Page:Essays and Addresses.djvu/650

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the habitual thought of a mere man of letters." They are such as these;—"How the crude matter of common experience is reduced to the order and system which constitutes it an object of scientific knowledge; how the precisest possible conceptions are applied in the exact apprehension and analysis of facts, and how by facts thus established and analysed the conceptions in their turn are gradually rectified; how the laws of nature are ascertained by the combined processes of induction and deduction, provisional assumption and careful verification; how a general hypothesis is used to guide inquiry, and after due comparison with ascertained particulars, becomes an accepted theory; and how a theory, receiving further confirmation, takes its place finally as an organic part of a vast, living, ever-growing system of knowledge." Sidgwick's conclusion is as follows:—"Intellectual culture, at the end of the nineteenth century, must include as its most essential element a scientific habit of mind; and a scientific habit of mind can only be acquired by the methodical study of some part at least of what the human race has come scientifically to know."

There is nothing in that statement to which exception need be taken by the firmest believer in the value of literary education. The more serious and methodical studies of literature demand, in some measure, a scientific habit of mind, in the largest sense of that expression; such a habit is necessary, for instance, in the study of history, in the scientific