The author of this work stands among the very foremost in the school of modern scientific psychology, which has its chief development in Great Britain. His two principal works, "The Senses and Intellect" and "The Emotions and the Will," are widely known as giving the only complete and systematic account of mental phenomena from a modern point of view. As we know nothing of mind, except as an organic manifestation—as physically embodied and working its effects through a complex and wonderful vital machinery—no exposition of it can be regarded as scientific or complete that leaves the material side of the phenomena out of account. We have often insisted upon this, and must continue to do so; for the importance of the truth is only equaled by the inveteracy with which the futile and exhausted meta-physical method is still clung to in the general study of mind. There is hardly a chapter of either of Dr. Bain's books that is not a virtual demonstration of the necessity of including the physical accompaniments of mind in any treatment of it that claims to be scientific in method, and valuable in application. The general adoption of these works as college and high-school text-books would give a new and valuable element to our higher culture. Mental philosophy would then become what it ought to be, a study of human character, and such an analysis and understanding of the constitution of man as would give us a better interpretation than hitherto of his relations to surrounding Nature.
The third edition of "The Emotions and the Will" has been thoroughly revised at every point. Although it may seem a hopeless task to introduce quantitative inquiries involving much precision into psychology, yet, as Dr. Bain remarks, it is essential to the scientific handling of the subject, and he has accordingly given much attention to the problem of degrees of intensity and force in regard to the feelings, and to the extension and improvement of the means adopted in this branch of psychical investigation.
But perhaps the most significant feature of the new edition of this work is its reconstruction with reference to the doctrine of evolution. As the eminent comparative anatomist of Germany, Gegenbauer, reorganized his great biological work so as to bring it into harmony with evolutionary views, and as Sir Charles Lyell recast his "Principles of Geology" so as to base it upon the doctrine of development and descent. Dr. Bain has now done the same thing with his elaborate treatise upon the mind. Herbert Spencer had indeed grounded psychology upon evolution in a remarkable work published twenty years ago; but it was far in advance of the thought of the time, and even progressive psychologists have but slowly come up to his position. Prof. Bain fully recognizes the eminence and authority of Mr. Spencer in this field of psychological investigation.