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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/308

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the conclusion that consciousness stands in immediate causal relations with physiological processes. To say this is to abide by the facts, as at present known to us, and with the facts our conceptions must be made to accord.

The thought which I wish to emphasize is the importance for the future investigation of consciousness of separating the study of what it does from the study of what it is. The latter study is recondite, metaphysical, and carries us far beyond the limits of verifiable human knowledge. The former study is open to us and offers opportunities to science, but it has hitherto been almost completely neglected. Biology has now to redeem itself by effectual researches on consciousness. On the adequate prosecution of such researches we base great hopes.

Before I close permit me a few words concerning the relations of consciousness to the body, to living substances through which it manifests itself. It is intimately linked to protoplasm. Probably no question is so profoundly interesting to all mankind as the old question, what is the relation of the mind to the body? It is a question which has been stated in many forms and from many points of view, but the essential object of the question is always the same, to ask whether consciousness is a function of living matter, or something discrete and not physical or material.

Throughout this address consciousness has been viewed as a device to regulate the actions of the organisms so as to accomplish purposes which on the whole are useful to the organisms, and accordingly we have termed its function teleological. If this view is correct it accounts for the limitations of consciousness, its mechanical mode of work, its precision and definiteness of action, for of course, unless consciousness is orderly and obeys laws, it cannot be of use to the organism, but, on the contrary, it would be harmful, and conscious animals would have ceased long ago to survive. "The very fact that consciousness is of such high value in the bionomy of an animal renders it obvious that it must be subject to law. Accordingly it appears to us regulated as do the functions of protoplasm. Hence to certain modern thinkers it presents itself as a function of protoplasm, or, as it may be better stated, as a state or condition of protoplasm.

The internal evidence of consciousness, however, is against this view and presents to us conscious actions as depending upon the consciousness. As before stated I believe that this evidence must be accepted. Now all the sensations of consciousness are derived from physical force, and all the acts of consciousness are manifested through physical force; hence if it has any real power consciousness must be able to change the form of energy. Unless we accept this doctrine, we must give up all belief in free-will and adopt the automaton theory of life. Is not the more reasonable explanation that which is based upon