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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/678

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ganize thoroughly the work of the Observatory, and to adapt the Crossley reflector for his purpose, taking photographs of the nebulae that have never been equalled. His discovery that most nebulae have a spiral structure is of fundamental importance. It is not easy to overestimate what might have been accomplished by Keeler in the next twenty or thirty years, both by his own researches and by his rare executive ability, for it must be remembered that his genius as an investigator was rivaled by personal qualities which made his associates and acquaintances his friends.

 

Henry Sidgwick, late Knightbridge professor of moral philosophy at Cambridge, died on August 28, at the age of sixty-two years. There are usually not many events to record in the life of a university professor, but Sidgwick had an opportunity to prove his character when he resigned a fellowship in Trinity College because holding it implied the acceptance of certain theological dogmas. Liberalizing influences, however, were at work, of which he himself was an important part, and he was later elected honorary fellow of the same college, and in 1883 became professor of moral philosophy in the University. Sidgwick published three large works—'Methods of Ethics' (1874), 'Principles of Political Economy' (1883) and 'Elements of Politics' (1891)—in addition to a great number of separate articles. All these works, especially the 'Ethics,' show an intellect to a rare degree both subtle and scientific. There was a distinction and a personal quality in what he wrote that made each book or essay a work of art, as well as a contribution to knowledge. Those who knew Professor Sidgwick—and the writer of the present note regards it as one of the fortunate circumstances of his life that he was for several years a student under him—realize that the qualities of the man were even more rare than those of the author. His hesitating utterance, always ending in exactly the right word, but represented the caution and correctness of his thought. Subtlety, sincerity, kindliness and humor were as happily combined in his daily conversation as in his writings. It is said that he was never 'entrapped into answering a question by yes or no,' but his deeds and his influence were positive without qualification or limitation.

 

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, who died on almost the same day as Sidgwick, was also a writer on ethics and once a university professor, but the life and writings of the two men present a strange contrast. Where Sidgwick's touch was light as an angel's, Nietzsche trampled like a bull; the one was the embodiment of reason, caution, consideration and kindliness, the other represented paradox, recklessness, violence and brute force. Still Nietzsche deserves mention here, as his ethical views, based on the Darwinian theory of the survival of the fit, are not unlikely to be urged hereafter by saner men, and to become an integral part of ethics when ethics becomes a science. As a matter of fact, after resigning his professorship at Zurich, and even while writing his remarkable books, Nietzsche suffered from brain disease, and during the past eleven years his reason was completely lost.