Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/575

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559
EDITOR'S TABLE.

taught the forms of civility, and that it is good manners to defer to others, hut unless morally precocious they are not gentle men. That they should be indifferent at annoying and distressing people on the sidewalk with their bicycles is but natural. But as boys they are more than inconsiderate, and, if they did not run down old women, would enjoy scaring them. We, however, find little fault with the Stockbridge boys. But they need discipline in the recognition of mutual rights as well as indulgence for their pastimes, and the community which allows them to pursue their gratifications at the expense of the comfort of their neighbors is in that respect and to that degree—well—not in the highest degree civilized.

 

 

BAIN ON UNIVERSITY EDUCATION.

The brief history of the higher education contained in the Rectoral Address of Dr. Bain at Aberdeen on "The University Ideal," which is herewith printed, will interest all thoughtful readers. It will prove chiefly interesting as a compact review of changing university methods daring the rise of modern knowledge, and a statement of the present status of the university in the exigencies of modern life. As regards modes of teaching, the type of the university which has grown up within the last hundred years is based upon the principle of the division of labor by which men specially qualified for the work are especially intrusted with the subjects they have mastered. Obvious as this principle is to us, and difficult as it is for us to conceive how the higher education could stand upon any other principle, yet the present method is but the product of centuries of struggle before this policy could be established. It is undoubtedly a result of that general progress of science which can not be said to have got its initiation in the older university methods. With the division of labor in teaching comes the new aim of the higher schools of learning. "Its watchword is progress, and there can not be progress without a sincere and single eye to the truth. The fatal sterility of the middle ages, and of our first and second university periods, had to do with the mistake of gagging men's mouths and dictating all their conclusions. Things came to be so arranged that contradictory views ran side by side like opposing electric currents, the thick wrappage of ingenious phraseology arresting the destructive discharge. There was, indeed, an elaborate and pretentious logic supplied by Aristotle and emended Bacon; what was still wanted was a taste of the logic of freedom."

Dr. Bain insists that the bearing of modern science upon the higher education creates the demand for three fundamental elements in any adequate university curriculum, and he maintains that Aberdeen University holds the leading place in having recognized these elements for the past hundred years. He says: '"Our curriculum is one of the completest in the country, or perhaps anywhere. By the happy thought of the Senatus of Marischal College, in 1753, you have a fundamental class not existing in the other colleges. You have a fair representation of the three great lines of science—the abstract, the experimental, and the classifying. When it is a general education that you are thinking of, every scheme of option is imperfect that does not provide for such three-sided cultivation of our reasoning powers. A larger quantity of one will no more serve for the absence of the rest than a double covering of one part of the body will enable another part to be left bare."