Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/728

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

sible of a psychical, but infer a physical world. It also controverts all the strictly idealistic hypotheses. The treatise is divided into two parts, the first containing the "General Proof of Physical Realism," and the second dealing with "Psychological Idealism." This last embraces in successive chapters criticisms of the philosophies of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, from the author's point of view. These discussions are very acute and interesting. In general, it may be said that the negative part of the work, or the refutation of idealistic doctrines, is more successful and more valuable than the constructive portion which involves the substantiation of the author's theory.

Psychology as a Natural Science, applied to the Solution of Occult Psychic Phenomena. By G. C. Raue, M. D. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates. 8vo. Pp. 541, 1 vol.

This is a disappointing book. Its psychology is crude, and as "applied to the solution of occult psychic phenomena," it does not appear to solve anything. The occult phenomena, indeed, are not reached till page 380, and the part relating to them is largely taken up with extracts from well-known authors (like those belonging to the Society for Psychical Research, Mesmer, Braid, Fahnestock, and others), upon which Dr. Raue makes, it must be said, some interesting comments; but he adds nothing, so far as we are able to make out, to the store of human knowledge upon the subject. What explanation he does give is an application of his psychology, which is based upon or rather an exposition of that of Dr. Friedrich Eduard Beneke, who, the author thinks, has been undeservedly neglected by succeeding thinkers. In this notion we can not agree with Dr. Raue, because there is nothing sufficiently significant in Beneke's work to make it worth while for students of the present time to recur to his writings. A sample of this applied psychology is found in the explanation of "thought-transference." The latter may be understood, according to the author, if we suppose that the soul actually consists of different systems of substantial primitive forces, having "mobile elements," and producing different mental modifications which are spaceless, "and consequently not restricted by any corporeal distance or interference, so that they can reach a similar psychic modification in another mind as well as in their own, and impart to it their own state of excitement and make it conscious." But how, pray, are we able to conceive of motion without space or "room" for motion? And if thought is thus excited in one person by the attraction of similar excitation in another, there being motion from the one to the other, what more is this than a statement that there is some subtle power of thought-transfer which we do not understand? To make such an averment we hardly need Dr. Raue's book.

Thus, while the scholar will always find much to interest him, and much to approve in any work of this character, prepared with serious purpose, we can not recommend it to those who are only able to give a limited amount of attention to the topics of which it treats, being persuaded that they can more profitably spend their time upon something else.

It is a little singular that no mention is made in this book (written by a Philadelphian) of the very interesting and valuable report by the Seybert Commission of the University of Pennsylvania upon some of the most curious of these "occult psychic phenomena."

The Philosophy of Kant; as contained in Extracts from his own Writings. Selected and translated by John Watson, LL. D., Professor in Queen's College, Kingston, Canada. One vol. Pp. 356. Macmillan & Co. Price, $1.75.

Kant's Kritik of the Pure Reason Explained and defended. Being Vol. I of Kant's "Critical Philosophy for English Readers." By John P. Mahaffy, D. D., and John H. Bernard, B. D. Pp. 389. Macmillan & Co. Price, $1.75.

The demand for a return to Kant, which has been evident in the philosophical world for a few years past, has issued in a good deal of new and valuable Kantian literature, and there is likely to be more; for it can not be denied that this return to the study of Kant has produced an increase of his authoritative influence. Whatever our views may be of the wisdom of pursuing philosophy under the chief guidance of the Konigsberg sage, and whatever may be our opinion of the value of his principles and method, there is no doubt that a thorough study of his