chapter  I
38 Pages

GENERAL SCIENTIFIC TENDENCIES

Vague suggestions of such a result can easily be traced now that the end shows more clearly the significance of the earlier work. Newton, for example, had combined the physical and the psychic in his treatment of optics ; but the physical aspect was emphasized almost to the exclusion of the psychic factors. Locke, on the other hand, utilized' the method of science in the study of the mind without actually raising the specific question of the relation between body and mind. Empiricism, with its exaggerated estimate of sensation, was never far from the actual point of union between the outer and the inner ; yet it produced for a long time no attempt to solve the problem of that union. The French enlightenment went a step further in the way of assertions, and La Mettrie made some observations that suggested the close dependence of psychic events on physio­ logical conditions. Here the real defect was in the spirit of the writers ; they were controversial rather than scientific, and no definite statement of a programme was made before Cabanis. “ In order,” said Cabanis, “ to arrive at a correct idea of those operations from which thought arises, we must

GENERAL SCIENTIFIC TENDENCIES

consider the brain as a particular organ, destined especially to produce it, in the same way as the stomach and the intes­ tines are there to perform digestion, the liver to filter the bile, the parotid, maxillary and sublingual glands to prepare the salivary juice.” In spite of its materialistic tone, this was no more than a clear statement of the necessity for a better understanding of cerebral physiology as at least a basis for the study of human behaviour.1