Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/271

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

JANUARY, 1876.


 

THE COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY OF MAN.[1]
By HERBERT SPENCER.

WHILE discussing with two members of the Anthropological Institute the work to be undertaken by its psychological section, I made certain suggestions which they requested me to put in writing. When reminded, some months after, of the promise I had made to do this. I failed to recall the particular suggestions referred to; but, in the endeavor to remember them, I was led to glance over the whole subject of comparative human psychology. Hence resulted the following paper:

That making a general survey is useful as a preliminary to deliberate study, either of a whole or of any part, scarcely needs showing. Vagueness of thought accompanies the wandering about in a region without known bounds or landmarks. Attention devoted to some portion of a subject, in ignorance of its connection with the rest, leads to untrue conceptions. The whole cannot be rightly conceived without some knowledge of the parts; and no part can be rightly conceived out of relation to the whole.

To map out the comparative psychology of man must also conduce to the more methodic carrying on of inquiries. In this, as in other things, division of labor will facilitate progress; and, that there may be division of labor, the work itself must be systematically divided.

We may conveniently separate the entire subject into three main divisions, arranged in the order of increasing specialty.

The first division will treat of the degrees of mental evolution of different human types, generally considered: taking account of both the mass of mental manifestation and the complexity of mental manifestation. This division will include the relations of these characters to physical characters—the bodily mass and structure, and the cere-

  1. Read before the London Anthropological Institute.