Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/288

This page has been validated.

the concept has its uses in the mental economy. The method is then expounded of knowing the not-self as being gained by sympathetic imitation. It is then determined wherein self-knowledge consists, and the bearing of this theory on the philosophical problem and on certain practical questions is indicated.

In The Philosophy of Memory and Other Essays[1] Dr. D. T. Smith develops a theory of mental action, the basis of which is the setting up in the cells of the gray matter of the brain, and possibly of the spinal cord, of orderly grouping of waves or vibrations among certain atoms or molecules by whatever may affect any of the senses; that these undulations are realized first as sensations, and then group themselves so as to form perceptions, ideas, emotions, etc. They rise in succession into the scope of consciousness. After a time the effect of these vibrations in consciousness is weakened, without perhaps utterly passing away, and retains the possibility of being re-enforced by kindred vibrations in harmony with it. This is memory.

In The Psychology of Reasoning[2] M. Alfred Binet makes reasoning a process of the formation of mental images. He finds no decided difference between perception—the cognizance of sensations and assignment of them to their source—and logical reasoning. "The two operations are both reasonings, transitions from the known to the unknown"; "the two extremes of a long series of phenomena." A premise is "a judgment, an association of images," and a conclusion that follows from the premises is "an association of images produced by other associations." The theory of three images—the two premises and the conclusion—" is applicable to reasonings of every kind, and therefore constitutes a general theory of reasoning.… If it be recollected that images are fragments, residues of former sensations; that they spring from the place where former sensations have been received, in the sensory centers of the cerebral surface layers, it will be understood that the purpose of these images in grouping themselves in reasonings, according to the laws of their affinity, is to replace the absent sensations. Such is therefore the function of reasoning; it enlarges the sphere of our sensibility, and extends it to all objects which our senses can not know directly. Thus understood, reasoning is a supplementary sense, which has the advantage of being free from those strict conditions of time and space—the two enemies of human knowledge." In memory, "the suggested image is projected and localized in the panorama of the past, of which it appears to be a fragment." Imagination is "a faculty of creating assemblages of images which do not correspond to any external reality."

The idea of preparing Who's Who in America[3] was suggested by the success of the English book, Who's Who? now in its fifty-second year, and the work has been prepared on similar lines. Its purpose is to supply information concerning living American men and women who have achieved distinction, who hold recognized public positions, and who have contributed so as to have it talked about to the growth, development, knowledge, and civilization of the country. Eight thousand six hundred and two such persons are represented in this book, including, ex-officio, all members of the Fifty-sixth Congress, Governors of States and Territories now in office. United States, State, and territorial judges of courts of high jurisdiction, persons of other prominent official classification, national academicians, members of the National Academy of Sciences, heads of the larger universities and colleges, and a few others chosen on similar arbitrary lines. Special effort has been made to include all living American authors of books of more than ephemeral value. The data for the book have been obtained from first hands, except in a very few cases, where the modesty of the subjects made it neces-

  1. The Philosophy of Memory and Other Essays. By D. T. Smith. Louisville, Ky.: John P. Morton & Co. Pp. 203.
  2. The Psychology of Reasoning. Based on Experimental Researches in Hypnotism. By Alfred Binet. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company. Pp. 191.
  3. Who's Who in America. A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men and Women in the United States, 1899-1900. Edited by John W. Leonard. Chicago: A. N. Marquis & Co. Pp. 822.