Classics in the History of Psychology

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Christopher D. Green
York University, Toronto, Ontario
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The Ethics of Freedom
Notes Selected, Translated, and Arranged by His Pupil James Gibson Hume

George Paxton Young (1911)
First published in Toronto: University Press

Posted October 2001



1. The Utilitarian theory of life must be rejected as involving a denial of disinterested action.

2. Some Utilitarians like Mr. J. S. Mill admit disinterestedness and they endeavor in various ways to reconcile this with the theory of life which they hold; but as has been shown in the detailed examination of Mr. Mill's views, the attempt is a failure.  In Dr. Bain's words, the disinterestedness evaporates in the analysis.

3. It is undeniable, that, even where action is disinterested, some satisfaction of one's own nature is sought, and, if the Utilitarian theory of life meant simply this, it might be accepted. To say that a rational being desires anything in the sense of making it his good, is just another mode of saying that he seeks that good as satisfying to his nature.  But, while this has been granted, the whole question in dispute between Utilitarians and their opponents has still to be settled; viz., whether pleasure or agreeable feeling is the sole thing with which rational beings seek to satisfy themselves.  To answer this question in the affirmative is a misrepresentation of the nature of rational beings.

4. It may be said: if Pleasure be not the only good for man, what then is his good? [p. 51]

5. This can be answered only partially. .The true good or Summum Bonum of a rational being becomes apparent only as his nature rises to fuller and fuller development.  But the question though admitting only of a partial answer, can be answered sufficiently for the purpose in hand.  We can point to many things distinct from pleasure, in which men of ordinary moral character seek satisfaction, and in which as a matter of fact, they find more satisfaction than any amount of pleasure could give.  For instance, the pursuit of knowledge, self-sacrifice for the good of others, and the habitual, constant performance of what a man regards as his duty.

6. Take the pursuit of knowledge.  The Utilitarian asks, would a man pursue knowledge if it did not give him pleasure?   The reply is: a man would certainly not pursue knowledge if it did not meet some want of his rational nature.

But this is an entirely different thing from saying that knowledge would not be pursued if it did not yield pleasure.  To identify these two statements, would be to assume what cannot be conceded, that pleasure is the form of satisfaction sought in the pursuit of knowledge.

But it is argued, the acquiring of knowledge gives a man pleasure.  A glow of agreeable feeling is experienced as new truths unfold themselves Granted.  But, because agreeable feeling results from the attainment of an object of desire, it [p. 52] as his nature does not follow, that this agreeable feeling was the thing desired.

8. If a man did not possess a nature in virtue of which knowledge is loved by him for itself alone, and without any reference to the pleasure to be found in the attainment of knowledge, the attainment would not yield him pleasure.

9. In like manner, if the good Samaritan had not been a man of such a character as to love his neighbor disinterestedly, he would have felt no pleasure in seeing the good he was able to do to his neighbor.

10. Even where pleasure is the form of satisfaction sought, the desire, in its distinctively human form is not for agreeable feeling (simpliciter), but for some object which the self-conscious subject presents to himself as fitted to give him satisfaction. The recognition of this, were there nothing else to be said, would be essentially the overthrow of the Utilitarian theory of life.

11. Utilitarians say that the object is desired for the sake of the pleasure, and they consider this to be equivalent to saying that pleasure is at bottom the sole thing desired.  This however, is a mistake.  The desire of pleasure, apart from the thought of objects to afford satisfaction can be nothing else than the animal impulse lying in feeling. This is a totally different thing from the rational motive that arises when an object [p. 53] is presented by the self-conscious subject to himself as fitted to meet a felt want.

12. The point to which attention is here called may be otherwise presented by saying that instead of pleasure being the sole motive to action, it is, merely as pleasure, not a motive at all. Motive supervenes on pleasure, only when the self-conscious subject presents to itself an object by the attainment of which an imagined pleasure may be realized. In the proper sense of the term, motive, there can be no motive except to some course of action definitely thought, but no definite course of action, by which (pleasure) may be attained can be before the mind, except on condition that an object be thought through the attainment' of which the pleasure imagined, may become actual.

(Here some notes used in writing the above).

5. -----·

No doubt it might be held that an action is (right) when its motive is the desire to produce the greatest amount of pleasure to rational or sentient beings.  But in the first place, this is not what Utilitarians are in the habit of saying.

Their doctrine is that the rightness of an action does not depend on the motive.  In Mr. J. S. Mill's words; to save a man from drowning is an action equally right, whether the motive be benevolence, or a desire to be paid for one's trouble. [p. 54]

6. In the second place, the view that the rightness of an action is independent of the motive is the only one which Utilitarians can consistently take; for with  them,  the motive to action, whatever form it may assume, is always essentially the same, namely the desire of pleasure. [p. 55]




1. The Utilitarian doctrine of the ethical standard necessarily falls with the Utilitarian theory of life.  If other things than pleasure be desirable, then the moral ideal or end of life cannot be simply the (product) of pleasure, whether to the individual agent or to mankind generally.

2. Even if the overthrow of the theory of life adopted by Utilitarians did not involve the rejection of what they teach regarding the ethical standard, it would be impossible logically to pass from the former doctrine to the latter, that is, unless a purely egoistic Utilitarianism be held.

3. In setting up as a standard of right the tendency of action to produce pleasure, Utilitarians make the moral character of an action depend on something external to the action, whereas the action, if it can with propriety be said to have moral quality at all, must have it intrinsically, in virtue of its being the action which it is.

3[sic]. When Utilitarians speak of the moral quality of an action, and tell us that it is determined by the tendency of actions to promote pleasures, they have reference to external actions in abstraction from the motive that led to its performance, but an external action, as so considered, has no moral quality whatever. [p. 56]

4. Here two questions may perhaps be asked: Is it really just the case that the external actions, in abstraction from motive is that to which Utilitarians attach moral quality?  And next, if Utilitarians do this, is it necessary on Utilitarian principles that such a view should be taken?

5. As to the first question, let Mr. J. S. Mill answer.  He says  Dissertations  and  Discussions, Vol. III, p. 325 "Utilitarian moralists have gone beyond almost all others in affirming that the motive has nothing to do with the morality of the action, though much with the worth of the agent. He who saves a fellow-creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty or the hope of ·being paid for his trouble."

6. Mr. J. S. Mill, therefore, and those Utilitarians of whom he may stand as a representative, attach moral quality to the external action in abstraction from the motive that led to it.

7. But now as to the second question, namely whether Utilitarian principles require such a position to be taken.  May we not suppose a Utilitarian to hold that what is really right is not the external action which produces a maximum of pleasure, but the volition directed whether mediately or immediately toward that end?

8. The reply is, that, to take this  ground would be essentially a giving up of Utilitarianism in the ordinary sense altogether.  The most fundamental principle of the system is that the motive to action however it may be [p. 57] disguised, is always the same, namely pleasure. There can be no difference among actions so far as their motive is concerned; and therefore if some actions are right and others wrong, the ground of this distinction has to be sought elsewhere than in the motive.  But where motive is left out of account, nothing is left to give one action a claim to moral approbation more than another except organic movement with its results.  This doctrine cannot be accepted.  The movement of a bodily organ, apart from the action of a personality on whose volition the movement was consequent, can be neither right nor wrong.

9. It may be said: admitting that nothing can be right or wrong except the volition of a person or self-conscious subject, may not the circumstances in virtue of which certain feelings are right be that they have for their end the production of a maximum of pleasure to sentient beings?  If this could be maintained would (it) not be Utilitarianism of a certain type?

10. It would certainly not be Utilitarianism of the ordinary type.  Volition cannot be separated from motive.  It is the motive that makes a volition what it is.  Indeed, a volition and its motive are essentially one.  Therefore the doctrine indicated if called Utilitarianism, is at any rate an abandonment of the theory of life which reduces all motive to pleasure.  If motive be constituted by the end, consciously in view, which the agent, makes for the time his good, [p. 58] then to find the basis of moral distinctions in the ends aimed at, would be to find the basis of moral distinctions in the motives to volition, which, if moral distinctions have any reality, implies an intrinsic difference in motives.

11. Suppose  then that the ordinary Utilitarian theory of life is abandoned, and that an intrinsic difference in motives is admitted, in other words, that there are other things desirable besides pleasure, many things much more desirable than pleasure, would it be wrong to say that the rightness of an action depends on its tendency to promote the highest good of mankind? If this ground could be taken, would not Utilitarianism properly understood, be the ethical standard after all?

12. To this the only reply that can be given is, that man's chief good is the realization of the moral ideal, what this ideal is can be known only 3n so far as the moral nature has unfolded itself and thus exhibited the capabilities that are in it, therefore it can be known only partially: and imperfectly.  At the same time there is (apparently) no generalization, in which the rules of conduct that would be observed in particular circumstances are better gathered into a single expression than that which declares it right to seek the general good.  The good, of course, is not to be confounded with the pleasant, what the essential good is, it may be hoped that man will learn to understand better and better as the world progresses. [p. 59]




1. Conscience in a man is Reason, revealing to him moral law for the guidance of his conduct.

2. In order that this definition may not be misunderstood, it may be kept in view, that Reason may have different degrees of development.  This is tantamount to saying that Conscience may be more or less enlightened.

3. Hence the view that Conscience furnishes an immediate unerring assurance of the validity of certain moral principles unconditionally and without exception valid, cannot be maintained.

4. How then more exactly may the function of Conscience be expressed?  The Reason is the source of the ideas of right and wrong.  It is the source of these ideas however not in a purely abstract form, but in connection with particular courses of conduct, which are thought as right or wrong.  In the thought of particular courses of conduct as right or wrong, a rule for action is provided, though the rule may not be (absolutely proved.)  Conscience in a man is simply Reason (considered) as providing such a rule, according to the degree of the development of Reason as it may be more or less in agreement with the absolutely desirable or morally good.

5. It may be said; is not this to represent Reason, as self-contradictory?  If conscience in one man, or the reason as developed in him, pronounces a certain course of conduct to be [p. 60] right, while conscience in another man, or the reason as developed in him, pronounces the same course of conduct to be wrong, is not Reason at variance with itself?

6. No,  unless development be  self-contradictory.

7. Reason would be made self-contradictory, in irreconcilable variance with itself, if it were held that it immediately discovered moral principles unconditionally and  without exception valid and if it were also proved that some of these principles are inconsistent with others.  But there is no contradiction in saying that Reason, while not revealing to any man moral principles unconditionally and without exception valid, does reveal to all men, in whom its light has begun to shine, the existence of a better and a worse, in other words, the fact of Moral Law, though what the law in a particular case is, may not be so clearly apprehended by one man as by another. It may not be apprehended with equal clearness by the same man at different times.

8. It may still be argued, that, though development of Reason, may not show its self-contradictoriness, the view that Conscience admits of being more or less enlightened leaves duty ultimately uncertain.  If my Conscience is not absolutely unerring, how can it be a guide to me at all?

9. The first thing to be said in reply to such a question is, that, whatever difficulty may be [p. 61] supposed to attach itself to the doctrine that Conscience is not infallible, the fact does not admit of being gainsaid.  It is simply indubitable, that men differ not only as Dr. Calderwood admits, in their moral judgment, but also, what Dr. Calderwood, does not admit, in the principles on which their moral judgment proceeds.

10. The next thing to be said is, that, taking it as incontrovertible that a man's conscience may become more enlightened at one time than it was at another, it does not follow that Conscience is without value as a guide. The path of duty may not be seen with absolute clearness, but this does not imply that it is not seen at all.

11. Admitting that I find in my Reason the idea of a better and a worse, that is, the idea of a law which I should obey, with intimations however imperfect as to what the law is, reflection may render these intimations more definite, and may deepen my conviction that certain general principles of action are in the direction of that absolute fulfilment of myself to which my rational nature prompts me to aspire.  In such circumstances, though I cannot claim that every principle of action which seems to me, at the stage of my development which I have reached, to be valid, is absolutely and unconditionally so, yet I surely cannot be said to be left without particular guidance.

12. The true conclusion to be drawn from the fact that conscience admits of being educated [p. 62] and of becoming more enlightened, is, not that we are without a rule for conduct, but that a man should never allow himself to remain so fixed in the particular convictions to which he may have been brought, as to be insensible to the influences that may be at work, fitted to raise him to a higher moral condition.

13. According to the view given, Conscience cannot be considered as a principle of action, co-ordinate with the particular impulses in man. Each of these latter principles impels along a line of action of its own, towards its own appropriate end.  The moral faculty has no special line or end of its own.  Its business is to indicate that some end, of those that may be aimed at, is preferable to others, and that we are under obligation, under moral necessity, to seek it. It is thus, not an impulsive, but a directive principle.

14. This throws light on what has always been felt to be the distinguishing characteristic of the moral faculty: its authority.  Had the moral faculty been a special impulse, ed-ordinate, e.g., with the love of pleasure, or the love of knowledge, it would have been difficult to comprehend what superiority it could possess over the others. Special impulses exist, in virtue of special ends, which being in the mind's view, prompt to (action.)  Now various promptings to act may be more or less powerful, more or less (efficacious), but it is not easy to understand in what sense one [p. 63] prompting as compared with another, can be authoritative.  But the moral faculty does not supply a prompting additional to those of the other special ends, which may be before the mind.  It merely pronounces that the highest of the ends that may be before the mind, should be sought; and this declaration is  ipso facto one of absolute authority.

In pronouncing that the highest end should be sought, what is the Reason doing but declaring that we are under law?  That it is imperative, obligatory, morally necessary, that we choose this end?  That, even should our inclination to some lower ends be very powerful, we ought not to give way to such inclinations; and that if we do give way to it, we shall be doing wrong?  In other words, the moral faculty, even if not sovereign "de facto" is conceived as sovereign "de jure," its sole function being to act as sovereign, to guide, command, prescribe.  If it has not authority it is nothing.  A nominis  umbra. It is either authoritative, or there is no such faculty in man . [p. 64]






1. Dr. Calderwood appears to think that the various first principles of morals: Honesty is right, Purity is right; and so on, can be brought under one supreme principle, "it is right to use our powers for rational ends."  (In the earlier editions of his "Handbook" it was "For their natural ends")  The two phrases apparently are regarded by him as amounting to the same thing.

2. He illustrates this by selecting the principle "Honesty is right."

3. This principle he brings under the supreme principle in the following manner --

(a) Our powers should be used for the ends which reason prescribes -- equals -- for natural ends.

(b) So far as the acquisition of property is concerned our powers are used rationally, or for their natural ends, when employed in production.

(c) Through  production  arises  the  right of property.

(b)[sic] And the law of Honesty requires that a title to property thus acquired directly or indirectly should be respected.

Here we have the duty of Honesty deduced from what is regarded as the supreme principle [p. 65] of morals by the aid of a certain view as to the origin of property.

5. Dr. Calderwood's theory as to the origin of property cannot be maintained.  Property is a convention of men in society, made for the most part with a more or less enlightened regard to the general good.

6. That property does not originate in the manner assumed by Dr. Calderwood, is evident from this, that rights of property are universally recognized in many cases, where there has been no production.

Still further, where there has been production, the producer is never held to have any absolute property in what he has produced. Such proprietary (rights) as would be conceded to him under ordinary circumstances, are, according to the practice of all civilized communities, made to give way to the general good.

8. Dr. Calderwood's "Supreme Principle of Morals."

When Dr. Calderwood's theory as to the origin of property is abandoned, his deduction of the duty of Honesty from the supreme principle under which he endeavors to bring it, fails.

9. Apart from this, the alleged supreme principle is too indefinite to serve as the starting point of any such deduction as Dr. Calderwood attempts[.]  When it is said to be right to use our powers for their rational ends, or for their natural [p. 66] ends, what is meant by rational or natural ends?

10. If the meaning be, those ends to which our powers ought to be directed, then the proposition; it is right to use our powers for rational ends, or for their natural ends, is reduced to this, it is right to use our powers for the ends for which it is right to use them.

11. If the phrase "rational" or "natural ends" means anything else than the ends to which our powers ought to be directed, one would need to be informed of what is meant; before he can make any use of Dr. Calderwood's supreme principle or deduce any subordinate principle from it.  No such information, however, is given by Dr. Calderwood. [p. 67]




1. If  moral  principles  were  intuitively apprehended, the ideas involved in the principles would need to be perfectly definite. But, on the contrary, the ideas involved in many of the ordinarily accepted principles are exceedingly indefinite.  What is Truth?  What is Purity?

3[sic].· If moral principles were intuitively apprehended they would be valid absolutely and without exception.  But there are at least some of the ordinarily accepted moral principles that seem to admit of exceptions in extreme cases.

2[sic]. If moral principles were intuitively apprehended they would be universally accepted.  As a matter of fact, there is scarcely one moral principle that is universally accepted.  (Love your enemies. -- Forgiveness of injuries.)

4. Not a few of the ordinarily accepted moral principles depend on conceptions of such a character as to show that the principles are not ultimate.

5. Those who are of opinion that certain moral principles are intuitively apprehended by the moral faculty seem to be under obligation to meet Locke's demand and show what they are.  This has never been done in a satisfactory manner. [p. 68]




Kant asserts that there is a moral law for man as a rational being, a law of conduct, so that in any given circumstances it would be right to act in one way, wrong to act in another.  This is in accordance with the old Stoic idea of law as something distinguished from the mere drawing of inclinations and when we think that one end is better or worse than another the law asserts that we ought to follow the better, avoid the worse.  Kant regards this law as a "pure idea of reason."  What does this mean?  It might be contrasted with the view of J. S. Mill, that identifies conscience with "a feeling in our own mind; a pain more or less intense, attendant on violation of duty, which, in properly cultivated moral natures, rises in the more serious cases into shrinking from it as an impossibility."  (Mill, Utilitarianism, Chap. 3.)

But I agree with Kant in not making conscience an emotional state, a feeling of liking or aversion, but rather a mode of "practical thought," impossible to be realized, I grant, except in connection with empirical instigations towards particular ends, yet, nevertheless, radically distinct from all such inclination.

I also agree with Kant in asserting that the idea or consciousness of right and wrong and duty is a fact.  No fact can be proved.  I, the [p. 69] rational being, whom I call myself think certain courses of conduct to be right, as compared with others, and certain courses of conduct to be wrong as compared with others, and it is my duty to do the first and not to do the second. I do not refer to animal instinctive impulses, but to a mode of thinking which I find myself exercising.  I agree with Kant, "two things fill me with admiration, the starry heaven above, the moral law within" and I connect both immediately with the consciousness of my own existence.

To this fundamental position of Kant it is no valid objection to say that one man's moral conduct differs from another man's. This would be a fatal objection to the intuitional theory as held by Dr. Calderwood.

Kant asserts that there is such a thing as a thought of duty.  The particular course of conduct to which this may be applied may not be determinately apprehended, and in this matter one man's idea may be different from that of another; and the same man may have different ideas at different times.

Nevertheless the idea of a moral law as a "Categorical imperative" is in all men who may be said to be moral beings.

With Kant I deny that the empirical instigations or inclinations are the sole determinants of the will as the experientialists hold.  For instance Hobbes who makes Volition the last desire followed by action, that is, by organic [p. 70] movement, the last aversion followed by the omission of a movement and Bain gives a similar account of the mater.  I regard this experiental[sic] doctrine as incorrect.  I am convinced that we have a conviction of duty. This thought of duty is not an abstractly pure form, we really think what the words, right, obligatory, mean by applying them to particular cases. We must think some definite lines of action as higher or lower than others, and such practical thought is not a sense impulse at all.  Furthermore we must admit that the presence of some empirical end is necessary as an indispensable condition for the possibility of acting.  Moral Action would be impossible without any definite end to be aimed at.  And it may be admitted that there may be inclinations to act in a certain manner. But the will is determined not by the inclination to the empirical end but by the idea that this end is right for me to realize.

Kant, however, maintains that the objects of desire are always for pleasure.  Hence Kant leaves no alternative between acting on the one hand from the pure sense of duty or on the other hand acting simply with the aim of pleasure. Now in all voluntary action the man must indeed seek his self-satisfaction but not necessarily in the attaining of pleasure.  He may aim at some object or end which he considers to be desirable and this end so judged may be something quite different from pleasure.  For instance, hating [p. 71] an enemy and seeking his destruction. There may be an awareness that the gaining of this result would be accompanied by pleasure but it is not this pleasure  that you are seeking. There may be disinterested hatred as well as disinterested affection.  Green discusses this very fully in Proleg. to Ethics Bk. 3, Chap. 1., mainly in criticism of J. S. Mill, but in Sec. 160. the following pertinent criticism of Kant is given.--

"We are falling into a false antithesis, if having admitted (as is true) that the quest of self-satisfaction is the form of all moral activity we allow no alternative (as Kant in effect seems to allow none) between the quest for self-satisfaction in the enjoyment of pleasure and the quest for it in the fulfilment of a universal practical law.  Ordinary motives fall neither under the one head nor the other."

What does the "Categorical imperative" enjoin?  On Kant's view it is inevitable that it should be debarred from giving any particular content.  Natural desires always prompt to seek the empirical end of pleasure and surely the moral law could not demand that we seek pleasure without exception.  Yet the moral law does require unconditional obedience to itself, as Green interprets it, the only unconditional good is the "good will."   Green says the moral ideal is personal character; the best state of the self or individual and the best state of the individual includes an interest in other persons. [p. 72]

The moral law requires unconditionally the fulfilment of the self, of the rational nature of the self.  Kant and Green practically identify the moral law with the command "Be ye perfect."

What constitutes perfection of personal character?  This will appear more and more as reason develops and unfolds itself. Though we do not know in full we know in part so that the thought of perfection is not a vain imagination. You may obey in so far as you have definite ideas about what is required to constitute perfection. (Green. Proleg. Sec. 172)·

Does Kant give any principles to assist us? He asserts that -- it is an unconditional demand that "we treat humanity always as an end never as a mere means."  Contrast this with the Utilitarian account.

1. You begin with desiring pleasure to yourself.

2. You note that you need help from others to gain the pleasure you desire.

3. You seek this help and form a habit so that you automatically help others.  Of course always as a means to your own pleasure.

Kant says you should never treat humanity as a mere means, but always as an end.  Again he asserts that you should "so act that the maxim (particular rule) of your will may be capable of being regarded as a principle of universal validity. "  This suggests the golden rule, "whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so to them. " [p. 73]

In asserting that there are no "material" principles how far is Kant correct?  If he means that no particular courses of conduct can be exhibited as unconditionally valid I would agree with him.  Dr. Calderwood would dissent.

Green says there is always some condition on which "the bindingness of the rule is contingent" (Green Prolegomena, Sec. 196). "Never deceive your neighbor."  How does this apply to the general of the army in making his campaign?

Kant seems to mean more than this. He seems to assert that the Will itself is good irrespective of the object towards which it is directed.

Green says the good will differs from the bad will in virtue of the objects willed.  The good will aims at one thing e.g. the good of your neighbor, the bad will aims at something different, injury to your neighbor.  What is called Kant's "purism" insists that in each moral act there must be a conscious explicit intention to fulfil the law by that act.   He seems to assert a duty apart altogether from the circumstances and quite irrespectively of the consideration of the superiority of one end over another.  I do not see how this can be maintained.  The very fact of the good Samaritan seeking one end intrinsically higher than another constitutes the rightness of his action.

What is called Kant's "rigorism" asserts that duty always requires us to sacrifice inclination, [p. 74] limiting some, quashing others, and hence duty is always painful,  This is not defensible though it has in it a measure of truth.  Duty often requires the sacrifice of inclination, but: as the man progresses in morality, the better he becomes in character, the pain involved in the sacrifice of personal inclinations for the sake of duty becomes less and less.

Lastly, where we are quite opposed to Kant's thought, we must assert that in sacrificing the inclinations of the senses and lower nature a higher satisfaction is gained.  You are as a matter of fact in willing, always seeking to satisfy your own nature, but you may gain a satisfaction which is not in its nature of the same kind as the gratification of the senses but may be termed a happiness of a higher order. [p. 75]




I have not a single word to say against the theory of evolution, if it is restricted to its proper limits.  There is strong evidence  that higher organisms have grown up slowly from lower organisms.  These statements of scientific men are entitled to consideration.  I think they are worthy of acceptance though the Scientists themselves hesitate to claim the theory as absolutely established.  But I am willing to regard it as though it were established. At the same time however I refuse most decidedly to admit that the earliest dawn of consciousness may have arisen from the non-conscious elements.

Such a theory it seems to me is itself not in accordance with the theory of evolution but a distinct negation of it.  And because I am favorably disposed to the theory of evolution I reject this account of the rise of consciousness.  I also reject it for other reasons, but the evolutionist should not complain because really I am standing by his theory.  And if I accepted this account I would be rejecting evolution.  For what is peculiar to the evolutionary theory?

This, that it asserts that no changes take place "per saltum" in the organic world.  Continuity [p. 76] is the great central principle in Evolution.  The organism grows up by degrees. Now if the law of continuity hold, self-consciousness cannot possibly be a result of a development from unthinking matter.  Because at a certain point there would be no consciousness, then suddenly there would arise consciousness.  This would be a leap from the unconscious to the conscious. It would be an absolutely new thing.

But not a new phenomenon, because consciousness itself is not a phenomenon.  It is something above phenomena.  To grant that self-consciousness so sprang up would be contrary to evolutionary principles.  It is furthermore absurd on other grounds of a deeper character.

Material forms whether organic or inorganic can have no possible existence -- at any time whatsoever -- except in relation to and dependence upon self-consciousness -- as Kant has demonstrated.