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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/828

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

affair. Only about a thousand species are known, and one large volume may fairly cover the field. It is when we consider the mineral as a growth—as a body having a past and a future—that broad treatment of the subject becomes possible. The geologist, dealing with phenomena of the grandest character, sees at a first glance little that is attractive in mineralogy. He forgets that mineral species make his alphabet, and that upon their properties the properties of rock-masses must depend. He can not safely generalize upon the one without knowing something of the other. He can not understand the chemical changes occurring in the earth's crust, if he ignores the separate units and the reactions of which they are capable. The very genesis of many rocks must depend upon the conditions under which their individual units can concurrently exist, and the latter must be known before the larger question can be adequately handled. Mineralogy gives to the geologist the weightiest of evidence. To the chemist also it is something more than debtor. It gives him, ready made, whole groups of compounds which else would be difficultly attainable, and these are the starting-points for many lines of research. The true character of each science is best seen in the interaction of all the sciences. Each in its way is both servant and master; not one can stand wholly alone.

 

THE UNIFORMITY OF SOCIAL PHENOMENA.
By F. X. von NEUMANN-SPALLART.

THE surprising consequences which have attended investigations in natural science have excited among the representatives of historical and speculative studies a desire to reach results of corresponding value by the application of observation and analysis to the affairs of life. In this manner has arisen a new school of historical research, which applies the facts of physical geography, anthropology, ethnography, and other related branches of science, to the explanation of events, and by this means has passed from mechanical transcription and compilation to the examination into the natural, causal connection of things. In the same way, speculative philosophy has happily become an inductive branch of investigation, and instead of the "eloquent words" with which metaphysics used to labor, scientific analysis satisfies the aspirations in that direction, and is reviving with its refreshing breath the withered branches of the world's wisdom. It is not out of course, then, that the sciences of social life also should try to discard the tinsel of empty words and to gain by scientific methods a concrete understanding and a real view of their conditions. The question has thus arisen, whether the endlessly complicated and shifting events which are incessantly modifying the aspects of human society can be followed up and explained by natural laws;