Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/31

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21
LIBERAL EDUCATION.

of the severer study of language has very little comprehension of the true nature of the study of science, or else, like the public orator of Cambridge, in his "tonic" theory, confounds together the ideas of severity and distastefulness. And Mr. Hawtrey's very childish conceptions in regard to the teaching of science are further exemplified when he goes on to ask: "Would there not be great danger of boys becoming less vigorous-minded than they are?... Will their becoming acquainted with a string of scientific results stand them instead of the mental training they now get?"

Thus we see that the highest conception a master of Eton has of the study of science is that it is "becoming acquainted with a string of scientific results." I need not pause before this audience to refute such a notion. If the study of modern science did not call for the exercise of all the highest faculties of man; if it did not give an exercise such as no other study gives to his reasoning as well as his observing powers; if without it the very study of language itself did not become empty and barren; if a knowledge of it were not necessary to the solution of all the profoundest philosophical problems with which the mind of man in these generations is occupied—then, indeed, a question might be raised as to the propriety of its introduction into the curriculum of liberal study. But if it is this, and more than all this, then it claims more than a subordinate place; it is no toy for idle hours, no subject to fill up gaps and intervals of time. It claims a right to no less than a full half of all available time and power; of time for training the student's senses—all left by our older training in worse than Egyptian darkness—of power to be employed in training the reasoning faculties, by processes as rigorous as any the older studies can boast of. Nothing less than this will satisfy the demands of science as an element in modern liberal education.

I have already indicated what seems to me to be the only way by which room can be found for the real introduction of science into our scheme of studies. By removing Greek wholly from the list of general studies to that list of specialties which make up our completed conception of the higher education, after it diverges in different directions; by relegating Latin to a subordinate instead of a primary place in language-training, we shall find room to place science on an equal footing with literature as an instrument of general liberal culture; and I see no other way. And this scheme will have this further advantage, that, for all who carry their education beyond its rudimentary stages, it will afford ample time and opportunity for the real mastery of at least two of the leading modern languages besides our own: for French, the modern daughter of the Latin—for German, a kindred Teutonic dialect closely related to our own. I am aware that such a scheme for the teaching of modern languages, including our own, so systematically and scientifically, as that the mental discipline derived from it shall not be inferior to that derived from the teaching