Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/250

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mary and fundamental object of inquiry—an organ, the properties of which give limits and law to psychology. That mind is conditioned and manifested by the nervous, and especially the cerebral, system, is now no longer intelligently disputed; and, in beginning the study of mental phenomena here, we have the advantage of light derived from the physical and organic sciences, we get free from the overwhelming bias of metaphysical traditions, and become familiar with a wide range of facts that are of immense value in the conduct of every-day life.

The important practical results that must follow from this order of study, by which the organic substratum of mind receives the first attention, are well illustrated in the admirable articles of Dr. Beard, on "The Scientific Study of Human Testimony," of which the second is herewith published. Dr. Beard indicated his point of view in the first paper as follows:

"Human testimony comes from the human brain; the scientific study of human testimony is only possible through a knowledge of the human brain in health and disease, and is therefore a department of cerebro-physiology and pathology. Only recently have the laws of cerebro-physiology and pathology been sufficiently understood, even by the very few who cultivate that specialty, to enable them to formulate principles for the scientific study of that most important product of the human brain—human testimony. If, then, Bacon and Descartes, Hume and Hamilton, Whewell and Jevons, Greenleaf and Wharton, have failed to adapt their analyses of the principles of evidence to the needs of our time, their failure is due to the backwardness of physiology and pathology, that must constitute the basis of the study of evidence, and on which the foundations for a reconstruction must be laid. We do not yet know all of the human brain, either in health or disease; but our knowledge of it is sufficiently advanced to make it possible to see, with sufficient clearness, its relation to testimony. If we do not know just how the cerebral cells evolve thought, we do know that thought is evolved by them or through them, and that various diseases of the brain and nervous system—now pretty well understood, but of which, twenty years ago, little or nothing was known—may utterly destroy the objective worth of thought and render it, scientifically speaking, valueless."

Assuming these positions to be valid, the study of mental physiology must work a revolution in the theory of jurisprudence and the practice of the legal profession.

The extreme importance of this point of view is also further exemplified in an article "On Brain-forcing," by Dr. Clifford Allbutt, which we reprint in the present number of the Monthly, from the new quarterly. Taking their cue from old metaphysical text-books, our teachers are ever talking about mind, while what they really have to deal with is the brain. And not only that, but they have control of it during the period of its development. Education is, in fact, a physiological art, and all its methods and resources take effect upon the plastic organism of the nervous system. The development of intelligence, the discipline of emotions, the establishment of habits, and the formation of character, are all dependent upon definite corporeal laws, of which the study of mental philosophy, as usually pursued, gives us but little information. Dr. Allbutt shows very impressively, not only how the varied endowments of nerve-substance are at the basis of all culture, but how easy it is to mismanage the work of education, and perpetrate grave and lasting mischief, when these physiological conditions are unheeded and unknown. Nor is the ignorance of teachers upon the subject the worst thing about it; they have views and beliefs and opinions which stand in the way of real knowledge, and under which they work with blind, dogmatic confidence, that prevents all recognition of the injuries their practice inflicts upon pupils under their charge.

A case in point has been recently reported by the newspapers as occurring in the management of the Jersey