The following is an abstract and the concluding chapter of my doctoral dissertation, researched and written 1952 through 1960, on file at Columbia University and at the Pasqual Sebastian Schievella Research Collection at the Stony Brook University Department of Philosophy. The "General Criticism," does not necessarily include criticisms made throughout the other 268 pages.The Philosophy of Conwy Lloyd Morgan is a delineation and critical examination of Morgan's philosophy of Emergent Evolution.
Morgan had for a primary goal not only a delineation of his naturalistic scheme, with considerable weight on continuing emergence
in mind, but especially the reconciliation of God (as Source, Agency, and Divine Purpose) with his whole evolutionary system.
Though he has achieved some measure of success in the former, even though it appears to be impossible, in fact, to construct a pyramid of an infinite number of emergent levels, he did not, in the opinion of this writer, succeed in the latter.
Though he was able to bring to bear much experience that testifies to the possibility of his naturalistic emergent scheme, he was unable to offer, as evidence, experience of the world around him sufficiently unambiguous in nature to lend plausibility to his religious views.
The major weakness, however, which, in my opinion, caused him to fail in this latter aspect of his philosophical system, is his acknowledgment of that which experience does not support.
In a larger sense, Morgan's is a philosophy of acknowledgment. This weakness is manifest in that he stated his awareness and yet seemed ever to be unaware that some "acknowledgments" are more plausible, more probable, more predictive, more verifiable than others.
Morgan has clearly stated that " . . .verification is the test of practical reality. . . ." [ The Springs of Conduct, p. 48] Despite his awareness that the world is dependent upon these characteristics for the establishment of "progress," he would insist, as I have tried to show, that they were still all acknowledgments, and that, ultimately, none could be "proved" or "disproved," as if there were some absolute, transcending standard of proof which would give this statement validity.
Furthermore, Morgan frequently did not distinguish between experience and interpretation. That is to say, he confused the experience of interpretation with that experience one has before interpretation, equating the two; he confused interpretation of activity with experience of activity. For him, all human experience is interpretable. In handling these two concepts, he should have noticed that experience is more than interpretation, which, being a special kind of experience, is about experience, and frequently goes astray.
To read Morgan is to see him agree with these criticisms. Yet he seemed to be blind to his own transgressions. He was selective, making the rules apply in his B and C areas and insisting that the rules do not apply in his A area, because it is beyond man's experience.
His is a dual nature. He tried to clear away this dichotomy of thought by declaring, from the outset, a monistic creed (which he does not uphold without abrogating his own rules of the game), and by insisting on his A B C Method. Yet, at every turn, Morgan, after declaring that we may not mix these areas of discourse, frequently fell back on discourses B and C (experience) to substantiate A.
When he speaks of the metaphysical being supplementary to the scientific, he offers no evidence that such a supplement is necessary. He rests his case wholly on mere declaration. I find it extremely difficult to see that Morgan does not do the same thing that is done in such theories as those of the animists and the vitalists. Whereas they involve their concepts immediately into the fray, Morgan holds off until a clear delineation of the role of science is given. Whereupon, he insists that science must then be supplemented with a metaphysical explanation of the role of God, Activity, Divine Purpose, etc., in not only nature but in the very reflective activity of scientists themselves.
McDougall replies in answer to Morgan's declaration that it is God's Directive Activity that makes emergents emerge:
It is very difficult to reconcile this with his explicit repudiation of every form of vitalism, of every theory that postulates in vital and mental activities the causal efficacy of some factor other than physico-chemical events of the body. [Modern Materialism, pp. 152f]
Of course, Morgan would answer that as far as a scientific interpretation of the world is needed, one is not required to refer to Activity. It is only in explanation of the "why" of things that recourse to God is necessary. For my part, McDougall's criticism is valid. Morgan makes it quite clear that God's Purpose underlies everything, including the very emergence of the attitudes of value, art, spirit, truth, and so on. The one exception seems to be retrogression, of which "sin" is an example.
He incessantly reiterates that science has no interest in the "why" of things:
Science, however, ignores, though it should not deny, the existence of a "power or force which actuates the whole machine;" it does not attempt to discuss the question why the antecedence and sequence which it studies are of such a kind as we find them.... Interpretation of Nature pp.71f]
He neglects to mention here that it cannot be proved either.
It is utterly amazing that such a thoughtful man would not realize that ultimately there is no other kind of methodical inquiry except scientific, if the inquiry is in pursuit of the understanding of the nature of things and the "force" underlying them.
In Morgan's own words:
Science as a product, then, I would define as organized knowledge. Science as a process is the organization and extension of our knowledge. And the business of the man of science, as such, is to organize and extend our knowledge. [Springs of Conduct, p. 63]
And, again in 1891, he said:
So closely interwoven are the strands of causation that a perfect knowledge of the snow-flake's history would involve nothing less than a complete knowledge of the universe. [Animal Sketches (London: Edward Arnold, N.C.), p.7]
Do we not have the right to ask, then, whether "the universe" includes Activity, Divine Purpose, Source, etc., inasmuch as, for Morgan, there is no supernatural realm which is not naturalistic, and inasmuch as this is only one of his three discursive realms?
In Morgan's monistic system the answer is necessarily "yes." Now,
. . .knowledge is the perception of the agreement or disagreement of the two ideas. [Morgan, Springs of Conduct, p.27]
And . . . knowledge consists in referring events and their phenomena to their causes, and in ascertaining their resemblances and differences as manifested in space and time. [Ibid., p. 5]
On the basis of these statements regarding science, knowledge, and
the universe, Morgan is hard put to prove that science may not enter the discursive arena of the metaphysical.
one may say it appears to be perfectly permissible to speak of the natural processes as being a manifestation of Divine Purpose.
Morgan very frequently reiterates this belief.
I believe that profound ethical questions arise in relation to the blind acceptance of beliefs, especially when those beliefs are disseminated as truth. But it is not my task here to question the ethics of the blind acceptance of beliefs. Therefore, we shall here question only the validity of Morgan's acknowledgments.
He places himself in the position of saying that one may not mix the "A" area of discourse with the "B" and "C;" but that one may mix B and C areas with A. In other words, the existence of areas B and C and the existence of the "evidence" of purpose and values in those areas is proof that they are manifestations of a higher Purpose.
He does not recognize the difference (though he has explained it frequently) between "scientific" knowledge and "metaphysical" knowledge -- that the significant difference is not "practical" application (for religious knowledge is extremely practical for many), but rather predictability, verification, and communicability, as well as progressive accumulation.
Religion, on the other hand, (apart from its role as a "social and ethical function") merely reiterates its ancient "truths" without ever providing "evidence" to substantiate them. In religion there has been no progressive accumulation of theoretical or "practical" knowledge.
In other words, if "objective reference" shows us that we can expect the sun to rise tomorrow, or that an unsupported object moves toward the earth, scientific prediction of the recurrence of these events within future "objective reference" carries a very high degree of probability.
But if one's "objective reference" leads him to believe in an Efficient, Purposeful Agent, no amount of prediction whatsoever on the evidence at hand bears out the existence of such an Agent.
To say, then, that Purpose, Agency, God, etc., are to be accepted because they cannot be disproved is quite a different thing from saying the events in science's physical world are to be accepted because they cannot be disproved. Further, if one accepts the scientific interpretation of the events of the Universe, as Laplace is supposed to have said, "There is no need for any further hypothesis." Nothing is gained thereby.
It has been said that psychologists today save not only more "lost souls" than do clergymen, but even " save the souls of lost clergymen. Besides, such a hypothesis, history has shown, has failed the human race miserably. It has not made washing machines or wonder drugs, released the rage locked up in one's muscles (according to Reichian Psychology), made soft landings on the moon, attempted to cure the common cold, or resolved interracial strife.
When Morgan says that there is no inconsistency between his belief in Purpose and the "explanations" of naturalism, I fail to see what significant meaning can be attached to "no inconsistency."
For if the metaphysical questions of Purpose, Source, Agency, etc., are to be excluded from the scientific domain, in what sense is the expression to be taken? It seems to imply a connection, i.e., as if it were saying that metaphysical answers do not contradict naturalistic answers.
But if they are in different discursive realms there can be no connection. If there is no contradiction because there is no discursive connection, this can hardly be taken to be an epistemically meaningful statement. To forbid a discursive connection and then to say there is no contradiction is to offer us truth by definition.
To carry it a step further: How is it possible for the events of the universe to be manifestations of Divine Purpose and Agency and still not enter into scientific discourse? If it is to be claimed that all that science deals with is a manifestation of divine Purpose, then it is perfectly logical to ask, "How can that be?" If Morgan is to make a discursive connection between A and B, after disclaiming its possibility, then one should be able to ask to be shown both the connection and the how of it.
To use philosophy as a means for advocating a non-scientific thesis that is non-provable and non-disprovable [Morgan, Interpretation of Nature, p. 83] is, I think, to misuse it.
Philosophy is thus branded as a realm of study in which nothing can be proved or disproved. Philosophy has proved some self-sufficing beliefs, one of which is that beliefs are to be accepted as true or false only temporarily and provisionally, based upon the evidence given, until new evidence possibly supersedes the old. Moreover, philosophy serves the function of clarifying concepts, offering insights without which analysis would remain muddled.
Morgan did a disservice to knowledge when he succumbed to man's "basic desire" to "explain" everything in "dramatic" terms, to resolve all to a First Cause in order to satisfy his own religious needs and the urge of some human beings to anthropomorphize the unknown.
It is the function of the philosopher to analyze the facts objectively, and not to make them fit into some preconceived system of beliefs which will satisfy the "plain tale" explanation which the uninitiated can accept with comfort.
Morgan's constant reference to an ultimate proof, if not without meaning, is at least unworkable. Furthermore, he overlooks "the fact" that there are levels of assumptions, or acknowledgments. At the turn of the century he used "assumption" for acknowledgment: ". . .I then said assumption, of a physical order. . . ." [Emergent Evolution, p. 306]
Some of these acknowledgments (phenomenological facts) have a public quality about them which allows science to set up an operational system leading to prediction, verification, and communication of other phenomenological facts to come. "Experience" shows that these facts very frequently do come as predicted.
However, there are other acknowledgments which Morgan and others are willing to accept that do not offer this operational quality. That is to say, they offer no prediction, no verification, no future phenomenological facts (referents) for communication.
On the basis of this criticism, then, some "facts" are demonstrable and some are not. And, if it were recognized that a main quality of "proof" is its non-absoluteness, its provisional character, then Morgan might recognize the fallacy of his position regarding ultimate proof. I fail to see the logic of Morgan's religious conclusions.
He has gone to great lengths to show us that "new" qualities are emergent; i.e., they emerge from "new" relationships. He has said that they were unpredictable, even though according to a deterministic plan; deterministic, that is, in that without such a "plan" they could not be recurrent.
As "plan" Morgan seems to use the term "purpose" in a naturalistic sense, whereby it designates a forward and progressive movement toward naturalistic ends (emergents) -- some new, some recurrent according to the deterministic plan which allows for such recurrence.
With this naturalistic teleological concept of purpose I shall not here concern myself, except to say that it is rather odd to use the term this way (almost mechanistically), when it carries with it such emotive and connotative overtones of agency. In this sense, I consider it a misuse.
"Purpose" used thus, however, is not to be confused with the "dramatic" use of the term. In this latter sense, purpose emerges as a new qualitative attitude in man. As an emergent it is naturalistic purpose, for the attitude can re-occur according to deterministic plan.
But as "activity" it becomes an agent, guiding behavior toward the fulfillment of ends. It does not follow logically, however, that the existence of purpose in either case is grounds for postulating Purpose, which underlies all evolution; for, if such logic did obtain, then it would follow necessarily that the emergence of all such qualities as jealousy, greed, prejudice, anger, and love, would also underlie evolution, inasmuch as these characteristics are inseparable from purpose.
I find it rather impossible, for instance, to separate jealousy from the purpose of "excluding others." In jealousy lies the end in view "to exclude others." One cannot meaningfully talk about purpose per se except as a discursive abstract. There is only jealous purpose, angry purpose, sad purpose, intellectual purpose, etc. In other words, there exist specific purposes, not purpose per se.
Morgan's insistence on an underlying determining Purpose for human purpose is analogous to Rousseau's use of the phrase "general will." There does not seem to be any evidence of the existence of a general human purpose. There are only individual purposes, many of which appear to conform with one another, but most of which seem to be radically different one from another.
If we are to be permitted to say that cases of individual purpose are modes of an underlying Purpose (as mind is a mode of an underlying Mind), then why cannot we give credence to the Platonic position that any existent is a mode of an underlying idea: for all modes of body, an underlying body; for all modes of monkey-mind, an underlying monkey-mind, etc., ad infinitum?
Moreover, in conflicting purposes, which purpose will manifest the closest approximation of the underlying purpose? What of Hitler's purpose? What of the purposes of those who offered human sacrifices? It seems to me that the word "purpose" hides too much, and thereby becomes meaningless.
Furthermore, if pure retrogression (such as "sin" takes place, on what grounds is one to say, as Morgan does, that it is not because of Divine Purpose?
After all "sin" is very frequently purposeful in those human beings who resort to it. Yet, Morgan insists that we may not attribute sin to God, [Life, Mind, and Spirit, p. 290] thereby rending his monistic system asunder. But that system is already suspect as a semantic confusion, under the name of concomitance (or correlation) and his three discursive realms. In "A Philosophy of Evolution," however, he refers to
. . .a constructive scheme which shall provide for a physical realism as the limit of involution, and something of at least the same genre as Platonic Realism, and the superstructure which since his day has been founded thereon, as the limit of Dependence. [J. H. Muirhead, (ed.), Contemporary British Philosophy, Vol. I, p. 306; cf. Morgan, The Emergence of Novelty, p. 20]
Apparently the Platonic superstructure represents the highest level -- teleological end -- toward which the lower levels -- the physical realm --are necessarily progressing.
But this striving is an unfolding of what is already enfolded; i.e., determined.
How is it possible for "A" to be only a discursive realm, identical (monistically) to "B," a different realm of language, the physical realm, and yet have a forward moving progressive emergent evolutionary process (unfolding), all of which is at one and the same moment (eternality) in existence (enfolded)?
As such the Platonic superstructure is God's Mind; which is the Source of modes of individual human minds; which in turn evolved from the underlying Mind; which is the psychical concomitant of all matter.
Apparently, the questionable discursive realms are at work here, too, God's Mind being "A" the psychical attribute of matter, and ultimately human mind, being c. If these dichotomies of mind, reality, and inquiry are really merely discursive, then Morgan's monism may rest on safe ground. But he says:
This or that explanation in terms of Activity is not excluded from the field of human inquiry, though it is excluded, on a policy of method, from the domain of scientific inquiry. [The Emergence of Novelty, p. 20]
First, can "inquiry" have validity if it is not a scientific pursuit in some sense?
Second, if the "B" and the "A" areas of inquiry have no common ground, what sense does it make to utilize the events of the natural world (which is the domain of scientific inquiry) and the experience of man (with all its failings and misinterpretations) to validate area "A"?
And the most crucial of all to be criticized is the invalid use of belief, faith, and conviction as evidence.
Morgan seems to be totally blind to the consequences of accepting unproved beliefs or acknowledgments. He manifests an awareness of verifiability, probability, communicability and then appears to turn his back upon them when that awareness is needed most. He shows an acute awareness of fine subtleties in the natural order of the mind and the body; but, when it comes to choosing which beliefs (acknowledgments) have grounds for acceptance and which have not, he gives all of them equal weight. He overlooks the fact that all his defense of such beliefs is also a defense of false beliefs, which he, himself, would reject. With a masterpiece of poetic expression in his essay "The Ascent of Mind," Morgan addressing himself to those who subscribe to his belief, and implying it to be a kind of proof, asks:
Does not an evolutionary scheme which displays in its tapestry a fabric so beautifully interwoven -- which includes also a picture portraying the ascent of mind -- lend weighty support to their belief in Mind or Spirit as creative and Directive of all novelty and all recurrence? [Mason, (ed) The Great Design, p.132]
The proper answer to this question, on rational grounds, would be: "Belief, possibly; knowledge and proof, no."
In the following passage, however, there is at least a shade of doubt.
But on the assumption that there is a metaphysical basis for the cogito, my own system of related mental sequences is just the one bit of experience in all the world where the nature of the underlying purpose which pervades the Universe can stand revealed if it can be revealed at all. [Morgan, Interpretation of Nature p. 148]
Morgan admits that his acknowledgment of and belief in Divine Purpose colors a great deal of what he has to say about Emergent Evolution.
[Life, Mind, and Spirit, p. xiv]
He presents with monotonous reiteration his policy, his creed, his acknowledgment of
God, and Activity, etc., his faith, his belief. He insists that they cannot be shaken by positive proof, and that they do not contradict the "positive evidence."
Yet, there appears to be no evidence that is evidence in the scientific use of the word; i.e., leading to verification. Morgan is guilty of the kind of argumentation which Hume criticized. It is not the case that because some things are designed and created that the world must have been designed and created. There is no need for me to repeat here the excellent arguments that both Hume and Mill offered against the concept of a designer of the universe. Morgan's efforts may prove the validity of the emergence of such concepts in the mind of man, but it hardly follows that there must then be a designer. It is here that he follows the footsteps of St. Anselm. Once having shown the emergence of such concepts, Morgan makes the leap of inference, the illogical conclusion that if the idea exists then the concomitant reality must exist also.
To this it must be pointed out, as Morgan should know, that there is a difference between the existence of an idea and the existence of a "reality" of which an idea is a "representation."
On the one hand, Morgan leaves no room for God's Purpose or intervention when he contends that ". . .the grounds of the conclusion," i.e., the "ingredients" which go into the making of an emergent entity (even though the qualities of the emergent are originally new) ". . .are not imposed on that system ab extra." [Instinct and Experience, p. viii]
Yet, he speaks in Life, Mind, and Spirit, [p. viii] of God's method of creation being evolution, going on to say that the world evolves and is not manufactured. God is either "creating" the world or He is not. If He is, the method does not alter the fact of "manufacturing." Of course, Morgan means to show that all is natural, not supernatural. This raises serious problems regarding the "supernatural" or natural existence of God. Morgan, however, is content to say,
It may be that the laws to which we rise by the successive inductions of science are but imperfect expressions of the immutable edicts which have issued from the council chambers of the Eternal Spirit; that the laws of science are also the fiats of the Omnipotent. But this is a question which is beyond science, which transcends the philosophy which is based thereon, and which must be referred to the philosophy of Faith, which has other canons and other methods. [Springs of Conduct, p. 72]
Morgan is here open to the possible charge of identifying the universe with God, in which case the question, "Why do so?" arises.
At any rate he certainly has not shown us the canons or the method by which we can all discover that God's method of creation is evolution.
We have been offered nothing but acknowledgments, and the emergents of the religious attitude in man. Nor can anyone claim revelation to be a method, because revelation has no more definite foundation than do intuitions; nor does Morgan see that the proof to which he so frequently refers has no validity in fact.
We cannot, for instance, definitely "prove" that the sun will shine tomorrow. Nor can we definitely "prove" that it is God's plan that the sun should shine tomorrow. Now, when the sun does shine, this does not prove it was God's plan; but, it does verify the statement that it would shine, for that statement rests on a set of scientific principles which allows us to predict its daily appearance.
When Morgan declares the naturalist's acceptance of antecedence and sequence for the whole of the universe to be an act of faith, he does not realize that this is a "rational" faith, based on the fact that experience seems to point in that direction, and as a consequence offers predictive probabilities, communicability, and verification. That is, our "faith" in such a principle leads to behavior which searches out predictive probabilities, etc. In other words, different kinds of acknowledgments lead to different kinds of human behavior -- some rational, some irrational.
In regard to justifiable acknowledgments, there is no substitute for the laws of physics as a consistent system. However, there are substitutes for an anthropomorphic God in the guidance of conduct; i.e., for the acknowledgments of a faith which posits an Agency or activity. Morgan, upholding the latter position, here ignores his own prohibitive injunction
... not to interpret what is observed at an earlier and lower stage of evolutionary advance in such relational terms as are appropriate to the interpretation of a higher and later stage. [Emergence of Novelty, p. 81]
The naturalist's position at least conforms with as much of the world as he does know and experiences, whereas there is no verifiable ground on which to base the concept of an anthropomorphic, Immanent Power or First Cause.
Morgan offers no criteria by which he determines the "religious" man (and he does not define "religious") to be superior to the "non-religious" but
It can be argued that the "religious" man, i.e., theistically religious, in religious regard, is a non-rational man, and hence is on a lower stage of the hierarchy than the rational man. It might be argued by Morgan, however, that the socially-ethical person need not be a rational person either. Nevertheless, many will argue (however wrong they may be) that the socially-ethical man emerges from religious teachings, not vice versa.
How would Morgan explain the emergence of "clear thinking," rationality, etc., after one had acquired the "religious" attitude (and perhaps even lost it in the face of "clear, critical, and analytical thinking")?
It is difficult to understand in what sense the "religious" attitude is "higher." It is an attitude, even with all its multitudinous primitive expressions, that has been with man, in one form or another, as far in the past as the history of man can show. Yet we consider ourselves much higher in many respects (but especially because we are more rational, and more reflective) than the primitive thinker of the past.
Though Morgan differentiates between intelligence and reason, in regard to reflectivity, he does not give sufficient thought to the fact of degrees of reflectivity in man; i.e., in different men, and the same men at different times and under different conditions. For instance, a moron reflects, a savage reflects, a criminal reflects, a child reflects, intelligent men reflect in varying degrees. There are some of the above "reflectors in whom the "religious attitude" may emerge. There are some in whom it does not, or in whom it has disappeared. There are some in whom not only does it not emerge, but instead a different and special reflective attitude emerges, which denies an anthropomorphic agency as the creator of all that takes place in evolutionary advance.
If the "spiritual" value emerges after the rational, the aesthetic, the ethical, then how is the emergence of spiritual value explained (a) as it appears in the irrational human being, and (b) as it appears in the human being who has "emerged" from the "religious attitude" into a rational humanistic frame of reference? Moreover, why is the irrationality of ritual so frequently mistaken for a "true" religious attitude?
Morgan confuses conditioned (or indoctrinated) religious concepts and interests, (in the minds of offspring of some pre-historic creature in whom the "religious" attitude emerged), with the emergence of interest in God and Purpose as a religious attitude in that "first" mind.
He implies that such an attitude would have emerged not only in each "first" individual, as a non-social creature but also through physiological inheritance in ensuing offspring, just as eyes, hair, etc., emerge from an inherited physical organization. This belief of Morgan's is supported by the following passage.
But accompanying and rendering possible these successive fusions is that all-important process of storage, not only storage in the individual memory, but storage in such a form as to render the power of reproducing the matter stored capable of being transmitted to offspring. [Springs of Conduct, p. 7. cf. Life, Mind, and Spirit, p. 114]
I suggest that though there may be some validity for the theory of ancestral inheritance of the physiological structure which when re-activated by a like experience shortens the learning time of mice in a particular maze, it is quite a different situation in regard to abstract ideas verbally expressed.
These are not "cut" (to use Morgan's analogy of a gramophone record) by the sense faculties -- only the sounds are. In other words, we undoubtedly inherit the physiological structure necessary to seeing green, when "green" reactivates that neural process.
We have no evidence of the words of abstract ideas being able to re-activate an inheritable physiological pattern of an abstract idea or for that matter whether there is a physiological inheritance of particular abstract idea-tracts, though there is undoubtedly inheritance of the potential to abstract.
Hence, though there may be the "potential" for moralizing, no particular moral concept has an inheritable structure waiting to be activated; for, if there were, then why may we not postulate inheritable structures for each and every particular, as well as universal, in the history of an ancestral lineage?
How is one to explain "bad offspring" of good people, and "good offspring" of bad? On Morgan's thesis, do not such abstract ideas as God, good, bad, etc., emerge from a complex relationship of other ideas physically based; i.e., derived through sense data such as the sounds of words stimulating ideas? Does not the child first derive ideas of "physical" things, then through his inherited potential to imagine and to abstract (which manifests itself at a later age), do not other ideas emerge from his empirical recognition of ideas of parts of things?
A one year-old child cannot separate, in his young mind, the pull string from a hot light bulb he has touched. After experiencing the heat of the bulb, he refuses to touch the string on which previously he playfully tugged. He cannot be induced to do so for in his mind the string was hot too. It goes without saying that one day he will abstract -- separate the string from the bulb.
More generally, do we not abstract objects from the confusion of experience? Our experience in the diversity of ideas of each new generation lends weight to the thesis that particular abstract ideas (badness, etc.) have no inheritable physiological structures.
If I may be permitted an invasion into a realm about which I know nothing, physiologically induced experience (i.e., sense data) could conceivably be more readily physiologically inheritable because of intensity of re-enforcement of the physiological changes. The physiological modification induced by an abstract idea having, comparatively speaking, very little neurological reinforcement would appear to be of such low intensity as to leave a comparatively insignificant physiologically inherited tract easily erased or modified by a new experience-idea.
No evidence is given that what may be true of physiological ancestral memory based on physical experience (sense data) would also apply to abstract ideas not based on physical experience unless, possibly, those ideas were accompanied by some intense physical experience.
However, if morality, for instance, is strictly a product of evolution, evolving a moral hereditary constitution in offspring, then so, too, is immorality (sin), according to the Mendelian theory of heredity as it is delineated by Morgan. To hold to such a theory of morality, rather than to a "conditioning," "training," or "learning" theory of morality, leads to just the kind of social development that Morgan advocates when he says:
... therefore, it seems justifiable, in the interest of the nation, that the intercrossing of the mentally and morally defective should be checked under legislative measures. [Eugenics and Environment, (London: John Bale, Sons and Danielsson, Ltd., 1919, p. 49]
Morgan, here, shows no awareness of the Pandora's box that would be opened if certain minority (or majority) pressure groups could successfully influence such legislation.
If we assume that a modification is inheritable, then we have every reason to assume that subsequent, good modifications could rectify the bad. Hence, there would be no moral excuse for denying "bad" people the right to propagate. We need only "remodify" them.
No proof is offered that if conditioning, training, and education were impossible that these attitudes would have emerged anyway in each and every individual.
No proof is offered that the religious (or moral) attitude, for instance, is a new, natural emergent in each and every person or that it results from an inherited "religious" physiological tract. If anything, evidence would seem to show that such an attitude is a matter of training, education, and in regard to theistic religion, indoctrination, i.e., conditioning, again, i.e., brain washing.
Furthermore, it might be argued that what is inherited is curiosity about the unknown, along with the propensity to offer answers to questions raised.
* * * * * *
It would be simple to say that
Morgan is an eclectic, for, in a large measure, he is. But such a claim would be an over-simplification.
Throughout this work, I have shown that Morgan (admittedly) has borrowed from one and sundry.
In large scope he has utilized G. H. Lewes' term, 'emergence,' as opposed to 'resultants,' for the concept to which both Lewes and Mill (in his heteropathic laws) referred.
I have shown, also, that there were others before them who had pointed to the concept. He borrows from Spinoza's attributes (thought and extension) the concomitance of mind and matter.
His concept of mind is a "mixture" of Spinoza's and Berkeley's.
From Huxley he takes his naturalism; from Descartes' "I think; therefore, I am," he comes to the conclusion that the proof of one's existence lies in one's act of experiencing. [Springs of Conduct, p. 56]
And, one of which I found no admission, he indirectly borrows St. Anselm's "proof" for god.
There are borrowed a multitude of concepts of smaller scope, such as "personality vs individuality" from Samuel Alexander and Bertrand Russell; [Life, Mind, and Spirit, [Ibid., p. 307]
". . .the super status of the Holy" from Rudolf Otto; [Ibid., p. 307]
and "causality vs causation, "from Hegel. [Emergent Evolution, p. 297]
These are to mention only a few.
What he has borrowed, however, should not be allowed to overshadow the substantial contribution he has made in regard to evolution in mind.
He has tied together may concepts and areas of scientific knowledge to bring forward a tenable theory of emergent evolution as a continuing process, not only in nature at large, newly and recurrently emergent, but also in mind.
He has brought clarity to subtle distinctions of the various reflective functions, and operations of the mind, and especially to the emergence of value.
Furthermore, he has shown us the necessity of a close relationship between philosophy and science.
In delineating and clarifying the functions of science, he has contributed much to a development of the philosophy of science.
Perhaps most important of all, he has pointed in new directions not only for philosophic thought [Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (Lowell Lectures, 1925), (New York; The Macmillan Co., 1925), p. xi] but for science as well.
Any one of these alone would constitute no small contribution.
That he ultimately fell back on an acknowledged metaphysical Agent does not seriously diminish the stature of Morgan as a significant figure in the development of philosophy.