Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/435

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who would exalt the noble qualities displayed by the hero of the story, and laud his successful achievement. The autobiographical sketch, which was never completed, occupies thirty-two pages of the volume, and is given as Dr. Croll left it, upon the advice of Professor Masson, that "it is so characteristic that it would be best to preserve it entire, as it would be a pity to lose anything of the simple and pleasant peculiarities of the autobiographical original." To this has been added the more detailed account of Croll's life and scientific work, making up the rest of the book. Mr. Irons has been assisted in his work by many of the distinguished scientific men of Great Britain, who have furnished Dr. Croll's correspondence with them, criticisms, suggestions, etc. To the biography are added obituary notices by Lord Kelvin, Nature, and J. Home, of the Geological Survey of Scotland; a letter from Prof. R. W. McFarland, formerly of Ohio State University, on Croll's relations with America and its geologists; and a list of Dr. Croll's publications.

In Mr. Ramsey's Philosophy of Phenomena[1] all phenomena are classified as physical and metaphysical (matter phenomena and life phenomena). The cosmic forces of gravity, heat, and life are recognized as chief factors of all phenomena. The author's method is to present his views—which are usually very peremptory—in maxims or detached sentences; and we have not been able to perceive that the book as a whole leads up to anything in particular. His observations cover most of the branches of knowledge, and embrace general statements of reviews or opinions on the several points, with his own verdicts. He seems to apprehend that he will arouse animosity; but the world is more likely to respect the independent thinker who is not afraid to utter his views in plain language, and will simply take the liberty of differing from him where it does not agree.

M. Félix Le Dantec, whose publisher styles him "a young zoölogist of great promise for the future," confesses to having no new facts to present in his book on Individual Evolution and Heredity[2] The important feature of his present study is to him the method, which he believes is different from that employed by any other author who has written upon the subject. His object is to account for the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and this he endeavors to do by purely deductive methods. He believes that the sole difference between living bodies or plastids and crude substances lies in the presence or absence of the property of assimilation. This property, then, should be the basis of all biological study, and all that is general in biology should be deducible from it. Heredity is therefore a form and the work of assimilation—assimilation of the traits of ancestors transmitted to posterity and perpetuated through them.

"One approaches Hegel for the first time," says the author of The Secret of Hegel,[3] "as one might approach some enchanted palace of Arabian story. New powers, imagination is assured (were but the entrance gained), await one there—secrets—as it were the ring of Solomon and the passkeys of the universe. But very truly, if thus magical is the promise, no less magical is the difficulty; and one wanders round the book—as Aboulfaouris round the palace—irrito, without success, but not without a sufficiency of vexation. Book—palace—is absolutely inaccessible, for the known can show no bridge to it; or, if accessible, then it is absolutely impregnable, for it begins not, it enters not. What seems the doorway receives but to reject, and every attempt at a window is baffled by a fall. This is the universal experience." We are not disposed to question the appositeness of the figure as illustrating Hegel's style of thought. What now is the student to do when he finds the expositor whom he hopes to use as the passkey to this strange palace falling into the same way of inaccessibility and impenetrability as his master? Dr. Stirling's chapters on Hegel consist for the most part of certain members of a series of notes "which, as it

  1. Philosophy of Phenomena. By George M. Ramsey. Boston: Banner of Light Publishing Company. Pp. 208.
  2. Evolution individuelle et hérédite; Théorie de la Variation qualitative. By F. Le Dantec. Paris: Félix Alcan
  3. The Secret of Hegel. Being the Hegelian System in Orioin, Principle, Form, and Matter. By James Hutchison Stirling. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 751.