order, Eliot reminded the 20th century.n”If you will not have God (and he isna jealous God) you should pay yournrespects to Hitler or Stalin,” Eliotnwrote in The Idea of a Christian Society.nEliot scandalized many because henwent all the way to “the awful daringnof a moment’s surrender”—that is,nsurrender to the divine.n”It is a tendency of creative literature,”nRebecca West concludes in ThenCourt and the Castle, “when it risesnabove a certain level, to involve itselfnwith statecraft and religion: to exist andnto belong to Him.” Eliot involvednhimself with both, boldly submittingnhis strong private rationality to thenauthority of dogmas. But to the popularnstatecraft of his own time, Eliot didnnot surrender: against totalism, he setnthe idea of a Christian society.n”There seems to be no hope inncontemporary politics at all,” he wrotenin The Criterion, in 1933. As he wrotento me two decades later, “A decline innprivate morality is certain to be followednin the long run by a decline innpublic and political morality also.”nBefore humankind stretches a darknage: “We are destroying our ancientnedifices to make ready the groundnupon which the barbarian nomads ofnthe future will encamp in their mechanizedncaravans,” he put it in NotesnTowards the Definition of Culture.nEliot’s was a lonely voice in the 40’snand 50’s; today he is echoed by manynthinking people—among them, MalcolmnMuggeridge, once contemptuousnof Eliot. There are no lost causesnbecause there are no gained causes,nEliot argued in his essay on FrancisnHerbert Bradley: “We fight for lostncauses because we know that our defeatnand dismay may be the preface tonour successors’ victory, though thatnvictory itself will be temporary; wenfight rather to keep something aliventhan in the expectation it will triumph.”nOften I have been heartenednby that passage.nEliot’s adversary, H. G. Wells, soninfluential between the wars, diedndespairing for humanity. Eliot willnendiire because he was a man of imagination,nwhile Wells was a man ofnfancy. Eliot knew that men may redeemnthe time only if they apprehendnthe timeless; that the dream may benredeemed only if one distinguishesnbetween those false dreams whichnissue from between the gates of ivory,nand those true dreams which issuenfrom between the gates of horn.n”After such knowledge, what forgiveness?”nGerontion soliloquizes.nThe shallow presumption of doctrinairenrationalism, Eliot argued, hasnstranded us in cactus-land. “Where isnthe wisdom we have lost innknowledge?/ Where is the knowledgenwe have lost in information?” Thosenlines from The Rock now speak tonmany of the rising generation—-evennif some of that generation turn tonstrange gods.nOn the oval memorial tablet in thenmedieval church at East Goker, wherenEliot lies buried, is graven the linenborrowed from Mary Stuart: “In mynend is my beginning.” The poet hadnpassed from great sorrow to resignationnand hope.nFrom the beginning, it had beennExpounding the LawnEver since Hume, philosophers havenbeen skeptical about the laws of nature.nScientists, it is argued, do not discovernactual rules that govern the nature ofnthings, only regularly occurring coincidences.nThere is an observable relationshipnbetween pressure and temperaturenin a container full of gas, but thenconnection is not a necessary one. ThisnRegularity Theory has undergone angood deal of sophistication, but everynversion—no matter how complicatedn—seems to rule out truth as a propernobject of scientific inquiry.nIn recent years a number of philosophersnhave become skeptical of skepticism.nProminent among them is D. M.nArmstrong, who devotes better than anthird of What Is a Law of Nature?n(Cambridge Studies in Philosophy;nCambridge University Press) to pokingnholes in the Regularity Theory, thenidentification of laws of nature withnobservable uniformities. On the onenhand, not all uniformities can be viewednas laws. (In his essay “What Is a Lawnof Nature?” A. J. Ayer used as annexample the fact that cigarettes in hisnpocket were inevitably made of Virginiantobacco.) On the other hand, probabilisticnlaws do not involve “Humeannuniformities.” Laws of nature, he argues,nmust be principles of explanation.nREVISIONSnnnEliot’s purpose to defend “lost” causes.nHe was loyal to what he called “thenpermanent things,” understandingnthat these permanent things are notnthe creations of men merely. As theninheritor of the purpose of Vergil andnof Dante, Eliot endeavored to “redeemnthe time, redeem the dream.” It mustnbe redeemed in every age.n”His work represents the brilliantnefflorescence of a dying culture,” Mr.nAckroyd concludes his biography. “Henpushed that culture together by an actnof will, giving it a shape and contextnwhich sprang out of his own obsessions,nand the certainties which henestablished were rhetorical certainties.”nIndeed? Rhetoric is “the art ofnpersuasion, beautiful and just.” PersuasivenEliot certainly remains fornmany of us; and the certitudes thatnEliot expressed will remain somethingnmore than mere arrangements ofnwords.nccnIt is not enough for a to accompany b:n”The presence of smoke is a good reasonnfor thinking that fire is present. Butnit is not an explanation of the presencenof fire.” No explanation, no law.nArmstrong’s own position is that lawsnof nature are necessary relationshipsnbetween two universal properties. Innaddition, these universals must be “instantiated,”nthat is, actually occur in thenworld. He rejects both nominalism,nwhich holds that only particulars exist,nand Platonic realism, which regardsnonly universals as real. He substitutesnfor these extremes “the mutual dependencenof universals upon particulars,nand particulars upon universals.” Particularsncannot exist without propertiesn(which are universal) and universalsnmust be manifest in particulars.nArmstrong’s book makes a strong casenfor universals as the basis of laws ofnnature; his clear and forceful argumentsnmight assist in rescuing scientific theorynfrom the clutches of nominalism andnsubjectivity. However, it is unfortunatenthat so many pages have been devotednto the arid analysis of symbolic propositions.nSo much of it reads like a string ofn”uninstantiated universals” that the occasionalnexamples come as a great reliefnIt is high time another Socratesnbrought philosophy down from thenclouds and into, if not the streets, atnleast the marketplace of ideas. (TJF) ccnJUNE 1985/7n