Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/824

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

whether they will or not, and often against their will. The amount of interest which these impressions awaken is determined by the coarser pains and pleasures which they carry in their train or by mere curiosity; and reason deals with the materials supplied to it as far as that interest carries it, and no further. Such common knowledge is rather brought than sought; and such ratiocination is little more than the working of a blind intellectual instinct.PSM V16 D824 Astacus fluviatilis.jpgFig. 1. Astactus fluvialilis.—The third or external maxillipede of the left side (x 3). e. lamina, and br, branchial filaments of the podobranchia; cxp, coxopodite; cxs, coxopoditic setæ; bp, basipodite; ex, exopodite; ip, ischiopodite; mp, meropodite; cp, carpopodite; pp, propodite; dp, dactylopodite.It is only when the mind passes beyond this condition that it begins to evolve science. When simple curiosity passes into the love of knowledge as such, and the gratification of the æsthetic sense of the beauty of completeness and accuracy seems more desirable than the easy indolence of ignorance; when the finding out of the causes of things becomes a source of joy, and he is accounted happy who is successful in the search, common knowledge passes into what our forefathers called natural history, whence there is but a step to that which used to be termed natural philosphy, and now passes by the name of physical science.

"In this final state of knowledge the phenomena of nature are regarded as one continuous series of causes and effects; and the ultimate object of science is to trace out that series, from the term which is nearest to us, to that which is at the farthest limit accessible to our means of investigation.

"The course of nature as it is, as it has been, and as it will be, is the object of scientific inquiry; whatever lies beyond, above, or below this, is outside science. But the philosopher need not despair at the limitation of his field of labor; in relation to the human mind Nature is boundless; and, though nowhere inaccessible, she is everywhere unfathomable."

It is, then, with the object of arriving at a satisfactory conclusion as to the crayfish's place in nature, and to educe from the study of it such conclusions as may tend to throw light on the place in nature of