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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/865

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LITERARY NOTICES.

issue more books with very much less labor and expense than under the old conservative system which previously prevailed. Nor has this free access to the shelves resulted in loss of books or damage to the same." This statement is very satisfactory. Many of the restrictions which surround public institutions and which hamper the work of government are general rules adopted to meet very limited evils. Instead of meeting the limited evil and overcoming it by watchfulness and such special measures as may be called for, a general rule is adopted which operates as a burden on a large number of persons for whom no such rule is necessary. Such is the stupid instinct of governments always and everywhere, we might almost say; and it is also one of the chief ways in which government is rendered expensive, as the authorities of the Cleveland Public Library seem to have found out, We congratulate them on having made a useful discovery, and we trust that their experience will lead other similar institutions into the right path.

One little observation before we leave this topic. In the list of newspapers and periodicals on file in the reading room of the library we notice but one in the French language, and that is—what? The Revue des Deux Mondes, or the Nouvelle Revue, or the Revue Bleue, or even the Courrier des Etats-Unis? No, but the Mode de Paris. All that French periodical and newspaper literature contributes to this tax-supported institution is a fashion paper. May we suggest that, if a German one is wanted, Modenwelt is not bad in its way. Let literature flourish!

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Genetic Philosophy. By David Jayne Hill. New York: Macmillan & Co. Price, $1.75.

The author of this work undertakes to treat the principal problems of philosophy by a method which, though he does not assert it to be entirely new, he does not believe has been systematically carried out by any previous writer. He applies to his method the term "genetic," and he explains that it "consists in referring every fact to its place in the series to which it belongs." Such a method, of course, is essentially the method of science, and what we recognize in the work before us is not so much any originality of method as a skillful and interesting application of a well known method to a number of interesting and important philosophical questions. There is nothing, for example, very original in the following declaration of principles, but it is well expressed: "Being, as apprehended by our intelligence, is found to possess continuity, and all facts are the aspects of a process. When, therefore, facts are translated into thought, they must not be sundered and isolated, floated off from their attachments and treated as independent entities. The continuity which connects them as real must also connect them as ideal. In other words, they must be genetically regarded, or considered as aspects of a continuous process to which they must be referred."

Among existing philosophical schools that to which President Hill most inclines is evidently the evolutionist as represented by Herbert Spencer. He criticises the latter, however, for placing the Unknowable in the forefront of his system, and then afterward hustling it out of court as "deserving of no consideration from the minds of adults." We can hardly admit this to be a correct account of Mr. Spencer's procedure, but the point is not one that admits of discussion in this place. He says, again, that to Mr. Spencer "the universe is like a great music-box which can play but one tune." How many tunes, one might ask, does a strictly "genetic" philosophy provide for? Any limitation in this respect must come from the recognition of necessary sequence, and such recognition is as much a feature of our author's mode of thought as of Herbert Spencer's.

On the subject of the Genesis of Matter, which constitutes the first chapter (following the Introduction) of Mr. Hill's book, we are not told anything new, or rather we are not told anything at all; what we are told relates entirely to the supposed constitution of