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76
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

electro-magnetism; Kielmeyer, an anticipator of biogenesis; I. Döllinger, of Würzburg, who inoculated Von Baer with genetic ideas; Von Baer himself, who, more objectively than any other scientific man, has estimated the germinal significance of the Naturphilosophie; Liebig, the pioneer of laboratory methods in chemistry; Johannes Müller, the first main constructive power in modern physiology; Kieser, the early exponent of plant phytotemy; Schönlein and Röschlaub, leaders in the remarkable band who founded the Berlin school of medicine. Nay more, his power burst forth again, significantly for psychology, as a factor in the equipment of Fechner. Thus, like Hegel, Schelling paved the way for his own fall, by sending others to search out the secrets of nature. Accordingly, even if the vagaries of Oken disgusted many,[1] and if Steffens's analogies between the catastrophies of the human spirit and the disturbances of the earth's crust furnished queer geology, there were no call to "swear at large," to rush around shouting "vitalism!" or otherwise to evince complete lack of the objectivity necessary to analysis of the crisis. Somnambulists haunt the fringes of all movements, but we fool ourselves when we take them for prototypes. New ideas ever were heady; this happens to be the price set upon their power to reveal unsuspected problems, as Schelling and his galaxy of scholars did.

Johannes Möller, then, found himself born into this surging age. He tended the new scientific spirit to budding, but, unlike Von Baer, he died ere it blossomed. Speaking under reservation, as an ignorant man must, I would venture to suggest that he did not enter fully into Hegel's epoch-making idea of process. So far as I can comprehend his activity, he was a student chiefly of the organism in gross, that is, a morphologist, more than an investigator of vital processes, a physiologist. His importance lay in his ideals more than in his results. "A profound teacher," as his pupil Helmholtz declared, he created an atmosphere which his pupils breathed, and he lives in their splended work rather than in any single achievement of his own. In essentials this atmosphere contained the modern perspective. For, although, as du Bois Reymond has recorded, he "assumed the existence of a vital force. . . which in organisms acts the part of a supreme regulator," this "force" ruled the realm of the unknown only. In all that could be mastered by contemporary methods and means Müller accepted the chemico-physical view. His studies of nutrition, animal heat, motion and reflex action, his contributions to acoustics and the phenomena of speech embody, not simply his own work, they also supply a masterly unification of previous knowledge. But, especially as concerns physiological psychology, his major result undoubtedly consisted in his doctrine of "specific energies." No matter what the stimulus, the


  1. Cf. Huxley, in the "Life of Owen," Vol. II., p. 295.