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arranged by grades and seasons. In general this is very similar to courses which other authors have planned. The addition of notes will make it vastly more useful than a mere outline.
It should be noted that, in many cases where interpretations of adaptation of plants and animals are concerned, the author's statements are out of line with the most recent critical biologists. He shows a tendency to ascribe a use or a purpose for everything rather than frankly stating that some structures may, from our human standpoint, appear to have a use which is not known to exist. Instances of such cases will be found in paragraphs 285, 286, and 337. Prickles on chestnut burs certainly appear defensive; but the romance of this interpretation is somewhat disturbed by the common observation that the burs open and discharge their nuts as soon as they are ripe and attractive to any self-respecting rodent. Moreover, the prickles are soft and not at all formidable weapons of defense during the long growing season when, according to the romantic theory, they should be serving as defending organs. There is no positive evidence that the prickles on normal burs ever serve any useful purpose in the line of protection against gnawing animals; and there is no justification for the assumption that because prickles and barbs mean defense against enemies, as viewed from the human standpoint, that therefore they must mean the same in the plant world. We must have critical observation applied to each case, rather than the application of a general theory; and the result will often be a confession of ignorance. The chestnut-bur case is one of thousands where the temptation is, for teachers of elementary-school nature-study and high-school biology, to jump to general conclusions without consideration of the observable facts. In teaching nature-study on a basis of observation the teacher needs to keep in mind Agassiz's saying,
Study to translate what actually exists; be courageous enough to say, 'I do not know,'” for many times lessons may lead into unsolved problems. A valuable part of the pupils' science training will be in learning that there are more things in heaven and earth than have been explained by modern science. This advice is especially applicable when dealing with many of the fascinating cases of structural modifications which suggest adaptation to specific use.
This new book will do the greatest service in helping teachers and students to get acquainted with some of the most interesting facts concerning biological nature-study. It is especially important because the author has gleaned and brought together into one volume information which is so widely scattered in the popular natural history books as to be inaccessible to most teachers.
M. A. BIGELOW TEACHERS COLLEGE
The movement of mathematical thought and the adaptation of the newer mathematical theory to the needs of instruction are well illustrated in A treatise on the differential geometry of curves and surfaces, by Professor L. P. Eisenhart of Princeton. The student of this work must possess a knowledge of the calculus, of differential equations, and of the elements of tri-dimensional coordinate geometry. We welcome a scholarly treatise of this kind for its indication that we are building up in America a serious body of advanced mathematical students in the universities. (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1909. 474 p. $4.50.)
Several teachers of English composition in the Sheffield Scientific School have united in the preparation of a book, entitled English composition in theory and practice. Their book presents some novel features, and brings together an exceptional chosen amount of illustrative material, much of it from contemporary writers, and, therefore, particularly useful for the student of today. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909. 402 p. $1.25.)
The latest number of the Riverside Educational Monographs is Changing conceptions of education, by Professor Cubberley of Stanford University. Professor Cubberley's succinct summary of the movement of educational thought will prove a useful guide to many of those students who are
perplexed by the attempt to reconcile the conflicting opinions of apparently equally competent authorities. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909. 72 p. 35 cents.)
We had occasion a few months ago to welcome a cheap and interesting edition of John Stuart Mill's Autobiography. We are now glad to welcome, with equal cordiality, a little volume entitled Autobiography and selected essays by Huxley. The book is edited by Miss Snell of Mt. Holyoke College, and, in addition to the autobiographical material, contains the wellknown lecture on a piece of chalk and that on coral and coral reefs, together with that on two or three others. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909. 138 + xv p. 40 cents.)
The United States Bureau of Education, in its bulletin entitled Teachers' professional library, has rendered a distinct service in presenting a carefully selected list of 100 classified titles. Very few titles that one would expect to find in such a library are missing here. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909. 12 p.)
Superintendents and school officers generally will do well to obtain and study a copy of the pamphlet called Preliminary report on simplified course of study, submitted to the Board of Education at Cleveland, Ohio, by Superintendent Elson. It is a long time since any piece of school work of this kind has been done which seems to us so valuable and so suggestive. Superintendent Elson has rendered not only Cleveland, but the country, a service in making the studies upon which this report is based, and writing the report itself. (Cleveland, Ohio: Printed by the Board of Education, 1909. 40 P.)
Dr. Adam Leroy Jones shows that he is a good teacher in the selection and arrangement of his material in his new Logic: inductive and deductive. He has frankly made a textbook, and thereby has met a genuine need. It has been very difficult for earlier writers on logic to avoid the temptation to make critical contributions to epistemology. Dr. Jones has not done this, and his textbook will be all the more practical and useful in consequence. (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1909. 304 p. $1.00 net.)
NOTES AND NEWS
We hesitate to express our full sense of the William T.
world's loss in the death of William T. Harris Harris
lest we should not be understood. Dr. Harris died at his home in Providence, R. I., whither he had recently moved from Washington, on November 5 in the seventy-fifth year of his age. Perhaps one's first thought is that a dear and trusted friend has past away, or a distinguished former Commissioner of Education, or a great city superintendent of schools, or an author and editor of unusual distinction and influence. This would all be true, but it would be but a small part of the whole story. With the death of Dr. Harris, there came to its earthly end the activity of one of the greatest philosophical minds of modern times. Dr. Harris never held a formal academic post as a teacher of philosophy, but not all the academic teachers of philosophy that America has ever seen, taken together, began to equal him in power, in acumen,
profundity, or in skill in exposition. It is a misfortune for the general reputation of Dr. Harris that the fruits of his life-long philosophic thinking have not been put forth by him in systematic form, where they could stand, as they worthily might, by the side of the writings of a Kant or a Hegel. He chose rather to be a public teacher of the art of philosophic thinking, and to thousands and to tens of thousands of seriousminded Americans he long since became a leader and a guide. He illustrated, in countless ways and with amazing skill, the applications of the deepest philosophic insights of the race to the daily occupations and ambitions of modern men, as well as to the task of education, to the appreciation of art and of music, and to the interpretation of religion. Only those who were privileged to know Dr. Harris intimately and well can form any proper conception of the depth and breadth of his scholarship and of the habitual profundity of his thinking.
During the past two years, as his strength has slowly failed, he busied himself not less, but rather more, with philosophic pro lems. He had only a genial scorn for the fashionable and superficial philosophy of the day, and commented with grim humor upon the brilliant vagaries of Professor William James and the shallow infelicities of Mr. Schiller. Dr. Harris was so thoroly immersed in the current of the stream of historic thinking that he was not much concerned with the flotsam and jetsam of the moment. It is indeed a pity that so few can ever know how distinguished an ornament he was to his nation and his race.
Only a few days earlier, there died in Philadelphia at an advanced age, Mr. Henry C. Lea, for fifty years a tireless historical student and author of the first rank. Had Mr. Lea and Dr. Harris died within a few weeks of each other in England, in France, or in Germany, the whole people would have mourned the loss of their most brilliant representatives. In America, their passing from earth is indicated in a newspaper paragraph, and that is all. The boasted civilization of America has indeed very much yet to learn.
We wish that legislators, teachers, and thosoi Meddlesome
miscellaneous busy-bodies who are so anxious Legislation
to reform what they do not understand, would read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest these wise words from The Dial:
That public education is the function of the State rather than of the municipality, is a principle that we have always maintained. The State is bound to see to it that thruout its area the means of education are provided upon as ample a scale as the general prosperity of the commonwealth makes advisable. The parsimony of the particular locality must not be permitted to keep its schools below the generally accepted standard, and the locality which would find it a real hardship to provide the needed support is entitled to assistance at the expense of more favored communities. On the other hand, the essentials being secured by law, the business of administration is distinctly a local affair, and it is in the last degree unwise for the State to prescribe matters of detail, or to interfere in questions that call for expert educational knowledge. The average legislature is about as well fitted to handle such delicate questions as it would be to regulate the circulation of books by public libraries or the scientific management of hospitals.