The International Congress of Arts and Sciences

Hugo Münsterberg

WHENEVER a new scientific journal appears, we are accustomed to take it as a, sign that somewhere in the scholarly universe a new branching off has begun, a scientific specialty has undergone a new bifurcation. Interest in such a new herald is naturally confined to the few who work in the rising subspecialty. The banner, however, which this new journal is to unfold is of a very different nature. This journal does not protest against the spirit of specialization which makes our modern science and scholarship solid and strong, but it does protest against the prejudice that a detached specialization can give us the last word and can make correlations superfluous. It desires to stand for the unity of knowledge, aims to consider the fundamental conceptions which bind together all the specialistic results, seeks to enquire into the methods of science which bind together the scientific workers, and into the center of its sphere it puts philosophy. But all this seems, after all, merely a symptom of the whole spirit of our times. A reaction against the narrowness of mere fact-diggers has set in. A mere heaping up of disconnected, unshaped facts begins to disappoint the world; it is felt too vividly that a mere dictionary of phenomena, of events and laws, makes our knowledge larger but not deeper, makes our life more complex but not more valuable, makes our science more difficult but not more harmonious. Our time longs for a new synthesis, and looks toward science no longer merely with a desire for technical prescriptions and new inventions in the interest of comfort and exchange. It waits for knowledge to fulfill its higher mission, to satisfy our ideal needs for a, view of the world which shall give unity to our scattered experience. The indications of this change are visible to every one who observes the gradual turning to philosophical discussions in the most different fields of scientific life. When after the first third of the nineteenth century the great philosophic movement, which found its climax in Hegelianism, came to disaster in consequence of its absurd neglect of hard solid facts. the era of natural-

( 2) -ism began its triumph with contempt for all philosophy. Idealism and philosophy were stigmatized as the enemies of true science, and natural science had its great clay. The rapid progress of physics and chemistry fascinated the world and produced modern technique; the sciences of life, physiology, biology, medicine, followed; and the scientific method was carried over from body to mind and gave us, at the end of the nineteenth century, modern psychology and sociology. The lifeless and the living, the physical and the mental, the individual and the social, all had been conquered by the analytic method, and the pseudo-philosophic positivism had served as a kind of substitute for a metaphysical view. But just when the climax had been reached and all had been analyzed and explained, the time was ripe for disillusion, and the lack of philosophy began to be felt with alarm in every quarter. For seventy years there had been nowhere so much philosophizing going on as suddenly sprung up among the scientists of the last decade. The physicists and the mathematicians, the chemists and the biologists, the geologists and the astronomers ; and on the other side, the historians and the economists, the psychologists and the sociologists, the jurists and the theologians—all suddenly found themselves again in the midst of discussions on fundamental principles and methods, on general categories and conditions of knowledge; in short, in the midst of the despised philosophy. And with those discussions has come the demand for correlation. Everywhere have arisen leaders who have brought unconnected sciences together and emphasized the unity of large divisions. The time seems to have come again when the realistic wave is ebbing and a new idealistic tide is swelling, just as they have alternated in the civilization of three thousand years. To devote a new journal to this effort to bring together the sciences, psychology and philosophy, to emphasize the philosophic side of science and the true scientific value of philosophy, means, therefore, to understand and to appreciate the signs of a time which works toward a new synthesis of knowledge.

If this is the spirit of the new journal, I welcome the invitation to speak in the columns of its first issue on a great American undertaking of international scope, which aims at somewhat the same ideal and hopes to reenforce the synthetic spirit in a different way. The external plans of the International Congress of Arts and Science to be held in St. Louis from the nineteenth to the twenty-fifth of September, 1904, in connection with and on the invitation of the World's Fair, may be supposed to be familiar, now to the scholars of the country. To all that the papers and magazines have reported concerning the general program, the selection of foreign speakers, ***** Europeans by the members of the Organizing

( 3) Committee, and a wide acceptance on their part, it may be added today that further, important steps have been taken during the last few weeks. For American speakers and sectional chairmen, about 340 Americans have been selected, and invitations will soon be extended to them. All this has been done with the hearty cooperation of the great body of scientific men of this country. The president and the two vice-presidents of the congress, Professor Newcomb, Professor Small and I, had asked in November for, advice from the council members of eighty societies of national scope, and from all sides authoritative suggestions were kindly furnished. In December, then, we three prepared, on the basis of this rich material, the list of invitations, and its final shape was voted by the Administrative Board with President Butler in the chair, President Harper, President Pritchett, President Jesse, Librarian of Congress Putnam, and as representative of the World's Fair, the Director of Congresses, Howard J. Rogers, being present. We gladly followed the propositions of the official representatives of the great societies; and yet we had no right to take them otherwise than as the suggestions for which alone we had asked, inasmuch as many secondary points of view—a fair distribution between different parts of the country, between different institutions, between different groups, had carefully to be considered. If the Americans accept the invitations in the next few months with the same readiness and willingness which the Europeans have shown, we can expect that the World's Fair will see in that September week a gathering of the most eminent scholars of the world and a work of incomparable value for the unity of the knowledge of our time.

Of course, no one dreams that the great synthetic apperception, for which our modern time seems ripe, will come through the delivery of 500 addresses, the discussions of 200 audiences, or the printing of papers by hundreds of authors. An ultimate unity demands the gigantic thought of a single genius, and the work of the many can after all be merely the preparation for the final work of the one. And yet history shows that the one will never come if the many have not done their share. That which is needed is to fill the sciences of our, time with a growing consciousness of belonging together, with a longing for fundamental principles, with a conviction that the desire for correlation is not the fancy of dreamers, but the immediate need of the leaders in thought. What can the congress do to help in this preparatory work, and what has it done?

To begin at the beginning, the International Congress will represent the totality of sciences. We all know very well that specialistic work is best fostered if the representatives of one specialty are left alone in their meetings, and that a quiet place is the right resort

( 4) for them. Such meetings go on everywhere all the year round, and the World's Fair would be the worst background for them. But the place where the nations gather with their arts and industries is not bad headquarters when we try to bring all sciences together. And such an end can not be reached if, as in Paris, merely a long list of successive congresses is provided. One single congress, meeting at one time, could alone hold together the totality of intellectual endeavors. But above all, every striving for truth ought to find its 'place in the program, the applied practical sciences as well as the theoretical ones, the mental as well as the natural sciences. The special danger was that the prejudices left over from the anti-philosophical past might hinder the acknowledgment of those sciences whose material does not fall under the categories of causality. All the historical sciences and normative sciences would, in that case, be forced into the framework of biology, psychology and sociology; but also here all one-sidedness was avoided and a program worked up which prepares the way to a real philosophical unity by doing full justice to the teleological aspects of reality. We came thus to the establishment of 129 sections of similar extent.

But the synthetic purpose could not have been fulfilled if these different sections had been simply set beside each other. The related sections had to be grouped into departments. We distinguished twenty-four such departments. The related departments had to be grouped into divisions; we have seven such divisions, of which the first four, the Normative Sciences, the Historical Sciences, the Physical Sciences, the Psychical Sciences, form the first chief part—Theoretical Knowledge ; while the last three divisions, the Utilitarian Sciences, the Regulative Sciences, and the Cultural Sciences, form the second chief part—Applied Knowledge. But this classification into divisions, departments and sections could become living only when the work itself should become in a way a dramatic realization of such a plan. Thus our first meeting will be devoted to the totality of knowledge. On the first afternoon the whole will resolve itself into the seven divisions. On the second day the seven divisions will divide into the twenty-four departments. And on the next five days the departments will branch out into the 129 sections, of which each one will take either an entire morning or an entire afternoon, thus making it possible for every one to attend the meetings of nine sections—enough to cover, probably, the whole sphere of his related interests.

More important is the choice of subjects for the leading addresses. Each department and each section will have as its chief contribution two addresses. No one of the 320 speakers invited to give the leading essays will simply follow his own specialistic interests, but will

( 5) accept or decline the invitation to deal with a definite topic which is an organic part of the whole undertaking. The speakers for each division will deal with the unity of that divisional field. Each department will devote the first address to the historical aspect of its subject, dealing with the development of the sciences of the whole department during the nineteenth century; while the second address will consider the fundamental conceptions and methods of the whole department. All the divisional and departmental speakers will be Americans ; the work of the first two days will thus be the contribution of this country in welcome. On the third day, with the opening of the sections, begins the international work. Americans will be chairmen in all sections, and in nearly every section one of the two addresses will be delivered by Americans. The first sectional address will deal with the relation of that science to allied sciences; the second with the leading problems of our time. But in every section there will be, besides these two fundamental addresses, five or six shorter communications on invitation from the chairman; and while the topics of these are not prescribed, the tendency here too will be to emphasize the wider aspect. It is clear that such a system, by the topics of the addresses alone, thus forces the speakers to weave an intellectual network, making the sciences conscious of their interrelations, their fundamental problems, and their contributions to the totality of social consciousness. And all this will go on record in printed form. Twenty-four volumes, each one devoted to one department and its sections, will reenforce this powerful movement.

But the most essential condition of success is the choice of speakers and chairmen. To speak on the general aspects of a subject is in a way the easiest possible task. If a beginner tries it—and it attracts every beginner—he feels confident because he believes that his lack of mastery can be better hidden than in the discussion of special facts, where ignorance at once becomes evident. But every one knows also how utterly useless the undertaking in such a case must be. To approach the general problem in a helpful, original spirit is, on the other hand, a most difficult task, for which only those are prepared who have devoted a life of faithful service to the most various specialized subjects. The selection of scholars, in whose judgment on general problems the specialistic authorities confide, has thus been the very first condition of the plan. Only those men ought to be in question who have reached, by hard climbing alone, a height from which it is possible to take a bird's-eye view. This country does not lack such leaders, and the American instinct for organization and correlation and cooperation has always been favorable to the development of wide interests. The galaxy of American

( 6) speakers and chairmen will give an impressive idea of the breadth and strength and unity of the New World's thought. All indications justify the hope that the list of those who will take part will not be less imposing than the list of those who will receive invitations. But inasmuch as most of the calls are not yet out, it would be unbecoming to mention any names at this hour. It is not the same, however, with the Europeans to whom the invitations were personally conveyed last fall, by the organizing committee, and with whom the negotiations are, for the most part, closed.

For the 129 sections, 122 foreigners, about two thirds of those who have been approached officially, have definitively accepted the invitation. With a few others negotiations are pending. There are a few sections, like American History and others, for which we did not seek foreign speakers, and a number of other sections for which we gave both sectional addresses to Europeans, inasmuch as Americans had an exclusive right to the divisional and departmental speeches. It would lead too far to analyze the whole foreign list, but it may be in order to point here at least to those sections which fall most directly into the narrower circle of this journal. The department of philosophy has been divided into the following sections : metaphysics, philosophy of religion, logic, methodology of science, ethics, philosophy of law, esthetics. The department of psychology has been divided into the four sections : general psychology, experimental psychology, comparative psychology and abnormal psychology. The following Europeans will give leading addresses in these eleven sections: in metaphysics, Bergson, from Paris; in philosophy of religion, Pfleiderer, from Berlin, and Troeltsch, from Heidelberg; in logic, Riehl from Halle, and Windelband from Heidelberg; in methodology of science, Ostwald from Leipzig, and Erdmann from Bonn; in ethics, Sorley from Cambridge; in philosophy of law, Binding from Leipzig; in aesthetics, Lipps from Munich, and Dessoir from Berlin; in general psychology, Hoeffding from Copenhagen; in experimental psychology, Ebbinghaus from Breslau; in comparative psychology, Lloyd Morgan from Bristol; in abnormal psychology, Pierre Janet from Paris. Now add to this list of European philosophers and psychologists who make leading addresses the names of Americans such as Baldwin, Bowne, Cattell, Dewey, Duncan, Hall, Howison, James, Ladd, Ormond, Pace, Palmer, Royce, Sanford, Shurmann, Thilly, Titchener, Tufts, Woodbridge and about ten more, all of whom will receive invitations, and the weight of this international combination must be strongly felt by every one who has the slightest knowledge of philosophical and psychological literature. And yet it is clear that the circle of those foreigners for instance whose presence and whose work would in

( 7) -terest the philosophers and psychologists is not at all confined to those who are booked officially for these sections only, but includes many brilliant men who will speak in related sections, but who probably will add shorter communications also in those sections mentioned. The psychologists, for instance, will feel no less interest in men like Lombroso from Turin, who comes for criminology; or Simmel of Berlin, and Toennies from Kiel, both of whom come for social psychology in the department of sociology; or Ziehen from Halle, who comes for psychiatry; or Erb from Heidelberg, in the section of neurology; or Waldeyer from Berlin in anatomy; or Engelmann from Berlin in physiology; or Manouvrier from Paris in somatology; or Ziegler from Strassburg, or Sadler from Manchester, or Rein from Jena, all of whom come for education. On the other hand, those interested in logic and methodology of science willgreet with enthusiasm the great mathematicians, Picard and Darboux and Poincaré, all three from Paris, together with Boltzmann from Vienna; or naturalists of such philosophic temper as Mendeleef of St. Petersburg, or Dewar of London, Thompson of Cambridge, Van't Hoff of Berlin, Becquerel of Paris, Hertwig of Berlin, Giard of Paris, and many others. The philosopher interested in esthetics will welcome in the department of literature and art men like Furtwaengler of Munich, Muther of Breslau, Minor of Vienna, Enlart, Michel, Brunetière, all three of Paris. Those interested in philosophy of religion will hear men like Harnack of Berlin, Oldenberg of Kiel, Budde of Marburg, and many others. In short, wherever the center of individual interests may lie, every one will find that in his own circle the most brilliant names can be found. It is perhaps not too much to say that there will cross the ocean the leading economists and historians, the foremost philologians and naturalists, the greatest jurists and physicians, engineers and theologians; and everywhere the noblest American energies will assist them.

But the associations which cling to these famous names suggest exactly the type of thought to which the whole undertaking is devoted. Almost every one of these European scholars has in his own field brought about a certain synthesis of widely separated elements of thought, and has devoted not the smallest part of his work to the fundamental conceptions and methods of his science. The addresses which they will deliver thus lie essentially in the line of their own best thought, and yet it is most probable that the greater part of these addresses would never have been written had not the outer occasion of our invitation stimulated them to undertake the task. Such work is too easily postponed. And thus the congress may hope to create in these hundreds of addresses a connected and

( 8) consistent work which no chance group of individuals would have produced, which demanded a unified program and the enthusiasm of the leading thinkers of the world. But we hope that still more important than the set addresses will be the living influence of this gathering, in which the four or five hundred invited official speakers and chairmen, together with the thousand who may make shorter communications, will form merely the nucleus of the international meeting. That such a unique fusion of scholarship will be productive in itself no one can doubt; but that these scholars are brought together, and are doing their work under the control of the demand for unity in knowledge, for interrelation and synthesis :—this thought will be the living force, the most powerful factor of the Congress, and a tremendous influence in overcoming the pedantic and unphilosophic narrowness of specialists in every corner of the realm of science.



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