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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/581

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tion of the subject, consists of papers on methods of study and comparative psychology which have appeared in various scientific periodicals, including this magazine.


In Four-Footed Americans and their Kin[1] a similar method is applied by Mabel Osgood Wright to the study of animals to that which was followed with reference to ornithology in Citizen Bird. The subject is taught in the form of a story, with dramatic incident and adventure, and miniature exploration, and the animals are allowed occasionally to converse and express their opinions and feelings. The scene of the action is "Orchard Farm and twenty miles around." Dr. Hunter and his daughter and colored "mammy" have returned there to their home after several years of travel, with two city youths who have been invited to spend the summer at the place and are told the story of the birds. Another family have come to make an autumn visit, but it is arranged that they should spend the winter at the farm. "What they did, and how they became acquainted with the four-footed Americans, is told in this story." Most of the common animals of the United States are met or described in the course of the party's wandering, as creatures of life rather than as in the cold and formal way of treating museum specimens, and a great deal of the lore of other branches of natural history is introduced, as it would naturally come in in such excursions as were taken. The scientific accuracy of the book is assured by the participation of Mr. Frank M. Chapman as editor. At the end a Ladder for climbing the Family Tree of the North American Mammals is furnished in the shape of a table of classification; and an index of English names is given. The illustrations, by Ernest Seton Thompson, give lifelike portraits and attitudes and are very attractive.

St. George Mivart, whose enviable reputation as a specialist in natural history has perhaps given some justification for his attempts at philosophy, has recently published a new philosophical work entitled The Groundwork of Science[2] It is an effort to work out the ultimate facts on which our knowledge, and hence all science, is based. A short preface and introductory chapter are devoted to a statement of the aims of the work and some general remarks regarding the history of the scientific method. An enumeration of the sciences and an indication of some of their logical relations are next given. The third chapter, entitled The Objects of Science, is given up chiefly to a refutation of idealism. The methods of science, its physical, psychical, and intellectual antecedents, language and science, causes of scientific knowledge, and the nature of the groundwork of science are the special topics of the remaining chapters. The general scheme of the inquiry is based on the theory that the groundwork of science consists of three divisions. "The laborers who work, the tools they must employ, and that which constitutes the field of their labor. . . . Science is partly physical and partly psychical. . . . The tools are those first principles and universal, necessary, self-evident truths which lie so frequently unnoticed in the human intellect, and which are absolutely indispensable for valid reasoning. . . . The nature of the workers must also be noticed as necessarily affecting the value of their work. . . . And, last of all, a few words must be devoted to the question whether there is any and, if any, what foundation underlying the whole groundwork of science." The result at which the author arrives is stated as follows: "The groundwork of science is the work of self. conscious material organisms making use of the marvelous first principles which they possess in exploring all the physical and psychical phenomena of the universe, which sense, intuition, and ratiocination can anyhow reveal to them as real existences, whether actual or only possible. . . . The foundation of science can only be sought in that

  1. Pour-Footed Americans and their Kin. By Mabel Osgood Wright. Edited by Frank M. Chapman. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 432, with plates. Price, $1.50.
  2. The Groundwork of Science. A Study of Epistemology. By St. George Mivart. Pp. 328. Price, $1.75. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. London; Bliss, Sands & Co.