Disillusion With the Laboratory


DURING the second half of the nineteenth century Thomas Henry Huxley delivered a number of lectures, evangelical in character, to popular audiences, and his purpose was a double one. He wished to arouse in his hearers an enthusiasm for the truths of the laboratory equal to his own, but he felt at the same time the necessity of quieting certain fears which had been aroused when Darwinism had exploded in the midst of English society. He was anxious to convince his hearers that the moral fabric of their world was not, as they supposed, put in jeopardy, and he went even so far as to assure them, in effect, that he could give them good human reasons for obeying most of the Ten Commandments even if they should be compelled, as a result of his other teachings, to doubt that these commandments had been handed down to Moses by God Himself.

But there were moments at which he felt himself hard pressed by those of his opponents who doubted the utility, even more than they doubted the truth, of the hypotheses he was expounding. He had received letters from well-meaning old ladies who asked him what good it would do to go about assuring people that they had apes rather than angels for cousins-german — even though he himself were sure of the fact — and sometimes he felt the inconvenience of being always compelled to defend his beliefs upon the double ground of their truth and usefulness. This inconvenience he did not, however, usually admit in public; but once, just after his wife had died and when Charles Kingsley had written him concerning the possibility of a future life, he did, in a private letter, renounce one half of the obligation he usually assumed and, taking his stand upon a dogmatic allegiance to truths of the order which particularly concerned him, he wrote: ‘Sit down before fact as a little child . . . follow humbly and to whatever abysses Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.’

Now to us of a later day there is something ominous in this sentence. Since the time when first it was defiantly uttered we have listened to the accounts of many explorers who have followed Nature and have returned with tales not wholly reassuring, but we shall miss the contrast between the temper of Huxley’s day and our own if we fail to perceive that the words sprang from a heart more confident than the words seem to imply, and that, indeed, no utterance of his is more characteristically Victorian. Not only is it marked by a certain rhetorical grandeur which gives it an heroic ring foreign to the best expression in an age like our own, when men have grown a little distrustful of such rotundities, but also, for all the desperation of its rhetoric, it is replete with an unmistakably Victorian optimism. Huxley did not in his heart believe that Nature had any ‘abysses’ very deep or very dark, and he did not really admit the possibility that they might exist. Formally, and for the sake of argument, he declared his willingness to know the worst about man and the universe, but he was serenely confident that that worst was not very bad. He loved what he called Truth, and he believed that all he valued could be established upon it.

This optimism, characteristic of Huxley’s age, was the natural accompaniment of a fresh enthusiasm for a new method. Together with those of his contemporaries who had, like him, reflective minds, he perceived that Darwin’s discoveries were more than isolated facts, and he saw in them a missing link in the chain of reasoning which was leading him to the conclusion that all human problems were ultimately solvable. The sciences had already demonstrated their power to understand and deal with the forces of Nature, and now that Darwin had proved that man was not something essentially different from, but actually a part of, this same Nature, it seemed fair to conclude that they might hope for an equal success in dealing with human things. Doubtless he foresaw a part of all those painstaking studies which have since been made into the genesis of the arts, religions, and civilizations, and like those who undertook them he supposed that they would be as fruitful in both truth and utility as those of Darwin upon which they were modeled. He had seen so many problems solved in the laboratory that he was little disturbed by any doubts as to what the limits of the method might be, and, while some were left desolate by theories which seemed to deny them their trailing clouds of glory, he saw no cause for anything but hope in an hypothesis which made man part of that Nature which was so rapidly yielding up its secrets.

In the light of his knowledge and experience Huxley’s optimism was not, perhaps, unjustified, but those of us who look back over the fifty-odd years which have passed since it expanded in its full flower are aware of a buoyance which has somehow passed away and of a sense that the possibility of certain ultimate solutions has rather receded than approached as the years went by. All prophecies make sad reading when their term has elapsed, but in this particular case we are not quite sure why it should be so, since in so many respects the optimism of Huxley seems more than justified. Knowledge has marched on — more rapidly perhaps than he hoped — and this knowledge has brought with it that increased capacity to control the accidents of our lives which he predicted. Ingenuity has devised subtler instruments to investigate the secrets of Nature and to direct her forces than any he dreamed of; already we know more and can do more in certain directions than he would have supposed possible for a generation as close as ours is to his own; and yet, in spite of so much success, we are aware of a certain disappointment and of a hope less eager than his, as though our victories were somehow barren and as though the most essential things were eluding us. We do not, we cannot, actually doubt even the most fantastic of the verities which the scientist announces, since his boasted power to foretell and control upon the basis of his hypotheses has been too often vindicated to permit a skepticism, and when he tells us that soon we shall be doing this or that we know from experience that we had best believe him. Yet our belief is without enthusiasm — even, perhaps, a little perfunctory or impatient — because all his successes seem to achieve and to promise less than once they did.

Doubtless this disillusion is due in part to a clearer and clearer penetration of the ancient fallacy which consists in basing an estimate of our welfare upon the extent to which our material surroundings have been elaborated. This fallacy, born at the same moment with scientific method itself, runs all through the New Atlantis of Bacon, where it leads him to accept without question the assumption that we shall be wise and happy in proportion to the ingenuity of the machinery which surrounds us, and it is still the very foundation stone in the faith of the more naïve of contemporary materialists who assume that we have, for example, indubitably bettered ourselves when we have learned, first to say things over wires, and then to dispense even with them. A wider and wider experience with inventions has, however, convinced the more thoughtful that a man is not, as once was said, twice as happy when moving at the rate of fifty miles an hour as he would be if he were proceeding at only half that speed, and we no longer believe that the millennium presents merely a problem in engineering. Science has always promised two things not necessarily related — an increase first in our powers, second in our happiness or wisdom, and we have come to realize that it is the first and less important of the two promises which it has kept most abundantly.

Yet this explanation is not in itself complete, and we cannot deny, either, that the better sort of scientist has always realized that the ultimate value of science must depend upon its human value or that his researches into the mind and institutions of man have been less remarkable than those he has conducted into inanimate Nature. Huxley himself was fond of pointing out the danger which lay in the error of assuming that a pump was the most important result of our knowledge of the fact that air has weight, or that Galileo was great because he made good clocks possible. He had a Lucretian faith in the power of the light of knowledge to banish the fears which had oppressed the soul of man, and he had, beside, a faith that that same light would so illuminate the moral world as to enable us to see more clearly than we had ever seen before our capacities, our obligations, and our aims. Nature he thought was important chiefly because man was a part of it, and because by knowing Nature he would come to know himself. And yet, though the eagerness which the scientist has shown to draw conclusions sociological, ethical, and philosophical from his discoveries is sufficient proof that this aspect of the laboratory has not been forgotten, it is precisely here that our disillusion is keenest.

The more we learn of human nature, the less sure a foundation it seems to be upon which to build; and the more we know of the origins of the arts and faiths which have made the human race seem heroic, the less we see how they can be carried on to any perfection. If the proud confidence of Huxley has oozed away, it is in part because the abyss of Nature is darker and deeper than he supposed, and in part because the light which illuminates it does not reveal as clearly as he had anticipated what our bearings are as we wing our way, like Milton’s Satan, through a vast emptiness. Science, though it fulfills the details of its promises, does not in any ultimate sense solve our problems.


Certainly the spread of scientific method to fields of inquiry which had not been thought of as subjects thereto was no less rapid or complete than Huxley had anticipated. Within a generation people had come instinctively to assume that the universe was a single continuity whose phenomena, from the crystallization of a salt on through the transports of romantic love or the profoundest experiences of mystical religion, were all part of the same great system and all natural in the sense that they were all subject to investigation by the same methods. Anthropology, defined as the science of man considered as an animal, was born; and, though the designation came to be used in a narrow sense, this definition is sufficient to describe the subject matter of practically every study undertaken during half a century. History, philosophy, and even theology became chiefly the search for origins and the study of processes by which things were evolved, so that even when a man as sympathetic as William James toward religious experiences undertook to study them they could only be approached through the method of documentary comparisons.

First man’s body and then his soul were dragged into the laboratory to be measured, tested, and made the subject of experiment. His desires, his beliefs, and his impulses were tracked down, catalogued, and mapped. The history of morals was written, the physiology of love was described, and the functions of faith were analyzed. A vast mountain of data, much of it accurate and incontrovertible, upon every activity of the human spirit, was gathered, and always we were promised the great illumination which was to follow its absorption. Knowledge, we had learned, was power. When one had come to understand the laws of physics one was able intelligently to arrange for one’s physical well-being, and so when one had learned the laws of the mental world one would be able in the same way to assure one’s spiritual state. Once we had come to grasp the principles of art, we should know how to produce it; once we had unraveled the complexities involved in the history of morals, we should be able to devise and practise a really intelligent moral code; and once we thoroughly understood the functions of religion, we should be able to embrace one capable of perfectly fulfilling those functions.

And yet, for some reason not easy at first to comprehend, the analogy has failed to hold, and a laboratory knowledge of what, for want of better terms, we must still speak of as the soul and its activities does not result in any greater mastery of them. Though the ‘I’ in each one of us is the thing of whose reality we seem to have the directest possible evidence, yet in the laboratory it dissolves into an unstable agglomeration of sensations and impulses which we cannot recognize as ourselves, while the will, which seems to us to inform this nonexistent entity, is revealed as a pure illusion. And if science thus illuminates the problems of the soul by assuring us that it cannot find any of the things we are talking about, its efforts are not much more satisfactory when applied to the study of ethics. A Westermarck, having adopted the genetic methods consecrated by Darwin and having armed himself with the detachment of science, plunges into the study of morals. We eagerly await the exact and positive conclusions which science seems to promise, and he returns with three fat volumes which prove — that morality does not exist. In the laboratory there can be found no trace of the soul except certain rather undignified phenomena which give rise to the illusion that we have one, no sign of the will except that conditioned preponderance of one impulse over the other which leads us to feel as though we were exercising a choice, and no evidence of the existence of any such thing as morality except customs — more or less fixed in certain times or places, but in the large extremely variable — which familiarity leads us to regard as absolute. And yet we act and must act as though these things were realities and the problems which we looked to science to solve were problems predicated upon the real existence of the entities it denies. They are a part of that world — illusory, perhaps — in which our consciousness has its being, even though not part of any which the laboratory can investigate.

The origins, evolutions, and relativities which the latter does reveal are in part disconcerting and in part irrelevant. It has shown itself most competent and most decisive in dealing with those aspects of life which, when contemplated, are the most likely to disturb the equanimity of our souls. It has, that is to say, been most fruitful of result when it has attempted to trace our most exalted feelings back to their basis in some primitive physiological urge; to analyze our art into the elements which serve to excite and satisfy some appetence which seems, when so examined, trivial enough; or to demonstrate how completely our reason — which Shakespeare thought godlike and in which Spinoza thought he had found the realm which he could denominate as ‘Of Human Freedom’— is in reality also in bondage to our passions and to be adequately described as a mere ‘rationalization’ of them. It has, then, humbled our dignity and clipped the wings of our aspirations, but its disconcerting revelations are more easily borne than the irrelevancies which result from the fact, mentioned above, that the stream of consciousness, and the conditioned preponderance of one impulse over the other with which it replaces the ‘I’ and the ‘will’ of our intimate experience, do not correspond with that experience or help us to understand its problems. To the man in the grip of a romantic passion and uncertain whether ‘love is all’ or merely an infirmity of mind, the modern cure of souls can say no more than that the victim is suffering, perhaps, from a fixation; and the person in search of moral guidance who goes to the scientific studies of morality to get it will be vouchsafed the information that among certain of the South Sea Islanders modesty consists in taking care that the body is tattooed, or that in some other time and place the murder of one’s superannuated grandparents was considered a duty. Doubtless the facts in both cases are true, but they are not recognizable in the experience with which the individual is called upon to deal, and they are in that sense irrelevant.

We went to science in search of light, not merely upon the nature of matter, but upon the nature of man as well, and though that which we have received may be light of a sort, it is not adapted to our eyes and is not anything by which we can see. Since thought began we have groped in the dark among shadowy shapes, doubtfully aware of landmarks looming uncertainly here and there — of moral principles, human values, aims, and ideals. We hoped for an illumination in which they would at last stand clearly and unmistakably forth, but instead they appear even less certain and less substantial than before — mere fancies and illusions generated by nerve actions that seem terribly remote from anything we can care about or based upon relativities that accident can shift. We had been assured that many troublesome shadows would flee away, that superstitious fears, irrational repugnances, and all manner of bad dreams would disappear. And so in truth very many have. But we never supposed that most of the things we cherished would prove equally unsubstantial, that all the aims we thought we vaguely perceived, all the values we pursued, and all the principles we clung to were but similar shadows, and that either the light of science is somehow deceptive or the universe, emotionally and spiritually, a vast emptiness.

Hopes are disappointed in strange and unexpected ways. When first we embrace them we fear, if we fear at all, some miscarriage in the details of our plan. We are anxious lest we should not be able to go where we hope to go, acquire what we hope to own, or gain the distinction we hope to win. But it is not thus that we are most frequently or most bitterly disappointed. We accomplish the journeys, assume the possessions, and receive the distinctions, but they are not what we thought them, and in the midst of success it is failure that we taste. It is not the expected thing but the effect that is lost, the advantages of possession or the joys of achievement which fail to materialize, in spite of the fact that it was never at that point that we feared a failure. And so it has been with modern science. It has marched from triumph to triumph, winning each specific victory more completely and more expeditiously than even its most enthusiastic prophet predicted, but those specific victories do not bear the fruits expected. Less follows than once seemed inevitable and we are disillusioned with success.


Your scientist, impatient and a little scornful of the speculations, dreams, and fancies which have occupied the man ignorant of the laboratory and its marvels, is inclined to feel sure of his superiority when he insists that it is with realities that he deals; but it may be that by that statement he is destroying himself, since the contact of the human mind with reality is so slight that two thousand years of epistemology have not been able to decide exactly what the nexus is, and it is easier to argue that our consciousness exists in utter isolation than to prove that it is actually aware of the external phenomena by which it is surrounded. Nor need we, in order to demonstrate this fact, confine ourselves to the consideration of such intangible things as those which have just been discussed, since the physical world of which we are aware through the senses is almost equally remote from that which the laboratory reveals.

The table before which we sit may be, as the scientist maintains, composed of dancing atoms, but it does not reveal itself to us as anything of the kind, and it is not with dancing atoms but a solid and motionless object that we live. So remote is this ‘real’ table — and most of the other ‘realities’ with which science deals — that it cannot be discussed in terms which have any human value, and though it may receive our purely intellectual credence it cannot be woven into the pattern of life as it is led, in contradistinction to life as we attempt to think about it. Vibrations in the ether are so totally unlike, let us say, the color purple that the gulf between them cannot be bridged, and they are, to all intents and purposes, not one but two separate things of which the second and less ‘real’ must be the most significant for us. And just as the sensation which has led us to attribute an objective reality to a nonexistent thing which we call ‘purple’ is more important for human life than the conception of vibrations of a certain frequency, so too the belief in God, however ill founded, has been more important in the life of man than the germ theory of decay, however true the latter may be.

We may, if we like, speak in consequence, as certain mystics love to do, of the different levels or orders of truth. We may adopt what is essentially a Platonistic trick of thought and insist upon postulating the existence of external realities which correspond to the needs and modes of human feeling, and which, so we may insist, have their being in some part of the universe unreachable by science. But to do so is to make an unwarrantable assumption and to be guilty of the metaphysical fallacy of failing to distinguish between a truth of feeling and that other sort of truth which is described as a ‘truth of correspondence,’ and it is better perhaps, at least for those of us who have grown up in an age of scientific thought, to steer clear of such confusions and to rest content with the admission that, though the universe with which science deals is the real universe, yet we do not and cannot have any but fleeting and imperfect contacts with it; that the most important part of our lives — our sensations, emotions, desires, and aspirations — takes place in a universe of illusions which science can attenuate or destroy, but which it is powerless to enrich.

But once we have made that admission we must guard ourselves against the assumption, hastily embraced by those who make the admission too gladly, that we have thereby liberated ourselves from all bondage to mere fact and freed the human spirit so that it may develop in its own way. The human world is not completely detached and autonomous. Since mind can function only through body, the one world is interpenetrated by the other. The two clash from time to time, and when they do so it is always the solider which must prevail, so that we dare not attempt to deny its existence. The world which our minds have created to meet our desires and our needs exists precariously and on sufferance; it is shadowy and insubstantial for the very reason that there is nothing outside itself to correspond with it, and it hence must always be fragile and imperfect.

Science, to be sure, has sometimes imagined a wholly scientific man of the future, and the more thoroughgoing sort of scientist has sometimes predicted that the time would come when the world of the human mind would be precisely the world of the laboratory and nothing more. Conceiving a daily life far more thoroughly mechanized than that of to-day, — of a society that sped through the air at incredible speed, that took its nourishment in the form of concentrated pellets and generated its children from selected seeds in an annealed glass womb, — he has imagined man as possessed of a soul fit for such surroundings. To him the needs and emotions referred to in this essay as distinctly human are merely troublesome anachronisms destined to pass away when we have accustomed ourselves more completely to things as they are, and it is our business to get rid of them as rapidly as possible in order to hasten the coming of the happy being to whom the roar of wheels will be the sweetest melody and a laboratory the only tabernacle for which he feels any need.

But it must be remembered that before such a creature could come into being changes more fundamental than are sometimes imagined would have to take place, since, even if we confine our attention to his physical surroundings only, he would have to be one who lived no longer, as all of us do, in the world of appearances, but one for whom vibrations were more real than colors because the spectroscope and the interferometer were more natural than the eye. For him the table in its most intimate aspect would have to be a swarm of dancing atoms, and not only all the art but all the thought and feeling of past humanity alien nonsense. We could understand him no more than we now understand the ant on the one hand or the dynamo on the other, and he would feel no kinship with us. And hence, though we may admit the possibility that the future belongs to him, we cannot feel any delight in it or make its possessor any concern of ours. It is to our humanity that we cling, because it is the thing which we recognize as ourselves, and if it is lost, then all that counts for us is lost with it.

What we have come to realize, then, is that the scientific optimism of which Huxley may be taken as a typical exponent was merely a new variety of faith, resting upon certain premises which are no more unassailable than those which have supported other vanished religions of the past. It had as its central dogma the assumption that truths (of correspondence) were necessarily useful, and that the human spirit flowered best in the midst of realities clearly perceived. After the manner of all religions, it instinctively refrained from any criticism of this essential dogma, and it was left to us in an age troubled by a new agnosticism to perceive how far this first article of the scientific creed is from being self-evidently true. Experience has taught us that the method of the laboratory has its limitation, and that the accumulation of scientific data is not, in the case of all subjects, useful. We have learned how certain truths — intimate revelations concerning the origin and mechanism of our deepest impulses — can stagger our souls, and how a clear perception of our lonely isolation in the midst of a universe which knows nothing of us and our aspirations paralyzes our will. We are aware, too, of the fact that art and ethics have not flowered anew in the light, that we have not won a newer and more joyous acceptance of the universe, and we have come to realize that the more we learn of the laws of that universe — in which we constitute a strange incongruity — the less we shall feel at home in it.

Each new revelation fascinates us. We would not, even if we dared, remain ignorant of anything which we can learn, but with each new revelation we perceive so much the more clearly that half — perhaps the most important half — of all we are and desire to be can find no comfort or support in such knowledge, that it is useless to seek for correspondences between our inner world and the outer one when we know that no such correspondences exist. Many of the things which we value most have a relation to external Nature no more intimate than the relation of purple to vibrations of the ether, and the existence of such a relation can never be to us more than an academic fact. We are disillusioned with the laboratory, not because we have lost faith in the truth of its findings, but because we have lost faith in the power of those findings to help us as generally as we had once hoped they might help.


And what, then, of the Age of Science? It began, perhaps, with the Renaissance, or perhaps with the beginning of the seventeenth century, which saw the first of its most magnificent triumphs, and it may not yet have reached its apogee. Is it destined to give way to some other age, named from some new predominant interest? Will it be looked back upon as an epoch whose limits, like the limits of others, can be recognized? Or is it, as some seem to think, a period which began when, for the first time, the true method of inquiry was discovered, and which is hence certain to endure as long as the continuity of life is maintained? Is it something with a beginning, but no other end than the end of the story of mankind?

Not even a speculative answer can be given to that question unless we define more closely what we mean when we ask it, and certainly it is not likely that the time will ever come when the wheels of the machine will cease to turn or the door of the laboratory be closed. Fanatics, the antithesis of those who gladly envisage a more and more vertiginously mechanized world, have been known to express a wish that just that would happen. So violently have they hated the soul of the modern man that they have wished to erase from the record of history every thought and deed since the Renaissance, and have longed for the return of a new Middle Age hardly different from that which closed when new hopes were born.

But one need not have all of Huxley’s faith to see the absurdity of such a programme. One can hardly embrace it without being willing at the same time to destroy a large part of the population of the earth, because only the devices of science make it possible for them to be supported; and, even if one accepted that condition, one can hardly wish for the return of those good old days when there was nothing but prayer to oppose to the ravishes of a plague or when a wounded limb rotted slowly but inevitably away. There is something to be grateful for also in the fact, for which the realism of science is largely responsible, that we arc no longer likely to be burned at the stake because we hold too tenaciously an unpopular opinion concerning the nature of the Trinity which we feel it would involve damnation to relinquish, and there are other benefits bestowed by science which we are not anxious to surrender. If we speak, then, of the possibility that the Age of Science may pass, we do not mean that science would thereupon cease to perform its functions. We are thinking rather of a time when those boundless hopes which Huxley cherished, and to which many still cling, shall have been definitely renounced, when science shall no longer be looked to as the universal nostrum, and when it shall no longer give its name to an epoch because it will no longer be the dominant interest of all the best minds.

Even this is not easy for us, born as we were in the midst of an age of faith, to imagine. We have grown accustomed both to the triumphs of science and to the gradual extension of its activities, until they have come to seem to us something inevitable. We can hardly conceive how they should cease to occur or by what process the tendencies they express should pass away; and yet, if we follow the method which science has taught us, if we will make a study of comparative intellectual religions, we may see how that which happened once may come about again.

There was once, as everyone knows, a time when deduction, or the method of metaphysics, had followers as devoted, as numerous, and as confident as ever were won by the rival system of inductive logic upon which science is based. The universities of the Middle Ages which sprang up over Europe and were filled with eager scholars were an expression of the extravagant hopes which the world then fastened upon the methods of the schoolmen just as surely as the laboratories now dotting the face of the earth are an expression of the hopes which science has inspired. In that day students flocked to the centres from obscure corners just as they do now, and they were drawn for the same reason. Keen minds were attacking the most important problems which face mankind with a new weapon, and the syllogism was marching from triumph to triumph. Every problem seemed to yield to the strength of that mighty engine, a thrill not unlike that which we feel at the successful result of a new experiment went through the soul of the listening world of scholars when a new demonstration was achieved, and it seemed as though everything were ultimately knowable. Vast volumes, filled with certitudes and no less imposing in bulk than those our own age has produced, were written; and at last came one who summarized in one great work a systematic series of answers to all the questions a wise man would care to ask.

Little remains as a result of all this activity. Most of the writings it produced are couched in a jargon which only the specialized student can understand, and the veriest amateur of science will tell you, with a quiet confidence based upon a complete ignorance of the subject, that the schoolmen wasted their time. And how came it, then, that that which once seemed the greatest of human triumphs has sunk so low in the estimation of the world that few take even the trouble to find out what it was? Somehow the confidence which had been reposed in it oozed away and there was growing disillusion with the metaphysician not unlike that disillusion which is the subject of the present essay. Within its own world metaphysics was perfect, but it came to seem, like so much of modern science, less relevant to the life people led than at first it appeared to be. Men’s realest needs and desires seemed to elude it, and the progress which it made was the progress of a squirrel in its cage. Its irrefutable demonstrations made very little difference in the success of the lives of those who mastered them, and enthusiasm waned, not so much because of any failure upon which it was possible to put one’s finger as because metaphysics did not seem to be helping people very rapidly along the road which they wished to travel.

And if we were compelled to sum up our criticism of modern science in a single phrase we could hardly find one better than this last — that it does not seem, so surely as once it did, to be helping us very rapidly along the road we wish to travel. We cannot make physical speed an end to be pursued very long after we have discovered that it does not get us anywhere, and neither can we long devote ourselves whole-heartedly to science except in those departments — like medicine, for example—that accomplish not merely results, but results which have an ultimate value.

This does not mean, as some are already suggesting, that we have reason to return with a new enthusiasm to metaphysics. The fact that science has not succeeded in many of her efforts does not make the failure of the schoolmen any less evident; does not prove, for example, that he who finds Westermarck unsatisfactory will find what he is looking for in the pages of Saint Thomas. But it does mean, on the other hand, that the new instrument has begun, like the old, to reveal its limitations, and that our aim has once more eluded us. Huxley and the schoolman were essentially alike in that the ultimate aim of each was the establishment of a science of man founded upon an accurate and positive knowledge of his nature; and they were alike also in the fact that the failure of each served to demonstrate that human nature is too phantasmagorial, too insubstantial, too ‘unreal’ to submit to such treatment, that it must continue to exist precariously and, as it were, upon sufferance in a universe not made for it. It may be that in time the most honored volumes which the scientific study of human nature has produced will become as nearly unread as the Summa Theologiœ itself, even though, in some still more distant future, they are rediscovered and revived in one of those oscillations of ever disappointed hope such as that which, at the present moment, is leading not a few back to Saint Thomas.