Books Received | Published:

(1) Man and His Future (2) The Fate of Empires: being an Inquiry into the Stability of Civilisation (3) The Science of Human Behaviour: Biological and Psychological Foundations (4) Die Neue Tierpsychologie

Nature volume 92, pages 396397 (04 December 1913) | Download Citation



IT may be stated as a truism that every new development of science modifies opinion as to the meaning and destiny of man himself. Well-intentioned sentimentalists, like the late Henry Drummond, try to “reconcile” science and religion by a metaphorical interpretation of both. Such attempts illustrate the popular instinct for unification, which is itself a part of religion and the kernel of metaphysical philosophy. Such a volume as Lieut.-Colonel Sedgwick's “Man and his Future” (1) is thus a sociological phenomenon, illustrating the vitality and variation of popular philosophy. The Anglo-Saxon, he says, has instituted the Age of Machines and Instruments; by means of these he is beginning to separate the component bricks of the universe (Clerk Maxwell's metaphor)—the atoms. Man is therefore on the eve of a great development, which is the integration of the whole universe (Herbert Spencer's metaphor)— whatever that may mean—by the employment of the forces of attraction against those of repulsion. The former and the men using them are, says this author, guided by Christ; the latter by Satan. A pre-occupation with the periodic theory of Mendeléeff and his school is the basis of these lucubrations.

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