Chapter 1.
An Outline Classification of the Sciences 1)


180. This classification, which aims to base itself on the principal affinities of the objects classified, is concerned not with all possible sciences, nor with so many branches of knowledge, but with sciences in their present condition, as so many businesses of groups of living men. It borrows its idea from Comte's classification; namely, the idea that one science depends upon another for fundamental principles, but does not furnish such principles to that other. It turns out that in most cases the divisions are trichotomic; the First of the three members relating to universal elements or laws, the Second arranging classes of forms and seeking to bring them under universal laws, the Third going into the utmost detail, describing individual phenomena and endeavoring to explain them. But not all the divisions are of this character.

The classification has been carried into great detail;2) but only its broader divisions are here given.

181. All science is either, A. Science of Discovery; B. Science of Review; or C. Practical Science.

182. By »science of review« is meant the business of those who occupy themselves with arranging the results of discovery, beginning with digests, and going on to endeavor to form a philosophy of science. Such is the nature of Humboldt's Cosmos, of Comte's Philosophie positive, and of Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy. The classification of the sciences belongs to this department.

183. Science of Discovery is either, I. Mathematics; II. Philosophy; or III. Idioscopy.1)

184. Mathematics studies what is and what is not logically possible, without making itself responsible for its actual existence. Philosophy is positive science, in the sense of discovering what really is true; but it limits itself to so much of truth as can be inferred from common experience. Idioscopy embraces all the special sciences, which are principally occupied with the accumulation of new facts.

185. Mathematics may be divided into a. the Mathematics of Logic; b. the Mathematics of Discrete Series; c. the Mathematics of Continua and Pseudo-continua.

I shall not carry this division further. Branch b has recourse to branch a, and branch c to branch b.

186. Philosophy is divided into a. Phenomenology; b. Normative Science; c. Metaphysics.

Phenomenology ascertains and studies the kinds of elements universally present in the phenomenon; meaning by the phenomenon, whatever is present at any time to the mind in any way. Normative science distinguishes what ought to be from what ought not to be, and makes many other divisions and arrangements subservient to its primary dualistic distinction. Metaphysics seeks to give an account of the universe of mind and matter. Normative science rests largely on phenomenology and on mathematics; metaphysics on phenomenology and on normative science.

187. Idioscopy has two wings: a. the Physical Sciences; and ß. the Psychical, or Human Sciences.

Psychical science borrows principles continually from the physical sciences; the latter very little from the former.

188. The physical sciences are: a. Nomological, or General, Physics; b. Classificatory Physics; c. Descriptive Physics.

Nomological physics discovers the ubiquitous phenomena of the physical universe, formulates their laws, and measures their constants. It draws upon metaphysics and upon mathematics for principles. Classificatory physics describes and classifies physical forms and seeks to explain them by the laws discovered by nomological physics with which it ultimately tends to coalesce. Descriptive physics describes individual objects — the earth and the heavens — endeavors to explain their phenomena by the principles of nomological and classificatory physics, and tends ultimately itself to become classificatory.

189. The Psychical Sciences are: a. Nomological Psychics or Psychology; b. Classificatory Psychics, or Ethnology; c. Descriptive Psychics, or History.

Nomological psychics discovers the general elements and laws of mental phenomena. It is greatly influenced by phenomenology, by logic, by metaphysics, and by biology (a branch of classificatory physics). Classificatory psychics classifies products of mind and endeavors to explain them on psychological principles. At present it is far too much in its infancy (except linguistics, to which reference will be made below) to approach very closely to psychology. It borrows from psychology and from physics. Descriptive psychics endeavors in the first place to describe individual manifestations of mind, whether they be permanent works or actions; and to that task it joins that of endeavoring to explain them on the principles of psychology and ethnology. It borrows from geography (a branch of descriptive physics), from astronomy (another branch) and from other branches of physical and psychical science.

I now consider the subdivisions of these sciences, so far as they are so widely separated as quite to sunder the groups of investigators who today study them.

190. Phenomenology is, at present, a single study.

191. Normative science has three widely separated divisions: i. Esthetics; ii. Ethics; iii. Logic.

Esthetics is the science of ideals, or of that which is objectively admirable without any ulterior reason. I am not well acquainted with this science; but it ought to repose on phenomenology. Ethics, or the science of right and wrong, must appeal to Esthetics for aid in determining the summum bonum. It is the theory of self-controlled, or deliberate, conduct. Logic is the theory of self-controlled, or deliberate, thought; and as such, must appeal to ethics for its principles. It also depends upon phenomenology and upon mathematics. All thought being performed by means of signs, logic may be regarded as the science of the general laws of signs. It has three branches: 1, Speculative Grammar, or the general theory of the nature and meanings of signs, whether they be icons, indices, or symbols; 2, Critic, which classifies arguments and determines the validity and degree of force of each kind; 3, Methodeutic, which studies the methods that ought to be pursued in the investigation, in the exposition, and in the application of truth. Each division depends on that which precedes it.

192. Metaphysics may be divided into, i, General Metaphysics, or Ontology; ii, Psychical, or Religious, Metaphysics, concerned chiefly with the questions of 1, God, 2, Freedom, 3, Immortality; and iii, Physical Metaphysics, which discusses the real nature of time, space, laws of nature, matter, etc. The second and third branches appear at present to look upon one another with supreme contempt.

193. Nomological physics is divided into, i, Molar Physics, Dynamics and Gravitation; ii, Molecular Physics, Elaterics and Thermodynamics; iii, Etherial Physics, Optics and Electrics. Each division has two subdivisions. The dependence of the divisions is well marked.

194. Classificatory physics seems, at present, as a matter of fact, to be divided, quite irrationally and most unequally, into i, Crystallography; ii, Chemistry; iii, Biology.

195. But crystallography is rather an offshoot from chemistry, to which it furnishes a few facts, but hardly a principle. It is highly mathematical and depends also on elaterics. Biology might be regarded (although, as a matter of fact, no such view is taken) as the chemistry of the albumoids and of the forms they assume. It is probable that all the differences of races, individuals, and tissues are chemical, at bottom. At any rate, the possible varieties of albuminoids are amply sufficient to account for all the diversity of organic forms.

196. Pure chemistry seems, at present, to consist of, 1, Physical Chemistry, consisting of the old chemical physics and the modern chemical dynamics; 2, Organic Chemistry, Aliphatic and Aromatic; 3, Inorganic Chemistry, consisting of the doctrine of the elements, their atomic weights, periodicity, etc., and the doctrine of compounds.

197. Biology is divided into, 1, Physiology; and 2, Anatomy. Physiology is closely allied to chemistry and physics. Anatomy is divided into many distinct fields, according to the nature of the forms studied.

198. Descriptive physics is divided into, 1, Geognosy, and, 2, Astronomy. Both have various well-known subdivisions.

199. Psychology is most naturally divided, according to the methods it follows, into, i, Introspectional Psychology; ii, Experimental Psychology; iii, Physiological Psychology; iv, Child Psychology.

This division only admits those parts of psychology which investigate the general phenomena of mind. Special psychology belongs to classificatory psychics. Both experimental and physiological psychology are dependent upon introspective psychology. But it is hard to say which of them derives most from the other. Child psychology depends on all the others. Psychology is too young a science to have any further living divisions than such as are here admitted.

200. Classificatory psychics is divided into, i, Special Psychology, itself consisting of, 1, Individual Psychology; 2, Psychical Heredity; 3, Abnormal Psychology; 4, Mob Psychology; 5, Race Psychology; 6, Animal Psychology; ii, Linguistics, a vast science, divided according to the families of speech, and cross-divided into, 1, Word Linguistics; 2, Grammar; and there should be a comparative science of forms of composition; iii, Ethnology, divided into, 1, the Ethnology of Social Developments, customs, laws, religion, and traditions; and, 2, the Ethnology of Technology.

201. Descriptive psychics is divided into, i, History proper, itself divided according to the nature of its data into, 1, Monumental History; 2, Ancient History with all other history that is drawn from few and general testimonies; 3, History drawn from a wealth of documents, as Modern History, generally. History has, beside, two cross-divisions; the one into, 1, Political History; 2, History of the Different Sciences; 3, History of Social Developments, religion, law, slavery, manners, etc.; the other according to the different parts of the world and the different peoples whose history is studied; ii, Biography, which at present is rather a mass of lies than a science; iii, Criticism, the study of individual works of mind, itself divided into, 1, Literary Criticism; 2, Art Criticism, of which the latter is divided into many departments, as Criticism of Military Operations, Criticism of Architecture, etc.

202. The classification of practical sciences has been elaborated by the author, but will not here be touched upon.1) No classification of the science of review has been attempted.


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