Bernard Bosanquet.

The value and destiny of the individual; the Gifford lectures for 1912 delivered in Edinburgh university online

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Online LibraryBernard BosanquetThe value and destiny of the individual; the Gifford lectures for 1912 delivered in Edinburgh university → online text (page 1 of 27)
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3 1822 01391 0252






LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA

SAN DIEGO



UNIV 3 1822 01391 0252

UK JULLA, UALI^UKNiA



S.^^'"






INDIVIDUALITY AND DESTINY

THE GIFFORD LECTURES FOR 1911-12
SECOND SERIES



^^



MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK • BOSTON • CHICAGO
DALLAS • SAN FRANCISCO

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd.

TORONTO



THE VALUE AND DESTINY



OF



THE INDIVIDUAL



THE GIFFORD LECTURES FOR 1912
DELIVERED IN EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY



BY

B. BOSANQUET

'll.d., d.c.l.

FELLOW OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY



MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON

I 9 1.3



COPYRIGHT



PREFACE

The present course of lectures is a continuation and
application of the argument contained in the pre-
vious course, which was published under the title
" The Principle of Individuality and Value." I hope
that this second series will be found somewhat less
abundant in controversial detail than the former,
though it, too, inevitably contains many paragraphs
and references which time did not permit to be
included in the lectures as delivered.

I may observe that the Index has been restricted
as far as possible to proper names and special
allusions. I do not think that the reader is assisted
when subject-headings, set out in methodical order
in a very full Table of Contents, are repeated in an
Alphabetical Index which is thus made incon-
veniently voluminous.

I have, as before, inserted the Abstracts which
were furnished to the press immediately after the
Table of Contents.

BERNARD BOSANOUET.

Edinburgh, November 191 2.



CONTENTS



LECTURE I



INTRODUCTORY THE FINITE, ITS SELF-
TRANSCENDENCE AND STABILITY



PAGE
I



1. Two questions about the finite from the previous Lectures

i. To regard finite mind as tiie focus of externality

is not dualism • • . . r

ii. '■'■ Eve7y theory of volition must give victory to

Determinism " not true. Example of Science . 5

2. The double being of the finite .... 9

i. Best understood by approaching it from the side

of the continuum ; analogies for this . . 10

ii. The double implication of the term " appearance."
The finite, or world of appearance, is just what
does exist . . . . .12

3. The three main characteristics of finite mind ; division of

the lectures accordingly . . . .15

i. Finite Mind is shaped by the universe, but in
being shaped, shapes itself Natural and
Social Selection and the Miracle of Will . 16

ii. The life of Finite Mind is essentially an adventure,
being torn between existence and self-transcend-
ence. Shattering of the world of claims ; con-
flicts of pleasure and pain, good and evil . 16
iii. Throughout and by means of its shaping and its
adventure there is revealed the stability and
security of the self The religious conscious-
ness ; the question of continuance after death ;
the earthly future. In and through these, the
worth of the finite self . . .17
4. The open secret of stability and security is in the self-
recognition which these characteristics in\o!ve. Is it
only experienced by means of reflective theory 'i . 20
vii



CONTENTS



i. There is kinship between religion and philosophy.
Example from Spinoza's third kind of cognition.
Its unquestionable coincidence in content with
the self-recognition which we have observed as
emerging through finite life
ii. But the religious consciousness is coextensive in
substance with finite self- consciousness, and
possibly wider. It is merely the structure of
the finite when inspired with a high intensity in
its functioning, i.e. when in its inevitable self-
transcendence the finite displays high devoutness
to its good .....
Conclusion ; a passage of Spinoza cited to emphasise the
universality and self-dependent strength of the true
religious experience as contrasted with opinions which
are founded on a misconceived tradition



25



LECTURE II

THE VALUE OF PERSONAL FEELING, AND
THE GROUNDS OF THE DISTINCTNESS OF PERSONS

1. Feeling as an argument for the exclusiveness of Personality 32

i. The distinctness of immediate experiences . n

ii. The " bodily " nature of the ccen^sthesia . 34

iii. The alleged non-distinctness of pleasure not true

of the developed self . . . -35

iv. Sentimentalism of the inner life . . -36

2. The fallacies involved in the above contention . . 36

i. The confusion of form and content in the inter-
pretation of feeling . . . ■ Zl
ii. The confusion of impersonal feeling, as non-social,

with exclusive or negative feeling , . 38

3. Case of personal feeling at its worst and best . . 40

i. " Personal Feeling " in the bad sense, as negative 40

ii. As transformed by a universal content ; objective

emotion ; tragic fear . . . .41

iii. " Active " emotion covers the whole possibilities

of " passive " emotion (Spinoza) . . 44

4. The distinctness of persons . . . .46

i. The formal distinctness is only a difference of

quality of content . . . .47



CONTENTS



ii. Type of the material distinctness — individualisa-

tion in a social whole . . . .48

a. Supposing distinct content for each self,

still a thorough identity in difference . 49

/3. But this supposition untrue ; variable
range and arbitrary coincidence of self-
contents ; do not corroborate formal
distinctness . . . .50

y. The finite selves comprehend the continu-
ous content of their worlds in various
degrees, apparently according to their
power. . . . -53

5. The service rendered by the existing
arrangement of experience in spheres
with distinct centres, overlapping at
random ; and the signs that it is pre-
carious and superficial . . . 54



A. THE MOULDING OF SOULS
LECTURE III

NATURAL AND SOCIAL SELECTION

1. " The Vale of Soul-making " . . . .63

2. Pre-existence and future existence not necessary to the

value of souls . . . . .66

3. Sketch of remaining Lectures . . . .69

4. A simple phase of soul-making, the genesis of life. Its

line of evolution a summary of its world, i.e. decided
by Natural Selection, not an inherent and independent
direction ..... 7j

5. Objection, " Evolution thus regarded gives no guarantee

of progress or excellence." Answer, "Thus regarded
and thus only, progress and excellence guarantee
nature of whole " • .... 74

6. Concentration of susceptibilities. Life passing into soul . 75
7- Formation of intelligent centre, elicited from and by

environment, in a way parallel to emergence of living
centres. Superfluousness of pan-psychism. Instance
from organisation of knowledge , . -77



CONTENTS



8. Formation of mind, how analogous to that of knowledge . 8 1

i. Two preliminary points : — . . .82

a. What Mind inherits from Life . . 82

^. The second and third " nature " contained

in the environment of Mind . . 83

ii. Natural Selection the method by which intelligent
centres, like living ones, are formed. Points of
difference from its action on mere life. In-
herent severity of the process . . .87

iii. The Individuality of mind tends to burst the

envelopes of particular centres . .89

9. How soul -making in society passes into ultra-individual

(also ultra-social) experience. Its severe demand upon
particular centres . . . . .90

A. THE TvlOULDING OF 'SyO'lJ'L'^—Confumcd
LECTURE IV

THE MIRACLE OF WILL

1 . The creative and plastic power of Volition. What is its

special secret ? . . . .94

2. Seriousness of this difficulty illustrated by : — . . 98

i. Vacancy of intellectualist and abstract accounts of

Will ...... 99

ii. Problem of giving genuine effect to doctrine of

Free Causality in Thought and Will . .100

3. Solution of the difficulty in general terms. In principle,

there is for every situation a larger and more effective
point of view than the given ; and, in principle, an in-
telligent will always has access to this. The secret lies
in what works in the mind and on the facts before it,
forming the clue to new selections of fact and possi-
bility. The theory is drawn from, e.g., the true inter-
pretation of Hegel's dialectic, and the right view of In-
duction and of Constructive Morality, and it vindicates
the power of thinking will, which is often meant when
freedom is spoken of . . . . .102

4. Examples to confirm above doctrine, arranged so as to

answer questions : — . . . .109

a. What is the source of the concrete content of



CONTENTS



will ? — Examples : transformation of animal
sounds into language ; of animal "togetherness"
into society ; general relations of natural facts
to institutions. Contrast of the content and
system of will with abstract formulae, psycho-
logical or metaphysical . . .109
/i. What are the nature and limits of the power of
character (habitual will) over circumstance ?
The word circumstance indicates a double point
of view which is in itself an example of the
above doctrine. A "circumstance" is currently
taken as a hard fragment, but is really relative
to a living world and centre . . .113
(i) Instances of complete transformation of
circumstance by will, Rochdale Pioneers
and others . . . .116
(2) Relation of character to so-called physical
impossibility. Wide relativity of physi-
cal impossibility ; importance of time-
transcendence as a condition in the
larger point of view. Over against
ultimate case of absolute physical im-
possibility may be set ultimate solution
by resignation or sacrifice, which may
preserve superiority of will even in
ultimate cases. Distinction between
sb'ength and power of will . . 117

5. Will and cognition, how respectively dependent on thinking 1 2 1

a. Relation of the contrast between them to the

opinion of to-day . . .123

/3. Relation of our theory to demand for ethical fact 127

6. Is Power of Will part of subject "Moulding of Souls"?

Yes ; Will not to be ultimately opposed either to environ-
ment which selects, or to life of Absolute. It is the
relatively complete phase of the former, a microcosm
as a world reshaping itself, and a member of the latter,
helping to constitute its self-maintenance. Pass on to
hazards and hardships involved in finite Individuality,
and their connection with value and destiny of finite
beinsfs . . . . . .128



CONTENTS



B. HAZARDS AND HARDSHIPS OF FINITE
SELFHOOD

LECTURE V

THE WORLD OF CLAIMS AND COUNTER-CLAIMS

PAGE

1. The world of finite beings in relations . . .131

2. Theism involves such a conception. Vatke's criticism on

" Creator of Creators " . . . .134

3. Morality (as duty for duty's sake) the central expression

of the contradiction of such a world . . .138

4. Individualism of idea of Justice as apportionment of

external goods according to a standard. Its incompati-
bility with an organic point of view . . .143

5. Nature of pessimistic sense of injustice in world of claims ;

"justice" defies the reality of spiritual membership

and is shattered by it . . . .149

6. Why not have a standard of justice according to spiritual

membership ? The sort of standard we should get, and

its self-contradiction . . . . -153

7. To make the finite mind, through its claims, the judge of

its own need for discipline and hardship, is to make

the universe a farce . . . . .156



B. HAZARDS AND HARDSHIPS OF FINITE
^Y.Y.YYiOOY^— Continued

LECTURE VI

PLEASURE AND PAIN

, Failure of the world of claims. What our account of our
troubles aspires to effect — maximise rather than
minimise . . . . . .160

, Pleasure and pain : their common root in the double

nature of finite beings . . . .162

, Common character of pleasure and pain ; not opposite

quantities on same scale . . . .163

. Pleasure and pain imply self-transcendence ; in pleasure,

harmonious; in pain, obstructed by contradiction 164



CONTENTS xiii

PAGE

5. Any approach to a satisfactory self-transcendence of a

finite being must involve something which has been

pain, a transcended obstruction . . .167

6. Pain has no special relation to evil, nor pleasure to good,

or only in a secondary sense. Pain and evolution
among lower animals . . . .168

7. What should make pain antagonistic to theoretical satis-

faction ? Suppose pain extreme and universal. Its
ground is its limit . . . . .17^

8. Above attitude distinguished from apologetics of pain . 176

i. Reject theories of pain as hard opposite of

pleasure, justified by moral ends . . 176

ii. And theories of future evanescence of pain, except
as some change which may throw light on
nature of reality . . . .177

iii. Though we think probable, in later course of any
finite world, a higher self-consciousness in pain ;
tragedy replacing brute suffering . . 180

9. Organic standpoint as to pain in issue of optimism and
pessimism. Irrelevant challenge " Would you re-live
your life?" All repetition is unspiritual . .182

10. Rank assigned to pain in Christianity. Involves a uni-
versal and substantial reconciliation. The conception
of spiritual induction . . . . . \%2,

I I. Illustration by accident and death. Their place in
spiritual induction. Why no religion of pure pleasure.
The tribute of our finite self . . . .187

B. HAZARDS AND HARDSHIPS OP^ FINITE
SELFHOOD — Contif27ied

LECTURE VII

GOOD AND EVIL

1. Good and Evil, contrasted with pleasure and pain, as

attitudes concerning a creature's whole being. Good
in what sense definable. The contrasts of good and
evil, with pleasure and pain, and with perfection and
imperfection respectively, compared . . .192

2. Can any pleasure then be evil, or any pain good, in se ?

As concerns partial pleasures or pains, reasons for
afifirmative . . . . . 195



CONTENTS



197



3. The antithesis between moral goodness and good in

genera], as that between fundamentals of life and
their corollaries .....

4. Difficulty in enlarging goodness to include all goods. We

are thus driven to include in it natural and historical
gifts ; which are unquestionably its roots. Fact is, the
individual's roots stretch beyond him ; goodness passes
into goods, and goods into gifts . . .200

5. Yet apart from his attitude as a whole we hardly have

good or evil. Conception of success and failure in
Nature precarious . . . . .201

6. Thus good and evil are rightly treated as incidents of

finiteness. But this treatment, in recognising their
arduous and adventurous character, does not dissociate
them ultimately from stability, nor stability from them 201

7. In what sense good is a hazard, and evil both a hazard

and a hardship • • . . . 20"

i. Good is liable to obstruction ; contains a dualism
(though not an ultimate one) ; is made of the
same stuff as evil ; is relative to evil as its
opposite. The distinction between them is not
tixed in the content ; it arises in the venture
of making the self .... 20-:
ii. What makes evil evil, and a hardship ? The
second contradiction, not merely against good-
ness (for goodness has the same against evil),
but against itself, and so against the self Im-
possibility of discriminating good and evil
except through the realised and organised
world of good with which the good self is
identified . . . . .206

8. Why is evil essentially adherent to good ? Many ways

of stating the reason. Because of the inadequacy of
finite good ; which = because the finite creature is not
a whole, and cannot as it stands be satisfied by any
good ; which = because it is not adequate to perfection,
and yet finite good is not adequate to // ; which
= because evil is necessary to freedom, i.e. the finite
being's task involves constructing itself out of itself,
and so setting itself against itself ; which = because the
moral standpoint, being individualistic, involves an
insuperable antithesis, and conflict a^^ z>?/f;;////w . 209



CONTENTS



Are these hazards and hardships, say, evil, characters
of the Absolute ? Evil, e.g., is a subordinate aspect in
the experience of good, as error in that of truth. Good
itself hardly a character of the Absolute, and nothing in
evil which can resist absorption in good by rearrange-
ment. Thus evil and error may be within a perfect
experience, but are not characters ^it . . . 212

On the borderland of this lecture and the previous one
— a confused objection to a suffering world which is
also contemptible according to our ideals. We do not
undertake to prove poetic justice, but desire to clear
up the facts of pain and value. The pessimist critic
must choose his line. If he argues from pain, he must
go to facts of pain, not to his notions of what ought to
be painful. If he argues from moral ideals, he must
see to it that his ideals are adequate and recognise
true value ; and he must admit that moral judgment
is not the highest point of view, for it is determined
by a dualism within perfection . . . 21S

In regard to the general censure of the universe, we
remember that our criticised desires are the standard,
and this we can hardly possess but by possessing
perfection. And we cannot place antecedent limits,
drawn from our finite nature, on our nature as to
be communicated by the Absolute. We cannot pick
and choose how much evil is tolerable. We should
rule out our best chances . . . .-721



C. THE STABILITY AND SECURITY OF
FINITE SELFHOOD

LECTURE VIII

THE RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS

I. The Religious Consciousness as typical of Stability and

Security in contrast with the previous sub-headings 224
Two special points —

a. Reconciliation of the third sub-heading with the

two previous . . . .227

/i. Is the religious consciousness only to be had

through philosophy ? . . . . 229-



CONTENTS



2. Religion in the broadest sense includes all cases of

worship and devotion, e.g: to truth and beauty. No
sound distinction between "natural" and "ethical"
religions. Crudest worship of objects involves some
social solidarity ..... 233

3. How is evil to be thought of from the religious point of

view? ...... 241

i. Opposite attitudes in religion and sheer morality.
Evil recognised only to be disowned. This the
case in the simplest examples of devotion . 241

ii. As in the highest experiences of religious genius . 244
iii. The paradox thus involved in religion. Its double
make-believe ; the practical and theoretical
aspects, and necessity of their fusion . . 246

4. Practicality of religion, agrees with the fact that its doctrines

express God's nature imaginatively, and not as ultimate
reality or the Absolute .... 249

5. Then what is relation of Religion to objective truth ?

Does it not involve the existence of God as a fact ?
The religious consciousness neither depends upon
demonstrations of a separate Being's existence nor
does it corroborate them. It is self-contained, being
the insight into the human-divine nature of the self,
and in this sense an experience of God. Theological
doctrine recognises this, but externalises it. The
stability and security of the finite self is in the religious
consciousness, which extends over the whole of life . 251



C. THE STABILITY AxND SECURITY OF
FINITE SEl^FHOOD—Con^mued

LECTURE IX

THE DESTINY OF THE FINITE SELF

1. The Idea of Transformation . . . .257

2. We hardly possess reasons for expecting any special degree

of Transformation ....

3. What destiny we can consistently desire .

a. Subjective Immortality and Causal Continuance

[3. Metempsychosis

y. Nirvana and absorption in God



257
260
262
266
270



CONTENTS xvii



PAGE



4. The question of 3 further considered . . .271

a. Simple prolongation — reduces itself to chain of

lives ?..... 272
/?. The demand for a better state — conflict of identity

and perfection . . . .275

y. Discussion of Green's doctrine of the conservation

of personality . .... 277

5. Details illustrating transcendence of given person-
ality ...... 282

e. Argument from the affections . . .285

5. Conclusion ; what is certainly preserved is the content of

the self, which is secure in the Absolute . . 287



C. THE STABILITY AND SECURITY OF
FINITE ^^\J^YiOO'D-~Continued

LECTURE X

THE GATES OF THE FUTURE

1. Theories which make drafts upon the future . . 290

i. The gates of the future open. Time a reality . 292

ii. The gates to close one day. Time to cease . 293

iii. These views agree in a facile reliance on future . 294

2. Our question is the rank and value of progress, according

to our theory . . . . .295

i. How a non-temporal real can express itself in an

infinite temporal series . . . 296

ii. In what sense infinite progress can be contained

in a perfect reality .... 299
iii. If the ultimate real is progress to infinity the gates

are closed against perfection . . . 303

iv. Rank and value of the attractive demand for real

progress of the universe . . . 304

a. The one-sided self-recognition or purely moral
standpoint — progress conceived as an absolute
demand ..... 305
/?. The inclusive self-recognition ; real perfection

a condition of the true value of progress 306

3. What attitude to man's future in time conforms to our

argument . . . , . .308

b



CONTENTS



i. What sort of thing can we hope ? A fair question.
In the main, an increasing sense of true values,
due to a fuller grasp of the whole . . 309

ii. The frame of mind which corresponds to the
recognition of the Absolute whole, as beyond
religion. Our awareness of an inclusive
totality . . . . .310

iii. Distinguish interest in the future from interest in

the whole, to be satisfied in the future . . 312

iv. What really matters in progress is the deeper and
more general self-recognition, i.e. the religious
consciousness. . . . -313

4. Illustration, two suggestions about past and future re-

spectively . . . . . .314

i. The most important changes in past history have
been those affecting man's freedom in the widest
sense, viz. his recognition of his full nature.
Part played by "the unhappy consciousness" . 315
ii. The most important change in the future history
of our race will be to learn, through experience of
material progress, the dependence of values on
the renunciation involved in full self-recognition.
A typical anticipation of a much- improved
society, and the problem of its valuation . 321

5. Conclusion ; the reaction of a profound self-recognition on

the apparatus of life, and the absoluteness of the security
which it ensures. Identification with ultimate in-
dividuality, which can only be through religious self-
recognition, constitutes the worth and destiny of finite
beings . . . . . .325



ABSTRACTS OF LECTURES



LECTURE I

INTRODUCTORY FINITENESS AND SELF-
TRANSCENDENCE

The general title of the two courses was "The Value
and Destiny of the Individual." The first course, " The
Principle of Individuality and Value," delivered last year,
attempted to show how the reality and value of all things
in the universe depended on the degree of their embodi-
ment of the principle of individuality — the completeness,
coherence, or self-containedness of the universe. This
second course, with the title, "The Value and Destiny
of the Individual," is an attempt to apply the principle
developed in the first course to finite beings, that is, in
effect, to human souls. It discusses in what way the so-
called " individual " or human soul works out its destiny
and achieves its worth, by and through its membership of
the universe, the only real and ultimate individual. The
present lecture, on " Finiteness and Self-Transcendence,"
was intended to give an outline of the course, showing how
its sub-divisions are connected with different sides of the
nature of finite beings as our principle requires us to an-
alyse it. The human soul has sometimes been thought of
as a celestial spark of divinity, sometimes as a crystallisa-
tion out of unconscious Nature, or out of a hardly conscious
tribal collectivity, sharing the nature of a suffering deity
who represents that collectivity. This latter idea goes to
meet modern philosophy from the historical side ; and
these two ideas, even apart, but better if taken together,



ABSTRACTS OF LECTURES



illustrate our view of the soul as a link or focus, through
which the striving of the universe unites the multitude of
things and persons in the absolute whole. This concep-
tion determines the treatment of the soul in these lectures.
We shall first consider, in the following lecture, how the
distinctness of particular persons, though practically a fact,
shows indications of an underlying unity not generally
recognised. After that, we shall consider the soul and its
destiny under three principal heads. First, the idea of
" soul-making " as the work of the universe, borrowed from



Online LibraryBernard BosanquetThe value and destiny of the individual; the Gifford lectures for 1912 delivered in Edinburgh university → online text (page 1 of 27)