Mo.) Congress of Arts and Science (1904 : Saint Louis.

Congress of Arts and Science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 online

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ness of decisions and becomes linked with the historical community
by the thought that each of these partial decisions refers to an alter-
native which is identical with that of other persons. And yet there
remains a most essential difference between the histoHcal and the
causal connection. In a world of things the mere identical continu-
ity is sufficient to determine the phenomena of any given moment.
In a world of will the identity of alternatives cannot determine be-
forehand the actual decision; that belongs to the free activity of the
subject. If this factor of freedom were left out, man would be made
an object and history a mere appendix of natural science. The


connectioB of the historian can therefore never be a necessary one,
however much we may observe empirical regularities. If there were
no identities, our reason could not find connection in history; but if the
historical connections were necessary, like the causal ones, it would
not be history. The historian is, therefore, unable and without the
ambition to look into the future like the naturalist; his domain is
the past.

Yet will-attitudes and will-acts can also be brought into necessary
connection; that is, we can conceive will-acts as teleologically iden-
tical with each other and exempt from the freedom of the individual.
That is clearly possible only if they are conceived as beyond the free-
dom of individual decision and related to the over-individual subject.
The question is then no longer how this special man wills and decides,
but how far a certain will-decision binds every possible individual who
performs this act if he is to share our common world of will and mean-
ing. Such an over-individual connection of will-acts is what we call
the logical connection. It shares with all other connections the depend-
ence upon the category of identity. The logical connection shows
how far one act or combination of acts involves, and thus is partially
identical with, a new combination. This logical connection has, in
common with the causal connection, necessity; and in common with
the historical connection, teleological character. Any individual will-
act of historical life may be treated for certain purposes as such a
starting-point of over-individual relations; it would then lead to that
scientific treatment which gives us an interpretation, for instance, of
law. Such interpretative sciences belong to the system of history in
the widest sense of the word.

The chief interest, however, must belong to the logical connections
of those will-acts which themselves have over-individual character.
A merely individual proposition can lead to necessary logical connec-
tion, but cannot claim that scientific importance which belongs to
the logical connection of those propositions which are necessary for
the constitution of every real experience : the science of chess cannot
stand on the same level with the science of geometry, the science of
local legal statutes not on the same level with the system of ethics.
The logical connections of the over-individual attitudes thus consti-
tute the fourth large division besides the physical, the mental, and the
historical sciences. It must thus comprise the systems of all those
propositions which are presuppositions of our common reality, in-
dependent of the free individual decision. Here belong the acts of
approval — the ethical approval of changes and achievements, as
well as the aesthetic approval of the given world; the acts of convic-
tion — the religious convictions of a superstructure of the world as
well as the metaphysical convictions of a substructure; and above
all, the acts of affirmation and submission, the logical as well as the


mathematical. But to be consistent we must really demand that
merely the over-individual logical connections are treated in this
division. If we deal, for instance, with the aesthetical or ethical acts as
psychological experiences, or as historical propositions, they belong
to the psychical or historical division. Only the philosophical systiem
of ethics or aesthetics finds its place in this division. It is difficult to
find a suitable name for this whole system of logical connections of
over-individual attitudes. Perhaps it would be most correct to call it
the Sciences of Values, inasmuch as every one of these over-individual
decisions constitutes a value in our world which our individual will
finds as an absolute datum like the objects of experience. Seen from
another point of view, these values appear as norms which bind our
practical will inasmuch as these absolute values demand of our will to
realize them, and it may thus be permitted to designate this whole
group of sciences as a Division of Normative Sciences.

Our logical explanation of the meaning of these four divisions
naturally began with the interpretation of that science which usually
takes precedence in popular thought — with the science of nature,
that is, and passed then to those groups whose methodological situa-
tion is seen rather vaguely by our positivistic age. But as soon as we
have once defined and worked out the boundary lines of each of these
four divisions, it would appear more logical to change their order and
to begin with that division whose material is those over-individual
will-acts on which all possible knowledge must depend, and then to
turn to those individual will-acts which determine the formulation
of our present-day knowledge, and then only to go to the objects of
knowledge, the over-individual and the individual ones. In short, we
must begin with the normative sciences, consider in the second place
the historical sciences, in the third place the physical sciences, and
in the fourth place the psychical sciences. There cannot be a scientific
judgment which must not find its place somewhere in one of these
four groups. And yet can we really say that these four great divisions
complete the totality of scientific efforts? The plan of our Congress
contains three important divisions besides these.

5. The Three Divisions of Practical Sciences

The three divisions which still lie before us represent Practical
Knowledge. Have we a logical right to put them on an equal level
with the four large divisions which we have considered so far? Might it
not rather be said that all that is knowledge in those practical sciences
must find its place somewhere in the theoretical field, and that every-
thing outside of it is not knowledge, but art ? It cannot be denied
indeed that the logical position of the practical sciences presents seri-
ous problems. That the function of the engineer or of the physician.


of the lawyer or of the minister, of the diplomat or of the teacher,
contains elements of an art cannot be doubted. They all need not
only knowledge, but a certain instinct and power and skill, and their
schooling thus demands a training and discipline through imitation
which cannot be substituted by mere learning. Yet when it comes to
the classification of sciences, it seems very doubtful whether practical
sciences have to be acknowledged as special divisions, inasmuch as
the factor of art must have been eliminated at the moment they are
presented as sciences. The auscultation of the physician certainly
demands skill and training, yet this practical activity itself does not
enter into the science of medicine as presented in medical writings.
As soon as the physician begins to deal with it scientifically, he
needs, as does any scholar, not the stethoscope, but the pen. He
must formulate judgments; and as soon as he simply describes and
analyzes and explains and interprets his stethoscopic experiences,
his statements become a system of theoretical ideas.

We can say in general that the science of medicine or of engineering,
of jurisprudence or of education, contains, as science, no element of art,
but merely theoretical judgments which, as such, can find their place
somewhere in the complete systems of the theoretical sciences. If the
physician describes a disease, its symptoms, the means of examining
them, the remedies, their therapeutical effects, and the prophylaxis,
in short, everything which the physician needs for his art, he does not
record anything which would not belong to an ideally complete de-
scription and explanation of the processes in the human body. In the
same way it can be said that if the engineer characterizes the con-
ditions under which an iron bridge will be safe, it is evident that he
cannot introduce any facts which would- not find their logical place in
an ideally complete description of the properties of inorganic nature ;
and finally, the same is true for the statements of the politician, the
jurist, the pedagogue, or the minister. Whatever is said about their
art is a theoretical judgment which connects facts of the ideally
complete system of theoretical science; in their case the facts of
course belong in first line to the realm of the psychological, his-
torical, and normative sciences. There never has been or can be
practical advice in the form of words which is not in principle a state-
ment of facts which belong to the absolute totality of theoretical
knowledge. Seen from this point of view, it is evident that all our
knowledge is fundamentally theoretical, and that the conception of
practical knowledge is logically unprecise.

But the opposite point of view might also be taken. It might be
said that after all every kind of knowledge is practical, and our own
deduction of the meaning of science might be said to suggest such
interpretation. We acknowledged at the outset that the so-called
theoretical knowledge is by no means a passive mirror-picture of an


independent outside world; but that in every judgment real expe-
rience is remoulded and reshaped in the service of certain purposes of
will. Here lies the true core of that growing popular philosophy
of to-day which, under the name of pragmatism, or under other titles,
mingles the purposive character of our knowledge and the evolution-
ary theories of modern biology in the vague notion that men created
knowledge because the biological struggle for existence led to such
views of the world; and that we call true that correlation of our
experiences which has approved itself through its harmony with
the phylogenetic development. Certainly we must reject such circle
philosophies. We must see clearly that the whole conception of a
biological development and of a struggle of organisms is itself only
a part of our construction of causal knowledge. We must have know-
ledge to conceive ourselves as products of a phylogenetic history, and
thus cannot deduce from it the fact, and, still less, the justification
of knowledge. Yet one element of this theory remains valuable:
knowledge is indeed a purposive activity, a reconstruction of the
world in the service of ideals of the will. We have thus from one side
the suggestion that all knowledge is merely theoretical, from the other
side the claim that all knowledge is practical activity. It seems as if
both sides might agree that it is superfluous and unjustified to make
a demarcation line through the field of knowledge and to separate
two sorts of knowledge, theoretical and practical. For both theories
demand that all knowledge be of one kind , and they disagree only as
to whether we ought to call it all theoretical or all practical.

Yet the true situation is not characterized by such an antithesis.
If we say that all knowledge is ultimately practical, we are speaking
from an epistemological point of view, inasmuch as we take it then as
a reconstruction of the world through the purposive activity of the
over-individual subject. On the other hand it is an empirical point of
view from which ultimately all knowledge, that of the physician and
engineer and lawyer, as well as that of the astronomer, appears theo-
retical. But this antithesis can, therefore, not decide the further
empirical question, whether or not in the midst of theoretical know-
ledge two kinds of sciences may be discriminated, of which the one
refers to empirical practical purposes and the other not. Such an
inquiry would have nothing to do with the epistemological problem of
pragmatism; it would be strictly non-philosophical, just as the separa-
tion of chemistry into organic and inorganic chemistry. This empir-
ical question is indeed to be answered in the affirmative. If we ask
what causes bring about a certain effect, for the sake of a practical
purpose of ours, — for instance, the curing a patient of a disease, — no
one can state facts which are not in principle to be included in the
complete system of physical causes and effects and thus in the system
of physical sciences. And yet it may well be that the physical sciences,


as sucli, have not the slightest reason to mention the effect of that
special drug on that special pathological alteration of the tissues of
the organism. The descriptions and explanations of science are not a
mere heaping up of material, but a steady selection in the interest of
the special aim of the science. No physical science describes every
special pebble on the beach; no historical science deals with the chance
happenings in the daily life of any member of the crowd. And we
already well know the point of view from which the selection is to be
performed. We want to know in the physical and psychical sciences
whatever is involved in the object of our experience, and in the his-
torical and normative sciences whatever is involved in the demands
which reach our will. But whether we have to do with the objects or
with the demands, in both cases we have systems before us which are
determined only by the objects or demands themselves, without any
relation to our individual will and our own practical activity. Theo-
retically, of course, our will, our activity, our organism, our person-
ality is included in the complete system; and if we knew absolutely
everything of the empirical effects of the object or of the consequences
of these demands, we should find among them their relation to our
individual interests; but that relation would be but one chance
case among innumerable others, and the sciences would not have the
slightest interest in giving any attention to that particular case. Thus
if our knowledge of chemical substances were complete, we should
certainly have to know theoretically that a few grains of antipyrine
introduced into the organism have an influence on those brain centres
which regulate the temperature of the human body. Yet if the chem-
ist does not share the interest of the physician who wants to fight
a fever, he would have hardly any reason for examining this particular
relation, as it hardly throws light on the chemical constitution as
such. In this way we might say in general that the relation of the
world to us as acting individuals is in principle contained in the total
system of the relations of our world of experience, but has a strictly
accidental place there and can never be in itself a centre around which
the scientific data are clustered, and science will hardly have an inter-
est in giving any attention to its details.

This relation of the world, the phj^sical, the psychical, the histor-
ical, and the normative world, to our individual, practical purposes
can, however, indeed become the centre of scientific interest, and it is
evident that the whole inquiry receives thereupon a perfectly new
direction which demands not only a completely new grouping of facts
and relations, but also a very different shading in elaboration. As
long as the purpose was to understand the world without relation to
our individual aims, science had to gather endless details which are
for us now quite indifferent, as they do not touch our aims; and in
other respects science was satisfied with broad generalizations and


abstractions where we have now to examine the most minute details.
In short; the shifting of the centre of gravity creates perfectly new
sciences which must be distinguished; and if we call them again theo-
retical and practical sciences, it is clear that this difference has then
no longer anything to do with the philosophical problems from which
we started.

The term practical may be preferable to the other term which is
sometimes used : Applied Science, If we construct the antithesis of
theoretical and applied science, the underlying idea is clearly that we
have to do on the practical side with a discipline which teaches how
to apply a science which logically exists as such beforehand. Engin-
eering, for instance, is an applied science because it applies the
science of physics; but this is not really our deepest meaning here.
Our practical sciences are not meant as mere applications of theo-
retical sciences. They are logically somewhat degraded if they are
treated in such a way. Their real logical meaning comes out only if
they are acknowledged as self-dependent sciences whose material is
differentiated from that of the theoretical sciences by the different
point of view and purpose. They are methodologically perfectly inde-
pendent, and the fact that a large part or theoretically even every-
thing of their teaching overlaps the teaching of certain theoretical
sciences ought not to have any influence on their logical standing.
The practical sciences could be conceived as completely self-depend-
ent, without the existence of any so-called theoretical sciences;
that is, the relations of the world of experience to our individual
aims might be brought into complete systems without working out in
principle the system of independent experience. We might have a
science of engineering without acknowledging an independent science
of theoretical physics besides it. To be sure, such a science of engin-
eering would finally develop itself into a system which would con-
tain very much that might just as well be called theoretical physics;
yet all would be held together by the point of view of the engineer,
and that part of theoretical physics which the engineer applies might
just as well be considered as depracticalized engineering. If this
logical self-dependence of the practical science holds true even for
such technological disciplines, it is still more evident that it would
cripple the meaning and independent character of jurisprudence and
social science, or of pedagogy and theology, to treat them simply as
applied sciences, that is, as applications of theoretical science.

This point of view determines, also, of course, the classification of
the Practical Sciences. If they were really merely applied sciences
it would be most natural to group them according to the classification
of the theoretical sciences which are to be applied. We should then
have applied physical sciences, applied psychological sciences, applied
historical sciences, and applied normative sciences. Yet even from the


standpoint of practice, we should come at once into difficulties, and
indeed much of the superficiality of practical sciences to-day results
from the hasty tendency to consider them as appHed sciences only,
and thus to be determined by the points of view of the theoretical dis-
cipline which is to be applied. Then, for instance, pedagogy becomes
simply applied psychology, and the psychological point of view is
substituted for the educational one. Pedagogy then becomes simply
a selection of those chapters in psychology which deal with the mental
functions of the child. Yet as soon as we really take the teachers'
point of view, we understand at once that it is utterly artificial to sub-
stitute the categories of the psychologist for those of immediate
practical will-relations and to consider the child in the class-room as
a causal system of pyscho-physical elements instead of a personality
which is teleologically to be interpreted, and whose aims are not to be
connected with causal effects but with over-individual attitudes. In
this way the historical relation and the normative relation have to
play at least as important a role in the pedagogical system as the
psycho-physical relation, and we might quite as well call education
applied history and applied ethics.

Almost every practical science can be shown in this way to apply
a number of theoretical sciences; it synthesizes them to a new unity.
But better, we ought to say, that it is a unity in itself from the start,
and that it only overlaps with a number of theoretical sciences. If
we want to classify the practical sciences, we have thus only the one
logical principle at our disposal : we must classify them in accordance
with the group of human individual aims which control those dif-
ferent disciplines. If all practical sciences deal with the relation of
the world of experience to our individual practical ends, the classes of
those ends are the classes of our practical sciences, whatever combina-
tions of applied theoretical sciences may enter into the group. Of
course a special classification of these aims must remain somewhat
arbitrary; yet it may seem most natural to separate three large divi-
sions. We called them the Utilitarian Sciences, the Sciences of Social
Regulation, and the Sciences of Social Culture. Utilitarian we may
call those sciences in which our practical aim refers to the world of
things; it maybe the technical mastery of nature or the treatment
of the body, or the production, distribution, and consumption of the
means of support. The second division contains everything in which
our aim does not refer to the thing, but to the other subjects; here
naturally belong the sciences which deal with the political, legal, and
social purposes. And finally the sciences of culture refer to those aims
in which not the individual relations to things or to other subjects are
in the foreground, but the purposes of the teleological development of
the subject himself; education, art, and religion here find their place.
It is, of course, evident that the material of these sciences frequently


allows the emphasis of different aspects. For instance, education,
which aims primarily at self-development, might quite well be con-
sidered also from the point of view of social regulation; and still
more naturally could the utilitarian sciences of the economic distri-
bution of the means of support be considered from this point of
view. Yet a classification of sciences nowhere suggests by its
boundary lines that there are no relations and connections between
the different parts; on the contrary, it is just the manifoldness of
these given connections which makes it so desirable to become con-
scious of the principles involved, and thus to emphasize logical
demarcation lines, which of course must be obliterated as soon as
any material is to be treated from every possible point of view. It may
thus well be that, for instance, a certain industrial problem could be
treated in the Normative Sciences from the point of view of ethics; in
the Historical Sciences, from the point of view of the history of
economic institutions; in the Physical Sciences, from the point of
view of physics or chemistry; in the Mental Sciences, from the point
of view of sociology; in the Utilitarian Sciences, from the point of
view of medicine or of engineering, or of commerce and transporta-
tion; and finally in the Regulative Sciences, from the point of view of
political administration, or in the Social Sciences, from the standpoint
of the urban community, and so on. The more complex the relations
are, the more necessary is it to make clean distinctions between the
different logical purposes with which the scientific inquiries start.
Practical life may demand a combination of historical, sociological,
psychological, economical, social, and ethical considerations; but not
one of these sciences can contribute its best if the consciousness of
these differences is lost and the deliberate combination is replaced by
a vague mixture of the problems.

6. The Subdivisions

We have now before us the ground-plan of the scheme, the four
theoretical divisions, and the three practical divisions; every addi-
tional comment on the classification must be of secondary importance,
as it has to refer to the smaller subdivisions, which cannot change the
principles of the plan, and which have not seldom, indeed, been a re-

Online LibraryMo.) Congress of Arts and Science (1904 : Saint LouisCongress of Arts and Science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 → online text (page 13 of 68)