Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/515

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499
EDITOR'S TABLE.

full and final definition. It embraces men's physical, mental, and moral characteristics; their religious conceptions, mythology, and traditions; their mental traits and development; their civil and political organizations and institutions; their language, literature, arts, and monuments; their customs and modes of life. This statement may seem sufficiently comprehensive, yet it is really incomplete, and, in fact, hardly touches a whole tract of inquiry, which Prof. Huxley regards as the principal thing. According to his definition, "anthropology is the great science which unravels the complexities of human structure; traces out the relations of man to other animals; studies all that is human in the mode in which man's complex functions are performed; and searches after the conditions which have determined his presence in the world. And anthropology is a section of Zoology, which again is the animal half of Biology—the science of life and living things."

Ethnology is a branch of anthropology, and is defined as the science of races. The family of mankind is divided up into great groups, which are characterized by numerous and important differences; it is the business of ethnology to trace these differential characters, to estimate their value, and, if possible, to ascertain their source. The ethnologists are divided into two schools: one school holds to the theory of monogenesis, or that the human race has had a single origin, or sprung from a single ancestral pair; and the other school holds to the theory of polygenesis, or plurality of origins. These schools, of course, take different views of the nature and character of the differences among races. Those who maintain that racial differences have been brought about by natural causes, speak of races as "modified men," and it is with reference to this idea that Prof. Huxley defines the science. He says: "Ethnology is the science which determines the distinctive characters of the persistent modifications of mankind, which ascertains the distribution of those modifications in present and past times, and seeks to discover the causes or conditions of existence, both of the modifications and of their distribution. I say 'persistent' modifications, because, unless incidentally, ethnology has nothing to do with chance and transitory peculiarities of human structure. And I speak of 'persistent modifications,' or 'stocks,' rather than of 'varieties,' or 'races,' or 'species,' because each of these last well-known terms implies, on the part of its employer, a preconceived opinion touching one of these problems, the solution of which is the ultimate object of the science; and, in regard to which, therefore, ethnologists are especially bound to keep their minds open, and their judgments freely balanced."

It is obvious that ethnology covers a large field in the domain of anthropology, and it in fact involves so much of the larger subject that there has been found great practical difficulty in pursuing them separately. The larger subject is the later in the order of cultivation. Ethnological societies were the first to be formed in Paris, London, and New York, but they have disappeared in their distinctive forms, and are now merged in organizations for the promotion of anthropological knowledge. This, however, is but a matter of practical convenience, for the spirit and methods of investigation in both are essentially the same. It is the aim of this science, to study man as all other parts of Nature are studied, with the simple aim of ascertaining and classifying the facts. Putting aside all preconceived views that might vitiate the strict scientific character of the inquiry, the anthropologist asks simply: What are the phenomena presented by the different groups of men? What are their aspects, modes of life,