1. The Place of Active Occupations in Education. In consequence partly of the efforts of educational reformers, partly of increased interest in child-psychology, and partly of the direct experience of the schoolroom, the course of study has in the past generation undergone considerable modification. The desirability of starting from and with the experience and capacities of learners, a lesson enforced from all three quarters, has led to the introduction of forms of activity, in play and work, similar to those in which children and youth engage outside of school. Modern psychology has substituted for the general, ready-made faculties of older theory a complex group of instinctive and impulsive tendencies. Experience has shown that when children have a chance at physical activities which bring their natural impulses into play, going to school is a joy, management is less of a burden, and learning is easier. Sometimes, perhaps, plays, games, and constructive occupations are resorted to only for these reasons, with emphasis upon relief from the tedium and strain of "regular" school work. There is no reason, however, for using them merely as agreeable diversions. Study of mental life has made evident the fundamental worth of native tendencies to explore, to manipulate tools and materials, to construct, to give expression to joyous emotion, etc. When exercises which are prompted by these instincts are a part of the regular school program, the whole pupil is engaged, the artificial gap between life in school and out is reduced, motives are afforded for attention to a large variety of materials and processes distinctly educative in effect, and cooperative associations which give information in a social setting are provided. In short, the grounds for assigning to play and active work a definite place in the curriculum are intellectual and social, not matters of temporary expediency and momentary agreeableness. Without something of the kind, it is not possible to secure the normal estate of effective learning; namely, that knowledge-getting be an outgrowth of activities having their own end, instead of a school task. More specifically, play and work correspond, point for point, with the traits of the initial stage of knowing, which consists, as we saw in the last chapter, in learning how to do things and in acquaintance with things and processes gained in the doing. It is suggestive that among the Greeks, till the rise of conscious philosophy, the same word, techne, was used for art and science. Plato gave his account of knowledge on the basis of an analysis of the knowledge of cobblers, carpenters, players of musical instruments, etc., pointing out that their art (so far as it was not mere routine) involved an end, mastery of material or stuff worked upon, control of appliances, and a definite order of procedure—all of which had to be known in order that there be intelligent skill or art.
Doubtless the fact that children normally engage in play and work out of school has seemed to many educators a reason why they should concern themselves in school with things radically different. School time seemed too precious to spend in doing over again what children were sure to do any way. In some social conditions, this reason has weight. In pioneer times, for example, outside occupations gave a definite and valuable intellectual and moral training. Books and everything concerned with them were, on the other hand, rare and difficult of access; they were the only means of outlet from a narrow and crude environment. Wherever such conditions obtain, much may be said in favor of concentrating school activity upon books. The situation is very different, however, in most communities to-day. The kinds of work in which the young can engage, especially in cities, are largely anti-educational. That prevention of child labor is a social duty is evidence on this point. On the other hand, printed matter has been so cheapened and is in such universal circulation, and all the opportunities of intellectual culture have been so multiplied, that the older type of book work is far from having the force it used to possess.
But it must not be forgotten that an educational result is a by-product of play and work in most out-of-school conditions. It is incidental, not primary. Consequently the educative growth secured is more or less accidental. Much work shares in the defects of existing industrial society—defects next to fatal to right development. Play tends to reproduce and affirm the crudities, as well as the excellencies, of surrounding adult life. It is the business of the school to set up an environment in which play and work shall be conducted with reference to facilitating desirable mental and moral growth. It is not enough just to introduce plays and games, hand work and manual exercises. Everything depends upon the way in which they are employed.
2. Available Occupations. A bare catalogue of the list of activities which have already found their way into schools indicates what a rich field is at hand. There is work with paper, cardboard, wood, leather, cloth, yarns, clay and sand, and the metals, with and without tools. Processes employed are folding, cutting, pricking, measuring, molding, modeling, pattern-making, heating and cooling, and the operations characteristic of such tools as the hammer, saw, file, etc. Outdoor excursions, gardening, cooking, sewing, printing, book-binding, weaving, painting, drawing, singing, dramatization, story-telling, reading and writing as active pursuits with social aims (not as mere exercises for acquiring skill for future use), in addition to a countless variety of plays and games, designate some of the modes of occupation.
The problem of the educator is to engage pupils in these activities in such ways that while manual skill and technical efficiency are gained and immediate satisfaction found in the work, together with preparation for later usefulness, these things shall be subordinated to education—that is, to intellectual results and the forming of a socialized disposition. What does this principle signify? In the first place, the principle rules out certain practices. Activities which follow definite prescription and dictation or which reproduce without modification ready-made models, may give muscular dexterity, but they do not require the perception and elaboration of ends, nor (what is the same thing in other words) do they permit the use of judgment in selecting and adapting means. Not merely manual training specifically so called but many traditional kindergarten exercises have erred here. Moreover, opportunity for making mistakes is an incidental requirement. Not because mistakes are ever desirable, but because overzeal to select material and appliances which forbid a chance for mistakes to occur, restricts initiative, reduces judgment to a minimum, and compels the use of methods which are so remote from the complex situations of life that the power gained is of little availability. It is quite true that children tend to exaggerate their powers of execution and to select projects that are beyond them. But limitation of capacity is one of the things which has to be learned; like other things, it is learned through the experience of consequences. The danger that children undertaking too complex projects will simply muddle and mess, and produce not merely crude results (which is a minor matter) but acquire crude standards (which is an important matter) is great. But it is the fault of the teacher if the pupil does not perceive in due season the inadequacy of his performances, and thereby receive a stimulus to attempt exercises which will perfect his powers. Meantime it is more important to keep alive a creative and constructive attitude than to secure an external perfection by engaging the pupil's action in too minute and too closely regulated pieces of work. Accuracy and finish of detail can be insisted upon in such portions of a complex work as are within the pupil's capacity.
Unconscious suspicion of native experience and consequent overdoing of external control are shown quite as much in the material supplied as in the matter of the teacher's orders. The fear of raw material is shown in laboratory, manual training shop, Froebelian kindergarten, and Montessori house of childhood. The demand is for materials which have already been subjected to the perfecting work of mind: a demand which shows itself in the subject matter of active occupations quite as well as in academic book learning. That such material will control the pupil's operations so as to prevent errors is true. The notion that a pupil operating with such material will somehow absorb the intelligence that went originally to its shaping is fallacious. Only by starting with crude material and subjecting it to purposeful handling will he gain the intelligence embodied in finished material. In practice, overemphasis upon formed material leads to an exaggeration of mathematical qualities, since intellect finds its profit in physical things from matters of size, form, and proportion and the relations that flow from them. But these are known only when their perception is a fruit of acting upon purposes which require attention to them. The more human the purpose, or the more it approximates the ends which appeal in daily experience, the more real the knowledge. When the purpose of the activity is restricted to ascertaining these qualities, the resulting knowledge is only technical.
To say that active occupations should be concerned primarily with wholes is another statement of the same principle. Wholes for purposes of education are not, however, physical affairs. Intellectually the existence of a whole depends upon a concern or interest; it is qualitative, the completeness of appeal made by a situation. Exaggerated devotion to formation of efficient skill irrespective of present purpose always shows itself in devising exercises isolated from a purpose. Laboratory work is made to consist of tasks of accurate measurement with a view to acquiring knowledge of the fundamental units of physics, irrespective of contact with the problems which make these units important; or of operations designed to afford facility in the manipulation of experimental apparatus. The technique is acquired independently of the purposes of discovery and testing which alone give it meaning. Kindergarten employments are calculated to give information regarding cubes, spheres, etc., and to form certain habits of manipulation of material (for everything must always be done "just so"), the absence of more vital purposes being supposedly compensated for by the alleged symbolism of the material used. Manual training is reduced to a series of ordered assignments calculated to secure the mastery of one tool after another and technical ability in the various elements of construction—like the different joints. It is argued that pupils must know how to use tools before they attack actual making,—assuming that pupils cannot learn how in the process of making. Pestalozzi's just insistence upon the active use of the senses, as a substitute for memorizing words, left behind it in practice schemes for "object lessons" intended to acquaint pupils with all the qualities of selected objects. The error is the same: in all these cases it is assumed that before objects can be intelligently used, their properties must be known. In fact, the senses are normally used in the course of intelligent (that is, purposeful) use of things, since the qualities perceived are factors to be reckoned with in accomplishment. Witness the different attitude of a boy in making, say, a kite, with respect to the grain and other properties of wood, the matter of size, angles, and proportion of parts, to the attitude of a pupil who has an object-lesson on a piece of wood, where the sole function of wood and its properties is to serve as subject matter for the lesson.
The failure to realize that the functional development of a situation alone constitutes a "whole" for the purpose of mind is the cause of the false notions which have prevailed in instruction concerning the simple and the complex. For the person approaching a subject, the simple thing is his purpose—the use he desires to make of material, tool, or technical process, no matter how complicated the process of execution may be. The unity of the purpose, with the concentration upon details which it entails, confers simplicity upon the elements which have to be reckoned with in the course of action. It furnishes each with a single meaning according to its service in carrying on the whole enterprise. After one has gone through the process, the constituent qualities and relations are elements, each possessed with a definite meaning of its own. The false notion referred to takes the standpoint of the expert, the one for whom elements exist; isolates them from purposeful action, and presents them to beginners as the "simple" things. But it is time for a positive statement. Aside from the fact that active occupations represent things to do, not studies, their educational significance consists in the fact that they may typify social situations. Men's fundamental common concerns center about food, shelter, clothing, household furnishings, and the appliances connected with production, exchange, and consumption.
Representing both the necessities of life and the adornments with which the necessities have been clothed, they tap instincts at a deep level; they are saturated with facts and principles having a social quality.
To charge that the various activities of gardening, weaving, construction in wood, manipulation of metals, cooking, etc., which carry over these fundamental human concerns into school resources, have a merely bread and butter value is to miss their point. If the mass of mankind has usually found in its industrial occupations nothing but evils which had to be endured for the sake of maintaining existence, the fault is not in the occupations, but in the conditions under which they are carried on. The continually increasing importance of economic factors in contemporary life makes it the more needed that education should reveal their scientific content and their social value. For in schools, occupations are not carried on for pecuniary gain but for their own content. Freed from extraneous associations and from the pressure of wage-earning, they supply modes of experience which are intrinsically valuable; they are truly liberalizing in quality.
Gardening, for example, need not be taught either for the sake of preparing future gardeners, or as an agreeable way of passing time. It affords an avenue of approach to knowledge of the place farming and horticulture have had in the history of the race and which they occupy in present social organization. Carried on in an environment educationally controlled, they are means for making a study of the facts of growth, the chemistry of soil, the role of light, air, and moisture, injurious and helpful animal life, etc. There is nothing in the elementary study of botany which cannot be introduced in a vital way in connection with caring for the growth of seeds. Instead of the subject matter belonging to a peculiar study called botany, it will then belong to life, and will find, moreover, its natural correlations with the facts of soil, animal life, and human relations. As students grow mature, they will perceive problems of interest which may be pursued for the sake of discovery, independent of the original direct interest in gardening—problems connected with the germination and nutrition of plants, the reproduction of fruits, etc., thus making a transition to deliberate intellectual investigations.
The illustration is intended to apply, of course, to other school occupations,—wood-working, cooking, and on through the list. It is pertinent to note that in the history of the race the sciences grew gradually out from useful social occupations. Physics developed slowly out of the use of tools and machines; the important branch of physics known as mechanics testifies in its name to its original associations. The lever, wheel, inclined plane, etc., were among the first great intellectual discoveries of mankind, and they are none the less intellectual because they occurred in the course of seeking for means of accomplishing practical ends. The great advance of electrical science in the last generation was closely associated, as effect and as cause, with application of electric agencies to means of communication, transportation, lighting of cities and houses, and more economical production of goods. These are social ends, moreover, and if they are too closely associated with notions of private profit, it is not because of anything in them, but because they have been deflected to private uses:—a fact which puts upon the school the responsibility of restoring their connection, in the mind of the coming generation, with public scientific and social interests. In like ways, chemistry grew out of processes of dying, bleaching, metal working, etc., and in recent times has found innumerable new uses in industry.
Mathematics is now a highly abstract science; geometry, however, means literally earth-measuring: the practical use of number in counting to keep track of things and in measuring is even more important to-day than in the times when it was invented for these purposes. Such considerations (which could be duplicated in the history of any science) are not arguments for a recapitulation of the history of the race or for dwelling long in the early rule of thumb stage. But they indicate the possibilities—greater to-day than ever before—of using active occupations as opportunities for scientific study. The opportunities are just as great on the social side, whether we look at the life of collective humanity in its past or in its future. The most direct road for elementary students into civics and economics is found in consideration of the place and office of industrial occupations in social life. Even for older students, the social sciences would be less abstract and formal if they were dealt with less as sciences (less as formulated bodies of knowledge) and more in their direct subject-matter as that is found in the daily life of the social groups in which the student shares.
Connection of occupations with the method of science is at least as close as with its subject matter. The ages when scientific progress was slow were the ages when learned men had contempt for the material and processes of everyday life, especially for those concerned with manual pursuits. Consequently they strove to develop knowledge out of general principles—almost out of their heads—by logical reasons. It seems as absurd that learning should come from action on and with physical things, like dropping acid on a stone to see what would happen, as that it should come from sticking an awl with waxed thread through a piece of leather. But the rise of experimental methods proved that, given control of conditions, the latter operation is more typical of the right way of knowledge than isolated logical reasonings. Experiment developed in the seventeenth and succeeding centuries and became the authorized way of knowing when men's interests were centered in the question of control of nature for human uses. The active occupations in which appliances are brought to bear upon physical things with the intention of effecting useful changes is the most vital introduction to the experimental method.
3. Work and Play. What has been termed active occupation includes both play and work. In their intrinsic meaning, play and industry are by no means so antithetical to one another as is often assumed, any sharp contrast being due to undesirable social conditions. Both involve ends consciously entertained and the selection and adaptations of materials and processes designed to effect the desired ends. The difference between them is largely one of time-span, influencing the directness of the connection of means and ends. In play, the interest is more direct—a fact frequently indicated by saying that in play the activity is its own end, instead of its having an ulterior result. The statement is correct, but it is falsely taken, if supposed to mean that play activity is momentary, having no element of looking ahead and none of pursuit. Hunting, for example, is one of the commonest forms of adult play, but the existence of foresight and the direction of present activity by what one is watching for are obvious. When an activity is its own end in the sense that the action of the moment is complete in itself, it is purely physical; it has no meaning (See p. 77). The person is either going through motions quite blindly, perhaps purely imitatively, or else is in a state of excitement which is exhausting to mind and nerves. Both results may be seen in some types of kindergarten games where the idea of play is so highly symbolic that only the adult is conscious of it. Unless the children succeed in reading in some quite different idea of their own, they move about either as if in a hypnotic daze, or they respond to a direct excitation.
The point of these remarks is that play has an end in the sense of a directing idea which gives point to the successive acts. Persons who play are not just doing something (pure physical movement); they are trying to do or effect something, an attitude that involves anticipatory forecasts which stimulate their present responses. The anticipated result, however, is rather a subsequent action than the production of a specific change in things. Consequently play is free, plastic. Where some definite external outcome is wanted, the end has to be held to with some persistence, which increases as the contemplated result is complex and requires a fairly long series of intermediate adaptations. When the intended act is another activity, it is not necessary to look far ahead and it is possible to alter it easily and frequently. If a child is making a toy boat, he must hold on to a single end and direct a considerable number of acts by that one idea. If he is just "playing boat" he may change the material that serves as a boat almost at will, and introduce new factors as fancy suggests. The imagination makes what it will of chairs, blocks, leaves, chips, if they serve the purpose of carrying activity forward.
From a very early age, however, there is no distinction of exclusive periods of play activity and work activity, but only one of emphasis. There are definite results which even young children desire, and try to bring to pass. Their eager interest in sharing the occupations of others, if nothing else, accomplishes this. Children want to "help"; they are anxious to engage in the pursuits of adults which effect external changes: setting the table, washing dishes, helping care for animals, etc. In their plays, they like to construct their own toys and appliances. With increasing maturity, activity which does not give back results of tangible and visible achievement loses its interest. Play then changes to fooling and if habitually indulged in is demoralizing. Observable results are necessary to enable persons to get a sense and a measure of their own powers. When make-believe is recognized to be make-believe, the device of making objects in fancy alone is too easy to stimulate intense action. One has only to observe the countenance of children really playing to note that their attitude is one of serious absorption; this attitude cannot be maintained when things cease to afford adequate stimulation.
When fairly remote results of a definite character are foreseen and enlist persistent effort for their accomplishment, play passes into work. Like play, it signifies purposeful activity and differs not in that activity is subordinated to an external result, but in the fact that a longer course of activity is occasioned by the idea of a result. The demand for continuous attention is greater, and more intelligence must be shown in selecting and shaping means. To extend this account would be to repeat what has been said under the caption of aim, interest, and thinking. It is pertinent, however, to inquire why the idea is so current that work involves subordination of an activity to an ulterior material result. The extreme form of this subordination, namely drudgery, offers a clew. Activity carried on under conditions of external pressure or coercion is not carried on for any significance attached to the doing. The course of action is not intrinsically satisfying; it is a mere means for avoiding some penalty, or for gaining some reward at its conclusion. What is inherently repulsive is endured for the sake of averting something still more repulsive or of securing a gain hitched on by others. Under unfree economic conditions, this state of affairs is bound to exist. Work or industry offers little to engage the emotions and the imagination; it is a more or less mechanical series of strains. Only the hold which the completion of the work has upon a person will keep him going. But the end should be intrinsic to the action; it should be its end—a part of its own course. Then it affords a stimulus to effort very different from that arising from the thought of results which have nothing to do with the intervening action. As already mentioned, the absence of economic pressure in schools supplies an opportunity for reproducing industrial situations of mature life under conditions where the occupation can be carried on for its own sake. If in some cases, pecuniary recognition is also a result of an action, though not the chief motive for it, that fact may well increase the significance of the occupation. Where something approaching drudgery or the need of fulfilling externally imposed tasks exists, the demand for play persists, but tends to be perverted. The ordinary course of action fails to give adequate stimulus to emotion and imagination. So in leisure time, there is an imperious demand for their stimulation by any kind of means; gambling, drink, etc., may be resorted to. Or, in less extreme cases, there is recourse to idle amusement; to anything which passes time with immediate agreeableness. Recreation, as the word indicates, is recuperation of energy. No demand of human nature is more urgent or less to be escaped. The idea that the need can be suppressed is absolutely fallacious, and the Puritanic tradition which disallows the need has entailed an enormous crop of evils. If education does not afford opportunity for wholesome recreation and train capacity for seeking and finding it, the suppressed instincts find all sorts of illicit outlets, sometimes overt, sometimes confined to indulgence of the imagination. Education has no more serious responsibility than making adequate provision for enjoyment of recreative leisure; not only for the sake of immediate health, but still more if possible for the sake of its lasting effect upon habits of mind. Art is again the answer to this demand.
Summary. In the previous chapter we found that the primary subject
matter of knowing is that contained in learning how to do things of a fairly direct sort. The educational equivalent of this principle is the consistent use of simple occupations which appeal to the powers of youth and which typify general modes of social activity. Skill and information about materials, tools, and laws of energy are acquired while activities are carried on for their own sake. The fact that they are socially representative gives a quality to the skill and knowledge gained which makes them transferable to out-of-school situations. It is important not to confuse the psychological distinction between play and work with the economic distinction. Psychologically, the defining characteristic of play is not amusement nor aimlessness. It is the fact that the aim is thought of as more activity in the same line, without defining continuity of action in reference to results produced. Activities as they grow more complicated gain added meaning by greater attention to specific results achieved. Thus they pass gradually into work. Both are equally free and intrinsically motivated, apart from false economic conditions which tend to make play into idle excitement for the well to do, and work into uncongenial labor for the poor. Work is psychologically simply an activity which consciously includes regard for consequences as a part of itself; it becomes constrained labor when the consequences are outside of the activity as an end to which activity is merely a means. Work which remains permeated with the play attitude is art—in quality if not in conventional designation.
Chapter Sixteen: The Significance of Geography and History
1. Extension of Meaning of Primary Activities. Nothing is more striking than the difference between an activity as merely physical and the wealth of meanings which the same activity may assume. From the outside, an astronomer gazing through a telescope is like a small boy looking through the same tube. In each case, there is an arrangement of glass and metal, an eye, and a little speck of light in the distance. Yet at a critical moment, the activity of an astronomer might be concerned with the birth of a world, and have whatever is known about the starry heavens as its significant content. Physically speaking, what man has effected on this globe in his progress from savagery is a mere scratch on its surface, not perceptible at a distance which is slight in comparison with the reaches even of the solar system. Yet in meaning what has been accomplished measures just the difference of civilization from savagery. Although the activities, physically viewed, have changed somewhat, this change is slight in comparison with the development of the meanings attaching to the activities. There is no limit to the meaning which an action may come to possess. It all depends upon the context of perceived connections in which it is placed; the reach of imagination in realizing connections is inexhaustible. The advantage which the activity of man has in appropriating and finding meanings makes his education something else than the manufacture of a tool or the training of an animal. The latter increase efficiency; they do not develop significance. The final educational importance of such occupations in play and work as were considered in the last chapter is that they afford the most direct instrumentalities for such extension of meaning. Set going under adequate conditions they are magnets for gathering and retaining an indefinitely wide scope of intellectual considerations. They provide vital centers for the reception and assimilation of information. When information is purveyed in chunks simply as information to be retained for its own sake, it tends to stratify over vital experience. Entering as a factor into an activity pursued for its own sake—whether as a means or as a widening of the content of the aim—it is informing. The insight directly gained fuses with what is told. Individual experience is then capable of taking up and holding in solution the net results of the experience of the group to which he belongs—including the results of sufferings and trials over long stretches of time. And such media have no fixed saturation point where further absorption is impossible. The more that is taken in, the greater capacity there is for further assimilation. New receptiveness follows upon new curiosity, and new curiosity upon information gained.
The meanings with which activities become charged, concern nature and man. This is an obvious truism, which however gains meaning when translated into educational equivalents. So translated, it signifies that geography and history supply subject matter which gives background and outlook, intellectual perspective, to what might otherwise be narrow personal actions or mere forms of technical skill. With every increase of ability to place our own doings in their time and space connections, our doings gain in significant content. We realize that we are citizens of no mean city in discovering the scene in space of which we are denizens, and the continuous manifestation of endeavor in time of which we are heirs and continuers. Thus our ordinary daily experiences cease to be things of the moment and gain enduring substance. Of course if geography and history are taught as ready-made studies which a person studies simply because he is sent to school, it easily happens that a large number of statements about things remote and alien to everyday experience are learned. Activity is divided, and two separate worlds are built up, occupying activity at divided periods. No transmutation takes place; ordinary experience is not enlarged in meaning by getting its connections; what is studied is not animated and made real by entering into immediate activity. Ordinary experience is not even left as it was, narrow but vital. Rather, it loses something of its mobility and sensitiveness to suggestions. It is weighed down and pushed into a corner by a load of unassimilated information. It parts with its flexible responsiveness and alert eagerness for additional meaning. Mere amassing of information apart from the direct interests of life makes mind wooden; elasticity disappears.
Normally every activity engaged in for its own sake reaches out beyond its immediate self. It does not passively wait for information to be bestowed which will increase its meaning; it seeks it out. Curiosity is not an accidental isolated possession; it is a necessary consequence of the fact that an experience is a moving, changing thing, involving all kinds of connections with other things. Curiosity is but the tendency to make these conditions perceptible. It is the business of educators to supply an environment so that this reaching out of an experience may be fruitfully rewarded and kept continuously active. Within a certain kind of environment, an activity may be checked so that the only meaning which accrues is of its direct and tangible isolated outcome. One may cook, or hammer, or walk, and the resulting consequences may not take the mind any farther than the consequences of cooking, hammering, and walking in the literal—or physical—sense. But nevertheless the consequences of the act remain far-reaching. To walk involves a displacement and reaction of the resisting earth, whose thrill is felt wherever there is matter. It involves the structure of the limbs and the nervous system; the principles of mechanics. To cook is to utilize heat and moisture to change the chemical relations of food materials; it has a bearing upon the assimilation of food and the growth of the body. The utmost that the most learned men of science know in physics, chemistry, physiology is not enough to make all these consequences and connections perceptible. The task of education, once more, is to see to it that such activities are performed in such ways and under such conditions as render these conditions as perceptible as possible. To "learn geography" is to gain in power to perceive the spatial, the natural, connections of an ordinary act; to "learn history" is essentially to gain in power to recognize its human connections. For what is called geography as a formulated study is simply the body of facts and principles which have been discovered in other men's experience about the natural medium in which we live, and in connection with which the particular acts of our life have an explanation. So history as a formulated study is but the body of known facts about the activities and sufferings of the social groups with which our own lives are continuous, and through reference to which our own customs and institutions are illuminated.
2. The Complementary Nature of History and Geography. History and geography—including in the latter, for reasons about to be mentioned, nature study—are the information studies par excellence of the schools. Examination of the materials and the method of their use will make clear that the difference between penetration of this information into living experience and its mere piling up in isolated heaps depends upon whether these studies are faithful to the interdependence of man and nature which affords these studies their justification. Nowhere, however, is there greater danger that subject matter will be accepted as appropriate educational material simply because it has become customary to teach and learn it. The idea of a philosophic reason for it, because of the function of the material in a worthy transformation of experience, is looked upon as a vain fancy, or as supplying a high-sounding phraseology in support of what is already done. The words "history" and "geography" suggest simply the matter which has been traditionally sanctioned in the schools. The mass and variety of this matter discourage an attempt to see what it really stands for, and how it can be so taught as to fulfill its mission in the experience of pupils. But unless the idea that there is a unifying and social direction in education is a farcical pretense, subjects that bulk as large in the curriculum as history and geography, must represent a general function in the development of a truly socialized and intellectualized experience. The discovery of this function must be employed as a criterion for trying and sifting the facts taught and the methods used.
The function of historical and geographical subject matter has been stated; it is to enrich and liberate the more direct and personal contacts of life by furnishing their context, their background and outlook. While geography emphasizes the physical side and history the social, these are only emphases in a common topic, namely, the associated life of men. For this associated life, with its experiments, its ways and means, its achievements and failures, does not go on in the sky nor yet in a vacuum. It takes place on the earth. This setting of nature does not bear to social activities the relation that the scenery of a theatrical performance bears to a dramatic representation; it enters into the very make-up of the social happenings that form history. Nature is the medium of social occurrences. It furnishes original stimuli; it supplies obstacles and resources. Civilization is the progressive mastery of its varied energies. When this interdependence of the study of history, representing the human emphasis, with the study of geography, representing the natural, is ignored, history sinks to a listing of dates with an appended inventory of events, labeled "important"; or else it becomes a literary phantasy—for in purely literary history the natural environment is but stage scenery.
Geography, of course, has its educative influence in a counterpart connection of natural facts with social events and their consequences. The classic definition of geography as an account of the earth as the home of man expresses the educational reality. But it is easier to give this definition than it is to present specific geographical subject matter in its vital human bearings. The residence, pursuits, successes, and failures of men are the things that give the geographic data their reason for inclusion in the material of instruction. But to hold the two together requires an informed and cultivated imagination. When the ties are broken, geography presents itself as that hodge-podge of unrelated fragments too often found. It appears as a veritable rag-bag of intellectual odds and ends: the height of a mountain here, the course of a river there, the quantity of shingles produced in this town, the tonnage of the shipping in that, the boundary of a county, the capital of a state. The earth as the home of man is humanizing and unified; the earth viewed as a miscellany of facts is scattering and imaginatively inert. Geography is a topic that originally appeals to imagination—even to the romantic imagination. It shares in the wonder and glory that attach to adventure, travel, and exploration. The variety of peoples and environments, their contrast with familiar scenes, furnishes infinite stimulation. The mind is moved from the monotony of the customary. And while local or home geography is the natural starting point in the reconstructive development of the natural environment, it is an intellectual starting point for moving out into the unknown, not an end in itself. When not treated as a basis for getting at the large world beyond, the study of the home geography becomes as deadly as do object lessons which simply summarize the properties of familiar objects. The reason is the same. The imagination is not fed, but is held down to recapitulating, cataloguing, and refining what is already known. But when the familiar fences that mark the limits of the village proprietors are signs that introduce an understanding of the boundaries of great nations, even fences are lighted with meaning. Sunlight, air, running water, inequality of earth's surface, varied industries, civil officers and their duties—all these things are found in the local environment. Treated as if their meaning began and ended in those confines, they are curious facts to be laboriously learned. As instruments for extending the limits of experience, bringing within its scope peoples and things otherwise strange and unknown, they are transfigured by the use to which they are put. Sunlight, wind, stream, commerce, political relations come from afar and lead the thoughts afar. To follow their course is to enlarge the mind not by stuffing it with additional information, but by remaking the meaning of what was previously a matter of course.
The same principle coordinates branches, or phases, of geographical study which tend to become specialized and separate. Mathematical or astronomical, physiographic, topographic, political, commercial, geography, all make their claims. How are they to be adjusted? By an external compromise that crowds in so much of each? No other method is to be found unless it be constantly borne in mind that the educational center of gravity is in the cultural or humane aspects of the subject. From this center, any material becomes relevant in so far as it is needed to help appreciate the significance of human activities and relations. The differences of civilization in cold and tropical regions, the special inventions, industrial and political, of peoples in the temperate regions, cannot be understood without appeal to the earth as a member of the solar system. Economic activities deeply influence social intercourse and political organization on one side, and reflect physical conditions on the other. The specializations of these topics are for the specialists; their interaction concerns man as a being whose experience is social.
To include nature study within geography doubtless seems forced; verbally, it is. But in educational idea there is but one reality, and it is pity that in practice we have two names: for the diversity of names tends to conceal the identity of meaning. Nature and the earth should be equivalent terms, and so should earth study and nature study. Everybody knows that nature study has suffered in schools from scrappiness of subject matter, due to dealing with a large number of isolated points. The parts of a flower have been studied, for example, apart from the flower as an organ; the flower apart from the plant; the plant apart from the soil, air, and light in which and through which it lives. The result is an inevitable deadness of topics to which attention is invited, but which are so isolated that they do not feed imagination. The lack of interest is so great that it was seriously proposed to revive animism, to clothe natural facts and events with myths in order that they might attract and hold the mind. In numberless cases, more or less silly personifications were resorted to. The method was silly, but it expressed a real need for a human atmosphere. The facts had been torn to pieces by being taken out of their context. They no longer belonged to the earth; they had no abiding place anywhere. To compensate, recourse was had to artificial and sentimental associations. The real remedy is to make nature study a study of nature, not of fragments made meaningless through complete removal from the situations in which they are produced and in which they operate. When nature is treated as a whole, like the earth in its relations, its phenomena fall into their natural relations of sympathy and association with human life, and artificial substitutes are not needed.
3. History and Present Social Life. The segregation which kills the vitality of history is divorce from present modes and concerns of social life. The past just as past is no longer our affair. If it were wholly gone and done with, there would be only one reasonable attitude toward it. Let the dead bury their dead. But knowledge of the past is the key to understanding the present. History deals with the past, but this past is the history of the present. An intelligent study of the discovery, explorations, colonization of America, of the pioneer movement westward, of immigration, etc., should be a study of the United States as it is to-day: of the country we now live in. Studying it in process of formation makes much that is too complex to be directly grasped open to comprehension. Genetic method was perhaps the chief scientific achievement of the latter half of the nineteenth century. Its principle is that the way to get insight into any complex product is to trace the process of its making,—to follow it through the successive stages of its growth. To apply this method to history as if it meant only the truism that the present social state cannot be separated from its past, is one-sided. It means equally that past events cannot be separated from the living present and retain meaning. The true starting point of history is always some present situation with its problems.
This general principle may be briefly applied to a consideration of its bearing upon a number of points. The biographical method is generally recommended as the natural mode of approach to historical study. The lives of great men, of heroes and leaders, make concrete and vital historic episodes otherwise abstract and incomprehensible. They condense into vivid pictures complicated and tangled series of events spread over so much space and time that only a highly trained mind can follow and unravel them. There can be no doubt of the psychological soundness of this principle. But it is misused when employed to throw into exaggerated relief the doings of a few individuals without reference to the social situations which they represent. When a biography is related just as an account of the doings of a man isolated from the conditions that aroused him and to which his activities were a response, we do not have a study of history, for we have no study of social life, which is an affair of individuals in association. We get only a sugar coating which makes it easier to swallow certain fragments of information. Much attention has been given of late to primitive life as an introduction to learning history. Here also there is a right and a wrong way of conceiving its value. The seemingly ready-made character and the complexity of present conditions, their apparently hard and fast character, is an almost insuperable obstacle to gaining insight into their nature. Recourse to the primitive may furnish the fundamental elements of the present situation in immensely simplified form. It is like unraveling a cloth so complex and so close to the eyes that its scheme cannot be seen, until the larger coarser features of the pattern appear. We cannot simplify the present situations by deliberate experiment, but resort to primitive life presents us with the sort of results we should desire from an experiment. Social relationships and modes of organized action are reduced to their lowest terms. When this social aim is overlooked, however, the study of primitive life becomes simply a rehearsing of sensational and exciting features of savagery. Primitive history suggests industrial history. For one of the chief reasons for going to more primitive conditions to resolve the present into more easily perceived factors is that we may realize how the fundamental problems of procuring subsistence, shelter, and protection have been met; and by seeing how these were solved in the earlier days of the human race, form some conception of the long road which has had to be traveled, and of the successive inventions by which the race has been brought forward in culture. We do not need to go into disputes regarding the economic interpretation of history to realize that the industrial history of mankind gives insight into two important phases of social life in a way which no other phase of history can possibly do. It presents us with knowledge of the successive inventions by which theoretical science has been applied to the control of nature in the interests of security and prosperity of social life. It thus reveals the successive causes of social progress. Its other service is to put before us the things that fundamentally concern all men in common—the occupations and values connected with getting a living. Economic history deals with the activities, the career, and fortunes of the common man as does no other branch of history. The one thing every individual must do is to live; the one thing that society must do is to secure from each individual his fair contribution to the general well being and see to it that a just return is made to him.
Economic history is more human, more democratic, and hence more liberalizing than political history. It deals not with the rise and fall of principalities and powers, but with the growth of the effective liberties, through command of nature, of the common man for whom powers and principalities exist.
Industrial history also offers a more direct avenue of approach to the realization of the intimate connection of man's struggles, successes, and failures with nature than does political history—to say nothing of the military history into which political history so easily runs when reduced to the level of youthful comprehension. For industrial history is essentially an account of the way in which man has learned to utilize natural energy from the time when men mostly exploited the muscular energies of other men to the time when, in promise if not in actuality, the resources of nature are so under command as to enable men to extend a common dominion over her. When the history of work, when the conditions of using the soil, forest, mine, of domesticating and cultivating grains and animals, of manufacture and distribution, are left out of account, history tends to become merely literary—a systematized romance of a mythical humanity living upon itself instead of upon the earth.
Perhaps the most neglected branch of history in general education is intellectual history. We are only just beginning to realize that the great heroes who have advanced human destiny are not its politicians, generals, and diplomatists, but the scientific discoverers and inventors who have put into man's hands the instrumentalities of an expanding and controlled experience, and the artists and poets who have celebrated his struggles, triumphs, and defeats in such language, pictorial, plastic, or written, that their meaning is rendered universally accessible to others. One of the advantages of industrial history as a history of man's progressive adaptation of natural forces to social uses is the opportunity which it affords for consideration of advance in the methods and results of knowledge. At present men are accustomed to eulogize intelligence and reason in general terms; their fundamental importance is urged. But pupils often come away from the conventional study of history, and think either that the human intellect is a static quantity which has not progressed by the invention of better methods, or else that intelligence, save as a display of personal shrewdness, is a negligible historic factor. Surely no better way could be devised of instilling a genuine sense of the part which mind has to play in life than a study of history which makes plain how the entire advance of humanity from savagery to civilization has been dependent upon intellectual discoveries and inventions, and the extent to which the things which ordinarily figure most largely in historical writings have been side issues, or even obstructions for intelligence to overcome.
Pursued in this fashion, history would most naturally become of ethical value in teaching. Intelligent insight into present forms of associated life is necessary for a character whose morality is more than colorless innocence. Historical knowledge helps provide such insight. It is an organ for analysis of the warp and woof of the present social fabric, of making known the forces which have woven the pattern. The use of history for cultivating a socialized intelligence constitutes its moral significance. It is possible to employ it as a kind of reservoir of anecdotes to be drawn on to inculcate special moral lessons on this virtue or that vice. But such teaching is not so much an ethical use of history as it is an effort to create moral impressions by means of more or less authentic material. At best, it produces a temporary emotional glow; at worst, callous indifference to moralizing. The assistance which may be given by history to a more intelligent sympathetic understanding of the social situations of the present in which individuals share is a permanent and constructive moral asset.
Summary. It is the nature of an experience to have implications which
go far beyond what is at first consciously noted in it. Bringing these connections or implications to consciousness enhances the meaning of the experience. Any experience, however trivial in its first appearance, is capable of assuming an indefinite richness of significance by extending its range of perceived connections. Normal communication with others is the readiest way of effecting this development, for it links up the net results of the experience of the group and even the race with the immediate experience of an individual. By normal communication is meant that in which there is a joint interest, a common interest, so that one is eager to give and the other to take. It contrasts with telling or stating things simply for the sake of impressing them upon another, merely in order to test him to see how much he has retained and can literally reproduce.
Geography and history are the two great school resources for bringing about the enlargement of the significance of a direct personal experience. The active occupations described in the previous chapter reach out in space and time with respect to both nature and man. Unless they are taught for external reasons or as mere modes of skill their chief educational value is that they provide the most direct and interesting roads out into the larger world of meanings stated in history and geography. While history makes human implications explicit and geography natural connections, these subjects are two phases of the same living whole, since the life of men in association goes on in nature, not as an accidental setting, but as the material and medium of development.
Chapter Seventeen: Science in the Course of Study
1. The Logical and the Psychological. By science is meant, as already stated, that knowledge which is the outcome of methods of observation, reflection, and testing which are deliberately adopted to secure a settled, assured subject matter. It involves an intelligent and persistent endeavor to revise current beliefs so as to weed out what is erroneous, to add to their accuracy, and, above all, to give them such shape that the dependencies of the various facts upon one another may be as obvious as possible. It is, like all knowledge, an outcome of activity bringing about certain changes in the environment. But in its case, the quality of the resulting knowledge is the controlling factor and not an incident of the activity. Both logically and educationally, science is the perfecting of knowing, its last stage.
Science, in short, signifies a realization of the logical implications of any knowledge. Logical order is not a form imposed upon what is known; it is the proper form of knowledge as perfected. For it means that the statement of subject matter is of a nature to exhibit to one who understands it the premises from which it follows and the conclusions to which it points (See ante, p. 190). As from a few bones the competent zoologist reconstructs an animal; so from the form of a statement in mathematics or physics the specialist in the subject can form an idea of the system of truths in which it has its place.
To the non-expert, however, this perfected form is a stumbling block. Just because the material is stated with reference to the furtherance of knowledge as an end in itself, its connections with the material of everyday life are hidden. To the layman the bones are a mere curiosity. Until he had mastered the principles of zoology, his efforts to make anything out of them would be random and blind. From the standpoint of the learner scientific form is an ideal to be achieved, not a starting point from which to set out. It is, nevertheless, a frequent practice to start in instruction with the rudiments of science somewhat simplified. The necessary consequence is an isolation of science from significant experience. The pupil learns symbols without the key to their meaning. He acquires a technical body of information without ability to trace its connections with the objects and operations with which he is familiar—often he acquires simply a peculiar vocabulary. There is a strong temptation to assume that presenting subject matter in its perfected form provides a royal road to learning. What more natural than to suppose that the immature can be saved time and energy, and be protected from needless error by commencing where competent inquirers have left off? The outcome is written large in the history of education. Pupils begin their study of science with texts in which the subject is organized into topics according to the order of the specialist. Technical concepts, with their definitions, are introduced at the outset. Laws are introduced at a very early stage, with at best a few indications of the way in which they were arrived at. The pupils learn a "science" instead of learning the scientific way of treating the familiar material of ordinary experience. The method of the advanced student dominates college teaching; the approach of the college is transferred into the high school, and so down the line, with such omissions as may make the subject easier.
The chronological method which begins with the experience of the learner and develops from that the proper modes of scientific treatment is often called the "psychological" method in distinction from the logical method of the expert or specialist. The apparent loss of time involved is more than made up for by the superior understanding and vital interest secured. What the pupil learns he at least understands. Moreover by following, in connection with problems selected from the material of ordinary acquaintance, the methods by which scientific men have reached their perfected knowledge, he gains independent power to deal with material within his range, and avoids the mental confusion and intellectual distaste attendant upon studying matter whose meaning is only symbolic. Since the mass of pupils are never going to become scientific specialists, it is much more important that they should get some insight into what scientific method means than that they should copy at long range and second hand the results which scientific men have reached. Students will not go so far, perhaps, in the "ground covered," but they will be sure and intelligent as far as they do go. And it is safe to say that the few who go on to be scientific experts will have a better preparation than if they had been swamped with a large mass of purely technical and symbolically stated information. In fact, those who do become successful men of science are those who by their own power manage to avoid the pitfalls of a traditional scholastic introduction into it.
The contrast between the expectations of the men who a generation or two ago strove, against great odds, to secure a place for science in education, and the result generally achieved is painful. Herbert Spencer, inquiring what knowledge is of most worth, concluded that from all points of view scientific knowledge is most valuable. But his argument unconsciously assumed that scientific knowledge could be communicated in a ready-made form. Passing over the methods by which the subject matter of our ordinary activities is transmuted into scientific form, it ignored the method by which alone science is science. Instruction has too often proceeded upon an analogous plan. But there is no magic attached to material stated in technically correct scientific form. When learned in this condition it remains a body of inert information. Moreover its form of statement removes it further from fruitful contact with everyday experiences than does the mode of statement proper to literature. Nevertheless that the claims made for instruction in science were unjustifiable does not follow. For material so taught is not science to the pupil.
Contact with things and laboratory exercises, while a great improvement upon textbooks arranged upon the deductive plan, do not of themselves suffice to meet the need. While they are an indispensable portion of scientific method, they do not as a matter of course constitute scientific method. Physical materials may be manipulated with scientific apparatus, but the materials may be disassociated in themselves and in the ways in which they are handled, from the materials and processes used out of school. The problems dealt with may be only problems of science: problems, that is, which would occur to one already initiated in the science of the subject. Our attention may be devoted to getting skill in technical manipulation without reference to the connection of laboratory exercises with a problem belonging to subject matter. There is sometimes a ritual of laboratory instruction as well as of heathen religion. 1 It has been mentioned, incidentally, that scientific statements, or logical form, implies the use of signs or symbols. The statement applies, of course, to all use of language. But in the vernacular, the mind proceeds directly from the symbol to the thing signified. Association with familiar material is so close that the mind does not pause upon the sign. The signs are intended only to stand for things and acts. But scientific terminology has an additional use. It is designed, as we have seen, not to stand for the things directly in their practical use in experience, but for the things placed in a cognitive system. Ultimately, of course, they denote the things of our common sense acquaintance. But immediately they do not designate them in their common context, but translated into terms of scientific inquiry. Atoms, molecules, chemical formulae, the mathematical propositions in the study of physics—all these have primarily an intellectual value and only indirectly an empirical value. They represent instruments for the carrying on of science. As in the case of other tools, their significance can be learned only by use. We cannot procure understanding of their meaning by pointing to things, but only by pointing to their work when they are employed as part of the technique of knowledge. Even the circle, square, etc., of geometry exhibit a difference from the squares and circles of familiar acquaintance, and the further one proceeds in mathematical science the greater the remoteness from the everyday empirical thing. Qualities which do not count for the pursuit of knowledge about spatial relations are left out; those which are important for this purpose are accentuated. If one carries his study far enough, he will find even the properties which are significant for spatial knowledge giving way to those which facilitate knowledge of other things—perhaps a knowledge of the general relations of number. There will be nothing in the conceptual definitions even to suggest spatial form, size, or direction. This does not mean that they are unreal mental inventions, but it indicates that direct physical qualities have been transmuted into tools for a special end—the end of intellectual organization. In every machine the primary state of material has been modified by subordinating it to use for a purpose. Not the stuff in its original form but in its adaptation to an end is important. No one would have a knowledge of a machine who could enumerate all the materials entering into its structure, but only he who knew their uses and could tell why they are employed as they are. In like fashion one has a knowledge of mathematical conceptions only when he sees the problems in which they function and their specific utility in dealing with these problems. "Knowing" the definitions, rules, formulae, etc., is like knowing the names of parts of a machine without knowing what they do. In one case, as in the other, the meaning, or intellectual content, is what the element accomplishes in the system of which it is a member.
2. Science and Social Progress. Assuming that the development of the direct knowledge gained in occupations of social interest is carried to a perfected logical form, the question arises as to its place in experience. In general, the reply is that science marks the emancipation of mind from devotion to customary purposes and makes possible the systematic pursuit of new ends. It is the agency of progress in action. Progress is sometimes thought of as consisting in getting nearer to ends already sought. But this is a minor form of progress, for it requires only improvement of the means of action or technical advance. More important modes of progress consist in enriching prior purposes and in forming new ones. Desires are not a fixed quantity, nor does progress mean only an increased amount of satisfaction. With increased culture and new mastery of nature, new desires, demands for new qualities of satisfaction, show themselves, for intelligence perceives new possibilities of action. This projection of new possibilities leads to search for new means of execution, and progress takes place; while the discovery of objects not already used leads to suggestion of new ends.
That science is the chief means of perfecting control of means of action is witnessed by the great crop of inventions which followed intellectual command of the secrets of nature. The wonderful transformation of production and distribution known as the industrial revolution is the fruit of experimental science. Railways, steamboats, electric motors, telephone and telegraph, automobiles, aeroplanes and dirigibles are conspicuous evidences of the application of science in life. But none of them would be of much importance without the thousands of less sensational inventions by means of which natural science has been rendered tributary to our daily life.
It must be admitted that to a considerable extent the progress thus procured has been only technical: it has provided more efficient means for satisfying preexistent desires, rather than modified the quality of human purposes. There is, for example, no modern civilization which is the equal of Greek culture in all respects. Science is still too recent to have been absorbed into imaginative and emotional disposition. Men move more swiftly and surely to the realization of their ends, but their ends too largely remain what they were prior to scientific enlightenment. This fact places upon education the responsibility of using science in a way to modify the habitual attitude of imagination and feeling, not leave it just an extension of our physical arms and legs.
The advance of science has already modified men's thoughts of the purposes and goods of life to a sufficient extent to give some idea of the nature of this responsibility and the ways of meeting it. Science taking effect in human activity has broken down physical barriers which formerly separated men; it has immensely widened the area of intercourse. It has brought about interdependence of interests on an enormous scale. It has brought with it an established conviction of the possibility of control of nature in the interests of mankind and thus has led men to look to the future, instead of the past. The coincidence of the ideal of progress with the advance of science is not a mere coincidence. Before this advance men placed the golden age in remote antiquity. Now they face the future with a firm belief that intelligence properly used can do away with evils once thought inevitable. To subjugate devastating disease is no longer a dream; the hope of abolishing poverty is not utopian. Science has familiarized men with the idea of development, taking effect practically in persistent gradual amelioration of the estate of our common humanity.
The problem of an educational use of science is then to create an intelligence pregnant with belief in the possibility of the direction of human affairs by itself. The method of science engrained through education in habit means emancipation from rule of thumb and from the routine generated by rule of thumb procedure. The word empirical in its ordinary use does not mean "connected with experiment," but rather crude and unrational. Under the influence of conditions created by the non-existence of experimental science, experience was opposed in all the ruling philosophies of the past to reason and the truly rational. Empirical knowledge meant the knowledge accumulated by a multitude of past instances without intelligent insight into the principles of any of them. To say that medicine was empirical meant that it was not scientific, but a mode of practice based upon accumulated observations of diseases and of remedies used more or less at random. Such a mode of practice is of necessity happy-go-lucky; success depends upon chance. It lends itself to deception and quackery. Industry that is "empirically" controlled forbids constructive applications of intelligence; it depends upon following in an imitative slavish manner the models set in the past. Experimental science means the possibility of using past experiences as the servant, not the master, of mind. It means that reason operates within experience, not beyond it, to give it an intelligent or reasonable quality. Science is experience becoming rational. The effect of science is thus to change men's idea of the nature and inherent possibilities of experience. By the same token, it changes the idea and the operation of reason. Instead of being something beyond experience, remote, aloof, concerned with a sublime region that has nothing to do with the experienced facts of life, it is found indigenous in experience:—the factor by which past experiences are purified and rendered into tools for discovery and advance.
The term "abstract" has a rather bad name in popular speech, being used to signify not only that which is abstruse and hard to understand, but also that which is far away from life. But abstraction is an indispensable trait in reflective direction of activity. Situations do not literally repeat themselves. Habit treats new occurrences as if they were identical with old ones; it suffices, accordingly, when the different or novel element is negligible for present purposes. But when the new element requires especial attention, random reaction is the sole recourse unless abstraction is brought into play. For abstraction deliberately selects from the subject matter of former experiences that which is thought helpful in dealing with the new. It signifies conscious transfer of a meaning embedded in past experience for use in a new one. It is the very artery of intelligence, of the intentional rendering of one experience available for guidance of another.
Science carries on this working over of prior subject matter on a large scale. It aims to free an experience from all which is purely personal and strictly immediate; it aims to detach whatever it has in common with the subject matter of other experiences, and which, being common, may be saved for further use. It is, thus, an indispensable factor in social progress. In any experience just as it occurs there is much which, while it may be of precious import to the individual implicated in the experience, is peculiar and unreduplicable. From the standpoint of science, this material is accidental, while the features which are widely shared are essential. Whatever is unique in the situation, since dependent upon the peculiarities of the individual and the coincidence of circumstance, is not available for others; so that unless what is shared is abstracted and fixed by a suitable symbol, practically all the value of the experience may perish in its passing. But abstraction and the use of terms to record what is abstracted put the net value of individual experience at the permanent disposal of mankind. No one can foresee in detail when or how it may be of further use. The man of science in developing his abstractions is like a manufacturer of tools who does not know who will use them nor when. But intellectual tools are indefinitely more flexible in their range of adaptation than other mechanical tools.
Generalization is the counterpart of abstraction. It is the functioning of an abstraction in its application to a new concrete experience,—its extension to clarify and direct new situations. Reference to these possible applications is necessary in order that the abstraction may be fruitful, instead of a barren formalism ending in itself. Generalization is essentially a social device. When men identified their interests exclusively with the concerns of a narrow group, their generalizations were correspondingly restricted. The viewpoint did not permit a wide and free survey. Men's thoughts were tied down to a contracted space and a short time,—limited to their own established customs as a measure of all possible values. Scientific abstraction and generalization are equivalent to taking the point of view of any man, whatever his location in time and space. While this emancipation from the conditions and episodes of concrete experiences accounts for the remoteness, the "abstractness," of science, it also accounts for its wide and free range of fruitful novel applications in practice. Terms and propositions record, fix, and convey what is abstracted. A meaning detached from a given experience cannot remain hanging in the air. It must acquire a local habitation. Names give abstract meanings a physical locus and body. Formulation is thus not an after-thought or by-product; it is essential to the completion of the work of thought. Persons know many things which they cannot express, but such knowledge remains practical, direct, and personal. An individual can use it for himself; he may be able to act upon it with efficiency. Artists and executives often have their knowledge in this state. But it is personal, untransferable, and, as it were, instinctive. To formulate the significance of an experience a man must take into conscious account the experiences of others. He must try to find a standpoint which includes the experience of others as well as his own. Otherwise his communication cannot be understood. He talks a language which no one else knows. While literary art furnishes the supreme successes in stating of experiences so that they are vitally significant to others, the vocabulary of science is designed, in another fashion, to express the meaning of experienced things in symbols which any one will know who studies the science. Aesthetic formulation reveals and enhances the meaning of experiences one already has; scientific formulation supplies one with tools for constructing new experiences with transformed meanings.
To sum up: Science represents the office of intelligence, in projection and control of new experiences, pursued systematically, intentionally, and on a scale due to freedom from limitations of habit. It is the sole instrumentality of conscious, as distinct from accidental, progress. And if its generality, its remoteness from individual conditions, confer upon it a certain technicality and aloofness, these qualities are very different from those of merely speculative theorizing. The latter are in permanent dislocation from practice; the former are temporarily detached for the sake of wider and freer application in later concrete action. There is a kind of idle theory which is antithetical to practice; but genuinely scientific theory falls within practice as the agency of its expansion and its direction to new possibilities.
3. Naturalism and Humanism in Education. There exists an educational tradition which opposes science to literature and history in the curriculum. The quarrel between the representatives of the two interests is easily explicable historically. Literature and language and a literary philosophy were entrenched in all higher institutions of learning before experimental science came into being. The latter had naturally to win its way. No fortified and protected interest readily surrenders any monopoly it may possess. But the assumption, from whichever side, that language and literary products are exclusively humanistic in quality, and that science is purely physical in import, is a false notion which tends to cripple the educational use of both studies. Human life does not occur in a vacuum, nor is nature a mere stage setting for the enactment of its drama (ante, p. 211). Man's life is bound up in the processes of nature; his career, for success or defeat, depends upon the way in which nature enters it. Man's power of deliberate control of his own affairs depends upon ability to direct natural energies to use: an ability which is in turn dependent upon insight into nature's processes. Whatever natural science may be for the specialist, for educational purposes it is knowledge of the conditions of human action. To be aware of the medium in which social intercourse goes on, and of the means and obstacles to its progressive development is to be in command of a knowledge which is thoroughly humanistic in quality. One who is ignorant of the history of science is ignorant of the struggles by which mankind has passed from routine and caprice, from superstitious subjection to nature, from efforts to use it magically, to intellectual self-possession. That science may be taught as a set of formal and technical exercises is only too true. This happens whenever information about the world is made an end in itself. The failure of such instruction to procure culture is not, however, evidence of the antithesis of natural knowledge to humanistic concern, but evidence of a wrong educational attitude. Dislike to employ scientific knowledge as it functions in men's occupations is itself a survival of an aristocratic culture. The notion that "applied" knowledge is somehow less worthy than "pure" knowledge, was natural to a society in which all useful work was performed by slaves and serfs, and in which industry was controlled by the models set by custom rather than by intelligence. Science, or the highest knowing, was then identified with pure theorizing, apart from all application in the uses of life; and knowledge relating to useful arts suffered the stigma attaching to the classes who engaged in them (See below, Ch. XIX). The idea of science thus generated persisted after science had itself adopted the appliances of the arts, using them for the production of knowledge, and after the rise of democracy. Taking theory just as theory, however, that which concerns humanity is of more significance for man than that which concerns a merely physical world. In adopting the criterion of knowledge laid down by a literary culture, aloof from the practical needs of the mass of men, the educational advocates of scientific education put themselves at a strategic disadvantage. So far as they adopt the idea of science appropriate to its experimental method and to the movements of a democratic and industrial society, they have no difficulty in showing that natural science is more humanistic than an alleged humanism which bases its educational schemes upon the specialized interests of a leisure class. For, as we have already stated, humanistic studies when set in opposition to study of nature are hampered. They tend to reduce themselves to exclusively literary and linguistic studies, which in turn tend to shrink to "the classics," to languages no longer spoken. For modern languages may evidently be put to use, and hence fall under the ban. It would be hard to find anything in history more ironical than the educational practices which have identified the "humanities" exclusively with a knowledge of Greek and Latin. Greek and Roman art and institutions made such important contributions to our civilization that there should always be the amplest opportunities for making their acquaintance. But to regard them as par excellence the humane studies involves a deliberate neglect of the possibilities of the subject matter which is accessible in education to the masses, and tends to cultivate a narrow snobbery: that of a learned class whose insignia are the accidents of exclusive opportunity. Knowledge is humanistic in quality not because it is about human products in the past, but because of what it does in liberating human intelligence and human sympathy. Any subject matter which accomplishes this result is humane, and any subject matter which does not accomplish it is not even educational.
Summary. Science represents the fruition of the cognitive factors in
experience. Instead of contenting itself with a mere statement of what commends itself to personal or customary experience, it aims at a statement which will reveal the sources, grounds, and consequences of a belief. The achievement of this aim gives logical character to the statements. Educationally, it has to be noted that logical characteristics of method, since they belong to subject matter which has reached a high degree of intellectual elaboration, are different from the method of the learner—the chronological order of passing from a cruder to a more refined intellectual quality of experience. When this fact is ignored, science is treated as so much bare information, which however is less interesting and more remote than ordinary information, being stated in an unusual and technical vocabulary. The function which science has to perform in the curriculum is that which it has performed for the race: emancipation from local and temporary incidents of experience, and the opening of intellectual vistas unobscured by the accidents of personal habit and predilection. The logical traits of abstraction, generalization, and definite formulation are all associated with this function. In emancipating an idea from the particular context in which it originated and giving it a wider reference the results of the experience of any individual are put at the disposal of all men. Thus ultimately and philosophically science is the organ of general social progress. 1 Upon the positive side, the value of problems arising in work in the garden, the shop, etc., may be referred to (See p. 200). The laboratory may be treated as an additional resource to supply conditions and appliances for the better pursuit of these problems.
Chapter Eighteen: Educational Values
The considerations involved in a discussion of educational values have already been brought out in the discussion of aims and interests.
The specific values usually discussed in educational theories coincide with aims which are usually urged. They are such things as utility, culture, information, preparation for social efficiency, mental discipline or power, and so on. The aspect of these aims in virtue of which they are valuable has been treated in our analysis of the nature of interest, and there is no difference between speaking of art as an interest or concern and referring to it as a value. It happens, however, that discussion of values has usually been centered about a consideration of the various ends subserved by specific subjects of the curriculum. It has been a part of the attempt to justify those subjects by pointing out the significant contributions to life accruing from their study. An explicit discussion of educational values thus affords an opportunity for reviewing the prior discussion of aims and interests on one hand and of the curriculum on the other, by bringing them into connection with one another.
1. The Nature of Realization or Appreciation. Much of our experience is indirect; it is dependent upon signs which intervene between the things and ourselves, signs which stand for or represent the former. It is one thing to have been engaged in war, to have shared its dangers and hardships; it is another thing to hear or read about it. All language, all symbols, are implements of an indirect experience; in technical language the experience which is procured by their means is "mediated." It stands in contrast with an immediate, direct experience, something in which we take part vitally and at first hand, instead of through the intervention of representative media. As we have seen, the scope of personal, vitally direct experience is very limited. If it were not for the intervention of agencies for representing absent and distant affairs, our experience would remain almost on the level of that of the brutes. Every step from savagery to civilization is dependent upon the invention of media which enlarge the range of purely immediate experience and give it deepened as well as wider meaning by connecting it with things which can only be signified or symbolized. It is doubtless this fact which is the cause of the disposition to identify an uncultivated person with an illiterate person—so dependent are we on letters for effective representative or indirect experience.
At the same time (as we have also had repeated occasion to see) there is always a danger that symbols will not be truly representative; danger that instead of really calling up the absent and remote in a way to make it enter a present experience, the linguistic media of representation will become an end in themselves. Formal education is peculiarly exposed to this danger, with the result that when literacy supervenes, mere bookishness, what is popularly termed the academic, too often comes with it. In colloquial speech, the phrase a "realizing sense" is used to express the urgency, warmth, and intimacy of a direct experience in contrast with the remote, pallid, and coldly detached quality of a representative experience. The terms "mental realization" and "appreciation" (or genuine appreciation) are more elaborate names for the realizing sense of a thing. It is not possible to define these ideas except by synonyms, like "coming home to one" "really taking it in," etc., for the only way to appreciate what is meant by a direct experience of a thing is by having it. But it is the difference between reading a technical description of a picture, and seeing it; or between just seeing it and being moved by it; between learning mathematical equations about light and being carried away by some peculiarly glorious illumination of a misty landscape. We are thus met by the danger of the tendency of technique and other purely representative forms to encroach upon the sphere of direct appreciations; in other words, the tendency to assume that pupils have a foundation of direct realization of situations sufficient for the superstructure of representative experience erected by formulated school studies. This is not simply a matter of quantity or bulk. Sufficient direct experience is even more a matter of quality; it must be of a sort to connect readily and fruitfully with the symbolic material of instruction. Before teaching can safely enter upon conveying facts and ideas through the media of signs, schooling must provide genuine situations in which personal participation brings home the import of the material and the problems which it conveys. From the standpoint of the pupil, the resulting experiences are worth while on their own account; from the standpoint of the teacher they are also means of supplying subject matter required for understanding instruction involving signs, and of evoking attitudes of open-mindedness and concern as to the material symbolically conveyed.
In the outline given of the theory of educative subject matter, the demand for this background of realization or appreciation is met by the provision made for play and active occupations embodying typical situations. Nothing need be added to what has already been said except to point out that while the discussion dealt explicitly with the subject matter of primary education, where the demand for the available background of direct experience is most obvious, the principle applies to the primary or elementary phase of every subject. The first and basic function of laboratory work, for example, in a high school or college in a new field, is to familiarize the student at first hand with a certain range of facts and problems—to give him a "feeling" for them. Getting command of technique and of methods of reaching and testing generalizations is at first secondary to getting appreciation. As regards the primary school activities, it is to be borne in mind that the fundamental intent is not to amuse nor to convey information with a minimum of vexation nor yet to acquire skill,—though these results may accrue as by-products,—but to enlarge and enrich the scope of experience, and to keep alert and effective the interest in intellectual progress.
The rubric of appreciation supplies an appropriate head for bringing out three further principles: the nature of effective or real (as distinct from nominal) standards of value; the place of the imagination in appreciative realizations; and the place of the fine arts in the course of study.
1. The nature of standards of valuation. Every adult has acquired, in the course of his prior experience and education, certain measures of the worth of various sorts of experience. He has learned to look upon qualities like honesty, amiability, perseverance, loyalty, as moral goods; upon certain classics of literature, painting, music, as aesthetic values, and so on. Not only this, but he has learned certain rules for these values—the golden rule in morals; harmony, balance, etc., proportionate distribution in aesthetic goods; definition, clarity, system in intellectual accomplishments. These principles are so important as standards of judging the worth of new experiences that parents and instructors are always tending to teach them directly to the young. They overlook the danger that standards so taught will be merely symbolic; that is, largely conventional and verbal. In reality, working as distinct from professed standards depend upon what an individual has himself specifically appreciated to be deeply significant in concrete situations. An individual may have learned that certain characteristics are conventionally esteemed in music; he may be able to converse with some correctness about classic music; he may even honestly believe that these traits constitute his own musical standards. But if in his own past experience, what he has been most accustomed to and has most enjoyed is ragtime, his active or working measures of valuation are fixed on the ragtime level. The appeal actually made to him in his own personal realization fixes his attitude much more deeply than what he has been taught as the proper thing to say; his habitual disposition thus fixed forms his real "norm" of valuation in subsequent musical experiences.
Probably few would deny this statement as to musical taste. But it applies equally well in judgments of moral and intellectual worth. A youth who has had repeated experience of the full meaning of the value of kindliness toward others built into his disposition has a measure of the worth of generous treatment of others. Without this vital appreciation, the duty and virtue of unselfishness impressed upon him by others as a standard remains purely a matter of symbols which he cannot adequately translate into realities. His "knowledge" is second-handed; it is only a knowledge that others prize unselfishness as an excellence, and esteem him in the degree in which he exhibits it. Thus there grows up a split between a person's professed standards and his actual ones. A person may be aware of the results of this struggle between his inclinations and his theoretical opinions; he suffers from the conflict between doing what is really dear to him and what he has learned will win the approval of others. But of the split itself he is unaware; the result is a kind of unconscious hypocrisy, an instability of disposition. In similar fashion, a pupil who has worked through some confused intellectual situation and fought his way to clearing up obscurities in a definite outcome, appreciates the value of clarity and definition. He has a standard which can be depended upon. He may be trained externally to go through certain motions of analysis and division of subject matter and may acquire information about the value of these processes as standard logical functions, but unless it somehow comes home to him at some point as an appreciation of his own, the significance of the logical norms—so-called—remains as much an external piece of information as, say, the names of rivers in China. He may be able to recite, but the recital is a mechanical rehearsal.
It is, then, a serious mistake to regard appreciation as if it were confined to such things as literature and pictures and music. Its scope is as comprehensive as the work of education itself. The formation of habits is a purely mechanical thing unless habits are also tastes—habitual modes of preference and esteem, an effective sense of excellence. There are adequate grounds for asserting that the premium so often put in schools upon external "discipline," and upon marks and rewards, upon promotion and keeping back, are the obverse of the lack of attention given to life situations in which the meaning of facts, ideas, principles, and problems is vitally brought home.
2. Appreciative realizations are to be distinguished from symbolic or representative experiences. They are not to be distinguished from the work of the intellect or understanding. Only a personal response involving imagination can possibly procure realization even of pure "facts." The imagination is the medium of appreciation in every field. The engagement of the imagination is the only thing that makes any activity more than mechanical. Unfortunately, it is too customary to identify the imaginative with the imaginary, rather than with a warm and intimate taking in of the full scope of a situation. This leads to an exaggerated estimate of fairy tales, myths, fanciful symbols, verse, and something labeled "Fine Art," as agencies for developing imagination and appreciation; and, by neglecting imaginative vision in other matters, leads to methods which reduce much instruction to an unimaginative acquiring of specialized skill and amassing of a load of information. Theory, and—to some extent—practice, have advanced far enough to recognize that play-activity is an imaginative enterprise. But it is still usual to regard this activity as a specially marked-off stage of childish growth, and to overlook the fact that the difference between play and what is regarded as serious employment should be not a difference between the presence and absence of imagination, but a difference in the materials with which imagination is occupied. The result is an unwholesome exaggeration of the phantastic and "unreal" phases of childish play and a deadly reduction of serious occupation to a routine efficiency prized simply for its external tangible results. Achievement comes to denote the sort of thing that a well-planned machine can do better than a human being can, and the main effect of education, the achieving of a life of rich significance, drops by the wayside. Meantime mind-wandering and wayward fancy are nothing but the unsuppressible imagination cut loose from concern with what is done.
An adequate recognition of the play of imagination as the medium of realization of every kind of thing which lies beyond the scope of direct physical response is the sole way of escape from mechanical methods in teaching. The emphasis put in this book, in accord with many tendencies in contemporary education, upon activity, will be misleading if it is not recognized that the imagination is as much a normal and integral part of human activity as is muscular movement. The educative value of manual activities and of laboratory exercises, as well as of play, depends upon the extent in which they aid in bringing about a sensing of the meaning of what is going on. In effect, if not in name, they are dramatizations. Their utilitarian value in forming habits of skill to be used for tangible results is important, but not when isolated from the appreciative side. Were it not for the accompanying play of imagination, there would be no road from a direct activity to representative knowledge; for it is by imagination that symbols are translated over into a direct meaning and integrated with a narrower activity so as to expand and enrich it. When the representative creative imagination is made merely literary and mythological, symbols are rendered mere means of directing physical reactions of the organs of speech.
3. In the account previously given nothing was explicitly said about the place of literature and the fine arts in the course of study. The omission at that point was intentional. At the outset, there is no sharp demarcation of useful, or industrial, arts and fine arts. The activities mentioned in Chapter XV contain within themselves the factors later discriminated into fine and useful arts. As engaging the emotions and the imagination, they have the qualities which give the fine arts their quality. As demanding method or skill, the adaptation of tools to materials with constantly increasing perfection, they involve the element of technique indispensable to artistic production. From the standpoint of product, or the work of art, they are naturally defective, though even in this respect when they comprise genuine appreciation they often have a rudimentary charm. As experiences they have both an artistic and an esthetic quality. When they emerge into activities which are tested by their product and when the socially serviceable value of the product is emphasized, they pass into useful or industrial arts. When they develop in the direction of an enhanced appreciation of the immediate qualities which appeal to taste, they grow into fine arts.
In one of its meanings, appreciation is opposed to depreciation. It denotes an enlarged, an intensified prizing, not merely a prizing, much less—like depreciation—a lowered and degraded prizing. This enhancement of the qualities which make any ordinary experience appealing, appropriable—capable of full assimilation—and enjoyable, constitutes the prime function of literature, music, drawing, painting, etc., in education. They are not the exclusive agencies of appreciation in the most general sense of that word; but they are the chief agencies of an intensified, enhanced appreciation. As such, they are not only intrinsically and directly enjoyable, but they serve a purpose beyond themselves. They have the office, in increased degree, of all appreciation in fixing taste, in forming standards for the worth of later experiences. They arouse discontent with conditions which fall below their measure; they create a demand for surroundings coming up to their own level. They reveal a depth and range of meaning in experiences which otherwise might be mediocre and trivial. They supply, that is, organs of vision. Moreover, in their fullness they represent the concentration and consummation of elements of good which are otherwise scattered and incomplete. They select and focus the elements of enjoyable worth which make any experience directly enjoyable. They are not luxuries of education, but emphatic expressions of that which makes any education worth while.
2. The Valuation of Studies. The theory of educational values involves not only an account of the nature of appreciation as fixing the measure of subsequent valuations, but an account of the specific directions in which these valuations occur. To value means primarily to prize, to esteem; but secondarily it means to apprise, to estimate. It means, that is, the act of cherishing something, holding it dear, and also the act of passing judgment upon the nature and amount of its value as compared with something else. To value in the latter sense is to valuate or evaluate. The distinction coincides with that sometimes made between intrinsic and instrumental values. Intrinsic values are not objects of judgment, they cannot (as intrinsic) be compared, or regarded as greater and less, better or worse. They are invaluable; and if a thing is invaluable, it is neither more nor less so than any other invaluable. But occasions present themselves when it is necessary to choose, when we must let one thing go in order to take another. This establishes an order of preference, a greater and less, better and worse. Things judged or passed upon have to be estimated in relation to some third thing, some further end. With respect to that, they are means, or instrumental values.
We may imagine a man who at one time thoroughly enjoys converse with his friends, at another the hearing of a symphony; at another the eating of his meals; at another the reading of a book; at another the earning of money, and so on. As an appreciative realization, each of these is an intrinsic value. It occupies a particular place in life; it serves its own end, which cannot be supplied by a substitute. There is no question of comparative value, and hence none of valuation. Each is the specific good which it is, and that is all that can be said. In its own place, none is a means to anything beyond itself. But there may arise a situation in which they compete or conflict, in which a choice has to be made. Now comparison comes in. Since a choice has to be made, we want to know the respective claims of each competitor. What is to be said for it? What does it offer in comparison with, as balanced over against, some other possibility? Raising these questions means that a particular good is no longer an end in itself, an intrinsic good. For if it were, its claims would be incomparable, imperative. The question is now as to its status as a means of realizing something else, which is then the invaluable of that situation. If a man has just eaten, or if he is well fed generally and the opportunity to hear music is a rarity, he will probably prefer the music to eating. In the given situation that will render the greater contribution. If he is starving, or if he is satiated with music for the time being, he will naturally judge food to have the greater worth. In the abstract or at large, apart from the needs of a particular situation in which choice has to be made, there is no such thing as degrees or order of value. Certain conclusions follow with respect to educational values. We cannot establish a hierarchy of values among studies. It is futile to attempt to arrange them in an order, beginning with one having least worth and going on to that of maximum value. In so far as any study has a unique or irreplaceable function in experience, in so far as it marks a characteristic enrichment of life, its worth is intrinsic or incomparable. Since education is not a means to living, but is identical with the operation of living a life which is fruitful and inherently significant, the only ultimate value which can be set up is just the process of living itself. And this is not an end to which studies and activities are subordinate means; it is the whole of which they are ingredients. And what has been said about appreciation means that every study in one of its aspects ought to have just such ultimate significance. It is true of arithmetic as it is of poetry that in some place and at some time it ought to be a good to be appreciated on its own account—just as an enjoyable experience, in short. If it is not, then when the time and place come for it to be used as a means or instrumentality, it will be in just that much handicapped. Never having been realized or appreciated for itself, one will miss something of its capacity as a resource for other ends.
It equally follows that when we compare studies as to their values, that is, treat them as means to something beyond themselves, that which controls their proper valuation is found in the specific situation in which they are to be used. The way to enable a student to apprehend the instrumental value of arithmetic is not to lecture him upon the benefit it will be to him in some remote and uncertain future, but to let him discover that success in something he is interested in doing depends upon ability to use number.
It also follows that the attempt to distribute distinct sorts of value among different studies is a misguided one, in spite of the amount of time recently devoted to the undertaking. Science for example may have any kind of value, depending upon the situation into which it enters as a means. To some the value of science may be military; it may be an instrument in strengthening means of offense or defense; it may be technological, a tool for engineering; or it may be commercial—an aid in the successful conduct of business; under other conditions, its worth may be philanthropic—the service it renders in relieving human suffering; or again it may be quite conventional—of value in establishing one's social status as an "educated" person. As matter of fact, science serves all these purposes, and it would be an arbitrary task to try to fix upon one of them as its "real" end. All that we can be sure of educationally is that science should be taught so as to be an end in itself in the lives of students—something worth while on account of its own unique intrinsic contribution to the experience of life. Primarily it must have "appreciation value." If we take something which seems to be at the opposite pole, like poetry, the same sort of statement applies. It may be that, at the present time, its chief value is the contribution it makes to the enjoyment of leisure. But that may represent a degenerate condition rather than anything necessary. Poetry has historically been allied with religion and morals; it has served the purpose of penetrating the mysterious depths of things. It has had an enormous patriotic value. Homer to the Greeks was a Bible, a textbook of morals, a history, and a national inspiration. In any case, it may be said that an education which does not succeed in making poetry a resource in the business of life as well as in its leisure, has something the matter with it—or else the poetry is artificial poetry.
The same considerations apply to the value of a study or a topic of a study with reference to its motivating force. Those responsible for planning and teaching the course of study should have grounds for thinking that the studies and topics included furnish both direct increments to the enriching of lives of the pupils and also materials which they can put to use in other concerns of direct interest. Since the curriculum is always getting loaded down with purely inherited traditional matter and with subjects which represent mainly the energy of some influential person or group of persons in behalf of something dear to them, it requires constant inspection, criticism, and revision to make sure it is accomplishing its purpose. Then there is always the probability that it represents the values of adults rather than those of children and youth, or those of pupils a generation ago rather than those of the present day. Hence a further need for a critical outlook and survey. But these considerations do not mean that for a subject to have motivating value to a pupil (whether intrinsic or instrumental) is the same thing as for him to be aware of the value, or to be able to tell what the study is good for.
In the first place, as long as any topic makes an immediate appeal, it is not necessary to ask what it is good for. This is a question which can be asked only about instrumental values. Some goods are not good for anything; they are just goods. Any other notion leads to an absurdity. For we cannot stop asking the question about an instrumental good, one whose value lies in its being good for something, unless there is at some point something intrinsically good, good for itself. To a hungry, healthy child, food is a good of the situation; we do not have to bring him to consciousness of the ends subserved by food in order to supply a motive to eat. The food in connection with his appetite is a motive. The same thing holds of mentally eager pupils with respect to many topics. Neither they nor the teacher could possibly foretell with any exactness the purposes learning is to accomplish in the future; nor as long as the eagerness continues is it advisable to try to specify particular goods which are to come of it. The proof of a good is found in the fact that the pupil responds; his response is use. His response to the material shows that the subject functions in his life. It is unsound to urge that, say, Latin has a value per se in the abstract, just as a study, as a sufficient justification for teaching it. But it is equally absurd to argue that unless teacher or pupil can point out some definite assignable future use to which it is to be put, it lacks justifying value. When pupils are genuinely concerned in learning Latin, that is of itself proof that it possesses value. The most which one is entitled to ask in such cases is whether in view of the shortness of time, there are not other things of intrinsic value which in addition have greater instrumental value.
This brings us to the matter of instrumental values—topics studied because of some end beyond themselves. If a child is ill and his appetite does not lead him to eat when food is presented, or if his appetite is perverted so that he prefers candy to meat and vegetables, conscious reference to results is indicated. He needs to be made conscious of consequences as a justification of the positive or negative value of certain objects. Or the state of things may be normal enough, and yet an individual not be moved by some matter because he does not grasp how his attainment of some intrinsic good depends upon active concern with what is presented. In such cases, it is obviously the part of wisdom to establish consciousness of connection. In general what is desirable is that a topic be presented in such a way that it either have an immediate value, and require no justification, or else be perceived to be a means of achieving something of intrinsic value. An instrumental value then has the intrinsic value of being a means to an end. It may be questioned whether some of the present pedagogical interest in the matter of values of studies is not either excessive or else too narrow. Sometimes it appears to be a labored effort to furnish an apologetic for topics which no longer operate to any purpose, direct or indirect, in the lives of pupils. At other times, the reaction against useless lumber seems to have gone to the extent of supposing that no subject or topic should be taught unless some quite definite future utility can be pointed out by those making the course of study or by the pupil himself, unmindful of the fact that life is its own excuse for being; and that definite utilities which can be pointed out are themselves justified only because they increase the experienced content of life itself. 3. The Segregation and Organization of Values. It is of course possible to classify in a general way the various valuable phases of life. In order to get a survey of aims sufficiently wide (See ante, p. 110) to give breadth and flexibility to the enterprise of education, there is some advantage in such a classification. But it is a great mistake to regard these values as ultimate ends to which the concrete satisfactions of experience are subordinate. They are nothing but generalizations, more or less adequate, of concrete goods. Health, wealth, efficiency, sociability, utility, culture, happiness itself are only abstract terms which sum up a multitude of particulars. To regard such things as standards for the valuation of concrete topics and process of education is to subordinate to an abstraction the concrete facts from which the abstraction is derived. They are not in any true sense standards of valuation; these are found, as we have previously seen, in the specific realizations which form tastes and habits of preference. They are, however, of significance as points of view elevated above the details of life whence to survey the field and see how its constituent details are distributed, and whether they are well proportioned. No classification can have other than a provisional validity. The following may prove of some help. We may say that the kind of experience to which the work of the schools should contribute is one marked by executive competency in the management of resources and obstacles encountered (efficiency); by sociability, or interest in the direct companionship of others; by aesthetic taste or capacity to appreciate artistic excellence in at least some of its classic forms; by trained intellectual method, or interest in some mode of scientific achievement; and by sensitiveness to the rights and claims of others—conscientiousness. And while these considerations are not standards of value, they are useful criteria for survey, criticism, and better organization of existing methods and subject matter of instruction.
The need of such general points of view is the greater because of a tendency to segregate educational values due to the isolation from one another of the various pursuits of life. The idea is prevalent that different studies represent separate kinds of values, and that the curriculum should, therefore, be constituted by gathering together various studies till a sufficient variety of independent values have been cared for. The following quotation does not use the word value, but it contains the notion of a curriculum constructed on the idea that there are a number of separate ends to be reached, and that various studies may be evaluated by referring each study to its respective end. "Memory is trained by most studies, but best by languages and history; taste is trained by the more advanced study of languages, and still better by English literature; imagination by all higher language teaching, but chiefly by Greek and Latin poetry; observation by science work in the laboratory, though some training is to be got from the earlier stages of Latin and Greek; for expression, Greek and Latin composition comes first and English composition next; for abstract reasoning, mathematics stands almost alone; for concrete reasoning, science comes first, then geometry; for social reasoning, the Greek and Roman historians and orators come first, and general history next. Hence the narrowest education which can claim to be at all complete includes Latin, one modern language, some history, some English literature, and one science." There is much in the wording of this passage which is irrelevant to our point and which must be discounted to make it clear. The phraseology betrays the particular provincial tradition within which the author is writing. There is the unquestioned assumption of "faculties" to be trained, and a dominant interest in the ancient languages; there is comparative disregard of the earth on which men happen to live and the bodies they happen to carry around with them. But with allowances made for these matters (even with their complete abandonment) we find much in contemporary educational philosophy which parallels the fundamental notion of parceling out special values to segregated studies. Even when some one end is set up as a standard of value, like social efficiency or culture, it will often be found to be but a verbal heading under which a variety of disconnected factors are comprised. And although the general tendency is to allow a greater variety of values to a given study than does the passage quoted, yet the attempt to inventory a number of values attaching to each study and to state the amount of each value which the given study possesses emphasizes an implied educational disintegration.
As matter of fact, such schemes of values of studies are largely but unconscious justifications of the curriculum with which one is familiar. One accepts, for the most part, the studies of the existing course and then assigns values to them as a sufficient reason for their being taught. Mathematics is said to have, for example, disciplinary value in habituating the pupil to accuracy of statement and closeness of reasoning; it has utilitarian value in giving command of the arts of calculation involved in trade and the arts; culture value in its enlargement of the imagination in dealing with the most general relations of things; even religious value in its concept of the infinite and allied ideas. But clearly mathematics does not accomplish such results, because it is endowed with miraculous potencies called values; it has these values if and when it accomplishes these results, and not otherwise. The statements may help a teacher to a larger vision of the possible results to be effected by instruction in mathematical topics. But unfortunately, the tendency is to treat the statement as indicating powers inherently residing in the subject, whether they operate or not, and thus to give it a rigid justification. If they do not operate, the blame is put not on the subject as taught, but on the indifference and recalcitrancy of pupils.
This attitude toward subjects is the obverse side of the conception of experience or life as a patchwork of independent interests which exist side by side and limit one another. Students of politics are familiar with a check and balance theory of the powers of government. There are supposed to be independent separate functions, like the legislative, executive, judicial, administrative, and all goes well if each of these checks all the others and thus creates an ideal balance. There is a philosophy which might well be called the check and balance theory of experience. Life presents a diversity of interests. Left to themselves, they tend to encroach on one another. The ideal is to prescribe a special territory for each till the whole ground of experience is covered, and then see to it each remains within its own boundaries. Politics, business, recreation, art, science, the learned professions, polite intercourse, leisure, represent such interests. Each of these ramifies into many branches: business into manual occupations, executive positions, bookkeeping, railroading, banking, agriculture, trade and commerce, etc., and so with each of the others. An ideal education would then supply the means of meeting these separate and pigeon-holed interests. And when we look at the schools, it is easy to get the impression that they accept this view of the nature of adult life, and set for themselves the task of meeting its demands. Each interest is acknowledged as a kind of fixed institution to which something in the course of study must correspond. The course of study must then have some civics and history politically and patriotically viewed: some utilitarian studies; some science; some art (mainly literature of course); some provision for recreation; some moral education; and so on. And it will be found that a large part of current agitation about schools is concerned with clamor and controversy about the due meed of recognition to be given to each of these interests, and with struggles to secure for each its due share in the course of study; or, if this does not seem feasible in the existing school system, then to secure a new and separate kind of schooling to meet the need. In the multitude of educations education is forgotten.
The obvious outcome is congestion of the course of study, overpressure and distraction of pupils, and a narrow specialization fatal to the very idea of education. But these bad results usually lead to more of the same sort of thing as a remedy. When it is perceived that after all the requirements of a full life experience are not met, the deficiency is not laid to the isolation and narrowness of the teaching of the existing subjects, and this recognition made the basis of reorganization of the system. No, the lack is something to be made up for by the introduction of still another study, or, if necessary, another kind of school. And as a rule those who object to the resulting overcrowding and consequent superficiality and distraction usually also have recourse to a merely quantitative criterion: the remedy is to cut off a great many studies as fads and frills, and return to the good old curriculum of the three R's in elementary education and the equally good and equally old-fashioned curriculum of the classics and mathematics in higher education.
The situation has, of course, its historic explanation. Various epochs of the past have had their own characteristic struggles and interests. Each of these great epochs has left behind itself a kind of cultural deposit, like a geologic stratum. These deposits have found their way into educational institutions in the form of studies, distinct courses of study, distinct types of schools. With the rapid change of political, scientific, and economic interests in the last century, provision had to be made for new values. Though the older courses resisted, they have had at least in this country to retire their pretensions to a monopoly. They have not, however, been reorganized in content and aim; they have only been reduced in amount. The new studies, representing the new interests, have not been used to transform the method and aim of all instruction; they have been injected and added on. The result is a conglomerate, the cement of which consists in the mechanics of the school program or time table. Thence arises the scheme of values and standards of value which we have mentioned.
This situation in education represents the divisions and separations which obtain in social life. The variety of interests which should mark any rich and balanced experience have been torn asunder and deposited in separate institutions with diverse and independent purposes and methods. Business is business, science is science, art is art, politics is politics, social intercourse is social intercourse, morals is morals, recreation is recreation, and so on. Each possesses a separate and independent province with its own peculiar aims and ways of proceeding. Each contributes to the others only externally and accidentally. All of them together make up the whole of life by just apposition and addition. What does one expect from business save that it should furnish money, to be used in turn for making more money and for support of self and family, for buying books and pictures, tickets to concerts which may afford culture, and for paying taxes, charitable gifts and other things of social and ethical value? How unreasonable to expect that the pursuit of business should be itself a culture of the imagination, in breadth and refinement; that it should directly, and not through the money which it supplies, have social service for its animating principle and be conducted as an enterprise in behalf of social organization! The same thing is to be said, mutatis mutandis, of the pursuit of art or science or politics or religion. Each has become specialized not merely in its appliances and its demands upon time, but in its aim and animating spirit. Unconsciously, our course of studies and our theories of the educational values of studies reflect this division of interests. The point at issue in a theory of educational value is then the unity or integrity of experience. How shall it be full and varied without losing unity of spirit? How shall it be one and yet not narrow and monotonous in its unity? Ultimately, the question of values and a standard of values is the moral question of the organization of the interests of life. Educationally, the question concerns that organization of schools, materials, and methods which will operate to achieve breadth and richness of experience. How shall we secure breadth of outlook without sacrificing efficiency of execution? How shall we secure the diversity of interests, without paying the price of isolation? How shall the individual be rendered executive in his intelligence instead of at the cost of his intelligence? How shall art, science, and politics reinforce one another in an enriched temper of mind instead of constituting ends pursued at one another's expense? How can the interests of life and the studies which enforce them enrich the common experience of men instead of dividing men from one another? With the questions of reorganization thus suggested, we shall be concerned in the concluding chapters.
Summary. Fundamentally, the elements involved in a discussion of value
have been covered in the prior discussion of aims and interests. But since educational values are generally discussed in connection with the claims of the various studies of the curriculum, the consideration of aim and interest is here resumed from the point of view of special studies. The term "value" has two quite different meanings. On the one hand, it denotes the attitude of prizing a thing finding it worth while, for its own sake, or intrinsically. This is a name for a full or complete experience. To value in this sense is to appreciate. But to value also means a distinctively intellectual act—an operation of comparing and judging—to valuate. This occurs when direct full experience is lacking, and the question arises which of the various possibilities of a situation is to be preferred in order to reach a full realization, or vital experience.
We must not, however, divide the studies of the curriculum into the appreciative, those concerned with intrinsic value, and the instrumental, concerned with those which are of value or ends beyond themselves. The formation of proper standards in any subject depends upon a realization of the contribution which it makes to the immediate significance of experience, upon a direct appreciation. Literature and the fine arts are of peculiar value because they represent appreciation at its best—a heightened realization of meaning through selection and concentration. But every subject at some phase of its development should possess, what is for the individual concerned with it, an aesthetic quality.
Contribution to immediate intrinsic values in all their variety in experience is the only criterion for determining the worth of instrumental and derived values in studies. The tendency to assign separate values to each study and to regard the curriculum in its entirety as a kind of composite made by the aggregation of segregated values is a result of the isolation of social groups and classes. Hence it is the business of education in a democratic social group to struggle against this isolation in order that the various interests may reinforce and play into one another.
Chapter Nineteen: Labor and Leisure
1. The Origin of the Opposition.
The isolation of aims and values which we have been considering leads to opposition between them. Probably the most deep-seated antithesis which has shown itself in educational history is that between education in preparation for useful labor and education for a life of leisure. The bare terms "useful labor" and "leisure" confirm the statement already made that the segregation and conflict of values are not self-inclosed, but reflect a division within social life. Were the two functions of gaining a livelihood by work and enjoying in a cultivated way the opportunities of leisure, distributed equally among the different members of a community, it would not occur to any one that there was any conflict of educational agencies and aims involved. It would be self-evident that the question was how education could contribute most effectively to both. And while it might be found that some materials of instruction chiefly accomplished one result and other subject matter the other, it would be evident that care must be taken to secure as much overlapping as conditions permit; that is, the education which had leisure more directly in view should indirectly reinforce as much as possible the efficiency and the enjoyment of work, while that aiming at the latter should produce habits of emotion and intellect which would procure a worthy cultivation of leisure. These general considerations are amply borne out by the historical development of educational philosophy. The separation of liberal education from professional and industrial education goes back to the time of the Greeks, and was formulated expressly on the basis of a division of classes into those who had to labor for a living and those who were relieved from this necessity. The conception that liberal education, adapted to men in the latter class, is intrinsically higher than the servile training given to the latter class reflected the fact that one class was free and the other servile in its social status. The latter class labored not only for its own subsistence, but also for the means which enabled the superior class to live without personally engaging in occupations taking almost all the time and not of a nature to engage or reward intelligence.
That a certain amount of labor must be engaged in goes without saying. Human beings have to live and it requires work to supply the resources of life. Even if we insist that the interests connected with getting a living are only material and hence intrinsically lower than those connected with enjoyment of time released from labor, and even if it were admitted that there is something engrossing and insubordinate in material interests which leads them to strive to usurp the place belonging to the higher ideal interests, this would not—barring the fact of socially divided classes—lead to neglect of the kind of education which trains men for the useful pursuits. It would rather lead to scrupulous care for them, so that men were trained to be efficient in them and yet to keep them in their place; education would see to it that we avoided the evil results which flow from their being allowed to flourish in obscure purlieus of neglect. Only when a division of these interests coincides with a division of an inferior and a superior social class will preparation for useful work be looked down upon with contempt as an unworthy thing: a fact which prepares one for the conclusion that the rigid identification of work with material interests, and leisure with ideal interests is itself a social product. The educational formulations of the social situation made over two thousand years ago have been so influential and give such a clear and logical recognition of the implications of the division into laboring and leisure classes, that they deserve especial note. According to them, man occupies the highest place in the scheme of animate existence. In part, he shares the constitution and functions of plants and animals—nutritive, reproductive, motor or practical. The distinctively human function is reason existing for the sake of beholding the spectacle of the universe. Hence the truly human end is the fullest possible of this distinctive human prerogative. The life of observation, meditation, cogitation, and speculation pursued as an end in itself is the proper life of man. From reason moreover proceeds the proper control of the lower elements of human nature—the appetites and the active, motor, impulses. In themselves greedy, insubordinate, lovers of excess, aiming only at their own satiety, they observe moderation—the law of the mean—and serve desirable ends as they are subjected to the rule of reason.
Such is the situation as an affair of theoretical psychology and as most adequately stated by Aristotle. But this state of things is reflected in the constitution of classes of men and hence in the organization of society. Only in a comparatively small number is the function of reason capable of operating as a law of life. In the mass of people, vegetative and animal functions dominate. Their energy of intelligence is so feeble and inconstant that it is constantly overpowered by bodily appetite and passion. Such persons are not truly ends in themselves, for only reason constitutes a final end. Like plants, animals and physical tools, they are means, appliances, for the attaining of ends beyond themselves, although unlike them they have enough intelligence to exercise a certain discretion in the execution of the tasks committed to them. Thus by nature, and not merely by social convention, there are those who are slaves—that is, means for the ends of others. 1 The great body of artisans are in one important respect worse off than even slaves. Like the latter they are given up to the service of ends external to themselves; but since they do not enjoy the intimate association with the free superior class experienced by domestic slaves they remain on a lower plane of excellence. Moreover, women are classed with slaves and craftsmen as factors among the animate instrumentalities of production and reproduction of the means for a free or rational life.
Individually and collectively there is a gulf between merely living and living worthily. In order that one may live worthily he must first live, and so with collective society. The time and energy spent upon mere life, upon the gaining of subsistence, detracts from that available for activities that have an inherent rational meaning; they also unfit for the latter. Means are menial, the serviceable is servile. The true life is possible only in the degree in which the physical necessities are had without effort and without attention. Hence slaves, artisans, and women are employed in furnishing the means of subsistence in order that others, those adequately equipped with intelligence, may live the life of leisurely concern with things intrinsically worth while.
To these two modes of occupation, with their distinction of servile and free activities (or "arts") correspond two types of education: the base or mechanical and the liberal or intellectual. Some persons are trained by suitable practical exercises for capacity in doing things, for ability to use the mechanical tools involved in turning out physical commodities and rendering personal service. This training is a mere matter of habituation and technical skill; it operates through repetition and assiduity in application, not through awakening and nurturing thought. Liberal education aims to train intelligence for its proper office: to know. The less this knowledge has to do with practical affairs, with making or producing, the more adequately it engages intelligence. So consistently does Aristotle draw the line between menial and liberal education that he puts what are now called the "fine" arts, music, painting, sculpture, in the same class with menial arts so far as their practice is concerned. They involve physical agencies, assiduity of practice, and external results. In discussing, for example, education in music he raises the question how far the young should be practiced in the playing of instruments. His answer is that such practice and proficiency may be tolerated as conduce to appreciation; that is, to understanding and enjoyment of music when played by slaves or professionals. When professional power is aimed at, music sinks from the liberal to the professional level. One might then as well teach cooking, says Aristotle. Even a liberal concern with the works of fine art depends upon the existence of a hireling class of practitioners who have subordinated the development of their own personality to attaining skill in mechanical execution. The higher the activity the more purely mental is it; the less does it have to do with physical things or with the body. The more purely mental it is, the more independent or self-sufficing is it.
These last words remind us that Aristotle again makes a distinction of superior and inferior even within those living the life of reason. For there is a distinction in ends and in free action, according as one's life is merely accompanied by reason or as it makes reason its own medium. That is to say, the free citizen who devotes himself to the public life of his community, sharing in the management of its affairs and winning personal honor and distinction, lives a life accompanied by reason. But the thinker, the man who devotes himself to scientific inquiry and philosophic speculation, works, so to speak, in reason, not simply by *. Even the activity of the citizen in his civic relations, in other words, retains some of the taint of practice, of external or merely instrumental doing. This infection is shown by the fact that civic activity and civic excellence need the help of others; one cannot engage in public life all by himself. But all needs, all desires imply, in the philosophy of Aristotle, a material factor; they involve lack, privation; they are dependent upon something beyond themselves for completion. A purely intellectual life, however, one carries on by himself, in himself; such assistance as he may derive from others is accidental, rather than intrinsic. In knowing, in the life of theory, reason finds its own full manifestation; knowing for the sake of knowing irrespective of any application is alone independent, or self-sufficing. Hence only the education that makes for power to know as an end in itself, without reference to the practice of even civic duties, is truly liberal or free. 2. The Present Situation. If the Aristotelian conception represented just Aristotle's personal view, it would be a more or less interesting historical curiosity. It could be dismissed as an illustration of the lack of sympathy or the amount of academic pedantry which may coexist with extraordinary intellectual gifts. But Aristotle simply described without confusion and without that insincerity always attendant upon mental confusion, the life that was before him. That the actual social situation has greatly changed since his day there is no need to say. But in spite of these changes, in spite of the abolition of legal serfdom, and the spread of democracy, with the extension of science and of general education (in books, newspapers, travel, and general intercourse as well as in schools), there remains enough of a cleavage of society into a learned and an unlearned class, a leisure and a laboring class, to make his point of view a most enlightening one from which to criticize the separation between culture and utility in present education. Behind the intellectual and abstract distinction as it figures in pedagogical discussion, there looms a social distinction between those whose pursuits involve a minimum of self-directive thought and aesthetic appreciation, and those who are concerned more directly with things of the intelligence and with the control of the activities of others.
Aristotle was certainly permanently right when he said that "any occupation or art or study deserves to be called mechanical if it renders the body or soul or intellect of free persons unfit for the exercise and practice of excellence." The force of the statement is almost infinitely increased when we hold, as we nominally do at present, that all persons, instead of a comparatively few, are free. For when the mass of men and all women were regarded as unfree by the very nature of their bodies and minds, there was neither intellectual confusion nor moral hypocrisy in giving them only the training which fitted them for mechanical skill, irrespective of its ulterior effect upon their capacity to share in a worthy life. He was permanently right also when he went on to say that "all mercenary employments as well as those which degrade the condition of the body are mechanical, since they deprive the intellect of leisure and dignity,"—permanently right, that is, if gainful pursuits as matter of fact deprive the intellect of the conditions of its exercise and so of its dignity. If his statements are false, it is because they identify a phase of social custom with a natural necessity. But a different view of the relations of mind and matter, mind and body, intelligence and social service, is better than Aristotle's conception only if it helps render the old idea obsolete in fact—in the actual conduct of life and education. Aristotle was permanently right in assuming the inferiority and subordination of mere skill in performance and mere accumulation of external products to understanding, sympathy of appreciation, and the free play of ideas. If there was an error, it lay in assuming the necessary separation of the two: in supposing that there is a natural divorce between efficiency in producing commodities and rendering service, and self-directive thought; between significant knowledge and practical achievement. We hardly better matters if we just correct his theoretical misapprehension, and tolerate the social state of affairs which generated and sanctioned his conception. We lose rather than gain in change from serfdom to free citizenship if the most prized result of the change is simply an increase in the mechanical efficiency of the human tools of production. So we lose rather than gain in coming to think of intelligence as an organ of control of nature through action, if we are content that an unintelligent, unfree state persists in those who engage directly in turning nature to use, and leave the intelligence which controls to be the exclusive possession of remote scientists and captains of industry. We are in a position honestly to criticize the division of life into separate functions and of society into separate classes only so far as we are free from responsibility for perpetuating the educational practices which train the many for pursuits involving mere skill in production, and the few for a knowledge that is an ornament and a cultural embellishment. In short, ability to transcend the Greek philosophy of life and education is not secured by a mere shifting about of the theoretical symbols meaning free, rational, and worthy. It is not secured by a change of sentiment regarding the dignity of labor, and the superiority of a life of service to that of an aloof self-sufficing independence. Important as these theoretical and emotional changes are, their importance consists in their being turned to account in the development of a truly democratic society, a society in which all share in useful service and all enjoy a worthy leisure. It is not a mere change in the concepts of culture—or a liberal mind—and social service which requires an educational reorganization; but the educational transformation is needed to give full and explicit effect to the changes implied in social life. The increased political and economic emancipation of the "masses" has shown itself in education; it has effected the development of a common school system of education, public and free. It has destroyed the idea that learning is properly a monopoly of the few who are predestined by nature to govern social affairs. But the revolution is still incomplete. The idea still prevails that a truly cultural or liberal education cannot have anything in common, directly at least, with industrial affairs, and that the education which is fit for the masses must be a useful or practical education in a sense which opposes useful and practical to nurture of appreciation and liberation of thought. As a consequence, our actual system is an inconsistent mixture. Certain studies and methods are retained on the supposition that they have the sanction of peculiar liberality, the chief content of the term liberal being uselessness for practical ends. This aspect is chiefly visible in what is termed the higher education—that of the college and of preparation for it. But is has filtered through into elementary education and largely controls its processes and aims. But, on the other hand, certain concessions have been made to the masses who must engage in getting a livelihood and to the increased role of economic activities in modern life. These concessions are exhibited in special schools and courses for the professions, for engineering, for manual training and commerce, in vocational and prevocational courses; and in the spirit in which certain elementary subjects, like the three R's, are taught. The result is a system in which both "cultural" and "utilitarian" subjects exist in an inorganic composite where the former are not by dominant purpose socially serviceable and the latter not liberative of imagination or thinking power.
In the inherited situation, there is a curious intermingling, in even the same study, of concession to usefulness and a survival of traits once exclusively attributed to preparation for leisure. The "utility" element is found in the motives assigned for the study, the "liberal" element in methods of teaching. The outcome of the mixture is perhaps less satisfactory than if either principle were adhered to in its purity. The motive popularly assigned for making the studies of the first four or five years consist almost entirely of reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic, is, for example, that ability to read, write, and figure accurately is indispensable to getting ahead. These studies are treated as mere instruments for entering upon a gainful employment or of later progress in the pursuit of learning, according as pupils do not or do remain in school. This attitude is reflected in the emphasis put upon drill and practice for the sake of gaining automatic skill. If we turn to Greek schooling, we find that from the earliest years the acquisition of skill was subordinated as much as possible to acquisition of literary content possessed of aesthetic and moral significance. Not getting a tool for subsequent use but present subject matter was the emphasized thing. Nevertheless the isolation of these studies from practical application, their reduction to purely symbolic devices, represents a survival of the idea of a liberal training divorced from utility. A thorough adoption of the idea of utility would have led to instruction which tied up the studies to situations in which they were directly needed and where they were rendered immediately and not remotely helpful. It would be hard to find a subject in the curriculum within which there are not found evil results of a compromise between the two opposed ideals. Natural science is recommended on the ground of its practical utility, but is taught as a special accomplishment in removal from application. On the other hand, music and literature are theoretically justified on the ground of their culture value and are then taught with chief emphasis upon forming technical modes of skill.
If we had less compromise and resulting confusion, if we analyzed more carefully the respective meanings of culture and utility, we might find it easier to construct a course of study which should be useful and liberal at the same time. Only superstition makes us believe that the two are necessarily hostile so that a subject is illiberal because it is useful and cultural because it is useless. It will generally be found that instruction which, in aiming at utilitarian results, sacrifices the development of imagination, the refining of taste and the deepening of intellectual insight—surely cultural values—also in the same degree renders what is learned limited in its use. Not that it makes it wholly unavailable but that its applicability is restricted to routine activities carried on under the supervision of others. Narrow modes of skill cannot be made useful beyond themselves; any mode of skill which is achieved with deepening of knowledge and perfecting of judgment is readily put to use in new situations and is under personal control. It was not the bare fact of social and economic utility which made certain activities seem servile to the Greeks but the fact that the activities directly connected with getting a livelihood were not, in their days, the expression of a trained intelligence nor carried on because of a personal appreciation of their meaning. So far as farming and the trades were rule-of-thumb occupations and so far as they were engaged in for results external to the minds of agricultural laborers and mechanics, they were illiberal—but only so far. The intellectual and social context has now changed. The elements in industry due to mere custom and routine have become subordinate in most economic callings to elements derived from scientific inquiry. The most important occupations of today represent and depend upon applied mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The area of the human world influenced by economic production and influencing consumption has been so indefinitely widened that geographical and political considerations of an almost infinitely wide scope enter in. It was natural for Plato to deprecate the learning of geometry and arithmetic for practical ends, because as matter of fact the practical uses to which they were put were few, lacking in content and mostly mercenary in quality. But as their social uses have increased and enlarged, their liberalizing or "intellectual" value and their practical value approach the same limit.
Doubtless the factor which chiefly prevents our full recognition and employment of this identification is the conditions under which so much work is still carried on. The invention of machines has extended the amount of leisure which is possible even while one is at work. It is a commonplace that the mastery of skill in the form of established habits frees the mind for a higher order of thinking. Something of the same kind is true of the introduction of mechanically automatic operations in industry. They may release the mind for thought upon other topics. But when we confine the education of those who work with their hands to a few years of schooling devoted for the most part to acquiring the use of rudimentary symbols at the expense of training in science, literature, and history, we fail to prepare the minds of workers to take advantage of this opportunity. More fundamental is the fact that the great majority of workers have no insight into the social aims of their pursuits and no direct personal interest in them. The results actually achieved are not the ends of their actions, but only of their employers. They do what they do, not freely and intelligently, but for the sake of the wage earned. It is this fact which makes the action illiberal, and which will make any education designed simply to give skill in such undertakings illiberal and immoral. The activity is not free because not freely participated in.
Nevertheless, there is already an opportunity for an education which, keeping in mind the larger features of work, will reconcile liberal nurture with training in social serviceableness, with ability to share efficiently and happily in occupations which are productive. And such an education will of itself tend to do away with the evils of the existing economic situation. In the degree in which men have an active concern in the ends that control their activity, their activity becomes free or voluntary and loses its externally enforced and servile quality, even though the physical aspect of behavior remain the same. In what is termed politics, democratic social organization makes provision for this direct participation in control: in the economic region, control remains external and autocratic. Hence the split between inner mental action and outer physical action of which the traditional distinction between the liberal and the utilitarian is the reflex. An education which should unify the disposition of the members of society would do much to unify society itself.
Summary. Of the segregations of educational values discussed in the
last chapter, that between culture and utility is probably the most fundamental. While the distinction is often thought to be intrinsic and absolute, it is really historical and social. It originated, so far as conscious formulation is concerned, in Greece, and was based upon the fact that the truly human life was lived only by a few who subsisted upon the results of the labor of others. This fact affected the psychological doctrine of the relation of intelligence and desire, theory and practice. It was embodied in a political theory of a permanent division of human beings into those capable of a life of reason and hence having their own ends, and those capable only of desire and work, and needing to have their ends provided by others. The two distinctions, psychological and political, translated into educational terms, effected a division between a liberal education, having to do with the self-sufficing life of leisure devoted to knowing for its own sake, and a useful, practical training for mechanical occupations, devoid of intellectual and aesthetic content. While the present situation is radically diverse in theory and much changed in fact, the factors of the older historic situation still persist sufficiently to maintain the educational distinction, along with compromises which often reduce the efficacy of the educational measures. The problem of education in a democratic society is to do away with the dualism and to construct a course of studies which makes thought a guide of free practice for all and which makes leisure a reward of accepting responsibility for service, rather than a state of exemption from it.
1 Aristotle does not hold that the class of actual slaves and of natural slaves necessarily coincide.
Chapter Twenty: Intellectual and Practical Studies
1. The Opposition of Experience and True Knowledge. As livelihood and leisure are opposed, so are theory and practice, intelligence and execution, knowledge and activity. The latter set of oppositions doubtless springs from the same social conditions which produce the former conflict; but certain definite problems of education connected with them make it desirable to discuss explicitly the matter of the relationship and alleged separation of knowing and doing.
The notion that knowledge is derived from a higher source than is practical activity, and possesses a higher and more spiritual worth, has a long history. The history so far as conscious statement is concerned takes us back to the conceptions of experience and of reason formulated by Plato and Aristotle. Much as these thinkers differed in many respects, they agreed in identifying experience with purely practical concerns; and hence with material interests as to its purpose and with the body as to its organ. Knowledge, on the other hand, existed for its own sake free from practical reference, and found its source and organ in a purely immaterial mind; it had to do with spiritual or ideal interests. Again, experience always involved lack, need, desire; it was never self-sufficing. Rational knowing on the other hand, was complete and comprehensive within itself. Hence the practical life was in a condition of perpetual flux, while intellectual knowledge concerned eternal truth.
This sharp antithesis is connected with the fact that Athenian philosophy began as a criticism of custom and tradition as standards of knowledge and conduct. In a search for something to replace them, it hit upon reason as the only adequate guide of belief and activity. Since custom and tradition were identified with experience, it followed at once that reason was superior to experience. Moreover, experience, not content with its proper position of subordination, was the great foe to the acknowledgment of the authority of reason. Since custom and traditionary beliefs held men in bondage, the struggle of reason for its legitimate supremacy could be won only by showing the inherently unstable and inadequate nature of experience. The statement of Plato that philosophers should be kings may best be understood as a statement that rational intelligence and not habit, appetite, impulse, and emotion should regulate human affairs. The former secures unity, order, and law; the latter signify multiplicity and discord, irrational fluctuations from one estate to another.
The grounds for the identification of experience with the unsatisfactory condition of things, the state of affairs represented by rule of mere custom, are not far to seek. Increasing trade and travel, colonizations, migrations and wars, had broadened the intellectual horizon. The customs and beliefs of different communities were found to diverge sharply from one another. Civil disturbance had become a custom in Athens; the fortunes of the city seemed given over to strife of factions. The increase of leisure coinciding with the broadening of the horizon had brought into ken many new facts of nature and had stimulated curiosity and speculation. The situation tended to raise the question as to the existence of anything constant and universal in the realm of nature and society. Reason was the faculty by which the universal principle and essence is apprehended; while the senses were the organs of perceiving change,—the unstable and the diverse as against the permanent and uniform. The results of the work of the senses, preserved in memory and imagination, and applied in the skill given by habit, constituted experience.
Experience at its best is thus represented in the various handicrafts—the arts of peace and war. The cobbler, the flute player, the soldier, have undergone the discipline of experience to acquire the skill they have. This means that the bodily organs, particularly the senses, have had repeated contact with things and that the result of these contacts has been preserved and consolidated till ability in foresight and in practice had been secured. Such was the essential meaning of the term "empirical." It suggested a knowledge and an ability not based upon insight into principles, but expressing the result of a large number of separate trials. It expressed the idea now conveyed by "method of trial and error," with especial emphasis upon the more or less accidental character of the trials. So far as ability of control, of management, was concerned, it amounted to rule-of-thumb procedure, to routine. If new circumstances resembled the past, it might work well enough; in the degree in which they deviated, failure was likely. Even to-day to speak of a physician as an empiricist is to imply that he lacks scientific training, and that he is proceeding simply on the basis of what he happens to have got out of the chance medley of his past practice. Just because of the lack of science or reason in "experience" it is hard to keep it at its poor best. The empiric easily degenerates into the quack. He does not know where his knowledge begins or leaves off, and so when he gets beyond routine conditions he begins to pretend—to make claims for which there is no justification, and to trust to luck and to ability to impose upon others—to "bluff." Moreover, he assumes that because he has learned one thing, he knows others—as the history of Athens showed that the common craftsmen thought they could manage household affairs, education, and politics, because they had learned to do the specific things of their trades. Experience is always hovering, then, on the edge of pretense, of sham, of seeming, and appearance, in distinction from the reality upon which reason lays hold.
The philosophers soon reached certain generalizations from this state of affairs. The senses are connected with the appetites, with wants and desires. They lay hold not on the reality of things but on the relation which things have to our pleasures and pains, to the satisfaction of wants and the welfare of the body. They are important only for the life of the body, which is but a fixed substratum for a higher life. Experience thus has a definitely material character; it has to do with physical things in relation to the body. In contrast, reason, or science, lays hold of the immaterial, the ideal, the spiritual. There is something morally dangerous about experience, as such words as sensual, carnal, material, worldly, interests suggest; while pure reason and spirit connote something morally praiseworthy. Moreover, ineradicable connection with the changing, the inexplicably shifting, and with the manifold, the diverse, clings to experience. Its material is inherently variable and untrustworthy. It is anarchic, because unstable. The man who trusts to experience does not know what he depends upon, since it changes from person to person, from day to day, to say nothing of from country to country. Its connection with the "many," with various particulars, has the same effect, and also carries conflict in its train.
Only the single, the uniform, assures coherence and harmony. Out of experience come warrings, the conflict of opinions and acts within the individual and between individuals. From experience no standard of belief can issue, because it is the very nature of experience to instigate all kinds of contrary beliefs, as varieties of local custom proved. Its logical outcome is that anything is good and true to the particular individual which his experience leads him to believe true and good at a particular time and place. Finally practice falls of necessity within experience. Doing proceeds from needs and aims at change. To produce or to make is to alter something; to consume is to alter. All the obnoxious characters of change and diversity thus attach themselves to doing while knowing is as permanent as its object. To know, to grasp a thing intellectually or theoretically, is to be out of the region of vicissitude, chance, and diversity. Truth has no lack; it is untouched by the perturbations of the world of sense. It deals with the eternal and the universal. And the world of experience can be brought under control, can be steadied and ordered, only through subjection to its law of reason.
It would not do, of course, to say that all these distinctions persisted in full technical definiteness. But they all of them profoundly influenced men's subsequent thinking and their ideas about education. The contempt for physical as compared with mathematical and logical science, for the senses and sense observation; the feeling that knowledge is high and worthy in the degree in which it deals with ideal symbols instead of with the concrete; the scorn of particulars except as they are deductively brought under a universal; the disregard for the body; the depreciation of arts and crafts as intellectual instrumentalities, all sought shelter and found sanction under this estimate of the respective values of experience and reason—or, what came to the same thing, of the practical and the intellectual. Medieval philosophy continued and reinforced the tradition. To know reality meant to be in relation to the supreme reality, or God, and to enjoy the eternal bliss of that relation. Contemplation of supreme reality was the ultimate end of man to which action is subordinate. Experience had to do with mundane, profane, and secular affairs, practically necessary indeed, but of little import in comparison with supernatural objects of knowledge. When we add to this motive the force derived from the literary character of the Roman education and the Greek philosophic tradition, and conjoin to them the preference for studies which obviously demarcated the aristocratic class from the lower classes, we can readily understand the tremendous power exercised by the persistent preference of the "intellectual" over the "practical" not simply in educational philosophies but in the higher schools. 2. The Modern Theory of Experience and Knowledge. As we shall see later, the development of experimentation as a method of knowledge makes possible and necessitates a radical transformation of the view just set forth. But before coming to that, we have to note the theory of experience and knowledge developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In general, it presents us with an almost complete reversal of the classic doctrine of the relations of experience and reason. To Plato experience meant habituation, or the conservation of the net product of a lot of past chance trials. Reason meant the principle of reform, of progress, of increase of control. Devotion to the cause of reason meant breaking through the limitations of custom and getting at things as they really were. To the modern reformers, the situation was the other way around. Reason, universal principles, a priori notions, meant either blank forms which had to be filled in by experience, by sense observations, in order to get significance and validity; or else were mere indurated prejudices, dogmas imposed by authority, which masqueraded and found protection under august names. The great need was to break way from captivity to conceptions which, as Bacon put it, "anticipated nature" and imposed merely human opinions upon her, and to resort to experience to find out what nature was like. Appeal to experience marked the breach with authority. It meant openness to new impressions; eagerness in discovery and invention instead of absorption in tabulating and systematizing received ideas and "proving" them by means of the relations they sustained to one another. It was the irruption into the mind of the things as they really were, free from the veil cast over them by preconceived ideas.
The change was twofold. Experience lost the practical meaning which it had borne from the time of Plato. It ceased to mean ways of doing and being done to, and became a name for something intellectual and cognitive. It meant the apprehension of material which should ballast and check the exercise of reasoning. By the modern philosophic empiricist and by his opponent, experience has been looked upon just as a way of knowing. The only question was how good a way it is. The result was an even greater "intellectualism" than is found in ancient philosophy, if that word be used to designate an emphatic and almost exclusive interest in knowledge in its isolation. Practice was not so much subordinated to knowledge as treated as a kind of tag-end or aftermath of knowledge. The educational result was only to confirm the exclusion of active pursuits from the school, save as they might be brought in for purely utilitarian ends—the acquisition by drill of certain habits. In the second place, the interest in experience as a means of basing truth upon objects, upon nature, led to looking at the mind as purely receptive. The more passive the mind is, the more truly objects will impress themselves upon it. For the mind to take a hand, so to speak, would be for it in the very process of knowing to vitiate true knowledge—to defeat its own purpose. The ideal was a maximum of receptivity. Since the impressions made upon the mind by objects were generally termed sensations, empiricism thus became a doctrine of sensationalism—that is to say, a doctrine which identified knowledge with the reception and association of sensory impressions. In John Locke, the most influential of the empiricists, we find this sensationalism mitigated by a recognition of certain mental faculties, like discernment or discrimination, comparison, abstraction, and generalization which work up the material of sense into definite and organized forms and which even evolve new ideas on their own account, such as the fundamental conceptions of morals and mathematics. (See ante, p. 61.) But some of his successors, especially in France in the latter part of the eighteenth century, carried his doctrine to the limit; they regarded discernment and judgment as peculiar sensations made in us by the conjoint presence of other sensations. Locke had held that the mind is a blank piece of paper, or a wax tablet with nothing engraved on it at birth (a tabula rasa) so far as any contents of ideas were concerned, but had endowed it with activities to be exercised upon the material received. His French successors razed away the powers and derived them also from impressions received.
As we have earlier noted, this notion was fostered by the new interest in education as method of social reform. (See ante, p. 93.) The emptier the mind to begin with, the more it may be made anything we wish by bringing the right influences to bear upon it. Thus Helvetius, perhaps the most extreme and consistent sensationalist, proclaimed that education could do anything—that it was omnipotent. Within the sphere of school instruction, empiricism found its directly beneficial office in protesting against mere book learning. If knowledge comes from the impressions made upon us by natural objects, it is impossible to procure knowledge without the use of objects which impress the mind. Words, all kinds of linguistic symbols, in the lack of prior presentations of objects with which they may be associated, convey nothing but sensations of their own shape and color—certainly not a very instructive kind of knowledge. Sensationalism was an extremely handy weapon with which to combat doctrines and opinions resting wholly upon tradition and authority. With respect to all of them, it set up a test: Where are the real objects from which these ideas and beliefs are received? If such objects could not be produced, ideas were explained as the result of false associations and combinations. Empiricism also insisted upon a first-hand element. The impression must be made upon me, upon my mind. The further we get away from this direct, first-hand source of knowledge, the more numerous the sources of error, and the vaguer the resulting idea.
As might be expected, however, the philosophy was weak upon the positive side. Of course, the value of natural objects and firsthand acquaintance was not dependent upon the truth of the theory. Introduced into the schools they would do their work, even if the sensational theory about the way in which they did it was quite wrong. So far, there is nothing to complain of. But the emphasis upon sensationalism also operated to influence the way in which natural objects were employed, and to prevent full good being got from them. "Object lessons" tended to isolate the mere sense-activity and make it an end in itself. The more isolated the object, the more isolated the sensory quality, the more distinct the sense-impression as a unit of knowledge. The theory worked not only in the direction of this mechanical isolation, which tended to reduce instruction to a kind of physical gymnastic of the sense-organs (good like any gymnastic of bodily organs, but not more so), but also to the neglect of thinking. According to the theory there was no need of thinking in connection with sense-observation; in fact, in strict theory such thinking would be impossible till afterwards, for thinking consisted simply in combining and separating sensory units which had been received without any participation of judgment.
As a matter of fact, accordingly, practically no scheme of education upon a purely sensory basis has ever been systematically tried, at least after the early years of infancy. Its obvious deficiencies have caused it to be resorted to simply for filling in "rationalistic" knowledge (that is to say, knowledge of definitions, rules, classifications, and modes of application conveyed through symbols), and as a device for lending greater "interest" to barren symbols. There are at least three serious defects of sensationalistic empiricism as an educational philosophy of knowledge. (a) the historical value of the theory was critical; it was a dissolvent of current beliefs about the world and political institutions. It was a destructive organ of criticism of hard and fast dogmas. But the work of education is constructive, not critical. It assumes not old beliefs to be eliminated and revised, but the need of building up new experience into intellectual habitudes as correct as possible from the start. Sensationalism is highly unfitted for this constructive task. Mind, understanding, denotes responsiveness to meanings (ante, p. 29), not response to direct physical stimuli. And meaning exists only with reference to a context, which is excluded by any scheme which identifies knowledge with a combination of sense-impressions. The theory, so far as educationally applied, led either to a magnification of mere physical excitations or else to a mere heaping up of isolated objects and qualities.
(b) While direct impression has the advantage of being first hand, it also has the disadvantage of being limited in range. Direct acquaintance with the natural surroundings of the home environment so as to give reality to ideas about portions of the earth beyond the reach of the senses, and as a means of arousing intellectual curiosity, is one thing. As an end-all and be-all of geographical knowledge it is fatally restricted. In precisely analogous fashion, beans, shoe pegs, and counters may be helpful aids to a realization of numerical relations, but when employed except as aids to thought—the apprehension of meaning—they become an obstacle to the growth of arithmetical understanding. They arrest growth on a low plane, the plane of specific physical symbols. Just as the race developed especial symbols as tools of calculation and mathematical reasonings, because the use of the fingers as numerical symbols got in the way, so the individual must progress from concrete to abstract symbols—that is, symbols whose meaning is realized only through conceptual thinking. And undue absorption at the outset in the physical object of sense hampers this growth. (c) A thoroughly false psychology of mental development underlay sensationalistic empiricism. Experience is in truth a matter of activities, instinctive and impulsive, in their interactions with things. What even an infant "experiences" is not a passively received quality impressed by an object, but the effect which some activity of handling, throwing, pounding, tearing, etc., has upon an object, and the consequent effect of the object upon the direction of activities. (See ante, p. 140.) Fundamentally (as we shall see in more detail), the ancient notion of experience as a practical matter is truer to fact that the modern notion of it as a mode of knowing by means of sensations. The neglect of the deep-seated active and motor factors of experience is a fatal defect of the traditional empirical philosophy. Nothing is more uninteresting and mechanical than a scheme of object lessons which ignores and as far as may be excludes the natural tendency to learn about the qualities of objects by the uses to which they are put through trying to do something with them.
It is obvious, accordingly, that even if the philosophy of experience represented by modern empiricism had received more general theoretical assent than has been accorded to it, it could not have furnished a satisfactory philosophy of the learning process. Its educational influence was confined to injecting a new factor into the older curriculum, with incidental modifications of the older studies and methods. It introduced greater regard for observation of things directly and through pictures and graphic descriptions, and it reduced the importance attached to verbal symbolization. But its own scope was so meager that it required supplementation by information concerning matters outside of sense-perception and by matters which appealed more directly to thought. Consequently it left unimpaired the scope of informational and abstract, or "rationalistic" studies.
3. Experience as Experimentation. It has already been intimated that sensational empiricism represents neither the idea of experience justified by modern psychology nor the idea of knowledge suggested by modern scientific procedure. With respect to the former, it omits the primary position of active response which puts things to use and which learns about them through discovering the consequences that result from use. It would seem as if five minutes' unprejudiced observation of the way an infant gains knowledge would have sufficed to overthrow the notion that he is passively engaged in receiving impressions of isolated ready-made qualities of sound, color, hardness, etc. For it would be seen that the infant reacts to stimuli by activities of handling, reaching, etc., in order to see what results follow upon motor response to a sensory stimulation; it would be seen that what is learned are not isolated qualities, but the behavior which may be expected from a thing, and the changes in things and persons which an activity may be expected to produce. In other words, what he learns are connections. Even such qualities as red color, sound of a high pitch, have to be discriminated and identified on the basis of the activities they call forth and the consequences these activities effect. We learn what things are hard and what are soft by finding out through active experimentation what they respectively will do and what can be done and what cannot be done with them. In like fashion, children learn about persons by finding out what responsive activities these persons exact and what these persons will do in reply to the children's activities. And the combination of what things do to us (not in impressing qualities on a passive mind) in modifying our actions, furthering some of them and resisting and checking others, and what we can do to them in producing new changes constitutes experience. The methods of science by which the revolution in our knowledge of the world dating from the seventeenth century, was brought about, teach the same lesson. For these methods are nothing but experimentation carried out under conditions of deliberate control. To the Greek, it seemed absurd that such an activity as, say, the cobbler punching holes in leather, or using wax and needle and thread, could give an adequate knowledge of the world. It seemed almost axiomatic that for true knowledge we must have recourse to concepts coming from a reason above experience. But the introduction of the experimental method signified precisely that such operations, carried on under conditions of control, are just the ways in which fruitful ideas about nature are obtained and tested. In other words, it is only needed to conduct such an operation as the pouring of an acid on a metal for the purpose of getting knowledge instead of for the purpose of getting a trade result, in order to lay hold of the principle upon which the science of nature was henceforth to depend. Sense perceptions were indeed indispensable, but there was less reliance upon sense perceptions in their natural or customary form than in the older science. They were no longer regarded as containing within themselves some "form" or "species" of universal kind in a disguised mask of sense which could be stripped off by rational thought. On the contrary, the first thing was to alter and extend the data of sense perception: to act upon the given objects of sense by the lens of the telescope and microscope, and by all sorts of experimental devices. To accomplish this in a way which would arouse new ideas (hypotheses, theories) required even more general ideas (like those of mathematics) than were at the command of ancient science. But these general conceptions were no longer taken to give knowledge in themselves. They were implements for instituting, conducting, interpreting experimental inquiries and formulating their results.
The logical outcome is a new philosophy of experience and knowledge, a philosophy which no longer puts experience in opposition to rational knowledge and explanation. Experience is no longer a mere summarizing of what has been done in a more or less chance way in the past; it is a deliberate control of what is done with reference to making what happens to us and what we do to things as fertile as possible of suggestions (of suggested meanings) and a means for trying out the validity of the suggestions. When trying, or experimenting, ceases to be blinded by impulse or custom, when it is guided by an aim and conducted by measure and method, it becomes reasonable—rational. When what we suffer from things, what we undergo at their hands, ceases to be a matter of chance circumstance, when it is transformed into a consequence of our own prior purposive endeavors, it becomes rationally significant—enlightening and instructive. The antithesis of empiricism and rationalism loses the support of the human situation which once gave it meaning and relative justification.
The bearing of this change upon the opposition of purely practical and purely intellectual studies is self-evident. The distinction is not intrinsic but is dependent upon conditions, and upon conditions which can be regulated. Practical activities may be intellectually narrow and trivial; they will be so in so far as they are routine, carried on under the dictates of authority, and having in view merely some external result. But childhood and youth, the period of schooling, is just the time when it is possible to carry them on in a different spirit. It is inexpedient to repeat the discussions of our previous chapters on thinking and on the evolution of educative subject matter from childlike work and play to logically organized subject matter. The discussions of this chapter and the prior one should, however, give an added meaning to those results.
(i) Experience itself primarily consists of the active relations subsisting between a human being and his natural and social surroundings. In some cases, the initiative in activity is on the side of the environment; the human being undergoes or suffers certain checkings and deflections of endeavors. In other cases, the behavior of surrounding things and persons carries to a successful issue the active tendencies of the individual, so that in the end what the individual undergoes are consequences which he has himself tried to produce. In just the degree in which connections are established between what happens to a person and what he does in response, and between what he does to his environment and what it does in response to him, his acts and the things about him acquire meaning. He learns to understand both himself and the world of men and things. Purposive education or schooling should present such an environment that this interaction will effect acquisition of those meanings which are so important that they become, in turn, instruments of further learnings. (ante, Ch. XI.) As has been repeatedly pointed out, activity out of school is carried on under conditions which have not been deliberately adapted to promoting the function of understanding and formation of effective intellectual dispositions. The results are vital and genuine as far as they go, but they are limited by all kinds of circumstances. Some powers are left quite undeveloped and undirected; others get only occasional and whimsical stimulations; others are formed into habits of a routine skill at the expense of aims and resourceful initiative and inventiveness. It is not the business of the school to transport youth from an environment of activity into one of cramped study of the records of other men's learning; but to transport them from an environment of relatively chance activities (accidental in the relation they bear to insight and thought) into one of activities selected with reference to guidance of learning. A slight inspection of the improved methods which have already shown themselves effective in education will reveal that they have laid hold, more or less consciously, upon the fact that "intellectual" studies instead of being opposed to active pursuits represent an intellectualizing of practical pursuits. It remains to grasp the principle with greater firmness.
(ii) The changes which are taking place in the content of social life tremendously facilitate selection of the sort of activities which will intellectualize the play and work of the school. When one bears in mind the social environment of the Greeks and the people of the Middle Ages, where such practical activities as could be successfully carried on were mostly of a routine and external sort and even servile in nature, one is not surprised that educators turned their backs upon them as unfitted to cultivate intelligence. But now that even the occupations of the household, agriculture, and manufacturing as well as transportation and intercourse are instinct with applied science, the case stands otherwise. It is true that many of those who now engage in them are not aware of the intellectual content upon which their personal actions depend. But this fact only gives an added reason why schooling should use these pursuits so as to enable the coming generation to acquire a comprehension now too generally lacking, and thus enable persons to carry on their pursuits intelligently instead of blindly. (iii) The most direct blow at the traditional separation of doing and knowing and at the traditional prestige of purely "intellectual" studies, however, has been given by the progress of experimental science. If this progress has demonstrated anything, it is that there is no such thing as genuine knowledge and fruitful understanding except as the offspring of doing. The analysis and rearrangement of facts which is indispensable to the growth of knowledge and power of explanation and right classification cannot be attained purely mentally—just inside the head. Men have to do something to the things when they wish to find out something; they have to alter conditions. This is the lesson of the laboratory method, and the lesson which all education has to learn. The laboratory is a discovery of the condition under which labor may become intellectually fruitful and not merely externally productive. If, in too many cases at present, it results only in the acquisition of an additional mode of technical skill, that is because it still remains too largely but an isolated resource, not resorted to until pupils are mostly too old to get the full advantage of it, and even then is surrounded by other studies where traditional methods isolate intellect from activity.
Summary. The Greeks were induced to philosophize by the increasing
failure of their traditional customs and beliefs to regulate life. Thus they were led to criticize custom adversely and to look for some other source of authority in life and belief. Since they desired a rational standard for the latter, and had identified with experience the customs which had proved unsatisfactory supports, they were led to a flat opposition of reason and experience. The more the former was exalted, the more the latter was depreciated. Since experience was identified with what men do and suffer in particular and changing situations of life, doing shared in the philosophic depreciation. This influence fell in with many others to magnify, in higher education, all the methods and topics which involved the least use of sense-observation and bodily activity. The modern age began with a revolt against this point of view, with an appeal to experience, and an attack upon so-called purely rational concepts on the ground that they either needed to be ballasted by the results of concrete experiences, or else were mere expressions of prejudice and institutionalized class interest, calling themselves rational for protection. But various circumstances led to considering experience as pure cognition, leaving out of account its intrinsic active and emotional phases, and to identifying it with a passive reception of isolated "sensations." Hence the education reform effected by the new theory was confined mainly to doing away with some of the bookishness of prior methods; it did not accomplish a consistent reorganization.
Meantime, the advance of psychology, of industrial methods, and of the experimental method in science makes another conception of experience explicitly desirable and possible. This theory reinstates the idea of the ancients that experience is primarily practical, not cognitive—a matter of doing and undergoing the consequences of doing. But the ancient theory is transformed by realizing that doing may be directed so as to take up into its own content all which thought suggests, and so as to result in securely tested knowledge. "Experience" then ceases to be empirical and becomes experimental. Reason ceases to be a remote and ideal faculty, and signifies all the resources by which activity is made fruitful in meaning. Educationally, this change denotes such a plan for the studies and method of instruction as has been developed in the previous chapters.