Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/431

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415
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY.

is not only far greater than has been before made in any period of equal length, but greater than has been made since the foundation of the science. The large acquisitions of new facts, the faithful description of phenomena, the reduction of them to law, and the investigation of the physical "sides" of mental products, which we owe to Prof. Bain, and the application to mind of the revolutionary principle of development, and the inclusion of it within the larger philosophy of evolution, which we owe to Mr. Herbert Spencer, have changed not only the aspect but the constitution of Psychology. Like all the previous advances we have recorded, the developments due to both of these distinguished psychologists have had their dynamic in the subsidiary sciences.

Mr. Bain describes his work as being "the first attempt to construct a Natural History of the Feelings, upon the basis of a uniform descriptive method," and the characterization is just. All preceding surveys of the mind had been undertaken to establish a doctrine, as by Hobbes; to refute a theory, as by Locke; to prove an hypothesis, as by Hartley; or to furnish analytical justification of a foregone conclusion, as by the elder Mill. Mechanics, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry, having exhausted their constructive impulses on Psychology, it was reserved for Mr. Bain to adopt a method which makes no presuppositions, rests on no hypothesis, and conducts to no necessary conclusions—the method employed in the organic sciences in their undeveloped state. The natural history "method" is very old. The first full-blown specimen of a naturalist, whose reputation has reached posterity, appears to have been Solomon, and of him it is said that "he spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes."[1] Linnæus was even more comprehensive, and added minerals to plants and animals; but with him the differentiation of science and accompanying specialization of method begin. The first great classifier himself constituted Botany a separate science; Haüy followed with Mineralogy; the discovery of Oken (or Goethe) and the theories of St. Hilaire founded Comparative Anatomy; Comparative Physiology issued out of its sister science; and morphological and functional divisions of all these sciences were successively established. With such advances in classification, the natural history method becomes immensely more complex, but its character is fundamentally the same—that of description. We cannot better exemplify this than by quoting the words of Dr. Carpenter. Contrasting him with the "enterprising discoverer," the horticulturist, and the breeder, he says that—

"The philosophic naturalist.... aims to reduce the number of species, by investigating the degree of variation which each is liable to undergo, the forms it assumes at different periods of its existence, the permanent characters by
  1. "First Book of the Kings," iv. 33.