Luther A Fox.

Evidence of a future life : from reason and revelation online

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ity of the same material substance. "Matter is
already in the field as an acknowledged entity.
Mind considered as an independent entity is not so
unmistakably in the field. Therefore, as entities
are not to be multiplied without necessity, we are
not entitled to postulate a new cause so long as it
is possible to account for the phenomena by a
cause already in existence."* If the Materialist
can account for all the facts of life by material
agency, according to the acknowledged law of
scientific experiment, we have no right to suppose
any other cause.

Prof. Bainf cites the canon, ''The presence of

* Prof. Ferrier. f Mind and Body, Chap. III.


the cause must be followed by the presence of the
effect, and the absence of the cause must be fol-
lowed by the absence of the effect." The latter
he acknowledges, though more decisive, to be in-
applicable in the case of mind and body. There
is a third expedient: "If the agency in question,
although irremovable, passes through gradations
whose amount can be measured, we are able to
observe whether the effect has corresponding
changes of degree; and if a strict concomitance
is observable between the intensity of the cause
and the intensity of the effect, we have a presump-
tion that may rise to positive proof of the con-

De la Mettrie stated the argument in one terse
expression: ''The soul increases and decreases with
the body, therefore, it is destroyed with the body."
His own and the efforts of all materialists are
directed in large part to the proof of the premises,
that the state of the mind and that of the body are
absolutely concomitant. A number of facts, both
those open to the observation of the masses and
those known only to the scientist, are adduced.

Among the more important are these: The
feelings possess a natural language of expression.
*'Most of our emotions," says Darwin, **are so


closely connected with their expression, that they
can hardly exist if the body remains passive."
Dr. Maudsley is more positive: "The special
muscular action is not merely the exponent of
the passion, but truly ^n essential part of it."
All the abuses and casualties which impair the
nervous system impair the mental faculties. A
blow on the head suspends consciousness, and of
greater severity produces permanent injury, occa-
sioning some permanent derangement. "The
more careful and studied observations ol physiolo-
gists have shown beyond question that the brain as
a whole is indispensable to thought, to feeling and
to volition, while they have further discriminated
the functions of the different parts." * The body
and mind are both immature in infancy, both
rapidly develop in childhood, both grow more
slowly in the later years of youth, both remain
nearly stationary in middle life, and both rapidly
decline in old age. When the development of the
brain is arrested, there is a corresponding arrest of
the mind. Idiots are nearly always small-brained.
There is a minimum limit to the brain for sound
minds. The rise and fall in mental states corres-
pond to the tides in molecular movements in the

* Prof. Bain, Miud and Body.


nerve. Stimulants accelerate mental activity.
Terror produces delirium. In sleep the nervous
system is in repose, and there is. suspended con-
sciousness or the irregular mental activities, as
dreams. When the normal supply of blood to the
brain is changed, there are changes in regular pro-
portion in the state of the mind. Hallucinations
have been removed by the application of leeches to
the head. Insanity is almost always accompanied
by some disease of the brain. There is a corres-
pondence between the size of the brain and mental
capacity — great thinkers usually have great brains.
The temperature of the head rises with the in-
tensity of thought. Severe thought exhausts phys-
ical energy, indicating a correlation of the mental
and physical forces. We have no direct evidence
of the existence of mind apart from body. Mind
and body appear and depart together. The pres-
ence of the cause is followed by the presence of the
effect, every change in one is attended by a corre-
sponding change in the other, and the body, there-
fore, is the cause of mental phenomena.

But these are not all of the facts. There is a
whole set of facts which have persistently refused
to be brought under the materialistic theory. The
sneer of the Materialist does not get rid of them.


*'In vain does the spiritualist," sa3'S Prof. Ferrier,
*' found an argument for the existence of a separate
immaterial substance on the alleged incompatibil-
ity of the intellectual and physical phenomena to
co-inhere in the same substratum. Materialism
may very well stand the brunt of that unshotted
broadside. This mild artifice can scarcely expect
to be treated as a serious observation. Such an
hypothesis cannot be meant to be in earnest."
But materialists have taken it in earrlest, and have
struggled so far in vain to explain the incompati-
bility; and the disdainful air with which the prob-
lem is dismissed, does not solve it. Spiritualists
may very well stand the brunt of this unshotted
broadside. Prof. Bain acknowledged the diffi-
culty.* "There is an alliance with matter, with
object, or extended world; but the thing allied, the
mind proper, has itself no extension and cannot be
joined in local union. This is the only real diffi-
culty of the physical and mental relationship."
He thinks he has found a solution in the idea of a
change of state from extended cognition to unex-
tended cognition. But that leaves unexplained
still how the same substratum has qualities so
diverse as extension in place and thoughts of in-

* Mind and Body, p. 136.


finite space. Until all the facts are accounted for,
the materalistic hypothesis is unproved.

Of two theories, that is always the better which
explains most of the facts. The Dualist proposes
two substances in causal relation to each other:
the body as the substratum of all material phenom-
ena, and the mind, spirit or immaterial substance
as the substratum for unextended thought, feeling
and will. These two substances are sufficient to
account for the two series of phenomena that re-
fuse to be brought down to one substratum. The
reciprocal causal relation accounts for the depend-
ence of the one upon the other. All the facts are
explained. This theory alone accepts and accounts
for all the facts, and according to scientific canons
must be received until some simpler one will bring
all these facts into harmony.

The facts adduced by materialists to prove an
absolute dependence of the mind upon the body are
not always clearly and fairly stated. A more pre-
cise statement frequently changes the whole bear-
ing of a fact.

That part of the body in closest relation to the
mind is the brain. This was recognized by Des-
cartes, notwithstanding his radical conception of
their independence. He supposed that the mind


was connected in some way with the pineal gland.
The double system of afferent and effervent nerves
centering in the brain, the want of conscious sen-
sation when the communication with the brain is
broken, and a number of facts, show that the brain
is in some sense the seat of the mind. The cor-
respondence is found, therefore, chiefly, or it may be
said exclusively, between the mind and the brain.
If thought is a function of matter, it is that matter
in the cerebral cortex.

It i's not true that the correspondence is such as
to prove that the mind is a product, or result, or
function of the brain. The facts show rather the
reverse. The brain and mind are not developed
simultaneously. There is no proof whatever of
any kind of thought in the foetus. The infant is
several weeks old before there is any manifestation
of mental phenomena, and the earliest are of
the most rudimentary kind. Compared with the
young of many animals, it seems very stupid. But
before birth it has a fully formed brain and a
highly developed nervous mechanism. As com-
pared with that of any animal, they are far more per-
fect. The mind and brain have by no means been
proportionately developed up to the time of birth.
The mind once awakened develops with great


rapidity. The brain also grows, but not at all pro-
portionately, and the relative disproportion grows
greater all through childhood and the first years
of youth. In middle life the brain remains largely
in size and condition the same. No difference can
be detected by any human tests in the nervous
matter. But the mind of a large part of men
makes great progress in development during this
period. The world's best thinking is done by
men of middle age. In the old there is generally
a decline; but not unfrequently, while there is
great feebleness of body, the intellect in all the
higher faculties continues with unabated vigor.

The development of the mind is said to be due
not so much to the increased mass of the brain as
to dynamical associations. Prof. I^add asserts that
this is no adequate explanation. "This develop-
ment is not in the direction simply of associating
together states of feeling, each one of which has
an exact physical correlate in a physical association
among the molecules of nervous substance. It is a
development which for its very existence requires
something different from such associations. The
child might go on forever, merely associating to-
gether affections of its own mind in correspondence
to dynamical associations among the nervous mole-


cules, and yet have no growth of experience, such
as it actually attains. To account for the bound-
less expansion of the activities of consciousness,
with its surprising new factors and mysterious
grounds of synthesis and assumption, by proposing
an hypothesis of 'dynamical associations' among
the particles of nervous substance in the brain, is a
deification of impotency. So far as we really know
anything about the development of both brain and
mind, we are compelled to say that the latter, when
once started by sensations furnished through ex-
citations of the former, proceeds to unfold its activ-
ities with a rapidity and in an order for which no
adequate physical cause can be assigned. ' ' *

Dynamical association fails equally to account
for the disproportion between the relative sizes of
brains and powers of mind among individuals.
Prof. Bain admits the disproportion: "An ordi-
nary male human brain is 48 oz. ; the brains of ex-
traordinary men seldom reach Cuvier's figure, 64
oz. Now the intellectual force of the ordinary man
is surpassed by Cuvier in a far higher ratio than
this.'' Broca made a table of three hundred and
forty-seven cases of brains. Cuvier's brain was
heaviest. Byron's was next. The third was a mad-

* Physiological Psychology, p. 621.


man. Haussmann was the one hundred and fifty-
eighth, whose brain fell to 43 oz., several ounces
below the average of his ordinary countrymen.
"With his small brain he surpassed in intelligence
almost all his large-headed contemporaries."
Quatrefages concludes a study of this table with
these words : "Thus irrespective of all dogmatic or
philosophic ideas we are led to the conclusion that
there is a certain relation between the development
of the intelligence and the volume and weight of
the brain. But at the same time we must allow that
the material element, that which is appreciable to
our senses, is not the only one which we must
take into account, for behind it lies hidden a7t
tinknozun qitantity^ an x^ at present undetermined
and only recognized by its effects."* This con-
clusion of the great savant is strengthened when
w^e extend the range of observation beyond the
table of M. Broca. The brains of four men of no
repute whatever ranged from 62.75 to 61 oz. ; that
of another weighed 60 oz. ; and that of a boy 60 oz.
also. In an Insane Asylum more than thirty
weighed 55 oz. and upward, f In the relative

*Humau Species, p. 413.

f Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed.


weight of brain and body the elephant stands below
the sheep; and in the dolphin, the baboon and
man, the relative weight is not greatly different.
Cerebral convolutions are thought to constitute
the characteristic difference. They do furnish a
general rule, but do not measure accurately the
degree of intelligence. Ruminants have convolu-
tiojis that would indicate a much higher degree of
intelligence than they really possess.

Cerebral lesions have occurred without mental
impairment. A number of such cases have been
recorded. Several authors have collected these
records. Prof. Ladd has given several. * Berenger
de Carpi tells of a young man into whose brain
a foreign body, the breadth of four fingers, was
driven. Much of the substance of the brain
was lost, both at the time of the accident and some
days after; but the patient, in the full posssession
of his mental powers, lived for a long time. Tonget
tells of an Italian whose skull was crushed, and so
much of the cerebral substance was lost that the
attendant physician calculated that the lesion
reached down nearly to the corpus callosum. But
the man lived without any injury to his intellectual
faculties. Lallemand tells of a person whose right

* Physiological Psychology, p. 265.


cerebral hemisphere was found to be filled with a
fluid, but had lived in a normal mental state. The
case of the man through whose brain a crowbar
was driven by a blast of powder, but who lived
twelve and half years, is well known. To these
instances it would be easy to add a number of

When the facts are fully stated, they prove that
there is a general dependence of mind upon the
body, but they do not warrant the conclusion of
materialism. Even in those upon wdiich most
stress is laid, we detect a diSerence between the
condition of the body and that of the mind, which
indicates that there are two substances instead of

Closely connected with the line of argument of
the Materialist is another: The soul now lives in a
body; we never know it apart from body; it must
have a body in order to be related to space; and,
therefore, it is incapable of existing apart from

This is an argument based on our ignorance.
That we have no sensible experience of a separate
existence of the soul, is hot a proof that it does not
so exist. Prof. Fiske* has justly observed: "The

* Destiny of Man, p. no.


materialistic assumption that there is no such state
of things as thought and feeling without a cere-
brum, and the life of the soul accordingly ends
with the life of the body, is, perhaps, the most co-
lossal instance of baseless assumption in the his-
tory of philosophy. No evidence of it can be
alleged beyond the familiar fact that during the
present life we know soul only in its association
with the body, and, therefore, can not discover
disembodied soul without dying ourselves. This
fact must always prevent us from obtaining direct
evidence for the belief of the soul's survival. But
a negative presumption is not created by the ab-
sence of proof in cases where in the nature of things
proof is inaccessible." To those who believe in a
spiritual Creator, there is no difficulty in believing
in a soul capable of living and of communicating
with things in space, even though it has no body.


THE two great series of phenomena have never
been called in question by the most radical
skeptics. They are separated by the most marked
characteristics. They have nothing in common.
The Idealist is compelled to admit that some of his
ideas appear to have an objective source and that
they are wholly unlike other ideas. The Materialist
is also compelled to recognize the fact that in all his
thinkinor }iq distino^uishes between the sensations
and ideas and the external causes of these impres-
sions. For the sake of convenience, all the various
schools have agreed to call the one mental and the.
other material. From these two series we must
learn all that is possible for us to know about,
either matter or mind.

The mental phenomena consist of thoughts, .
feelings and volitions. They are matters of the
most certain knowledge. They are the conditions
of knowing anything else. We are sometimes de-
ceived by the senses, but we are always certain that:



we had such impressions. We may suppose that
we have seen a ghost when we saw only a shadow,
but we are certain as to the mental fact. The
man with delirium tremens believes that he sees
demons and serpents while he really sees nothing,
but he is certain that he thinks he sees them.
Whatever a man doubts, he is always, while doubt-
ing, certain of the fact that he is doubting. Men
have denied all objective reality and shut them-
selves up in extremest subjectivity, but no man
has denied the facts of the mind as phenomena.
We know positively that we think, have pleasures
and pains, form purposes, but we are sometimes at
a loss to determine whether these things have cor-
responding objects. Thought "is certainly in the
field." It is not so certain that matter is.

The material phenomena consist of groupings
in extension and movement. All matter has ex-
tension, inertia and gravity. Other qualities of
matter are color, form, position in space, hardness,
electricity, cohesion, crystallization, heat, light,
electricity, etc. Every form of activity is move-
ment in space.

None of these material qualities belong to the
mental. Some terms are applied to both series, as
'intensity,* 'quality,' ' degree, ' but they have very


different meanings. An intense thought and an
intense heat are quite different things. In the two
connections intense is a different word. The facts
of the one cannot be expressed in the terms of the
other. "The fundamental modes of mental mani-
festation and the laws which govern their activities
are perfectly distinct from the phenomena and laws
of the material world." *

In the material there is the law of necessity. In
the mental there is the consciousness of freedom.
In matter there is general, if not universal, inertia.
In mind there is self-activity. These character-
istics may not be absolute. Cause may exist to
some extent in mind, and matter may have some
elements of spontaneous activity, for both have
been asserted, but still there are broad character-
istics upon which our natural and metaphysical
sciences have been built.

Phenomena imply a subject. J. S. Mill's defi-
nitions of matter and of mind are well known.
The one "is the permanent possibility of sensa-
tion;" the other, "a series of feelings with a back-
ground of possibilities of feelings." Bain says,
"The collective I or self can be nothing different
from the feelings, actions and intelligence of the

* Sully's Psychology, p. 690.


individual." * These definitions do not go beyond
abstractions. A series, a collection, unless a series
of things, is nothing. A series of feelings with
nothing that feels is as abstract as a series of colors
when nothing is colored. Mr. Lewes does not
hesitate to call matter and mind abstractions.
''Body is a persistent aggregate of objective phe-
nomena; soul is a persistent aggregate of subjective
phenomena." "All existence as known to us is
the felt." "I know the soul in knowing its feel-
ings (concretes) and in knowing it as an abstraction
which connects those concretes in a symbol. The
secondary question is, whether this abstraction
represents one existent and the abstraction body
another and wholly different existent, or the two
abstractions represent one in two different as-
pects, "f Activities imply something that acts.
Extension implies something extended. Thinking
implies something that thinks. We cannot think
of phenomena without thinking at the same time
of the thing which appears. "Mind as known to
the possessor of it," says Herbert Spencer, "is a
circumscribed aggregate of activities ; and the co-
hesion of these activities one with another through-

*Ueberweg's History of Philosphy, vol.11, p. 431.
t Physical Basis of Mind, p. 376.


out the aggregate compels the postulate of a some-
thing of which they are the activities.'"^ This
necessity of "postulating" a substance for the
phenomena belongs to the very nature of thought.
Lewes calls it a law of our organism. Mind there-
fore is not a mere abstraction.

If we grant that the nature of mind and the
nature of matter are unknowable, we do know the
qualities of each, and by the law of discrimination
we are prevented from believing that they are
identical. We distinguish any two objects by their
qualities. Though both are fruits, we distinguish
in this way an apple from an orange. So we distin-
guish a plant from an animal. In the same way
we distinguish oxygen from carbon. We find the
qualities of the mental series wholly unlike those
of the physical series, and under that law by a
spontaneous act of thought postulate different sub-
stances. The one the world has called material,
and the other spiritual. The problem of material-
ism is to correct that spontaneous judgment and
reduce the mental phenomena to the activity of
matter. Until this is done we are compelled to
believe in two entities.

The Materialist reduces mind to a mere function,

^Psychology, Vol. I, p. 159.


or product, or result of matter. In a general sort
of wa^ this is thought to be done by showing that
"the mental life is a chain of events running par-
allel to a chain of physical results." But Mr.
Sully warns us against supposing that because we
have found the concomitance we have explained
the nature of mind. "There is a great deal of
loose psychological thinking abroad just now under
the guise of physiological psychology. It is sup-
posed that to name the nervous accompaniments or
conditions of mental phenomena is to explain them.
But this is not so. No sound psychology is possible
which does not keep in view the fundamental dis-
parity of the physical and the psychical, and the
consequent limits of the physiological explanation
of mental facts." * The changes which take place
in the brain are movements in space, and they give
us no light at all on the mental changes. The
great chasm between mind and matter remains.
The shifting of the molecules in relation to each
other is not thought.

The grossest attempt to reduce mental phenom-
ena to the material was to make them a function
of the brain. As the function of the stomach is
to digest, and the glands to secrete, and the heart to

* Psychology, p. 4. See also Appendix C.


propel the circulation, so the function of the brain
is to -think. The brain was said by Buchner to
secrete thought as the liver secretes bile. But the
product of the gland is material. The bile his ex-
tension, color, taste, weight. Thought has no
material quality. This theory has been denounced
hy Materialists themselves as the philosophy of
savages. *

Every theory that would make thought a pro-
duct of matter labors under precisely the same
difficulty. Every product of matter is a grouping
of material things ; but no new grouping of ex-
tended objects is a thought.

Another theory is- that thought is a movement.
It is supposed that movements may cause some-
thing apart from the moving objects. Motion is
sometimes regarded as immaterial. But motion
without some object moving in space is a mere
abstraction — it has no existence. Light, sound,
heat, are in this general way believed to have ex-
istence independent of their causes. Sound is a
vibration of ether set in motion by the vibrations
of some object. These waves of ether strike the
chords of the auditory nerve, and from them there
arises in the mind the sensation of sound. The

^ Bowue's Metaphysics,


action of the mind in hearing is not the same as the
vibrations of the air. Heat, electricity, light, are
molecular movements of greater or less rapidity
and peculiar combinations. They have the charac-
teristics of the bodies to which they belong. They
are movements in space. But no movement in

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Online LibraryLuther A FoxEvidence of a future life : from reason and revelation → online text (page 13 of 19)