Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Destiny of Man Viewed in the Light of His Origin   By: (1842-1901)

Book cover

First Page:

THE DESTINY OF MAN

VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF HIS ORIGIN

BY

JOHN FISKE

TWENTIETH EDITION.

BOSTON

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

1893

Copyright, 1884,

BY JOHN FISKE.

TO

MY CHILDREN,

MAUD, HAROLD, CLARENCE, RALPH, ETHEL, AND HERBERT,

This Essay

IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED.

PREFACE.

Having been invited to give an address before the Concord School of Philosophy this summer, upon some subject relating to the question of immortality there under discussion, it seemed a proper occasion for putting together the following thoughts on the origin of Man and his place in the universe. In dealing with the unknown, it is well to take one's start a long way within the limits of the known. The question of a future life is generally regarded as lying outside the range of legitimate scientific discussion. Yet while fully admitting this, one does not necessarily admit that the subject is one with regard to which we are forever debarred from entertaining an opinion. Now our opinions on such transcendental questions must necessarily be affected by the total mass of our opinions on the questions which lie within the scope of scientific inquiry; and from this point of view it becomes of surpassing interest to trace the career of Humanity within that segment of the universe which is accessible to us. The teachings of the doctrine of evolution as to the origin and destiny of Man have, moreover, a very great speculative and practical value of their own, quite apart from their bearings upon any ultimate questions. The body of this essay is accordingly devoted to setting forth these teachings in what I conceive to be their true light; while their transcendental implications are reserved for the sequel.

As the essay contains an epitome of my own original contributions to the doctrine of evolution, I have added at the end a short list of references to other works of mine, where the points here briefly mentioned are more fully argued and illustrated. The views regarding the progress of human society, and the elimination of warfare, are set forth at greater length in a little book now in the press, and soon to appear, entitled "American Political Ideas."

PETERSHAM, September 6, 1884.

CONTENTS.

I. Man's Place in Nature as affected by the Copernican Theory. II. As affected by Darwinism. III. On the Earth there will never be a Higher Creature than Man. IV. The Origin of Infancy. V. The Dawning of Consciousness. VI. Lengthening of Infancy and Concomitant Increase of Brain Surface. VII. Change in the Direction of the Working of Natural Selection. VIII. Growing Predominance of the Psychical Life. IX. The Origins of Society and of Morality. X. Improvableness of Man. XI. Universal Warfare of Primeval Men. XII. First checked by the Beginnings of Industrial Civilisation. XIII. Methods of Political Development, and Elimination of Warfare. XIV. End of the Working of Natural Selection upon Man. Throwing off the Brute Inheritance. XV. The Message of Christianity. XVI. The Question as to a Future Life.

THE DESTINY OF MAN.

I.

Man's Place in Nature, as affected by the Copernican Theory.

When we study the Divine Comedy of Dante that wonderful book wherein all the knowledge and speculation, all the sorrows and yearnings, of the far off Middle Ages are enshrined in the glory of imperishable verse we are brought face to face with a theory of the world and with ways of reasoning about the facts of nature which seem strange to us to day, but from the influence of which we are not yet, and doubtless never shall be, wholly freed. A cosmology grotesque enough in the light of later knowledge, yet wrought out no less carefully than the physical theories of Lucretius, is employed in the service of a theology cumbrous in its obsolete details, but resting upon fundamental truths which mankind can never safely lose sight of... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books