Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/593

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THE

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY.



SEPTEMBER, 1884.



SCIENTIFIC CULTURE:

ITS SPIRIT, ITS AIM, AND ITS METHODS.[1]

By JOSIAH PARSONS COOKE.

I ASSUME that most of those whom I address are teachers, and that you have been drawn here by a desire to be instructed in the best methods of teaching physical science. It has therefore seemed to me that I might render a real service, in this introductory address, by giving the results of my own experience and reflection on this subject; and my thoughts have been recently especially directed to this topic by the discussion in regard to the requisites for admission, which during the past year have actively engaged the attention of the faculty of this college.

At the very outset of this discussion we must be careful to make a clear distinction between instruction and education—between the acquisition of knowledge and the cultivation of the faculties of the mind. Our knowledge should be as broad as possible, but, in the short space of human life, it is not, as a rule, practicable to cultivate, for effective usefulness, the intellectual powers in more than one direction.

Let me illustrate what I mean from that department of knowledge which is at once the most fundamental and the most essential. I refer to the study of language. No person can be regarded as thoroughly educated who has not the power of speaking and writing his mother-tongue accurately, elegantly, and forcibly; and scholars of the present day must also command, to a considerable extent, both the French

  1. An address delivered at the opening of the Summer School of Chemistry at Harvard College, July 7, 1884.