Open main menu

Popular Science Monthly/Volume 8/March 1876/Literary Notices

LITERARY NOTICES.

The Emotions and the will. By Alexander Bain, LL. D., Professor of Logic in the University of Aberdeen. Pp. 604. Price, $5. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

The author of this work stands among the very foremost in the school of modern scientific psychology, which has its chief development in Great Britain. His two principal works, "The Senses and Intellect" and "The Emotions and the Will," are widely known as giving the only complete and systematic account of mental phenomena from a modern point of view. As we know nothing of mind, except as an organic manifestation—as physically embodied and working its effects through a complex and wonderful vital machinery—no exposition of it can be regarded as scientific or complete that leaves the material side of the phenomena out of account. We have often insisted upon this, and must continue to do so; for the importance of the truth is only equaled by the inveteracy with which the futile and exhausted meta-physical method is still clung to in the general study of mind. There is hardly a chapter of either of Dr. Bain's books that is not a virtual demonstration of the necessity of including the physical accompaniments of mind in any treatment of it that claims to be scientific in method, and valuable in application. The general adoption of these works as college and high-school text-books would give a new and valuable element to our higher culture. Mental philosophy would then become what it ought to be, a study of human character, and such an analysis and understanding of the constitution of man as would give us a better interpretation than hitherto of his relations to surrounding Nature.

The third edition of "The Emotions and the Will" has been thoroughly revised at every point. Although it may seem a hopeless task to introduce quantitative inquiries involving much precision into psychology, yet, as Dr. Bain remarks, it is essential to the scientific handling of the subject, and he has accordingly given much attention to the problem of degrees of intensity and force in regard to the feelings, and to the extension and improvement of the means adopted in this branch of psychical investigation.

But perhaps the most significant feature of the new edition of this work is its reconstruction with reference to the doctrine of evolution. As the eminent comparative anatomist of Germany, Gegenbauer, reorganized his great biological work so as to bring it into harmony with evolutionary views, and as Sir Charles Lyell recast his "Principles of Geology" so as to base it upon the doctrine of development and descent. Dr. Bain has now done the same thing with his elaborate treatise upon the mind. Herbert Spencer had indeed grounded psychology upon evolution in a remarkable work published twenty years ago; but it was far in advance of the thought of the time, and even progressive psychologists have but slowly come up to his position. Prof. Bain fully recognizes the eminence and authority of Mr. Spencer in this field of psychological investigation.

The Teacher's Handbook for the Institute and the Class-Room. By William F. Phelps, M.A., Principal of the State Normal School, Winona, Minnesota. Pp. 333. Price, $1.50. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co.

This little work by an experienced educator, who is also an enthusiast in his profession, may be regarded as the outcome of the most advanced and perfected methods of instruction in the American school system. It is a text-book for teachers in acquiring the art of their vocation, and aims to familiarize them both with the theoretical principles and the practical processes by which general education should be conducted in schools, under the control of the state. Prof. Phelps is an ardent advocate of state education, and urges it on the usual ground of political necessity in a popular government. And whatever question there may be as to the right or wrong, or the good and bad of this policy, we have entered upon it, and are committed to it, and nothing remains but to meet the responsibilities and discharge the duties that grow out of it. Such a system inevitably results in comprehensive organization. With system in study there comes gradation in schools, and with improvement in methods and results there comes a demand for the special cultivation of teachers, by means of institutes and normal schools.

This complex machinery of education must be thoroughly understood by every efficient teacher in its principles and practical working, and Prof. Phelps's book has been prepared to facilitate this special professional culture. It is written with the warmth of a man who is in earnest, and with the clearness of one who understands his subject. Unsettled questions and difficulties in education are recognized, with judicious suggestions, as in the following passage:

"The question as to what shall be taught in our common schools is yet to receive a definite solution. Next in importance to right methods of teaching ranks the subject-matter of teaching. 'What knowledge is of most worth? What branches are the most useful, first for discipline, and second for use or particular application?' Upon this subject we have no settled policy. As a consequence, many things inferior usurp the place of those of superior worth. The dry details of so-called geography, the abstract definitions, rules, and formulas of grammar, the comparatively valueless signs and symbols of algebraic notation, consume a vast amount of the time that should be devoted to the study of the earth, its climate and productions in their relations to man, and the course of human history; of the English language, as a means of communication, and of the living sciences which lie at the basis of all the arts and industries of life. But it is futile to attempt a revolution in subject-matters while teachers, their attainments, and methods of work, are so inadequate to the public needs. It is idle to talk of the necessity of the elements of physics and chemistry, botany and physiology, natural history and agriculture, so long as we have neither the knowledge nor the skill requisite to their proper treatment. Of what value would these sciences be to the people When mechanically memorized from the printed page, as are most of the subjects now in our common-school curriculum? To be of use, either for discipline or application, they must be properly taught by observation, experiment, and demonstration. In short, their objects must be seen, handled, analyzed, compared, and classified. These practical sciences must be investigated by methods and processes analogous to those by which they have been themselves developed, and thus far perfected. Can our children be expected to grope their way to these natural processes in spite of their teachers? or, must the latter first be made capable of leading the way, inspiring the young by the fullness of their learning, and the skill of their methods? Until our children and youth learn the right use of their own powers, it is in vain to expect that they can master the powers of Nature, or accomplish any other important result."

The Uranian and Neptunian Systems, investigated with the 26-inch Equatorial OF the United States Naval Observatory. By Simon Newcomb, LL. D., Professor United States Navy. Washington Observations for 1873. Appendix I. Government Printing-Office, 1875, pp. 72, 4to.

This pamphlet, separately printed, contains the first published discussion of work done by the 26-inch Clark refractor of the Naval Observatory. What this work was, and how great necessity existed for its prosecution, may be gathered from the first two paragraphs of the memoir:

"The remoteness of the two outer planets of our system renders the accurate investigation of their satellites a task of great difficulty. This is strongly evinced by the great discordances between the conclusions respecting the masses of those planets which have been reached by various observers. Thus, in the case of Uranus, Von Asten, the latest investigator, cites a number of determinations of the mass from recent observations, which range between 11987X and 127616 [of the sun's mass], so that the largest result is nearly half as large again as the smallest. Even different results, obtained by the same observer under slightly different circumstances, were surprisingly discordant. The best determination was that of Struve; but even here there was a difference of four per cent, between the results from the two [brighter] satellites. In the case of Neptune, discordances of the same kind showed themselves; Struve's mass being greater than that of Bond by one-third.
"For these and other reasons, when the 26-inch equatorial, with an object-glass nearly perfect in figure, was mounted at the Naval Observatory, the observation of the satellites of the outer planets, with a view of determining not only the elements of their orbits, but more especially the masses of the planets, was made the first great work of the instrument. Entertaining the opinion that, in the present state of astronomy, it was better to do one thing well than many things indifferently, the minor arrangements of the instrument were all made subservient to the end in view, and no other serious work of a dissimilar character was attempted during the continuance of the observations."

It is well known that the two brighter satellites of Uranus, viz., Oberon and Titania, are quite faint objects even in the large 15-inch telescopes of Harvard College and of Pulkova, but the two interior satellites, Ariel and Umbriel, are incomparably the faintest and most difficult objects to observe in the solar system. Indeed, it is not wholly certain that they have ever been seen save in the telescopes of Mr, Lassell (their discoverer), Lord Rosse, and by the Washington refractor, although there are several telescopes now mounted both in Europe and in America which are adequate for their observation.

The satellite of Neptune, too, is a very difficult object, and hence it is extremely gratifying to find so many measures of these satellites as Prof. Newcomb has obtained. The telescope was mounted in November, 1873. From that time to April, 1875, there were made:

31 observations of Oberon.
34 "" Titania.
10 "" Umbriel.
8 "" Ariel.
54 "" Neptune's satellite.

It must be remembered that Neptune was only observed from July to February, and Uranus from January to May.

From a consideration of all the measures of Uranus's satellites, the author assigns as the mass of that planet 1/22600 of the mass of the sun, and he estimates the probable error of the denominator of this fraction at 100, so that we may say that this mass is not less than 1/22700 and not more than 1/22500; that is, the mass is determined within less than 1/200 part of its value. To understand the nicety of such measurements as have been made, it must be remembered that any error in the measures of the distance of the satellite from the planet is shown in the resulting mass of the planet in an amount not proportional to this error directly, but to the third power of the error.

The times of revolution of the satellites have been determined with high accuracy by a comparison of Newcomb's observations with those of the elder Herschel—the uncertainty in the period of Titania 8days.705897, being not more than one second of time, or 1/1000000 of the whole amount.

From the relative brightness of the satellites of Uranus, Prof. Newcomb concludes that they have masses not more than 1/60000 of that of Uranus itself, i. e., vastly less than the mass of our own moon.

It is an interesting fact too that the author suspects that the nearest of the satellites of Uranus (Ariel) "belongs to that class of satellites of which the brilliancy is variable, and depends on its position in the orbit." With regard to the interesting question as to the number of satellites of Uranus, Prof. Newcomb's testimony is as follows:

"No systematic search for new satellites of this planet was entered upon, partly because the season in which Uranus is in opposition is now an unfavorable one for prosecuting such a search, and partly because the attempt would have absorbed so much of the observer's time and energies as to detract from the excellence of the micrometer-observations. When faint objects, which might have been new satellites, were seen around the planet, their positions relative to the latter were noted; but in no instance was any such object found to accompany the planet. I think I may say, with considerable certainty, that there is no satellite within 2' of the planet, and outside of Oberon, having one-third the brilliancy of the latter, and therefore that none of Sir William Herschel's supposed outer satellites can have any real existence. The distances of the four known satellites increase in so regular a way that it can hardly be supposed that any others exist between them. Of what may be inside of Ariel, it is impossible to speak with certainty, since, in the state of atmosphere which prevails during our winter, all the satellites would disappear at 10' distance from the planet."

The second section of the memoir deals with the Neptunian system. Three principal determinations of the mass of Neptune have been made:

Bond's, which gives the mass 1/194000.
Struve's, """" 1/14446.
Lassell's, """" 1/17135.

From the work of the Washington telescope the mass results 1/19380, which agrees most remarkably with Bond's previous determination.

No evidence for an elliptic form to the orbits of any of these satellites has been made out: "We are thus led to the remarkable conclusion that the orbits of all the satellites of the two outer planets are less eccentric than those of the planets of our system, and that, so far as observations have yet shown, they may be perfect circles. No trace of a second satellite of Neptune has ever been seen, though several times carefully looked for, under the finest atmospheric conditions, during July, 1874."

We have thus far spoken mainly of the most interesting results reached in Prof. Newcomb's memoir. It contains besides these a very complete development of the analytical methods required for the discussion of observations of this class, and practical hints as to the manner of making and treating such observations, which are of great importance. It is a gratifying thing to be able so soon to announce important results attained by means of the new telescope at Washington, and to see that so great a scientific trust as this has been administered by competent and faithful hands.

The Scientific Monthly. Pp. 55. Toledo, O.: E. H. Fitch, Editor and Proprietor.

The second number of this magazine has a diversified table of contents. The first article (illustrated) is on "The Swallow-tailed Kite." There are two articles by Prof. Charles Whittlesey; the one on "Rock Inscriptions" in Lorain Co., Ohio, and the other a comparison of the Indian and the Mound-Builder. The titles of the other leading articles are: "Climate and Disease," "The Brain," "The Archippus Butterfly," and "Some Atmospheric Phenomena." Price, $3.00 per year.

The Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease. Chicago: 57 Washington Street. Pp. 175. Subscription, $5 per annum.

This quarterly commences with the January number a new series. Its editors are J. S. Jewell, M.D., and H. M. Bannister, M. D., with Drs. W. A. Hammond, S. Weir Mitchell, and E. H. Clarke, as associate editors. This first number of the new series contains Dr. Hammond's address on "The Brain not the Sole Organ of the Mind;" a paper by Dr. R. W. Taylor on "Syphilis of the Nervous System;" "Pathology of Tetanus," by Dr. Bannister; "Pathology of the Sympathetic Nervous System," by Dr. Clark; "Treatment of Inebriates," by Dr. N. S. Davis; and "Cerebral Anæmia," by Dr. T. L. Teed.

Science Byways. By Richard A. Proctor. Pp. 438. Philadelphia: Lippincott. Price, $4.00.

Under this title Mr. Proctor brings together sixteen essays, originally published in various magazines, on a wide range of topics. Two of these essays have appeared in the Monthly, namely, "Finding the Way at Sea," and "Money for Science." The latter subject the author purposes to discuss at greater length in a pamphlet soon to be published. As a popular expositor of science Mr. Proctor stands high, and this volume will be heartily welcomed by the important public to whom the author addresses himself. Among the other subjects treated in the present volume, we may name the following: "Life in Other Worlds," "Comets," "The Sun a Bubble," "The Weather and the Sun," "Rain," "Have we Two Brains?" "Automatic Chess and Card Playing."

 

The American Naturalist begins the year 1876 with unproved form and increased volume; each number now contains 64 pages. The magazine will be less technical than heretofore, and will have some additional departments, devoted to geography and travel, proceedings of scientific societies, etc. The first number issued since the "new departure" opens with a paper by Prof. A. Gray, entitled "Burs in the Borage Family." There is also a paper by Rev. Samuel Lockwood, in his usual lively style, on Anolis principalis, the American analogue of the chameleon of the Old World. There are five other leading articles in this first number. The Naturalist is now published by Hurd & Houghton, Boston. Subscription price, $4 per annum.

 

 
PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.

Native Races of the Pacific States. By H. H. Bancroft. Vol. V. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price, $5.50. Pp. 796.

Angola and the River Congo. By J. J. Monteiro. Pp. 366. New York: Macmillan. Price, $2.50.

The Christ of Paul. By George Reber. Pp. 397. New York: Somerby. Price, $2.00.

Magnetism and Electricity. By F. Guthrie. Pp. 364. New York: Putnams. Price, $1.50.

Public Instruction in Minnesota. Pp. 285. St. Paul: Pioneer Press print.

The American State. By W. G. Dix. Pp. 187. Boston: Estes & Lauriat. Price, $1.50.

Life Histories of Animals. By A. S. Packard, Jr. Pp. 243. New York: H. Holt & Co. Price, $2.50.

How to build Ships. By a Seaman. Pp. 62. New York: Van Nostrand. Price, 75 cents.

Hayden's Geological Survey of the Territories. Vol. II. Pp. 304, with numerous Plates. Washington: Government Printing-office.

Water and Water-Supply. By W. H. Corfield. Pp. 145. New York: Van Nostrand. Price, 50 cents.

Principles of Coal-Mining. By J. H. Collins. Pp. 150. New York: Putnams. Price, 75 cents.

Wages and Wants of Science-Workers. By R. A. Proctor. Pp. 118. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Imports and Exports of the United States. Washington: Government Printing-office.

Supposed Miracles. By Rev. J. M. Buckley. Pp. 54. New York: Hurd & Houghton. Price, 50 cents.

Circulars of the Education Bureau. Washington: Government Printing-Office.

How to construct a Dairy-Room. By J. Wilkinson. Pp. 26. Baltimore: J. Wilkinson. Price, 25 cents.

The Yucca-Borer. By C. V. Riley. Pp. 23. St. Louis: R. P. Studley.

Bulletin of the National Museum. Also Bulletin of the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. Washington: Government Printing-Office.

Proceedings of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History. Pp. 12.

Through and Through the Tropics. By Frank Vincent, Jr. Pp. 304. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Early Literature of Chemistry. By H. C. Bolton. Vol. L Pp. 10. Philadelphia: Collins, printer.

First Annual Report of the Johns Hopkins University. Pp. 34. Baltimore: Boyle & Son, printers.

American Leporidæ. By J. A. Allen. Pp. 8.

Pharmacy in Germany. By F. Hoffmann. Pp. 12. Philadelphia: Merrihew & Son, printers.