Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/32

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24
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

unite in opposition not only to the Hegelian movement, which, led by Caird and Bradley of Oxford, Seth and Stirling of Edinburgh, threatens the invasion of England, but also to the Spencerian philosophy. The latter system has not many adherents at either university, but the writer has been told by Professor Sully that the ascendency of the neo-Hegelian and other systems is by no means so pronounced elsewhere in England. The Spencerian biology, on the contrary, has been largely defended at Cambridge, while Weismannism, for the most part, is repudiated there and at Oxford.

PSM V56 D0032 James Ward.png
James Ward, Sc. D., Trinity.
Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic.

The teaching at Cambridge, as at all universities, is of many grades. In many subjects the lectures are not meant to give a student sufficient material to get him through an examination, and a "coach" becomes requisite, or at any rate is employed. This system of coaching has attained large dimensions; its results are often good, but it means an additional expense and seems an incentive to laziness, making it unnecessary for a student to exert his own mental aggressiveness or powers of application as he who fights his own battles must do. The Socratic form of instruction, producing a more intimate and unrestricted relation between instructor and student, and which is largely in operation in the States, is little practiced in England. In science the methods of instruction at Cambridge are ideal. That practical acquaintance with the facts of Nature which Huxley and Tyndall taught is the only true means of knowing Nature, is the hey according to which all biological and physical instruction at these institutions is conducted.

Tn the last half dozen years two radical steps have been taken by both Oxford and Cambridge—steps leading, to many respectable minds, in diametrically opposite directions. The step backward (in the writer's view) occurred when the universities, after much excitement, defeated with slaughter the proposition grant-