Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

obsession — involving the very nature of the soul and its pow¬ 
ers— on a priori grounds. The savans had settled the impossi¬ 
bility of meteoric stones à priori» But things settled in that 
way won’t stay settled.” 
Everybody has heard of the philosopher who refused to look 
through a microscope, on being told it would unsettle a favorite 
In England, the late Professor Faraday committed himself, at 
an early period, against the possibility of the “spiritual” phe¬ 
nomena. His declaration that, “ before we proceed to consider 
any question involving physical principles, we should set out 
with clear ideas of the naturally possible and impossible,” was 
severely handled by Professor A. De Morgan, the distinguished 
The whole assumption on which Faraday based his objection 
to facts of supposed spiritual agency was a misconception. 
Neither in table-moving nor any other of these phenomena is 
the creation of force implied, as he imagined, but simply the 
employment of existing forces by invisible intelligences; a view 
which, whether it be true or false, is at least not manifestly im¬ 
The only practical suggestion on this subject by Faraday was 
the employment of an instrument to test whether the alleged 
table-movements were, or were not, caused by the muscular 
pressure of the sitters around it; but, apart from other consid¬ 
erations, this suggestion was at once disposed of by the fact 
that these movements frequently occurred without the slightest 
contact with the table. 
In 1865, Faraday wrote, “They who say they see these things 
are not competent witnesses of facts.” 
The facts which Faraday had so unhesitatingly pronounced to 
proceed from involuntary muscular action, and from no other 
cause, had become so unruly, that, after some fruitless attempts 
to right himself, he gave up the subject in disgust. 
At length, however, the numerous and circumstantial descrip¬ 
tions given by men of high note, and dinned into his ears, had


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