Fundamental Problems. By Dr. Paul Carus. Second edition, enlarged and revised. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company. Pp. 873. Price, $1.50, cloth; 50 cents, paper.
This attempt to present the method of philosophy as a systematic arrangement of knowledge is a collection of essays that appeared originally as editorial articles in The Open Court, revised in the light of the criticisms they then drew out. The author has endeavored to avoid originality; that is, to introduce as little as possible of his personality and his private sympathies with, or antipathies against, other solutions. Philosophy is presented as the most practical and most important science, because its problems lie at the bottom of all the single sciences; and as furthermore the foundation of the rules of our conduct. In this book is proposed a philosophy of most radical free thought, unincumbered by the excrescences of negativism and hedonism, "that is, no negativism, no agnosticism, and no metaphysical mysticism, but a systematic arrangement of positive facts"; and religion and modern science, ethics and politics, industry, mercantile enterprise, and socialism, in their present existence, are regarded as alike based upon the teaching of the positive school. In this second edition of the work are inserted an introductory chapter on Ontology and Positivism, and an appendix containing the author's replies to his critics.
Electricity at the Columbian Exposition. By J. P. Barret, Chief of Department. Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons' Company. 1894. Pp.501.
The author modestly disavows claims to originality in the composition of this work, and characterizes it as nearly resembling a compilation. He deserves credit for the excellent manner in which he has done his work. The general introduction gives a brief account of the electrical expositions previous to 1893. The introductions to the several chapters present a scientific though cursory survey of the various applications of electricity and their bearing upon the exposition. The great extent of the department made it impossible to describe all the exhibits; only the unimportant ones, however, were omitted, and the book as a whole presents a good general view of the electrical exposition, together with a large amount of detailed information concerning the various branches of electric art as represented at the fair. Arts and industries in general are dwelt upon where they have any bearing on electricity. Everything is up to date, even Moisson's process for the preparation of artificial diamonds being brought in in connection with electric furnaces. The various branches of electric industry are so closely allied to each other that it is often pretty nigh impossible to draw a line of separation between them; and, though the matter is is well arranged and classified, the specialist will have to consult most, if not all, the chapters in order to obtain full information in any connection. The typographical appearance of the book and the numerous illustrations deserve high commendation.
The Psychic Factor. By Charles Van Norden, D. D., LL. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 223. Price, $1.25.
This volume, although intended as a manual for students, gives in a very readable form what is known of the working of mind experimentally and physiologically, as well as by introspection.
Matter, life, and mind are stated to be three ultimates which psychology can not explain. The hypotheses which philosophers hold in regard to them are classified as materialism, idealism, ideal realism, monism, and the popular one of matter and mind. The author considers that "there is no beginning place for mind anywhere" in the evolution of life, therefore the original cell must be psychic. The unfolding of the mental process is traced from the oxygen sense of bacteria and the sunshine quest of Desmids through plant life and animal life to the human brain. In this progress there are three marked steps—the appearance of protoplasm, the specialization of cells, and the co-ordinating of function. A study of the nervous system generally, and of its development in the various orders of life according to increasing complexity, complete the comparative view of the psychic factor.
In man we come upon the fact of consciousness. This is defined not as a name for a series of mental states, but as a recognition by mind of itself. It is held that even in the lower forms of life there may be "a