The relativism or phenomenalism which Hamilton afterwards adopted from Kant and sought to engraft upon Scottish philosophy is wholly absent from the original Scottish doctrine.
In Great Britain Mach's scepticism was welcomed by Karl Pearson to support an idealistic phenomenalism derived from Hume, and by Ward to support a noumenal idealism derived from Lotze.
Their point is to stretch Hume's phenomenalism so as to embrace all science, by contending that mechanism is not at the bottom of phenomena, but is only the conceptual shorthand by aid of which men of 'science can briefly describe phenomena, and that all science is description and not explanation.
It is not necessary for him to follow Schopenhauer, Hartmann and Fechner in endowing the material universe with will or any other mental operation, because his phenomenalism already reduces inorganic nature to mere objects of experiencing subjects.
It was about this time also that he began his study of Berkeley and Coleridge, and deserted his early phenomenalism for the conception of a spiritual will as the universal cause.