chapter  I
8 Pages

OF POSITIVITY IN PHILOSOPHY

Since the beginning of the nineteenth century there has been no lack of effort to construct philosophy, in the fashion of the various sciences, on a positive foundation. The founder of positivism desired to settle the character and limits of the Positive Philosophy as co-extensive with the expanse of the domain grasped by the positive mind. Thus conceived, philosophy, once more in harmony with a tradition that deploys from Greek antiquity to Cartesianism, again becomes synonymous with science. But this acceptation of the term philosophy has not secured unanimous assent. We persist in considering certain disciplines, such as logic, ethics, aesthetics, and jurisprudence, to be constituent parts of philosophy, although their partly normative character precludes all possibility of their institution as sciences in the proper sense of the word. Moreover, we continue to regard metaphysics as eminently philosophical: and metaphysics is as unscientific as any perquisition can well be, since it deals with the absolute, instead of being concerned with relations. It should be our business to draw nigh to philosophy, by positive means of approach, throughout the whole extension thereof, including those parts and

aspects that do not yet, and perhaps never will, comply with the exactions of science.