Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/423

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the scientific men of our time. There may have been many things said in it which people with a formulated faith find objectionable; hut they are the results of honest and earnest thought, and the incidents of legitimate discussion, and must, therefore, he tolerated. Science can not work under the dictation of those interested to restrain it. Are men who make the supreme purpose of their lives the understanding of nature, to stop research into the laws of life, the genesis of species, the antiquity of man, the functions of the brain, the laws of social growth, or the natural history of superstitions, because there are many who, without ever studying these subjects, have views in relation to them which they do not wish disturbed? It is impossible. The great modern movement of the human mind which we call science is a part of evolving nature, and we have no liberty to do anything but represent it as faithfully as we are able.




The next volume of the "International Scientific Series," to be issued early in January, will be a work of such exceptional importance to various classes of thinkers, that we deem it proper to call especial attention to it in this place. It will be entitled "The Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics," and is written by Judge J. B. Stallo, of Cincinnati, author of a work, published many years ago, on "The Philosophy of Nature."

The book is a critical inquiry into the validity and sufficiency of what may be called our present scientific foundations. The author holds that the generally accepted hypothesis of the atomo-mechanical constitution of nature, and the various modern theories that grow out of it, are deeply tainted with metaphysical error; and his purpose has been to draw the line between legitimate science and illegitimate speculation. There is now no subject that more urgently needs to be cleared up than this.

The author says of his work: "Its tendency is throughout to eliminate from science its latent metaphysical elements, to foster and not to repress the spirit of experimental investigation, and to accredit instead of discrediting the great endeavor of scientific research to gain a sure foothold on solid empirical ground, where the real data of experience may be reduced without ontological prepossessions. An attentive perusal of these pages will make it clear, I think, that this endeavor is continually thwarted by the insidious intrusion into the meditations of the man of science of the old metaphysical spirit. This fact having been established, it was incumbent on me to ascertain, if possible, its causes and, within the narrow limits at my command, to develop its consequences. . . . What is here presented is not, of course, a new theory of the universe, or a novel system of philosophy. I have undertaken, not to solve all or any of the problems of cognition, but simply to show that some of them are in need of being stated anew so as to be rationalized, if not deepened."

Judge Stallo is a master of the field of modern physics, and the original views of his book are presented with great clearness and force. This volume will be one of the very ablest of the "International Scientific Series."



Artificial Anæsthesia and Anæsthetics. By Henry M. Lyman, A.M., M.D., Professor of Physiology and of Diseases of the Nervous System in Rush Medical College, Chicago, etc. New York: William Wood & Co. 1881. 8vo. Pp. vii-338.

"The most ancient record of the race," says Professor Lyman, "introduces the hero of the flood plunged in a deep and scandalous sleep, under the influence of wine which