Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/96

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

liarities in the mental faculties during disease is that the mind depends greatly on the state of the body for the coördination of its various powers. In health these are related in what may be called the normal manner. Faculties capable of great development under other conditions exist in moderate degree only, while probably, either consciously or unconsciously, certain faculties are held in control by others. But during illness faculties, not ordinarily used, suddenly or very rapidly acquire undue predominance, and controlling faculties usually effective are greatly weakened. Then for a while the mental capacity seems entirely changed. Powers supposed not to exist at all (for of mental faculties, as of certain other qualities, de non existentibus et de non apparentibus eadem est ratio) seem suddenly created, as if by a miracle. Faculties ordinarily so strong as to be considered characteristic seem suddenly destroyed, since they no longer produce any perceptible effect. Or, as Brown-Séquard says, summing up the results of a number of illustrative cases described in a course of lectures delivered in Boston, "It would seem that the mind is largely dependent on physical conditions for the exercise of its faculties, and that its strength and most remarkable powers, as well as its apparent weakness, are often most clearly shown and recognized by some inequality of action in periods of disturbed and greatly impaired health."—Cornhill Magazine.

 
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ON SENSATION AND THE UNITY OF STRUCTURE OF SENSIFEROUS ORGANS.
By Professor T. H. HUXLEY.

THE maxim that metaphysical inquiries are barren of result, and that the serious occupation of the mind with them is a mere waste of time and labor, finds much favor in the eyes of the many persons who pride themselves on the possession of sound common sense; and we sometimes hear it enunciated by weighty authorities, as if its natural consequence, the suppression of such, studies, had the force of a moral obligation.

In this case, however, as in some others, those who lay down the law seem to forget that a wise legislator will consider, not merely whether his proposed enactment is desirable, but whether obedience to it is possible. For, if the latter question is answered negatively, the former is surely hardly worth debate.

Here, in fact, lies the pith of the reply to those who would make metaphysics contraband of intellect. Whether it is desirable to place a prohibitory duty upon philosophical speculations or not, it is utterly impossible to prevent the importation of them into the mind. And it