Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/82

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70
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

attention to these preliminary questions as to the limits and the specific laws of sociology; and we are compelled to go back as far as his "First Principles," etc., to get a knowledge of the way in which those questions are answered by his system. This is to be regretted, not so much because of the practical inconvenience of perusing many volumes about matters but indirectly connected with the object of our researches, but far more on account of the impossibility of summarily reviewing so monumental a work in the few pages of this essay.

To French positivism, sociology appeared too much isolated from genuine knowledge by a gulf which Comte asserted to be unfathomable. With the modern scientific school, the danger comes rather from the opposite side, and sociology is threatened, so to say, with being swallowed up, or absorbed, by zoölogy.

Indeed, to botanists and zoölogists is due the capital discovery of the unquestionable fact that (with the single exception of the lowest monocellular ones) organisms are societies. And if we were arbitrarily to reserve the appellation of society exclusively to the dems of M. Cattaneo's classification, still we could not get out of the difficulty even by such an anthropomorphic (i. e., anti-scientific) restriction. An "organism is a society"—that great sensational thesis is imposed on our mind more and more with every new advance of natural science; while, on the other hand, the chief sociologists of these later years, starting from their more or less synthetic point of view, come to the conclusion that "society is an organism,"[1] The great Darwinian law of the struggle for life, which is the specific law of evolutionary biology, plays a part still more and more prominent in the most recent sociological writings, and the very object of social science appears to be well-nigh dissolved in the vast domain of biology.

 

THE HICKORY-NUTS OF NORTH AMERICA.
By JOSEPH F. JAMES.

IT is a favorite pastime of our country population during the long winter evenings to gather round the fire and crack and eat hickory-nuts. It is an amusement, too, peculiarly American, and for the simple reason that in this country alone are the nuts to be had in any abundance. Perhaps, where almonds or English walnuts are equally common, cracking hickory-nuts is superseded by a resort to these other fruits. They, however, are much easier to open than the hickory-nut, and with thinner shells are readily cracked at the table. But in America, in those districts where the peanut does not take the place of other nuts, the cracking of the hickory still continues. Whether it

  1. See the "Revue Philosophique" of M. Ribot, for 1883, passim.