Man's Place in Nature; And Other Anthropological Essays by Thomas Henry Huxley

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Thomas Henry Huxley
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Man's Place in Nature; And Other Anthropological Essays

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Book review

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1896 edition. Excerpt: ... VI THE ARYAN QUESTION AND PREHISTORIC MAN [1890] The rapid increase of natural knowledge, which is the chief characteristic of our age, is effected in various ways. The main army of science moves to the conquest of new worlds slowly and surely, nor ever cedes an inch of the territory gained. But the advance is covered and facilitated by the ceaseless activity of clouds of light troops provided with a weapon--always efficient, if not always an arm of precision--the scientific imagination. It is the business of these en/ants perdus of science to make raids into the realm of ignorance whereever they see, or think they see, a chance; and cheerfully to accept defeat, or it may be annihilation, as the reward of error. Unfortunately, the public, which watches the progress of the campaign, too often mistakes a dashing incursion of the Uhlans for a forward movement of the main body; fondly imagining that the strategic movement to the rear, which occasionally follows, indicates a battle lost by science. And it must be confessed that the error is too often justified by the effects of the irrepressible tendency which men of science share with all other sorts of men known to me, to be impatient of that most wholesome state of mind--suspended judgment; to assume the objective truth of speculations which, from the nature of the evidence in their favour, can have no claim to be more than working hypotheses. The history of the "Aryan question" affords a striking illustration of these general remarks. About a century ago, Sir William Jones pointed out the close alliance of the chief European languages with Sanskrit and its derivative dialects now spoken in India. Brilliant and laborious philologists, in long succession, enlarged and strengthened this...

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