The Principles of Psychology

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I.

TO give readers some idea of the contents of a good book is very often the most useful thing a reviewer can do. Unfortunately that course is not open to us in the present instance. The subject is too vast. We cannot exhibit the grandeur; we can only in a few general phrases express our admiration of the profound, all-embracing philosophy of which the work before us is an instalment. The doctrine of evolution when taken up by Mr. Spencer was little more than a crotchet. He has made it the idea of the age. In its presence other systems of philosophy are hushed, they cease their strife and become its servants, while all the sciences do it homage. The place that the doctrine of evolution has secured in the minds of those who think for the educated public may be indicated by a few names taken just as they occur. Mr. Darwin's works, the novels of George Eliot, Mr. Tylor's “ Primitive Culture,” Dr. Bastian's “ Beginnings of Life,” and Mr. Bagehot's “ Physics and Politics,” have almost nothing in common but the idea of evolution, with which they are all more or less imbued. In a word we have but one other thinker with whom in point of influence on the higher thought of this, and probably of several succeeding generations, Mr. Spencer can be classed:-it does not need saying' that that other is Mr. J, S. Mill.

The Principles of Psychology.

By Herbert Spencer. Second Edition. (London: Williams and Norgate.)

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SPALDING, D. The Principles of Psychology . Nature 7, 298–300 (1873) doi:10.1038/007298a0

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