Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/105

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101
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.
hwe moved to djvu 103 because of intervening image page.— Ineuw talk 22:20, 30 September 2013 (UTC) (Wikisource contributor note)

and the arts. The attempt to unify knowledge on the lines of a particular philosophical system must naturally fail. No one supposes that a conference at the Hague will give the world enduring peace, or that a congress at St. Louis will unify the sciences. Indeed there are those who hold that science will be unified only when it is dead, and that any scheme of unification is more useful in promoting controversy than in prescribing a final solution. It is probable that very few of the speakers were even aware of Professor Münsterberg's plan or had read his article in the Atlantic Monthly. The addresses that dealt with some special problem to which the author had contributed were the best. The divisions intended to unify the sciences were superfluous.

 

PSM V66 D105 Palace of machinery.png

Palace of Machinery.

 

As a matter of fact it is more feasible and more profitable to unify men of science than to perfect a logical scheme of the sciences, and in this direction the congress was only moderately successful.

Incidentally much was indeed accomplished, the main result being the bringing of a hundred leading foreign scholars to this country. Not only at the congress, but in their visits to other places, they have taught us many things, and it may be hoped have learned some things from us. The two hundred thousand dollars expended is a considerable sum, and possibly still more might have been accomplished with it. It is doubtful whether the limitation of the meeting to a single week represents any advance over the series of congresses of the Paris exposition. If the dormitories of Washington University, with a proper dining-room and rooms for sessions and social intercourse, had been placed at the disposal of our national societies, and they had held a series of meetings during the summer, with perhaps one week for general addresses by a score of invited scholars, the results would probably have been better.

As it was the week of the congress was overcrowded. Each of the some three hundred speakers addressed an