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owe the most to Aristotle... His plan writers. But a more unbiassed and imwas vast and luminous; he laid the basis partial criticism will disclose that he has of science, which will never perish.'. given no single anatomical description of
“ Isidore Geoffrey St Hilaire, speaking the least value. All that he knew may from less acquaintance with Aristotle's have been known, and probably was writings, is splendid in eulogy. He known, without dissection. The casual is in every branch of knowledge like a revelations of the slaughter-house and master who cultivated that one only. battle-field, together with the intimaHe reaches, he extends the limits of all tions gathered from auguries and emthe sciences, and penetrates to their very balmments, probably furnished his knowdepths.
ledge of man and the larger animals. I Now, if we reflect for a moment
do not assert that he never opened an on what minute and laborious dis- animal; on the contrary, it seems highly sections our present knowledge of probable that he had opened many. But
I am persuaded that he never dissected anatomy depends—which again is
one in the careful systematic style necesthe foundation of our knowledge of sary for more than a general acquaintphysiology—it is simply impossible ance with the positions of the chief that Aristotle, of whom it has been organs. He never followed the course disputed whether he ever dissected
of a vessel or a nerve ; never laid bare the human body, could have laid a
the origin and insertion of a muscle ;
never discriminated the component parts sound foundation for these sciences.
of organs; never made clear to himself The knowledge of the structure and the connection of organs with systems.” functions of our several organs has
This judgment Mr Lewes has been the result of repeated examin- fully established by the examples ations conducted under successive he has given. Aristotle places the conjectures, each of which had be- heart higher than the lungs; he come more and more probable, as it describes the human kidney as was founded on additional informa- lobed like that of the ox; and tion. As Mr Lewes observes, we
when he passes to the functions of read into Aristotle the results of a
the heart, he determines it to be later science, and we gladly blind the seat of sensation, on the ground ourselves to many a confused de- that it is the centre of the body. scription, or pass very rapidly over He also disputes the claim of the physiological statements which to brain, because it is insensible. He
. us are scarcely intelligible, and thus
says of the brain that it is bloodless, construct for ourselves a text which
and that it does not extend to the seems to justify any amount of back part of the skull, which is quite applause.
empty. He assigned to the brain “The extent of his survey,” Mr Lewes the function of moderator, its cooladmits, “is amazing, embracing the ness serving to temper the great whole animal kingdom, from sea-ane- heat of the heart region. Believing
But of the accuracy of that there was no blood in it (prohis knowledge,” he adds, “I am compelled, after long and minute study, to bably from the appearance of the form a very different estimate from what brains of animals cooked for eating), is current amongst critics and historians. he naturally concluded that it was Reading his works by the light of mo- cold. Credit has been given to dern discovery, we are apt to credit him Aristotle for the discovery of nerves; with all that his words suggest to us : we but the nerve with him was a duct, come indeed upon numerous inaccuracies, and on many statements which imply
and the optic nerve was a duct to gross carelessness ; but whenever his nourish the eye. He says nothing language does not palpably betray him, of a nervous system forming the modern readers insensibly fill out his mechanisms of sensation and mohints with details from their fuller tion.
On a superficial examination, With regard to those anticitherefore
, he will seem to have given pations of some of the latest distolerable descriptions, especially if approached with that disposition to dis
coveries of the zoologists, which cover marvels which unconsciously de have made some noise amongst us, termines us in our study of ancient they shrink into the fact, curious
mones to man.
or not as you choose to look at it, preciation of delicate or complex phenothat certain animals only lately mena ; but in cases where the phenoknown to naturalists, or certain of
mena are not too remote or too complex their habits or functions but lately intellect is chiefly tasked, he is no longer
for the unassisted senses, where the recognised, had come before the in- under the same disadvantage as when spection of Aristotle, or had been having to deal with data discernible onheard of by him. The Ilectorotylus ly through the arduous research of ages. of the Argonaut, an anomalous mem- Here the mighty intellect displays itself ; ber which he who is anxious to un
here the mind which could not avoid fallderstand will find accurately describ- about Heat without the aid of a thermo
ing into absurdities when theorising ed in the present work ; the Par
meter, and about Physics without knowthenogenesis of Bees ; a Placental ledge of the laws of motions, rises into Fish—these curiosities had arrested admirable eminence when treating of the the attention of this wide-surveying higher generalities of Life and Mind.” naturalist. But they were with him It is the treatise 'De Animâ' merely isolated facts, they were not which calls forth this ardent praise. wrought into any physiological “The extreme interest of its protheory, neither did they conflict blems,” he says, "and the profunwith any such theory; they had not dity of its views, render it the the same significance to him as they most valuable and valued of ancient have to Richard Owen. Inasmuch attempts to bring the facts of life as they are observations of nature, and mind into scientific order.” and not mere guesses at the causes Aristotle here, he adds farther on, of things, they may have some value, stands at the point of view now and certainly redound to the credit generally occupied by the most adof this early sage, so avaricious of vanced thinkers." all knowledge. But isolated obser- Aristotle is applauded for the vations of this kind, though valuable wide generalisation which embraces as materials of science, cannot be de- the plant and the animal under the signated as “anticipations of the one great class of living things, discoveries of modern science," be- and regards the mind of man itself cause in reality they do not con- as only the highest development of stitute a part of science till they life. He did not hold with Stahl are harmonised with other facts into that mind was the agent in all vital a consistent scheme of things. functions as well as the intelligential,
We come next upon a chapter in but, on the contrary, taught that which Mr Lewes plays himself the "mind is only the highest developpart of admirer; not extravagantly ment of life.” Now, in the first or incautiously, but, tired apparently place, it is difficult to determine on with the task of moderating the a subject of this kind-still so open praises of others, he takes the more to mere speculation—what is the generous office of sounding a hearty point of view now generally occunote of laudation. We are bound pied by advanced thinkers. And to say that he succeeds better as the presuming this established, we accusing spirit, than as the angel of doubt if any point of view which the silver trumpet. But we should a modern thinker adopts would be unfair both to Aristotle and his find itself represented in Aristotle's critic if we did not follow him, so writings. Judging only by the far as we are able, now that he puts analysis of this treatise given here on the herald's tabard, and pro- by its admirer, we find ourselves claims the true style and dignity baffled by its inconsistencies and of one whom all agree to describe, its peculiar modes of metaphysical on some ground or other, as the thought, and altogether unable to great Stagirite.
detect the identity of Aristotle's “I have indicated the reason,” he says,
doctrines, and what Mr Lewes rewhy Aristotle could not have made a presents as the advanced views of discovery when it involved a precise ap- modern physiologists.
Life,” according to the defini- identical with that of the advanced tion Mr Lewes proposes, “is the modern thinker to whom he is asdynamical condition of the organ- similated. ism." And he describes Mind as It is true that this vital principle, the highest development of Life, this turn, is again and again asthe highest dynamical condition, serted to be inseparable from the therefore, of the organism. But, animal body. It is an animal body 1. Is this accepted as the last word because it has this yuxa. The of science and, 2. Does it really Greek philosopher defined all things
? accord with what Aristotle taught ? as consisting of Matter and Form. It is this second question with which In many cases we can translate
are chiefly concerned, and to Form by our word Property. Matwhich we shall first apply ourselves. ter, we say, is endowed with certain
“One great source of confusion, properties. These we do not conMr Lewes observe, “ has been the ra- sider as having a separate existdical error of conceiving Life to bean ence from matter. Their union with entity apart from, and only inhabit- matter makes the thing to be what ing, the organism; just as the seve- it is. This use of the word Proral forces were for centuries con- perty leads to some misunderstandceived to be independent of matter, ings. But the old word Form was instead of being regarded as matter constantly assuming a vague indein dynamic conditions. To escape pendence, and if at one time we from such a confusion, and to have translate it by the word property, seen thus early the positive solution at another time we are compelled of the difficulty, implies immense to translate it by the word essence, intellectual force.” But, as we or some term that vaguely suggests read the extracts given us in this a species of reality in itself. Life is very chapter from Aristotle, we are the entelechie—that reality which, unable to see in the old Greek a being added to body, makes it a representative of the positive phi- living organism. “ Therefore it losophy. We find him constantly follows,” we quote from Mr Lewes's speaking of a Vital Principle, which Analysis, " that the Vital Principle a
“ is the source of all vital phenomena, must be an essence, as being the and discussing whether there is form of a natural body holding life more than one such Vital Principle. in potentiality ; but essence is a “ The vitality of plants," he says, reality (entelechie). The vital " is due to a kind of soul.” This principle is the original reality of
i is surely what the positivist de- a natural body endowed with poscribes and condemns as the meta- tential life ; this, however, is to be physical stage in the development understood only of a body which of science. Sometimes the vital may be organised. Thus the parts principle is said to be essentially even of plants are organs, but they one in plants, in animals, and in are organs that are altogether simman. But Mr Lewes has himself ple, as the leaf which is the coverfurnished us with a passage in which ing of the pericarp, the pericarp of Aristotle also speaks of mind “as the fruit. If, then, there be any another kind of soul, alone capable general formula for any kind of of separation, as the everlasting Vital Principle, it is the primary from the perishable.” It is im- reality of an organism.” possible to reconcile all the state- A Positive philosopher may read ments of Aristotle with each other. into this his theory that Life. is And besides this, there is, as we the dynamical condition of the orhave intimated, a mode of thinking, ganism; or, if he were so disposed, running through the whole treatise, he might detect in it a constant so peculiarly Greek, that it is equally tendency to fall into the radical impossible to fix Aristotle, at any error of conceiving life to be an moment, in an attitude of thought entity.”
As to the definition which Mr Lew- some physiologists have called mere es, or the positive philosopher, offers irritability, may admit, perhaps, of
, to us of Life and Mind, our observa- being classed amongst electrical tions must necessarily be very brief. phenomena. The periodicity which Without dispute, the phenomena distinguishes muscular or nervous of mere Life are inseparable from action, suggests the analogy of the those of Mind, as developed in the collection and discharge of electrihuman being. What would be the cal force ; and the muscle seen will, or all that region of thought under a powerful microscope reveals which deals with action, if you were a structure an arrangement of to separate the faculty of thinking discs, approaching and receding and feeling from the contractility of from each other—which gives couna muscle ?
So neither could we tenance to the supposition that its separate Life from the activity of contractility is due to electrical inorganic matter. We say, some- action. If we could thoroughly thing new comes in with organic understand what takes place when life, with the germ that grows, but a Leyden jar is charged, we feel it would be utterly impossible to that we should be nearer than we conceive the Organic as existing or are to the explanation of muscular developing itself without the In- action, so far as such action takes organic. But it appears to us that place independently of sensation. if anywhere a line of demarcation But we and all men feel convinced can be drawn of this kind-namely, that no advance in physical science here, at this point, in a world, in could in any way explain the quite an organism previously prepared original fact, that motion produces, for it, enters a quite new property somewhere in something, not motion, -it is precisely a line drawn be- but sensation, and that this sensatween Life and Mind. All pheno- tion again produces motion. Vegemena in this world, including those table life and the first stages of of organic life—all phenomena ex- animal life belong to physics ; with cept those of mind-resolve them- sensibility enters a new class of selves into the laws of motion. phenomena. Hitherto the particles Atoms in motion or rest (that of matter have but two properties, cohesion or reciprocal pressure we inotion and pressure (which is arcall rest) represent for us all we rested motion, and gives the shape can know of physical phenomena. or form of things). At this point
) But here, at the first dawn of sensa- an altogether new property comes tion or consciousness, at the first into play, or else an altogether new wince that an animal makes, in substance, marked by this wonderwhom contact brings this new- ful property, enters into combinacomer pain, and in whom pain tion with the material organism. (another surprising novelty) causes There is, some would say, a sensimotion, there is that introduced tive substance and a moving subwhich is quite as original in its stance—one whose property is feelnature as motion itself. If motion ing in all its varieties, one whose produces it, it again produces mo- property is motion in all its varietion. It cannot, like all previous ties—and these together form the phenomena, be conceived of under sensitive and conscious creature. formula of matter and motion. Those who adopt this view would
Growth is but a new arrange- probably add, that in man the ment of particles of matter which spiritual substance which mingles we are already able to trace in with the vital organism is of a class part to the known laws of chem- apart and distinct from that which istry; and those unconscious move- animates the rest of the sensitive ments in animals (if any such creature. there be) which are unconnected But our business is not to discuss with sensation, and due to what the question of materialism or im
materialism. We have to decide of these supposes that the order and sucupon the opinion of Aristotle ; and cession observed in phenomena are due to Mr Lewes himself teaches us what the influence of outlying agencies—powers our verdict should be-namely, that which are super-natural-above the obit is impossible to classify him either jects, not belonging to them. The second with the materialist or immaterial- due simply to properties inherent in the
supposes that the order of phenomena is ist of modern times. Not with objects themselves, which properties are the materialist-not with him who realities, and form part of the nature looks upon thought simply as the of the objects. Obviously, things must function of the brain ; for Åristotle either be conceived as by nature passive is constantly introducing his Yuxh, moved by superior power independent
or active; if passive, they can only be which, whatever else it may be, is of them ; if active, they possess in themat least a cause for our conscious- selves the conditions of their activity. ness other than the brain ; and not Thus, on one of two fundamental aswith the immaterialist, for this sumptions respecting the activity of obYuxh embraces what we understand jects rests every possible explanation we
can frame of the mysteries around us. by vital as well as mental function,
"The attitude of mind which is based and by no means responds to our on the first of these assumptions is that intellect or soul.
which is common to all primitive theo. The allusions we have incidental- ries. It characterises what Auguste ly encountered here to the Positive Comte names the theological stage in school of philosophy remind us of human development. On this assumpan omission we have made. Our
tion all phenomena not of the simplest
and most familiar kind are referred to author, dealing as he does with the
the agency of invisible powers, spirits, development of science, could not deities, or demons. To these powers, fail to present us with some general and not to any activity inherent in the ideas of the nature of that develop- objects themselves, the changes in the ment. This he does in an early phenomena are assigned. It is the will part of the work, entitled “ The of some spirit which moves the objects.” Dawn of Science.” This chapter is We pause here to remark, that certainly not the least interesting this belief in gods and demons in a work which throughout, even afflicting or preserving us through where the subject is least attractive, the agencies or events of nature does keeps the attention awake. It ought not originate in any desire to exnot to have been passed over with- plain these events. It can hardly, out some especial notice ; but this therefore, be called the first stage perhaps is as good a place as any in the development of science, alother to introduce the few observa- though such a belief plays a very tions which it suggests to us. Drop- conspicuous part in the subsequent ping, therefore, any further attempt history of science. It is a much to follow the analysis of Aristotle, stronger passion than curiosity; of which we have given perhaps a it is the passion of fear or of sufficient specimen, we shall occupy hope that gives origin to the belief the rest of our space with an exa- that some god either flashes out mination of the theory of the de- in anger on us in the lightning, velopment of science which we find or beams beneficently in the sun. laid down in this chapter.
It is not to explain the uncertainty That theory is the one which of events that a power which can bears the name of Auguste Comte. hear prayers or be propitiated in It is thus briefly stated :
some way is imagined. The uncer
tainty of events and the terrible “The history of human development anxieties of men have kindled this shows that there are three modes by imagination. And such imaginawhich we conceive phenomena ; and there are only three. The second being tion, we freely admit, is the first a transition from the first to the third, outbreak of thought (of any other we might in strictness admit of only two thought than that which had for its distinct modes of conception. Thě first end the immediate gratification of