Essays on the Use and Limit of the Imagination in Science

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Longmans, Green, 1870 - 72 pages

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Page 65 - But the passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought, and a definite molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which would enable us to pass, by a process of reasoning, from the one to the other.
Page 14 - How charming is divine Philosophy ! Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute, And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets, Where no crude surfeit reigns.
Page 19 - In fact, without this power, our knowledge of Nature would be a mere tabulation of coexistences and sequences. We should still believe in the succession of day and night, of summer and winter ; but the soul of Force would be dislodged from our universe ; causal relations would disappear, and with them that science which is now binding the parts of Nature to an organic whole.
Page 66 - The problem of the connection of body and soul is as insoluble in its modern form as it was in the pre-scientific ages.
Page 64 - ... the corresponding thought or feeling might be inferred; or given the thought or feeling, the corresponding state of the brain might be inferred. But how inferred Í It is at bottom not a case of logical inference at all, but of empirical association. You may reply that many of the inferences of science are of this character; the inference, for example, that an electric current of a given direction will deflect a magnetic...
Page 49 - Newton, and Raphael — are potential in the fires of the sun. We long to learn something of our origin. If the Evolution hypothesis be correct, even this unsatisfied yearning must have come to us across the ages which separate the unconscious primeval mist from the consciousness of to-day.
Page 62 - Now there is nothing in this process which necessarily eludes the conceptive or imagining power of the purely human mind. An intellect the same in kind as our own would, if only sufficiently expanded, be able to follow the whole process from beginning to end. It would see every molecule placed in its position by the specific attractions and repulsions exerted between it and other molecules, the whole process and its consummation being an instance of the play of molecular force.
Page 18 - Bounded and conditioned by coOperant Reason, imagination becomes the mightiest instrument of the physical discoverer. Newton's passage from a falling apple to a falling moon was, at the outset, a leap of the imagination.
Page 63 - ... and by the application of purely mechanical principles demonstrate that the cycle must end, as it is seen to end, in the reproduction of forms like that with which it began. A similar necessity rules here to that which rules the planets in their circuits round the sun. You will notice that I am stating my truth strongly, as at the beginning we agreed it should be stated. But I must go still further, and affirm that in the eye of science the animal body is just as much...
Page 24 - The aggregate of waves emitted by the sun may be broadly divided into two classes: the one class competent, the other incompetent, to excite vision. But the light-producing waves differ markedly among themselves in size, form, and force. The length of the largest of these waves is about twice that of the smallest, but the amplitude of the largest is probably a hundred times that of the smallest. Now the force or energy of the wave, which, expressed with reference to sensation, means the intensity...

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