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our knowledge have pronounced against materialism, they do not deny, to use the words of an eminent philosopher now present, " that materialistic theories, which existed at all times, have in recent times been greatly encouraged by the progress of natural science.” The great progress of these materialistic opinions induces us to investigate the chief arguments produced.
I select for this purpose some passages from the second edition of a work by a well-known and highly-gifted author. In his chapter on the functions of the nervous system and mental life, he says :
"The seat of consciousness, of the will, is solely to be found in the brain. To assume the existence of a soul which uses the brain as an instrument with which it can work at pleasure is pure nonsense.”
... “All mental activity ceases with death.” ...." Physiology thus decidedly and categorically declares against individual immortality, and against all notions which attach themselves to the special existence of a soul. Physiology is not only entitled to treat these questions, but it has been justly reproached for not having touched them sooner, in order to point out the proper way for the solution of these questions. It has been stated that physiology advances beyond her province in investigating psychical phenomena, but it must study the functions of this substratum; and whatever physiology considers as such functions, must necessarily form the subject of her investigation."
This author, after citing the opinions of three eminent German anatomists and physiologists, concludes thus :
“With regard to myself, I can only say that every naturalist, if he thinks logically, must come to the same conclusions. I will not, however, deny that there are idiotic and obtuse naturalişts.”
Among the three physiologists cited by that author, there is one who honours us this day by his presence, and whom I had the pleasure of counting among my pupils, who has some reason to complain. The views which he expressed appear to me to have been much more restricted and more prudently expressed than to warrant his being so summarily counted among the adherents of materialism. One thing must be readily admitted, our author speaks clearly and plainly; we cannot complain of his equivocation. This honesty is praiseworthy. He gives an unvarnished answer to a delicate question. The consequences which are drawn from them are equally of remarkable simplicity. Our moralists, our theologians, our lawyers, will henceforth have a very easy office. “For,” says the learned author in another work, " free will does not exist, and consequently no responsibility and accountability such as moral or criminal jurisprudence would impose upon us. We are at no time masters of ourselves—of our intellectual faculties ;-as little as we are masters that our kidneys should secrete or not secrete."
Thus, all the grand thoughts which the deepest philosophical investigators have acknowledged, which has inspired whole generations, are idle dreams, phantasms of biped mechanisms which run about on the surface, then become skeletons, are finally resolved into atoms, which are again combined, become again human forms, commence again their sphere of action, not unlike the dancing of lunatics in a madhouse. They have no future, no moral basis, no faith in a moral code.
It is the province of three great sections of this assembly to occupy themselves seriously with the question regarding the nature of the soul and its connexion with the body. I would, therefore, both in the interest of men of science and laymen, ask you :
Do you think science is sufficiently advanced to decide the question on the nature of the soul? And if so, are you inclined to adopt the opinion of those who deny an independent individual soul?
These questions are plainly and clearly formulated. May your answer, whatever it be, be equally so. Half-and-half answers are unworthy of a scientific free thinker.
PICTET ON THE ARYAN RACE.*
When the great philological discovery of modern times was made, that all the languages of Europe, with a few exceptions, were sprung from one common tongue, most nearly represented by the ancient sacred language of India, the study of the branches sprung from this now extinct parent language became a matter of the highest moment to Ethnologists. For though it would not be sound reasoning to make language an absolute test of race, and to take away, for instance, the Cornishman from his connexion with the Welshman and plant him among the Saxons whose language he has adopted, or to say off
Les Origines Indo-Européennes, ou les Aryas Primitifs, Essai de Paléonto. logie Linguistique, par Adolphe Pictet. Paris : Cherbuliez, 1859-63.
hand, whenever we find a race of people speaking an Aryan dialect as the native tongue of their ancestors and themselves, that these people must be pure and direct descendants of a race who were ages ago the only speakers of a yet undivided Aryan speech, it is nevertheless true that such evidence is capable of giving us what is generally the most important element in the history of such a race. The evidence of language does prove beyond controversy, that the early race, which we call the Aryan, did once exist, and that, pouring itself out East and West in many waves of migration, it settled itself over almost all Europe and part of Asia. Partly by destroying or expelling the previous inhabitants, partly by taking them up into itself by intermarriage, and partly by thrusting itself among them as a dominant class, it covered this great part of the Map of the World with a collection of nations more or less purely Aryan in blood, but in language, mythology, laws, and customs, so deeply impregnated with Aryan influences, that even where the physiologist may refuse to recognise a family tie of full blood-relationship, the student of human civilization may be content to let education fill up the gaps left by blood, and to accept them as a whole under the popular name of the Aryan race.
This being admitted, there arise a series of important and interesting questions, which are to be solved more or less fully, upon philological evidence. What manner of people was this Aryan race before its division into the tribes, whose children, born or adopted, are known to us as Greeks, Celts, Persians, and so forth ; what were their manners and customs, their knowledge of nature and the arts ? How much of what we call the civilization of these great races was derived from their common parentage, and how much is the result of independent development after their separation from the parent stock, or of communication with other races, whether Aryan or not? And in what order did these branches of the race leave their original home, and how and when did they come to be subdivided into nations who have long forgotten their connection, not only with the original race, but even with the other members of the subordinate division of it from which they sprang ?
Until M. Pictet's great work was published, the answers to these questions have been miserably fragmentary. Detached portions of them had indeed been worked out with great ingenuity and labour, but no comprehensive view of the whole subject was accessible to the student of Ethnology. The object of M. Pictet's book, the first part of which appeared in 1859, and the second concluding part lately, is to classify and compare the many languages of our Aryan family with a view of answering as far as may be the questions of this kind which present themselves. The world ought to be grateful to the author for the mass of systematically arranged material and ingenious deduction which he has now for the first time laid before the student, and of which it is our object to give a short summary.
It is, however, necessary to make a remark on M. Pictet's method of reasoning, not in a spirit of captious fault-finding, but simply to warn ethnologists that the results brought forward are not always to be received unhesitatingly as established facts. A generation or so ago, when Sanskrit had just been discovered and partially explored, and its enormous value in restoring and completing the etymology and grammatical structure of our European languages was beginning to be recognised, it is not surprising that philologists should have run sometimes into extreme opinions as to the range of its application, and have been tempted to explain the origin of any doubtful word by rushing to the list of Sanskrit verb roots, and referring it without more ado to the root that came nearest to it in sound and signification. Had the Sanskrit roots given in the lists of the Indian grammarians been always to be depended upon as really having existed and borne the meanings assigned to then, this method would still have been unsafe, but it is clear that many of them are but figments of the ancient native philologists. These Indian grammarians, finding how large a proportion of the language was capable of being referred to verb-roots or dhatus really existing as verbs, tried to bring everything, or almost everything, down to similar elements, without making due allowance for the breaking down, confusion, and alteration of meaning inseparable from the very existence of a language which had emerged to a considerable extent from the genetic stage. To the undoubted root-forms of the Sanskrit the grammarians thus added, for etymological purposes, a great number of imaginary ones, sometimes real restorations of root-words which had fallen out of common use, but more often containing a partial and distorted view of a real root, or even entirely wide of the mark. When European philologists had got over the first exhilaration of discovery and settled the general connexion of the European languages with Sanskrit on a firm basis, it became the business of a school of laborious and exact Sanskrit scholars to test everything by existing Sanskrit texts, excluding all grammatical imaginations, and rather choosing to give up the prettiest and most plausible etymologies of European languages from the Sanskrit, than to found a derivation of a Greek or German or Celtic word on a verb-root, which might have never had more than a subjective existence
in the brain of some Indian Pandit. As a rough-and-ready illustration of the way in which these roots were sometimes made, we may imagine an etymologist arguing, that as carrier belongs to a verb to carry, 80 cottier should belong to a verb to cotty, with a sense of cultivating, or somewhat of the kind; or catching at the verb to horse," he horsed the Epping stage,"--and erecting it to the dignity of an original verb to which the substantive horse should be subordinate.
M. Pictet is one of the oldest and most successful workers in the field of Aryan philology; so that it is not to be wondered at that he should accept and reason on the roots catalogued by the Indian philologists with more confidence than the new Sanskrit purists consider justifiable, and he is therefore often at issue with them. It is difficult, therefore, for the student, who consults the work before us with a view to ethnological rather than philological results, to feel always quite sure of his ground.
A quaint old theory once obtained among doctors, that wherever a particular disease was prevalent, there nature always planted a suitable remedy. If stinging-nettles abounded, there was dock close by to cure the sting; if the ague were prevalent, there in the marshy ground grew the willow-bark to cure it. In the present case the old rule holds good. The great St. Petersburgh dictionary of Boehtlingk and Roth is already about half done, by means of which it is possible to know at once whether a supposed root is safe or not to be used for etymological purposes. And Professor Schleicher's Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-German Languages* now enables the ordinary student to trace with little difficulty the modications which vowels and consonants pass through in regular course in the various languages of the Aryan race, and to be able to stop any etymology which does not conform to the usual rules; and if it cannot produce strong evidence of its parentage, to reject it altogether or mark it as mere hypothesis.
The first book of M. Pictet's work starts on slippery ground. The task of comparing names of races and ascertaining their meaning is one in which certainty is hardly to be attained at any cost of labour and skill. That the connexion between the 'Apioi, Iran, and Ireland is a real one, and that the name of Aryan which we give to the whole Indo-European family is a justifiable one, is an opinion very generally held. If the name is really a common one, what does it
Compendium der Vergleichenden Grammatik der Indo.Germanischen Sprachen. Von August Schleicher. Weimar: Böhlau. London: Williams and Norgate, 1861-2.