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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XVII. Later Philosophy

§ 5. The Evolutionary Philosophy

The storm which broke the stagnant air and aroused many American minds from this dogmatic torpor came with the controversy over evolution which followed the publication of Lyell’s Geology, Darwin’s Origin of Species, and Spencer’s First Principles. The evolutionary philosophy was flanked on the left by the empirical or positivistic philosophy of Comte, Mill, Lewes, Buckle, and Bain, and on the right by the dialectic evolutionism of Hegel. The work of John Fiske, the leader of the evolutionary host, of Chauncey Wright, who nobly represented scientific empiricism, and of William T. Harris, the saintly and practical minded Hegelian, united to give American philosophy a wider basis. With these the history of the modern period of American philosophy begins.