GENIUS AND HEREDITY.
been judged bad or good, oftener tending to show right or wrong in conduct which had been judged indifferent.
If moral laws, then, are to be established on a scientific basis, it is essential that conduct at large should be carefully considered; and not conduct only as it is seen in man, but as it is seen in animals of every grade. Thus and thus only can the evolution of conduct be rightly studied; by the study of the evolution of conduct only can the scientific distinction between right and wrong be recognized; from and out of this distinction only can moral laws be established for those with whom the authoritative enunciation of such laws has no longer the weight it once had, those who find no other inherent force in moral statutes than they derive as resulting from experience, and who reject as unreasonable all belief in the intuitive recognition of laws of morality.
We proceed, then, to consider the evolution of conduct in the various types of animal life, from the lowest upward to man.—Knowledge.
|GENIUS AND HEREDITY|
OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE.
IT has been shown by the researches of Galton, Ribot, and others, that a law of heredity exists, and is applicable to our psychological qualities. Without attempting to deny the operation of this law, it is our intention here, believing that its scope has been considerably magnified, to endeavor to determine its limits in particular directions. With this object, we shall confine our inquiry to two points: Is it according to a good philosophical method to explain by heredity alone all the most complex, most delicate, and most considerable phenomena of human life, when we can, with at least as much probability, bring in other causes which, though they have been much neglected, are very perceptible and even more directly observable? And is it true, as is assumed, that all the exceptions to the law of heredity, even in the intellectual and moral order, are only apparent? We shall speak first of those curious facts concerning intellectual heredity, some of which, and those the most extraordinary ones, can not be accounted for by any assignable cause. Other facts in the category can equally well, perhaps better than by heredity, be explained by reference to the medium, to education, to habit, to the moral and intellectual atmosphere in which the child lives, to the force of the influences to which it is subject, and to the examples that are set before it. We acknowledge that the medium can not afford an explanation of genius and can not create superior faculties; but it furnishes the opportunity for their manifestation, and reveals them where they exist. How many noble and high minds have been extinguished by unfavorable circumstances and hos-