1902 Encyclopedia > Evolution > Evolution in Philosophy: Evolution and Psychology. Anthropology.

(Part 25)


Evolution and Psychology.—The speculations of Mr Darwin and Mr Spencer have had a powerful influence on recent English psychology, which promises to become comparative, not only in the sense of including a comparison of ethnological mental characteristics, but also in the wider sense of bringing human intelligence into relation to that of the lower animals. Among writers who have laboured in this construction of a theory of mental evolution, mention must be made of the late Mr D. Spalding.1 Again, Mr Chauncey Wright, in his remarkable essay The Evolution of Self-Consciousness (printed in a collection of his works), made a brilliant attempt to represent man’s highest operations as evolved out of simple process common to man and the lower animals. The influence of evolution ideas is further traceable in the latest work of Mr A. Bain (Emotions and Will, 3d edition), and in the works of Dr Maudsley and other living psychologists. The relation of the doctrine to psychology is handled in an essay by Mr J. Sully (Sensation and Intuition, ch. i.).

Anthropology.—The application of the doctrine of evolution to the question of man’s origin and development has engaged the attention of a number of writers. In a sense all recent anthropologists and historians of culture may be said to have worked in this direction. Special attention must, however, be called to those writers who have sought directly to apply the fundamental ideas of evolution to these problems. Mr Bagehot’s Physics and Politics is remarkable as illustrating the employment of the doctrine of natural selection in order to explain certain aspects of political progress. Still more important is the contribution made by Mr Fiske, in is Cosmic Philosophy, to the theory of man’s origin and development. Mr Fiske’s work in a full exposition of Mr Spencer’s doctrine of evolution. In addition to this it contains interesting speculations respecting the steps by which man’s distinguishing intelligence and sociality were first acquired and afterwards developed.

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