Theory of Human Progression–Appendix

APPENDIX. (not complete)
Patrick Edward Dove
The Theory of Human Progression


HAVING assumed, as the basis of our argument for the progression of humanity, the consecutive evolution of the sciences, and their logical dependence on each other, we have endeavored to present the sciences in a tabulated [arm, which, if correct, should present the logical order in which they must be classified, and the chronological order in which they must be evolved by the human race. To have exhibited the chronological evolution of the sciences, would have required a separate dissertation, for which we have not space in the present volume; but if the reader will consider the progress of science from the days of the schoolmen down to the present day, he will find that the following table, which is merely logical, might be exhibited, in fact, as chronological. For that purpose, however, each science would have required to be divided into its separate portions. Thus, acoustics would require to be divided into its mechanics, or the doctrine of its motions or vibrations, and its music, or the doctrine of its tones. And, again, optics would require to be divided into its geometry, or the doctrine of its reflection, refraction, &c., (in which it is unnecessary to consider the motion of a distinct fluid;) into us mechanics, or the doctrine of its motion; and into its chemistry, or the doctrine of its agency on other substances. These various portions are perfectly distinct, (as distinct as the mechanics of solid matter from the chemistry of solid matter;) and consequently, in the history of evolution, it is to be expected that the one portion will evolve before the other, although all may be assembled under the same name.

Again, this mode of viewing the progressive evolution of the sciences explains at once the controversy between the Baconians and the Aristotelians. Many tirades have been levied against Aristotle and his followers, by those who appear altogether incapable of comprehending his method. Aristotle’s method was absolutely necessary, (meaning thereby the deductive method of reasoning;) and it was perfect, so far as the mathematical sciences extended. Without Aristotle, there could have been no Bacon. Both were requisite. The first developed the general form of all reasoning, and the second applied the form to the phenomena of matter. But the deductive mode is only one of the phases of reasoning; and the Baconians, overlooking the fact that the deductive mode was the only mode applicable to mathematics, imagined that they had invented a new method, when they had only inverted the method which Aristotle had bequeathed to them. For, in fact, between the deductive method and the inductive method there is only this difference, that in the former we begin with the major and minor premises, and deduce the consequent j whereas, in the inductive method, we begin with the minor premiss, (the observed conditions.) and the consequent, (the attendant phenomena,) and from these infer the major premiss; that is, the law or generalized fact. Aristotle was as necessary as Bacon; and though the Baconians of the present day do not perceive it, they are exactly in the same position with regard to moral science that the Aristotelians were in with regard to matter science. The sensationalist Baconians, who endeavor to make moral science by a mere induction of facts, are as much out of their province as the metaphysicians, who endeavored to make physical theories by ratiocination. A third method is now requisite, and then the scheme of knowledge will be completed. Aristotle, Bacon, and the man to come,[1] will have exhausted the whole doctrine of method. But each is necessary in his place; Aristotle to give the method of the mathematical sciences, (and also, let it not be forgotten, the method of the physical sciences when once they are discovered;) Bacon, to give the method of the physical sciences, (in the process of discovery;) and the man to come to give the method of the man sciences. But even in the man sciences there can be nothing to transcend the method of Aristotle, as there really was nothing in the Baconian method to transcend the method of Aristotle. Aristotle gave the blank forms of reasoning, and Bacon pointed out the mode of putting real facts into the minor propositions of the syllogisms. And whenever man science is fully made, it also will be only a filling in of real truth into the blank formulae of Aristotle, who, although for a time degraded from his high position, will again hereafter be esteemed as the genuine founder of scientific method. When physical science, passing through the phase of induction, which is the process of discovery, shall have fairly established the great major propositions of the physical world, the method of Aristotle will once more be applicable, and his name will again be revered as second to none in the grand phenomenon of man’s intellectual development.

If, again, it be true that man evolves the sciences in a certain chronological order, we learn to appreciate more correctly the various labors of those great men whose names symbol the respective eras of development. Thus Aristotle might lay bare the universal doctrine of method, and after-ages might have little to improve upon his labors, His logic might be exhaustive, and no future writer might be able to say that he had seen more completely than Aristotle into the uni­versal form of science. But if (as we affirm) logic is the first and most general of all the sciences, the genuine origin of all systematic reasoning, then logic necessarily falls to be classed first, and Aristotle might develop logic, while his opinions on all other branches of knowledge were empirical incomplete, superstitious, or erroneous. His logic might be perfect while his politics would be little else than a tissue of assumptions.

But the most important consideration connected with the following scheme of classification is the logical dependence of one science on its antecedent science. And this dependence manifests itself in the fact, that the one science applied to the forms of the next fundamental noun-substantive, actually becomes the next science. Thus, logic applied to number becomes arithmetic; arithmetic applied to quantities, becomes algebra; algebra applied to spaces becomes geometry, and geometry applied to force becomes statics.

This process cannot possibly be reversed. It is not arbitrary, but necessary. It belongs not to a mode of classification which might serve a temporary purpose, but to a general mode of classification which would always impel man as man to arrange the sciences in this order, and in no other, because no other is permanent1y possible. Not that we have succeeded in arranging the physical sciences in an order altogether un­objectionable, but that we have exposed the principles of classification which must ultimately prevail when the doubts and difficulties now connected with the physical sciences shall have been cleared away, and the relations between electricity, chemistry, and magnetism been so simplified, as to enable lines of demarcation to be drawn with a precision which the mere logician would not now be justified in attempting.

Those who are familiar with logic (and happily that science is gradually regaining its position) will perceive that the fundamental nouns-substantive of the sciences are classed on their extension and comprehension, the extension diminishing exactly as the comprehension includes more and more qualities or predicates.

And this circumstance affords a high presumption that the order is not arbitrary, but the genuine order of nature.

Science, in every case, involves reasoning, and where there is not reasoning (as in the descriptive sciences) there is only classification, which is the preliminary of science. But, anterior to reasoning, there are the fundamental and universal propositions of human credence, which belong to ontology or metaphysic. And ontology furnishes the axioms to the mathematical sciences, which axioms render deductive reasoning possible.

Ontology posits what Kant has accurately termed a synthetic proposition ; and this synthetic proposition, next to the abstraction, is the very foundation of all science whatever. True, the sensationalists have endeavored to obliterate this synthetic proposition; but the current of human credence is rapidly returning to a more genuine estimation of the real character of the phenomena of thought, and the fundamentals of belief (never capable of being rejected in fact) may ere long be expected to undergo an examination which shall place them beyond dispute.

But another consideration may be made with regard to thought. Two methods of studying thought are open to mankind: first, the psychological; and, second, the critical. The psychological assumes the power of man to make thought itself objective, to study it, classify it, and reason with it; the ultimate appeal being to the human consciousness. This method is ever open to objection. The intellectualist may posit substance, and cause, and power, and appeal for the confirmation of his doctrine to the consciousness of mankind. The sceptic at once asserts the subjectivity of the concepts, and uproots the very possibility or proof. True, he says, there is a substance, but that substance is in thought, and a cause, but the cause is in thought, and a power, but the power is in thought. And thus the intellectualist is reduced to the mere reiteration of his dogma–a dogma which, so long as he confines himself to the criterion of consciousness, is no more than an assertion of his own mental experience or conviction.

Far otherwise with the critic. The critic takes his stand on the immovable basis of science, and, leaving all questions of consciousness or of mental operation, he makes the whole range of the sciences objective, and asks what thoughts they have posited, and what methods they have pursued. He leaves it to every science in particular to determine what is true and what is false in each region of inquiry; and, when science has achieved her office, he culls the first and fundamental truths of each science, and says, “These are indisputable; and, if you question them, you must light your battle with the world of science, which has established and authenticated these propositions.” And thus when he speaks of power, he appeals not to consciousness, but to the science of dynamics, which treats especially of power, and performs with that substantive operations which could not be performed without it.

The sciences are all direct and spontaneous, and their office is to determine what is true. In geometry, for instance, the axioms are spontaneously true; and geometry never does, and never can, inquire into the objectivity or subjectivity of her fundamental propositions. They are true necessarily, because no effort of man can conceive them otherwise. And when they have been accepted on these terms by geometry, they are handed over to the critic; whose office is not to determine what axioms are true, but to examine what they consist of, what is their form, their meaning, and their function.

And as the sciences, when completed, will involve every substantive that can enter philosophy, and every proposition that could give rise to a question on the reality of knowledge, critical philosophy will thus become the genuine doctrine of thought; not inquiring into the truth of the thought, for that is the office of science, but into its form and mechanism. And thus philosophy would be at once the genuine scientia scientiarium, and the genuine exposition of the laws of human thought, based on the whole range of science, and appealing to ascertained knowledge for the substantiation of her fundamental truths.

If psychology have any truths to advance, they must be advanced as scientific, and not philosophic truths. Philosophy cannot acknowledge them till they have been already established beyond dispute, and then philosophy uses them for a purpose altogether distinct from the purpose of science. Science, making its realm of investigation objective, inquires what is true in the object, and this object may be man: all well as matter. But when science has made her truth, and achieved her independent inquiry, philosophy accepts the truth, and endeavors, with the whole mass received from the whole category of the sciences, to read aright the phenomenon of knowledge; and, linking the object with the subject, to complete the circle of cognition, and, it may be, to project some reasonable anticipation of the future destiny of humanity.

The last of the direct sciences is theology. Theology completes the range of spontaneous science, and closes the book of science, properly so called. But beyond theology lies critical philosophy, which reflects on the whole course of knowledge, and examines the method that has been pursued. And this critical philosophy can never be achieved till the whole of the sciences are complete–complete, not in having made manifest every truth which they quantitatively contain, but complete in having posited their fundamental propositions, and acknowledged the method by which they evolve truths of a certain specific quality. And if this be the case, it is plainly evident that critical philosophy has yet to undergo a new expansion; in fact, that so long as there remains one qualitative science to be reduced to ordination, critical philosophy is only partially possible. Moral science and natural theology must be truths for the world, before critical philosophy can sum up the whole facts of cognition, and pronounce judgment on the cosmos of man’s knowledge.

But what is the lesson that philosophy can teach–the last problem of man’s inquiries upon earth?

In this philosophy there may lie involved the stupendous fact of a mystery insoluble to the reason–a mystery that has borne down humanity, and baffled the mightiest efforts of the intellect. Ever and ever there comes back the appalling consciousness of “a reason that points infallibly in one direction, and a fallen nature that tends infallibly in another.” Science is here utterly helpless to inform; and philosophy, while recording the fact, weeps over the hopeless mystery. Man cannot solve the mystery. And thus philosophy, reading the whole realm of knowledge, and beholding all that the intellect can teach, lands at last all the shore of that ocean where a higher than man must guide–where the horizon is infinity, and where she might gaze forever on the lost regions of illimitable space. That ocean philosophy cannot traverse. Reason cannot survey the infinite. Time, and earth, and man’s knowledge are all behind; and before is the infinite ocean of immortality. And here philosophy must end with a pathless ocean and an insoluble mystery. Her work is over–finished. She has no compass to guide on the trackless waters–no beacon to direct her. The loadstar of heaven must appear, and Faith, giving the band to reason, may lead by the records of eternal Truth.

Nor is this faith itself unreasonable. It is not mysticism nor superstition, but credence of a matter beyond the realm of reason, by means of an evidence within the bounds of reason; reason being judge of the evidence which authenticates the matter.

And thus the last final lesson that philosophy can teach, and which one day it will teach the world, is, that there is an insoluble mystery within the region of cognition; and that, consequently, the only hope of knowledge is in a revelation from that divine Creator and Preserver whose moral existence has been proven by natural theology. And this indeed is the true province of philosophy, her great work, her terrible achievement, save that there is hope from on high. She lands, indeed, at last on the shore of a boundless ocean; but in so doing she bequeaths to man the last record of her teaching–that in revelation alone can be found the truth that humanity requires.


All science presents itself under the following aspect:–
1. The substantive.
2. The relation between two substantives.
This is called the proposition.
Two propositions must in every case be given before there can be reasoning.
3. The evolution of a new relation from two propositions given. This in its complete form is called the syllogism.
This is the universal form of science, and it first appears in logic, which is the most abstract form of all science.

The evolved relation is always a new relation, being the relation between one of the substantives of one of the given propositions, and one of the substantives of the other proposition.

A perfect syllogism presents itself under the following general form:–
Major Premiss. The whole of B is C.
Minor Premiss. The whole of A is B.
Consequent. The whole of A is C.

In the deductive sciences,[2] (the mathematical sciences always, and the physical sciences when their laws are discovered,) the evolved relation is the conclusion or consequent of the syllogism.

In the inductive sciences, while undergoing their process of discovery, the evolved relation is the major premiss, which then becomes sufficient for deductive reasoning in new cases.

Every single science consists of a nomenclature, a classification, and a system of syllogisms; that is, of a system of propositions connected together by the law of reason and consequent.

A classification is improperly termed a science; it is only a portion of a science, the propositions which are isolated in a classification requiring to be connected by the law of reason and consequent, before science properly so called is achieved.

In the physical sciences, matter invariably appears as a power, or force, or agent, or as acted on by a power, or force, or agent, whereas in the mere classification it is a substance.*

In mechanics, matter is viewed as a power capable of acting on other matter, without producing a change in the qualitative powers of the portions of the matter operated upon.

In chemistry, matter is viewed as a power capable of producing a change in the qualitative powers of every portion of the matter operated upon.

In political economy, matter is viewed as a power, (called value;) which power is the power of exchanging against other articles, or against services: or it is viewed as a power capable of producing articles of value. In political economy, man himself is viewed as a power capable of producing value, or consuming it.

In politics, man is viewed as a conscious power, capable of acting equitably or unequitably towards his fellow-men.

Power, and not substance, is the essence of all physical science; and the object of research is the discovery of the exact specification of the powers of nature in their most general form, so that those powers shall function in the syllogism, and produce logical consequents which shall coincide with the observed consequents wherever the verification can be made.

All science exists in the mind, and it is only as the substantives of the sciences are made to function logically in human thought that science is really achieved. Science, then, is a form of thought, and when evolved it is the same for all human intellect; so that it involves in itself the unity of human credence, in opposition to the diversity of error, superstition, or mere opinion.


The foundation of human knowledge is Ontology.
Ontology furnishes–1st. The abstraction or substantive or the science; and, 2d. The axiomatic proposition, or necessary relation which renders reasoning possible. Ontology is not a science, but is the necessary preparation for all the sciences. The mathematical sciences derive their axioms from ontology. Ontology presents itself in the form–
A. The abstraction or substantive posited.
A is B. The relation or proposition. The synthetic proposition of Kant, which becomes the axiom in mathematics.


Science originates when we apply a rational method to the object of intellectual perception, rejecting all human authority and all human superstition.

The universal form of science is Logic. Logic furnishes the laws of identity and equality, and its process is called reasoning. Logic presents itself in the form–
A is B; B is C; ergo, A is C: the law of identity.
A is part of B; the whole of B is part of C; ergo, A is part of C; the law of equality.

The doctrine of identity and equality is therefore the first science, and the sciences range themselves in the order given in the accompanying table:–

The rest is not here. Too many tables. Find it elsewhere…


[1] To Kant this position may perhaps be ultimately assigned, but even in that case he would be the man to come, as he has not yet been acknowledged as the author of the terminal method, which must exhaust the realm of cognition. It is questionable whether any future writer will ever be able to transcend Kant; but at the same time it is also questionable whether the critical method can be fully achieved before the whole of the sciences are evolved.

[2] Unless matter be conceived as a power, (a power located or conditioned,) there cannot be science. There might be a knowledge of facts, but the facts must be connected by the law of reason and consequent, before the facts will function in science; and they can only be connected by the law of reason and consequent by making matter an agent, or power. But though some mutter is always present as a power, there may also, in the same syllogism, be matter present as a substance–that is, as an object acted on by the agent; while for the moment the reaction of the object on the agent is not taken into consideration. As every major premiss represents a power, every minor premiss a classification, and every consequent a produced phenomenon, matter may appear in the major as a power, and in the minor as a substance, thus:–
Major. Matter acting, (a power.)
Minor. Matter acted upon, (a substance.)
Consequent. Produced phenomenon,

Dr. Thomas Brown, in advocating the substantial claims of matter against the potential, appears to have overlooked the fact, that we know as little of substance as of power. Both are relative terms; and if the one be obliterated, the other, by a parity of reasoning, ought also to disappear.