THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY
THE HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS"
earliest dawn of science is without doubt not different fromthat of intelligence. But the civilized man of to-day, far removedas he
from the lowest of existing human races, is probably as faragain from the beihg whom one would not differentiate from theanimals as far as mental powers are concerned.What this differenceis, neither ethnologist nor psychologist
yet tell. Perhaps thenearest approach to a definition, at least from the point of view of thisarticle, is contained in the distinction between unconscious and con-scious observation. We are familiar with both' sides even in ourselves:records can be impressed on the brain and remain there apparentlydormant until some stimulus brings them to fruition, and again, recordand stimulus can appear together
that a train of thought
mediately started.The faculty of conscious observation is a fundamental requirementof a scientific training, and no development can take place until it
been acquired to some extent. Although this
only the first step, itwas probably a long ane in the history of the race, just as it is relativelylong in the lives of the majority of individuals. Reasoning concerning the observation follows, but not much success can be attained untila considerable number of observations have been accumulated. Wemay indeed put two and two together to make four, but experienceshows that with phenomena the answer is more often wrong than right:we need much more informatio~ n arder to get a mrreot answer.We expect, then, that the earlier stage of a science will be one notso much of discovery as of conscious observation of phenomena whichare apparent as soon as attention is called to them. The habit onceacquired, the search for the less obvious facts of nature begins, and
lecture delivered at Yale University, February
the first of
series on the History of Science under the auspices of the Gamma AlphaGraduate Scientific Fraternity.
The Scientific Monthly
, Vol. 12, No. 5. (May, 1921), pp. 385-413.