Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/673

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COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY.

There is a very delightful way in which you may tell the hour of day by means of flowers. And this is really the most wonderful of all the clocks that have been or can be made, for it requires no winding and no weights, and no hands and no wheels. There are twenty-four varieties of plants whose blossoms open successively at the different hours of the day and night. I will mention only three or four. The African marigold opens at seven in the evening and closes at four in the morning; but, if it does not open, the next day will be rainy. Many varieties of the water-lily close and sink into the water at sundown, to arise and bloom at sunrise. The day-lily opens at five o'clock in the morning, and the morning-glory a little later. The night-blooming cereus opens only at night, and it closes long before the first streak of dawn.

 

COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY: ITS OBJECTS AND PROBLEMS.[1]
By T. WESLEY MILLS, M. A., M. D.,

PROFESSOR OF PHYSIOLOGY IN McGILL UNIVERSITY, MONTREAL.

THE term comparative psychology, in its modern sense, gives us the widest desirable scope as including all that pertains to the mind or soul of the animal kingdom. It may have been at one time considered as highly impertinent to ask whether the lower animals possess mind, and to substitute the term soul would have been dangerously suggestive of heterodoxy of a type rapidly to be extinguished. However, few persons of any degree of culture will now be found prepared to deny that the inferior animals have minds. The questions now to be settled are: What kind of minds? In how far do they resemble, and in how far differ from, our own? Few, it is true, have considered that they sufficiently resemble the human mind to make it worth while to investigate the subject at all. Probably the great mass of persons have been led to believe that man does and always has occupied a distinctive and wholly isolated position in the universe of life—a center around whom and for whom all other forms exist. This view seems to me totally unwarranted by the state of our scientific knowledge at the present day. Further, it is a view not only without scientific foundation, but calculated to lead to pernicious practical results.

By experiments on the lower animals, and by this means almost wholly, has the science of physiology been built up. We argue from the case in animals to the case in man, and consider the inferences thus derived valuable, even final—possibly too much so; but we are

  1. A presidential address delivered before the Society for the Study of Comparative Psychology.