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§ 4. Another form of the Realistic Theory.

There is, however, another phase of this doctrine, which it is necessary to mention. The doctrine that genera and species are real substances existing prior to individuals, and independent of them, is the old, genuine, and most intelligible form of Realism. 62It was expressed in the schools by saying that Universalia are ante rem. The other form of the doctrine asserts that the Universalia are in re. That is that the universals exist only in the individuals; and that the individuals alone are real. “L’identité des individus,” says Cousin9090Fragments Philosophiques, p. 162. in his exposition of this form of the doctrine, “d’un même genre ne vient pas de leur essence même, car cette essence est différente en chacun d’eux, mais de certains éléments qui se retrouvent dans tous ces individus sans aucune différence, indifferenter. Cette nouvelle théorie diffère de la première en ce que les universaux ne sont plus 1’essence de 1’être, la substance m—me des choses; mais elle s’en rapproche en ce que les universaux existent réellement, et qu’existant dans plusieurs individus sans différence, ils forment leur identité et par là leur genre.” Again,9191Ibid., p. 168. he says, “Le principe de la nouvelle théorie est que 1’essence de chaque chose est leur individualité, que les individus seuls existent, et qu’il n’y a point en dehors des individus d’essence appelèes les universaux, les espèces et les genres; mais que l’individu lui-même contient tout cela, selon les divers points de vue sous lequels on le considére.9292See the exposition by Abélard himself quoted on page 170 of Cousin. Thus Socrates as an individual man has his own essence, which, with its peculiarities, makes him Socrates. Neglect those peculiarities and consider him as rational and mortal, then you have the idea of species; neglect rationality and mortality, and consider him as an animal, then you have the idea of the genus; neglect all these forms (“relictis omnibus formis”), and you have only the idea of substance. According to this view “les espèces et les genres, les plus élevés comme les plus inférieurs, sont les individus eux-mêmes, considérés sous divers point de vue.9393Cousin, Fragments Philosophiques, p. 183. This, according to the plain sense of the terms, amounts to the common doctrine. Individuals alone exist. Certain individuals have some distinguishing properties or attributes in common. They constitute a particular species. These and other individuals of different species have other properties common to them all, and they constitute a genus, and so orders, and classes, until we get to the highest category of being, which includes all. But if all beings are assumed to be one substance, which substance with certain added qualities or accidents constitutes a class, with certain other additions, an order, with still further modifications, a genus, a species, an individual, then we have the old theory back again, only extended so as to have a pantheistic aspect.


Some scientific men, instead of defining species as a gi cm' of individuals having certain characteristics in common, say with Professor Dana, that it “corresponds to the specific amount or condition of concentred force, defined in the act or law of creation;” or with Dr. Morton, that it is “a primordial organic form;” or with Agassiz, that it is an original immaterial principle which determines the form or characteristics of the individuals constituting a distinct group. These are only different modes of accounting for the fact that all the individuals of a given species have certain characteristics or fundamental qualities in common. To such statements there is no objection. But when it is assumed that these original primordial terms, as in the case of humanity, for example, are by the law of propagation transmitted from generation to generation, so as to constitute all the individuals of the species essentially one, that is, one in essence or substance, so that the act of the first individual of the species (of Adam, for example) being the act of the substance numerically the same in all the members of that species, is the act of each individual member, then something essentially new is added to the above given scientific definition of species, and we return to the original and genuine form of Realism in its most offensive features. It would be easy to show, (1st.) that generation or the law of propagation both in plants and in animals is absolutely inscrutable; as much so as the nature of matter, mind, or life, in themselves considered. We can no more tell what generation is, than what matter is, or what mind is. (2d.) That it is therefore unreasonable and dangerous to make a given theory as to the nature of generation or the law of propagation the basis for the explanation of Christian doctrines. (3d.) That whatever may be the secret and inscrutable process of propagation, it does not involve the transmission of the same numerical essence, so that a progenitor and his descendants are one and the same substance. This assumption is liable to all the objections already urged against the original form of the realistic doctrine. The theory is moreover destitute of all evidence either from experience or analogy. There is no conceivable sense in which all the oaks now on the earth are identical as to their substance with the oaks originally created. And there is no conceivable sense in whirl. we and all mankind are identically the same substance with Adam. If a thousand candles are successively lighted from one candle they do not thereby become one candle. There is not a communication of the substance of the first to the second, and of the second to the others in their order, so as to make it in any 64sense true that the substance of the first is numerically the same with that of all the others. The simple fact is that by the laws of matter ordained by God, the state in which a lighted candle is, produces certain changes or movements in the constituent elements of the wick of another candle when the two are brought into contact. which movements induce other movements in the constituent particles of the surrounding atmosphere, which are connected with the evolution of light and heat. But there is no communication of substance involved in the process. An acorn which falls from an oak to-day, is composed not of the same particles of matter from which the original acorn was formed, but of matter of the same kind, and arranged in the same way. It may be said to be imbued with chemical and vital forces of the same kind with the original acorn, but not with numerically the same forces. So of all plants and animals. We are of the same nature with Adam in the same sense that all animals of one species are the same. The sameness does not consist in numerical identity of essence or of vital forces, or of reason or will, but in the sameness of kind and community of origin.

Besides the origin and the nature of man, there are two other questions, which are more or less involved in what the Scriptures teach concerning mankind, and which demand attention before we turn to the moral and religious condition of the race. The first of these concerns the Origin of the Soul, and the second the Unity of the Race.

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