chapter  V
31 Pages


We might say that at this time Taine's motto was “ Back to Condillac.” The philosophers had lost the respect and confidence of the men of science, and Taine, with one foot in philosophy and one in science, felt aggrieved at the way in which the national philosophy was falling behind the progress of research. This state of mind implies of course a contempt of metaphysics and Taine's real mission did not amount to a constructive philosophy but a very limited attack on the points which were of interest to him, the problems of physiology and psychology. We shall enter upon no disputes at present about the value of this kind of outlook, but take a retrospective glance at the developments which culminated in this revolt of the empiricists.