Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/431

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LITERARY NOTICES.

the scientific method applies both to phenomena and noumena—both to things as they seem and things as they are. Agnosticism, destitute of the conception that God is immanent in nature, does not see that to know nature in any degree is to know God in precisely that degree. There is no unknowable, but simply the unknown or the imperfectly known. Against the relativity of knowledge as held by Herbert Spencer, he affirms that knowledge is based upon the internal self-relatedness of an object. This self-relatedness in its unity and constancy, as Kant observed, is the reason why all who judge an object come to agreement. Formulating the three types of real beings as machine, organism, and person, Dr. Abbot finds the universe to be all three. In the perfect intelligibility of the universe he places his hope for new light on the problems of immortality and duty, which shall be as certain and trustworthy as the light science has already cast on problems of physical nature.

The Elements of Laboratory Work. By A. G. Earl, M. A. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 179. Price, $1.40.

Text-books adapted to the new and genuine method of science study are so few as yet that every progressive educator will welcome this addition to their number. The course which it embodies is designed as an introduction to all branches of natural science, its object being to teach a method of study rather than to convey information in a prescribed field. It is adapted to students in colleges and high-schools. To give an idea of the method of the book we quote the directions for the first exercise:

"To find equal quantities of matter: 1. Use a balance, and counterpoise two pieces of wood, cutting away one or the other with a knife until exact balance is obtained. 2. Counterpoise a piece of wood and a piece of lead. 3. Counterpoise another piece of wood with the lead, and then observe that the two pieces of wood counterpoised by the lead counterpoise one another.

"The above exercises show: 1. That with the same kind of matter, wood, the pieces which counterpoise each other are the same size, or thereabout; but different kinds of matter which counterpoise each other are not of the same size. 2. That two bodies counterpoise each other if they each counterpoise a third body, for these two bodies have been, found to act alike under the same conditions—that is, when placed in the same position, and with all the surroundings the same. Two such pieces of matter are said to be equal quantities of matter, however unequal in size or different in appearance they may be."

Other exercises in weighing and some in measuring length and volume follow. While occupied with weighing, the student is directed to take to pieces a balance very carefully, the points in its construction which it is specially instructive for him to notice being stated. Observations of change of position, of changes of temperature, and of certain mutual changes common to all kinds of matter are among the early exercises of the course. A chapter is devoted to "observations of certain mutual changes exhibited by certain kinds of matter," namely, electrical phenomena. Under the head of "observations which lead to the theory that all matter is made up of very small separate particles" are embraced experiments on solution, diffusion, and the pressure of gases. A number of chemical experiments are given in a chapter devoted to "investigation of the composition of various kinds of matter." The final division comprises experiments in optics, designed to lead to the theory of the ether. An appendix gives many practical hints in regard to conducting the work in the laboratory. Lists of additional exercises and questions are inserted at the end of each chapter, and the text is illustrated with many figures of apparatus and diagrams.

 

Numbers Universalized is the latter or advanced part of the text-book of algebra by Prof. David M. Sensenig (Appleton, $1.25). The work is believed by its author to embrace all algebraic subjects usually taught in the preparatory and scientific schools and the colleges of this country. Part Second is divided into five chapters, as follows: one embracing serial functions, including, among other things, the binomial theorem, and exponential and logarithmic series; one treating of complex numbers, graphically and analytically; one embodying a discussion on the theory of functions; one