Excerpt from The Methodist Review (Bimonthly), Vol. 86: Fifth Series, Volume XX; July, 1904
MY purpose is to make a critical exposition of the funda mental ideas and logic of Mr. Spencer's system; as they are what determine his place and importance in the history of philosophy.
The naturalistic revival of the generation just past was an interesting and instructive episode in the history of thought. The multitudinous facts discovered and the great physical and biological generalizations to which they led found us mentally unprepared for dealing with them. We had no adequate philo sophical and critical apparatus, and the result was a storm. The fountains of the great deep were broken up, and some things passed away with a great noise. Of this naturalistic movement Mr. Spencer became the official philosopher for the English-speaking world, and to a great extent elsewhere. In the enthusiastic and uncritical state of thought then prevalent Mr. Spencer's philosophy acquired something of the prestige of physical science itself, and was supposed to rest on an equally solid foundation, but this has largely passed away. Philosophical criticism has set in. There has been a more careful partition of territory between science and philosophy, and the postulates of naturalism have been subjected to searching examination. The result has been a clearing of the air and a readjustment of philosophical estimates. In couse quenco Mr. Spencer's reputation as a philosopher has notably fallen oﬂ'. Even his disciples now tend to find his greatness less in his positive contributions than in the stimulus he. Gave to thougiit. How much of this stimulus was due to Mr. Spencer514 Methodist Review. [july.
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