The Ascent of Faith; Or, the Grounds of Certainty in Science and Religion
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1894 edition. Excerpt: ...time, matter, motion, force, consciousness, self, he shows that these stand for realities that cannot be comprehended. Speaking of the man of science he says: --" He realizes with special vividness the utter incomprehensibleness of the simplest fact considered in itself" (p. 67). Of the fundamental ideas to which others may be reduced he says: --" Supposing him in every case able to resolve the appearances, properties, and movements of things into manifestations of force in space and time, he still finds that force, space, and time pass all understanding. Similarly, though the analysis of mental actions may finally bring him down to sensations, as the original materials out of which all thought is woven, yet he is little forwarder; for he can give no account either of sensations themselves or of that something which is conscious of sensations.... Ultimate scientific ideas, then, are all representatives of realities that cannot be comprehended" (p. 66). It follows that difficulty, or even impossibility, of comprehension, and, therefore, of complete definition, is no reason for excluding the incomprehensible from the sphere of science. First Principles, 4(/1 ed.) I do not forget that Mr. Spencer, to whom I have appealed, speaks of these relative realities, and of the absolute reality of which they are manifestations, as unknowable. But what if it turns out that by the word " Unknowable" Mr. Spencer simply means the "Incomprehensible "? That this is Mr. Spencer's meaning there is abundant proof. Indeed, his "First Principles " would be unintelligible on any other supposition. We have already seen that if we know only what we comprehend, we must exclude space and time, matter, motion and force, ...
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