Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/721

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LITERARY NOTICES.

may be added that he is no partisan and no extremist, but writes with care, moderation, and Judicial fairness, taking impartial advantage of the best that has been gained by the various schools of investigation. Recognizing the importance of introspection as an instrument of psychological observation and analysis, he supplements it by the physiological study of the nervous conditions and concomitants of mind. His general point of view is that of evolution, and his capacity of handling his subject by this method may be inferred from the fact that he was chosen in conjunction with Professor Huxley to write the elaborate article on "Evolution" for the present edition of the "Encyclopædia Britannica." It may be added that his book is one of great clearness, and will prove of unusual interest to the general reader, while as a text-book of mental science it undoubtedly has merits superior to any other treatise now before the public.

We pointed out editorially, not long ago, in an article entitled "The Progress of Mental Science," the important results that have flowed from the widening of the method in mental studies by which metaphysical speculation has been supplemented by the knowledge of mind, as physiologically conditioned, and we showed that the benefits of this change are conspicuous in the practical results obtained. The time has come when the validity of the science of mind is to be largely tested by such practical applications, and we have noted with gratification that Mr. Sully accepts this view, and has constructed his treatise with reference to it. While the work is, of course, mainly a strict and systematic treatise on psychological science, presenting its elements in their due proportions, yet the author throughout has developed its practical bearings upon the art of education. In regard to this feature of his work, the author makes the following remarks in his introduction:

Finally, I have sought to give a practical turn to the exposition, by bringing out the bearings of the subject on the conduct and cultivation of the mind. With this object I have ventured to encroach here and there on the territory of logic, æsthetics, and ethics—that is to say, the practical sciences which aim at the regulation of the mental processes. Further, I have added special sections in a separate type, dealing with the bearing of the science of education. I would fain think that these practical applications will not be without interest to all classes of readers; for everybody is at least called on to educate his own mind, and most people have something to do with educating the minds of others as well. With respect more especially to professional teachers, I trust that these portions of my volume may serve to establish the proposition that mental science is capable of supplying those truths which are needed for an intelligent and reflective carrying out of educational work. I may, perhaps, assume that modern pedagogics has adopted the idea that education is concerned not simply with instruction or communicating knowledge, but with the training of faculty. And it seems a necessary corollary from this enlarged view of education that it should directly connect itself with the science which examines into the faculties, determines the manner and the conditions of their working, and lastly traces the order of their development.

This characteristic of Mr. Sully's work we hold to be of especial importance; for, although no great amount of space is given to the subject of education, yet the whole course of the exposition is so tributary to it that what is stated has a high and peculiar value. The lessons for the teacher are derived immediately from the latest and broadest views on the subject of mind. The time has gone by when the old modes of studying this subject are satisfactory. That a teacher has read up a lot of metaphysical treatises and become familiar with their subtile dialectics and old terminology is no evidence whatever of competency to guide the processes of mental development. Rather is it a disqualification, for a mind saturated with the antiquated mental philosophy is certain to be prejudiced against the new and better methods. It is indisputable that there has been a radical change and a vast improvement in the study of mind, within recent years, and the teacher who has not benefited by that improvement is fundamentally deficient in the preparation for his work. The author of this treatise has therefore done a most important service in dealing with the subject of education, in connection with his broad presentation of the present state of knowledge upon the subject of psychological science.

The True Theory of the Sun. By Thomas Bassnett. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 264, with Plate. Price, $3.

Mr. Bassnett is the author of the "Outlines of a Mechanical Theory of Storms"