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The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879

Cupiditas est appetitus cum ejusdem conscientia


the sciences of Biology and,

still more, of Sociology and Morals, are synthetic, since they deal with objects in which the whole is not a mere aggregation or resultant of the parts, but in which rather the parts can be understood only in and through the whole. Hence it would seem that the dispersive tendencies of science are confined to lower steps of the scientific scale; and that the final science (as was shown more particularly in a previous article) admits and necessitates a synthesis, which is not merely subjective, but also objective. For Comte does not hold that we are to regard other men merely as means, or to seek to understand them only so far as is necessary for the gratification of some desire in ourselves as individuals. We are, on the contrary, to seek to know man in and for himself; and when we do so know him, we find that he is essentially social, and that the individual, as such, is a mere "fiction of the metaphysicians." Here, again, therefore, we find that Comte's system ends in a compromise between opposite tendencies of thought. His subjective synthesis proved after all to be objective, at least so far as mankind were concerned; and in like manner his opposition of the intellect to the heart turns out to be only partial; for when the intelligence is directed to psychology and sociology, it gives us an idea of humanity, according to which all men are "members one of another." The warfare of the heart and the intelligence thus resolves itself into another expression of that dualism between
the world and man, which we found to be an essential characteristic of Comte's system.

The second question--whether the altruistic affections of man do not imply, or are not necessarily connected with, the development of his reason or self-consciousness--is even more important. Comte, like Hume, took all the desires, higher and lower, as tendencies given apart from the reason, which can only devise the means of satisfying them, and is, therefore, necessarily their servant. Reason itself on this view does not essentially affect the character of those tendencies which it obeys. "_Cupiditas est appetitus cum ejusdem conscientia_," said Spinoza, and he then went on to speak as if the "_conscientia_" made no change in the character of the "_appetitus_." But if we think of appetites or desires--some of them tending to the good of the individual, others to the good of the species--as existing in an animal which is not conscious of a self, these appetites will neither be selfish nor unselfish in the sense in which we apply these terms to man. Where there is no _ego_ there can be no _alter-ego_, and therefore neither egoism nor altruism. The idea of the self as a permanent unity to which all the different tendencies are referred, and the rise in consequence of a new desire of pleasure, distinct from the desires of particular objects, are essential to egoism. The idea of an _alter-ego_, _i.e._, of a community with others which makes their interests our own, and hence the rise of a love for them,--which is not merely disinterested as the animal appetites are disinterested, because they tend directly to their objects without any thought of self, but disinterested in the sense that the thought of self is conquered or absorbed, is essential to altruism. Each of these tendencies may in its matter, or rather in its first matter, coincide with the appetites; viewed from the outside, they may seem to be nothing higher than hunger or thirst, or sexual or parental impulse, but their form is different. They are changed as by a chemical solvent, which dissolves and renews them; nay, as by a new principle of life, whose first transformation of them is nothing but the beginning of a series of transformations both of their matter and their form; so that, in the end,


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