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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/226

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

equivalent embodiment) is not possible, that the science of the growth and development of language is the only true science of the growth and development of mind, and that "this revelation of the oneness of thought and language means a complete revolution in philosophy" (vol. i, p. 50).

It is not needful for us to speak of Professor Max Müller's right to be heard on any subject to which he devotes his attention, nor of his erudition, his agreeable literary style, the service he has rendered to science and literature, nor of the lovable personal character of the man. All these things everybody allows. Our purpose then, is—premising that "The Science of Thought" is full of interest, and displays, as usual in his books, the author's great philological learning—to examine the main thesis of the work; to determine, if possible, whether it is true, and, if so, whether or not it effects any "revolution in philosophy."

"The Science of Thought" is not a general psychological treatise. It is an adjunct to the science of language, to which it belongs, rather than to psychology. It is less expository than polemical, and the gist of the work is the argument to prove that thought (in the author's meaning of the term) depends absolutely upon language, and that the way to study the human mind is to study human language.

Of course, it is essential to note carefully in the first place the author's use of the term "thought." His book has aroused quite a controversy already, and a dozen or more letters on the subject have been published in "Nature," and reproduced in "The Open Court," of Chicago. They are from the pens of Francis Galton, the Duke of Argyll, Mr. Hyde Clark, Mr. T. Mellard Reade, George J. Romanes, and others, with replies by Professor Max Müller. They present various considerations to show the error of the latter, such as the cases of deaf-and-dumb people, sudden aphasia in disease, and the results of personal introspection. Mr. Galton in one of his letters charges that Professor Müller has not told the reader what he means by "thought," to which the author rather indignantly replies that the definition is found on his first page, which at least it is usual for reviewers of books to look at, if they go no farther. After so explicit a direction, we certainly shall not incur the reproach of saying that there is no such definition; but, in our judgment, the author would have succeeded better if he had left his definition more indefinite.

Professor Max Müller means by thought "the act of thinking," and by thinking "no more than combining." "I think, means the same as the Latin cogito, namely, co-agito, 'I bring together,' only with the proviso that bringing together or combining implies separating, for we can not combine two or many things without at the same time separating them from all the rest. Hobbes expressed the same truth long ago, when he said that all our thinking consisted in addition and subtraction." "Much, however, depends upon what we