He was a Spencerian like you till Kreis turned him to materialistic monism.
Kreis began directly on Martin, but step by step Norton interfered, until he and Kreis were off and away in a personal battle.
The logical plausibility of it, that made an appeal to his intellect, seemed missed by Kreis and Hamilton, who sneered at Norton as a metaphysician, and who, in turn, sneered back at them as metaphysicians.
When Norton wandered into the intricacies of Kant, Kreis reminded him that all good little German philosophies when they died went to Oxford.
Norton was sensitive and excitable, though he never lost his head, while Kreis and Hamilton were like a pair of cold-blooded savages, seeking out tender places to prod and poke.
But it was time to catch the last ferry-boat for Oakland, and Brissenden and Martin slipped out, leaving Norton still talking and Kreis and Hamilton waiting to pounce on him like a pair of hounds as soon as he finished.
But I'd like to have made a reply to Kreis and Hamilton, and I think I'd have had a word or two for Norton.