

future will be better than the past. Others

Some

suggest that

and hope that the

demand

all

speed

ahead, in the hope that redoubled scientific effort will remedy few urge that science be the ills that science has produced.

A

turned on

man

himself, in the

hope that eugenics can produce

a super-race.

Law and government

repeat the story. Unable internally or

meet the uncertainties of finance, demands of human relations, law and government face demands for reform and new philosophies. Harding's plea for "normalcy" and the return to the simple government of Jackson appeal to many. Others want a redefinition of old principles in the light of the new complex society. Still others, abandoning hope for democratic pro-

externally to cope with force,

or provide adequately the simpler

cedure, see security in the surface comfort of dictatorship.

For good or ill, when confusion is rife, "law" has an attracand thus to law, more than to another institution, men turn for certainty and order. Consequently, the legal

tive ring;

system primarily will be responsible for the type of order that will continue in the

law

is

A

future.

proper understanding of the

therefore a prerequisite to any complete discussion of

the democratic system.

Law

is

only social order enforced by government.

presses the political

can make

life

oppressive or

racy, the function of

Law

and philosophical ideas of law

it is

can

make

life free.

to guarantee order

a

Law

ex-

people. It

In a democ-

and

justice.

can preserve order without justice or dispense justice without order. But without both order and justice the demo-

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

175

worship and

cratic ideals of free ballot, free speech, free

fair

cannot be achieved.

trial

In addition to law, society establishes other orders and in-

Thus, habit and custom, religion and morahty, and all contribute to the ordering of man's life. But in times of confusion, recourse is sought with increasing frequency to the authority of that law which society can enforce through the agencies of government. Thus, the growth stitutions.

the "laws" of science

of the law today

is

but a counterpart of uncertainty and

dis-

order.

The desire of confused minds for certainty tends to overemphasize the authoritarian quality of the law. The ability to change the law promptly and in an orderly fashion is an equally important attribute. This quahty of the law lawless

own

is

well illustrated by our

The men who founded

history.

this

own

colonial

nation were considered

—certainly by the English, and to a large extent by their

brethren in the colonies. Yet, with independence won,

they embarked

upon

the establishment of an extensive and

complicated legal order.

How

could lawless

men

place so pro-

found a reliance in the law? It was because their rebellion was not against the law itself, but against the consequences which a particular law produced. They fully understood that the system of law could fashion a society in terms of their desires.

And

this they

own

proceeded to do.

In establishing a representative democracy within the frame-

work

of a

Constitution,

certain concepts of political

insure to

them

the

colonists

sought to crystallize

freedom which they believed would government and the

the rights of representative

derivative rights of free worship, free speech, free assemblage

For them, democracy was a method and not a was the procedure necessary to make their society work the way they wanted it to work. It must be the same for

and

fair trial.

condition.

us.

Any

It

attempt to crystaUize our society in terms of the rustic

agronomy of our

forefathers

would be

as

undemocratic

as the

Science, Philosophy

1^6

attempts of George

III

to

and Religion

impose a decadent English

class

system on the robust new world. Thus, if we are to have a democracy, the law must meet the

needs of the people today

—the

needs for a

sufficient moral,

an adequate economic life, and for an orderly and free political life. The law in a democracy cannot be absolute, unchanging and inflexible. There must always be some play in the machinery. This flexibility exists in ethical

and

religious

life,

for

democracy more than in any other system of law. This is beis made by popular participation in government. Law and government are closely twined. Government is the formal machinery for making, enforcing and deciding the law. Legislators, executives, administrators and judges provide the army of officials which make law work. The operation is government; the result is law. The law itself springs from numerous origins. From customs and experience and the long record of decided cases comes the common law the inexhaustible well of principles for courts to apply. Superior to all other law is the law of the Constitution. Within its framework, the statutes and judicial a

cause law



decisions determine the minutiae of

its

apphcation to particular

cases.

In a democracy, most of lawmaking

is

entrusted to legisla-

Thus, the people, through their representatives, determine the character of the law and social control. Formally, through elected representatives, and informally, through trade, labor, rehgious and civic associations and through lobbyists, the American people have participated in determining the policy of the law. Precedent to enactment, scientists, economists and tures.

specialists in every field

assist

legislative

committees in pre-

paring accurate legislation, properly adjusted to the needs of society. After controversies and compromise, both in committee and before the legislature, the resulting statutes are

need for change. The forces of condemands for too risky and too radical experimentation. Forces of change tend to overcome the fairly representative of the

servativism tend to modify the

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

177

the common law its excessive stabiHty. Thus, legislative law, though in constant flux, tends to follow an orderly pattern and have a predictability of its own. During the process of legislation, law is but a social datum and may be changed and altered as a scientist would vary his inertia that gives to

formula. After it

it

has received the approval of the legislature,

acquires sovereign authority, and administration must en-

force

and courts must apply

it

it.

with certainty and authority, for

by those

who must

abide by

it,

At if

there

it must speak could be questioned

this stage, it

would be no order, but poHceman and the

only chaos. Thus, the principal job of the

judge

is

to

enforce the law and decide

The

legislative direction.

simple, for no legislature can foresee

human polate

it

process, of course, all

according to the is

not quite

this

the ramifications of

conduct, and so the judge must to some extent extrafrom the known to the unknown and gage as best he

can society's intent. In recent years there has been

much

controversy over the

character of the judge's function. Within the constitutional and



framework, judges must decide cases but where which legislation has not filled, the judge must be a lawmaker. He must, as Cardozo has said, act "as the interpreter for the community of its sense of law and order, must supply omissions, correct uncertainties, and harmonize ." Thus, the court that serves the law results with justice. best recognizes that rules of law which were once adequate and proper for a remote society must be abandoned for rules more appropriate to the established customs of the court's own day. The law the judges decide must, to quote Sir William Holdsworth, hit "the golden mean between too much flexibihty and too much rigidity, for it must give to the legal system the rigidity which it must have if it is to possess a definite body of principles, and the flexibihty which it must have if it is to adapt itself to the needs of a changing society." legislative

there are gaps

.

It is

.

the exercise of this delicate function that has excited

controversy. In particular cases judges have found past prec-

Science, Philosophy

178

and Religion

edents inapplicable when others would disagree. Thus, some assert that judges wield the undemocratic power to make the to the people's wishes. Others suggest that the law may depend on the judge's disposition, his heritage, or his poHtical philosophy. In short, the judge

law contrary state of the

social

and certainty to the law where meaning is often esoteric and intent uncertain. Thus, particular decisions occasionally seem arbitrary and unexpected. charged with giving both

must walk

The

flexibility

in the uncertain land of words,

true significance of the judicial process

only in terms of

its

total operation.

The

is

measurable

public generally, and

the legal profession particularly, expect certainty in the settle-

ment

of disputes. Thus, in deciding cases, judges tend to favor

the social

demand

for certainty

and leave

to

legislators

the

responsibiHty for change and growth.

no contradiction in this dual aspect of the legal Holdsworth said, the golden mean between stability and change. But, in searching for certainty, the law cannot escape the necessity for keeping abreast of the needs of society. To meet this need, we have in the past century expanded the so-called administrative process as the third important branch of the law. There has been so much misunder-

There

is

order. It gives, as

standing concerning

its

operation that a brief excursion into

its

mysteries seems justified.

The enforcement

of the

law has always been considered an

mowas beyond

executive function, and because of the independence of narchial position in earlier societies, administration

popular control. Strong-headed executives could defy

legisla-

and weak executives nullified legislative policy, even under democratic systems. But these deficiencies would not have caused a change if the increasing complexity of society had not required some agency through which legislation could be constantly amplified, amended and enforced. The creation of administrative agencies with limited power and with responsibility to the legislature was therefore an extive direction

tension

of,

rather than a curtailment of, the rule of law.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

The

179

great contribution of the administrative process has been

the introduction of

new methods

of law enforcement so that,

must obey the mandate and imprisonments which were adequate in a simple society are no longer effective, when the payment of a fine avoids compliance with the law and permits profitable but to a large degree, all persons in society

of the law. Fines

dangerous practices to continue unsuppressed.

It

advanta-

is

geous, for example, to pay an occasional $100 fine rather than install the costly

equipment necessary

for the sanitary produc-

tion of pure food.

The

introduction of preventive justice through administra-

tion tends to insure that those society

of

will

abide by

who

under the protection

live

Administration has used

laws.

its

increasingly the aids of science, psychology aids in

and economics

law enforcement. For example, although a

absorbed as a normal business expense, convicted of selling impure milk,

is

if

a

fine

milk company,

required to advertise that

by signs on its wagons, the temptation for violation tempered by the risk to profits.

fact

New

as

may be

is

sanctions for law enforcement require extensive and

courageous experimentation. Public opinion, the basic sanction in a democracy, has

been too long neglected. Can law and

psychology join to apply

it

effectively

against particular in-

dividuals? Punishment should be a last resort, not a It

first

move.

tends to destroy rather than advance democratic unity.

II

administration and

Legislation, tools

by which government seeks

society can exist. Legislature can

can enforce

it,

and courts can

adjudication to create

make

are

only

the

an order in which

the law, administrators

try cases,

but only people, so

long as our society prevails, can decide what the content of the

law will be. Thus, the nub of the question, the role of law in a democracy,

must be the

desire of the public to participate in

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

i8o

lawmaking, and the ability and the desire of the people to preserve law and government on a democratic basis. The failure of popular participation in the functions of government, except perhaps in the smallest communities, has been a deplorable defect of the past generation. This weakness challenges the democratic system. of remedying the defect will

A

more

recourse to law as a

means

toward totalitarianism than toward democracy. Democracy cannot be maintained by law or fiat. It can result only from the desire of the people for the freedoms implicit in democracy. So long as the conservatism of man produces a general apathy toward new conditions, the law can do little. It cannot outrun a cautious and diffident society. We cannot glory in the past, if we are to likely turn us

preserve the present and create the future.

Ours is not the world of Hegel or Kant, nor of John Watt, Whitney, the Wright brothers or Marconi, nor the world of Adam Smith or Karl Marx, nor the world of Jefferson or Eli

Lincoln or Wilson. Indeed a passing part. We cannot

it

is

not our world.

insist that

We

the freedoms

play but

we know

be the freedoms of tomorrow unless we are prepared to ourselves and our children to the only freedom that those in other lands know— the freedom of death. shall

condemn

In 1775,

Thomas Paine warned the thinking a thing wrong

habit of not

colonists

gives

it

that "a long a

superficial

appearance of right." In his tract "Common Sense," he inspired the colonists to reexamine the world around them and ask themselves the perplexing question, "What is Freedom.?"

He

gave them courage to find

new

concepts of freedom and to act forcefully for their achievement. The same challenge is as

We have our old freedoms—they are written down Constitution—but do they free our people or our society? Half a century ago, men were certain that the Constitution

vital today.

in the

guaranteed, in the name of freedom of contract, that every person could sell his services at any price, assume

work

as

any risk, and he wished. This freedom imposed on long hours, unconscionable risks, and paupers'

many hours

working men

as

— and Religion

Science, Philosophy pay.

Our

Constitution did not guarantee the freedom from

was only because we had not thought was plausible to argue that it was right.

starving. It

that

it

i8i

it

wrong,

This wrong thinking arose because the Constitution makers were not bothered with problems of economic freedom. The young nation was rich in resources. It was situated in an economy which required little investment, other than physical labor, to reap some wealth and a reasonable hope of economic independence. That society is gone. Constitutional guarantees, diligence, industry and capacity no longer are rewarded with economic independence, or even security, in the face of an erratic economic cycle. Individual effort is today insufficient.

Man, the

animal that he

social

has sought, through asso-

is,

men, the freedoms he could not achieve alone. If he associated himself in corporate form he frequently became an economic hero; if he joined a co-operative or union he was a threat to our institutions; but whether his status was lauded or deplored, he acted in the only way he could collectively. So pronounced was the movement, that as early as 1919 even the liberal Holmes observed, "The whole colciation with his fellow

lectivist

tendency seems to be underrating or forgetting the

safeguards in

day and

still

bills

are

of rights that

worth fighting

had for.

be fought for in their

to .

.

."

Was Holmes

right.?

Each individual sacrificed a portion of his individual freedom because it gave him more of what he wanted. In this process

men

new strength, but they also sustained unexpected The man who fought for unionism, only to discover the demands of union tribute stood between him and

acquired

losses.

that

available jobs,

doms

must ask himself whether the

collective free-

between government cannot stand

are as valuable as he thought. In this struggle

the individual and the group, law and

They must be in the thick Under law and government we

idly by.

of

it.

are trying to run a highly

urbanized, complex social machine with a loose knit poUtical

To compromise we have enacted a

engine designed in a simple agrarian century.

our

new problems with

our old solutions

Science, Philosophy

i82

and Religion

mass of legislation. We outlaw competition on the one hand and demand it with the other. We give labor strength to defend itself against capital and permit it to turn its new power to the injury of the individual laborer. We enact zoning laws, but do not clear slums or ehminate outmoded industries, for fear of destroying already decadent wealth. We sponsor pubUc welfare legislation and let industries abandon factories and strand whole communities, leaving economic and social desolation rising from the unhappy grave. Bentham's biting comment bespeaks our need for new vision and new principles:

"Adding

to the

dom enough

for

mass

in the

Augean

stable, every

—every ox that ever was put

river in the cleansing of

it

in

it;

ox had wis-

employ a

to

required, not the muscle, but the

genius of a Hercules."

The

it now must freedom from the bondage of its own Frankenstein. Many of our freedoms and some of our institutions will not survive the present world revolution. There must be new

genius of our society has built the machine;

create

freedoms,

The

new

liberties,

new institutions to take their place. The answers will be controversial.

patterns are not clear.

Ours

is

not the simple task of statute making.

create a constitution as flexible, as exalted,

and

as

We

must

fundamental

as our present one.

Ill If we possess the freedom of thought necessary to new and uncertain concepts, then we will focus our

consider inquiries

chiefly upon two issues: (i) international pohtical and economic freedom, and (2) domestic economic freedom. Grade school geography is meaningless in the twentieth century. Machines have taken significance from time and space.

The provinciahsm

they

protected

is

gone

too.

We

cannot

escape participation in the rebuilding which must follow the present world struggle.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

183

once established democratic structures in countries that that that did not possess democratic ideas. We know now assist in now must We peace. lasting a build alone will not that system poUtical a and structure economic formulating an

We

will

do for the world what the Constitution did for the Amer-

ican colonies.

Freedom at home will remain dependent upon world freedom; but the job at home is only partially finished. The poHtical freedoms have protected man from government but not from for ecothe economic system. New constitutional principles generation. this of contribution the nomic democracy must be controlled. First, the credit system must be democratically property. of concepts legal our to Credit is intimately related agrarian immobile an in formulated But property concepts were today Property land. meant English society when property

means

chiefly

promises,

intangibles,

and the prediction of

property future profits. The declining importance of physical The old structure. tax our is best illustrated by the change in an provide taxes Transaction property taxes are insufficient. ever increasing source of public finance. Physical property ownership has lost poHtical significance, but

the

control of

power which even government cannot

its

economic and

credit

resist.

has created

When

private

society and credit extension ceased a decade ago, the order of attempt to an the security of government were threatened. In money with meet the challenge, our government experimented spending. mild credit regulation, and government control,

These devices have proved control of credit.

entirely inadequate for the public

Can we not

set forth

more

equitable,

more

the needs of effective principles for credit control founded on

democratic society? for Second, our economic system has not devised means adequate distribution of consumable goods. While a constituplan for tion neither could nor should set fordi a particular

achieving a

more

effective

distributive

system,

it

should, as

and an elaboration of our present guarantees of freedom

Science, Philosophy

184

and Religion

equality, formulate a broad declaration from which legislatures can construct specific legislation.

Third, our present Constitution, as a result of bitter comartificial boundaries between the states and

promise, has set

the nation. Continuing litigation over the state

commerce

effectively

meaning

concept in a generation where business and industry

and state economic must be a reexamination of the government and the states and in character

industry.

The

of inter-

demonstrates the incapacity of isolation

is

this

national

impossible. There between the federal effects on commerce and is

relation its

recent trade barrier

movement

is

but a surface

manifestation of a deep rooted defect in governmental organization.

Fourth, the growth of large industrial and economic units, the growing segregation of farm, labor and industrial groups, and the concentration of industries into regions independent of territorial Hnes, requires the reconsideration of political representation based on the simple territorial concepts of the 19th century. Informally, group interests are represented in the policy making function of legislation through lobbyists, trade associations

and

may be that the informahty of strength rather than weakness to our legislative system. But the issue is so fundamental to both our institutes. It

this representation gives

and our economic life that structure of our present representative political

A

new

inquiries

democracy are

into

the

justified.

myriad of other broad and basic principles, all necessary democratic system wherein a majority

to the preservation of a

can achieve the social order they desire widiout destroying the freedoms and liberties of themselves and of the minorities,

flood readily to mind.

We

must have our old freedoms, but

they must be reaHties and not historical memories. New freedoms are essential. Is not the solution a new constitutional

convention? Congress, already burdened with the necessary

day to day problems of government, through legislation the broad outHnes

The Supreme

Court, although

it

is

unhkely to produce

of a

new

social order.

has vaHantly exercised

its

Science, Philosophy

power

and Religion

185

keep the Constitution up to date, cannot assume the new framework of government. A constitutional convention should best represent our modern concept of the integration of law, science, religion and phito

creative responsibiUty for a

losophy.

Today we recognize more than

are not separate bodies of

can

realize

knowledge.

the fruition of

its

own

ever before that these

No

one of them alone without the co-

efforts

operation of others.

A

constitutional convention,

composed not only of

the great

and

political leaders but the great scholars, great scientists,

great philosophers of our generation, could

match

in

fore-

and authority the Jeffersons, the Madisons, the Hamiland the Masons of our first convention. Kettering of Ohio, Landis and Compton of Massachusetts, Hoover and sight tons,

Rutledge of Iowa, Jackson of New York, of Oregon, Beard of Connecticut. could be extended indefinitely. There is no paucity

Sinclair of California,

Black of Alabama,

The

list

McNary

of great leaders today.

A

constitutional

citizen

convention

participation

convention

in

the

made no change

would stimulate nation-wide

process at

all

of government. in

the

the

If

Constitution,

it

would still be of great service. Democracy permits all of the people to participate in determining the kind of society they want and insures their ability to change it. Democracy is popularly controlled experimentalism applied to law and government. To keep our democracy, we must be receptive to change and experiment. Upon the conclusion of this war, we must be prepared to create new freedoms and new liberties large enough to support a permanent peace. Let us reecho the words of Richard Henry Lee: "Let

this

happy day give birth

to an

American republic! Let

her rise not to devastate and conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law.

The

eyes of Europe are

us to prepare an asylum where the happy the persecuted repose."

upon

may

us, she invites

find solace,

and

Science, Philosophy

i86

and Religion

APPENDIX Huntington Cairns, United I. It

appears to

me

States Treasury Department:

that, before discussing the role of

law in

would be wise to determine as precisely as may be the form of democracy under consideration. It is possible that the role of law is the same in all forms of democracy, but, if so, that point should be made and supported. For example, in the form of democracy represented by the New England town meeting, the role of law would seem to be the formulation (or description, if you believe that law is the effect rather than the cause) of relatively simple social behavior patterns. The town meeting might decide that to permit cattle to run at large in the village is disadvantageous to the members of the meeting, and an ordinance is therefore passed prohibiting it. The role of a democracy,

it

law in such a situation appears to be the formulation of rules which at least the majority will accept. In contrast with the New England town meeting, the lawmaking process in the republican form of democracy is not direcdy operated by those immediately affected by the formulated rules, but rather by the representatives of groups which are sometimes the majority and sometimes the minority. Is the role of law any different in such a case? The aim of the rule may certainly be more complex. For example, the rule may merely be the instrument by which it is intended to transform a laissez-faire economy into a controlled

economy. However, is its of a rule adopted in the role it

is

New

essentially different in the different

forms of democracy, those differences were explicitly set forth. essential difference between the role of law in a de-

would be helpful 2.

from the role England town meeting.? If the

role essentially different

The

mocracy, and

if

its role in other forms of political organization, ought also to be specified. Did the rules of the English common law in non-democratic periods of English history have a different function than in democratic periods? The rules, it will be remembered, in both kinds of periods were often the same. On page 176, Professor Horack states that the "flexibility" of law "exists in a democracy more than in any other system of

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

187

more to the nature of law in a However, it is possible that the bearing on the function of law in a

law." This observation goes

democracy than

to its role.

may have

proposition

democracy, and

I feel,

tion. Personally, I

port

it.

In fact,

it

a

for that reason, that

it

needs substantia-

am

unable to think of any evidence to supmight be aigued that the flexibility of the de-

one undesirable aspect of that form of govme that law in a dictatorship is "absolute, unchanging and inflexible." Is it not true that the English common law during non-democratic periods, such as that of Henry VIII, was as flexible as in democratic periods? 3. I think it would be helpful if Professor Horack would state what he means by "the law" since it is a word of many crees of dictators

ernment.

is

does not appear to

It

connotations. 4.

Professor

Horack suggests

the calling of "a

new

Constitu-

Convention" for the establishment of a new Constitution to establish "new freedoms'" which, he states, are "essential." Professor Horack indicates that by the new freedoms he means democratic control of the credit system; adequate distribution of consumable goods; a new relationship between the Federal Government and the states; perhaps a modification of political representation based on territoriality. Those proposals appear to me to be political rather than legal, but, assuming they fall within the scope of the paper, it is not clear why they cannot be realized under the present Constitution. tional

Robert H. Jackson, Supreme Court of the United States: I have read Frank Horack's paper on the role of law mocracy.

but

I

It isn't

doubt

if

Constitutional

doubt

if

in detail

there is

the solution of our present difficulties

Convention, is

better

as

I

J.

Professor

is

a

it,

new

Horack suggests. I Improvement

the necessity for basic changes.

made by

legislation,

yet exhausted that resource as a

Albert

in a de-

easy to find points of disagreement with

Harno, College

know Mr. Horack

of

and certainly we have not of improvement.

method

Law, University

very well, and

I

of Illinois:

also

know

his views. I

find myself quite in agreement with him.

There is one point I should wish him to reconsider. On page he makes this statement, "A recourse to law as a means of

180,

Science, Philosophy

i88

and Religion

remedying the defect will more likely turn us toward totalitarianism than toward democracy." This view appears also in other parts of his paper. It is my view that law and the resort to law are basic to a free society. When a people gets away from being governed by law and from a willingness to submit to law, then it is likely to travel the route toward totalitarianism.

Wiley Rutledge, United

States Court of Appeals:

Certain of Professor Horack's assumptions on factual observations must be accepted. We have come, in our struggle to achieve

democracy, not from certainty, but from hope, faith and confidence in the future to doubt and distress bordering despair. There is in us an unwanted lethargy. We are divided between our wants and hopes and our fears. We hold emotionally to old certainties and chances which we know, but refuse to acknowledge are ghosts of the dead. We reach out for new ones which

we

think

them

may

take their places, but

for fear they

may

we

are afraid to grasp

displace the old ones.

We

are divided

American heart. We want England to win. Yet many of us want no hand in helping her to do so, and few want to do this with both hands and both feet. We want all the comforts and gadgets of machine production. But we also want all the in our

freedoms of pioneer or agrarian society. We grab the gadgets and try to assert the freedoms which went out when they came in. We want local self-government and national old age and unemployment security. We want guns, and planes, and tanks, and ships and we also want the unqualified right to strike. We want to keep what we have; yet we don't want to fight to keep it. In short, there's division and conflict in our national soul. The first problem, therefore, is not that of law, as an institu-



all, as Horack says, that is but a works out the ideals of its spirit. It is rather one of creating or recreating in the national heart a hope to replace its present despair, a confidence to overcome its doubt. That is a problem of the statesman-priest. For the great-

tion of social control; for after tool by

which a

society

est of statesmen is the greatest of priests to his people. He approaches divinity in his power to bring hope from despair, confidence from doubt; assurance from uncertainty in short, the



sense that

life is

worth living and fighting to

live.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

189

People need this more than they need democracy as we have it. They need an it or any other nation has known thought and their ideal, a goal, a direction, which colors all have this, they If surely. but perhaps, feeling— subconsciously,

known

and believe

it

or

some

of

it

can be achieved, they can survive

But any temporary tyranny. The task is essentially religious. do they as in it, fail when the organized institutions of religion they spread thin the spiritual diet of the people, and the only a greater soul of the nation, as of its men, becomes sick, in the leader like Lincoln can restore their souls and lead them thempaths of righteousness, the ways of right feeling within

when

selves

and toward the universe.

view, therefore, the first task of government, which is renew or inseparable from law but not the same thing, is to That is themselves. create the faith of the people in itself and In

my

easier to point out than to It is

do or

to blue-print.

partly a matter of statesmanly preaching.

Men must

be

moved by the spoken ideal, the vision stated. The fire of faith million, when it burns flashes from one heart to a hundred unlighted or only smolbut all, brightly from a fuel hidden in opens up when we hearts our of otherness dering in most. The each wants for what of merely not together, think speak and malice fades himself, but of what all want for each other. The brings them people his away when the leader, not the driver, of all

in unison to think

and

feel the

a common cause and hope. But preaching is dangerous,

thoughts and aspirations of

if it is

only that. Better not be

up to see than have vision turned mirage. Works must government follow, and confirm, faith. And in this, law and life they democratic In part. testing the says, have, as Horack people. Only are the only institutions which belong to all the lifted

through them can each there is no democracy.

man

have his

say.

And

if

he has none,

government says, the eternal problem of law and of tradition and future, and past of adjustment right the is this change, of precedent and breaking from it. Ordinarily,

As Horack

means adding new rooms to the old house. Occasionally, and perhaps now or soon, it means building a new one. No government in history, democratic or otherwise, has had imposed upon

190

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

it the strains of ours and others of our time. That's because none ever existed before in a neon-lighted, chromium-plated age, to borrow the characterization of a recent high school graduate.

and external dangers have come simultaneously, and the old structures of law and government have been too simple and too slight to meet them. Some nations have junked their old machines, and tried to build new, stream-lined cars. Others have only tinkered with the jalopies. We've tinkered, Internal

but we've

also

made

substantial repairs.

Horack now suggests

should turn the old car in and get a

new

that we one. But apparently he

doesn't want

it stream-lined. He wants one which will look like the old car, but run a lot better. Not so fast and so far as the Hitler model— one with more and better brakes.

so

much body and

so little

power

as Mussolini's

Not one with product of '40

and

'41, nor one that creaks along like John Bull's. He'd cut out the single seats, or reduce them to a minimum, and put in more

compartments. There would be no private facilities— or few— but there'd not be such a jam in the end of the car in the morning.

He's right that many, perhaps most, of the old individual freedoms are gone. That's especially true of the economic ones. The man unorganized today is lost— that way. And what he has to say, what he thinks, what he believes, does not count too much except at the ballot box. Free speech doesn't mean just a chance to talk to yourself, after going to bed or while wander-

mg

alone along the street.

others.

The man

It

means

in the street hasn't

a chance to be heard by

many chances

to talk over

the radio; there's only one Rochester. With only the rarest exceptions, one is listened to today, either by groups of which he's a member or affiliate, or by groups because he has acquired place or power in other organized institutions. Try talking on the street corner anywhere but Jersey City, without a mayor's permit. Individualistic democracy, as we have

known

large, has

gone

It

ically, culturally,

quite

comp

went because we organized

by and econom-

it,

ourselves,

educationally, philanthropically, almost

etely, as

men

in groups, not just as

if

not

men. The orcome through government. It came in spite of It. Witness Sherman-of '94, not '62. Government stepped in only to provide the legal forms of incorporation, and later to ganization didn't

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

191

encourage the formation of unions to counteract and check them. All this Horack recognizes. And he recognizes the basic consequences. Individual freedoms those of men as unorganized units— are passing. Group freedoms are replacing them. These, and the freedoms of the individual within the group, are the freedoms of the future. freedoms may be. If It's time, therefore, to think what these within they are alternated too much, whether for the group or



it (I

speak

now

of the significant that are

groups, though those important), there can be no

real,

and

especially the

intellectual also

are

economic basically

no new democracy. But

if

the

can find a real place within his essential groups, and if those groups can find a real place within the community, we can maintain a democratic structure one essentially the individual

man



opposite of totalitarian organization.

The

individual will stand,

not alone as the pioneer, but also not with everyone as the pupand pet of the state. The group will stand, not as a mere loose governof master the as not also but unimportant aggregation,

ment and

all

the people.

Those of us who

ideas and ideals of Rousseau,

Thomas

are devoted to the

Jefferson,

Adam

Smith,

and a later namesake, may not like this kind of democracy. But have to live with, if we it's what we've created and it's what we machines, as we will. multiply to and with work continue to Furthermore, it's better than any form of totalitarianism yet devised.

Horack points out the basic fact, but he does not consider some of its problems. For instance, can we have "one big union"? Is industrial unionism, in this view, a threat to democratic institutions?

How

about two big parties, and only two?

some of our biggest corporations? These are questions which the democrat of the future must face. We've hardly begun to deal with them. Horack is right, too, that government must be reorganized guarantee the to control the new institutions adequately and to

What

of

freedoms. Just when or how cannot be blue-printed. He throws out illustrative suggestions— credit, distribution of goods, federal-state relations. In the latter two respects, I agree

new

with his views. No one yet knows the answer to better distribution, whether

192

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

he be Adam-Smithite, public spender but not

communist or what

not.

socialist, socialist,

We

don't want absolutely equal distribution. That's both impossible and totalitarian. But we want

better distribution.

How? Horack

doesn't say, nor of course do I agree. It must be had, un-

But he believes it can be had, and less the whole productive system is .

must be democratically the future

is

to be

to crack up.

controlled. Certainly,

one of

credit.

But credit

is

if

He

says credit

the system of

essentially debt.

Does he contemplate indefinite perpetuation of a system based on private debt? Going as far as he does in other respects,

there not be

minded

that

some

other, better

we can

visualize

may

way? Have we become so creditno democratic society not built

on debt? Whether so or not, need we exclude consideration of other possibilities? Might not debt be restricted or reserved for

public financing, perhaps also that of the larger institutions of social security, devising some other means of private consumption? Perhaps debt, like the poor, will be always with us Cer-

tainly, It will

be for a time yet unknown. And democratic confor a period of transition, however far distant or longcontmued, must be regarded as essential. But if a system of adequate distribution of consumable goods trol

can be devised be always upon a basis of consumption against future earnings?

must

As

It

to federal-state relations, I think

Horack is looking into believe he's right. Forty-eight agencies of economic control, over and above the only one capable of orthe far future, but

I

ganizing and making the system work. They can, eventually but clog It. Federation has its values for preserving democracy. Overdoing it destroys the system. In my view, it would be worth trying a federated system with longer and fewer units than we now have. New England, the Central States (N.Y., ^'"''"^' ^°"^^"'^"' ju\ru< Mich.), ^^--i'i""'^ Middle West, Southwest,

C^^t^^l (Ohio, Ind., Northwest, Rocky Mountain, Facific-or some such regional arrangement. There are economic as well as other differences III.,

still reflected in these regional lines But they are hardly important as between states withm a single region. Savings in state government costs, uniformity of law and of its administration, everything, in fact, but tradition and state pride argues for such a change, and soon

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

But

I

suspect

it

will not

come.

If necessity requires,

193 the Fed-

and exercise the powers the states have had in a simpler age. That is the easier way, the more gradual and less perceptible one, and psychologically the more accepted and acceptable one. The states are shrinking and will continue to shrink. Mass production and distribution have dictated that. But that they can be wiped out or reorganized in some such manner as has been suggested is eral

Government

will continue to take over

hardly possible within the visible future. I think, therefore, that Horack's suggestion of a constituhighly desirable, but highly impractical. have a part in one, and it is an honor to be his suggested participants, though here again

tional convention It

would be fun

included

is

to

among

Horack has nodded. But it will not be. Other things more disruptive may come. This is too sensible to do so. Finally, before we solve these problems, we have the more immediate one of keeping a world in which they can be solved, consistently with creating and maintaining the democracy of the future. But Horack did not deal with that. Neither shall I, except to say that tion for

we

should use the present period of prepara-

what may come, and,

if

it

comes, the future one of

active war, to lay the foundation, in part at least, for

the things

which must and

M. T. Van Hecke, School

of

will

come

some of

afterward.

Law, The University of North Carolina:

myself in general agreement with what Professor Horack says. But most of it, for the purposes of your conference, is too descriptive and trite and not sufficiently provocative. I

find

Instead,

I

wish Mr. Horack had considered such questions

as the following:

(i)

To what

extent

is

the role of law in a democracy essen-

law under a monarchy or a dicand method of the law will differ, but will not its fundamental role be the same, namely, that of an instrument to effectuate the policies of the dominant group (2) Is not the legal profession an undemocratic institution.? Superficially, it might appear that the answer is "no," for, theo-

tially different

from the

role of

tatorship? Perhaps the content

Science, Philosophy

194

and Religion

may select his own attorney. But are community served when those in the lower income brackets must go without legal service, save from retically,

every individual

the best interests of the

ambulance chasers and legal aid clinics, and when the bar as a whole places client-caretaking and the furtherance of private interests above the public welfare? If, as Mr. Horack correctly states, the law in a democracy must meet the current needs of the people, will not the bar have to change its functions and status to approximate those of a public agency? (3) Are not our courts undemocratic institutions? Superficially, again the answer is "no," for, theoretically, they are open to all, the parties are represented by their own counsel, the judges and prosecutors are usually publicly elected, and the right of trial by jury

is

zealously safeguarded. But, save for ex-

ceptional instances, the judicial personnel

is

less

competent

than the upper third of the bar and in most courts, is confined to the role of an umpire between warring contenders. And the adversary system of

trial

puts a

premium upon

the tactics of

concealment, trick and surprise. Does not the furtherance of the role of law in a democracy require that the public law of-

be recruited from the best elements of the legal and second, empowered to function effectively as judicial administrators? The new federal rules, with their provisions for discovery and pre-trial sifting of the issues, go a long ficers, first,

profession,

way

in the latter direction.

Horack is at his best when dealing with legislation. wish he had spoken more definitively of the use of law as a creative force in society as distinguished from a restrictive or regulatory control. Just here is where law can contribute most. Yet law schools and the bar have directed their interests mainly toward adjudication. The primary impetus toward creating a better way of- life through law has come from outside the legal profession, and only a handful of legislators and specially trained draftsmen and administrators have been available to furnish the necessary techniques. Mr. Horack's case book on (4) Mr.

But

I

"Legislation" will help to develop a bar capable of helping in this creative process. fields as

The

gains of the last forty years in such

workmen's compensation,

relations point the way.

health, housing

and labor

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

195

Professor Horack: Indeed,

it

seems to

me

that the

comments

are fulfilling

expectations, that an outline of the general problem elicit

the specification of

paper

itself

many

ideas

which would make the

too long and too detailed for elaboration.

interested in the reaction of

own

I

most of the commenters

the idea of a constitutional convention.

well our

my

would

I

think

it

am

very

resisting

illustrates

uncertainty about the type of government and

law we wish, and thus we take the easier course of hoping that we will achieve what we wish by day to day rationalizations and adjustments.

CHAPTER X Pluralism and Intellectual

By

Democracy

ALAIN LOCKE

Howard

University

WHEN

WILLIAM JAMES inaugurated his all-out campaign though radical empiricism and pragmatism were his shield and buckler, his trusty right-arm sword, we should remember, was plurahsm. He even went so far as to hint, in a way that his generation was not prepared to understand, at a vital connection between pluralism and democracy. Today, in our present culture crisis, it is both against intellectual absolutism,

timely to recall

ponder over In the

this,

and important,

several reasons,

to

come forward again

in

for

it.

first

place, absolutism

new and formidable

guise,

has

social

and

political

with their associated intellectual tyrannies

dogmatism and uniformitarian

universality.

of

We

forms of

it,

authoritarian

are warrantably

alarmed to see these vigorous, new secular absolutisms added to the older, waning metaphysical and doctrinal ones to which

we had become somewhat

inured and from which, through and the scientific spirit, we acquired some degree of immunity. Though alarmed, we do not always reahze the extent to which these modern Frankensteins are the spawn of the older absolutistic breeds, or the degree to which they are inherent strains, so to speak, in the germ plasm of our science

culture.

In the second place, in the zeal of culture defense, in the effort to bring

about the rapprochement of a united front, 196

we

— Science, Philosophy

do not always stop

and Religion

to envisage the

197

danger and inconsistency

of a fresh crisis uniformitarianism of our own. There exists, fortunately, a sounder sibihty

of a

and more permanent

alternative, the pos-

type of agreement such as

pluralistic base.

Agreement

of this

would, accordingly, provide a

may stem from

common denominator

flexible,

a

type

more democratic nexus,

a unity in diversity rather than another counter-uniformitarian-

ism.

Third, we should realize that the cure radical empiricism proposed for intellectual absolutism was stultified when it, itself,

became

arbitrary

and dogmatic. With

behaviorism, positivism, and what not



its

it fell

later variants

increasingly into

the hands of the empirical monists, who, in the cause of scien-

squeezed values and ideals out completely in a Not all the recalcitrance, therefore, was on the side of those disciplines and doctrines, which, being concerned with the vital interests of "value" as contrasted with "fact," are after all functionally vital in our intellectual tific

objectivity,

fanatical cult of "fact."

and tradition. Today, we are more ready to recognize them and concede these value considerations a place, though not necessarily to recognize or condone them in the arbitrary and life

authoritarian guise they

dicating

some

of

its

still

too often assume.

encouraging to see empiricism abformer arbitrary hardness and toning down

In this connection,

it

is

toward the more traditional value disciplines. This is a wise and potentially profitable concession on the part of science to the elder sisters, philosophy and religion, especially if it can be made the quid pro quo of their renunciation, in turn, of their dogmatic absolutisms. The adits

intransigent attitudes

mirable paper of Professor Morris, prepared ference, does just this,

I

think,

for

this

by redefining a more

con-

liberal

and humane empiricism, which not only recognizes "values," but provides, on the basis of sound reservations as to the basic primacy of factual knowledge, for reconcilable supplementations of our knowledge of fact by value interpretations and even by value systems and creeds. This reverses the previous

Science, Philosophy

198

and Religion

tactic of empiricists to deny any validity to values and so to create a hopeless divide betw^een the sciences of fact and the

Here again, in this more liberal empiricism, plurahsm, and particularly value pluraHsm, has a sound and broadly acceptable basis of rapprochement to offer. Such rapvalue disciplines.

prochement being one of the main objectives as well as one of the crucial problems of this conference, it is perhaps relevant to propose the consideration of pluralism as a working base and solution for this problem. This would be all the more justified if it

could be shown that plurahsm was a proper and

congenial rationale for intellectual democracy. James, pluraHstically tempered, did not take the position, it is interesting to note, which many of his followers have taken. He did propose giving up for good and all the "game of

metaphysics" and the "false" and categorical rationahzing of values, but he did not advocate sterilizing the "will to believe" or abandoning the search for pragmatic sanctions for our values. As Horace Kallen aptly states it, "James insisted that each event of experience must be acknowledged for what it appears to be, and heard for its own claims. To neither doubt nor behef, datum nor preference, term nor relation, value nor fact, did he concede superiority over the others ... He pointed out to the rationahst the co-ordinate presence in experience

much more than reason; he called the monist's attention to the world's diversity; the plurahst's to its unity. said to the materiahst: You shall not shut your eyes to the immaterial; of so

He

You shall take cognizance also of the nona rationahst without unreason; an empiricist v/ithout prejudice. His empiricism was radical, preferring correctness to consistency, truth to logic."^ I do not quote for to the spirituahst:

spiritual.

He

was

complete agreement, because I think we have come to the point where we can and must go beyond this somewhat anarchic pluralism and relativism to a more systematic relativism. This becomes possible as we are able to discover through objective comparison of basic human values certain basic

equivalences

^"William James and Henri Bergson," pp. 10-11.

Science, Philosophy

among them, which we may

and Religion

warrantably

call

199

"functional con-

outmoded catestants" to take scientifically the place of our However, the "universals." goricals and our banned arbitrary values invahdate to intend not present point is that James did creeds abolish to or categoricals in his attack on absolutes and dogma. Nor was he intent on deepening the divide in assailing

between science, philosophy and religion: on the contrary, he was hoping for a new rapprochement and unity among diem, metaonce philosophy and religion had renounced absolutist its dogmatisms. seen, such rapprochement possible? As we have already concessions. make only if empiricists and rationahsts both provide, Further, these concessions must be comparable, and

physics and Is

workable base of contact. From either side this And lest the concession proposed for the value

in addition, a is

difficult.

disciplines

seem unequal or unduly

great, let us

make note

of

from the point the fact that it is a very considerable concession, the scientific of view of orthodox empiricism, to concede The materiahsm. monism of mechanism, determinism and makes for values, scientific point of view, by making a place complementary obviously the concession of plurahsm. In a should make concession, the value discipHnes, it seems to me, asks that they the concession of relativism. Frankly, this absolutes, not as values or even as preferred

dethrone their

values, but nonetheless as arbitrary universals,

whether they be

forms of the

state or society,"

"sole

ways of

salvation," "perfect

interpretation. Difficult or self evident intellectual systems of value systems, once as this may be for our various traditional with one another, they do so, they thereby not only make peace

but

make

also

an honorable peace widi science. For, auto-

interpretations of matically in so doing, they cease to be rival of science to function the is it which reality that objective versions of monopoHstic or explain, and analyze, measure is, similarly, the busiit which experience, and nature

human

ness of social science to record

Such

value pluralism, with

and

its

describe.

corollary of relativity, admit-

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

200

tedly entails initial losses for the traditional claims and prestige of our value systems. But it also holds out to them an effective

pax romana of values,

and more permanent

greater

v/ith

eventual gains. It calls, in the first place, for a resolving or at

an abatement of the chronic internecine conflict of competing absolutes, now so hopelessly snared in mutual contradictoriness. Not that there must be, in consequence of this

least

view, an anarchy or a complete downfall of values, but rather that there should be only relative and functional rightness, with no throne or absolute sovereignty in dispute. relativistic

To

intelligent partisans, especially those

who

can come within

hailing distance of Royce's principle of "loyalty to loyalty," such value reciprocity might be acceptable and welcome. As we shall see later, this principle has vital relevance to the

question of a democracy

of values,

which

basically

whole entails

value tolerance.

There would also be as a further possibiHty of such value relativism a more objective confirmation of many basic human values, and on a basis of proof approximating scientific validity. For if once this broader relativistic approach could discover beneath the expected culture differentials of time and place such functional "universals" as actually may be there, these common-denominator values would stand out as pragmatically

confirmed by

common human

experience.

Either

their

ob-

servable generality or their comparatively established equiva-

lence

would give them

status far

beyond any "universals" merely

asserted by orthodox dogmatisms. justification

would then not be

cepted scientific criterion of proof

human

And

the standard of value

so very different

—confirmable

from the

ac-

invariability in

and most prized "universals" would reappear, clothed with a newly acquired vitality and a pragmatic vaHdity of general concurrence. So confirmed, they would be more widely acceptable and more objectively justified than would ever be possible either by the arbitrary fiat concrete

experience. After an apparent downfall

temporary banishment,

many

of our

of belief or the brittle criterion of logical consistency. Para-

/

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

201

doxically enough, then, the pluraHstic approach to values opens

the

way

to a universaHty

and

objectivity for

them quite beyond demands

the reach of the a priori assertions and dogmatic

which characterize

More toward

their rational

and orthodox promulgations.

important, however, than what this view contributes a

realistic

understanding of values, are the clues

it

and consistent way of holding and advocating them. It is here that a basic connection between pluralism and intellectual democracy becomes evident. In the pluralistic frame of reference value dogmatism is outlawed. A consistent application of this invalidation would sever the offers for a

more

practical

trunk nerves of bigotry or arbitrary orthodoxy line,

all

along the

applying to religious, ideological and cultural as well as

and social values. Value profession or adherence would need to be critical and selective and tentative (in the sense that science is tentative) and revisionist in procedure rather than dogmatic, final and en bloc. One can to political

on

that basis

visualize

the

difference by

saying that with any articles of

would need independent scrutiny and justification and would stand, fall or be revised, be accepted, rejected or qualified accordingly. Fundamentalism of the "all or none" or "this goes with it" varieties could neither be demanded, expected nor tolerated. Value assertion would thus faith,

each

article

be a tolerant assertion of preference, not an intolerant insistence

on agreement or finality. Value disciplines would take on the tentative and revisionist procedure of natural science. Now such a rationale is needed for the effective implementation of the practical corollaries of value pluralism

and value

—tolerance

and one might add, as a sturdier intellectual base for democracy. We know, of course, that we cannot get tolerance from a fanatic or reciprocity from a fundamentalist of any stripe, religious, philosophical, cultural, political or ideological. But what is often overlooked is that we cannot, soundly and safely at least, preach liberalism and at the same time abet and condone bigotry, condemn uniformitarianism and placate orthodoxy, promote tolerance and harbor the reciprocity,

Science, Philosophy

202

seeds of intolerance.

and Religion

suggest that our duty to democracy on

I

the plane of ideas, especially in time of

of just this problem and

crisis, is

some consideration

of

the analysis possible

its

solution.

In this connection that

we

are for the

at the core of

may

that this tions of

it is

necessary to recall an earlier statement

most part unaware of the

many

latent absolutism

and of the

of our traditional loyalties,

fact

very well condition current concepts and sanc-

democracy. The fundamentalist lineage of "hundred

per-centism," for

all

only too obvious.

It is a

its

ancient and sacrosanct derivation, heritage and carry-over

from

is

religious

dogmatism and extends its blind sectarian loyalties to the secular order. So hoary and traditional is it that one marvels that it could still be a typical and acceptable norm of patriotism, Equally obvious

political or cultural.

the secular

dogma

of

"my

is

the absolutist loyalty of

country, right or wrong." Such

instances confront us with the paradox of democratic loyalties

conceived,

absolutistically

dogmatically

democratically practiced. Far too

much

sanctioned

and undemo-

of our present

and practice is cast in the mold of such blind and en bloc rationalization, with too many of our citizens the best of democrats for the worst of reasons mere conformity. Apart from the theoretical absolutistic taint, it should be disconcerting to ponder that by the same token, if transported, these citizens would be "perfect" Nazis and the cratic creed

loyalty



best of totalitarians.



come to less obvious instances our democratic tolerwhose uniqueness and quantity we can boast with some warrant, seems on close scrutiny qualitatively weak and unstable. It is uncritical because propagated on too emotional and too abstract a basis. Not being anchored in any definite But

ance

to

—of

intellectual base,

challenge.

Some

indifference

and

quainted with

when

it is

is

too easily set aside in time of stress and

tolerance only in name, for

laissez faire rationalized.

how

it

may blow away

We

are

it

all

is

simply

sadly ac-

in time of crisis or

challenged by self-interest, and

how under

break

stress

we

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

203

all, unreasonably biased in favor of "our be the mores, ideas, faiths or merely "our

find ourselves, after

own," whether

it

crowd." This

a sure sign that value bigotry

is

deep-rooted there.

Under

is

the surface of such

some unreconstructed dogmatisms

lie,

somehow frail

still

tolerance

the latent source of the

emerging intolerance. This is apt to happen to any attitude lacking the stamina of deep intellectual conviction, that has been nurtured on abstract sentiment, and that has not been buttressed by an objective conception of one's own values and loyalties.

Democratic professions to the contrary, there is a reason for shallow tolerance, this grudging and fickle reciprocity, this blind and fanatical loyalty persisting in our social beall this

Democracy has promulgated these virtues and ideals and habits of thought has not implemented them successfully. First, they have been based on moral abstractions, with vague sentimental sanctions as "virtues" and "ideals," since, on the whole, idealistic liberalism and good-will havior.

zealously, but as attitudes

humanitarianism have nursed our democratic tradition. Rarely have these attitudes been connected sensibly with self-interest

bound up with

toward one's been the case, a sturdier tolerance and a readier reciprocity would have ensued, and with them a more enlightened type of social loyalty.

or realistically

own

position and

But

a

its

values.

more enlightened

a perspective turned

Had

this

loyalty involves of necessity a less

bigoted national and cultural tradition. Democratic liberalism, generation and by its and philosophical tradiof democracy too closely to author-

limited both by the viewpoint of

its

close affiliation with doctrinal religious tions,

modeled

its

itarian patterns,

rationale

and made

a creed of democratic

principles.

For wide acceptance or easy assent it condoned or compromised with too much dogmatism and orthodoxy. Outmoded scientifically and ideologically today, this dogmatism is the refuge of too much provincialism, intolerance and prejudice to be a healthy, expanding contemporary base for democracy. Our democratic values require an equally liberal but also a

Science, Philosophy

204

and Religion

more scientific and realistic rationale today. This is why we presume to suggest pluralism as a more appropriate and effective

democratic rationale.

We

must

own particular institutions and own specific values, and we could were desirable, uproot our own traditions and

live in

terms of our

mores, assert and cherish our not,

even

loyalties.

if it

But that

is

no

justification for identifying

them en

bloc with an ideal like democracy, as though they were a perfect

concept itself. So the minds from such hypostasizing, from its provincial limitations and dogmatic bias, is by way of a relativism which reveals our values in proper objective perspective with other sets of values. Through this we may arrive at some clearer recognition of the basic unity or correspondence of our values with those of other men, however dissimilar they may appear on the surface or however differently they may be systematized and sanctioned. Discriminating objective comparison of this sort, using the same yardstick, can alone give us proper social and cultural scale and perspective. Toward

set of architectural specifications for the

only

way

this

end, value pluralism has a point of view able to

of freeing our

lift

us

and ethnocentric predicaments which are This should temper our loyalties involved. without exception intelligence tolerance and scotch the potential fanatiwith and lurk under blind loyalty and which otherwise cism and bigotry dogmatic faith in our values. We can then take on our particular value systems with temperate and enlightened attachment, and can be sectarian without provincialism and loyal

out of the egocentric

without intolerance. Since the relativist point of view focuses in an immediately

own group no rare and distant principle, but has, once in-

transformed relationship and attitude toward one's values,

it

stated,

practical progressive

has

is

applicability

more chances thus of becoming

to

everyday

life.

It

Most importhe form that

habitual.



it breaks down the worship of dangerous identification of the symbol with the value, which is the prime psychological root of the fallacies and errors we

tantly perhaps,

— Science, Philosophy

have been discussing.

We

and Religion

might pose

205

an between the symbol and form of its loyalty and the essence and objective of that loyalty. Such critical insight, for example, would enlightened value loyalty that

it is

it

as the acid test for

able to distinguish

recognize a real basic similarity or functional equivalence in other values, even difference. superficial

when cloaked

in

considerable superficial

Nor, on the other hand, would it credit any merely conformity with real loyalty. And so, the viewpoint

equips us not only to tolerate difference but enables us to bridge divergence by recognizing commonality wherever present. In social practice this

is

no

scholastic virtue;

it

has high practical

premium upon equivalence not upon identity, calls for co-operation rather than for conformity and promotes reciprocity instead of factional antagonism. Authoritarianism, dogmatism and bigotry just cannot take root and grow in such intellectual soil. Finally, we may assess the possible gains under this more consequences for democratic

living, since

it

puts the

pragmatic and progressive rationale for democratic thought

and action

briefly

under two heads: what these fresh and

stimulating sanctions promise internally for democracy on the national front

and what they require externally on the interwhat is vaguely all too vaguely



national front in terms of styled world democracy.

For democracy in its internal aspects, much of pluralism's would consist in a more practical implementation of the traditional democratic values, but there would also be some new sanctions and emphases. So far, of course, as these things can be intellectually implemented, new support would un-

gains

questionably be given to the enlargement of the democratic life,

and quite

correction of

its

as

importantly,

some concern taken

aberrations and abuses.

particular impetus needs to be given

On

for

the

the corrective side,

toward the liberalizing

more effective proand integration of minority and non-conformist groups,

of democracy's tradition of tolerance, to tection

for the protection of the

majority

itself

against illiberaUsm,

bigotry and cultural conceit, and toward the tempering of the

Science, Philosophy

2o6

quality of patriotism tioiis,

the

put

already

and sub-group

campaign special

"cultural pluralism"

and Religion

for

loyalties.

As

to

new

sanc-

re-vamping of democracy has

the

emphasis on what is currently styled a proposed liberal rationale for our

as

national democracy. This indeed

but a corollary of the

is

and pluralism under discussion. Under it, much can be done toward the more effective bridging of the divergencies of institutional life and traditions which, though sometimes conceived as peculiarly characteristic of American society, are rapidly becoming typical of all cosmopolitan modern society. These principles call for promoting respect for diflarger

relativism

ference, for safeguarding respect for the individual, thus pre-

venting the submergence of the individual in enforced conformity, and for the promotion of

commonaUty over and above

such differences. Finally, more on the intellectual tional motivation

is

side, addi-

generated for the reinforcement of

traditional democratic freedoms, but

most

all

the

particularly for the

freedom of the mind. For it is in the field of social thinking that freedom of the mind can be most practically established, and no more direct path to that exists than through the promotion of an unbiased scientific conception of the place of the national culture in the world.

For democracy

and However, the world crisis poses the issues clearly enough. Democracy has encountered a fighting antithesis, and has awakened from considerable lethargy and decadence to a sharpened realization of its own basic values. This should lead ultimately to a clarified view of its in

its

external aspects both the situation

the prospects are less clear.

The crisis holds also the potential gain understanding on the part of democracy of

ultimate objectives. of

more

its

own

realistic

shortcomings,

antithesis as well as

its

since

if

political

totalitarianism

enemy,

it

must

is

its

moral

fight internally

to purge its own culture of the totaHtarian qualities of dogmatism, absolutism and tyranny, latent and actual. Yet as a nation we are vague about world democracy and none too well equipped for its prosecution. It was our intel-

— Science, Philosophy

and Religion

207

lectual unpreparedness as a nation for thinking consistently in

any such terms which stultified our initiative in the peace of 1918 and our participation in the germinal efforts of a democratic world order under the League of Nations plan, or should we say concept, since the plan minimized it so seriously? Today

we

again,

stand aghast before a self-created dilemma of an

impracticable national provinciality of isolationism and a vague idea of a world order

made

pattern of our own. There

over presumably on an enlarged

we

on identifying forms and culture values of its becoming a presumptuous, even though well-intentioned idealistic uniformitarianism. Should this be is

danger,

such a cause arbitrarily with our

if

own

insist

institutional

the case, then only a force crusade for democratic uniformi-

tarianism

is

in prospect, for that could never

come about by

force of persuasion.

here that the defective perspective of our patriotism and

It is

our culture values reveals

seriously limiting character. This

its

intellectually the greatest single obstacle to

is

way

any extension of

on an international scale. Surely here the need for the insight and practical sanity of the pluralistic viewpoint is clear. There is a reasonable chance of success to the extent we can disengage the objectives of democracy from the particular institutional forms by which we practice it, and can pierce through to common denominators of equivalent the democratic

of

life

objectives.

The

problems of the peace, should it will be the discovery of the necessary common denominators and the basic equivalences involved in a democratic world order or democracy on a world scale. I do not hazard to guess at them; but certain specificalie

intellectual core of the

in our control

tions

may be

and leadership,

stated

which

they are to be successful.

I

A

believe they will have to meet,

if

reasonable democratic peace (like

no other peace before it) must integrate victors and vanquished and justly. With no shadow of cultural superiority, it must respectfully protect the cultural values and institutional forms and traditions of a vast congeries of peoples and races

alike,

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

2o8

European, Asiatic, African, American, Australasian. Somehow cultural pluralism may yield a touchstone for such thinking. Direct participational representation of all considerable groups must be provided for, although how imperialism is to concede this

almost beyond immediate imagining. That most ab-

is

our secular concepts, the autonomous, sacrosanct

solutistic of all

character of national sovereignty,

Daring

abridged.

voluntarily

worked out

if

must

surely be modified

reciprocities

have

will

to

and be

the basic traditional democratic freedoms are

ever to be transposed to world practice, not to mention the

complicated reconstruction of economic reciprocity will tical

demand

One

life

which consistent

suspects that the prac-

exigencies of world reconstruction will force

issues to solution

from the

come

the

mechanisms

in

many

of these

practical side, leaving us intellectuals

changes ex post facto. Out of the

to rationalize the

yet

in this field.

crisis

may

and ways that we have not had courage to think of forced

extension

of

democratic

values

since the days of democracy's early eighteenth century con-

ception,

sumed

when

was

it

naively, but perhaps very correctly as-

that to have validity at

all

democracy must have world

vogue.

What

intellectuals

cratic

way

some

sort of realistic

more

service

of life

is

can do for the extension of the demoto discipline

our thinking

critically into

world-mindedness. Broadening pur cultural values and tempering our orthodoxies is of infinitely to

enlarged democracy than direct praise and

advocacy of democracy

itself. For until broadened by relativism and reconstructed accordingly, our current democratic traditions and practice are not ready for world-wide application. Considerable political and cultural dogmatism, in the form of culture bias, nation worship, and racism, still stands in the way and must first be invalidated and abandoned. In sum, if we refuse to orient ourselves courageously and intelligently to a universe of peoples and cultures, and continue to base our prime values on fractional segments of nation, race, sect,

or particular types of institutional culture,

there

is

indeed

Science, Philosophy little

or

no hope

for a stable

cratic or otherwise.

and Religion

world order of any kind

Even when the segment

is

209

—demo-

itself a

demo-

expansion to world proportions will not necessarily create a world democracy. The democratic mind needs clarifying for the better guidance of the democratic will. cratic order, its

But fortunately, the same correctives needed for the sound maintenance of democracy are also the most promising basis for its expansion. The hostile forces both within and without are of the same type, and stem from absolutism of one sort

The initial suggestion of a vital connection between democracy and pluralism arose from the rather more apparent connection between absolutism and monism. But so destructive has pluralism been of the closed system thinking on which absolutist values and authoritarian dogmatisms thrive that it has proved itself no mere logical antithesis but their specific intellectual antidote. In the present crisis democracy needs the support of the most effective rationale available for the justification and defense of its characteristic values. While we should not be stampeded into pluralism merely by the present emergency, it is nonetheless our handiest intellectual weapon against the totalitarian challenge, but if, as we have seen, it or another.

can also

make

fied

a constructive contribution to the internal forti-

it is even more permanently and should on that score be doubly welcomed.

fication of

democracy, then

justi-

APPENDIX Lyman

Bryson:

am

with this paper, on all of its chief admire the conciseness and clarity with which it states so much that is a propos of the deliberations of this Conference. My comments are only notes added in the hope that they are what Professor Locke himself might have said in I

points,

heartily in accord

and

I

a longer discussion.

More could be made, weening desire

I

believe, of the dangers of the over-

for personal integration that fails to take into

Science, Philosophy

210

and Religion

account the fact that the personality,

some ways better By this I mean that

also, is in

off for the practice of a judicious pluralism.

we have a natural tendency toward an agglutination of values. we are loyal to one set of institutions, such as what we call "democracy," we are uncomfortable unless we assert that the other values, to which we may also be loyal, such as what we

If

call

"Christianity," are necessary to democracy.

ference meetings

we have heard many

can exist only in a Christian

At our Con-

assertions that

democracy and all

state, in spite of history

contemporary facts to the contrary. We are not content to say that democracy and the Christian-Judaic tradition are highly sympathetic with each other, or useful to each other. They must be, each to the other, sine qua non. Professor Locke might have pointed out that within each single pattern of loyalties an organic diversity may make not for weakness but for flexibility and strength. The author might also have pointed out, as was perhaps implied in some of the things he did have space for, that unity be-

comes the more desirable

as the issues rise in the levels of

Thus, roughly, we need not agree on how freedom should be used but we would still agree that it was a value to be supremely prized. We might agree on the importance of exercising political suffrage but disagree in our use of it. And still above this, we might argue about freedom but agree that values,

generality.

to be desirable, must contribute to the strength and dignity of men. The value that has been repeatedly called the chief good of democratic peoples, the supreme worth of the individual, is just such a value of the highest possible generality and we are dogmatic in our assertion of it. Diversity does not have the same utility on all levels but, one must add, an authoritarian determination of the levels on which diversity can be permitted is a very effective enslavement. I would have enjoyed a discus-

sion of this point in the paper. I

could wish, also, that there had been more space to consider

the importance of diversity, or plural systems of values, in relation to social change. It

formation,

when

diversity

of greatest importance. It

change with

less cost

is is is

when most

a culture

is

difficult to

undergoing trans-

maintain, that

true, I think, that pluralistic

and more

eflSciency,

it is

groups

whenever environ-

i

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

211

ment makes change

rationally desirable, than do any other kinds one of the strongest arguments in favor of democratic procedures in all forms of social decision.

of groups. This

Erwin

R.

is

Goodenough:

The Conference was

originally called together to see what and theologians could do to unite the more abstract thought and thinkers of the present in defending democracy. We were alarmed at what we had seen happen to our ideas (and our kind) in Russia, Italy and Germany, and we met to defend our way of life and thought and to strengthen the organization of society which makes such life and thought scientists, philosophers,

possible.

This paper

is

one of the few which seemed to me presented That philosophy which

in the original spirit of our meeting.

recognizes the conflict of various suggested ultimates and axioms

and the complete inadequacy of our data

to select

between them

(as witnessed by the inability of reasoning philosophers of dif-

ferent schools to convince each other by reasoning); that philos-

ophy which tries to take the very conflict as its starting point and develop a modus vivendi out of it, is called pluralism. It is satisfactory to no one, or to very few, as an ultimate philosophy. Certainly Professor Locke is peering behind and beyond it as steadily, as wistfully, as any idealist. He proposes it, and I enthusiastically support it, precisely for what it is a way of uniting for action in a world of conflict and ignorance. It is a typically American philosophy, or at least Anglo-Saxon, and it is not coincidence that it is best understood in the countries most bitterly opposed to totalitarianism. Over and again the various absolutist philosophies suggested in the Conference have shown that once in power they would be dangerously like the closed systems (at least in being closed), which we want to oppress. Here is genuinely the philosophy of democracy not a very brilliant philosophy, as democracy itself is not a very brilliant form of organizing society, but still the philosophy which made democratic arguments, from those in the village store to those in the Senate, possible. I am sure that if we go on to discuss more practical problems at next year's meeting, our discussion will be based, tacitly if not otherwise, upon the wise principles





Science, Philosophy

212

Professor Locke has set forth.

I

discussion of practical problems

and Religion

am

still

more

sure that

not thus based,

is

it

if

our

will get

nowhere.

Lawrence K. Frank: In emphasizing the need for pluralistic understanding, this paper has pointed to an exceedingly important problem that will face the post- World War. If we look forward to the consort of world order in which the peoples of and religions can participate, we will need a pluralistic understanding and a broader, more sympathetic approach to many of the exigent questions of human welfare and social order; otherwise a parochial devotion to our own metaphysics and religious convictions, however precious to us, will inevitably hamper us in any attempt to achieve world order and peace in concert with peoples whose cultural traditions and beliefs are so radically different from our own. In pleading for a relativistic approach to our own values and to those of other peoples and in calling for a recognition of

struction of

some

different cultures

equivalents in cultures rather than

Locke has contributed something sideration of

all

demanding

identity. Dr.

that merits the careful con-

those participating in this conference.

such understanding,

we

are

more than

liable to

Without

continue the

same dogmatic intolerance that has so long blighted Western European culture and blinded us to the values and virtues which other peoples, often with longer and richer historical pasts than we, cherish as their

way

of

life.

CHAPTER

XI

Empiricism, Religion, and Democracy

By

CHARLES W. MORRIS University of Chicago

I.

AUGUSTE coMTE oncc remarked that the ultimate

conflict

would be between positivism and scholasticism. The scholastics, or at least some who speak in their name, seem to be willing to force the issue into these terms. The more intemperate among them wish to ascribe the disloca-

in philosophy

contemporary culture to the spread of the empirical temper of mind; the more diplomatic wish to limit empiricism to the sphere of science in order to supplement it by the higher tions of

truth

of

a

metaphysical philosophy.

boldly accept this challenge.

It is

The

empiricist

should

not enough that he limit his

formulation and confirmation of scientific statements in the special fields of science. He must question the analyses of contemporary culture with which he is confronted and in terms of which he is damned; he must attack the metaphysical super-structure which his opponents graft upon the edifice he so laboriously and cautiously erects; he must show that there is a way (or ways) of life a rich, dynamic, satisfying life compatible with his attitude; he must deny that his opponents have a monopoly on the defense of the religious and cultural traditions of man; he must see to it that his own attitude clothes itself with esthetic, religious and political symbols adequate to serve in the enhancement and activity to the





direction of

The

life.

empiricist

is

not merely faced with opposing forces of 213

Science, Philosophy

214

and Religion

own

great magnitude; he remains his

He

worst enemy.

has so

discipHned himself in the control by observation of the state-

ments he permits himself that he has become

modes

all

distrustful of

of expression other than the scientific. Ill-adapted

himself to such modes of expression, frequently lacking in imagination and non-scientific forms of sensitivity, he has not

merely himself failed to round out his

own

but he has

life,

often seemed to belittle, to restrain, to frustrate those forms of

human

activity in the arts

and

religions which, in a purified

form, he should encourage and release.

It is

a serious question

whether the empiricist can arise to the contemporary challenge and opportunity. The opportunity is his. There are large groups

among

of persons

the

youth,

religionists, the scientists,

older religious and political symbols physical sanction in

—have

workers, the

the

and the technologists

— claiming

artists,

for

whom

the

the

a special meta-

lost their force. If there

is

confusion

contemporary culture, there are also deep sources of energy,

frustrated

new

aspirations,

beginnings,

movements hovering

on the verge of consummation, untapped sources of heroism. If the empiricist can overcome his own frustrations, and develop or encourage others to develop a clear program for living, he may

rally these forces for a

powerful, integrated, and per-

haps successful opposition to the counter-Enlightenment and counter-Reformation which threatens to spread over niankind. 2.

Empiricism,

attitude,

the

is

when

expressed as a theory rather than as an

a theory of

meaning.

Greek medical schools down

From

its

early formulations in

to the present

it

has stated

its

case in terms of the theory of signs.

Roughly

theory that the reference of signs

either to such objects as

is

stated,

it

is

the

have been observed or to objects with properties which are a combination of properties of observed objects; and that "knowl-

edge"

is

a

term applied

to statements to the degree that there

observable evidence that what the statements affirm

is

is

in fact

the case. Newton's formulation in the "Principles of Natural

Knowledge"

of the last

two Rules of Reasoning

in Philosophy

Science, Philosophy states

approximately

the

meaning and knowledge "Rule

III.

The

and Religion

empiricist

position

215

that

referential

are a function of observation:

qualities of bodies,

which admit neither

in-

tension nor remission of degrees, and which are found to beall bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever. "Rule IV. In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions collected by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate,

long to

or liable to exceptions."

This liberal

is

more would give, but I think it contemper and method which empiricism

a liberal formulation of the empiricist position,

than

many

forms to the

empiricists

scientific

has professedly attempted to express. So formulated, empiricism

does not assert that a person can only refer to or

know an

object or situation which he personally can inspect;

it

does

not equate the limits of direct personal experience with the

meaning and knowledge. Statements about moon, the center of the earth, another person's toothache, the world before and after man, the genesis of experience, issue from the mouths of many scientists, and any variety of empiricism which would prohibit such statelimits of referential

the other side of the

ments, or claim that they are not knowledge, simply breaks

with the

scientific

rest his case

to

usage of signs.

on the claim

The

empiricist

had

better

that such references in science ascribe

the objects referred to only properties and combinations

of properties that have been found in directly observed ob-

and that such statements are to be admitted as knowledge only to the degree that there is empirically controlled evidence of objects having the properties ascribed to them. It jects,

was

a blind alley in the history of empiricism to say that a

person only "means" his

own

observes.

For

scientific

(or other persons') future "sen-

"knows" what he himself directly method rests on a socially funded body

sations," or that a person only

Science, Philosophy

2i6

of observations, and

it

and Religion

admits as evidence in particular infer-

ences the use of indirect evidence, provided the techniques involved in such indirect evidence are themselves capable of direct observational control: the testimony of other persons,

the use of telescope

and microscope, the evidence of photo-

used to confirm statements about happenings which a particular individual could not observe, since the rehability of testimony, telescope, microscope, and photo-

graphic plates are

graphic plate

is

all

capable in other cases of being directly con-

trolled.

Liberal as this version of empiricism

is, it

has,

when

general-

meaning, plenty of sting: it rules out the conception of a metaphysical philosophy proceeding by other methods than the method of science and obtaining more accurate or "fundamental" knowledge than that gained by science. It limits cosmology to the cosmos as presented by science, and it takes away the presumptuous claim of any statement about the world to be exempt from change as

ized as a theory of

new

all

referential

evidence accumulates.

to the question as to

how

We

will return at a later

moment

the empiricist interprets the claim of

certain metaphysicians to a super-scientific knowledge. 3.

So

far

we have

ing of signs

form

this



dealt with only

one aspect of the function-

the referential function; in so far as signs per-

function

we

them rejerors. That there are known; thus in the Hellenistic

shall call

other functions has long been

period Philodemus distinguished between the referential and

"emotive" functions of signs in words that could be

lifted

out

of contemporary discussion; and long before his time, Aristotle

had assigned to poetry and rhetoric sentences which were not statements. three additional functions of signs sive,

—the

the

We

investigation shall

of

distinguish

formative, the expres-



and the motivational and in so far as signs perform these we shall call them formors, expressors, and motiva-

functions tors.

A self:

formor

is

a sign

which

exhibits the

case-endings and parentheses

form of discourse

show what

it-

signs are to be

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

217

joined together, a certain set of letters presents the

rhyme

structure of the sonnet, a mathematical formula shows an interrelation

between mathematical symbols. The formor

as

formor

simply exhibits or determines a certain sign combination, and it

arises

from the need

show the inter-relations of signs when Whatever functions as a formor

to

a plurality of signs are used.

may

of course function also as a referor, an expressor, or a

must not be confused.

motivator, but the functions themselves

An

expressor

is

a sign

whose usage

normally accompanied

is

by a certain state of the user; under these circumstances the sign is said to express this state. Certain cries express pain; types

certain

of

usage

linguistic

who

schizophrenia; a person

mechanics expresses

express

the

condition

continually talks about

his interest in

modern

physics.

of

quantum Whether

we need not depends in part upon how the term "sign" is used. Nor is it important to note that all signs are expressors to some degree. But it must not be overlooked that when a sign which functions as an expressor is also a referor, the referential function and the expressive function must be distinguished, even in the case where what is expressed is also what is referred to. The music I play may express my sorrow, and it expressors are also referors

all

answer;

may but or

a

question

it

direct

my

some other

character.

A

more

attention

need not do

it

is

explicitly to this very sorrow,

and whether or not

so;

referential oflSce,

sign

which

for

it

some members

of a

forms a relatively constant referential function

among

different users in

verse situation also

A

motivator

is

may

a sign

or users of the sign. the attitude of the

its

its

community

may

this

expressive per-

vary widely

expressive function; and the con-

whose function

is

A motto is put above worker

to influence the user

the desk to determine

at the desk; a prayer

command

is

is

given to in-

uttered to secure the

co-operative behavior of others; an evaluation

which

performs

obtain.

fluence oneself or a deity; a

as to

it

retains

still

may be made

so

induce a particular attitude in oneself or others. That acts as a motivator

may

also

perform

referential,

forma-

Science, Philosophy

2i8

and Religion

and expressive functions, but, as the previous discussion makes clear, here, too, these functions should not be confused. tive,

Nevertheless, tion

cannot be ignored that the motivational func-

it

(and the expressive function, for that matter)

is

itself

often influenced by the adequate or inadequate performance of the other functions. I

The

motivational efficacy of a sign which

interest in another person

use to inculcate an

how convincingly I mand to practice jumping up there

may depend on

my own;

express this interest as

a

com-

in the air until one can stay

would not normally be followed by the desired

practice,

unless beUef could be induced in the statement that practice

can attain the result in question. In terms of these distinctions instances of linguistic

performed.

We

is

then analyze various

to discover the functions

can classify types of discourse in the same

terms: discourse tion

we can

communication

is

scientific in so far as the referential func-

performed, logico-mathematical in so far as the forma-

tive function

is

performed, esthetic in so far as the expressive

function dominates, motivational in so far as the signs operate as

motivators. All actual Hnguistic communication of course

displays

all

of these functions, so that, for example, a statement

of a scientist differs only in the degree to which the various

functions are present

from

a statement that

one "ought"

a certain thing. Nevertheless this matter of the degree to

to do which

the various functions are performed is of basic importance, and the functions which are performed are themselves functions which differ in kind and not in degree.

Though this discussion of the functioning of signs ignores many matters of detail, it suffices for our present purpose of understanding religious and ing to our main problem physician to his 4.

The

sharply;

political symbols.

we must attempt

meta-

lair.

issue in regard to metaphysics is it

But before turn-

to track the

may

at least

be stated

necessary, in analyzing the discourse of the meta-

physician, to admit referors

which transcend the empiricist's (and so make a distinc-

criterion of referential meaningfulness

Science, Philosophy tion

between metaphysical and

edge), or

is

it

and Religion

scientific

219

statements and knowl-

possible to analyze this discourse in terms of

referors of the type admitted by science, formors, expressors,

and motivators? The answer

is

by no means so sharp, partly

because of the question of the permissible limit of reference within empiricism and partly because the empiricist can pro-

ceed only by analyzing singly examples of metaphysical

dis-

course which are claimed to transcend analysis in terms of his

own

scientific

theory of signs. But a discussion of these two

points in turn can at least proceed far

enough

to allow a

moral

be drawn.

to

Let us approach the first point by an imaginative example. Imagine a community of men living on a cell in the blood stream of one of us, but so small that we have no evidence, direct or indirect, of their existence. Imagine further that they themselves are provided with scientific instruments of the

we

use, and possess a method of science and a body of knowledge comparable to ours. One of the bolder of these thinkers proposes the hypothesis that the world they inhabit is a Great Man. Is this hypothesis admissible on scientific grounds or is it to be laughed down by the Minute Empiricists on the ground that it is "metaphysical"? We Macroscopic Empiricists would at least seem to have to favor the hypothesis! But then why at our own level cannot a similar

types

scientific

we

hypothesis be raised: namely, that

Man,

the whole of our

known

portion of the Great Blood Stream?

how

are parts of a Great

universe being perhaps but a

And

if this

is

admissible,

rule out any metaphysical statement, for certainly

many

conceptions of the gods (say the Greek gods) seem modest speculation by comparison.

The the

liberal empiricist I

Minute Empiricists

have championed would side with

in asserting that the hypothesis

empirically meaningful since

Great

Man would

the

properties

ascribed

to

was the

be properties drawn from objects that had

been observed; he would merely say that in terms of the evidence available to them this hypothesis was too poorly con-

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

220

firmed to have a place in their system of

he might hope that their

knowledge;

scientific

Newton might remind them

to

hold

generahzations from observation, "notwithstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined," until they had more

fast to

data

better to confirm or refute their generaliza-

upon which

tions.

The

the consequence

empiricist draws

that

many

of the

statements called metaphysical are empirically meaningful but so speculative because of absence of empirical evidence that they are not now to be taken seriously by science. Such statements are not empirically meaningless but simply not admissible to the existing corpus of scientific knowledge. By the same token they are not a rival kind of statement or knowledge.

Other kinds of utterances called metaphysical further

metaphysical referors.

good

utterances

When

confusion the is

the

will

empiricist

confusion

of

demand finds

formers

in

with

Aristotle says that the virtues are intrinsically

or that nothing can both be red

time, or cally

One

distinctions.

when Kant

and not red

at the

same

states that the good-will alone is intrinsi-

good, the empiricist will suspect that these utterances are

definitions

masquerading

as

genuine knowledge,

i.e.,

are for-

which simply explicate the structure of Aristotle's and Kant's language. There is ground to believe that this confusion is the major confusion of metaphysics, though it occasionally occurs in science as well. Another often

mers

("analytical" in nature)

noted confusion

ment about

is

signs

that of levels of discourse, so that a stateis

As

linguistic objects.

confused with a statement about nonPeirce suggests, characterizations of meta-

physics as the science of "being as being" illustrate this confusion, for

it

would seem (employing our terminology and not

Peirce's) that the

term "being"

ever any other sign denotes

denotata of

all

is

other referors)

about being would

fall

simply used to denote what-

(i.e.,

it

—and

designates the class of in

this

case

statements

within the theory of signs and not be

superior in knowledge to any other scientific statement.

Still

Science, Philosophy

another confusion

is

and Religion

caused by failing to

221

make important

dis-

tinctions witiiin the theory of signs itself. It does not follow

from the

fact that a sign signifies that

The terms

thing.

"centaur," "Apollo,"

are so used that one tell

it is

a centaur or Apollo

—and yet there may be no actual object which meets

the

exactly

"circle," for instance,

in possession of empirical criteria to

is

of any given object whether or not

or a circle

must denote some-

it

and

criteria.

To

that

say

Apollo,

centaurs,

circles

"subsist" or have "transempirical reality" or belong to the "intelligible

world,"

is

then simply a confused way of saying that

the corresponding terms are signs.

Platonic doctrine of "Ideas"

is

It is difficult to

see that the

anything more than such a con-

fusion.

The

is further complicated by the introduction and motivational factors found in works often presented as "metaphysical." Many, if not all, of the historically important philosophers have approved of one way of life rather than another, and have attempted to persuade others to

situation

of the expressive

share this approval. It pressors

And

often difficult to distinguish the ex-

is

and the motivators in

since, as

we have

for their efficacy

upon

the philosopher

is

their discourse

from the referors. dependent

seen, motivators are often

a belief in the truth of certain references,

tempted

to claim that his preferences are

by statements which are "absolutely true" and which, accordingly, are beyond the probabilism inherent in legitimated

scientific statements;

it

is

this

temptation which makes him

extremely susceptible to confusions of referors and formors,

and of various

levels of discourse.

is no rival to science knowledge. It is in this sense that the logical positivists spoke of metaphysics as "meaningless," i.e., as not exhibiting a class of referors distinct from those admitted by the empiricist's criterion. It turned out that use of the word "meaningless" was unfortunate because of its own high expressive and motivational character. Hence it is

If this analysis is correct,

and no repository of a

metaphysics

super-scientific

better to claim that metaphysical discourse

is

not a unique

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

222

type o£ statement or reference, and that the appearance that is so is a confusion resulting from the masquerading of

it

formors, expressors, and motivators in statemental form. This confusion is objectionable, not because any of these functions are objectionable, but precisely because the confusion of functions,

when

detected by a

mind, miHtates against the

critical

adequate performance of the various functions themselves. Unless the philosopher is to be classed Wixh the propagandist, he must, out of his very concern for science and art and morality, free himself

from the confusion of metaphysics. The

death of metaphysics

is

not the death of philosophy; but the

philosophy which remains

is

and purified philosophy

a mature

and not the child of confusion.

The adequacy by

its

must be tested and utterances pre-

of this analysis of metaphysics

application to particular doctrines

sented as instances of metaphysics. This

an empirical theory

is

and not a dogma. an open one suggests as

as to the nature of metaphysical discourse

But the

fact that the issue

is

at least

a moral that the significant issues life

are not to be

and

institutions of

made dependent upon

human

metaphysics, and that

the claim of any particular metaphysician to have the answer to

human

suspicion. religion 5.

destiny in his hands

How,

and

to

is

be looked upon with

then, does the empiricist approach the field of

social action?

In "Man's Search for the

Good

Life,"

A. E. Haydon char-

acterizes religion in the following terms:

"Any religion, as the social search of man for the satisfactions that make life complete, always finds expression historically in a three-fold complex of ideal, technique, and world view. The ideal consists of those values visualized as the perfect fulfill-

ment

of socially approved desires.

The technique includes the The world view

authorized means of securing those values.

orients the value quest to the forces of the extrahuman environment. These three phases are an integral unity. They constitute

the body of a religion. The moves through successive

living soul

which uses the body and new em-

ages, continually creating

Science, Philosophy bodiments,

is

and Religion

the socially channeled drive of

human

223 desires for-

ever hungrily hoping for the realization of the unattained." (p. 89)

This analysis of religion seems to be confirmed by an analysis of religious discourse. Religious language is charged with ex-

which indicate approval by an individual or group of supreme goals of life rather than others; rich in motivators which aim to induce a certain way of

pressors

individuals of certain it is

life

believed to lead to the attainment of the preferred goal;

and

it

contains statements about the world which are felt to

and the recommended techniques. one example among others that a religion need not rest on mythology or on a system of metaphysics; yet it is true and later Buddhism is no exception that religions have normally called mythology and metaphysics to their aid. The reason for this is not difficult to see. Mythology, in common with religious and metaphysical discourse, contains signs functioning in all the ways we have characterized, but its unique feature is found in the dominance of expressors which embody in an esthetic, and hence vividly apprehensible, form certain approved or disapproved values by exhibiting them as characteristics of imagined persons. The myths of justify

Early

the approved goal

Buddhism

is





Apollo, of Dionysus, of

Buddha present

to

the imagination

and actions which the devotees of the Apollonian, Dionysian, and Buddhistic religions wish to realize in their own lives. Mythology comes to the aid of the religious quest by furnishing examples of the type of life which the religious techniques aim to induce. The

individuals with the characteristic attitudes

temptation for religion to

from the attempt

to give a

jurisdiction over alternative

call

metaphysics to

way

of

life

ways of

strengthen the motivational appeal of

with

its

stress

on

its

aid,

arises

absolute validity and

life

—and

its

thus again to

symbols.

Buddhism

self-sufficiency, utilized in its later

develop-

ment an idealistic metaphysics; Christianity with its focus upon love, utilized a realistic and transcendental metaphysics to establish the existence of the appropriate

Beloved.

From

Science, Philosophy

224 their

own

side,

and Religion

most systems of metaphysics have functioned

within the context of a rehgious attitude which they, however imphcitly, serve to justify: Plato and Aristotle are the philosophical expression of the Apollonian facet of tion, Spinoza's

metaphysics

is

Greek

civiliza-

explicitly set in the context of a

Kant has not been inaptly called the Whatever the use made by of mythology and metaphysics, it remains true that seen empirically, is a way of life directed to indior socially approved goals, and that religious discourse,

quest for salvation, philosopher religion religion,

vidually

of

while utilizing

Protestantism.

all

types of signs,

is

predominantly motiva-

tional.

The signs,

empiricist, is

ingless,"

if

equipped with an adequate theory of is "mean-

not driven to assert that religious discourse

and need not find himself in opposition

religious quest.

He

will, it is true, as in the case of

to

the

metaphysics,

deny that religion gives a super-scientific (or super-empirical) knowledge of the world or human nature, and he will attempt to unscramble the confusions that religion has encountered in its present unholy alliance with metaphysics. In doing this he need not deny that religious terms may be referors; indeed such terms as "Apollo" are as meaningful as "centaur" or even as "horse." But he will insist that the referential aspect of religious terms be not confused with their expressive and motivational character, and that whether a referentially meaningful term does or does not denote something must be determined within the framework of the empirical criterion of knowledge. He can even admit that there is a scientific aspect to controversies over alternative ways of life: how possible a proposed way of life is in the light of knowledge of human nature, the

commitments to various types of indiwhat historical factors seem at a given time to favor one way of life rather than another, what consequences to the individual and society will ensue if a specific relation of religious

viduals

and

societies,

orientation of insist that

life is adopted. Nevertheless the empiricist will an element of choice remains, that religion is not

Science, Philosophy science,

and Religion

and that the rehgious use of symbols

should not for the good of religion scientific usage.

The

empiricist

must

itself

225 is

not

—and —the

pretend to be

in the nature of the case

admit the human need of orientation which underlies the religious quest, for in one way or another, whatever terms he may use or avoid, this problem is also his problem. He can even

and hope that his analysis may help to liberate the energy and the courage needed for the elaboration of expressive and feel

motivational symbols adequate to the orientational needs of

contemporary men. Though he may balk at some of the terms, there is nothing in his position which would prevent him from accepting the essential truth of these (unpubUshed) words by H. N. Wieman:

The way must be cleared for the prophet to see the stark God, undimmed and undistorted by old imaginative

reality of

constructions which once were myths but are so no longer.

The

empirical reality of

God must

be set forth in abstract

propositions which can meet the test of truth.

We

repeat, these

abstract propositions are never sufficient for religious living.

But the prophet by means of them may have new and vital myths.

his vision

suffi-

ciently cleared to develop

The contemporary crisis of religion has two important For many persons, though not for all, the traditional symbols of religion have lost much of their power. These sym-

6.

aspects.

bols

had hnked

their fate

with the question

as

to the truth

or falsity of certain statements about the universe.

Some

these statements were subject to empirical confirmation,

of

and

with the development of science came to be regarded as false or highly improbable. Others which claimed to be "metaphysical" were tarnished by the conflicts of systems of meta-

and by the growing conviction among scientifically trained minds that something was wrong with metaphysics itself. The result in both cases was that the motivational efficacy of the symbols was weakened as the truth of the references of these symbols, upon which their character of motivators had in part depended, became questionable. physics,

Science, Philosophy

226

and Religion

A

corresponding loss of appeal arose in the fact that the traditional religious symbols no longer expressed for many people the goals which they were in fact seeking or even wanted to seek. Just as many later Greeks no longer saw in the image of Apollo the reflection of themselves or of their ideal of so did

many Western Europeans

fail to

man,

find an adequate repre-

sentation of themselves or their aspirations in, say, the image

Some of those who did cHng to the Christ ideal began doubt the adequacy of the inherited religious techniques for reaching this ideal, and were confused by the relation of these techniques to those which a new society and a new science of Christ. to

had put at their disposal. Since the power of a motivational symbol depends upon the acceptance of the goal with which it is linked and a belief in the efficacy of the techniques proposed to reach the goal, the power of the inherited religious symbols weakened with fluctuations in the goal and with the development of new techniques. It is this situation which presents the problem for contemporary religion. For those to whom the historical religions are adequate the problem is not acute. Those who believe that the symbols of these religions can be restored to power at least have a direction given to their lives by a clear-cut task. But for many others the problem of a total orientation of their personalities is a pressing problem, and can only be met by drastic measures: in one way or another they must evolve a new religious attitude. New expressors, new motivators must be developed; the problem is where and how. The acceptance of the empirical attitude does not itself answer this problem, but it at least shows the possibility of an answer, and specifies some of the conditions which an answer must meet. As to the possibiHty of an answer, it is sufficient to instance again the religious power which scientifically-minded anti-metaphysical early Buddhism obtained. If one such way of life could be formulated, there is no reason why other ways, working within the same limitations, cannot be developed. There is nothing in the empiricist's attitude as such which need deny or hinder

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

227

the development of signs of high expressive and motivational

power. At the same time signs such power

if

v^^iil

not, to

an empiricist, have

they claim a type of reference which observation

does not support or

if

under analysis

their

pretended reference

To

turns out to rest on a confusion of linguistic usages. empiricist a

This

new

religion

must be compatible with

not to say that science or empiricism

is

hgious. Empiricism

is

the

science. is

re-

itself

and science

a theory of knowledge,

as

language to referors and such formers as function within scientific reference. In science the expressive such

restricts

its

and motivational functioning of

minimum;

even though the empirical religion

though present,

signs,

in religion such functioning

which has

scientist

is

will

at a

is

at a

maximum. And

be congenial to a

a place for his activity, that in itself will not

determine uniquely the choice of a religion: he could conexample, a Buddhist or an Apollonian.

sistently be, for It lies

turns out,

I

believe, that the heart of the religious

in the determination of

For

allegiance.

if

goal of this path

a religion is

to

what type of man is

become

essentially a

is

problem

to be given

path of

life,

a certain type of person.

the

The

path will vary with the choice as to the type of person given

The great religions of the world have varied with The basic question religion poses to the inWhat type of person do you wish to become? The

preference.

these choices.

dividual

is:

only within limits arbitrary, for it will be influenced by the nature of the person making the choice and by the community in which the chooser lives. But a choice it remains. choice

is

The

result of the choices

will

determine the religion or the reHgions of contemporary

man— and

which countless individuals make

will in turn exercise its influence

have in an

as yet

on future man.

I

unpublished book, "Paths of Life," tried to

analyze the present situation, to speak in favor of what

I call

Maitreyan man, and to show a type of expressive and motivational symbols which can give this image of man leverage upon the orientation of contemporary

Maitreya

is

life.

This proposed religion of

not, however, our present interest. I

have only

Science, Philosophy

228 wished

and Religion

problem of reUgion when envisaged within and to express my conviction that the heart of the contemporary problem of religion is to make clear what type of person is to be accepted as ideal. This has not been done adequately by the existing traditional religions or by humanist or pragmatist. If it can be done boldly, clearly, and convincingly enough, new and distinctive religious atto focus the

the context of empiricism,

titudes

may

yet supply initiative

and direction

to

contemporary

men and women. I

hope

not by

I

its

made

have

it

sufficiently clear that

mere existence or acceptance

but also sufficiently clear that struction, that

it

sets limits

and that by clearing

tion,

it

empiricism does

constitute a religion;

does permit religious recon-

upon the form of such reconstrucaway confusion and ornament it

allows the religious quest to stand forth in

all its

intensity

and

insistence. 7.

Religious motivators are directed to the total integration

and orientation of the personaHty; numerous other motivators function with respect to less comprehensive goals. The injunctions of law, of morality, of each of the technical arts (such as medicine or engineering), and of pohtical creeds, aim to induce

certain

modes

of practice felt to be efficacious in the realization

of specific goals.

We

will limit our consideration to the type of symbols which function in poHtical creeds, distinguishing (as in the case of art and esthetics, and of religion and the

study of religion) the symbols which aim to organize a social the terms by which the social scientist attempts

community and

to understand such symbols.

The terms by which the Marxian to bring about a new mode of

or the Fascist or the

Nazi aims

social

or

organization,

the terms by which the American American community, are the type of motivators which we have in mind. colonist organized the

A

motivator,

we have

seen, involves a goal to be reached,

a technique proposed to reach

it,

and a use of words designed and the mode of be-

to inculcate the acceptance of the goal

havior which the adoption of the technique requires.

The

Science, Philosophy parent will

who

is

and Religion

229

trying to get his resisting child to eat oatmeal

appeal to

(or

aim

to

an interest in "growing

create)

strong" or getting "curly locks"; he will clothe the goal in

and express (convincingly

attractive terms

if

he can) the

at-

tractiveness he finds in the goal; he will try to convince the

young barbarian

that oatmeal

use linguistic forms fective

is

the

way

to this goal;

(commands, "shoulds," and the

The among

in releasing behavior.

of

efficacy

the

he will

like)

ef-

motivator

others upon the expressive depends upon many factors, and referential aspects of the signs involved. If the person ad-

dressed does not share the goal, desirability of this goal

if

the conviction as to the

cannot be convincingly expressed, or

if

cannot be induced that the means proposed are the best means available to reach the goal, the motivator remains belief

inefficacious.

the

to

The main symbols

organization of a

means community, are motivators

of political creeds, as

social

highly expressive in quality, and are supported by statements

which claim to be true accounts of human nature, of present and historical social situations, and of the necessity of employing certain techniques to reach the end in question. Thus the Marxist symbolism expresses an identification with the interest of certain

types of persons, depicts difficulties in the

existing social organization, develops an elaborate interpretation of

the

human

make convincing

history to

course of this

future

a prediction as to

argues

history,

that

only

techniques can succeed under present conditions

certain

—with

the

purpose of uniting the persons appealed to in a course of cooperative action designed to reorganize the social structure. If the goal is not accepted, or the supporting statements are not believed, or

if

there

is

doubt

as to the

means proposed,

the Marxist symbols lose their efficacy.

The

rise of the

nature

its

efficacy has

is

Nazi

political

symbolism has been so recent, "Mein Kampf," and

so well illustrated in Hitler's

its

been so great that

it

is

a peculiarly significant

case for consideration.

Germany

after the First

World War had undergone

frustra-

Science, Philosophy

230 tions

which

prepared

the

soil

and Religion for

aggression.

Economic

conditions were precarious; national pride was wounded; the multiplication of political parties, itself an indication of inof opinion, had bogged down the parliamentary procedure; there was no dominant ideal or sense of direction to compensate people— especially young people—for existing deprivations. The main force which had served to furnish such ideals and direction was Marxist ideology and organization. Hitler responded with uncanny insight to the ternal differences

Rejecting the Marxist leadership (the

realities of this situation.

reasons ship

we

will not analyze),

would need

^

he saw that an alternative leaderand a counter organization,

v

a counter ideology

and he succeeded in supplying both. Through emphasis upon the symbol of the "nation" he at the same time rallied the distinctive forces of German culture and weakened the international orientation of the Marxist; "socialism" was the term used to capture the existing movement of the workers; the emphasis upon the "folk" served to justify the subordination of the individual to the life of the social whole; the myth of the "Aryan race" as the sole bearer of the high achievements of mankind was used to justify the program in historical terms

and

who

to validate the use of force against the "inferior" peoples

stood in the

way

of this dominance; the "aristocratic"

principle of nature preserving through struggle the "stronger"

be the "German" principle of the leader chosen by the people and henceforth personally responsible for carrying out the destiny of his people; individuals

and

parliamentarism

societies

was

was claimed

condemned

as

to

hostile

leadership; the intimation of a divine mission

to

responsible

which

God had

conferred upon the people through the chosen leader utilized

and moral emotions; the growing youth movement was captured by being provided the opportunity for extroverted physical activity and by being offered a dramatic cause needing heroic and self-sacrificing devotion. Hitler had seen the power of the spoken word; he diagnosed correctly the existing frustrated demands for emotionalized religious

^

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

231

he saw the importance of the constant reiteration of few impassioned slogans; he addressed himself directly to the young people and the workers, instead of to the intellectuals and the bourgeoisie from which he believed no decisive action was possible; he created as did Mohammed before the "believers and the fighters" necessary to carry his crusade to power. Here, "writ large," is exhibited the process by which one set of highly efficacious motivators came into being, and the way in which their functioning is inter-related with the expressive and the referential aspect of symbols. Hitler spoke with conviction and exemplified his convictions in his life. All the agencies of persuasion and force were employed to establish activity;

a





beUef in the truth of the statements used to buttress his rhetorical appeals.

He

formulate a way of

life

of

was aware that his problem was to which would enlist underlying energies

men. In the beginning he

of hfe, while ligious

— so

carefully insisted that this

more than economic, was

political

way

and not

that the existing religions could be utilized

re-

and

not antagonized. But as power was gained, the way of life he formulated became more and more imperious and insatiable; it progressively took on the character of a religious attitude hostile to all other

the ancient

ways of

Mohammedan

life. It

became

a

modern

pattern of salvation, and

version of its

crusade

dominate the earth a contemporary "holy war." 8. The rise and the power of this ideology and supporting organization is fraught with significance for alternative ways to

of

life.

Hitler, in expressing in

"Mein Kampf"

his

own

motiva-

view that any proposed alternative must adopt his tactics: "Political parties are inclined towards compromises, views of life never. Political parties count on opponents, views of life proclaim their infallibility. ... A view of life, filled with infernal intolerance, will be broken only by a new idea that is driven forward by a similar spirit, is fought for with the strongest will, but is pure and genuine throughout," Does such a counter idea exist, pure and genuine throughtion, generalizes the

out?

And

need

it

be

filled

with infernal intolerance.? Can a

Science, Philosophy

232

and Religion

Mohammedan pattern of salvation be met only by a stronger Mohammed? Is action unnerved unless it is based upon statements

felt to

in such a

As

be infallible?

Is

the empirical attitude unsettling

world condition and democratic procedure impotent?

regards empiricism, the situation

is

what we

similar to

found in the case of religious symbols: the empiricist can analyze and disentangle the functions performed by poHtical

The

symbols.

anthropologist has, for example, questioned the

objective reference of the term "race," particular. Sign-analysis can

make

and "Aryan race" in under

clear the conditions

which the Nazi symbols have gained their power, the goals they express, and the essentially motivational character of their appeal. It can make clear the human need for esthetic, political, and religious symbols outside the sphere of scientific reference. It can even suggest certain general conditions which symbols adequate for the performance of these needs must meet. But empiricism and the theory of signs cannot as such determine a way of life or create the symbols in which a way of life expresses and directs itself. Does democracy and its symbols gain clarification and strength through such analysis or are they weakened in the very process ? Is the "positivist" the friend of democracy or really the hidden enemy within its midst? First as to the term "democracy" itself. This term, in common



with other symbols of

political creeds, has a

marked

expressive

and motivational character. For many persons today this term has lost much of its efficacy. This is in part due to an unclarity as to what the term refers to and an unclarity as to what goal it is

as

intended to express.

The Germans

describe their society

democratic and the Russians theirs; some persons identify

economy, or with parliamentary democracy is a moral ideal for society and not a description of an existing state. In such a situation the continued use of the term is even open to ques-

democracy with the government; others a

tion;

it

is

understandable that some persons feel that

tinued usage to goals

capitalist

insist

—like

the term 'God'

and means. In any

—blocks

case, if the

realistic

term

is

its

con-

thinking as

used, a choice

»

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

233

and explanation of usage is required. I shall choose for this discussion the usage which makes democracy an ideal which some existing societies approximate but do not reach. A democratic society is envisaged as the ideal of a society which (i) is directed to the maximum development of each of its members; (2) beUeves that this development requires the voluntary participation of the individual in determining the future de-

velopment of the

society;

(3)

sees to

and

receives the material, intellectual, for his or her

commits

development and

itself to

that each individual

it

needed and (4)

cultural resources

social participation,

changes reached through the method

social

made decisions formed in the light of an accurate knowledge of the factors generating any specific problem. Democracy on this usage is thus a "dream" of a multiform, diversified, flexible, co-operative society, and a political way of socially

of hfe accepted for

must,

its

realization. In

it

ferences

and must take

if

its

concern for the

in-

consistent, be attentive to individual dif-

dividual

positive

action to provide the best

condition possible for the development of the individual; in

method

its

it

commits itself knowledge

tion of scientific

which look

its

it is

members sworn

in terms of its

at

encouragement and

to the

utiliza-

in the satisfaction of the interests

any time actually have; in its total outany social changes made

to the acceptance of

approved method provided that they in turn this method. A democratic society

permit the continuance of has as

and

its

as its

goal the enhancement of the

method

the intelligent participation of I

shall

life

of the individual,

the continual reconstruction of itself through

not here argue

how

its

members.

far

this

interpretation of the

term "democracy" corresponds with historical usage, though I should be willing to argue that it does correspond with a persistent phase of the American tradition. This analysis at least helps to sharpen the problem. For it makes clear that the commitment to democracy is a commitment to a goal and a method, and not to a set of metaphysical or religious dogmas, nor to the truth of certain statements about

human

nature or

Science, Philosophy

234

social systems.

and Religion

There can be no opposition of democracy and

the extension of science, since democracy needs the best scien-

knowledge it can obtain, and since its own method inmethod of science. Democracy is not a religion

tific

corporates the

and can

tolerate differences of religion in so far as they operate

within the framework of

its

social ideal;

it

can tolerate poHtical

and moral differences of opinion as to any existing institution as long as the steps taken to change the social structure accept its goal and proceed by its method.

American

society has at least taken steps in the direction of

ideal. What chance has it of surviving in totalitarianism? Its inevitable anti-totaliworld of rampant a

the democratic social

tarian complexity certainly puts

struggle for

it

at disadvantages. In a

which has simplified

society

bare

its

be-

suppressed differences of outlook, harnessed every seg-

liefs,

ment life

dominance a

of

its life

attains

itself

for

to a highly emotionalized

impressive power. struggle,

has

A

and intolerant way of

democratic society, girding

an uneasy conscience in using the

methods which the very condition of the struggle requires. It is in danger of confusing its own need of integration and leadership with the totalitarian type of integration and leadership which it repudiates. This is the major internal danger which the American development will witness. The danger can be mitigated

if it

be realized that certain forms of social

control and social change are essential for the carrying out of the democratic ideal

itself.

differences requires that

The

all

very utilization of individual

individuals be provided with the

which intelligent choice requires. We shall go much farther than we have gone in giving our people economic security, decent living conditions,

basic

resources

certainly have to to

longer vacations, opportunity to work, adequate the use of leisure time, better medical care,

facilities

for

and a more varied

and dramatic existence. Special interests will suffer in this process, and will resist; they will label every such advance, and every necessary extension of delegated leadership, as "sociaHstic" or "totahtarian."

Yet the

fact remains that diverse

i

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

235

common soil of the forest, and a men and women have in common,

trees are alike rooted in the

common meeting

of needs

need not imply an

insensitivity to individual differences

a regimentation of all phases of the cultural

nor

Democracy

life.

must provide the common

soil, but it need not reduce all its one form. There is indeed today too much standardization of action and opinion, drab uniformity, paralyz-

human

trees to

ing fear, tedious routine in American

there

life;

is

a need of

more American form of life is to maintain its appeal over its competitors. Given a clarification of its aims and methods, the courageous and concrete carrying out into practice of the implications of its ideals, the development of symbols adequate to express and protect its aspirations, the realization that positive action to make available to men and women the resources upon which their development depends is part of the democratic anti-totalitarian ideal, and the American society may yet harness its vast strength to meet the internal and external ordeals which it is destined to face. 9. In conclusion, I would like to return for a moment to empiricism and the empiricist. I hope I have made it clear that I do not regard the empiricist as the unique guardian of freer

imagination,

honest emotion,

if

bolder

thought,

greater

flexibility,

the

democracy, or empiricism

itself

as

uniquely implying a par-

ticular religion or social organization.

that the empiricist's attitude,

if

Yet

it

does seem to

me

taken liberally enough and

if

supported by an adequate theory of signs, has certain important

make

contemporary culture. Negatively the underbrush which realistic meeting of the contemporary issues of social life; positively it can elucidate the funcsymbols scientific and non-scientific perform, lay the ground for the creation of symbols to

contributions to

to

empiricist's attitude helps to clean out the

obscures the

and which

religious tions





and so help perform adequately those functions. The in science

fact that the empiricist

does not lose his drive through recognition that

the results of science at any time are only probable to later change, at least suggests that

and subject

some persons could

orient

Science, Philosophy

236

and Religion

that

and political life in the same spirit and in forms would bring them into no emotional or doctrinal con-

flict

with science. Since the motivational

their religious

efficacy

of symbols

which conflict or seem to conflict with scientific knowledge is weakened for those who have been touched by the scientific spirit, it would seem desirable that religious and political reconstruction avoid this conflict; conflict

can be avoided.

The

it is

important to see that

empiricist himself as a

this

human

being needs this reconstruction, just as a society accepting the

democratic method needs the results and methods of science

with which

Beyond in

it

this

is

allied.

empiricism as such does not go. Reconstruction

the arts, the

religions,

the

social

activity of artists, prophets, statesmen,

structure

demands

demands the the co-opera-

tion of youth, the workers, the scientist, the technologist, the

churches, the schools. Diversities of philosophy, of outlook, of

experimentation, of personality indicate vitality in a land

striv-

ing to be democratic; these diversities become weakening only if

the

struggle

and tension they involve

is

not carried on

democratically within the democratic process, to be resolved

where resolution is desirable or possible, to be in any case enjoyed and tolerated. Diversity of individuals acting within a uniformly accepted method: such unity in diversity

is

the

democratic alternative to the totalitarian unification which a democratic society in principle

rejects.

APPENDIX I

am

grateful to Professors

Van Meter Ames, Rudolf Carnap,

Carl G. Hempel, Herbert Martin, Oliver Martin,

Max

Otto,

T. V. Smith, James H. Tufts, and W. V. Quine for penetrating and often extended analyses of this paper. Apart from certain suggested changes which were incorporated in the text itself,

may be raised. Carnap, Hempel, and Quine expressed doubts as to the nature of formers in relation to referors, and the suitability of the the following points

Science, Philosophy terminology used.

seem

The

to be the place to

and Religion

237

issues are complex, and this does not attempt their settlement. The theory of

from being in a satisfactory condition, and its deone of the major tasks and responsibilities of the empiricist. I would only say that for present purposes it seemed necessary and sufficient to stress the diversity of functions encountered in sign processes, to indicate that an empirical treatment of these functions is possible, and to show that once the functions are distinguished, empiricism is compatible with the development of expressive and motivational symbols adequate to the problems of contemporary culture. Ames thought this semiotical analysis valuable as an approach to religion; Otto states that "I see in that kind of approach no hope of solving a real problem in contemporary life which is at the same time a problem of great importance." signs

is

far

velopment

is

A second

difference arose in the desirability of using the term

"religious" to characterize a path of

life.

The

pragmatists Ames,

Herbert Martin, and Tufts raised no objections; Carnap expressed doubts, while Hempel and Quine found it definitely objectionable.

TuFTs:

I

am

in

sympathy with the general position (i)

that, as I

think Kant conclusively showed, the older type of metaphysics

modern mind is method and achievements of modern science that both ethics (my own field) and religion must build on foundations which at least are not undermined by scientific results or opposed to the general method of observation, critical dealt with "analytic judgments"; (2) that the so far impressed by the

interpretation,

and tentative conclusions subject

to

revision

in the light of further knowledge; (3) that the heart of religion as of morality is not found in theories as to "being as





such" or in such facts as the natural sciences deal with, but rather, as the great religious leaders have held, in "doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly," in loving God (ideal of per-



fection) and neighbor, in the "three that abide faith, hope, and love." As Morris puts it, the factor of choice is fundamental, and no "scientific" procedure can eliminate this factor from

the moral or religious experience. If

the language of semantics helps anyone to see this

more

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

238 clearly,

then

all

the better.

I

did not reach

my own

views by this

became convinced some forty years ago that ethics could not longer be based on older methods and sought a method that would build on distinctively moral facts and their route.

I

I regarded this as "scientific," but not as eliminating the importance of choice and other specific moral factors. I think the religious problem is similar; it should base upon

interpretation.

but upon facts of the distinctively religious experience

facts,

of

first

all.

I agree whole-heartedly with the chief idea that our attitude should find suitable symbols so that it would become effective also in the non-theoretical field. The most important

Carnap:

problem

know

is,

of course,

how

to find suitable symbols.

a solution to this problem.

.

.

do not

I

.

is one of the essential points: choice of a There and a certain type of person as goal. is here a practical problem of terminology: is it advisable to use the term "religion" for our own attitude.? If the term is understood in the wide sense as in the ms. it does, of course, apply to our attitude too. The alternative seems to be this: shall we use the term in this wider sense and then say that we have a religion different from the traditional ones, and one without theology; or shall we prefer to use the term in the narrower traditional sense and then say that we have no religion? I personally feel still somewhat uneasy in applying the term to myself. I suppose that that is a consequence of the cultural situation in which we lived in Europe where the antagonism between our efforts and the influence of the Catholic church was

agree that this

I

"path of

life,"

.

particularly strong. In this country the situation

ent because of the less doctrinary nature of organizations; that

may perhaps

is

.

.

quite differ-

many

religious

lead to greater tolerance toward

the term "religion."

With

Quine:

the

main idea

of the paper

— the desirability of work— agree.

ing out a code of values suited to the scientific temper

But

I

hesitate to apply the

word

I

"religion" to such a code.

Can't an individual's code of values, his projected "path of

be

fittingly

now

spoken of

that there are

as his ethics? It has struck

me

life,"

before

two cardinal methods, one favored by the

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

conservatives in religion and the other by their brethren, for

making

239 more

liberal

the rest of us religious: conversion and

definition.

Hempel:

I

am

inclined to think that there

is

one definite

differ-

ence between (i) what most people would find acceptable as a religion and (2) a "mere" system of goals and of techniques for their attainment.

This difference

is

that almost any type of re-

ligion seems to involve, as the very foundation of the goals

may

it

which are taken, by the faithful, as expression of genuine knowledge. In fact, the term "to believe" means something like "to consider as true" and its use should, therefore, strictly speaking, be reserved for sentences with cognitive meaning. Just this quasi-cognitive connotation of the term "belief" seems to be rather important in religion. But just here the criticism set forth in the paper applies: Those beliefs do not have, in the typical cases, a referential function; they express no knowledge and would have to be amputated according to empiricist standards. What would be left is a system of goals and techniques but would that be acceptable to most people as a religion? And can one therefore say without danger of being misunderstood that empiricism is compatible with religion and that for many persons the problem of a total orientation of their personalities can be met (and ought to be met) only by developing a new religious attitude.? set up, certain characteristic "beliefs"



Morris:

I grant the significance of the issues. I can only say that (i) contemporary work in the comparative study of religion makes it inadvisable to identify religion with adherence to a body of

metaphysical doctrines, (2) a number of psychologists of religion now stress the orientational function of religion for the individual and the group, and (3) the use of the term "religion" for

new

paths of

life

helps to sharpen the opposition to older

traditional religions.

Professor Herbert Martin raises an interesting point: The idea of the kind of person one wishes to be mary.

We do not first clear the

The concept

tables

is

not pri-

and frame the ideal person.

arises in and through experience. The ideal person an accompaniment or consequent of those values that yield the highest and most satisfactory individual and social life.

is

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

240

As

become translated into the most desires to become. The gradually changing and becoming concept.

a continuing result, these values

concept of the kind of person one ideal self I

is

thus a

do not deny

his contentions.

as does any ideal.

An

ideal to

An

ideal personality functions

which one gives allegiance

arises

an expressor of operative interests and as a motivator inducing behavior in the direction of their realization. One of the devices by which men have expressed their actual interests and attempted to give integration to their forming selves is in the creation of the symbolism for the various gods; the traits given to these gods have differed in a particular context;

it

acts as

with different personalities and different social organizations. This device still seems to me, shorn of its metaphysical trappings, to be of value, though the ideal types of man presented in the great historic religions do not answer to the way of life, the problems, the aspirations of many contemporary persons. I think it is important to consider explicitly what type of person is to be given our special allegiance, and to build a symbolism expressive of this choice and efficacious in stimulating us to adopt the way of life which this choice involves. Contemporary humanism seems to me to be weak through its failure to do this; it is not sufficient to talk of "mankind" or to glorify scientific method. of Ames' communication reads as follows: "While Charles Morris will be thanked for extending empiricism beyond its customary connotation, perhaps he is too ready to assume that empiricism is the only method of knowledge. If this were so, Platonic doctrine would have to be explained as he explains it, as a confusion between statements about signs and statements about non-linguistic objects, or something of the sort. The Platonizing religionist of tradition, however, will say it is truer to recognize another method, famil-

The concluding paragraph

iar especially in the

phenomena

of conversion; a

method

in-

volving the metaphysics repudiated by empiricism. Such a per-

son would hold that genuine religion is impossible without an epistemology rooted in metaphysics. Moreover, the attempt to justify an empirical religion, while it may not be addressed to people

who

are content with orthodox religion, will be regarded

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

241

by them as an effort to weaken their position. It is sanguine to expect any increment in the expressive and motivating power of non-metaphysical symbols to propitiate those who rely on religion for a guarantee concerning ultimate reality and man's relation to it. No extension of empiricism can include the thing indispensable to them: a sense of absolute certainty."

"Why can't one be both an When science and metaphysics

Similarly, Oliver Martin writes:

empiricist

and

a metaphysician?

conflict, one or the other is overstepping its bounds. some metaDoesn't democracy imply some world view? physical ideas? (For example, the possibility of democracy im.

.

plies that all 'good' has not

Morris:

I

serves for

them

if

.

many persons

will

remain unsatis-

which seeks no metaphysical super-strucscientific knowledge. Such a super-structure life

symbols by seeming to invalidate all other paths not being in accord with the "nature of things." But to increase the motivational efficacy of

portraying a path of of life as

.

.

been realized.)"

have no doubt but that

with a way of ture raised above fied

.

life,

such super-structures do in fact rest upon confusions of

various types of sign-functioning (and such a confusion

I

find

example given by Oliver Martin), they will lose their efficacy to persons aware of this confusion. And my concern was to show that such persons still can be concerned with choices as to a path of life, and with symbols to express and in the

make

efficacious the life they

problems and available In conclusion

may

I

choose to

scientific

underline

live in the light of their

knowledge.

my

conviction that in the

analysis the acceptance or rejection of

democracy (or

last

totali-

upon upon the preference for a certain type of person. The language of democracy is expressive of this allegiance and motivational to the development of such persons. Hence the crucial importance of making as clear as possible the kind of person we wish to be and the kind of person we wish the social process to produce. In the end I do not see any other basis for judging societies and institutions tarianism) as a

method

of social procedure rests in fact not

a specific metaphysics or theology but

except in terms of the ideal person to giance.

I

whom we

give our

alle-

CHAPTER

XII

Philosophical Implications of the Prevalent

Conception of Democracy By

GERALD

Pontifical Institute of

B.

PHELAN

Mediaeval Siudies, Toronto

TIMES of prosperity and comparative peace, discussions

INabout or less of

democracy and the democratic way of life were more confined to academic circles the classroom, meetings



conventions

philosophers,

people at large,

which

it

was taken

of

political

scientists.

Among

for granted that a social system

fosters freedom, proclaims equality of opportunity for

every citizen, opens wide the field for individual initiative,

and counts upon a spirit of tolerance and friendly co-operation to smooth out difficulties and to solve the practical problems incidental to communal life, provided all that one could reasonably expect from any organization of society, and, indeed, could scarcely be improved upon. The evident success of American democracy, despite numerous conflicts, abuses and injustices, in building up a nation of prosperous, progressive and, on the whole, satisfied people, was generally taken as a complete justification of the democratic principle itself, and a vindication of the democratic form of government as distinguished from or opposed to any and every form of social and political organization. By the pragmatic test, the democratic way of fife appeared to justify itself from every point of view.

Within recent years, however, certain policies and movements adopted or promoted by some groups in the name of democracy (I refer to such issues as The New Deal, the case 242

Science, Philosophy of the the

and Religion

243

Supreme Court and

last

decade)

other groups

as

the industrial and labor disputes of have been condemned and repudiated by undemocratic. Nevertheless, while national

and international affairs were running more or less smoothly and no major disturbance of the accustomed order of things threatened to upset the normal current of democratic life, the philosophical principles upon which the democratic system was based remained unscrutinized and unexamined, except by the few, mostly philosophers and professors of political science.

Not

until totalitarian dictators challenged the very principle

of democracy, repudiated the whole

body of

social

and

political

conceptions which the "democratic" nations proclaimed, and, in the case of

more than one European country, abolished demby force of arms, did those who hitherto and unquestioningly led, the demofeel called upon to examine its philosophical

ocratic institutions

had accepted cratic

way

of

uncritically, life,

foundations and to vindicate the principle of democracy

itself.

must have been a startling discovery to many sincere advocates of democracy to realize that, as M. Maritain has well said, the atheistic and naturalistic form which Jean Jacques Rousseau gave to the democratic principle "is the type of democracy which for almost two centuries now has prevailed in the ideologies of Western peoples."^ Rousseau has been dead for a long while now, and it would, no doubt, seem preposterous to regard the influence of his It

thought

as a preponderant factor in the formation of contemporary ideas on social and political life. Yet, it is his conception of freedom, his notion of equality, his theory of law,

have molded modern thinking about democracy and have shaped the contemporary conception of the democratic way of life. Re-echoed,

his doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, that

restated,

adapted to

new

conditions and elaborated to

fit

the

needs of the changing times by German romanticists, French socialists and English and American liberals, it is Rousseau's interpretation of

democracy which

^Maritain, Jacques, "Scholasticism

and

a

Politics,"

thousand writers since London, 1940,

p. 93.

Science, Philosophy

244

and Religion

day have wittingly or unwittingly propounded. If we wish the democratic way of life as a concrete sociohistorical phenomenon, and not as some theoretically possible

his

to discuss

form

of the democratic principle,

it is

this tradition of thought,

emanating from Rousseau, that we must envisage. Recently we have had a spate of books and pamphlets, articles and speeches in defense of democracy, and the vast majority of those which

I

have read reiterate commonly accepted formulas

about the rights of man, the of

all

men and

liberties of the citizen, the equality

the will of the people,

whose matrix may

readily

be found in Le Contrat Social.^ This conception of democracy postulates that man is born free, not merely that man has by nature a free will, through the use of which he may achieve his full freedom; but that the man's existence at birth is one of absolute and sovereign independence. Submission to the authority of any other human being, obedience to any man, therefore, violates the very essence of Hberty. Such was the condition state or condition of

liberty

man

of

was

in the full dignity of his primitive state, before society

established.

Consequent upon and

ception of freedom

is

based upon the fallacy

men are among men

all

parallel

to

this

con-

the other postulate of strict social equality

because

that,

all

men

are equally

men,

equal men. Physical and intellectual inequalities obviously exist; but because

all

human

beings are

equally free, there can be no question of inequality of status,

no

special privilege for

Yet,

men must

any

live

^t may not be out of place

class or

order of men.

together in some sort of society, and remark here

that, in discussing the philosophnot concerned with practical problems of democratic administration, the question of representative government, the ical

to

implications of these formulas,

I

am

methods

of election and appointment to office, the organization of the various functions of government or any of the techniques of practical politics. The fact that there may be defects in a system of government, or abuses in the actual

conduct of political affairs, raises the very practical question (with which I am not at present dealing) of the correction of the methods and techniques of the system and the curbing of corrupt politicians. Those are problems of a different

from the question of the philosophical implications of the prevalent conception of democracy and their metaphysical, social and ethical consequences.

sort

Science, Philosophy implies law which they may not society

to

and Religion

245

which men must submit and order

disturb.

A

throng of isolated individuals,

each absolutely equal to the other and

all

completely indepen-

from any natural form of submission to any of their fellow men, does not constitute a social or political community. If freedom and equality are understood in the absolute and univocal sense and I repeat that the prevalent interpretation of the principle of democracy so understands them then it is plain that, whatever device be adopted to explain and justify the social and political life of men (Rousseau, as is well known, adopts the device of a Social Contract, to which I shall refer in a moment), it will always remain true that society, by its very nature, involves a restriction of liberty and contrariates the absolute independence of the individuals who compose it. Society, therefore, is not a natural means of fostering freedom and developing the citizen to the full stature of human perdent, free





sonality;

it

an

is

artificial

men

institution devised to enable

who, by nature are isolated individuals, to live a common life. In a word, with such conceptions of liberty and equality, it is impossible to reconcile the ancient Greek, and the constant Christian, notion of

man

as naturally destined for the society

of his fellows. course, one may say with Rousseau, that man exercises freedom by entering into society. For, according to the

Of his

theory of the Social Contract, a pact dividuals in virtue of

themselves and is

which

all their

all

is

made among

free in-

the associates freely surrender

rights to the

community. Thus, society

born, not of nature, but of the will of man. But hberty

not

lost.

human

man

does not submit himself to any

ject,

henceforth, to the whole social body, but no

superior.

He

has no

man

himself, since his will

is

being.

He man

is is

subhis

above him. He obeys nobody but mystically absorbed in the General

Will begotten of the social pact or contract

made with

other sovereignly independent individuals.

It

Will

is

In surrendering himself to the whole community,

is

this

all

the

General

—the will of the people, mythically conceived by Rousseau

— Science, Philosophy

246

and Religion

immanent within the social body community and governs all its members. It

as a sort of divine spirit

that rules the

the source of

all

law, for law

the will of the people. conditions, is,

it

is

By

is

a majority of votes, cast

under proper

possible to ascertain the General Will (which

sum

of course, not merely the

cordance therewith.

It is

total

of individual wills,

and frame the law

in ac-

thus that the sovereign people

make

but the will of the social body

itself)

no man but only

the laws and, because they are subject to

own

is

nothing but the expression of

to

General Will of the whole social body, preserve their liberty intact. This conception of sovereignty residing exclusively and absolutely in the their

people,

is,

will as absorbed within the

of course, essential to a theory in

which

society

is

not a natural institution but the product of the will of the people; but

it is

utterly

man

opposed

to every philosophical doctrine

and absolute sovereignty Author of nature, from Whom the relative sovereignty of states and nations derives. The implications of the principles of democracy interpreted in the Rousseauist manner have been strikingly noted by a recent writer in respect to the concepts of authority and power. "Democracy conceived in the manner of Rousseau," he says, "suppresses authority and preserves power. To declare that authority resides in the whole multitude as in its. proper subject and without being able to emerge from it and to exist in such and such responsible men, this is but a trick permitting irresponsible mechanisms to exercise power over men without having authority over them democracies of the

which regards

as naturally social

as an attribute of the

.

.

.



.

,

.

Rousseauist type not only grant the State

all

the usurpations

of power, but they tend towards these very usurpations.

The

ruin of authority and of the principle of authority

benefit of

of justice

—to

.

.

.

the

power without authority, without the foundations and law and without the Hmit^s consummated in

the totalitarian State."^ 'Maritain, op.

cit.,

pp. 93-95.

— Science, Philosophy

Many

ardent

defenders

of

and Religion

democracy,

who

247 repeat

the

formulas about Hberty, equaHty and the sovereign people, are

unaware of these implications and consequences of the prevaRousseauist conception of democracy, and would, no doubt, repudiate the philosophical principles and postulates upon which it rests. Such persons are primarily interested in preserving those truly human values which all men cherish lent

personal voice

freedom, justice for

in public

affairs

all

without discrimination, a

and friendly co-operation among

all

body politic. The philosophical aspects of the problem of democracy do not enter into their consideration. But the present crisis of democracy has forced reflection upon all who would rationally vindicate the democratic way of life. Many others, and among them, not a few of those who write about democracy, are well aware of the naturalistic and secular

members

of the

characteristics of the prevailing interpretation of democracy,

and they are quite content, or even enthusiastic, to accept and promote them. Such persons, however, cannot reasonably quarrel with totalitarian dictators for drawing the conclusions and implementing the consequences of Rousseau's substitution of power for democracy, of his doctrines of the General Will and of the sovereignty of the people, unless they are prepared to accept the only other logical alternative, an anarchy of unrestricted individual liberties conflicting with one another without any means of putting order into the chaos of individualistic confusion.

For democracy, conceived after the fashion of Rousseau, ought logically to issue, and has, historically, issued in one or both of two extremes. One is the attempt to estabUsh society on the basis of complete individual autonomy and, in the sacred

name

of liberty, to abolish

all

authority.

The

other

which comes from regarding the individual will of each citizen as transfigured, in some mysterious, mystical, inexplicable manner, into the General Will, is

totalitarian

dictatorship,

the sovereign will of the people. In the

first

case there will be

neither authority nor power; in the second case there will be

— and Religion

Science, Philosophy

248

power without

authority,

might

be right and the rule of

will

force prevail.

There have been several attempts, groups of

striking instances in recent years,

attempted.

The Germans

tried

it

when

before

tervention of Lenin. In both cases

must. After those

posite

extreme

failures, the

Rousseauist

of

it

it

was

Hitler

the reins of government; the Russians tried

it

among

certain

system without either authority or power. There are

social

two

particularly

gain support for the Utopian idea of a

socialists, to

it

actually

took over

before the in-

failed miserably, as fail

Germans swung

to the op-

democracy,

totalitarian

the

and the Russians turned to the Communistic system. However much these political movements may have been shaped by Hegelian absolutism, Marxian socialism and numerous other influences, the Rousseauist conception of democracy is at their root. statolatry of the Hitler regime;

totalitarian

Once

sociolatry

of

the

so-called

the principle of the General Will of the sovereign

people becomes the source of law, and the

wrong, the door

not a far cry from

mon

open

is

to the

norm

of right and

most complete tyranny.

It is

conception of the com-

this position to the

conscience of the people embodied in the people's party

and eventually incarnated people, the dictator.

He

is

in the person of the leader of the

man

the law-giver and, as such, "is a

in every respect extraordinary in the state. If he should be

extraordinary by genius he personifies the nation.

His

is

not

will,

less

because

so it

by his work." is

He

the incarnation

of the General Will, mystically conceived as the enlivening spirit of this "political

pantheism,"

the ultimate criterion of right

is

the will of the people,

and wrong, and the law

pressing the highest destiny of the nation.

A

ex-

strange perver-

sion of the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation of the Second

Person of the Blessed Trinity wherein the God-man, The Christ, is replaced by the man-god, the Dictator!

These totalitarian consequences flow with inexorable logic with the concrete logic of historical events as well as with

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

thought

the speculative logic of consistent

249

—from the principles

of democracy advocated by the vast majority of philosophers

and pohtical tions."

among our own

even

scientists

which we have come

the nations

They

are the principles of a false

ultimate logical outcome

is

people and

among

to call the "democratic na-

humanism, and

their

either totalitarianism or anarchy.

"Beneath the actual conflict between 'totalitarianism' and 'debetween this set of temporal interests and that, mocracy' there is a greater, subtler conflict going on, the nineteen.

.

.

between the Christian and false-humanist

centuries-old struggle

views of

being

now come

life

to a cataclysmic crisis.

two

the

spiritual,

are

sides

This struggle,

not clearly defined and

coterminous with the sides in the visible temporal struggle.

To

.

.

.

war may be necessary; but it will victory and those two victories do

defeat totalitarianism in

be a complete

sterile

.

.

.

not necessarily go together."* Until such time as a philosophy of democracy

elaborated, based

is

upon

true conceptions of

the nature of man, of the liberty of the

proportionate equality

among men,

human

person, of

of the role of the

human

of the absolute sovereignty of

person in

affairs of

God and

the relative sovereignty of rulers, of legitimate au-

thority

public

and of power

life,

in the service of authority,

it

be

will

impossible philosophically to defend democracy and the democratic

way

of

life

against the advocates of totalitarian dictator-

ship or the promoters of anarchy.

Fortunately, there are in this country a

who

number

of thinkers

have set themselves to the task of developing a

new

philosophy of democracy, in which those precious and truly

human goods active

of freedom, justice, co-operation, friendship

participation

in

the

affairs

of

government,

and

may be

soHdly and rationally estabHshed against both the tyranny of totaUtarianism and the anarchy of chaotic individualism.* *Attwater, Donald,

Not

"The 'War' behind the War," The Commonweal, Vol.

xxxiv, n.14, July 25, 1941, p. 322.

"See the note ed.

cit.

on

p.

117 of Maritain, Jacques, "Scholasticism and Politics,"

250

Science, Philosophy

a few of those thinkers are

and Religion

members

of this conference, and

their contributions to the discussion of the

problems of

social

philosophy should pave the way for a saner outlook on the

whole question of the philosophical cratic

way of

life.

justification of the

demo-

CHAPTER The

XIII

Spiritual Basis of

Democracy

BY J.

DOUGLAS BROWN, Department THEODORE M. GREENE,

of Economics, Princeton University

Department of Philosophy,

Princeton University

H. HARBISON, Department of History, Princeton University WHITNEY J. OATES, Department of Classics, Princeton University HENRY NORRIS RUSSELL, Department of Astronomy, E.

Princeton University

HUGH

S.

TAYLOR, Department

GEORGE

F.

THOMAS,

of Chemistry, Princeton University

Department

of Religious Thought,

Princeton University

JOHN

A.

MACKAY,

President, Princeton Theological Seminary

>^ Democratic institutions and cultural activities rest upon man, while a part of nature, is a spiritual being and that his highest good should be defined in terms of spiritual values. The major problem which confronts us at this time, therefore, is not merely the defense of democracy and its culture, but a deeper understanding of and commitment to the spiritual conception of man upon which democracy 1.

the assumption that

is

based. 2.

Spiritual life

selves at

of the

our

and

its

we

experience them in our-

They

are not identical with any

laws, as

best, are distinctive.

phenomena and laws

of nature described by the natural

and whatever description of them the natural sciences may be capable of giving cannot affect their reality and their sciences;

value. 3. The human spirit, of course, is dependent to an undetermined extent upon the natural processes of the body and its environment. But, though it is thus conditioned by bio-

251

Science, Philosophy

252

and Religion

and physical processes it cannot be identified with them and can be fully understood only by means of distinctive methods and categories suitable to its distinctive nature. 4. The human spirit is that which distinguishes man from the lower animals. It makes possible the activity by which man, seeking to transcend his limitations, relates himself to the higher order of spiritual life and ultimate values upon which he depends. Thus, spiritual activity is directed towards an ideal, objective reality; though the spirit is individual, it is oriented towards a reality which is super-individual. logical

5.

This spiritual activity involves appreciation of the

in-

and persons. Whereas the lower animal appropriates and uses things and persons to satisfy its own needs, man is capable of acknowledging and affirming their worth in themselves. 6. Morality, in the full meaning of the term, depends upon this appreciation of intrinsic worth. Moral action is action determined by principle rather than impulse. This principle must be broader than mere enlightened self-interest. Useful as such self-interest may be in restraining acts harmful to the individual and his fellows, morality also requires concern for trinsic values of things

the welfare of others for their

own

sakes.

Democracy presupposes moral concern of this kind on the part of the citizens. A democracy whose citizens are unwilling 7.

to seek the interest of others as they seek their

no sense of

a

common

good. Thus, democracy

own is

can have

meaningless

without the kind of moral responsibility which spiritual beings alone acknowledge. 8.

The

capacity

of

man

to

relate

himself to an ultimate

source of meaning and worth and to value things and persons

worth is thus essential to a true conception There have been, however, different ideas about the ultimate source of meaning and worth and the for their intrinsic

of the

human

spirit.

practical implications of

thought are

the

it. The two major which have dominated Western and contemplative conception

man's relation to

conceptions of the spiritual

life

intellectual

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

253

derived primarily from the Greeks and the Hebraic-Christian moral and religious conception. 9.

The

first

truth, beauty,

of these lays stress

and the good

as

upon

the contemplation of

absolute values.

It

identifies

with reverence for these values as constituting a higher order of reality. It tends to conceive of the moral life in terms of inner and outer harmony and to subordinate it religion

to contemplation. Its primary aim is the elevation of human life through contemplation of the ideal and imitation of it in noble character and institutions. This conception, which derives from

Platonism, has often been combined with the mystical conception of union with the infinite, ineffable Being behind and beyond all finite things. In this case, contemplation of values becomes secondary to identification with the divine Source of values. On the basis of a pantheistic view of nature as inclusive of the human spirit and its values, the spiritual life may be conceived somewhat differently. Identification with nature, through contemplation of her laws and action in accordance with them, has seemed to many philosophers, scientists and poets, from the Stoics onwards, to be the highest wisdom. 10. But though contemplation of ultimate reality and its values and submission to natural laws are an invaluable part of the spiritual

life,

essence of that

they are inadequate

life.

high significance

when

Contemplation of values

when

conceived as the loses

much

of

its

these are not related to the purposes

of a divine spiritual Being. Mystical union with the ineffable

may

lead to a depreciation of the individual

and moral spiritually

activity. Life in

adequate only

if

and

his rational

accordance with nature would be nature were a self-sufficient and

beneficent system and possessed supreme religious and moral

worth in itself. 11. For these and other reasons, the Hebraic-Christian moral and religious conception of the spiritual life is superior to the contemplative-mystical conception. In contemplation of value, mystical union and identification with nature alike, the source

Science, Philosophy

254 of

meaning and value

unaided

and Religion

impersonal, and

is

with

effort establish relationship

man must by it.

on the other hand, the Divine

Christian conception,

ceived in personal terms. Man's relationship with possible by an antecedent act of revelation

reaches love.

down

to

man

man

in grace,

Moreover, since

God

and since His purpose

task

is

God

on His

con-

is

made

is

God

part.

responds in gratitude and

conceived primarily as moral

is

will,

his

In the Hebraic-

fulfilled in

is

human

man's

life,

not simply to contemplate ultimate reality and value,

but to act in harmony with God's purpose for

human

life

and

Thus, intellectual and aesthetic contemplation is subordinated to practical moral action, and the values of both contemplation and action are so related to the all-embracing purposes of the Divine Spirit as to attain the deepest possible meaning.

history.

The claims of the contemplative and mystical concephowever, should be recognized as valid and important when they are taken as aspects of this religious and moral 12.

tion,

The contemplative

conception.

rational faculty of culture.

The

man and

mystical

at

life

Ufe

'•ightly

emphasizes

the higher values of the its

best explores

the

life

of

deeper levels

of the soul, from which fruitful insight and action as well as a sense of unity with

all

life,

may come. And

reverence for

wonder of upon nature at

the order of nature deepens man's sense of the

common

things and his grateful dependence

every turn.

The contemplative

Hfe has the further value of

enlarging the horizon of religion and morality.

symbolic representation of

God

as

It

terpreted in a naively anthropomorphic manner,

devotion to the moral purpose of

and 13.

prevents the

personal from being in-

and

it

saves

God from becoming narrow

and culture. Both the contemplative-mystical and the moral-religious

hostile to reason

conceptions of

modern

man

as

a spiritual being are superior to the

naturalistic view,

which

exalts

man by

himself or as a

part of nature. Naturalism denies both man's relation to an

order of ultimate values and his dependence upon a cosmic

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

255

thus divorces him from the moral and which he belongs and upon which he depends for strength and direction. It encourages him to determine his ends for himself as a completely autonomous being, without any norm above his own interests and desires, individual and collective. As a result, it leads inevitably to pride and spiritual

Power.

It

spiritual order to

The individual, having nothing higher than himself worship or serve, worships himself, his reason, his culture,

egoism. to

or his race.

Many who

hold to this naturalistic view in democratic unaware of the dangers in their position. Influenced by the last remnants of philosophical Idealism, romantic Transcendentalism, or religious Theism in our day, they 14.

countries are

act as

if

they

still

which they have

believed in the spiritual conception of intellectually repudiated.

They

try to

man

main-

man, while paying homage an essentially materialistic philosophy according to which man is simply a highly developed animal. They are loyal to tain their feeling for the dignity of to

and culture, but by their theory they deny the spiritual nature of man and his values upon which it has been built. In short, they are living off the spiritual capital which has come down to them from their classical and religious heritage, while at the same time they ignore that heritage itself as antiquated and false. their democratic society

15.

Since this contradiction will prove to be intellectually

and teachers must recover and reaffirm man and his good which we have derived from Greek and Hebraic-Christian sources. If they fail to do this, not only religious reverence and moral responsibility, but also the scholarly activities with which they intolerable, scholars

the spiritual conception of

are directly concerned, will be gravely endangered. Already,

under

totalitarian regimes,

and

to a lesser extent in the de-

mocracies, these activities are being undermined. 16.

Totalitarianism

is

the historical result of the weakening

of the

Greek and Hebraic-Christian

scribed.

As awareness

traditions

we have

de-

of an objective moral and spiritual order

has

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

256

grown dim, other "orders" have captured men's imagina-

tions

:

a "classical" economic order in which individual or group

is identified with public good; a Marxian determinism which conceives of both individual and society

self-interest

primarily in terms of economic interest; and finally, a national or racial

dynamism which recognizes no

laws whatever, whether

which therefore sponsible will.

creates

When

spiritual, its

objective universal

moral, or

own "new

economic, and

order" by acts of

irre-

nations and societies which have sub-

spiritual ends have been weakened or by the decline of economic opportunity and security, they have turned to new gods of class, state and race. The "folkish organism" of totalitarian political philosophy is both outcome and indictment of the materiaUstic "economic

stituted material for

shattered

organization" of

much

of

Western society. The spread of toworld can be checked only by a

talitarianism throughout the

democracy which has recovered that living belief in the obmoral and spiritual order which is its deepest source of strength. Democracy is not an end in itself, to be attained by any means, as are the totalitarian Utopias. Rather, it is a means, perhaps the best political means yet found, to an end. This end

jective

is

the realization in

human

society of certain ideals

—human



moral responsibility, spiritual freedom which have their historic roots in Greece and Palestine, their sanction in a moral and spiritual order which transcends history. These ideals may in the past have been preserved to a limited extent without democracy. But democracy cannot survive without them. dignity,

17. If scholars, teachers, writers

and

religious leaders

do not

succeed in arousing the minds and hearts of the democratic peoples to a living faith in the spiritual nature of man, the

democracy by military and political action is not primarily two different forms of government, but two different conceptions of human life, which are opposed in the life and death struggle of our day. Scholars must therefore do what it is so difficult for them to do in our direct defense of

bound

to

fail. It is

and Religion

Science, Philosophy "liberal" culture:

can act only

if

they must act as well as think. But they

they will

sues of the spiritual tific

demonstration

when

257

make up

and moral is

minds on the great iswhich logical and scien-

their

life

impossible.

in

They have

a

special

re-

one half of the world, to see that in the other half men reflect before they act. But they must also learn to commit themselves. For if commitment without reflection means fanaticism in action, reflection without commitment means a paralysis of all action. That way lies sponsibility,

fanatical loyalties rule

the death of democratic society

and

its

culture.

CHAPTER XIV Thomism and Democracy By

YVES

Notre

THIS

PAPER

is

R.

Dame

SIMON

University

intended to examine some aspects of the

Thomas which can contribute to the improvement of our ideas on the problem of democracy. In order to have our point of view clearly specified, let us make two teaching of St.

preliminary remarks:

A

discussion on

Thomism and democracy might have

the

would be the works of St.

character of an historical investigation; the question

to disentangle, from many texts scattered in Thomas, what he actually thought about the democratic regime such as he knew it. Now, if Thomism enjoys, as we believe it does, a vitality which is not by any means confined within the limits of St. Thomas's short life, it should be possible to give a Thomistic treatment of the problem of de-

mocracy such

as

it

appears to

us.

The

latter point of

view

will

prevail in this study.

Correspondingly, what a pure essence abstracted historical reality that

we understand by democracy from

we have

historical contingencies,

in

mind when we

tion such terms as the totalitarian state

is

not

but the

set in opposi-

and the democratic

society.

The Common Good As

is

whole

well

known, the idea of common good dominates the philosophy of St. Thomas. This philosophy

political

258

Science, Philosophy rests

on a

realistic

sum

to a

259

conception of the social body, that

society enjoys a reality of

duced

and Religion

its

own, a

reality that

of individual realities.

object of political activity, the

The good which

common

good,

is

that

is,

cannot be is

re-

the

not reducible

mere sum of individual accomplishments; it is the perfection, the good, of the whole as such, the perfect cooperation of men in their corporate life and in their collective action. Accordingly, political power cannot be exercised for the private good of a master or for the particular welfare of any group to a

within the

state.

perfect living politic.

the

The

only legitimate purpose of politics

and acting together of

parts of the

all

is

the

body

Every idea of exploitation of other men for the sake of in power is radically excluded by the very object of

men

political activity.

In this connection,

it

may be observed

that the

struggle

movement with more con-

against the totalitarian state gives the democratic

an exceptional opportunity to devote

itself,

sistency than ever before, to the actual ciple of the

common

triumph of the prin-

good. This view refers directly to the

recent evolution of the party system.

It

has often been claimed

upon which the operation based, impHes a permanent threat

modern

that the party system,

of

democracies

against the

common

is

good.

If

the political personnel

is

organized in parties,

which ceaselessly compete for power, is it not to be feared that the power of the state will be constantly utilized for the welfare of this and that party, and never for the welfare of the whole community? The threat is undeniably real and permanent, and the whole question is to have it permanently held in check by a system of opposite forces. When the forces intended to insure the prevailing of the common good happen to decline, and leave unopposed the unavoidable tendency of the parties to substitute their the community,

we know

own

prosperity for the welfare of

democracy is doomed. The people become discouraged and exhausted by continual strife, raise a clamor for unity and deliver themselves to the Fiihrer, in whom they believe the unity of the state to be embodied. They that

Science, Philosophy

26o blindly take

that any

for granted

it

unity gives the principle of the to

triumph because

The

it

and Religion restoration of

forcible

common good

a better chance

ends the disorderly conflict of parties.

very expression "totaHtarian state" seems to imply that

the whole of the nation will be set to

work

whole of

for the

the nation.

Here

lies

the great deception.

clear that the ticular

name,

nothing

else

is

totalitarian

It

now become may be

has

system, whatever

essentially a party system.

The Fuhrer

entirely

par-

its is

really

than the leader of a party. Far from doing away

with the concept of party, the totalitarian state gives this concept an unprecedented sway, for as much as it is based on the forcible identification of the party with the whole of the This violent identification gives a legal character to the

state.

exploitation of the national

pointed leaders

and succeeded

The

who in

that any check be put

on the

The one -party system

it

all

It

gang of

self-ap-

is

constitutionally

radically at variance

impossible

devouring imperialism of the

the

most

system, the kind of party system which

most

a

having a number of people believe they were. regime makes

totalitarian

party.

community by

declared one day that they were the state,

with the

form of party bound to be the

radical is

common

good.

can be reasonably hoped that the present struggle against

the totalitarian states will refashion the democratic

and develop

common

in

good.

it

a

renewed adherence

The democratic

movement

to the principle of the

peoples, in so far as the necessi-

and expediencies of the fight cause them to become better aware of the character of their adversaries, are bound to acquire a better awareness of their own principles as well. The same struggle that compels them to realize better the nature of the totalitarian state as a system of exploitation, compels them to realize more clearly the essence of democracy as a government for the people, for the whole of the people, for the common good of the people. ties

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

Authority and

261

Autonomy

Because of the emphasis that the Thomist school lays on authority, many people hold it to be self-evident that the political philosophy of St. Thomas is wholly incompatible with any kind of democratic a

But the declaration of such two unwarranted assump-

spirit.

involves

radical incompatibility

tions: first, that the principle of authority conflicts essentially

with the doctrine of democracy; second, that the Thomistic notion of authority leaves no room for the aspiration toward

which unquestionably lies at the core of the democratic movement. The arbitrary character of the first assumption is

liberty

suggested by the fact that several democratic regimes have achieved forms of leadership worthy of mention

among

the

most successful and typical embodiments of the idea of authority. That the second assumption is unwarranted, can be best evidenced by an analysis of the functions, forms and instruments of authority. I.

often happens that the authority of a superior has to

It

provide for accomplishments which, under perfect conditions, would be left to the initiative of the subject. De jure, the pursuit of the personal

Now,

number

a

good

is

a matter of personal government.

of people are unable to achieve self-govern-

ment, because of some deficiency, which may be either regular and normal (as in children), or abnormal and exceptional (as in the feebleminded). Similarly,

community to fulfill

its

(let

it

may happen

that a small

us say, a city or a corporation) proves unable

proper task and attain

guidance from without.

Then

its

proper end without some

the authority of a higher social

unit (ordinarily, the state) assumes the administrative duties that the

community under consideration cannot

carry out by

itself.

Such in

a function of authority, important

any way be considered as

result

from the essence of

though

it

essential. Its necessity

man

is,

cannot

does not

or from the essence of society;

Science, Philosophy

262

and Religion

rather results from the insufficient development of the powers of man, from their accidental disablement, or from the social immaturity of a group. Whenever the intervention of authority is made necessary only by the inability to effect it

self-government, the function of authority

is

not essential, but

substitutional. 2.

The

essential function of authority

tude toward

common

its

on the ground of through

common

its

good.

very notion, that

action.

The

is

to direct the multi-

The common good

unity of

it

implies,

has to be pursued

common

action

must be

assured by some steady principle. This principle cannot be

unanimity, for unanimity in practical matters

often casual

is

and always precarious. Steadiness in the unity of action de-

mands

that, in case of

tion, that

disagreement,

all

observe a single direc-

submit themselves to some authority.

is,

Furthermore, even under ideal circumstances, where perfect enhghtenment and perfect virtue would secure a unanimous acknowledgment of that which is required by the common good, it would still be necessary that the tendency toward the common good be embodied in a center of activity whose proper

common

wholly natural, indeed, that toward particular goods. Unless there is in society a steady principle of activity whose proper good is not any particular good, but the common good of the social whole as such, common life will be disrupted by the very plurality and the very particularity of the goods aimed at by the parts of the social whole. It is to be carefully noted that, whereas the substitutional function of authority is always connected with some deficiency object be the

what

in

is

man

any

It is

essential function does not result

from from the very nature of the multitude engaged in the pursuit of a common

or society,

evil, fall,

social

good.

particular should tend

its

or deficiency, but

being as a

accomplishment. 3.

Let us

be said to

now

try to

conflict

determine in what sense authority can

with the aspiration toward

liberty.

This

question, which proves exceedingly confused and really un-

^

— and Religion

Science, Philosophy

263

answerable so long as the functions of authority remain unanalysed, acquires a very definite

and

essential

functions

are

meaning when

substitutional

distinguished from each

clearly

other. It is

quite clear that the substitutional function of authority

conflicts

with the claim for

liberty.

Those who

to substitutional authority are subjected to

it

are subjected

in so far as they

cannot govern themselves, that is, in so far as they caimot behave as free men (or free societies). Any increase of their

freedom implies a decrease of

their

subjection.

Here the

achievement of liberty has the character of an emancipation and consists in doing away with the need of external guidance. Yet, the antinomy between liberty and

function of authority authority, provided

has

make

to

it

the

substitutional

not an insoluble one. Substitutional be true to its nature and proper duty, is

things ready for

mistakes and accidents;

its

own

disappearance.

The

not merely to spare children main purpose is to have youths

purpose of parental authority its

is

become adult they may be behave well without external guidance. The

so well trained that by the time they

able

fully

to

substitutional function of authority 4.

Within the

limits of

its

is

a pedagogical function.

essential function, authority does

It may well happen that those in charge of authority use their power for the sake of some

not conflict with liberty. private good, or for

some misconceived and

good. In that case their power

is

illusory

common

no longer genuine authority,

but has become tyranny. So long as authority remains true to the common good, it can but foster the liberty of man and that of society.

The more

effectively society

action and directed toward viduals

and

its

is

common

unified in

its

common

good, the better indi-

society itself are protected against the wants, the

doubts, the hesitations, the failures and the disorders which constitute the 5.

main

obstacles to liberty.

In order that the character of authority be exactly under-

stood,

it

is

indispensable to have the principle of authority

necessity of a direction of the social

whole toward

its

common

Science, Philosophy

264

good

—supplemented

by

the

and Religion of

principle

principle can be formulated as follows:

be satisfactorily achieved by the

autonomy.

Wherever

initiative of the individual or

that of small social units, the fulfillment of that task

be

left to

This

a task can

must

the initiative of the individual or to that of small

social units.

The

principle of

autonomy

is

deeply rooted in

Thomistic metaphysics. The metaphysics of St. Thomas contrasts sharply with those metaphysical and religious systems which imply that the power of God is best exalted by depriving creatures of any real power, any real Ufe, any real liberty. Ac-

cording to

St.

evidence of

its

Thomas, the Divine Power perfection

—rules

—and

this is the best

indefectibly a universe full of

reality, full of casuality, full of life, full of liberty.

God way

The

of the Uving. that

enables

God

him

God

perfect ruler rules society in the

is

the

same

His strength government, to respect and fos-

rules the world: suaviter et fortiter.

to be

mild in

his

ter multifarious initiatives. In this connection,

served that the statement of

Thomas

Jefferson,

it

may be

"The

ob-

best gov-

ernment is that which governs least," can be interpreted in two ways. It may mean that political government is a necessary evil that must be limited as far as possible. This would imply a failure to recognize the wholly natural character of political

government and

its

intrinsic goodness.

On

the other hand, the

statement of Jefferson can be interpreted as meaning that the

government is that which performs directly as few tasks and leaves as many tasks as possible to the initiative of the individual and to that of particular societies. The latter interpretation would entirely agree with the Thomistic conception of autonomy. 6. Concerning the forms of authority, let us first recall St. Thomas's definitions of the dominion of freedom and of the dominion of servitude. A free man is not subject to government, except for his own welfare and for the common welfare. When the end of the dominion is the private welfare of the master, the one over whom dominion is exercised is a slave. best

as possible,

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

Thus, servitude

defined as the aUenation o£

is

for the profit of those

Our

who

265

human

effort

exercise power.

common good make it government is, according to St. dominion of freedom, and that it cannot become

previous

remarks about the

sufficiently clear that pohtical

Thomas, a a dominion

of servitude without

degenerating into lawless

tyraimy.

Let us mention, in the second place, the opposition between despotic and political regimes. Whereas the opposition between the dominions of freedom and of servitude is concerned with the end pursued by the dominion of man over man, the opposition between the despotic regime and the political regime is concerned with the way power is exercised. 7.

In short, a regime

when

the subject is granted he receives, despotic when he is denied such a power of resistance. Considering whether the government of a political society should always be a po-

some power of

litical

is

political

resisting the orders

regime in the above-defined sense,

not say that a despotic government is

the case with a

servitude. is

On

government that

not despotic

is

called political,

tion, fits better the

community.

pedient,

its

St.

Thomas would

necessarily corrupt, as

exercises a

dominion of

the other hand, the very fact that the regime that

where authority admits of litical

is

means

legal checks

clearly that a

and of some

regime

distribu-

proper aims and characteristics of the poIf a

expediency

despotic government ever proves exis

an evidence of

political

immaturity

or decadence. 8.

Serious

consideration,

instruments of authority. authority with coercion is

particularly

is

finally,

The

should

be given

to

very misleading. Because authority

conspicuous

when

its

decrees

are

enforced

through actual coercion, many people lose sight of the fact in

most

the

rather current identification of

cases, the decrees of authority are regularly

that,

applied

through a process of persuasion. It can even be said that an authority which is no longer able to use persuasion as its regu-

266

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

instrument has utterly

lar

to coercive

On

lost its power; a continual appeal measures proves impossible.

Thomas makes some remarks on the deep tendencies of his pohtical philosophy. Many theorists would believe that the only possible the subject of coercion, St.

which shed much

light

effect of coercion

is to assure the security of honest people at the cost of the liberty of people who misuse their liberty. But

St.

Thomas, on the

keen understanding of the psybetween habit and voluntariness, points

basis of a

chological relationship

out another and more elevated function of coercion. When it paves the way to the voluntary execution of

properly used,

good

actions by generating

sound habits and removing many supreme accomwhich coercion must aim, is its becoming unneces-

obstacles to the practice of virtue. Thus, the

plishment at

and its giving place to a process of virtuous persuasion. Here we must allude to the very special character that coer-

sary

cive procedures have acquired in totalitarian organizations. Until recently, coercive instruments used by societies were al-

most exclusively of etc.).

a physical nature

Psychical coercion was

mosdy

a

(confinement, beatings,

matter of laboratory ex-

periments (hypnotic suggestion, etc.). The systematic use of psychical procedures to compel masses of people is one of the most radical and bewildering novelties of our time, and few persons have understood what a tremendous qualitative

change takes place, when intensive propaganda, such as that carried out by totalitarian parties and states, is substituted for moderate propaganda. Moderate propaganda is a process of persuasion, aiming at the generation of certain dispositions in the free will of men; intensive propaganda is a process of psychical coercion which attacks the very sources of freedom and voluntariness. Nothing can be more sharply opposed to the Thomistic ideal of a wise coercion paving the way to a virtuous persuasion than this inner destruction of the freedom of

man

that the

propaganda.

totaHtarian regime carries out through

its

K

'

— Science, Philosophy

Human

and Religion

267

Equality

It is currently taken for granted that any kind of equalitarianism is utterly uncongenial to the philosophy of St. Thomas. This is surely an oversimplified and confusing view. As a matter of fact, there are some forms of equality that Thomism entirely rejects; some forms of equahty that it does not reject, without, however, demanding them; some forms of

equality that I.

it

demands

absolutely.

The Thomistic conception

consequently

it

of society

is

excludes every conception of

hierarchical,

human

and

equality

which would prove incompatible with the essence of hierarchy. It

should be observed that the hierarchical structure of society

does not proceed from the principle of authority alone, but

from the combination of the principle of authority with the principle of autonomy. A hierarchical order implies an assertion of autonomy as well as a recognition of authority. This can be best evidenced by a consideration of the state planned by Rousseau, in which no particular society is tolerated, lest the absolutism of the general will might be held in check. People anxious to see real liberty actually guaranteed could not to

understand

that, despite

some

fail

fallacious appearances, this

is

form of authoritarianism ever dreamt of. In its ideal type, the Rousseauistic state does not admit of any hierarchical construction; but it consists merely of a crowd of individuals whom no particular organization protects against the all devouring power of the state. It is hardly necessary to remark that the totalitarian regimes of today materialize, to an unprecedented extent, the Rousseauistic idea of a community whose supremacy does not admit of any check by the autonomous organization of particular societies. Were the totalitarian system capable of a complete realization, there would be no distribution of authority at all, but only one leader assisted by purely instrumental characters. Hierarchy would disappear entirely and some kind of equaUty would be enjoyed the

most

radical

Science, Philosophy

268

with only one exception

—by

a

and Religion

crowd of people devoid of

liberty.

on the one hand,

If it is true,

quires

some

possible

greatest

among

leadership;

those

if it is

amount

who

of

that every

true,

common

action re-

on the other hand,

initiative

should

are subject to authority,

it

be

that the

preserved

follows that the

most common interests must be taken care of by one supreme and central organization, and that more particular interests must be taken care of by subordinate organizations, until we reach the sphere of personal happiness where the individual is sovereign. The relationship between that which is more common and that which is more particular gives birth to a hierarchy of power. This hierarchy is as natural and good in its essence as liberty and authority. 2.

Thomism

is

ready to acknowledge, without the slightest

powers of men. Thomas, inequality in intelligence, physical will-power and virtue, is something basically normal

reluctancy, any inequality observable in the

According strength,

and good.

to St.

On

point,

this

Thomism

is

decidedly at variance

with the philosophies and theologies which account for these inequalities by

some

original catastrophe,

whether original

sin

or some fundamental disturbance in the order of society. There

no question that many inequalities among men actually refrom physical mishappenings or from moral faults. But it is clear that the interpretation, both theoretical and is

sult either

practical, of the fact of

human

cording as inequality

depicted as totally due to

is

inequality differs greatly, ac-

or as

evil,

fundamentally due to the nature of things and the order of creation. 3.

The

question of the equality of opportunities must be

stated with a particular care. Let us say that in societies

constitution dignities are status.

is

more

People

chance to

predominantly

rise

or less permanently

who were born up

whose and

aristocratic, social functions

in

bound up with

a lower status have

to a higher function,

social little

whatever may be their

personal merit, whereas persons born in a higher social status

,

.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

269

have a good chance to exercise a higher function, even if they are not especially qualified by their personal abiUties. A typical example of an aristocratic constitution is afforded by the miHtary organization of the old monarchies, where eldest sons of noble families were destined to be army officers, while plebeians were

bound

remain privates or non-commissioned between permanent status and social function is essentially uncongenial to the spirit of democracy. The democratic state has removed all legal obstacles officers.

to

Such

to

a legal connection

and has systematically foswhich would favor the actual realization

the equaHty of opportunities

tered

all

institutions

of such an equality.

seems to us that Thomistic politics admits both of aristoand of equalitarian constitutions, provided that neither aristocratism nor equalitarianism assume the character of absolute and unbalanced principles. An absolute equality of personal opportunities would imply an individualistic atomizaIt

cratic

tion of societies that Thomism rightly condemns. It would imply the suppression of hereditary property and a com-

munistic organization of education.

An

absolutely aristocratic

would conflict with distributive justice and hamper the common good by narrowing exceedingly the possibility of

constitution

appointing the best qualified persons to the higher functions.

Whether

the aristocratic principle or the equalitarian principle

should be given particular emphasis seems to be a matter of historical expediency.

must be

however, that the equalitarian principle enby the fact that it is connected with the essential requirement that authority should belong to the most able one. An aristocratic constitution can be justified on It

said,

joys a privileged situation

the ground of historical conditions; a constitution that favors the promotion of personal merit agrees better with a demand which is not historical, but essential, the demand that authority be entrusted to the people most qualified to exercise it. It is remarkable that in his outline of the regime he thinks to be

the best, St.

Thomas

is

more

positive about universal eligibility

Science, Philosophy

270

than about universal electorship. principle that principle that

He would

not state as a

should be electors, but he does state as a

all all

and Religion

should be eligible for

office,

any restriction on

tending to decrease the chances that the best one

eligibility

will be selected.

we consider, finally, the very essence of man, Thomism most equalitarian philosophy that has ever been conceived. The metaphysical notion of species, which implies that all members of one species are one in essence, lies at the basis of all Thomistic speculation on man and his destiny. The racialistic idea, that there is greater distance between higher and lower human races than between lower races of men and higher species of animals, appears to a Thomist as a monstrous ab4. If

the

is

surdity

—an

because

it

absurdity that St.

never occurred

equalitarianism St.

Thomas

his

never refuted explicitly

mind. This metaphysical

may seem inconspicuous to those who know The reason why St, Thomas

only from the outside.

does not emphasize

it

in explicit statements

is

that

all

his

an obvious way as to make exstatements superfluous. As a matter of fact, the principle

philosophy implies plicit

Thomas

to

in such

it

of the essential equality of in essence



rationalistic

core of

men — the

principle of their unity

could not be questioned so long as the

realistic

conception of universal essences, which

Thomism, was not

itself

put into question.

lies at

Were

it

and the

not

because of nominalist and idealist philosophies, which assert that universal natures are but general words, or general pat-

would never have been necesThomas, is one and the same in all men, and that the natural law, which is embodied in human nature, endows all men with the same inescapable duties and the same inaHenable rights. terns constructed by the

sary to point out that

To

conclude,

let

mind,

human

it

nature, for St.

us point out the significance of the very

fact that the relationship

the philosophy of St.

between the democratic

Thomas was thought

to

ideal

and

be worth

dis-

cussing in such a conference as ours. Both in the order of positive sciences

and

in the order of ethical disciplines, great

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

271

bring about reconsiderations of principles. To by personal experience, aware of the astounding fecundity of Thomism, it seems that the endeavor to build up a Thomistic interpretation of democracy may well open a new crises regularly

those

who

era in the

The

are,

development of

great question

political thought.

to

is

determine under what conditions

such an endeavor can be successfully carried out, in

more

specific terms,

evidence

its

or, to put it under what conditions Thomism can

fecundity in the particular field constituted by our

and social problems. In this connection, I would emphasize the fact that political philosophy is by far the least developed part of the philosophy of St. Thomas. Besides theology, which is, of course, his main concern, the great achievements of St. Thomas are found in logic, metaphysics, rational psychology and general ethics. When we leave these privileged fields, and investigate disciplines, such as politics or the philosophy of sciences, to which St. Thomas devoted

political

less time, a

which are they

may

very striking

phenomenon

takes place.

The

texts

our topic, however valuable be, do not prove so fecund as certain expositions directly

relevant to

whose relevance seems only

indirect or even remote.

For

in-

an epistemologist were intending to build up a Thomistic interpretation of contemporary physics, I should stance,

if

him to collect and study as carefully as possible all paswhere St. Thomas explains his ideas on the system of sciences. But I should ascribe a much greater importance to the task of going deeply into the supreme theories of the Thomistic metaphysics of knowledge, such as the theories on the relationship between objects and things, objects and ideas, entia rationis and real entities, etc. Similarly, the political writings of St. Thomas, however valuable they may be, will not shed so much light on our poHtical problems as will some great theories that St. Thomas (and his commentators) developed mostly in psychological, metaphysical and ethical conadvise sages

texts.

With

particular reference to the

problem of democracy,

I

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

272

should say that the most enhghtening teaching of St. Thomas is not found in any of his poUtical writings, but in the psychological, ethical, metaphysical and theological treatises where he de-

with great thoroughness and unmatched accuracy, sublime theory of hberty. Whoever has understood the

velops, his

ideas of St. indifference,

Thomas on a

liberty as

an active and dominating

super-determined power, a mastery enjoyed

by rational beings, on the ground of

their rational nature itself,

over the means that lead to their ends; whoever has understood that liberty means, for St. Thomas, an absolute perfection,

which increases and does not decrease when

it

rids itself of its

imperfections (such as indecision, perplexity, and, most of

all,

power of falling away from the end) whoever has understood the meaning of the Thomistic thesis that liberty is an attribute of the divine nature, a divine name, should conthe dreadful

;

clude that the general philosophy of

philosophy of poHtical liberty that radical.

Yet,

disentangling

the

Thomas's metaphysics remains, be achieved.

is

St.

Thomas

involves a

both very orderly and very

political

implications

to a large extent, a task

of still

St.

to

CHAPTER XV Democracy and the Rights

Man"

PAUL WEISS

By

Mawr

Bryn

*An

of

earlier draft of this

College

paper was sent to a number of philos-

ophers for comment and criticism. Professors Morris R. Cohen, Curt J. Ducasse, Charles Harts home, Ralph Barton Perry and

Wilbur M. Urban expressed themselves as being in substantial agreement with the views there formulated. The first three, however, stated that they approved primarily, not as philos-

common sense men. Comments by these and other philosophers, with occasional asides by the author, form the appendix of the present paper. I should li\e to ta\e this occasion to than\ Professors Edgar S. Brightman, Louis Finf^elstein, K. Laurence Stapleton and Roger H. Wells for their helpful suggestions. ophers, but as liberals, citizens or

1.

The

object

is

is to understand and evaluate. Its open the most universal and pertidiscern, in terms of which diverse ex-

task of philosophy to bring into the

nent truths possible to istents, practices

and

beliefs are to

be judged.

Its

function

is

neither to attack nor to defend, to apologize nor to propa-

gandize for any limited custom, transient fact or local ideal. It is its duty resolutely to oppose what is false and evil, and boldly to support the true and good, and

this, irrespective

of

where they are found. 2.

Unfortunately, philosophers have too often fallen short of

the ideals of true philosophy. Again and again they have per273

Science, Philosophy

274

and Religion

verted their subject and themselves by urging as true, inescapable or noble

what was only

partial, transient or local. Plato

and

Aristotle endorsed the attitudes of Greek aristocracy, Aristotle

Aquinas and Hobbes form of government. "proved" that monarchy was revolution, creed and reform has had Almost every war, state, its opposing philosophers, devoting their energies to the task of showing that these embodied absolute truths and perfect

and

Aquinas

approved

of

slavery,

the ideal

ideals in all their pristine glory. 3.

Today we

are surrounded by philosophic apologists for

and

religions of the day, for current totalitarianisms

the science

and democracies, by philosophic positivists and anti-positivists, by philosophic Thomists and anti-Thomists, by philosophic Anglophiles and Anglophobes. But surely truth is not so limited that some one of these has caught the whole of it. To say that no one of them alone has the whole truth does not, of course, mean that they are all on the same level, equally good and true, or even that they are equally able to approach whatever ideal goals there are. It means that we ought not, as philosophers, prejudge our issues, making the truth follow the contours of the heart's desire. It means that we must free ourselves from the preconceptions which characterize the established schools, which hem in the limited methods of limited disciplines, and which lie at the roots of creedal and political programs. Only if we do this have we the right to speak as philosophers and hope to attain the position where we can claim to judge correctly and afresh just what is worthy of respect, improvement and support in this world of ours. 4.

The

mocracy dent

greatest service that philosophy can render to a deis

how

it. Philosophy ought to make an established democracy attains, and how

to be honest with far

evi-

far

what is desirable, stable, flexible, unified and universal, capable of making and enabling men to be men to the full. This can be done most effectively in two stages. In the first, where the philosopher works primarily alone, he distinguishes the basic and vital strands of human existence, and it falls

short of

Science, Philosophy

what

and Religion

275

them deserves encouragement, protection and where the philosopher works together with and in partial dependence on others, he examines the state of affairs that actually prevails and suggests how it is to be modified in accordance with what the first analysis disindicates

in

extension. In the second,

closes. 5. It is

the object of the second session of the Conference on

and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life to obtain representative statements of the meaning of democracy by students of the different discipHnes. To conform to that purpose we must, for the present, restrict ourselves to the first of our two philosophic tasks. We must content ourselves with offering to workers in other fields conclusions which they, in their own way, can integrate with our results. In return we ought to obtain from them the Science, Philosophy

products of their present correlative investigations, and be in a position to perform a similar integration with their products that they perform with ours

our tasks.

If this

—an essential part of the

can be done,

we

second of

should be able to obtain

(what antecedently seemed incredibly difficult, if not impossible), an example of corporate thinking on the part of a host of workers in many different fields, having as its upshot the formulation of a definitive statement of what democracy is, what it ought to be and what it can accomplish. 6.

Men

are

members

of a single species.

They

are persons,

They members of families, societies and states. Each one of these modes of existence has its own value, deserving full help, protection and encouragement. The ideal program for mankind is one which concerns itself with every one of them, and makes they have friends and they engage in specialized activities. are

possible their preservation

and enhancement

to the greatest pos-

sible degree. 7.

Men

are

members of the same species, or in current biologimembers of the same "family." This fact,

cal terminology, are

supported by the investigations of biologists, physiologists, anthropologists and psychologists, is confirmed by philosophic

Science, Philosophy

276

inquiries into the nature of speech

and Religion and mind. All men, despite

countless diversities in background, disposition and achievement, belong to one natural group, a fact which compels one to

and nationalism so far as these involve the supposition that some men have a natural destiny, right or

reject theories of racism

duty not characteristic of the others. All

men

are equally entitled to that

which enables them

to

exercise the functions characteristic of beings of their kind.

Each man must be recognized to be equally deserving of human shelter and food, of an opportunity to grow, feel, think and know, and of protection against injury, disease and unnecessary pain.

Some

of these rights,

tion against disease, enable

them

e.g.,

species; others, e.g., the right to adequate

tection against unnecessary pain, enable

most

beneficial

to

to

food or to protec-

to be living

members

human

them

themselves and the

to act in the

rest.

the right of every

characteristic of

men

man

to

live

way

Together these

guarantee what might be termed the principle of equality,"

of their

shelter or pro-

and

act

"human in

ways

alone.

Occasionally a denial of some of these rights seems justified.

Punishment must,

at times,

be prescribed. But the reason can-

made to suffer are beings whose physiognomy or rhythm differs from the rest. To justify the punishment one must show that they provide the most satisfactory or just remedy against those who deprive others of their right to live as men. The denial of these rights in specific cases must, in short, be defended as a means by which these very rights can be more successfully and universally not be that the individuals

color,

affirmed.

The acknowledgment

of the principle of

"human

equality"

does not presuppose the existence of any one particular form of

government. Dictatorships have at times explicitly accepted it; democracies have at times implicitly rejected it. It is compatible with monarchy and communism, with nationalism and internationalism. But if by democracy one means a way of life open to all the people, then this is an essential part of a demo-

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

277

cratic creed.

A

true

but assure

it,

while a true anti-democracy will not only deny

it

it

but prevent

democracy realization.

its

will,

however, not only affirm

Such democracies and

anti-

To

democracies are in complete and irreconcilable opposition.

embrace the former but not to oppose the latter, to oppose the latter but not to defend the former, is to be but partially right, opponents of the false and evil or defenders of the true and good, but not yet both together. Until

we

we

are both

are not

yet true democrats, whole-heartedly supporting the principle

of

human 8.

is

equality.

Each man

is

a unique being, with a value

all

own.

his

not merely one of a kind, a unit in a multitude, one

cupies a position in space not occupied by another, contains matter which another does not.

He

is

He

who ocor who

also a person, a

responsible, conscious being, possessing an internal nature

and

value no other has.

Each person is unique and undupHcatible. He has a dignity and worth intrinsically as important and as deserving of respect as any other.

To

"personal equality."

It is to

affirm this

is

to affirm the principle of

recognize that each

man

is

no more

and no less a person than any other, that each is an ultimate and final source of decision and responsibility, the last court of appeal as to what is to be believed and cherished. A person has the power and the right to worship, enjoy, judge and believe, by himself and on his own responsibility. Each has a right to a free trial and a right to have his needs, desires and individual predilections given equal consideration with those of any other. He is a being to be judged in terms of what he is as well as by what he does. These rights are denied

when men

are forced to submit, without possibihty of re-

ply, to the decisions of others as to

what

is

But makes men

right or wrong.

these very rights are endorsed when, whatever

aware of what they are and what they ought

to

decide,

is

publicly encouraged.

The

what a demand. They should not compel any-

principle of "personal equality" sets a hmit to

state or society

ought

to

Science, Philosophy

278

and Religion

view the person or individual decisions of another as his own, or to delegate to another his privilege to decide where truth and goodness lie. But the principle also indicates what a just and adequate state ought to do. It should encourage those enterprises and institutions educational, communal, literary and religious which help men become more aware of what it is to be a person and what a person ought to do. The principle of "personal equality" has been affirmed by lords of the manor, capitalists, slave-holders and anarchists. But one must not only affirm but promote its realization, and firmly oppose all attempts to deny, blur or oppose it. Only then can one claim to be an active democrat, with a vital faith in the native dignity of every man. 9. No one can realize all his potencies alone, unaided. To be fully human we need the encouragement and support, the sympathy and help of others. A man must be recognized to have the right to come in contact with, and to form lasting and intimate associations with any others. Friends penetrate beneath the outward forms of one another. To deny to any man the right to make a friend of another, no

one

to

more precious than





matter what his color, tradition or

and direction of

his

growth.

To

faith, is to limit the

be free to

make

range

friends as the

no one can rightfully proscribe. To what may be termed the principle of

spirit inclines is a privilege

admit

this

is

to accept

"free kinship," the right to cut across

all

established barriers

custom and convention to the person of another, no matter what his role or function, and to care for him for his own sake. The principle of "free kinship" is perhaps the most novel and of

modern democratic creed. Men have, been willing and ready to subscribe to the thesis that all were equal as humans and as persons, but have hesitated to admit that they all had an equal right to form intimate and lasting associations with others, irrespective of their differences in position, background or religion. But if the principle of "free kinship" is not actively and effectively supintermittent item in the in 'the past, occasionally

and Religion

Science, Philosophy ported,

men

will

"Tj^

not be able fully to enjoy and profit from

contact with the endless variety which that degree, be so

To promote

much

less rich

free kinship,

is man, and and developed.

nothing perhaps

will,

to

so effective as

is

the encouragement of games, sports, festivals, assemblies and

work, in which a multitude can freely participate and which they can use as occasions for acting together, for discerning

and appreciating individual flavors, and for the formation of lasting friendships. So far as this is true, the promotion of these must be one of the aims of a true democracy, concerned with providing

all

men

with the opportunity to be

fully

men. 10.

To know men

intimately and well

it is

with them. The knowledge of what actual association.

are like,

is

a

most readily obtained through continual It is this which the family provides. It is in the men come most readily to know what others are

knowledge which family that

desirable to live

men

is

and need. It is in the family that men usually obtain that ready and honest sympathy and reproof, that direct experience and education in human affairs, which is so essential to their growth and welfare. The responsibility and position which men have in their families limits the demands which the larger social whole has a right to impose, a fact which is recognized in the economic and social exemptions occasionally allowed to heads of families. But there is as yet no clear pohcy as to whether and how punishment for crimes and reward for work should be adjusted to the fact that a

man

is

not only a public being but a

member

of a

family as well.

The effect of punishment on the individual should be weighed against the effect that it has on the dependent and innocent members of his family.

One

should take account of the

degree to which the incarceration of a malefactor works hardship as

on those he

leaves behind. If he has a

well as on others, his incarceration

desirable.

But where the family begins

bad

effect

on them

may prove eminently to suffer undeservedly.

Science, Philosophy

28o

and Religion

be minimized. Similarly, reward for work and services ought to vary in accordance with the punishment or

the extent to

members

its

results should

which others depend on

it.

of a family have accepted, as their

The

responsible

own, obligations

of the greatest benefit to society, and so far as they carry these

punishments should be minimized and their rewards

out, their

increased.

The family, hke the person, must be granted independence and internal freedom, so far as that is consistent with the growth and well-being of its members and the rest. To recognize this is to affirm the principle of "familial autonomy," to acknowledge that each family is an ultimate cell in which men perform indispensable functions valuable to all. To be willing to embrace this principle is to be ready to oppose attempts to disrupt the family, attempts to prevent

its

functioning as a

source of experience and value, or attempts to

tinuance

difficult

or impossible.

make

encourage

It is to

its

its

con-

solidarity,

independence and continuation, so far as these are consistent with the fact that each dependent member of a family is an actual person now and may be an independent and responsible head of a new family eventually. II. The personality of a man is his person made manifest; his private nature exhibited in a public matter. Each man comes into the

a

open with

common and

a stress

and meaning

all his

own, tinging

public content in individual and unpredictable

ways.

The he

is

personality of a

man

is

most

effectively expressed

pursuing an activity in which he

is

then that he exhibits and re-structures pletely

and

to the best advantage.

—hobbies

Some

when

most concerned. It is his nature most comof these activities are

and amusements of various kinds; some of them are of fundamental importance for the continuation and improvement of man useful and public work, science, philosophy and art. The first should be permitted and within limits encouraged; the second should be encouraged and within Hmits publicly supported. Leisure is a time of preparation for good idle



Science, Philosophy

and Religion

281

and needed work; work is a time of preparation for desired and necessary leisure. A man is most a man when he is able to express his ability and individuality in both, and it is of value to all that he should. All men lose when some are deprived of the opportunity of using their talents in the best and most congenial possible ways. Each man must be accorded an equal right to choose and pursue any vocation open to the others. The place of each should be determined, not on the basis of race, creed, color or wealth, but on merit alone. No man must be antecedently prevented from occupying any position in the society or the state, and none must be antecedently proscribed from exhibiting his personality in and through his work, so far as that is consistent with the performance of his duties. All

men must

be granted an "equality of opportunity" to ex-

hibit their ability

and

No one can, of course, in and public need, be guaranteed either

individuality.

the face of competition

the privilege of continuing in his chosen

work

or of attaining

the position he seeks. But a democratic and effective organization will not only

minimize but resolutely withstand

all

at-

tempts to harden or increase the difficulties that now prevent certain groups of men from occupying the positions or expressing their personalities as others can and do.

A

group of men, with different roles and from different families, who adopt and work together in terms of common standards and ideals constitute a social group or society. A social group is a limited society to which one belongs voluntarily or by election; a society is a social group to which one belongs by the fact of birth and the gradual adoption of established practices. The standards and ideals of both social groups and societies are sometimes more or less explicitly expressed in taboos and injunctions, but for the most part they are unaccented but omnipresent elements in the traditions, customs, language, arts or graces which its members adopt. Each individual is born into a society and spends most of his life within it. That society, and the limited social groups to 12.

Science, Philosophy

282

and Religion

which he subsequently adheres, are part of a single great community of which all men are potentially members. A member of an actual social group or society may fail to treat others outside his group as human, to respect their possessions or to evaluate their lives, feelings, thoughts, activities or environment as he should or as they do. But to the degree that he has similar needs and must satisfy them in similar ways in the same world, he is potentially a member of the same community with them. He is, however, not actually a member of it so long as he fails to make use of those standards which would enable him to live in harmony with them. There are good social groups and bad ones, social groups which injure their members and those which help them grow. Most of them, even the best, are undemocratic in spirit and in practice, denying on extraneous grounds, privileges, opportunities and rights to various members, and excluding certain groups of individuals from membership in them. Yet these groups can be tolerated and even encouraged in somewhat the same way as the family is, provided only that, like the family, they actually function to produce better members for the society in which they are, and for the eventual great community which is the ultimate place of all. Though social groups must be free to determine their own membership or to engage, within limits, in the most divergent activities, no such freedom can be granted to a society. A society should embrace all men and accord all the opportunity to assume any function in it, according to their inclinations and merits.

Any

antecedent stratification or limitation runs counter

to the fact that all

men

require and deserve the benefit to be

derived from a free and active participation in the activities

which the society makes available. These activities are best promoted by free discussion, vocally or in print, and by equal educational opportunities, for these enable men to know and appreciate diversities in temperament, opinion, need and desire, and to learn the nature of the values which are the concern of all, the techniques of social adjustment, and the existence and

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

283

importance of majority and minority claims. All these are corollaries from what might be termed the principle of "social

freedom," the right of each

meaning count

man

to

make

in the whole, so far as that

his presence

is

and

consistent with

the exercise of a similar right by the others as well.

Unfortunately, there are of social freedom grants

men who

them

suppose that the principle

the privilege of denying

it

and

other rights, undisturbed. But the acceptance of these rights

must be understood to prohibit all attempts to void them. There must be Hmits to the freedom accorded speech, the press, to what is urged or dogmatically affirmed. Otherwise the society will succeed in nothing so much as in nourishing and making possible the success of those concerned with destroying it.

The

foregoing is perhaps the most controversial of all the which beset discussions on democracy. It seems to violate what some have termed the essence of the democratic view, the right to affirm and criticize anything, or the faith in the

issues

native

wisdom

of

man

to Hsten,

without injury, to any doctrine and criticism, however, are

or proposal whatsoever. Affirmation

neither absolute goods nor perfect means; native

wisdom

is

neither infallible nor a perfect protection against the false or

The most literate and vocal nation in the world found education, discussion, criticism and native wisdom no safeguard against the eventual conquest by those whose main concern was to make impossible the principles which allowed insidious.

them

to flourish.

We

need more than education or reasoned

discourse to counteract the influence of propaganda, caricature and willful distortion. If we are not to give up the use of

reason and honest dealing in the effort to combat what is undemocratic in spirit or effect, we must prevent the growth of the forces that

make

for the destruction of that spirit.

No

one

can reasonably expect to promote tolerance by granting immunity to intolerance. Tolerance demands respect for all forms in

which the good appears;

evil.

it

does not

demand

indiflerence to

Science, Philosophy

284

and Religion

To acknowledge a right is to acknowledge a duty to extend and preserve it; to be free to exercise a right is to be constrained to oppose its abuse. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are no more important than other forms of freedom, and so far as they are employed, not as means for investigating and educating, but for making life brutish or unbearable, they must be restrained. A faith in democracy does not mean a blind extension of the principle of tolerance, to cover no matter what abuse, or a faith in the ability of men to withstand any attack, no matter what the device. A positive and dynamic democracy holds on to some things and rejects others; it fights against all attempts to deny or limit the principles on which it rests. The

13.

foregoing

principles

equality, free kinship, familial

and

tunity to

social

freedom

—human

equality,

personal

autonomy, equality of oppor-

—and the rights they assure—the right

food and shelter, growth, health and reason, to conscience

and

responsibility, to private

social intercourse

and

worship and moral decision, to and freedom, to

leisure, to familial life

and sympathy, to education, inquiry, religious instrucand work, and to the means to become members of a single all-inclusive community together define what has been termed

justice

tion



the "democratic ciples states

way

of

life." It is

conceivable that these prin-

and rights might be endorsed and even supported by which are non-democratic in structure or operation; it is

true that democracies have at times ignored or even rejected

some

of them. So far as this

latter

which are

is

true, it

is

the former and not the

truly democratic in spirit.

A state is a society whose members habitually obey the laws and injunctions formulated by a governmental body. The primary function of the state is to assure, extend and protect the principles and rights which are necessary for the full growth and prosperity of all. A democratic state is one in which the persistent attempt is made to attain these ends through universal suffrage, open political discussion, frequent elections, secret ballots and a representative and parliamentary govern-

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

285

on the supposition that there is no better judge meaning and importance of concrete proposals and their relation to principles and rights, than common mankind, deciding freely and without fear. A democratic state should endorse, protect and extend the principles and rights which define the democratic way of life. If it does only one of these, it is a democracy at its minimum. If it does all three, it is a democracy at its maximum, the kind of democracy that alone can claim whole-hearted allegiance. Only such a democracy can serve as an efficient instrument for the achievement of the ultimate all-embracing community, where each man can be a free, happy and complete individual, living and working in harmony with his fellow man. ment.

It rests

of the

APPENDIX Morris R. Cohen: This paper is an eloquent plea cies with which I heartily agree.

and liberal polime, however, to desire of the author and

for tolerant It

follow the contours of the heart's

seems

to

other liberals like myself, rather than the cautions referred to in sections i to 3. If philosophy be the most general attainable knowledge, a philosophy of democracy should be an attempt to derive what we define as democratic policies, from wider general principles, or at least establish an inner connection between them. This, it seems to me, the paper fails to do.

Paul Weiss: As is evident from

sections 4 and 5, it is the intent of the present paper to isolate the basic truths which are pertinent to

the understanding and evaluation of democracy, and to present

from the preconceptions and prewould be desirable, as Professor Cohen suggests, to relate those notions to more general ones and to one another. It is doubtful, however, whether this would them, so

far as possible, free

dilections of the author.

It

be consonant with the purpose of the present conference, it could be done properly in short space, and whether it would allow philosophers of widely divergent views to rec-

whether

ognize their

common

ground.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

286

The

own

author's

philosophic views have been sketched at

a previous session of the conference; the connection

between

those views and those expressed in the present paper are, I think, fairly evident. But the foregoing paper is being submitted both to those who do and those who do not accept the author's philosophy, nor see fies

the

how

it

substantiates and clari-

meaning and value of democracy.

Morris R. Cohen:

To it

be sure the paper attempts to do this in section 7 when belong to one argue that the fact that "all men

tries to

.

natural group

.

.

compels one to

.

reject

.

.

theories of racism

and nationalism so far as these involve the supposition that some men have a natural destiny, right or duty not characteristic of others." I have no hesitation in calling this a clear case of the fallacy of non sequitur. The fact that a number of people have something in common does not deny differences of aptitude, functions, rights that

mammals,

brates,

denies

things.

I

for

and duties any more than the

fishes,

and birds

their

different

one

reject

many

all

fact

belong to the family of verte-

aptitudes

in

regard

of the exaggerated

to

many

claims of

racism and nationalism on empirical grounds and on account of certain ethical and political preferences. But the falsities

cannot be refuted and the truth established merely on the general

ground that

all

human

beings form a family.

If

the matter

becomes obvious that differences between groups of human beings as well as between individuals are real and by no means always irrelevant to their is

argued on empirical grounds,

it

proper function, "natural destiny, right or duty."

The question

then becomes a complicated one as to which differences of aptitude are relevant to the opportunities which should be ac-

corded to different groups of individuals.

A

father or

mother

has different rights and duties than a son or daughter, and a

group of people living on a world's highway, such as the Suez or Panama Canal, have different duties to the rest of mankind than those who live on an out of the way island. The problems which a heterogeneous society thus presents are not solved by blank egalitarianism.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

287

Paul Weiss:

Men

and function. These are not "always and duties. We ought to avoid a "blank egalitarianism" which denies the important respects in which men differ from one another. But we must also not forget that there is a common human nature, entraining common rights and duties. It is the latter alone, I should think, which is the philosopher's proper concern. The former must be aflSrmed, but the specific questions it raises must be dealt with politically by the politically wise. differ in aptitude

irrelevant" to their rights

Morris R. Cohen:

men

All

are not in fact equal in their aptitudes or in their

and equality of opportunity under different conit is balanced by other principles and made definite in given situations, it is a mere intelligence,

ditions

is

a very vague concept. Unless

rhetorical phrase.

Paul Weiss:

The

affirmation of a

common

nature, rights

and duties makes

possible an extension of acts of sympathy, justice and mercy to

men we

have never seen.

It

makes

possible an intellectual op-

position to the basic principles which doctrines of racism and nationalism. serves,

it is

in politics.

not of

much

But since

it

now

sustain prevailing

As Professor Cohen ob-

use in helping decide a specific issue helps resolve other equally vexatious

and more basic problems,

it

is

to

that extent

more than a

rhetorical flourish.

Morris R. Cohen: Criminals are not the only ones

who

are deprived of the

open to everyone else. Typhoid Mary is deprived of her freedom to attend public functions or to pursue her occupation as a cook because of her misfortune rather than because of any fault. In brief, the principle of human equality is by itself of rights

little

value in determining proper policies. Consider, for in-

stance, the question of

whether we should change our immi-

gration laws so as to allow the millions of starving Chinese to enter this country. sale

It

can be shown that to do this in a wholethe American standard of living.

manner would depress

Science, Philosophy

288

Have

the

and Religion

Americans a right to maintain a higher standard of men and w^omen of other countries? If so, not only

living than

the principle of equality, but the right of every receive adequate food, goes by the board.

We

human being

to

could, by greatly

reducing our standards of living, raise to some extent those prevailing in many regions of the world. But not only would

by the vast majority of Americans, it by no means certain or demonstrable that they are wrong in thus maintaining a higher standard for themselves and for their children than for others. We are not obliged to love our neighthis proposal be rejected is

and children

bor, his wife

as ourselves, our

own

wives and

children.

Paul Weiss: These points have

also

Henry Parker, and they

are

with his criticism. But for right to love

is

been raised by Professor DeWitt commented on below in connection the moment it may be noted that a

not to be confounded with an obligation to love.

Democracy presupposes the former, not the

latter.

Morris R. Cohen: I am not denying that the principle of equality has some application; but the important thing is to determine where and when, and not to set it up in its abstract nakedness when it becomes a merely rhetorical expression.

Paul Weiss: It is

the task of politics to determine where and

principle of equality

is

to be applied.

But the

when

the

fact that these are

important and difficult questions should not obscure the fact that the formulation of universal rights has its own value and helps

make

possible correct political decisions.

Morris R. Cohen: Similar criticism can be applied to set

up

in this

paper as

if

all

the other principles

they were axiomatic.

Paul Weiss:

The axiomatic fact that

resolution.

character of a statement

there are

still

more

is

not affected by the

specialized problems awaiting

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

289

Morris R. Cohen: "Free kinship," the right to form friends would be a most form of tyranny if there were not also the right of

horrible

natural aversion, the right to refuse to be friends with those

who

are antipathetic to us. Free friendship

preferences for some and rejection of others.

not have to be friends with everyone

who

game any more than with everyone who

means I

selection,

cannot and do

attends a baseball

participates in an elec-

tion for President of the United States.

Paul Weiss:

A

right

The acknowledgment of the right of compel one to be friends with anyone.

not a duty.

is

free kinship does not

Morris R. Cohen:

The

right to choose any vocation

put aside

if

there

is

room

open

to others has to

for only 600 teachers

be

and 1000 apply

and show themselves to be fit. Four hundred of them have to do something else. Not every girl who wants to go on the stage and become a prima donna can be employed, even if she has talent. Who is to be selected is a serious problem, and what to do with those who cannot be employed in what they are most fitted for and most anxious to do, is a still more difficult problem, on which the abstract principles of this paper do not throw very helpful light.

Paul Weiss: The right

to choose

and pursue a vocation

is,

as

was observed

be determined on the basis of merit. No one obviously can be guaranteed the privilege of continuing in his earlier, to

chosen work or of attaining the position he seeks.

Morris R. Cohen: This paper touches on but does not adequately deal with the problem of the dependents of one who is punished for any crime. But if the dependents of a man are not to be punished for the sins or crimes of the one on whom they are dependent, should they be rewarded for the virtues of the one on whom they are dependent.? If we allow the latter, as we do, a philosopher might well ask, why not the former.?

Science, Philosophy

290

and Religion

Paul Weiss: Reward, like all that is good, ought to be spread; punishment, like all that is evil, ought to be confined, Morris R. Cohen:

The breakdown is shown in

rights

in

practice

of

all

principles

of

abstract

the author's statement in section 12 that

man

has a right "to make his presence and meaning count whole so far as that is consistent with the exercise of a similar right by the others as well." Here the crucial question is which rights are similar, and what rights must take precedence over other rights. Without considering the latter we do not get very far.

each

in the

Paul Weiss:

Common

rights should have precedence over particular

One common

limited ones. so far as

the

its

and

right takes precedence over another

denial precludes the attainability of that other to

full.

Morris R. Cohen: This does not dispose of the argument that the mass of the people are not in a position (because of inadequate knowledge) to decide freely and without fear.

Paul Weiss: Free and fearless decision

is

not exclusively nor always a

function of knowledge. Intellectuals do not decide more freely

and

fearlessly

than others. Free and fearless decisions occur

where the basic human rights have been acknowledged and supported. as a rule in societies

Morris R. Cohen: Let me repeat. paper.

They

are

I

agree with the

my own

main conclusions of

preferences. But

I fail

to find in

it

this

any

To repeat these principles may strengthen the faith of those who believe in them, but it does not add much illumination or explain why these principles philosophy

of

democracy.

do not work in practice. This paper justifies restraints on freedom of speech and of the press when they are used to make life "brutish and un-

Science, Philosophy (to others). This

bearable"

and Religion

means

291 democratic

that not the

principle of freedom, but the traditionally aristocratic principle

or standard of the

ness

to

is

life

maintained on philosophic principles, discussion than

is

and unbearabledemocracy is to be

that avoids brutishness

be the deciding principle. Yet here accorded to

if

this deserves

more

critical

it.

Paul Weiss: I

think the question here

largely

is

difference

an

verbal. It is not

meaning of democracy that between a good and a brutish life.

essential part of the

it

ignore the

Morris R. Cohen: In the end, democracy

is

identified not

with the abstract

which admittedly may be effectively an enlightened monarchy or aristocracy, but

principles of this paper,

recognized in

with certain

methods, universal suffrage, frequent and parliamentary government, which coexit with the failure to recognize the fore-

political

elections, secret ballot,

may

admittedly

going principles.

Paul Weiss: Democracy has two facets: government. The former is Philosophically the former latter.

a

way

of life

and a form of

the end, the latter the means.

more important,

politically the

But we should have both.

Professor Curt I

is

it is

J.

Ducasse:

have read with interest Professor Weiss' paper.

I

find

my-

sympathy with many or most of the opinions he expresses. This attitude on my part, however, is a personal rather self in

than a professional one; that

is,

it

is

dictated by

my

personal

inclinations as a citizen, rather than by any facts or principles

known

to

me

in

my

technical capacity as a philosopher. I be-

lieve that similarly Professor Weiss,

or not,

is

whether he

is

aware of

it

in fact speaking not for philosophy but for himself

(and for those who happen to feel as he does). I believe he has succeeded pretty well in formulating the principal things most American citizens instinctively and often inarticulately long for and mean by "democracy," whether or not this term be

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

292

or

historically

etymologically

or

the

technically

most

ap-

propriate one to describe these things.

Paul Weiss: I am glad to have Professor Ducasse's confirmation that the paper succeeds in "formulating the principal things most American citizens instinctively and often inarticulately long for and

'democracy.' "

mean by

men

I

hope, however,

it

formulates

vv'hat

and mean, for this is what a philosophic account of human rights must reveal. All men, I should hold, long for the true and the good, and the most that philosophy can do is to make evident just what it is that is needed and other

also long for

desired.

Morris R. Cohen:

on these things themon the word "democracy" which nowadays is being too often used to induce people to adopt, without examining them, the most diverse proposals. I

believe attention should be centered

selves rather than

Charles Hartshorne: I have read and re-read Dr. Weiss' paper. It seems very good and suitable for the purpose. It is perhaps

common what

is

sense rather than philosophy, but then that

to

me

chiefly

may be

needed.

Paul Weiss:

Common

sense and philosophy are not opposed.

They

are

dogmatic to the systematic, the vague to

related as the inarticulate to the articulate, the

the critical, the discontinuous to

the clarified.

DeWitt Henry Parker: I

have twice read Professor Weiss' vigorous

the Bill of Rights with

with its general agreement which

much

spirit, there are I

intelligible

stitutions.

version of

might record. is

not primary,

and defensible only in terms of

historical in-

Philosophically viewed, the concept of right

but

new

While I am in sympathy certain major points of dis-

interest.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

293

Paul Weiss: Historical institutions themselves require a justification. This, I

should think,

is

most

effectively

the nature of fundamental

men

concern

human

provided by an account of rights

and

duties,

and the

have shown for them.

DeWitt Henry Parker: Taken

abstractly,

as

Professor Weiss has stated them,

all

from which even he would

these "rights" lead to consequences

if they were resolutely applied. I, for one, from them. Desire and love I understand as primary concepts, but rights, even the most "sacred," I do not understand, except with relation to what Professor Weiss calls

believe,

recoil,

I

would

recoil

conditions, "partial, transient or local."

Paul Weiss:

A

fundamental right

is

a claim

each has against

all

the

and the need they have to preserve and improve it, A basic desire and a basic love accordingly entrain basic rights to desire and to love. others, because of the nature they share,

DeWitt Henry Parker: do not think one can condemn anything by calling it much that was truer and more excellent perhaps then than in our era, yet Weiss' approach is of that century, and has the limitations of that approach. For example, I do not know what to do with the "right to food and shelter." How much food and shelter.? As much as anybody else's? Communism? And in return for how much and what kind of labor or as a gift? The AmeriI

"eighteenth century," for there was



can

workman

latter twice as

more times

as

much as a German worker;

receives twice as

much as a much as a Hindu.

British worker; the

the

German

ten or

Well, what then: unrestricted

immigration into America, Australia, Canada?

Paul Weiss: This same point was raised by Professor Cohen above. It is much however seems clear. We must try to raise the standards of others; to do this, we need not support unrestricted competition or immigration. Competition and immigration should be allowed only so far as they are serious and difficult. This

Science, Philosophy

294

and Religion

compatible with the retention and achievement of the highest possible goals. We risk lowering our standards in helping others and risk excluding others in raising our standards.

The

dynamic one. We must continually put up barriers solution and take them down, balancing the possibility of retaining goods achieved, with the possibility of making them more widely available. It would be folly to attempt the one and neglect the other, but sometimes one must be slighted and sometimes the other. is

a

DeWitt Henry Parker: Again: I rather liked what Weiss said about "free kinship," but wonder how far he would push it. Would he approve intermarriage between definitely recognized races? For myself, I

doubt

that.

Paul Weiss: This same point was raised by Professor Edgar S. Brightman. men have the right, though not necessarily the inclination, privilege or opportunity to marry into other stocks. All

DeWitt Henry Parker: was not a little astonished that Professor Weiss would freedom of speech. I think he is entirely wrong in his reference to Germany. Was he ever there during the Weimar republic? (Yes. P.W.) If he had been, I don't believe he would think that by limiting Nazi propaganda that poor republic would have been preserved. Nothing could have preserved it. I

limit

Paul Weiss: It

is

not the

Weimar

republic that one regrets losing, but

the democracy that might have been, had the Nazis been effectively suppressed.

DeWitt Henry Parker: And if he thinks that by means

of any kind of intolerance, even intolerance of intolerance, intolerance can be prevented, I believe he is mistaken. Hate stems from repression; let it talk itself out.

Paul Weiss: Hate

is

too powerful and destructive to allow

it

to talk itself

and Religion

Science, Philosophy out.

As

a rule

it first

works havoc before

it

295

exhausts

itself in

speech.

DeWitt Henry Parker: In section 12, Professor Weiss says,

must be

determine their

free to

within limits in the most divergent can be granted a society.

"Though

social

own membership activities,

groups

or to engage

no such freedom

A society should embrace all men

.

.

."

Here again, I would ask a question, in order to test the scope and absoluteness of this principle: would Professor Weiss deny the right of a society to restrict the number and quality of immigrants? (No. P.W.) Might not the denial of such a right lead eventually to that worst of

all

possible worlds, an Esperanto

we

erect barriers, how can we achieve cultural homogeneity on the one hand and cultural

(Yes. P.W.) Unless

society?

variety

on the other hand?

Paul Weiss:

Some

must be erected, though none should be They must be put up and taken down in the light of the incipient losses to which both the excluded and the excluding individuals are being subjected, and the possible gains which such losses make possible. barriers

arbitrary or permanent.

DeWitt Henry Parker: They do not face the ultimate and man's tragic destiny. They seek to separate the universal from the particular, but that All moralists tend to be timid.

inferences.

They ignore

conflict

cannot be done.

Paul Weiss:

An

examination of the nature of

human

rights provides

an

excellent illustration of the inseparable union of the particular

and universal.

It

would be

regrettable

if

it

obscured the fact

that these rights are not always acknowledged,

affirmation

and that their and defense have cost countless precious lives.

Ralph Barton Perry: I

have read with

dissent

from

much

interest Paul Weiss' paper.

I

do not

his statement about democracy, but suggest that

he deal further with two questions: i. democracy or an "evaluation" (to use his

Is

this

an analysis of (I should

own word)?

Science, Philosophy

296 think

is

it

both. P.W.)

what

precisely

is

If

it

is,

and Religion as

I

suspect, an evaluation,

the writer's standard of evaluation?

standard of evaluation

(The and

that of the greatest possible use

is

unity of all man's powers. P.W.) 2. Is there no connection between the moral or social democracy here expounded, and what is commonly called political democracy.? (The former justified the latter; the latter is the most effective means for preserving and promoting the former. P.W.)

Wilbur M. Urban: have read the paper with interest and with some care and I agree with it in practically every respect. The only point at which I was disposed to raise any question I

find that

is

in connection

with the implication that appears once or twice ideals of democracy involves the

knowledge of these

that the

obligation of fighting for them.

To

be sure, there

gestion as to what the nature of that fighting

view

that just as the ideals

is

may

is

be.

no sug-

My own

and values of democracy can be

furthered only through securing the free acknowledgment of

men, so also the only intelligent way in which to fight for them is by other ideals. I recognize no responsibility to fight for them in any other way. I find the general position very well and clearly stated.

Paul Weiss: This If

is

similar to the point raised by Professor Parker, above.

human

equal

lives

were not

opportunity

to

at

make

stake and their

if

power

all

felt,

had an nothing else

ideals

perhaps would be necessary, in order to have the best prevail, but to confront one ideal with another. But where ideals are distorted or dismissed and where there is a drive to brutalize

and injure, it would be wrong to refuse to support the neglected goods with all one's energy. This does not necessitate a belief in the efficacy or desirability of war. The ends of democracy can be peacefully attained if there is a sufficiently widespread appreciation of what it means, a willingness to recognize how far any existent scheme, including our own, falls short of or stands opposed to it, and a perpetual readiness to act so as to minimize the distance and to eradicate the causes of the opposition.

CHAPTER XVI The

Stake of Art in the Present Crisis

By

GEORGE BOAS

The Johns Hopkins

University

AM ASSUMING

that the present crisis is the danger that demoforms of government are in a state of obsolescence, and I that consequently the freedom which they grant to their citicratic

zens

may

disappear and servitude take

government

is

supposed

its

For democratic freedom of its citi-

place.

to guarantee the

zens.

"Freedom," however, is a respective term. It stands for itself and acquires meaning only in relation to certain ends. These ends, graduates of colleges will need no reminder, are that from which one wishes to be free and that for which one wishes to be free. This is, of course, one of the most shop-worn cliches of elementary courses in ethics. The freedom in which the founders of this republic were interested was largely freedom from something. It was freedom from the government of George III. What political and ethical philosophy they had in common is not easy, is perhaps not possible to discover. Jefferson, to be sure, had certain ideas which if developed might seem to indicate a belief in the inherent goodness of man, which would bear noble fruit once the restraints of government were removed. Thomas Paine also, and no doubt Patrick Henry, had more or less nebulous visions of the human soul ennobled by liberty. But in general the revolutionists were fighting, not for any philosophical connothing by

297

Science, Philosophy

298

and Religion

cepts, but for a very concrete end, namely, political

autonomy

for the Colonies.

The

Constitution of the United States bears ample evidence

of the desire of the revolutionists to

than a political philosophy.

It

form

a

government rather

formulates one of the most

government in the modern world; its checks and balances seem as if contrived in a spirit of suspicion of man's goodness rather than in a spirit of faith. So little did its rigid systems of

framers trust

human

benevolence, that the very representatives

whose sake the government presumably existed, were restrained by a court which was to be selected as a non-representative body. Life, liberty and the pursuit of hapof the people, for

may have been thought of by Jeflerson as inalienable when Washington transmitted the Constitution to

piness

but

rights,

Congress in

1787,

it

remembered

will be

that he wrote,

"Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest,"

and he admitted

later in his letter,

"It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which must be reserved."

It

was not

until the first ten

the Constitution took

upon

amendments were

itself

passed, that

the safeguarding of any spe-

cific liberties.

The question

rights must be surrendered and what answer clearly today as it was in 1787. Most of us agree that freedom of speech should never be abrogated, but all of us have been somewhat impatient at its abuse and, I venture to say, have intimated, in mutterings illconcealed, certain limitations which ought to be made to it. If we felt that freedom of speech would eventuate in overt acts against the regime which permits it, there is some question as

reserved

to

how

is

of

what

as difficult to

seriously

we

should protect

said about the other rights

it.

which the

Much Bill of

the

same could be

Rights guarantees.

Science, Philosophy

We

believe in

That

is

them

all,

but

and Religion

we do

after all

admit

299 their abuse.

of course a paradoxical situation.

The paradox is attenuated, but not resolved, by the feeling which we all share that a man who is properly educated will have at least enough good taste, if nothing else, not to abuse his various liberties. Current history has shown that this feeling is by no means justified. Every anti-democratic regime now in existence, including the Russian, has been built on the ruins of democracy and has been made possible by the abuse of the rights which democracies have granted to all their citizens. The question naturally arises of the fundamental weakness in the democratic order which makes this possible. The answer requires,

I

believe,

no elaborate

investigation.

A

modern

de-

always a government of Hmited powers. As the Constitution leaves to the individual states all powers not dele-

mocracy

is

gated to the federal government, so any democratic regime leaves to the individual citizen,

of

all

its

from

powers, the powers which

whom it

in theory

it

derives

does not specifically as-

sume. The sovereign, as we all learn in grammar school, is supposed to be the People, who voluntarily give up some of their powers to others who represent them. The People in theory are not supposed to be governed by anyone other than themselves. Consequently they never have adequate means of protection from internal enemies, for after all, one never knows

when

become the spokesman for the majority. may seem to be necessary, but a democrat them to be an evil. What is wanted is as few

a crank will

Social restraints thus will always feel

impediments to the natural expression of human souls as possible. Presumably it is impossible to maintain that such expression could be itself bad. From the more simple-minded versions of progressive pedagogy to the apologies for competitive

economics, this

principle

will

be found.

It

is

the

Rousseau of "Emile"—but not of the "Social Contract"— speaking.

When and

spokesmen

artist in society,

for

democracy discuss the place of

art

they will be found to express something

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

300

similarly naive.

fellows,

it

The

painter, the poet, the architect,

maintained, must be free,

is

Now

if

their

and

arts

their

are

to

no way of telling what an unnamed spokesman for an idea means by it, but there are standards of flourishing, according to which the arts have flourished in all sorts of regimes. For that matter, pictorial art reached, according to some standards, a very high level 25,000 years ago in the valley of the Vezere. What form of government CroMagnon man enjoyed, we have no way of knowing, but at least we may suspect that it was not a democracy. Egypt in the third millennium B. C, Greece under Pericles, Rome under Augustus, the He de France under Louis IX and Blanche of Castille, Florence under Lorenzo the Magnificent, England under EHzabeth, France under Louis XIV, were scarcely democratic, yet artists flourished, if by "flourished" we mean "produced works of art which are still intensely admired today." What freedom they had did not come from the political regime under which they lived. One of the greatest artists of all times, J. S. Bach, had as his patrons such petty rulers as the Duke of Weimar and the Duke of Coethen, and was constantly badgered by the town councillors of Leipzig. Are we to believe that his music would have been even greater had he lived under Rutherford B. Hayes in the United States of America? The one conclusion that can be drawn from the history of the arts is that flourish.

there

is,

to be sure,

the political organization of society

when The

is

irrelevant to them, except

the state forbids their practice.

point

is

that

we simply do

not

know

the conditions un-

der which the arts flourish. Countries which have been great in music, like

Germany, have

at

the very

moment

of their

musical greatness been pitiful in painting. Others like

the

English have kept up a literary tradition and allowed their

music to grow almost

silent.

Others, like the France of the

nineteenth century and the Italian states of the fifteenth, have

—as



one can measure such things equally great in had nothing in common. For that matter France, from 1 800-1900, had a continuous been

far as

painting, while their social organization

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

history of great achievement in painting variety of social organizations.

301

and went through a countries, Hke

Some democratic

Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, the

United States, have produced little art during the last century which could measure up to the productions of non-democratic countries. If democracy means something political, then one might conclude that the arts have nothing at stake in the present crisis. The fact that contemporary German and Italian art beneath contempt,

is

is

not refutation of

this.

Gogol, Pushkin,

Dostoievski, Tolstoi lived under a despotism which was just as great.

Nor

has anyone ever attempted to maintain that the

royal masters of El Greco, Velazquez,

and Goya were noted

democrats.

Not

only do

arts flourish,

which they

we not know the conditions under which the we do not even know whether a society in

but

flourish

wither away. For

it

is is

any better off than one in which they possible to think of a society in which

the members were engaged in economic pursuits and warmaking, keeping the body aHve, procreating their kind Hke beasts, and fighting off their enemies. In fact, in Plato's "Reall

would be very little of what we think of as the and yet Plato was neither a fool nor a tyrannophile. For that matter, we can take examples from our own day, examples of societies in which the arts, though they exist in some form, to be sure, are not on that account the main contribution to civihzation. We had best omit American art from our discussion, since the fever of chauvinism which has raised secondrate painters to the heights, makes any objective evaluation impossible. But everyone will admit that life in Norway and Sweden and Denmark in the last fifty years has been socially pretty healthy. Yet artistically they have not been sterile, to public" there arts,

be sure, but at the best deficient. is

the dissatisfied person? Is

it

Is it

possible that the artist

possible that in a society in

which everyone was well adjusted and well integrated, as we use the term today, would disappear? A third thing of which we are profoundly ignorant,

artists,

is

why

Science, Philosophy

302

people write, paint, ings. is

One

make

and Religion want

sculpture and

to build build-

of the pet theories of certain philosophers of art

that the arts are a

form

of self-expression.

have we, beyond verbal usage, which

But what evidence the assumption

justifies

of unexpressed selves lying hidden beneath the corporeal shell?

A

self, as

It is

as

is something which man which he comes into the world.

Josiah Royce used to insist,

achieves, not something with

our hope to build up a

self

out of our sufferings as well

our pleasures, out of the persistent conflict between our

and our ideals, between our will and our reason, between our capacities and our aspirations. A man who has reached maturity might be expected to have some feeling that his self was not part of his original constitution, but rather the main problem of his life, something he had to build, if he was fortunate, out of all his experiences, lest he die a tangle of unrealized velleities. It is not therefore unreasonable to assume that artists are frequently people who, having a sense of their incompleteness, strive through their art for self-integration. "Frequently," I say, for any psychologist who is not comappetites

mitted to some pet theory will grant that their

problems

in various ways.

Some,

human

peace in self-subjection, in self-humiliation, in others find

it

only in self-assertion.

beings solve

to over-simplify, find sacrifice,

whereas

One might imagine

that

any underlying philosophy to democracy, it is that each type of human being has a right to self-integration, a right to achieve the kind of self which will give him the most satisfaction. It assumes, and here it may well be wrong, that if

there

society

is

is

best off

when

the variety of

human

beings

is

fully

developed and that such development can exist without harmful conflict. I say that it may well be wrong, because I am not is any way for human beings The members of the Continental

convinced that there gether in peace.

to live to-

Congress,

however, could scarcely have been expected to be of that mind. They were for the most part men whose reUgious and philosophic background, as well as their political allegiance, were

very similar. Religious and racial conflicts, though they existed

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

303

in the latter part of the eighteenth century,

were not a major problem in the Colonies. It was easier for men at that time to think in terms of a fundamental human nature. It is

social

The

truth may very well be that at present a philosopher would do better to think in terms of societies rather than in terms of Society, and that

not so easy for

social

and

welding

us.

political

together into a harmonious organism will

societies

conflicts which cannot be resolved. something which is vital and stimulating. It is also, to be sure, disgusting. But some human beings have to hate something or someone, if only to keep up their own selfrespect. Psychiatrists may conceivably be able to discover eliminable causes of hate and to indicate the kind of society in which these causes would be absent. Certainly no one has done so as yet, and a group as serious as this one ought to be

inevitably

about

bring

Hatred, after

all, is

willing to face the possibility of social tragedy.

In any event, the social order which has considered this problem most seriously has been the democratic, and within the limits of governmental self-interest, some of the benevolent

The

despotisms.

government

loses

very existence of a representative form of all sense if one does not recognize the

legitimacy of various and conflicting interests which can only

be settled through compromise. can

fall

No

democrat,

if

he

is

earnest,

victim to the "philosophical pathos," to use a term of

He must be willing to and that they all have

Professor Lovejoy, of the term "unity."

grant that

human

desires are varied

theoretically a right to be fulfilled. This

is

at

any rate the cor-

be modified according to the exigencies of the material world. rect attitude to

The

take;

it

will

concerned in the spread of this atHis interests are involved just to the extent by which he differs from the norm. If he is a writer, he may wish to express novel and heterodox thoughts. They can be expressed in artist is particularly

titude.

if they are so heterodox and novel that government thinks they are harmless. In a democracy, if he can find a pubUsher or has the money to pubUsh his own

a totalitarian state only

the

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

304

works, his ideas

may not

may even be

only be printed, they

re-

no governmental esthetics to the prescriptions of which he must conform. There is at present in the United States a semi-official esthetics which

viewed.

he

If

a painter, there

is

is

appears to prescribe some degree of conformity to the tech-

nique and, curiously enough, even subject-matter of Mexican

How

muralists.

now. to

It is

we have no way

influential this is

quite possible that in a few years the

wonder

that the

depressing as our interesting,

of

pubhc

knowing

will

begin

American scene could ever have been so

official

however,

subsidies, painters are

painters represent

it

as being.

More

government not on the whole discouraged from paintthe fact that in spite of

is

ing their country in as unappetizing a fashion as they choose. It

on the part of an

takes a high degree of self-confidence

patron to patronize

artists

who

art

him as a tattered deGerman, Itahan and Russian

represent

It seems unhkely that have the same privilege. I have not seen any Fascist art in recent years; Russian art, at least that which has come to America, looks like the paintings which used to be exhibited

generate. artists

at the

National

Academy between

1910

and

1920.

The

titles

of

the canvases were not of course identical.

The most prominent art of

criticism

democratic countries

times asserted by

critics

the thirteenth century

purpose which

who

all

we should

which

that

is

it

is

directed against the

lacks direction. It

is

some-

follow this line that in Europe in

art

was inspired by

try to

a singleness of

reproduce today.

One

thing

which these men forget is that the arts of which they speak were used by the Church for a very definite purpose; that purpose was not the purpose of the artist except accidentally. Nothing is known of the satisfaction which was derived by the artists themselves from their art. But in the absence of evidence we have no right to assume that they were depressed by the restrictions which hemmed them in. For over a hundred years now artists have been divided into two groups, those who work according to tradition, take orders for specific works of art prescribed in detail by the patrons, are in fact artisans, and

Science, Philosophy

who produce

those

modes

works of

305

art freely, devise their

own

and take a chance on selHng them or not. purpose to appraise the works of either group,

of expression,

not

It is

their

and Religion

my

one beheves that the paintings of such men as Renoir, Cezanne, the Post-Impressionists, to name only a few, have contributed more to civihzation than the works of Bouguereau, Puech, and Carolus-Duran, one will also be forced to believe that only a social regime in which freedom of artistry is possible is healthful for art. The latter group were as gifted technically as the former; what made them different sprang precisely from their refusal to conform to an esthetic tradition prescribed by the state. The Second Empire was as interested in art as the but

if

Church of the thirteenth century. As a matter of fact, which we shall not discuss, it was probably more interested. One has only to read the speeches of the various Ministers of Fine Arts

under Napoleon ready to give the

III,

to see

The

artist.

how much results are

guidance the state was good evidence of what

direction will do for art.

Direction

may

take at least one of two forms:

it

may be

which have subject matter, or it may be direction of technique. For instance, in the Second Empire, the official critics found little fault with Courbet's direction of subject matter, in arts

technique; they objected to his ugly subject-matter

wood-choppers, and the laid

certain

Many

restrictions

artists

dictated

would be

like.

on

Hitler,

style

as

— peasants,

on the other hand, has well as

subject

matter.

perfectly willing to have their subjects

—witness the response to governmental and other comand architecture—but would

petitions for paintings, sculpture,

reserve the right to treat the subjects as they see

fit.

After

all,

when an editor asks a writer to review a given book in a given number of words, he is restricting the artist's freedom, and when he rejects the review because it does not bring out what he believes to be the important features of the book, he stricts

it

still

further.

Few,

if

any, artists

re-

demand complete

Ucense. It is

true that in the 1830's the Rudolphs, Schaunards,

and

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

3o6

Marcels established a type of

mind which Boheme was not with-

the public

artist in

has not yet died out. But even the Vie de

out

its

conventions, one of which was esthetic sincerity. Never-

from the

frivolity of artists in opera and novel, it contemporary artist recognizes his place in society and understands that like the business man, the professional man, the laborer and the capitalist, his first duty is to

theless aside

safe to say that the

is

hve in a community of other human beings who have their rights and duties to perform. I do not mean to say by these words that there is something called "society" and that outside it is something called "art" and that the latter owes something to the former. On the contrary, art is an integral part of society, like science or business or education or any other human activity.

To

integrate

which

ideal

know

human

the ideal,

we

shall

step towards realizing

present

interests into

an harmonious whole

demands

integration of

that

human

is

an

But unless we

will never be completely realized.

never be able even to take the

first

Whatever the past may have been, the the chief problem of the state be the

it.

interests.

One may

assume,

as

certain

communists do, that some of these interests will always be in a state of war, in which case integration will come about by suppression. Or one may assume that, though a residue of conflict

will always exist, a

one may assume that

modus

ideally

vivendi can be formulated.

human

and with mutual on the whole has a

living together in peace

tion last

is

that the artist

two kinds of

state than in the first,

him

to the

plough and that

son, he will rejoice in his service. is,

whether the

respect.

if

My

conten-

better chance in the

though

that the rulers even in the first kind will to harness

Or

beings can be educated into

it is

make

he

is

very likely

every attempt

one kind of perof person he

Whatever kind

self-assertive or self-abnegating type, his

chances

which recognizes the legitimacy of different types than in one which refuses to do so. This paper makes no attempt to define the nature of either art or artist. It frankly admits that works of art are multivalent

will be better in a society

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

and that

artists

pursue their work for a variety of reasons.

does not deny that in a non-democratic

may

flourish

307

and leave works which

will

It

and artists be greatly admired by state, art

that strange judge of greatness, posterity. It merely insists that in a democratic state there

is

a greater tolerance of diversity, a

greater willingness, at least in principle, to harmonize conflicts, a greater artists

freedom

who

to seek novel

and unpopular ends. Those

agree to the desirability of such a state of affairs will

democracy is high; those who do not, no more reason why they should struggle to preserve a democratic order than to destroy it. Those of us who have lived long enough have observed artists of no mean capacity working for its elimination in all sincerity. They have not worked for the destruction of art; they have worked for the destruction of art different from their own. see that their stake in will see

CHAPTER "The

Irresponsibles":

By

XVII

A

Comment

DOUGLAS BUSH

Harvard University

LAST YEAR, in an article^ which caused unusual reverberations, J Mr. Archibald MacLeish charged contemporary American scholars with utter failure to rise to the defense of culture in

these hideous times.

While the new barbarian invasions were

inundating Europe, destroying freedom and the civilization

we

by which anxiously,

hve, scholar-moles were continuing, placidly or

antiquarian

their

burrowings. Although everyone

has read and remembers the article,

much

as I

I

should like to quote as

can from Mr. MacLeish's account of the reasons for

the silence of scholars as they witnessed the destruction of their heritage.

The

chief reason, he found, was not lack of courage or lack wisdom, but "the organization of the intellectual life of our time." "Specifically," says Mr. MacLeish, "I think it is this: that intellectual responsibility has been divided in our time and

of

by division destroyed. The men of intellectual duty, those who should have been responsible for action, have divided them-

—the

scholars

and the

writers.

Neither of these accepts responsibility for the

common

culture

selves into

or for

its

two

castes,

two

cults

defense.

"There was a time a century ago, two centuries ago, when practiced these professions would have accepted without an instant's hesitation. A century responsibility such

men who

^"The Irresponsibles," The Nation, May

308

i8, 1940.

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

309

ago the professions of the writer and the scholar were united

man of letters, and the man of was responsible in everything that touched the mind. He was a man of wholeness of purpose, of singleness of intention, a single intellectual champion, admittedly responsible for the defense of the inherited tradition, avowedly partisan in the single profession of the letters

of

Where

practice.

its

those

who

practice these several pro-

world and the creative world between them in irresponsible and neutral states, the man of letters inhabited both learning and the world of letters hke an empire. today

fessions

divide

.

"The his

.

irresponsibility of the scholar

the scientist all

.

learned

the

upon whose laboratory

work. The scholar in

is

the irresponsibility of

insulation he has patterned

letters has

made

himself as in-

different to values, as careless of significance, as bored with

meanings as the chemist. He is a refugee from consequences, an exile from the responsibilities of moral choice. His words of praise are the laboratory words objectivity, detachment, dispassion. His pride is to be scientific, neuter, skeptical, detached superior to final judgment or absolute belief. In his capacity as scholar the modern scholar does not occupy the present. In his capacity as scholar he loves the word but only the word which entails no judgments, involves no decisions,







accomplishes no actions. "It

is

.

.

.

not for nothing that the modern scholar invented the

Ph.D. thesis

as his principal contribution to hterary form.

Ph.D. thesis

is

the perfect image of his world.

for the sake of

doing work

—perfectly

laborious, perfectly irresponsible.

best and worst

It is

The

work done

conscientious, perfectly

The modern

scholar at his



both these things perfectly conscientious, laborious, and competent: perfectly irresponsible for the saving of his world. He remembers how in the Civil Wars in England the scholars, devoted only to their proper tasks, founded is

He remembers how through other wars and other dangers the scholars kept the lamp of learning

the Royal Society.

lighted.

He

does not consider that the scholars then did other

Science, Philosophy

310

and Religion

lamp wicks. He does not consider and can be greater. He has his work to do. He has his book to finish. He hopes the war will not destroy the manuscripts he works with. He is the pure, things as well as trim the

either that the dangers change

the perfect type of irresponsibility the fire could not burn

—the man who acts as though

him because he has no

business with the

He

knows, because he cannot help but know, reading his papers, talking to his friends he knows this fire has consumed the books, the spirit, everything he lives by, in other countries. He knows this, but he will not know. It's not his business. Whose business is it then? He will not answer even that. He fire.



work

has his

to do.

He

has his

book

to finish."

In other times one might pause to question

some

of Mr.

MacLeish's assertions, but probably most scholars, whatever they might say in self-defense or whatever the degree of their

own

sinfulness,

modern

dictment. a large

would admit

scholarship I

that

sufficiently

may remark

that

I

the

justifies

said

audience at a meeting of the

general

direction

such an earnest

of in-

somewhat similar things to Modern Language Associa-

though doubdess some growls did not reach my many endorsements did. In regard to the division of labor and the estrangement of scholars and writers, I wrote a magazine article a decade ago, in relatively less serious days, under the title of "Pale-Eyed Priests and Happy Journalists," and a more recent article on another aspect of the same theme. I mention such obscure items, not because anybody has any reason to be acquainted with them, but simply as concrete evidence that, far from having a scholar's prejudice against Mr. MacLeish's general attitude, I have in no small measure shared tion, and,

ears, a great

it.

While

heartily subscribing then to the principle that scholars

as a race

should be concerned with positive and present values, may feel that Mr. MacLeish's perspective is not quite

a scholar

the same as his own, and I should like to comment upon his view of the immediate situation and then upon the timeless problems of learning, literature and life. In the first place, it is

Science, Philosophy

not at

all

and Religion

311

what Mr. MacLeish would have had us do

clear

during recent years to help maintain or restore in Germany the

traditional

distinguished

of civilization.

ideals

German

When,

for

example, a

student of English literature writes to

an acquaintance in America that long-suffering Germany must at last

just

defend

itself

what American

against the ruthless Poles, one scholars could have

done

wonders

to prevent or

kind of outlook. In spite of an apparently great faith of the written word, Mr. MacLeish does not indicate how even the tongues of angels could have touched minds publicly and hermetically sealed. If the Modern Lan-

alter that

in the

power

guage Association and other groups of scholars had published

condemning tyranny and aggression, or condemnmodern statesmanship which permitted the rise of such forces; or if all the individual members of those associations resolutions

ing

can be imagined

most passionate and eloquent European culture, such efforts

as printing the

pleas for the preservation of

would have had as much effect as a resolution against cigarettes and alcohol from a provincial W.C.T.U., or a defense of culture presented

by a group of mediaeval

scholars

to

Attila.

If

and writers had risen up years ago to protest against American repudiation of the League of Nations, then something might have been accompHshed. Mr. MacLeish was dealing with the period before the present war, when, he thought, ideas could still have had power, but he also pictured the scholar, after the outbreak of war, sitting on the sidelines and finishing his book. At least during the last two years scholars have in a notable degree been giving money, time and effort of all kinds to national and local agencies engaged in

American

scholars

helping the cause of civilization against its enemies. However, to come to the more general problems, no one

would deny the

fact,

or

the

serious

consequences,

of

the

division between scholars and writers. But when Mr. MacLeish seems to imply that all scholars in their writings ought to be philosophizing about the state of the world, one can only shudder at the thought of such a possibiHty. And one may

Science, Philosophy

312

and Religion

among undergraduate and graduate students those most incHned to philosophize at large are quite often those whose inadequate knowledge and undisciplined minds least warrant such attempts. The young editors of college observe that

who

are

papers freely

avow

that they

understanding of world

affairs,

more intelligent and indeed of everything else,

possess a far

than their studious and cloistered instructors.

up the world is more or less many mature writers and journalists. A for tidying

understandable,

if

A

similar capacity

tacitly

admitted by

scholar's

caution

is

not altogether blameless.

Mr. MacLeish suggests that the division between scholars and writers, narrowly considered, may have improved the quality of both scholarship and writing. I think it has greatly injured both. Of course, a good deal of flat and barren scholarship is inevitable, when there are so many laborers and when the academic world puts an unfortunately high premium upon pubhcation; an American university would not have considered Socrates for an assistant professorship. But Mr. MacLeish would not wish American writing to be judged by its machinemade products, and the best American scholarship is of the same kind and quality as the best scholarship anywhere. If the division between scholar and writer is wider in America than it has been in Europe, some reasons are equally obvious and old. Mr. MacLeish sketches an ideal portrait of the "man of letters" of the nineteenth or the eighteenth century, who was both scholar and writer, but he does not observe that a type which has always flourished in Europe, a type which in modern times embraced men from Anatole France to Balfour and Haldane, has never at any time had numerous representatives here. The Mayflower and its successors did not bring over many men who embodied or cherished the Renaissance ideal of the versatile amateur; instead, they brought men eager to labor in their "calling." The professional and technical zeal and energy which enabled such men to organize a new and vast country could never look kindly

upon

cultivated amateur-

ism. It has not been merely laboratory science

and German

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

313

example that have made American scholarship so often dry and flavorless. Much American w^riting is no less professional, no less lacking in traditional flavor and urbanity. One may, for instance, compare The New Statesman and The Spectator with the corresponding journals in America; the latter have plenty of intelligence and vigor, but they seldom remind us that the world and its culture are older than last week. Although the modern world has had, in diminishing numbers, its "men of letters," the division between scholars and writers goes back much farther than Mr. MacLeish imphes. There were "pure scholars" in ancient Greece and Rome, and there have been ever since; indeed, if there had not been, our cultural legacy would be a thing of shreds and patches. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were doubtless the golden age of the modern world, when learning and letters were most closely wedded, when Erasmus was the supreme journalist, when Montaigne nourished his original mind on Plutarch and Seneca, when a busy lawyer and statesman surveyed, in splendid prose, the whole realm of knowledge from biology to poetry, when such a seriously scientific psychologist-divine as Robert Burton, unlike modern psychologists, wrote the greatest of bedside books. But even in those centuries there was a division between scholar and writer. The original sum of universal knowledge, which an ancient or a mediaeval man could master, had already grown beyond the grasp of any individual, and specialists were at work on everything from the reconstruction of classical texts to the exploration of magnetic force and the motions of the heart. It was then that Dr. Harvey remarked that Bacon wrote philosophy like a Lord Chancellor. The real problem of the century of genius, however, was not in the mere increasing mass or even the increasing variety of knowledge, but in its changing character, direction and assumptions. From Plato and Cicero down to Milton, men in the central humanistic tradition had sought knowledge for the sake of wisdom; the knowledge they possessed was unified and inspired by the quest of truth, which was at once divine

Science, Philosophy

314

and

practical.

But the

and Religion

tide of scientific inquiry

and

scientific

skepticism had also been rising ever since the time of Plato

and Cicero, and reached century. It brought a

its

first

flood

new emphasis on

in

the

seventeenth

physical law, a

new

uncertainty of belief in old facts and concepts, a newly grounded

repudiation of the traditional picture of a divine world created

and governed

for

man

by a providential Father. This

dis-

and naturalism received its boldest expression, of course, from Hobbes. And when the reaction against such a view of man and the world reached its height integrating materialism

in the romantic poets, in their effort to restore spiritual values,

they no longer, like the poets of the Renaissance, stood securely

on the

universal

souls, or

among

of an unbroken Christian and were individuals groping in their own

authority

classical tradition; they

the disjecta

membra

of the past, for private

That has been, on the whole, the predicament of the artist up to our own time. In recent years most respectable writers found Marxist dogma much more and personal

solutions.

inspiring than the

Christian,

but there have been signs of

faihng satisfaction in that. Meanwhile, in the universities the

growth of knowledge had found its appropriate symbols in the vast enlargement of plants and curricula, in the erection of so many lath-and-plaster annexes around the shrine of wisdom that it was difficult to remember that a shrine was there at

all.

But it would be unwise to attempt a survey of culture in a few pages, and instead, we might approach some of the central problems through one man whose career exemplifies them, that is, John Milton, who appears, honoris causa, in Mr. MacLeish's article. I choose Milton because he is a familiar name, because he

may be

called the last great English representative

of traditional Christian

he has for the

first

humanism, and because

in

our age

time ceased to influence poets and has been

cast into outer darkness

by our most advanced

literary critics.

In connection with Milton and those several problems, one

may

also risk

some observations on the theory and

practice of

Science, Philosophy

modern space

315

Mr. MacLeish, while devoting the bulk of

writers.

scholars,

to

and Religion

includes

irresponsibility, so that

writers

in

his

arraignment

his

of

even an owHsh scholar, whose knowl-

edge of their ways is much less intimate and intelligent, may, Mr. MacLeish so far as he goes, do a little to

in agreeing with

put the case in an historical setting. first place, Milton strove unceasingly from childhood master the whole body of useful knowledge and thereby himself to address and lead his fellows. After seven years

In the to fit

Cambridge, he was able to retire to his father's house and spend six more years in fiercely voracious study of philosophy,

at

history,

everything.

Like

all

serious

Renaissance

poets,

he

dreamed of writing the great modern heroic poem, and that ambition required, among other things, "industrious and select reading, steady observation, insight into

all

seemly and gen-

erous arts and affairs." Yet in spite of his vast knowledge,

Milton apologizes again and again for writing

he has completed the the

modern

writing,

writer,

full circle of his

who must

live,

at

all

before

private studies. Well,

or thinks he must

live,

by

cannot ordinarily devote himself to study on the

Miltonic scale, but one rarely perceives the slightest inclination to is

equal

even among those whose economic security Whereas English writers,

do

so,

to,

or far beyond, Milton's.

whom

Americans so readily brand as "derivative," have often knowledge of their cultural past, American writers, they are educated, succeed pretty well in conceahng all

a scholarly if

evidence of the In

many

fact.

They appear

quarters there

of tradition;

is

to live

wholly in the present.

a nervous fear of anything suggestive

we must have originality at all costs. It has been many contemporary American writers seem to

observed that

have no philosophic roots or resources; so long

as

up

to

report what they see and

but

when

feel,

that faculty has spent

The common

all

is

itself,

well,

they can a

point,

they are empty husks.

attitude seems to be, in the words of a novelist once quoted by Arnold Bennett: "I know enough. I don't read books, I write 'em." Not to heap up proofs of the state

Science, Philosophy

3i6 of learning

among modern

best example volatile

is

and Religion

writers

and

critics,

perhaps the

the fact that for a quarter of a century the

Mr. Ezra Pound has been regarded

as a giant of eru-

dition; in the nineteenth or any earlier century that legend

would not have lasted a month. The burden of Mr. MacLeish's charge against that they consider tive lenses,

their function

it

what they

decision and action. In for art's sake.

That

and

see

objectivity, like scholars',

is

is

more

theory of art for to

solidly

art's

is

feel,

without comment; their

an escape from responsibility for familiar words, they practice art

the verdict of a distinguished writer,

not of a jaundiced scholar.

up

writers

merely to record, as sensi-

sake

is

It

may be emphasized

that the

quite modern, that from

the early nineteenth century

all

serious art

based on the beUef, the only conceivable

Homer

had been

belief,

that

the function of art was didactic. Milton, of course, hke the

long line of artists whose conscious heir he was, held that view with a special and exalted intensity; he had before him always the ideal of the poet-priest whose works are doctrinal and exemplary to a nation. We may say, to be sure, that that ideal is quite impossible now. But one may hesitate to label as naive the authors of Greece and Rome, and Dante (whose name, if not his message, has become a highbrow shibboleth),

and the most iconoclastic writer would hardly say that they do not still make a tremendous imaginative, emotional and ethical appeal to the most sophisticated modern reader. What is

more, they make that appeal not merely to the sophisticated.

In condemning recent writers for evading responsibility, Mr.

MacLeish did not take account of the band who have been conscientiously piping songs of social significance, and who have been oddly self-conscious about their inauguration of socalled "public poetry." Such an effort to regain a lost leadership, though scarcely novel, may be commended. At the same time, one remembers that, while the long didactic tradition of the past addressed all educated men, these recent poets, in unburdening their social conscience, have in general been

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

317

group of other writers of the same flourish and become "movements" by taking in one another's washing. One wonders sometimes how many proletarian intellectuals are really intimate enough with the workers to write a piece like Tennyson's "Northern Farmer." What is perhaps the most familiar fact of Milton's career is the one most directly concerned with Mr. MacLeish's thesis. With the heroic poem still unwritten, Milton turned aside, to give twenty of his best years to the cause of religious, civil and political liberty. It meant a great sacrifice, including intelligible only to a small

vintage and milieu.

They

the loss of his sight, but

it

was

also a fulfilment of his life-

long desire to be a leader of men, to be,

he had said with

as

youthful ardor, an oracle of nations. Here again Milton a

is

only

conspicuous upholder of a long and great tradition, the

who

is first of all a citizen. For the enough to recall Aeschylus, whose epitaph recorded that he had fought at Marathon, but said nothing of his dramas. For Rome, there was Cicero, one of the chief molders of the mediaeval and Renaissance mind, the great example of the philosopher in politics, and a phi-

tradition of the artist

of Greece

writers

losopher

who

fell

it

is

a victim, like Seneca, to

power.

And

for

Ages there was Dante, who suffered so much for his public activity. In Milton's own age and country most writers had some kind of public or non-literary occupation; indeed, most of them, for political or financial reasons, had more or less experience of prison. Milton's own life was in the Middle

danger

at the Restoration. It

is

only since the romantic age that

the writer has been content to be a writer and nothing else.

Then

arose

the notion of the artist in his ivory

superior being above the joys and sorrows of the

man.

upon

And it

in our time that unhealthy idea

scorns the comfortable bourgeoisie. All this

Moreover, Milton, the fervent

a

common

had superimposed

the idea of the writer as an inevitable

the traditional view of the artist as a

tower,

is

leftist

who

very far from

man among men.

idealist

and champion of

Science, Philosophy

3i8

experienced a disillusionment as great in

liberty,

impact

and Religion

as the twentieth-century

man

has

felt.

its

personal

Only the reading

of his own passionate language gives one a sense of his infinite hopes of an immediate and complete reformation in England and, through England, in the world. Those hopes sustained

many setbacks, throughout his public career. But the Restoration was the final and overwhelming blow, the ruin of his life's work. If Milton had been made of different stuff, he might have relapsed into sullen or querulous defeatism. Indeed he could write some of the most pessimistic lines in him, in spite of

English literature:

"Truth

shall retire

Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of Faith Rarely be found. So shall the World go on.

To good

malignant, to bad

men

Under her own weight groaning, Appear of respiration to the just

And Yet the

vengeance to the wicked

man who had

surrender to despair.

benign. till

the day

." ,

.

that vision of the future

The

collapse of his

dream

would not

of public liberty

only reinforced the religious and ethical creed he had always held. Milton has been claimed as an ancestor by irresponsible libertarians,

loves liberty

but he himself always maintained that one

must

first

who

be wise and good. His dynamic con-

ception of Christian liberty, which freed the regenerate

man

and made him, under Christ, the pilot of his own ship, was both Christian and classical. For Milton, as for the contemporary Cambridge Platonists, and

from external

for

restraints

the long line

spirit

of

man was

of Christian humanists

before

the candle of the Lord;

them, the

they conceived

of right reason, the divine faculty of the moral judgment and the moral will, as fused with the light of revelation. These

and ethics kept men like Milton determinism on the one hand and from the mechanistic determinism of Hobbes on the other. So Milton, when he had lost his faith in men and movements, came back principles of rational faith

from

Calvinistic

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

to his old anchorage, the strength of the

soul a

—but

now

new depth

That

is

the

with a

theme of

discipHned individual

new understanding

of belief in his

319

of man's weakness,

humble obedience to the divine will. three late and long poems, which the

modern critic and poet find emotionally and artistically dead. Whereas the humanitarian is accustomed to think in large terms of the mass of mankind and of outward panaceas, Milton perceives, with the saddened clarity of age, that the only real reformation of the world must begin with the inward ref-

ormation of the individual. of

all

pubHc and private

ills

To is

those for

whom

the source

economic, such ideas

are,

of

course, childish nonsense.

Thus, the humbled Milton,

though far from disowning saw and attacked that intellectual pride and selfsufficiency in which many recent thinkers have seen the fundamental cause of the present state of man's outer and inner reason,

world.

One

conspicuous

illustration,

a

scientific

parallel

to

found in Milton's changing attitude toward the Baconian faith and Baconian optimism, which as much as anything have nourished that pride and self-sufficiency. When he delivered his valedictory at Cambridge, Milton exulted in a Baconian vision of man as the potential conqueror of nature; in the tract on education he stressed science far more than most humanists had; and he glorified Galileo, without suspecting that the study of things might come to supersede the study of right and wrong. Yet the earnest Christian and Platonist was more typical of himself when he expUcitly ranked scientific knowledge below the knowledge of God and the true end of human life. Experience only deepened his sense of that distinction, and in "Paradise Lost" he insists that science, knowledge of the external universe, does not and cannot illuminate the moral problems of everyday life. He is saying what Dr. Johnson was to say a century later when he complained of the excessive emphasis Milton had given to science in his educational tract: "Prudence and Justice are virtues, and excellences, of all times and of all places; we are his political experience,

is

Science, Philosophy

320

perpetually moralists, but

A

later

and Religion

we are geometricians only by chance." when he dreams of a world regen-

Baconian, Shelley,

erated through love in the soul of man, cannot help associat-

ing that inward victory with the scientific conquest of nature

and material progress. In the poem of the older and wiser man is expelled from his earthly paradise, and yet, if he has learned the Christian and rational virtues, he has a Milton,

paradise within him, happier

upon

the inward

far.

In that urgent concentration

springs of conduct,

upon

the individual's

and ethical life, Milton is at one with all Christian humanists, from Petrarch to Matthew Arnold. And in maintaining the supremacy of such aims and motives, they had in general been more or less hostile to the claims of science. Throughout the nineteenth century, of course, the great writers were proclaiming the hollowness of the faith in scientific progress which had captured the world's imagination and energy, and in various ways were trying to reaffirm religious and ethical values. Their reward, from twentieth-century writers, was a monotonous round of scornful epithets like "uncritical" and "hypocritical." Meanwhile, these same twentieth-century writers were showing their critical intelligence and spiritual insight by welcoming every rabbit produced from the scientific or psychological hat. Such writers could, though, realize that the civilization created by the gospel of scientific progress had left a vacuum somewhere. Literature reflected the plight of men who, unable spiritual

to

worship the popular idols or to acquiesce in the

spiritual

upon.

had,

apathy,

What had

right reason

unlike

Milton,

nothing

to

common fall

back

behaviorism or the unconscious to do with

and the divine dignity of the soul? The chief

gods of literature in English in the past twenty-five years have been D. H. Lawrence, Joyce and T. S. Eliot. Lawrence, along with a feverish power over words, had only one idea, to escape from civilization to the open spaces where flesh flesh. Joyce's later

what

his

earlier

is

work proved, by a reductio ad absurdum, work had suggested, spiritual bankruptcy

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

321

finding an escapist opiate in crossword puzzles. Mr. Eliot, like

many

disillusioned romantics of the nineteenth century, reached

was not clearly grasped until he made an explicit announcement and then there were pained outcries from all the young liberals whom he had led up the garden. Since Mr. Eliot retired from active leadership a religious solution, but that fact



movement, no recognizable successor has ap-

of the literary

peared; and certainly few important writers, least of

all

in

America, have taken Mr. Eliot's road out of the waste land. Mr. MacLeish affirms that "the time we live in has produced

more

An

writers than any but the very greatest ages."

first-rate

ignorant scholar would like to share that happy conviction,

when he reads the stateMr. MacLeish means destined for permanence. However, prophecies are idle, and the scholar may content himself by asking whether the common creed and methods of modern American literature are, if we may judge from the literary history of the past, likely to give it a high rank in the future. The "important" novelists and dramatists have largely devoted themselves to the sage and serious doctrine of promiscuity. The biographers and journalists have shown that all great men, dead or living, have clay feet. And so on. That impulse is not new, to be sure, but he

is

more

— that

ment

nor

is

is,

likely to

by

if

rub his eyes

"first-rate"

astringent skepticism wholly undesirable, but

it

may be

whole from moral values and moconcentrated its gaze upon the unciviHzed and Perhaps endless pictures of spiritual squalor and

said that never until recent decades has literature as a

emancipated tives,

so thoroughly

itself

or so

pathological.

human animal, can be defended kind of inverted idealism (and would it be profane to remember that that is the kind that pays?), yet one does not recall much great literature from Homer and the disease, of the habits of the

as springing

Bible

from

onward

in

a

which the

artist's

vision

of expression so consciously crude. first-rate

It is

writer that he does not see

is

so limited, his

surely the

man

mark

mode of the

as a beast, or as a

god, but as both. However, in the country of the blind the

Science, Philosophy

322 one-eyed

man

is

king.

as

If,

and Religion

some

say, the rising generations

and moral

of youth have been infected with cynicism

color-

bhndness, the virus did not come from the literary scholars;

supphed any antidote may be postponed for the moment. At any rate, balancing most modern literature against that of the previous twenty-five hundred years, the scholar may prefer to drink from older and deeper wells. He may, for instance, think of Milton's approach to his the question whether they

—"by

devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and

writing

enrich with

all

purify the lips of It is

perhaps a

whom

he pleases." though

tactical error,

it

has been a deliberate

one, to attach these topics and remarks to Milton, who, as

I

been so completely ignored or vehemently damned by modern poets and critics of any pretensions to intelligence. The reasons they give are, in brief, that Milton was a man said, has

of coarse sensibility, a style of heavily inflexible

and an like

intellect

Donne

put in

this

a poet also

be

form: that confused and paralyzed moderns are

ill

has

at ease in the

human

artificiality,

wedded to a crude theology, whereas all the modern virtues. The case might company

reason, though

whose

of a poet

much

tried,

is

faith in

invincible,

God and

whereas they

can relax quite comfortably with the disillusioned, skeptical,

Donne. It is just the attitude which might be expected from writers who have, in the main, been content to be

realistic

mirrors rather than beacon-lights of their age.

Modern

writers

have not, in the old sense, earned the right to leadership, and they have not held a position of leadership, except among scattered coteries. Milton, the

most learned and

poets, believed that poetry lectuals;

most

self-conscious artist

and the

active

publicist

among

the older English

was written

for

men, not

for intel-

"Paradise Lost" sold well, even in the age of the

The works of the nineteenth-century poets sold by tens of thousands, and had a strong hold upon the general public; their successors, wrapped in exclusiveness, have Restoration.

Science, Philosophy

had no such hold Tennyson and the

at

all.

Of

and Religion would

course, they

323 reply that

rest sold their poetic birthright for a

pot

of message, but they themselves generally insist that they have

an important message

too.

So the repudiation of Milton among

many symptoms of the modern The modern mind— and by that I mean the writers who constitute "the movement," who provide the inarticulate with the correct opinions — the modern mind has repudiated other and more recent writers who affirm a positive faith in the intellectuals

is

only one of

malaise.

and exacting ideals. It has not for some time been proper to read George Meredith, the apostle of strenuous and inspired sanity, or Henry James, the fastidious guardian of civilized taste and tradition, or Joseph Conrad, the upholder positive values

of simple courage

and

fidelity

—while

the

kingdom

of fiction

has been divided between Joyce and Proust, the historians of decay.

The dethronement more than

meant something manner and matter; it has meant

of Milton, then, has

dislike of his

the repudiation of a great central tradition, and the acceptance, in the

still

timely language of Aristophanes, of the god Whirl

or Flux. Milton's religious

and

insistence

ethical order in

upon the moral will, upon a man and the world, upon active

maintenance, was a seventeenth-century and Christian version of classical humanism. We may have outgrown the particular terms and conditions in which Milton

responsibility for

its

saw the problems (though one need not be too hasty in assuming that), yet he as much as any author might seem to supply the heroic impulse and direction that we need, not least in his grand and inspiring recovery from defeatism and despair.

deeply

Mr. MacLeish, who

moved

is

hardly unsophisticated,

is

so

and humanistic phrase Irving Babbitt urged the exer-

as to use the Miltonic

"moral choice." When the late cise of an atrophied faculty, the tribe of writers, who knew their psychology, greeted him with unanimous jeers. Babbitt's name does not occur in Mr. MacLeish's article, though he surely displayed the large grasp of the

"man

of letters."

With

Science, Philosophy

324

and Religion

and angular protuberances, Babbitt did humane values and responsibilities, and he was damned by many scholars as well as writers; I may in candor include my youthful, unscholarly and unregenerate

all

his

concavities

possess a strong sense of

self.

Today we are all concerned about home, and the creation of

values at

the preservation of right a

world in which those

values shall prevail. Leaving out of account the merely cynical

we may discern among men of active good will one small group and one large one. The former includes those whose desire for unity, order and authority has led them back to the church. If that group is still small, it has at least had enough notable spokesmen to have changed the spiritual climate a good deal; because of them, it has even become fashionable to profess something more than sophomoric atheism. The second, a larger and more miscellaneous group, would include those who doubt the efficacy of visions of individual or international recovery based on purely secular and economic considerations, and yet do not quite know how to restore for themselves or others an acceptable religion which goes deeper than well-meaning humanitarianism. I have no saving formula to offer, but for scholars, especially the tribe of literary scholars which Mr. MacLeish has chiefly in mind, there is a great task and duty. If we cannot, like Milton, write tracts on hberty of which all Europe talks from side to side, and if we cannot, hke Voltaire, rally multitudes with the cry "Ecrasez I'injdmel" we can cultivate our garden. I do not mean research, though the neglect of that would in the long run be fatal, and I do not mean the writing of defenses of culture, the neglect of which would not, I think, be fatal. or indifferent, at least

do mean the educating of the next generations of citizens and writers, educating them, in Miltonic language, so "that they may not, in a dangerous fit of the commonwealth, be

I

such poor, shaken, uncertain reeds, of such a tottering conscience,

as

many

of our late counsellors have lately

themselves, but steadfast pillars of the state."

shown

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

325

Theorizing about the function of art and the place of the

may seem remote from most of us, but we good deal to do with artists in the making, even if they generally rise on the stepping-stones of our dead selves to higher things. And we did not need the war to call

artist in society

teachers have a

us to the task of education, for the need of a crusade has

been obvious for many

we

we

years. If

survey the educational

what has been going on in the artistic world, the superseding of old and central traditions by new and spurious gospels. We have in the United States certainly the most elaborate and expensive educational system in the world, and probably, in proportion to the machinery, the most ineffectual, though the same fatty degeneration has been at work in other countries too. It is scene,

find a close parallel to

ineffectual, or worse, because in recent

decades

it

has been

more and more completely controlled by the well-organized and ill-educated army of professors of education. Their sociopsychological,

logical,

and generally progressive and cheaply

have steadily undermined old standards of intellectual and ethical discipline. An eminent figure among utilitarian notions

educationists recently declared, with reverent solemnity:

"Two

thousand years ago, by the shores of Galilee, we were taught to give the people what they want." One cannot trust oneself to

comment on

this

new

beatitude.

The

results of the

new

education are partly symbolized in the classic anecdote of the

young woman who was asked

history.

in clay

"Oh

and once in sand."

sure that

A

friend

if

she could teach

yes," she replied brightly, "I've

it is, I

of

may

to

it

EngUsh

twice, once

be apocryphal, and

If that

cite a tale of

mine happened

had

I

am

not

unquestionable authenticity. pass

the

school his young

daughter attended and he observed with surprise that, although it was recess, the children were lying about in a state of complete limpness, ignoring

vided for recreation;

nomenon, the

when

later

child said, in

all

all

the varied apparatus pro-

he asked about

this

hard during school hours that when recess

odd phe-

we play so comes we just want

innocence, "Well,

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

326 But

to rest."

I

need not rehearse

illustrations of familiar facts

of experience.

Custodians of the humanities have not been

guiltless.

The

young sheep may or may not have been hungry, but they have too often been given the husks of hterary history and professional scholarship.

The

ing has been promptly

spiritual

filled w^ith

vacuum

left

by such teach-

various kinds of sociological

gas, so that the aforesaid sheep,

"swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread."

And we

humanities have looked on with So now we have to do more than carry on education, we have to reestablish it. And when, for years, the minds of administrators and students have been so far demoralized, we cannot expect that a campaign for intellectual and moral discipline can quickly stiiflen and elevate the prevailing habits of slackness and illiteracy, habits which, of course, have had their corrupting effect upon college as well as upon primary and secondary education. The last quarter of a century, then, has brought chaos into teachers

of

the

largely inactive contempt.

education as well as into the

arts, for

education, like the arts,

has, for the first time in wholesale fashion,

the aims and traditions of tionist's

about

way

arts

many

centuries.

of preserving democracy

and

letters



is

—he

been cut loose from

The modern educamuch care

does not

a general lowering

and relaxing of

educational standards, the substitution, for rich, solid, and exacting subject-matter, of the nebulous study of civics. Yet

from the

early

Middle Ages up

to fairly recent times, every

phase of English culture, every kind of English

literature, has

been more or less strongly affected by classical thought and literature and by the Bible. Throughout its long life, the classical tradition has been inspired by two great ideas, the idea of order and the idea of liberty. In Tudor England, from Sir Thomas Elyot to Hooker, Christian humanism was a bulwark of settled order. In the seventeenth century it was

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

but

still,

it

was

Thus Hobbes,

also, in

men

327

like Milton, a revolutionary force.

champion of absolutism and something like the totahtarian state, repeatedly denounced the republican ideals derived from ancient history. "I think I may truly say," Hobbes declares, "there was never anything so dearly bought as these western parts have bought the learning of the Greek and Latin tongues." In such times the classics were not an the

obsolete literary luxury.

We

accustomed nowadays to talk of the terrible commodern world and the modern soul that we come to regard our simple selves as terribly complex too. As a matter of fact, it is hard to discern in the modern world or in ourselves any essential problem which has not existed since civilization began. No act of aggression can altogether surprise those who know Thucydides' account of the appearance of Athenian ships at the little island of Melos. No analysis of are so

plexity of the

tyranny

is

a surprise to those

humble ourselves

who know

sufficiently to

read the

Plato's. If classics,

we could

with some-

thing of the spirit of Erasmus or Montaigne or Milton, then

we might

And

after

research

find ourselves absorbing

what would

still

be wisdom.

such an intellectual and spiritual bath, perhaps our

would look

less

—as

important

Tennyson,

through a telescope, said that a view of the

after

gazing

stars altered one's

feeling about the county families. I

but

am I

not going to embark upon any defense of the

classics,

should like to recall the quality of the old faith by

quoting two or three out of thousands of witnesses. The is that sturdy Tudor humanist, Roger Ascham:

first

"These books be not many, nor long, nor rude in speech, nor in matter; but next the majesty of God's holy word, most worthy for a man, the lover of learning and honesty, to spend his life in. Yea, I have heard worthy Mr. Cheke many times say: I would have a good student pass and journey through all authors both Greek and Latin. But he that will dwell in these few books only; first, in God's holy Bible, and then join with it TuUy in Latin, Plato, Aristode, Xenophon,

mean

Science, Philosophy

328 Isocrates,

excellent If

and Demosthenes man."

and Religion

in Greek,

must needs prove an

such faith seems to have only the charm of naivete,

we may

Chatham, who, in the eighteenth century, writes thus about Homer and Virgil to his nephew at Cambridge: hesitate to ascribe that quality to the great Earl of

"I

hope you

and love those authors

taste

particularly.

You

cannot read them too much: they are not only the two greatest poets, but they contain the finest lessons for your age to imbibe: lessons

of honour,

command in I

courage, disinterestedness, love of truth,

of temper, gentleness of behaviour, humanity,

one word, virtue in

should like to enrich

its

and

true signification."

this discourse,

and further blunt the

charge of naivete, by adding a passage from Santayana on the

and discipline, but I have quoted it so often pubHc that I must, reluctantly, forego it this time. Instead, as a memorable reminder of what we have gained in exchange for the old outlook, of the educational atmosphere in which we now live, I may quote a bit from a recent study of education: classical tradition

in

"In comparisons for the two sexes and for Twin-City and non-Twin-City schools, comparisons which do not distinguish Catholic, Scandinavian, and independent schools, the advantage shuttles somewhat irregularly between the two main groups. For example, men from Twin-City public schools are found to be superior to men from Twin-City private schools, while men from non-Twin-City private schools are superior to men from non-Twin-City women from Twin-City private

from Twin-City public

public

schools.

Contrariwise,

women women from non-Twinwomen from non-Twin-City

schools are superior to

schools, while

City public schools are superior to

private schools. These differences for Twin-City and non-Twin-

City students of each sex counteract each other

when

data for

Twin-City and non-Twin-City groups are merged." only say, with The New Yorker, "Then merge them." cannot and should not hope for any general return to the

One can

We

Science, Philosophy old classical curriculum, though

world when that ceases to but we do not sufficiently

and Religion

it

329

be a bad day for the few in every generation,

will

attract a

realize that in

many

parts of the

country the modern foreign languages have pretty well vanished

from the

schools, and that even English is going. English must now be the medium for the teaching of the humanities, and if we do not do something, it will soon be a deformed branch of sociology. Perhaps the first and best thing we can do is to take stock of ourselves. We certainly cannot go on our accustomed and complacent way in the literature

belief that English at least is

likely

to

and these

stress

things,

Many

matter.

or

however important,

the

history

scholar

of ideas,

are not the root of the

rather than scholars,

critics

and they

perception and the subtleties of semantics. But

critical

not think our salvation arid scholar insight,

to

is

would hardly deny

do

I

among them. The most

the prime necessity of critical it

measure of snob appeal, of second-hand dog-

matism, and of supposedly is

be found

stress

but he might urge that the current gospel has in

a considerable

What

The middle-aged

secure.

history,

of the younger generation of teachers pride them-

on being

selves

is

literary

even worse,

scientific

seems

it

at

but rather cloudy jargon.

bottom

a

new

version of

Paterian aestheticism, an aestheticism divorced from the con-

cern with moral ideas which Pater himself had. able high-brow criticism

with the manner and

is

Much

fashion-

preoccupied with technical

medium

of communication, while

detail, it

has

been more or less indifferent to the value of what is communicated; the be-all and end-all of Hterature is the heightening of O sacred word! "awareness." The eflFect of such doctrines and attitudes upon immature students can be deplorable. The traditional aim of the teaching of literature has not been





knowledge of literary and intellectual history or the mere heightening of awareness. In antiquity, in the Middle Ages, in the Renaissance and later times, it meant, for one thing, a rigorous training in rhetoric, and much fuzzy writing and thinking might be prevented if we had it still; one may either a

Science, Philosophy

330 think that

its

fulfilled by basic But the fundamental education was religious, ethical and

function

not altogether

is

may

English, however useful that

motive

of

and Religion

traditional

be.

one may utter a platitude usually reserved for Commencement Day, the aim and the justification of literature have always been, and must be, the ennobling and enrichment of the whole being. For all readers, and especially young ones, that comes about first through response to the presentation of character. Greek boys were brought up on Homer because Homer was a guide to life, a mirror of noble actors and actions. Roman boys studied Virgil and others for the same reason. The Christian humanists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance combined the classics with Christian books because the two together filled the needs of homo sapiens. From Homer to Plutarch, the ancients provided an array of great men, whose conduct could be emulated, and whose expressed civic. If

We

wisdom could be absorbed.

who

should hate to guess the pro-

moved, as Sir Philip Sidney was moved, by the heroic example of Aeneas and the rest. And we may wonder if the modern undergraduate is too sophisticated and too socially minded to understand, say, "Lord Jim" or "The Heart of Midlothian." If I have here neglected the Bible and religion, which were the heart and soul of traditional Christian humanism, it is partly because I am not qualified to preach and partly because most of us, both teachers and students, at the present time are perhaps better able to digest half a loaf than a whole one; and portion of our students

the classical tradition, to

make them worth

century

is

if it

are

cannot save souls, can at

saving.

I

least

help

do not mean that the twentieth

the sixteenth, or the

first,

or the fifth century B.C.,

or that professors should forsake the rostrum for the pulpit.

But we have commonly been so afraid that our young charges would regard us as emissaries of the Y.M.C.A. that we have stuck to the other extreme.

We

cannot afford to neglect

was more need of precision habits and expression, but we might try to be less business, for there never

hoti's

in mental like sales-

and Religion

Science, Philosophy )

men

in

an

intellectual

shop and more

of the humanities. So far as

331

like dedicated guardians

my knowledge

of cultural history

do not decline until they have ceased to be humane. We live by admiration, hope and love and laughter and not by literary history, or even the ultra-violet rays of literary criticism, still less by the economic and sociological elements in hterature. And whatever external causes goes, the humanities





*

contributed to the decay of the old humanistic discipline, the

'

main cause was the cooling of its exponents' own inward fire. That process was usually accompanied by a shift from the ethical ideal of pedagogy either to apathetic routine or to pure scholarship. And now, as always, the best agent of revival, the best propaganda for the humanities, is, as many of us have the happiness to remember, an individual teacher who is humane.

APPENDIX HoxiE N. Fairchild, Hunter College: I have read Professor Bush's paper with great interest and with almost complete approval of the first twenty pages. His

diagnosis of the disease strikes

symposium on "The

as perfectly accurate. In a

Cooper Union

last

expressed similar views more briefly and clumsily.

fall, I

The sure,

me

Irresponsibles" held at

strong emphasis on Milton troubles

he

is

me

a

little.

To be

"the last great English representative of traditional I see more disharmony between his humanism than Professor Bush recognizes.

Christian humanism," but Christianity and his

In personal temper and in theology, Milton has a good deal of that

proud sense of human

cause the tragedy of like

of

him

is

modern

self-sufficiency

intellectual life.

T.

which was

to

S. Eliot's dis-

extravagant and bigoted, but not without a

rational foundation. I

much better than his remtwenty pages lead straight to the conclusion that

like Professor Bush's diagnosis

edy. His

first

intellectual life needs a basis of supernatural religion. But on page 326 he avoids the implications of his own argument and

Science, Philosophy

332

and Religion

devotes the remainder of the paper to glorifying a classical

humanism from which as

the specifically religious element, even

The

appears in Milton, seems to have dropped out.

it

Bible

remains only as a "classic." The tradition which he praises is a lofty one, but it has not proved sufficient for the needs of

To

the

human

the

super-humanities would merely be moving back to an

spirit.

revive the humanities without reviving

earlier stage of the process

The experiment

which has

has been tried, and

led to the present chaos.

has failed.

it

It will fail

Homer and

again unless the scholar looks through

Virgil to

God. Douglas Bush: I

appreciate Professor Fairchild's partial endorsement and

comment because

venture a

I

think

we

are less far apart than

he does. His reference to Milton seems to

me

to reflect a con-

ventional misapprehension. Surely the whole burden of the old and disillusioned poet's major works

is

a repudiation

and

arraignment of "that proud sense of human self-sufficiency" and an earnest plea for faithful and humble obedience to the divine will.

Secondly, say that

I

do not understand how Professor Fairchild can

leave the Bible "only as a

I

since

'classic',''

I

repeatedly emphasized the primacy of religion in the tradition

of

Renaissance humanism.

stressed the classical side,

it

If

in

my

was partly because

last I

have

main

pages

I

did not feel

and partly because the majority of. teachers modern world are better able to digest than a whole one. If the classical tradition cannot it can at least make them worth saving.

qualified to preach

and students half a loaf

save souls,

H,

S,

in the

V, Jones, University of

Illinois:

Since responsibility has

many

references,

it

is

unlikely that

any thoughtful or active man is quite irresponsible. Will he not be responsible to some pattern of thought or ideal of action? Particularly, with the stringency and objectivity of the scientific method, with the fine candor of the fixed scientific gaze, there goes not only a responsibility but a discipline,

which, whatever their limitations, have proved more exacting, austere, than the moral, humanistic, and religious dis-

more

Science, Philosophy ciplines of our time.

active

and Religion

333

For some time now, science has been the

and curious morality, the unfolding religion of the Western World. It has done more than

larger part of the

humanism

or the church to shape the

the older moral or religious types. mystics, and our holy

army

It

modern equivalents has

its

and

ascetics

of authentic martyrs

is

of its

no-w re-

company of devoted men. Physics now^ comprehends metaphysics, and

cruited chiefly from the impressively large scientific

we appear

to have developed

scientific versions of religious

modes or tropes of consciousness. As to "the writer," since there "writers,"

is

no "writer," but only

can scarcely generalize with confidence; but

I

I

have sometimes thought that our more curious novelists and poets have known something of the wonder and even the disciplines of the scientist and the saint by trying very bravely to see things as they are, to penetrate the penetralia of

human

consciousness, and to forge an idiom suitable to their purposes.

I

cannot think of them, at their best, as responsible

only to some attractive form of irresponsibility or as loyal to

open mind because,

the in

it

but a draught.

as has

It is

been remarked, there

is

nothing

unfair to both the scientists and "the

writers" to think of the one as chiefly a counter-irritant to

the other.

And

yet

the

scientist

and "the writer" of

scientific

per-

suasion seem responsible chiefly to materials and methods and

By their methods would test whatever is intuitive and traditional, even though intuitions and traditions do not easily lend themselves to such testing. The Christian humanist, on the other hand, instrumentally to live within the present.

they

wisdom long since defined as the science of human and divine trusts his insights and enters heritage of culture. The critical opposition today, as

seeking that things both into his

see it, is not between responsibles and irresponsibles, but between a factitious order and an honest confusion. Neither the one side nor the other recognizes the authority of a

I

traditional culture or a humanistic discipline. state

is

The

implements materials and methods to very His singleness of view, his ready exclusion of

tist,

totalitarian

the scientific state and the totalitarian, like the sciendefinite ends. all

that

is

ir-

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

334

relevant to his purpose, give

To

his

"new

which man

which

order,"

is

made

him is

concentration and strength.

really

an inverted order, in

for the state, not the state for

man, the

democracies oppose not an old and accredited discipline, but confused responsibilities to God and man. Unlike the totalitarian states, they have not even an idolatry in lieu of a religion. Politically,

they lack the ardor, the passion of those

with an eye single to their cause, and their responsibilities are disarranged and inarticulate. Our confusions, which in the free-for-all twenties were delightfully riotous, a feast of fools, are now in the grey light of a new day very critical and dangerous. If our war is to be a holy war, and that should be the war, we shall have to set the integrity of humanism over against a mere mechanism and method, an inner totalitarianism, what Matthew Arnold called only

legitimate

Christian

what Jacques Maritain calls an integral, humanism, over against the naive externalism of

a study of perfection, a theocentric

the totalitarian states, a religion over against an idolatry. Our task is to arrange, to grade and order, to integrate our scattered responsibilities. This, as Arnold would say, is an "inner operation." For the projection into the state of the inner order of the spirit, we have the authority of Plato, for

and confused

the destruction of the spirit

brute force of the state

which giveth

we have

life

by the external

the authority of Hider.

escape the confusion of responsibilities which

is

To

neither Pla-

which may in effect be democratic, we must make our choice between an order which is factitious and one which is integral and real. tonic nor Hitlerian, but

Edward K. Rand, Harvard

University:

Mr. Bush implicitly advocates a return to the Classics of Greece and Rome and to moral and religious training as a part of education. That is the crux of the whole matter, and I subscribe to every word of the argument. I

believe

Warner G.

Rice, University of Michigan: Years of friendship with Stuart Sherman, Paul Elmer More, and Irving Babbitt, and years spent teaching Milton and Matthew Arnold, dispose me to agree cordially with Professor The importance of a continuing dediBush's main thesis. .

.

.

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

335

—and

the difficulty

cation to the "ethical ideal of pedagogy" of such a dedication

—can

scarcely, in

my

opinion, be over-

emphasized. Within fifty years the center of gravity in American education has moved from the humanities to the sciences, then from the sciences to the social sciences, and lately from the social sciences to social service.

Meanwhile

a depreciation

of moral values has been going on, with a kind of Gresham's

law of ethics operating

may

It

be that

checked until

effectively

ing.

At

are

now

all

drive out good.

other kinds of inflation, cannot be

has run

it

many people know what perhaps necessary,

make bad money

to

this, like

its

wrong.

is

to reflect that

we

It

course is

—even

though

discouraging, but

learn best through suffer-

events humanitarianism, naturalism, and relativism

in

the ascendant, and their dreadful consequences

seem manifest.

The

effort of criticism, scholarship

used to teach, upon: and it

making us

and inquiry, as Arnold

may well provide us with fresh ideas to work may be that inspired writers will succeed in

vitally

aware of a saving gospel. Like Professor Bush,

however, I find a larger hope in the humane teacher. His task is enormous: for because of the present state of education he must reorganize

much

of

its

pattern before he can

become

His task is to restore a sense for moral values, and to show what moral values mean in connection with contemporary issues. The historical approach to philosophy and the sociological approach to literature will not help him much here; nor will the classics and John Milton be sufficient. He must be boldly and widely learned; yet erudition is not his chief business. His chief business is to make young men and women wise, good, and sharply intelligent about the world they live in. This may seem to critics of Professor Bush a vague ideal; but if, with all its vagueness, it were widely held and its really effective.

implications followed out,

than our feet are

now

we

upon.

should be treading a safer path

CHAPTER

An

Approach By

to the

WILLIAM

Museum

MY OWN

G.

XVIII Study of History

CONSTABLE

of Fine Arts, Boston

CONCERN with history during the

last

twenty years

more has mainly been in connection with the arts, particularly the art of painting; and in the course of my work, or

one of the things that has increasingly impressed (and deis the little thought and attention that has been given to the relation between various forms of men's activity. pressed) me,

That there are other kinds of history than political history has become more and more recognized, it is true. Not only do

we have

histories

of

law,

economics,

philosophy,

religion,

literature, the drama, the plastic arts, and so on, in increasing

numbers, each cultivating more and more intensively fields which become more and more narrow, but also every historian throws side glances at activities outside those which form his

main theme. Occasionally, even, every kind of

from one

human

effort

a single eye tries to record

during an epoch, leaping frantically

which have no running through the same period of time.

to another of a series of sequences,

clear connection save

Yet, as compared with history as written in the nineteenth

am

century,

I

Log

King

for

torian to see ticular

inclined to think that Stork. all

interest.

The tendency

for each specialist his-

other forms of activity in terms of his par-

we are suffering from economic, and other forms of interpretation of represent all other forms of activity as

Therefore,

religious, political, legal

history,

we have exchanged King is

which tend

to

336

and Religion

Science, Philosophy inspired and

molded by

the one with

337

which the historian

is

primarily concerned. Characteristic of such an approach was

by an eminent French scholar in

a lecture recently delivered

connection with an exhibition of art in France under the Third Republic. Taking political events in sequence, he sought to

connect with each of them, as artistic

consequences, literary

happenings, and surprised at the

a close correspondence,

difficulty of

and

finding

found himself manufacturing a

series

of ingenious but unconvincing similarities in order to maintain his thesis of the influence of politics

upon

the arts.

It is,

however, wholly good that recognition should be growing so that even the specialist historian must take cognizance of other than his own. Ideally, this cognizance could be extended to produce equal degrees of competence in the study of every type of history. Practically, the mass of material fields

for study

Few

is

so vast, that

of us are

Rome, wrote what

of

no one student can hope

Mommsens, who still

is

as a

a

to master

it.

parergon to his history

standard work on

Roman

coinage. Moreover, temperamental conditions limit the range of subjects which any one man can effectively study. But if

genuine progress history,

how

of

I

suggest

is

made

to be

that a vital

various kinds of

need

human

in the writing is

much more

and study of

intensive study

activity are connected. If a

conception of such relations can at least be

adumbrated, so

that it forms the background to even the most highly specialized piece of investigation, the whole view of a period will be far

better balanced, while

in the general

the place of the particular study

scheme of things can be more accurately appre-

ciated.

Study and formulation of such relations

is

not,

I

think, be-

yond the scope of ordinary human form a special branch of historical studies, a field for those who have the synoptic view, and the capacity for using and bringing into relation the results of researches of more limited scope. Such an approach to history would not displace or discredit present methods or specialized approach, but would

capacity. It can, in itself,

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

338

supplement and enrich them, and make interpretation of their more fruitful. Tentatively, this kind of specialization in generalization (if it may be so called), is already being attempted. It calls, however, for the cooperation and collaboration of specialists of other types, and this implies some form of elastic organization in which this cooperation can center. results

Fortunately, such organizations are in existence, although not as

yet very active, in the

shape of advanced seminars and

research institutes of the type of

Dumbarton Oaks. Through

them, the pooHng of specialized work in narrow areas can be

brought together and utilized in working on the problem of relations

As

between different

illustrations

of

fields of historical

study.

my thesis, I may outHne one or two my own field of art history. Certainly,

typical problems in one of the most important events in the history of mankind is the rise of Christianity. Yet to establish any clear and direct connection between the arts, and religious, philosophical or political events, is very difficult. In the western world, early Christian art mainly took over the forms of late Roman art, both in sculpture and painting, and even adapted late classic iconography to Christian uses. Because the artists lacked the technical skill of their pagan predecessors, or contemporaries,

early Christian art in the

expression of a

new

West

is

decadent, rather than the

energy. In the East, also, late classic forms

were utilized by Christian artists, but here other forces were at work, which after a phase of vivid naturalism inspired by late classic art, were ultimately to produce the grandly abstract art we call Byzantine, with its main centers in the Near East. Several points may be noted here. A superficial one, which hardly needs mention,

is

that activity in the arts

demands a

reasonable stabiHty in society and a certain level of economic prosperity.

Thus

the transfer of the Imperial throne to

stantinople naturally helped to

make

the

Near East

Con-

a center

of artistic production, while in the West, political confusion

and economic disaster forbade estabhshment of the necessary basis, and favored an art which mainly imitated and degraded

Science, Philosophy

A

earlier forms.

much more important

art of the Early Christian era

hieratic

form of

parallel

with

and Religion

339 is

why

the

should have taken the abstract,

greatest period.

its

religious,

question

and

social

One

notable fact

is

a

developments, in

political

which increasingly elaborate organization was the rule, with growing rigidity, and greater centralization of authority. But the parallel remains only a parallel, and not an explanation. Any attempt to connect the form taken by the arts with

The

specified religious, pohtical, etc., events, ends in failure.

regime even is not an exception, as might be thought, but an external event which certainly limited the

iconoclastic

artist's

means

he had to Byzantine activity, I

of

mind

of expression, but did not materially affect

we

say. If

and

art,

to explain the parallel

suggest that

what

are to find causes for the character of

we have

with other kinds of

to predicate a general

tendency

in the Byzantine world, a general inclination towards,

and readiness manifested

to accept formulas,

itself

in

many

dogma, and

different fields,

authority,

which

among them

the

arts.

Take

a second great event in

the activity of the

Here

again,

sophic,

and

of Byzantine

if

we

human

human history, that change in known as the Renaissance.

spirit

try to correlate political,

artistic events, there is art,

economic, philo-

As

confusion.

in the case

and economic conditions were provided by the development

the necessary social

for the arts to be practised,

of the Renaissance despots. This, however,

and drink are necessary

is

the equivalent

man, though no explanation is given thereby of the cause of his greatness. So the amazing activity in the arts which marked fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy, is not to be put in terms of inspiration from the Medici, the Sforza, the Gonzaga, and their like. Years ago, the fashion was to speak of it as due to a rediscovery of classic art and literature, brought about by the emigration of scholars from Constantinople, after the conquest of saying that food

of that city by

the Turks.

Modern

to a great

investigation has

made

such a view completely untenable. Renaissance art was in

full

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

340

fell, while its spirit had been manihundred years earlier, in such an artist as Giotto; while classic art and literature had not been forgotten or ignored during the Middle Ages. What becomes increasingly

flower before Constantinople

more than

fest

a

evident, as the material

is

studied,

is

that in the fourteenth

and fifteenth centuries, a new orientation of men's minds was becoming estabUshed, in which faith and authority played a smaller part than reason and scientific investigation; a change which tended increasingly to make, in men's minds, individual

man

From

the central figure of the Universe.

sprang

all

the

diverse

phenomena which

The place of classic art and serve, not so much as an inspiration, but as measuring-rod of achievement. Looked at Renaissance.

similarities

economic, religious,

in

this

change,

characterize

the

was to touchstone and

literature

a

in

political,

this

and

way, the

artistic

ac-

tivities

become

one

cause or another as effect. That these activities in-

as

any attempt to consider

explicable, without

is true; but such interaction was secondary and subsidiary to the major change that inspired them all. This view helps to explain another element in the situation; that the Renaissance outlook or spirit makes its appearance

fluenced each other,

earher in the arts than in other nature,

is

more

fields.

The

artist,

by his very

susceptible to changes in fundamental

than other people; so that in his to be manifested early.

me had

work

tempo

these changes are apt

As an eminent banker once remarked,

we

should study art exhibitions barometer of deep seated ecomore closely; they are the best

"If

people like

sense

nomic changes." This anticipation in the works of other fields In

its

is

artists

of happenings in

well seen in the case of the French Revolution.

earlier stages, the

Revolution was largely inspired by the

idea of the "Return to Nature," as

expounded

in certain of

mean

return to the

Rousseau's writings; and Nature came to

aims and methods of

classic

Rome. But

years

before

appeared on the scene, with their

the

David conscious naturalism and

regular neo-classic painters of the type of Jacques-Louis

Science, Philosophy conscious appeal to

Roman

art as

and Religion an

ideal,

341

naturalism and the

use of classic motives was modifying the full fledged rococo of the time of Louis

XV

under Napoleon. Here again, inspired the

art, is a

XVI, with its which flourished

into the style of Louis

anticipation of the full fledged

"Empire" to

style

argue that the Revolution

misconception.

The

leaven of ideas that

were to create the Revolution on its political and economic side, was already strongly at work about the middle of the century; and found early expression in the arts. Subsequent political and social events further modified artists' methods; but the fundamental change had begun before they operated. One more example may be briefly cited, drawn from our own times. Surprise has often been expressed that the war of 1914— 1918 had so little apparent effect upon the arts. In fact, the instabihty of social and political life, the confusion and compromise in religious, philosophic and economic thought, and the loss of standards of judgment, which have marked the world since 1914, are due to causes which found expression in the arts as early as 1905, with the work of the Fatives, the Futurists, the Cubists, and other less important groups. The World War in the arts was in being years before the armed forces were engaged. From these illustrations, it will be seen that my main concern is a plea for more profound and systematic investigation of the major movements in human ideas and conceptions, primarily those which are metaphysical in character, to be attained through collated and coordinated study of their expression in various fields. Only so, I suggest, can be arrived at an understanding of the historical cause and effect, and clear our minds of the idea that one set of human motives, political, economic or what not, rules the world.

APPENDIX Emanuel Winternitz, Metropolitan Museum, New Mr. Constable's excellent paper points

at

Yort{:

an open

wound

of

Science, Philosophy

342

and Religion

up of learning into numerous parts more and more connection with each other. The

science today, the breaking

which

lose

specialists to

different tongues

talk

and when they congregate

put together the pieces of the dispersed

does not reach unto heaven.

He who

reality, the

histors like Jakob Burckhardt in, let us say, the brary,

must wander from the department

tower

looks today for poly-

Widener

Li-

of history of Greece to

those of history of Italy, of architecture, of religion, and those of esthetics

and philosophy of

history, to

enumerate only a

few. Interest in physiognomy leads likewise to as

many

de-

partments as history of science, philosophy, anatomy, psychology, and the fine arts, to say the very least. In the libraries of the great humanists the arrangement

was according

to persons

rather than to the special lines of learning.

This specialization in subjects of learning, however, is only one side of a feature of our whole civilization and touches increasingly nearly

all

fields

creation, regarded as the

of

human

domain

Even artistic most individual ex-

activity.

of the

pression of the full personality, seems subjected to overspecialization.

One who

no easy going

has gained a

name

as watercolorist, will find

for his first oil paintings,

much

less for sculp-

might be caused by commercial reasons, but these again, founded upon habits of the buyer, are merely symptoms of the underlying tendency towards specialization. This specialization, however, caused by the multiplicity and the refinement of modern working techniques, is inevitable tures. This, of course,

and, within reasonable limits, useful. This

is

true for history

Mr. Constable is absolutely right; no life of a scholar, though it should come to seventy years, would be long and abundant enough to handle with equal skill various techniques

also.

research such as iconographic, archaeological, linguistic methods, or to specialize with the same intensity in the history of religion, music, and architecture, even if only one restricted period is concerned. Cases like that of Albert Schweitzer remain consoling but rare exceptions. of

Division of labor in fact-finding science and particularly history,

however

seldom Mr. Constable enumerates some of would distinguish two types of such lapses:

inevitable, implies pitfalls. It leads not

to methodological lapses.

them admirably.

I

Science, Philosophy a)

The

and Religion

isolation of the special field,

spective of the whole.

As Father

with the

Paissy, in

343 loss of per-

Book VI,

c. I of "the Karamazovs," remarks to Aljosha about the learned of

who

have become a great power, especially in the "But they have only analysed the parts and overlooked the whole, and indeed their blindness is marvellous." this

world

last century:

b) Even bigger fallacies threaten the specialist who, feeling

uncomfortable within the narrow boundaries of his field, strives to link it with the whole of which it is a part. Here he is easily

tempted

methods, developed by the particular necesbeyond their scope. It is what Kant called the extravagant use of method. As far as history is concerned, Mr. Constable enumerates its economic, religious, political, etc., interpretations. But there is also the extravagant use of methods as the psychoanalytical and the pragmatic to apply

sities of his field, to topics

human conduct, which envisage the world run by one single mainspring, the libido, or the sense of practical interest, and what not. It is the schools of thought rather than their originators, which fall prey to these interpretation of

of

men

as

perils. In all these cases, as also in the materialistic interpreta-

tion of history, one valuable observation field

with special methods,

is

made

in a

special

inflated to a universal explana-

it

human action. We may call Max Weber's term "departmental patriotism." One of the most striking cases of "departmental patriotism"

is

found in modern psychology, namely,

tion of the course of history or of

by

in the

rat-experiments for the exploration of the

employment of

human mind,

as

though the mental life of man would not set problems of its own. One wonders whether man is not the forgotten man of psychology. This state of psychology seems the more remarkable, as the turning-point

is

already visible.

Gordon W. Allport

American Psychological Association, in 1939, on "The Psychologists' Frame of Reference", sounds the alarm and calls for a more synoptic method. Surveying the in his address before the

changing interests of the psychologists for the last 50 years and combing the psychological journals for this period, he finds, since 1888, a decline of studies on "Understanding the Single Case" (in its individual complexity) from 16% to 6%; on the other hand, an increase of the use of animal subjects

Science, Philosophy

344

and Religion

from 3.5% to 15%, and of the employment of statistical aids from 2.5% to 43%. AUport invites reconsideration as to whether "the problems framed with the rats are of the same order as the problems envisaged for human kind". And looking back at the 19th century psychologists with their synoptic view of men's mental life, he warns his fellow psychologists that "preoccupied with minutiae, we are losing perspective". This paper

is

a notable piece out of the history of science, significant

beyond the realm of psychology.

far

A

particular case

specialization

of

history into various branches each of line

of

human

activity.

Constable's paper. lines.?

How

Of what kind

is

the

splitting

which deals with

Here we come

to

up of

a single

the heart of Mr.

between these between the various And how ought we to arrange our

to study the relation

are the "relations"

branches of one civilization? respective statements to

make them

reliable.?

Struggling for

problem of the interactions between the history of music and the fine arts, I am not too optimistic. There are certain periods where we believe we discern vaguely a common pattern in all the manifestations of artistic creation. But there are other times when music follows its own course, its own self-established traditions, remarkably unperturbed by "outside" events, and no common denominator with the other years with the

arts It

is

apparent, unless

may be

we

turn to the Zeitgeist.

permissible to distinguish three levels on which

those activities in fact are linked together by the historians:

a) Only the facts belonging to the same section of history, as

f.i.,

the history of the fine arts, are linked together. This

leads to the lapse criticized and complained of with full right

by Mr. Constable: The "outside"

facts,

let

us say religious

But the evolution from Michelangelo to Borromini remains incomprehensible without reference to the Counter Reformation. b) Suppose the specialist historian takes "outside" events, like the Counter Reformation, as factors in the picture: But where are the limits, since, indeed, writing history is essentially events, are ignored.

systematic

selection?

What

other

facts

gression from Michelangelo to Borromini? ologically,

is

influenced

And

the nature of this "influence"?

the

pro-

what, method-

What kind

of

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

345

we

hear so often,

scientific correlation is involved in statements

such

"Without Luther, Bach would not have been what he

as,

was?" c) There

is,

finally, the outlet

which Mr. Constable suggests

in his three illustrations. It is the recurrence to the spirit of the

period as

common denominator

of

its

"manifestations",

f.i.,

mind". This is acceptable, within certain limitations: We must remember that the "Byzantine mind" is merely the simplified condensation of the real thoughts and feelings, habits and inclinations of the men of this epoch, and "Byzantine

the

we must

not proclaim this "mind" as a universal cause of

its

"manifestations". These manifestations are not the outcome of the of

mind, but they are the mind,

or, at least,

what we know

it.

The tie between historic events is not the same strict line which was drawn by the classic mechanics between cause and effect. It is rather a line

leading through the brains of

men

and, what makes the matter even more complex, not only

through the brains of definite men, personalities, but of

mass. (The latter

men is

known

to us as historic

anonymous phenomena as

perceptible to us only as an

particularly true of such

which Mr. Constable chiefly refers These brains are tinged and busy, to various degrees, with all concerns of their contemporary civilization, with the religious, artistic, economic, and political events and tendencies in their interlacement, a texture to be split up later into the distinct fields of the specialist historians. Thus, the concept of the "mind of the epoch" constitutes a heuristic hypothesis, a compass for the use of historic investigation, its truth in any given instance, dependent on the facts to be found. To construct, however, such a "mind" as real cause for its "manifestations," would lead into the limitless field of speculations ad libitum, where everything might be proven, because nothing can be proven. What is the "Spirit of France", a generally accepted and frequently used term, as seen from Vichy or in the light of Vichy? What is explained by interpolating between Michelangelo and Borromini "the Baroque mind"? This is the theme of philosophical speculations, though I would not deny that they, f.i., the various the art-style of an epoch to in

his

illustrations.)

and Religion

Science, Philosophy

346

on the coagency between ideal and real factors in might serve as valuable heuristic hypotheses for the

theories history,

historian.

They appear like comets. Our superabundance and diflEerentiation of techniques of fact-finding, grouping, and speculating does not favor the synoptic genius. It is a time devoted rather to the pigeonhole than to the whole of experience. Universal sages like Alberti or Leibnitz who embraced the whole orbit of contemporary learning, not in philosophic meditation only, but as expert craftsmen in the physical and moral disciplines, seem nearly unimaginable today. The same is true of Carl Gustav Carus, not further back than the middle of the 19th century. But as we look at the flow of Western thought since early Greek philosophy, miraculously constant and continuous, in spite of sporadic interruptions, there seems to exist something like a breathingPolyhistors cannot be bred.

time with

rhythm

its

in the course of

human

thinking: periods of material-

collecting are succeeded by periods of digestion

So, in history, after

attempts

of

new accumulations

synoptic

interpretation

and synopsis.

of facts, there appear

of

civilization,

such as

Greek Civilization", "The Time of Constantine the Great", and "The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy", or Max Dworzak's "Kunst als GeistesJakob

Burckhardt's

"History

of



geschichte".

ments

And

in science generally, after decisive develop-

in the special sciences

men

turn up

encyclopaedic gift like James and

endowed with the The refreshing

Bergson.

repercussion of these synoptics on the insulated branches and their ossified terminologies

that

what

is

the realm of things.

talking a

is

enormous. They show once again is not so in

separated in the realm of the books,

new

Looking

at things

from new angles and

language, they thaw the frozen terminologies

and breach the departmental

walls.

They

are the counterpoise

against the tendencies to overspecialization.

The same also

is

true of the study of history, in particular.

Here

the special branches and the synoptic view cannot get

on without each other in the long run. They are dependent on each other. Their relation is of the same kind, it seems to me, as that between counterpoint and harmony. One can focus either on the single melodic lines, their whence and whither,

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

347

and fall, their strength and rhythm; or one may conon the cross-section, that is, the chord in which they meet. Only both views together do justice to the net-work as it is. In this sense, Mr. Constable's excellent suggestions invite acceptance and furtherance. their rise

centrate

Conversations of learned history, while history

is

men

about the right way of writing

shaking the very foundations of learn-

seem somewhat anachronistic, unless they discuss this Mr. Constable's problem, specialized vs. synoptic study of man's activities in history, can and, I feel, must be approached in its bearing upon the democratic way of life. ing,

peril also.

This bearing

is

to

be found in the educational aspect of special-

ization in science generally and in history particularly. It has been said before that the division of labor which permeates our whole cultural life involves a peril to democratic education. But as far as I can see, there have been fewer suggestions made than this good cause would deserve. In our

system of education specialization is represented by professional training, the synoptic view by humanistic education. The first predominates, very

much

at the expense of humanistic learn-

ing and teaching. But only the latter

is

fitted to

from generation

to generation the values

in the course of

Western

potential

me

members

hand down

shaped and stored

Civilization, to rear individuals as

of a democratic

community. This seems to

the heart and the crux of the educational problem of our

time. Facing the danger of internal disintegration through the

human race by the very achievements of through the growth of the mob, people outside tradition, greedy for amusement and open to mass-hypnosis; through the decline of traditional values; and, finally, through the overspecialization of knowledge and craftsmanship, we ought to ask anew the question which has worried intellectual leaders since Plato: How can character be taught? From my restricted point of view, absorbed with the study of overrefinement of the

civilization itself;

the arts and their social implications,

I

venture to suggest two

instruments of character-building, both of which seem handy

and

suitable to counteract the perils of overspecialization:

One

is

art education. It

lectual trends,

and serve

may

as a

reintegrate the

doorway

numerous

intel-

to a history of civilization;

Science, Philosophy

348 it

may

and Religion

explain the wealth of artistic forms as expressions of past

culture and so further the aims of humanistic education;

it

may

develop insight into the meaning of form as an equilibrium of all

the parts, and into the act of artistic creation as the liberty of

making

rules

which then the creator himself has got

to obey;

it

doing this promote respect for and understanding of other minds. It is, last but not least, a pleasant way of learning, and the American Fine Arts museum a ready and, as the past few years have splendidly shown, a most attractive instrument. In Shelley's words: "The imagination is the great instrument of

may,

in

moral good."

The

other means of "teaching" character

those historic figures

who embodied

learning or creating. Its advantage

manities

man

is

no quick and simple

is

is

to

make

familiar

the synoptic genius in

obvious: teaching the hu-

job; but the

image of

a great

appeals easily to the ordinary imagination, just as morals

are taught better by examples than by moral philosophy. are,

no doubt, many great

figures

who

There

find grace before the de-

bunkers as well as the worshippers. There is, f.i., the man who gave the University of Virginia its spirit and its body, basing both on the classic concept of measure and balance. No myth can better serve the ends of pedagogy than the vision of Jeffer-

dome of Monticello, observing through workmen who were embodying his plans for

son standing on the

his

telescope the

the

home

of democratic education.

These seem field of

way

to

.

of the possible

of studying history, and to fructify

acter-building. ".

me some

.

ways

to realize, in the

education, Mr. Constable's postulate for a

As Milton

it

more synoptic

for the sake of char-

says in his "Letter

on Education":

then will be required a special reinforcement of constant

and sound endoctrinating to set them right and firm, instructing them more amply in the knowledge of virtue and the hatred Being perfect in the knowledge of personal duty, of vice. .

.

.

may then begin To sum up:

they

(1)1 agree

fully

the study of economics."

with Mr. Constable's excellent critique of the and his pos-

perils of overspecialization in the study of history,

tulate for a

more synoptic treatment.

(2) His suggestions for the establishment of clearing houses

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

349

or any other form of organized cooperation between specialist historians for the exchange of their views

and findings, should

receive wholehearted support. Methodical investigation of the intellectual

and moral organization of men in the various epochs is important and still not sufficiently cultivated.

of civilizations

(3) More attention should be given to the bearing of overspecialization in science on the educational problem of today.

CHAPTER XIX Literature

and the Present

By JOSEPH

Crisis

WOOD KRUTCH

Columbia University

IT

IS

OBVIOUS that literature, like the other arts, has

tion to fact, to philosophy, to moraUty,

It is

and

some

rela-

to social welfare.

almost equally obvious that most attempts to define that

relation

end

in

to his detriment

some absurdity which the artist either accepts or, like the romantics and the aesthetes, scorn-

fully rejects.

The problem,

or perhaps

I

should say the dilemma,

same whether one undertakes

the

to

is

much

examine the relation of

literature to fact or its relation to philosophy or social welfare.

two extreme positions are represented by on the one hand and by the proponent of "pure imagination" on the other. But scientific naturalism produces a mongrel cross between fiction and sociological treatise which has the virtues of neither the one nor the other. On the other hand the artist who denies all responsibility to In the

case the

first

the "scientific naturalist"

fact

be

ends by producing nothing except rococo fantasy. Or, to Zola nor James Branch Cabell succeeded in

specific, neither

writing novels of

first

importance.

one considers the relation of the artist to abstract morality one finds, similarly, that though it is easy to state the two extreme positions, it is difficult if not impossible to state an If

alternative others.

one which will avoid the obvious

The

neo-classicists of the English

accepted the doctrine of poetic justice 350

fallacies of the

eighteenth century

(i.e.,

the theory that

Science, Philosophy

and Religion

351

must be perfectly moral in the sense that it must illustrate the working of the moral law as the moral law was understood) and the result was that they produced works of literature

The aesthetes, revolting against such proclaim the absolute independence of art from morality with the result that their works are sickly monwooden

unreadability.

absurdity,

strosities.

To facts

conclude from

merely that literature must regard

this

but not be a slave to

literalness, or that literature

must

be moral without being pedantically so, is not to conclude anything very helpful. It is too much Uke saying, "Be bold, be evermore bold, but be not too bold."

The

classical

world was of course aware of the problem.

Plato (at least in the "Republic") assumes that art

is

merely

means by which the teaching of the philosopher and the moralist may be propagated, but art then admittedly becomes a subordinate activity regarded with suspicion and expected a

to disappear as society reaches perfection.

This aspect of Plato's

thinking may, however, well be contrasted with the conception

found in

(also

madman—a

his

writings)

of

the

poet as inspired

conception which embodies a recognition of the

fact that the artist, instead of being his betters, pursues

merely a spokesman for

ends and employs means which are not

identical with those of the teacher or the preacher and, indeed,

are not to be understood by them.

thinking, Aristotle recognizes the

explain

how

it

may be

Somewhat in Hne with such autonomy of art and tries to

morally and socially useful without

appearing to aim directly at such utiHty.

tempts to explain of tragedy, that

purge

how

its

evil passions

Modern

this

may be by

And

Aristotle at-

suggesting, in the case

function is not to preach morality but to by giving them a ritual expression.

psychological theories of the function of art are

and the Freudian purge sometimes thought of as identical with the Aristotelian catharsis. But psychological theories of art, which tend to represent art as essentially fantasy and dream, are resisted plainly related to Aristotle's theory,

is

Science, Philosophy

352 by those

and

who

has

insist that it

happens that

and Religion

some

closer relation to reality;

minor controversy rages at the present moment over the question whether or not poetry is to be regarded as "cognitive," that is to say, as a form of knowledge rather than as a form of dream, concerned with things as they really are rather than merely with things as an individual consciousness would like them to be. The choice of a metaphysical term to describe the essential characteristic of poetry is in line with a contemporary fashion which has made metaphysics again p