Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/432

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



labors of the old world astronomers, as well as of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Herschel. One of the keenest of intellectual and emotional, we might perhaps say moral, pleasures is lost to him or her who, in the

"Rolling heaven, with all his signs revealed,"

sees nothing-but a medley of scintillating points, some brighter and some less bright, and knows far less of the movements of the heavenly bodies than the old Chaldean shepherds. The study of astronomy, we have reason to believe, is generally taken up by girls with much interest when an opportunity of doing so is afforded them; and we should like to ask Mrs. Latimer to try if she can not, in addition to the well-chosen sciences she mentions, find room for some really educative work in astronomy. With this addition her scheme would have our hearty approval.

Scientific Literature.


Mr.Evans's Evolutional Ethics and Animal Psychology[1] deals in the first place with the origin and early growth of ethical conceptions, but more especially as the treatise goes on, with the physical and mental relations of animals and men, and the rights of animals as flowing out of these. "The intimate connection between evolutional ethics and animal psychology," the author says, "must be apparent to all who carefully consider the influence necessarily exerted by a proper appreciation of animal intelligence upon the recognition of man's moral relations and obligations to the creatures with whom he is so closely associated, and who are so largely subject to his dominion"; and "the measure of our duty toward lower organisms is determined by the degree of their mental development. . . . The only foundation of animal ethics is animal psychology." The discussion is opened with a View of the Ethics of Tribal Society, or that stage of the development near the beginning when rights were not recognized outside of the narrow circle of the tribe, and all others than those of the tribe were regarded as enemies. The idea was gradually expanded through the symbolism of the brotherhood of blood, the sacred rite, as we might call it, of hospitality, and the supposititious or ceremonial recognition of the kinship of tribal chiefs. Then the bond of community of religious belief came in to be a basis of moral obligation. Psychology and ethics were still, however, anthropocentric, and man was considered as essentially different and inseparably set apart from all other sentient creatures, a superior being, bound to them by no ties of mental affinity or moral obligation. The doctrine of metempsychosis, under which the soul was supposed in the next stage of existence to become incarnated in another man or a beast, came in to modify this view, and to prepare a way for the recognition of animal rights. Men came to observe the intelligence of beasts, and to find in them evidences of the possession of something more or less remotely resembling the mental faculties of man.

  1. Evolutional Ethics and Animal Psychology. By E. P. Evans. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 386. Price, $1.75.