Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/486

This page has been validated.

historical sense. They groped in the dim, grey dawn of science, without our advantages, but they set the problems which we attack hopefully in the bright glow of early morning. If, then, we remember this, we shall be less surprised to learn that, leaving many lesser lights aside, at least two dozen men, between Locke (1690) and Lewes (1860), play their preparatory parts to Fechner, Wundt and the devoted contemporary group of psychological coworkers. To make this clearer, let me adduce some names, adding the approximate dates of most significant activity. Locke, 1690; Berkeley, 1709; Lavatar, 1772; Kant, 1781; Herder, 1785; Galvani, 1786; Cabanis, 1801; Volta, 1801; Gall, 1805; Spurzheim, 1813; Young, 1807; Sir Charles Bell, 1811; George Combe, 1820; Herbart, 1825; Fourier, 1825; Js. Müller, 1835; Beneke, 1835; E. H. Weber, 1846; du Bois Reymond, 1818; Lotze, 1852; Helmholtz. 1856; Bain, 1857; Lewes, 1860; Fechner, 1860; Wundt (1874), the inheritor of all this renown, who, in a manner parallels for psychology Darwin's position in natural history.

Our next task is to unravel the tangled skein of investigation and tentative hypotheses, of discovery and unsolved problems, for which these names stand. This is no easy thing, because some of the threads can not be disentangled. But we may contrive to render the situation less puzzling, and so see how we came to stand where we have been for the past twenty years.

Premising that they cross, recross, and even coincide occasionally, three lines of development may be traced. These are: First, the philosophical, in the accepted sense of this term, which originates, of course, in a view of human experience as a whole, or, restricting the compass somewhat, emphasizes the gross organization of consciousness; second, the physical, which lays stress on the relation of certain events in consciousness to objects presented under the primary conditions of space and time; third, the physiological, which founds on the interconnection between conscious processes and the structures of the body, particularly the cerebro-spinal system. As every one knows, the first appeared earliest, while the second and third, being dependent upon the advance of positive science, had to await what we may call the Newtonian and genetic epochs, the one initiated by Copernicus, the other by Herder and Schelling. Till the age of Kant, philosophy and physics are dominated by British thought, all things considered: from Kant till the first quarter of the nineteenth century French thought acquired increased importance; thereafter, the primacy passed to Germany, where it still remains, the influence of Darwinian ideas aside (and so I shall omit reference to the later British school). For, physiology and physiological psychology, along with the problems issuing from the new outlook, are German products in the main. The synthesis of information constituting the modern science of consciousness was "made in Germany."