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PREFACE

IN

N the Preface to my Outlines of the History of

Religion I explained that, for all the essential ideas of that book, I was indebted to Auguste Comte. I have a similar statement to make with respect to the present publication. In Chapters II. and IV. of the portion of it entitled Human Nature and Morals I follow closely in substance, though not always in arrangement, his treatment of the subject in Chapter III. of the Politique Positive, borrowing additional materials from other parts of his writings. Chapter V. is in the main new, but the doctrine stated in it in contrast with that of

Butler, is Comte's. In Chapter I. and the Notes a greater freedom is used, but their contents are also largely derived from him, various portions being founded on passages, not only in the Politique, but in the Philosophie and in the Discours Préliminaire, or (as it is called in Dr. Bridges' translation, happily -unlike the translation of the entire Politique

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procurable by all English readers) General View of Positivism. The Notes, it may be added, at first intended as developments or explanations of particular passages in the Human Nature and Morals, are now placed on an independent basis as elucidations of fundamental points in the Philosophy and Religion of Comte.

His Cerebral Theory, explained in the present volume, may be regarded as a renovated form of the system of Gall. Those who can recall the forties and fifties of the nineteenth century will remember how much progressive intellects in these islands had been impressed by the Phrenological doctrine, which, for the first time, placed the study of the Moral and Mental nature of Man on the right basis. Never has greater injustice been done than has befallen the memory of its illustrious founder. He is, in many minds, confounded with the crowd of charlatans who once successfully traded on the popular interest he had awakened. And men of Science who have profited by his labours have often refused him the honour which was his due. It is true that his method was too purely empirical, not resting on a broad philosophic basis, his conclusions as to the localisation of functions too sporadically and, it would seem, accidentally arrived at, and his proofs often inadequate. But he is not to be estimated by his inevitable partial failures in a new and difficult enterprise, any more than are others who have yet made the most valuable contributions to our knowledge. It is his immortal merit to have established for ever the four propositions laid down in the Avertissement prefixed to his Fonctions du Cerveau : “1. That the moral qualities and the intellectual

faculties are innate; "2. That their exercise or manifestation is de

pendent on our physical organisation ; 3. That the brain is the organ of all the incli

nations (penchants), sentiments, and faculties; 4. That the brain is composed of as many par

ticular organs as there are penchants, sentiments, and faculties, which are essen

tially distinct.” All study of the moral and intellectual life of Man must be founded on these fundamental dis

coveries. This is now more and more seen; and

it is not surprising to find Mr. Alfred Wallace regretting the neglect into which Phrenology has

fallen, and seeking to recall public attention to it. But it is only with the more philosophical character given to it by Comte, and the particular modifications he has introduced, that it will take the place which it deserves. It is my conviction that Positivism is the subject which ought now, most of all, to engage the earnest study of thinking men; and this essential branch of it—the Positive Theory of Human Nature-calls for special attention.

Comte had, long before the close of his career, projected as an element of the Subjective Synthesiswhich was to contain a view of the whole of science as co-ordinated by Religion-a Treatise on Morals, to consist of two volumes, entitled, respectively, “ Theoretic Morals, instituting the knowledge of Human Nature," and " Practical Morals, instituting the improvement of Human Nature.'' This treatise he unfortunately did not live to write; but we find numerous anticipatory indications of its contents in his published works. For the present publication I have, as above mentioned, drawn largely on these anticipations so far as they relate to Theoretic Morals; and it is my hope to follow it up by a book on the second branch of the subject, which is virtually the Positive Doctrine of Education. Whilst not professing to present a complete view of either side of the great theme, I have thought that I should do useful work in offering to my fellow-countrymen, in a brief and simple form, the leading ideas of Theoretical and Practical Morals, as Comte conceived them, so far as those ideas can be gathered from the partial treatment of the subject which he was able to place on record and to bequeath to us.

What we possess of his, if rightly utilised, is sufficient, first, to supply the essential basis of the great religious and social regeneration which it was the labour of his life to prepare, and, secondly, to guide his disciples in the regulation of their individual lives. It will remain for some one of his sacerdotal successors in the future, adequately endowed by nature and with his heart and mind formed by the influences of the Religion of Humanity, as well as by mature encyclopedic studies, to produce the definitive volumes which will represent the Master's intended, but unwritten, contributions to the Subjective Synthesis.

JOHN K. INGRAM.

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