Life and Matter, A Criticism of Professor Haeckel's

Life and Matter, A Criticism of Professor Haeckel's "Riddle of the Universe"

by Oliver Lodge

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This small volume is in form controversial, but in substance it has a more ambitious aim: it is intended to formulate, or perhaps rather to reformulate, a certain doctrine concerning the nature of man and the interaction between mind and matter. Incidentally it attempts to confute two errors which are rather prevalent:—

1. The notion that because material energy is constant in quantity, therefore its transformations and transferences—which admittedly constitute terrestrial activity—are not susceptible of guidance or directive control.

2. The idea that the specific guiding power which we call "life" is one of the forms of material energy, so that directly it relinquishes its connection with matter other equivalent forms of energy must arise to replace it.

The book is specially intended to act as an antidote to the speculative and destructive portions of Professor Haeckel's interesting and widely-read work, but in other respects it may be regarded less as a hostile attack than as a supplement—an extension of the more scientific portions of that work into higher and more fruitful regions of inquiry.



"Materialistic monism is nowadays the working hypothesis of every scientific explorer in every department, whatever other beliefs or denials he may, more or less explicitly and more or less consistently, superadd. Materialistic monism only becomes false when put forward as a complete philosophy of the universe, because it leaves out of sight the conditions of human knowledge, which the special sciences may conveniently disregard, but which a candid philosophy cannot ignore."

"The legitimate materialism of the sciences simply means temporary and convenient abstraction from the cognitive conditions under which there are 'facts' or 'objects' for us at all; it is 'dogmatic materialism' which is metaphysics of the bad sort."

D. G. Ritchie.


"Our metaphysics is really like many other sciences—only on the threshold of genuine knowledge: God knows if it will ever get further. It is not hard to see its weakness in much that it undertakes. Prejudice is often found to be the mainstay of its proofs. For this nothing is to blame but the ruling passion of those who would fain extend human knowledge. They are anxious to have a grand philosophy: but the desirable thing is, that it should also be a sound one."


Product Details

BN ID: 2940015847420
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 11/13/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 280 KB

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