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Perhaps no one would dispute the claim that the sciences individually and collectively are committed to the very procedure which Harris describes in the above quotation. “Morgan's canon” or the law of parsimony, as it is sometimes called, epitomizes this method. “In no case," says Morgan in his Introduction to comparative psychology, "may we interpret an action as the outcome of the exercise of a higher psychical faculty, if it can be interpreted as the outcome of the exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological scale."'3 We must interpret the complex in terms of the simple; the higher in terms of the lower.

It is not the purpose of this paper to question the procedure of any science. The worker in his particular science is the best judge of the methods to be used to accomplish the aim of that science. That method is undoubtedly best which brings most cosmos out of the original chaos of fact with which the science works. The question worth while here is one regarding the application of such methods to the problems of education. Specifically, there are two problems which I should like to raise. (1) In what sense is education a science? (2) What is the value of analogies drawn from the other sciences in helping us to solve the problems of human education?

No reader of the current literature on the subject can fail to have noticed an increasing number of references to the science of education. To be sure, some of the references are intended for sarcasm, but the notion is gradually and rather rapidly spreading that education is a science. We are familiar with the argument. We are told that before the time of the present generation education was carried on in a hit-and-miss manner; that just as the healing art of medicine has passed thru the stage of empirical knowledge, abandoned its vague and general notions of power and vital processes and has come at last out upon the broad plateau of scientific knowledge, so education will one day become a science of character building. When that day dawns we may expect to predict the result of a teacher's.


3 P. 53.

influence as we can now foresee the effect of a drug upon the human body.

What we need is the exact coefficient of the educated person. It is hardly necessary to add that worthy as such a goal is, it lies far distant in an uncertain future. To make a Washington or a Frances E. Willard is, so far as our present sight goes, a work for gods, not for men. Nevertheless this is by no means an argument to the point, for it does not even raise a presumption that the desired knowledge is never to be ours because it is not ours now.

Let us suppose that there is a natural process of character formation, which I think few would question; our next step unless we prefer to be downright skeptics is to argue that this process may be made intelligible to the human mind. In other words, if we admit the possibility of human knowledge and the orderly character of the educative process how can we conclude that man can not discover the laws of education just as he discovered the laws of astronomy or of medicine? The objection of complexity is not significant for if the subject matter is masterable, given time and courage, man will master it. The alternative position that the field of education is extra-scientific is one which few today would take. The past history of science too clearly indicates the futility of trying to put arbitrary limits to scientific genius. We scarcely now dream of dividing up the world, geographically as it were, into the realm of science and the realm of the supernatural or the realm of knowledge and the realm of faith. It seems fairly evident therefore that if there is not already, at least there may be in the future a real science of education.

But what would such a science be and upon what would it be based? Probably no one would be rash enough to assume the role of the prophet in such a matter, but we may, I think, promote the cause of such a science by reflection upon possible ways in which it might develop. In the first place, like all sciences it would be an organized body of knowledge within a given field of human interest. We need not raise the question here of how the field is

marked off from other fields. Let us be as unsophisticated about such questions as possible and say that a science of education would be an organized body of knowledge concerning the theory and process of becoming cultured, learned, or efficient. The three words, more

or less synonomous, may be taken to cover the divergent views of the aim of education. In the matter of organization it seems, then, that the science of education might be like any other science. It might also be expected to be based upon wide and systematic observation and experiment as other sciences are. Again, its procedure would be closely kindred to the procedure of physics, chemistry or any other science in its use of hypothesis and in its manner of verification.

So much may, for the sake of agreement, go unchallenged. What shall we say of the scientific method which explains the high in terms of the low? Must our science of education be dehumanized? A glance at the educational work that goes under the name of scientific will reveal a definite tendency toward dehumanization of the problems of education. The same tendency is discoverable in other so-called social sciences. The concrete individual human being is repeatedly treated as a mere unit in a social pattern. Such phrases as, the child, and, adjustment, have supplanted, children, and, character building. Many seem to believe that when the educational situation is put in mechanical, statistical, or at least quasi-mechanical terms we are simplifying it. This conclusion is fairly open to grave question. When we have successfully labeled or grouped or numbered the children have we a deeper or a more shallow basis for our practise? It is certainly possible that it is more shallow. Bergson has convinced most of his readers and thru them the general public that life can never be completely stated in a rationalistic equation. If we follow him in this we may certainly get the meaning of the doubt raised in the above question. When it is decided that a child is defective, for example, there is a strong presumption that the teacher will forget everything else about him. Here is the pit. The child is defective, but


“the gates of the future are open.” We may not like to admit it and this is precisely our danger for we have labeled him and we want the label to stick. We have named him and henceforth let him be just that and no more. Living, conscious beings capable of ideas and ideals—tho the ideas be relatively few and the ideals but just higher than the attainment-fit but ill into the machine-made boxes of the statistician. The more rigid, and therefore, from a certain viewpoint, the more scientific these classifications become the more violence they may do to the real process of education.

Let us, by all means, have statistics and classification but let us, by all means, have them and not let them have

This is a warning more or less appropriate in all scientific study. Scientists are aware of the dangers of dogmatism but in the work of education a failure to leave the gates of the future open would be peculiarly unfortunate. Why? Because in no science except those called social is it necessary to take the ideals of human beings into account. By the nature of the problems which the other sciences set about to solve as well as by the nature of their subject matter physical and natural sciences take no interest in what Aristotle called final causes.

Vis a tergo is the motive in our sciences of matter and motion and space, and to an ever-increasing degree in biology and psychology. This seems practicable in dealing with the mind which psychology knows, but with the minds of men how utterly inadequate! “Rational purpose is,” says Hobhouse, “and will always in the end be recognized as the distinctive feature of the activity of mind, and tho it may fairly enough be maintained that the mind is more than its purposes, and that the purposes themselves grow and take definite shape in the very process of execution, this is only to contend that the mind, as we know it, is still imperfectly aware of itself and its own meanings.. A mere vital impulse may blow like the wind where it listeth, so that none can tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. But creative or rather plastic mind is that which moves towards ends which are worth reaching, and because they are worth reaching. It gets a better view of them as it advances, not so much because they are nearer as because its own nature as mind is being all along developed by its activity and its experience, and this development means precisely that its purposes are clearer, more harmonious and more comprehensive."'4

In raising this distinction between an educational science and some older ones no appeal is made to the supernatural. It is not supposed that man is too holy to be handled with the hard gloves of science. The distinction is rather a plain matter-of-fact difference between abstract units which stay placed and living minds which are moved by conscious ideals. If human education is to be a science it must be a science of human education, not a pseudo-science made up of scraps of dehumanized physics and biology. We do not get a very profound knowledge of a child by the study of a dog. We can not construct a science of education if we keep our eyes glued to a microscope. There is one thing at least which we shall never see there an ideal. We must reverse our methods to some extent and interpret the lower in terms of the higher-man's action in terms of his destiny and his self-created ideals. To this there is no parallel in natural science.

But this leads naturally to the second of our questionsWhat is the value of analogies drawn from other sciences in helping us solve the problems of human education? In general an analogy should be safe and useful in proportion as the subject to which it is applied corresponds point by point to the subject from which it is drawn. Thus in so far as the mind can be said to resemble clay education may truly be conceived as a process of molding. In whatever respect mind is an empty pot, education is a filling. These analogies have largely gone out of fashion. They are dismist with the now rather trite saying that they are based upon a static conception of mind whereas we now know that mind is dynamic. This means that we have

* Development and Purpose, p. xxviii.

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