Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/270

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256
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

SULLY'S HAND-BOOK OF PSYCHOLOGY.[1]
By CARVETH READ.

THE "Outlines of Psychology" was written, as the title-page showed, "with special reference to the theory of education," Sometimes in the midst of the text, but chiefly at the end of each chapter, abundant remarks and reflections were introduced, showing the bearing of the principles of mental science upon the training of faculty and character in the young. The work has been (as it deserved to be) very acceptable to the public—especially to students—and it would be a great mistake to suppose that the present "Hand-book" is intended to, or possibly can, supersede it. But it has been felt that the "Outlines," in spite of its modest title, is too long and detailed, and sometimes perhaps too abstruse and difficult, for many parents and teachers, who would gladly see their task in the light of science, but either have not much time to spare, or else lack the special training that is requisite for the more intricate questions of psychology. For them, accordingly, the present smaller volume has been produced.

The "Hand-book" begins with a discussion of the scope of education and of its relation to psychology. After this preliminary chapter the book is based upon and follows generally the course of the "Outlines," giving a succinct but luminous view of the best scientific doctrine with regard to the senses, perception, the higher intellectual powers, the emotions, and volition. But the applications of the science to the problems of education are no longer, as in the larger work, separated from the exposition of the science itself by any difference of type or arrangement. Doctrine and precept are fused into a continuous whole, which, assisted by an openly printed page and an effective style, becomes, I must say, extremely readable, considering the nature of the subject. Upon each branch of the subject enough is said concerning the principles of psychology to serve the ordinary purposes of the educator; and everything is said so simply that no one, however unaccustomed to such inquiries, can fail to follow and understand it. There is no attempt to enter into subtile disquisitions or vexed controversies. The bog-fires of metaphysic, hardly seen to glimmer on the borders of the demesne, can tempt no wayfarer to go astray. Every sentence is subordinated to the single end of clearing up the problem how best to train the minds and characters of the young. And the inferences drawn step by step as the book advances, and the suggestions made upon this most important of all subjects, are an admirable example of the application of science to life. Who can help wishing

  1. The Teacher's Hand-Book of Psychology. On the Basis of the "Outlines of Psychology." New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1886.