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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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124          111. NON-ELEMENTALISTIC STRUCTURES
of the medium. The larvae of Polygordius, which usually go away from light into dark corners, can be compelled to go toward light by two methods: either by lowering the temperature of the sea-water, or else by increasing the concentration of the salts in the sea-water. This behaviour can be reversed by raising the temperature or lowering the concentration of the salts.3
An extremely instructive group of experiments has been performed in artificial fertilization of the eggs of a large number of marine animals, such as starfish, molluscs, and others.
Under usual conditions, these eggs cannot develop unless a spermatozoon enters the egg, which results in a thickening of the membrane called the 'fertilization membrane'. Experiments show that such a transformation can be produced artificially in an unfertilized egg, with resulting 'fertilization', by several artificial means, as, for instance, by the treatment of the eggs with special chemicals, and, in some instances, by merely puncturing the egg with a needle. The late Jacques Loeb succeeded in producing in this way parthenogenetic frogs, which lived a normal life.*
Under normal conditions, the eggs of different sea animals can be fertilized only by their proper sperm. But, if we raise the alkalinity of the sea-water slightly, we find that the eggs can be fertilized by different sperms, often of widely separated kinds of animals.5 If we put unfertilized eggs of a sea-urchin into sea-water which contains a trace of saponin, we find that the eggs acquire the characteristic 'membrane of fertilization'. If the eggs are taken out, washed carefully and put back into sea-water, they develop into larvae.8 The change in the chemical constitution of sea-water will also often produce twins from one egg Change in temperature may change the colour of butterflies, .7
A very large class of such organism-as-a-whole reactions is given in the works of Professor C. M. Child on regeneration. I suggest these works, not only because they are particularly interesting, even to the layman, but mainly because Professor Child has formulated a A biological system, the importance of which is becoming paramount, and is beginning to be applied even in psychiatry by Dr. Wm. A. White and others.
We find the characteristic of profiting by past experiences and acquiring negative reactions very low in the scale of life. Thus, even infusoria, which ingest a grain of carmine, soon learn to refuse it.8 Most interesting experiments were performed on worms by Yerkes in 1912 and verified repeatedly. Yerkes built a T-shaped maze. In one arm (C) he placed a piece of sand-paper (S), beyond which there was an elec-