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

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

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sult of practical considerations. If, for instance, our Division of Cul-
tural Sciences shows in the final plan merely the departments of
Education and of Religion, while the originally planned Department
of Art is left out, there was no logical reason for it, but merely the
practical ground that it seemed difficult to bring such a practical art
section to a desirable scientific level; we confine art, therefore, to
the normative aesthetic and historical points of view. Or, to choose
another illustration, if it happened that the normative sciences were



THE SUBDIVISIONS 123

finally organized without a section for the philosophy of law, this re-
sulted from the fact that the American jurists, in contrast with their
Continental European colleagues, showed a general lack of appre-
ciation for such a section. A few sections had to be left out even for
the chance reason that the leading speakers were obliged to with-
draw at a time when it was too late to ask substitutes to work up
addresses. And almost everywhere there had to be something arbi-
trary in the limitation of the special sections. Though Otology and
Laryngology were brought together into one section, they might just
as well have been placed in two; and Rhinology, which was left out,
might have been added as a third in that company. As to this sub-
tler ramification, the plan has been changed several times during the
period of the practical preparation of the plan, and much is the result
of adjustment to questions of personalities. No one claims, thus,
any special logical value for the final formulation of the sectional
details, for which our chief aim was not to go beyond eight times
sixteen, that is 128, sections, inasmuch as it was planned to have
the meetings at eight different time-periods in sixteen different halls.
If we had fulfilled all the wishes which were expressed by specialists,
the number would have been quickly doubled.

Yet a few remarks may be devoted to the branching off within the
seven divisions, as a short discussion of some of these details may
throw additional light on the general principles of the whole plan. If
we thus begin with the Normative Sciences, we stand at once before
one feature of the plan which has been in an especially high degree
a matter of both approval and criticism : the fact that Mathematics
is grouped with Philosophy. The Division was to contain, as we have
seen, the systems of logically connected will-acts of the over-individ-
ual subject. That Ethics or Logic or Esthetics or Philosophy of
Religion deals with such over-individual attitudes cannot be doubted;
but have we a right to codrdinate the mathematical sciences with
these philosophical sciences? Has Mathematics not a more natural
place among the physical sciences coordinated with and introductory
to Mechanics, Physics, and Astronomy? The mathematicians them-
selves would often be inclined to accept without hesitation this neigh-
borhood of the physical sciences. They would say that the mathe-
matical objects are independent realities whose properties we study
like those of nature, whose relations we "observe," whose existence
we "discover," and in which we are interested because they belong to
the real world. All this is true, and yet the objects of the mathema-
tician are objects made by the logical will only, and thus different
from all phenomena into which sensation enters. The mathema-
tician, of course, does not reflect on the purely logical origin of the
objects which he studies, but the system of knowledge must give to
the study of the mathematical objects its place in the group where the



124 THE SCIENTIFIC PLAN OF THE CONGRESS

functions and products of the over-individual attitudes are classified.
The mathematical object is a free creation, and a creation not only
as to the combination of elements — that would be the case with
many laboratory substances of the chemist too — but a creation as to
the elements themselves, and the value of that creation, its " mathe-
matical interest," is to be judged by ideals of thought; that is, by
logical purposes. No doubt this logical purpose is its application in
the world of objects and the mathematical concepts must thus fit the
objective world so absolutely that mathematics can be conceived as a
description of the world after abstracting not only from the will-rela-
tions, as physics does, but also from the content. Mathematics would,
then, be the phenomenalistic science of the form and order of the
world. In this way, mathematics has indeed a claim to places in both
divisions: among the physical sciences if we emphasize its applica-
bility to the world, and among the teleological sciences if we empha-
size the free creation of the objects by the logical will. But if we really
go back to epistemological principles, our system has to prefer the
latter emphasis; that is, we must coordinate mathematics with logic
and not with physics.

As to the subdivision of philosophy, it is most essential for us to
point to the negative fact that of course psychology cannot have a
place in the philosophical department, as part of the Normative Divi-
sion. There is perhaps no science whose position in the system of
knowledge offers so many methodological difficulties as psychology.
Historical tradition of course links it with philosophy; throughout a
great part of its present endeavors it is, on the other hand, linked with
physiology. Thus we find it sometimes coordinated with logic and
ethics, and sometimes, especially in the classical positivistic systems,
coordinated with the sciences of the organic functions. We have seen
why a really logical treatment has to disregard those historical and
practical relations and has to separate the psychological sciences from ,
the philosophical and the biological sciences. Yet even this does
not complete the list of problems which must be settled, inasmuch
as modern thinkers have frequently insisted that psychology itself
allows a twofold aspect. We can have a psychology which describes
and explains the mental life by analyzing it into its elements and by
connecting these elements through causality. But there may be
another psychology which treats inner life in that immediate unity in
which we experience it and seeks to interpret it as the free function
of personality. This latter kind of psychology has been called volun-
taristic psychology as against the phenomenalistic psychology which
seeks description and explanation. Such voluntaristic psychology
would clearly belong again to a different division. It would be a
theory of individual life as a function of will, and would thus be
introductory to the historical sciences and to the normative sciences



THE SUBDIVISIONS 125

too. Yet we left out this teleological psychology from our programme;
as such a science is as yet a programme only. Wherever an effort is
made to realize it, it becomes an odd mixture of an inconsistent phe-
nomenalistic psychology on the one side, and philosophy of history,
logic, ethics, and sesthetics on the other side. The only science which
really has a right to call itself psychology is the one which seeks to
describe and to explain inner life and treats it therefore as a system
of psychical objects, that is, as contents of consciousness, that is, as
phenomena. Psychology belongs, then, in the general division of
psychical sciences as over against physical sciences, and both deal
with objects as over against philosophy and history, which deal with
subjects of will.

The subdivision of the Historical Sciences offers no methodological
difficulty as soon as those epistemological arguments are acknow-
ledged by which we sharply distinguish history from the Physical
and Mental Sciences. If history is a system of will-relations which
is in teleological connection with the will-demands that surround us,
then political history loses its predominant role, and the history of
law and of literature, of language and of economy, of art and relig-
ion, become coordinated with political development, while the mere
anthropological aspect of man is relegated to the physical sciences.
The more complete original scheme was here again finally condensed
for practical reasons; for instance, the planned departments on the
History of Education, on the History of Science, and on the History
of Philosophy were sacrificed, and the department of Economic His-
tory was joined to that of Political History. In the same way we felt
obliged to omit in the end many important sections in the depart-
ments; we had, for instance, in the History of Language at first a sec-
tion on Slavic Languages; yet the number of scholars interested was
too small to justify its existence beside a section on Slavic Literature.
Also the History of Music was omitted from the History of Art ; and
the History of Law was planned at first with a fuller ramification.

The division of Physical Sciences naturally suggested that kind of
subdivision which the positivistic classification presents as a com-
plete system of sciences. Considering physics and chemistry as the
two fundamental sciences of general laws, we turn first to astronomy,
then from the science of the whole universe to the one planet, to the
sciencesof the earth; thence to the living organisms on the earth; and
from biology to the still narrower circle of anthropology. The special
classification of physics offers a certain difficulty. To divide it in text-
book fashion into sound, light, electricity, etc., seems hardly in har-
mony with the effort to seek logical principles in the other parts of the
classification. The three groups which we finally formed. Physics of
Matter, Physics of Ether, and Physics of Electron, may appear some-
what too much influenced by the latest theories of to-day, yet it



126 THE SCIENTIFIC PLAN OF THE CONGRESS

seemed preferable to other principles. In the biological department,
criticism seems justified in view of the fact that we constructed
a special section, Human Anatomy. A strictly logical scheme might
have acknowledged that human anatomy is to-day not a separate
science, and that it has resolved itself into comparative anatomy.
Sections of Invertebrate and Vertebrate Anatomy might have been
more satisfactory. The final arrangement was a concession to the
practical interests of the physicians, who have naturally to emphasize
the anatomy of the human organism.

In the division of Mental Sciences, we have the Department of
Sociology. We were, of course, aware that the sociological interest
includes not only the psychological, but also the physiological life
of society, and that it thus has relations to the physical sciences
too. Yet these relations are logically not more fundamental than
those of the individual mental life to the functions of the indi-
vidual organism. Much of the physiological side was further to
be handed over to the Department of Anthropology, and thus we
felt justified in grouping sociology with psychology under the Men-
tal Sciences, as the psychology of the social organism. Here, too,
a larger number of sections was intended and only the two most
essential ones. Social Structure and Social Psychology, were finally
admitted.

The ramifications of the practical sciences had to follow the general
principle that their character is determined by purpose and not by
material. The difficulty was here merely in the extreme specialization
of the practical disciplines, which suggests on the whole the forming of
very small units, while our plan was to provide for fifty practical sec-
tions only. It seemed, therefore, incongruous to have the whole of
Internal Medicine or the whole of Private Law condensed into one
section. Yet as the purpose of the scheme was a theoretical and not a
practical one, even where the theory of practical sciences was in ques-
tion, we felt justified in constructing coordinated sections, even where
the practical importance was very unequal. On the other hand, some
glaring defects just here are due merely to chance circumstances.
That there were, for instance, no sections on Criminal Law or Eccle-
siastical Law in the Department of Jurisprudence, nor on Legal Pro-
cedure, resulted from the unfortunate accident that in these cases the
speakers who were to come from Europe were withheld by illness or
public duties. The absence of the Department of Art in the Division
of Social Culture, and thus of the Sections on the theory and practice
of the different arts, has been explained before. It is evident that
also in the Economical Department the practical development has
interfered with the original symmetrical arrangement of the sec-
tions. This is not true of the Religious Department, whose six
sections express the tendencies of the original plan. The fre-



THE RESULTS OF THE CONGRESS 127

quently expressed criticism that the different religions and their
denominations ought to have found place there shows a mis-
conception of our purpose; a Parliament of Religion did not belong
to this plan,

III

THE RESULTS OF THE CONGRESS

The programme of the Congress, as outlined in the previous
pages, was in this case somewhat more than a mere programme. It
not only invited to do a piece of work, but it sought to contribute to
the work itself. Yet the chief work had to be done by others, and
their part needed careful preparation. Yet very little of the prepar-
ation showed itself to the eyes of the larger public, and few were fully
aware what a complex organization was growing up and how many
persons of mark were cooperating.

It was essential to find for every address the best man. Specialists
only could suggest to the committees where to find him. It has been
told before how our invitations were brought to the foreigners first
till the desired number of foreign participants was secured, and how
the Americans followed. As could not be otherwise expected, interfer-
ences of all kinds disturbed the ideal configuration of the first list of
acceptances; substitutes had sometimes to be relied on; and yet,
when on the nineteenth of September President Francis welcomed the
Congress of Arts and Science in the gigantic Festival Hall of the St.
Louis Exposition, the Committee knew that almost four hundred
speakers had completed their manuscripts, and that it was a galaxy
which far surpassed in importance that of any previous international
congress. And the list of those who stood for the success of the work
was not confined to the official speakers. Each Department and each
Section had its own honorary President, who was also chosen by the
consent of leading specialists and whose introductory remarks were to
give additional importance to the gathering. At their side stood the
hundred and thirty Secretaries, carefully chosen from among the pro-
ductive scholars of the younger generation. And a large number of
informal, yet officially invited contributors, had announced valuable
discussions and addresses for almost every Section. Invitations to
membership finally had been sent to the universities and scholarly
societies of all countries.

That the turmoil of a world's fair is out of harmony with the
scholar's longing for repose and quietude is a natural presupposition,
which has not been disproved by the experience of St. Louis. When
Professor Newcomb, our President, spoke to the opening assembly on
the dignity of scholarship, the scholar's peaceful address was accentu-



128 THE SCIENTIFIC PLAN OF THE CONGRESS

ated by the thunder of the cannons with which Boer and British
forces were playing at war near by. The roaring of the Pike over-
powered many a quiet session, and the patient speaker had not seldom
to fight heroically with a brass band on the next lawn. The trains
were delayed, trunks were mixed up, and the sultry St. Louis weather
stirred much secret longing for the seashore and the mountains, which
most had to leave too early for that pilgrimage to the Mississippi
Valley. Yet all this could have been easily foreseen, and every one
knew that all this would soon be forgotten. These slight discomforts
were many times made up for by the overwhelming beauty of that
ivory city in which the civilization of the world was focused by the
united energy of the nations, and it seemed well worth while to cross
the ocean for the delight of that enchantment which came with every
evening's myriad illumination. And every day brought interesting
festivities. No one will forget the receptions of the foreign commis-
sioners, or the charming hospitality of the leading citizens of St. Louis,
or the enthusiastic banquet which brought one thousand speakers
and presidents and official members of the Congress together as guests
of the master mind of the Exposition, President Francis.

While the discomfort of external shortcomings was thus easily bal-
anced, it is more doubtful whether the internal shortcomings of the
work can be considered as fully compensated for. It would be impos-
sible to overlook these defects in the realization of our plans, even if it
may be acknowledged that they were unavoidable under the given
conditions. The principal difficulty has been that many speakers
have not really treated the topic for the discussion of which they were
invited. This deviation from the plan took various forms. There was
in some cases a fundamental attitude taken which did not harmonize
with those logical principles which had led to the classification; for
instance, we had sharply separated, for reasons fully stated above,
the Division of History from the Division of Mental Sciences, includ-
ing, sociology; yet some papers for the Division of History clearly
indicated sympathy with the traditional positivistic view, according
to which history becomes simply a part of sociology. And similar
variations of the general plan occur in almost every division. But
there cannot be any objection to this secondary variety as long as the
whole framework gives the primary uniformity. Certainly no one of
the contributors is to be blamed for it; no one was pledged to the
philosophy of the general plan, and probably few would have agreed
if any one had had the idea of demanding from every contributor an
identical background of general convictions. Such monotony would
have been even harmful, as the work would have become inexpressive
of the richness of tendencies in the scholarly life of our time. This was
not an occasion where educated clerks were to work up in a second-
hand way a report whose general trend was determined beforehand;



THE RESULTS OF THE CONGRESS 129

the work demanded original thinkers, with whom every word grows
out of a rich individual view of the totality. If every paper had been
meant merely as a detailed amplification of the logical principles
on which the whole plan was based, it would have been wiser to set
young Doctor candidates to work, who might have elaborated the
hint of the general scheme. To invite the leaders of knowledge meant
to give them complete freedom and to confine the demands of the plan
to a most general direction.

The same freedom, which every one was to have as to the general
standpoint, was intended also for all with regard to the arrangement
and limitation of the topic. All the sectional addresses were supposed
to deal either with relations or with fundamental problems of to-day.
It would have been absurd to demand that in every case the totality
of relations or of problems should be covered or even touched. The
result would have become perfunctory and insignificant. No one
intended to produce a cyclopedia. It was essential everywhere to
select that which was most characteristic of the tendencies of the age
and most promising for the science of the twentieth century. Those
problems were to be emphasized whose solution is most demanded for
the immediate progress of knowledge, and those relations had to be
selected through which new connections, new synthetic thoughts
prepare themselves to-day. That this selection had to be left to the
speaker was a matter of course.

Yet it may be said that in all these directions, with reference to the
general standpoint and with reference to problems and relations,
the Organizing Committee had somewhat prepared the choice through
the selection of the speakers themselves. As the standpoints of the
leading speakers were well known, it was not difficult to invite as far
as possible for every place a scholar whose general views would be
least out of harmony with the principles of the plan. For instance,
when we had the task before us of selecting the divisional speakers for
the Normative and for the Mental Sciences, it was only natural to
invite for the first a philosopher of idealistic type and for the latter a
philosopher of positivistic stamp, inasmuch as the whole scheme gave
to the mental sciences the same place which they would have had in
a positivistic scheme, while the normative sciences would have lost
the meaning which they had in our plan if a pK)sitivist had simply
.psychologized them. In the same way we gave preference as far as
possible, for the addresses on relations, to those scholars whose pre-
vious work was concerned with new synthetic movements, and as
speakers on problems those were invited who were in any case
engaged in the solution of those problems which seemed central in
the present state of science. Thus it was that on the whole the ex-
pectation was justified that the most characteristic relations and the
most characteristic problems would be selected if every invited



130 THE SCIENTIFIC PLAN OF THE CONGRESS

speaker spoke essentially on those relations and on those problems
with which his own special work was engaged.

Yet there is no doubt that this expectation was sometimes ful-
filled beyond our anticipation, in an amount of specialization which
was no longer entirely in harmony with the general character of the
undertaking. The general problem has become sometimes only the
starting-point or almost the pretext for speaking on some relation
or problem so detailed that it can hardly stand as a representative
symbol of the whole movement in that sectional field. Especially in
the practical sciences more room was sometimes taken for particu-
lar hobbies and chance aspects than in the eyes of the originators the
occasion may have called for. Yet on the whole this was the excep-
tion. The overwhelming majority of the addresses fulfilled nobly the
high hopes of the Boards, and even in those exceptional cases where
the speaker went his own way, it was usually such an original and
stimulating expression of a strong personality that no one would care
to miss this tone in the symphony of science.

Even now of course, though the Congress days have passed, and
only typewritten manuscripts are left from all those September
meetings, it would be easy to provide, by editorial efforts, for a greater
uniformity and a smoother harmonization. Most of the authors
would have been quite willing to retouch their addresses in the
interest of greater objective uniformity and to accept the hint of an
editorial committee in elaborating more fully some points and in con-
densing or eliminating others. Much was written in the desire to bring
a certain thought for discussion before such an eminent audience,
while the speaker would be ready to substitute other features of the
subject for the permanent form of the printed volume. Yet such
editorial supervision and transformation would be not only immodest
but dangerous. We might risk gaining some external uniformity, but
only to lose much of the freshness and immediacy and brilliancy of
the first presentation. And who would dare to play the critical judge
when the international contributors are the leaders of thought?
There was therefore not the slightest effort made to suggest revision
of the manuscripts, for which the whole responsibility must thus fall
to the particular author. The reduction to a uniform language
seemed, on the other hand, most natural, and those who had delivered
their addresses in French, German, or Italian themselves welcomed
the idea that their papers should be translated into English by com-
petent specialists. The short bibliographies, selected mostly through
the chairman of the departments, and the very full index with refer-
ences may add to the general usefulness of the eight volumes in which
the work is to be presented.

But the significance of the Congress of Arts and Science ought not
to be measured and valued only by reference to this printed result.



THE RESULTS OF THE CONGRESS 131

Its less visible side-effects seem in no way less important for scholar-



Online LibraryMo.) Congress of Arts and Science (1904 : Saint LouisCongress of Arts and Science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 → online text (page 14 of 68)