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August 20, 1937 



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The present volume fulfils in a general way the inten- 
tion, expressed in the preface to the first edition 1 of the 
work Social and Ethical Interpretations, of taking up some 
of the biological problems most closely connected with 
psychological ones and falling under the general scope of 
the genetic method. General biology is to-day mainly 
theory of evolution, and its handmaid is theory of indi- 
vidual development. 

The composition of the work — like that of the com- 
panion volumes — has been gradual, and the positions 
taken have been in many cases already presented in jour- 
nals under various dates since 1895. This is especially 
true of the matter contained in Part II., regarding which 
a word of more detailed explanation is necessary. 

Since the first publication of the position, called in these 
pages and earlier ' Organic Selection/ by three writers 
independently, — Professor H. F. Osborn, Principal Lloyd 
Morgan, and myself, — considerable discussion has arisen 
about the theory, its meaning and value, and the original 
papers announcing the point of view have been under 
somewhat close inspection. The demand for reprints of 
these papers, in my own case — to speak only of my own 
case — has made it seem advisable to have them put in 
some available form much as they originally appeared. 
Despite the difficulties in the way of doing this, arising 

1 Reprinted in the third edition (1902). 


viii Preface 

mainly from the lack of continuity and the overlapping 
which such papers would present when printed together 
under one cover, I have still determined upon this course. 
It was my first intention to write a general introduction 
to evolution, — an exposition and criticism of the great 
theories, — and indeed such an intention is embodied in 
a contract with the publishers of the * Science Series ' ; but 
it now becomes necessary to make that undertaking a 
separate affair, since this volume makes no pretence to 
completeness from such a point of view. I may add that 
that purpose is indeed, to my mind, excellently served 
by Professor H. W. Conn's able and readable book, The 
Method of Evolution, along with which students may take 
up also with profit the work Problems of Evolution, by 
F. W. Headley. 

This change of plan once determined upon, it seemed 
highly desirable that the original papers of Professors Os- 
born and Lloyd Morgan should be liberally drawn upon, 
both in the interest of cooperation — from the first most 
cordial and friendly — and in that of advantage to our com- 
mon views ; for their positions were reached from quite 
different lines of approach, and the theory gains very 
much from this diversity of presentation. I accordingly 
secured their consent to my making liberal quotations 
from their papers ; and, as I proceeded, it occurred to me 
that instead of making detached citations here and there 
the reader would profit more by longer quotations, — and, 
indeed, that the authorities quoted would thus be much 
more adequately presented. Hence the full citations 
from these authorities in Appendix A. 1 This method once 

1 The fulness of my personal recognition of them, as well as of another, 
is expressed, though still inadequately, in the dedication of this volume. At 
the same time, these writers are, of course, in no way implicated in the views 
of the book, except as their own statements are quoted. 

Preface ix 

approved, it became consonant with it to include the addi- 
tional quotations from Professor Poulton (Appendix A) 
and Professors Conn and Headley (Appendix B), — 
all of which serve as substitutes for frequent separate 
citations in various parts of the text, but gain in force 
by this ' solid ' form of presentation. I am under obliga- 
tions to all these writers (and also to their publishers) for 
their generous permission to make such free use of their 
writings. Principal Lloyd Morgan has also favoured me 
with the concise ' new statement ' — as I call it for con- 
venience of reference — of his views, printed, with the 
citations mentioned, in Appendix A. 

The work thus becomes, so far as this portion of it is 
concerned, a sort of handbook of the theory of ' Ortho- 
plasy,' 1 — exhibiting its original forms of presentation and 
reflecting its progress up to date. The defects of the 
method, from the point of view of the ' continuous ' reader, 
are so evident that I hope the critic may not find it in his 
heart, after these explanations, to 'rub it in.' The prin- 
cipal and obvious disadvantage is seen in certain necessary 
repetitions. Yet these are always in the course of the 
discussions of different phases of the larger topics ; and 
to the psychologist, at least, repetition has its pedagogical 
justification. All readers are not equally mature ; and 
even to the least immature the saying ' here a little and 
there a little ' is still the formula of least exertion. 

On the other hand, the remaining portions of the book, 
Parts II. and III., are mostly new matter. Of this new 
matter the things which are submitted by the writer with 
solicitude — defined as ' hope with sufficient fear ' — are 
the exposition of ' Psychophysical Evolution ' and the out- 
line sketch of the ' Theory of Genetic Modes.' These are 
more properly within the range of a professed psycholo- 

1 The theory of evolution which makes essential use of ' organic selection.' 

x Preface 

gist's interests than are points in biology, and I am accord- 
ingly the less disinclined to cast them upon the water 
expecting some return after many days. 

The relation of this volume to the two earlier ones is 
spoken of above. The close connection of the three 
volumes, all of which might have been made parts of a 
single larger work, renders necessary the repeated citation 
of each one of them in the others, in a way which may 
seem — and has seemed, to one critic — to be a case of a 
writer's liking ' to quote himself.' It is really, however, a 
matter of division of material — with separate publication 
of the parts — and the references are such as one usually 
finds from chapter to chapter in the course of one work. 
The interconnection of the topics it is, therefore, with the 
need of expounding them, for the sake of comprehensive- 
ness, in this interconnection, that gives a somewhat per- 
sonal look to these references. 

J. M. B. 

Princeton University, 
May, 1902. 





Psychophysical Evolution 


§ i. Scope and Method I 

§ 2. The Psychological and the Biological 4 

§ 3. Psychophysical Parallelism . IO 

§ 4. Psychophysical Parallelism in Evolution 13 

. Comparative Conceptions 

§ 1. Recapitulation 20 

§ 2. Natural and Functional Selection; Plasticity and Intelligence . 21 

§ 3. Correlation of Characters ........ 24 

§ 4. Psychophysical Variations 26 


The Direction of Evolution 

§ 1 . Genetic Determination : Congenital and Acquired Characters . 34 

§ 2. Genetic Determination : Factors 37 

§ 3. Intergenetic Concurrence 41 

§ 4. Genetic Analogies 43 

§ 5. Preformism and Accommodation ....... 45 

xii Contents 



The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 


§ i. Professor Cope's Table 50 

§ 2. The Origin of Adaptive Movements and Mental Characters . . 54 

Heredity and Instinct (I.) 

§ 1. Romanes on Instinct 

§ 2. Instinct and Lamarckism : Co-adaptation 

§3. Instinct and Lamarckism; " Selective Value " 

§ 4. Social Transmission and Instinct . 

§ 5. Instinct and Intelligence .... 





Heredity and Instinct (II.) 

§ 1. Duplicated Functions ......... 72 

§ 2. Reflexes and Imitation 76 


Physical Heredity and Social Transmission 

§ 1. The Transmission of Intelligent Acquisitions ..... 81 

§ 2. Progressive Evolution ......... 84 

§ 3. The Selective Process in Accommodation 85 

A Factor in Evolution: Organic Selection 

§ 1. Ontogenic Agencies 91 

§ 2. Effects of Individual Accommodation on Development ... 94 

§ 3. Effects of Individual Accommodation on Evolution ... 96 

§ 4. Tradition ... 103 




§ 5. Concurrent Determination 106 

§ 6. Functional Selection 108 

§7. The Relation of Organic to Natural Selection . . . . 115 

§ 8. Terminology 118 


Mind and Body 

§ 1. Resume on Consciousness and Evolution 
§ 2. Pleasure, Pain, and the Circular Reaction 
§ 3. Psychophysical Dualism .... 




Determinate Evolution by Natural and Organic Selection 

§ 1. Criticisms of Neo-Darwinism and Neo-Lamarckism . . 135 

§ 2. Organic Selection as a Supplementary Principle . . . 137 

§ 3. The Directive Factor 143 

§ 4. Intelligent Direction and Social Progress 144 


Organic Selection : Terminology and Criticisms 

§ 1. Terminology .......... 

§ 2. Criticisms of Organic Selection 



Determinate Variation and Selection 

§ 1. Determinate Variation 160 

§ 2. Selections and Selection 165 

§ 3. Isolation and Selection 168 



§ 1. The Factors in Orthoplasy 

§ 2. Applications of Organic Selection 

§ 3. Intra-selection and Orthoplasy 

§ 4. Three Types of Theory . 

§ 5. Concurrence and Recapitulation 








Coincident and Correlated Variations 

§ I. Correlated Variations 

§ 2. Coincident Variation Theory not Sufficient 

§ 3. Illustrations of Orthoplasy with Correlated Variation 

§ 4. Natural Selection still Necessary .... 









Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

Biological Struggle for Existence 213 

Sorts of Rivalry . . . . . . . . . .218 

Conscious Rivalry . . . . . . . . . .219 

Economic Rivalry or Competition 221 


Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 

§ 1. The Evidence in Favour of Use-inheritance 

§ 2. General Effects and Specific Heredity 

§ 3. The Origin of Heredity . 

§ 4. Lamarckism and Teleology 

§ 5. Natural Selection not Unteleological 

§ 6. Cosmic Purpose and Law 

§ 7. The Place of Individual Purpose in Evolution 



Selective Thinking 

§ 1. The Material of Selective Thinking 239 

§ 2. The Origin of Thought- variations . . . . . . .241 

§ 3. Systematic Determination of Thought 243 

§ 4. The ' Platform ' of Determination 245 

§ 5. The Function or Process of Mental Selection; the External World 247 



§ 6. Tests of Truth in the External World . 

§ 7. Selection of Ideas by Attention .... 

§ 8. Attention Variations and the Environment of Thought 

§ 9. What constitutes Fitness in the External World ? 

§ 10. The Fitness of Ideas; the Social Environment 

§11. Summary 

§12. Some Fragmentary Interpretations 



The Origin of a ' Thing ' and its Nature 

§ 1. What is a 'Thing' 

§ 2. A ' Thing ' is Behaviour; the ' What ' and the ' How ' 

§ 3. The ' What ' and the ' How ' of Mind . 

§ 4. The ' Prospective ' and the ' Retrospective ' 

§ 5. Probability and Design 

§ 6. Design is Genetic .... 

§ 7. The Natural History of the Categories . 

§ 8. The ' Intuition ' View .... 

§ 9. The Meaning of the Category of Causation 
§ IO. Definition of ' Origin ' . 
§11. What is ' Potentiality ' ? 
§12. The Origin of the Universe; Further Problems 










The Theory of Genetic Modes 

§ 1. Agenetic Science 

§ 2. The First Postulate of the Theory of Genetic Modes 

§ 3. Genetic Modes ....... 

§ 4. Genetic Science ....... 

§ 5. The Second Postulate of the Theory of Genetic Modes 

§ 6. History a Genetic Science 

§ 7. The Biological Theory of History 

§ 8. The Axioms of Genetic Science .... 

§ 9. Vital Phenomena and the Theory of Genetic Modes 
§ 10. Theories of Life : Mechanical and Vitalistic 
§11. Other Applications 






3 2 4 

xvi Contents 


Appendix A. Original Statements of Organic Selection and Ortho- 

plasy: by H. F. Osborn, C. Lloyd Morgan, and E. B. Poulton . 335 

Appendix B. Other Expositions of Organic Selection and Orthoplasy : 

by F. W. Headley and H. W. Conn 353 

Appendix C. Recent Biology . . . . . . . . 372 

Index 393 






Psychophysical Evolution 

§ I. Scope and Method 

The point of view from which the questions taken up 
in the following pages are considered is still exclusively 
that of the earlier volumes of this series, 1 the genetic 
But the broadening out of the range of discussion to in- 
clude biological questions as well as psychological, makes 
our method now Biogenetic rather than Psychogenetic — 
a distinction made out in the volume on Social and Ethical 
Interpretations. It is not now, in these discussions, a 
question of the application of results, drawn from the 
mental life exclusively, to the larger problem of racial and 
social evolution; it is rather the interpretation of the 
whole series of facts drawn from all these spheres, exam- 
ined with view to a general conception of genesis (subject 
to the self-imposed limitations indicated in the Preface). 
The emphasis is, however, still on the mental, and the 

180^1 DeV ; l ° P Z n l iH ^ Ckm and tke Race > 2d edition -printed, 
1897, and Social and Ethical Interpretations,^ ed. 1902, 

2 Psychophysical Evolution 

special problem is to determine what sort of a theory of 
biological evolution is rendered the more probable, when 
we recognize, together with all the established biological 
facts and principles, also the principles and facts of the 
mental life which as psychologists we are bound to 
accept. In the earlier volumes, we have 'read up,' so 
to speak, from the individual to his species and to his 
social group, considered as being also psychological ; now 
we 'read down' from the individual, considered as an 
organism, to the simpler forms from which he has had 
his origin — all taken together as constituting an organic 
whole having a natural history upon the earth. 

Looked at in this way, the papers which follow are 
seen to have the unity of a common purpose, despite the 
gaps in the presentation of the evolution problem as a 
whole. They may be treated as each dealing with a 
narrower question, yet as having reference to the larger 
problem which may be called psychophysical evolution — 
the evolution of mind and body together. As thus falling 
into certain groups, the discussions may be classed under 
the general headings given to the main divisions or Parts 
of the volume: I., the problem of Genesis as such — some 
of its main illustrations and data; II., that of the Method 
of Evolution — involving the determination of the move- 
ment, its direction, and the results in which the genetic 
factors, taken together, actually issue; and finally III., 
that of Criticism or Interpretation — of finding out the 
limits, tendencies, termini, and in general the competence 
of the genetic method in the court of science and philoso- 
phy. Genesis, Method, and Interpretation may be taken 
as the catchwords of such a series of papers whose com- 
mon motive is covered by the words ' Development ' and 

Scope and Method 3 

* Evolution,' understood in the sense of the distinction 
made immediately below. 

In furtherance of this object the most important distinc- 
tion, at the very outset, is doubtless that upon which cer- 
tain great departments of biological science are separated 
off from one another: that between individual Develop- 
ment and racial Evolution. It is Huxley to whom this 
distinction of terms is attributed. Development is to be 
used for the processes of the individual's history from the 
beginning of its existence in the fertilized egg to its death 
— the province of fact also set off by biologists by the 
technical term ' Ontogeny.' The province of racial de- 
scent, the tree of connected forms springing from a 
common stock, together with the entire series of forms 
which may be represented as branches of the tree of animal, 
life on the earth, this province is that of Evolution, as 
contrasted with Development — called by the biologists 
technically ' Phylogeny.' The sciences of Embryology, Ex- 
perimental Morphology, Physiology, etc., so far as they 
are genetic, deal with Development ; those of Paleontology, 
Comparative Morphology, etc., deal with Evolution. A 
still more comprehensive province of research to which 
the genetic method directly introduces us — whether we 
deal with the data of mind or with those of life — is that 
of the interrelation or correlation of these two great 
spheres, Development and Evolution, with each other. As 
we shall see later on, certain most vital questions of gen- 
etic science come up in connection with such a correlation. 1 

1 No single term has been generally adopted to cover the field of this cor- 
relation between development and evolution. The term ' ontophyletic ' (de- 
termination, concurrence, etc.) might be employed, or the word ' intergenetic,' 
for cases in which both departments of genetic process are together involved. 
See the remarks on page n, note. 

4 Psychophysical Evolution 

Looked at in this way, the problem as a whole — that 
of Psychophysical Evolution — requires some preliminary 
dissection. Certain distinctions are quite essential, the 
more because, if they are too often neglected by biologists 
and psychologists alike, it is no doubt partly because they 
are dealing respectively with the biological or the psycho- 
logical, not with both. The first of these distinctions 
is that between the two general provinces of research, 
Biology and Psychology. 

§ 2. The Psychological and the Biological 

By the psychological I mean the mental of any grade, 
viezved from the outside ; that is, viewed as a definite set or 
series of phenomena in a consciousness, recognized as 
facts and as ' worth while ' as any other facts in nature. 
The phrase 'natural knowledge' includes knowledge of 
psychological facts in just the same sense as that of bio- 
logical or chemical facts. The occurrence of a psycho- 
logical change in an animal is a fact in the same sense 
that the animal's process of digestion is. And the genetic 
explanations which we find it possible to offer, in this case 
or that, may draw upon facts of psychology, no less than 
upon facts of biology. In the case, for example, of one 
animal's recognizing another and being led by this recog- 
nition to carry out the act of mating, we have a complex 
series of events involving the psychological process of 
recognition, joined with that of mating in the production 
of one of the great results of nature, and illustrating one 
of the principles important to the last degree for the 
theory of evolution — the principle of hereditary resem- 
blance. The hereditary traits of the offspring are in this 

The Psychological and the Biological 5 

case what they are because the particular parents mated ; 
but the particular parents mated because one of them 
recognized the other. The psychological fact of recog- 
nition is as necessary to the result as is the process of 
reproduction. It is a rule, indeed, that for science all 
facts are equal. Such a rule enables us to avoid the 
recondite question as to which province is to take pre- 
cedence in this case or that, provided we are dealing 
explicitly with a problem to which both sorts of fact are 

The recognition of psychological facts becomes especially 
important in view of the separate way in which analogous 
questions are often put in the two sciences of psychology 
and biology respectively. The discussion of the respec- 
tive spheres of these two sciences turns upon a distinc- 
tion of points of view. On the one hand, the psychologist 
as such, and for his science, must aim at the recognition 
only of the facts which are psychic or mental ; that is, 
of such as are facts to the consciousness in which they 
occur. These alone are psychic, and these belong to in- 
dividual psychology. So soon as we take up, however, the 
standpoint of the observer, that of the scientific man who 
essays to investigate some one else's consciousness, or that 
of an animal, the procedure is now subject to different 
rules and limitations of observation. To use the terms 
of a recent distinction of terminology, 1 the facts, while 
psychological, are yet to the observer not psychic. The 
investigation which we set ourselves when we come to 
discuss psychophysical evolution is ' psychological ' in 
this sense, that is, objective. In the earlier volumes of 

1 Cf. the writer's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology ', art ' Psychic 
and Psychological.' 

6 Psychophysical Evolution 

this series we have taken mainly the ' psychic ' or sub- 
jective point of view, going over to the psychological, 
however, when we had occasion to reach interpretations 
of a biological or sociological sort. Now the main re- 
source is psychological and biological, the facts of mind 
and those of life standing on the same objective footing. 
We are now distinctly in the spectator's shoes, observing 
facts in the evolution or development of minds and or- 
ganisms together, at any grade in the series of forms from 
lower to higher. 

Such a distinction, it is evident, is not possible to the 
biologist as such : all of his facts are simply vital as con- 
trasted with the non-vital ; there is no question of a sub- 
jective over against an objective point of view. So as 
regards the relation of biology to psychology we have a two- 
fold distinction : that of the vital as distinguished from the 
psychological ; and, on the other hand, that of the vital as 
distinguished from the psychic. As to the first of these 
distinctions, there is a broad truth which may be stated at 
this point. 

In another place * it is pointed out that the entire hierar- 
chy of the sciences is run through by a form of interdepen- 
dence as between contiguous departments of research. 
The concept of force, when strictly construed, becomes the 
touchstone for the differentiation of the sciences. A force 
is whatever is present when one stage of a process suc- 
ceeds necessarily upon another stage. A force always 
shows itself in a change, one aspect of process succeed- 
ing another ; and the passing over of one set of phenomena 

1 Psychological Review, January, 1902, pp. 57 f., and Social and Ethical 
Interpretations, 3d ed., 1902, Introduction, § 2; cf. also below Chap. XIX. 

The Psychological and the Biological 7 

into another is necessary to the notion. We are justified, 
therefore, in finding a force in a set of phenomena only 
when we are able to find a continuous process of change 
taking place in a contiiiuous sort of material. Given the 
material of this science or that, — the arbitrarily selected 
domain of observation, — we may then find forces of which 
this science may take cognizance when and only when the 
antecedent is followed by the same subsequent phenomenon, 
both in this sort of material. This, as is said above, holds 
so long as we restrict ourselves to a limited domain of facts. 
For example, in an earlier discussion, cited above, the ques- 
tion is that of the definition of the social. We find that 
various sorts of 'forces,' vital, physical, even chemical, 
and, by way of climax, changes due merely to the absence 
of certain usual conditioning limitations — all these have 
been called ' social forces.' But when we distinguish ' social 
forces ' as ' social producers of change in social material,' 
we are then able to subordinate all the other loosely recog- 
nized agencies, putting them under the heading of ' condi- 
tions ' — modifying, limiting, and directing conditions — 
under which the truly social forces operate. 

So it is in each science. I have suggested that the term 
1 nomic ' be applied to such conditions considered with 
reference, in each case, to the true set of forces whose play 
they condition. The 'socionomic' agencies, forces, etc., 
using again the same illustration, condition the opera- 
tion of the forces which are truly social. 

Carrying out the same distinction in this present connec- 
tion, we have analogous results. Psychology finds certain 
continuous processes of change, certain psychic states 
antecedent upon certain other subsequent psychic states. 
These, in accordance with the distinction suggested, we may 

8 Psychophysical Evolution 

properly call ' psychic forces,' taken to include whatever 
we, as psychologists, find it necessary to believe is involved 
in the conception. The flow of the psychic, we find, how- 
ever, so soon as we go over to the objective or 'psycho- 
logical ' point of view, is conditioned upon physiological 
processes and functions — those of the brain and other 
organs. These latter condition — limit, further, direct, 
inhibit, in any way modify — the flow of the psychic 
changes. Such conditions are ' psycfwnomic' This term 
may be used to denote the entire sphere of phenomena 
which are in connection with the psychological, but which, 
nevertheless, are not intrinsic to the series of psychic 
changes as such. Psychology, when considered as the 
science of mind, in its evolution as well as in its develop- 
ment, — of mind, that is, looked at from the objective point 
or view, — takes cognizance of the ' psychonomic ' ; but 
when considered as a subjective science, as interpreting 
its own data, it does not ; but, on the contrary, it confines 
itself to the psychic. 

But now, and this is the essential point to remark in 
our present connection, so soon as we ask the psycho- 
physical question of genesis, — that of the development 
and evolution of mind and body taken together, — pursu- 
ing the biogenetic method, this limitation no longer rises 
to trouble us. We include all psychophysical facts as such 
in the definition of our science. Changes in mind and 
body go on together, and together they constitute the phe- 
nomena. Both organic and mental states and functions 
may be appealed to in our endeavor to trace the psycho- 
physical series of events as such, since both are objective 
to the spectator, the scientific observer. 

The same relation between the intrinsic and the ' nomic * 

The Psychological and the Biological 9 

arises also to confront the biologist. The term ' bionomic ' * 
has already gained currency in biology ; it is the science 
of the relations of organisms to their environment, includ- 
ing other organisms. It was, indeed, by way of general- 
izing this important distinction of the biologist that the 
general point of view now under discussion was arrived at. 
If we bring out what is really the meaning of such a dis- 
tinction in biology, we are led to distinguish the bionomic 
forces and conditions, those of the environment in all its 
varied aspects, from the truly biological or vital. Bio- 
logical forces, properly speaking, are only those which 
reveal themselves in vital cJianges. The forces of the 
environment serve to condition, to limit, to direct, the 
operation of what is truly vital, but they cannot them- 
selves be called vital. They are 'bionomic' 

This distinction on the side of biology is, in the writer's 
opinion, of considerable importance. Only by recognizing 
it can general biology develop as an independent science. 
Vital antecedents of vital changes, — always phenomena of 
vitality, — these are the matters of biology. Other phe- 
nomena may intrude upon the vital, and the morphological 
changes which become vital may be due in the first instance 
to such intrusion ; but it is only as thus directing vital 
processes, not as themselves having a claim to be called 
vital, that these things have significance for the science of 
life. 2 

While it is true of the enviroment, yet it is not necessary, 
as has been intimated, to treat the psychological as being 
bionomic with reference to life, although for the biologist, 

1 Suggested, I believe, by Eimer. 

2 Cf. the remarks on Natural Selection, Chap. VIII. § 7. And see the further 
discussion in the chapter already referred to (Chap. XIX.). 

io Psychophysical Evolution 

as such, this is an open question, yet it is a gain of no little 
importance that such a question may be set aside. The 
equality of facts becomes our rule so soon as we make the 
problem of evolution a psychophysical one. We may 
legitimately use such a combination of the mental and the 
purely vital as that cited above — the case of recognition- 
marks — without stopping to inquire in what sense a 
mental fact, such as recognition, can have causal value 
in the determination of purely physical characters in the 
next generation. That may be discussed in psychology, 
or in biology, and it must be discussed in genetic phi- 
losophy ; but in a department in which the psychophysical 
as such is the type of phenomenon expressly taken up for 
examination, the divorce of the two, and even the recogni- 
tion of a dualism between them, is unwarranted. 

§ 3. Psychophysical Parallelism 

With the general understanding now arrived at, we 
may take a preliminary survey of the field in the light of 
certain current hypotheses. Among these is what is 
known as ' psychophysical parallelism.' 

This principle, as ordinarily stated, supposes a thorough- 
going concomitance between the two terms of the psycho- 
physical relation, mind and body. It states the general 
fact that certain changes in the organic, in those brain 
and nerve processes with which consciousness is associated, 
are always accompanied by changes in consciousness, and 
also, that this last is a statement which can be converted — 
so that it is also true that all changes in consciousness are 
accompanied by organic changes, in the brain and nerves. 1 

1 Much embarrassment is likely to arise from confusion of terms, as the 
problems of psychology and those of biology are brought into closest union. 

Psychophysical Parallelism 1 1 

This principle, now made the assumption of experimental 
work in psychophysics, would seem to involve, and also 
to be supported by, certain other formulas which are a 
part of general scientific procedure. 

First, the principle of equal continuity, to the effect that 
there can be no breaks in either series of changes, the 
brain changes or the conscious changes, without a corre- 
sponding break in the other ; in other words, if one of the 
series be continuous, the other must be continuous also. 
This is referred to again below. 

Second, the principle of uniformity, to the effect that 
the sort of modifications which are associated one with 
another in brain and mind are always the same ; that 
is, if a certain brain process be correctly hit upon as 
essentially associated with a certain conscious state, then 
the concomitance of these two terms may be looked for 

The word ' parallelism ' has been in use for a long time in philosophy and 
psychology for the relation of body and mind, and it is impossible to discard 
it in the present connection. Yet the biologists have used it also for the rela- 
tion expressed much better by the term ' recapitulation' (so Cope), and also 
for the ' parallel ' or concurrent direction of development and evolution as 
determined by any given influences. In order to avoid such confusion, I shall 
use ' parallelism ' for the psychophysical relation as explained immediately 
above, ' concurrence ' for the determination of development and evolution in 
a common direction, and ' recapitulation ' for the relation of the two series 
whereby development reproduces evolution. The term ' concurrence ' in such 
a sense is suggested in my Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, art. 
' Organic Selection.' For further illustration, we may say that psychophysical 
parallelism is both 'individual' and 'racial,' and is found to illustrate both 
recapitulation (from the fact that the mental and organic series in develop- 
ment recapitulate respectively those of evolution that is, if either series does, 
the other, by the law of parallelism, must also), and also 'concurrence' (as 
a fact, i.e., based on researches which show that evolution follows a course 
first marked out by individual development). Recurring to an earlier sugges- 
tion (p. 3, above) we may note that all three of these conceptions are ' inter- 
genetic,' or ' ontophyletic ' (the former term being the one which I prefer, 
and shall use). 

12 Psychophysical Evolution 

on all other occasions of the occurrence of either of 

This formulation is, it is easy to see, absolutely neces- 
sary to any science of psychophysics at all. The theory 
of the localization of functions in the brain, for example, 
assumes it. For if vision has its seat in the occipital 
region at one time, it may be assumed that at another time 
a lesion of that centre will interfere with vision, or that 
certain troubles of vision may be taken as evidence of 
lesion in that centre. If these expectations be not fulfilled, 
the only alternative left open to the investigator is to be- 
lieve that the first determination of the seat of vision was 

This requirement alone — the demand for uniformity 
in the facts with which psychophysics has to deal — is 
itself sufficient to justify the acceptance of psychophysical 
parallelism as against all the theoretical objections that 
may be and have been urged. As a rule of scientific 
procedure, it is a necessary assumption. To deny it is to 
say antecedently to the actual examination of the facts 
which it claims to formulate, that a natural science of the 
individual as a whole is impossible ; for any formulation 
of the facts must proceed upon the assumption that they 
have sufficient regularity and uniformity to allow of 

Third, the principle must be a universal one, if it be 
valid at all; which means, that wherever we find a series 
of phenomena which are psychophysical, this principle 
of parallelism has its application. This leads to the 
necessity of extending the application of parallelism from 
the sphere of development to that of evolution, as those 
terms are distinguished on an earlier page. This may now 

Psychophysical Parallelism in Evolution 13 

be explained in a little more detail, after which certain 
applications of the two preceding principles — continuity 
and uniformity — may also be indicated. 

§ 4. Psychophysical Parallelism in Evolution 

I have said that the principle of parallelism is universal, 
that is, that it is applicable to all instances in which the 
facts on either side are of the order indicated by the term 
* psychophysical.' The great spheres in which such a truth 
would have bearings are the two covered by individual life 
history, from life to death — ontogeny, the sphere of 
development — and the race history of a species, or of all 
life upon the earth considered as showing a series of forms 
connected by links of progressive descent — phylogeny, or 
evolution. These two forms of parallelism we may call 
respectively 'individual' and 'racial.' Earlier discussions 
of parallelism have had reference largely to the former 
sphere, and the question has come up for the most part in 
connection with theoretical discussions of the relation of 
mind and body. Furthermore, the concomitance of 
development of mind and body in the individual has had 
recognition, and its illustrative value for the topic of evolu- 
tion has been written about — though not at all adequately. 

The corresponding racial application of parallelism in 
the sphere of evolution has not, to the present writer's 
knowledge, been explicitly made ; that is, as going neces- 
sarily with an individual parallellism, as part of an in- 
tergenetic conception. And yet the two cases must 
necessarily go together, and no final formulation is 
possible of the relation of conscious changes to bodily 
changes which does not have direct application in both 
these spheres, and indeed the same application in both 

i a Psychophysical Evolution 

of them. For in psychology, as in biology, the race 
series is but a continuous line of individual generations, 
and to ask the question of the race is but to ask whether 
parallelism holds for any given number of generations 
of individuals wherever chosen in the line of descent — 
this provided we admit that descent is by some form of 
continuous hereditary transmission. 

The questions which arise about heredity, however, do not 
trouble us, seeing that they are not within the domain of 
strictly psychophysical inquiry, except in so far as our 
theory must explain the inheritance of both physical and 
mental characters to the same degree. For example, the 
question of the ' continuity of germ plasm ' may be de- 
cided one way or the other — either for or against the 
actual continuous transmission of an identical substance — 
without raising the question of a corresponding transmis- 
sion of anything psychological. For if there be breaks in 
the psychological series at those nodal points at which gener- 
ation succeeds generation, there are also, by the principle of 
equal continuity, discussed above, breaks also in the psycho- 
physical, and we may find the psychological series beginning 
again at the appropriate point in the development of the 
organism of the new generation — the point at which the 
psychophysical again begins. In other words, the advantage 
gained from the psychophysical point of view is that if there 
be apparent gaps in one of the series, we may either as- 
sume them filled up by theoretical parallelism with the other 
series at these points, at which it has no gaps, or we may 

if we deny continuity to either — make gaps in the 

second series in correspondence with the gaps found in 
the first. We have in any given case, in short, either a 
psychophysical fact, or we have not : if we have, then 

Psychophysical Parallelism in Evolution 15 

either series is sufficient to carry us over the critical point ; 
if we have not, then the break in one series is sufficient 
evidence of a corresponding break in the other also. 
The principle of parallelism assumed, we claim once for 
all the right to ?zeglect the relation of the two terms, mental 
and physical^ in all circumstances whatsoever. 1 

On this way of conceiving the scientific inquiry, we may 
proceed unhampered by the problems which trouble the 
philosopher. We do not have, for example, to adopt 
Professor Lloyd Morgan's theory of 'metakinesis,' postu- 
lating something quasi-mental to fill out the breaks in 
the psychological series, at points at which we have no sign 
of the presence of consciousness. Nor do we have to 
embrace the idealistic theory of knowledge of his critic, 
Professor Karl Pearson, to do away with a troublesome 
brain substance, which at times becomes uncomfortably 
prominent. The formulations of ' shorthand,' to use Pear- 
son's phrase, may be made for both series together. 
This is required for such a problem as that of evolution. 
We do not have one series of genetic forms, the mental, 
evolving under shorthand formulas of its own ; and 
another series, the organic, doing the same thing under 
different formulas. On the contrary, the two sets of facts 
really go together in the one set of formulas. This is what 
I am arguing for. We often find it necessary to use the 
mental facts as antecedents of the physical facts, often 
the physical as antecedent of the mental, and again, often 
the psychophysical as antecedent of either or both. This 
possibility is presented with more detail on a later page 
(Chap. IX. § 3). 

The twofold application of parallelism, considered as an 

1 Cf. the further remarks on the construction of heredity below, Chap. XVI. 


Psychophysical Evolution 

l 4 


assumption of psychophysical research, may be repre- 
sented by the accompanying diagram. The two vertical 
lines (M, B) represent the two series in the evolution of the 
race-forms of organisms — the dotted line (M, mind) being 
the mental, and the solid line (B, body) the physical. 
Across these at any point we may draw similar horizontal 

lines (m, b) representing individual 
development in any given genera- 
tion ; these are also, of course, dotted 
(m) and solid (b). The full theory 
of parallelism requires, not only that 
we make the two horizontal lines 
parallel, — the ordinary application 
in ontogeny (O); but that having 
gone so far, we must also draw the 
two parallel vertical lines — the ap- 
plication in phylogeny (P). At whatever point in the line 
of descent we apply the principle to individual develop- 
ment, we must perforce raise the corresponding genetic 
questions about the evolution which has led up to the birth 
of such individuals at that point. And the series of 
' shorthand ' formulas, laws — in the prosaic equivalent 
of everyday science, ' results ' — at which we arrive, must 
involve the three great problems represented by the four 
lines : parallel development (the relation of m to b), 
parallel evolution (the relation of M to B), and intergenetic 
correlation (the relation of mb to MB). Furthermore, 
when we recognize in places the absence of the facts we 
should expect, — apparent breaks in either one of the lines, 
— we may resort to the resource of using the correspond- 
ing facts from the parallel line at the same level, and even 
those from the analogous line of the other pair of parallels, 

Psychophysical Parallelism in Evolution 17 

so far as there are known facts in the particular case which 
lend themselves to such procedure. 

The philosophical problem is illustrated by a similar dia- 
gram in the section below already referred to (Chap. IX. 
§ 3). In that connection it is a question of reaching an inter- 
pretation in a statement in which the independence of the 
two series is in so far denied — the representation being that 
of a possible single line which can be substituted for the two 
in their development. A similar philosophical problem is 
open also in the matter of evolution. Such an interpreta- 
tion in either province, it is maintained in the later place, is 
not possible to the scientific inquirer as such, although it 
may be possible to arrive at a philosophical explanation of 
the dualism of mind and body. In our present connection 
the urgent need is in another direction — to hold a level 
balance and give each side its due. It is an equally 
embarassing thing for the scientific inquirer in one case to 
be a monist to such a degree as to deny one of these lines 
altogether — the mental in favour of the physical ' short- 
hand, ' or the physical in favour of the mental — and in 
another case to insist upon the separateness of what nature 
shows us always joined together, to the extent of refusing 
to use facts from one of the series to illumine and even 
to explain facts in the other. 

This last-mentioned attitude is especially to be con- 
demned in the discussion of genetic questions — those of 
development and evolution. Here the question turns upon 
the genetic antecedents of a given fact, be it function, 
act of behaviour, mental state, instinct, or other, in this 
organism or that. No tracing of genesis is possible, of 
course, except by actual observation of the facts under 

which the phenomenon in question arises. Now to refuse 

1 8 Psychophysical Evolution 

to see certain of the antecedents because they are not 
physical, or because their physical counterpart is not 
known, or the reverse, that is, to observe only the mental 
antecedents of the fact in question, is suicidal to genetic 
science. It not only omits facts from its formulations, but 
it actually does violence to facts. For with the omission 
goes the commission of the positive error of arriving at an 
interpretation which is false. 1 

A remarkable instance illustrating the necessity of 
recognizing both orders of facts is to be found in the 
theory — and the history of the theory — of 'warning 
colours.' As preliminary to the theory there is the fact of 
coloration, which is distinctly physical. The question is as 
to its origin. The theory holds it to be due to the warning 
given to other individuals that a particular colouring is dis- 
tasteful or poisonous. Now, in order that this warning 
be given, the biologists tell us there is necessary a cer- 
tain education of the hostile individuals. The creatures 
have to learn the meaning of the coloration ; and this 
learning involves profiting by experience. If each creature 
made the same experiment each time instead of profiting 
by his own experience, or if each had to learn for himself, 
instead of profiting by the experience of others through 
imitation, etc., of course there would be no utility in the 
colouring as giving warning. Here is as distinctly a mental 
process involved as any one might cite. To refuse to 
recognize it would be to throw away what is generally 
recognized as the true theory of these cases of coloration. 

1 Cf. the criticism of Professor James' theory of the separateness of the 
psychological and physiological ' cycles ' in my Social and Ethical Interpre- 
tations, Sect. 42. See also the further discussion in Chap. XIX. on 
' Genetic Modes,' below. 

Psychophysical Parallelism in Evolutio7i 19 

The action of natural selection, I may add for complete- 
ness, secures the survival of the insects so coloured, seeing 
that being warned, their enemies let them alone. The 
possibility of the evolution of the definite coloration turns, 
in fact, upon this series of psychological processes. 1 

1 On this particular topic see Professor Poulton's Colours of Animals. A 
recent concise statement of the facts by the same writer is to be found in the 
Did. of Philos. and Psychol., arts. 'Warning Colours,' and 'Mimicry.' 


Comparative Conceptions 

§ I. Recapitulation 

This way of looking at the two spheres of development 
and evolution, as involving an application of the one prin- 
ciple of parallelism, carries with it certain consequences of 
considerable interest. In the first place, it requires us to 
carry over into the genetic treatment of psychology the 
same thorough-going genetic point of view which evolu- 
tion postulates in biology. And with this goes the question 
of the application to the facts of the one of the principles 
already established for the other. The great law of recapit- 
ulation at once comes to mind, the law with which we have 
been having considerable to do in the earlier volumes of 
this series. If we hold that mind and brain processes are 
parallel as well in the species as in the individual, and also 
hold that the brain series in the individual's development 
recapitulates in the main the series gone through by his 
species in race descent or evolution ; then it follows 
that the law of recapitulation must hold also for the 
mental. This has been recognized and the limitations of 
it have been pointed out in Chap. I. of Mental Develop- 
ment : 1 and a further general application of the idea to 

1 In that place, under the topic ' Analogies of Development,' the main 
' epochs ' of growth in each series, which illustrate the recapitulation of evolu- 
tion by development, are briefly indicated. The following quotation from 
that work presents a preliminary statement of the general thought which is 
now worked out explicitly and with greater detail in these pages : " Assuming 
then that there is a phylogenetic problem, — that is, assuming that mind has 


Plasticity and Intelligence 21 

the social life is worked out in the Social and Ethical 
Interpretations, The further extensions which the theory 
of biological recapitulation has recently undergone, prom- 
inent among which is the theory that regression shows 
itself first in individuals and afterward in the same direc- 
tions in the species, should also find confirmation if they 
be true, or the reverse if they be not true, from the facts 
of genetic psychology. 1 

§ 2. Natural and Functional Selection: Plasticity 
and Ititelligence 

Apart from the question of recapitulation, which I have 
given this prominence both from its general character 
and also from the fact that it has survived very consider- 
able criticism in recent literature, we find certain points 

had a natural history in the animal series, — we are at liberty to use what we 
know of the correspondence between nervous process and conscious process, 
in man and the higher animals, to arrive at hypotheses for its solution; to 
expect general analogies to hold between nervous development and mental 
development, one of which is the deduction of race history epochs from 
individual history epochs through the repetition of phylogenesis in ontogene- 
sis, called in biology ' Recapitulation ' ; to view the plan of development of 
the two series of facts taken together as a common one in race history, as we 
are convinced it is in individual history by an overwhelming weight of evi- 
dence; to accept the criteria established by biological research, on one side 
of this correspondence, — the organic, — while we expect biology to accept 
the criteria established, on the other side, by psychology; and, finally, to 
admit with equal freedom the possibility of an absolute beginning of either 
series at points, if such be found, at which the best-conceived criteria on 
either side fail of application. For example, if biology has the right to make 
it a legitimate problem whether the organic exhibits a kind of function over 
and above that supplied by the chemical affinities which are the necessary 
presuppositions of life, then the psychologist has the equal right, after the 
same candid rehearsal of the facts in support of his criteria, to submit for 
examination the claim, let us say, that ' judgments of worth ' represent a 
kind of deliverance which vital functions as such do not give rise to." (First 
ed., pp. 14 ff.) 

1 See also Chap. XIII. § 5, on ' Concurrence and Recapitulation.' 

22 Comparative Conceptions 

at which what may be called ' comparative ' questions 
arise. By this I mean points at which the interpreta- 
tion of a series of facts has been fairly made out, or the 
facts at least formulated, on one side of the two parallel 
series, and we may properly ask how far the same or 
an analogous interpretation or formulation is possible on 
the other side. For example, the law of natural selection 
from spontaneous variations, which makes use of the 
criterion of fitness or utility only — what can we say of 
mental evolution from this point of view ? We have 
here to apply a biological conception directly to the 
mental. Again, in development the mind seems to pro- 
gress by a certain function of selection by which it brings 
itself into better accommodation to a complex mental and 
physical environment. Here is a certain formulation on 
the mental side, a function so well recognized that the 
criterion of consciousness in an organism is often said to 
be the exhibition of a • selective ' reaction. What now 
can the biologist do with this in his theory of organic 
development ? 

Both of these instances are enlightening for the deri- 
vation of what I am calling ' comparative conceptions.' 
The union of the two seems to require that the brain 
variations by which evolution proceeds be of such a sort 
that their very utility — that for which they are se- 
lected — is in the line which mental development by a 
selective function in each generation acquires. Now, in 
fact, we find this requirement fulfilled in the evolution, 
by variation and natural selection, of increasing plasticity 
of nervous structure. By this, not only does it appear 
that mental evolution progresses by variation, keeping 
pace with organic (a correlation in evolution), but also 

Plasticity and Intelligence 23 

that organic variation is in a direction which furthers 
accommodation, or ' educability,' by mental selection in 
individuals (a correlation in development). In the latter 
respect, the utility of plasticity, as permitting mental de- 
velopment and selective accommodation, is so great that 
it outweighs in evolution all other biological characters, 
and as embodied in the brain, becomes the great outstand- 
ing fact throughout the ascending series of mammalian 
forms. Once given the presence of consciousness, with 
its methods of psychological accommodation, and it carries 
with it organic adjustment ; while the operation of variation 
with selective survival tends to perfect it. 

Moreover, in psychophysical accommodation we have the 
problem of selection set in a new form inside of the func- 
tions of the organism itself. Consciousness, mind in any 
form, is a character ; its functions are always psycho- 
physical in their operation. How then can consciousness 
select without violating parallelism ? In answer to this 
it may be pointed out that accommodation is another 
comparative conception ; for it is only by an application 
of the operation of natural selection in the form of 
survival from overproduced functions, such as move- 
ments, dispositions, etc., that consciousness can effect 
selective adjustments ; that is, there is no other way short 
of a miracle. This in general outline is the conception 
of functional selection. 1 So a completed view of psycho- 
physical accommodation requires (first) natural selection, 
operating upon (second) variations in the direction of 
plasticity, which allows (third) selective adjustment through 

1 Worked out in Mental Development on the basis of the theory of ' sur- 
plus discharges ' of Spencer and Bain. See also the recent work on Animal 
Behaviour, pp. 163 f., by Professor Lloyd Morgan. 

24 Comparative Conceptions 

the further operation of natural selection upon the organ- 
ism's functions. 

So we have certain comparative conceptions : variation 
with natural selection, consciousness or intelligence with 
plasticity, and accommodation by functional selection. 
They are comparative in the sense which is now occupy- 
ing us, that is, psychophysical^ ; since the meaning of any 
one of them is not exhausted in its application to either 
mind or body, without appeal also to the other of these 
two psychophysical terms. 

For example, the meaning of the evolution of the brain 
cortex, with the extreme plasticity which is its main char- 
acter, through the entire line of mammalian descent, can 
be understood only when we recognize the evolution of 
intelligent endowment which accompanies it ; and the 
method of the selective function of consciousness can only 
be understood, in my opinion, in the light of the method 
of survival by selection from overproduced variations, 
which is the method of natural selection. 

§ 3. Correlation of Characters 

Another highly interesting comparative conception is 
that connoted by the biological term 'correlation.' 1 This 
idea covers the fact that certain characters of the organ- 
ism are correlated with, connected with, or in other regu- 
lar ways related to, certain other characters, in such a way 
that modifications or variations of the one are accom- 
panied by changes in the other also. This is true, not 
only of those characters in which it is difficult to deter- 
mine the precise function, and of which, therefore, the 
definition itself is difficult and uncertain, since it involves 

1 See instances given in Chap. XIV. §§ 1-3. 

Correlation of Characters 25 

others as well ; but also for those which are remote from 
one another, as, for example, the internal glands whose 
secretions are found to be in some obscure way correlated 
with general conditions of the organism. This principle, 
when once formulated, will undoubtedly be important; 
but as yet no exact laws of correlation have been made out. 
Yet it is quite allowable to say, in the same general sense, 
that psychological and psychophysical correlations hold. 
The psychophysical relation is itself a correlation having 
many special illustrations, such as the correlation between 
plasticity and intelligence, that between the fixity of ner- 
vous processes and the corresponding impulses, instincts, 
etc. Indeed, the psychophysical question, when put in a 
particular case, is really one of determining the correlation 
of the characters which consciousness shows with those 
of the organism as such. And it follows that, wherever 
a mental character enters into the complete carrying out 
of a physical function, it must have its place assigned to it, 
according to what has already been said, in the complete 
determination of the genetic significance of that function. 
Furthermore, we may say that no physical character 
which has mental correlations is completely understood 
until these latter are exhaustively determined, and also 
that no mental character escapes physical correlation. 
Recent research in the psychological and physiological 
laboratories is establishing many such psychophysical cor- 
relations : that of emotion with motor processes, of atten- 
tion, rhythm, and the time-sense with vasomotor changes, 
that of mental work with nervous fatigue, and so forth 
through all the main problems of this department. All 
this affords, in so far, at once illustration and proof of 
the general formula of psychophysical parallelism. 

26 Comparative Conceptions 

§ 4. Psychophysical Variations 

Allusion has been made to the great biological topic of 
variation as embodying a conception common to the two 
series — mind and body. It is only recently that the 
theory of selection from congenital variations has been 
brought over into psychology. Formerly the idea of 
hereditary transmission of the results of mental education 
was simply assumed. But the failure of that idea in biol- 
ogy has led to the revision of the facts with an equally 
pronounced verdict against it in psychology also. Begin- 
ning with certain brilliant independent examinations of the 
question, notably that of W. James, 1 the theory of mental 
variations has come in to account for the evolution of mind 
in strict correlation with that of the organism. We find not 
only the correlation of intelligence with plasticity, as 
pointed out above, but also many other correlated details 
which the psychophysical processes actually exhibit. This 
means that natural selection has worked upon correlated 
psychophysical variations — not upon organic variations 
merely. In other words, it has been the psychophysical, 
not the physical alone, nor the mental alone, which has been 
the unit of selection in the main trend of evolution, and 
Nature has done what we are now urging the science of 
evolution to do — she has carried forward the two series 
together, thus producing a single genetic movement. It 
would have been impossible for mind to develop by selec- 
tion with reference to utilities for which the necessary 
organic variations were not present ; and so also it would 
have been impossible for the organism to evolve in ways 
which the consciousness of the same animal forms did not 

1 Principles of Psychology, II. Chap. XXVIII. 

Psychophysical Variations 2 7 

support and further. There could not be independence; 
there must be correlation. 

This is illustrated by several of the facts and principles 
pointed out in the following pages. It has been argued in 
the earlier volume on Social and Ethical Interpretations 
(Chap. VI.) that emotion shows a development from an 
1 organic ' to a ' reflective ' or intelligent type, which latter, 
however, utilizes in its expression the same organic pro- 
cesses as the former ; and it is there stated that this could 
have come about only by the sort of correlation now under 
discussion. Only those reactions of the organism, selected 
for their utility in offence, defence, etc., would survive, which 
could either be actually used for the higher purposes of 
mind, or which, at least, did not stand in the way of the 
exercise of the higher functions. Both of these possibili- 
ties are realized, and in some cases we find the presence of 
vestigial 'expressions,' now harmless although no longer 
useful ; while in other cases the original reaction has been 
modified to serve the new purpose. In certain cases, also, 
these vestigial reactions or dispositions are, in some 
degree, disturbing factors to the possessor of the new func- 
tions. 1 It is argued below (Chap. VI. § 1) that both the in- 
stinctive or reflex and also the intelligent performance of a 
given function may coexist side by side, each having utility 
and each preserved for its utility — an additional resource 
thus being given the possessor in coping with complex 
circumstances. In this case, there has been a selection of 
variations toward the plasticity which the evolution of in- 
telligence demanded, together with the growth of the appa- 
ratus of voluntary movement, while at the same time the 
fixed connections requisite to the reflex or instinctive per- 

1 So blushing, as is maintained in the work mentioned, Sects. 134 f. 

28 Comparative Conceptions 

f ormance of the same functions have not been disturbed, the 
same apparatus being so modified, however, as to serve the 
two utilities in question more or less independently. 

Another case of interest from the psychological point of 
view is that of the genetic interpretation of the function of 
imitation, itself quasi-instinctive, or impulsive, in relation 
to other mental and organic functions. As I have argued 
in detail in Mental Development, considered genetically as 
a type of reaction, imitation involves reference to an 
end or 'copy,' which is the prime characteristic, also, 
of intelligent action; but it is held down to a definite 
psychophysical process, called the 'circular' process, 
whereby the copy is reinstated by the act of imitation. 
For example, my parrot has just learned to say ' Hulloa ' 
imitatively. He learns to pronounce this word just as an 
intelligent child would learn to do it ; but he cannot vary, 
modify, or inhibit it, nor exercise selection in the manner 
of his doing it. His act seems to lie, therefore, as type of 
function, midway between the congenital instinct and intel- 
ligent selective action. The present writer considered this 
function to be probably a case in which natural selection 
has put a premium upon the acquisition of adjustments 
which would keep a creature alive and give the species 
time to acquire the congenital mechanism for performing 
the same functions — illustrating what is called, below, 
'organic selection.' Imitation would, thus considered, in 
many cases aid the development of instincts ; in all cases, 
that is, in which the instinctive performance woiild, by 
reason of promptness, accuracy, etc., be of greater or of 
additional utility. But about the same time Professor 
Groos published his theory of play in a work in which 
imitation is held to have just the opposite genetic relation 

Psychophysical Variations 29 

to instinct and intelligence. 1 According to Groos, the 
imitative performance, by reason of its character as pre- 
senting a certain degree of selective learning and accom- 
modation, tends to supplant the fixed reactions of instinct, 
and so to put a premium on variations toward the plasticity 
required by increasing intelligence. It now transpires that 
Professor Groos and I are able to accept each the other's 
position, and so reach the common view that it depends 
upon the exigencies of the particular adaptation required by 
the animal species as to what a particular imitative reaction 
means. If an imperfect instinct is in the way of develop- 
ment for a marked utility, imitation, by supplementing it, 
would undoubtedly aid its survival and evolution in the way 
indicated above. Yet, on the other hand, if an instinct is 
in process of decay, — or if the conditions make its decay 
desirable, — Professor Groos' principle would then come 
into operation. The imitative performance would repre- 
sent a form of variation which would be in the direction 
of the plasticity of intelligence, and creatures would be 
selected who performed the function imitatively, until fur- 
ther variations toward plasticity were forthcoming. In 
either case, and especially in both cases working in nature 
together, we have a clear illustration of the sort of psycho- 
physical ' togetherness,' so to speak, the indissoluble cor- 
relation, into which the organic and the mental are welded 
in the process of evolution. 

The fact of correlated variation, moreover, is to be car- 
ried over to the relation between organic and mental varia- 
tions in different individuals. Many instances are known 
which prove it ; that they are not more numerous is due, 

1 The Play of Animals, Eng. trans. Cf. the notice of that work below, 
Appendix C. 

30 Comparative Conceptions 

I think, to the neglect of the recognition of it in seeking 
genetic explanations. For example, sexual selection re- 
quires correlation between the organic characters of col- 
oration, etc., in the male, and the mental apprehension and 
the sexual impulse of the female. So the evolution of 
infancy requires correlation between the physical helpless- 
ness of the young, and the maternal instinct and affection 
of the mother. In the evolution of gregarious life we find 
a vast system of correlations of physical characters, — 
expressions, attitudes, behaviour in general — which are 
interpreted and responded to psychologically by other 
members of the group ; these physical and psychological 
characters together make up the psychophysical equip- 
ment of the individuals for their common life. In a later 
place (Appendix C) the possibility of correlation between 
mental characters and sexual variations is pointed out in 
connection with Pearson's theory of ' reproductive selec- 
tion.' It is remarked also in the same place, that one great 
form of isolation, that due to social barriers which create 
segregation and preferential mating, and so effect physical 
evolution, is not noticed by Romanes in his description of 
the different forms of isolation ; here there is involved a 
correlation between the mental functions embodied in per- 
sonal choice, social convention, law, etc., and colour of skin 
or other physical characters which either attract or repel. 
The theory of ' secondary sexual characters ' in man and 
woman extends to mental traits, and points out correlations 
not only between many characters in the same individual, 
but also between these of individuals of the opposite sex. 
The theoretical importance of this sort of correlation 
appears more fully when we look closely at what it involves. 
In the first place, negatively : if it be true that the unit of 

Psychophysical Variations 31 

selection in evolution is often a psychophysical function or 
character, it may be only the failure of psychophysical 
observation which prevents the genetic explanation of a 
series of organic changes. The search for utilities should 
be extended to the mental sphere. The larger utility of 
the psychological or the psychophysical may be the key- 
note in a case of survival ; and the failure to discern this 
utility may block our scientific progress. So it is, for 
example, in appreciating many forms of play. If we 
adopt the ' practice ' theory, which holds that play is a 
means of preparation, through preliminary practice, for 
the strenuous specific activities of adult life, we must 
recognize that it is often mental practice — in accommoda- 
tion, judgment, social adaptability, etc., — or the training 
of mental functions, which is the critical utility ; and that 
to understand this utility is at once to secure an applica- 
tion of natural selection, where otherwise, from the purely 
organic point of view, no adequate ground of selection 
would have been discoverable. 

While so much is true negatively, the matter has also a 
positive aspect. The actual construction of a view regard- 
ing a particular function or character can often be arrived 
at only by weighing the psychological facts. So in the 
case of the function just cited, animal play. There were 
earlier theories of play. The ' surplus energy ' theory of 
Spencer was generally held, despite the quite valid criticism 
that it had the negative defect pointed out immediately 
above : no adequate selective utility attaching to play was 
involved so long as it was thought to be due to discharges 
of surplus animal vigour only. The consequence was 
that play — together with the whole province of art, 
which is thought by many to have its roots in the play- 

32 Comparative Conceptions 

impulse — was looked upon as a by-product, an unjustified 
remainder, not due to selection at all, and subserving no 
utility in the economy of the genetic processes of evolution. 
Now, thanks to the illuminating works of Groos, 1 develop- 
ing the scattered hints of others, we discover the psycho- 
logical and sociological utilities of play, which supplement 
its biological utility in the practice theory ; and the whole 
is an important contribution, not only to the body of evidence 
for Darwinism, but also to the psychophysical interpreta- 
tion of evolution. Play and art are now no longer luxuries 
for the rich; they are necessities as well for the poor — to 
speak in terms not entirely figurative. 

Indeed, in this conception of correlated variation many of 
the mysteries of evolution are pooled. The position taken 
above, and elaborated in the later chapter, to the effect 
that the conditions which are ' nomic ' to a genetic move- 
ment are to be carefully distinguished from the forces 
intrinsic to the movement, avails to indicate the capital 
importance of the fact of variation in mind and body 
together. Natural selection is in itself a negative prin- 
ciple, a ' nomic ' or directive condition ; heredity is a 
principle of conservation in so far as it is specifically and 
only heredity ; and the remaining foundation stone of the 
entire evolution structure, variation, remains the point of 
direct and emphatic importance. In it the intrinsic vital 
processes must exhibit themselves. It is by variation that 
the materials of selection arise, it is the character of varia- 
tion that must decide the question of determination — the 
issue between vitalism and the opposed views. Here, in 
the opinion of the writer, much of the great biological 
work of the future is to be done. Witness, indeed, the 

1 The Play of Animals, and The Play of Man. 

Psychophysical Variations 33 

researches already carried out by statistical methods, aim- 
ing to determine the actual facts as to whether variations 
have an intrinsic drift in certain directions, or whether the 
appearance of such a drift is entirely due to processes of 
selection within or without the organism. The newer view, 
which holds that species originate in abrupt or * sport' 
variation, called ' mutation,' strikes at the very founda- 
tions of the Darwinian conception — that is, if mutation 
be considered not merely an exceptional case but the 
normal mode of the origin of species. 1 We may accord- 
ingly go a little more fully into the requirements of a 
theory of determination. 

1 The appearance of the new journal, Biometrica, is witness to the vitality of 
the movement to treat biological phenomena, notably variations, by exact 
statistical and mathematical methods. Cf. the summary articles by Davenport 
and Weldon on ' Variation,' and those on ' Natural Selection ' and ' Muta- 
tion ' by Poulton, in the Diet, of Philos. and Psychol. On mutation see 
De Vries, Die Mutations theorie (1901). A summary article by De Vries 
is to be seen in Science, May 9, 1902. It seems to the present writer a very 
long step from the observation of single cases, admittedly very rare, of the 
persistance of abrupt variations, to the theory of the ' Origin of Species by 
Mutation.' For an able negative criticism of De Vries' work, written from 
the point of view of recent statistical ' biometric ' researches, see Weldon, in 
Biometrica, Vol. I. Part 3, pp. 365 ft. 


The Direction of Evolution 

§ i. Genetic Determination : Congenital mid Acquired 


The problem of determination, in its varied aspects, is 
no more than the problem of the method of evolution; hence 
the attention given in the following pages to this topic in both 
its phases, that of evolution and also that of development. 1 
As an intergenetic conception it takes form as follows: 
first, what determines the development of the individual, 
both bodily and mentally, or in a word, psychophysical^ ? 
— second, what determines the evolution of the species, in 
both the same two phases, that is, psychophysical^ ? — and 
third, how can these two forms of determination work 
together so that race determination is ' concurrent ' with 
individual determination ? It is only when all three phases 
of the problem are held together that the extraordinary 
complexity of the data comes fairly out. The data of fact 
and of principle resting upon formulations of fact, as 
they appear in the present state of knowledge, may be pre- 
sented somewhat as follows, while the later chapters may 
be looked to for treatment of various of the subordinate 
topics which fall under the larger heading. 

First, individual development seems to take place by 
gradual accommodation to environment on the basis of 

1 See especially Chaps. X. and XVII. below, on ' Determinate Evolu- 
tion ' and ' Selective Thinking.' 


Congenital and Acquired Characters 35 

the congenital hereditary impulses which characterize the 
species. This is true both of mind and body ; and the 
relation of the respective functions of mind and body 
varies with the place of the creature in question in the 
scale of life — with what we may call, technically, its 'grade.' 
The correlation already pointed out between increasing 
plasticity of the nervous system and increasing mental 
endowment holds as we ascend from a lower to a higher 
stage. We accordingly have an increasing dependence 
upon accommodation of the mental type as we ascend 
higher in the scale. The range of possible accommodation 
of the organism of a whole becomes, therefore, wider and 
its congenital impulses less fixed as evolution advances ; 
there is constantly less dependence upon definite heredity, 
and more upon the inheritance of a general mechanism 
of accommodation of a psychophysical sort, as we ascend 
the animal series. 1 Recognizing progress in progressive 
accommodation, with plasticity of mind and body, as the 
direction in which evolution is determined, we may set that 
down as the first point in our argument. The method of 
accommodation, its progress by the selection of adaptive 
movements and thoughts from overproduced cases by trial 
and error, may be left over for the present. 

Second, it follows that the distinction so long dominant 
in biology between ' congenital ' and ' acquired ' characters, 
cannot be sharply drawn. All characters are partly con- 
genital and partly acquired. The hereditary impulse is at 
the start in each case a rudiment (Anlage), which is to de- 
velop into what the environment, within which its native 
tendencies must show themselves, may permit it to become. 

1 Professor Ray Lankester has paralleled this with the advance in size and 
complexity of the mammalian fossil brain (Nature, LXI. p. 624). 

36 The Direction of Evolution 

This impulse is definite enough in many cases, where the 
conditions do not require accommodation and modification ; 
but where these demands are urgent upon it, it is surprising 
what transformations it may undergo. Recent results of 
embryological and morphological research have proved 
this so clearly that a school of biologists, called by Delage 
* Organicists,' * has arisen, who place the emphasis in all 
evolutionary change upon the necessity of the organism, 
and of its particular organs, to become what they are 
stimulated to become under the stress of the environment, 
or, failing to meet these requirements, to die in the attempt. 
This suggests an important modification of the strictly 
1 Preformist ' view, made extreme in the earlier writings of 
Weismann, according to which the accommodations of the 
individual organism are of no importance, being simply the 
unfolding of what is preformed in the germ. For even if 
we admit, as we may, the non-inheritance of acquired 
characters, we may still hold the general view of the 
organicists, and also maintain that the hereditary impulse 
becomes more and more unformed, rather than preformed, 
as we advance in the animal scale; each succeeding genera- 
tion through its own development, in its own life history, 
making more of the essential accommodations which give 
it its generic and specific characters. This Weismann has 
lately in part recognized, in his theory of * intra-selection ' 
built up upon the views of Roux. 

Third, if these be the safe results of research in the 
sphere of development, we then have certain additional 

1 'The Organicists oppose [to other theories] the combination of a mod- 
erate predetermination with the continually acting and necessary forces of the 
environment, which are not simple conditions alone, but essential elements in 
the final determination.' (Delage, La Structure du Protoplasma, p. 720. 
Delage's personal views are cited in Chap. XIII. § 3, below.) 

Genetic Determination: the Factors 37 

guiding indications for the problem of determination in 
the sphere of evolution. The evolution series becomes in 
its hereditary character more and more indeterminate, more 
and more indefinite, in respect to what will be produced 
by the union of the heredity impulse with the conditions 
of development of the successive generations of individ- 
uals. There is a general direction of progress, secured 
by the natural selection of variations in the direction of 
the plasticity which increasing accommodation requires ; 
but the utility of this shows itself in the decay of special 
congenital functions and the increased freedom of the 
organism in working out a career for itself. Thus there 
is secured a blanket utility, as it were, a general character, 
through the operation of natural selection, which pro- 
gressively supersedes and annuls many special utilities 
with their corresponding adaptations, while, at the same 
time, other special functions having special utilities are 
given time to reach maturity by variation and selection. 

§ 2. Genetic Determination : the Factors 

The truth of this position regarding the direction of 
evolution appears from the detailed explanations by which 
the two leading positions of this work are supported in 
the following pages. 

Of these two positions the first is that of Organic 
Selection, explained and applied with considerable rep- 
etition below. This position is the general one that 
it is the individual accommodations which set the direc- 
tion of evolution, that is, which determine it; for if 
we grant that all mature characters are the result of 
hereditary impulse plus accommodation, then only those 

38 The Direction of Evolution 

forms can live in which congenital variation is in some 
way either * coincident ' wit/i, or correlated with 1 the indi- 
vidual accommodations which serve to bring the creatures to 
mattirity. Variations which aid the creatures in their 
struggle for existence will, where definite congenital en- 
dowment is of utility, be taken up by the accommoda- 
tion processes, and thus accumulated to the perfection 
of certain characters and functions. The evolution of 
plasticity, on the other hand, could only itself have taken 
place by the cooperation of accommodation using the 
variations toward plasticity already present at each stage, 
and thus saving and developing such variations. This gave 
an ever higher platform of variation from which steady 
refinement of plasticity and its accompanying intelligence 
was all along possible. Orga?iic selection becomes, accord- 
ingly, a universal principle, provided, and in so far as, 
accommodation is universal. 

Accommodation, therefore, when all is said, is a posi- 
tive thing, a vital and mental functional process supple- 
mentary to the hereditary impulse. It must be considered 
a positive factor in evolution, a real force emphasizing 
that which renders an organism fit ; whereas natural selec- 
tion, while a necessary condition, is yet a negative factor, 
a statement that the most fit are those which survive. If 
it be true that those variations which can accommodate, 
either very much or very little, to critical conditions of 
life are the ones to survive, and that such variations will 
be accumulated and will in turn progressively support 

1 See below, Chap. XIV., for treatment of the distinction indicated by 
these phrases. ' Coincident variation ' was suggested by Professor Lloyd Mor- 
gan : cf. below, Chap. XI. § 1, and Lloyd Morgan's Animal Behaviour, 


Genetic Determination : the Factors 39 

better accommodations, then it is the accommodations 
which set the pace, lay out the direction, and prophesy 
the actual course of evolution. This meets the view of 
the Lamarckians that evolution does somehow reflect indi- 
vidual progress ; but it meets it without adopting the 
principle of Lamarckian inheritance. 

The second general position advocated, on the basis of 
facts, in the following pages is that of Social Heredity, 1 or 
Social Transmission, with Tradition. This too falls into 
place in our general theory of determination. If accom- 
modation is a fact of real and vital importance, then some 
natural way of regulating, abbreviating, and facilitating 
it would be of the utmost utility. If animals were left 
to constant experimentation each for himself, they would 
die, as we have said above, before they made much devel- 
opment. We find that an important function of conscious- 
ness is that it enables them to profit by experience. By 
memory, association of ideas, pleasure and pain motiva- 
tion, they abbreviate, select, and handle experience to the 
most profit. 

But there also arises an additional resource — and 
certainly a very important one — by which they are en- 
abled to profit as well by the experience of otJiers. So 
soon as animals can use their native impulses in an imi- 
tative way, they begin to learn directly, by what may be 
called ' cross-cuts ' to a desirable goal, the traditional 
habits of their species. The chick which imitates the hen 
in drinking does not have to wait for a happy accident, 

1 In the earlier volumes of this series, where the psychological process of 
acquisition is much in discussion, the phrase ' Social Heredity ' is largely used. 
In the following pages, wherever possible, the expression ' Social Transmis- 
sion' is employed. 

40 The Direction of Evolution 

nor to make a series of experiments, to find out that water is 
to be drunk. The bird deprived of the presence of others 
of its kind does not learn to perfection its proper song. 
All the remarkable accommodations of an imitative sort, 
so conspicuous in the higher animals, enable them to 
acquire the habits and behaviour of their kind without run- 
ning the risks of trial and error. Calling this store of 
habits of whatever kind ' tradition,' and calling the individ- 
ual's absorption of them and his consequent education in 
tradition his ' social heredity,' we have a more or less 
independent determining factor in evolution. For these 
accommodations are the cream of the needs of life, they 
represent the essentials of education, the sine qua non 
in an animal's equipment ; so the accommodations which 
must be reproduced in race evolution, as adaptations 
which the species must effect, are in these lines. The 
influence of organic selection is, therefore, exerted to 
determine, by the selection and accumulation of varia- 
tions, the congenital equipment which most readily util- 
izes and supplements these traditional modes of behaviour. 
The two factors work together and for the same general 

There is, therefore, in tradition a further determining 
factor. Natural selection plays about it to fix a requisite 
function here, to eradicate what is unnecessary and non- 
useful there — in short, by its omnipresent operation on 
this character and on that, to perfect the individual for the 
most adapted life. 

It is here also that we touch upon the border line be- 
tween psychophysical evolution and social evolution, a line 
which we may not now cross. Suffice it to say that once 
the community of tradition is established and the fitness 

Intergenetic CoJicurrence 41 

of the individuals secured for a life in some degree of gre- 
garious habit, and we then find the great bend in the line. 
Progress from now on ushers in the dominance of mind in 
the modes of conscious organization which characterize 
social life and institutions. 

§ 3. Intergenetic Concurrence 

The third question, mentioned above as involved in a 
full statement of the problem of determination, is that of 
the relation of the determination of development to that 
of evolution ; that of the ' intergenetic ' relation of the two 
lines of progress, growth, and descent. 

We now find that the principles so far explained above, 
will, if they be true, afford an answer to this ques- 
tion also. The determination of the direction of evo- 
lution has been found to follow that of development. 
There is, therefore, in its great outline the ' concurrence ' 
which the theory of recapitulation supposes, and which 
it is reasonable to expect if the correlations already 1 men- 
tioned between the two series are actually realized. The 
determination of the individual's development is by a 
process of adjustment to a more or less stable environment. 
The evolution of the race is throughout, in its great 
features, a series of adaptations to the same bionomic 
conditions. Moreover, by the establishing of a tradition 
throughout the life history of the higher forms, there is 
set up a series of modes of behaviour to which, as we have 
seen, both development and evolution, by the operation 
of organic and natural selection, tend ever more approxi- 
mately to conform. The two movements are, therefore, 
' concurrent ' in a very well-defined sense. 

1 Cf. Chap. XIII. § 5, below. 

42 The Direction of Evolution 

The recognition of the essentially psychophysical na- 
ture of the evolution process becomes increasingly im- 
perative in the light of such a setting together of the 
subordinate problems in a single whole. We find as we 
advance a gradual shifting of the emphasis from the phys- 
ical to the mental. This is not only true in respect to 
the sort of utilities which ' fit ' variations subserve, but also 
in the very means of transmission itself. It is pointed out 
in the earlier work on Social and Ethical Interpretations 
that, as tradition advances, and with it a corresponding in- 
crease in the plasticity of the young who are educated in 
this tradition, social transmission comes directly to super- 
sede the physical transmission of particular functions. 
Social transmission, however, is a process quite distinct 
from physical heredity. It has laws of its own. 1 The dif- 
ference is so great that I have ventured to characterize 
social transmission as, in a sense, the means of the eman- 
cipation of mind from the limitations of biological prog- 
ress ; for by it there is secured a means of propagation 
of intelligent conduct without the negativing, swamping, 
and regressive effects of physical reproduction. Trans- 
mission by handing down, with imitative learning, is so 
different from transmission by physical heredity, that the 
series of conceptions which in the lower stages of evolu- 
tion hold for both body and mind together — where both 
are subject to the single law of congenital variation with 
natural selection — are no longer common to them, but 
a series of additional conceptions emerge which are com- 
parative principles principally in name. There are such 
differences in their operation in the two spheres respectively 

1 An attempt to work out certain of these laws is made in Chap. II. of the 
work just cited. 

Genetic Analogies 43 

that instead of calling them comparative principles, we 
may better denominate them 'analogies.' 

§ 4. Genetic Analogies 

Of the analogies drawn from organic evolution, which 
spring up to vex the soul of the investigator in genetic 
things in other fields, many are aspects of what is called 
the 'biological analogy,' until now so much exploited in 
the social sciences. Certain aspects of it are treated in the 
papers which follow, and in the second volume of this 
series referred to just above. For example, the 'struggle 
for existence' is shown below (Chap. XV.) to take on three 
quite different forms even in the animal world, where it 
is a factor of direct importance in connection with the 
operation of natural selection. In the same place, the facts 
of conscious 'competition' and 'rivalry' are compared with 
those of biological struggle, with the result that only under 
certain conditions do they even show analogy with strug- 
gle for existence in the sense principally employed by 
Darwin and Wallace — the struggle for food. So also, 
when we come to subject the conception of ' selection ' to a 
thorough analysis, we have distinctions to make which for- 
bid our using the biological conception in the mental and 
social spheres except under the very restricted limitation, 
namely, that the results of the selection in question nor- 
mally fall under the laws of physical reproduction and 
heredity for their conservation. Yet again, in the matter 
of conservation of type, with regression, where there is the 
question of the application of such a principle to mental 
transmission, we find that the mental products do not, in 
respect to their effectiveness for the future movement of 

44 The Direction of Evolution 

social evolution or development, follow such a law — that 
they follow, moreover, a very different and in no wise anal- 
ogous law. The greater the variation in tradition, — the idea 
of the genius, the protest of a reformer, the new formula- 
tion of a scientific truth, — the greater may be its effect ; 
while, by the law of biological regression, the great varia- 
tion, the sport, tends to be swamped by interbreeding, and 
the wider his departure from the mean the less his chance 
of impressing his characters upon posterity. The whole 
case is summed up in the statement made above, to the 
effect that social progress is no longer under the limitations 
set by physical heredity ; it is under the laws of mental 
process and organization. 1 

Some one may say, what is indeed quite true, 2 that this 
progress is after all due to the operation of natural selec- 
tion, whereby the necessary plasticity required for the 
mind was selected and fixed ; but such a statement alone 
would be quite inadequate as an explanation. For when 
so much is said, what is gained ? So far may we go in 
the interpretation from the side of the physical ; but the 
meaning, I submit, of evolution in this direction is not to 
be found on the side of plasticity but on the side of mind 
— the accommodations which are effected on the basis of 
the plasticity. We now, in short, recognize that wonder- 
ful endowment which is correlated with plasticity in the 
psychophysical whole. The emphasis in the interpreta- 
tion of the twofold fact is not upon the process of the 
physical, but upon the events which are taking place in 

1 See the remarks on history, and especially the criticism of Professor Karl 
Pearson, in Chap. XIX. § 7. 

2 Professor Osborn, however, one of the original advocates of organic selec- 
tion, does not admit that plasticity has been acquired through natural selec- 
tion ; see the American Naturalist, Nov. 1897, cited in Appendix A. 

P reformism a7id Accommodation 45 

the other aspect of the joint series. Hence we must draw 
directly upon the resources of that science, psychology, 
which makes the interpretation of the psychological move- 
ment its business. 

§ 5. Preformism and Accommodation 

There is here what seems to me to be a fundamental 
error in the general theory of preformism ; and I shall 
state the point in a form in which it answers also a criti- 
cism of organic selection. It is said that the accommoda- 
tions and modifications which are effected by the individual 
organism simply show the unfolding of what the congenital 
endowment of the creature has made possible ; conse- 
quently, that these accommodations are sufficiently ac- 
counted for by the natural selection of the congenital 
variations which contribute to this endowment, so that 
there is nothing really additional or new in a theory which 
emphasizes these modifications. 1 That this is a partial 
truth only it is easy to show. It becomes evident so soon 
as we come to see that the characters which the individual 
develops are a compound, as has been said above, of his 
hereditary impulses with the forces of his environment. 
If it were simply a matter of continued reproduction with- 
out determinate evolution from generation to generation, 
then it would make no difference what the individuals 
might undergo during their lives, provided the germ-plasm 
remained unaffected. But so soon as it becomes a question 
of descent with adaptations which are selected from a great 
many possible ones, in intergenetic correlation with the 
modifications of individuals, then the question as to which 

1 Cf. the remarks on the relation of organic to natural selection in Chap. 
VIII. § 7. 

4.6 The Direction of Evolution 

variations are to be perpetuated and accumulated can be 
answered only by undertaking an investigation of this 
correlation ; that is, by interpreting the actual accommoda- 
tions, intelligent and other, which the individuals make. 
The use made of the plasticity by the intelligence, there- 
fore, becomes the critically important thing for evolution 
theory, even though it assumes the presence of the plas- 
ticity itself. 

It may be said, indeed, quite truly, that this value of 
accommodation is implicit in the theory of natural selec- 
tion ; for, according to that theory, there is continued selec- 
tion of certain fit individuals, and their fitness may consist 
in their being plastic or ' accommodating.' This is es- 
pecially true of the theory of Roux, which makes use of 
what he calls 'the struggle of the parts,' and of Weis- 
mann's ' intra-selection ' theory. Yet still the qualifica- 
tions of the fit individuals are not given in their plasticity, 
but they arise o?ily in the course of development ; and they 
may take on many different forms. There may be alterna- 
tive ways in which the same plastic material or organism 
may adjust itself to the conditions of life. The same 
emergency may lead animals of common heredity and 
equal plasticity to make vital adjustments so different in 
kind that each may start a new line of evolutionary prog- 
ress. In fact, I think many cases of divergent evolution 
have actually begun in such a situation (cf. Chap. XIII. 
§ 2, 3). How, then, is it possible to say that both these 
differing lines of descent are equally accounted for by the 
same degree of plasticity in the individuals who are their 
common progenitors ? 

Suppose two creatures born with the same degree of 
plasticity in respect to a certain function, but with differ- 

P reformism and Accommodation 47 

ent correlations, or with differences in other characters 
which make their behaviour in effecting accommodations 
to the environment somewhat different. They adopt dif- 
ferent ways of using their plastic substance and both live, 
yet with considerable differences of habit and behaviour. 
These, if there be enough individuals of each sort, would 
carry on from generation to generation their respective 
habits of life ; tradition would spring up to set and confirm 
each group in its own way of life. And again there would 
be divergent or polytypic evolution as the result, although 
their original plasticity was the same. Here it is a ques- 
tion of the correlations of the plasticity, not merely the 
possession of it. In this case and the one just cited the 
actual development dominates evolution, not merely the pos- 
sible development. 1 I am not able, therefore, to see great 
force in the contention of the preformists when they claim 
that the recognition of the variation by which a function 
is made possible in development supplies a sufficient theory 
of the course of the development, and also of its results in 
determining evolution. 

All this is notably true in the matter of mind, and in 
evolution into which a strain of conscious accommodation 
has entered. Let us say, for instance, that the female bird 
has a certain capacity for preferential choice among possi- 
ble males. This means nothing, unless she actually makes 
a choice. Then the physical characters of the offspring 
vary according as this male or that is chosen, and these 
go down to posterity. It is the result which is the evolu- 
tion, and it is conditioned upon the use made of the endow- 

1 As Professor Poult on says, speaking of organic selection in general (see 
Appendix A), ' in this way natural selection would be compelled to act along a 
certain path ' — a strong and true statement. 

48 The Direction of Evolution 

ment. We might as well say that a man is the cause of 
all the follies of his wayward son because he begot the son, 
as to say that natural selection is responsible for — or is 
an adequate explanation of — the results which spring 
from the accommodations of an organism, simply on the 
ground that the plasticity of the organism has survived 
by natural selection. Or, to take a case which more truly 
depicts the function of natural selection, we might as 
well say that the mother of Moses and the daughter of 
Pharaoh were the essential factors in the production of that 
great lawgiver's work, inasmuch as they warded off the 
dangers which threatened his life. 1 But the endowments 
of Moses would have been quite ineffective, despite his sal- 
vation by the women, had not opportunities arisen for him 
to use his gifts. His actual performance is what counted 
in history ; and so it is with the humblest organism which 
accommodates itself to the environment, in so far as it 
makes effective contribution to the characters of the gen- 
erations which follow after it. 2 

1 Yet even this figure is allowing too much to natural selection, for the 
mother of Moses and the daughter of Pharaoh are, when considered as posi- 
tive agents, more analogous to the positive accommodations which fit the 
organism to survive ; it is these latter which save the creature's life. This 
case may suffice to show how impossible it is to put one's finger on any- 
thing positive to represent natural selection. Of course all will admit that the 
recognition of the actual facts and factors is the main thing — not the naming 
of them. Yet questions of the relative roles of the factors are important, both 
for interpretation and for the integrity of our logic. 

2 Professor James Ward, art. 'Psychology,' in the Ency. Brit, 9th. ed., was 
one of the earlier writers who pointed out that organisms act very positively in 
adjusting themselves to their environment, selecting and even changing their 
life conditions by their own acts. He called this ' subjective selection,' and 
he has developed in a later publication, Naturalism and Agnosticism, the pos- 
sible influence this might be expected to have on the future course of 
evolution, uniting with it, however, the theory of the inheritance of acquired 

P reformism and Accommodation 49 

Returning to our main subject, after this digression, we 
may emphasize the necessity, now so often pointed out, of 
taking up, wherever possible, the psychophysical point of 
view, and of recognizing, as of equal importance with the 
biological, those factors and processes which, it may be, the 
psychologist alone is able to describe. No better instance 
can be cited — in illustration of many of the considerations 
so far advanced — than the problem of the origin of instinct, 
of which certain phases are treated in the following pages. 




The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 1 

§ I. Professor Copes Table 

In a table in the Monzst, July 26, Professor Cope gives 
certain positions on points of evolution, in two con- 
trasted columns, as he conceives them to be held by the 
two groups of naturalists divided in regard to hered- 
ity into Preformists and the advocates of Epigenesis. 
The peculiarity of the Epigenesis column is that it in- 
cludes certain positions regarding consciousness, while the 
Preformist 2 column has nothing to say about conscious- 
ness. Being struck with this I wrote to Professor Cope 
— the more because the position ascribed to conscious- 
ness seemed to be the same, in the main, as that which 
the present writer has developed, from a psychological 
point of view, in the work on Mental Development. I 

1 From Science, Aug. 23, 1895 ( an informal communication). 

2 Preformism is the view of those who hold that the individual organism is 
' preformed ' in the germ and its development is in some way an unfolding of 
preformed parts. Epigenesis holds to a real growth or production of parts in 
the developing organism. Professor Cope holds with many Epigenesists that 
these newly acquired parts or functions are inherited (' Lamarckian ' heredity 
and evolution) ; and by the term ' Preformism ' he designates the opposed 
(Darwinian) view of heredity and evolution. The terms Lamarckism and 
Darwinism are used in the following pages to express this contrast. 


Professor Copes Table 


learn from him that the table (given herewith) is not new ; 
but was published in the ' annual volume of the Brooklyn 
Ethical Society in 1891 ' : and the view which it embodies 
is given in the chapter on ' Consciousness m Evolution,' 
in his work, The Origin of the Fittest (1887). 

1. Variations appear in definite 

2. Variations are caused by the 
interaction of the organic being 
and its environment. 

3. Acquired variations may be 

4. Variations survive directly 
as they are adapted to changing 
environments (natural selection). 

5. Movements of the organism 
are caused or directed by sensa- 
tion and other conscious states. 

6. Habitual movements are de- 
rived from conscious experience. 

7. The rational mind is de- 
veloped by experience through 
memory and classification. 

1. Variations are promiscuous 
or multifarious. 

2. Variations are ' congenital,' 
or are caused by mingling of male 
and female germ-plasms. 

3. Acquired variations cannot 
be inherited. 

4. Variations survive directly 
as they are adapted to changing 
environments (natural selection). 

5. Movements of the organism 
are not caused by sensation or 
conscious states, but are a sur- 
vival through natural selection 
from multifarious movements. 

6. Habitual movements are pro- 
duced by natural selection. 

7. The rational mind is de- 
veloped through natural selection 
from multifarious mental activities. 

Apart from the question of novelty in Professor Cope's 
positions — and that one should have supposed them so 
can only show that one had read hastily, not having 
earlier become acquainted with Professor Cope's views 
— I wish to point out that the placing of consciousness, 
as a factor in the evolution process, exclusively in the 
Lamarckian column, appears quite unjustified. It is not 
a question of a causal interchange between body and 
mind. It is not likely that any naturalist would hold to an 
injection of energy in any form into the natural processes, 

52 The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 

on the part of consciousness; though, of course, Profes- 
sor Cope himself can say whether such a construction is 
true in his case. 1 Many psychologists are about done with 
a view like that. The question at issue when we ask 
whether consciousness has had a part in the evolutionary 
process is really that as to whether we may say that the 
presence of consciousness — in the form say of sensations 
of pleasure and pain — with its correlative nervous or or- 
ganic processes, has been an essential factor in evolution ; 
and if so, further, whether its importance is because it is 
in alliance with the consciousness aspect that the organic 
aspect gets in its work. Or, to take a higher form of 
consciousness — does the memory of an object as having 
given pleasure modify the organism's reaction to that object 
the second time ? Such may be the case, even though it 
is only the physical basis of memory that has an efficient 
causal relation to the other organic processes of the animal. 
Conceiving of the function of consciousness, therefore, 
as in any case not that of a dens ex rnachina, the question 
at issue is whether it can have an essential place in 
the evolution process as the Darwinians construe that 
process. Professor Cope believes not. 2 I believe that the 
place of consciousness may be the same — and may be 
the essential place that Cope gives it in his left-hand 
column and which is given to it in Mental Development — 
on the Darwinian view. I have argued briefly for this 
indifference to the particular theory one holds of heredity, 
in the volume referred to, 3 reserving for later pages 
certain arguments in detail based upon the theory of the 

1 In a reply made to this paper by Professor Cope he declares for such a 
view {American Naturalist, April, 1896, p. 342) ; see the next Chapter. 

2 See his Primary Factors of Organic Evolution. 3 Chap. VII. 

Professor Copes Table 53 

individual's personal relation to his social environment. 
The main point involved, however, may be briefly sug- 
gested here, although, for the details of the influences 
now indicated, the other book may be again referred to 
(chapters on 'Suggestion' and 'Emotion'). 1 

The writer there traces in some detail what other writ- 
ers also have lately set in evidence, i.e., that in the child's 
personal development, his ontogenesis, his life history, he 
works out a faithful reproduction of his social conditions. 
He is, from childhood up, excessively receptive to social 
suggestion ; his entire learning is a process of conforming 
to social patterns. The essential to this, in his heredity, 
is very great plasticity, cerebral balance and equilibrium, 
a readiness to overflow into the new channels which his 
social environment dictates. He has to learn everything 
for himself, and in order to do this he must begin in a 
state of great plasticity and mobility. Now, my point, 
put briefly, is that these social lessons which he learns 
for himself take the place largely of the heredity of par- 
ticular paternal acquisitions. The father must have been 
plastic to learn, and this plasticity is, so far as the evi- 
dence goes, the nervous condition of consciousness ; thus 
the father learned, through his consciousness, from his 
social environment. The child does the same. What he 
inherits is the nervous plasticity and the consciousness. 
He learns particular acts for himself ; and what he learns 
is, in its main lines, what his father learned. So he is 
just as well off, the child of Darwinism, as if he were 
physical heir to the acquisitions which his father made. 
This process has been called ' Social Heredity,' seeing 
that the child really comes into possession of the details ; 

1 Also the later work, Social and Ethical Interpretations. 

54 The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 

but he comes by them socially, through this process of 
social growth, rather than by direct physical inheritance. 

To show this in a sketchy way, we may take the last 
three points which Professor Cope places under the La- 
marckian column, the points which involve consciousness, 
and show how indeed they may still be true for the Dar- 
winian if he avail himself of the resource offered by ' Social 

This is done rather from interest in the subject than with 
any wish to controvert Professor Cope ; and it may well be 
that his later statements may show that he is able to accept 
the argument. 1 

§ 2. The Origin of Adaptive Movements 

i. (5 of Cope's table.) ' Movements of the organism 
are caused or directed by sensation and other conscious 

The point at issue here between the advocates of the 
two views of evolution would be whether it is necessary 
that the child should inherit any of the particular conscious 
states, or their special nervous dispositions, which the parent 
acquired in his lifetime, in order to secure through them the 
performance of the same actions by the child. I should 
say, no ; and for the reason — additional to the usual argu- 
ments of the Darwinians — that 'Social Transmission' is 
sufficient to secure the result. All we have to find in the 
child is the high consciousness represented by the ten- 
dency to imitate socially and so to absorb social copies, 
together with the law widely recognized by psychologists 
under the name of dynamogenesis — i.e., that the thought 

1 In his reply, referred to above, Professor Cope fully accepts the fact called 
here ' Social Heredity.' 

The Origin of Adaptive Movements 55 

of a movement tends to discharge motor energy into the 
channels as near as may be to those necessary for that 
movement. 1 Given these two elements of endowment in 
the child, and he can learn anything that his father did, 
without inheriting any particular acts learned by the parent. 
And we must in any case give the child so much ; for the 
principle of dynamogenesis is a fundamental law in all 
organisms, and the tendency to learn by imitation, sugges- 
tion, etc., is present, as a matter of fact, with greater or 
less range, in man and in many other animals as well. 

The only apparent hindrance to the child's learning 
everything that his life in society requires would be just 
the thing that the advocates of Lamarckism argue for — the 
inheritance of acquired characters. For such inheritance 
would tend so to bind up the child's nervous substance in 
fixed forms that he would have less or possibly no plastic 
substance left to learn anything with. Such fixity occurs 
in the animals in which instinct is largely developed ; 
they have little power to learn anything new, just because 
their nervous systems are not in the mobile condition rep- 
resented by high consciousness. They have instinct and 
little else. Now, I think the Darwinian can account for 
instinct also, but that is beside the point; the point to be 
made now is that, if Lamarckism were true, we should all 
be, to the extent to which both parents perform the same 
acts (as, for example, speech) in the condition of the crea- 
tures who do only certain things and do them by instinct. 
It may well be asked of the Lamarckian : What is it that 
is peculiar about the strain of heredity of certain creatures 
that they should be so remarkably endowed with instincts ? 

1 Both of these requirements are worked out in detail in Mental Develop- 

56 The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 

Must he not say in substance that the nervous material of 
these creatures has been ' set ' in the creatures' ancestors ? 
Then why are not all constant functions thus set ? But the 
question of instinct is touched upon under the next point. 

2. (6 of Cope's table.) ' Habitual movements are de- 
rived from conscious experience.' This may mean move- 
ments habitual to the individual or to the species in question. 
If it refers to the individual it may be true on either doc- 
trine, provided we once get the child started on the move- 
ment — a point discussed in other connections. 1 If, on the 
other hand, habitual movements mean movements charac- 
teristic of species, we raise the question of race habits, best 
typified in instinct. Agreeing that many race habits arose 
as conscious functions in the first place, and making that 
our supposition, again we ask : Can one who believes it 
still be a Darwinian ? It would appear that he could. 
The problem set to the Darwinian would not in this case 
differ from that which he has to solve in accounting for 
evolution generally ; it would not be altered by the pos- 
tulate that consciousness is present in the individual. He 
may say that consciousness is a variation, and what the 
individual does by it follows from this variation. And 
then what later generations do through their consciousness 
is all given with the variations which they constitute on 
the earlier variations. 2 In other words, I do not see that 
the case is made any harder for the Darwinian by the pos- 
tulate that consciousness with its nervous correlate is a 
real factor. 

1 Chap. VII. § 3; Chap. VIII. § 6; Chap. IX. § 2; Chap. XVII. § 5. 

2 This is said by thorough-going preformists (Weismannists). But I think 
this case is much simplified by the hypothesis of ' organic selection ' (devel- 
oped in the following papers) of which the following paragraphs are a sum- 
mary statement (notably the lines now italicized). 

The Origin of Adaptive Movements 57 

Indeed, we may well go still further and say that the 
case is easier for him when we take into account the 
phenomenon of social heredity. In children, for example, 
there are great variations in mobility, plasticity, etc. — in 
short, in the ease of operation of social heredity as seen in 
the acquisition of particular functions. Children are noto- 
riously different in their aptitudes for acquiring speech, for 
example ; some learn faster, better, and more. Let us say 
that this is true in animal companies generally ; then 
the most plastic individuals will be preserved to do the 
advantageous things for which their variations show them 
to be the most fit. And the next generation will show an 
emphasis of just this direction in its variations. So the 
fact of social acquisition — the fact of acute use of conscious- 
ness in ontogeny — becomes an element in phylogeny, also, 
even on the Darwinian theory. 

Besides, when we remember that the permanence of a 
habit learned by one individual is largely conditioned by 
the learning of the same habits by others (notably of the 
opposite sex) in the same environment, we see that an 
enormous premium must have been put on variations of a 
social kind — those which brought different individuals into 
some kind of joint action or cooperation. Wherever this 
appeared, not only would habits be maintained, but new 
variations, having all the force of double hereditary ten- 
dency, might also be expected. But consciousness is, of 
course, the prime variation through which cooperation is 
secured. All of which means, if it be true, that the rise 
of consciousness is of direct help to the Darwinian in 
accounting for race habits — notably those which are in 
some degree gregarious, cooperative, or social. 

3. (7 of Cope's table.) ' The rational mind is developed 

58 The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 

by experience, through memory and classification.' This, 
too, is true, provided the term • classification ' has a mean- 
ing that psychologists agree to. So the question is again : 
Can the higher mental functions be evolved from the lower 
without calling in use-inheritance? So it seems. Here 
indeed it seems that the fact of social transmission is the 
main and controlling consideration. It is notorious how 
meagre the evidence is that a son inherits or has the pecul- 
iar mental traits of parents beyond those traits contained 
in the parents' own heredity. Galton has shown how rare 
a thing it is for artistic, literary, or other marked talent to 
maintain its strength in later generations. Instead, we find 
such endowments showing themselves in many individuals 
at about the same time, in the same communities, and under 
common social conditions. Groups of artists, musicians, 
literary men, appear together — as it were, a social out- 
burst. The presuppositions of genius — obscure as the sub- 
ject is — seem to be great power of learning or absorbing, 
marked gifts or proclivities of a personal kind which are 
not present in the parents but fall under the head of vari- 
ations ; and with these a social environment of high level 
in the direction of these variations. The details of the 
individual's development, inside of the general proclivity 
which he has, are determined by his social environment, 
not by his natural heredity. And no doubt the phylo- 
genetic origin of the higher mental functions — thought, 
self-consciousness, etc. — must have been similar. 1 

There is not any great amount of truth in the claim of 
Spencer that intellectual progress in the race requires the 
Lamarckian view. The level of culture in a community 

1 Detailed account of the social factors involved in the evolution of these 
higher faculties is attempted in the two earlier volumes of this series. 

The Origin of Adaptive Movements 59 

seems to be about as fixed a thing as moral qualities are 
capable of being, much more so than the level of individual 
endowment. This latter seems to be capricious or varia- 
ble, while the former proceeds by a regular movement and 
with a massive front. It would seem, therefore, that intel- 
lectual and moral progress is gradual improvement, through 
improved relationships on the part of the individuals to one 
another ; a matter of social accommodation, rather than of 
direct natural inheritance on the part of individuals. It is 
only a rare individual whose heredity enables him to break 
through the lines of social tissue and imprint his personality 
upon the social movement. And in that case the only 
explanation of him is that he is a variation, not that he 
inherited his intellectual or moral power. Furthermore, I 
think the actual growth of the individual in intellectual 
stature and moral attainment can be traced in the main to 
certain of the elements of his social milieu, allowing always 
a balance of variation in the direction in which he finally 

So strong does the case seem for the social heredity 
view in this matter of intellectual and moral progress that 
I may suggest an hypothesis which may not stand in court, 
but which seems interesting. May not the rise of the 
social life be justified from the point of view of a second 
utility in addition to that of its utility in the struggle for 
existence as ordinarily understood, the second utility, i.e., of 
giving to each generation the attainments of the past which 
physical heredity is inadequate to transmit ? Whether we 
admit Lamarckism or confine ourselves to Darwinism, I 
suppose we may safely accept Galton's law of Regres- 
sion and Weismann's principle of Panmixia in some form. 
Now as social life advances we find the beginning of the 

60 The Place of Consciousness in Evolution 

artificial selection of the unfit ; and so these negative prin- 
ciples begin to work directly in the teeth of progress, as 
many writers on social themes have recently made clear. 
This being the case, some other resource is necessary be- 
sides physical heredity. On my hypothesis it is found in 
the common social standards of attainment to which the 
individual is fitted to conform and to which he is com- 
pelled to submit. This secures progress in two ways : 
First, by making the individual learn what the race has 
learned, thus preventing social retrogression, in any case ; 
and second, by putting a direct premium on variations which 
are socially available. 

Under this general conception we may bring the bio- 
logical phenomena of infancy, with all their evolutionary 
significance : the great plasticity of the mammal infant as 
opposed to the highly developed instinctive equipment of 
other young ; the maternal care, instruction, and example 
during the period of helplessness; and the very gradual 
attainment of the activities of self-maintenance in condi- 
tions in which social activities are prominent or essential. 
All this stock of the evolution theory is available to confirm 
this view. 

And to finish where we began, all this is through that 
wonderful instrument of acquisition, consciousness ; for 
consciousness is the avenue of all social influences. 

Heredity and Instinct 1 

§ i. Romanes on Instinct 

In his able posthumous work on Post-Darwinian Ques- 
tions, Heredity and Utility, the lamented G. J. Romanes 
sums up the evidence for the inheritance of acquired char- 
acters in the final statement that only two valid arguments 
remain on the affirmative side ; and to each of these argu- 
ments he has devoted considerable space. One of these 
arguments is from what he calls ' selective value,' and the 
other from the ( co-adaptations ' found in the instincts of 
animals. He says (p. 141): 'Hence there remain only 
the arguments from selective value and co-adaptation.' If 
we take the instincts as illustrating the application of 
the principle of ' selective value as well,' we may gather the 
evidence which Romanes was disposed to cling to, for the 
inheritance of acquired characters, into a single net, and 
inquire as to the need of resorting to the Lamarckian factor 
in accounting for the origin of instinct. I wish to suggest 
some considerations from the psychological side, which 
seem to me entirely competent to remove the force of 
these two arguments, and to show to that extent that the 
instincts can be accounted for without appeal to the hypoth- 
esis of ■ lapsed intelligence,' as the use-inheritance theory, 

1 Discussion (revised) following Professor C. Lloyd Morgan before the New 
York Academy of Sciences, Jan. 31, 1896; from Science, March 26, 1896. 


62 Heredity and Instinct 

in its application to this problem of instinct, is called; 
in other words, to show that Darwin, Romanes, and the 
Neo-Lamarckians are not right in considering instinct as 
' inherited habit.' 

§ 2. Instinct and Lamarckism : Co-adaptation 

The argument from co-adaptation in the case of instinct 
requires the presence of some sort of intelligence in an ani- 
mal species, the point being that since the coordination 
of muscular movements found in the instincts are so co- 
adapted they could not have arisen by gradual variation. 
Partial adaptations tending in the direction of an instinct 
would not have been useful; and intelligence alone would 
suffice to bring about the coordinations which are too com- 
plex to be accounted for as spontaneous variations. These 
intelligent coordinations then become habits by repetition 
in the individual and show themselves in later generations 
as inherited habits due to 'lapsed intelligence.' Assum- 
ing, then, with Romanes — whom we may cite as a very 
recent upholder of the view — the existence of some intel- 
ligence in a species antecedently to the appearance of the 
instinct in question, we may be allowed that supposition 
and resource. 

I. But now let us ask how the intelligence brings about 
coordinations of muscular movement. The psychologist is 
obliged to reply : Only by a process of selection (through 
pleasure, pain, experience, association, etc.) from certain 
alternative complex movements which are already pos- 
sible to the individual animal. These possible combina- 
tions are already there, born with him, or resulting from 
his previous habits. The intelligence can never, by any 
possibility, create a new movement ; nor effect a new com- 

Instinct and Lamarckism : Co-adaptation 63 

bination of movements, if the apparatus had not been 
made already trained by actual use for the combination 
which is effected. 1 So far as there are modifications in 
the grouping, even these are very slight functional varia- 
tions from the uses already made of the muscles involved. 
This point is no longer subject to dispute ; for pathological 
cases show that unless some adequate idea of a former 
movement made by the same muscles, or some other idea 
which stands for it by association, can be brought up in 
mind, the intelligence is helpless. Otherwise it cannot 
only not make new movements ; it cannot even repeat 
old habitual movements. So we may say that intelligent 
adaptation does not create coordinations ; it only makes 
functional use of coordinations which were alternatively 
present already in the creature's equipment. 2 

Interpreting this in terms of congenital variations, we 
may say that the variations which the intelligence uses are 
alternative possibilities of muscular movement. But these 
are exactly the variations which instinct uses, except that 
in instinct they are not alternative. That this is so, 
indeed, lies at the basis of the claim that instinct is inher- 
ited habit. The real difference in the variation involved in 
the two cases is in the connections in the brain whereby in 

1 Professor Cope has understood this to mean that consciousness can 
select out or direct the combination. This is accomplished, in my opinion, by 
a process analogous to natural selection, i.e., the survival of useful movements 
from overproduced movements, a process called ' functional selection ' in 
Menial Development, formulated in an earlier paper, ' The Origin of Volition,' 
reprinted in Fragments in Philosophy \ and Science (1902); see also the 
references given, p. 56, note 1, above. 

2 When we strain our muscles to accomplish a new act of skill, we are 
aiming to use the apparatus in new ways by a selection from possible combi- 
nations; and even when we learn to use disused muscles, as those of the ear, 
we are only aiming to stir up possible connections not before actively used. 

64 Heredity and Instinct 

instinct the muscular coordination is brought into play 
directly by a sense stimulation ; while in intelligence it is 
brought into play indirectly, i.e., through association of 
brain processes, with selection of fortunate combinations. 
Now this difference in the central brain connections is, I 
submit, not at all a great one, relatively speaking, and 
it might well be due to spontaneous variations. The 
point of view which holds that great co-adaptations of the 
muscles have to be acquired all at once by the creature is 
quite mistaken. 

§ 3. Instinct and Lamarckism : * Selective Value ' 

The same class of considerations refutes the argument 
from ' selective value.' * This argument holds that the 
instinct could not have arisen by variations alone, with 
natural selection, since partial coordinations tending in the 
direction of the instinct would not have been useful ; so 
the creatures with such partial coordinations merely would 
have been killed off, and the instinct could never have 
reached maturity ; only variations which are of sufficient 
value or utility to be ' selective ' would be kept alive and 

But we see that the intelligence which is appealed to, to 
take the place of instinct and to give rise to it, uses just 
these partial variations which tend in the direction of the 
instinct ; so the intelligence supplements such partial coor- 
dinations, makes them functional, and so keeps the creature 
alive. This prevents the 'incidence of natural selection,' 
to use a phrase of Professor Lloyd Morgan's. So the sup- 
position that intelligence is operative turns out to be just 

1 In my opinion ' selective value ' is equivalent simply to * utility ' : any 
amount of utility is 'selective.' 

Social Transmission and Instinct 65 

the supposition which makes the use-hypothesis unneces- 
sary. Thus kept alive, the species has all the time necessary 
to perfect the variations required by a complete instinct. 1 
And when we bear in mind that the variation required is, 
as was shown above, not on the muscular side to any great 
extent, but in the central brain connections, and is a slight 
variation for functional purposes at the best, the hypothesis 
of use-inheritance becomes, to my mind, not only unneces- 
sary, but quite superfluous. 

§ 4. Social Transmission and Instinct 

II. There is also another great resource open to the 
Darwinian in this matter of instinct ; also a psychological 
resource. Weismann and others have shown that the 
influence of animal intercourse, seen in maternal instruc- 
tion, imitation, gregarious cooperation, etc., is very impor- 
tant. Wallace dwells upon the actual facts which illustrate 
the ' imitative factor,' as we may call it, in the personal 
development of young animals. It is argued above that 
Spencer and others are in error in holding that social 
progress demands the use-inheritance hypothesis; 2 since 
the socially-acquired actions of a species, notably man, are 
socially handed down, giving a sort of ' social transmission ' 
which supplements physical heredity. And when we 
come to inquire into the actual mechanism of imitation 
on the part of a young animal, we find much the same sort 
of function involved as in intelligent adaptation. The 
impulse to imitate requires the ability to act out for him- 

1 Italicized in this reprinting (as is done in the preceding paper) as antici- 
pating the full statement of the theory of * Organic Selection ' later on. 

8 Cf. Science, Aug. 23, 1895, the preceding paper; summarized in Nature, 
Vol LIL, 1895, P- 62 7- 


66 Heredity and Instinct 

self certain of the actions which the animal sees, to make 
the sounds which he hears, etc. Now this involves con- 
nections of the centres of sight, hearing, etc., with certain 
muscular coordinations. If he have not the coordinations, 
he cannot imitate ; just as we saw above is the case with 
intelligence, if the creature have not the function ready, 
he cannot perform it intelligently. Imitation differs from 
intelligence in being a general form of coordinated adapta- 
tion, while intelligence involves a series of special forms. 1 
But both make use of the apparatus of coordinated move- 
ment. So we find, as an actual fact generally agreed upon, 
that by imitation the little animal picks up directly the 
example, instruction, mode of life, etc., of his private 
family circle and of his species. 2 This, then, enables him to 
use effectively, for the purposes of his life, the coordina- 
tions which become instincts later on in the life of the 
species ; and again we have here two points which directly 
tend to neutralize the arguments of Romanes from ' selec- 
tive value' and 'co-adaptation.' The co-adaptations may 
be held to be gradually acquired, since the coordinations 
of a partial kind are utilized by the imitative functions 
before they become instinctive. And the law of ' selective 
value ' does not get application, since the imitative func- 
tions, by using these muscular coordinations, supplement 
them, secure accommodations, keep the creature alive, prevent 
tlie l incidence of natural selection,' and so give the species 
all the time necessary to get the variations required for the 
full instinctive performance of the function. 

1 That they are really the same in type and origin is argued in detail in 
the work Mental Development. 

2 Largely along the line of his native impulses, as recent researches have 
shown (1902). 

Social Transmission and Instinct 67 

III. These positions are illustrated in a very fortunate 
way by the interesting cases reported by Professor LI. Mor- 
gan in his instructive discussion. He cites the beautiful 
observation that his young chicks had the instinct to 
drink by throwing their heads up in the air, etc., but that 
it came into action only after they had the taste 2 of water 
by accident or by imitating the old fowl. As LI. Morgan 
says, the ' incidence of natural selection ' is prevented by 
imitation or instruction or intelligent adaptation (in cases 
where experience is required). So, in this instance, 
the instinct of drinking, which only goes so far as a 
connection of certain muscular coordinations with the 
sense of taste (wet bill) is made effective for the life inter- 
ests of the chick. Thus kept alive the species has plenty of 
time — in case it should be necessary — to get a connection 
established also between the sight centre and the same 
coordination of movements ; so that future chicks may be 
born with a capacity for drinking when water is seen only, 
without waiting for instruction, a fortunate accident, or an 
example to imitate. So we may imagine creatures, whose 
hands were used for holding on with the thumb and 
fingers on the same side of the object held, to have first 
discovered, under stress of circumstances and with varia- 
tions which permitted the further adaptation, how to make 
intelligent use of the thumb for grasping opposite to the 
fingers, as we now do. Then, let us suppose that this 
proved of such utility that all the young that did not do it 
were killed off ; the next generation following would be 
intelligent or imitative enough to do it also. They would 

1 Or other form of stimulation from getting the bill wet (this in view of a 
later discussion, as to just what the stimulation is, in Science) — reprinted by 
Mills in Nature and Development of Animal Intelligence, pp. 277 ff. 

68 Heredity and Instinct 

use the same coordinations intelligently or imitatively, 
prevent natural selection getting into operation, and so 
instinctive ' thumb -grasping' might be waited for indefi- 
nitely by the species and then arise by accumulated vari- 
ation, altogether apart from use-inheritance. 

We may say, therefore, that there are two great kinds 
of influence, each in a sense hereditary : there is physical 
heredity by which variations are congenitally transmitted 
with original endowment, and there is ' social heredity ' by 
which functions socially acquired (i.e., imitatively, covering 
all the conscious acquisitions made through intercourse 
with other animals) are socially transmitted. The one 
is phylogenetic ; the other, ontogenetic. But these two 
lines of transmission are not separate nor are they un- 
influential on each other. Congenital variations, on the 
one hand, are kept alive and made effective by their con- 
scious use for intelligent and imitative accommodations in 
the life of the individual ; and, on the other hand, intelligent 
and imitative accommodations become congenital by further 
progress and refinement of variation in the same lines of 
function as those which their acquisition by the individual 
called into play. But there is no need in either case to 
assume the Lamarckian factor. 

The intelligence holds a remarkable place in each of 
these categories. It is itself, as we have seen, a con- 
genital variation ; but it is also the great agent of the 
individual's personal accommodations both to the physical 
and to the social environment. 

The emphasis, however, of the first of these two lines 
of transmission gives prominence to instinct in animal 
species, and that of the other to the intelligent and social 
cooperation which goes on to be human. The former 

Instinct and Intelligence 69 

represents a tendency to brain variation in the direction 
of fixed connections between certain sense-centres and 
certain groups of coordinated muscles. This tendency is 
embodied in the white matter and the lower brain centres. 
The other represents a tendency to variation in the direc- 
tion of alternative possibilities of connection of the brain 
centres with the same or similar coordinated muscular 
groups. This tendency is embodied in the cortex of the 
hemispheres. I have cited ' thumb-grasping ' because we 
may see in the child the anticipation, by intelligence and 
imitation, of the use of the thumb for the adaptation 
which the simian probably gets by instinct or accident, 
and which I think an isolated and weak-minded child, say, 
would also come to acquire by instinct or accident when 
his apparatus became sufficiently matured. 

§5. Instinct and Intelligence 

IV. Finally there are two general bearings of the 
position taken above regarding the place and function of 
intelligence and imitation which may be briefly noted. 

1. We reach a point of view which gives to organic 
evolution a sort of intelligent direction after all ; for of all 
the variations tending in the direction of an instinct, but 
inadequate to its complete performance, only those will be 
supplemented and kept alive which the intelligence ratifies 
and uses for the animals individual accommodations . The 
principle of selection applies strictly to the others or to some 
of them. So natural selection eliminates the others ; and 
the future development of instinct must at each stage of a 
species' evolution be in the directions thus ratified by intel- 
ligence. So also with imitation. Only those imitative 

yo Heredity and Instinct 

actions of a creature which are useful to him will survive 
in the species ; for in so far as he imitates actions which 
are injurious, he will aid natural selection in killing himself 
off. So intelligence, and the imitation which copies it, 
will set the direction of the development of the complex 
instincts even on the Darwinian theory ; and in this sense 
we may say that consciousness is a 'factor' without resort- 
ing to the vague postulates of ' self-adaptation,' ' growth- 
force,' 'will-effort,' etc., which have become so common of 
late among the advocates of the new vitalism. 

2. The same consideration may give the reason in part 
that instincts are so often coterminous with the limits of 
species. Similar creatures find similar uses for their 
intelligence, and they also find the same imitative actions 
to be to their advantage. So the interaction of these 
conscious factors with natural selection brings it about 
that the structural definition which characterizes species, 
and the functional definition which characterizes instinct, 
largely keep to the same lines. 

Heredity and Instinct (II.) 1 

In the preceding chapter I argued from certain psycho- 
logical truths for the position that two general principles 
recently urged by Romanes for the Lamarckian, or ' inher- 
ited habit,' view of the origin of instincts do not really sup- 
port that doctrine. These two principles are those cited by 
Romanes under the phrases respectively ' co-adaptation ' 
and 'selective value.' In the case of complex instincts 
these two arguments really amount to but one, so long as 
we are talking about the origin of instinct. And the one 
argument is this : that partial co-adaptations in the direc- 
tion of an instinct are not of selective value ; hence instinct 
could not have arisen by gradual partial co-adaptive varia- 
tions, but must have been acquired by intelligence and 
then inherited. This general position is dealt with in the 
earlier chapter. 

It will be remembered, however, that the force of the refu- 
tation of the Lamarckian's argument on this point depends 
on the assumption, made in common with him, that some 
degree of intelligence or imitative faculty is present before 
the completion of the instinct in question. To deny this is, 
of course, to deny the contention that instinct is ' lapsed 
intelligence,' or ' inherited habit.' To assume it, however, 
opens the way for certain further questions, which I may now 
take up briefly, citing Romanes by preference as before. 

1 Conclusion of the preceding paper, printed separately in Science, April 
10, 1896. 


72 Heredity and Instinct 

§ i. Duplicated Functions 

I. The argument from ' selective value ' has a further 
and very interesting application by Romanes. He uses 
the very fact upon which the argument in the earlier 
pages is based to get further support for the inheritance 
of habits. The fact is this, that intelligence may perform 
the same acts that instinct does. So granting, he argues, 
that the intelligent performance of these acts comes first 
in the species' history, this intelligent performance of the 
actions serves all the purposes of utility which are claimed 
for the instinctive doing of the same actions. If this be 
true, then variations which would secure the instinctive 
performance of these actions do not have selective value, 
and so the species would not acquire them by the opera- 
tion of natural selection. By the Lamarckian theory, how- 
ever, he concludes, the habits of intelligent action give 
rise to instincts for the performance of the same actions 
which are already intelligently performed, the duplicate 
functions often existing side by side in the same creature. 1 

This is an ingenious turn, and raises new questions of 
fact. Several things come to mind in the way of comment. 

First. It rests evidently on the state of things required 
by my earlier argument against the Lamarckian claim 
that co-adaptation could not have been gradually acquired 
by variation ; the state of things which shows the intelli- 
gence preventing the ' incidence of natural selection ' by 
supplementing partial co-adaptation. Romanes now as- 
sumes that intelligence prevents the operation of natural 
selection on further variations, and so rules out the origin 

1 Op. cit., pp. 74-81. 

Duplicated Functions 73 

of instinct through that agency ; or, put differently, that 
actions which are of selective value when performed intelli- 
gently are not afterwards of selective value when performed 
instinctively. But this seems in a measure to contradict 
the argument which is based on co-adaptations (examined 
in the earlier pages), i.e., that instincts could not have 
arisen by way of partial co-adaptations at all. In other 
words, the argument from ' co-adaptations ' asserts that the 
partial co-adaptations are not preserved, being useless ; that 
from selective value asserts that they are preserved and, 
with the intelligence thrown in, are so useful as to be of 
selective value. We have seen that the latter position is 
probably the true one ; but that the inheritance of acquired 
characters is then, through this union of variation with 
intelligence, made unnecessary. 

Second. Assuming the existence side by side in the 
same creature of the ability to do intelligently certain 
things that he also does instinctively, it is extraordinary 
that Romanes should then say that the instinctive reflexes 
have no utility additional to that of the intelligent per- 
formance. On the contrary, the two sorts of performance 
of the same action are of very different and each of extreme 
utility. Reflex actions are quicker, more direct, less 
variable, less subject to inhibition, more deep-seated or- 
ganically, and thus less liable to derangement. Intelligent 
actions — the same actions in kind — are, besides the points 
of opposition indicated, and by reason of them, more 
adaptable. Then there is the remarkable difference that 
intelligent actions are centrally stimulated, while reflex 
actions are peripherally stimulated. We cannot go into all 
these differences here ; but the case may be made strong 
enough by citing certain divergencies between the two 

74 Heredity and Instinct 

sorts of performance, with illustrations which show their 
separate utilities. 

1. Reflex and instinctive actions are less subject to 
derangement. Emotion, shock, temporary ailment, hesita- 
tion, aboulia, lack of information, etc., may paralyze the 
intelligence ; and instinct and reflex action may keep the 
creature alive in the meantime. What keeps dogs alive, 
and able to meet the demands made upon them, after 
extended ablation of the brain cortex ? 

2. Reflexes are quicker. Suppose instead of winking 
reflexly when a foreign body approaches the eye, I waited 
to see whether it was near enough to be dangerous, or 
even shut my eye as quickly as I could ; I should join the 
ranks of the blind in short order. 

3. Reflex actions are more deep-seated, and arose ge- 
netically first. What keeps the infant alive and in touch 
with his environment before the voluntary fibres are de- 
veloped ? This genetic utility alone would seem critical 
enough to justify most of the genuine reflexes of the 
organism, — supplemented, of course, in the human case, 
by the mother ! 

4. Intelligent actions are centrally stimulated. This 
means that brain processes release the energy which goes 
out in movement, and that something earlier must stimu- 
late the brain processes. This something is association in 
some shape between present stimulating agencies in the en- 
vironment and memories with pleasures or pains. In other 
words, certain central processes intervene between the 
outside stimulus and the release of the energies of move- 
ment. In reflexes, however, no such central influence 
intervenes. The stimulus in the environment passes 
directly — is reflected — into the motor apparatus. Hence 

Duplicated Functions 75 

the reflex is more direct, undeviating, invariable, sure. 
For example, research has recently proved that involun- 
tary movements may be produced in a variety of normal 
circumstances, and in hysterical subjects, when the stimu- 
lation is too weak, or intermittent, or unimportant, to be 
perceived at all. 

5. Experiments show that the energies of the two are 
not quantitatively the same. Mosso and Waller have 
shown that the muscles do work under electric stimulation 
after being quite exhausted for voluntary action, and vice 
versa. There may be exchanges of energy between the 
two circuits involved, and this may give the animal in- 
creased force in this reaction or that. 

6. The intelligence could not attend to the necessary 
functions of life without the aid of reflexes — to say nothing 
of the luxuries of acquisition. So not to have the reflexes 
would prevent the growth of the intelligence. For exam- 
ple, suppose we had to walk, wink, breathe, swallow, brush 
away flies and mosquitoes, etc., all by voluntary attention 
to the details and all at the same time. While chasing 
flies we should forget to breathe ! And when should we 
have a moment's time to think ? In this line it is in order 
to cite the experiments made on 'distraction,' which show 
that most of the common adaptations of life can go on by 
reflex and subconscious processes while the intelligence 
is otherwise occupied. 1 

7. Attention and voluntary intermeddling with reflex 
and instinctive functions tend to destroy their efficiency, 
bringing confusion and all kinds of disturbance. 

The foregoing are all psychological facts, and more 
might be added showing that instinct has its own great 

1 See Binet, Alterations of Personality, Part II., Chap. V. (Eng. trans.). 

j 6 Heredity and Instinct 

utility even when the intelligence may perform the same 
actions in its own fashion. So it remains in each case to 
find out this utility and appraise it, before we say that it 
is not a reason for survival. It would seem that reflexes 
are of supreme importance and value ; and if so, then 
natural selection may be appealed to, to account for 
them. So about all that remains of this argument of 
Romanes is the contribution which it makes to the refuta- 
tion of his other one — from co-adaptations. The assump- 
tion of intelligence disposes of both the arguments, for 
the intelligence supplements slight co-adaptations and so 
makes them effective and useful ; but it does not keep 
them from serving other utilities, as instincts, reflexes, 
etc., by further variation. 

§ 2. Reflexes and Imitation 

II. There is still another very interesting question also 
to be settled by fact. Romanes and others cite simple 
reflexes as well as complex instincts as giving illustrations 
of the application of the principle of * inherited habit ' or 
'lapsed intelligence'; and the cases which Romanes lays 
great stress on are the reflex actions of man's withdrawal 
of the leg from irritation to the soles, and the brainless 
frog's balancing himself. 1 The Neo-Lamarckian theory 
requires the assumption of intelligence for all of these. 
I have shown that granting the intelligence, that is just 
the assumption which in many cases enables us to discard 
the Lamarckian factor. But we may ask : Is the intelli- 
gence necessary for all reflexes ? 

The question is too involved for treatment here; but 

1 Passage cited above from Romanes. 

Reflexes and Imitation Jj 

the assumption that intelligence is necessary in any sense 
which makes the conscious voluntary performance of the 
action always precede the reflex performance in evolution 
is difficult to defend. For all that we know of the brain 
seat of voluntary intelligence, of the use of means to ends, 
etc., indicates that such action is dependent upon the pres- 
ence of the great mass of organic reflex processes which go 
on below the cortex. Complex associative processes must 
be genetically (and phylogenetically) later than the simple 
reflex processes, which, as has been intimated above, they 

But the more liberal definition of intelligence, which 
makes it include all kinds of conscious processes — the 
assumption of intelligence being that simply of con- 
scious process of some kind — that is a different matter. 
This supposition seems to be necessary on either theory 
of instinct, as is argued above ; for if we do not assume it, 
then natural selection is inadequate, as say Romanes and 
Cope ; but if we do assume it, then the inheritance of 
acquired characters is unnecessary. On this simpler defi- 
nition of intelligence, however, we find certain states 
of consciousness, of which imitation is the most promi- 
nent example, serving nature a turn in the matter of 

On this wider definition of intelligence the difference 
between intelligent {e.g., imitative) action and instinctive 
reflex action is much greater than that pointed out in 
detail above between voluntary and reflex action. A word 
to show this may be allowed here, since it makes yet 
stronger the case against the special argument from selec- 
tive fitness, which this paper set out to examine. 

The differences between imitative action and reflex or 

j 8 Heredity and Instinct 

instinctive action are not just those which we have found 
between voluntary and reflex actions. Imitation seems to 
be a native impulse ; and in so far it seems to be, like the 
instincts, stimulated from the periphery. But it has a 
further point of differentiation from the special instincts 
and reflexes in that it is what has been called a ' circular ' 
reaction, i.e., it tends to reproduce its stimulus again, — 
the movement seen, the sound heard, etc. There is always 
a certain comparability or similarity, in a case of conscious 
imitation, between the thing imitated and the imitator's 
result ; and the imitation is unmistakably real in propor- 
tion as this similarity is real. We may say, therefore, that 
consciously imitative actions are confined to those certain 
channels of discharge with produce results comparable with 
the 'copy' which is imitated. 

But the special instincts and reflexes are not so. They 
show the greatest variety of arrangement between the 
stimulus and the movement which results from it — arrange- 
ments which have grown up under the law of survival. They 
represent, therefore, special utilities which direct conscious 
imitation in each case, by the individual creature, does 
not secure ; while conscious imitation represents a general 
utility more akin to that which we have found in volun- 
tary intelligence. 

If this be so, then we have to say that conscious imita- 
tion, while it prevents the incidence of natural selection, as 
has been seen, and so keeps alive the creatures which have 
no instincts for the performance of the actions required, 
nevertheless does not subserve the utilities which the 
special instincts do, nor prevent them from having the 
survival value of which Romanes speaks. Accordingly, 
on the more general definition of intelligence, which 

Reflexes and Imitation 79 

includes in it all conscious imitation, use of maternal 
instruction, and that sort of thing (the vehicle of ' social 
transmission') — no less than on the more special defini- 
tion spoken of above — we still find the principle of 
natural selection operative in the production of instincts 
and reflexes. 1 

1 This and the two preceding papers in Science (and in this work) are 
not intended as more than preliminary statements of results thrown into the 
form of criticisms of particular views {i.e., Romanes' and Cope's). It is for 
this reason that further reference is not made to the literature of the subject. 


Physical Heredity and Social Transmission 1 

The main question at issue is the relation of conscious- 
ness or intelligence to heredity, another matter, that of 
the relation of consciousness to the brain, being so purely 
speculative that it is merely touched upon at the end of 
this discussion. 

Professor Cope 2 says : ' There is no way short of super- 
natural revelation by which mental education can be accom- 
plished other than by contact with the environment through 
sense-impressions, and by transmission of the results to sub- 
sequent generations. The injection of consciousness into 
the process does not alter the case, but adds a factor which 
necessitates the progressive character of evolution.' Both 
of these sentences may be accepted, except the assertion 
of transmission by means of Lamarckian inheritance, which 
the presence of consciousness seems to render unnecessary. 
Using the more neutral word ' conservation ' instead of 
'transmission,' I may refer to three points on which Pro- 
fessor Cope criticises my views : first, the conservation 
of intelligent acquisitions from generation to generation ; 
second, ' the progressive character of evolution ' ; and 
third, ' mental education ' or acquisition. 

1 From the American Naturalist, May, 1896, p. 422 ; in formal reply to 
Professor Cope. 

2 American Naturalist, April, 1896, p. 343. 


The Transmission of Intelligent Acquisitions 81 

§ I. The Transmission of Intelligent Acquisitions 

First, accepting the statement of the fact of mental acqui- 
sition or ' selection through pleasure, pain, experience, asso- 
ciation, etc.' (on which, see third below), Professor Cope 
cites the second paper (Science, March 20), in which I 
hold that consciousness makes acquisitions of new move- 
ments by such selections. He then says — if so, then I 
admit the Lamarckian factor. But not at all; it is just 
the point of the article to refute Romanes by showing that 
adaptation by intelligent selection makes the Lamarckian 
factor unnecessary. And in this way, i.e., this sort of adapta- 
tion on the part of a creature keeps that creature alive by 
supplementing his reflex and instinctive actions, so prevents 
the operation of natural selection in his case, and gives the 
species time to get congenital variations in the lines that 
have thus proved to be useful (see cases cited). 1 Further- 
more, all the resources of ' social transmission ' — the hand- 
ing down of intelligent acquisitions by parental instruction, 
imitation, gregarious life, etc. — come in directly to take 
the place of the physical inheritance of such adaptations. 
This influence Professor Cope, it is good to see, admits ; 
although in admitting it, he does not seem to see that he 
is practically throwing away the Lamarckian factor. For 
instead of limiting this influence to human progress, we 
have to extend it to all animals with gregarious and family 
life, to all creatures that have any ability to imitate, and 
finally to all animals which have consciousness sufficient 
to enable them to make conscious adaptations themselves ; 
for such creatures will have children able to do the same, 
and it is unnecessary to say that the children must inherit 

1 Italics in the original paper. 

82 Physical Heredity and Social Transmission 

what their fathers did by intelligence, when they can do the 
same things by their own intelligence. As a matter of fact, 
Professor Cope is exactly the biologist to whose Lamarck- 
ism this admission is, so far as I can see, absolutely fatal ; 
for he more than many others holds that accommodations all 
through the biological scale are secured by consciousness. 1 
If so, then he is just the man who is obliged to extend to 
the utmost the possibility of the transmission also of these 
accommodations by means of intelligence, which, it appears, 
rules out the need of their transmission by physical heredity. 
At any rate, he is quite incorrect in saying that 'he [I] 
both admits and denies Lamarckism.' 

To this form of argument Professor Cope appears to pre- 
sent no objection except one drawn from analogy. He says : 
' 1 do not see how promiscuous variation and natural selec- 
tion alone can result in progressive psychic evolution more 
than in structural evolution, since the former is conditioned 
by the latter.' As to the word 'progressive,' that question 
is taken up below ; but as to the analogy with structural 
evolution, two answers come to mind. In the first place, 
Professor Cope is one of the biologists who hold that all 
structural evolution is secured by direct conscious accom- 
modations. He says : ' Mind determines movements, and 
movements have determined structure or form.' If this be 
true, how can psychic be conditioned by structural evolu- 
tion ? Would not rather the structural changes depend 
upon the psychic ability of the creature to effect accommo- 
dations ? And then, second, at this point Professor Cope 
assumes the Lamarckian factor in structural evolution. 
Later on he makes the same assumption when he says : 

1 And in this he is no doubt right ; see Chapters VII. and IX. of Mental 

The Transmission of Intelligent Acquisitions 83 

1 But since the biologists have generally repudiated Weis- 
mannism,' etc. If this means Darwinism, my impression 
is that even on the purely biological side, the tendency is 
the other way. Lloyd Morgan has pretty well come over ; 
Romanes took back before he died many of his arguments 
in favour of the Lamarckian factor ; and quite recently 
a paleontologist, Professor Osborn, — if he is correctly re- 
ported in Science, April 3, 1896, p. 530, — argues against 
Professor Cope on this very point with very much the 
same sort of argument as this which is made here. 1 Yet 
Professor Cope will agree with me that this sort of argu- 
mentum ex autoritate is not very convincing. 

But Professor Cope goes on to say that I ' both admit 
and deny Weismannism ' ; on the ground that ' his [my] 
denial of inheritance only covers the case of psychological 
sports.' But the connection is not evident. If Professor 
Cope means denial of the inheritance of acquired charac- 
ters, then it is denied equally of sports and of other crea- 
tures; but it is not denied that the native 'sportness' (!) of 
sports tends to be transmitted. In my view the ' mas- 
siveness of front ' which social progress shows (and which 
Professor Cope accepts), shows that in social transmission 
the individual is usually swamped in the general movement, 

1 Since this was written Professor Osborn has read a paper which confirms 
the statement of the text. Professor Osborn's expression * ontogenic vari- 
ations ' i.e., those brought out by ' environment (which includes all the 
atmospheric, chemical, nutritive, motor, and psychical circumstances under 
which the animal is reared) ' seems to make these adaptations after all 
constitutional. As Professor Osborn says, this will not do for all cases ; and 
I think it will not do for instinct, where constitutional variations without the 
aid of consciousness would not suffice (as Romanes says) to keep the animal 
alive while correlated variations were being perfected. But it seems to 
answer perfectly where intelligent or other accommodations supplement the 
constitutional variations in the species. See Appendix A, I. 

84 Physical Heredity and Social Transmission 

as the individual sport is in biological progress. As a 
matter of fact, however, the analogy from * sports ' which 
Professor Cope makes does not strictly hold. For the 
social sport, the genius, is sometimes just the controlling 
factor in social evolution. And this is another proof that 
the means of transmission of intelligent adaptations is not 
physical heredity alone, but that they are socially handed 
down. It is difficult to see what Professor Cope means 
by saying that I ' admit and deny Weismannism,' for I 
have never discussed Weismannism at all. I believe in 
the Neo-Darwinian position plus some way of finding why 
variations count in what seem to be determinate directions ; 
and for this latter the way now suggested appears better 
than the Lamarckian way. With many of the biologists 
(e.g.. Professor Minot) I see no proof of Weismannism 
(and protest mildly against being sorted with Mr. Benjamin 
Kidd!); yet I have no competence for such purely bio- 
logical speculations as those which deal in plasms ! 

§ 2. Progressive Evolution 

Second, the question as to how evolution can be made 
'progressive.' Professor Cope thinks only by the theory 
of ' lapsed intelligence ' or ' inherited habit ' ; for admitting 
that the intelligence makes selections, then they must be 
inherited, in order that the progress of evolution may set the 
way the intelligence selects. But suppose we admit intelli- 
gent selection (even in the way Professor Cope believes), 
still there are two influences at work to keep the direction 
which the intelligence selects apart from the supposed 
direct inheritance. There is that of social handing down by 
tradition, etc., the social transmission which has been above 
spoken of; and besides there is the survival by natural 

The Selective Process in Accommodation 85 

selection of those creatures having variations which 
intelligence can use. This puts a premium on these varia- 
tions and their intelligent use in following generations. 
Suppose, for instance, a set of young animals some of 
which have variations which intelligence can use for a 
particular adaptation, thus keeping these individuals alive, 
while the others which have not these variations die off ; 
then the next generation will not only have the same vari- 
ations which intelligence can use in the same way, but will 
also have the intelligence to use the variations in the same 
way, and the result will be about the same as if the second 
generation had inherited the adaptatiojis directly. The 
direction of the intelligent selection will be preserved in 
future generations. I think it is a good feature of Pro- 
fessor Cope's theory that he emphasizes the intelligent 
direction of evolution, and especially that he does it by 
appealing to the conscious accommodations of the creatures 
themselves ; but just by so doing he destroys the need of 
the Lamarckian factor. Natural selection eliminates all 
the creatures which have not the intelligence and the vari- 
ations which the intelligence can use ; those are kept alive 
which have both the intelligence and the variations. They 
use their intelligence just as their fathers did, and besides 
get new intelligent accommodations, thus aiding progress 
again by further intelligent selection. What more is 
needed for progressive evolution ? 1 

§ 3. The Selective Process in Accommodation 

Third. We come now to the third point, — the method 
of intelligent selection, — and on this point Professor Cope 

1 I keep to ' intelligent ' accommodations here ; but the same principle 
applies to all adjustments made in individual development. 

86 Physical Heredity and Social Transmission 

does not understand my position, I think. I differ from him 
both in the psychology of voluntary accommodations of 
movement and in the view that consciousness is a sort of 
force directing brain currents in one way or another (for 
nothing short of a force could release or direct brain cur- 
rents). The principle of dynamogenesis was cited in this 
form, i.e., 'the thought of a movement tends to discharge 
motor energy into the channels as near as may be to those 
necessary for that movement' (above p. 55-56). This prin- 
ciple covers two facts. First, that no movement can be 
voluntarily carried out which has not itself been performed 
before and left traces of some sort in memory. These traces 
must come up in mind when its performance is again in- 
tended. 1 And second (and in consequence of this), that no 
act, whatever, can be performed by consciousness by will- 
ing movements which have never been performed before. 
It follows that we cannot say that consciousness, by select- 
ing new adjustments beforehand, can make the muscles 
perform them. The most that many recent psychologists 
are inclined to claim is that by the attention one or other 
of alternative movements which have been performed 
before (or combinations of them) may be performed again ; 
in other words, selection is among old alternative move- 
ments. But this is not what Professor Cope seems to 
mean, nor what his theory requires. His theory requires 
the acquisition of new movements, new accommodations to 

1 This is formulated in the principle of ' Kinesthetic Equivalents,' defined 
in the writer's Did. of Philos. and Psychol, as follows : ' any mental content 
of the kinaesthetic order [i.e., representing earlier experiences of movement] 
which is adequate to secure the voluntary performance of a movement. . . . 
The term equivalent is recommended to sum up the formulation that unless a 
kinesthetic content "equivalent" to a movement be reinstated in conscious- 
ness the voluntary performance of that movement is impossible.' 

The Selective Process in Accommodation 8j 

environment, by a conscious selection beforehand of certain 
movements which are then and for the first time carried out 
by the muscles} 

It may very justly be asked : If his view be not true, 
how then can new movements which are adaptive, ever be 
learned at all ? This is one of the most important ques- 
tions, in my view, both for biologists and for psycholo- 
gists; and the recent work on Mental Development is, in 
its theoretical portion (Chap. VII. ff.), devoted mainly to 
it, i.e., the problem of ontogcnic accommodation. We cannot 
go into details here, but it may suffice to say that Spencer 
(and Bain after him) laid out what seems to be, with cer- 
tain modifications urged in that work, the only theory which 
can stand in court. Its main thought is this, that all new 
movements which are adaptive or ' fit ' are selected from 
overproduced movements, or movement variations, just as 
organisms are selected from overproduced variations by the 
natural selection of those which are fit. This process, thus 
conceived, is there called ' functional selection,' a phrase 
which emphasizes the fact that it is the organism which 
secures from all its overproduced movements those which 
are adaptive and beneficial. The part which the intelli- 
gence plays 'through pleasure, pain, 2 experience, associ- 
ation,' etc., is to concentrate the energies of movement upon 
the limb or system of muscles to be used and to hold the 
adaptive movement, ' select ' it, when it has once been 
struck. In the higher forms of mind both the concentra- 
tion and the selection are felt as acts of attention. 

1 ' Conscious states do have a causal relation to the other organic pro- 
cesses.' I do not find, however, that Professor Cope has made clear just how 
in his opinion the ' selection ' by consciousness works. 

2 The role of pleasure and pain, in regulating the discharges by a ' circular 
reaction,' is spoken of below, Chap. VIII. § 6. 

88 Physical Heredity and Social Transmission 

Such a view extends the application of the general 
principle of selection through fitness to the activities of 
the organism. After years of study and experiment with 
children, etc., devoted to this problem, the writer is con- 
vinced that this ' functional selection ' bears much the same 
relation to the doctrine of the special creation of ontogenic 
accommodations by consciousness which Professor Cope is 
reviving, that the Darwinian theory of natural selection 
bears to the special creation theory of the phylogenetic 
adaptations of species. The facts which Spencer called 
' heightened discharge ' are capable of formulation of the 
principle of ' motor excess ' : ' the accommodation of an 
organism to a new stimulation is secured — not by the 
selection of this stimulation beforehand (nor of the neces- 
sary movements) — but by the reinstatement of it by a 
discharge of the energies of the organism, concentrated, as 
far as may be, for the excessive stimulation of the organs 
(muscles, etc.), most nearly fitted by former habit to get 
this stimulation again,' x in which the word * stimulation ' 
stands for the condition favourable to adjustment. After 
several trials, with grotesquely excessive movements, the 
child, for example, gets the accommodation aimed at, more 
and more perfectly, and the accompanying excessive and 
useless movements fall away. This is the kind of ' selec- 
ting ' that consciousness does in its acquisition of new 
movements. And how the results of it are conserved from 
generation to generation, without the Lamarckian factor, 
has been spoken of above. 

Finally, a word merely of the relation of consciousness 
to the energies of the brain. It is clear that this doctrine 

1 Mental Development, p. 179. Spencer and Bain hold that the selection 
is of purely chance adjustments among spontaneous movements. 

The Selective Process in Accommodation 89 

of selection as applied to muscular movement does away 
with all necessity for holding that consciousness even 
directs brain energy. The need of such direction seems 
to me to be as artificial as Darwin's principle showed the 
need of special creation to be for the teleological adapta- 
tions of the different species. This necessity of supposed 
directive agency done away in this case as in that, the 
question of the relation of consciousness to the brain 
becomes a metaphysical one — just as that of teleology in 
nature became a metaphysical one — and science can get 
along without asking it. 1 And biological as well as psy- 
chological science should be glad that it is so. 

We may add in closing that of the three headings of 
this note only the last (third) is based on matters of per- 
sonal opinion ; the other two rest on Professor Cope's 
own presuppositions — that of intelligent selection in his 
sense of the term, and that of the bearing of social hered- 
ity (which he admits) upon Lamarckism. 

1 See the remarks on this question, below, Chap. IX. § 3. 

A Factor in Evolution : Organic Selection * 

In several recent publications 2 some considerations are 
developed from different points of view, which tend to 
bring out a certain influence at work in organic evolution 
which we may venture to call a 'factor.' The object of 
the present paper is to gather into one sketch an outline 
of the view of the process of evolution which these 
different publications have hinged upon. 

The problems involved in a theory of organic evolution 
may be gathered up under three great heads : Ontogeny 
or the individual's development, Phylogeny or the evolu- 
tion of species, and Heredity. The general consideration, 
the ' factor ' which it is proposed to bring out, is operative 
in the first instance, in the field of Ontogeny ; I shall con- 
sequently speak first of the problem of Ontogeny ; then of 
that of Phylogeny, in so far as the topic dealt with makes 
it necessary ; then of that of Heredity, under the same 
limitation ; and finally, give some definitions and con- 

1 From the America?t Naturalist, June and July, 1896, article entitled 'A 
New Factor in Evolution.' Slightly revised as to terminology mainly, in 
accordance with the recommendations of the biological authorities of the 
writer's Dictionary of Philosophy {sub verbis). 

2 Preceding papers in this work. This essay was written to gather together 
the various points of view of the earlier papers, hence the frequent quotations 
from them. 


Ontogenic Agencies 91 

§ 1. Ontogenic Agencies 

Ontogeny. — The series of facts which investigation in 
this field has to deal with are those of the individual 
creature's development, and two sorts of facts may be 
distinguished from the point of view of the functions which 
an organism performs in the course of its life history. 
There is, in the first place, the development of his 
hereditary impulse, the unfolding of its heredity in the 
forms and functions which characterize its kind, together 
with the congenital variations which characterize the par- 
ticular individual — the variations peculiar and constitu- 
tional to him — and there is, in the second place, the series 
of functions, acts, etc., which he learns for himself in the 
course of his life. All of these latter, the special modifica- 
tions which an organism ztndergoes during its ontogeny, 
thrown together, have been called 'acquired characters,' 
and we may use that expression or adopt one recently 
suggested by Osborn, 1 ' ontogenic variations ' (except that 
I should prefer the form ' ontogenetic variations') if the 
word ' variations ' seems appropriate at all. 2 

Assuming that there are such new or modified functions, 
in the first instance, and such ' acquired characters ' aris- 

1 Reported in Science, April 3 ; also used by him before the New York 
Academy of Science, April 13. There is some confusion between the two 
terminations, 'genie' and 'genetic' I think the proper distinction is that 
which reserves the former, ' genie,' for application in cases in which the word 
to which it is affixed qualifies a term used actively, while the other, ' genetic,' 
conveys similarly a passive signification; thus agencies, causes, influences, 
etc., are 'ontogenic, phylogenic, etc.,' while effects, consequences, etc., are 
' ontogenetic, phylogenetic, etc' On terminology, see, however, the short 
paper reprinted below as Chap. XI. § 1. 

2 As it does not. The term modification, used above, is also given this mean- 
ing by Lloyd Morgan (Habit and Instinct, 1897) an d is now widely adopted. 

92 A Factor in Evolution 

ing by 'use and disuse' from these new functions, our 
further question is about them. And the question is this : 
How does an organism come to be modified during its life 
history ? 

In answer to this question we find that there are three 
different sorts of ontogenic agencies which should be dis- 
tinguished — each of which works to produce ontogenetic 
modifications or accommodations. These are : first, the 
physical agencies and influences in the environment which 
work upon the organism to produce modifications of its 
form and functions. They include all chemical agents, 
strains, contacts, hinderances to growth, temperature 
changes, etc. So far as these forces work changes in 
the organism, the changes may be considered largely 
'fortuitous ' or accidental. 1 Considering the nature of the 
forces which produce them, I propose to call these modifi- 
cations ' physico-genetic' Spencer's theory of ontogenetic 
development rests largely upon the occurrence of lucky 
movements brought out by such accidental influences. 

Second, there is a class of modifications, in addition 
to those mentioned, which arise from the spontaneous 
activities of the organism itself in the carrying out of its 
normal life-functions. These modifications and adjust- 
ments are seen to a remarkable extent in plants, in uni- 
cellular creatures, in very young children. There seem 
to be a readiness and a capacity on the part of the organ- 
ism to 'rise to the occasion,' as it were, and make gain 
out of the circumstances of its life. The facts have been 
put in evidence (for plants) by Henslow, Pfeffer, Sachs ; 
(for micro-organisms) by Binet, Bunge ; (in human pathol- 

1 That is, so far as any direct provision for them is found in the economy 

of the organism's growth. 

Ontogenic Agencies 93 

ogy) by Bernheim, Janet ; (in children) among others by 
the present writer (in Mental Development, Chap. IX., 
with citations ; see also Orr, Theory of Development, 
Chap. IV.). These changes I propose to call ' neuro- 
genetic/ laying emphasis on what is called by Romanes, 
LI. Morgan, and others the ' selective property ' of the 
nervous system, and of life generally. 

Third, there is the great and remarkable series of ac- 
commodations secured by conscious agency, which we may 
throw together as ' psycho-genetic' The processes involved 
here are all classed broadly under the term ' intelligent,' 
e.g., imitation, gregarious habits, parental instruction, the 
lessons of pleasure and pain and of experience generally, 
reasoning from means to ends, etc. 

We reach, therefore, the following scheme : — 

Ontogenetic Modifications Ontogenic Agencies 

1. Physico-genetic I. Mechanical. 

2. Neurogenetic 2. Nervous. 

3. Psycho-genetic 3. Intelligent. 

Pleasure and pain. 

Higher mental processes. 
(Association of Ideas, 

Now it is evident that there are two very distinct ques- 
tions which come up as soon as we admit modifications 
of function and of structure in ontogenetic development ; 
especially if these are considered with reference to the 
larger problem of evolution. 

First, there is the question as to how these modifications 
can become adaptive in the life of the individual creature ; 

94 A Factor in Evolution 

or, in other words : What is the method of the individual's 
growth and accommodation as shown in the well-known 
effects of ' use and disuse ' ? Looked at functionally, we 
see that the organism manages somehow to accommodate 
itself to conditions which are favourable, to repeat move- 
ments which are fortunate, and so to grow by the principle 
of use. This involves some sort of selection, from the 
actual modes of behaviour of certain modes — certain func- 
tions, etc. Certain other possible and actual functions 
and structures decay from disuse. Whatever the method 
of doing this may be, we may simply, at this point, claim 
the law of use and disuse, as applicable in ontogenetic 
development, and apply the phrase, ' Functional Selec- 
tion,' 1 to the organism's behaviour in acquiring new modes 
or modifications of adaptive function with its influence 
on structure. The question of the method of functional 
selection is taken up below (§6, this chapter); here we 
simply assume what every one admits in some form, that 
such adjustments of function — ' accommodations' we shall 
henceforth call them, the processes of learning new move- 
ments, etc. — do occur. We then reach another question, 
second : What place have these accommodations in the 
general theory of evolution ? 

§ 2. Effects of Individual Accommodation on Development 

In the first instance, we may note the results in the 
creature's own private life and development. 

1 Now understood from the earlier pages. In the original paper, the term 
' Organic Selection ' was used (see note at foot of page 96) to include the 
individual's functional accommodations, but later on the term was restricted 
as in what follows. 

Individual Accommodation on Development 95 

I. By securing adjustments, accommodations, in special 
circumstances, the creature is kept alive. This is true in 
all the spheres of modification distinguished in the table 
above. The creatures which can stand the 'storm and 
stress ' of the physical influences of the environment, 
and of the changes which occur in these influences by 
undergoing modifications of tJieir congenital functions or 
of the structures which are constitutional to them — these 
creatures will live ; while those which cannot will not live. 
In the sphere of neuro-genetic modification we find a 
superb series of adjustments made by lower as well as 
higher organisms during the course of their development 
(see citations in Mental Development, Chap. IX. ; the work 
of Davenport, Experimental Morphology, is devoted largely 
to this subject). And in the highest sphere, that of in- 
telligence (including the phenomena of consciousness of 
all kinds, experience of pleasure and pain, imitation, etc.), 
we find individual accommodations on the extended scale 
which culminates in the skilful performances of human 
volition, invention, etc. The progress of the child in all 
the learning processes which lead him on to be a man 
illustrates this higher form of personal accommodation. 

AH these instances are associated in the higher organ- 
isms, and all of them unite to keep the creature alive. 
Passing on to consider an indirect effect of this, we find a 
very striking consequence. 

2. By this means those congenital or phylogenetic varia- 
tions are kept in existence which lend themselves to intelli- 
gent, imitative, adaptive, or mechanical modification dtiring 
the lifetime of the creatures which have them. Other con- 
genital variations are not thus kept in existence. So 
there arises a more or less widespread series of modifica- 

q5 A Factor in Evolution 

tions in each generation's development} in which the con- 
genital and the acquired unite to produce a definite or 
determinate direction of change. Those individuals in 
which this union of the two factors does not occur 
are — apart from other possible reasons for survival — 
incapable of maintaining the struggle for existence, and 

are eliminated. 

The further applications of the principle lead us over 
into the field of our second question, that of phylogeny or 

§ 3. Effects of Individual Accommodation on Evolution 

Phylogeny: A. Physical Heredity.— The question of 
phylogenetic descent considered apart, in so far as may 
be from that of heredity, is the question as to what the 
factors really are which show themselves in evolutionary 
progress from generation to generation. The most impor- 

i«It is necessary to consider further how certain reactions of one single 
organism can be selected so as to adapt the organism better and grve it a Ufe 
hSory. Let us at the ontset call this process -Organm Selectron ' m con 
trast with the Natural Selection of whole orgamsms. . . . If this (natura 
selection) worked alone, every change in the environment would weed out all 
He except those organisms which by accidental variation reacted already m 
the way demanded by the changed conditions- in every case new orgamsms 

showing variations, not, in any case, new elements of hfe h.story m the old 
organisms. In order to the latter we should have to . some 
modification of the old reactions in an organism through d>< ; mnuenc< , of 
new conditions. ... We are, accordingly, left to the new that the new 
stimulations brought by changes in the environment themselves modify the 
reactions of an organism. ... The facts show that md.vdual orgamsms do 
acquire new adaptations in their lifetime, and that .s our first problem If in 
solving it we find a principle which may also serve as a pnncple of race- 
development (evolution), then we may possibly use .t agamst the all- 
suffitnTy of natural selection' or in its support" Rental *«***»«* 
* ei , p p. I75 -„6)- quoted as an early statement (.895) of the essenhal 
idea involved in this chapter. Cf. also p. 158, below. 

Individual Accommodation on Evolution 97 

tant series of facts recently brought to light are those 
which show what is called ' determinate evolution ' from 
one generation to another. This has been insisted on by 
the paleontologists. Of the two current theories of hered- 
ity, Neo-Lamarckism, — by means of its principle of the 
inheritance of acquired characters, — has been better able 
to account for this fact of determinate phylogenetic change. 
Weismann admits the inadequacy of the principle of 
natural selection, as operative on rival organisms, to 
explain variations when they are wanted, or, as he puts 
it, 'the right variations in the right place' (Monist, Janu- 
ary, 1896). 

It is argued in the preceding pages, that the determinate 
modifications of function in ontogenesis, brought about by 
neuro-genetic and psycho-genetic accommodation, do away 
with the need of appealing to the Lamarckian factor. In 
the case, e.g., of instincts, ' if we do not assume con- 
sciousness, then natural selection is inadequate; if we 
do assume consciousness, then the inheritance of acquired 
characters is unnecessary ' (from an earlier page). ' The in- 
telligence which is appealed to, to take the place of instinct 
and to give rise to it, uses just those partial variations 
which tend in the direction of the instinct ; thus the intelli- 
gence supplements such partial coordinations, makes them 
functional, and so keeps the creattire alive. This prevents 
the 'incidence of natural selection.' So the supposition 
that intelligence is operative turns out to be just the sup- 
position which makes use-inheritance unnecessary. Thus 
kept alive, the species has all the time necessary to per- 
fect the variations required by a complete instinct. And 
when we bear in mind that the variation required is not 
on the muscular side to any great extent, but in the cen- 


q8 A Factor in Evolution 

tral brain connections, and is a slight variation for func- 
tional purposes at the best, the hypothesis of use-inheri- 
tance becomes not only unnecessary, but to my mind quite 
superfluous' (above, Chap. V.). For adaptations gener- 
ally, ' the most plastic individuals will be preserved to do 
the advantageous things for which their variations show 
them to be the most fit, and the next generation will show 
an emphasis of just this direction in its variations ' (from 
an earlier page). 

We get, therefore, the principle, that individual accom- 
modations may keep a species afloat with certain results 
in the sphere of phylogeny — the whole constituting the 
principle of Organic Selection. 

i . It results that there arise by survival certain lines of 
determinate 1 phylogenetic change in the directions of the de- 
terminate ontogenetic accommodations of the earlier genera- 
tions. The variations which have been utilized for onto- 
genetic accommodation in the earlier generations, being 
thus kept in existence, are utilized more widely in the sub- 
sequent generations. ' Congenital variations, on the one 
hand, are kept alive and made effective by their use for 
adjustments in the life of the individual ; and, on the other 
hand, adaptations become congenital by further progress 
and refinement of variation in the same lines of function 
as those which their acquisition by the individual called 
into play. But there is no need in either case to assume 
the Lamarckian factor ' (from an earlier page). In cases of 
conscious adaptation : ' We reach a point of view which 
gives to organic evolution a sort of intelligent direction 

i The phrase ' determinate change ' here is merely descriptive, meaning 
change in lines which keep to a definite direction. See the further discussion 
of the term ' determinate' below, Chap. XII. § I. 

Individual Accommodation on Evolution 99 

after all ; for of all the variations tending in the direction 
of an adaptation, but inadequate to its complete per- 
formance, only those will be supplemented and kept alive 
which the intelligence ratifies and uses. The principle of 
selective utility applies to the others or to some of them. 
So natural selection kills off the others ; and the future 
development at each stage of a species' evolution must be 
in the directions thus ratified by intelligence. So also with 
imitation. Only those imitative actions of a creature 
which are useful to him will survive in the species, for in 
so far as he imitates actions which are injurious, he will 
aid natural selection in killing himself off. So intelligence, 
and the imitation which copies it, will set the direction of 
the development of the complex instincts even on the 
Darwinian theory ; and in this sense we may say that 
consciousness is a factor.' 

2. The mean of phylogenetic variations being thus made 
more determinate, further phylogenetic variations follow 
about this mean, and these variations are again utilized 
in the process of ontogenetic accommodation. So there is 
continual phylogenetic progress in the directions set by 
ontogenetic accommodation. 'The intelligence supple- 
ments slight co-adaptations and so gives them selective 
utility ; but it does not keep them from getting further 
selective utility as instincts, reflexes, etc., by further varia- 
tion' (from an earlier page). 'The imitative function, by 
using muscular coordinations, supplements them, secures 
accommodations, keeps the creature alive, prevents the inci- 
dence of natural selection, and so gives the species all the 
time necessary to get the variations required for the full 
instinctive performance of the function ' (from an earlier 
page). 'Conscious imitation, while it prevents the incidence 

ioo A Factor in Evolution 

of natural selection, as has been seen, and so keeps alive 
the creatures which have no instincts for the performance 
of the actions required, nevertheless does not subserve the 
utilities which the special instincts do, nor prevent them 
from having the selective value of which Romanes speaks. 
Accordingly, on the more general definition of intelligence, 
which includes in it all conscious imitation, use of parental 
instruction, and that sort of thing, — no less than on the 
more special definition, — we still find the principle of 
natural selection operative ' (from an earlier page). 

3. This completely disposes of the Lamarckian factor so 
far as two lines of evidence for it are concerned. First : 
the evidence drawn from function, 'use and disuse,' is 
discredited, since by organic selection the reappearance, 
in subsequent generations, of the modifications first secured 
in ontogenesis, is accounted for without the inheritance 
of acquired characters. So also the evidence drawn from 
paleontology, which cites progressive variations in the same 
lines as resting on functional use and disuse. Second : 
the evidence drawn from the appearance of ' determinate 
variations ' ; for by our principle we have the continued 
selection and preservation of variations in definite lines in 
phylogeny without the inheritance of acquired characters. 

4. But this is not preformism in the old sense ; si?ice the 
accommodations made in ontogenetic development, which 
* set' the direction of evolution, are novelties of function in 
whole or part (although they utilize congenital variations of 
structure). It is often by the exercise of novel functions 
that the creatures are kept alive to propagate and thus to 
produce further variations of structure which may in time 
make the whole function, with its adequate structure, con- 
genital. Romanes' arguments from 'partial co-adaptations' 

Individual Accommodation on Evohition 101 

and 'selective value,' seem to hold in the case of reflex and 
instinctive functions (see Chap. V., above), as against the 
old preformist or strictly Weismannist view ; but the oper- 
ation of organic selection, as now explained, renders these 
objections ineffective when urged in support of Lamarck- 
ism. ' We may imagine creatures, whose hands were 
used for holding only with the thumb and fingers on the 
same side of the object held, to have first discovered, 
under stress of circumstances and with variations which 
permitted the further adjustment, how to make use of the 
thumb for grasping opposite to the fingers, as we now do. 
Then let us suppose that this proved of such utility that 
all the young that did not do it were killed off ; the next 
generation following would be plastic, intelligent, or imi- 
tative enough to do it also. They would use the same 
coordinations and prevent natural selection getting its 
work in upon them ; and so instinctive " thumb-grasping " 
might be waited for indefinitely by the species and then 
be got as an instinct altogether apart from use-inheri- 
tance ' (from an earlier page). 1 

5. It seems to the writer — though he hardly dares venture 
into a field belonging so strictly to the technical biologist 
— that this principle might not only explain many cases of 
apparent widespread ' determinate variations ' appearing 
suddenly, let us say, in fossil deposits, but the fact that vari- 
ations seem often to be 'discontinuous? Suppose, for ex- 
ample, certain animals, varying in respect to a certain 
quality from a to n about a mean x. The mean x would 
be the case most likely to be preserved in fossil form, see- 
ing that there are vastly more of them. Now suppose a 

1 Interesting cases of the operation of this principle have since been 
cited ; cf. the extract from Headley, in Appendix B. 

102 A Factor in Evolution 

sweeping change in the environment, of such a kind that 
only the variations lying near the extreme n can accommo- 
date to it and live to reproduce. The next generation would 
then show variations about the mean 71. And the chances 
of fossils from this generation, and the subsequent ones, 
would be of creatures approximating n. Here would be a 
great discontinuity in the chain of descent and also a wide- 
spread prevalence of variations seeming to be in a single 
direction. This seems especially likely when we consider 
that the paleontologist does not deal with successive gen- 
erations, but with widely remote periods, and the smallest 
lapse of time which he can take cognizance of is long 
enough to give the new mean of variation, n, a lot of gen- 
erations in which to multiply and deposit its representative 
fossils. Of course this would be only the action of natural 
selection upon * preformed ' variations in those cases which 
did not involve positive changes, in structure and function, 
acquired in ontogenesis; but in so far as such ontogenetic 
accommodations were actually at hand, the extent of 
difference of the /z-mean from the ;r-mean would be 
greater, and hence the resources of explanation, both of 
the sudden prevalence of the new type and of its dis- 
continuity from the earlier, would be much increased. 
This additional resource is due to the organic selection 
factor. 1 

We seem to be able also to utilize all the evidence 
usually cited for the functional origin of specific characters 
and groupings of characters. So far as the Lamarckians 
have a strong case here, it remains as strong if organic 
selection be substituted for the 'inheritance of acquired 

1 A synopsis of the applications of this principle is given below, in Chap. 

Tradition 103 

characters.' This is especially true where intelligent and 
imitative adaptations are involved, as in the case of in- 
stinct. This ' may give the reason, e.g., that instincts are 
so often coterminous with the limits of species. Similar 
creatures find similar uses for their intelligence, and 
they also find the same imitative actions to be to their 
advantage. So the interaction of these conscious factors 
with natural selection brings it about that the structural 
definition which represents species, and the functional defi- 
nition which represents instinct, largely keep to the same 
lines ' (from an earlier page). 

6. It seems proper, therefore, to call the principle of 
organic selection ' a new factor ' ; for it gives a method, 
hitherto undeveloped, of accounting for the parallelism 
between the progressive gains of evolution and the con- 
tinued accommodations of individuals. The ontogenetic 
modifications are really new, not preformed nor guaranteed 
in the variations with which the individtial is born ; and 
they really recur in succeeding generations, although not 
physically inherited. 

§ 4. Tradition 1 

B. Social Transmission. — There follows also another 
resource in the matter of evolution. In all the higher 
reaches of development we find certain cooperative or 
1 social ' processes which directly supplement or add to the 
individual's private accommodations. In the lower forms 
it is called gregariousness, in man sociality, and in the 
lowest creatures, except plants, there are suggestions of a 
sort of recognition and responsive action between creatures 

1 This term has come into general use since this was written to designate 
what is transmitted socially, but not physically : see below, Chap. XI. § I. 

I0 4 A Factor in Evolution 

of the same species and in the same habitat. In all these 
cases it is evident that other living creatures constitute 
part of the environment of each, and many neuro-genetic 
and psycho-genetic accommodations have reference to or 
involve these other creatures. It is here that the principle 
of imitation gets very great significance ; intelligence and 
volition come in also later on ; and in human affairs we 
find social cooperation. Now it is evident that when 
young creatures have these imitative, intelligent, or quasi- 
social tendencies to any extent, they are able to pick up, 
for themselves, by imitation, instruction, experience gen- 
erally, the functions which their parents and other crea- 
tures perform in their presence. This, then, is a form of 
ontogenetic accommodation ; it aids to keep these crea- 
tures alive, and so to produce definite change in the way 
explained above. It is, therefore, a special, and from 
its wide range an extremely important, instance of the 
operation of the general principle of organic selection. 

But it has further value: it keeps alive a series of 
functions which either are not yet, or never do become, con- 
genital at all. It is a means of extra-organic transmission 
from generation to generation. It is analogous to physical 
heredity because (i) it is a handing down of acquired 
physical functions, while yet not by physical reproduction. 
And (2) it directly influences physical heredity in the way 
mentioned, i.e., it keeps certain variations alive, thus sets 
the direction of ontogenetic accommodation, thereby in- 
fluences the direction of the available congenital variations 
of the next generation, and so determines phylogenetic 
evolution. It is accordingly called Social Heredity above, 
(Chap. IV. ; see also the volumes cited, particularly Social 
and Ethical Interpretations, Chap. II.). 

Tradition 105 

In social heredity, therefore, we have a more or less 
conservative, progressive atmosphere of which I think 
certain further remarks may be made. 

1. It secures adaptations of individuals all through the 
animal world. ' Instead of limiting this influence to 
human life, we have to extend it to all the gregarious 
animals, to all the creatures that have any ability to 
imitate, and finally to all animals who have consciousness 
sufficient to enable them to make adjustments of their 
own ; for such creatures will have young that can do the 
same, and it is unnecessary to say that the children must 
inherit what their fathers did by intelligence, when they 
can do the same things by their own intelligence ' (from an 
earlier page). 

2. It tends to set the direction of progress in evolution, 
not only giving the young the adaptations which the 
adults already have, but also producing adjustments which 
depend upon social cooperation ; thus variations in tJie 
direction of sociality are selected and survive. ' When we 
remember that the permanence of a habit learned by one 
individual is largely conditioned by the learning of the 
same habits by others (notably of the opposite sex) in the 
same environment, we see that an enormous premium 
must have been put on variations of a social kind — those 
which brought different individuals into some kind of joint 
action or cooperation. Wherever this appeared, not only 
would habits be maintained, but new variations, having 
all the force of double hereditary tendency, might also 
be expected' (from an earlier page). Why is it that a 
legitimate race of mulattoes does not arise and possess 
the Southern states ? Is it not the social repugnance to 
black-white marriages ? Remove or reverse this influence of 

106 A Factor in Evolution 

education, imitation, etc., and the result on physical descent 
would show in our faces, and even appear in our fossils 
when they are dug up long hence by the paleontologists of 
succeeding aeons ! 

3. In man it becomes the law of social evolution. 
" Weismann and others have shown that the influence of 
animal intercourse, seen in parental instruction, imitation, 
gregarious cooperation, etc., is very important. Wallace 
dwells upon the actual facts which illustrate the 'imitative 
factor,' as we may call it, in the personal development of 
young animals. It has been argued that Spencer and 
others are in error in holding that social progress demands 
use-inheritance, since the socially acquired actions of a 
species, notably man, are socially handed down, giving 
a sort of ' social transmission ' which supplements natural 
heredity " (from an earlier page). The social ' sport,' the 
genius, is often the controlling factor in social evolution. 
He not only sets the direction of future progress, but he 
may actually lift society at a bound up to a new standard 
of attainment. 1 

§ 5. Concurrent Determination 

The two ways of securing development in determi- 
nate directions — the purely extra-organic way of social 
transmission, and the way by which organic selection in 
general (both by social and by other ontogenetic accom- 
modations) secures the fixing of congenital variations, as 
described above — seem to run parallel. 2 Their conjoint 

1 The reader may consult the special developments in the work just cited. 

2 In Social and Ethical Interpretations, §§ 33 ff., an effort is made to 
show in detail that the ordinary antithesis between ' nature and nurture,' 
endowment and education, is largely artificial, since the two are in the main 
concurrent in direction. 

Concurrejit Determination 107 

influence is seen most interestingly in the complex in- 
stincts. We find in some instincts completely reflex or 
congenital functions which are accounted for by organic 
selection. In other instincts we find only partial coordi- 
nations given ready-made by heredity, and the creature 
actually depending upon some conscious resource (imita- 
tion, instruction, etc.) to bring the instinct into actual 
operation. But as we come up in the line of evolution, 
both processes may be present for the same function ; the 
intelligence of the creature may lead him to do consciously 
what he also does instinctively. In these cases the addi- 
tional utility gained by the double performance accounts 
for the duplication. It has arisen either (1) by the accu- 
mulation of congenital variations in creatures which 
already performed the action by individual accommoda- 
tion and handed it down socially, or (2) the reverse. In 
the animals, the social transmission seems to be mainly 
useful as enabling a species to get instincts slowly by evo- 
lution in definite directions, the operation of natural selec- 
tion being kept off. Social heredity is the lesser factor ; 
it serves physical heredity. But in man, we find the re- 
verse. Social transmission is the important factor, and the 
congenital equipment of instincts is actually broken up 
in order to allow the plasticity which the human being's 
social, learning necessitates his having. So in all cases 
both factors are present, but in a sort of inverse ratio to 
each other. In the words of Preyer, 'the more kinds of 
coordinated movement an animal brings into the world, 
the fewer is he able to learn afterward.' The child is the 
animal that inherits the smallest number of congenital 
coordinations, but he is the one that learns the greatest 

108 A Factor in Evolution 

* It is very probable, as far as the early life of the child 
may be taken as indicating the factors of evolution, that 
the main function of consciousness is to enable him to 
learn things which natural heredity fails to transmit ; and 
with the child the fact that consciousness is the essential 
means of all his learning is correlated with the other fact 
that the child is the very creature for which natural he- 
redity gives few independent functions. It is in this field 
only that I venture to speak with assurance ; but the same 
point of view has been reached by Weismann and others 
on the purely biological side. The instinctive equipment 
of the lower animals is replaced by the plasticity for 
learning by consciousness. So it seems to me that the 
evidence points to some inverse ratio between the impor- 
tance of consciousness as factor in evolution and the need 
of the inheritance of acquired characters as such a factor ' 
(from an earlier page). 

These two influences, therefore, furnish a double resort 
against Lamarckism. And I do not see anything in the 
way of considering the fact of organic selection, from which 
both these resources spring, as being a sufficient supple- 
ment to the principle of natural selection. The relation 
which it bears to natural selection, however, is a matter 
of further remark below, in this chapter. 

§ 6. Functional Selection 

In the preceding discussions we have been endeavouring 
to interpret facts. By recognizing certain facts we have 
reached a view which considers individual accommodation * 

1 Cf. the ' Subjective Selection ' of Professor James Ward (with his allusion 
to this paper) in his Naturalism and Agnosticism, Vol. I. p. 294. As 'subjec- 
tive' it is evidently limited to the * psychogenic' I do not find that Professor 

Functional Selection 109 

an important factor in evolution. Without prejudicing the 
statement of fact at all we may inquire into the actual 
working of the organism in making its functional selec- 
tions or accommodations. The question is simply this : 
How does the organism secure, from the multitude of pos- 
sible ontogenetic changes which it might and does undergo, 
those which are adaptive ? As a matter of fact, all per- 
sonal growth, all motor acquisitions made by the individual, 
show that it succeeds in doing this ; the further question 
is, how ? Before taking this up, it may be said with em- 
phasis that the position taken in the foregoing pages, 
which simply makes the fact of ontogenetic accommoda- 
tion a factor in development, is not involved in the solu- 
tion of the further question as to how the accommodations 
are secured. But from the answer to this latter question 
we may get further light on the interpretation of the facts 
themselves. So we come to ask how 'functional selection' 

— the technical term for the process — actually operates 
in the case of a particular adjustment effected by an indi- 
vidual creature. 

The organism has a way of doing this which seems to 
be peculiarly its own. The point is elaborated at such great 
length in one of the books referred to (Mental Develop- 
ment, Chaps. VII., XIII.) that details need not be repeated 
here. The summary made above (Chap. VII. § 3 1 ) may 
also be referred to. There is a fact of physiology which, 
taken together with the facts of psychology, serves to indi- 
cate the method of the adjustments or accommodations of 

Ward applied Subjective Selection explicitly to the problem of evolution in his 
original publication (Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th ed., art. 'Psychology'). 

— Note added 1902; cf. the additional note above, p. 48. 

1 On the ' circular reaction ' involved, see Chap. IX. § 2. 

no A Factor in Evolution 

the individual organism. The general fact is that the organ- 
ism reacts by concentration upon the locality stimulated, 
for the continuation of the conditions, movements, stimu- 
lations, which are vitally beneficial, and for the cessation 
of the conditions, movements, stimulations, which are 
vitally depressing and harmful. In the case of bene- 
ficial conditions we find a general increase of movement, 
an excess discharge of the energies of movement in the 
channels already open and habitual ; and with this, on 
the psychological side, pleasurable conscious?iess and at- 
tention. Attention to an organ is accompanied by in- 
creased vaso-motor activity, with higher muscular power, 
and a general dynamogenic heightening in that organ. 
The thought of a movement tends to discharge motor 
energy into the channels already established for the exe- 
cution of that movement. By this organic concentration 
and excess of movement many combinations and vari- 
ations are brought out, from which the advantageous and 
adaptive movements may be selected for their utility. 
These then give renewed pleasure, excite pleasurable 
associations, and again stimulate the attention, and by 
these influences the adaptive movements thus struck are 
selected and held as permane?it acquisitions. This form of 
concentration of energy upon stimulated localities, with the 
resulting renewal through movement of conditions that are 
pleasure-giving and beneficial, and the subsequent repeti- 
tions of the movements, is called ' circular reaction.' 1 It 
seems to be the physiological basis of the selective property 

1 With the opposite (withdrawing, depressive effects) in injurious and 
painful conditions. This general type of reaction was described and illus- 
trated, in a different connection, by Pfliiger in 1877 i* 1 PAuger's Archiv f. d. 
ges. Physiologies Bd. XV. — (Note added 1902.) 

Functional Selection 1 1 1 

which many have pointed out as characterizing and differenti- 
ating life. It characterizes the responses of the organism, 
however low in the scale, to stimulations — even to those of 
mechanical and chemical (physico-genic) nature. Pfeffer 
has shown such a determination of energy toward the parts 
stimulated even in plants. And in the higher animals it 
finds itself reproduced in type in the nervous reaction 
seen in imitation and — through processes of association, 
substitution, etc. — in all the higher mental acts of intelli- 
gence and volition. These have been developed phylo- 
genetically as variations whose direction was constantly 
regulated by this form of adjustment in ontogenesis. If 
this be true, — and the biological facts seem fully to con- 
firm it, — this is the adaptive process in all life, and this 
process it is with which the development of mental life has 
been in the main associated. 

It follows, accordingly, that the three forms of onto- 
genetic modification distinguished above — physico-genetic, 
neuro-genetic, psycho-genetic — all involve the sort of re- 
sponse on the part of the organism seen in this circular 
reaction with excess discharge ; and we reach one general 
method of ontogenetic accommodation upon which organic 
selection rests. It is stated above in another connection 
in these words : " The accommodation of an organism to a 
new stimulation is secured, not by the selection of this 
stimulation beforehand (nor of the necessary movements), 
but by the reinstatement of it by a discharge of the 
energies of the organism, concentrated so far as may be 
for the excessive stimulation of the organs (muscles, etc.) 
most nearly fitted by former habit to get this stimulation 
again (in which the ' stimulation ' stands for the condition 
favourable to adaptation). After several trials the child, 

H2 A Factor in Evolution 

for example, effects the adjustment aimed at, even more 
perfectly, and the accompanying excessive and useless 
movements fall away. This is the kind of selection that 
intelligence makes in the acquisition of new movements." 

Accordingly, all ontogenetic accommodations are neuro- 
genetic?- The general law of ' motor excess ' is one of 
overproduction ; from movements thus overproduced, ad- 
justments survive ; these adjustments set the direction of 
development, and by their influence in securing the sur- 
vival of variations secure the same determination of direc- 
tion in evolution also. 2 

The advantages of this view seem to be somewhat as 
follows : — 

1. It gives a method of the individual's accommodations 
of function which is one in principle with the law of over- 
production and survival now so well established in the case 
of competing organisms. 

2. It reduces nervous and mental evolution to strictly 
parallel terms. The intelligent use of congenital variations 
for functional purposes in the way indicated, puts a pre- 
mium on variations which can be so used, and thus marks 
out lines of progress in directions of constantly improved 
mental endowment. The circular reaction which is the 
method of intelligent accommodation is itself liable to 
variation in a series of complex ways which have produced 
the evolution of the mental functions known as memory, 
imagination, conception, thought, etc. We thus reach a 
phylogeny of mind which proceeds in the direction set by 

1 Barring, of course, those violent compelling physical influences under 
the action of which the organism is quite helpless, so far as such results can 
be called adaptive. 

2 Some of the bearings of this general theory are indicated in the following 

Functional Selection 113 

the ontogeny of mind, 1 just as on the organic side the phy- 
logeny of the organism gets its determinate direction from 
the organism's ontogenetic accommodations. And since 
it is the one principle of organic selection working by the 
same functions to set the direction of both phylogenies, 
the physical and the mental, the two developments are 
not two, but one. Evolution is, therefore, not more 
biological than psychological (cf. Mental Development, 
esp. pp. 383-388, and see the detailed statement of this 
requirement, on any theory of evolution, above, Part I.). 

3. It makes use of the relation of structure to function 
required by the principle of ' use and disuse.' 

4. The only alternative theories of the accommodations 
of the individual are those of 'pure chance,' on the one 
hand, and a ' creative act ' of consciousness, on the other 
hand. Pure chance is refuted by all the facts which show 
that the organism does not wait for chance, but goes 
out in movement and effects new adjustments to its 
environment. Furthermore, individual accommodations 
are determinate ; they proceed in definite, progressive 
lines. A short study of the child will disabuse any man, I 
think, of the 'pure chance' theory. But the other theory, 
which holds that consciousness makes adjustments and 
modifies structures directly by its fiat, is contradicted by 
the psychology of voluntary movement. Consciousness 
can bring about no movement without having first an 
adequate experience of that movement to serve on occasion 
as a stimulus to the innervation of the appropriate motor 
centres. 'This point is no longer subject to dispute; 

1 Professor C. S. Minot suggests that the terms ' onto-psychic ' and 
* phylo-psychic ' would be convenient adjectives wherewith to mark this 

ii4 A Factor in Evolution 

for pathological cases show that unless some adequate 
idea of a former movement made by the same muscles, 
or by association some other idea which stands for it, 
can be brought up in mind, the intelligence is helpless. 
Not only can it not make new movements ; it cannot 
even repeat old habitual movements. So we may say 
that intelligent adjustment does not create coordinations; 
it only makes functional use of coordinations which are 
alternatively present already in the creature's equipment. 
Interpreting this in terms of congenital variations, we 
may say that the variations which the intelligence uses 
are alternative possibilities of muscular movement' (from 
an earlier page). The only possible way that a really new 
movement can be made is by making the movements already 
possible so excessively and with so many varieties of com- 
bination, etc., that new adjustments are liable to occur. 

5. The problem seems to duplicate in the main the con- 
ditions which led to the formulation of the principle of natu- 
ral selection. The alternatives seemed to be ' pure chance ' 
or ' special creation.' The law of ' overproduction with sur- 
vival of the fittest ' came as the solution. So in this case. 
Let us take an example. Every child has to learn how to 
write. If he depended upon chance movements of his 
hands, he would never learn how to write. But on the 
other hand, he cannot write simply by willing to do so ; he 
might will forever without effecting a ' special creation ' 
of muscular movements. What he actually does is to use 
his hand in a great many possible ways as near as he can 
to the way required ; and from these excessively produced 
movements, and after excessively varied and numerous 
trials, he gradually selects and fixes the slight successes 
made in the direction of correct writing. It is a long and 

The Relation of Organic to Natural Selection 115 

most laborious accumulation of slight functional selections 
from overproduced movements. 

6. The only resort left to the theory that consciousness 
is some sort of an actus purus is to hold that it directs brain 
discharges; but besides the objection that it is as hard to 
direct movement as it is to originate it (for nothing short of 
a physical force could release or direct brain energies), we 
find nothing of the kind necessary. The attention is what 
determines the particular movement in developed organ- 
isms, and the attention is no longer considered an actus 
purus with no brain process accompanying it. The atten- 
tion is a function of memories, movements, previous organic 
experiences. We do not attend to a thing because we or 
the attention select it; but we select it because we — con- 
sciousness and organism — find ourselves attending to it. 

§ 7. The Relation of Organic to Natural Selection 1 

A word on the relation of the principle of organic 
selection to that of natural selection. Natural selection 
is too often treated as a positive force. It is not a positive 
force ; it is a negative formula. It is simply a statement 
of what occurs when some organisms do not have the 
qualifications necessary to enable them to survive in given 
conditions of life ; while others by reason of their qualifi- 
cations do survive. It does not in any way positively 
define these qualifications. 

1 The reader may well look up the interesting figure of Darwin at the 
conclusion of Variation of Plants and Animals (see the summary of his 
discussion with Asa Gray given by Poulton, Charles Darwin, p. 116) — .the 
figure which describes natural selection as a builder using uncut stones 
(variations). Even though we side with Darwin, still the builder is better 
off if the stones are shaped and prepared for him by the screening and 
supplementing processes of individual accommodation. 

n6 A Factor in Evolution 

Assuming the principle of natural selection in any case, 
and saying that, according to it, if an organism do not have 
the necessary qualifications it will be killed off, it still 
remains in that instance to find what the qualifications are 
which this organism is to have if it is to be kept alive. So 
we may say that the means of survival is always an addi- 
tional question to the negative statement of the operation 
of natural selection. 

This latter question, of course, the theory of variations 
aims to answer. The positive qualifications which the 
organism has arise as congenital variations of a kind which 
enable the organism to cope with the conditions of life. 
This is the positive side of Darwinism, as the principle 
of natural selection is the negative side. 1 

Now it is in relation to the theory of variations, and not 
in relation to that of natural selection, that organic selec- 
tion has its main force. Organic selection points out 
qualifications of a positive kind which enable organisms 
to meet the environment and cope with it, while natural 
selection remains exactly what it was, — the negative law 
that if the organism does not succeed in living, then it 
dies. As formulating the place of such qualifications on 
the part of organisms, organic selection presents several 
additional features. 

i. If we hold, as has been argued above, that the 
method of individual accommodation is always the same 
(that is, that it has a natural method), being always accom- 
plished by a certain typical sort of nervous or vital process 
{i.e., being always neuro-genetic), then we may ask 
whether that sort of process — and the consciousness 

1 See also the remarks made above, Chap. III. § 4 ; and the views of 
Headley and Conn in Appendix C. 

The Relation of Organic to Natural Selection 117 

which may go with it — may not be a variation appearing 
early in the phylogenetic series. It is argued elsewhere 
{Mental Development, pp. 200 ff. and 208 ff.) that this 
is the most probable view. Organisms that did not have 
some form of selective response to what was beneficial, as 
opposed to what was damaging, in the environment, could 
not have developed very far ; and as soon as such a varia- 
tion did appear it would have immediate preeminence. 
So we may say either that the selective vital property to- 
gether with consciousness is a variation, or that it is a funda- 
mental endowment of life and part of its final mystery. 

2. But however that may be, whether individual accom- 
modation by selective reaction and consciousness be con- 
sidered a variation or a final aspect of life, it is in any 
case a vital character of a very extraordinary kind. It 
opens a great sphere for the application of the principle 
of natural selection upon organisms, i.e., selection on the 
basis of ivhat they do, rather than of what they are ; of 
the new use they make of their functions, rather than of 
the mere possession of certain congenital characters. A 
premium is set on plasticity and adaptability of function 
rather than on congenital fixity of structure ; and this 
adaptability reaches its highest level in the intelligence. 

3. It opens another field also for an analogous mode of 
selection, i.e., the selection from particular overproduced 
and modified reactions of the organism, by which the de- 
termination of the organism's own growth and life history 
is secured. If the young chick imitated the old duck 
instead of the old hen, it would perish ; it can only 
learn those new things which its present equipment will 
permit — not swimming. So the chick's own possible 
actions and accommodations in its lifetime have to be 

1 1 8 A Factor in Evolution 

selected. We have seen how it may be done by a certain 
competition of functions with survival of the fittest among 
them. But this illustrates the idea of natural selection. I 
do not see how Henslow, for example, can maintain — apart 
from ' special creation ' — the so-called ' self-adaptations ' 
which justify an attack on natural selection. Even plants 
must grow in determinate or ' select ' directions in order 
to live, and their reactions are responses to stimulations 
from the environment. 

4. So we may say, finally, that plasticity, while itself 
probably a congenital variation — or an original endow- 
ment, — works to secure new qualifications for the creature's 
survival, and its very working proceeds by securing a new 
application of the principle of natural selection to the pos- 
sible modifications which the organism is capable of under- 
going. Romanes says : ' It is impossible that heredity can 
have provided in advance for innovations upon or altera- 
tions in its own machinery during the lifetime of a partic- 
ular individual.' To this we are obliged to reply in sum- 
ming up — as I have done in another place: we reach 
1 just the state of things which Romanes declares impos- 
sible — heredity providing for the modification of its own 
machinery. Heredity not only leaves the future free for 
modifications, it also provides a method of life in the 
operation of which modifications are bound to come/ 

§ 8. Terminology 

In the matter of terminology some criticism is to be 
expected from the fact that several new terms have been 
used in this paper. Indeed, certain of these terms have 
already been criticised. It seems, however, that some 

Terminology 119 

novelty in terms is better than ambiguity in meanings. 
And in each case the new term is intended to mark off an 
exact meaning which no current term seems to express. 
Taking these terms in turn and attempting to define 
them, as they are used here, it will be seen whether in 
each case the special term is justified ; if not, the writer 
will be ready to abandon it. 

Organic Selection : The process of individual accommo- 
dation considered as keeping single organisms alive, and 
so, by also securing the accumulation of variations, deter- 
mining evolution in subsequent generations. 

Organic selection is, therefore, a general principle of 
evolution which is a direct substitute for Lamarckian 
heredity in most, if not in all, instances. If it is really 
a new factor, then it deserves a new name, however con- 
tracted its sphere of application may finally turn out to be. 
The use of the word ' organic ' in the phrase was sug- 
gested by the fact that the organism itself cooperates in 
the formation of the modifications which are effected, and 
also from the fact that, in the results, the organism is 
itself selected, since those organisms which do not secure 
the modifications fall by the principle of natural selection. 
The word ' selection ' used in the phrase is appropriate for 
the reason that survival in the sense of the Darwinian 
meaning of ' selection ' is here also denoted. 1 

Social Heredity : The acquisition of functions from the 
social environment, also considered as a method of deter- 
mining evolution. It is a form of organic selection, but 
it deserves a special name because of its special way 
of operating. It influences the direction of evolution 

1 The term ' organic selection ' was first used in the work, Mental Develop- 
ment, 1 st ed., April, 1895. (See tne n °tes on pp. 94 and 96.) 

120 A Factor in Evolution 

by keeping socially adaptive creatures alive, while others 
which do not adapt themselves in this way are cut off. 
It is also a continuous influence from generation to 
generation. Animals may be kept alive, let us say in a 
given environment, by social cooperation only ; these 
transmit this social type of variation to posterity ; thus 
social accommodation sets the direction of further change, 
and physical heredity is determined in part by this factor. 
Furthermore, the process is aided all the while, from gen- 
eration to generation, by the continuous chain of extra- 
organic or purely social transmissions. Here are adequate 
reasons for marking off this influence with the name which 
allies the phenomenon to that of physical transmission or 
heredity proper. 

The other terms I do not care so much about. * Phys- 
ico-genetic,' 'neuro-genetic,' 'psycho-genetic/ and their 
correlatives in 'genie,' seem to me to be convenient 
terms to mark distinctions which would involve long sen- 
tences without them, besides being self-explanatory. The 
phrase ' circular reaction ' has now been welcomed as 
appropriate by psychologists. * Accommodation ' is much 
needed as meaning single individual adjustment ; the 
biological word * adaptation ' refers more, perhaps, to racial 
or general adjustments. 


Mind and Body 1 

§ I. Re'sume' on Consciousness and Evolution 

Professor Cope's position as to the importance of 
consciousness in evolution seems in the main true as far as 
the question of fact is concerned. I agree with him that 
no adequate theory of the development of organic nature 
can be formulated without taking conscious states into 
account. The fact of accommodation requires on the part 
of the individual organism something equivalent to what we 
call consciousness in ourselves. But I do not think that 
the need of recognizing consciousness in connection with 
organic functions leads at all necessarily to the view that 
consciousness is a causa vera whose modes of action do 
not have physiological parallel processes in the brain and 
nerves. The alternatives are not really two only, autom- 
atism — a theory of mechanical causation of all move- 
ment, with the inference that consciousness is a by-product 
of no importance — and the vera causa view, which makes 
consciousness a new form of energy injected among the 
activities of the brain. There is another way of looking 
at the question, to which I return below. 

With Professor Cope's view that the recognition of 

1 Discussion (revised) with Professors James, Cope, and Ladd before the 
American Psychological Association at Philadelphia, Dec. 28, 1895. From 
The Psychological Review, May, 1896, article 'Consciousness and Evolution.' 


122 Mind and Body 

consciousness as a factor in evolution requires a Neo- 
Lamarckian theory of heredity I am not at all in accord. 
Instead of finding with Professor Cope that the emphasis of 
conscious function in evolution makes it necessary to rec- 
ognize the Lamarckian factor, I think the facts point just 
the other way. 1 As soon as there is much development of 
mind, the gregarious or social life begins ; and in it we have 
a new way of transmitting the acquisitions of one genera- 
tion to another, which tends to supersede the action — if 
it exists — of physical heredity in such transmission. This 
transmission by ' Social Heredity ' (as we have called the 
individual's acquisitions from society through imitation, 
instruction, etc.) is so universal a fact with higher ani- 
mals that we may reasonably say at once that the argu- 
ments for Neo-Lamarckism drawn by Mr. Spencer and 
others from the phenomena of human progress, at least, 
are completely neutralized by it. And there are facts 
which show that the same state of things descends below 

It is very probable, so far as the early life of the child 
may be taken as indicating the factors of evolution, that 
the main function of consciousness is to enable him to 
learn things which physical heredity fails to transmit ; and 
with the child the fact that consciousness is the essential 
means of all his learning is correlated with the other fact 
that the child is the very creature for which physical he- 
redity gives few congenital functions. It is in this field 
only that I venture to speak with assurance ; but the 
recognition of this influence has been reached by Weis- 
mann, LI. Morgan, and others on the purely biological side. 

The instinctive equipment of the lower animals is 

1 See Chap. IV., above. 

Pleasure, Pain, and the Circular Reaction 123 

replaced by the plasticity necessary for learning by con- 
sciousness. So it seems to me that the evidence points to 
some inverse ratio between the importance of conscious- 
ness as factor in development and the need of the inher- 
itance of acquired characters as factor in evolution. This 
presumptive argument may be supplemented, I think, with 
positive refutations of the considerations which Professor 
Cope, Mr. Romanes, and others present for the view that 
the transmission of functions acquired through conscious- 
ness requires the Lamarckian factor. 1 

§ 2. Pleasure, Pain, and the Circiriar Reaction 

There is one omission in Professor James' excellent 
division of our topic into its members — an omission whose 
importance may justify my bringing up a phase of the 
general question to which I think too much importance 
can hardly be attached. It is, in biological phrase, the 
ontogenetic question, the examination of the development 
of consciousness in the individual, with a view to interpret- 
ing the results for light upon the method of evolution. 

Professor Cope's emphasis on consciousness rests here, 
and it is well placed. In the life history of the organ- 
ism we have the problem of development actually solved 
before us in detail. The biologist recognizes this in his 
emphasis on embryology and also in some degree in his 
paleontology. But the psychologist has not realized the 
weapon he has both for biological and for psychological use 
in the mental development of the child. Moreover, the 
biologist no less than the psychologist must needs resort 
to this field of investigation if he would finally settle the 

1 See the preceding papers. 

1 24 Mind and Body 

function of consciousness in evolution. The fossils tell 
nothing of any such factor as consciousness. Nor does 
the embryo. So, as difficult as the ontogenetic question 
is, it is one of the really hopeful fields on both sides. I 
may be allowed, therefore, to give a brief summary of 
certain results reached by the employment of this method ; 
especially since it will set out more fully, even in its 
defects and inadequacies, the general bearing of this 

That there is some general principle running through all 
the conscious adaptations of movement which the indi- 
vidual creature makes, is indicated by the very unity of the 
organism itself. The principle of Habit must be recog- 
nized in some general way which will allow the organism to 
do new things without utterly undoing what it has already 
acquired. This means that old habits must be substan- 
tially preserved in the new functions ; that all new func- 
tions must be reached by gradual modifications. And we 
will all go further, I think, and say that the only way that 
these modifications can be got at all is through some sort 
of interaction of the organism with its environment. Now, 
as soon as we ask how the stimulations of the environment 
can produce new adaptive movements, we have the 
answer of Spencer and Bain, — an answer directly con- 
firmed, I think, without question, by the study both of the 
child and of the adult, — by the selection of fit movements 
from excessively produced movements, i.e., from move- 
ment variations. So granting this, we now have the 
further question : How do these movement variations come 
to be produced when and where they are needed? 1 And 

1 This is just the question that Weismann seeks to answer (in respect to the 
supply of morphological variations which the paleontologists require), with his 

Pleasure, Pain, and the Circular Reaction 125 

with it, the question : How does the organism keep those 
movements going which are thus selected, and suppress 
those which are useless or damaging ? 

Now these two questions are the ones which the biolo- 
gists fail to answer. And the force of the facts leads to 
the hypotheses of ' conscious force ' of Cope, ' self-develop- 
ment ' of Henslow, and * directive tendency' or ' deter- 
minate variation ' of the Neo-Lamarckians — all aspects of 
the new vitalism which just these positions and the facts 
which they rest upon are now forcing to the front. Have 
we anything definite, drawn from the study of the indi- 
vidual on the psychological side, to substitute for these 
confessedly vague biological phrases ? Spencer gave an 
answer in a general way long ago to the second of these 
questions, by saying that in consciousness the function of 
pleasure and pain is just to keep some actions or move- 
ments going and to suppress others. The evidence of this 
seems to me to be coextensive, actually, with the range 
of conscious experience, however we may be disposed to 
define the physiological processes which are involved in 
pleasure and pain. Actions which secure pleasurable expe- 
riences to the organism are determined by the pleasure to 

doctrine of ' Germinal Selection ' (Monist, January, 1896). Why are not such 
applications of the principle of natural selection to variations in the parts and 
functions of the single organism just as reasonable and legitimate as is the 
application of it to variations in separate organisms? As against 'germinal 
selection,' however, I may say, that in the cases in which individual accom- 
modation sets the direction of survival of congenital variations (as supposed 
in earlier pages) the hypothesis of germinal selection is in so far unnecessary. 
Our view finds the operation of selection on functions in ontogeny the means 
of accounting for ' variations ' seeming to occur ' when and where they are 
wanted,' while Weismann supposes competing germinal units. Cf. the com- 
parison of the two hypotheses, both considered as supplementary to natural 
selection, made by Conn, Method of Evolution, pp. 332-333, 

126 Mind and Body 

be repeated, and so to secure the continuance of the pleas- 
urable conditions ; and actions which get the organism into 
pain are by the very fact of pain inhibited and suppressed. 

But as soon as we inquire more closely into the actual 
working of pleasure and pain reactions, we find an answer 
suggested to the first question also, i.e., the question as to 
how the organism comes to make the kind and sort of 
movements which the environment calls for — approxi- 
mately those movement variations which are required. The 
pleasure or pain produced by a stimulus — and by a move- 
ment also, for the utility of movement is always that it 
secures stimulation of this sort or that — does not lead to 
diffused, neutral, and characterless movements, as Spencer 
and Bain suppose ; this is disputed no less by the infant's 
movements than by the actions of unicellular organisms. 
There are characteristic differences in vital movements 
wherever we find them. Even if Mr. Spencer's undiffer- 
entiated protoplasmic movements had existed, natural se- 
lection would very soon have put an end to it. There is 
a characteristic antithesis between movements always. 
Healthy, overflowing, favourable, outreaching, expansive, 
vital effects are associated with pleasure ; and the contrary 
— withdrawing, depressive, contractive, decreasing vital 
effects are associated with pain. This is exactly the state 
of things which a theory of the selection of movements 
from overproduced movements requires, i.e., that increased 
vitality, represented by pleasure, should give excessive 
movements, from which new adjustments are selected ; and 
that decreased vitality, represented by pain, should do the 
reverse — draw off energy and suppress movement. 

If, therefore, we say that here is a type of reaction 
which all vitality shows, we may give it a general descrip- 

Pleasure, Pain, and the Circular Reaction 127 

tive name, i.e., the * circular reaction,' in that its signifi- 
cance for evolution is that it is not a random response 
in movement to all stimulations alike, but that it dis- 
tinguishes in its very form and amount between stimula- 
tions which are vitally good and those which are vitally 
bad, tending to retain the good stimulations and to draw 
away from and so to suppress the bad. The term ' circu- 
lar ' is used to emphasize the way such a reaction tends to 
keep itself going, over and over, by reproducing the con- 
ditions of its own stimulation. It represents habit, since 
it tends to keep up old movements ; but it secures new 
accommodations, since it provides for the overproduction of 
movement variations for the operation of selection. This 
kind of selection, since it requires the direct cooperation 
of the organism itself, is known as ' Functional Selection.' 
It might be called 'motor' or even 'psychic' selection, 
since the part of consciousness, in the form of pleasure 
and pain, and — later on — experience generally, intelli- 
gence, etc., is so prominent. 1 

This is a psychological attempt to discover the method of 
the individual's accommodations; it has detailed applications 
in the field of the higher mental process, where imitation, 
volition, etc., afford direct exemplifications of the circular 
type of reaction. But if the truth of it be allowed 
by the biologist for the individual's development, the 
suggestion would arise from the doctrine of recapitulation 
that this type of function should run through all life. 
This would mean that something analogous to conscious- 
ness (as pleasure and pain, etc.) is coextensive with life, 
that the vital process itself shows a fundamental differ- 

l See Chap. VII. on 'The Theory of Development,' in the work, Mental 
Development in the Child and the Race (2d ed., 1895). 

128 Mind and Body 

ence in movements — analogous to the difference between 
pleasure-incited and pain-incited movements, — and that 
natural selection has operated upon variations in it. The 
biologist may say that this is too special — this differ- 
ence of reaction — to be fundamental ; so it may be. 
But then so is life special, very special ! 1 

Whatever we may say to such particular conclusions, 
they illustrate one of the topics which should be dis- 
cussed by any one, biologist or psychologist, who wants 
to understand the factors in evolution. There are some 
factors revealed in ontogenesis which do not appear in 
the current theories of evolution. Indeed, so far beside 
the mark are the biologists who are discussing transmis- 
sion to-day that they generally omit — except when they hit 
at each other — the two factors which the psychologist has 
to recognize : Social Transmission, for the handing down 
of socially acquired characters, and Functional Selection, 
for the accommodations of the individual organism, with 2 
whatever effects they may have on subsequent evolution. 

Indeed, I do not see how either theory of heredity 
can get along without this appeal to ontogenesis. For 
if we agree in denying the inheritance of acquired char- 
acters, thus throwing the emphasis on variations, still it is 
only by the interpretation of ontogenetic processes and 
characters that any general theory of variations can be 
reached. Either experience causes the variations, as one 
theory of heredity holds ; or it exemplifies them, as the 
other theory holds ; in either case, it is the only sphere 

1 See remarks made on this and other ' comparative conceptions ' above, 
Chap. II. 

2 Yet, of course, this statement is truer of the Darwinians than of the 

Psychophysical Dualism 129 

of fact to which appeal can be made if we would under- 
stand them. So why do biologists speculate so much as 
to the mode of transmission of variations, when the ques- 
tion of the mode of use and development of them is so 
generally neglected ? 

§ 3. Psychophysical Dualism 

The only additional point which I may claim a little 
time to speak of is that to which Professor James 
referred in describing the current doctrines of the rela- 
tion of mind and body. He described the view that 
consciousness does not in any way interfere with the 
activities of the brain, as the 'automaton theory,' and 
spoke as if in his mind a real automatism — the view 
which considers the brain processes as the sufficient 
statement of the grounds of all voluntary movement — 
is the outcome of any denial of causal energy to con- 
sciousness ; in other words, that there is no alternative 
to what is called the epi-phenomenon theory of con- 
sciousness except a theory holding that the law of con- 
servation of physical energy is violated in voluntary 

Now this reduction of the possible views to two is, 
in my view, unnecessary and indeed impossible. In 
speaking of the antecedents of a voluntary movement 
we have to consider the entire group of phenomenal 
events which are always present when voluntary move- 
ment takes place; and among the phenomena really 
present there is the conscious state called volition. To 
say that the same movement could take place without 
this state of consciousness is to say that a lesser group 
of phenomenal antecedents occurs in some cases and a 


130 Mind and Body 

larger group in other cases of the same event. Why 
not go to the other extreme and say that the brain is 
not necessary to voluntary movement, since volition 
could bring about the movement without using the 
nervous processes to do it with ? In his posthumous 
book, Mind, Motion, and Monism, the late Mr. Romanes 
brings out this inadequacy of the automaton view, using 
the figure of an electro-magnet, which attracts iron filings 
only when it is magnetized by the current of electricity. 
If I may be allowed to develop such a figure, I should 
say that whatever the electricity be, the magnet is a 
magnet only when it attracts iron filings ; to say that it 
might do as much without the electricity would be to 
deny that it is a magnet ; and the proof is found in 
the fact simply that it does not attract iron filings when 
the current is not there. So the brain is not a brain 
when consciousness is not there ; it could not produce 
voluntary movement, simply because, as a matter of 
fact, it does not. So consciousness does not, on the 
other hand, produce movement without a brain. The 
whole difficulty seems to lie, I think, in an illegitimate 
use of the word ' causation.' Professor Ladd seems to 
me to be correct in holding that such a conception as 
physical causation cannot be applied beyond the sphere 
of things in which it has become the explaining prin- 
ciple, i.e., in the objective, external world of things. 
The moment we ask questions concerning a group of 
phenomena which include more than these things, that 
moment we are liable to some new statement of the 
law of change in the group as a whole. Such a state- 
ment is the third alternative in this case ; and it is the 
problem of the metaphysics of experience to find the 

Psychophysical Dualism 131 

broader category, the final explaining principle of experi- 
ence as a whole, both objective and subjective. This I 
do not care to discuss, but I am far from thinking that 
the automaton or epi-phenomenon theorist can argue his 
case with much force in this higher court of appeal. 

The other extreme is represented by those writers 
who think that the revision of the law of causation can 
be made in the sphere of objective phenomenal action 
represented by the brain ; and so claim that there is a 
violation of the principle of conservation of energy in a 
voluntary movement, an actual efficiency of some kind 
in consciousness itself for producing physical effects. 
This, I think, is as illegitimate as the other view. It 
seems to deny the results of all objective empirical 
science and so to sweep away the statements of law (on 
one side) on which the higher interpretation of the 
group of phenomena as a whole must be based. And 
it does it in favour of an equally empirical statement of 
law on the other side. I do not see how any result for 
the more complex system of events can be reached if 
we deny the only principles which we have in the partial 
groups. To do so is to attempt to interpret the objec- 
tive in terms of the subjective factor in the entire group ; 
and we reach by so doing a result which is just as par- 
tial as that which the epi-phenomenon theory reaches in 
the mechanical explanation. Lotze made the same mis- 
take long ago, but his hesitations on the subject showed 
that he appreciated the difficulty. I agree with these 
writers in the claim that the mechanical view of causa- 
tion cannot be used as an adequate explaining principle 
of the whole personality of man ; but for reasons of 
much the same kind it seems equally true that as long 

132 Mind and Body 

as we are talking of events of the external kind, i.e., of 
brain processes, we cannot deny what we know of these 
events as such. 

The general state of the problem may be shown by 
the accompanying diagram, which will at any rate serve 
the modest purpose of indicating the alternatives. The 
upper line (M) of the two parallels may represent the 
statements on the psychological side which, on the theory 
of parallelism, mental science has a right to make ; the 
lower of the parallels (B) then represents the correspond- 
ing series of statements made by physics and natural sci- 
ence, including the chemistry and physiology of the brain. 
Where these lines stop an upright line may be drawn 



■>- W 

to indicate the setting of the problem of interpretation 
in which both the other series of statements claim to 
be true, and the further line to the right ( W) then gives 
the phenomena and statements of them which we have to 
deal with when we come to consider man as a whole. 

Now my point is that we can neither deny either of 
the parallel lines in dealing with the phenomena of the 
single line to the right, nor can we take either of them 
as a sufficient statement of the further problem which 
the line to the right proposes. To take the line repre- 
senting the mechanical principles of nature and extend 
it alone beyond the upright is to throw out of nature 
the whole series of phenomena which belong in the 

Psychological Dualism 133 

upper parallel line and which are not capable of state- 
ment in mechanical terms. But to extend the upper 
line alone beyond the upright would be to claim that 
mechanical principles break down in their own sphere. 

As to the interpretation of the single line to the 
right, it may always remain the problem that it now is. 
The best we can do is to get points of view regard- 
ing it ; and the main progress of philosophy seems to 
me to be in getting an adequate sense of the conditions 
of the problem itself. From the more humble side of 
psychology, I think the growth of consciousness itself 
may teach us how the problem comes to be set in the 
form of seemingly irreconcilable antinomies. The person 
grows both in body and in mind, and this growth always 
has two sides, — the side facing toward the direction 
from which, the ' retrospective reference,' and the side 
facing the direction toward which, the ' prospective refer- 
ence ' of growth and the consciousness of growth. The 
positive sciences have by their very nature to face back- 
wards, to look retrospectively, to be ' descriptive,' as the 
term is used by Professor Royce — these give the lower 
of our parallel lines. The moral sciences, so called, on 
the other hand, deal with judgments, appreciations, 
organizations, expectations, and so represent the other, 
the ' prospective ' mental attitude and its corresponding 
aspects, of reality. This gives character largely to the 
upper one of our parallel lines. But to get a construc- 
tion of the further line, the one to the right, is to hold 
together both these points of view — to stand at both 
ends of the line — at a point where description takes the 
place of prophecy and where reality has nothing further 
to add to thought. I believe for myself that the best 

134 Mind and Body 

evidence looking to the attainment of this double point 
of view is found just in the fact that we are able to 
compass both of these functions in a measure at once ; 
and that in our own self-consciousness we have an ink- 
ling of what that ultimate point of view is like. 1 I do 
not mean to bring up points in philosophy ; but it is to 
me the very essence of such a contention in philosophy 
that it is a comprehension of both aspects of phenom- 
enal reality and not the violation or denial of either of 

1 This general antithesis is carried out, and various inferences are made 
from it, in Chaps. XVIII. and XIX. below. 


Determinate Evolution by Natural and Organic 

Selection 2 

§ i. Criticisms of JVeo-Darwinism and Neo-Lamarckism 

Admitting the possible truth of either of the current 
doctrines of heredity, called Neo-Darwinism and Neo- 
Lamarckism respectively, yet there are certain defects 
inherent in both of them. Natural selection, considered 
merely as a principle of survival, is admitted by all. It 
fails, however, (i) to account for the lines of progress 
shown in evolution where the variations supposed to have 
been selected were not of importance enough at first 
to keep alive the creatures having them (i.e., were not 
of real utility). The examination of series of fossil 
remains, by the paleontologists, shows structures arising 
with very small and insignificant beginnings. 2 Further, 
(2) in cases where correlations of structures and functions 
are in question, as in the case of complex animal instincts, 
it is difficult to see what utility could be attached to the 
partial correlations which would necessarily precede the 
full rise of the instinct ; and yet it is impossible to believe 
that these correlations could have arisen by the law of 
variation all at once as complete functions. 3 These two 

1 From The Psychological Review, July, 1897, PP« 393 & 

2 Cf. the statement of this objection by Osborn, American Naturalist, March, 

8 Cf. Romanes, Darwin and after Darwin, Vol. II., Chap. III. 


136 Determinate Evolution 

great objections to the ' adequacy of natural selection ' are 
so impressive that the Neo-Darwinians have felt obliged 
to deal with them. The first objection may be called that 
from 'non-useful characters,' and the latter that from 
'correlated variations.' * 

On the other hand, the doctrine of use-inheritance or 
Lamarckism is open in my opinion to still graver diffi- 
culties. (1) It is a pure assumption that any such inheri- 
tance takes place. The direct evidence for it is practically 
nothing. 2 No unequivocal case of the inheritance of the 
definite effects of use or disuse has yet been cited. Again 
(2) it proves too much, seeing that if it actually operated 
as a general principle it would hinder rather than advance 
evolution in its higher reaches. For, first, in the more 
variable functions of life it would produce conflicting lines 
of inheritance of every degree of advantage and disadvan- 
tage, and these would very largely neutralize one another, 
giving a sort of functional ' panmixia' of inherited habits 
analogous to the panmixia of variations which arises when 
natural selection is not operative. Again, in cases in which 
the functions or acquired habits are so widespread and 
constant as to produce similar ' set ' habits in the individ- 
uals, the inheritance of these habits would produce, in a 
relatively constant environment, such a stereotyped series 
of functions, of the instinctive type, that the plasticity 
necessary to the acquirement of new functions to any 
great extent would be destroyed. This state of things 
is seen in the case of certain insects which live by com- 

1 See the discussion of them with reference to Romanes' theory of instinct, 
above, Chap. V. 

2 See the candid statement of Romanes, loc. cit., and cf. Lloyd Morgan, 
Habit and Instinct, Chap. XIII. 

Organic Selection as Supplementary 137 

plex instincts ; and however these instincts may have been 
acquired, they may yet be cited to show the sort of crea- 
tures which the free operation of use-inheritance would 
produce. Yet just this state of things would again militate 
against continued use-inheritance, as a general principle 
of evolution ; for as instinct increases, ability to learn 
decreases, and so each generation would have less acquisi- 
tion to hand on by heredity. So use-inheritance would 
very soon run itself out. Further, (3) the main criticism 
of the principle of natural selection cited above from the 
paleontologists, *>., that from 'non-useful characters,' is 
not met by use-inheritance ; since the lines of evolution 
in question are frequently, as in the case of teeth and 
bony structures, in characters which in the early stages of 
their appearance are not modified, in the direction in ques- 
tion, by the use of them by the creatures which have them. 
And, finally, (4) if it can be shown that natural selection, 
which all admit to be in operation in any case, can be 
supplemented by any principle which will meet these ob- 
jections better than that of use-inheritance, then such a 
principle may be considered in some degree a direct sub- 
stitute for the Lamarckian factor. 

§ 2. Organic Selection as a Supplementary Principle 

There is another principle at work whose operation is 
directly supplementary to natural selection — the principle 
already described above under the name of Organic 

Put very generally, this principle may be stated as fol- 
lows : acquired characters, or modifications, or individual 
adaptations, — all that we are familiar with in the earlier 

138 Determinate Evolution 

papers under the term ' accommodations,' — while not directly 
inherited, are yet influential in determining the course of 
evolution indirectly. For such modifications and accommo- 
dations keep certain animals alive, in this way screen the 
variations which they represent from the action of natural 
selection, and so allow new variations in the same direc- 
tions to arise in the next and following generations ; while 
variations in other directions are not thus kept alive and 
so are lost. The species will therefore make progress in 
the same directions as those first marked out by the ac- 
quired modifications, and will gradually 'pick up,' by con- 
genital variation, the same characters which were at first 
only individually acquired. The result will be the same 
as to these characters, as if they had been directly inher- 
ited, and the appearance of such heredity in these cases, 
at least, will be fully explained ; while the long-continued 
operation of the principle will account for 'determinate or 
definite ' lines of change. 

This principle comes to mediate to a considerable degree 
between the two rival theories, since it goes far to meet 
the objections to both of them. In the first place, the 
two great objections as stated above to the current natu- 
ral selection theory are met by it. (1) The 'determinate ' 
direction in evolution is secured by the indirect directive 
influence of organic selection — at any rate, in cases in 
which the direction which evolution takes is the same as 
that which was taken by individual modifications in earlier 
generations. For where the variations in the early 
stages of the character in question were not of utility, 
there we may suppose the individual accommodations to 
have supplemented them and so kept them in existence. 
An instance is seen in the fact that young chicks and 

Organic Selection as Supplementary 139 

ducks, which have no instinct to take up water when they 
see it, 1 and would perish if dependent upon the congenital 
variations which they have, nevertheless imitate the mother 
fowl, and thus, by supplementing their congenital equip- 
ment, are so kept alive. In other fowls the drinking in- 
stinct has gone on to perfection and become self-acting. 
Here the accommodation secured by imitation saves the 
species — apart from their getting water at first acciden- 
tally — and directs its future evolution. Further, (2) in 
cases of * correlated variations ' — the second objection 
urged above to the exclusive operation of natural selection 
— the same influence of organic selection is seen. For 
the variations which are not adequate at first, or are only 
partially correlated, are supplemented by the accommoda- 
tions which the creature makes, and so the species has the 
time to perfect its inadequate congenital mechanism. On 
this hypothesis it is no longer an objection to the theory of 
the origin of complex instincts without use-inheritance, that 
these complex correlations could not have come into exist- 
ence all at once ; since this principle gives the species 
time to accumulate and perfect its organization of them. 

Similarly, the objections cited above to the theory of 
use-inheritance cannot be brought against organic selec- 
tion. In the first place (1) the more trivial and varied 
experiences of individuals — such as bodily mutilations, 
etc. — which it is not desirable to perpetuate, whether 
good or bad in themselves, would not be taken up in the 
evolution of the race, since organic selection would set a 
premium only on the variations which were important 
enough to be of some material use or on such as were 

1 See LI. Morgan, Habit and Instinct, pp. 44 f., and his citations from Eimer, 
Spalding, and Mills. 

140 Determinate Evolution 

correlated with them. These being of such importance, 
the species would accumulate variations in this charac- 
ter, and the individuals would be relieved of the neces- 
sity of making the private accommodations over again in 
each generation. Again (2) there would be no tendency 
to the exclusive production of reflexes, as would be the 
case under use-inheritance ; since in cases in which the 
continued accomplishment of a function by individual ac- 
commodation was of greater utility than its accomplishment 
by reflexes or instinct — in these cases the former way 
would be perpetuated by natural selection. In the case of 
intelligent adaptations, for example, the increase of the 
intelligence with the nervous plasticity which it requires is 
of the greatest importance ; we find that creatures having 
intelligence continue to acquire their adaptations intelli- 
gently with the minimum of instinctive equipment. 1 There 
is thus a constant interplay between instinct and accom- 
modation, as the emergencies of the environment require the 
survival of one type of function or the other. This is illus- 
trated by the fact that in creatures of intelligence we find 
sometimes both the instinctive and also the intelligent per- 
formance of the same function ; each serving a separate 
utility. 2 

(3) The remaining objection — and it holds equally of 
both the current views — is that arising from the cases of 
structures which begin in a very small way with no appar- 
ent utility — such as the bony protuberances in places where 

1 Groos, Play of Animals, Eng. trans., pp. 71 ff. (see also his Play of Man, 
Eng. trans., pp. 283 f., where he admits the contention that the reverse may 
also be the case), has pointed out the function of imitation as aiding the 
growth of intelligence with the breaking up of instincts under the operation 
of natural selection. (See the passages in Chap. II. § 4 and Chap. XIV. § 3, 
where this function is cited to illustrate correlated variations.) 

2 See *he statement above, Chap. VI. § 1, on 'Duplicated Functions.' 

Organic Selection 141 

horns afterwards develop, and in certain small changes in 
the evolution of mammalian teeth — and afterwards progress 
regularly from one generation to another until they become 
of some utility. While it is not clear that organic selec- 
tion completely accounts for these cases, yet it is quite pos- 
sible that it aids us in the matter ; for the assumption is 
admissible that in their small beginnings these characters 
were correlated with useful functions or variations, which, 
by the operation of organic and natural selection in a 
progressive way secured the survival and accumulation of 
the former. Indeed, it is part of the imperfection of the 
paleontological record that the evidence of such correlations 
would not be preserved — say, for example, muscular ad- 
justments such as those which Weismann cites as illustrat- 
ing intra-selection. It is possible that the development of 
muscular adjustment and strength compensated for the 
wearing-off of the teeth both in individual development and 
in evolution — as is supposed elsewhere, 1 — although the 
fossil teeth taken alone would give no inkling of it. 

The laws of organic correlation are so little known, 
while yet the correlation itself is so universal, 2 that no dog- 
matism is justified on either side ; the less perhaps on the 
side of the paleontologists who assert that these cases can- 
not be explained by natural selection even when supple- 
mented by organic selection ; for when we inquire into 
the state of the evidence for the so-called 'determinate 
variations ' which are supposed in these cases, we find that 
it is very precarious. 3 

1 Chap. XIV. § 3, and Appendix A, note to the quotation from Osborn. 

2 Instances of it are cited in Chap. XIV., below. 

8 The only way to establish ' determinate variations ' would be to examine 
all the individuals of a given generation in respect to a given quality, and 
compare their mean with the mean of their parents — not with the mean of all 

142 Determinate Evolution 

We come to the view, therefore, that evolution from 
generation to generation has probably proceeded by the 
operation of natural selection upon variations with the 
assistance of the organic selection of coincident {i.e., 
those which produce congenitally what coincides with the 
acquisitions of the individuals) or correlated variations. 
And we derive a view of the relation of ontogeny to phy- 
logeny all through the animal series. All the influences 
which work to assist the animal to make adjustments or 
accommodations will unite to give directive determination 
to the course of evolution. These influences we may call 
' orthoplastic ' or directive influences. And the general 
fact that evolution has a directive determination through 
organic selection we may call ' Orthoplasy.' * 

As to detailed evidence of the action of organic selec- 
tion, this is not the place to present it. It is well-nigh 
coextensive, however, with that for natural selection ; for 
the cases where natural selection operates to preserve 
creatures because they adapt themselves to their environ- 
ment are everywhere to be seen, and in all such cases 

the individuals of the earlier generation. For some influence, such as organic 
selection, might have preserved only a remnant of the earlier generation, and 
in this way the mean of the variations of the following generation may be 
shifted and give the appearance of being determinate, while the variations 
themselves remain indeterminate. And again, the paleontologists have no 
means of saying how old one of these fossil creatures had to be in order to 
develop the character in question. It may be that a certain age was necessary 
and that the variations which he finds lacking would have existed if their 
possessors had not fallen by natural selection before they were old enough to 
develop this character and deposit it with their bones. 

1 These terms are akin to ' orthogenic ' and ' orthogenesis,' used by Eimer 
(Verh. der Deutsch. Zool. Gesell., 1895); the latter are not adopted, how- 
ever, for the exact meaning given above, since Eimer's view directly impli- 
cates use-inheritance and ' determinate variations,' which are not made use of 
here. Cf. Chap. XI. § 1, on 'Terminology.' 

The Directive Factor 143 

organic selection is operative. Positive evidence in the 
shape of cases is, however, to be found in the papers of 
the writer and others on the subject. 1 

§ 3. The Directive Factor 

We have now found some reason for the reproduction 
of individual or ontogenetic accommodations in phylogeny. 
The truth of organic selection is quite distinct, of course, 
from the truth of any particular doctrine as to how the 
accommodations in the life of the individual are effected ; 
it may be that there are as many ways of doing this as the 
usual language of daily life implies, i.e., mechanical, ner- 
vous, intelligent, etc. 

Yet when we come to weigh the conclusions to which 
our earlier discussions have brought us, and remember that 
the type of reaction, which is everywhere present in the 
individual's accommodation, is the ' circular reaction ' work- 
ing by functional selection from over-produced movements, 
we see where a real orthoplastic influence in biological 
progress lies. The individuals accommodate by such func- 
tional selection from over-produced movements ; this keeps 
them alive while others die ; the variations which are rep- 
resented in them are thus kept in existence, and further 
variations are allowed in the same directions. This goes on 
until the accumulated variations become independent of the 
process of individual accommodation, as congenital endow- 
ments, instincts, etc. Thus are added to the acquisitions 
of the species functions the same as the accommodations 
secured by the individuals. So race-progress shows a 

1 See also Chap. XIV., below, and the citations in Appendix A and 
Appendix B. 

144 Determinate Evolution 

series of adaptations which corresponds in a broad way to 
the series of individual accommodations. 

It may be remarked also that when the intelligence has 
reached considerable development, as in the case of man, it 
will outrank all other means of individual accommodation. 
In intelligence and will (as has been elsewhere urged) * the 
circular form of reaction becomes highly developed, and the 
result then is that the intelligence and the social life which 
it makes possible so far control the acquisitions of life as 
greatly to limit the action of natural selection as a law of 
evolution. This may be merely indicated here ; the addi- 
tional note below will take the subject further in the treat- 
ment of what then becomes the means of transmission from 
generation to generation, a form of handing down which, 
in contrast with physical, is called in earlier pages * Social 

§ 4. Intelligent Direction and Social Progress 

The view of biological evolution already brought out has 
led us to the opinion that the accommodations secured by 
the individuals of a species are a determining factor in the 
progress which the species makes, since, although we can- 
not hold that these accommodations, or the modifications 
which are effected by them, are directly inherited from 
father to son, nevertheless by the working of organic 
selection, with the subsequent accumulation of variations, 
the course of biological evolution is directed in the chan- 
nels first marked out by individual adjustments. The 
means of accommodation were called above orthoplastic 
influences in view of the directive trend which they give 
to the progress of the species. 

1 In the volume, Mental Development, Chaps. X. to XIII. 

Intelligent Direction and Social Progress 145 

It was also intimated, in the earlier section, that when 
the intelligence once comes to play an important part in 
the accommodations of the individuals, then we should 
expect that it would be the controlling factor in race-prog- 
ress. This happens in two ways which may now allow of 
brief statement. 

1. The intelligence represents the highest and most 
specialized form of accommodation. With it goes, on the 
active side, the great fact of volition, which seems to spring 
directly out of the imitative impulse of the child. It there- 
fore becomes the goal of organic fitness to secure the best 
intelligence. On the organic side, intelligence is correlated 
with plasticity in brain structure. Thinking and willing 
stand for the opposite of that fixity of structure and direct- 
ness of reaction which characterize the life of instinct. 
Progress in intelligence, therefore, represents readiness 
for much acquisition, together with very little congenital 
instinctive equipment. 

It is easy to see the effects of this. The intelligence 
secures the widest possible range of personal adjustments, 
and by so doing widens the sphere of organic selection, so 
that the creature which thinks has a general screen from 
the action of natural selection. The struggle for existence, 
depending upon the physical qualities on which the animals 
rely, is in some degree done away with. 

This means that with the growth of intelligence, creatures 
free themselves more and more from the direct action of nat- 
ural selection. Variations of a physical kind come to have 
within limits an equal chance to survive. Progress then de- 
pends on the one kind of variation which represents improved 
intelligence — variations in brain structure with the organic 
correlations which favour them — more than on other kinds. 

146 Determinate Evolution 

2. The other consideration tends in the same direction. 
With the intelligence comes the growth of sentiment, espe- 
cially the great class of social sentiments, and their out- 
come the ethical and religious sentiments. The sense of 
personality or self, which is the kernel of intelligent growth, 
involves the social environment and reflects it. Now this 
social sense also acts, wherever it exists, as an ' orthoplastic ' 
influence — a directive influence, through organic selec- 
tion, upon the course of evolution. In the animal world it 
is of importance enough to have been seized upon and 
made instinctive. Animal association acts to screen cer- 
tain groups of creatures from the direct operation of natural 
selection upon them as individuals. 

In man the social sentiment keeps pace with his intelli- 
gence, and so enables him again to discount natural selec- 
tion by cooperation with his brethren. From childhood up 
the individual is screened from the physical evils of the 
world by his fellows. So another reason appears for con- 
sidering the course of evolution to be now dominated by 
the intelligence. 

But, it may be asked, does not this render progress 
impossible, seeing that it is only through the operation 
of natural selection upon variations — even allowing for 
organic selection — that progress depends ? This may be 
answered in the affirmative, so far as progress by physical 
heredity is concerned. Not only do we not find such 
progress, but the researches of Galton, Weismann, and 
others show that there is probably little or no progress, 
even in intelligence, from father to son. The great man 
who comes as a variation does not commonly have sons as 
great. Intermarriage keeps the level of intelligent endow- 
ment relatively stable, by what Galton has called ' regression.' 

Intelligent Direction mid Social Progress 147 

Yet there is progress of another kind. With intelligence 
comes educability. Each generation is educated in the 
acquisitions of earlier generations. There is in every 
community a greater or less mass of so-called 'tradition' 
which is handed down, with constant increments, from one 
generation to another. The young creature grows up into 
this tradition by the process of imitative absorption which 
has been called above 'social heredity.' This directly 
takes the place of physical heredity as a means of trans- 
mission of many of the acquisitions which are at first the 
result of private intelligence, and tends to free the species 
from its dependence upon variations — except intellectual 
variations, — just as the general growth of intelligence 
and sentiment tends to free the organism from the law of 
natural selection. 

These general truths cannot be expanded here ; they 
belong to the theory of social evolution. Yet they should 
be noted for certain reasons which are pertinent to our 
general topic, and which I may briefly mention. 

First, it should be said that this progress in emancipation 
from the operation of natural selection and from dependence 
upon variations, is not limited to human life. It arises from 
the operation of the principle which has all the while given 
direction to organic evolution ; the principle that individual 
accommodations set the direction of evolution, by what is 
called organic selection. It is only a widening of the 
sphere of accommodation in the way which is called intelli- 
gent, with its accompanying tendency to social life, that 
has produced the deflection of the stream which is so 
marked in human development. And as to the existence 
of 'tradition' with 'social transmission' among animals, 
recent biological research and observations are emphasizing 

148 Determinate Evolution 

them both. Wallace and Hudson have pointed out the wide 
operation of imitation in carrying on the habits of certain 
species ; Weismann shows the importance of tradition as 
against Spencer's claim that mental gains are inherited ; 
Lloyd Morgan has observed in great detail the action of 
social transmission in actually keeping young fowls alive 
and so allowing the perpetuation of the species, and Wesley 
Mills has shown the imperfection of instinct in many cases, 
with the accompanying dependence of the creatures upon 
social, imitative, and intelligent action. 

Second, it gives a transition from animal to human 
organization, and from biological to social evolution, which 
does not involve a break in the chain of influences already 
present in all the evolution of life. 


Organic Selection : Terminology and Criticisms 

§ i. Terminology^- 

In certain recent publications 2 an hypothesis has been 
presented which seems in some degree to mediate between 
the two rival theories of heredity. The point of view 
taken in these publications is briefly this : Assuming the 
operation of natural selection as currently held, and 
assuming also that individual organisms through adjust- 
ment acquire modifications or new characters, then the 
latter will exercise a directive influence on the former 
quite independently of any direct inheritance of acquired 
characters. For organisms which survive through individ- 
ual modification will hand on to the next generation any 
' coincident variations ' (i.e., congenital variations in the 
same direction as the individual modifications) which they 

1 From Science, April 23, 1897, and Nature, LV., 1897, p. 558. See also 
Chap. VIII. § 8. 

2 By Osborn, LI. Morgan, and the writer; those of Osborn and Morgan are 
cited in Appendix A. 

This statement (§ 1) has been prepared in consultation with Principal Mor- 
gan and Professor Osborn. I may express indebtedness to both of them for 
certain suggestions which they allow me to use and which I incorporate 
verbally in the text. Among them is the suggestion that ' Organic Selec- 
tion ' should be the title of this paper. While feeling that this cooperation 
gives greater weight to the communication, at the same time I am alone 
responsible for the publication of it. [It was this generous action on the part 
of both writers which led to the final use of the term ' Organic Selection.' 
This paper is reproduced here in full because it presents a statement reached 
by cooperation and subscribed to by all of the writers mentioned.] 


150 Terminology and Criticisms 

may chance to have, and also allow further variations in 
the same direction. In any given series of generations, the 
individuals of which survive through their susceptibility 
to modification, there will be a gradual and cumulative 
development of coincident variations under the action of 
natural selection. The individual modification acts, in 
short, as a screen to perpetuate and develop congenital 
variations and correlated groups of these. Time is thus 
given to the species to develop by coincident variation 
characters indistinguishable from those which were due to 
acquired modification, and the evolution of the race will 
proceed in the lines marked out by private and individual 
accommodations. It will appear as if the modifications were 
directly inherited, whereas in reality they have acted as 
the fostering nurses of congenital variations. 

It follows also that the likelihood of the occurrence of 
coincident variations will be greatly increased with each 
generation, under this ' screening ' influence of modifi- 
cation ; for the mean of the congenital variations will be 
shifted in the direction of the individual modification, see- 
ing that under the operation of natural selection upon each 
preceding generation variations which are not coincident 
[or correlated] with them tend to be eliminated. 1 

Furthermore, it has recently been shown that, inde- 
pendently of physical heredity, there is among the animals 
a process by which there is secured a continuity of social 
environment, so that those organisms which are born into 
a social community, such as the animal family, accommo- 
date themselves to the ways and habits of that community. 
Professor Lloyd Morgan, 2 following Weismann and Hud- 

1 This aspect of the subject has been emphasized in Chap. X., above. 

2 Introduction to Comparative Psychology, pp. 170, 210, and Habit and 
Instinct, pp. 183, 342. 

Term inology 1 5 1 

son, has employed the term * tradition ' for the handing on 
of that which has been acquired by preceding generations ; 
and I have used the phrase ' social heredity ' for the accom- 
modation of the individuals of each generation to the social 
environment, whereby the continuity of tradition is secured. 
It appears desirable that some definite scheme of 
terminology should be suggested to facilitate the discus- 
sion of these problems of organic and mental evolution ; 
and I therefore venture to submit the following : — 

1. Variation: to be restricted to ' blastogenic ' or con- 
genital variation. 

2. Accommodation : functional adjustment of the indi- 
vidual organism to its environment. This term is widely 
used in this sense by psychologists, and in an analogous 
sense by physiologists. 1 

3. Modification (Lloyd Morgan) : change of structure or 
function due to accommodation. To embrace 'ontogenic 
variations ' (Osborn), i.e., changes arising from all causes 
during ontogeny. 

4. Coincident Variations (Lloyd Morgan) : variations 
which coincide with or are similar in direction to modi- 

5. Organic Selection:** the perpetuation and develop- 
ment of congenital variations in consequence of individual 

1 Professor Osborn suggests that ' individual adaptation ' suffices for this ; 
but that phrase does not mark well the distinction between ' accommodation ' 
and ' modification ' [which often takes place, as in mutilation, without accom- 
modation]. Adaptation is used currently in a loose general sense. [It is 
now suggested (1892) — see the writer's Diet, of Philos. and Psychol. , sub 
verb. — that adaptation be limited to racial adjustments, such as reflexes, in- 
stincts, etc., in contrast with accommodation. ' Adjustment ' is a convenient 
general term.] 

2 Used in the papers reprinted above. 

152 Terminology and Criticisms 

6. Orthoplasy .- 1 the directive or determining influence 
of organic selection in evolution. 

7. Orthoplastic Influences : 1 all agencies of accommoda- 
tion {e.g., organic plasticity, imitation, intelligence, etc.), 
considered as directing the course of evolution through 
organic selection. 

8. Tradition : the handing on of acquired habits from 
generation to generation (independently of physical he- 

9. Social Heredity : 2 the process by which the indi- 
viduals of each generation acquire the matter of tradition 
and grow into the habits and usages of their kind. 

§ 2. Criticisms of Organic Selection* 

It is fortunate that both in Professor Wesley Mills' 
article in Science, May 22, and also in a personal letter 
to the writer, he accepts the class of facts emphasized in 
the foregoing, and admits their importance (having him- 
self before pointed out the imperfection of instinct) 4 ; 
the point of difference between us being in their interpre- 
tation with reference to the inheritance of acquired char- 

1 Used in the papers reprinted above. 

2 See the last note. Professor Lloyd Morgan thinks this term unnecessary. 
It has the advantage, however, of falling in with the popular use of the 
phrases ' social heritage ' and ' social inheritance.' On the other hand, 
' tradition ' seems quite inadequate ; as generally used it signifies that which is 
handed on, the material. However, we may often employ ' social transmission ' 
(see p. 80). 

8 From Science, November 13, p. 724 (an informal communication). 

4 The phrase ' half-congenital,' referred to by Professors Mills and Bumpus, 
was used as expressive rather than as a suggestion in terminology ! Yet the 
equivalent v halb ' is used in the German — so halbbewusst (subconscious), etc. 
See Mills, The Nature and Development of Animal Intelligence, in which 
(Part IV.) he reprints his letters and those of others. 

Criticisms of Organic Selection 153 

acters. The wish may be expressed — in the way of a 
friendly suggestion of a reciprocal kind to Professor Mills 
— that he take up the arguments which are advanced above 
to show that the Lamarckian view of heredity is not en- 
titled to the exclusive use of the principle of use and disuse, 
but that evolution may profit by the accommodations of 
individual creatures without the inheritance of acquired 
characters, through what is here called organic selection, 
and show why they do not apply. 

As to the ' newness ' of the general view which is here 
published, that is a matter of so little importance that I 
refer to it only to disavow having made untoward claims. 
Of course, to us all ' newness ' is nothing compared with 
'trueness.' As to the working of what is called 'social he- 
redity,' it does not appear that this position was called new, 
i.e., that social influences do aid the individual in his develop- 
ment and enable him to keep alive. This had been taught 
by Wallace, and was later signalized — as a writer on the 
papers points out in Nature — by Weismann and others. 
What seemed to be new about social heredity, besides the 
name, which appeared appropriate for reasons given in the 
Naturalist articles, 1 was the use made of it to illustrate 
the broader principle of organic selection — which latter 
principle, from certain points of view, was new. A word 
in regard to that. 

If we give up altogether the principle of modification by 
use and disuse, and the possibility of new adjustments in a 
creature's own lifetime, we must go back to the strictest 
preformism. But to say that such new adjustments 
influence phylogenetic evolution only in case they are in- 
herited, is to go over to the theory of Lamarckism. Now 

1 Chap. VIII. § 8. See also Chap. XIII. § 3, note. 

154 Terminology and Criticisms 

the position is that these individual adjustments are real 
(vs. preformism), that they are not inherited (vs. La- 
marckism), and yet that they influence evolution. These 
adjustments keep certain creatures alive, so put a premium 
on the variations which they represent, so ' determine ' 
the direction of variation, and give the phylum time to per- 
fect as congenital the same functions which were thus at 
first only private accommodations. Thus the same result 
may have come about in many cases as if the Lamarckian 
view of heredity were true. A case of special importance 
of this is to be seen in intelligent accommodations, and one of 
the most interesting fields of intelligent accommodations as 
that of social cooperation?- The general principle, therefore, 
that new adjustments effected by the individual may set the 
direction of evolution without the inheritance of acquired 
characters is what was considered new and was called 
organic selection (also for reasons set out of the Natu- 
ralist article). 

Professor Cattell, writing with thorough appreciation 
of the principle (in The Psychological Review, September, 
1896, p. 572), cites Darwin's doctrine of Sexual Selection 
as a case from the literature. I had also reflected upon 
this case. But Darwin, as I think — subject to correc- 
tion by those more familiar with the literature — found 
the importance of sexual selection in the fact that it 
took effect directly in the pairing of mates and so influ- 
enced posterity. It does not seem that Darwin advanced 
the general truth that all personal adjustments which 

1 These are the two main cases dealt with in my articles, and to my mind 
the main interest attaching to the imperfection of instinct, discussed lately by 
various writers in these pages {Science), is that it shows this 'factor' at 

Criticisms of Organic Selection 155 

were of utility — i.e., which were useful enough to en- 
able a creature to escape with his life — would bring 
about indirectly the sort of effect upon pairing that sexual 
selection brings about directly. But whether he did or 
not, evidently the special case of sexual selection, as thus 
distinguished, does not cover the entire case, and there 
is the same reason for giving the whole influence or 'fac- 
tor ' a name that Darwin had for giving a special name to 
the particular case of sexual selection. 

In short, does not the formulation of any sort of influ- 
ence which regulates the operation of natural selection 
really indicate a * factor ' in the whole evolution movement ? 
Darwin formulated sexual selection as such a factor. Wal- 
lace's ' recognition-mark ' theory of the origin of bright plu- 
mage in male birds is another such formulation. Organic 
selection formulates a general factor by which the opera- 
tion of natural selection is regulated ; ' newness ' in any 
other sense I am not disposed to maintain for it. 

Darwin's personal use of the principle of sexual selec- 
tion, I may add, seemed to require a very high psychologi- 
cal development on the part of the choosing mate, the 
female ; but the way that the principle may be generalized 
— although still with reference to the special case of mat- 
ing — may be seen in the very interesting suggestions of 
Groos (Die Spiele der Thieve, pp. 230 ff., Eng. trans., 
pp. 230 ff. ; made earlier by Hirn, and reprinted in his 
Origins of Art). 

More than one of my critics have spoken of the relation 
of organic selection to natural selection. It is discussed at 
some length in the Naturalist article (see Chap. VIII. § 7 1 ). 
Professor Cattell says : " It is the essence of natural selec- 

1 See also the remarks in Chap. III. § 5. 

156 Terminology and Criticisms 

tion that under changed environment those individuals will 
survive who can best adapt themselves to it." Certainly 
it is. But I think that the advocates of natural selection 
have considered as useless or uninfluential in evolution 
those adjustments of individuals which were not already 
represented in the congenital equipment of the individual. 
Certainly the tendency, at least, of the Neo-Darwinians 
has been to deny the influence of the principle of use and 
disuse on evolution — to consider it altogether a part of 
the machinery of Lamarckism. 1 The influence of new 
adjustments , however, in determining the limits of variation 
in subsequent generations without appealing to the inheri- 
tance of acquired characters — that is the combination 
which we have considered new, although I should not 
have had the courage to label it so if certain biologists 
familiar with the history of discussion had not so character- 
ized it. 2 

If Romanes, for example, had thought of this answer 
to Lamarckism, we cannot conceive that he would still have 
pressed his argument for the inheritance of acquired 
characters drawn from the coordinated muscular movements 
seen in instinct; and in this particular case — the origin 
of instinct — the doctrine of organic selection appears to 
give a new theory. 3 

So far, however, from opposing natural selection, appeal 
is made directly to it. The creature that can adapt itself 

1 Thus they would say : The intelligence is congenital, but the particular 
things learned by intelligence, not being inherited, have as such no influence 
on race development, except, of course, as the children also learn to do these 
things intelligently. 

2 See Professor Osborn's statement beginning ' What appears to be new, 
therefore, in Organic Selection,' cited in Appendix A. 

3 This is now stated in detail in the writer's Story of the Mind, Chap. III.; 
see also Conn, The Method of Evolution (1900), pp. 269 ff. 

Criticisms of Organic Selection 157 

gets its value only because it is selected, as natural 
selection does all its selecting. Even might we say that 
the very ability to make personal adaptations may pos- 
sibly be due to natural selection. But Professor Cattell 
goes too far in saying : ' If organic selection is itself 
a congenital variation, as Professor Baldwin indicates 
[as possible], 1 we are still in the status quo of chance 
variations and natural selection.' Not entirely, indeed, 
since the future variations are narrowed down in their 
range within certain limits. Say a creature is kept alive 
and begets young because he can adapt himself intelli- 
gently or socially, and say his mate has the same charac- 
ter ; then the mean of variations in the next generation 
will tend in the same direction, as Professor Cattell himself 
recognizes. 2 Of course, so far as this point goes, we do 
' remain ignorant as to why the individual makes suitable 
adaptations ' ; that is quite a different question, involving, 
it seems, for adjustments in the sphere of muscular move- 
ment, another application of natural selection, i.e., to 
overproduced or excessive movements 3 ; but we do not 
remain ignorant as to 'why congenital variations occur 
in the line of evolution,' admitting that they occur at all. 
And, of course, we do remain in ignorance as to why ' they 
[variations] are hereditary ' ; that again is a matter of the 
mechanism of heredity. 

In connection with this question of ' newness ' — as 
unprofitable as it is to dwell upon it — another remark of 

1 Cf. my Mental Development, pp. 172 ff., 204 ff. 

2 In the illustration he gives of organic selection, i.e., of dogs becoming 
granivorous from feeding on grain during many generations. 

3 Criticisms of this hypothesis of Functional Selection I cannot consider 
here. It is now, 1901, rather widely accepted: see Lloyd Morgan, Animal 
Behaviour, and Groos, The Play of Man, ' Experimenting.' 

158 Terminology and Criticisms 

Professor Catteil may be referred to. He says that it is 
left in doubt whether I mean to say that the principle of 
organic selection was stated in my book on Mental Devel- 
opment, and also that he cannot tell from his memory of 
the book. This is a fair question. The principle was sug- 
gested in the book, as the quotation made from pp. 175— 
176 of that work (above, p. 96, note) may suffice to show. 

Also in speaking of the results of the individual's accom- 
modations on evolution, it is said : ' This again is exactly 
the same result as if originally neutral organisms had 
learned each for itself. . . . The life principle has learned, 
but with the help of the stimulating environment and 
natural selection (173).' Again, in speaking directly of 
heredity (pp. 205 f.) : 'It [Neo-Darwinism] denies that 
what an individual experiences in his lifetime, the gains 
he makes in his adaptations to his surroundings, can be 
transmitted to his sons. This theory, it is evident, can 
be held on the view of development sketched above, for 
granted the learning of new movements in the way which 
has been called organic selection . . . yet the ability to do 
it may be a congenital variation. . . . And all the later 
acquirements of individual organisms may likewise be 
considered only the evidence of additional variations from 
these earlier variations. So it is only necessary to hold to 
a view by which variations are cumulative [i.e., the view 
of organic selection] to secure the same results by natu- 
ral selection as would have been secured by the inheri- 
tance of acquired characters from father to son ' (see also 
p. 206). It may be allowed, also, in view of the charge 
of obscurity made by Mr. Catteil — and the appearance 
of which comes in part, at least, from the need of conden- 
sation — to quote from a review of Mental Development 

Criticisms of Organic Selection 159 

in the London Speaker. Giving an exposition of the posi- 
tion which the book takes (p. 207) on the subject of hered- 
ity, the reviewer says : ' If, however, creatures having 
the ability to make intelligent adaptations which become 
consolidated into habits (called ' secondary instincts') are 
selected for survival, it is just as if secondary instincts 
were acquired by actual transmission to offspring of the 
modifications produced in parents by the exercise of their 
own intelligence. Psychologists may, therefore, practically 
speak as if acquired mental characters were really inher- 
ited, though what is inherited may be only the ability to 
acquire them. Such ability, of course, natural selection 
would accumulate like any other variation.' 

While suggested in the book, however, it is not enlarged 
upon, since the section on heredity was written only to 
show that either of the current views might be held to- 
gether with the main teaching of the book. 1 

1 I regret taking so much space for these personal explanations, but the 
editor of Science can spare the space, since it is he who asked the question ! 


Determinate Variation and Selection * 

A few remarks may be allowed on the subject dis- 
cussed in the reports of the papers of Professors Osborn 
and Poulton on ' Organic Selection ' in the issue of 
Science for October 15, 1897. 2 

§ 1. Determinate Variation 

1. Professor Osborn's use of the phrase 'determinate 
variation ' seems ambiguous, and the ambiguity is the 
more serious since it seems to me to prejudice the main 
contention involved in the advocacy of organic selec- 
tion. The ambiguity is this : he seems to use determi- 
nate variation as synonymous with determinate evolution* 
He says that determinate variation is generally accepted, 
and attributes that view to Professor Lloyd Morgan and 
to myself. But it is only determinate evolution that I, for 
my part, am able to subscribe to ; and I think the same 
is true of Professor Morgan. 

1 Determinate evolution ' means a consistent and uniform 
direction of progress in evolution, however that progress 
may be secured, and whatever the causes and processes at 

1 From Science, November 19, 1897 ( witn additions). 

2 Cited in Appendix A. 

8 See his discussion, Science, October 1 5, pp. 583-584, especially p. 584, 
column 1, and paragraph 2 of column 2. 


Determinate Variation 161 

work. Admitting * determinate evolution,' the question as 
to the causes which ' determine ' the evolution is never- 
theless still open, and various answers have been given to 
it. The Neo-Lamarckians say ' use-inheritance ' (as Eimer, 
who calls the determination secured by this means 'ortho- 
genesis'); Weismann says 'germinal selection '; those who 
accept ' organic selection ' say that it is a determining 
factor (the resulting determination of evolution being 
called ' orthoplasy '); others say 'determinate variation' 
(continued in the same direction for successive genera- 
tions) ; Professor Osborn says, ' determinate variation ' 
with 'organic selection.' Determinate variation, then, in 
the proper meaning of that term, is only one way of account- 
ing for determinate evolution, and to the writer it is not 
the true way ; at any rate, it is not necessarily involved 
in the theory of ' organic selection.' 

Let us look more closely at ' determinate variation.' 
Supposing that by variation we mean 'congenital varia- 
tion,' then we may ask : When are variations determinate ? 
When for any reason they are distributed in a way different 
from that required by the law of probability or chance. 
The problem of determinate variations is purely one of 
distribution; and is to be investigated for each gener- 
ation, quite apart from its holding for a number of succes- 
sive generations (and so giving ' determinate evolution '). 

Further, the possible determinateness of variation is to 
be distinguished carefully from the extent or width of 
variation. By ' extent ' of variation is meant the limits of 
distribution of cases about their own mean ; while relative 
determinateness means the distribution of cases, according 
to some other law than that of probabilities, about a mean 
established for the parents in the earlier generation. 


1 62 Determinate Variation and Selection 

The question of determinate variation is : Has any influ- 
ence worked to make the mean of variation of the new gen- 
eration different from that which should be expected from 
the characters of their parents} whatever the extent of varia- 
tion may be. 

2. The assumption of Professor Osborn {toe. cit., pp. 584- 
585), that because certain fossils show determinate prog- 
ress, — determinate evolution, — therefore there must have 
been determinate variation, seems to me defective logic. 
It is one possibility among others, certainly, but only one. 
And as has been said above, Chap. X. § 3, instead of 
being necessary as a support for organic selection, that 
principle comes as a new resource to diminish the proba- 
bility that the variations have really been determinate in 
these cases. They may be cases of orthoplasy involving 
organic selection working as an aid to natural selection 

1 1 expressly avoid saying what this mean is, i.e., what the contribution of 
each parent is to the average individual of their offspring ; but the work of 
Galton goes far to establish it. Much more investigation is needed on this 
point of making out what is indeterminate variation ; how insecure, therefore, 
the claim that variations are determinate ! The drift of recent statistical 
studies goes, however (so far as the writer can judge), directly to show 
that in their distribution — considered apart from their extent — variations 
follow the probability curve. They are summarized by Weldon and Daven- 
port in the Arts, on ' Variation ' in the Diet, of Philosophy and Psychology, 
Vol. II. ; see also the Arts. ' Galton's Law ' (of ancestral inheritance) and 
' Selection ' (in biology). The following suggestions in terminology are made 
by the present writer in the same work (art. ' Variation,' ad Jin.) : " In the 
treatment of variation, confusion arises from failure to distinguish the follow- 
ing forms : (a) ' indefinite ' or ' fortuitous ' or *■ ataxic ' (variation subject to 
' chance,' or following the law of probability) ; (£) ' definite ' or ' determinate ' 
(variation following some other law than that of probability). The latter 
may well be again divided into (i) 'autotaxic' (determinate variation due 
to intrinsic vital tendencies to development, as held by all forms of vital- 
ism), and (2) 'taxonomic' (determinate variation caused by external causes 
of any sort)." — Note added 1902. 

Determinate Variation 163 

upon ' coincident ' or correlative variations which are yet 
not determinate but fortuitous in the strict sense. 

On the doctrine of natural selection, the only way to get 
determinate evolution is to secure the survival of a surplus 
or balance of variations of a particular kind in each single 
generation considered for itself. So the opponents of 
determinate evolution have brought the challenge to show 
that, in each particular case, such a predominance of vari- 
ations in a particular direction is found. Weismann 
recognizes the force of this challenge, but does not see 
how it can be met (especially in the form urged by the 
paleontologists), with all his machinery, including intra- 
selection, and so he produces the theory of 'germinal selec- 
tion ' to account, as he puts it, for ' variations where and 
when they are wanted.' But the question is one of fact : 
do we actually find a balance of variations in a particular 
direction, antecedent to the process of elimination by natural 
selection ? Recent statistical work points directly in the 
opposite direction, as is said above. 

Now, the point is that the view suggested under the 
term Orthoplasy, with organic selection, does not require 
determinate variations, although it results in determinate 
evolution. On this view the determination is secured, not 
by an original balance of variations in one direction, but by 
a shifting of the mean of variation in a certain direction 
through the selective results of the creature's accommoda- 
tions. These not only make their own repetition secure 
by repeated intra-selection in each generation, as Weismann 
showed, but they shield and keep alive the set of variations 
which they in any way involve, so that in the next genera- 
tion the gamut or range of variations, while subject to the 
same law of indeterminate distribution (called ' chance dis- 

164 Determinate Variation and Selection 

tribution ') as before, yet has a mean which lies further in 
the direction of the accommodations themselves or in lines 
consistent with them. This view is, therefore, quite con- 
sonant with the negative answer which is probably to be 
given to the question of fact as to determinate variation. 

The ancestors of the sole, for example, had one eye on 
each side. Let us suppose that some of them also had a 
certain power of adjusting the eyes by muscular strain. 
Now those which could do this best in the way which 
would bring the eyes closer together would have the bet- 
ter chance of life. 1 Then, in addition to the action of 
natural selection upon those which were born with the 
eyes closer together, there would be the further fact that 
this acquired adjustment would save the lives of the 'ac- 
commodating' soles. 2 Not only would Weismann's intra- 
selection have play to enable each successive generation to 
make the same accommodation, in turn, as their fathers 
had done before them, but there would be a directive ten- 
dency given to the evolution of the eyes of the sole in the 
matter of relative position. For while, originally, the strug- 
gle had been between those which could adjust the eyes in 
this manner and those which could not, the survival to 
maturity of the accommodating ones only would bring 
it about that only these would be fertile, all the next gen- 
eration would have the power of some accommodation, and 
the mean would thus be shifted in this direction. The 
best accommodation would always be made by those whose 

1 By reason of some advantage, such as that arising from a flat position near 
the bottom, with other adaptations for better concealment, as is explained be- 
low, Chap. XIV. § 3. 

2 Professor C. B. Davenport suggests in a private letter that the principle 
of organic selection might be described as 'the survival of the accommo- 

Selections and Selection 165 

variations were in the line of this adjustment of the eyes, 
until finally the two eyes were found on the same side. So 
fruitful variation and evolution is in the line set and main- 
tained by the individual accommodations, quite in the 
absence of determinate variation. 

§ 2. Selections and Selection 

3. Without going into the question, it may yet be 
said that the position taken by Professor Poulton in the 
matter of the relation of natural to organic selection — 
that plasticity is itself due to natural selection — is, as he 
says, that advocated here ; but I have given natural 
selection still further emphasis by making the 'functional 
selection from overproduced movements,' whereby motor 
accommodations are secured, itself a case of natural selec- 
tion broadly understood. I have recently drawn up a 
table showing the various sorts of ' selection ' under the 
distinction of 'means' and immediate 'result,' finding 
some fourteen sorts of selection, and venture to reprint 
this table here. 1 

Certain remarks may be added to which I give numbers 
corresponding to those topics in the table to which they 
respectively relate : — 

4, 5, 6. By a singular coincidence M. Delage uses the 
phrase ' selection organique ' {Struct, du Protoplasma, 
etc., p. 732) to describe Roux' ' Struggle of the parts,' 
akin to functional selection. Seeing that Weismann's 

1 The terms in the table which relate to social evolution are fully explained 
in the work, Social and Ethical Interpretations, Index and Appendix B, where 
acknowledgment is made of suggestions from Professor Lloyd Morgan. Ap- 
pendix B is omitted from the third edition (1902) of that work, seeing that 
the table is now printed here. 

1 66 Determinate Variation and Selection 





2. Natural Selection. 


Struggle for Existence. 
Inherent Weakness. 

' Survival of the Fit- 
test ' Individuals. 

Destruction of Unfit 


Germinal Selection. 


Struggle of Germinal 


Survival of Fittest 
Germinal Elements. 




Struggle of Parts. 


Survival of Fittest 
Cells and Organs. 


Functional Selec- 


Overproduction of 


Survival of Fittest 





Organic Selection. 


Growth Processes. 


Survival of Accommo- 
dating and Modi- 
fied Individuals. 


Artificial Selection. 


Choice for Planting 
and for Mating 


Reproduction of De- 
sirable Individuals. 


Personal Selection. 




Employment and Sur- 
vival of Socially 
Available Individ- 


Sexual Selection. 


Conscious Selection 
through Display, 
Courting, etc. 


Reproduction of At- 
tractive Individ- 


Social Selection. 


Social Competition 


Survival of Socially 

[Group Selection.] 

of Individuals and 
Groups with Natu- 
ral Selection. 

Fittest Individuals 
and Groups. 


Social Suppression. 


Suppression of So- 
cially Unfittest (by 
Law, Custom, etc.). 


Survival of the So- 
cially Fit. 


Imitative Selection, 


Imitative Propaga- 


Survival of Ideas, 

Social Generali- 

tion from Mind 

Customs, etc. 


to Mind with So- 
cial Heredity. 


Physiological Selec- 


Relative Infertility. 


Survival of the Diver- 


Reproductive or 
Genetic Selection. 


Enhanced Fertility. 


Survival of the Most 

Selections and Selection 167 

' Intra-selection ' (4) was directly applied by him to his 
interpretation of Roux' 'Struggle,' Delage's phrase is not 
likely to have currency as a substitute for Intra-selection. 
As ' Functional Selection ' (5) is a special means of motor 
accommodation, it is additional (and in a sense subordi- 
nate) to Intra-selection, since it has a functional reference. 
7, 8, 9. A separate heading might be given to Professor 
Lloyd Morgan's phrase 'Conscious Selection,' but it will 
be seen that, as he uses it, i.e., in broad antithesis to 
1 Natural Selection,' it really includes all those special 
forms of selection in which a state of consciousness plays the 
selecting role 1 (7, 8, 9, 11, 12). It would be ambiguous 
if used for cases where natural selection operates on 
mental and social variations (5, 6, 10), since it might 
then mean the survival of the conscious ; and even when 
applicable, as in sexual selection (g), 2 with respect to the 
'means ' of the selection, it may be ambiguous with respect 
to the 'result' of the selection. This last ambiguity, which 
is brought out in the table (8, g), s makes it desirable to 
confine the phrase ' Conscious Selection ' (if used at all) to 
cases which result in continuance of what is desirable 
for consciousness or thought. ' Personal Selection ' is 
suggested (8) for selection by human personal choice, 
analogous to Sexual Selection (9) and to Romanes' ' Physi- 
ological Selection ' (13). Furthermore, Darwin's ' Artificial 

1 This, indeed, is still liable to the question as to whose is the state of con- 
sciousness, giving the difference (both in means and result) seen between 
• Artificial ' (7) and ' Sexual ' (9) selection. Ward's suggestion of the phrase 
1 subjective selection ' {i.e., by consciousness) in antithesis to natural selection 
(Encyclopcedia Britannica, 9th ed., Art. ' Psychology ') > was earlier. 

2 Lloyd Morgan, Habit and Instinct, pp. 219, 271. 

3 The bird ' selects ' (sexually) for the sake of the experience, and it is a sec- 
ondary result that she is also thus ' selected ' for mating with the male and so for 
continuing his attractive characters with her own characters in the offspring. 

1 68 Determinate Variation and Selection 

Selection ' should be used, as he used it, with reference 
only to securing results by induced mating (his ' Methodi- 
cal ' as opposed to his ' Unconscious ' Selection). 

10, II, 12. In all the different sorts of 'selection,' consid- 
ered as factors in progress from generation to generation, in 
which the laws of natural selection and physical reproduc- 
tio?i do not operate together, it seems extremely desirable 
that we qualify the word ' selection ' carefully, giving to 
each case a name which shall apply to it alone. The cases 
of the preservation of individuals and groups by reason of 
their social endowments do illustrate natural selection with 
physical reproduction, and 'Social Selection' (10) is pro- 
posed for that. In the instances in which either physical 
heredity is not operative (12), or in which it is not the 
only means of transmission (11), we cannot secure clear- 
ness without new terms ; for these two cases ' Social 
Suppression' (11) and 'Social Generalization' (12) are 
suggested. The phrase ' Imitative Selection ' is given in 
the table alternately for the latter (12), seeing that the 
discussions of the topic usually employ the term ' Selec- 
tion ' and use (wrongly) the ' Natural Selection ' analogy. 
Selection may be used also when there is no reference to 
race-progress (and so no danger of the misuse of the bio- 
logical analogy), since it then means presumably the 
' conscious choice ' of psychology and of pre-Darwinian 

§ 3. Isolation and Selection^ 

Professor Hutton protests against the use of the term 
' Selection ' in certain cases, saying : ' Selection means the 
act of picking out certain objects from a number of others, 

1 From Science, May 6, 1898, commenting on an article by Professor 
W. H. Hutton, in the same journal for April 22, 1898. 

Isolation and Selection 169 

and it implies that these objects are chosen for some 
reason or other.' In referring to the writer's views he 
seems to have seen the table on p. 166, in which are given 
several sorts of ' selection ' current in the literature of 
evolution. Seeing that the definition given by Mr. Hutton 
is pre-Darwinian, and that much of the warfare which 
Darwin and subsequent evolutionists had to wage was 
precisely over this term * selection' — leaving aside the 
question whether Darwin chose the term wisely or not in 
the first instance — it is scarcely possible now to go back to 
the pre-Darwinian view which Professor Hutton advocates. 
Indeed, he himself, in this letter, says concerning natural 
selection: 'The term has become so firmly established 
that it can well be allowed to pass if used only in Dar- 
win's sense of advantage gained in the struggle for exist- 
ence, either by the individual or by the species.' 

This admitted, there is only one thing to do, that is to 
recognize the two general uses of the term ' Selection,' the 
pre-Darwinian (or conscious) Selection 'for some reason 
or other,' and the Darwinian (or post-Darwinian) Selection, 
of which survival on grounds of utility is the sole cri- 
terion. Now it is true enough that all sorts of confusion 
arise from the interchange of these two meanings of 
selection ; and it was with a view to the correlation of the 
different conceptions under certain headings ('means' and 
'result ') that the table was drawn up. However, it was 
recommended that selection in the Darwinian sense be 
used without qualification only when the conditions of 
organic progress by survival are present, namely, natural 
selection 1 and physical heredity. These requirements the 

1 In saying natural selection and physical heredity, one assumes the requisite 
supply of variations. 

170 Determinate Variation and Selection 

different usages of the table do fulfil ; so that if each has 
its qualifying word ('natural,' 'sexual,' 'organic,' etc.), the 
use of the term 'selection ' is not ambiguous. Further, in 
selection of the pre-Darwinian sort, as defined by Pro- 
fessor Hutton, whenever it is a question of organic evolu- 
tion, these two conditions are also requisite, i.e., variation 
and heredity, as in Darwin's artificial selection. So while 
fully agreeing with Professor Hutton on the necessity of 
definition of selection, I do not see the need of taking 
our nomenclature back to pre-Darwinian zoology. More- 
over, the attempt would be quite futile. 

Professor Hutton goes on to say that Darwin's term 
'Natural Selection' is better than 'Organic Selection.' 
He seems to suppose that the two are used for the same 
thing. As the proposer of ' Organic Selection ' (and all 
the other users of the term, so far as I know, e.g., Osborn, 
Poulton, Conn, Headley, etc., have given it the same 
meaning), the writer can say that nothing of that sort is 
intended. Organic selection is supplementary ; it is based 
upon and presupposes natural selection. It recognizes the 
positive accommodations on the part of individual animals 
by which they keep themselves alive and so have an advan- 
tage over others under the operation of natural selection. 
I agree with Professor Poulton in holding * that, so far 
from coming to replace natural selection or impair our 
confidence in it, it does quite the reverse. But it is 
also claimed that it explains cases of 'determinate evolu- 
tion ' which are not fully explained by natural selection 
alone. So some such term is justified ; and it is a form 
of ' selection ' in the Darwinian sense, for it requires both 

1 Science, Oct. 15, 1897, and Nature, April 14, 1898, p. 556. See also 
Chap. XIV. § 4, and cf. the strong statement of Headley quoted in Appendix B. 

Isolation and Selection 171 

natural selection and physical heredity. Moreover, it 
is contrasted with natural selection on a point of which 
Professor Hutton speaks. He says : ' Natural Selection 
is not truly selection, for the individuals can hardly be 
said to select themselves by their superior strength, cun- 
ning, or what not.' Now, ' organic selection ' supposes 
them doing this, in an important sense. It is a sort of 
artificial selection put in the hands of the animal himself — 
that is, so far as the results go. 1 

As to ' isolation ' (Professor Hutton's other topic), it is 
certainly important, but is Professor Hutton right in con- 
sidering it a positive cause ? He says : * It is isolation 
which produces the new race ; selection merely determines 
the direction the new race is to take,' and ' isolation is 
capable of originating new species.' But how ? Suppose 
we isolate some senile animals, or some physiological 
minors, will a new race arise ? The real cause in it all is 
reproduction, heredity, with its likenesses and its varia- 
tions. Both isolation and natural selection are negative 
conditions : what are called in physical science ' control ' 
conditions, of the operation of heredity. So in seeking 
out such principles as 'selection,' 'isolation,' etc., we are 
asking how heredity has been controlled, directed, diverted, 
in this direction or that. Isolation is as purely negative 
as is natural selection. Any influence which throws this 
and that mate together in so far isolates them from others, 
as has been said in a notice of Romanes' and Gulick's doc- 
trine of isolation, 2 and inasmuch as certain of these con- 
trol conditions have already been discovered and otherwise 
named by their discoverer as 'natural selection,' 'artificial 

1 See below, Chap. XIII. § i. 

2 Psychological Review, March, 1898, p. 216 (see Appendix C). 

172 Determinate Variation and Selection 

selection,' ' sexual selection/ etc., it is both unnecessary 
and unwise to attempt now to call them all 'isolation.' 
For if everything is isolation then we have to call each 
case by its special name, just the same, to distinguish it 
from others. 

There remains the question as to whether isolation, in 
the broad sense of the restriction of pairing to members 
of the same group, can result in specific differences with- 
out any help from ' selection ' of any kind. If that should 
be proved, 1 then there would be, it would seem, justifica- 
tion for the term ' isolation ' in evolution theory, with a 
meaning not already preempted. This Professor Hutton 
claims, with Romanes and Gulick. 

1 At present it is far from being proved. Cf. Professor Cockerell's review 
of Romanes in Science, April 29, 1898. 


Orthoplasy 1 

The theory of evolution which makes general use of 
organic selection is called Orthoplasy ; it has already been 
sufficiently explained. It is the theory that individual 
modifications or accommodations supplement, protect, or 
screen organic characters and keep them alive until useful 
congenital variations arise and survive by natural selec- 
tion ; and that this process, combined in many cases with 
'tradition,' gives direction to evolution. 

§ I. The Factors in Orthoplasy 

The theory, it is evident, involves two factors: (i)the 
survival of characters which are in any way assisted by 
acquired modifications, etc., during periods in which, with- 
out such assistance, they would be eliminated, until (2) the 
appearance and selection of congenital variations which 
can get along without such assistance. The second factor 
is simply direct natural selection ; and it is the first which 
is the characteristic feature of this theory. By the coop- 
eration of the acquired characters, a species or race is held 
up against competition and destruction, while variations 

1 Matter revised from the writer's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, 
art. 'Organic (or Indirect) Selection,' which in that work is also signed by 
Professor Lloyd Morgan, Professor Poulton, and Dr. G. F. Stout. This chapter 
may serve as a summary statement of some of the applications of which the 
theory is capable, and also as a partial resume of the preceding chapters. 


1 74 Ortkoplasy 

are being accumulated which finally render the character 
or function complete enough to stand alone. Illustrations 
of this 'concurrence,' — as it is called above, — between 
acquired and congenital characters, have already been 
given, and others are cited in quotations made from 
other writers below. The definitions of different writers 
show differences of emphasis (see especially those of 
Osborn and Morgan given in Appendix A). 

The theory is described by Headley as * natural selection 
using Lamarckian methods ' ( The Problems of Evolution, 
p. 120). Groos, in expounding organic selection, says: 
'When a species have, by means of accommodations, 
made new life conditions for themselves, they can manage 
to keep afloat until natural selection can substitute the 
lifeboat heredity for the life-preserver tradition ' ( The 
Play of Man, Eng. trans., p. 283). 

The term 'indirect selection,' 1 which some prefer, has 
reference to the way in which natural selection comes 
into operation in these cases, i.e., indirectly through the 
saving presence of modifications, and not directly upon 
variations which are useful. Poulton had used the term 
indirect in its adjective form in the following: 'These 
authorities justly claim that the power of the individual 
to play a part in the struggle for life may constantly give 
a definite trend and direction to evolution ; and although 
the results of purely individual response to external forces 
are not hereditary, yet indirectly they may result in the 
permanent addition of corresponding powers to the species ' 
(see Appendix A, III.). 

The effectiveness of the method of screening and of so 

1 This term was suggested, I think, by an anonymous writer in the Zoological 

Applications of Organic Selection 175 

accumulating certain variations in producing well-marked 
types is seen in artificial selection, where certain creatures 
are set apart for breeding. But any influence, such as the 
individual's own accommodation to his environment, which 
is important enough to keep him and his like alive, while 
others go under in the struggle for existence, may be con- 
sidered with reason a real cause in producing just such 
effects. Thus by the processes of accommodation, a 
weapon analogous to artificial selection is put into the 
hands of the organism itself, and the species profits by it. 
Headley characterizes this aspect of the case as follows : 
1 The creatures pilot themselves. . . . Selection ceases to 
be purely natural ; it is in part artificial ' (see below, 
Appendix B, I., and above, p. 171). 

For example, suppose that cats catch more long-tailed 
rats than short-tailed rats. Natural selection would then 
work to reduce the length of the rats' tails. But the breeder 
can secure longer-tailed rats by removing the longest-tailed, 
in successive generations, to an environment where there 
are no cats. Now suppose we find that the long-tailed 
rats have also more intelligence than the short-tailed ones, 
and use it effectively in escaping from the cats, then the 
effects of natural selection may be reversed : the short- 
tailed rats will now suffer more from the cats, and the result 
will be exactly the same as that produced by the breeder — 
a race of longer-tailed rats. But it is due to the screening 
utility of the intelligent accommodations made by the rats 
with long tails. 

§ 2. Applications of Organic Selection 

This point of view has had especial application and 
development in connection with determinate evolution, 

1 76 Orthoplasy 

with the rise of instinct, with the origin of structures 
lacking in apparent utility when full formed or when only 
partly formed, with correlated variations, coordinated 
muscular groups, etc., with mental and social evolution. 
It would seem to be a legitimate resource in the following 
more special cases. 

(1) In cases where there is possible correlation between 
the organ or function whose origin is in question and a 
modification which is of acknowledged utility: the latter 
serves as screen to the undeveloped stages of the former. 
This is notably the case where intelligence comes into play ; 
it screens all sorts of characters of very varied utility. 

(2) In cases of ' convergence ' of lines of descent : 
certain accommodations, common to the two lines which 
converge, compel the indirect selection of variations of 
the same sort in the two lines, so that they are brought 
constantly nearer to each other; so in many cases of 
resemblance due to similarity of function. (This is noted 
by Poulton, as is also resemblance due to similarity of 
habit and attitude, in the art ' Mimicry,' in the present 
writer's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology.^) The 
unlikelihood of two or more independent origins of the 
same species or character by natural selection alone has 
often been pointed out (cf . Poulton, Charles Darwin, p. 56). 

There are many cases in the animal world of ' analogous ' 
organs which are yet not ' homologous,' — organs of 
divergent origin but of common function, and possibly 
of common appearance, — the rudiments of which may 
have owed their common and ' indirect ' selection to a 
single more general utility. 

(3) In cases of divergent or 'polytypic' evolution: 
a single common character being equally available as 

Applications of Organic Selection 177 

support to two different accommodations, or as cooperating 
factors in them, varies in both directions, and so divergent 
congenital characters are evolved. 

Or, again, two or more different accommodations may 
subserve the same utility, and thus conserve different lines 
of variation. To escape floods, for example, some indi- 
viduals of a species may learn to climb trees, while others 
learn to swim. This has been recognized in Gulick's 
'Change of Habits' considered as a cause of segregation, 
and thus also of divergent evolution. 1 

(4) In cases of apparent permanent influence, upon 
a stock, of temporary changes of environment, as in 
transplantation : the direction of variation seems to be 
changed by the temporary environment, when there is 
really only the temporary ' indirect ' selection of varia- 
tions appropriate to the changed environment. For ex- 
ample, it is possible that plants undergo quick changes 
by indirect selection when transplanted, the effects of 
this selection of variations continuing a longer or shorter 
period after returning to the original conditions of life •, espe- 
cially when the original environment does not demand their 
prompt weeding out. This is one of the cases frequently 
cited as favouring the hypothesis of Lamarckian inheri- 

The matter may be made clear by concrete illustra- 
tions. The point is made by Lamarckians, especially by 
botanists, based upon alleged facts, that modifications 
which are produced in plants when they are transplanted 
into new conditions are retained in greater or less degree 
by the descendants when they are re-transferred back to 

1 The implications of this position, as well as of the two preceding points 
(1 and 2) are brought out in the following chapter. 


i j8 Orthoplasy 

the original conditions. The argument is that the effect 
would not continue to appear in the environment in which 
there is nothing external to bring it about, unless the mod- 
ifications effected by the changed environment had been 
inherited. This is so strong a point that many who find 
no evidence for Lamarckianism in other cases admit that 
it is likely here. 

Now the point is that this relative permanence of what 
seems to be the influence of external conditions can be 
explained by organic selection. For we may hold, as it is 
the essence of this view to hold, that the forces of the 
environment in such cases modify the individuals exposed 
to them ; and these modifications shield certain lines of 
variations in the same direction. If the plants lived awhile 
in the new environment they would show this shifting of 
variation in that direction ; each subsequent generation 
would thus have less change to undergo. So to the degree 
that the variations were distributed about a mean differ- 
ent from that which existed before the plants were first 
removed from their original habitat, to this degree the 
reverse process would have to take place when they are 
taken back to this habitat again. That is, when first taken 
back they would continue to show the influence of the 
temporary environment without actually inheriting any- 
thing directly from it. Besides the cases of fact cited by 
the botanists, we may refer to the instance recently brought 
out on the zoological side — that of sheep said to have 
been transferred from Ohio to Texas, where certain 
changes took place in their wool — spoken of in another 
connection (Chap. XIV. § i). 

(5) In all cases of conscious or intelligent, including 
social, accommodation : in these cases conscious action 

Applications of Organic Selection 179 

directly reenforces and supplements congenital endow- 
ment at the same time that there is indirect selection of 
variations which intelligence finds most suited to its needs. 
Thus congenital tendencies and predispositions are fos- 
tered. The orthoplastic influence of family life is well 
illustrated by Headley (cited in Appendix B). This is 
seen also in the rise of many instincts for the performance 
of which intelligent direction has gradually become un- 
necessary (cf . the use of the principle in an independent 
way by P. Marchal in the Rev. Sclent., Nov. 21, 1896, 
p. 653, to explain the origin of the queen bee). 

The principle applies also to the origin of the forms of 
emotional expression (e.g., Darwin's classical case of the 
inherited fear of man by certain birds in the Oceanic 
Islands : see Darwin, Descent of Man, Chap. II.), which 
are thought to have been useful, and in most cases intelli- 
gent, accommodations to an environment consisting of other 
animals. In man also we find reactions, such as those of 
bashfulness, shame, etc., largely organic, whose origin it 
is difficult to explain in any other way, unless we admit 
the inheritance of acquired characters. It is also recog- 
nized that social action by animals, as for example more 
or less intelligent herding, was often of direct utility and 
caused their survival until the corresponding instincts be- 
came fixed. 

It also works another way, as Professor Groos shows : 
an instinct is broken up and so yields to the intelligent per- 
formance of the same function, by variations toward the 
increased plasticity and ' educability ' which intelligent 
action requires. In this way another objection to Darwin- 
ism is met — that which cites the difficulty of securing the 
modification and decay of instincts by natural selection alone. 

1 80 Orthoplasy 

(6) In this connection, as we have pointed out above, we 
find that with the rise of intelligence, broadly understood, 
there comes into existence an animal tradition into which 
the young are educated in each succeeding generation. 
This sets the direction of most useful attainment, and 
constitutes a new and higher environment. It is with 
reference to this, in many cases at least, that instincts 
both rise and decay ; decay, when plasticity and continued 
relearning by each generation are demanded ; rise, when 
fixed organic reactions, stereotyped by variation and selec- 
tion, are of more use. So there is a constant adjustment, 
as the conditions of life may demand, between the intelli- 
gent actions embodied in tradition, and the instinctive 
actions embodied through natural selection in inherited 
structure ; and this is the essential cooperation of the two 
factors, accommodation and variation, as postulated by the 
theory of orthoplasy. The line of acquired modification 
takes the lead, variations follow. This is very differ- 
ent from the view which relies exclusively upon the 
natural selection of useful variations in this or that char- 
acter ; for it introduces a conserving and regulating factor, 
— a ' blanket utility ' as it is called on an earlier page, — 
under which various minor adaptations may be adjusted in 
the organism as a whole. Of course the selection of the 
plasticity, required by intelligence and educability, is by 
direct natural selection; but, inside of this, the relation of 
the intelligence to the specific organic characters and 
functions is the one of * concurrence ' which the theory 
of orthoplasy postulates. 

(7) It is a factor of stability and persistence of type, as 
opposed, for example, to the fatal result of disadvanta- 
geous variations (Wallace); since the individual accom- 

Applications of Organic Selection 181 

modations may compensate in a constantly increasing way 
for the loss of direct utility of the character in question. 
This is notably the case with intelligent accommodations. 
These piece out obstructed, distorted, or partial instincts 
or other functions, and modify the environment to secure 
their free play or to negative their disadvantageous results. 
This carries further the advantage which Weismann has 
claimed in his Romanes Lecttire for Intra-selection. 

(8) It is possible, indeed, that this principle may turn out 
to be a resource in the difficult matter of the retrogressive 
evolution of particular characters, and that in two ways : 
(i) by the fostering of variations antagonistic to the organ 
or function which is undergoing decay, as is pointed out 
under heading (5) just above (the case of intelligent action 
superseding instinctive) ; and (2) by the fostering of a 
function of greater utility, which gradually replaces a 
lesser, in connection with the same organ or structure. 
For example, the evolving conformation of the skull to 
enclose a large brain, with growing intelligence, may 
have required the reduction of the biting and ear-moving 
muscles and the essential modification of their attachment 
to the bones, which became possible with the reduced 
utility of movable ears and powerful jaws, as intelligent 
accommodation advanced and replaced brute force. 

Furthermore, cases of reversed selection are made pos- 
sible under the same fostering or life-sustaining accommo- 
dation, as in the case of transplantation or removal to a 
new environment, and then again back to the old (see the 
case of plants in 4 above, and of sheep below, Chapter 
XIV. §1). A similar result would show itself under great 
natural environmental change ; and reversed selection, if 
only partial or temporary, would leave vestigial or partially 

1 82 Orthoplasy 

atrophied organs. Such processes would make it unneces- 
sary to accept for such cases the very doubtful retrogres- 
sive effects attributed by Weismann to Panmixia. 

(9) It secures the effectiveness of variation in certain 
lines, not only by keeping alive these variations from 
generation to generation, but also by increasing the rela- 
tive number of individuals having these variations in 
common, until they become established in the species. It 
thus answers the stock objection to natural selection (cf., 
e.g., Henslow, Nattirai Science, VI., 1895, pp. 585 f., and 
VIII., 1897, pp. 169 f.) which claims that the same variation 
would not occur at any one time in a sufficient number of 
individuals to establish itself, except in case of great envi- 
ronmental change or of migration. Organic selection 
shifts the mean of a character, and this changed mean is 
what natural selection requires (cf. Conn, The Method of 
Evolution, pp. 75 f.). 

It aids, also, in the matter of discontinuous variation 
— first, by allying accommodation possibly with extreme 
variations and so making them useful; and second, by 
presenting the appearance of discontinuous variation, as 
mentioned in Chapter VIII. § 3 (5). 

(10) Organic selection is a segregating or isolating 
factor, as is illustrated under (3) above. Animals which 
make common accommodations survive and mate together. 
In the presence of an enemy, for instance, those animals 
which can run fast escape together ; those which can go 
through small holes remain likewise together ; and so do 
those hardy enough to fight, etc. This effective production 
of separate groups is directly due to the different accommo- 
dations respectively made in the individuals. 

Intra- selection and Orthoplasy 183 

§ 3. Intra-s election and Orthoplasy 

As to the possible universal application of organic selec- 
tion, which makes orthoplasy a general theory, it would 
seem to depend upon whether there are any cases of 
congenital characters maturing without some accommo- 
dation due to the action of the life conditions upon 
the individual's plastic material. The position is main- 
tained above that there are probably no such characters. 
It follows that those variations in which the most fortunate 
combination of innate and acquired elements is secured 
survive under natural selection; and this means that 
organic selection is universal. In the words of Groos 
{Play of Man, Eng. trans., p. 373), 'organic selection may 
possibly be applied to all cases of adaptation (Anpassung).' 

This point of view follows naturally from the position 
taken up by the school of Organicists already mentioned 
above, 1 who insist in various ways upon the part played 
by the organism itself in evolution. The writers of 
this school, however, either hold to Lamarckian inheri- 
tance (Eimer), to a form of self-development (Driesch, 
called ' auto-regulation ' and ' auto-d^termination ' by 
Delage), or to Intra-selection (a term of Weismann's) con- 
sidered as repeating its results anew in each generation 
(Roux, Delage). Weismann {Romanes Lecture) combines 
intra-selection, which ' effects the special adaptation of the 
tissues . . . in each individual ' (' for in each individual 
the necessary adaptation will be temporarily accomplished 
by intra-selection ') with the hypothesis of Germinal Selec- 

1 Chap. III. § i; cf. Herbst, Formative Reize in Ontogenese (1901). 
The least modifiable characters, such as coloration as in protective colours, 
mimicry, etc., would most nearly fulfil this condition. 

1 84 Orthoplasy 

tion. 'As the primary variations,' says Weismann, 'in 
the phyletic metamorphosis occurred little by little, the 
secondary adaptations would probably, as a rule, be able 
to keep pace with them. Time would thus be gained, till, 
in the course of generations, by constant selection of those 
germs, the primary constituents of which are best fitted to 
one a7iother ... a definite metamorphosis of the species, 
involving all the parts of the organism, may occur.' In 
this passage (which has been quoted by Osborn and 
others to show that this writer anticipated the principle 
of organic selection 1 ) Weismann recognizes the essential 
cooperation of variation and modification which organic 
selection postulates, but he reverses the order of these 
factors by making germinal variations (in the words itali- 
cized above by the present writer) the leading agency in 
the determination of the course of evolution, while indi- 
vidual accommodation and modification 'probably keep 
pace with them ' (the primary variations). The writers 
who originally expounded organic selection rely upon 
variation to ' keep pace,' under the action of natural selec- 

1 The two other authorities whose theories have been similarly cited are 
Delage and Pfeffer (see Davenport in The Psychological Review, IV., Novem- 
ber, 1897, p. 676). Both these writers, however, as I read them, stop sub- 
stantially with intra-selection — and ' struggle of parts ' — 'repeating its results 
anew in each generation,' i.e., with increased plasticity and continued ac- 
commodation. Delage has himself confirmed this interpretation in writing 
explicitly upon organic selection (see Annee Biologique, III., 1899, p. 512). 
The view of Pfeffer on this point is indicated by the lines quoted by Daven- 
port in the place cited just above to the effect that, given struggle for existence 
and the resulting individual modifications, ' the remaining part of the Dar- 
winian theory, namely, the gradual production of new races and species, seems 
consequently unnecessary.' In other words, both these writers are ' Organicists ' 
who do not combine that position with the natural selection of variations. 
Delage's work is that on Structure du Protoplasma, 6rv., already frequently 
cited (see especially pp. 824-833) ; Pfeffer's theory is in Verhandlungen des 
naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins in Hamburg, 1893, PP« 44 ^ 

Intra-selection and Orthoplasy 185 

tion, with individual accommodation, which last thus takes 
the lead and marks out the course of evolution. The 
hypothesis of germinal selection, which is essential to Weis- 
mann's view, is not at all involved in theirs. In the words 
of Lloyd Morgan, whose account of the relation between 
Weismann's views and his own (see Appendix A, II. 1 ) 
should be turned to : ' Natural selection would work along 
the lines laid down for it by adaptive modifications. 2 Modi- 
fication would lead; variation follow in its wake. Weis- 
mann's germinal selection, if a vera causa, would be a 
cooperating factor and assist in producing the requisite 
variations.' Def ranee says on the same point {Annee 
Biol., III., 1899, p. 533): 'He (Weismann) has made use 
of his personal hypotheses on germ-plasm which are not 
universally admitted, while the conception of Lloyd Morgan 
and Baldwin avoids this stumbling-block by not closing 
inquiry into the processes which enter into play. It is true 
that this leaves it an hypothesis ; but it is nevertheless 
true that it offers an intelligible solution of one of those 
problems which appear on the surface to constitute the 
most insoluble of enigmas.' Osborn brings into play the 
further factor of ' determinate variation,' which, if true, 
would be analogous in its rdle to Weismann' s germinal 
selection (see citation from Osborn, Appendix A, I.); he 
also holds that ' there is an unknown factor in evolution 
yet to be discovered.' 

1 Especially the ' new statement ' there given. 

2 On this positive ground, I think the term ' organic selection ' is to be pre- 
ferred to ' indirect selection.' Historically, it follows Delage's use of ' Organi- 
cists' for the school of writers who lay stress on individual accommodation; 
and also his use of selection organique — see above, Chapter XII. § 2 (4, 5, 6) — 
for the process of accommodation shows how similar concepts may suggest an 
identical term to different writers. 

1 86 Orthoplasy 

§ 4. Three Types of Theory 

Any general theory of determinate and divergent evo- 
lution — in short any theory of descent, whether of a 
character or of an organism, of mind or of body — has a 
complexion derived from the composition of the factors it 
employs or assumes. The theory which exclusively em- 
ploys natural selection is called Neo-Darwinism or Weis- 
mannism ; the theory which gives use-inheritance a large 
place, whether laying greater or less stress upon natural 
selection and other factors as subordinate, are called 
Lamarckism or Lamarckianism. Vitalism takes on a 
variety of forms, which have specific names, according as 
their respective holders make prominent specific modes of 
operation in which the life forces work themselves out 
— as the ' self -development ' theory, the auto-regulation 
(Delage) theory, the orthogenesis theory, the theories of 
bathmism, growth-energy, etc. This is certainly both 
legitimate and convenient — to suggest a term to desig- 
nate a theory which, in its main hypothesis or in its 
manner of grouping the subsidiary hypotheses, presents 
a distinguishable and discussable whole. 1 

The theory which is expounded in these pages presents 
two principles which, both in the formation given to them 
and in the role assigned to them in the theory of descent, 
mark it as having such a distinguishable and discussable 

1 Professor Conn, speaking of the theories of isolation and organic selection, 
says : ' There can be no question that these two theories are important con- 
tributions to the problem of organic evolution. In regard to the disputed 
question of whether they are a part of natural selection and therefore included 
in Darwinism we need attempt no decision. They certainly represent aspects 
of the problem not recognized until recently, and may therefore be looked 
upon as actual contributions to our knowledge of evolution ' ( The Method of 
Evolution, p. 333). 

Three Types of Theory 


character — the principles of organic selection and social 
transmission. These two principles, which rest upon facts 
for their validity, are in this theory given a place and a 
relation to the other factors of the theory of descent, and 
also to each other, not given to them in any other general 
theory. It is accordingly quite within the general usage 
of biologists to give such a theory a name. The term 
* orthoplasy ' has been suggested above as such a desig- 
nation for the theory — a term which from its derivation 
(Greek 6p06$ straight, and irXdais, a moulding — seen in the 

Theory of Neo-Darwinism or Weismannism. LL' f line of evolution ; 1, 2, etc., 
successive generations by physical heredity; cm, cm', etc., congenital mean; 
v, v', variations (congenital). Evolution is by natural selection of variations 
added to the congenital mean from generation to generation. 

English word plastic) appropriately designates a view which 
mainly concerns itself with the factors at work in the 
determination or direction of the movement of evolution. 

The relation of this theory to other current general 
views is indicated here and there in the preceding pages. 
Many of the papers here reprinted were written in the 
first instance to show that this theory is free from objec- 
tions urged to Neo-Lamarckism and Neo-Darwinism ; and 
it has been pointed out in what way orthoplasy finds itself 
' orientated ' with respect to the less general truths on 

1 88 


which all the theories must ultimately repose. We may 
accordingly display, by the three cuts given herewith, the 

Theory of Lamarckism or Neo-Lamarckism. LL', line of evolution ; i, 2, etc., 
successive generations by physical heredity; c, c' , etc., congenital endowment; 
a, a', etc., modifications (acquired). The modification of one generation is 
added to the endowment of the next by the principle of use-inheritance. 

Theory of Orthoplasy. LL', line of evolution; 1, 2, etc., successive generations 
by physical heredity; TT', line of tradition (social transmission) ; cm, cm' , etc., 
congenital mean ; a, a', etc., accommodations (and modifications) supplement- 
ing or screening cm, etc. ; v, v' , etc., (congenital) variations added to cm, etc., 
by natural selection. The species is kept alive by a, a', etc., and TT', during 
the evolution of cm. The line TT', considered as 'tradition,' is of varying 
importance according to the character in question and to the grade of the organ- 
ism in the scale of life ; but if it signify any utility for which the accommodations 
are necessary, it is always present, and may be called the ' line of utility.' 

contrasts presented by the three views when their essen- 
tials are compared with one another. The contrasts are 
real, as the differences in the diagrams show. 

Concurrence and Recapitulation 189 

§ 5. Concurrence and Recapitulation 

From the point of view of the theory of orthoplasy, we 
have a somewhat modified way of viewing the general 
principle of recapitulation. The statement of the inter- 
genetic relation of evolution and development as one of 
1 concurrence ' gives us this changed point of view ; for 
concurrence is to be interpreted as well from the side of 
the leading part played by accommodation and not simply, 
as is the case with recapitulation, from that of stages of 
the ontogenetic processes of heredity. Concurrence of the 
sort reached by the theory of orthoplasy 1 amounts to a sort of 
reversed recapitulation. The individual recapitulates his 
genetic series, but the genetic series became what it is by 
reason of its continued concurrence with the processes of 
individual accommodation. 

If we ask the philosophical question, why recapitulation 
is true — why development should recapitulate evolution 
— various partial answers may be advanced ; and from the 
point of view of orthoplasy greater cogency and complete- 
ness seems to be given to these partial answers. 

We may say, frst, that the process which shows itself 
as recapitulation, is the only one by which nature could 
make individuals like their parents ; the way, that is, of 
bringing them up through serial processes of genetic 
development, each stage being necessary to the next. If 
nature, by variation, departed too widely from this series 
of processes, the individuals would fail of some of the 
essential adaptations which just this series of genetic pro- 

1 In general conception, of course, a concurrence might arise from La- 
marckian heredity. It is this general use of the term l concurrence ' which is 
contrasted with the conception of coincidence, due to coincident variation 
alone, which is taken up in the next chapter. 

190 Orthoplasy 

cesses represents ; they would thus miss being in the same 
degree like their parents. In short, recapitulation is a sine 
qua non of heredity. 

This appears reasonable ; and it becomes more so when 
we take the point of view of concurrence. For on that 
view, future evolution in succeeding generations is to be in 
the lines marked out by accommodation in the preceding 
generations. If this is also to exhibit itself in the process 
of development, then it is the more important that the 
offspring in each case should have new elements of en- 
dowment (variation), not inconsistent with the processes 
of development through which the parents also acquired 
theirs. This would extend backward from generation to 
generation. In other words, variations, to be effective in 
the same functional lines with accommodation, should be 
consistent with the processes of development already estab- 
lished, up to the point from which accommodations to the 
environment, of like nature to themselves, have been found 

This additional point may be put in some such way as 
this : not only is recapitulation a sine qua non of heredity, 
but recapitulation plus variation is a sine qua non of hered- 
ity plus concurrence. Variation and modification which 
concur in direction are most likely from processes which 
are common to the two genetic series to which they respec- 
tively belong. 

Referring to the diagrams given in the last paragraph 
(pp. 187 f.) for natural selection (Neo-Darwinism) and 
orthoplasy, the two points just made may be illustrated 
from them. Referring to the natural selection diagram, it 
appears that the individual development cm ,n , in order to 
issue in an adult showing heredity from cm n ', must go 

Concurrence and Recapitulation 191 

through processes like those of cm" ; cm" in turn through 
processes like those in cm' ; and so on indefinitely back to 
the ancestors of cm. The entire series will then be re- 
flected, apart from modifying agencies, in cm"' . 

But now referring to the diagram for orthoplasy, we read 
the facts the other way. If the variation v is to be effec- 
tive as coincident or concurrent with the modification a, 
then the processes cm' which lead up to v are most reason- 
ably the same as cm which lead up to a. So the processes 
cm" should be expected to repeat those of cm! ', those of cm'" 
those of cm" , etc., each meeting the requirement made upon 
it of affording continued support to concurrence with the 
continued accommodation processes a\ a", a'", etc. 

It may be said that this extended way of producing an 
individual, by development through a series of stages, is 
cumbersome, and that it would be better that it should pro- 
ceed direct to the adult adaptations by the shortest possible 
route. Yet, while maintaining that the scientific problem 
is to ask how development does proceed, not how it might 
proceed, it may be said that it is, indeed, directly in the 
way of meeting such a theoretical criticism that we find all 
the abbreviations, ' short-cuts,' omitted stages, etc., which 
individual embryos actually show — the adaptations away 
from exact recapitulation of which recent discussions have 
made much. 1 The present writer has suggested 2 that, like 
everything else, the development of the individual must 
be subject to variations and such variations would be in 
turn subject to natural selection. Natural selection would 
operate wherever the recapitulation process was not the best 

1 For example, those of Sedgwick, Quart. Journ. of Microscop. Science, 
April, 1894, and Cunningham, Science Progress, I., N.S., p. 483. 

2 Mental Development, 1st ed., p. 32; see also Diet, of Philos. and Psychol^ 
art. ' Recapitulation. ' 

192 Orthoplasy 

method of development, in a way to modify that process 
so soon as variations arose in lines of greater utility. This 
again has greater emphasis and stronger force in the light 
of intergenetic concurrence ; a point which, in the writer's 
opinion, casts light upon the whole question of the relation 
of development and evolution to one another. It may be 
put as follows — as a second point in this discussion. 

Second, when individuals acquire essential accommoda- 
tions and modifications, these in so far mean the eradication 
or subordination of congenital characters which stand in 
their way or oppose them. If, then, concurrent evolution 
is to follow, it will be by variations which include the essen- 
tial neutralization or cancellation of such characters. Suc- 
ceeding generations must, if this principle holds, depart in 
these respects from strict recapitulation in all cases in 
which the environment does not allow to the individual 
all the stages in succession. Natural selection will seize 
upon the individuals which vary concurrently, 1 that is, in 
the direction of the abbreviations and modifications of the 
genetic processes which are marked out first in the preceding 
generations' ontogeny. 

From this certain general consequences flow, each of 
which is illustrated by a large class of facts. 

(1) A generation of a species may exist in an early 
simple form, an ancestral form, requiring little special 
adaptation ; and afterwards, by some special mode of pro- 
tection during later development, come unto the higher 
adaptations of the later forms of the phyletic series. So 
in the metamorphosis of many insects ; the larva or worm 

1 Using the phrase to include the group of coincident and correlated vari- 
ations, of which organic selection, as shown in the following pages, may 
make use. 

Concurrence and Recapitulation 193 

stage of independent life being succeeded by the pupa or 
chrysalis, which has a protected mode of life in which the 
special adaptations of the later and more complex existence 
are made ready. 1 This is a case in which the evolution 
process has maintained the ancestral worm-stage intact. 

(2) In the development of eggs deposited with shells, 
etc., and of uterine embryos, we find a device by which the 
early stages are accomplished under special protection 
without the independent early life seen in the cases of 
species having larvae. 2 In the uterus all the environmental 
conditions necessary to development are realized as in the 
actual environment of ancestral forms, yet with varying 
detail ; so that the internal uterine development is most 
favourable for the exhibition of recapitulation. 

It is evident that embryological and such other modes 
of life as that illustrated in the chrysalis have thus their 
utility and ' reason for being ' ; for without them the 
preservation of the mode of development leading up to 
full heredity, as we find it, would be impossible, and so 
would, as a consequence, the special evolution of this or 
that species to its complex stage. The essential combina- 
tion all along has been the accomplishment of progressive 
heredity with the addition of new adaptations. Recapitu- 
lation gives us a view of a former of these factors, the 
mechanism of heredity ; concurrence shows us the oper- 

1 As this is being written, the extraordinary development of the seventeen- 
year locusts is going on, thousands of these creatures coming, in the writer's 
garden, from the earth, where their complete preparation for life has been 

2 See the experimental proof that the shell of the egg is such a protection 
to the development processes, by Weldon (research on the effect of intro- 
ducing water, which, by promoting evaporation, hindered the development of 
the amnion), in Biometrica, I. 3, p. 368. 


1 94 Orthoplasy 

ation of the latter — which includes the very essential de- 
partures from recapitulation so often found in nature. 

(3) In very simple organisms, which are known as 
' generalized ' as opposed to ' specialized,' and also in 
late stages of the development of higher animals, we find 
least evidence of recapitulation. In the simple organisms, 
heredity is still relatively unorganized, and the develop- 
mental series is shorter and more direct. In higher ani- 
mals the periods of development which ensue after birth 
bring the animal into its independent life, in which its own 
adjustments to the environment are of capital importance. 
Hence no stages representing ancestral characters are pre- 
served, except those which can exist in this separate life. 

This last case seems to find illustration in mental de- 
velopment. We find that the series of stages of mental 
development does not show exact recapitulation; but that 
omissions occur. 1 In these cases variations have been 
rigidly selected in the line of intellectual endowment and 
educability, carrying with them increasing plasticity and 
lessened fixity, in the nervous substance and its connec- 
tions. This is in line with some of the great correlations 
spoken of on an earlier page. 2 With it goes also the 
evolution of gregarious habits, family instincts, etc., by 
which the endowment of the infancy period in the highest 
animals is directly supplemented. 

Third, we have another reason for the fact of recapitu- 
lation : the adaptations of hereditary endowment represent 
most essential adjustments to environment. Nature reaches 
them only after extended experimentation and great loss 
of life ; really by the process of trial and error. It would 

1 See the cases cited in Mental Development, Chap. I. (especially the theory 
of 'short-cuts' in § 4). 2 Chap. II. §§ 2, 3 (esp. p. 27). 

Concurrence and Recapitulation 195 

seem, therefore, wise — speaking anthropomorphically — to 
preserve these essential adaptations and give each new 
generation the advantage of using them as so much capi- 
tal or stock in trade. 

This sort of conservation the process of recapitulation 
reveals. To expose each generation to the chances of 
getting all their adaptations by chance variation with 
individual accommodation would be most disastrous to 
life ; hence the preservation of the great lines of ancestral 
adaptation in each specific case. 

The part played by individual accommodation appears, 
when the subject is looked at from such a point of view, in 
the successive cases of the development of the hereditary 
impulse in generation after generation. As pointed out by 
the ' organicist ' writers, and as maintained in this work, 
an essential cooperation between heredity and accommo- 
dation is actually shown in the development of every indi- 
vidual that grows to maturity. There is thus a cooperation 
in development followed by concurrence in evolution, and 
the conservation of hereditary characters has to run the 
gantlet of natural selection under this essential coopera- 
tion in each case of life history. If, therefore, heredity, as 
revealing recapitulation, is a conserving engine, in the sense 
explained, then the decision as to how far it shall go and 
what details shall be conserved, really rests with the process 
of accommodation, in that it alone brings both hereditary 
characters and also new variations to their fruitful maturity. 1 

1 The writer may say that the points made in this last paragraph (§ 5) 
are so essentially biological, that he states them merely as general inferences 
from the theory of orthoplasy, which nothing in his limited information con- 
tradicts, and which he has not come upon in the literature. So far as true 
they may be truisms, and so far as not truisms they may be not true, to pro- 
fessed experts in zoology. 


Coincident and Correlated Variations and 

§ i. Correlated Variations 

In the preceding pages I have neglected, except by 
implication, the topic of the correlation of variations and 
of characters, refraining from asking the question of the 
locus of utility in the various spheres in which organic 
selection is supposed to be a real influence. It must have 
occurred to the reader, however, to ask whether the princi- 
ple is not limited in its application to those modifications 
which confer direct utility upon certain variations. For 
it may be said that unless a given variation be made of 
direct utility by modification or accommodation, it would 
not be saved, nor would its possessor propagate his kind 
and so perpetuate such variations. 

This is a pertinent inquiry ; it indicates the limitation of 
the principle in all cases in which the perpetuation of a 
single variation of definite type depends upon the value 
of modification of the same sort. But just at this point 
the question of correlation comes in. A creature may be 
kept alive — and with him a great variety of characters may 
be perpetuated — through his accommodation and modi- 
fication in some respect which may seem to have no bear- 
ing upon the particular character whose origin we are 
concerned to investigate. Creatures with better breath- 


Correlated Variation 197 

ing capacity survive, and with them may possibly survive 
the tendency to have warts on the nose ; the wart-char- 
acter would thus be preserved, although it may not have 
direct utility. 

Indeed, many writers, as I have already pointed out, 
have recognized the facts which show hidden physiologi- 
cal correlations between things as apparently remote from 
each other as breathing capacity and warts on the nose. 
Under the operation of natural selection, variations in 
bony structure have to be correlated with variations in 
the muscles which are attached to the bones. A newly 
appearing character, which is as yet quite insignificant as 
regards utility, — such as the small lumps on the bone 
which the paleontologists fondle with such pleasure, as 
showing the first beginning of later developments of horn, 
or antler, or weapon of defence — such insignificant charac- 
ters may advance pari passu with some remote modification, 
or be incidentally supplemented by some accommodation 
which is of utility and which thus acts as a screen to the 
former in the sense which organic selection postulates. 

This principle — that one character may get the advan- 
tage of the utility of another and thus owe its perma- 
nence and development to it — has been recently and 
forcibly set forth by Professor Ray Lankester, 1 in a criti- 
cism of Professor Weldon, although the point was not 
new to the literature. The additional implication which I 
now note is that this holds not alone under the ordinary 
action of natural selection, where both the correlated char- 
acters — the valuable as well as the valueless one — are 

1 Nature, July 16, 1896, containing instances and citations from Darwin. 
Darwin's treatment of the subject is to be found in his Variation in Animals 
and Plants, Chap. XXV. 

198 Variations and Orthoplasy 

congenital variations ; but also where the valuable and 
life-preserving character is a modification, or an accom- 
modation, acquired in the individual's lifetime, and serving 
its purpose in connection with some quite different and 
remote function. 

We may use an illustration cited with all due emphasis 
and triumph by Professor Cope in his Factors of Organic 
Evolution, and accepted by an able critic, Mr. F. A. 
Bather, 1 as affording evidence of Lamarckian inheritance 
(provided the facts are true as reported). The apprecia- 
tion of the case by the latter writer gives it additional 
interest. The facts should be more fully inquired into, 
however, with the sharp criticism which Weismann has 
taught us to bring to bear on such cases. 

The reported facts are : first, sheep carried from Ohio 
to Texas produce wool which is harsh, when, before this, 
the same sheep had wool which was fine and good ; the 
wool acts differently under dyes. This, it is suggested, is 
due to the alkaline quality of the soil in Texas. So far 
there is no difficulty ; all would admit that the difference 
is due to the conditions of the new environment upon the 
individual sheep. Second, ' it is stated ' (these are the 
original reporter's words) ' that the acquired harshness 
grows more pronounced with the successive shearings 
of the same sheep ; ' this again may be true and due to 
the continued direct action of the environment. So far, 
no trouble. Third, ' it is also alleged ' (again the re- 
porter's words, together with what follows in quotation 
marks) 'that the harshness increases with succeeding 
generations, and that the flocks which have inhabited such 
regions for several generations produce naturally a harsher 

1 Natural Science, January, 1897, pp. 37 f. 

Correlated Variation 1 99 

wool than did their ancestors, or do the newcomers.' 
Now let us assume that what is ' alleged ' is true ; still 
we find that it is not said that there is any evidence that 
the young sheep inherit the harshness of wool ; it is only 
alleged that the ' harshness increases with succeeding 
generations,' and that ' the generations which have in- 
habited such regions for several generations produce natu- 
rally a harsher wool.' There is absolutely nothing here 
to lead us to believe that the harshness has become con- 
genital at all. Wool is not cut till the sheep has been 
alive long enough to grow it. So it is natural to think 
that each sheep acquires the harshness for himself. But 
how account for the increasing harshness in succeeding 
generations ? That is what has impressed Mr. Bather. 
This might appear true from the fact that each shearing 
of the wool of the same sheep was harsher than the last ; 
for in order to compare the harshness of two generations, 
sheep of the same age, measured by the number of times 
they had been sheared, would have to be compared. But 
again, waiving this, let us assume that there is a congenital 
difference, — the quality of wool being more harsh for 
later generations, — then how can we account for this 
increased congenital tendency to harshness ? 

We might say that the increase in the harshness of the 
wool in subsequent generations was due to the natural 
selection of sheep with congenital variations ; this would 
be open to the objections so frequently urged against nat- 
ural selection, that it is not likely that such variations 
would come in such great numbers ; and also to the objec- 
tion that the difference in harshness of the wool might not 
be of utility. But the principle of organic selection act- 
ing on correlated variations would meet both these objec- 

200 Variations and Orthoplasy 

tions ; for we only have to say that there is some acquired 
physiological accommodation with which the harshness of 
the wool is associated or correlated ; this physiological 
accommodation utilizes variations present in a greater or 
less number of sheep ; these sheep survive by natural 
selection, and produce the next generation ; the next and 
subsequent generations have further variations in the direc- 
tion of this physiological adaptation ; and with it will go 
the increased tendency to have harshness of wool. The 
rapidity with which this process would go on would depend 
upon the importance and the difficulty of the physiological 
adjustment. Say, for example, that the change in diet, 
soil, climate, etc., lays the imported sheep open to a certain 
disease ; therefore, a certain strength, ruggedness, vigour 
of constitution, which carries with it harshness of wool, is 
necessary to give recovery and gradual immunity from this 
disease ; then the sheep which lived would continue the 
variations which tended to permanent immunity, and with 
them would go the harshness of wool. That this is the case 
seems tolerably plain from the nature of the character, and 
from the fact that it increases from one shearing to another. 
Such a change in the quality of wool could not take place 
incidentally ; it could not arise by selection without some 
specific utility ; it must represent some deep-seated adjust- 
ment. The quickness with which it takes effect in the 
individual sheep would show the likelihood that its rapid 
individual acquisition was necessary to save the sheep. Put 
tersely, the sheep are saved by accommodation, and with 
them are saved both variations toward that accommodation 
and also other characters which are correlated with these. 1 

1 It is necessary to note that the question whether these sheep retain the 
harshness of wool when taken back to Ohio is not answered by our informers. 

Coincident Variation Theory not Sitfficient 201 

§ 2. The Coincident Variation Theory not Sufficient 

Just here there seems to be a point of difference * of 
construction of the principle of organic selection ; or at 
least a difference of emphasis, which results in giving it 
somewhat different range. Professor Morgan defines the 
principle as, in effect, ' the natural selection of coincident 
variations,' 2 i.e., variations in the same direction as the modi- 
fications by which they are shielded and with which they 
are said, for this reason, to 'coincide.' In view of the 
application of the principle pointed out above, the writer, 
on the contrary, includes not only ' coincident ' but also corre- 
lated variations. It is indeed true that the accommodations 
and modifications, in so far as they are directly supplemen- 
tary to an incomplete organ or function, open the way for 
coincident variations ; these, gradually appearing in the 
direction of the modification, in time replace it. But ac- 
commodation in many cases — indeed, possibly in most 
cases — involves a complex mechanism, a complex group 
of characters. It keeps alive not only the variations which 
coincide with it in a particular function ; it keeps alive the 
whole animal, and so screens all the characters which that 
animal has. And various lines of adaptation may be fos- 
tered and screened by a single general accommodation. 
This appears notably in the case of the intelligence. Intel- 
ligence is what is called above a ' blanket utility ' ; it comes 
into play again and again to supplement the most varied 

If they did retain the harshness, then that would be an illustration of what I 
have indicated above : the same dependence on variations to get rid of the 
character that there was in acquiring it, i.e., by reversed selection while or- 
ganic accommodation was in operation. 

1 As between Professor Lloyd Morgan's views and the writer's; see, how- 
ever, the ' new statement ' made by Professor Morgan in Appendix A. 

2 Animal Behaviour, p. 115. 

202 Variations and Orthoplasy 

functions ; and its influence may be diverse, according as 
this or that animal, differing from others in his correlations, 
finds himself able to use it. It has been said above that 
divergent lines of evolution may spring up because fostered 
by one and the same accommodation. This means that the 
division of an animal into set characters is at the best arti- 
ficial ; the whole animal lives or dies, and some slight 
utility here, or another slight utility there, will give natural 
selection its chance on this individual or that for the em- 
phasis of this character or that. The correlated characters 
are just as truly screened and fostered, and helped over 
the hard places, by organic selection as are the coincident 
characters. And such is the plasticity of the organism 
that such characters may be pressed into service for 
utilities ' not dreamed of ' in the original function by which 
they may have been kept alive. 

§ 3. Illustrations of Orthoplasy with Correlated Variation 

Let us take as illustration the case of the evolution of 
the sole, the adaptation of whose eyes has already been 
remarked upon (p. 164). This adaptation is part of a larger 
and more complex one. Indeed, the placing of both eyes 
on the same side has utility only to an animal which lies 
on one side near the ground, and so does not require an 
eye on the under side ; this position — flat on one side — 
is therefore the adaptation in connection with which the 
position of the eyes has its utility. But why is it use- 
ful to the sole to lie on one side near the bottom ? — why 
this adaptation ? This is explained again, in turn, by an- 
other adaptation, that of concealment from enemies, and 
for this utility we find another series of correlated 
changes, those of protective coloration — the under side 

Orthoplasy with Correlated Variation 203 

of the sole becoming of a light colour which approximates 
the light colour of the water when seen from beneath, and 
the upper side a dull gray or mud colour, approximating the 
surroundings when seen from above} It is probable, there- 
fore, that all these striking adaptations serve the great and 
prime utility of concealment. If we now revert to the 
accommodation of the position of the eyes, we find what 
may be a striking illustration of the operation of organic 
selection in screening correlated characters. 

For we may assume that so long as the adaptations in 
coloration, and especially in the position of the eyes, were 
not secured, or were only partially evolved, it would not 
be of utility for the sole to lie on the side, for the upper 
side would be exposed to view, and there would be the 
disability arising from rendering one eye useless, if the 
fish took such a position. But the coloration, in its 
turn, could not be acquired through natural selection so 
long as the fish did not lie on the side. Accordingly it 
seems a fair inference that this whole group of adaptations 
required such a gradual adjustment of the eyes ; that the 
maintenance of the function of vision unimpaired was 
absolutely necessary to the sole if he was to escape elimina- 
tion, while gradually, as the adjustments of the position of 
the eyes went on, he acquired variations placing him more 
and more on one side, and also variations in the direction 
of the requisite protective colouring. The straining of the 

1 Professor Osborn, who has kindly looked over the proofs of this chapter, 
suggests (citing Cunningham's experiments in evoking colour on the lower 
side of the sole, by throwing light upon it with a mirror ; cf. Cunningham on 
'Recapitulation,' in Science Progress, I., N.S., pp. 483 ff.) that the colour-dif- 
ferences are ontogenic, that is, that they are accommodations acquired in each 
generation. This fully accords, in so far, with the position taken below, that 
this adaptation is secondary to that of vision while the fish is in the flat position. 

204 Variations and Orthoplasy 

eye muscles in each generation allowed a more flattened 
position without impairment of vision ; this position was 
selected for its utility, particularly when correlated with 
variations in the direction of the protective colouring ; and 
with the accumulated variations in bodily position and in 
coloration, thus screened by the eye adjustments, the sole as 
we find him attained perfection. This, at any rate, — what- 
ever we may say as to the leading role thus assigned to 
vision in this series of adaptations, — shows how a single 
accommodation of great utility may screen not only coinci- 
dent variations, but also correlations of variations, by which 
a species' characters and habits of life are in a remarkable 
way transformed. 

In this case it is only the variations in the eye position 
that can in any sense be called ' coincident ' with the mod- 
ifications acquired by the individual soles by the use of 
their eyes ; but the other great systems of variations, in 
bodily position and in coloration, are just as truly screened 
and developed by these modifications. 

Another instance may be cited, which is due to the writer's 
observation, and which is accordingly submitted with some 
misgiving to the scrutiny of expert ornithologists. 

The gray parrot (Psittacus erythacus, Linn.) from the 
west of Africa has, in company with all individuals of 
his kind, a very strong upper mandible which is curved 
sharply downward at the extremity, so that its very sharp 
point is directed downwards about at right angles to the 
line of the whole beak. It seems that this curving of the 
mandible downward subserves the bird great utility as a 
sort of third foot. In getting down from his perch he 
constantly extends his head, rests the beak upon the 
bottom of the cage, and then alights on one foot, while 

Orthoplasy with Correlated Variation 205 

holding to the perch as long as possible with the other. 
So constant and uniform an act is this — as also with the 
companion bird of the same species — that it may, I think, 
be considered a real and very useful adaptation. Further, 
the advantage of having this utility subserved in this way 
instead of by a blunt beak is, that the sharp point of the 
beak, while no longer a hinderance to such a use of the 
mandible, — as by penetrating the ground, catching in 
the texture of any material he may be resting upon, etc., — 
is, nevertheless, not lost ; and it is of very great service in 
biting, rending, breaking nuts, etc. 

Now, if we admit this utility — that of a sort of third 
foot — in the upper mandible, the question arises how the 
adaptation may have been acquired. In answer to this, 
we may cite the further character — in these parrots — 
that the upper mandible is somewhat loosely attached, the 
muscles allowing rather free movement, as is the case with 
many other birds; and it is in connection with the relative 
flexibility of the upper mandible, in its relation to the 
head of the bird, that the curvature of the beak may have 
been acquired by a gradual operation of natural selection. 
If the mandible was at first straight, and if there were 
variations in the relative flexibility and range of the 
muscles by which it is attached, the use of the beak 
more or less clumsily for descending would be possible to 
some of the more flexible parrots. This muscular accom- 
modation would screen variations in the direction of the 
curved beak ; for, the more curved, the better could the 
function be performed. This process would continue from 
generation to generation, until the adaptation attained, by 
variation and natural selection, the degree of perfection it 
has in the present-day parrots. 

206 Variations and Orthoplasy 

Of course the availability of this case as an illustration 
of organic selection — apart from the facts — would de- 
pend upon whether the flexible attachment of the upper 
mandible did supplement the curvature of the bill, or take 
the place of it, in the early stages of the adaptation. This 
appears the more likely from the further fact that this 
same character, the relatively loose attachment and some- 
what free muscular play of the upper mandible, is useful 
for other purposes as well. In feeding, the parrot makes 
much use of these muscles, using his mandibles as a 
nut-cracker, and in general for crushing hard objects 
between them. It also comes in ' handy,' so to speak, 
in a variety of those gymnastic feats whereby he exer- 
cises his agility in a manner truly serpentine, using his 
beak as a claw for holding on and lifting himself. In all 
this the flexibility of the upper mandible is of direct 
advantage. 1 It is also well known that the vibration 
of the upper mandible greatly enriches the range and 
variety of bird song, and in this case it may be of 
great utility in the parrot's extraordinary power of articu- 

If this be a true construction of the facts of the case, it 
will at once be seen to illustrate the correlation of varia- 
tions which are now referred to. 2 For not only do we 
find variations of a sort which we may call coincident, — 
in this case variations in the flexibility of the muscles 
whereby greater movement and control are possible, — but 
also in the shape of the beak. And if the other utilities 
spoken of be real, possibly also variations in the claws and 

1 A very comical exhibition of the amount the parrot can raise the upper 
mandible is seen when he yawns. 

2 It illustrates the method of such correlation in any case. 

Orthoplasy with Correlated Variation 207 

vocal organs are correlated with the loosely attached upper 

Again, suppose we take such a generalized function as 
imitation. It is not shut down to a single particular chan- 
nel of expression, but applies equally to a great variety of 
alternative and possible functions which the imitative 
creature may be at any time led to exercise. This ten- 
dency to imitate screens many incomplete functions, and 
thus serves very essential utilities in life history. But this 
does not mean that in each case variations are fostered 
only toward the congenital performance of the function 
in just the same way that the imitative performance se- 
cured it. On the contrary, as is said on an earlier page, 
and as has been maintained by Professor Groos, the imita- 
tive functions act in many cases to develop the intelligence, 
to enable the creatures to do many things by a type of 
action which discourages evolution by coincident variation 
in these directions, and encourages variation of the opposite 
sort, that, namely, toward greater plasticity and intelli- 
gence. Here the saving utility of individual accommoda- 
tion is exercised in the way postulated by organic selection : 
it screens the organism and utilizes a partially congenital 
and quasi-reflex mechanism ; but its racial utility in con- 
nection with many functions seems to be just the reverse 
of the selection of coincident variations. Yet in other cases, 
indeed, as is maintained in an earlier discussion of the 
subject (Chap. VI., above), its results are strictly in accord 
with the theory of the development of coincident variations. 

Apparently — in view of these illustrations and others 
which might be cited 1 — we may look to the accommodations 

1 As, for example, that of the evolution of mammalian teeth, mentioned by 
Professor Osborn (quoted in Appendix A, I.). If, as is suggested in App. A, I., 


208 Variations and Orthoplasy 

of the organism as having very far-reaching and often un- 
expected utilities. An adjustment, whose immediate utility 
is that it supplements and screens incipient characters, 
may by a slight change in the environment, or by support- 
ing variations in a neighbouring part, or by another adjust- 
ment of other organs, become part of a new system of 
adaptations not at first accomplished by it at all ; there 
may arise from the countless variations in shape, size, and 
relation of parts, utilities that no one could have predicted, 
and which only natural selection can and does discover ; 
the very flexibility upon which the principle of organic 
selection lays emphasis tends to reduce our expectation 
that single lines of characters, coincident or other, will 
appear, for by it all sorts of alternative and shifting utili- 
ties are allowed to spring up. 

The limitation of the application of the theory to coin- 
cident variations would therefore, in the present writer's 
opinion, serve to take from it much of its value, that is, 
if ' coincident ' be defined strictly, as it seems to be by 
Professor Lloyd Morgan. If, however, we attempt to bring 
all the phenomena under this term, it loses much of its 
appropriateness ; for it would have to be defined to include 
all functions and characters which might evolve in the 
whole organism, in consequence of a particular accom- 
modation, and become substitutes for the accommodation, or 
in any way replace it. Accordingly, while the theory of 
coincident variations is true and covers much of the terri- 
tory, furnishing most valuable illustrations of the working 

muscular adjustments compensate for wear and tear on the teeth in the 
individual's life, the evolution of the teeth, although screened by these ad- 
justments, would nevertheless be by variations directly contrary to the modi- 
fications wrought by their use. 

Natural Selection still Necessary 209 

of organic selection, yet the latter, in my opinion, can 
nevertheless not be defined, as it has been (cf. the Annee 
Biologique, V., 1901, p. 388), as 'the natural selection of 
coincident variations.' And the criticisms, as, for example, 
that reported {ibid., p. 388) as made by Plate, which get 
their point from the limitation of the application of the 
theory to cases of coincident variations, lose their force 
when we recognize that such a limitation is not necessary. 

§ 4. Natural Selection still Necessary 

Such a criticism takes the form of the question as to the 
further utility of congenital variations, especially those of 
the coincident tendency, when by the use of accommoda- 
tions, the individuals can already cope with the environment. 
Put generally, this criticism would read : does not the 
theory of organic selection, by showing that accommodation 
does supplement imperfect organs and functions, make it 
unnecessary that variation and natural selection should be 
further operative ? This leads, it would appear, to the 
extreme position of the organicists, as is illustrated by the 
quotation made from Pfeffer on an earlier page. 1 It seems 
to be also the opinion of Delage (see the Annee Biologique, 
III., 1899, p. 512). 

This criticism is fully met, I think, when we remember 
that natural selection may seize upon any utility, additional 
to that already springing from any functions which animals 
may perform, no matter how they may perform them. 
Many functions may be passably performed through ac- 
commodation, supplementing congenital characters, which 
would be better performed were the congenital characters 
strengthened. Congenital variation would in these cases 

1 Note to p. 184. 

210 Variations and Orthoplasy 

by seizing upon this additional utility, carry evolution on 
farther than it had gone before. For example, muscular 
strength in biting would in no way prevent the evolution 
of hardness of teeth. The accommodation factor would 
be gradually dispensed with, since the most unsuccessful 
of those which depended upon accommodation would be 
eliminated. In the case of an instinct, for example, which 
represents congenital endowment at its best, this would 
give the gradual shifting of the congenital mean toward 
the full endowment, even though the creatures could — or 
some of them could — still survive on the earlier basis of 
strenuous accommodation. It would be a case — as in all 
other cases of natural selection — of more or fewer indi- 
viduals surviving, and a consequent shifting of the mean. 
Moreover, as is pointed out in an earlier place, 1 in many 
instances we find both types of function, the congenital 
and the accommodative, serving somewhat different utili- 
ties, and so existing together. 

At the same time we have the advantage of recognizing 
the state of things which the organicists point out, in cases 
in which it exists. There are undoubtedly functions for 
which the accumulation of congenital variations would have 
no utility, or would be of positive disutility. In these cases 
we find either a state of ' balance ' between the organism 
and its environment, or the actual decay of congenital 
functions. In the state of balance, the accommodations 
of the individuals would be made again and again in suc- 
cessive generations, and no further development of con- 
genital endowment would take place. This flexibility of 
application which the principle of organic selection allows, 
seems to be one of its great advantages. 

1 Chapter VI. § i. 

Natural Selection still Necessary 211 

There are positive grounds, indeed, — ■ to take the matter 
further, — for discarding the extreme position of those who 
deny the part in evolution played by congenital variations 
accumulated by natural selection. The specific character, 
the persistence, and the definiteness of the hereditary im- 
pulse, require that we should recognize its leading role in 
development, despite the large part attributed to individual 
accommodation. All the evidence accumulated by writers 
since Darwin in support of natural selection operating 
upon variations, together with the statistical work upon 
variations, is available to show that heredity represents 
a real and definite impulse which conserves the specific 
type, and in large measure the specific characters, of 
organisms. Recent work in experimental morphology 
emphasizes the persistence of heredity in reverting back 
to its normal development in the individual, as soon as 
artificial conditions under which it may have been modified 
are removed. 1 This persistence appears in the life history 
of twins, in the phenomena of atavism, in ' exclusive ' as 
opposed to 'blended' heredity, 2 in the protected develop- 
ment of pupae, etc. 

This granted, variations in congenital endowment at 
once become liable to the operation of natural selection for 
any utility they may serve, and this the more when they 
are supplemented by individual accommodations. 

An additional general remark is suggested by this criti- 
cism. It should always be borne in mind that a theory 
of evolution does not attempt to account for organs nor 

1 This has been dwelt upon by Professor E. B. Wilson. 

2 On the persistence of hereditary traits in twins see Galton, Enquiries into 
Human Faculty -, pp. 216 ff. On 'exclusive' Heredity (i.e., heredity from 
one parent only) see Galton, Natural Inheritance, p. 12 (cf. also the Index to 
that work). 

212 Variations and Orthoplasy 

characters which do not actually exist, not does it attempt 
to say that such or such a thing might exist. On the con- 
trary, it simply aims to show that such or such an actually 
existing structure, mode of behaviour, etc., has probably 
arisen through the operation of the forces and principles 
which the theory recognizes. The actually existing forms 
are so varied that different emphasis must be placed, now 
on one factor of the whole process, now on another. In- 
stinct, for example, seems to require, for any explanation 
approaching adequacy, the factor of accommodation to 
supplement that of natural selection. Mimicry and those 
anatomical and structural characters in which the element 
of function is much reduced, seem to be explained by 
natural selection with little supplementing from other 
factors. It may be found ultimately that Lamarckian 
heredity holds for simple organisms and for plants, while 
in higher organisms and in mammals it is not operative. 
The problem in each case, therefore, may be stated thus : 
the fact is that such an organ exists ; its utility can be 
explained only on the supposition that accommodation 
cooperated with any congenital variations which may have 
existed ; it has thus evolved up to the stage which it 
actually shows — complete function, partial function, mere 
beginning, as the case may be ; it is quite possible, had 
the conditions favoured it, that its evolution might have 
gone farther, or, indeed, not so far ; but that it did go so 
far, and no farther, is in itself sufficient evidence of the 
utility of the cooperation of heredity and accommodation 
in its production. 1 

1 See the insistence on Natural Selection in Professor LI. Morgan's ' New 
Statement,' in Appendix A. 



Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

§ i . Biological Struggle for Existence 

The struggle for existence may be defined as the at- 
tempt to remain alive, or technically to ' survive,' on the 
part of an organism. As a necessary factor in Darwin- 
ism, the conception involves the further restrictions, which, 
however, are not so generally made clear: (i) that the or- 
ganism which survives is already, or is still, capable of propa- 
gating in the manner normal to its species ; and (2) that it 
finds opportunity to do so ; failing either of these condi- 
tions, the case would not be one of successful struggle for 
existence, from the point of view of the theory of descent. 1 

Three clearly distinguishable forms of struggle for 
existence may be recognized : 2 — 

1 Darwin says (quoted by Bosanquet) : I use this term (struggle for exis- 
tence) in a large and metaphorical sense, including dependence of one being 
on another, and including, what is more important, not only the life of the 
individual, but success in leaving progeny. 

2 Cf. the writer's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, arts. ' Existence 
(Struggle for)' and 'Rivalry,' where the following distinctions are made out. 
Distinctions among different forms of struggle are made by Pearson in The 
Grammar of Science, 2d ed., p. 364, who distinguishes ' struggle of individ- 
ual man against individual man, struggle of individual society against indi- 


214 Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

(i) The competition for food, etc., that arises among 
organic beings from the overproduction of individuals or 
from a limited supply of food. This is called the ' Malthu- 
sian form ' of struggle for existence. 1 

(2) Competition in any form of active contest in which 
individuals are pitted against one another. 

(3) Survival due to greater fitness for life in a given 
environment, whether combined with direct competition 
with other organisms or not. 

The second case (2) is that in which animals either 

(a) fight with, or (b) prey upon, one another ; only the for- 
mer of these (a) having any analogy to the form of com- 
petition due to the overproduction of individuals or to a 
limited supply of food, etc., and then only in the case in 
which the strife results from the circumstances of getting 
a living — not in the case very common in nature of mere 
combativeness of temper, through which the stronger ani- 
mal kills the weaker simply from aggressiveness. In case 

(b) one animal feeds upon members of another group as 
his natural prey, as is seen in the eating of insects by 
birds. This is also extremely widespread, and leads to 
some of the most beautiful special adaptations — for con- 
cealment, warning, etc. — in the species preyed upon. This 
has nothing to do with the overproduction of individuals 
in the sense given under (1), except in so far as the spe- 
cies preyed upon overproduces in the way of compensation 
for the constant drain upon it ; but this is a very different 

vidual society, struggle of the totality of humanity with its organic and 
inorganic environment.' See Chapter XIX. § 7, for a criticism of certain of 
Professor Pearson's positions. 

1 From the fact that both Darwin and Wallace were indebted to Malthus' 
work On Population (see below). 

Biological Struggle for Existence 215 

A case of {20), of extreme importance in its effects upon 
the next generation, is that of the struggle of males for the 
female, occurring often apparently irrespective of the num- 
ber of available females. 

The third case of struggle (3) is that in which individ- 
uals struggle against fate — the inorganic environment — 
not directly against one another. This is really a ' struggle 
to accommodate' — to reach a state of adjustment or balance 
under which continued living is possible. As the other 
forms may perhaps be styled respectively ' struggle to eat ' 
(in a large sense) and ' struggle to win,' so this may be 
called ' struggle to accommodate,' or ' struggle to live.' 
The distinction between cases (2) and (3) disappears in 
instances in which the animal accommodates actively in 
order to coping with his enemies ; for these then become 
part of his environment in the sense of case (3). 

The relation of large productiveness to this last form (3) 
of the struggle for existence would seem to be but indirect. 
It would not matter how many individuals perished pro- 
vided some lived ; and any amount of overproduction would 
not help matters if none of the individuals could cope with 
the environment Yet on the theory of indeterminate or 
indefinite variation, the chances — under the law of prob- 
ability — of the occurrence of any required variation is 
a definite quantity, and these chances are of course in- 
creased with large productiveness ; for with more varia- 
tions, more chances of those that are fit, and with increased 
production, more variations. No better case in point could 
be cited than Dallinger's experiments on the effects of 
changes of temperature on infusoria. 1 

In recent evolution theory the doctrine of natural selec- 

1 An illustration suggested by Professor E. B. Poulton. 

2 1 6 Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

tion has come to rest more and more upon the second and 
third sorts of struggle (2 and 3), and less on the Malthu- 
sian conception (1). Experimental studies which support 
the selection view (e.g., Weldon on Crabs, Poulton on Chry- 
salides) 1 show the eliminative effect of the environment, 
and the preying of some animals upon others, rather than 
direct competition inter se, among individuals of the same 
species, for food or other necessities of life. It is these 
forms of the struggle, too, that we find nature especially 
providing to meet, through adaptive contrivances such as 
concealing and warning colours, mimicry, offensive and 
defensive organs — teeth, claws, horns, etc., — with comba- 
tive, aggressive, and predatory instincts, on the one hand, 
and by high plasticity and intelligence on the other. 

The result common to all the sorts of struggle for existence, 
however, is the survival of an adequate number of the fit- 
test individuals ; and this justifies the use of the term in the 
theory of evolution to cover so wide a variety of instances. 

Darwin, on reading Malthus' book On Population, con- 
ceived the idea that overpopulation would be a universal 
fact in organic nature were there no process by which the 
numbers were constantly reduced. He was thus led to 
lay stress on the struggle for existence, and the elimina- 
tion of those individuals which were unsuccessful. Com- 
bining this conception of elimination in the struggle with 
that of variation, he reached the hypothesis of natural 
selection. A similar relation to Malthus is also true of 
Wallace (see Poulton, Charles Darwin, pp. 88 f.) 2 In this 
case the struggle arises from common wants, combined with 

1 Weldon, Proc. Roy. Soc. London, LVIL, pp. 360 ff., 379 ff.; Poulton, 
Proc. Brit. Ass., Bristol Meeting, 1898. 

2 See also p. 46 of the same work. 

Biological Struggle for Existence 217 

an inadequate supply, the competition taking the form 
either of direct struggle of one animal with another, or 
death from mere lack of something necessary on the part 
of some. This conception has been broadened with the 
development of the theory to include the other less Mal- 
thusian forms. 

If we consider the three forms of struggle pointed out 
above, as together making up the conception, we may for 
convenience designate it as ' biological ' struggle, inasmuch 
as individuals are directly brought into conflict with one 
another for life and death, and as moreover the end is not 
attained through the struggle alone, but requires the further 
biological function of reproduction to make it effective. 

In greater or less contrast with this, we find other cases 
in which there is a shading one way or the other away from 
this form of competition with its indirect results. On the 
one hand, there are certain hypotheses of a biological sort 
which utilize the conception of struggle without distin- 
guishing it clearly as a process preliminary to that of sur- 
vival. In Roux' ' struggle of the parts ' the conception is of 
the relative determination of physiological processes by the 
accentuation or development of certain cells and organs 
at the expense of others. 1 It is analogous to the struggle 
for food ; the idea being that there is a preferential sup- 
ply of nourishment, blood — whatever aids the anabolic 
processes in these particular directions. But the mechan- 
ism of it is entirely unknown. In Weismann's ' germinal 
selection,' also, a similar reason for survival is postulated — 
differences of some sort between germ-cells — whereby 
some of them are more favourably situated or otherwise 

1 Roux, Gesammelte abhandlungen iiber Entwicklungsmechanik der Organ- 
ismen, Vol. I. 

2 1 8 Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

conditioned for survival, and this may be called a ' struggle.' 
But here again there is no precise notion of what takes 
place. In both of these cases the struggle is merely a 
hypothetical means to the end, which is selection and sur- 
vival ; it is not a clearly described phase in the process. 

Weismann's ' Intra-selection ' also involves struggle, in 
an obscure way ; and the selection of motor functions 
by what has been above called ' functional selection ' in- 
volves the survival of movements from among a series of 
overproduced or excessive discharges ; but it again seems 
to strain the notion of ' struggle for existence ' to speak of 
these movement variations as engaged in a struggle with 
one another or with the environment. In all these cases 
Mr. Spencer's term ' survival of the fittest ' is more appli- 
cable ; and the criteria of utility and adaptation run through 
them all. 

§ 2. Sorts of Rivalry 

Coming to the extensions of meaning of the concept of 
survival with struggle, in the direction of conscious and 
social functions, we find certain processes which we may 
distinguish under the general heading of ' Rivalry ' — a 
broad term which may be used to designate the entire 
field, including biological struggle for existence. 

There are three great cases of Rivalry which it is essen- 
tial to distinguish, especially in view of current confusions 
arising from lack of discrimination : ( i ) Biological Rivalry, 
or struggle for existence, of which the forms have been 
pointed out above; (2) Personal or Conscious Rivalry, or 
emulation, to which the term rivalry is more generally 
restricted ; and (3) commercial and industrial rivalry, 
known as Economic Competition. 

Conscious Rivalry 219 

§ 3. Conscious Rivalry 

The second of these, personal conscious rivalry, is the 
relation between two persons, or more, which arises from 
their mutual intention or effort to excel each other in 
attaining an end which they have in common. It is dis- 
tinguished from biological struggle by two marks, at least. 

In the first place, it is for the sake of a further or remote 
conscious end that this form of rivalry is usually indulged in ; 
the competition itself is a means to another end. There 
may be cases, indeed, notably in autonomic functions such 
as play, in which no end apart from the function itself is 
set up ; but even in these cases the element of rivalry — as 
in the contests of a boy's game — is an incident of the game, 
not a thing indulged in for its own sake. And even in the 
extreme case of games of rivalry as such, in which the 
competition is the main motive, the fact of its being play 
destroys its analogy to struggle for existence in the biologi- 
cal sense. 

A second difference is in respect to the immediateness 
or mediateness of the results. As pointed out above, 
struggle for existence is really biologically effective only 
if reproduction and physical heredity ensue to clinch and 
further the results of the struggle. If the individuals which 
remain do not produce young, they have not survived bio- 
logically. So the effectiveness of struggle for existence is 
secured only through the medium of the further vital 
function of reproduction. In personal rivalry, on the con- 
trary, this is not the case. The results are immediate. 
The rivalry furthers the end for which the conscious com- 
petition takes place. 

In personal rivalry, in fact, we have all forms of individ- 

220 Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

ual competition for personal pleasure, profit, gain, victory, 
etc. It is, so far as the actual contest goes, similar to the 
second form of struggle for existence ; but it is narrower, 
since it includes only those cases in which the individuals 
are directly and consciously exerting themselves against 
each other. It is, therefore, always a psychological fact, 
as a little further analysis will show. 

The psychological factors involved include : (a) the par- 
ticular impulse appealed to to excite the effort — whether 
1 desire of being a cause ' (Groos), called in the older 
English literature ' love of power ' ; desire to gain advan- 
tage, — pleasure, reward, gratified pride, etc., — earlier 
designated Move of gain'; intellectual exercise — play of 
the faculties ; or other. Any or all of these enter in cases 
of personal rivalry ; and in adult life probably there are 
also in many instances reflective motives, such as pure love 
of success, love of the game as such, malice toward com- 
petitors and jealousy of them. (5) The psychological 
requisites of the personal-rivalry situation as a whole. 
These are those of the social bond, in which the self and 
the other {ego and alter) are held in a common network of 
social relationships within which the contest takes place, 
and by which its rules and conditions are prescribed. 
This, it is well to note, involves as much cooperation as 
competition. The rivalry is never entirely rivalry, and it 
could not be rivalry at all, in the more complex cases, but 
for the great mass of cooperative thinking, feeling, and 
action which precedes and conditions it. In short, per- 
sonal rivalry involves an essentially cooperative factor ; it 
implies a social situation in which, it is true, the pole of 
self-emphasis, assertion, and even aggression is very promi- 
nent, but in which, nevertheless, that is only one pole of 

Economic Rivalry or Competition 221 

the play of elements which constitute the thought of self 
as a ' socius ' or personal companion to others. 

Personal rivalry is, therefore, sharply distinguished 
from biological struggle for existence. The latter is 
operative under the law of physical reproduction, guided 
by natural selection with reference to utility in a biological 
environment. This, on the contrary, is operative in a 
social environment where social tradition through imitation 
and invention are the conserving and ordering factors, 
where the environment is psychological and moral, and 
where the criterion of utility yields to that of individual 
choice, selection, reflection, and, it may be, caprice. 

This is not to say, however, that personal rivalry may 
not be involved in biological survival. It is evident that 
the capacity for personal psychologically motived struggle 
may be of critical utility to a species, and so its possessors 
may be ' naturally ' selected. But true as that is, such a 
case still remains one of biological struggle, and is subject 
to its laws. The purely social rivalry, as such, remains a 
different phenomenon, and cannot be subsumed under the 

§ 4. Economic Rivalry or Competition 

In industrial and commercial competition we find an- 
other form of Rivalry — that mentioned third above. It 
is defined by Hadley (the writer's Diet, of Philos. and 
Psychol^) as 'the effort of different individuals engaged 
in the same line of activity each to benefit himself, gen- 
erally at the others' expense, by rendering increased ser- 
vice to outside parties.' 

Two typical forms of it should be distinguished : (a) 
competition of individuals, which we may call 'free' 

222 Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

competition ; and (2) competition of agencies, either indi- 
viduals or organizations, which we may call ' restricted ' 
competition. This distinction is essential, for it indicates 
two types of competitive activity. 

(a) Free competition, considered as ajtype operative in 
industrial and commercial affairs, leaves to the individual, 
in his attempt to succeed, freedom of enterprise, initiative, 
and method of operation. It is, therefore, psychologically 
motived, and rests directly upon the individual's capacity, 
temperament, and social feeling. The economic motive 
is tempered and modified by the individual's character, 
and varies all the way from pure egoism or love of gain 
to the most humane and social concern for others' welfare 
and success. It appears, therefore, that in free competi- 
tion we have in operation the factors involved in personal 
rivalry, but directed to an economic end. This end in 
view gives to the agencies of production, trade, etc., a 
certain real aloofness which appears inhuman, and is 
often made the excuse for what is really so ; but yet 
industrial organization, in which free competition is the 
dominant form, is a mode of social organization in which 
the factors involved are those essential to the maintenance 
of social life, and consistent with its other and more al- 
truistic modes. Hence the growth, within the ordinary 
machinery of industrial economics, of various purely social 
and ethical features — humane labour laws, hygienic sur- 
roundings, libraries and reading-rooms, baths, lecture 
courses, lyceums, etc., not only permitted but provided by 
employers, together with such more intrinsic arrangements 
as profit-sharing, increasing wage, pensions, labour insur- 
ance, etc. In essentials, therefore, this form of competition 
does not merely represent but is personal rivalry inside 

Economic Rivalry or Competition 223 

the industrial world. It is not, nor is it analogous to, 
biological struggle for existence. 

In another point commercial competition involves psy- 
chological factors ; appeal is made to the desire and choice 
of the consumer — what is known as 'demand.' This de- 
mand may be reached either by direct rivalry for the con- 
sumer's patronage, or indirectly through means which 
increase the use of certain articles, set the style, limit 
variety, etc. In these ways of directing, stimulating, and 
controlling demand, all the competitors may be alike bene- 
fited by the success of one. This is different from the 
use of brute force, and also from the division of a fixed 
amount of patronage or gain — processes which would 
present analogies with the usual methods of biological 

{b) The second form of economic rivalry — ' restricted ' 
competition — is a different matter. It arises when indi- 
viduals band together either voluntarily or under social 
compulsion or persuasion to pursue common economic 
ends in association. This gives to the group economic 
standing as an agency ; and the members cease to act as 
individuals. The result is the formulation of purely eco- 
nomic rules of procedure — of defence and offence — and 
the elimination of individual temper, judgment, and sense 
of personal and social responsibility. 

The direct result is that such a society becomes a group, 
and when engaged in competition with other groups gives 
the phenomenon of ' group selection,' yet it is group selec- 
tion, in the strict biological sense, only in part. As to 
the struggle, strictly speaking, of group with group — 
it is struggle for existence in so far as it means elimina- 
tion of some groups ahd survival of others. But its results 

224 Struggle for Existence and Rivalry 

are socially conserved and handed down, not passed on by 
physical reproduction and heredity. So the resemblance 
is still in part analogy. Even restricted competition is 
not a biological fact ; in its most ironclad and ' inhuman ' 
forms it is intelligent ; intelligence unmoved by feeling 
is its watchword. And its forms of rivalry are very 
largely those of one master intelligence pitted against 

Yet in this phenomenon of restricted competition we 
have the nearest social approach to biological rivalry as 
such ; and that in certain unaesthetic features in which 
economic utility is the controlling end, if not the only 
one. First among these is the opportunity it affords of 
subordinating and destroying normal personal competi- 
tion with its natural control by social and moral senti- 
ment. Second, there follows, the need of state control 
to take the place of other controls ; there would seem to 
be no other alternative. Third, we find not only group 
competing with group, but class organizations arrayed 
against each other, when the closest cooperation is essen- 
tial even for the purest economical utilities ; as of labour 
organizations against capital, employer against employee. 
And fourth, all are contributory to the great damage done 
to society by the interference with personal liberty of 
contract and choice of work under the oppressive sanc- 
tions of the organizations, which claim to regulate economic 
conditions. In all these respects the industrial environ- 
ment in which modern corporate agencies operate is 
analogous to the biological; for utility is the criterion of 
survival, and economic utility is in many respects analo- 
gous to biological. 

The contrast presented by the three great sorts of rivalry 

Economic Rivalry or Competition 225 

now distinguished are sharply brought out when we ask 
what forms of cooperation of individuals they severally 
involve. So far as cooperation enters into biological 
struggle for existence, it is instinctive and unreflective — 
as in the gregarious and mass-actions of herds or other 
companies of animals. It is a phenomenon of a biological 
sort produced by the operation of natural selection. In- 
telligent cooperation, to be available in the struggle, has 
utility not in the direct results of the cooperation, but as 
representing a type of individual which it is of utility to 
preserve by the laws of heredity. 

In personal rivalry, and with it free economic competi- 
tion, we have the intelligent and reflective cooperation 
which illustrates the presence of a social and moral self 
in some degree of development. 

In ' restricted ' competition we revert to an economic 
formula which makes utility paramount, and only that 
form of cooperation possible which subserves this utility. 
This may arise among individuals within the group so far 
as it renders the group as such more efficient as against 
others — and also as between different groups or agencies 
for the ends of common utility. 


Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 
§ I . The Evidence in favour of Use-inheritance 

The evidence for the inheritance of acquired characters, 
called ' Lamarckian ' or ' use-inheritance,' in cases of 
sexual reproduction, is not very strong. There are no 
clear and unambiguous cases of transmission of specific 
modifications. The arguments for such transmission are 
largely presumptive, based upon the requirements of the 
theory of evolution. Of such arguments the following 
seem to be the strongest. 

(i) Incomplete or imperfect instincts — together with 
complex instincts, which must at some time have been 
imperfect — cannot be due to natural selection ; for their 
early stages would involve partial correlations of movement 
of no use to the animal. Selectionists meet this by saying 
that (a) the organism as a whole must be considered, not 
the single organs or functions, in the matter of individual 
survival ; (b) a certain degree of intelligence usually 
accompanies and supplements such instincts ; (c) the in- 
telligence, together with individual accommodations of all 
sorts, screens those variations which occur in the direction 
of the particular function, and secures its evolution under 
natural selection in accordance with the hypothesis of 
organic selection; (d) many of the instances cited under 
this head are not congenital characters at all, but are 


Evidence in favour of Use-inheritance 227 

functions reacquired in whole or part by the young of 
each succeeding generation. 

The Lamarckians urge (2) that paleontologists find 
bony structures whose initial and early stages are thought 
to have had no utility ; and appeal is made generally to 
the so-called non-useful stages of useful organs. This is 
conceded by many to be the gravest objection now current 
to the universal applicability of natural selection. 1 It is 
met — when urged as giving presumptive evidence of the 
transmission of acquired characters — by saying : (a) that 
it proves too much ; for the bones are of all the structures 
least subject to modification by external influences, and if 
such inheritance appears in them, it should appear more 
strongly in other structures where we do not find evidence 
of it; (3) that even if such an objection should be found 
to hold against natural selection, still some unknown 
auxiliary factor may be operative ; (c) that actual utility 
can be pointed out in most cases, and may be fairly 
assumed in others ; (d) organic or indirect selection again 
has application here, as supplementary to natural selec- 
tion ; (e) the principle of ' change of function ' ^Functions- 
weeks el ; see A. Dohrn, Der Ursprung der Wirbeltiere 
und das Princip des Functionswechsels, 1875) is cited, 
according to which, in such ' non-useful ' stages, the organ 
in question served another useful function and was selected 
for this utility. 

Other arguments are mainly negative, consisting largely 
of objections of a general sort to the sufficiency of natural 
selection — such as that geological time is not sufficient 
for so slow a process as evolution by natural selection, 
that small variations could not produce such large aggre- 

1 Cf. Chap. V. § 3, and Chap. X. §§ i, 2. 

228 Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 

gate differences, that variations are not sufficiently numerous 
nor sufficiently wide in distribution. These are considered 
by selectionists as being mainly of an a priori character, 
even as objection to natural selection, and hence, as offering 
no positive ground whatever for belief in the inheritance of 
acquired characters. Of course, at the best, they would 
only serve to give presumptive support to Lamarckian 

§ 2. General Effects and Specific Heredity 

The advocates of the hypothesis of Lamarckian inheri- 
tance often fail to distinguish between the effects produced 
upon the offspring by the general influences of the envi- 
ronment upon the whole organism — e.g. malnutrition, 
toxic agents, such as alcohol, etc. — and the specific modifi- 
cations of particular parts and functions, arising suppos- 
edly from mutilation, use, the stimulation of particular 
organs, etc. Effects of the former sort are not denied by 
selectionists ; but they claim that this sort of effect pro- 
duced upon the offspring is rather a disproof than a proof 
of the Lamarckian view. For example, the effect of 
alcoholic excess is not an increased tendency in the 
children to drink alcoholic beverages, — whatever alcoholic 
tendency there may be in the children is accounted for as 
already congenital to the parents, — but certain general 
deteriorating or degenerative changes in the nervous 
system or constitution of the offspring, manifesting itself 
in hysteria, scurvy, idiocy, malformations, etc., which 
the parents did not have at all. Furthermore, the 
mechanism required to accomplish the two sorts of effect 
respectively are widely different. The general effects of 
the first sort, upon the offspring, are due simply to the 

The Origin of Heredity 229 

influences which work upon the organism as a whole, 
and reach the reproductive cells as well as the body tissues. 
But to accomplish the transmission of specific modifica- 
tions of particular parts, a very complex special mechan- 
ism would be necessary, whereby the part affected in the 
parent would impart some sort of special modification to 
the germ-cells, which would in turn cause the same modifi- 
cation of the same part in the offspring (cf. the address 
of Sedgwick before the British Association, in Nature, 
Sept. 21, 1899). 

It may also be suggested that such a complex mechanism 
of transmission would be a highly specialized adaptation, 
and if such a mechanism be necessary to Lamarckian 
heredity, it would itself have to be accounted for without 
such heredity. But the rise of complex adaptations is the 
point at issue. 

§ 3. The Origin of Heredity 

This question takes on considerable importance in view 
of recent discussion of the origin of heredity itself, in con- 
nection with researches into variation. Heredity means, of 
course, more or less lack of variation — what is called 
' breeding true ' to stock — from parent to offspring ; it is 
the opposite of variability, which is departure from the 
1 true ' or like. It has generally been assumed that hered- 
ity, at least in the simple form seen in cell-division, — the 
so-called daughter-cells being parts of the original mother- 
cell, — was an original property of living matter, and 
variation from the true was the phenomenon to account 
for. Recently, however, the theory has been advanced by 
Bailey {Plant Breeding, 1895, and especially Survival of 
the Unlike, 1896) and Williams {Geological Biology; 

230 Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 

Science, July 16, 1897; American Naturalist ', Nov. 
1898), and advocated independently by Adam Sedg- 
wick {Nature, Sept. 21, 1899), 1 that variation is normal, 
and that heredity is acquired through the operation of 
natural selection restricting and limiting variation to 
the extent seen in the relative amount of ' breeding true ' 
that is actually found in this species or that. It would, 
indeed, seem a priori more reasonable to ask why such an 
unstable compound as protoplasm, acted upon by a com- 
plex environment, should not vary (i.e., why it should have 
heredity) than the reverse. And, moreover, the compli- 
cated apparatus necessary for sexual reproduction and 
transmission, itself showing the wide variations it does 
in different organisms and in different life conditions, 
must, in any case, have been acquired, even though it be 
the direct descendant of the earliest forms of cellular 
multiplication. Now all of this class of functions — to 
come back to our text — emphasizes the requirement of a 
theory of the evolution of such a complex apparatus as 
that of sexual reproduction and heredity, which does not 
assume Lamarckian inheritance — in this case, we may 
add, one which does not assume heredity in order to ex- 
plain it. 

Again, it has been argued by Weismann and by the 
present writer that, if the Lamarckian principle were in 
general operation, we should expect to find many functions 
which are regularly acquired by each succeeding generation, 
such as speech in man, reduced to the stereotyped form of 
reflexes or animal instincts. 

1 Defrance (Annee Biologique,V., 1891, p. 375) points out that such a view 
was held by Naudin, and refers also to the theory of the origin of heredity held 
by Hurst {Natural Science, 1890, p. 578); cf. Delage, Protoplasma, p. 350. 

Lamar ckis?n and Teleology 231 

§ 4. Lamarckism and Teleology 

The philosophical defence of the Lamarckian principle 
is usually made from the point of view of teleology, that 
is, that of a determinate movement in evolution, which is, 
in some form, the realization of a purpose or end. It is 
thought that through the accommodations secured by indi- 
vidual animals — provided they be inherited — a determinate 
direction of evolution toward such a realization is secured ; 
while, on the other hand, the principle of natural selection, 
working upon ' fortuitous ' variations, is called ' blind ' 
and mechanical (cf. the discussion of Ward, Naturalism 
and Agnosticism, Vol. I. Chap. 10). 

There seem to the present writer to be certain confu- 
sions lurking in such a view. In the first place, it confuses 
teleology in the process of evolution with purpose in the 
individual mind. There are two errors here: (1) it is not 
seen that the evolution process might realize an end or 
ideal without aid from the individual's efforts or conscious 
purposes. Indeed, even on the Lamarckian principle, most 
of the inherited modifications would not be directly due 
to the individual's purpose or conscious effort, but to semi- 
mechanical and organic accommodations, and the purpose 
of the whole could be only partially interpreted in terms 
of the teleological processes of the individual mind. But 
those who maintain a general teleological view in cosmology 
must hold that the cosmic evolution as a whole, and not 
merely the genesis of certain functions consciously and 
purposively acquired by the individual, is in some sense 
purposive. (2) It is not seen that the reverse is also true, 
i.e., that in spite of purpose in the individual mind, 
together with the inheritance of acquired modifications in 

232 Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 

case it be real, the outcome of the evolution movement 
might still, on the whole, be the same as if it were due to 
the natural selection of favourable variations from a great 
many cases distributed fortuitously or by the law of prob- 
ability. This has been shown, in fact, to be the case in 
recent investigations in moral statistics ; e.g., suicides are 
distributed in accordance with the law of probability, and 
vary with climate, food-supply, etc., in a way which can 
be plotted in a curve, despite the fact that each suicide 
chooses to kill himself. That is, the result is as regular 
and as liable to exact prediction, if we take a large popu- 
lation, as are deaths from disease or accident, or other 
' natural ' events in which purpose and choice have no 
part. In such cases, indeed, we have results which are 
subject to laws as definite as those of mechanics, although 
the individual data are teleological in the sense of following 
individual purpose. This case and the reverse, indicated 
above, show the fallacy of claiming that the exercise of 
individual purpose is necessarily bound up with a teleologi- 
cal movement in evolution. 

§ 5. Natural Selection not Unteleo logical 

But there is another supposition open to objection in 
the view which requires Lamarckian heredity, in order to 
secure teleology in evolution ; the position that natural 
selection, working on so-called ' fortuitous ' or ' chance ' 
variations, is ' blind ' and unteleological. It has been 
found that biological phenomena — variations in particular 
— follow the definite law of probability ; in short, that 
there is no such thing in nature as the really fortuitous or 
unpredictable. Natural selection, therefore, works upon 
variations which are themselves subject to law. If this 

Natural Selection not Unteleo logical 233 

be true, then natural selection may be the method of realiz- 
ing a cosmic design, if such exists, the law of variation 
guaranteeing the presence of a fixed proportional number 
of individuals which are ' fit ' with reference to a preestab- 
lished end. All natural processes are subject to law. 
Design must work out its results by means of natural laws. 
Why may not the law of probable distribution be the 
vehicle of such design. Combining this with the result 
mentioned above, that even moral processes — thus includ- 
ing events in which individual purpose plays a part — are 
found to be subject to law when taken in large numbers, 
we are led to the conclusion that the law of probabilities, 
upon which natural selection rests, is an entirely adequate 
vehicle of a process of teleology in evolution. 

A good illustration may be seen in the use made of vital 
statistics in life insurance. We pay a premium rate based 
on the calculation of the probability of life, and thus by 
observing this law realize the teleological purpose of pro- 
viding for our children ; and we do it more effectively, 
though indirectly, than if we carried our money in bags 
around our necks, and gradually added our savings to it. 
Furthermore, the insurance company is a great teleologi- 
cal agency, both for us and for itself ; for it also secures 
dividends for its stockholders on the basis of charges 
adjusted to the 'chances' of life, drawn from the mortality 
tables. Why is it not a reasonable view that cosmic 
Purpose — if we may call it so — works by similar, but 
more adequate, knowledge of the whole and so secures 
its results — whether in conformity to or in contravention 
of our individual striving? Could results so reached be 
called blind or unteleological ? As this point has been put 
in a recent popular work {Story of the Mind, Preface), 

234 Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 

" every great law that is added to our store adds also to our 
conviction that the universe is run through with Mind. 
Even so-called chance, which used to be the 'bogie' 
behind natural selection, has now been found to illustrate 
— in the law of probabilities — the absence of chance. 
As Professor Pearson has said, ' we recognize that our 
conception of chance is now utterly different from that of 
yore . . . what we are to understand by a chance distri- 
bution is one in accordance with law, and one the nature 
of which can, for all practical purposes, be closely pre- 
dicted.' If the universe be pregnant with purpose, as 
we all wish to believe, why should not this purpose work 
itself out by an evolution process under law ? — and if 
under law, why not the law of probabilities ? We who 
have our lives insured provide for our children through 
our knowledge and use of this law ; and our plans for 
their welfare, in most of the affairs of life, are based upon 
the recognition of it. Who will deny to the Great Pur- 
pose a similar resource in producing the universe and in 
providing for us all ? " 

§ 6. Cosmic Purpose and Law 

Indeed we may go further, and say that this working 
out of cosmic purpose through some law of the whole, 
rather than through the individual, is necessary to an 
adequate theory of teleology as such. In biology the law 
of 'regression' provides just such a ' governor ' or regulator 
of the process. According to it, individuals which depart 
widely from the mean do not have proportionate influence 
on posterity ; but there is a regression toward a value 
which represents the mean attainment of the species up to 
date. This value is kept fairly constant or gradually 

Place of Individual Purpose in Evolution 235 

advanced. Thus evolution is kept consistently to a deter- 
minate direction, and not violently wrenched by what 
might be called cosmic caprice. It is done by reducing 
and controlling the influence of individual variations. So 
it is necessary that the 'choice,' the capricious will or pur- 
pose of the individual, should be neutralized if a consist- 
ent plan of the whole is to be carried out. Otherwise, it 
would reflect the irregular variations of our private pur- 
poses. This principle of ' regression ' or ' conservation 
of type ' holds whether the inheritance of acquired modifi- 
cations be true or not, — whether the effects of personal 
effort and purpose be transmitted or not, — and as it deals 
with all the cases, variations and modifications alike, the 
purposeful deed of the individual can, in any case, be a 
factor of but minor importance in the result. Its real impor- 
tance would depend upon its relation to the whole group 
of agencies entering into heredity. In so far as individual 
purpose should be in a direction widely divergent from that 
of the movement in general, it would, by the law of regres- 
sion, be largely ineffectual ; in so far as it should be in 
harmony with it, it would be unnecessary and unimportant ; 
although in the latter case, perhaps, taken with the La- 
marckian factor, if that be real, it would accelerate bio- 
logical evolution. 

§ 7. The Place of Individual Purpose in Evolution 

If, after stating the foregoing points as to the relation of 
the individual's purposes to a possible teleological construc- 
tion of the evolution movement as a whole, we go on to 
inquire as to how far the individual may as a fact con- 
tribute to the direction of the movement, we recall that 
the foregoing pages of this work tend to magnify that 

236 Lamarckian Heredity and Teleology 

influence, but to do so under two limitations. The direc- 
tive influence of the individual's purposes are important 
either (1) in so far as the accommodations of the individual 
are common to a relatively large number, and so affect the 
mean values, — which means, really, so far as they are not 
individual, but for statistical treatment, collective, — or 
(2) in so far as they affect the progress of the species by 
modes of transmission other than those of physical heredity. 
The factor called organic selection works, as has been 
fully shown, through individual modifications ; but its role 
is increased by the increase in extent of the accommodations 
in a group, or by the reduction of the size of the group. 
A few individuals' accommodations could give a direct turn 
to the line of progress only in emergencies in which large 
numbers of those individuals which did not accomplish 
the accommodation were destroyed. Wherever, however, 
we find consciousness entering as the vehicle of accommo- 
dation, — and this would be the condition of the operation 
of any factor which could be called by the word ' purpose,' 
— we find that common widespread forms of accommo- 
dation spring up, and the role of individual effort, struggle, 
etc., becomes more prominent as a directive factor. 

It is in this latter case, also, that of conscious, some- 
what intelligent accommodation, that the second condition 
mentioned just above comes into play ; we find with con- 
sciousness the springing up of social modes of transmis- 
sion : imitation, paternal instruction, and all the processes 
which we have been calling tradition, social heredity, and 
transmission. The species may profit by the effects of 
a single individual's achievements, through social propa- 
gation from one individual to another, and through the 
adoption of social and gregarious modes of behaviour; 

Place of Individual Purpose in Evolution 237 

and the line of tradition may directly and most strikingly 
reflect the purposes and attainments of individuals. This 
has already been touched upon in the section on ' Intel- 
ligent Direction ' (Chap. X. § 4). Of course so far as 
it is true that the line of tradition really precedes and 
sets the direction of the line of physical evolution, by put- 
ting a premium upon the educability and plasticity of 
individuals, in so far the organization of the intelligent 
purposes of individuals in social and traditional forms 
would be real and on this definition teleological. But the 
distinction should be clearly made that this is a factor 
operative inside the movement itself, through conscious 
function considered as a character preserved and devel- 
oped in connection with the brain, and that the larger 
question of a teleological movement as evolution in gen- 
eral remains still to answer. That such a movement is 
possible even without this factor is argued above ; yet it is 
natural to look upon the class of phenomena which show 
the mind taking part in the determination of natural evolu- 
tion as being in some way in harmony with, or as further- 
ing, the operation of the larger Purpose which a theory of 
cosmic teleology postulates. 


Selective Thinking 1 

In a recent publication 2 I have used the phrase 'selec- 
tive thinking ' in a certain broad sense, and at the same 
time arrived at a view of the mechanism of the process 
which seems in a measure in line with the requirements 
both of psychology and of biology. By 'selective thinking' 
I understand the determination of the stream of thought, 
considered as having a trend or direction of movement, 
both in the individual's mental history and also in the de- 
velopment of mind and knowledge in the world. The con- 
siderations suggested in the work mentioned are necessarily 
very schematic and undeveloped, and I wish in this address 
to carry them out somewhat further. 

Looking at the question from a point of view analogous 
to that of the biologists, when they consider the problem 
of ' determination ' in organic evolution, we are led to the 
following rough but serviceable division of the topics 
involved — a division which my discussion will follow ; 
namely, I. The material of selective thinking (the supply 
of ' thought-variations ' 3 ) ; 2. the function of selection 

1 President's Address, American Psychological Association, Cornell Meet- 
ing, December, 1897 (from The Psychological Review, January, 1898). The 
paper aims to present rather a point of view, and to indicate some of the out- 
standing requirements of a theory, than to defend any hard and fast conclu- 

2 Social and Ethical Interpretations, 1897 (3°^ ea "'' I 9° 2 )- 

3 Wherever the word ' variation ' occurs in this chapter, the full term 
* thought-variation ' should be understood ; this is necessary in order to avoid 
confusion with the congenital 'variations' of biology. 


The Material of Selective Thinking 239 

(how certain variations are singled out for survival) ; 3. the 
criteria of selection (what variations are singled out for 
survival) ; 4. certain resulting interpretations. 

§ 1. The Material of Selective Thinking 

I suppose that every one will admit that the growth of 
the mind depends upon the constant reception of new ma- 
terials — materials which do not repeat former experiences 
simply, but constitute in some sense 'variations' upon 
them. This is so uniform an assumption and so constant 
a fact that it is not necessary to enlarge upon it, at least so 
far as the growth of our empirical systems of knowledge 
is concerned. But besides the constantly enlarging and 
varying actual experiences of the world of persons and 
things, we have in the imaging functions, taken as a 
whole, a theatre in which seeming novelties of various sorts 
are constantly disporting themselves. Seeing further 
that it is the function of memory, strictly defined, to be 
true to the past, to have for its ideal the reproduction of 
experience without variation, it would seem to be to the 
more capricious exercise of the imaging function which 
usually goes by the term ' imagination ' that we are to look 
for those variations in our thought contents which are not 
immediately forced upon us by the concrete events of the 
real world. 

A closer approach may be made, however, to the actual 
sources of supply of variations in our thought contents, by 
taking a bird's-eye view of the progress of thought looked 
at retrospectively ; somewhat as the paleontologist puts 
his fossils in rows and so discovers the more or less con- 
sistent trend shown by this line of evolution or by that. 

240 Selective Thinking 

When we come to do this, we find, indeed, certain consist- 
ent lines taken by our thought systems in their forward 
movement — lines which characterize certain more promi- 
nent series of stages in the descent or development of the 
mental life. First, we find the line of knowledges which 
reveal necessary fact, as we may call it — the line of cor- 
respondence between internal relations and external rela- 
tions upon which Mr. Spencer enlarges, and to which the 
life of perception and memory must conform. Here there 
seems to be the minimum of personal selection, because all 
the data stand on approximatively the same footing, and the 
progress of knowledge consists mainly in the recognition 
of reality as it is. Then, second, there is the line of devel- 
opment which shows the sort of concatenation of its mem- 
bers which goes in formal logic by the term ' consistency ' 
and results in some organization. This is often described 
as the sphere of ' truth ' and belief, and is in so far con- 
trasted with that of immediate fact. Third, there is the 
line of development whose terms show what has been and 
may be called 'fitness' — a certain very peculiar and pro- 
gressive series of selections which go to build up the so- 
called 'ideals,' as in aesthetic and ethical experience. 

In addition to these more or less selectively ' determined ' 
lines of orderly arranged materials, there are besides mani- 
fold scattered products in the mind at all its levels ; and 
these become especially noticeable when we cast an eye 
upon the outcome of imagination. We have in so-called 
'passive imagination' or 'fancy,' in dreams, in revery, in 
our air-castle building, untold variations, combinations, and 
recombinations. The question which comes up for answer 
in this first survey of these things is this : do the varia- 
tions by which the lines of consistent, or determined, 

The Origin of Thought-variations 241 

development are furthered and enriched occur as accidental 
but happy hits in the overproduced disjecta membra of the 
imaging processes ? 

I put the question at once in this way in order to come 
to close quarters with a current way of looking at selective 
thinking — indeed, about the only current way. To be sure, 
this question of selection has not been much discussed ; 
but those who have concerned themselves with it have 
generally been content to say that in imagination, broadly 
understood, we have the platform on which the true, the 
good, the valuable thought-variations occur, and from the 
multitudinous overplus of whose output they are selected. 1 

§ 2. The Origin of Thought-variations 

This, however, as it seems to me, is quite mistaken. We 
do not find ourselves acquiring knowledge in our dreams, 
thinking true in our revery, building up our aesthetic and 
ethical ideals through castle-building. We do not scatter 
our thoughts as widely as possible in order to increase the 
chances of getting a true one ; on the contrary, we call the 
man who produces the most thought-variations a ' scatter- 
brain,' and expect nothing inventive from him. We do not 
look to the chance book, to the babbling conversation of 
society, or to the vagaries of our own less strenuous moods 
for the influence which — to readapt the words of Dr. 

1 This seems to be the assumption, for example, of James {Principles of 
Psychology, II., Chap. XXVIII.). So also Dr. G. Simmel in an article {Arch, 
f. sys. Philos., I., pp. 34 ff.) which has come to my notice just as this paper 
goes to print; at least no suggestion appears in his article of any selection except 
that by movement, to which all thought-variations are alike brought, through 
what he calls their ' dynamic aspect.' The general positions of Simmel on the 
origin and meaning of ' truth ' are in considerable accord with certain of the 
conclusions of this address. 

242 Selective Thinking 

Stout — ' gives to one of our apperceptive systems a new 
determination.' On the contrary, we succeed in thinking 
well by thinking hard ; we get the valuable thought-varia- 
tions by concentrating attention upon the body of related 
knowledge which we already have ; we discover new rela- 
tions among the data of experience by running over and 
over the links and couplings of the apperceptive systems 
with which our minds are already filled ; and our best prep- 
aration for effective progress in this line or in that comes 
by occupying our minds with all the riches of the world's 
information just upon the specific topics of our interest. 

All this would lead us to a negative position first — a posi- 
tion which discards the view that the material of selective 
thinking is found among the richly varied but chaotic and 
indeterminate creatures of the imaging faculty. Yet it 
would leave the positive answer to the question of the source 
of fruitful thought-variations still unanswered. 

There are two alternatives still open after the view just 
mentioned has been discarded ; one holding that it is the 
function of the mind to do its own determining, to think 
its own apt thoughts, to discover the relations which are 
true, to bring to the manifold of sense and imagination 
its own forms, schemata, arrangements of parts, and so to 
construct its systems of knowledge by the rules of its own 
inventive power. This theory, it is plain, is analogous to the 
theory of vitalism, with a self-directing impulse, in biology ; 
and it comes up also rather as an answer to the question 
as to the forms and categories of mental determination than 
to that as to the material. For even though the mind has 
its ' synthetic judgments a priori? as we may say in the 
phraseology of Kantian philosophy, still the question arises 
both as to the sources and as to the criteria — the local, 

The Systematic Determination of Thought 243 

temporal, and logical signs — of the empirical data which 
are utilized in the forms of knowledge. I do not know that 
any one would be disposed to say that our knowledge of 
the external world, of the characters of persons, of the 
truths of history and natural science, are not attained 
through experience bit by bit ; and the question to which 
the a priori theory gives no answer is : How are these bits 
found out ? Even given the ' categories,' what sorts of 
experiences fit the categories, and how is the fitting done ? 

§ 3. The Systematic Determination of Thought 

Leaving for a later section, therefore, the question of 
the origin of the categories, and reverting to the only 
remaining real alternative, the first thing to be said is that 
two limitations confine us in finding the source of the 
variations which are available for the determination of our 
thinking, whatever the sphere or line of progress be. 
First, the new thought-variations, to be candidates for 
selection, are not mere stray products of fancy ; yet sec- 
ond, they are still not outside the problem of selection from 
variations which arise somehow in the experience of the 
individual thinker. Having these two limitations full in 
mind, we find the third alternative — which in my own 
opinion all the facts go to support — to be this : the 
thought-variations by the supply of which selective thinking 
proceeds occur in the processes at the level of organization 
which the system in question has already reached — a level 
which is thus the platform for further determinations in the 
same system. 

Having stated this general position, we might examine 
each of the lines or spheres of selective thinking already 

244 Selective Thinking 

pointed out ; but that does not seem to be necessary. It 
is just the evident difference between the child and the 
man, say, that the former proceeds to test data which the 
latter never thinks of testing. The child thinks the moon 
may be made of green cheese, that birds may grow on the 
limbs of trees, that the sun does set around the corner of 
the world, that eating bread-crusts does make the hair 
curly ; such conceits the man smiles at. The difference is 
that at the child's level of what we go on to call ' system- 
atic determination/ these are variations of possible value ; 
he has yet to test them ; but to the man they are not on 
the level or platform which his selective thinking has 
reached ; they are not in any sense candidates for selec- 
tion ; they do not even enter into the complexly distributed 
series of thought-variations within the limits of which his 
criteria of value and truth lie. Various reasons have been 
given for this in the literature, and however they differ as 
explaining principles they are yet severally available as 
against the theory that all our imaginings afford a chance 
— and the more, the better the chance — of profit. The 
untruth of this position is what concerns us. 

In getting his information about nature, the child learns 
by experimenting, as also do the animals. But having 
learned this or that, he proceeds on this basis to learn 
more. In judging a statement he scouts in advance what 
his lessons have already discredited. In admiring the 
aesthetic and in adhering to the good, he hesitates only 
where his sense of worth does not positively go out ; what 
is to him ugly and bad he repudiates with emphasis. 

We might take up the parable on the side of brain pro- 
cesses and ask what brain variations give good, true, fit 
conscious states ; and the same would be seen. Suppose, 

The ' Platform ' of Determination 245 

for example, that sane intelligent thinking over the data of 
the knowledge which one has already acquired involves 
some sort of coordination of the sensory and motor areas. 
This coordination is a matter of growth by integration. 
Variations to be fruitful — whatever be the tests of survi- 
val — must be variations in the functioning of this system. 
Suppose the visual centre rebel and lose its coordination 
with the motor, or suppose the hearing centre fail of its 
blood supply, and so drop away from the system ; such 
changes would be gross accidents, temporary inhibitions or 
diseases, not variations to be selected for the upbuilding 
and enriching of the system. To be this, brain changes 
would have to take place in the delicately adjusted pro- 
cesses which constitute the essential coordination in ques- 
tion. I take this case, because, as will appear later, it sug- 
gests what is to my mind the real mechanism of selective 
thinking — coordination of data in the attention, a motor 

§ 4. The ' Platform * of Determination 

So far it has seemed that in each case thought-variations 
must be all at a certain level if any of them are to be 
available for selection at that level. We may go a step 
further in the way of defining what is meant by * level,' or 
1 platform ' of systematic determination. 

It is just of the nature of knowledge to be an organiza- 
tion, a structure, a system. There is no such thing as 
mere ' acquaintance with ' anything; there is always — to 
abuse James* antithesis! — more or less 'knowledge-about.' 
And the growth of thought is the enlargement of the 
' knowledge-about ' by the union of partial with partial 
1 knowledges-about ' in a constantly wider and fuller system 

246 Selective Thinking 

of thoughts. Selective thinking is the gradual enlarge- 
ment of the system, a heaping-up of the structure. If 
this be true, a little reflection convinces us that variations 
in the items of material merely, in the stones of the struc- 
ture, in the brute experiences of sense or memory, cannot 
be fruitful or the reverse for the system. It is variations 
only in the organization which can be that. It is the re- 
adjustments, the modifications or variations in the 'know- 
ledge-about,' which constitute the gain or loss to thought. 
A thousand flashing colours may pass before my eyes, a 
thousand brute sounds make a din in my ears, a thousand 
personal situations flit through my imagination, a thousand 
reports reach me through the ' yellow journals ' of the con- 
dition of Cuba ; but having no tendency or force to work 
changes in my organized systems of knowledge, they are 
not even possible candidates for my selection. The rich 
data of the world and of history might shower upon us ;. 
the music of the spheres might tickle our ears ; the ideals 
of the Almighty might be displayed before us in colour, 
form, and action ; but, be we incapable of organizing them, 
they are 'as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.' The 
things of time and eternity may vary infinitely in their 
appeals to us, but unless we vary to meet them they cannot 
become ours. So do we find actually fruitless and barren, 
not only the kaleidoscopic changes, the variations on varia- 
tions, of our dreams and our fancy, but equally so the 
pages of mathematical symbols in which we have not been 
trained, though they embody the highest thoughts of some 
great genius. They do not fit into the coordinations of 
knowledge which are ours, nor bring about readjustments 
in the arrangements of them. The items, to appeal to me, 
must never quite break with the past of my knowledge : 

The External World 247 

each must have its hand linked with that of the thought 
which begot it ; it must have a ' fringe ' if it is to get a 
lodgement upon the strings of my intellectual loom and 
stand a chance of being woven into the texture of the 
carpet which is to cover the upper floor of my mental resi- 
dence. The burden of mental progress, then, seems to me 
to lie on the side of the organizing function. 

We may believe, therefore, so far as we have gone, that 
the material available for selective thinking is only of the 
sort which reflects rearrangements, new adjustments — in 
short, new ' determinations ' — in our organized systems of 
knowledge; and further that each of such candidates for 
selection is born, so to speak, at the top of the cone, at the 
highest floor or level, of its own peculiar system. Other 
fragments of thought, disjecta membra of imagination, lie 
scattered about the bottom, unavailable and useless. With 
so much said about the material, we may now go on to 
consider the function or process of selective thinking. 

§ 5. The Function or Process of Mentat Selection: the 

External World 

In the consideration of this problem — of course, the 
most important one — the advantages of employing the 
genetic method will become apparent ; and it may be well 
to distinguish the different spheres of mental determina- 
tion somewhat in the order of their original genetic appear- 
ance, the first sphere being that of our knowledge of the 
external world. 

1. The function here is evidently one of an organization 
of the data of sensation in a way which shall reflect, for our 
practical purposes, the actual state of things existing in 

248 Selective Thinking 

the world. The selective process must be one which in 
some way concerns the active life, for it is only through 
the life of active muscular exertion that the appropriate- 
ness of revival processes can be tested. We have here 
again two alternative views which have been treated in de- 
tail in the work, Mental Development in the Child and the 
Race ; the one theory, called the 'Spencer-Bain theory/ 
teaching that all movements showing variation stand on 
the same footing, and that it is a matter of happy accident 
as to which of these turns out to be adaptive. Such move- 
ments so found out are pleasurable ; others, giving pain, 
are anti-adaptational. Through the mechanism of repeti- 
tion on the one hand, and of inhibition on the other hand, 
the former are selected and so survive, and with them sur- 
vive the feelings, thoughts, etc., which they accompany or 
secure. The other alternative — advocated in the work 
mentioned — holds that there is a difference in movements 
from the start, due to the conditions of waxing and waning 
vitality from which they spring ; pleasure and pain attach 
respectively to these vital effects of stimulations, and so 
there is, in each case of a selection of movements, a plat- 
form or level of earlier vital adaptations from which the 
new variations are brought to their issue. 1 This latter 
theory would seem in so far to get support from the fact 
brought out above, that such a platform of acquired adap- 
tation — a level of ' systematic determination ' — is present 
in all selective thinking. This view holds also that such 
adaptive movements it is which, by their synergy or union, 
give unity and organization to the mental life. 

Apart from this, however, the two theories agree in 
making the selection a matter of motor accommoda- 

1 Cf. the expositions in Chap. VIII. § 6, and Chap. IX. § 2. 

The External World 249 

tion. 1 The system of truths about the world is a system 
which it will do to act upon, both when we take it as a 
whole and when we go into its details. 

Another thing follows, however, — and follows more natu- 
rally from the second of the two theories mentioned than 
from the first, — i.e., that novelty, variety, detail of expe- 
rience, can be organized in the mental life only in so far 
as it can be accommodated to by action ; if this cannot 
take place it must remain a brute and unmeaning shock, 
however oft repeated the experience of it may be. It itself, 
considered as a thought-variation, as well as the variations 
in it, would be as if non-existent — altogether without sig- 
nificance for the individual's growth in knowledge. The 
seat of productive variations, of variations, that is, from 
which selections are possible, must be on the motor side, 
in the active life. 2 Only thus could 'internal relations' be 
established which should be true to or should reproduce 
1 external relations.' 

The point of contrast noted above between the two the- 
ories has, however, an additional interest in connection with 
our present topic : the point that on my theory there is a 
platform of earlier habitual adjustments from which the 
variations are always projected. For this transfers the 
first selective function from the environment to the organ- 

1 I am not sure, however, whether Professor Bain does not here leave Mr. 
Spencer behind. The latter nowhere, to my knowledge, discusses selection in 
the sense of mental determination, but his insistence upon the direct action of 
the environment on an organism would seem to require him to hold that the 
stimulations compelled the organism to accommodate in this direction or that, 
the motor selection simply coming in after the fact of determination. 

2 By ' motor ' is meant vaso-motor and glandular as well as muscular 
experiences ; all of these considered as giving a reflex body of organic con- 
tents which cluster up upon incoming stimulations from the external world. 
It is all afferent, kinesthetic, in its actual mechanism. 

250 Selective Thinking 

ism, requires the new experience to run the gantlet of 
habitual reactions or habits which organize and unify the 
system of knowledges, before it can be eligible for further 
testing by action. For example, a child cannot play the 
piano, though he might actually go through a series of 
movements reproducing those of a skilled performer. The 
multitude of variations, so far from aiding him, is just the 
source of his confusion. But he can learn little by little, if 
he practise faithfully from the platform of the movements 
of the simple scales and finger exercises which he already 
knows how to perform. 

§ 6. Tests of Truth in the External World 

The first test, therefore, is that of assimilation to es- 
tablished habits. If we grant this, and also grant that 
subsequently to this there is a further selection, from such 
variations, of those which work in the environment, we 
get a double function of selection : first, the sort of intra- 
organic selection called above ' systematic determination,^ 
which is a testing of the general character of a new expe- 
rience as calling out the acquired motor habits of the or- 
ganism ; 1 and second, an extra-organic or environmental 
selection, which is a testing of the special cojicrete character 
of the experience, as fitted, through the motor variations to 
which it gives rise, to bring about a new determination in 
the system in which it goes. 

These selective tests we may call respectively the test 
of ' habit ' and the test of ' accommodation to fact ' (the 

1 The phrase ' intra- organic selection ' suggests (intentionally, indeed, 
although used here in a purely descriptive sense in antithesis to extra-organic) 
the process of adaptation called • Intra-selection ' by Weismann and described 
earlier by Roux under the phrase ' Struggle of the Parts.' 

Tests of Truth in the External World 251 

latter abridged to the 'test of fact'). These two functions 
of selection work together. The tests of habit, the intra- 
organic tests, represent an organization or systematic deter- 
mination of the things already guaranteed by the tests of 
fact ; and, on the other hand, things which are not assimi- 
lable to the life of habit cannot come to be established as 
intelligible facts. The great difference between the two 
tests is that that of habit is less exacting ; for after a 
datum has passed the gantlet of habit — or several alter- 
native data have together passed it — it must still compete 
for survival in the domain of fact. 

What, then, do we finally mean by truth in the sphere 
of external knowledge ? This, I think : a truth in nature 
is just something selected by the test of fact (after having 
passed the gantlet of habit, of course), and then so passed 
back into the domain of habit that it forms part of that 
organization which shows the ' systematic determination ' 
of the thinker. What the word ' truth ' adds to the word 
' fact ' is only that a truth is a presentative datum of the 
intra-organic system which has stood the test of fact and 
can stand it again. A truth is an item of content which 
is expected, when issuing in movement, to 'work' under 
the exactions of fact. We speak of a correspondence be- 
tween the idea and the fact as constituting truth ; and so 
it does. But we should see that a truth is not selected 
because it is true ; it is true because it has been selected, and 
that in both of two ways : first, by fulfilling habit, and 
second, by revealing fact. There is no question of truth 
until both these selective functions have been operative. 
This is to say, from the point of view of motor develop- 
ment, that accommodation always takes place from a 
platform of habit, and that in the case of the external 

252 Selective Thinking 

world our first-hand knowledges arise as reflexes of such 
accommodations. 1 

§ 7. Selection of Ideas by Attention 

2. In the life of general and ideal thinking the same 
questions come upon us. Here we have, it is true, a cer- 
tain restating of the problem, but it seems that in its 
essential features the principles already worked out have 
application. First, as to the platform — for as we saw 
above, thought-variations to be selected must be projected 
from a platform of earlier progressive thinking or system- 
atic determination. The platform on the side of function 
— that is, apart from the content organized — is, I think, 
the attention. The attention is a function of organization, 
a function which grows with the growth of knowledge, 
reflects the state of knowledge, holds in its own integrity 
the system of data already organized in experience. I 
shall not dwell long upon this, seeing that it will be gen- 

1 In Social and Ethical Interpretations, Sect. 57, these two phases are 
generalized as follows : ' With the formula : what we do is a function of what 
we think, we have this other: what we shall think is a function of what we 
have done.'' In general conception this is Simmel's position. In the following 
sentence (of which the passage in the text might almost be considered an 
English rendering) he is accounting for the ' Harmonie ' between thought and 
action; he says : " Dies (Harmonie) wird erst dann begreiflich wenn die Niitz- 
lichkeit des Handelns als der primare Faktor erscheint, der gewisse Handlungs- 
weisen und mit ihnen die psychologischen Grundlagen ihrer ziichtet, welche 
Grundlagen eben dann in theoretischen Hinsicht als das'wahre' Erkennen 
gelten; so das ursprunglich das Erkennen nicht zuerst wahr und dann niitzlich, 
sondern erst niitzlich und dann wahr genannt wird" (Joe. cit., p. 43). Simmel 
makes the further argument that in animals of lower orders having senses dif- 
ferent or differently developed from ours, the motor accommodations by which 
the sense organs have arisen must be to different forces and conditions in the 
environment. So what would be counted * truth ' in the mental systems of 
such creatures would vary among them and also from our ' truth ' {loc. cit., 
p. 41). An important point of difference between Simmers view and the 
writer's is noted below. 

Selection of Ideas by Attention 253 

erally admitted, I think, that attention is in some way the 
organizing function of knowledge, and also because further 
definition — which, moreover, I have attempted elsewhere 1 
— is not necessary to our present purpose. 

The first selection which thought-variations have to 
undergo, therefore, if eligibility from this platform be the 
first condition of final adoption, is in their getting a place 
in the organization which present attention conditions rep- 
resent and exact. This is just the condition of things we 
saw above when we pointed out that it is only the strenu- 
ous, hard, and attentive concentration of mind that brings 
results for the life of thought. Attention is relatively easy, 
when we let it roam over our old stock in trade ; but even 
then the contrast is striking between the items of know- 
ledge which are held in the system thus easily run through 
with frequent repetition, and on the other hand those ves- 
tigial fragments of representation which do not engage the 
attention in any system of exercises, and so have no settled 
place or orderly sequence in our mental life. The latter 
are not on the platform ; the former are. There is always 
such preliminary ' intra-organic ' selection — a set of ready 
interests, preferences, familiarities, set to catch our new 
experiences or to reject them. It proceeds by motor syn- 
ergy or assimilation. Thoughts which get so far in are 
then candidates for the other selection which the full term 
' selective thinking ' includes. In order to be really the 
thought-variations which selective thinking requires, all 
new items must, in the first place, secure and hold the 
attention ; which means that they must already enter, 

1 Mental Development in the Child and the Race, Chap. XV., where it is 
held that the attention, organically considered, is a habitual motor reaction 
upon mental contents. 

254 Selective Thinking 

however vaguely, into the complex of earlier knowledge, 
in order that the habitual motor reflex, which attention is, 
may be exercised upon them. 

In considering in the book cited the empirical complex 
mental contents which constitute attention, 1 I found it 
necessary to distinguish three sets of motor events ; and 
I threw them into a certain 'attention formula,' as fol- 
lows : Att. (attention) = A-\-a-\-a\ the A representing the 
gross and relatively constant reflex elements which give 
attention its main sensational character ; the a represent- 
ing the special elements which vary with different classes 
of experiences, as for example with the different sense- 
qualities ; and the a representing the refined variations 
which attention to particular objects as such brings out. 
It is a part of the general analysis of attention which 
issues in this formula that the state of mind called ' rec- 
ognition ' varies as some or other of these elements of 
attention are present without variation through repeated 
experiences. All are present without variation when we 
recognize a particular object as familiar; there is variation 
in the a elements only when we are able to place a new 
object in a familiar class but yet do not find ourselves 
familiar with it for itself ; there are variations in both the 
a and the a elements when a novel experience simply 
meets the general requirements of our grosser life of 
habit, but yet has no place in the organization of our 
knowledge. 2 

1 Mental Development in the Child and the Race, Chap. X. § 3, and Chap. 
XI. § 2. 

2 Thus the animal instincts show gross motor reactions upon the objects 
which call them out, and it may be that the only differentiation of the objects 
possible to the creature is just that supplied by his differentiated instinctive 
attitudes including the attention. 

Selection of Ideas by Attention 255 

This analysis enables us to see more clearly the mean- 
ing of the ' platform ' from which thought-variations must 
be projected to be real candidates for selection in the life 
of attention. The experience which does not even bring 
out the constant A elements is merely a brute shock and 
not 'knowledge-about,' seeing that in these elements, 
which are necessary to all attention, we have necessary 
motor adjustments in which accommodation to the external 
world consists. Such 'shocks' do not reach the platform. 

Further, those experiences which do involve the A ele- 
ments must also, at least in selective thinking, have some 
sort of a element and a elements with them ; seeing that, 
in the realm of thought, attention which is not concrete 
involves no specific determination. 1 The study of the child 
shows that the differentiation of the a from the a elements 
is a gradual thing, the first knowledge being of a ' vaguely 
universal ' sort (an expression of Royce's ; the same thing 
has been called by the present writer ' the general of the 
first degree'). Psychologically, therefore, the platform 
upon which the new knowledge is to be secured is that of 
a sense of familiarity toward an experience, at least in the 
unrefined way which the child's 'vague universal' illus- 
trates. The apprehension of a new truth is always either 
the consciousness of an identity, in which case it is treated 
as an old truth in all respects, or it is in some measure 
subsumed under an old truth, when it illustrates class 
recognition. And it follows as to our platform that any 
new knowledge, to be selected and held as such, must be 

1 We may note, however, the familiar fact that the concrete content on 
which attention is fixed is often only a point iVappui, a symbol, verbal or other, 
which, on the organic side, merely opens a channel for the discharge of the 
larger whole of attitudes (the a elements) which general and class notions 

256 Selective Thinking 

capable of the sort of subsumption which class recognition 
is. This gives, in the sphere of general thought, the 
analogue of the assimilation to habit which we found 
necessary to the establishing of the platform of progres- 
sive determination in the case of knowledge of external 
objects. The two cases taken together, therefore, constitute 
the function of '* systematic determination' 

§ 8. Variations in Attention and the Environment of 


But this is not yet selective thinking. The selection of 
the particular concrete datum is more ; it is an affair of 
the selection of variations in the attention complex, after 
the datum has passed muster in the systematic determi- 
nation. It is an affair of the variations of the a sort, at 
the crest, so to speak, of the attention movement. How, 
then, are these selected ? 

It is, I think, a process analogous to that which holds 
for muscular accommodation by adjustment to the en- 
vironment, i.e., it is a case of ' functional selection from 
overproduced movements.' It is here, as there, the envi- 
ronment's turn to get in its work, after the organism has 
had its turn. Yet here, as there, we must be careful to 
have a clear understanding of what the environment is. 

The environment is here the whole of knowledge not 
possessed by the individual thinker ; that is, the whole of 
the social store of opinions, beliefs, reflections, judgments, 
criticisms, etc., within which the individual displays his 
reasonable activities. The selection of thoughts as valid 
is analogous of the selection of facts as true. Apart from 
the direct necessity of accommodation and recognition 
which the physical enforces upon us, and which consti- 

Variations in Attention 257 

tutes the selection of certain facts from all those possi- 
ble but pseudo-facts which our habitual reactions might 
allow to pass — apart from such physical facts, all truths 
are selected by a testing in the social environment, from 
the many pseudo-truths which have passed the gantlet 
of our habitual attention reactions. 

To illustrate : we see a vague outline in the dusk ; it 
might be a man, a beast, a tree-stump, so far as our pres- 
ent adaptive attitudes and recognitions avail to define 
it. To decide which it is and so to select one alternative 
as true, we put it to the physical tests of nearer approach, 
touch, hearing, etc. Here we have first the platform, 
then the selection by further action. So in thinking : 
we hear, let us say, a report that a friend is dead ; he 
may have died by accident, by poison, by fire, so far as 
our information goes. We find out the truth, however, 
by getting information from some one who knows. Here, 
again, is the platform with its alternatives (variations), 
and then the selection by a social appeal. In the case of 
a scientific invention the part which can be attested by an 
appeal to fact is so tested, but the part which still remains 
hypothetical is so far liable to social confirmation that 
the inventor expects at least that others will judge as he 

The use of the word 'judge' in the last sentence serves 
to suggest certain further considerations, which show the 
social appeal in operation, and, at the same time, give 
evidence that it is this appeal which constitutes the 
resource in selective thinking in the higher and more ideal 
spheres. These considerations may be presented under 
the third heading, dealing with the criteria of 'fitness' of 

258 Selective Thinking 

§ 9. What constitutes Fitness in the External World? 

By criteria here is meant not so much objective criteria 
— marks or characters of this or that experience — as cri- 
teria of survival, i.e., the tests or qualifications which new- 
items of experience must fulfil if they are to be given a 
permanent place in the organization of knowledge. This 
involves the question of objective criteria, to be sure ; but we 
may be able to find some general qualification under which 
the special criteria of the different provinces of knowledge 
may be viewed. Our question may be put in the familiar 
terms of an analogous biological problem, if we ask : when 
a particular truth has been shown by selection to be such, 
why was it found fit to survive ? 

In answer to this question we may say at once, con- 
cerning knowledge of the external world, that the motor 
accommodations by which the selective process proceeds 
are, by the conditions of the environment, of necessity 
made in this direction or that. The reason a given move- 
ment is fit is because it actually reports fact. The dictum 
of the environment is : accommodate to xyz or die in the 
attempt ! The facts are there ; nature is what it is ; the 
adjustments are such just because they are fit to report a 
state of facts. The environment in which the accommo- 
dations take place, and to which they constitute adjust- 
ments, is the control factor, and its facts constitute the only 
reason that the selections are what they are. The crite- 
rion here, therefore, is simply the adaptive aspect of the 
movement, as reporting fact. It can be determined in 
each case only after the event ; that is, after the selection 
has taken place. 

But even in this lower sphere, where the exigencies of 

What constitutes Fitness in External World? 259 

the physical environment are the control-factor in the 
selective process, we find the further result that the pres- 
ervation of the fact selected depends upon its having 
already been assimilated to the organized habits of the 
individual. As knowledge it becomes part of a system ; 
it is added to the platform from which subsequent selec- 
tions are made ; and it thus carries forward the ' sys- 
tematic determination ' of thought. In this way the 
organism gradually reproduces in its own platform of 
determination the very criteria of selection at first enforced 
only by the environment. We should expect to find in 
consciousness some general colouring due to the attitude 
which the platform of systematic determination requires — 
an attitude of welcome, of hospitality, of indorsement, in 
short, of belief — toward those facts which have passed 
through the selective processes, have been added to the 
organization of knowledge, and have acquired the cachet 
of familiarity. 

We need not stop to argue that it is right to apply the 
term 'belief to this sense of the internal fitness of experi- 
ences after their selection ; the implied converse proposi- 
tion, i.e., that belief is a motor or active attitude, has been 
ably argued by Bain, James, and others. It is also advo- 
cated in the writer's Feeling and Will. But whatever we 
call it, there is the fact — and that is what I wish to 
emphasize under whatever name — that even in our know- 
ledge of nature the individual gradually builds up inter- 
nally the criteria of selection ; and as his experience 
extends ever more widely afield from the brute resistances, 
strains, and contacts with things, he becomes a more and 
more competent judge for himself of the value of varia- 
tions in his thoughts, Here is what is essential in it all : 

260 Selective Thinking 

the sense of values has grown up all along under the 
actual limitations of control from the imperative selective 
conditions of the environment, and if one make use of his 
criteria of selection beyond the teachings of his experience 
it is only by means of those general rules which are 
implicit in the systematic determination itself. 1 

§ 10. The Fitness of Ideas: the Social Environment 

Turning now to the great platform of attention, we find 
an analogous state of things, and the analogy really turns 
out to be identity of process, thus providing a strong 
argument for the view that the social criterion of selection 
is here the true one. 

In the first place, we have to recognize that in all think- 
ing whatsoever as such — even in our thinking about the 
external world when viewed not as motor accommodation, 
but as a system of organized truths — the environment is 
social. For we may ask : what does environment mean ? 
Does it not mean that set of conditions which runs con- 
tinuously through the individual who is said to be in the 
environment ? The physical environment is such because 
its conditions are those of motion, while the organism moves. 
The environment of thought can only be thoughts ; only 
processes of thought can influence thoughts and be influ- 
enced by them. The sources from which spring items in 
the world of thought are ordinarily centres of thought — 

1 Such as the laws of identity (motor habit), consistency (motor assimila- 
tion), sufficient reason (accommodation to the item selected), etc.; cf. Men- 
tal Development in the Child and the Race, Chap. XI. § I. By these I think 
it possible to account for the so-called ' analytical processes,' which have to 
deal with relationships inside the whole of the systematic determination, on 
which see further below. 

The Fitness of Ideas 261 

minds, either one's own or some one's else. So the en- 
vironment must be the persons about the thinker. They 
constitute his environment ; they give him conditions to 
react upon ; they are the control factor in his higher selective 
thinking, just as the world of things is the control factor 
in his life of sense perception. I know that it is through 
their life of action — mainly indeed, the speech functions 
— that he realizes their thought, and it is through his life 
of action that he reacts upon their thought and exhibits 
his ; but even in knowledge of the external world of signs, 
expressions, etc., we have to say that movement must be 
reduced to some form of thought in order to be organized 
in our knowledge. And as soon as we get out of the 
sphere of knowledge of the world of things, and ask how 
knowledge can proceed without the selective control of 
physical fact upon movement, we have to say that if selec- 
tion is to have reference to any environment at all it must 
have reference to an environment of thinking. Apart from 
theory, however, the social life is as a matter of fact the 
environment of our thinking ; in the recent book already 
referred to, 1 there is cited much evidence to show that the 
child organizes his thoughts with constant reference to the 
control which the social environment enforces. 

So we have found that each group of thought-variations, 
to be candidates for selection, must be projected from a 
platform of acquired knowledge, represented on the motor 
side by certain elements in the attention complex which 
give the sense of familiarity, class identity, general truth, 
or vague universality. This is the platform of systematic 
determination through the attention. Now, why not stop 
here? Because when a new thing comes, this does not 

1 Social and Ethical Interpretations. 

262 Selective Thinking 

suffice to secure those more refined elements of the atten- 
tion complex which determine a new concrete fact. On 
the contrary, many alternative determinations, all of them 
answering the demands of the platform of vague general- 
ity, might be forthcoming and the mind might rest in any 
one of them. Note the child's long-continued and fanci- 
ful speculations about the simplest events in the house- 
hold. What must now be had is just the selective 
control of an environment in which such variations can be 
brought to a test ; and to the child this is the environ- 
ment supplied by the persons who know more than he 
does. To them he normally appeals, almost invariably 
accepts their decisions, and finds certain of his alterna- 
tives thus selected, by what is to him as direct an adjust- 
ment to fact as are the selections of his movements by 
accommodation to that other environment, the world of 
things. Every new piece of knowledge needs this con- 
firmation just in so far as the systematic determination by 
which it is brought to the bar of selection leaves the con- 
crete filling of the event indefinite ; that is, in so far as 
various alternatives or variations might be brought into 
selective rivalry with it. 

But then — and this is a vital fact in the growth of the 
individual — this selection by a social criterion becomes 
personal to the learner through his renewed action. The 
selected functions, with their knowledge contents, are 
added to the organization witJiin, so that the 'systematic 
determination ' of the future is influenced by tJie assimila- 
tion of each new selected element. Thus the inner attitude 
which the individual brings to his experience undergoes 
gradual determination by the continued selective action 
of the social environment. He himself comes more and 

The Fitness of Ideas 263 

more to reflect the social judgment in his own systematic 
determination of knowledge ; and there arises within him- 
self a criterion of a private sort which is in essential 
harmony with the social demand, because genetically con- 
sidered it reflects it. The individual becomes a law unto 
himself, exercises his private judgment, fights his own 
battles for truth, shows the virtue of independence and the 
vice of obstinacy. But he has learned to do it by the 
selective control of his social environment, and in his judg- 
ment he has just a sense of this social outcome. 

In the work referred to I have dwelt at length upon the 
actual facts of this educative dependence of the individual 
upon social lessons. The aspect to be emphasized here 
is the selective aspect, i.e., the truth that the internal 
criterion is, so far as it goes, always in fact the primary 
criterion in our thinking ; but that in its origin the rela- 
tion is quite the reverse ; and, further, that the individual's 
judgment is liable all the time to the final selective revision 
of the social voice. This shows itself most markedly in 
those ideal states of mind in which the direct control of 
objective fact is lacking and where the private determina- 
tion is more or less explicitly accompanied by a sense of 
'publicity' — a sense that the public judgment is impli- 
cated with one's own in the approval or disapproval of 
this act or that. In our ethical judgments I think this 
ingredient is unmistakable. 

It remains only to say again that in the state of mind 
called belief, mental indorsement, and in particular cases 
judgment, we have the actual outgoing of this systematic 
determination upon the details of experience. All judg- 
ments in experience are, I think, acts of systematic deter- 
mination, acts of taking up an attitude, of erecting a plat- 

264 Selective Thinking 

form from which new things, to be eligible for selection, 
must be viewed. The details of organization, thus grad- 
ually built up, show the relationships of our theoretical 
thought ; and these relationships are valid since they 
reveal the motor organization which has accrued to the 
attention complex. The data of fact or objective truth are 
the items which have passed through the selective ordeals. 1 

§ 11. Summary 

The general conclusions which the sketchy development 
so far made would suggest may be stated in summary form 
before we go on to note some further points of interpreta- 
tion in the last remaining section. These conclusions are 
as follows. Selective thinking is the result of motor 
accommodation to the physical and social environment ; 
this accommodation taking place in each case, as all 
motor accommodation does, from a platform of earlier 
' systematic determination ' or habit. In the sphere of 
the physical environment as such, the selection is from 

1 ' So erzeugen sich fur unser Denken, gemass dem Nutzlichkeitsprincip, 
gewisse Normen seines Verhaltens, durch welche uberhaupt erst das zustande 
kommt was wir Wahrheit nennen, und die sich in abstracter Formulirung als die 
logischen Gesetze darstellen ' (Simmel, loc. cit., p. 45). It is here that the differ- 
ence between Simmel's view and my own may be noted. He makes (so far as 
the undeveloped form of his article justifies an interpretation) the function 
of movement that of giving ' truth ' to thought-variations already present. The 
' dynamic aspect ' in its issue secures the selection of the ready-formed ' pre- 
sentative aspect.' This I hold to be true (when supplemented by the 'sys- 
tematic determination ' of the variations on a platform) of presentative data, 
wholes, or facts as such. But there still remain the determining effects of the 
motor selections themselves upon the systematic determination. The synergies, 
inhibitions, etc., of the new motor accommodations with old habits produce 
changes in the organization or relationships of the data and give rise to 
theoretical and analytical ' validity ' in our knowledge, which differs (as 
Simmel himself points out, and as Urban has independently suggested) from 
the objective ' truth ' of given data or ' wholes.' 

Summary 265 

overproduced movements projected out from the platform 
of the habitual adaptations of the members brought into 
play ; in the sphere of the social environment it consists in 
the accommodation of the attention, secured by the over- 
production of motor variations projected from the platform 
of the habitual attention complex. The presentations from 
which the selected motor variations issue are believed or 
called 'true,' while the organization which the motor com- 
plex gradually attains holds the data of knowledge in rela- 
tions of theoretical and analytical 'validity.' In the case 
of physical selection the internal organization represented 
by systematic determination gradually serves to free the 
organism from direct dependence upon the control of the 
environment ; x in the intellectual life this is even more 
true, the development of the individual's judgment grow- 
ing more and more independent of social control as prog- 
ress is made in the 'systematic determination.' 

This general sameness in the operation of selection in 
the two spheres is what we should expect if the method 
of motor accommodation be what I have described as the 
imitative or 'circular' reaction. For it is just through 
reactions of this type, with the antithesis between pleasure 
and pain by which they are furthered and maintained, that 
motor accommodations are all the while passed over to 
the domain of habit, that is, integrated in the system of 
' intra-organic determinations.' Thus organized knowledge 
in all its development may be looked upon as due to the 
synergies of motor processes selected as accommodations 
to the world of things and persons. 2 

1 This is seen in psychogenetic evolution in the rise of memory, thought, 
etc., considered as variations, which constitute a more or less self-subsistent 
and independent ' mental life.' 

2 Argued in detail in Mental Development. 

266 Selective Thinking 

§ 12. Some Fragmentary Interpretations 

In the way of showing certain general bearings of the 
position now taken, — bearings which the limits of this 
address do not enable me to amplify in any detail, — I may 
go on to indicate the points which follow. They are sug- 
gestions toward a broader union of points of view. 

I. It will be seen that the position now taken up pre- 
serves what may be called the ' utility ' criterion of survival 
through the whole progress of knowledge. The acts of 
selection are never independent of control from experience, 
however adequate they may be within this control ; for 
the internal or systematic determination, while always the 
platform of variation, is yet never the final agent of con- 
crete selection. To be sure, the individual's judgment, his 
sense of reality and truth, becomes more independent or 
self -legislative, as we have seen ; but this, when genetically 
considered, is both the outcome and the evidence of the 
control which the environment has all along exercised. 
Even though we assume certain innate norms of selection 
which the individual directly applies, still these norms must 
not only lead to workable systems of knowledge in the 
world of active experience, but they must also in their 
origin have been themselves selected from variations, unless, 
indeed, we go back to a theory of special creation with 
preestablished harmony. 1 But if we admit that they are 
themselves selected variations, then we find no way to 
account for their selection except that by accommodation 
to the physical and social environments. 2 We thus preserve 

1 Cf. the following chapter for some criticisms of this theory. 

2 Simmel makes the analogous argument {Joe. cit., p. 45) that even if we had 
on a priori stock of knowledge, a selection of movements would still have to be 
made for practical life, and a system of •' truths ' would still be built up thereby. 

Some Fragmentary Interpretations 267 

the utility criterion, therefore, even though we may not 
accept the precise method of selection portrayed above. 

2. This does not tend, however, to give support to Mr. 
Spencer in looking to ' race-experience ' for the origin of 
the categories of knowledge. Spencer's theory has been 
admirably criticised by Professor James, who thinks that 
the forms of knowledge must be looked upon as variations, 
not as accumulations from the repeated impressions of the 
environment. In support of James' argument we may 
add — what to me seems an insurmountable objection — 
that Spencer's position requires the transmission of such 
impressions by heredity 1 — a notion which James was one 
of the first to combat and a claim for which no evidence 
is forthcoming. The position developed above assumes 
variations, with constant systematic determination in the 
individual's experience ; in this the control of the environ- 
ment is reflected. We then need a theory of evolution 
which will account for the determination of race-progress 
in the lines thus marked out by the individual. 

3. This requirement seems to be met by the theory 
of Organic Selection, developed in the preceding pages, 
considered as supplementary to natural selection in the 
way of securing lines of determinate evolution. According 
to this view, those individuals which successfully accommo- 
date to the environment live and keep alive, through hered- 
ity, the congenital variations which they exhibit. To these 
are added further congenital variations which are again 
selected. Thus variations are secured in definite lines in 

1 Cf. the dogmatic utterance of Wundt apropos of instinct : " The assump- 
tion of" the inheritance of acquired dispositions or tendencies is inevitable, if 
there is to be any continuity of evolution at all. We may be in doubt as to 
the extent of this inheritance; we cannot question the fact" {Human and 
Animal Psychology, p. 405). Hoc atque anno 1892! 

268 Selective Thinking 

a series of generations — -lines which produce the deter- 
minations first secured in the individual under the control of 
the environment. On this view, there would be a constant 
selection of individuals by natural selection, from a plat- 
form of organic selection which is analogous to the plat- 
form of ' systematic determination ' in the individual. 
Race evolution would thus, on the whole, conform to the 
exigencies of experience, which would seem to be directly 
transmitted by heredity, while due, in truth, to a series of 
variations accumulated by natural and organic selection. 

4. Furthermore, the content of the intellectual and 
social environment is kept constant by the handing down 
of tradition through ' social transmission,' and the same 
demands are thus made upon the individuals of each new 
generation, both as to their concrete selections under the 
control of the environment and as to the forms in which 
the ' systematic determination ' of knowledge is cast. 

5. Finally, the 'systematic determination' of the indi- 
vidual thinker reflects, on the subjective side, his sense of 
self. Judgment is the personal indorsement of the data of 
knowledge. Belief is a personal attitude. The person is 
the whole of the organization of knowledge ; and as the 
social criteria of selection — and the social data selected — 
play an essential role in the process of systematic deter- 
mination, as explained above, so the person is always 
social. This I have developed at length elsewhere. 1 

1 In Social and Ethical Interpretations ; in the third edition, Appendix K, 
a further note is made on ' Selective Thinking ' in reply to a criticism by Dr. 
B. Bosanquet. 

The Origin of a * Thing ' and its Nature 1 

The present growing interest in genetic problems, as 
well as the current expectation that their discussion may 
render it necessary that certain great beliefs of our time 
be overhauled — these things make it important that a 
clear view should be reached of the sphere of inquiry in 
which questions of origin may legitimately be asked, and 
also just what bearing their answer is to have upon the 
results of the analytic study of philosophy. 

We already have, in several recent publications, the 
inquiry opened under the terms * origin vs. reality' — or, 
in an expression a little more sharp in its epistemological 
meaning, * origin vs. validity.' I should prefer, in the 
kind of inquiry taken up in this paper, to give a wider 
form to the antithesis marked out, and to say 'origin vs. 
nature,' meaning to ask a series of questions all of which 
may be brought under the general distinction between the 
' how ' of the question : how a thing arose or came to be 
what it is ; and the ' what ' of the question : what a 
thing is. 

§ i. What is a Thing? 

Well, first, as to 'what.' Let us see if any answer to 
the question ' What is it ? ' can be reached, adequate to our 
needs, in any case of genetic inquiry. It seems that the 

1 Paper presented to the Princeton Psychological Seminar in May, 1895, 
slightly revised (from The Psychological ^VmVw, November, 1895). 


2 jo The Origin of a ' Thing ' and its Nature 

philosophy of to-day is pretty well agreed to start analysis 
of a thing inside of the behaviour of the thing. A ' thing ' 
is first of all so much observed behaviour. Idealists pass 
quickly over the behaviour, it is true ; it is too concrete, 
too single, for them ; it is not to them a thing, but a ' mere 
thing.' But yet they do not any longer allow this 'mere- 
ness ' to offend them to the extent of drawing them off to 
other fields of exploration altogether. They try to over- 
come the ' mereness ' by making it an incident of a larger 
fulness ; and the ' implications ' of the thing, the ' mean- 
ing' of it 'in a system' — this * shows up' the mereness, 
both in its own insignificance and in its fruitful connection 
with what is universal. 

So we may safely say of the idealist, that if he have a 
doctrine of a ' thing,' it must, he will himself admit, not be 
of such a thing that it cannot take on the particular form 
of behaviour which the one ' mere thing ' under examination 
is showing at the moment. There must, in short, be no 
contradiction between the * real thing ' and the special 
instance of it which is found in the ' mere thing.' 

He, the idealist, therefore, is first of all a phenomenist 
in constructing his doctrine of the real ; the ' what ' must 
be, when empirically considered, in some way an outburst 
of behaviour. 

Now the idealist is the only man, I think, of whom 
there is any doubt in the matter of this doctrine of be- 
haviour, except the natural realist, who comes up later. 
Others hold it as a postulate since Lotze, and later Brad- 
ley, did so conclusively show the absurdity of the older 
uncritical view which held, in some form or another, what 
we may call the ' lump ' theory of reality. A thing cannot 
be simply a lump. Even in matter — so we are now 

A Thing is Behaviour ; 'What' and 'How' 271 

taught by the physicists — there are no lumps. To make 
a thing a lump — not to cite other objections to it — 
would be to make it impossible that we should know it as 
a thing. So all those doctrines which I have classed as 
other than idealistic accept, and have an interest in de- 
fending, the view that the reality of a thing is presented 
in its behaviour. 

§ 2. A Thing is Behaviour ; the 'What' and the 'How' 

So setting that down as the first answer to the ' what ' 
question, we may profitably expand it a little. The more 
we know of behaviour of a certain kind, then the more we 
know of reality, or of the reality, at least, which that kind 
of behaviour is. And it is evident that we may know 
more of behaviour in two ways. We may know more of 
behaviour because we take in more of it at once ; this 
depends on the basis of knowledge we already have — the 
relative advance of science in description, explanation, etc., 
upon which our interpretation of the behaviour before us 
rests. In the behaviour of a bird which flits before him, a 
child sees only a bright object in motion; that is the 
1 thing ' to him. But when the bird flits before a natural- 
ist, he sees a thing whose behaviour exhausts about all 
that is known of the natural sciences. Yet in the two cases 
there is the ' thing,' in just about the same sense. 

When we come, moreover, to approach a new thing, we 
endeavour, in order to know what it is, to find out what it 
is doing, or what it can do in any artificial circumstances 
which we may devise. In as far as it does nothing, or 
as far as we are unable to get it to do anything, just so far 
we confess ignorance of what it is. We can neither sum- 
mon to the understanding of it what we have found out 

272 The Origin of a 'Thing' and its Nature 

about the behaviour of other things, nor can we make a 
new class of realities or things to put it in. All analysis is 
but the finding out of the different centres of behaviour 
which a whole given outburst includes. And the whole, if 
unanalyzable to any degree, is itself a thing, rather than a 
collection of things. 

But the second aspect of a thing's reality is just as 
important. Behaviour means in some way change. Our 
lump would remain a lump, and never become a thing if, 
to adhere to our phenomenal way of speaking, it did not 
pass through a series of changes. A thing must have a 
career ; and the length of its career is of immediate inter- 
est. We get to know the thing not only by the amount 
of its behaviour, secured by examining a cross-section, so 
to speak, but also by the increase in the number of these 
sections which we are able to secure. The successive 
stages of behaviour are necessary in order really to see 
what the behaviour is. This fact underlies the whole 
series of determinations which ordinarily characterize 
things, such as cause, change, growth, development, etc., 
as comes out further below. 

The strict adherence to the definition of a thing in 
terms of behaviour, therefore, would seem to require that 
we waited for the changes in any case to go through a 
part at least of their progress ; for the career to be un- 
rolled, that is, at least in part. Immediate description 
gives, as far as it is truly immediate, no science, no real 
thing with any richness of content ; it gives merely the 
snap-object of the child. And if this is true of science, of 
everyday knowledge which we live by, how much more 
of the complete knowledge of things desiderated by phi- 
losophy ? It would be an interesting task to show that 

The "What' and the 'How' of Mind 273 

each general feature of the ' what ' in nature has arisen 
upon just such an interpretation of the salient aspects 
presented in the career of individual things. But this 
would be to write a large and most difficult chapter of 
genetic philosophy. 

Our second point in regard to the ' what,' therefore, is 
that any ' what ' whatever is in large measure made up of 
judgments based upon experiences of the 'how? The 
fundamental concepts of philosophy reflect the catego- 
ries of origin, both in their application to individuals — to 
the 'mere thing'— and also in the interpretation which 
they have a right to claim ; for they are our mental ways 
of dealing with what is ' mere ' on one hand and of the 
final reading of reality which philosophy makes its method. 
Of course the question may be asked : how far, origin ? — 
that is, how far back in the career of the thing is it nec- 
essary to go to call the halting-place ' origin ' ? This we 
may well return to lower down ; the point here is that 
origin is always a reading of part of the very career which 
is the content of the concept of the nature of the thing. 

§ 3. The 'What' and the 'How' of Mind 

Coming now closer to particular instances of the ' what,' 
and selecting the most refractory case that there is in the 
world, let us ask these questions concerning the mind. 
I select this case because, in the first place, it is the case 
urgently pressing upon us ; and, second, because it is the 
case in which there seems to be, if anywhere, a gaping dis- 
tinction between the 'what' and the 'how.' Modern evo- 
lution claims to discuss the 'how' only, not to concern 
itself with the ' what ' ; or, again, it claims to solve the 

2 74 The Origin of a ' Thing ' and its Nature 

'what' entirely by its theory of the 'how.' To these 
claims what shall we say ? 

From our preceding remarks it seems evident that the 
nature of mind is its behaviour generalized ; and, further, 
that this generalization necessarily implicates more or less 
of the history of mind ; that is, more or less of the career 
which discloses the ' how ' of mind. What further can be 
said of it as a particular instance of reality ? 

A most striking fact comes up immediately when we 
begin to consider mental and with it biological reality. The 
fact of growth, or to put the fact on its widest footing, the 
fact of organization. The changes in the external world 
which constitute the career of a thing, and so show forth its 
claim to be considered a thing, fall under some very wide 
generalizations, such as those of chemistry, mechanics, etc. ; 
and when the examination of the thing's behaviour has 
secured its description under these principles in a rather 
exhaustive way, we say the thing is understood. But the 
things of life, and the series of changes called organic 
which unroll its career, are not yet so broadly statable. 
When we come to the mind, again, we find certain very well 
made out generalizations of its behaviour. But here, as in 
the case of life, the men who know most have not a shadow 
of the complacency with which the physicist and the 
chemist categorize their material. It is for this reason, I 
think, in part, that the difference between the two cases 
gets its emphasis, and the antithesis between origin and 
nature seems so necessary in one case while it is never 
raised in the other. For who ever heard an adept in 
natural science say that the resolution of a chemical 
compound into its elements, thus demonstrating the ele- 
ments and law of the origin of the ' thing ' analyzed, did 

The 'Prospective'' and the "Retrospective^ 275 

not solve the question of its nature, as far as science can 
state a solution of that question ? 

§ 4. The ' Prospective ' and the ' Retrospective ' 

But we cannot say that the whole difference is one of 
greater modesty on the part of the psychologists. The 
facts rather account for their modesty. And the prime 
fact is one formulated in more or less obscurity by many 
men, beginning with Aristotle : the fact, namely, that or- 
ganization, considered as itself a category of reality, never 
reaches universal statement in experience. To confine the 
case at first to vital phenomena, we may say that to sub- 
sume a plant or animal under the category of organization 
is to make it at once to a degree an x ; a form of reality 
which, by right of this very subsumption, predicts for itself 
a phase of behaviour as yet unaccomplished — gives a proph- 
ecy of more career, as a fact, but gives no prophecy (apart 
from other information which we may have) of the new 
phase of career in kind. Every vital organization has part 
of its career yet to run. If it has no more career yet to 
run, it is no longer an organization ; it is then dead. It 
then gets its reality exhausted by the predication of the 
categories of chemistry, mechanics, etc., which construe 
all careers retrospectively. A factor of all biological and 
mental realities alike is just this element of what has 
been elsewhere called ' Prospective Reference.' 2 In biol- 
ogy it is the fact of Accommodation ; in psychology it is 
the fact found in all cases of Selection — most acute in 

And it does not matter how the content in any particu- 
lar filling up of the category may be construed after it 

1 See Mental Development, Chaps. VII., XI. 

2 j6 The Origin of a ' Thing ' and its Nature 

takes on the form of accomplished fact — after, i.e., it be- 
comes a matter of * retrospect.' All constructions in terms 
of content mean the substitution of the retrospective 
categories for those of prospect ; that is, the construction 
of an organization after it is dead, or — what amounts to 
the same thing — by analogy with other organizations 
which have run down, or died, in our experience. Sup- 
pose, for example, we take the construction of the category 
of accommodation, in each particular instance of it, in 
terms of the ordinary biological law of natural selection — 
an attempt made by the present writer under the state- 
ment of ' functional selection ' 1 — and so get a state- 
ment of how an organism actually got any one of the 
special adjustments of its mature personal life. What, 
then, have we done? I think it is evident that we have 
simply resorted to the ' retrospective ' reference ; we have 
changed our category in the attempt to get a concrete fill- 
ing for a particular case after it has happened. To adopt 
the view that the category of organization can be in every 
case filled up with matter, in this way, does not in any sense 
destroy the prospective element in the category of organiza- 
tion ; for the psychological subtlety still remains in mind in 
the doing of it, either that the event must be awaited to 
determine the outcome, and that I am agreeing with my- 
self and my scientific friends to wait for it, or that we are 
solving this case by others for which we did wait. A 
good instance of our mental subtleties in such cases is seen 
in the category of ' potentiality ' considered lower down. 
The extreme case of the reduction of the categories of 

1 In accordance with which the organism's new accommodations are 
selected out of movements excessively produced under pleasure-pain stimu- 
lation. Ibid., pp. 174 f. (cf. pp. 45, 94 f. above). 

Probability and Design 277 

prospective reference to those of retrospect is evidently 
the formula for probabilities. I do not see how that for- 
mula can escape being considered a category of retrospect, 
applied to material which does not admit of any narrower 
or more special retrospective formulation. 

Now the inference from this is that our predicate * real- 
ity/ in certain cases, is not adequately expressed in terms 
of the experienced behaviour of so-called real content. 
The very experience on the basis of which we are wont to 
predicate reality testifies to its own inadequacy. There is 
no way to avoid the alternatives that either the notion of 
reality does not rest upon experiences of behaviour, or that 
the problematic judgments based upon those experiences 
of progressive organization which we know currently 
under the term ' development,' are as fundamental to these 
kinds of reality as are those more static judgments based 
on history or origin. 

§ 5. Probability and Design 

It may be well, in view of the importance of this con- 
clusion, to see something more of its bearings in philos- 
ophy. The historical theories of 'design,' or teleology in 
nature, have involved this question. And those familiar 
with the details of the design arguments pro and con will 
not need to have brought to mind the confusion which has 
arisen from the mixing up of the * prospective ' and ' retro- 
spective ' points of view. Design, to the mind of many of 
the older theistic writers, was based upon relative unpre- 
dictability — or better, infinite improbability. Such an 
argument looks forward ; it is reasoning in the category of 
organization, and under the ' prospective ' reference. The 
organization called mental must be appealed to. What, 

278 The Origin of a "Thing^ and its Nature 

was asked, is the probability of the letters of the Iliad fall- 
ing together so as to read out the Iliad f The opponents, 
on the other hand, have said : Why is not the Iliad combi- 
nation as natural as any other? — one combination has to 
happen ; what is to prevent this ? If a child who cannot 
read should throw the letters, the Iliad combination is no 
more strange to him than any other. These men are reason- 
ing in the retrospective categories. They are interpreting 
facts. The fault of the latter position is that it fails to see 
in reality the element of organization which the whole 
series when looked at from the point of view of the pro- 
duction of the Iliad requires. It is true that the Iliad is 
one of an infinite number of possible combinations ; but it 
is also true that Homer did not try the other combinations 
before hitting upon the Iliad. 

What would really happen, we may say, if the child 
should throw the Iliad combination, would be that nature 
had produced a second time a combination once before 
produced (in the mind of Homer, and through him in ours) 
without fulfilling all the other combinations — an infinite 
number — which have a right to be fulfilled before the 
Iliad combination be reproduced. And it is the corre- 
spondence of the two — apart from the meaning of the 
Iliad dX its original production — which would surprise us. 

But it is clear that the additional element of organiza- 
tion needed to bring nature into accord with thought 
and which the postulate of design makes in reaching 
a Designer — this is not needed from the mere histor- 
ical or retrospective examination of the facts. In other 
words, if the opponents of design are right in holding to a 
complete reduction of organization to retrospective catego- 
ries, they ought to be able to produce intelligible results 

Design is Genetic 279 

by throwing a multiple of twenty-six dice each marked with 
a letter of the alphabet. 

The later arguments for design, therefore, which tend 
to identify it with organization, and to see in it, so far as it 
differs from natural law, simply a harking forward to that 
career of things which is not yet unrolled, but which when 
completely unrolled will be a part of the final statement of 
origins in terms of natural law — this general view has the 
justification of as much criticism as has now been stated. 

§ 6. Design is Genetic 

And, further, it is clear that the two opposed views of 
adaptation in nature are both genetic views — instead of 
being, as is sometimes thought, one genetic (that view 
which interprets the adaptation after it has occurred) and 
the other analytic or intuitive (that view which seeks a 
beforehand construction of design). The former of these 
is usually accredited to the evolution theory ; and properly 
so, seeing that the evolutionist constantly looks backward. 
But the other view, the design view, is equally genetic. 
For the category of higher or mental organization by 
which it proceeds is just as distinctly an outcome of the 
movement or drift of experience toward an interpretation 
of career in terms of history. Teleology, then, when 
brought to its stronghold, is a genetic outcome, and owes 
what force it has to the very point of view that its most 
fervent advocates — especially its theological advocates — 
are in the habit of running down. The consideration of 
the stream of genetic history itself, no less than the 
attempt to explain the progress of the world as a whole, 
its career, leads us to admit that the real need of thinking 

280 The Origin of a ^ Thing" and its Nature 

of the future in terms of organization is as great as the 
need of thinking of the past in terms of natural law. The 
need of so-called mental organization or design is found 
in the inadequacy of natural law to explain the further 
career of the world, and its past career also as soon as we 
go back to any place in the past and ask the same ques- 
tion there. It would be possible, also, to take up the last 
remark for further thought, and to make out a case for the 
proposition that the categories of ' retrospective ' thinking 
also involve a strain of organization — a proposition which 
is equivalent to one which the idealists are forcibly urging 
from other grounds and from another point of view. 
Lotze's argument to an organization at the bottom of 
natural causation has lost nothing of its power. Viewed as a 
category of experience, I am unable to see the force of the 
assumption tacitly made by the Positivists, and as tacitly 
admitted by their antagonists, that causation is to be ulti- 
mately viewed entirely under such retrospective construc- 
tions as ' conservation of energy,' etc. Such constructions 
involve an endless retrospective series. And that is to 
say that the problem of origin is finally insoluble. Well, 
so it may be. But yet one may ask why this emphasis of 
the 'retrospective,' which has arisen in experience with 
only the basis of experience that the ' prospective ' also 
has ? It may be a matter of taste ; it may be a matter of 
' original sin.' But if we go on to try to unite our cate- 
gories of experience in some kind of a broader logical 
category, the notion of the Ultimate must, it would seem, 
require both of the aspects which our conception of reality 
includes : the ' prospective ' no less than the ' retrospec- 
tive.' Origins must take place continually as truly as 
must sufficient reasons. The only way to avoid this is to 

The Natural History of the Categories 281 

say that reality has neither forward nor backward refer- 
ence. So say the idealists in getting thought which is 
not in time. But be that as it may, we are dealing with 
experience, though for myself, I must say, thought which 
looks neither backward nor forward is no thought at all. 

§ 7. The Natural History of the Categories 

Another subtlety might raise its head in the inquiry 
whether in their origin all the categories did not have their 
' natural history.' If so, it might be said, we are bound, in the 
very fact of thinking at all, to give exclusive recognition to 
the historical aspect of reality. But here is just the ques- 
tion : does the outcome of career to date give exhaustive 
statement of the idea of the career as a whole ? There 
would seem to be two objections to such a view. First, it 
would be, even from the strictly objective point of view, 
the point of view of physical science, to construe the thing 
mind entirely in terms of the behaviour of its stages ante- 
cedent to the present ; that is, entirely in terms of descriptive 
content, by use of the categories of retrospective interpre- 
tation. And, second, it does not follow that because a 
mental way of regarding the world is itself a genetic growth, 
therefore its meaning is exhausted in the conditions of its 
genesis. Let us look at these two points a little more in 

1. A chemist seems justified in looking upon atmospheric 
air as explained by the formula for a mixture of nitrogen 
and hydrogen, for the reason, and this is his practical test, 
that the behaviour of air confirms that view. His confi- 
dence in his statements of history can only be justified on 
the ground that present history never contradicts it. But as 

282 The Origin of a 'Thing' and its Nature 

soon as a new experiment showed that new behaviour may 
be different, and may contradict the reports of history, he 
looks for a new thing, argon — new in the sense, of course, 
that the historical manifestations of the kind of reality 
in what is called air had never before brought it to recog- 
nition. In other words, the nature of air had been stated 
in terms of oxygen and nitrogen ; but he now sees that the 
statement, founded on what was known of origin — and 
that is what origin means in all these discussions — was in- 
adequate. This would seem to admit, however, that if the 
problem of origin could be really exhausted, that of nature 
would be exhausted too; and no doubt it would. But it is 
a corollary from the second point of objection, soon to be 
made, that the problem of origin can never be exhausted, 
even by philosophy, without an appeal to other than the 
historical or retrospective categories. 

But before we pass on to the second objection to the 
position that a thing which is admitted to have had a natu- 
ral history must have its interpretation adequately given 
in that history, and that this applies also to the very cate- 
gories by the use of which its denial is effected — before 
going farther we may note an extreme case of the main 
position as sometimes argued by evolutionists. If, it may 
be said, the mind has developed under constant stimula- 
tions from the external world, and if its progress consists 
essentially in the more and more adequate representation 
in consciousness of the relations already existing in the 
external world, then it follows that these internal represen- 
tations can never do more than reflect the historical events 
of experience. Consciousness simply testifies again to the 
real as it has been testified to her before. How, then, can 
there be any such thing as a phase of reality — called the 

The Natural History of the Categories 283 

prospective — which is not subject to plain statement under 
natural law ? 1 

This is a very common criticism of all thoroughgoing 
statements of mental evolution. It rests on the mistaken 
view, just pointed out, that a statement of the historical 
career of a thing can ever be an adequate statement of its 
nature ; in other words, that the origin of the categories of 
thought can tell what these categories will do — what their 
function and meaning is in the general movement of reality. 
Consciousness is entitled to a hearing in terms of its behav- 
iour solely. The behaviour, attitudes, etc., represented by 
'prospective' thought are there just as its behaviour repre- 
sented by its history is there. Who would venture to say 
that consciousness of a relation in nature is in no sense a dif- 
ferent mode of behaviour from the relation itself in nature ? 
The real point is in what I have already tried to put in evi- 
dence : that such a construction involves the assumption 
that reality in its movement defines all her own changes 
in advance of their actual happening. The very series of 
changes which constitute the basis in experience for the 
growth in consciousness of the category of change are the 
basis also for the new aspects of reality (say consciousness) 

1 It is this supposed necessity that leads Mr. Huxley to hold that evolution 
cannot explain ethics, i.e., the supposed necessity that the validity of ethical 
values must be adequately found in the terms of their origin ; for, says he, the 
pursuit of evil would have as much sanction as that of good, for both are in us, 
and they would have the same origin {Evolution and Ethics, esp. p. 31). But 
to say, as we do, that the appeal made by the word ' ought ' is a ' prospective ' 
appeal, as opposed to the description of the 'is,' which is ' retrospective,' does 
not require us to say that the impulse to recognize either is not a product of 
evolution. My discussion of Professor Royce's attempt {International Journal 
of Ethics, July, 1895) to show the psychological origin of the antithesis between 
'ought' and 'is,' may be referred to {Ibid,, October, 1895, now reprinted in 
the volume Fragments in Philosophy and Science, Scribners, 1902, pp. 70 ff.). 

284 The Origin of a 'Thing'' and its Nature 

which are held to be only a putting in evidence of the rela- 
tions already existing in nature. If consciousness is no 
new thing — on our behaviour definition of thing — then 
knowledge of the historical movement of reality must be 
not at all different from the movement which has led up to 
the knowledge. The discovery of the principle of evolution, 
for example, is not a new event added to the fact that the 
series evolving was there to be discovered ! 

But we may be even more concrete. The writer has 
developed a view of mental development which not only 
makes each stage of it a matter of legitimate natural his- 
tory, but goes on to say that the one process of motor 
adjustment is imitative in type. What could be a more in- 
viting field for the criticism : imitation is mere repetition. 
How can anything new come out of imitation ? Not only 
is consciousness merely repeating the relationships already 
present in nature, but the development of consciousness itself 
is merely a series of repetitions of its own acts. This 
criticism has already been made, especially with reference 
to volition. How, it is asked, can anything new be willed 
if volition is in its origin only imitation become complex ? 

The reply serves to make concrete what has been said 
immediately above. The counter question may be put : 
why cannot anything new come out of imitations ? Why 
may not the very repetition be the new thing, or the con- 
dition of it ? To deny it is to say that by looking at the 
former instance, the historical, after its occurrence, you can 
say that that occurrence fully expressed mental behaviour. 
On the contrary, the prospective reference gained by the 
imitation may bring out something new ; the repetition 
may be just what is needed to develop an important stage 
in the career of mental reality. In itself, indeed, an imi- 

The ''Intuition ' View 285 

tation is no more open to the objection we are consider- 
ing than any other kind of mental behaviour, and it is not 
allowed that imitation is no more than repetition, — though, 
of course, in certain cases it may be no more, — but it 
seems to be open especially to this criticism because it 
emphasizes the very point that the current objection to 
natural history hits upon, i.e., that it makes the mind only 
a means of reinstatement of relations already existing in 
nature, and then makes imitative repetition the explicit 
method of mental history. 

§ 8. The 'Intuition' View 

2. The second answer to the view now being criticised 
may be put in some such way as this. It does not follow 
that because a product — one of the categories of organiza- 
tion, such as design, the ethical, etc. — is itself a matter of 
gradual growth, its application to reality is in any way 
invalidated. A category must be complete, ready-made, 
universal, without exceptions, we are told, in order that its 
application to particular instances be justified. But I fail 
to see the peculiar and mysterious validity supposed to 
attach to an intuition because whenever we think by it 
we allow no exceptions. Modern critiques of belief and 
modern theories of nervous habit have given us reasons 
enough for discarding such touchstones as 'universality' 
and ' necessity.' And modern investigations into the 
race development of beliefs have told us how much better 
an aspect of reality really is because at one time people in- 
sisted in thinking in a certain ' intuitive ' way about it. The 
whole trouble, as I think, with the intuitional way of think- 
ing is curiously enough that fallacy which I have pointed 
out as being a favourite one of the evolutionists. The evolu- 

286 The Origin of a ' Thing" and its Nature 

tionists say that an intuition is of no value when construed 
prospectively, i.e., as applying to what 'must be ' beyond 
1 what is ' ; it gets all its content, and all its force, from 
experience. Therefore, all reality is to be construed retro- 
spectively, and no ' thing ' is possible except as accounted 
for as an evolution from historical elements. True, after 
things have happened — it nevertheless fails by thinking 
career all finished. Why may not experience produce in 
us a category whose meaning is prophetic ? 

On the other hand, the intuitionists oppose the evolu- 
tionists in this way, saying : no thing is possible except 
as in some way evidenced for. The intuitions are uni- 
versal and necessary. As such their evidence cannot be 
found in experience. To admit that they had developed 
would be to admit that their evidence could be found in 
experience. Consequently they carry their own evidence, 
and their own witness is all the evidence they have. The 
fallacy again is just the assumption that reality is finished ; 
that categories of retrospective reference exhaust the case ; 
that the series of events which are sufficient ground for 
the origin of the category might also be sufficient evidence 
of its validity ; that there is a sharp contradiction, there- 
fore, between a doctrine of derivation from experience 
(which is inadequate as evidence) and application beyond 
experience. But when we come to see that the categories 
of prospective thought are equally entitled to application 
with those of retrospect, we destroy the weapon of evolu- 
tion to hurt the validity of mental utterances, but at the 
same time we knock out the props upon which the intu- 
itionist has rested his case. 

The case stands with mental facts, to sum up, just about 
as it does with all other facts. An event in nature stays 

The 'Intuition View 287 

what it is until it changes. So with an event or a belief or 
any other thing in the mind of the race. It stays what it 
is until it has to change. Its change, however, is just as 
much an element in reality as lack of change is ; and the 
weakening of a belief like any other change is the introduc- 
tion of new phases of reality. A doctrine which holds to 
intuitions which admit of no prospective exceptions, no 
novelties, seems to me to commit suicide by handing the 
whole case over to a mechanical philosophy ; for it admits 
that all validity whatever must be cut from cloth woven out 
of the historical and descriptive sequences of the mind's 

Our conclusions so far may be summed up tentatively in 
certain propositions as follows : — 

1. All statements of the nature of a 'thing' get their 
matter mainly from the processes which they have been 
known to pass through ; that is, statements of nature are 
largely statements of origin. 

2. The statements of origin, however, never exhaust the 
reality of a thing ; since no statements can be the entire 
truth of the experiences which they state unless they 
construe the reality not only as a thing which has had a 
career, but also as one which is about to have a further 
career ; for the expectation of the future career rests 
upon the same historical series as the belief in the past 

3. All attempts to rule out prospective organization or 
teleology from the world would be fatal to natural science, 
which has arisen by provisional interpretations of just this 
kind of organization : and also to the historical interpre- 
tation of the world found in the evolution hypothesis ; for 
the category of teleology is but the prospective reading of 

288 The Origin of a ''Thing' and its Nature 

the same series which, when read retrospectively, we call 

4. The fact that anything — and more especially mental 
products, ideas, etc. — has had a natural history, is no 
argument against its validity or worth as having applica- 
tion beyond the details of its own history ; since, if so, 
then a natural history series could produce nothing new. 
But that is to deny the existence of the fact or idea itself, 
for it is a new thing in the series in which it arises. 

All these points may be held together in a view which 
gives each mental content a twofold value in the active 
life. Each such content, by its function as a genetic 
factor in the progressive development of the individual, 
begets two attitudes. As far as it fulfils earlier habits 
it begets and confirms the historical or retrospective atti- 
tude ; as far as it is not entirely exhausted in the channels 
of habit, so far it begets the expectant or prospective 

§ 9. The Meaning of the Category of Causation 

There are one or two points among many suggested by 
the foregoing which it may be well to refer to — selected 
because uppermost in the writer's mind. It will be remem- 
bered that in speaking of the categories of organization as 
having prospective reference, I adduced instances largely 
drawn from the phenomena of life and mind, contrasting 
them somewhat strongly with those of chemistry, physics, 
etc. The use afterward made of these categories now 
warrants us in turning upon that distinction, in order to 
see whether our main results hold for the aspects of reality 
with which these other sciences deal as well. It was inti- 
mated above in passing that other categories of reality, such 

Meaning of the Category of Causation 289 

as causation and mechanism, are really capable of a similar 
evaluation as that given to teleology. This possibility may 
now be put in a little stronger light. 

It is evident, when we come to think of it, that all 
organization in the world must rest ultimately on the same 
basis ; and the recognition of this is the strength of thor- 
oughgoing naturalism and of absolute idealism alike. The 
justification of the view is to be made out, it seems to me, 
by detailed investigation of the genetic development of 
the categories. The way the child reaches his notion of 
causation, for example, or that of personality, is evidence 
of the way we are to consider the great corresponding 
race categories of thought to have been reached ; and the 
category of causation is, equally with that of personality 
or that of design, a category of organization. The reason 
that causation is considered a cast-iron thing, implicit 
in nature in the form of ' conservation of energy,' is 
that in the growth of the rubrics of thought certain great 
differentiations have been made in experience according 
to observed aspects of behaviour; and those events which 
exhibit the more definite, invariable aspects of behaviour 
have been put aside by themselves ; not of course by a 
conscious convention of man's, but by the conventions of 
the organism working under the very method which we 
come — when we make it consciously conventional — to 
call this very category of organization. What is conserva- 
tion but a kind of organization looked at retrospectively 
and conventionally ? Does it not hold simply because my 
organism has made the convention that only that class of 
experiences which are ' objective ' and regular and habitual 
to me shall be treated together, and so shall give rise to 
such a regular mental construction on my part ? 

290 The Origin of a ' Thing' and its Nature 

But the tendency to make all experience liable to this 
kind of causation is an attempt to undo nature's conven- 
tion — to accept one of her results, which exists only in 
view of a certain differentiation of the aspects of reality, 
and apply this universally, to the subversion of the very 
differentiation on the basis of which it has arisen. The 
fact that there is a class of experiences whose behaviour 
issues in such a purely historical statement and arouses 
in me such a purely habitual attitude, is itself witness to a 
larger organization — that of the richer consciousness of 
expectation, volition, prophecy. Otherwise conservation 
could never have been given abstract statement in thought. 

The reason that the category of causation has assumed its 
show of importance, is just that which intuitionist thinkers 
urge ; and another historical example of confusion due to 
their use of it may be used for illustration. Causation is 
about as universal a thing — in its application to certain 
aspects of reality — as could be desired. And we find 
thinkers of this school using this fact to reach a certain 
statement of theism. But they then find a category of 
' freedom ' claiming the dignity of an intuition also ; and 
although this comes directly in conflict with the universality 
ascribed to the other, nevertheless it also is used to support 
the same theistic conclusion. The two arguments read: 
(1) an intelligent God exists because the intelligence in the 
world must have an adequate cause, and (2) an intelligent 
God exists because the consciousness of freedom is sufficient 
evidence of a self -active principle in the world, which is 
not caused. All we have to say, in order to avoid the diffi- 
culty, is that any mental fact is an ' intuition ' in reference 
only to its own content of experience. Intelligence viewed 
as a natural fact, i.e., retrospectively, has a cause ; but 

Definition of { Origin' 291 

freedom in its meaning in reality, i.e., with its prospective 
outlook, is prophetic of novelties — is not adequately con- 
strued in terms of history. So both can be held to be 
valid, but only by denying universality to both ' intuitions,' 
and confining each to its sphere and peculiar reference in 
the make-up of reality. 

§ 10. Definition of 'Origin'' 

Another thing to be referred to in this rough discussion 
concerns the more precise definition of 'origin.' How 
much of a thing's career belongs to its origin ? How far 
back must we go to come to origin ? 

Up to this point I have used the word with a meaning 
which is very wide. Without trying to find a division of a 
thing's behaviour into the present of it as distinguished 
from its history, I have rather distinguished the two atti- 
tudes of mind engendered by the contemplation of a thing, 
i.e., the 'retrospective' attitude and the 'prospective' atti- 
tude. When we come to ask for any real division between 
origin and present existence we have to ask what a thing's 
present value is. In answer to that we must say that its 
present value resides very largely in what we expect it to 
do ; and then it occurs to us that what we expect it to do is 
no more or less than what it has before done. So our idea 
of what is, as was said above, gets its content from what 
has been — which is to inquire into its history, or to ask for 
a fuller or less full statement of its origin or career. So 
the question before us seems to resolve itself into the task 
of finding somewhere in a thing's history a line which di- 
vides its career up to the present into two parts : one 
properly described as origin, and the other not. Now, on 
the view of the naturalist pure and simple, there can be no 

292 The Origin of a ' Thing' and its Nature 

such line. For the attempt to construe a thing entirely in 
terms of history, entirely in the retrospective categories, 
would make it impossible for him to stop at any point and 
say ' this far back is nature and further back is origin ' ; for 
at that point the question might be asked of him : ' what is 
the content of the career which describes the thing's origin ? ' 
— and he would have to reply in exactly the same way 
that he did if we asked him the same question regard- 
ing the thing's nature at that point. He would have to 
say that the origin of the thing observed later was de- 
scribed by career up to that point ; and is not that exactly 
the reply he would give if we asked him what the thing 
was which then was ? So to get any reply to the question 
of the origin of one thing different from that to the ques- 
tion of the nature of an earlier thing, he would have to go 
still farther back. But this would only repeat his diffi- 
culty. So he would never be able to distinguish between 
origin and nature except as different terms for describing 
different sections of one continuous series of aspects of 

This dilemma holds also, I think, in the case of the 
intuitionist. For as far as he denies the natural history 
view of origins and so escapes the development above, 
he holds to special creation by an intelligent Deity ; but to 
get content to his thought of Deity he resorts to what he 
knows of mental behaviour. The nature of mind then sup- 
plies the thought of the origin of mind. 

To those who do not shut themselves up, however, to the 
construction of things in the categories of realized fact, of 
history, of 'retrospect,' the question of origin is a fruitful 
one apart from the statement of nature. For at any stage 
in the career of a thing the two methods of thought are 

What is Potentiality? , 293 

equally applicable. When we ask how a thing originated, 
we transport ourselves back to a point in its career at which 
the ' prospective ' categories got a filling not at that stage 
already expressed in the content of history. The overplus 
of behaviour is said to have its origin then, even though 
afterward the outcome be statable in the categories of ret- 
rospect which have then been widened by this event. For 
example, volition originates in the child at the point of its 
life at which certain conscious experiences issue out of old 
content — experiences which were not previously present, 
to the child, whatever other complications of content were. 
But once arisen, the experience can be construed as a con- 
tinuation of the series of events which make up mental 
history. To the positivist and to the intuitionist a sen- 
sational account of the genesis of volition, and to the intel- 
lectual idealist an ideological account of it, rule volition out 
of reality just by the fallacy of thinking exclusively in retro- 
spect. But in truth we should say : granted either account 
of its origin, it leaves philosophy still to construe it ; for if 
we estimate volition from facts true before volition arose, 
the sources do not fully describe it ; and if we wait to view 
it after it arises, then the full statement of career must in- 
clude the widened aspects of behaviour which the facts of 
volition afford. 1 

§ 11. What is Potentiality? 

It is interesting also to note, as another case of applica- 
tion of this general distinction between the mental habits 
represented respectively by the terms ' prospective ' and 

1 In the Psychological Review for September, 1895 (reprinted in Fragments 
in Philosophy and Science, IV.), I have criticised the idealists' view that the 
Absolute can be exhausted by our thought, i.e., can be adequately expressed in 
terms of the organizations of content already effected. 

294 The Origin of a 'Thing" and its Nature 

'retrospective/ that it gives us some suggestions concerning 
the very obscure concept called potency or 'potentiality.' 
This soi-disant concept or notion has been used by almost 
every conceivable shade of thought as the repository of that 
which is unexplained. Aristotle started the pursuit of this 
notion and used it in a way which shed much light, it is 
true, upon the questions of philosophy concerned with 
change and organization ; but his failure to give any analy- 
sis of the concept itself has been an example ever since to 
lesser men. It is astonishing that, with all the metaphysics 
of causation which the history of philosophy shows, there 
has been — that is, to my knowledge — no thoroughgoing 
attempt to trace the psychological meaning of potentiality. 
How common it is to hear the expression, ' this thing exists, 
not actually, but potentially,' given as the end of debate — 
and accepted, too, as the end. I do not care to go now 
into a historical note on the doctrine of potentiality ; it 
would be indeed mainly an exposition of a chapter of Aris- 
totle's metaphysics with the refinements on Aristotle due 
to the logic of the schoolmen and the dogmatics of modern 
theology. It may suffice to say something of the natural 
history of the distinction between potential and real exist- 
ence in the light of the positions taken above. 

In brief, then, as we have seen, there are two aspects 
under which reality must in all cases be viewed, — the pro- 
spective and the retrospective. The retrospective, as has 
been said, is the summing up of the history which gives 
positive content to the notion of a thing considered as 
accomplished career. This aspect, it seems clear, is what 
we have in view when we speak of ' real ' in contrast with 
'potential' existence. It is not, indeed, adequately rendered 
by the content supplied by retrospect, since the fact that 

What is Potentiality? 295 

the two predicates are held in mind together as both to- 
gether applicable to any concrete developing thing, forbids 
us to construe real existence altogether apart from the fact 
that it has a further issue in later career. It is a great 
merit of Aristotle that he forbade just this attempt to con- 
sider the energeia apart from the dunamis. But, neverthe- 
less, it is true psychologically that real existence as a con- 
tent-predicate is exhausted by the survey of the backward 
aspect of the series of changes which give body to reality. 

And it seems also evident at first blush that potential 
existence is equally concerned with the prospective refer- 
ence of the thought of things. That this is so is perhaps 
the one element in the notion of potency that all who use 
the word would agree upon. But this is inadequate as a 
description of the category of potentiality. For if that 
were all, how would it differ from any other thought of the 
prospective ? We may think of the future career of a thing 
simply in terms of time ; that, we would probably agree, 
does not involve potentiality. A particular potency is con- 
fined to a particular thing, i.e., to a particular series of 
events making up a more or less isolated career. If only 
the bare fact of futurity were involved, why should not any 
new unrolling of career be the potency of anything indis- 
criminately ? 

This leads us to see that potency or potentiality, even 
when used in the abstract, is never free from its concrete 
reference. And this concrete reference is not that of con- 
ception in general, only or mainly ; the concrete reference 
of conception generally is a matter of retrospect, i.e., of the 
application of the concept to individual things, as far as 
such application has been justified by historical instances. 
Indeed, it is the very occurrence of the historical instances 

296 The Origin of a ^ Thing" and its Nature 

which has given rise to the concept, and it generalizes 

So when we put ourselves at the point of view of the 
concrete, we have to ask what is actually meant by us when 
we say a thing exists potentially, over and above the mere 
meaning that the thing is to exist in the future. We have 
seen that one added element of meaning is that the thing 
which is to exist in the future is in some way tied down in 
its manifestations to something that already exists actually ; 
it must be the potentiality of some one thing in order to be 
a potentiality at all. Now, what more can it be ? 

Of course the ordinary answer is at once on our lips : the 
answer that the bond between the thing that is and the 
thing that is to be is the bond of causation. The poten- 
tiality is the unexpressed causal 'efficacy' of the thing that 
is. But when we come to ask what this means, we find 
that we are hiding behind one of the screens of common 
sense. The very fact of cause, whatever bond it may rep- 
resent from an ontological point of view, is at least a fact of 
career. The effect is a further statement of the career of 
the thing called the cause. Now, to say that the potency 
of a thing is its unexpressed causal power, is only to say 
that the thing has not finished its career, and that is a part 
of the notion of a thing in general. That fact alone does 
not in any way define the future career for us, except in the 
way of repetition of past career. We merely expect the 
thing to do what it has done before, not to become some 
new thing out of the old. In short, the category of causation 
is not adequate, since it construes all career retrospectively. 

We have, therefore, two positions so far, finding (1) that 
every potency is the potency of a thing, and this means 
that it gets its content in some way from the historical 

What is Potentiality? 297 

series which that thing embodies ; but (2) that it is some- 
thing more than a restatement of any or all of the elements 
of the series thus embodied. Now, what else is there ? 

The remaining element in the category of potentiality 
involves, it seems, a very subtle movement of the mind along 
the same distinction of the prospective from the retrospec- 
tive. Briefly, the potentiality which I ascribe to a thing is 
my general expectation of more career in connection with it, 
with the added sense, based on the combined experiences 
of mine that the prospective does get a retrospective filling 
after it has happened, that the new career of the thing to 
which I ascribe the potency, although not yet unfolded, 
will likewise be capable of retrospective interpretation as 
further statement of the one series which now defines the 

In short, there are three elements or phases of conscious- 
ness involved : first, let us say, the general prospective 
element, the expectation that something will happen ; sec- 
ond, the causation or retrospective element, the expectation 
that when it has happened it will be a consistent part of 
the history of the thing; and, third, the conscious setting 
back of my observation to the dividing line between these 
two points of view, and the contemplation of the thing 
under both of them — both as a present thing, and as a 
thing for what it will be when the future becomes present. 

For example : I say that a tree expresses the potency or 
potentiality of the seed. This means three very concrete 
things. I expect the seed to have a future ; I expect the 
future to be a tree — that is, a thing whose descriptive 
series is continuous with that already descriptive of the 
seed, —and, finally, I look upon the seed as now embodying 
the whole tree series thus artificially present in my thought. 

298 The Origin of a "Thing" and its Nature 

§ 12. The Origin of the Universe; Further Problems 

On the view developed in this paper, the question of 
the ultimate origin of the universe may still come up for 
answer. Can there be an ultimate stopping-place any- 
where in the career of the thing-world as a whole ? Does 
not our position make it necessary that at any such stop- 
ping-place there should be some kind of filling drawn from 
yet antecedent history to give our statement of the con- 
ditions of origin any distinguishing character ? It seems 
to me so. To say the contrary would be to do in favour of 
the prospective categories what we have been denying the 
right of the naturalist to do in favour of those of retrospect. 
Neither can proceed without the other. The only way to 
treat the problem of ultimate origin is not to ask it as an 
isolated problem. Lotze says that the problem of philoso- 
phy is to require what reality is, not how it is made ; and 
this will do if we remember that we must exhaust the 
empirical 'how' to get a notion of the empirical 'what,' 
and that there still remains over the 'prospect ' which the 
same author has hit off in his famous saying, ' Reality is 
richer than thought.' To desiderate a what which has no 
how — this seems as contradictory as to ask for a how in 
terms of what is not. It is really this last chase of the 
' how ' that Lotze deprecates — and rightly. 

Certain farther applications: 1 to the discussion of free- 
dom ; to the discussion of ideals ; criticism of the general 
concept of law from this point of view ; applications in 

1 Questions suggested to the members of the Psychological Seminary for 
discussion. A further development of the point of view of this paper by one 
of the members of the Seminary, Professor W. M. Urban, is to be found 
in the Psychological Review, January, 1896, pp. 73 ff. 

Origin of the Universe ; Further Problems 299 

ethics (cf. with Royce's distinction of 'world of descrip- 
tion' from 'world of appreciation'); the question of the 
notion of time {i.e., is the distinction between the pro- 
spective ' and ' retrospective ' merely one of time, or does 
the notion of time find its genesis in this difference of 
mental attitude ? ) ; the problem of value (are all values 
prospective ? ). 


The Theory of Genetic Modes 

On the basis of the conclusions of the preceding chapter 
we may take up a question which concerns the method of 
positive science and the nature of the formulations which 
science is able to make. If it be of the nature of all 
' things ' that they are in process of change, and if the 
growth of experience be such that two aspects of reality 
alike engender mental attitudes, called respectively the 
1 prospective ' and the ' retrospective,' then it becomes 
of great importance to determine, so far as may be, the 
relation of the mind to its objects, in the body of knowledge 
called science. There are two general positions, held more 
or less explicitly by different writers, with reference to 
which the following discussion may be conducted. 

§ i. Agenetic Science 

In the first place, the processes or events with which 
science deals may be considered under certain mental 
rules or conditions, which represent an ideal of regularity 
in a series of transformations which run their course in 
a finished and traceable form. The * shorthand ' descrip- 
tions of such processes state the ' laws ' which, if these 
ideals or rules be conformed to, phenomena, broken in 
upon — cut in cross-section, as it were — at any point of 
their development for purposes of observation, will be 
found to illustrate. An adjunct to this method is the 


A genetic Science 301 

further procedure of so arranging the conditions that the 
phenomena are caught going through certain of the more 
recondite phases of their behaviour; this last is called 

Such is the method of the ' physical ' sciences — physics 
and chemistry — as distinguished from the ' natural ' or 
biological sciences. The postulates of this procedure 
are (1) uniformity — which means no more nor less than 
1 agenetic ' x regularity, or the absence of any sort of 
change which is not exhaustively interpreted in terms of 
preceding change of the same order. With this there is 
(2) the postulate of some sort of lawfulness — the require- 
ment that natural phenomena be not capricious in their 
behaviour, but that experience so order itself by law that 
illustrations of what the law means, or what it has come 
to mean on the basis of just these experiences, may 
actually and at any time be found. As representing one 
way of looking at science this ' agenetic ' point of view is 
made extreme in the claim that this procedure, which 
tacitly fails to recognize the genetic, or which explicitly 
confines itself to the ' agenetic,' is the exclusive procedure 
and exhausts the resources of science. 

Such a view, which I shall henceforth call the ' agenetic 
theory ' 2 of science, rests upon certain interesting and 
important mental movements. If we hold that the growth 
of experience, whereby it reaches maturity in what we 
call ' thought,' is by the formation of certain categories or 
habits, then it seems necessary to say that, so far as 
experience is organized at all, it must be in these catego- 
ries ; and further, that a category itself reflects something 

1 A term meaning, of course, not genetic, as genetic is explained below. 

2 Positively it is the point of view of ' quantitative ' or exact science. 

302 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

of the uniformity and lawfulness of experience. But we 
saw on an earlier page that it is not necessary that the 
categories, which are themselves the outcome of regular 
experience, should apply only to phenomena which them- 
selves illustrate that regularity. There are certain cate- 
gories of thinking and of objective interpretation whose 
content is the changing, the genetic, the in-a-sense-capri- 
cious, yet which themselves stand for and represent in 
mental growth the uniformity and lawfulness of experi- 
ence. So it becomes necessary to distinguish between 
those types of experience which illustrate a mental rule 
or category on the one hand, and those which produce it 
on the other hand. It may be quite true that one can- 
not think of a change as taking place in nature without 
asking for the changes which preceded it; this is the 
requirement that the category of change finds in phe- 
nomena its justification ; but it is quite a different thing to 
say that the antecedent change which this category of 
thought postulates is a sufficient statement of that which 
follows, and that for which a scientific account is sought. 
There are categories, therefore, whose application requires 
change or variation even in the midst of the regularities 
by which they themselves are produced. 1 This it is 
which characterizes the ' genetic ' categories. 2 

§ 2. The First Postulate of the Theory of Genetic Modes 

So important is this consideration for a criticism of 
science, that the failure to recognize it constitutes a 

1 The category of change, indeed, is constituted by the regularity of change. 

2 The phrase ' dynamic categories ' is sometimes used (see Ormond, The 
Foundations of Knowledge, Part II., Chap. VIII.), but with a meaning not in 
all respects coincident with that here given to the term ' genetic' 

The First Postulate of the Theory 303 

vitiating element in most attempts to construct a scien- 
tific view of the world. In the language of our earlier 
distinction, they make the retrospective exhaustive, and 
use only static formulas for the phenomena which are 
essentially genetic, prospective, and dynamic. This pro- 
cedure employs a mental shorthand which is correct so 
far as it goes, and which is quite right in its demand that 
phenomena, to be natural at all, shall fulfil its statements ; 
but it fails to recognize the possibility that these same 
phenomena may be yet more — may fulfil requirements of a 
genetic sort which such formulas do not construe nor 

This outcome it is which I wish to set down as the first 
or negative postulate of what is here called the ' theory of 
genetic modes' This postulate may be stated as follows : 
the logic of genesis is not expressed in convertible proposi- 
tions. Genetically A = B ; but it does not follow that 
B = A. In its material application this takes on two 
forms : first, if xy is invariably followed by z> it does not 
follow (1) that z is invariably preceded by xy, nor (2) that 
nothing more than z invariably arises subsequently to xy. 
In the language of chemistry these two points read : 
granted that oxygen and hydrogen produce water, it does 
not follow(i) that water may not be produced by something 
else than oxygen and hydrogen, nor (2) that if the water 
be reduced to oxygen and hydrogen again, something else 
than water may not have been produced and again de- 
stroyed along with the water. 

This, some one may object, traduces the law of cause 
and effect as generalized in the formula for the conser- 
vation of energy. Not so ; but it does traduce certain 
illegitimate extensions of that law. It says explicitly 



304 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

that there are certain aspects of phenomena which that 
law — admitting the postulates of uniformity and lawful- 
ness mentioned above — has the right to construe, and 
which we are bound to recognize when we use the cate- 
gories which experience of these aspects has engendered. 
But it does not work negatively or conversely ; it cannot 
dictate to reality its future working, nor say that in the 
very experiences so formulated there may not be more than 
these formulations get out of them. 

For an illustration of this point, let us go direct to 
a critical case. Brain changes are accompanied, say, by 
acts of conscious volition. If we saw only the outside of a 
man's brain, our science of brain changes — the shorthand 
description of what we see — would seem to exhaust the 
phenomena ; but all the while there would be present, 
inside the man's head in some sense, and escaping our 
description altogether, the phenomena of volition. Now 
suppose that these inner phenomena of volition are 
present only at a certain stage in the development of a 
series of brain changes, appearing when the individual is 
from six to nine months old. Admitting for the moment 
that the description made from the outside is exhaustive, 
both earlier and also later on in the series, the later terms 
simply being further along and perhaps more involved ; 
yet this gives no inkling of the change from one form or 
mode of consciousness to the other — that is, of the rise 
of volition. All that another science, psychology, takes 
cognizance of — the mental transformations — are additional 
things in the world, aspects of reality not in so far touched 
by the formulations of quantitative science. Who can tell, 
indeed, what modes of existence may come and go with the 
development of changes in the brain ? 

Genetic Modes 305 

§ 3. Genetic Modes 

But, in fact, we cannot admit the assumption just made, 
that quantitative science is exhaustive even for the brain 
changes taken alone — to bring out a point which takes 
us further, and which may seem still more out of touch 
with the claims of physical science. I contend that abso- 
lutely new and unheard-of phases of reality may 'arise and 
shine' at any moment in any natural series of events — con- 
stituting new * genetic modes' Considering the origin and 
nature of the categories of thought, whatever our theory 
of the method of their genesis may be, we find that they 
are modes of function selected for their utility as furnishing 
interpretations of experience. 1 It is evident, then, that it 
is impossible to discount or deny, by their use, any modes 
of existence or reality which they do not interpret. As is 
intimated on an earlier page, animals of different grades 
may have such varying sense-organs and such varying 
qualities of sensation, feeling, or other mode of conscious- 
ness, as to make their apprehension of the world of 
bionomic changes very different one from another. To a 
creature in which the olfactory lobe is developed in a 
preponderating way, smell may be the control sense, and 
interpretations by smell may be the final tests of what to 
this creature are the realities of his life ; to another, touch, 
to another, vision, may be the leading sense. Now each, 
in his several sphere, must think, must, in general, psy- 
chologize, under his own rubric ; each has his test of 
truth. And he must also in so far legislate it as final 
upon experience. But yet, other animals may have other 
measures, tests, interpretations, — other realities of which 

1 This is the general outcome of Chap. XVII., on ' Selective Thinking. ' 

306 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

he knows nothing. The very origin of the categories 
which we use in science restricts their application, since 
there may be other types of experience which are so far 
untouched and which might be construed only under other 

This becomes more evident as we rise in the scale of 
the sciences, because the relativities of apprehension are 
ever increasing with mental advance. As I have endeav- 
oured to show in another place, the evolution of the higher 
faculties is by adaptation to a system of environmental 
relationships. The relation of the individual to this sys- 
tem is, as evolution proceeds, increasingly remote and 

Memory arises as an adaptation to the distant in time, 
and as a weapon of prophecy, to the distant in space. 1 
Imagination and thinking 2 are modes of psychic process 
which deal with generalized, abstract, not-fully-present 
data ; and in so far as the data are not fully present in so 
far the relativeness of the result is increased. The child 
acts upon his sense of the general, and constantly finds 
that it fails in reference to the particular. He is ever 
readjusting himself with reference to conditions with which 
he has already coped with more or less success, but with- 
out finality. It would seem to be only the fixed, the strictly 
organic functions, which minister to his progress by imme- 
diate contacts with the brutely concrete and bruising things 
of time and space, which really ' hold ' fast and inflexible 
for us. Other accommodations are, by their nature as 
accommodations, parts always of a growing system, elements 
of a genetic process, factors of a larger accommodation 

1 Cf. the volume Mental Development, Chap. X. 

2 Ibid., Chaps. X., XI. 

Genetic Modes 307 

yet to be achieved. And it is plain that this must be so. 
The congenital, whether organic or mental, is a variation, 
selected just by reason of its close-fitting character upon 
this fact, relation, or need in life ; while the other characters 

— the plastic, mobile, intelligent — have their chance and 
their utility only in the shifting, change-exhibiting sorts of 
experience to which the genetic growth process must con- 
form, but which it can never really exhaust. This distinction 
reflects itself in the entire system of mental accommoda- 
tions — what is called above the ' determination of thought,' 

— in an aspect of mental growth, a general attitude 
which in so far directly antagonizes the fixities of the con- 
genital and immediate, and holds a brief for relative truth, 
relative life, relative right — since the world itself as a 
whole, by being itself a world of change and growth, is a 
system of relative parts. 

Consciousness, therefore, not only accepts the old, by 
those adaptations by which it categorizes the familiar ; it 
also finds the new and welcomes it. In the accommoda- 
tions to the social environment and to tradition through 
which the consciousness of self makes what progress it 
does into this stage or that, an ideal arises to embody 
just this consciousness of the relativity of all possible con- 
crete determinations of mental content or conduct. Were 
reality fixed and were adaptation ended, ideals would be 
impossible. Whence the thought of progress toward the 
better, the more fit — in whatever sphere, — if all were 
now attained, and the future had no largess, no rewards, 
no unexplored tracts, no new realities to confront and 
possibly to subdue us ? We cope with the new, indeed, by 
this tentative outreach toward it, armed with our catego- 
ries of description and interpretation. In so far as these 

308 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

are adequate, they reflect earlier stages in the unfolding 
of the same system. But the ' arming ' is inadequate for 
full interpretation, since it is forged in the fires of the past. 
The ideals, the values yet in process, and always to be 
in process, of achievement, get their impelling power from 
the very experience that knowledge and life are functions 
of a genetic process of which our formulated realities are 
passing phases. 

This might be carried out in a philosophical view of 
reality, — a theoretical doctrine of metaphysics, — but that 
is not my intention here. The only safe course for 
science, however, is to recognize these things. Genetic 
science is competent to make the reservation always, in 
the presence of each of the applications and explanations 
of exact and numerical science, that it is a cross-section, 
not a longitudinal section, to which the quantitative and 
analytical formulas apply ; or that, if they apply through- 
out a serial process, — as in a series of successive trans- 
formations of energy, — that is proof that the process in 
that case is not a genetic one. It is the genetic aspect, we 
must hold in such cases, which has escaped the formula; 
the success of the quantitative and analytic methods is 
itself the evidence that no really genetic movement has 
occurred out of the natural aspects of things ; in other 
words, only those have been taken which illustrate the 
repetitions, not the adaptations, of nature. 

§ 4. Genetic Science 

We may undertake, in view of these considerations, to 
state the actual relation which we are justified in holding 
to subsist between exact or agenetic science, so-called, on 
the one hand, and genetic science, on the other hand. 

Genetic Science 309 

This leads us to the second great class of views which are 
possible regarding the province of knowledge and the 
relation of mind to nature. I say class of views, since it 
is a class, in which many varied constructions in detail 
might be worked out. So far as the view which follows 
has details, that is, attempts to apply the line of distinc- 
tions now made to the actual relations of the sciences, 
they may be taken as my personal views, and they should 
not be allowed to prejudice the truth of the general distinc- 
tion itself. 

Starting out with the development of the preceding 
chapter and adding the further thoughts stated on the 
pages immediately above, we have a certain way of con- 
struing science, which allows full sweep to the genetic 
point of view. All knowledge is in its essence, as cogni- 
tion, retrospective. As Kant claimed, knowledge is a 
process of categorizing, and to know a thing is to say 
that it illustrates or stimulates, or functions as, a category. 
But a category is a mental habit ; that is all a category 
can be allowed to be — a habit broadly defined as a dis- 
position, whether congenital or acquired, to act upon, or 
to treat, items of any sort in certain general ways. These 
habits or categories arise either from actual accommoda- 
tions with ' functional ' or some other form of utility 
selection, or by natural endowment secured by selection 
from variations. Organic selection affects the parallel- 
ism between these two lines of origin, in the way pointed 
out in the earlier pages of this work. 

In dealing with any set of data or phenomena the 
question comes up as to what categories apply — what 
habits of treatment are brought out and illustrated when 
we get all we can out of these facts. 

310 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

Invoking the shades of the Old Masters of Greece, we 
think with them of the antithesis between being and be- 
coming. We ask of this and of that — of everything, 
indeed — not only what its value in fact, but what its 
worth in prospect ; not only for its place in the has-been, 
but for its claim on the yet-to-be. We cannot explain it, 
even in its network of shifting observed relations, without 
projecting out before us and before it an expected career. 
This is the distinction made above between the retrospec- 
tive and the prospective point of view. The application of 
it here is to the theory of objects, as such. We must 
treat the yet-to-be of the object as being as real as the yet- 
to-experience of the mind. The object is an object for 
cognition when it is a substantive, a term, in a network of 
relationships — as it were, a knot trailing its * fringe ' 
before and after. 1 The explanations of exact science, 
which analyze it into those elements only which went into 
its composition, tie up the fringes that trail behind, and so 
make a series of knots extending far back into the dim 
distance of time, of history, and of logic. But the fringes 
which stretch out before — these fly free in the wind ; and 
while no continuation of the threads is to be seen, and no 
knots of further knowledge can yet be tied, still we have 
the assurance that these do not break where they seem to 
end, an assurance as indubitable and as well guaranteed 
in our mental constitution as our assurance of the continuity 
of the back-leading threads already tied up in knots by the 
formulas of exact science. 

This we know because, by waiting, we find out always 
that this is the outcome. Never has this expectation 
failed. And it cannot fail ; for with it would fail also our 

1 A figure made familiar in another context by William James. 

The Second Postulate of the Theory 311 

trust in the retrospective formulas — the tying of past 
threads in knots. For the event now present rides by us 
and becomes past ; and the very threads we assayed to trace 
with pains and failure, become those which form the back- 
ward fringe, and constitute history. The whole forms a chain. 
Experience is continuous. Our discoveries that events 
now gone, experiences now no more than memories, still 
fit into what we call the categories of knowledge — these 
discoveries are no more valid, from the point of view of 
genesis, than are the expectations and prophecies, which 
we perforce must also indulge, respecting the future 
which issues from the present. 

So there is a genetic science, as there is a prospective atti- 
tude — a science of development and evolution. It is of the 
knowledge series which we are not able to read both ways, 
or which, if read both ways, has for each a different for- 
mula, that the term genetic is properly used. 

§ 5. The Second Postulate of the Theory of Genetic Modes 

We may write down, accordingly, as the second or posi- 
tive postulate of the ' theory of genetic modes,' that that 
series of eveitts only is truly genetic which cannot be con- 
structed before it has happened, and which cannot be ex- 
hausted by reading backwards after it has happened. 

To be sure we often apply the term genetic to all cases 
in which history is involved ; cases in which there is a 
regular series of changes. But there are several cases of 

If a series of events so exhausts itself that we may 
begin it over again and find the terms one by one again 
following their aforetime sequence, then this is not truly 

312 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

genesis ; here instead is a static cycle, with a formula for 
recurrence or repetition, not for growth. 

Again, we may find such a recurrent cycle of terms, 
but, besides, a something over which we clandestinely or 
overtly neglect. This neglecting is often explicitly done, 
notably in biology. 

And yet again, we may come upon a condition of such 
complexity that the forces at play cannot be separated out 
one from another. I wish to make special mention 
of certain instances, especially of the sort mentioned 
second just above, which bring out the point of view of 
the theory of genetic modes. 

The case of the recurring series is, in so far as it is a 
series, and not a mere term that recurs, a case in which 
the genetic may enter ; for the question of growth may 
be asked of changes inside the series itself, and we may 
find that the terms as such are not recurrent, but represent 
an irreversible order ; for example, certain series of changes 
of a chemical nature seem to be such. Of course it is the 
aim of exact science to reduce these series to those of the 
strictly repetitive type. A great instance of such reduc- 
tion was the discovery of the law of gravitation, by which 
whole sets of unexplained serial phenomena were found to 
illustrate the repeated operation of attraction by the law of 
inverse squares. So, too, the reduction of the physical 
forces to terms of common work measured in energy, of 
which the quantity remains unimpaired. The reduction 
of all physical phenomena to such quantitative statements 
must remain the legitimate ideal of exact science. Yet 
while recognizing this, and recognizing the universal 
character of the category so exploited, we must at the 
same time make the reservation that even the thus-for- 

History a Genetic Science 313 

mulated facts may have, for all we know, other aspects 
also capable of formulation. Other shorthand expressions 
may be needed for their behaviour as parts of a larger 
whole which is constituted as the system which includes 
them is genetically unfolded. 

§ 6. History a Genetic Science 

History itself, considered as a science, illustrates the 
cases mentioned second and third above. There are 
various theories of history, yet all of them may be classed 
as in type falling under three headings. Those writers 
who reject the truly genetic from the sequences of history 
come first. In their theories they interpret history as a 
series of happenings under the law of cause and effect, 
showing from first to last a series of complications all of 
which may be considered as but different arrangements of 
given elements under the action of constant causes. This 
is strictly an attempt to make history a retrospective 
science, not only by the application of the categories of 
retrospect, but also by the claim that this application 
affords an exhaustive statement of possible knowledge 
of the series which comes to our apprehension in the 
events of days and years. There is nothing over — no 
meaning for higher interpretation than that formulated 
in the theory of the complication of elements under the 
law of causation. 

A second view of history finds it practically lawless — 
a series of caprice-like discharges from the void. It is 
not an unfolding from anywhere to anything ; but a series 
of terms whose sequence is absolutely unpredictable, 
because the terms are unrelated. This does violence to 

314 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

the categories of retrospect ; and as I have said on an 
earlier page, any view that does that defeats itself, since 
it destroys the very lamp from which streams all our 
light, — not only the light of expectation, but also that 
of experience. 

The third theory we may call, as the present writer 
has elsewhere called it, 1 the ' autonomic ' theory. It 
holds — and it may therefore be used to illustrate the 
position developed here — that law must hold in history, 
since history is human experience ; also that nowhere in 
its evolution does history, after it has happened, fail to ful- 
fil the law of cause and effect, could we but unravel the 
intricacies of the phenomena ; but that more than the 
categories of retrospect and of law are involved — provided- 
it be found out that they are, that is, that more than con- 
formity to this law may be involved. History may be 
genetic ; to my view — though perhaps not necessarily to 
all forms of the autonomic view — it is. All history is 
sociology ; it is also psychology ; it is also ethics — it is all 
these, besides being, in a sense, biology and even physical 
geography. The autonomic view makes the claim simply 
that historical sequences shall afford their own interpreta- 
tion. If there be a really genetic strain in the historical 
sequences, then it will appear. Each science that has the 
right, from the demarkation of its phenomena, to enter 
the field and to attempt to construct the historical material 
by its own shorthand formulas, shall have the fullest 
liberty to do so. And each interpretation may be true. 
Success is the only and the complete justification in each 

Each of them may be true, because each of them 

1 Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, art. ' History,' ad fin. 

The Biological Theory of History 315 

may deal with an aspect which fulfils the demands of a 
certain sort of construction. To deny this in favour of an 
exclusive cause-and-effect theory is to violate our first 
postulate, as formulated above ; it is to assert that retro- 
spective formulations, even when fully made out, are by 
their own right exhaustive. In a discussion on another 
page, we may find an indication of how such double or 
multiple constructions of the same data may be possible — 
in the case of moral statistics. In individuals' actions, as 
seen, for example, in the statistics of suicide, the genetic 
character of the series is evident — a series of which each 
term is determined by an act of will, and illustrates a stage 
of mental progress, while yet statistics of the series, taken 
for a great many cases, are found to illustrate, in their 
distribution, the law of probabilities, as strictly as do the 
veriest mechanical events or the veriest 'chance ' sequences. 
Another case has also been discussed above, and is men- 
tioned again below : that of biological evolution advanc- 
ing under the law of natural selection, and at the same 
time possibly embodying purpose and teleology. Biological 
progress may be teieological, and really genetic — new 
stages of process, new genetic modes, appearing in the 
series — while, at the same time, the entire series, inter- 
preted after it has happened, shows the character of regu- 
larity and uniformity which justify its construction in terms 
of natural selection from variations distributed in accord- 
ance with the probability curve. 

§ 7. The Biological Theory of History 

This general position may be given concreteness by a 
detailed case. It is evidently in antagonism to the view 
that human history can be exhaustively^explained by the 

316 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

principles of organic evolution. This view has been re- 
cently stated with considerable force and dogmatism by 
Professor Karl Pearson in these words ( The Grammar of 
Science, 2d ed.) : " How far are the principles of natural 
selection to be applied to the historical evolution of man ? 
History can never become science, can never be anything 
but a catalogue of facts rehearsed in more or less pleas- 
ing language, until these facts are seen to fall into 
sequences which can be briefly resumed in scientific 
formulae. These formulae can hardly be other than those 
which so effectually describe the relations of organic to 
organic phenomena in the earlier phases of their develop- 
ment. The growth of national and social life can give us 
the most wonderful insight into natural selection, and into 
the elimination of the unstable, on the widest and most 
impressive scale. Only when history is interpreted in the 
sense of natural history, does it pass from the sphere of 
narrative and become science. ... In the early stages of 
civilization the physical environment and the more animal 
instincts of mankind are the dominating factors of evolu- 
tion. Primitive history is not a history of individual men, 
nor of individual nations in the modern sense ; it is the 
description of the growth of a typical social group of 
human beings under the influences of a definite physical 
environment, and of characteristic physiological instincts. 
Food, sex, geographical position, are the facts with which 
the scientific historian has to deal. These influences are 
just as strongly at work in more fully civilized societies, 
but their action is more difficult to trace, and is frequently 
obscured by the temporary action of individual men and 
individual groups. The obscurity only disappears when 
we deal with average results, long periods, and large 

The Biological Theory of History 317 

areas. . . . Rivalry is at bottom the struggle for existence, 
which is still moulding the growth of nations ; but history, 
as it is now written, conceals, under the formal cloak of 
dynasties, wars, and foreign policies, those physical and 
physiological principles by which science will ultimately 
resume the development of man. Primitive history must 
be based upon a scientific investigation into the growth 
and relationship of the early forms of ownership and of 
marriage. It is only by such an investigation that we are 
able to show that the two great factors of evolution — the 
struggle for food and the instinct of sex — will suffice to 
resume the stages of social development. When we have 
learned to describe the sequences of primitive history in 
terms of physical and biological formulae, then we shall 
hesitate less to dig deep down into our modern civilization 
and find its roots in the same appetites and instincts " 
(pp- 358-361 ; 362-363). 

Such a view, if considered as an exhaustive account of 
history, rides rough-shod, I venture to think, over certain 
evident and vital distinctions. So much so that I place 
the objections in order, not, of course, taking space here 
for the repetition of the considerations on which they are 

(1) Professor Pearson overlooks the distinction between 
what is intrinsic to a particular sort of organization, and 
that which merely conditions it, or is ' nomic ' to it. In 
this case, it amounts to a failure to distinguish between 
the struggle for existence between groups and the inner 
organization of the group as a social whole. The former, 
' group-selection,' is certainly a case of struggle for exist- 
ence, but the main problem of the science of history and 
of sociology as such, is that of the forms and modes of 

318 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

organization of the social relationships within the group. 
Professor Pearson seems to see this later on where he 
points out what he calls ' socialism,' which he makes the 
' interest individuals have in organizing themselves owing 
to the intense struggle which is ever waging between 
society and society ; this tendency to social organization, 
always prominent in progressive communities, is a direct 
outcome of the fundamental principle of evolution.' 
Surely an easy way to solve the problem of social evolu- 
tion ! Is it because and in view of the ' intense struggle 
between society and society ' that social organization takes 
place ? This does not follow, even though we admit that 
natural selection acts to preserve societies which are ' fit ' 
in this respect. 

Would not a single social group on an island in the 
Pacific sooner or later effect social organization and make 
progress, provided they had the mental equipment ? 
Are there not certain characters intrinsically of a social 
sort that make it possible — yes, necessary — for society 
to exist ? Can struggle and survival be a sufficient ac- 
count of the actual evolution of English Economic His- 
tory, let us say, of the rise and development of British 
idealism, or of the evolution of republican principles 
in France ? History is a science principally of social 
thoughts, ideals, psychological give-and-take, not mainly 
of wars, considered as a form of struggle for existence, 
which define and perpetuate the group-type in which 
this or that social organization takes place, however 
much importance we may give to the latter in its own 

(2) Professor Pearson fails to give any place to the 
psychological factors, apart from such ' physiological 

The Biological Theory of History 319 

instincts ' as desire for food and sex. 1 Truly a poverty- 
stricken list ! Where is thinking, which even we selec- 
tionists must admit to be the prime utility of increasing 
nervous plasticity ? Bagehot, writing long before Pearson, 
made much of ' group-selection,' but he saw its limitation, 
and signalized the 'age of discussion,' in which the 
controlling factor in a people's advance, the real key to 
their history, is their reasoning faculty. And Bagehot it 
was, as well, who pointed out the social process of imitation 
as one, at least, of the important agencies of socialization. 
This seems to illustrate what is said above, to the effect 
that the emphasis of natural selection as an all-sufficient 
principle has gone so far that it leads to the denial of the 
evident positive factors of endowment, variation, laws of 
change, etc., which are the essential motive principles of 
progress — in this case the psychological factors to which 
social progress is due — in favour of that merest shell of a 
truth, so far as social life is concerned, that like animals 
fight one another, and that the strongest lives to tell the 
story. Even as affecting the problem of group competi- 
tion, what may we not say, for example, about the mental 
fact called invention f 

Invention not only plays an extraordinary part in in- 
ternal social organization and progress, — it escapes the 
barrier of heredity by a mighty bound, — but it serves to 
fit the competing group to survive. Suppose the know- 
ledge of firearms and the use of smokeless gunpowder to 
be the possession of one only of two competing groups : 

1 One is reminded of Professor Pearson's own demonstration, in his statisti- 
cal discussion {Chances of Death, Chap. I. p. 68) of the uneven distribution of 
families according to number of children, of the psychological interference 
with the normal birth-rate — an interference from a ' Malthusian restraint of 
population ' exerted directly in opposition to the instinct of sex. 

"»20 The Theory of Genetic Modes 


who can doubt the issue of their combat? Can we say 
then that the evolution which is determined by such a 
struggle is sufficiently explained by the statement of the 
strife between the two, with no allusion whatever to the 
firearms, or to the smokeless powder, or to the mental 
equipment that invented these ? And shall we call this 
an explanation of history ? It would seem, indeed, that 
we were bringing back ' home to roost ' the charge which 
Professor Pearson makes against the historians, that they 
are merely cataloguing facts — and that his is, for all that, 
a very incomplete catalogue ! 

The case may indeed serve to give point to two of the 
main principles which it is the object of this work to set 
forth. First, if evolution is to take any account of facts, 
the psychological facts with the laws of their operation 
are not to be ignored. And if psychophysical evolution 
is to be the type which the true theory of evolution recog- 
nizes, then the correlations and dependencies of the two 
series of facts must be in all cases most carefully made 
out. Why, for example, select the craving for food, and 
not that for social companionship ; why that of sex, and 
not that of religion ? Professor Pearson speaks of biologi- 
cal principles as giving natural history, as though biology 
were in possession of a monopoly of nature. Surely the 
mind is a natural possession ; and to say that imitation is 
a factor in social progress is as truly to recognize a nat- 
ural history factor, as to say that struggle for existence is. 
The working of the mind in effecting an invention is 
every whit as natural a process as is the origin of varia- 
tions by sexual reproduction. And second, it will not do 
to force the yoke of one science in this ruthless way upon 
the neck of another. Professor Pearson himself holds that 

The Biological Theory of History 321 

science merely states shorthand formulas for the actual 
behaviour of phenomena ; then let us look at actual phe- 
nomena, — social, historical, psychological, — and see how 
they work before we say that their formulas can ' hardly 
be other than ' those of organic and inorganic phenomena. 
It is the attempt to reach positive rules for distinguishing 
one science from another, as we ascend in the hierarchy of 
knowledge, that is made in the theory of genetic modes. 
I have put this criticism in a somewhat extreme form, 
no doubt, seeing that Professor Pearson does say that the 
socialistic instinct, as opposed to the individualistic, should 
have greater emphasis than is usually given it ; but it is 
his principle that because the higher forms of endowment 
and organization have arisen under the operation of nat- 
ural selection, that therefore the laws of their rise and 
progress in social and ethical life, history, etc., can be 
reduced to those of struggle for existence and natural 
selection ; this, I contend, is mistaken. It is potent illus- 
tration of the denial of any possible genetic modes in the 
complex phenomena ; it asserts that if we could master 
the conditions, we could not only predict future historical 
changes, but that the retrospective formulations of histor- 
ical events stated in terms of biological law would be 
exhaustive of historical reality as such. 1 

1 We cannot take up in this connection the more recent philosophical discus- 
sions of the science of history, although the 'theory of genetic modes' takes 
sides in the controversy. It says explicitly that history is capable of retrospec- 
tive interpretation ; but with equal explicitness, that such interpretation does 
not — or may not — exhaust the meaning of historical sequences. Each of 
these positions is denied by one party to the philosophical controversy, by the 
insistence either upon an exclusively ' scientific ' or an exclusively ' humanistic ' 
(for the most part voluntaristic) construction. An article summing up certain 
aspects of the controversy is that of Villa, ' Psychology and History,' Monist, 
XII., January, 1902, pp. 215 ff. (with literary citations). 

322 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

§ 8. The Axioms of Genetic Science 

A survey of the sciences, according to the great di- 
visions which are to-day current, serves to show that 
certain of the distinctions now suggested are fairly well 
recognized; but the most irreconcilable differences as to 
province, method, and preferential claim spring up about 
the lines of division, through the need of a principle 
which shall establish more exact boundaries. The gen- 
eral hierarchy of the sciences, starting with physics and 
chemistry, and passing up through the natural or biologi- 
cal, into the mental, and finally into the moral sciences, — 
this is well established. But we find the claim made, in 
conformity to the theory discussed on an earlier page, 
under the term ' agenetic science,' that the true method 
of science, and its one ideal, is the reduction of the com- 
plex phenomena of each of the higher, in turn, into state- 
ments of laws which hold for the lower, until we finally 
reach formulas which actually state all knowledge in the 
terms of the quantitative measurements of the physical 
and mathematical sciences. 

Against such a demand and the scientific ideal which 
it erects, philosophical thinkers in certain branches of re- 
search have been in continual protest. And if what we 
have aimed to make out in our earlier pages be true, then 
this protest may be put in the form of a general distinc- 
tion. The distinction holds as between each of the sci- 
ences and the one which lies below — the one upon which 
it depends in the way indicated by the term 'nomic.' 1 

We are able to say that what has been overlooked in 
each case, in the attempt to reduce a given sort of phe- 

1 Above, Chap. I. § 2. 

The Axioms of Genetic Science 323 

nomena to lower terms, is the genetic aspect. It is the 
mistake of treating all phenomena by the method of ' cross- 
sections,' without supplementing such treatment with that 
involving the 'longitudinal section.' This is one self- 
repeating source of confusion. It fails to recognize the 
existence of genetic modes. 

In a general and incomplete survey such as this, we 
may put in the following form the principles which we are 
justified in adopting, as axioms of the theory of genetic 

First, the phenomena of science at each higher level 
show a form of synthesis which is not accounted for by 
the formulations which are adequate for the phenomena 
of the next lower level. By ' lower ' and ' higher ' I mean 
genetically before and after, in the essential sense already 

Second, the formulations of any lower science are not 
invalidated in the next higher, even in cases in which new 
formulations are necessary for the formal synthesis which 
characterizes the genetic mode of the higher. 

Third, the generalizations and classifications of each 
science, representing a particular genetic mode, are 
peculiar to that mode and cannot be constructed in anal- 
ogy to, or a fortiori on the basis of, the corresponding 
generalizations or classifications of the lower mode. 

Fourth, no formula for progress from mode to mode, 
that is, no strictly genetic formula in evolution or in devel- 
opment, is possible except by direct observation of the 
facts of the series which the formulation aims to cover, or 
by the interpretation of other series which represent the 
same or parallel modes. 

We may now take some given illustrations drawn from 

324 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

the sciences which show that these axioms, although not 
explicitly recognized save in part here and there, never- 
theless have general application, and that their consistent 
application would throw light on some of the standing 
puzzles of the theory of science. 1 

§ 9. Vital Phenomena and the Theory of Genetic Modes 

As between the purely mechanical or mathematical 
sciences and that of the next ascending set of phenomena, 
biology, recent discussion is full of illuminating matter 
which might be cited in support of these principles. 

That the synthesis which is called life is different in 
some respects from that of chemistry is not only the con- 
tention of the vitalists, but also the admission of the ad- 
herents of a physico-chemical theory of life. In reply to 
those who think not only that living matter is a chemical 
compound, but also that there is nothing to add to this chemi- 
cal formula — when once it is discovered — in order to attain 
a final explanation of life, we have only to put to them the 
further problem of genesis, as over and above that of analy- 
sis — that is, to ask not only for the analytic formula, the 
chemical formula, for protoplasm, but also for the laws of re- 
production and growth, which always characterize life. The 
cross-section formula must be supplemented by the longi- 
tudinal-section formula. Here we discover the fact that 
the development is by a series of syntheses, each chemical, 
but each, so far as we know, producing something new 
— a new genetic mode. If this be denied, then we have 
to ask the chemist to reproduce the series ; and if he 

1 Naturally the illustrations given here are from biology, as that science 
furnishes the text of the present discourse. 

Vital Phenomena and the Theory 325 

claim that this might be done if he knew how, we ask 
him to reproduce the series backwards. Nothing short of 
this last form of treatment will do for exact quantitative 
science. As we found above, no formula which cannot 
be illustrated by the series of changes stated in a reverse 
order will fulfil the demands of the shorthand of physical 

Every chemical process, indeed, whether having only one 
stage of composition, or whether involving many, has its 
dissolution series as well as its composition series. The 
series which the life history of the organism represents is, 
chemically considered, no doubt a composition series ; but 
when the organism dies, the dissolution series is not at 
all the reverse of the composition series — a back-tracing 
of life history. If we say that it is, i.e., that the composi- 
tion and dissolution series go on together, and that it is 
always simply a balance in favour of the former — then 
we are dealing with two cross-section changes, not with the 
longitudinal development processes at all. We ask what 
it is which constitutes the bond holding these two series 
together, in what we call the growth or development of an 
organism as an individual. Either, in short, the character 
of longitudinal change is present in the composition series, 
construed as a single set of chemical terms, in which case 
the dissolution does not reverse it; or the series is a re- 
verse composition series, in which case there is no longi- 
tudinal or genetic character about it at all. 1 

What the formula for the longitudinal or strictly genetic 

1 This point becomes very much stronger when we cite the racial or evolu- 
tion series, with the 'immortality' of protoplasm. Think of producing the 
phenomena of sexual reproduction from mature son to infant father instead of 
the reverse ! 

326 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

series which represents vital growth and development 
may turn out to be, no one can tell beforehand simply 
from the formulas drawn from physics and chemistry, just 
by reason of this fundamental inability of such formulas to 
exhaust an irreversible series. The fact that it is irrever- 
sible is itself the fact of genetic importance ; for it shows 
that the later terms have some character which the earlier 
have not. 1 

The second of our axioms, however, must also be true, 
and it bears directly in the opposite direction — toward 
the confirmation of the claim of the physico-chemical 
theory for those phenomena of life to which retrospective 
and analytic formulas have legitimate application. The 
data of all science are, as we have seen, subject to this 
demand. Looked at as an accomplished fact, a life-phe- 
nomena is as much a fact subject to the laws of cause and 
effect and conservation of energy as are the phenom- 
ena in any other cases involving physical and chemical 
constituents. The alternatives are often considered : on 
the one hand, the exclusive recognition of the categories of 
regularity and uniformity upon which quantitative science 
rests, that is, the recognition of the vital processes as 
physical and chemical phenomena solely, and, on the other 
hand, the reverse — the introduction into the body of 
every living cell of a ' somewhat ' altogether unamenable 
to law, and not capable of being recognized by positive 
science at all. But this antithesis is quite unnecessary ; 
we are not shut up to these alternatives. 

As we have seen, the right of physics and chemistry 
to the universal application of their formulas to their 

1 Yet fully admitting the right of quantitative science to show, if it can, 
that it is reversible. 

Theories of Life, Mechanical and Vitalistic 327 

material, is necessary to the maintenance even of the 
genetic point of view as developed in the preceding 
section. The new genetic mode is the outcome of the 
old. Each has its twofold character ; its present organi- 
zation and its future development. The formulations of 
quantitative science are formulations of the organization 
— given the mode. The mode is the statement of new 
form — liable to organization. Each, as in Aristotle's 
theory, is one aspect of the full truth. This is true also 
from the point of view of the rise in the mind of the 
distinction upon which analytic science is distinguished 
from genetic — that between the retrospective and the 
prospective points of view. The very basis of the pro- 
spective attitude is found in the formulations which are 
retrospective. All the accommodations by which selec- 
tive thinking proceeds are projected from the platform 
of old habitual actions. It is as impossible to construe 
the one without the other as to construe the other with- 
out the one. To think is at once to recognize both the 
analytic and the genetic points of view. 

§ 10. Theories of Life, Mechanical and Vitalistic 

No better illustrations could be wanted of the need of 
somehow holding together the two points of view on this 
general question of life than the current discussions of 
certain critical biological phenomena, such as those of 
regeneration. The recent book by Morgan 2 not only lays 
before us the data of research, but brings to an issue the 
rival theories. We find the advocates of the chemico- 
mechanical theory claiming that the data must be con- 

1 Regeneration, by T. H. Morgan, 1901. 

328 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

strued under the law of cause and effect as formulated 
in physics and chemistry. Yet they give no adequate 
explanation of the remarkable behaviour of the organism 
in regenerating its parts. The vitalists, on the other 
hand, resort to a view of a highly mystical character, 
holding that the organism does what it is its nature to 
do, and that no light can be shed upon its behaviour by 
the principles of physics and chemistry. An interesting 
transition from one of these extremes to the other, in 
the same author's views, is to be found in the writings 
of Driesch, who works out a theory which attempts to 
hold to the adequacy of the formulas of physics and 
chemistry in his Analytiscke Theorie, — which, by the 
way, outdoes all the metaphysicians for stretches of pure 
metaphysics, — and then in later writings goes over 
gradually, in the presence of the astonishing revelations 
of research, to a frankly vitalistic view. The conclusions 
arrived at by Morgan show a somewhat vacillating at- 
tempt to do justice to both points of view, at the same 
time that a guiding principle whereby they can be rec- 
onciled is quite absent. He says : " The fundamental 
question turns upon whether the development of a spe- 
cific form is the outcome of one or more ' forces,' or 
whether it is a phenomenon belonging to an entirely 
different category from anything known to the chemist 
and the physicist. If we state that it is the property 
of each kind of living substance to assume under certain 
conditions a more or less constant specific form, we 
only restate the result without referring the process to 
any better known group of phenomena. If we attempt 
to go beyond this, and speculate as to the principles 
involved, we have very little to guide us. We can, how- 

Theories of Life, Mechanical and Vt talis tic 329 

ever, state with some assurance, that at present we can- 
not see how any known principles of chemistry or of 
physics can explain the development of a definite form 
by the organism or by a piece of the organism. Indeed, 
we may even go farther, and claim that it appears to be 
a phenomenon entirely beyond the scope of legitimate 
explanation, just as are many physical and chemical 
phenomena themselves, even those of the simplest sort. 
To call this a vitalistic principle is, I think, misleading. 
We can do nothing more than claim to have discovered 
something that is present in living things which we can- 
not explain and perhaps cannot even hope to explain 
by known physical laws" (p. 255). This seems to con- 
cede the main claim of the vitalists. Yet, later on, we 
find these words : " To prevent misunderstanding, it may 
be added that while, from the point of view here taken, 
we cannot hope to explain the behaviour of the organism 
as the resultant of the substances that we obtain from it 
by chemical analysis (because the organism is not simply 
a mixture of these substances), yet we have no reason 
to suppose that the organism is anything more than the 
expression of its physical and chemical structure. The 
vital phenomena are different from the non-vital phenom- 
ena only in so far as the structure of the organism is 
different from the structure of any other group of sub- 
stances ' (pp. 280 f.). This seems to concede the claim 
of the physicochemical theory except for the reservation 
regarding structure; and this reservation is most wisely 
made. For it is just this reservation which, from the 
point of view of this work, completely neutralizes the 
claim that an explanation is nothing other than a reduc- 
tion of a whole to its elements. Such a claim leaves 

330 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

the entire point argued in the earlier pages of this work 
untouched, i.e., that a real genetic series exhibits new 
forms of organization, new genetic modes, while not 
violating the laws of the material which is organized. 

Consequently, it is quite on the right side to attempt to 
carry further a theory of the actual method of the organi- 
zation in the lines of physical explanation. Morgan does 
this by the suggestion of a series of 'tensions,' made 
in the last chapter of his book. To be sure, it amounts 
to little more than suggesting a new term and with it a 
certain way of looking at the phenomena of development, 
serving the turn which the fine word ' polarity ' also served ; 
yet the approach from the side of physics is justified, so 
long as the problem of genetic mode — the interpreta- 
tion of the longitudinal series — is not surreptitiously 
brought in under that attempt, and smothered under the 
new term. 

What the biologists need to do is to recognize the limi- 
tations of one method, and the justification of the other in 
its own province. In the life processes there seems to be 
a real genetic series, an irreversible series. Each stage 
exhibits a new form of organization. After it has hap- 
pened, it is quite competent to show, by the formulas of 
chemistry and physics, that the organization is possi- 
ble and legitimate. Yet it is only by actual observation 
and description of the facts in the development of the 
organism, that the progress of the life principle can be 
made out. The former is quantitative and analytic sci- 
ence; the latter is genetic science. 1 

1 Morgan's somewhat biassed and decidedly inadequate discussion of the 
natural selection theory of the origin of regeneration seems to show his fail- 
ure to recognize the need of naturalistic explanations. 

Other Applications 331 

§ 11. Other Applications 

A similar state of things, in another of the most interest- 
ing and important spheres of biological discussion, is illus- 
trated by the discussion of natural selection and teleology 
in an earlier connection. It is there argued that the ge- 
netic point of view may be necessary in the consideration 
of the series of events by which the individual life is 
accomplished. There may be a form of teleology, or real- 
ization of purpose, in the individual's development, and no 
other sort of explanation than the genetic statement of its 
modes may be possible. Yet, with it all, when we secure 
statistical results, we find that they are amenable to state- 
ment in a law or curve of distribution, which is the same 
as if they were due in their origin to mechanical distribu- 
tion, like the running of shot through a sieve. In other 
words, the cross-section of the results, after they have 
taken place, is what physics and chemistry might have 
produced; but that it arises from the acts that it does, 
could only be found out by genetic description and investi- 
gation. That it would be capable of the teleological con- 
struction, or that it is actually brought about by a teleo- 
logical method, could never be discovered by quantitative 
science at all. 

So also, to cite still another biological case : the new 
methods of treating biological variations by statistical for- 
mulas reach results of value and generality ; yet they must 
rest upon a sufficient number of cases, all at the same 
level — all in the same genetic mode — to 3 ustif y the quan- 
titative method. The genetic method remains, just the 
same, the exclusive resort of the historical naturalist, who 
raises such questions as that of the direction of variations, 

332 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

their correlations, and in general morphological ques- 
tions as such. For all these questions deal with the 
development of new genetic modes. It is, indeed, a valid 
criticism of much of the work done by the new methods 
that it assumes that the variations which are tabulated 
do represent the same modes, or stages of development or 
evolution. If we accept the view that all characters of 
the organism are in part epigenetic, — are the outcome 
of hereditary impulse plus the bionomic conditions under 
which this impulse develops, — then variations themselves 
differ at each stage of the individual's development, 
differ with age, growth, etc. In gathering, tabulating, 
and treating variations, therefore, only those can be put 
together which belong to the same stage ; and this is 
most difficult to determine. Suppose we undertake, for 
example, to measure the variations in the length of nose 
of a species, it will not do to take the noses of indi- 
viduals at different ages, which represent different stages 
of maturity ; nor will it do, on the other hand, to take 
noses from different environments, where different reactions 
have occurred and different amounts of growth in this 
direction or that have been possible. So as to the deduc- 
tions which may be made from such measurements for the 
theory of evolution, there may be very different formulas 
of variation at different evolutionary stages, grades, or 
modes. Influences which are very powerful in effecting 
variation in simple organisms, may be largely ineffective 
at later periods. 1 

1 I am not sufficiently versed in their results to judge whether these con- 
ditions are sufficiently allowed for; but it seems to be a legitimate demand to 
make of the statistician of biological measurements, that all his cases be at the 
same stage of development, and that they all occur in common environing 
conditions. Since writing this passage, I have come upon the article by 

Other Applications 333 

These illustrations, drawn from biology, may serve the 
purpose of showing the sort of application the axioms 
stated above may have. They might be illustrated with 
great force by questions which involve the relation of 
biology to psychology, of psychology to ethics, etc. But 
these topics are too far remote from the main discussions 
of this work. It may be allowable, however, to point out 
that the principles stated above as third and fourth are 
especially apropos of certain recent topics of much dis- 

The fourth axiom lays stress upon the actual tracing 
of each genetic series as it occurs, for itself ; but it recog- 
nizes the possible sameness of mode in different series 
which are parallel or, in the sense of an earlier definition, 
' concurrent.' The case in biology and also in psychology 
in which this possibility is realized is that of psychophysi- 
cal parallelism as worked out and defended in our earlier 

E. Warren (on 'Variation in the Parthenogenic Generations of Aphis') in 
Vol. I., Part 2, of Biometrica (the journal recently established for the publica- 
tion of biological measurements), in which he recognizes the requirement, here 
laid down, that the same conditions of environment should hold for all the 
cases treated (see especially p. 146 of his article ; see also Weldon's criticism 
of the 'Mutation theory' in the same journal, I., 3, p. 367). Possibly the 
other point — that requiring the same stage of development — is also recog- 
nized. It would still seem, however, to be almost impossible to fulfil these 
requirements. At any rate, although we recognize fully the value of the 
quantitative studies of the new science of ' Biometrics,' and concede that in 
problems for which the statistical data are adequate it introduces a new era into 
biology; yet we hold that it illustrates just the point made here — that quantita- 
tive science deals with cross-sections, with accomplished organizations, not with 
transitions and growths as such. The business of the old-school naturalist, 
who has not the training to do work in ' Biometrics,' is not entirely ruined. 
And we may express the hope that among the brilliant formulations of ' bio- 
metricians ' we may not find too many that may be termed bio-meretricious ! 
Some such have been produced in fact in the attempt to construct a 
' Psychometrics.' 

334 The Theory of Genetic Modes 

chapters. If parallelism be true, then each mode in one 
series has theoretically — and many are known to have as 
matter of fact — a correlated mode at the corresponding 
level in the other series ; and each may, in so far, be used 
to aid in the interpretation of the other. This holds not 
only of the parallelism between mind and body, but also 
of the concurrence between development and evolution. 

The third axiom stated above forbids the method of 
analogy from a lower mode to a higher, either in the solu- 
tion of a problem of genesis inside a single group or 
series, or as between one science and another. This, I 
take it, is the bane of contemporary science other than 
physical — the carrying over of established formulas, or 
the analogous application of established principles, often 
with the question-begging application of the same terms, 
from one mode of phenomena to another. The theory of 
evolution is responsible for much of this cheap apology 
for science — biology used in sociology, physics in psy- 
chology, the concept of energy in history, etc. Evolution 
has been mistaken for reduction, the highest genetic modes 
being ' explained ' in terms of the lowest, and much of the 
explaining done by ' explaining away ' most that is charac- 
teristic of the highest. And biological or organic evolution 
itself is a storehouse of mistaken analogies brought over 
into the moral sciences. 

It is the writer's hope — to close with a personal word — 
that the series of books, to which this volume belongs, may 
have done something to show the spuriousness of this 
sort of science, and to set forth the requirements, at any 
rate, of what may properly be called genetic investigation. 




I. Professor H. F. Osborn 

['A Mode of Evolution requiring neither Natural Selection nor the In- 
heritance of Acquired Characters.' (Organic Selection.) Trans. New York 
Academy of Science (1896), meetings of March and April, 1896, pp. 141-148; 
cf. abstract in Science, April 3, 1896.] 

" Dr. Graf discussed the views of the modern schools of 
evolutionists, and adopted the view that the transmission of 
acquired characters must be admitted to occur. He cited 
several examples which seemed to support this view, and 
especially discussed the sucker in leeches as an adaptation to 
parasitism and the evolution of the chambered shell in a series 
of fossil Cephalopods. 

" Professor Osborn remarked in criticism of Dr. Graf's paper 
that this statement does not appear to recognize the distinction 
between ontogenic 1 and phylogenic variation, or that the adult 
form of any organism is an exponent of the stirp, or constitu- 
tion -f- the environment. If the environment is normal, the 
adult will be normal ; but if the environment (which includes 
all the atmospheric, chemical, nutritive, motor, and psychical 
circumstances under which the animal is reared) were to change, 

1 In this paper ' Ontogenic Variation ' is used for what we are now calling 
' Modification.' See the citation made below from Professor Osborn's paper 
in the Amer. Naturalist. — J. M. B. 


336 Appendix A 

the adult would change correspondingly ; and these changes 
would be so profound that in many cases it would appear as 
if the constitution, or stirp, had also changed. Illustrations 
might be given of changes of the most profound character 
induced by changes in either of the above factors of environ- 
ment, and in the case of the motor factor or animal motion 
the habits of the animal would, in the course of a lifetime, 
profoundly modify its structure. For example, if the human 
infant were brought up in the branches of a tree as an arboreal 
type, instead of as a terrestrial, bi-pedal type, there is little 
doubt that some of the well-known early adaptations to arboreal 
habit (such as the turning in of the soles of the feet, and the 
grasping of the hands) might be retained and cultivated ; thus 
a profoundly different type of man would be produced. Similar 
changes in the action of environment are constantly in progress 
in nature, since there is no doubt that the changes of environ- 
ment and the habits which it so brings about far outstrip 
all changes in constitution. This fact, which has not been 
sufficiently emphasized before, offers an explanation of the 
evidence advanced by Cope and other writers that change in 
the forms of the skeletons of the vertebrates first appears in 
ontogeny and subsequently in phylogeny. During the enor- 
mously long period of time in which habits induce ontogenic 
variations, it is possible for natural selection to work very 
slowly and gradually upon predispositions to useful correlated 
variations, and thus what are primarily ontogenic variatioiis 
become slowly apparent as phylogenic variations or congenital 
characters of the race. Man, for instance, has been upon the 
earth perhaps seventy thousand years ; natural selection has 
been slowly operating upon certain of these predispositions, 
but has not yet eliminated those traces of the human arboreal 
habits, nor completely adapted the human frame to the upright 
position. This is as much an expression of habit and ontogenic 
variation as it is a constitutional character. Very similar views 
were expressed to the speaker in a conversation recently held 
with Professor Lloyd Morgan, and it appears as if a similar 
conclusion had been arrived at independently. Professor 

H. K Osborn HI 

Morgan believed that this explanation could be applied to all 
cases of adaptive modification, but it is evident that this cannot 
be so, because the teeth also undergo the same progressively 
adaptive evolution along determinate lines as the skeleton, and 
yet it is well known that they do not improve by use, but rather 
deteriorate. Thus the explanation is not one which satisfies 
all cases ; 1 but it does seem to meet, and to a certain extent 
undermine, the special cases of evidence of the inheritance 
of acquired characters, collected by Professor Cope in his well- 
known papers upon this subject." 

['Organic Selection.' 2 From Science, N. S., Vol. VI., pp. 583-587, Oct. 
I5> l8 97-] 

" The evidence for definite or determinate variation has 
always been my chief difficulty with the natural selection 
theory, and my chief reason for giving a measure of support 
to the Lamarckian theory. This evidence has steadily accu- 
mulated in botanical and zoological as well as paleontological 
researches, until it has come to a degree of demonstration 
where it must be reckoned with. 3 

" Quite in another field, that of experimental embryology 
and zoology, the facts of adaptation to new and untoward 
circumstances of environment have begun to constitute a distinct 
and novel series of problems. In many cases they are so 

1 These cases do militate against Lamarckian inheritance, but do not, I 
think, furnish exceptions to the operation of organic selection; for the deterio- 
ration of the teeth by use would only make more necessary the cooperation 
of muscular and other accommodations, while variations in the teeth were 
accumulating (cf. the discussion of ' coincident variation ' above, Chap. 
XIV. § 3, and also that of the universal application of the principle above, 
Chap. III. §§ 1,5).— J. M. B. 

2 A discussion introduced by Professor Henry F. Osborn and Professor 
Edward B. Poulton, Detroit Meeting, Amer. Assoc, Aug. II, 1897. 

3 Cf. Chap. XII. § 1 above, where it is pointed out that Professor Osborn 
is here possibly using the phrase 'determinate variation' somewhat loosely for 
'determinate evolution' — in my opinion a different thing. It is necessary 
to say this to make entirely valid his kind citations from me. Professor 
Weldon's exposition of the theory of the 'mean' in Biometrica, I. 3, may be 
consulted. — J. M. B. 


338 Appendix A 

remarkable and so unexplainable that certain German writers, 
such as Driesch, have taken the ground that they spring from 
the ultimate constitution of living matter and are incapable 
of analysis. At the same time it has been recognized that 
these adaptations are purely individual, transitory, or ontogenic, 
leaving, for a long time at least, no perceptible influence upon 
the hereditary constitution of the organism. What may be 
called the ' traditional ' side of these adaptations impressed 
itself strongly upon Professor James Mark Baldwin in his 
studies of mental development, also upon Professor Lloyd 
Morgan in his studies of instinct. The latter, moreover, was 
one of the first among English selectionists to consider ' deter- 
minate variation ' as a fixed problem which must be included 
in any evolution theory. Thus, independently, Professors 
Baldwin and Morgan and myself put together the facts of 
individual adaptation with those of determinate variation into 
an hypothesis which is in some degree new. The first illustra- 
tion which I used was that of the creation of an ' arboreal 
man ' out of any present terrestrial race by the assumption 
of an exclusively tree life. This life would be profound in 
its influences upon each generation producing what would be 
pronounced by zoologists a distinct specific type. In course 
of many thousand years such a type might become hereditary 
by the slow accumulation of arboreal adaptive and congenital 

" Organic selection is the term proposed by Professor Baldwin 
and adopted by Professor Morgan and myself for this process 
in nature which is believed to be one of the true causes of 
definite or determinate variation. The hypothesis is briefly 
as follows : That ontogenetic adaptation is of a very profound 
character. It enables animals and plants to survive very critical 
changes in their environment. Thus all the individuals of a 
race are similarly modified over such long periods of time that 
very gradually congenital or phylogenetic variations, which 
happen to coincide with the ontogenetic adaptive variations, 
are selected. Thus there would result an apparent but not 
real transmission of acquired characters. 

H. F. Osborn 339 

" This hypothesis, if it has no limitations, brings about a 
very unexpected harmony between the Lamarckian and Darwin- 
ian aspects of evolution, by mutual concessions upon the part 
of the essential positions of both theories. While it abandons 
the transmission of acquired characters, it places individual 
adaptation first, and fortuitous variations second, as Lamarck- 
ians have always contended, instead of placing survival condi- 
tions by fortuitous variations first and foremost, as selectionists 
have contended." 

[From the American Naturalist, November, 1897.] 

"On April 13, 1896, I formulated the matter in a paper 
before the Academy entitled i A Mode of Evolution requiring 
neither Natural Selection nor the Inheritance of Acquired 
Characters,' which has since appeared in Science} Professor 
Baldwin, of Princeton, and Professor Lloyd Morgan, of Uni- 
versity College, Bristol, had at the same time independently 
reached the same hypothesis, and Professor Baldwin has aptly 
termed it 'Organic Selection.' Both writers have presented 
valuable critical papers upon it, including in Science and Nature 
a complete terminology for the various processes involved. I 
concur entirely in their proposal to restrict the term ' Variation ' 
to congenital variation, to substitute the term ' Modification ' 
for ontogenic variation, and to adopt the term ' Organic Selec- 
tion ' for the process by which individual adaptation leads and 
guides evolution, and the term ' Orthoplasy ' for the definite and 
determinate results. 

" The hypothesis, as it appears to myself, is, briefly, that 
ontogenic adaptation is of a very profound character ; it enables ani- 
mals and plants to survive very critical changes i?i their environ- 
ment. Thus all the individuals of a race are similarly modified 
over such long periods of time that, very gradually, congenital 
variations which happen to coincide with the ontogenic adaptive 
modifications are collected and become phylogenic. Thus there 
would result an apparent but not real transmission of acquired 

1 Cited in extenso above. 

34-0 Appendix A 

" What appears to be new, therefore, in Organic Selection is, 
first, the emphasis laid upon the almost unlimited powers of 
individual adaptation ; second, the extension of such adapta- 
tion without any effect upon heredity for long periods of time ; 
third, that heredity slowly adapts itself to the needs of a race in a 
new environment along lines anticipated by individual adaptation, 
and therefore along definite and determinate lines. 

" Professor Alfred Wallace has recently indorsed this hypoth- 
esis in a review of Professor Morgan's work, Habit and 
Instinct, in the March, 1897, number of Natural Science in the 
following language : ' Modification of the individual by the 
environment, whether in the direction of structure or of hab- 
its, is universal and of considerable amount, and it is almost 
always, under the conditions, a beneficial modification. But 
every kind of beneficial modification is also being constantly 
effected through variation and natural selection, so that the 
beautifully perfect adaptations we see in nature are the result 
of a double process, being partly congenital, partly acquired. 
Acquired modifications thus help on congenital change by giv- 
ing time for the necessary variations in many directions to be 
selected, and we have here another answer to the supposed 
difficulty as to the necessity of many coincident variations in 
order to bring about any effective advance of the organism. 
In one year favorable variations of one kind are selected and 
individual modifications in other directions enable them to be 
utilized ; in Professor Lloyd Morgan's words : " Modification 
as such is not inherited, but is the condition under which con- 
genital variations are favored and given time to get a hold on 
the organism, and are thus enabled by degrees to reach the 
fully adaptive level." The same result will be produced by 
Professor Weismann's recent suggestion of " germinal selection," 
so that it now appears as if all the theoretical objections to the 
" adequacy of natural selection " have been theoretically answered.' 
(Italics our own.) 

" Moreover, in course of discussion of this subject with my 
friends Professors Lloyd Morgan, Baldwin, and Poulton, a very 
fundamental difference of opinion becomes apparent ; for they 

H. K O shorn 341 

agree in believing that the power of plastic modification to new 
circumstances, or what the Rev. Dr. Henslow has termed ' self- 
adaptation,' is in itself a result of natural selection. In other 
words, they hold that natural selection has established in organ- 
isms this power of invariable 1 response to new conditions, which, 
in the vast majority of cases, is essentially adaptive. I disagree 
with this assumption in toto, maintaining that this plastic modi- 
fication is, so far as we know, an inherent power or function of 
protoplasm. This view, I understand, is also held by Driesch, 
E. B. Wilson, T. H. Morgan, and probably by many others. 
The only cases in which self-adaptation may be demonstrated 
as produced by natural selection are where organisms are 
restored to an environment which some of their ancestors expe- 
rienced. We can then imagine that the adaptive response to 
the old environment is something which has never been lost, as 
in the well-known reappearance of the pigment in flounders. 

" It may be urged against the Morgan, Baldwin, Poulton 
view that the remarkable powers of self-adaptation, which in 
many cases are favorable to the survival of the individual, are 
in many cases decidedly detrimental to the race, as where a 
maimed or mutilated embryo by regeneration reaches an adult 
or reproductive stage. It is obvious that reproduction from 
imperfect individuals would be decidedly detrimental, yet, from 
the view taken by the above authors, such reproduction would 
be necessary to secure the power of plastic modification for the 

" It is certain that, at the present time, one of the surest and 
most attractive fields of inductive research, leading towards the 
discovery of the additional factors of evolution, or what I have 
elsewhere called 'the unknown factor,' is in experimental em- 
bryology and experimental zoology. If we could formulate the 
laws of self -adaptation or plastic modification, we would be de- 
cidedly nearer the truth. It appears that Organic Selection is 
a real process, but it has not yet been demonstrated that the 
powers of self-adaptation which become hereditary are only 
accumulated by selection." 

1 Variable (?). — J. M. B. 

342 Appendix A 

II. Professor C. Lloyd Morgan 

[Extract from Habit and Instinct (1896), pp. 312 ff., previously printed by 
request in Science, Nov. 20. 1896, pp. 793 ff., and delivered as one of a series 
of ' Lowell Lectures ' in Boston, early in 1896.] 

" In his Romanes lecture, Professor Weismann makes another 
suggestion which is valuable and may be further developed. 
He is there dealing with what he terms ' intra-selection,' or 
that which gives to the individual its plasticity. One of the 
examples that he adduces is the structure of bone. ' Hermann 
Meyer,' he says, 1 ' seems to have been the first to call attention 
to the adaptiveness as regards minute structure in animal 
tissues, which is most strikingly exhibited in the structure of the 
spongy substance of the long bones in the higher vertebrates. 
This substance is arranged on a similar mechanical principle 
to that of arched structures in general ; it is composed of 
numerous fine bony plates, so arranged as to withstand the 
greatest amount of tension and pressure, and to give the utmost 
firmness with a minimum expenditure of material. But the 
direction, position, and strength of these bony plates are by 
no means congenital or determined in advance ; they depend 
on circumstances. If the bone is broken and heals out of the 
straight, the plates of the spongy tissue become rearranged so 
as to lie in a new direction of greatest tension and pressure ; 
they can thus adapt themselves to changed circumstances.' 

" Then, after referring to the explanation by Wilhelm Roux 
of the cause of these wonderfully fine adaptations, by applying 
the principle of selection to the parts of the organism in which, 
it is assumed, there is a struggle for existence among each 
other, Professor Weismann proceeds to show 2 ' that it is not 
the particular adaptive structures themselves that are trans- 
mitted, but only the quality of the material from which intra- 
selection forms these structures anew in each individual life. 
... It is not the particular spongy plates which are trans- 

1 Romanes Lecture on The Effect of External Influences on Development 
(1894), pp. 11, 12. 

2 Romanes Lecture, p. 15. 

C. Lloyd Morgan 343 

mitted, but a cell mass, that from the germ onward so reacts 
to tension and pressure that the spongy structure necessarily 
results.' In other words, it is not the more or less definite 
congenital adaptation that is handed on through heredity, but 
an innate plasticity which renders possible adaptive modifi- 
cation in the individual. 

" This innate plasticity is undoubtedly of great advantage in 
race progress. The adapted organism will escape elimination 
in the life struggle ; and it matters not whether the adaptation 
be reached through individual modification of the bodily tissues 
or through racial variation of germinal origin. So long as the 
adaptation is there, — no matter how it is originated, — that is 
sufficient to secure survival. Professor Weismann applies this 
conception to one of those difficulties which have been urged 
by critics of natural selection. 'Let us take,' he says, 1 'the 
well-known instance of the gradual increase in development of 
the deer's antlers, in consequence of which the head in the 
course of generations has become more and more heavily 
loaded. The question has been asked as to how it is possible 
for the parts of the body which have to support and move this 
weight to vary simultaneously and harmoniously if there is no 
such thing as the transmission of the effects of use or disuse, 
and if the changes have resulted from processes of selection 
only. This is the question put by Herbert Spencer as to 
" coadaptation" and the answer is to be found in connection 
with the process of intra-selection. It is by no means necessary 
that all the parts concerned — skull, muscles, and ligaments of 
the neck, cervical vertebrae, bones of the four limbs, etc. — 
should simultaneously adapt themselves by variation of the germ 
to the increase of the size of the antlers ; for in each separate 
individual the necessary adaptation will be temporarily accom- 
plished by intra-selection,' that is, by individual modification due 
to the innate plasticity of the parts concerned. ' The improve- 
ment of the parts in question,' Professor Weismann urges, 
' when so acquired, will certainly not be transmitted, but yet 
the primary variation is not lost. Thus when an advantageous 
1 Romanes Lecture, pp. 18, 19. 

344 Appendix A 

increase in the size of the antlers has taken place, it does not 
lead to the destruction of the animal in consequence of other 
parts being unable to suit themselves to it. All parts of the 
organism are in a certain degree variable {i.e. modificable), 
and capable of being determined by the strength and nature 
of the influences that affect them, and this capacity to respond 
conformably to functional stimulus must be regarded as the 
means which make possible the maintenance of a harmonious 
coadaptation of parts in the course of the phyletic metamor- 
phosis of a species. ... As the primary variations in the 
phyletic metamorphosis occurred little by little, the secondary 
adaptations would as a rule be able to keep pace with them.' 

" So far Professor Weismann. According to his conception, 
variations of germinal origin occur from time to time. By its 
innate plasticity the several parts of an organism implicated 
by their association with the varying part are modified in 
individual life in such a way that their modifications cooperate 
with the germinal variation in producing an adaptation of 
double origin, partly congenital, partly acquired. The organism 
then waits, so to speak, for a further congenital variation, when 
a like process of adaptation again occurs ; and thus race prog- 
ress is effected by a series of successive variational steps, 
assisted by a series of cooperating individual modifications. 

" If now it could be shown that, although on selectionist prin- 
ciples there is no transmission of modifications due to individual 
plasticity, yet these modifications afford the conditions under 
which variations of like nature are afforded an opportunity of 
occurring and of making themselves felt in race progress, a far- 
ther step would be taken toward a reconciliation of opposing 
views. Such, it appears to me, may well be the case. 1 

" To explain the connection which may exist between modifica- 

1 In an article entitled 'A New Factor in Evolution,' published in the 
American Naturalist for June and July, 1896, Professor Mark Baldwin has 
given expression to views of like nature to those which are here developed. 
And Professor Henry F. Osborn, in a paper read before the New York 
Academy of Sciences, propounded a somewhat similar theory, but with, he 
tells me, less stress upon the action of natural selection. 

C. Lloyd Morgan 345 

tions of the bodily tissues, due to innate plasticity and variations 
of germinal origin in similar adaptive directions, we may revert 
to the pendulum analogy. Assuming that variations do tend 
to occur in a great number of divergent directions, we may liken 
each to a pendulum which tends to swing, — nay, which is swing- 
ing through a small arc. The organism, so far as variation is 
concerned, is a complex aggregate of such pendulums. Sup- 
pose, then, that it has reached congenital harmony with its 
environment. The pendulums are all swinging through the 
small arcs implied by the slight variations which occur even 
among the offspring of the same parents. No pendulum can 
materially increase its swing ; for since the organism has reached 
congenital harmony with its environment, any marked variation 
will be out of harmony, and the individual in which it occurs 
will be eliminated. Natural selection then will insure the 
damping down of the swing of all the pendulums in compara- 
tively narrow limits. 

" But now suppose that the environment somewhat rapidly 
changes. Congenital variations of germinal origin will not be 
equal to the occasion. The swing of the pendulums concerned 
cannot be rapidly augmented. Here individual plasticity steps 
in to save some members of the race from extinction. They 
adapt themselves to the changed conditions through a modifica- 
tion of the bodily tissues. If no members of the race have 
sufficient innate plasticity to effect this accommodation, that race 
will become extinct, as has indeed occurred again and again in 
the course of geological history. The rigid races have suc- 
cumbed ; the plastic races have survived. Let us grant, then, 
that certain organisms accommodate themselves to the new con- 
ditions by plastic modifications of the bodily tissues — say by the 
adaptive strengthening of some bony structure. What is the 
effect on congenital variations ? Whereas all the other pendu- 
lums are still damped down by natural selection as before, the 
oscillation of the pendulum which represents variation in this 
bony structure is no longer checked. It is free to swing as 
much as it can. Congenital variations in the same direction as 
the adaptive modification will be so much to the good of the 

346 Appendix A 

individual concerned. They will constitute a congenital predis- 
position to that strengthening of the part which is essential for 
survival. Variations in the opposite direction, tending to thwart 
the adaptive modification, will be disadvantageous, and will be 
eliminated. Thus, if the conditions remain constant for many 
generations, congenital variation will gradually render hereditary 
the same strengthening of bone structure that was provisionally 
attained by plastic modification. The effects are precisely the 
same as they would be if the modification in question were 
directly transmitted in a slight but cumulatively increasing 
degree ; they are reached, however, in a manner which involves 
no such transmission. 

" To take a particular case : Let us grant that in the evolution 
of the horse tribe it was advantageous to this line of vertebrate 
life that the middle digits of each foot should be largely devel- 
oped, and the lateral digits reduced in size ; and let us grant 
that this took its rise in adaptive modification through the 
increased use of the middle digit and the relative disuse of the 
lateral digits. Variations in these digits are no longer sup- 
pressed and eliminated. Any congenital predisposition to in- 
creased development of the mid-digit, and decreased size in the 
lateral digits, will tend to assist the adaptive modification and 
to supplement its deficiencies. Any congenital predisposition 
in the contrary direction will tend to thwart the adaptive modi- 
fication and render it less efficient. The former will let adaptive 
modification start at a higher level, so to speak, and thus enable 
it to be carried a step farther. The latter will force it to start at 
a lower level, and prevent its going so far. If natural selection 
take place at all, we may well believe that it would do so under 
such circumstances. 1 And it would work along the lines laid 
down for it in adaptive modification. Modification would lead ; 
variation follow in its wake. It is not surprising that for long 
we believed modification to be transmitted as hereditary varia- 
tion. Such an interpretation of the facts is the simpler and 
more obvious. But simple and obvious interpretations are not 

1 Professor Weismann's ' germinal selection,' if a vera causa, would be a 
cooperating factor, and assist in producing the requisite variations. 

C. Lloyd Morgan 347 

always correct. And if, on closer examination in the light of 
fuller knowledge, they are found to present grave difficulties, 
a less simple and less obvious interpretation may claim our 
provisional acceptance." 1 

'New Statement' from Professor Lloyd Morgan 2 

1. On the Lamarckian hypothesis, racial progress is due to 
the inheritance of individually acquired modifications of bodily 
structure, leading to the accommodation of the organism or race 
to the conditions of its existence. 

2. This proposition is divisible into three : (a) Individual 
progress is due to fresh modifications of bodily structure in 
accommodation to the conditions of life, (b) Racial progress is 
due to the inheritance of such newly acquired modifications. 
(c) The evolution of species is the result of the cumulative 
series — 

a>b+d>V+a">b"+a}">b"\ etc., etc., where a, a', a", a'" 
are the acquisitions, and b, b', b", b'" the cumulative inherited 

3. Anti-Lamarckians do not accept (b) and (c). But they 
accept (a) in terms of survival. No one denies that indi- 
vidual survival is partially due to fresh modifications of bodily 
structure in accommodation to the conditions of life. 

4. It logically follows from 3 that individual accommodation 

1 See also Professor C. LI. Morgan's later statements in his work Animal 
Behaviour (1900), pp. 37-39, 115. 

2 The above exposition of his position comes to me from Professor Lloyd 
Morgan after the page-proofs of the body of the book are already passed — 
in response to my request for annotations on the proofs of Chapter XIV. I 
have much pleasure in printing it, with Professor Morgan's permission, and 
regret that I cannot take more direct account of it in the chapter mentioned. 
It appears to sharpen the definition and also the limitation of the phrase ' co- 
incident variation,' and to set the views of Weismann in a somewhat different 
relation to organic selection from that which is expressed on pp. 183ft. above. 
Whatever the relation may be historically, logically it is certainly close, and 
the present writer is not at all disposed to be strenuous for an opinion on such 
a matter. 

348 Appendix A 

is a factor in survival which cooperates with adaptation through 
germinal variation. 

5. Weismann, following the lead of Roux, interpreted indi- 
vidual modification in terms of intra-selection. He clearly saw 
the implication given in 4 above. Speaking of ' the well-known 
instance of the gradual increase in the development of deer's 
antlers,' he says (Romanes Lecture, 1894, p. 18): 'It is by no 
means necessary that all the parts concerned should simultane- 
ously adapt themselves by variation of the germ to the increase 
in size of the antlers ; for in each separate individual the neces- 
sary adaptation [accommodation] will be temporarily accom- 
plished by intra-selection — by the struggle of parts — under the 
trophic influence of functional stimulus.' 

6. So far there is no direct relation between specific modifica- 
tions and specific variations. Individual accommodation, as a 
factor in survival, affords time (Weismann, op. cit., p. 19) for the 
occurrence of any variations of an adaptive nature. 

7. My own modest contribution to the further elucidation of 
the subject is the suggestion (1) that where adaptive variation v 
is similar in direction to individual modification m, the organism 
has an added chance of survival from the coincidence m + v ; 
(2) that where the variation is antagonistic in direction to the 
modification, there is a diminished chance of survival from the 
opposition m — v ; and hence (3) that coincident variations will 
be fostered while opposing variations will be eliminated. 

8. If this be so, many of the facts adduced by Lamarckians 
may be interpreted in terms of the survival and gradual estab- 
lishment of coincident variations by natural selection under the 
favourable environing conditions of somatic modifications. 

9. It is clear that there is nothing in this suggestion of a 
direct relation between specific accommodation and coincident 
variation which can be antagonistic to the indirect relation 
indicated above in 6. 

10. Correlated and coexistent variations would have the same 
relations to coincident variations as obtain in other cases of 
natural selection. 1 

1 Nos. 6, 9, 10 bear upon Chapter XIV. above. — J. M. B. 

E. B. Poulton 349 

III. Professor E. B. Poulton 

[From report in Science, Oct. 15, 1897, OI " proceedings of the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science.] 

" Edward B. Poulton, M.A., F.R.S., Hope Professor of Zoology 
in the University of Oxford, continued the discussion. He 
began by saying that it must be admitted that the adaptation 
of the individual to its environment during its own lifetime 
possesses all the significance attributed to it by Professor 
Osborn, Professor Baldwin, and Professor Lloyd Morgan. 
These authorities justly claim that the power of the individual 
to play a certain part in the struggle for life may constantly 
give a definite trend and direction to evolution, and that, 
although the results of a purely individual response to external 
forces are not hereditary, yet indirectly they may result in the 
permanent addition of corresponding powers to the species, 
inasmuch as they may render possible the operation of natural 
selection in perpetuating and increasing those inherent heredi- 
tary variations which go farther in the same direction than the 
powers which are confined to the individual. 

" Professor Osborn's metaphor in opening this discussion puts 
the matter quite clearly and will be at once accepted by all 
Darwinians. If the human species were led by fear of enemies 
or want of food to adopt an arboreal life, all the powers of 
purely individual adaptation would be at once employed in this 
direction and would produce considerable individual effects. 
In fact, the adoption of such a mode of life would at first 
depend on the existence of such powers. In this way natural 
selection would be compelled to act along a certain path, and 
would be given time in which to produce hereditary changes 
in the direction of fitness for arboreal life. These changes 
would probably at first be chiefly functional, as Mr. Cunning- 
ham has argued (in the Preface to his Translation of Eimer). 
On these principles we can understand the arboreal kangaroo 
(Dondrolagus) found in certain islands of the Malay Archi- 
pelago, which is apparently but slightly altered from the terres- 

350 Appendix A 

trial forms found in Australia. Professor Osborn has alluded 
to the arboreal habits said to have been lately acquired by 
Australian rabbits ; these and the similar modifications in 
habits of West Indian rats are further examples of individual 
adaptive modification which may well become the starting- 
point (in the sense implied above) of specific variation led 
by natural selection in the definite direction of more and 
more complete adjustment to the necessities of arboreal life. 
Although this conclusion seems to me to be clear and sound, 
and the principles involved seem to constitute a substantial 
gain in the attempt to understand the motive forces by which 
the great progress of organic evolution has been brought about, 
I cannot admit that the importance of natural selection is in 
any way diminished. I do not believe that these important 
principles form any real compromise between the Lamarckian 
and Darwinian positions, in the sense of an equal surrender 
on either side and the adoption of an intermediate position. 
The surrender of the Lamarckian position seems to me com- 
plete, while the considerations now advanced only confer added 
significance and strength to the Darwinian standpoint. 

" I propose to devote the remainder of the time at my disposal 
in support of the conclusion that the power of individual adap- 
tation possessed by the organism forms one of the highest 
achievements of natural selection, and cannot in any true 
sense be considered as its substitute. Professor Baldwin and 
Professor Lloyd Morgan thoroughly agree with this conclusion, 
and have enforced it in their writings on organic selection. 
The contention here urged is that natural selection works upon 
the highest organisms in such a way that they have become 
modifiable, and that this power of purely individual adaptability 
in fact acts as the nurse by whose help the species, as the 
above-named authorities maintain, can live through times in 
which the needed inherent variations are not forthcoming, but 
in part acts also as a substitute, not indeed for natural selection, 
but for the ordinary operation by which the latter produces 
change. In this latter case natural selection acts so as to 
produce a plastic adaptable individual which can meet any of 

E. B. Poulton 351 

the various forces to which it is likely to be exposed by produc- 
ing the appropriate modification, and this, it is claimed, is in 
many instances more valuable than the more perfect, but 
more rigid, adjustment of inherent variations to a fixed set of 

" A good example of the eminent advantages of adaptability 
in many directions over accurate adjustment in fewer directions 
is to be found in a comparison between the higher parts of the 
nervous system in insects and birds. The insect performs its 
various actions instinctively and perfectly from the first. It is 
almost incapable of education and of modifying its actions as 
the result of the observation of the effects of some new danger. 
It would appear that the introduction of the electric light can 
only affect the insects which are most attracted to it, by the 
gradual operation of natural selection. In the clothes-moths 
which infest our houses, we may see an example of this ; for 
these insects seem to be comparatively indifferent to light. 
Birds, on the other hand, have the power of learning from 
experience, of reasoning from the results of observation. At 
first terrified by railway trains, they learn that they are not 
dangerous, and cease to be alarmed ; while the effect of fire- 
arms results in their increased wariness. 

" If this view of individual adaptability as due to natural selec- 
tion be not accepted, it may be supposed that the individual 
modifications are due either to the direct action of the external 
forces or to the tendencies of the organism. But it is impossible 
to understand how the mechanical operation of such forces as 
pressure, friction, stress, etc., continued through a lifetime, 
could evoke useful responses, or why the response should just 
attain and then be arrested at a level of maximum efficiency. 
The other supposition, that organisms are so constituted that 
they must react under external stimuli by the production of 
new, useful characters, or the useful modification of old ones, 
seems to me to be essentially the same as the old 'innate 

tendency toward perfection ' as the motive cause of evolution 

a conception which is not much more satisfactory than special 
creation itself. The inadequacy of these views is clearly shown 

352 Appendix A 

when we consider that the external forces which awake response 
in an organism generally belong to its inorganic (physical or 
chemical) environment, while the usefulness of the response has 
relation to its organic environment (enemies, prey, etc.). Thus 
one set of forces supply the stimuli which evoke a response to 
another and very different set of forces. We can, therefore, 
accept neither of the suggestions which have been offered. 
Useful individual modifications are not directly due to the 
external forces, and are not due to the inherent constitution 
of the organism. 

" The only remaining hypothesis is that which I have already 
mentioned, — the view that whenever organisms react adaptively 
under external forces they do so because of special powers 
conferred on them by natural selection. This hypothesis will, 
it seems to me, meet and satisfactorily explain all the facts of 
the case, whether employed as a preparation or as a substitute 
for hereditary variations accumulated by natural selection." l 

1 In the Dictionary of Philosophy, art. • Plasticity,' the present writer points 
out that the original mobility or plasticity of living matter is probably differ- 
ent from the more specific plasticity of the developed organisms. — J. M. B. 




I. F. W. Headley 1 

Influence of the Individual on the Evolution of the Race 

" A variation, if it is to forward the process of evolution, 
must have selection-value in the first individuals in which 
it appears. A mere rudiment, to be some day, when fully 
developed, useful to far-off descendants, is not a thing that a 
clear-headed evolutionist can speak of seriously. The fore-limb 
of the avian-reptilian ancestor of birds must have been service- 
able to him as an oar or a wing or as a compound of the two. 
It cannot have been a reptile fore-limb spoiled and a mere 
prophecy of a wing. However imperfect, its usefulness must 
have been in the present, not in the future. When new circum- 
stances arise there must be, in individuals that are to survive, 
a fairly complete adaptation ready to hand. The antelopes 
cannot say to the cheetahs, ' Give us a respite of a hundred 
generations and we shall be able to race you.' Somehow the 
antelope has found a way out of the difficulty. Evolutionists 
have not always been so successful in showing how a species 
is able to stave off an imminent peril and obtain a respite 
during which a lucky variation may appear to save it. But now 
Professor Mark Baldwin 2 and Professor Lloyd Morgan 3 have 
independently arrived at a theory that makes matters much 
easier. ' Though there is no transmission of modifications due 

1 From Problems of Evolution (1901), by F. W. Headley, 1901, Chap. IV., 
vii., pp. 120 f. 

3 American Naturalist, June, July, 1896. 3 Habit and Instinct, p. 315. 

2A 353 

354 Appendix B 

to individual plasticity,' writes the latter, ' yet these modifications 
afford the conditions under which variations l of like nature are 
afforded an opportunity of occurring and of making themselves 
felt in race progress.' 

" The significance of this principle is clearly seen when it is 
studied in connection with the family system that prevails 
among the higher classes of animals, which feed and tend their 
young and to some extent educate them. Among social species 
it rises to still greater importance. In the light of this new 
principle the tending of the young by the parents is not merely 
a system by which waste is prevented ; it is also a system which 
prevents a species from deviating widely from the line of 
development that it has begun to follow. 

" I shall now try to make clear, mainly by examples, how the 
principle works. And first I shall try to show its operation 
when parental affection is not present to bring out its further 
possibilities. It may be stated thus : A co7igenital variation, 
in itself too minute to affect the question of survival, may gain 
selection-value through exercise. The variation having thus been 
saved by exercise, further variations in the same direction may occur. 

" The ancestors of the amphibians lived throughout their lives 
in water, breathing the oxygen dissolved in it by means of gills. 
Now individuals in whom a rudimentary lung appeared, a pouch 
opening from the oesophagus, might develop the breathing 
capacity of this rudiment by coming frequently to the surface 
and inhaling air, or by getting out on to the bank either to rest 
or to escape from enemies. Then there might arise a terrible 
emergency such as comes to many 'water breathers,' if they 
live in fresh-water pools ; there might be a drought causing the 
pools to dry up. At this crisis some individuals are saved 
by their lungs. They have so far developed their makeshift 
pouches by exercise that they are able, though not without 
strain and discomfort, to become exclusively air-breathers, till 
at length rain comes or they have made their way to another 
pool from which the water has not evaporated. If there is a 
succession of such droughts, there will be a further selection 

1 Italics mine (Headley). 

F. W. Head ley 355 

of those who have serviceable lungs. Thus individuals tide 
over a crisis by improving their natural gifts by exercise ; 
without such Lamarckian methods, they would not be equal to 
the emergency. At the same time, there is a selection of those 
who can thus improve themselves. When the next drought 
comes probably further variations in the same direction have 
arisen, and there would have been an opportunity for this, but 
for those modifications due to exercise which secured a respite 
for the species. And thus modifications though not transmitted 
to the next generation are the prelude to variations similar in 
tendency to themselves. Before going further, I must say 
something to justify the above illustration. It is probable that 
the lung was, in origin, a fully-developed swim-bladder. But 
a fully-developed swim-bladder may be only rudimentary when 
regarded as a lung. There was need of exercise to make it 
serviceable and give it selection-value in this capacity. I have 
felt justified, therefore, in speaking of it for the sake of sim- 
plicity as a rudimentary lung. 

" One more instance. I imagine the Wapiti deer, or rather 
one of his progenitors, — this is the old puzzle set to Neo- 
Darwinians by Mr. Herbert Spencer, — developing great antlers 
through the accumulation of congenital variations by Natural 
Selection. What if the muscles and ligaments of the neck 
and of all the cooperative machinery did not grow strong 
through favourable variations during the same period ? The 
answer is plain enough ; even without the help of Natural 
Selection the organism will be able to make shift for a time. 
Muscles can be strengthened by use during the lifetime of the 
individual. How much can be done in this way if we begin, 
say in our teens, and exercise certain muscles regularly for half 
an hour a day ! How great would be the result if we exer- 
cised them each day during the whole time that we were on our 
legs ! All day the stag was carrying his antlers, and his muscles 
were acquiring the strength that was needed. But when the 
antlers in the course of many generations had grown big, males 
that were born without specially adapted muscles to carry 
them would not be likely to be lords of the herd. So that here, 

356 Appendix B 

too, congenital variations would follow in the wake of accommo- 
dations, due to exercise, in the individual. 

" The other examples which I take will show how parental 
affection gave a new importance to this principle. 

" First I will consider the process by which birds became 
bipeds, using their hind-limbs only for walking, and devoting 
their fore-limbs to flight. Let us assume that they first learned 
to fly by flapping along the surface of water, flying with their 
wings and paddling with their feet. When they took to living 
on land, not only would flight, being unaided by the feet, be 
more difficult, but they must become bipeds else their wing 
feathers will suffer. Now walking on the hind legs is by no 
means an easy feat for a bird till he has been specially adapted 
for it. What a clumsy creature a penguin is on land ! How 
often he trips and tumbles ! But power of running is often 
indispensable to a bird ; many birds in the present day rise 
from the ground with difficulty, and without ample space cannot 
rise at all, so that unless they were good on their legs, they 
would be as helpless as a Boer without his horse. Much less 
could the primitive bird when he emerged on to the land do 
without speed of foot, unless like the penguins he was lucky 
enough to have no land enemies to pursue him. He must, 
therefore, practise and improve at running, and the result might 
well be that a small peculiarity of structure would be raised to 
importance ; having a slight gift for running he would become 
through much practice an adept according to the primitive avian 
standard. And now comes in the factor of parental training, 
for we must imagine that having advanced so far in strength, 
skill, and vitality as to be able to fly, he will not leave his young 
to fend entirely for themselves. They will have the path of life 
marked out for them by their parents. They must not return 
to an aquatic existence, only occasionally landing for rest, at 
safe spots, but they must be able to stand, walk, run in biped 
fashion. In fact individuals dictate to their offspring what 
mode of life they shall follow, choose the environment that is 
to act upon them, and, each generation making a similar choice, 
development proceeds cumulatively along certain lines ; only 

K W. Head ley 357 

variations adapted to the chosen environment are selected, and 
in a long series of generations the structures and qualities most 
in demand are brought to a high pitch of excellence. Two 
more examples will help to make this clearer. 

" Imagine the progenitors of the heron taking to fishing 
in the heron style. As preliminaries they must have some 
favourable variations ; a length of leg beyond the normal, a 
corresponding length of neck, — this is desirable if not essen- 
tial, — and also a beak not entirely of the wrong kind. But 
they do not walk on stilts like their modern descendants, nor 
have they the other excellencies with which we are familiar. 
However, by painstaking effort they get over their difficulties 
and survive in virtue of their piscatorial skill. Moreover, they 
dictate to their young that they shall be fishermen, and shall 
fish too in the heron style ; no diving is allowed. A propensity 
to live on carrion is severely discouraged, though a variety of 
live food, including lizards, insects, and worms is permitted. 
Among the young some will be failures qua herons, will fall 
short of their parents' almost inadequate development ; their 
neck and legs will suggest anything but fishing in the only style 
admissible. Nevertheless they will be taken to the water ; from 
the water must come their main food supply. But those that 
have the heron build, being at the worst not inferior to their 
parents, will be successes in the line marked out for them ; and 
thus a heron species, afterwards to be dignified as a genus 
containing many species, will be founded, with long legs, long 
necks, and ferocious bills. 

" One more example may be very briefly given. Let us 
imagine our own supposed ancestors, tree-climbing animals for 
long ages, at length taking to walking biped-fashion upon the 
ground, because the change of habit offered better chances of 
obtaining food. The new gait would require a whole set of 
adjustments, for an upright posture is by no means so simple 
a thing as it seems. It requires certain favourable congenital 
variations, among others a certain hardness of the soles of the 
feet, or a tendency to harden under certain conditions. Other- 
wise lameness would ensue ; disease or capture by enemies 

358 Appendix B 

would follow in due course. Now among the offspring of a pair 
who succeeded in this new mode of life, some would have 
feet of the right sort, together with the other characteristics 
required, and would survive. Others would be ill-adapted for 
an upright posture and the associated habits. Nevertheless 
they would have to follow their parents' mode of life. The 
species, at the time of which we are thinking, has long advanced 
beyond the stage at which the young are flung upon the world 
directly they are born. They cannot, therefore, revert to the 
trees because walking is painful, and, at last, impossible for 
them. Their parents choose for them their line of life, thus 
deciding with certain limits the line of development of the 

" Not only parental care but also the gregarious habit, so 
common among animals, helps, so to speak, to give the species 
a continuous policy and so to promote evolution. Here, too, a 
few examples may make clear what is meant. 

" Among a herd of primitive ruminants some individual bulls 
may have had, where the horns now are, an exceptional thick- 
ness of bone and over it a certain epidermal callosity, not 
sufficient without special treatment to enable them to drive 
rivals from the field, but sufficient to make them enjoy sparring, 
so that the parts would get hardened and enlarged during their 
advance to maturity. Those of inferior natural endowments 
would improve much less quickly or break down altogether. 
Thus congenital hardness of head, increased by practice in butting, 
would become a character having selection-value, and bulls that 
were not richly endowed in this respect would leave no offspring 
behind them. Among animals living in herds there are special 
facilities for sexual selection by battle. All the males must 
fight or efface themselves : there is no standing out. And thus 
if they are to survive, males must vary in a certain direction, 
viz., towards hardness of head and weapons for butting. Hence 
by gradual accumulation will arise horns or branching antlers. 

" Many species of birds owe their success in the world to 
their sociability. Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) in their crowded 
rookeries, or as they fly in large flocks, are able to beat off 

F. W. Headley 359 

their enemies. When a party of curlews {Numenius arquatd) 
are feeding, it is almost a certainty that one of the number, by 
means of some sense or other, will become aware of any danger 
that is approaching and give warning to the rest. And the 
sociability that thus protects them we cannot regard as entirely 
instinctive : it is partly habit learned in each by the young from 
their elders. And thus it comes about that the tradition of the 
species to some extent decides the course of its evolution by 
deciding the manner of life that its members are to lead. 
Those to whom life in a community proves uncongenial probably 
fall victims to enemies. 

" Can this newly discovered principle help to heal the feud 
between the followers of Weismann (the Neo-Darwinians) and 
the Lamarckians ? If it can, then the Lamarckians must have 
a singular power of mistaking an utter rout for a compromise. 
For what the new principle shows is not that acquired charac- 
teristics can be transmitted, but that Natural Selection can, 
without such transmission, do what Lamarckism claimed that 
it had the exclusive right and power to do. Each generation 
decides in the main the environment of the next, and insists that 
it shall live in that environment. Those of the young survive 
who, with the aid of some training, are able to accommodate 
themselves to the environment in which they are put. The 
similarity of environment in each generation leads to selection 
for similar characteristics : modifications and accommodations in 
the individual, though not transmitted, are followed by variations 
and adaptations in the race, the very phenomenon which has 
always been the Lamarckian's most formidable weapon. This 
can now be explained on Neo-Darwinian principles, and if you 
can show that your opponent's theory is not the only nor the 
best way of accounting for the facts which he himself adduces, 
you cut the ground from under him. A simile may perhaps 
make it clear how the principle works. We may look upon a 
species as a huge herd of animals that are being driven 
along a road ; the driver being some impulse in themselves. 
Numerous roads lead off on either side, and it is impossible 
to say that one is the main road more than another. All these 


60 Appendix B 

ways lie open, but the elders, by example and persuasion, lead 
the young into some road or roads swerving at no very great 
angle from that already followed or into the one that leads 
straight on. Since the young are not allowed to follow their 
devious caprices, it is seldom that individuals are found press- 
ing into widely divergent paths. And so the species does not 
waste itself by vaguely experimenting in new directions. And 
hence, too, Natural Selection, a policeman who lynches all who 
don't go the pace or who take a wrong road, works, in a limited 
field, among the masses that crowd the track that continues the 
line already followed or others that diverge but slightly from it : 
among these masses it acts with the utmost stringency ; the 
laggards are ruthlessly cut off, and evolution goes rapidly on. 

" This, I believe, fairly represents the process of evolution in 
the higher species. But the Lamarckian may fairly enter a 
demurrer and say : " Low down in the animal scale, the new 
principle can work but feebly, if at all. There Natural Selec- 
tion acts directly on the individual from the moment of his 
birth or the moment of the depositing of the egg. And yet 
there have been developed forms as high as the newt and the 
lizard, — an enormous advance from the lowest types. Can 
Natural Selection have achieved all this ? If not we must find 
something that will assist it at every stage from the bottom to 
the top ; not a principle which does not begin to operate till 
the higher levels have been already attained." 

" This objection certainly requires answering. 1 Let us recur 
to our simile which represents a species as a herd driven along 
a road from which many roads lead off. If the elders do not 
guide the young there will be perpetual deviations, most of 
them ending in wholesale destruction till some guiding tendency 
develops and is fostered by Natural Selection. This guiding 
tendency is rigid instinct, and even that does not prevent a 
slaughter, mainly during infancy, enormously above what takes 
place among the higher classes of animals. As the crowd 

1 It is claimed by the present writer that this objection is met by the claim 
that all characters in their development in the individual require some accom- 
modation. This gives organic selection its chance everywhere. — J. M. B. 

F. W. Headley 361 

presses onward, those that, passing all other roads, keep on in 
a particular direction will at length form a species guided by 
instincts that seldom swerve. Thus evolution proceeds by- 
Natural Selection, but at the cost of an enormous sacrifice of 
life, even after instincts come in to reduce it. At the higher 
level there is intensification of Natural Selection, but the waste 
of indiscriminate destruction in a great degree comes to an end. 
Intelligence and plasticity are the order of the day. The 
monkey is a good representative of the new system : the cater- 
pillar, with his one accomplishment, of the old. Intelligence 
enables those who have it to make themselves at home where 
the creature of instinct would perish. They pass their youth 
in playing and imitating and thus gain a versatility that protects 
them amid the shocks of circumstance. They have merit of a 
kind that must make itself felt. Though they have marked 
tendencies, strong likes and dislikes, yet they have with all a 
certain saving pliancy and elasticity. And greater pliancy in 
its component individuals leads, as I have tried to show in this 
section, to greater adaptability in the species. The result is 
that among the higher plastic classes of animals evolution 
proceeds more rapidly. 

" But obviously the quickening up of evolution is not all. 
The individual gains in importance. He improves his powers, 
is able to face a change of environment that otherwise would 
have been fatal. He makes an environment for his young in 
which intelligence can be developed : he chooses the environ- 
ment which they shall have when out of the nursery, and so 
decides to some extent what qualities shall be the winning 
qualities in life. In fact, he is beginning to take the helm and 
steer the species. Or we may put it in this way: when the 
individuals of one generation decide the environment in which 
the next shall grow up, selection ceases to be purely natural : it 
is in part artificial." 

362 Appendix B 

II. Professor Conn 1 

" One of the most recent contributions to the method of evo- 
lution has the merit of having been conceived independently 
by three different naturalists, and recognized from the first as 
a factor of significance by prominent advocates of both the Neo- 
Darwinian and Neo-Lamarckian schools. It has been called 
organic selection. The sources from which this idea sprung were 
quite different, its authors being, one a psychologist, one a pale- 
ontologist, and the third a naturalist who has made a special 
study of instincts. From such different standpoints the argu- 
ments that have led to the theory have been somewhat varied. 
In general it may be said that these naturalists came to this 
theory because they felt the inadequacy of Natural Selection, as 
previously understood, to account for all the facts, and because 
they felt that the Lamarckian factor is at least doubtful, and, 
even if true, is perhaps not sufficient to meet the demands made 
upon it. The theory of organic selection is, in a sense, a com- 
promise between the views of the two chief schools. With 
Neo-Darwinism it abandons the inheritance of acquired charac- 
ters, but with Neo-Lamarckism it puts the influence of acquired 
characters foremost in guiding the course of evolution." 

Ontogenetic Variations 

" In the first place a sharper contrast than ever is drawn be- 
tween such variations as result from heredity and those which 
arise from the direct action of the environment upon the individ- 
ual. This is, of course, simply the difference between congenital 
and acquired variations, but the latter are now regarded as form- 
ing a much larger share in the make-up of an individual than 
has previously been supposed. The life of an individual may 
be supposed to begin at the time of the fertilization of the egg. 
By this time all the hereditary traits that he is to receive are 
already combined in the egg, i.e., all his congenital characters 
are within him. But from this moment there begin to act upon 

1 From The Method of Evolution, by H. W. Conn, 1900, pp. 303 f. 

//. W. Conn 363 

him the direct influences of the environment, and all sub- 
sequently developed variations are acquired rather than con- 
genital. They are frequently called ontogenetic variations} which 
is a better term than acquired, since all variations must of course 
be acquired at some time, and the term ontogenetic indicates 
that they are acquired by the individual and not by the germinal 
substance. These ontogenetic variations are entirely indepen- 
dent of those which arise in the germ plasm, since they are sup- 
posed to affect the body simply and are perhaps not transmitted 
by heredity. But such variations have a very great influence 
upon the individual. From the very beginning of his life he is 
influenced by them, and the characters that he has when adult 
are a combination of some that he has received by inheritance 
with some which he has developed himself as the result of the 
action of the environment upon him. Since these latter char- 
acters are the result of the action of the environment, they are 
commonly adapted to it. To be sure, as elsewhere pointed out, 
we do not understand how environment can act upon the individ- 
ual in such a way as to produce even acquired adaptive changes 
in it. Why a muscle grows with use or diminishes with disuse, 
why sensations become more acute when exercised, why changes 
in food or climate modify colors, why the shapes of leaves and 
the length of the beaks of birds change with climate, we have 
not the faintest notion. But such adaptive changes do appear 
during the life of the individual. They form the basis of the 
Lamarckian theories and are patent in everyday life. 

"It is impossible to determine at present to what extent the 
characters of an adult are inherited or congenital, and to what 
extent they are readily developed by each individual independent 
of inheritance. When we remember what extensive changes 
can be produced in an organism by changes in its environment, 
and remember that the individual from the outset is acted 
upon by the environment, it would seem to follow that its adult 
characters must in no inconsiderable degree be simply acquired 
rather than congenital. But it is difficult or impossible to dis- 

1 Professor Osborn's term, for which in his later writings he has substituted 
the term modification. — J. M. B. 

364 Appendix B 

tinguish the two classes. In the studies of variations which 
have hitherto been made there has been no attempt to distin- 
guish between them. When it is found that the length of the 
beaks of birds varies widely with the climate, or that the length 
of the wings or legs shows variations on either side of a mean, 
it has been assumed that these are innate differences, and there- 
fore, if selected, are matters of heredity. Most of the signifi- 
cance attached to the statistical study of variation mentioned in 
an earlier chapter depends upon this assumption. But it is at 
least as probable that the variations are simply due to the action 
of the environment, habit, or use, and hence purely acquired. 1 
Most of the studies of variation which have been made, up to 
the present, have consisted in recording variations, either great 
or small, but without attempt to determine to what extent they 
are really congenital, and to what extent due to the action of the 
environment upon the individual. Considering the great differ- 
ence in the relation of the two classes to the problem of evolu- 
tion, it is evident that no very clear results will be reached until 
the two types of variation are more carefully separated. 

" Be this as it may, it is certain that the environment has a 
great influence upon the development of each individual, in- 
dependent of his inherited characters. It is equally evident 
that these acquired characters must change with every change 
of condition or habit. If an animal acquires a new food plant 
or a new habitat, if he learns a new method of protecting him- 
self, or if a plant starts to grow in a soil different from that in 
which it has hitherto lived, these changes will, of course, 
produce their effect, and acquired variations will result. Now, 
as we have seen, it is difficult to believe that these variations 
will so affect the germ plasm as to be transmitted to the next 
generation, but it is equally clear that if the next genera- 
tion should be placed under the same conditions it would 
independently develop similar variations, entirely independent 
of heredity. So long as the environment remains the same, 
each generation will develop, after its birth as an individual, 
the same sort of acquired variations. These, appearing regu- 

1 Cf. the positions taken above, pp. 331 ff. — J. M. B. 

H. W. Conn 365 

larly in subsequent generations, would probably be regarded 
as inherited, although in reality they are only independently 
acquired by each individual. They would not be a part of 
the inherited nature, but only the result of the ' nurture ' to 
which each individual is subjected." 

Agency of Acquired Variations in Guiding Natural 


" The essence of the theory of organic selection is, that 
these acquired variations will keep the individuals in harmony 
with their environment, and preserve them under new condi- 
tions, until some congenital variation happens to appear of a 
proper adaptive character. The significance of this conception 
is perhaps not evident at a glance. It may be made clear by 
considering, for illustration, the problem of development of 
habits and organs adapted to each other. It is impossible to 
believe that an organ develops before the habit of using it, for 
if it did it would be useless. On the other hand, the habit of 
using an organ could not arise before the organ makes its 
appearance. We must thus believe that the organs and the 
habit of their use appear together, a very difficult or impossible 
conception for haphazard variation. Now organic selection 
tries to show that the adoption of a new habit by an animal will 
result in the development of structures adapted to the habit, 
but by a principle that does not involve the inheritance of 
acquired variations. Assuming that some changes in conditions 
caused certain animals to adopt a new habit, Weismann's theory 
would force us to believe that some structural changes would 
follow, from variations in the germ plasm, which would be 
parallel to the acquired variations developed by the new habit. 
But when we conceive, as Weismann must, that congenital 
variations are indefinite and in all directions, it becomes a 
matter of infinite improbability to suppose that just the right 
sort of variations will follow such a change in habit at just 
the right moment. The Lamarckians, finding that habit and 
structure follow each other so closely, have felt obliged to 

366 Appendix B 

assume that the one produces the other, while of course the 
Weismannians must deny such a conclusion. 

"If it were not necessary to assume that a congenital varia- 
tion appropriate to the habit should follow immediately when the 
habit changes, this difficulty would be greatly lessened. It may 
be admitted that it is so improbable as to be inconceivable that 
a new habit should be followed immediately by a congenital 
change in structure appropriate to the new habit, unless there 
be some inheritance of acquired variation. But it is quite 
probable, even upon the principle of haphazard variations in 
all directions, that some such congenital variation might appear 
in course of time. If the individuals could be kept in their 
new habit long enough, it would be pretty sure that eventually 
some congenital variation would appear of an appropriate 
character. Now the acquired characters will serve to preserve 
the individual in the new conditions. When an animal adopts 
a new habit its body begins to change at once, and he soon 
acquires a development of his muscles and bones adapted to 
his new habit. He may, indeed, not transmit these characters, 
and his offspring may be at birth no better off than he was at 
birth. Each generation acquires these characters for itself so 
long as the conditions remain the same. But the new charac- 
ters, even though not congenital, adapt the individual to its 
new conditions and enable him to live successfully in these 
conditions. These individuals are therefore able to contend 
successfully in the struggle for existence, their acquired charac- 
ters being just as useful to them as they would have been if 
congenital. This is repeated, generation after generation, similar 
acquired characters being redeveloped by each generation. 

" Remembering then the great numbers of variations that are 
constantly occurring as the result of modifications of the germ 
plasm, it is probable, indeed certain, that after a time some 
congenital variation will appear which will be of direct use to 
the animals in their new habits. During all this time the 
majority of variations will appear and as quickly disappear, 
since, being of no special use, there will be nothing to preserve 
them, and cross-breeding will soon eliminate them. But when, 

H. JV. Conn 


perhaps after hundreds of generations, there does appear a con- 
genital variation which aids the animal in its new habit, — an 
old habit by this time, — such variations will be selected and 
become a part of the inheritance of the race. The individuals 
with these congenital variations will, from the outset, have an 
advantage over others, since the congenital variations will 
enable them to adapt themselves more closely to the conditions 
than would purely acquired characters. Thus the acquired 
characters keep the individual alive until the proper congenital 
variations appear, and the new habit actually determines what 
sort of congenital variations shall be preserved, and guides the 
process of evolution. 

A Perhaps a concrete case may make this somewhat obscure 
theory a little clearer. Imagine, for example, that some change 
m conditions forced an early monkey-like animal, that lived on 
the ground, to escape from its enemies by climbing trees. 
This arboreal habit was so useful to him that he continued it 
during his life, and his offspring, being from birth kept in the 
trees, acquired the same habit. Now it would be sure to follow 
that the new method of using their muscles would soon adapt 
them more closely to the duty of climbing. Changes in the 
development of different parts of the body would inevitably 
occur as the direct result of the new environment, and they 
would all be acquired characters. The children would develop 
the same muscles, tendons, and bones, since they too lived in 
the trees and had the same influences acting upon them. Such 
acquired characters would enable the animals to live in the trees, 
and would thus determine which individuals should survive in 
the struggle for existence, for these modified individuals would 
clearly have the advantage over those that stayed on the ground, 
or did not become properly adapted to arboreal life by acquired 
habits. All this would take place without any necessity for 
a congenital variation or the inheritance of any character which 
especially adapted the monkey for life in the trees. 

" But, in the monkeys thus preserved, congenital variations 
would be ever appearing in all directions. It would be sure to 
follow that after a time there might be some congenital variation 

368 Appendix B 

that affected the shape of the hands and feet. These would 
not be produced as the result of the use of the organs or as 
acquired variations, but simply from variations in the germ 
plasm. There might be thousands of other variations in other 
parts of the body in the meantime. The miscellaneous varia- 
tions, however, would not persist. But as soon as variations 
appeared which affected the shape of the hands and the feet, 
the fact that the animal had continued to climb trees would 
make these variations of value, and therefore subject to natural 
selection. Selection would follow, and thus in time the monkeys 
might be expected to inherit hands and feet well adapted for 
climbing. The acquired variations, in such a case, had nothing 
to do with producing the changes directly, but they did shield 
the animal from destruction until congenital variations appeared. 
Acquired variations have determined that the individuals shall 
live in trees, and this life has determined what congenital 
variations will be preserved. Indirectly, therefore, the acquired 
variations guide evolution. 

" This factor would also aid in explaining the origin of co- 
ordinated structures, which have been always a puzzle to natural 
selection. How, for example, can we imagine that chance con- 
genital variations shall at the same time cause an increase in the 
size of the deer's horns and in the strength of his neck and 
shoulders ? Either without the other could not exist. But we 
can imagine that some congenital variation increased the size of 
the antlers, and then clearly enough acquired characters would 
of necessity increase the size of the neck and shoulder muscles, 
thus enabling the animal to carry the large antlers. This 
might continue many generations. Eventually another series of 
variations of a congenital character might affect these muscles. 
These would be at once selected, if they enable the animal to 
carry its antlers more easily, and thus in time neck and antlers 
would be coordinated to each other. The animal by acquired 
characters adapts itself to its conditions and waits until a proper 
congenital character appears. A combination of characters to 
make a coordinated system of organs is thus made possible, in 
a manner that natural selection alone is unable to account for." 

H. W. Conn 369 

Consciousness a Factor 

" This conception of the action of selection evidently makes 
consciousness a factor in evolution. It has always been claimed 
by the Lamarckian school that consciousness aids in the process 
of descent. It has sometimes been supposed that by this claim 
is meant that by conscious efforts an animal can modify its 
structure ; but such a conception has certainly not been held 
by scientists in recent years. Consciousness may, however, 
lead to the use of organs or to the adoption of the new habits, 
and, if the view we are now considering be sound, such use of 
organs, or such habits, leads to the development of acquired 
characters which enable the individual to live in new conditions 
more successfully, until after a time congenital variations take 
their place. Consciousness thus becomes an indirect factor 
in evolution. Indeed, the attempt is sometimes made to extend 
this principle of consciousness to all organic life, and to find 
even among the lower plants something which corresponds to it. 
Such an expansion of consciousness is, however, too crude and 
unintelligible to take its place in our general conception of 
nature. But, if organic evolution be a factor [fact?], conscious- 
ness becomes a force of considerable importance among higher 
animals. Moreover, this is just where there appears to be the 
greatest need for some aid to Natural Selection. As we have 
already seen, there is strong evidence for the inheritance of 
acquired characters among plants, so strong indeed that some 
botanists insist that it is a matter of demonstration that such 
characters are inherited. Among animals, however, there is 
little evidence for such inheritance and apparently a growing 
disinclination to believe in it. Thus it is seen that the factor of 
consciousness would come into play just where acquired charac- 
ters become of most doubtful value. Among plants, because of 
the wide distribution of the germ plasm through the body, there 
is less difficulty in accepting the inheritance of acquired charac- 
ters, and here consciousness is not needed. Among animals, 
where the inheritance of acquired characters is more doubtful, 
to say the least, this factor of consciousness takes its place." 


370 Appendix B 

Organic Selection and Natural Selection 

" It has been said that organic selection is a sort of com- 
promise between Weismannism and Lamarckism. It can, how- 
ever, hardly be called a compromise. It abandons entirely the 
Lamarckian position of the inheritance of acquired characters, 
and that such agencies as use and disuse have any direct in- 
fluence in producing variations which modify the offspring by 
inheritance. The only Lamarckian feature that is left is, that 
the environment, through the acquired characters it produces, 
does have an important influence in guiding evolution. Such 
a position is, however, perfectly in accordance with Weismann- 
ism, as is shown by the fact that organic selection is endorsed 
by Weismann. 1 At the same time, there is no doubt that it 
quite materially alters the earlier notions of Natural Selection 
and presents that theory in quite a different aspect. For it is 
plain that with this idea the guiding force in evolution is no 
longer simply the natural selection of minute, haphazard varia- 
tions, as Darwin supposed, but a combined action of the in- 
direct influence of acquired variations and the selection of hap- 
hazard congenital variations. It has long been felt that the 
theory of evolution by the selection of mere haphazard varia- 
tions presents great difficulties, and, if it were possible to find 
some more distinctively guiding force the gravest difficulties of 
Natural Selection would disappear. It is for this reason that the 
Lamarckians insist upon acquired variations as a guiding force, 
and others ckirn that variations occur along definite lines. 
This new factor of organic selection tries to show that acquired 
variations, although not directly inherited, do furnish such 
a guiding force, since they preserve the life of thfc Individual by 
adapting him to his new conditions, until a time, after many 
generations perhaps, when some congenital variations of a 
proper character appear. 

" If this factor of organic selection is admitted as a force, we 
must ask how wide is its application. Is it a force like Natural 
Selection, that will apply everywhere, or is it confined, as are the 
1 Professor Conn does not say where. — J. M. B. 

H. W. Conn 371 

effects of use and disuse, to certain organisms ? In answer to 
this it is apparent that its influence will be more extended than 
the action of use and disuse, and more extended than the limits 
of consciousness. Wherever acquired variations occur, organic 
selection will apply. Wherever environment, either food, 
climate, or conscious action, produces direct modifications of 
the body of animal or plant, these acquired variations will aid in 
preserving the individual until the proper congenital variations 
appear. Organic selection would therefore seem to apply 
wherever the environment produces a direct adaptive variation 
in the body of the individual." 1 

" Organic selection must undoubtedly be regarded as a factor 
in the evolution of species. This is granted on all sides. In 
the study of the history of man it becomes of extreme signifi- 
cance, but this subject cannot be considered in this work." 

1 Cf. the note on p. 360, above. — J. M. B. 



i. Annee biologique : Cotnptes rendus annuels des travaux de bi- 
ologie generate. Yves Delage. Premiere annee, 1895. Paris, 
Reinwald. 1897. pp. xlv + 732. 

2. Essays. G. J. Romanes. Edited by C. Ll. Morgan. Lon- 
don and New York, Longmans, Green & Co. 1897. pp. 


3. Darwin and after Darwin, III. Isolation and Physiological 

Selection. G. J. Romanes. Edited by C. Ll. Morgan. Chi- 
cago, Open Court Pub. Co. 1897. pp. viii + 178. 


In this handsome volume (1) Professor Delage begins the 
annual issue of a summary of biological progress ; a work which 
was well begun in his earlier volume on Heredity, etc. In 
the preface to this volume we read : " To those who have read 
the volume on Heredity and the Great Problems of Biology this 
new annual will not cause surprise. It is the natural sequel 
to that work. . . . The earlier work may be considered as a 
first volume, serving the purpose of setting the questions, defin- 
ing the problems, tracing the outlines, establishing the categories, 
and resuming the results, up to 1895, from which date this peri- 
odical takes up all the topics and carries them on from year to 
year." The reader of the Grands Problemes will have, there- 
fore, a fair idea of the divisions, headings, etc., of this new pub- 
lication. The way in which the general purpose of the editor 
and his contributors is carried out in this first volume calls for 

1 From The Psychological Review, Vol. V., No. 2, March, 1898. 


Recent Biology 373 

much admiration. Not only will it be of great value to biolo- 
gists, but students in neighbouring departments, especially in 
psychology, will find it a reliable and readable introduction to 
the newer biological problems in their latest phases. One 
feature strikes the present writer as peculiarly good — albeit 
exceedingly difficult — />., the attempt of the editor to gather up 
in a few pages a statement of the advance made during the year 
under each great heading, thus giving a resume of each of the 
successive resumes of literature made by the contributors. 
Such a ' skimming-off of the cream ' could only be done by a 
master, and must in any case involve some personal equation ; 
but Professor Delage has shown in his earlier work the sort of 
grasp on the entire subject — both as to information and as to 
judgment — which such an undertaking demands. 

The allowance of space to psychology, under the head of 
' mental functions,' is adequate and just. It is sincerely to be 
hoped that the editor will not take the advice of certain reviewers 
and restrict this department in future issues. Not only is this 
section of value to psychologists, as bringing their work into 
organic connection with biological results, but even more to 
biologists, who are thus informed of the light which psychology, 
especially in its genetic and evolutionary phases, is coming to 
throw on some of the standing problems of biology. This is 
seen in the volume before us in the statement of recent advances 
in the questions of instinct, individual adaptation, and deter- 
minate evolution. 

On the whole, therefore, we may count this publication as a 
distinct addition to the apparatus of the natural sciences, and 
extend congratulations to its learned editor and his collaborators. 1 

The two posthumous works of Romanes (2 and 3) are valu- 
able additions to our legacy from that acute mind. The book 
of essays is less valuable than the other, seeing that it is a col- 
lection of papers published at various dates, which do not in all 
cases represent the latest and most matured opinions of the 
author. They all have biographical value, however, — meaning 

1 The Annee Biologique maintains its high excellence from year to year, the 
fifth volume, 1899- 1900, having now appeared (1901). 

374 Appendix C 

mental biography, of course, — especially those of a more prac- 
tical character, which bring out human points of view. In the 
other work, we have the systematic exposition of the theory of 
Physiological Selection, which is possibly Romanes' most origi- 
nal and interesting single contribution to natural history. 

This theory has two main features ; features which should be 
taken separately, I think, and which only lose in force and serve 
to introduce confusion when brought under a single point of view, 
as Romanes does. The real novelty of physiological selection 
consists in the hypothesis that congenital variations toward 
infertility might lead to relative segregation in a group of ani- 
mals living together, and the development of the groups thus 
segregated away from one another in divergent lines. No one 
who appreciates the problem of inter-specific infertility can, I 
think, fail to see the force of this hypothesis, nor fail to agree 
with Romanes — quite apart from the evidence of fact — in the 
hypothesis that specific differences may be secondary to sexual 
variations, rather than the reverse, as Darwin supposed. I can- 
not help thinking, however, that Romanes places too much 
confidence in the so-called ' principle ' of Weismann (amixia) 
and Delbceuf, that any slight average difference between differ- 
ent groups must develop itself. That would seem to depend 
upon circumstances ; and at any rate it is purely hypothetical. 
Romanes weakens his case by making it a sort of corner-stone 
to his structure ; for whatever the causes be of the subsequent 
divergent evolution — say Wallace's pure utility view — the 
original segregation by physiological selection would lose none 
of its value, if it be true, especially in cases of absolute infer- 
tility. The value of physiological selection as producing diver- 
gent species would seem to rest, in cases of relative or partial 
infertility, largely upon the sort of variations which were cor- 
related 1 with the infertility — a point which the theory of 
Reproductive Selection of Professor Karl Pearson covers. 

1 As to whether partial infertility alone, without any regular correlations, 
would produce divergent results, seems very doubtful, except as it tended to 
result (by accumulation of variations) in absolute infertility. This latter result 
Romanes himself supposes. 

Recent Biology 375 

What the two have in common is the postulate of infertility, Ro- 
manes assuming its segregation value, and so finding it available 
to produce divergent, or as he calls it ' polytypic,' evolution. 

The other point of which Romanes makes so much — and, I 
think, unfortunately — is that in which he agrees with the Rev. 
Mr. Gulick, the writer who first proposed and has elaborately 
expounded — but under different terms — the principle of 
physiological selection. Both of these authors, Romanes later 
so far as one can gather, formulated the general principle of 
1 Isolation ' ; meaning by it — to gather the matter up briefly — 
any sort of relative control of pairing. If, for any reason, males 
A to L can pair with females a to /, but cannot pair with females 
m to z, these males are then ' isolated ' from the latter females. 
Under this 'principle,' on the author's showing, everything 'in 
heaven above and on earth beneath ' can be brought. Natural 
selection is only a case of isolation ; so is the migration of 
Wagner, and the geographical separation of Weismann, and 
physiological selection from infertility, and artificial, and indeed 
sexual selection. He says : " Equalled only in its importance by 
the two basal principles of heredity and variation, this principle 
constitutes the third pillar of a tripod on which is reared the 
whole superstructure of organic evolution " (p. 2). With all 
the laboured proof of this proposition, it suffices to say that it is 
true, because self-evident ; and at the same time, in the present 
state of biological science, well-nigh worthless. For the very 
concept of heredity through sexual reproduction presupposes 
it. All heredity in particular involves the ' isolation ' of the two 
parents temporarily for the purposes of the act of mating. We 
might even go so far as to announce a great ' principle of 
negative isolation ' (!), i.e., that by artificial selection, or any sort 
of human regulation, the upper limit to the birth-rate in any 
species may be set by the isolation of the male from more than 
one mate. Surely it adds nothing to natural selection to call 
it also isolation, explaining that it depends upon the elimina- 
tion of some individuals and the consequent isolation of those 
not banished to the shades ; nor does it add anything to the 
other sorts of selection, now historic both as facts and as having 

376 Appendix C 

names, to call them 'isolation.' All this seems to the present 
writer to furnish evidence of the tendency of Romanes, shown 
also strikingly in his later writing on the inheritance of acquired 
characters, to lay too much value on logical disquisition. 1 

In thus dwelling on the striking features of physiological 
selection, as Romanes and Gulick have developed it, I by no 
means mean to lead the reader to think that this important 
theory is done justice to ; on the contrary, the book will be 
found, from many points of view, to build up a claim for this 
hypothesis as representing a real factor in evolution, — especially 
in divergent evolution, — which writers who refuse to recognize 
it, as Mr. Wallace, will have great difficulty in disposing of. 
And this the more when it is taken in connection with the 
evidence which Professor Pearson gives to show that ' Repro- 
ductive Selection ' (on the basis of relative infertility) is actually 
at work. 

For example, among a certain class in a community, a high 
relative death-rate among women of narrow hips may serve to 
establish a correlation between maximum effective fertility (in 
Pearson's sense) and broad hips ; while in another class in the 
same community the same maximum fertility may perhaps be 
established by intentional regulation of size of family with better 
medical attendance, without any reference to size of hips at all. 
Here there would be a tendency to divergent evolution in the 
matter of hip conformation, due simply to ' isolation ' by a social 
barrier. Romanes' hypothesis calls for the same result where 
the barrier is the physical one of some degree of gross infertility 
between the two groups. I put forward this social instance 
because, among other reasons, while it is one of the few forms 

1 As to the minor utility of showing that there is such a wider though negative 
category under which certain of these natural processes may be viewed — that, 
no one, I suppose, would dispute ; but when it comes to considering it a great 
discovery, and requiring biologists to adopt a new terminology with a view to 
recognizing it, it would seem to be going too far. Nor does this suggest any 
disparagement of the fresh and new considerations advanced, especially, in Mr. 
Gulick's very notable papers. A similar classification of certain of the special 
' factors ' under the general head of ' isolation ' is made by F. W. Hutton in 
Natural Science, October, 1897. 

Recent Biology 377 

of 'isolation' — by a social barrier — which were not already 
recognized and named, yet it is one of the forms which Romanes 
and Gulick did not recognize nor name. It is also interesting as 
showing a type of cases in which groups living together (that is, 
not geographically separated), and at first quite fertile inter se, 
might acquire infertility, as a consequence of other morphologi- 
cal changes, thus illustrating Darwin's view, but under Romanes' 
conditions. I have called this choosing a mate under social 
limitations 'personal selection,' 1 but, like all the other 'selec- 
tions,' it might be scheduled under ' isolation,' of course. 

It is interesting, also, to note that Darwin recognized several 
forms of isolation (see Romanes' quotation, p. 108, note) besides 
geographical separation ; and among them two forms which 
involve physiological selection, i.e., ' breeding at slightly different 
seasons,' and ' individuals preferring to pair together ' (sexual 
selection). The latter is a case of physiological selection, if 
only we make the highly probable assumption that the ' mental 
preference ' for certain mates carries with it maximum fertility 
with those mates. 2 

1 In the work, Social and Ethical Interpretations, Sect. 40. See also the 
table of forms of ' Selection ' given above in this work, Chap. XII. § 2. 

2 This is a correlation which I have never seen suggested anywhere; yet if 
it should be true, Mr. Wallace would have to admit physiological selection as 
a sort of organic counterpart of his selective association by recognition marks. 
Without such a correlation, sexual preference would seem to lose much of its 
biological significance. It might get some support from the fact that the coy- 
ness of the female, which, on the hypothesis of Groos {Play of Animals ; see 
the review of Professor Groos' book following), plays an essential part in 
sexual selection, demands increased strength and persistence in the male's 
impulses. It might be made a matter of experiment to determine whether 
highly coloured, grand-mannered birds are either absolutely or relatively very 
fertile ; or it might be observed whether sexual-criminals (in whom the im- 
pulse on the mental side may be considered strong) have unusually large 
families, or progeny later in life than others — both, however, very complex 
problems involving other factors. 

378 Appendix C 


Die Spiele der Thiere. By Karl Groos, Professor of Philos- 
ophy in the University of Giessen. Jena, Gustav Fischer. 
1896. pp. xvi + 359. {The Play of A?timals i Eng. trans, 
by Eliz. L. Baldwin. Appletons, 1898.) 1 

In this volume Professor Groos makes a contribution to three 
distinct but cognate departments of inquiry — philosophical 
biology, animal psychology, and the genetic study of art. 
Those who have followed the beginnings of inquiry into the 
nature and functions of play in the animal world and in chil- 
dren will see at once how much light is to be expected from a 
thoroughgoing examination of all the facts and observations 
recorded in the literature of animal life. This sort of examina- 
tion Professor Groos makes with great care and thoroughness, 
and the result is a book which, in my opinion, is destined to 
have wide influence in all these departments of inquiry. 

I cannot take space for a detailed report of Professor Groos' 
positions. It may be well, therefore, before speaking of certain 
conclusions which are to me of special interest, to give a resume 
of the contents of the book by chapters. Chapter I. is an 
examination of Mr. Spencer's ' surplus energy ' theory of Play ; 
the result of which is, it seems, to put this theory permanently 
out of court. The author's main contention is that play, so far 
from being 'by-play,' if I may so speak, is a matter of serious 
business to the creature. Play is a veritable instinct, true to 
the canons of instinctive action. This view is expanded in 
Chapter II., where we find a fine treatment in detail of such 
interesting topics as imitation in its relation to play, the inheri- 
tance of acquired characters apropos of the rise of instincts, 
the place and function of intelligence in the origin of these 
primary animal activities. This chapter, dealing with the 
biological theory of play, is correlated with Chapter V., later 
on in the book, in which the ' Psychology of Animal Play ' is 

iFrom Science, Feb. 26, 1897. Portions of this notice were incorporated 
in the present writer's preface to the English translation. 

Recent Biology 379 

treated. Together they furnish the philosophical and theoreti- 
cal basis of the book, as the chapters in between furnish the 
detailed data of fact. I shall return to the biological matter 
below. Chapters III. and IV. go into the actual ' Plays of 
Animals ' with a wealth of detail, richness of literary information, 
and soundness of critical interpretation which are most heartily 
to be commended. Indeed, the fact that a pioneer book on this 
subject is, at the same time, one of such unusual value, both 
as science and as theory, should be a matter of congratulation 
to workers in biology and in psychology. The collected cases, 
the classification of animal plays, as well as the setting of 
interpretation in which Professor Groos has placed them — all 
are likely to remain, I think, as a piece of work of excellent 
quality in a new but most important field of inquiry. 

As to the plays which animals indulge in, Professor Groos 
classifies them as follows : ' Experimenting,' ' Plays of Move- 
ment,' ' Play-Hunting ' (' with real living booty,' ' with play 
living booty,' ' with inanimate play booty '), ' Play-fighting ' 
(' teasing, scuffling among young animals,' ' play-fighting among 
adult animals'), so-called 'Building Art,' 'Nursing' plays, 
' Imitation ' plays, ' Curiosity,' ' Pairing ' plays, ' Courting by 
Means of Play of Movements,' ' Courting by the Exhibition of 
Colours and Forms,' ' Courting by Noises and Tones,' ' Coquetry 
on the Part of the Female.' 

With this general and inadequate notice of the divisions and 
scope of the book, I may throw together in a few sentences the 
main theoretical positions to which the author's study brings 
him. He holds play to be an instinct 1 developed by natural 
selection (for he does not accept the inheritance of acquired 
characters), and to be on a level exactly with the other instincts 
which are developed for their utility. It is very near, in 
its origin and function, to the instinct of imitation, but yet 
they are distinct (a word more below on the relation between 
play and imitation). Its utility is, in the main, twofold : first, 

1 Modified in The Play of Man in a way which makes the word 'impulse ' 
a better designation, in the author's maturer view. This substitution of 
terms may be made throughout this review. 

380 Appendix C 

it enables the young animal to exercise himself beforehand in 
the strenuous and necessary functions of its life and so to be 
ready for their onset ; and second, it enables the animal by a 
general instinct to do many things in a playful way, and so to 
learn for itself much that would otherwise have to be inherited 
in the form of special instincts ; this puts a premium on intelli- 
gence, which thus comes to replace instinct (pp. 65 1). Either of 
these utilities, Professor Groos thinks, would insure and justify 
the play instinct ; so important are they that he suggests that 
the real meaning of infancy is that there may be time for play. 1 

It is especially in connection with this latter function of play 
that the instinct to imitate comes in to aid it. Imitation is a 
real instinct, but it is not always playful ; play is a real instinct, 
but it is not always imitative. Professor Groos does not suggest, 
I think, closer relations between these two instincts. There is 
likely, however, to be a great deal of imitation in play, since 
the occasion on which a particular play instinct develops is 
often that which also develops the imitative tendency as well, 
i.e., the actual sight or hearing of the acts and sounds of other 
animals. Moreover, the acquisition of a muscular or vocal 
action through imitation makes it possible to repeat the same 
action afterwards in play. 

It is only a step, therefore, to find that imitation, as an instinct, 
has to have ascribed to it, in a measure, the same race utility 
as play — that of going before the intelligence and preparing 
the way for it, by rendering a great number of specialized 
instincts unnecessary. It is interesting to contrast this view 
with that which the present writer has recently developed 
in the pages of Science (see Chap. V., above), i.e., the view 
that imitation supplements inadequate congenital variations 
in the direction of an instinct, and so, by keeping the creature 
alive, sets the trend of further variations in the same direction 
until the instinct is fully organized and congenital. If both 

1 " Die Thiere spielen nicht weil sie jung sind, sondern sie haben eine 
Jugend, weil sie spielen miissen " (p. 68). Other capital utilities which might 
be added are (1) the exercise of the intelligence itself and (2) direct social 
utility as such. 

Recent Biology 381 

these views be true, as there seems reason to believe, then 
imitation holds a remarkable position in relation to intelligence 
and instinct. It stands midway between them and aids them 
both. In some functions it keeps the performance going, and 
so allows of its perfection as an instinct ; in others it puts a 
stress on intelligence, and so allows the instinct to fall away 
if it have no independent utility in addition to that served by 
intelligence. 1 In other words, it is through imitation that 
instincts both arise and decay — that is, some instincts are 
furthered and some suppressed, by imitation. And all this is 
accomplished with no appeal to the inheritance of acquired 
characters, Professor Groos agreeing with Weismann that the 
operation of natural selection as generally recognized is sufficient. 
The difficulty which I see to this conception of play as a 
pure instinct is that which is sometimes urged also against 
considering imitation an instinct, i.e., that it has no definite 
motor coordinations, but has all the variety which the different 
play forms show. If the definite congenital plays are considered 
each for itself, then we have a great many instincts, instead of 
a general play instinct. But that will not do, for it is one 
of Professor Groos' main contentions, in the chapter on the 
psychology of animal plays, that they have a common general 
character which distinguishes them from other specialized 
instinctive actions. They are distinguished as play actions, 
not simply as actions. This difficulty really touches the kernel 
of the matter, and serves to raise the question of the relation 
of imitation to play ; for imitation presents exactly the same 
conditions — a general instinct to imitate, which is not exhausted 
in the particular actions which are performed by the imitation. 

1 In a private communication Professor Groos suggests that the two views 
may well be held to supplement each other. The case is very much like 
that of early intelligence, in the form of association ; where it fully accom- 
plishes the utility also subserved by an instinct, it tends to supersede the 
instinct ; otherwise, it tends to the development of the instinct (Groos, 
p. 64). (See p. 140 above and cf. the same writer's Play of Man, translated 
by the same hand, in which the principal suggestions of this notice have 
been taken account of by Professor Groos.) 

382 Appendix C 

I shall remark on the solution of it below, in speaking of 
Professor Groos' psychology of play. It will be interesting 
to see how he treats this problem in his promised work on 
the Spiele der Menschen; 1 for the imitative element is very 
marked in children's plays. 

Other points of great interest in this biological part are the 
emphasis which Groos finds it necessary to put on ' tradition,' 
instruction, imitation, etc., in young animals, even in enabling 
them to come into possession of their natural instincts ; in this 
the book tends in the same direction as the new volume of Pro- 
fessor C. Lloyd Morgan. Again, there is a remarkably acute 
discussion of Darwin's Sexual Selection, which the author finally 
accepts in a modified form by saying that the female's selection 
is not necessarily conscious, but that she has an inherited sus- 
ceptibility to certain stimulating colours, movements, etc., in the 
male. It is not so much intelligence on her part as increased 
irritability in the presence of certain visual and other stimula- 
tions. 2 Over against the charms of the male he sets the reserve 
or reluctance {Sprodigkeif) of the female, which has to be over- 
come, and which is an important check and regulator at the 
mating time. Again, the imperfect character of most instincts is 
emphasized, and the interaction with imitation and intelligence. 
Pie finds a basis for the inverse ratio between intelligence and 
instinct in an animal's equipment on natural selection principles, 
i.e., the more intelligence develops the less does natural selec- 
tion bear on special instincts, and so they become broken up. 

Finally, I should like to suggest that a possible category of 
' Social Plays ' might be added to Groos' classification — plays 
in which the utility of the play instinct seems to have reference 
to social life as such. Perhaps in such a category it might be 
possible to place certain of the animals' performances which 

1 See the note above which indicates that Professor Groos, in the Play of 
Man, considers play an ' impulse,' taking on different forms. 

2 ' Sexual ' is thus referred back to ' natural ' selection (p. 274), although 
the direct results of such preferential mating would still seem to give very 
' determinate ' direction to evolution under natural selection. (Cf. Science, 
Nov. 13, 1896, p. 726; see Chap. XI. § 2, above.) 

Recent Biology 383 

seem a little strained under the other heads — for example, those 
performances in which the social function of communication is 
exercised early in life. A good deal might be said also in ques- 
tion of the author's treatment of ' Curiosity ' {Neugier). He 
makes curiosity a function of the attention, and finds the restless 
activity of the attention a play function, which brings the animal 
into possession of the details of knowledge before they are pressed 
in upon him by harsh experience. v My criticism would be that 
attention does not fulfil the requirements of the author's psycho- 
logical theory of play, as indicated below. 

Turning now to the interesting question of the psychological 
theory, we find it developed, as it would have to be, in a much 
more theoretical way. The play consciousness is fundamentally 
a form of ' conscious self-illusion ' (pp. 311 R) — bewusste Selbst- 
tduschung. It is just the difference between play activity and 
strenuous activity that the animal knows, in the former case, that 
the situation is not real, and still allows it to pass, submitting to 
a pleasant sense of illusion. It is only fair to say, however, that 
Herr Groos admits that in certain definite instinctive forms of 
play this criterion does not hold ; it would be difficult to assume 
any consciousness of self-illusion in the fixed courting and pair- 
ing plays of birds, for example. The same is seen in the very 
intense reality which a child's game takes on sometimes for an 
hour at a time. Indeed, the author distinguishes four stages in 
the transition from instincts in which the conscious illusion is 
absent, to the forms of play to which we can apply the phrase 
'Play activity' in its true sense, i.e., that of Scheinthdtigkeit 
(pp. 298 f.). The only way to reconcile these positions that I see 
is to hold that there are two different kinds of play — that which 
is not psychological at all, i.e., does not show the psychological 
criterion at all, and that which is psychological as Scheinthdtig- 
keit. Herr Groos does distinguish between ' objective ' and 
'subjective' Scheinthdtigkeit (p. 312). The biological criterion 
of definite instinctive character might be invoked in the former 
class, and the psychological criterion in the other. And we 
would then have a situation which is exemplified in many other 
functions of animal and human life — functions which are both 

384 Appendix C 

biological and instinctive, and also psychological and intelligent, 
as sympathy, fear, bashfulness. Then, of course, the further 
question comes up as to which of these forms is primary, again 
the old question as to whether intelligence arose out of reflexes 
or the reverse. 

I think some light falls on this time-honoured question from the 
statement of it in connection with this new question of play, and 
especially when we remember Herr Groos' theory of the function 
of imitation and the extension of his view suggested above. If 
imitation stands midway between instinct and intelligence, both 
furthering the growth of instinct, and also leading to its decay 
in the presence of intelligence, then we might hold something 
like this : In proportion as an action loses its consciously imita- 
tive and volitional character, to that degree it loses its Schein 
character, and becomes real in consciousness and instinctive in 
performance (and this applies to the cases in which imitation 
has itself become habitual and instinctive) ; and on the contrary, 
in proportion as an instinctive action is modified and adapted 
through imitation and intelligence, to that degree it becomes 
capable of assuming the Schein character and is indulged in as 
conscious play. I cannot enlarge upon this here, but it seems 
to square with a good many of the facts, both those which Groos 
cites as showing that imitation opens the way for the decay of 
instinct with the growth of intelligence, and those which Morgan 
and I have cited as showing that imitation keeps congenital 
variations alive and so allows them to accumulate into instincts. 
And I think it so far confirms the view that imitation is a sort of 
meeting-point of race habit, represented by instinct, and race 
accommodation, represented by intelligence — just the double 
function which imitation serves also in the development of the 
individual (cf. my volume on Mental Development, in loe.). 

Going into the analysis of the play psychosis, Herr Groos 
finds several sources of pleasure to the animal in it (pp. 203 ff.) 
— pleasure of satisfying an instinct, pleasure of movement and 
energetic action, but, most of all, ' pleasure in being a cause.' 
This last, together with the ' pleasure in experimenting,' which 
characterizes many play activities, is urged with great insistence. 

Recent Biology 385 

Even the imitative function is said to produce the joy of ' victory 
over obstacles.' Yet, here again, the author is compelled to 
draw the distinction between the play which is psychological 
enough to have a represented object, and the instinctive sort in 
which the pleasure is only that of the instinct's own performance. 
The pleasure of overcoming friction of movement, also, is very 
doubtful, since in any but the instinctive games which are cited 
(Chap. I.) to prove that the animal is not using up surplus 
energy (seeing that he plays after he is tired) — in other games 
we stop playing when the friction and inertia of the muscles be- 
come conscious as fatigue. Much more, however, is to be said 
for the pleasure of rivalry, or of overcoming an opponent, in the 
higher types of play ; but Herr Groos scarcely does this justice. 

Returning to the element of illusion in play, we find two in- 
gredients in it (pp. 313 ff.) — a division of consciousness {Spaltung 
des Bewusstseins), i.e., a division between the activity treated as 
real and the sense that it is unreal. There is considerable oscilla- 
tion between these two poles. This ability to treat representa- 
tions as realities is, according to Herr Groos, the essential of all 
imagination. In play it is akin to the division of consciousness 
found in certain pathological cases of double personality. It is 
a sort of hypnotization by the stream of representations, but with 
the sense that it is all an illusion and may be pierced through by 
a return to reality at any moment. This seems to me a true and 
valuable characterization of the play consciousness (it is taken 
from K. Lange), but Professor Groos' extension of it to all im- 
agination does not seem to hold. In his criticisms of others (as 
the present writer) he fails to honour the current distinction be- 
tween ' fancy ' and ' constructive imagination.' In fancy we do 
yield ourselves up to a play of images, but in the imagination of 
scientific thinking or of artistic creation are not both the goal 
and the process strenuous enough ? This, indeed, leads Pro- 
fessor Groos to a view of art which allies it closely with the play 
function, but to that I return below. 

The second element in the play or ' Schein ' consciousness is 
the feeling of freedom (Freiheitsgefuhl ; pp. 331 f.). In play there 
is a sense of ' don't-have-to,' so to speak, which is contrasted 


386 Appe7idix C 

both with the necessity of sense and with the imperative of 
thought and conscience. This idea seems to be part of Schiller's 
theory of play. So Groos thinks the general feeling of freedom 
holds in consciousness only while there is a play of motives to 
which the agent may put an end at any moment — a sense of 
' don't-have-to ' in the life of choice. This sense of freedom 
keeps the Schein consciousness pure and prevents our confusing 
the play content with the possible real contents of life. This is 
very interesting and suggestive. The sense of freedom is cer- 
tainly prominent in play. Whether it should be identified with 
the sense of control which has been used by some writers as a 
criterion (both in a negative and in a positive sense) of the belief 
in realities already experienced, or again with the freedom with 
which choice is pregnant, is more questionable. Without caring 
to make a criticism of Professor Groos' position, I may yet point 
out the distinction already made above between the two sorts of 
imagination, one of which has the ' don't-have-to ' feeling and 
the other of which does not. So also in our choices there are 
those which are free with a ' don't-have-to ' freedom, but there 
are choices — and these are the momentous ones, the ones to 
which freedom that men value attaches — which are strenuous 
and real in the extreme. Indeed, it seems paradoxical to liken 
the moral life, with its sense of freedom, to a ' game of play,' 
and to allow the hard-pressed sailor on the ethical sea to rest on 
his oars behind a screen of Schein and plead, ' I shan't play.' 
Seriously, this is something like the result, and it comes out 
again in the author's extremely interesting sections on art, of 
which I may speak in conclusion. 1 

Those who have read Professor Groos' former stimulating 
book, Einleitung in die sEsthetik, will anticipate the connection 
which he finds between play and art. 2 The art consciousness is 

1 In the later volume, The Play of Man, Professor Groos so modifies his 
definition of play as to make the only criterion what I have called its ' auto- 
telic' character, as having its own end {Selbstzweck) , being performed simply 
for itself with no further end. 

2 The reader may now consult another later publication by Professor 
Groos, Der asthetische Genuss (1902). 

Recent Biology 387 

a consciousness of Schein ; it is also a play consciousness, inas- 
much as it is the work of imagination — both the creative and 
the appreciative art consciousness — and the meaning of imagi- 
nation here is that it takes Schein for reality. The ' self-con- 
scious illusion ' of the play consciousness is felt in extreme form 
in the theatre, and the pleasure of it is felt even when we play 
with painful situations, as in tragedy. In art the desire to make 
an impression on others shows the 'pleasure of being a cause.' 
This intent to work on others is a necessary ingredient in the 
art impulse (pp. 312 f.). Groos differs from K. Lange, who holds 
a similar view of the necessary division of consciousness between 
reality and Schein in the aesthetic psychosis, in that Lange thinks 
there must be a continual oscillation between the two poles of 
the divided consciousness, while Groos thinks there is rather a 
settling down in the state of illusion, as in an artist's preoccupa- 
tion with his creations, a novelist with his characters, and a child 
with her doll (pp. 323). In art the other great motive of play, 
'experimenting,' is also prominent, and is even more funda- 
mental from a genetic point of view ; of that a word below. 

Here, again, the question left in my mind is this : whether the 
play motive is really the same as the art motive. Do we not 
really distinguish between the drama (to take the case most 
favourable to the theory) as amusement and the drama as art ? 
And does the dramatist who is really an artist write to bring on 
self-illusion in the spectator by presenting to him a Schein scene ? 
Possibly, art theorists would divide here ; the realists taking 
more stock in Schein, since realistic art is more nearly exhausted 
by imitation. This sort of illusion undoubtedly gives pleasure, 
and it is undoubtedly part of art pleasure. Yet there does seem 
to be, in a work of fine art, a strenuous outreach toward truth, 
which is additional — both in the production and also in the 
enjoyment — to the instrument of appearance used by the artist. 
It may be that we should distinguish between truth which comes 
to us didactically and truth which comes artistically, and make 
the method of the latter, and that alone, the source of aesthetic 
impression. In any case the theory of Groos, which has its 
roots in the views of Lange and v. Hartmann, is extremely in- 


88 Appendix C 

teresting and suggestive, especially as contrasted with the recent 
psychological theory of Mr. H. R. Marshall. In the present 
theory, the ' self-exhibition ' of which Mr. Marshall makes so 
much, enters as the need of impressing others with the play 
illusion. As to the hedonic element and its ground, however, 
the two theories are in sharp contrast, and that of Groos seems 
to me, on the whole, more adequate. In the wealth of literary 
reference in his book, Mr. Marshall pays singularly little attention 
to the authors from whom Groos draws, and none to the earlier 
work of Professor Groos himself, but treats the play theory 
only in the form of Mr. Spencer's surplus energy construction. 
To Groos' theory, musical art would present difficulties and so 
would lower sensuous aesthetic effects generally. 

Genetically art rests upon play, according to Herr Groos, 
in that the three great motives of art production, ' Self-exhibi- 
tion ' (Se/bstdarste//ung), l Imitation,' and ' Decoration ' {Aus- 
schmuckung), are found in the three great classes of animal 
plays, respectively, ' Courting,' ' Imitation,' and ' Building Art ' 
{Baukunste, seen in birds' nest-building, etc.). On the strength 
of this, Groos finds both aesthetic appreciation and impulse in 
the animals, and all rests upon the original ' experimenting ' im- 
pulse. Of this, however, Professor Groos does not give a satis- 
factory account. Experimenting is a necessary part of effective 
learning by ' imitation,' I think, and the use made of it in the 
selection of movements may be its original use. 

On the whole, Professor Groos' book is both a pioneer work 
and one of great permanent value. It contains a good index 
and a full list of the literary sources. 


Habit and Instinct. By C. Lloyd Morgan, F.G.S. London and 
New York, Edward Arnold. 1896. pp. 35 1. 1 

Professor Morgan's Habit and Instinct adds another to his 
series of works, now three in number, dealing with comparative 
psychology. The reader is impressed anew with the prime 

iFrom The Nation, May 13, 1897. 

Recent Biology 389 

quality which he has learned to expect in this author's writing — 
great lucidity, secured at once by a simple style, long reflection, 
and a certain persistence in making his point tell. Combined 
with this is a balance and caution which invites the reader's 
confidence, and leaves the impression that the writer, even in 
the theoretical parts of his subject, can always be trusted. At 
the same time we find that the work goes over many of the 
same topics as the earlier books, repeats some of the same 
instances, even repeats itself more than is necessary, and while 
the net gain is great, — the book is one of the most important 
in the recent literature of the problem of instinct, — yet both 
the observations and the discussions could have been put into 
much less space, for half the price. The volume will tend in 
some degree to supersede the one on Animal Life and Intelli- 
gence, since the author has now reached points of view on the 
most important subjects, such as the relation of instinct and 
intelligence, the inheritance of acquired characters, imitation, 
etc., which render it impossible for workers to quote the earlier 
work as representing Professor Morgan's maturer views. 1 

As to the essential teachings of the present book, we have 
space to give only their most important bearings in connection 
with recent discussion. Among recent publications on this side 
of the water Professor Morgan makes use of the observations 
of Professor Wesley Mills of Montreal on the instincts and 
habits of young animals, and the experiments and conclusions 
of the present writer reported in the work on Mental Develop- 
ment in the Child, etc. It will be remembered that Professor 
Morgan, in a course of Lowell lectures in Boston in 1896, 
dwelt on the results of detailed experiments carried out by 
him with young birds, artificially hatched and reared under 
constant observation. The early chapters in Habit and 
Instinct contain these experiments carried still further. The 
substantial results are in agreement with those of Mills, and 
go to show that many of the actions of young fowls, which 

1 Professor Morgan has now issued an entirely new work, Animal 
Behaviour (1900), which, as he tells us, grew out of the attempt to revise 
the volume Animal Life and Intelligence. 

390 Appendix C 

have been considered quite instinctive, — as the experiments 
of Spalding and others seem to show, — are really a mixture 
of congenital tendency and acquired habit. Some of these 
activities are of vital importance, such as drinking, fleeing from 
constant enemies (as the hawk), appreciating and acting upon 
exact spatial relationships, etc. Such results, found also in 
the examination of trustworthy reports of animals, as those of 
Hudson in the Naturalist in La Plata, lead Professor Morgan 
to his most important conclusions. Briefly stated, they are 
somewhat as follows : — 

First, this imperfection of instinct, even in things vital to 
the organism, emphasizes the intelligent and imitative learning 
processes of young animals. These learning processes keep 
them alive by supplementing their congenital activities and 
structural capacities. This conclusion gives new importance 
to the psychological processes. Second, the question arises 
as to the sort of things which young animals learn and how 
they can learn them. Upon this, again, observations throw 
light. The fact appears that there are certain relatively constant 
functions and activities handed down from generation to genera- 
tion in animal families and communities, as has been theoreti- 
cally insisted on by Wallace, and recently confirmed by the 
observations of Hudson under the term ' tradition,' and by the 
present writer, who calls the individual's learning of tradition 
'social heredity.' And, third, the question of the method 
of organic evolution has some light shed upon it, in Professor 
Morgan's opinion, by the relation between these learning pro- 
cesses of the animals and natural selection. Professor Morgan 
here develops (Chap. XIV.) a suggestion which has also been 
put forth by Professor H. F. Osborn, and independently reached 
by the present writer, as Morgan points out, namely, that 
by learning intelligently and imitatively to do things which are 
essential, certain animals are screened from the operation of 
natural selection, and so hand on their capacities to future 
generations, while the race accumulates further congenital varia- 
tions in the same directions (what Morgan calls ' coincident 
variations '). Thus evolution takes the direction marked out 

Recent Biology 391 

in the first instance by the individual's learning. 1 All these 
writers agree that this suggestion neutralizes in great measure 
the current arguments for the inheritance of acquired characters, 
since, if evolution is directed in any case in the channels of the 
acquired characters in the way suggested, it becomes unneces- 
sary to suppose, in the absence of evidence in favour of it, that 
the same characters are also directly inherited. It may be 
noted that among others Mr. A. R. Wallace, in a recent review 
of Habit and Instinct in the journal Natural Science, welcomes 
this suggestion. 

Possibly our readers will be most interested in certain posi- 
tions regarding " Human Evolution " which Professor Morgan 
reaches (in Chap. XV.) on the basis of the observations and 
conclusions already briefly set forth. He seems well justified 
in drawing them in view of the foundation laid in his other 
chapters. His main contention is that, even in the animal 
world, the method of learning by the individual — i.e., imitation, 
association, profiting by experiences of pleasure and pain — is 
essentially different, and the progress which is secured through 
it is essentially different, from natural selection and the progress 
secured through it. In the former, consciousness becomes 
' efficient,' at least in a sense. It is not clear to us just how 
much this means from a philosophical point of view — this 
' efficiency ' of consciousness — in the mind of Professor Morgan ; 
but it is yet clear that in the case of man, where social transmis- 
sion comes to replace physical heredity as the means of handing 
on the mass of tradition and race acquisition, consciousness, 
whatever it is able to do, has the field largely to itself. In 
human evolution, therefore, we are not under the law of natural 
selection alone, operating upon fortuitous variations. We 
are rather under the law of conscious selection accumulating 
its stores through social and intelligent handing down. 
Natural selection weeds out the worst on a large scale ; con- 
scious selection picks out the best individuals, the best actions, 
arrangements, beliefs, etc. This is the way the author and 

1 It is from this chapter in Principal Morgan's book that the passage cited 
above, Appendix A, is taken. — J. M. B. 

392 Appendix C 

some of those whom he quotes would reconstruct the relation 
of biology to social evolution; and the position seems to be 
fruitful enough. 

Readers at all versed in recent biological discussion may- 
remember the sort of fatalistic results which the new Neo-Dar- 
winian theories of human evolution were supposed to bring. 
If the discipline and the dissipation of parents have little or 
no effect upon their children, we are asked, where is the place 
of social reform and the motive to individual training ? The 
answer to this comes through the line of teachings brought 
together in this book. The individual is not born with a 
physical heritage increased by his father's acts, but into 
a social heritage which takes its character from the set of 
conditions which the father also lived in and contributed to. 
We all make these conditions better or worse, and we all profit 
by them for better or for worse, in a new and truer sense. The 
individual is redeemed from the capricious and accidental effects 
of single lives lived for good or ill, but he inherits socially the 
larger influences which make the social environment what it is, 
and which represent a continuous social movement. 

We cannot dwell upon the special question which Professor 
Morgan discusses with his usual clearness and force — such as 
the relation of instinct to acquired habit, the function of sexual 
selection, the details of the specific habits of mammals and 
birds. These discussions may, however, well be brought to 
the attention of biologists and psychologists. In conclusion, 
we may notice emphatically the contrast between this book 
and the work of those recent writers who deal with the same 
large questions of heredity, degeneration, race-progress, etc., 
having only scented biology from afar, and having learned 
their anthropology from Lombroso and Nordau. 


Accommodation, 45, 85, 94 f., Ill, 151. 

Adaptive movements, 54. 

Agenetic science, 300. 

Analogies, genetic, 43. 

Analogous organs, 176. 

Aristotle, 295, 327. 

Artificial selection, 166, 175. 

Ataxic variation, 162. 

Attention (as selecting function), 252 ff. ; 

(variations in) , 256. 
Automaton theory, 129. 
Autotaxic variation, 162. 

Bailey, 229. 

Bain, A., 23, 88, 124, 249, 259. 

Bather, F. A., 198 f. 

Bernheim, 93. 

Binet, 92. 

Biological and psychological, 4. 

Biometrics, 333. 

Bionomic, 9. 

Bosanquet, B., 268. 

Bumpus, 152. 

Bunge, 92. 

Categories (natural history of), 281 ff. 
Cattell, J. M. ( 154 ff. 
Causation (category of), 288 f. 
Characters (congenital and acquired) , 34. 
Circular reaction, no, 123. 
Co-adaptation, 62. 
Cockerell, 172. 

Coincident variation, 38, 150 f., 196 ff. 
Competition (economic), 221. 
Concurrence (intergenetic) , n, 41, 106, 

189 ff., Appendix B. 
Conn, 116, 125, 156, 170, 182 f. 
Conscious selection, 167. 
Consciousness (in evolution) , 50. 
Continuity (equal), 11. 
Convergence, 176. 
Cope, E. D., 50 ff., 63, 77, 80 ff., 121 ff., 198. 

Correlation, 24; (correlated variations), 

196 ff. 
Cunningham, 191, 203. 

Dallinger, 215. 

Darwin, 43, 154 ff., 179, 197, 211, 213, 214. 

Darwinism, 50 ff., 135 ff. 

Davenport, 33, 95 f., 164, 184. 

Defrance, 230. 

Delage, 36, 165 f., 183, 209, 230. 

Design, 277 f. 

Determinate (evolution) , 34 ff., 135 ff. ; 
(variation), 160 ff. 

Development and evolution, 3. 

De Vries, 33. 

Discontinuous variation, 182. 

Divergent evolution, 176. 

Dohrn, 227. 

Driesch, 183, 328. 

Dualism, 129. 

Duplicated functions, 72. 

Dynamogenesis, 54, 86 f. (see also under 
Functional Selection and Accommoda- 
tion) . 

Eimer, 9, 139, 142, 183. 
Emotion, 27. 
Epigenesis, 50. 
Excess discharge, 88. 

Fitness (of thoughts) , 258 ff. 
Force, concept of, 6. 
Fortuitous variation, 231. 
Functional selection, 63, 109, 166. 

Galton, 58, 146, 211. 

Genetic (analogies) , 43 ; (modes, theory 

of) , 300 ff. ; (science) , 308 ff. 
Germinal selection, 166. 
Groos, K., 29, 32, 140, 155 ff., 174 ff., 207, 

Gulick, Rev. Mr., 172, 176. 

!The Appendices A, B, C are not indexed. 



Hadley, 221. 

Headley, 101, 116, 170, 174 f., 179, Appen- 
dix B. 

Hensiow, 92, 125, 182. 

Heredity, 51, 61 ff., 80,228 ff. ; (social), 
see Social Heredity. 

History (agenetic science), 313 ff. ; (bio- 
logical theory of), 315 ff. 

Homologous organs, 176. 

Hudson, 148, 150. 

Hurst, 230. 

Hutton, W. H., 168 ff. 

Huxley, 3, 283. 

Imitation, 28, 65, 76. 

Indirect selection, 173 (see Organic 
Selection) . 

Infancy period, 60. 

Instinci, 61 ff., 71 ff. 

Intelligence (in evolution), 69; (and re- 
flexes), 74. 

Intergenetic, 11, 41. 

Intra-selection, 164, 183, 217, 250. 

Intuition theory, 285 ff. 

Isolation, 171, 182. 

James, W„ 18, 26, 123, 241, 245, 259, 267, 

Janet, 93. 

Kidd, B., 84. 
Kinassthetic (the), 86. 

Lamarckism, 50, 62, 135 ff., 197, 226 ff. 
Lankester, Ray, 35. 
Lapsed intelligence, 61 f. 
Life (theories of) , 327 ff. 
Lotze, 298. 

Malthus, 214, 216. 

Marchal, 179. 

Mechanical theory of life, 327 ff. 

Mental selection, 247 ff. 

Mills, 139, 148, 152. 

Mind and body, 121. 

Mind (organization in), 273 ff. 

Minot, 84, 113. 

Modes (theory of genetic), 300 ff. 

Modification, 91, 151. 

Morgan, Lloyd, 15, 23, 38, 64, 83, 91, 122, 

136 ff, 148 ff., 160 ff., 167, 173 ff., 201 f., 

208, Appendix A. 
Morgan, T. H„ 327 ff. 

Natural selection, 46, 115, 209. 

Neo- (Darwinism, Lamarckism), 1356°., 

187 f. (figs.). 
Neuro-genetic, 93. 
Nomic, 7. 

Ontogenic (agencies), 91. 

Organic selection, 37, 90 ff., 119, 138 ff., 

151, 166, 175 ff. 
Organicists, 36, 183. 
Origin (definition of), 291 f. 
Orr, 93. 

Orthogenesis, 142. 
Orthoplasy, 142, 151; (orthoplastic) , 

162 ff, 173 ff., 188 (fig.), 196 ff. 
Osborn, H. F., 44, 83, 91, 135, 149 ff., 

160 ff, 174 ff, 203, 207, Appendix A. 

Panmixia, 136. 

Parallelism (psychophysical), 10. 

Parrot (gray) , 204 f. 

Pearson, Karl, 15, 30, 44, 213, 234, 316 f. 

Personal selection, 166. 

Pfeffer, 92, 184, 209. 

Pfliiger, no. 

Physico-genetic, 93. 

Physiological selection, 166. 

Plasticity, 21, 44, 46. 

Plate, 209. 

Play, 31. 

Pleasure and pain, 123 ff. 

Polytypic evolution, 176. 

Potentiality, 293 ff. 

Poulton, E. B., 19, 33,47, 160, 170, 173 ff., 

215 f., Appendix A. 
Preformism, 45, 50, 56. 
Preger, 107. 

Probability (and design), 277 ff. 
Prospective (the) , 275 ff. 
Psychic and psychological, 5. 
Psycho-genetic, 93. 
Psychonomic, 8. 
Psychophysical evolution, 1. 
Purpose (in evolution), 231 ff. 

Recapitulation, 20, 189 ff. 

Reflexes, 74, 76. 

Regression, 234. 

Reproductive or genetic selection, 166. 

Retrogression, 181. 

Retrospective (the), 2748". 

Reversed selection, 181. 



Rivalry, 218 ff. 

Romanes, 30, 61, 72 f., 100, 118, 123, 

136 ff., 172. 
Roux, 46, 165 f., 183. 
Royce, J., 133, 283. 

Sachs, 92. 

Science (agenetic) , 300 f. ; (genetic) , 
308 ff. 

Sedgwick, Adam, 191, 229 f. 

Selection, see Natural, Sexual, Organic, 
Subjective, Functional, etc., selection, 
also (various) 165 ff. ; reversed, 181 ; 
(of ideas), 252. 

Selective thinking, 238 ff. 

Selective value, 64. 

Sexual selection, 154 f. 

Simmel, 241, 252, 263, 266. 

Social heredity (transmission), 39, 53, 
65, 80, 103, 119, 151. 

Social progress, 144. 

Social selection (suppression and gen- 
eralization), 166. 

Sole, the (the adaptations of) , 164. 

Spaulding, 139. 

Spencer, H., 23, 31, 58, 65, 88, 124 ff., 148, 
240, 249, 267. 

Stout, G. F., 173, 242. 

Struggle (biological, for existence), 43, 
213 ff. 

Struggle of parts, 217, 250. 

Subjective selection, 48, 108. 

Survival, see Selection; (of the fittest) , 218. 

Systematic determination of thought, 
243 ff. 

Taxonomic variation, 162. 

Teleology, 226 ff. 

Terminology, 118 f., 149 ff. 

Tests of truth, 250. 

'Thing' (origin and nature of a), 270 ff. 

Thinking (selective), 238 ff. 

Tradition, 39, 103 ff., 151. 

Uniformity, 11. 

Urban, W. M., 264, 298. 

Use-inheritance, see Lamarckism. 

Variation, 151, see Coincident, Correlated, 
Determinate, Ataxic, Autotaxic, Tax- 
onomic, Discontinuous ; (in thoughts), 
238 ff.; (in attention), 256 ff. 

Villa, G., 321. 

Vital phenomena genetic, 324 ff. 

Vitalism, 186, 327 ff. 

Wallace, A. R., 43, 65, 106, 148, 180, 214. 

Ward, J., 48, 108, 231. 

Warren, E., 333. 

Weismann, 65, 97, 108, 122 ff., 146 f., 164 ff., 

181 f., 230. 
Weldon, 33, 193, 197, 215, 333. 
Williams, 229. 
Wilson, E. B., 211. 
Wundt, W., 267. 

Printed in the United States of America. 


A Study in Social Psychology 

LL.D., Glasgow 

Professor in Princeton University ; Co-editor of the Psychological Review 

Work crowned with the Gold Medal of the Royal Academy of Denmark 
Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged 

Cloth. 8vo. $2.60 

The following is an extract from Professor Hoffding's report to the Danish 

Academy : — 

" This extended and profound work commences with an inquiry into the rela- 
tions subsisting between the individual and society. . . . Occasionally the author 
makes contributions, as new as they are interesting, to the psychology of the child, 
and proves himself the same skilful observer in finding identical or analogous 
movements in different phases of conscious life. By the original, profound, and 
penetrating use which he makes of the psychological and genetic method, he has 
really cleared up the notions which must be used in the study of this question, and 
thereby made much progress toward its solution. . . ." 

The Nation. — " Professor Baldwin here puts forth the sequel to his remarkable 
work on ' Mental Development in the Child and the Race.' . . . That it richly 
deserves the gold medal of the Danish Academy there can be no doubt." 

Edinburgh Scotsman. — " The most important contribution that has been made 
to the science of psychology in recent years." 

The Spectator. — "One of the latest and not least remarkable products of 
American thought. It is a piece of close reasoning based upon vigilant observa- 
tion. ... A vast amount of philosophic learning and of scientific research — both 
of a very rare kmd - has gone to the making of this remarkable book." 

Professor Morselli, ii« Rivista di Filos. Scient. — " It is a vigorous book which 
requires severe meditation and reveals in the author one who has profound knowl- 
edge of psycho-social questions, and a thinker of the first rank. It constitutes a 
most formal and severe refutation of individualism." 

Professor Richard T. Ely, in The Expositor. — " What we have in this work is 
a treatment of social psychology so profound, so original, and so striking in its re- 
sults that it cannot fail to mark an epoch in the future both of sociological and of 
psychological thought. . . . The child is examined in his mental development, 
and the social results reached are as rich as they must be astonishing to one who 
has hitherto failed to approach problems of society from this pimple point of view. 
One is reminded of Columbus and his egg ; also the thought occurs that a little 
child is still leading us into the truth. 

"The most impressive feature of Professor Baldwin's work to one thinking of 
it as a whole is the new emphasis laid upon social forces. The philosophy of 
the eighteenth century viewed external nature as the principal thing to be consid- 
ered in a study of society, and not society itself. The great force in society was 
extraneous to society. But according to the philosophy of our times, as it finds 
expression in Professor Baldwin's work, the chief forces working in society are truly 
social forces, that is to say, they are immanent in society itself. The importance of 
this change can scarcely be overestimated. 

" Professor Baldwin's work is one which no student of society can afford to 
neglect. It is one which will prove helpful to the teacher, and must profoundly in- 
fluence the preacher who grasps its import. It gives us a social philosophy which 
makes possible a rational and helpful discussion of the problems of the day. Pro- 
fessor Baldwin has already accomplished great things, and from him still greater 
things may be expected in the future." 








With Seventeen Figures and Ten Tables. 8vo. pp. xvi, 496. Cloth* 

Price $ 2.60. 

Third Edition, 1906. 
Seventh printing. Translated into French and German. 


" It is of the greatest value and importance." — The Outlook. 

" A most valuable contribution to biological psychology." — The Critic. 

" Baldwin's book is certainly the most important work which has appeared on 
genetic psychology since those of Spencer and Romanes ; it has equal value for the 
psychologist and the biologist." — L. MAR1LLIER in Annie Biologique. 

" Considering all that Baldwin has brought to light in this remarkable book, we 
have to say that it marks a turning-point in the development of physiological psy- 
chology." — E. REICH in the Rundschau. 

"This summary sketch can give no idea of the variety of topics which Professor 
Baldwin handles, or of the originality with which his central thesis is worked out. 
No psychologist can afford to neglect the book." — The Dial. 

" Baldwin's gebiihrt das Gedienst zuerst die Vorarbeiten zusammengefasst und 
in engen zusammenhang mit der physiologischen Psychologie des Erwachsenen 
eine physiologische Psychologie des kindes versucht zu haben. Der Versuch ist 
gelungen." — TH. ZIEHEN, in Preface to German translation. 

" A book . . . treating of a subject fraught with significant revelations for every 
branch of educational science is Professor J. Mark Baldwin's treatise on Mental 
Development in ' The Child and the Race.' Professor Baldwin's work is compara- 
tively untechnical in character and written in a terse and vigorous style, so that it 
will commend itself to unprofessional readers. Having been led by his studies and 
experiments with his two little daughters to a profound appreciation of the genetic 
function of imitation, he has sought to work out a theory of mental development in 
the child incorporating this new insight. A clear understanding of the mental de- 
velopment of the individual child necessitates a doctrine of the race development 
of consciousness — the great problem of the evolution of mind. Accordingly Pro- 
fessor Baldwin has endeavored to link together the current biological theory of 
organic adaptation with the doctrine of the infant's development as that has been 
fashioned by his own wide, special researches. Readers will understand the import 
of a theory which seeks to unite and explain one by the other the psychological 
aspects of ontogenesis and phylogenesis. As Professor Baldwin says, it is the 
problem of Spencer and Romanes attacked from a new and fruitful point of view. 
There is no one but can be interested in the numerous and valuable results which 
Professor Baldwin has recorded ; teachers, parents, and psychologists alike will 
find in his work a wealth of suggestive matter." — The Open Court. 



M tNSTiTurc or mcmacvmi studies 


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