Democracy and Education



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Chapter Twenty-one: Physical and Social Studies: Naturalism and Humanism

Allussion has already been made to the conflict of natural science with literary studies for a place in the curriculum. The solution thus far reached consists essentially in a somewhat mechanical compromise whereby the field is divided between studies having nature and studies having man as their theme. The situation thus presents us with another instance of the external adjustment of educational values, and focuses attention upon the philosophy of the connection of nature with human affairs. In general, it may be said that the educational division finds a reflection in the dualistic philosophies. Mind and the world are regarded as two independent realms of existence having certain points of contact with each other. From this point of view it is natural that each sphere of existence should have its own separate group of studies connected with it; it is even natural that the growth of scientific studies should be viewed with suspicion as marking a tendency of materialistic philosophy to encroach upon the domain of spirit. Any theory of education which contemplates a more unified scheme of education than now exists is under the necessity of facing the question of the relation of man to nature.

1. The Historic Background of Humanistic Study. 
It is noteworthy that classic Greek philosophy does not present the problem in its modern form. Socrates indeed appears to have thought that science of nature was not attainable and not very important. The chief thing to know is the nature and end of man. Upon that knowledge hangs all that is of deep significance—all moral and social achievement. Plato, however, makes right knowledge of man and society depend upon knowledge of the essential features of nature. His chief treatise, entitled the Republic, is at once a treatise on morals, on social organization, and on the metaphysics and science of nature. Since he accepts the Socratic doctrine that right achievement in the former depends upon rational knowledge, he is compelled to discuss the nature of knowledge. Since he accepts the idea that the ultimate object of knowledge is the discovery of the good or end of man, and is discontented with the Socratic conviction that all we know is our own ignorance, he connects the discussion of the good of man with consideration of the essential good or end of nature itself. To attempt to determine the end of man apart from a knowledge of the ruling end which gives law and unity to nature is impossible. It is thus quite consistent with his philosophy that he subordinates literary studies (under the name of music) to mathematics and to physics as well as to logic and metaphysics. But on the other hand, knowledge of nature is not an end in itself; it is a necessary stage in bringing the mind to a realization of the supreme purpose of existence as the law of human action, corporate and individual. To use the modern phraseology, naturalistic studies are indispensable, but they are in the interests of humanistic and ideal ends.

Aristotle goes even farther, if anything, in the direction of naturalistic studies. He subordinates (ante, p. 254) civic relations to the purely cognitive life. The highest end of man is not human but divine—participation in pure knowing which constitutes the divine life. Such knowing deals with what is universal and necessary, and finds, therefore, a more adequate subject matter in nature at its best than in the transient things of man. If we take what the philosophers stood for in Greek life, rather than the details of what they say, we might summarize by saying that the Greeks were too much interested in free inquiry into natural fact and in the aesthetic enjoyment of nature, and were too deeply conscious of the extent in which society is rooted in nature and subject to its laws, to think of bringing man and nature into conflict. Two factors conspire in the later period of ancient life, however, to exalt literary and humanistic studies. One is the increasingly reminiscent and borrowed character of culture; the other is the political and rhetorical bent of Roman life.

Greek achievement in civilization was native; the civilization of the Alexandrians and Romans was inherited from alien sources. Consequently it looked back to the records upon which it drew, instead of looking out directly upon nature and society, for material and inspiration. We cannot do better than quote the words of Hatch to indicate the consequences for educational theory and practice. "Greece on one hand had lost political power, and on the other possessed in her splendid literature an inalienable heritage. It was natural that she should turn to letters. It was natural also that the study of letters should be reflected upon speech. The mass of men in the Greek world tended to lay stress on that acquaintance with the literature of bygone generations, and that habit of cultivated speech, which has ever since been commonly spoken of as education. Our own comes by direct tradition from it. It set a fashion which until recently has uniformly prevailed over the entire civilized world. We study literature rather than nature because the Greeks did so, and because when the Romans and the Roman provincials resolved to educate their sons, they employed Greek teachers and followed in Greek paths." 1

The so-called practical bent of the Romans worked in the same direction. In falling back upon the recorded ideas of the Greeks, they not only took the short path to attaining a cultural development, but they procured just the kind of material and method suited to their administrative talents. For their practical genius was not directed to the conquest and control of nature but to the conquest and control of men.

Mr. Hatch, in the passage quoted, takes a good deal of history for granted in saying that we have studied literature rather than nature because the Greeks, and the Romans whom they taught, did so. What is the link that spans the intervening centuries? The question suggests that barbarian Europe but repeated on a larger scale and with increased intensity the Roman situation. It had to go to school to Greco-Roman civilization; it also borrowed rather than evolved its culture. Not merely for its general ideas and their artistic presentation but for its models of law it went to the records of alien peoples. And its dependence upon tradition was increased by the dominant theological interests of the period. For the authorities to which the Church appealed were literatures composed in foreign tongues. Everything converged to identify learning with linguistic training and to make the language of the learned a literary language instead of the mother speech.

The full scope of this fact escapes us, moreover, until we recognize that this subject matter compelled recourse to a dialectical method. Scholasticism frequently has been used since the time of the revival of learning as a term of reproach. But all that it means is the method of The Schools, or of the School Men. In its essence, it is nothing but a highly effective systematization of the methods of teaching and learning which are appropriate to transmit an authoritative body of truths. Where literature rather than contemporary nature and society furnishes material of study, methods must be adapted to defining, expounding, and interpreting the received material, rather than to inquiry, discovery, and invention. And at bottom what is called Scholasticism is the whole-hearted and consistent formulation and application of the methods which are suited to instruction when the material of instruction is taken ready-made, rather than as something which students are to find out for themselves. So far as schools still teach from textbooks and rely upon the principle of authority and acquisition rather than upon that of discovery and inquiry, their methods are Scholastic—minus the logical accuracy and system of Scholasticism at its best. Aside from laxity of method and statement, the only difference is that geographies and histories and botanies and astronomies are now part of the authoritative literature which is to be mastered.

As a consequence, the Greek tradition was lost in which a humanistic interest was used as a basis of interest in nature, and a knowledge of nature used to support the distinctively human aims of man. Life found its support in authority, not in nature. The latter was moreover an object of considerable suspicion. Contemplation of it was dangerous, for it tended to draw man away from reliance upon the documents in which the rules of living were already contained. Moreover nature could be known only through observation; it appealed to the senses—which were merely material as opposed to a purely immaterial mind. Furthermore, the utilities of a knowledge of nature were purely physical and secular; they connected with the bodily and temporal welfare of man, while the literary tradition concerned his spiritual and eternal well-being.

2. The Modern Scientific Interest in Nature. 
The movement of the fifteenth century which is variously termed the revival of learning and the renascence was characterized by a new interest in man's present life, and accordingly by a new interest in his relationships with nature. It was naturalistic, in the sense that it turned against the dominant supernaturalistic interest. It is possible that the influence of a return to classic Greek pagan literature in bringing about this changed mind has been overestimated. Undoubtedly the change was mainly a product of contemporary conditions. But there can be no doubt that educated men, filled with the new point of view, turned eagerly to Greek literature for congenial sustenance and reinforcement. And to a considerable extent, this interest in Greek thought was not in literature for its own sake, but in the spirit it expressed. The mental freedom, the sense of the order and beauty of nature, which animated Greek expression, aroused men to think and observe in a similar untrammeled fashion. The history of science in the sixteenth century shows that the dawning sciences of physical nature largely borrowed their points of departure from the new interest in Greek literature. As Windelband has said, the new science of nature was the daughter of humanism. The favorite notion of the time was that man was in microcosm that which the universe was in macrocosm.

This fact raises anew the question of how it was that nature and man were later separated and a sharp division made between language and literature and the physical sciences. Four reasons may be suggested. (a) The old tradition was firmly entrenched in institutions. Politics, law, and diplomacy remained of necessity branches of authoritative literature, for the social sciences did not develop until the methods of the sciences of physics and chemistry, to say nothing of biology, were much further advanced. The same is largely true of history. Moreover, the methods used for effective teaching of the languages were well developed; the inertia of academic custom was on their side. Just as the new interest in literature, especially Greek, had not been allowed at first to find lodgment in the scholastically organized universities, so when it found its way into them it joined hands with the older learning to minimize the influence of experimental science. The men who taught were rarely trained in science; the men who were scientifically competent worked in private laboratories and through the medium of academies which promoted research, but which were not organized as teaching bodies. Finally, the aristocratic tradition which looked down upon material things and upon the senses and the hands was still mighty.

(b) The Protestant revolt brought with it an immense increase of interest in theological discussion and controversies. The appeal on both sides was to literary documents. Each side had to train men in ability to study and expound the records which were relied upon. The demand for training men who could defend the chosen faith against the other side, who were able to propagandize and to prevent the encroachments of the other side, was such that it is not too much to say that by the middle of the seventeenth century the linguistic training of gymnasia and universities had been captured by the revived theological interest, and used as a tool of religious education and ecclesiastical controversy. Thus the educational descent of the languages as they are found in education to-day is not direct from the revival of learning, but from its adaptation to theological ends.

(c) The natural sciences were themselves conceived in a way which sharpened the opposition of man and nature. Francis Bacon presents an almost perfect example of the union of naturalistic and humanistic interest. Science, adopting the methods of observation and experimentation, was to give up the attempt to "anticipate" nature—to impose preconceived notions upon her—and was to become her humble interpreter. In obeying nature intellectually, man would learn to command her practically. "Knowledge is power." This aphorism meant that through science man is to control nature and turn her energies to the execution of his own ends. Bacon attacked the old learning and logic as purely controversial, having to do with victory in argument, not with discovery of the unknown. Through the new method of thought which was set forth in his new logic an era of expansive discoveries was to emerge, and these discoveries were to bear fruit in inventions for the service of man. Men were to give up their futile, never-finished effort to dominate one another to engage in the cooperative task of dominating nature in the interests of humanity.

In the main, Bacon prophesied the direction of subsequent progress. But he "anticipated" the advance. He did not see that the new science was for a long time to be worked in the interest of old ends of human exploitation. He thought that it would rapidly give man new ends. Instead, it put at the disposal of a class the means to secure their old ends of aggrandizement at the expense of another class. The industrial revolution followed, as he foresaw, upon a revolution in scientific method. But it is taking the revolution many centuries to produce a new mind. Feudalism was doomed by the applications of the new science, for they transferred power from the landed nobility to the manufacturing centers. But capitalism rather than a social humanism took its place. Production and commerce were carried on as if the new science had no moral lesson, but only technical lessons as to economies in production and utilization of saving in self-interest. Naturally, this application of physical science (which was the most conspicuously perceptible one) strengthened the claims of professed humanists that science was materialistic in its tendencies. It left a void as to man's distinctively human interests which go beyond making, saving, and expending money; and languages and literature put in their claim to represent the moral and ideal interests of humanity.

(d) Moreover, the philosophy which professed itself based upon science, which gave itself out as the accredited representative of the net significance of science, was either dualistic in character, marked by a sharp division between mind (characterizing man) and matter, constituting nature; or else it was openly mechanical, reducing the signal features of human life to illusion. In the former case, it allowed the claims of certain studies to be peculiar consignees of mental values, and indirectly strengthened their claim to superiority, since human beings would incline to regard human affairs as of chief importance at least to themselves. In the latter case, it called out a reaction which threw doubt and suspicion upon the value of physical science, giving occasion for treating it as an enemy to man's higher interests.

Greek and medieval knowledge accepted the world in its qualitative variety, and regarded nature's processes as having ends, or in technical phrase as teleological. New science was expounded so as to deny the reality of all qualities in real, or objective, existence. Sounds, colors, ends, as well as goods and bads, were regarded as purely subjective—as mere impressions in the mind. Objective existence was then treated as having only quantitative aspects—as so much mass in motion, its only differences being that at one point in space there was a larger aggregate mass than at another, and that in some spots there were greater rates of motion than at others. Lacking qualitative distinctions, nature lacked significant variety. Uniformities were emphasized, not diversities; the ideal was supposed to be the discovery of a single mathematical formula applying to the whole universe at once from which all the seeming variety of phenomena could be derived. This is what a mechanical philosophy means.

Such a philosophy does not represent the genuine purport of science. It takes the technique for the thing itself; the apparatus and the terminology for reality, the method for its subject matter. Science does confine its statements to conditions which enable us to predict and control the happening of events, ignoring the qualities of the events. Hence its mechanical and quantitative character. But in leaving them out of account, it does not exclude them from reality, nor relegate them to a purely mental region; it only furnishes means utilizable for ends. Thus while in fact the progress of science was increasing man's power over nature, enabling him to place his cherished ends on a firmer basis than ever before, and also to diversify his activities almost at will, the philosophy which professed to formulate its accomplishments reduced the world to a barren and monotonous redistribution of matter in space. Thus the immediate effect of modern science was to accentuate the dualism of matter and mind, and thereby to establish the physical and the humanistic studies as two disconnected groups. Since the difference between better and worse is bound up with the qualities of experience, any philosophy of science which excludes them from the genuine content of reality is bound to leave out what is most interesting and most important to mankind.

3. The Present Educational Problem. 
In truth, experience knows no division between human concerns and a purely mechanical physical world. Man's home is nature; his purposes and aims are dependent for execution upon natural conditions. Separated from such conditions they become empty dreams and idle indulgences of fancy. From the standpoint of human experience, and hence of educational endeavor, any distinction which can be justly made between nature and man is a distinction between the conditions which have to be reckoned with in the formation and execution of our practical aims, and the aims themselves. This philosophy is vouched for by the doctrine of biological development which shows that man is continuous with nature, not an alien entering her processes from without. It is reinforced by the experimental method of science which shows that knowledge accrues in virtue of an attempt to direct physical energies in accord with ideas suggested in dealing with natural objects in behalf of social uses. Every step forward in the social sciences—the studies termed history, economics, politics, sociology—shows that social questions are capable of being intelligently coped with only in the degree in which we employ the method of collected data, forming hypotheses, and testing them in action which is characteristic of natural science, and in the degree in which we utilize in behalf of the promotion of social welfare the technical knowledge ascertained by physics and chemistry. Advanced methods of dealing with such perplexing problems as insanity, intemperance, poverty, public sanitation, city planning, the conservation of natural resources, the constructive use of governmental agencies for furthering the public good without weakening personal initiative, all illustrate the direct dependence of our important social concerns upon the methods and results of natural science.

With respect then to both humanistic and naturalistic studies, education should take its departure from this close interdependence. It should aim not at keeping science as a study of nature apart from literature as a record of human interests, but at cross-fertilizing both the natural sciences and the various human disciplines such as history, literature, economics, and politics. Pedagogically, the problem is simpler than the attempt to teach the sciences as mere technical bodies of information and technical forms of physical manipulation, on one side; and to teach humanistic studies as isolated subjects, on the other. For the latter procedure institutes an artificial separation in the pupils' experience. Outside of school pupils meet with natural facts and principles in connection with various modes of human action. (See ante, p. 30.) In all the social activities in which they have shared they have had to understand the material and processes involved. To start them in school with a rupture of this intimate association breaks the continuity of mental development, makes the student feel an indescribable unreality in his studies, and deprives him of the normal motive for interest in them.

There is no doubt, of course, that the opportunities of education should be such that all should have a chance who have the disposition to advance to specialized ability in science, and thus devote themselves to its pursuit as their particular occupation in life. But at present, the pupil too often has a choice only between beginning with a study of the results of prior specialization where the material is isolated from his daily experiences, or with miscellaneous nature study, where material is presented at haphazard and does not lead anywhere in particular. The habit of introducing college pupils into segregated scientific subject matter, such as is appropriate to the man who wishes to become an expert in a given field, is carried back into the high schools. Pupils in the latter simply get a more elementary treatment of the same thing, with difficulties smoothed over and topics reduced to the level of their supposed ability. The cause of this procedure lies in following tradition, rather than in conscious adherence to a dualistic philosophy. But the effect is the same as if the purpose were to inculcate an idea that the sciences which deal with nature have nothing to do with man, and vice versa. A large part of the comparative ineffectiveness of the teaching of the sciences, for those who never become scientific specialists, is the result of a separation which is unavoidable when one begins with technically organized subject matter. Even if all students were embryonic scientific specialists, it is questionable whether this is the most effective procedure. Considering that the great majority are concerned with the study of sciences only for its effect upon their mental habits—in making them more alert, more open-minded, more inclined to tentative acceptance and to testing of ideas propounded or suggested,—and for achieving a better understanding of their daily environment, it is certainly ill-advised. Too often the pupil comes out with a smattering which is too superficial to be scientific and too technical to be applicable to ordinary affairs.

The utilization of ordinary experience to secure an advance into scientific material and method, while keeping the latter connected with familiar human interests, is easier to-day than it ever was before. The usual experience of all persons in civilized communities to-day is intimately associated with industrial processes and results. These in turn are so many cases of science in action. The stationary and traction steam engine, gasoline engine, automobile, telegraph and telephone, the electric motor enter directly into the lives of most individuals. Pupils at an early age are practically acquainted with these things. Not only does the business occupation of their parents depend upon scientific applications, but household pursuits, the maintenance of health, the sights seen upon the streets, embody scientific achievements and stimulate interest in the connected scientific principles. The obvious pedagogical starting point of scientific instruction is not to teach things labeled science, but to utilize the familiar occupations and appliances to direct observation and experiment, until pupils have arrived at a knowledge of some fundamental principles by understanding them in their familiar practical workings.

The opinion sometimes advanced that it is a derogation from the "purity" of science to study it in its active incarnation, instead of in theoretical abstraction, rests upon a misunderstanding. AS matter of fact, any subject is cultural in the degree in which it is apprehended in its widest possible range of meanings. Perception of meanings depends upon perception of connections, of context. To see a scientific fact or law in its human as well as in its physical and technical context is to enlarge its significance and give it increased cultural value. Its direct economic application, if by economic is meant something having money worth, is incidental and secondary, but a part of its actual connections. The important thing is that the fact be grasped in its social connections—its function in life.

On the other hand, "humanism" means at bottom being imbued with an intelligent sense of human interests. The social interest, identical in its deepest meaning with a moral interest, is necessarily supreme with man. Knowledge about man, information as to his past, familiarity with his documented records of literature, may be as technical a possession as the accumulation of physical details. Men may keep busy in a variety of ways, making money, acquiring facility in laboratory manipulation, or in amassing a store of facts about linguistic matters, or the chronology of literary productions. Unless such activity reacts to enlarge the imaginative vision of life, it is on a level with the busy work of children. It has the letter without the spirit of activity. It readily degenerates itself into a miser's accumulation, and a man prides himself on what he has, and not on the meaning he finds in the affairs of life. Any study so pursued that it increases concern for the values of life, any study producing greater sensitiveness to social well-being and greater ability to promote that well-being is humane study. The humanistic spirit of the Greeks was native and intense but it was narrow in scope. Everybody outside the Hellenic circle was a barbarian, and negligible save as a possible enemy. Acute as were the social observations and speculations of Greek thinkers, there is not a word in their writings to indicate that Greek civilization was not self-inclosed and self-sufficient. There was, apparently, no suspicion that its future was at the mercy of the despised outsider. Within the Greek community, the intense social spirit was limited by the fact that higher culture was based on a substratum of slavery and economic serfdom—classes necessary to the existence of the state, as Aristotle declared, and yet not genuine parts of it. The development of science has produced an industrial revolution which has brought different peoples in such close contact with one another through colonization and commerce that no matter how some nations may still look down upon others, no country can harbor the illusion that its career is decided wholly within itself. The same revolution has abolished agricultural serfdom, and created a class of more or less organized factory laborers with recognized political rights, and who make claims for a responsible role in the control of industry—claims which receive sympathetic attention from many among the well-to-do, since they have been brought into closer connections with the less fortunate classes through the breaking down of class barriers.

This state of affairs may be formulated by saying that the older humanism omitted economic and industrial conditions from its purview. Consequently, it was one sided. Culture, under such circumstances, inevitably represented the intellectual and moral outlook of the class which was in direct social control. Such a tradition as to culture is, as we have seen (ante, p. 260), aristocratic; it emphasizes what marks off one class from another, rather than fundamental common interests. Its standards are in the past; for the aim is to preserve what has been gained rather than widely to extend the range of culture.

The modifications which spring from taking greater account of industry and of whatever has to do with making a living are frequently condemned as attacks upon the culture derived from the past. But a wider educational outlook would conceive industrial activities as agencies for making intellectual resources more accessible to the masses, and giving greater solidity to the culture of those having superior resources. In short, when we consider the close connection between science and industrial development on the one hand, and between literary and aesthetic cultivation and an aristocratic social organization on the other, we get light on the opposition between technical scientific studies and refining literary studies. We have before us the need of overcoming this separation in education if society is to be truly democratic.


The philosophic dualism between man and nature is reflected in the division of studies between the naturalistic and the humanistic with a tendency to reduce the latter to the literary records of the past. This dualism is not characteristic (as were the others which we have noted) of Greek thought. It arose partly because of the fact that the culture of Rome and of barbarian Europe was not a native product, being borrowed directly or indirectly from Greece, and partly because political and ecclesiastic conditions emphasized dependence upon the authority of past knowledge as that was transmitted in literary documents.

At the outset, the rise of modern science prophesied a restoration of the intimate connection of nature and humanity, for it viewed knowledge of nature as the means of securing human progress and well-being. But the more immediate applications of science were in the interests of a class rather than of men in common; and the received philosophic formulations of scientific doctrine tended either to mark it off as merely material from man as spiritual and immaterial, or else to reduce mind to a subjective illusion. In education, accordingly, the tendency was to treat the sciences as a separate body of studies, consisting of technical information regarding the physical world, and to reserve the older literary studies as distinctively humanistic. The account previously given of the evolution of knowledge, and of the educational scheme of studies based upon it, are designed to overcome the separation, and to secure recognition of the place occupied by the subject matter of the natural sciences in human affairs.

1 The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church. pp. 43-44.

Chapter Twenty-two: The Individual and the World

1. Mind as Purely Individual. 
We have been concerned with the influences which have effected a division between work and leisure, knowing and doing, man and nature. These influences have resulted in splitting up the subject matter of education into separate studies. They have also found formulation in various philosophies which have opposed to each other body and mind, theoretical knowledge and practice, physical mechanism and ideal purpose. Upon the philosophical side, these various dualisms culminate in a sharp demarcation of individual minds from the world, and hence from one another. While the connection of this philosophical position with educational procedure is not so obvious as is that of the points considered in the last three chapters, there are certain educational considerations which correspond to it; such as the antithesis supposed to exist between subject matter (the counterpart of the world) and method (the counterpart of mind); such as the tendency to treat interest as something purely private, without intrinsic connection with the material studied. Aside from incidental educational bearings, it will be shown in this chapter that the dualistic philosophy of mind and the world implies an erroneous conception of the relationship between knowledge and social interests, and between individuality or freedom, and social control and authority. The identification of the mind with the individual self and of the latter with a private psychic consciousness is comparatively modern. In both the Greek and medieval periods, the rule was to regard the individual as a channel through which a universal and divine intelligence operated. The individual was in no true sense the knower; the knower was the "Reason" which operated through him. The individual interfered at his peril, and only to the detriment of the truth. In the degree in which the individual rather than reason "knew," conceit, error, and opinion were substituted for true knowledge. In Greek life, observation was acute and alert; and thinking was free almost to the point of irresponsible speculations. Accordingly the consequences of the theory were only such as were consequent upon the lack of an experimental method. Without such a method individuals could not engage in knowing, and be checked up by the results of the inquiries of others. Without such liability to test by others, the minds of men could not be intellectually responsible; results were to be accepted because of their aesthetic consistency, agreeable quality, or the prestige of their authors. In the barbarian period, individuals were in a still more humble attitude to truth; important knowledge was supposed to be divinely revealed, and nothing remained for the minds of individuals except to work it over after it had been received on authority. Aside from the more consciously philosophic aspects of these movements, it never occurs to any one to identify mind and the personal self wherever beliefs are transmitted by custom.

In the medieval period there was a religious individualism. The deepest concern of life was the salvation of the individual soul. In the later Middle Ages, this latent individualism found conscious formulation in the nominalistic philosophies, which treated the structure of knowledge as something built up within the individual through his own acts, and mental states. With the rise of economic and political individualism after the sixteenth century, and with the development of Protestantism, the times were ripe for an emphasis upon the rights and duties of the individual in achieving knowledge for himself. This led to the view that knowledge is won wholly through personal and private experiences. As a consequence, mind, the source and possessor of knowledge, was thought of as wholly individual. Thus upon the educational side, we find educational reformers, like Montaigne, Bacon, Locke, henceforth vehemently denouncing all learning which is acquired on hearsay, and asserting that even if beliefs happen to be true, they do not constitute knowledge unless they have grown up in and been tested by personal experience. The reaction against authority in all spheres of life, and the intensity of the struggle, against great odds, for freedom of action and inquiry, led to such an emphasis upon personal observations and ideas as in effect to isolate mind, and set it apart from the world to be known.

This isolation is reflected in the great development of that branch of philosophy known as epistemology—the theory of knowledge. The identification of mind with the self, and the setting up of the self as something independent and self-sufficient, created such a gulf between the knowing mind and the world that it became a question how knowledge was possible at all. Given a subject—the knower—and an object—the thing to be known—wholly separate from one another, it is necessary to frame a theory to explain how they get into connection with each other so that valid knowledge may result. This problem, with the allied one of the possibility of the world acting upon the mind and the mind acting upon the world, became almost the exclusive preoccupation of philosophic thought.

The theories that we cannot know the world as it really is but only the impressions made upon the mind, or that there is no world beyond the individual mind, or that knowledge is only a certain association of the mind's own states, were products of this preoccupation. We are not directly concerned with their truth; but the fact that such desperate solutions were widely accepted is evidence of the extent to which mind had been set over the world of realities. The increasing use of the term "consciousness" as an equivalent for mind, in the supposition that there is an inner world of conscious states and processes, independent of any relationship to nature and society, an inner world more truly and immediately known than anything else, is evidence of the same fact. In short, practical individualism, or struggle for greater freedom of thought in action, was translated into philosophic subjectivism.

2. Individual Mind as the Agent of Reorganization. 
It should be obvious that this philosophic movement misconceived the significance of the practical movement. Instead of being its transcript, it was a perversion. Men were not actually engaged in the absurdity of striving to be free from connection with nature and one another. They were striving for greater freedom in nature and society. They wanted greater power to initiate changes in the world of things and fellow beings; greater scope of movement and consequently greater freedom in observations and ideas implied in movement. They wanted not isolation from the world, but a more intimate connection with it. They wanted to form their beliefs about it at first hand, instead of through tradition. They wanted closer union with their fellows so that they might influence one another more effectively and might combine their respective actions for mutual aims.

So far as their beliefs were concerned, they felt that a great deal which passed for knowledge was merely the accumulated opinions of the past, much of it absurd and its correct portions not understood when accepted on authority. Men must observe for themselves, and form their own theories and personally test them. Such a method was the only alternative to the imposition of dogma as truth, a procedure which reduced mind to the formal act of acquiescing in truth. Such is the meaning of what is sometimes called the substitution of inductive experimental methods of knowing for deductive. In some sense, men had always used an inductive method in dealing with their immediate practical concerns. Architecture, agriculture, manufacture, etc., had to be based upon observation of the activities of natural objects, and ideas about such affairs had to be checked, to some extent, by results. But even in such things there was an undue reliance upon mere custom, followed blindly rather than understandingly. And this observational-experimental method was restricted to these "practical" matters, and a sharp distinction maintained between practice and theoretical knowledge or truth. (See Ch. XX.) The rise of free cities, the development of travel, exploration, and commerce, the evolution of new methods of producing commodities and doing business, threw men definitely upon their own resources. The reformers of science like Galileo, Descartes, and their successors, carried analogous methods into ascertaining the facts about nature. An interest in discovery took the place of an interest in systematizing and "proving" received beliefs.

A just philosophic interpretation of these movements would, indeed, have emphasized the rights and responsibilities of the individual in gaining knowledge and personally testing beliefs, no matter by what authorities they were vouched for. But it would not have isolated the individual from the world, and consequently isolated individuals—in theory—from one another. It would have perceived that such disconnection, such rupture of continuity, denied in advance the possibility of success in their endeavors. As matter of fact every individual has grown up, and always must grow up, in a social medium. His responses grow intelligent, or gain meaning, simply because he lives and acts in a medium of accepted meanings and values. (See ante, p. 30.) Through social intercourse, through sharing in the activities embodying beliefs, he gradually acquires a mind of his own. The conception of mind as a purely isolated possession of the self is at the very antipodes of the truth. The self achieves mind in the degree in which knowledge of things is incarnate in the life about him; the self is not a separate mind building up knowledge anew on its own account.

Yet there is a valid distinction between knowledge which is objective and impersonal, and thinking which is subjective and personal. In one sense, knowledge is that which we take for granted. It is that which is settled, disposed of, established, under control. What we fully know, we do not need to think about. In common phrase, it is certain, assured. And this does not mean a mere feeling of certainty. It denotes not a sentiment, but a practical attitude, a readiness to act without reserve or quibble. Of course we may be mistaken. What is taken for knowledge—for fact and truth—at a given time may not be such. But everything which is assumed without question, which is taken for granted in our intercourse with one another and nature is what, at the given time, is called knowledge. Thinking on the contrary, starts, as we have seen, from doubt or uncertainty. It marks an inquiring, hunting, searching attitude, instead of one of mastery and possession. Through its critical process true knowledge is revised and extended, and our convictions as to the state of things reorganized. Clearly the last few centuries have been typically a period of revision and reorganization of beliefs. Men did not really throw away all transmitted beliefs concerning the realities of existence, and start afresh upon the basis of their private, exclusive sensations and ideas. They could not have done so if they had wished to, and if it had been possible general imbecility would have been the only outcome. Men set out from what had passed as knowledge, and critically investigated the grounds upon which it rested; they noted exceptions; they used new mechanical appliances to bring to light data inconsistent with what had been believed; they used their imaginations to conceive a world different from that in which their forefathers had put their trust. The work was a piecemeal, a retail, business. One problem was tackled at a time. The net results of all the revisions amounted, however, to a revolution of prior conceptions of the world. What occurred was a reorganization of prior intellectual habitudes, infinitely more efficient than a cutting loose from all connections would have been.

This state of affairs suggests a definition of the role of the individual, or the self, in knowledge; namely, the redirection, or reconstruction of accepted beliefs. Every new idea, every conception of things differing from that authorized by current belief, must have its origin in an individual. New ideas are doubtless always sprouting, but a society governed by custom does not encourage their development. On the contrary, it tends to suppress them, just because they are deviations from what is current. The man who looks at things differently from others is in such a community a suspect character; for him to persist is generally fatal. Even when social censorship of beliefs is not so strict, social conditions may fail to provide the appliances which are requisite if new ideas are to be adequately elaborated; or they may fail to provide any material support and reward to those who entertain them. Hence they remain mere fancies, romantic castles in the air, or aimless speculations. The freedom of observation and imagination involved in the modern scientific revolution were not easily secured; they had to be fought for; many suffered for their intellectual independence. But, upon the whole, modern European society first permitted, and then, in some fields at least, deliberately encouraged the individual reactions which deviate from what custom prescribes. Discovery, research, inquiry in new lines, inventions, finally came to be either the social fashion, or in some degree tolerable. However, as we have already noted, philosophic theories of knowledge were not content to conceive mind in the individual as the pivot upon which reconstruction of beliefs turned, thus maintaining the continuity of the individual with the world of nature and fellow men. They regarded the individual mind as a separate entity, complete in each person, and isolated from nature and hence from other minds. Thus a legitimate intellectual individualism, the attitude of critical revision of former beliefs which is indispensable to progress, was explicitly formulated as a moral and social individualism. When the activities of mind set out from customary beliefs and strive to effect transformations of them which will in turn win general conviction, there is no opposition between the individual and the social. The intellectual variations of the individual in observation, imagination, judgment, and invention are simply the agencies of social progress, just as conformity to habit is the agency of social conservation. But when knowledge is regarded as originating and developing within an individual, the ties which bind the mental life of one to that of his fellows are ignored and denied.

When the social quality of individualized mental operations is denied, it becomes a problem to find connections which will unite an individual with his fellows. Moral individualism is set up by the conscious separation of different centers of life. It has its roots in the notion that the consciousness of each person is wholly private, a self-inclosed continent, intrinsically independent of the ideas, wishes, purposes of everybody else. But when men act, they act in a common and public world. This is the problem to which the theory of isolated and independent conscious minds gave rise: Given feelings, ideas, desires, which have nothing to do with one another, how can actions proceeding from them be controlled in a social or public interest? Given an egoistic consciousness, how can action which has regard for others take place?

Moral philosophies which have started from such premises have developed four typical ways of dealing with the question. (i) One method represents the survival of the older authoritative position, with such concessions and compromises as the progress of events has made absolutely inevitable. The deviations and departures characterizing an individual are still looked upon with suspicion; in principle they are evidences of the disturbances, revolts, and corruptions inhering in an individual apart from external authoritative guidance. In fact, as distinct from principle, intellectual individualism is tolerated in certain technical regions—in subjects like mathematics and physics and astronomy, and in the technical inventions resulting therefrom. But the applicability of a similar method to morals, social, legal, and political matters, is denied. In such matters, dogma is still to be supreme; certain eternal truths made known by revelation, intuition, or the wisdom of our forefathers set unpassable limits to individual observation and speculation. The evils from which society suffers are set down to the efforts of misguided individuals to transgress these boundaries. Between the physical and the moral sciences, lie intermediate sciences of life, where the territory is only grudgingly yielded to freedom of inquiry under the pressure of accomplished fact. Although past history has demonstrated that the possibilities of human good are widened and made more secure by trusting to a responsibility built up within the very process of inquiry, the "authority" theory sets apart a sacred domain of truth which must be protected from the inroads of variation of beliefs. Educationally, emphasis may not be put on eternal truth, but it is put on the authority of book and teacher, and individual variation is discouraged.

(ii) Another method is sometimes termed rationalism or abstract intellectualism. A formal logical faculty is set up in distinction from tradition and history and all concrete subject matter. This faculty of reason is endowed with power to influence conduct directly. Since it deals wholly with general and impersonal forms, when different persons act in accord with logical findings, their activities will be externally consistent. There is no doubt of the services rendered by this philosophy. It was a powerful factor in the negative and dissolving criticism of doctrines having nothing but tradition and class interest behind them; it accustomed men to freedom of discussion and to the notion that beliefs had to be submitted to criteria of reasonableness. It undermined the power of prejudice, superstition, and brute force, by habituating men to reliance upon argument, discussion, and persuasion. It made for clarity and order of exposition. But its influence was greater in destruction of old falsities than in the construction of new ties and associations among men. Its formal and empty nature, due to conceiving reason as something complete in itself apart from subject matter, its hostile attitude toward historical institutions, its disregard of the influence of habit, instinct, and emotion, as operative factors in life, left it impotent in the suggestion of specific aims and methods. Bare logic, however important in arranging and criticizing existing subject matter, cannot spin new subject matter out of itself. In education, the correlative is trust in general ready-made rules and principles to secure agreement, irrespective of seeing to it that the pupil's ideas really agree with one another.

(iii) While this rationalistic philosophy was developing in France, English thought appealed to the intelligent self-interest of individuals in order to secure outer unity in the acts which issued from isolated streams of consciousness. Legal arrangements, especially penal administration, and governmental regulations, were to be such as to prevent the acts which proceeded from regard for one's own private sensations from interfering with the feelings of others. Education was to instill in individuals a sense that non-interference with others and some degree of positive regard for their welfare were necessary for security in the pursuit of one's own happiness. Chief emphasis was put, however, upon trade as a means of bringing the conduct of one into harmony with that of others. In commerce, each aims at the satisfaction of his own wants, but can gain his own profit only by furnishing some commodity or service to another. Thus in aiming at the increase of his own private pleasurable states of consciousness, he contributes to the consciousness of others. Again there is no doubt that this view expressed and furthered a heightened perception of the values of conscious life, and a recognition that institutional arrangements are ultimately to be judged by the contributions which they make to intensifying and enlarging the scope of conscious experience. It also did much to rescue work, industry, and mechanical devices from the contempt in which they had been held in communities founded upon the control of a leisure class. In both ways, this philosophy promoted a wider and more democratic social concern. But it was tainted by the narrowness of its fundamental premise: the doctrine that every individual acts only from regard for his own pleasures and pains, and that so-called generous and sympathetic acts are only indirect ways of procuring and assuring one's own comfort. In other words, it made explicit the consequences inhering in any doctrine which makes mental life a self-inclosed thing, instead of an attempt to redirect and readapt common concerns. It made union among men a matter of calculation of externals. It lent itself to the contemptuous assertions of Carlyle that it was a doctrine of anarchy plus a constable, and recognized only a "cash nexus" among men. The educational equivalents of this doctrine in the uses made of pleasurable rewards and painful penalties are only too obvious. (iv) Typical German philosophy followed another path. It started from what was essentially the rationalistic philosophy of Descartes and his French successors. But while French thought upon the whole developed the idea of reason in opposition to the religious conception of a divine mind residing in individuals, German thought (as in Hegel) made a synthesis of the two. Reason is absolute. Nature is incarnate reason. History is reason in its progressive unfolding in man. An individual becomes rational only as he absorbs into himself the content of rationality in nature and in social institutions. For an absolute reason is not, like the reason of rationalism, purely formal and empty; as absolute it must include all content within itself. Thus the real problem is not that of controlling individual freedom so that some measure of social order and concord may result, but of achieving individual freedom through developing individual convictions in accord with the universal law found in the organization of the state as objective Reason. While this philosophy is usually termed absolute or objective idealism, it might better be termed, for educational purposes at least, institutional idealism. (See ante, p. 59.) It idealized historical institutions by conceiving them as incarnations of an immanent absolute mind. There can be no doubt that this philosophy was a powerful influence in rescuing philosophy in the beginning of the nineteenth century from the isolated individualism into which it had fallen in France and England. It served also to make the organization of the state more constructively interested in matters of public concern. It left less to chance, less to mere individual logical conviction, less to the workings of private self-interest. It brought intelligence to bear upon the conduct of affairs; it accentuated the need of nationally organized education in the interests of the corporate state. It sanctioned and promoted freedom of inquiry in all technical details of natural and historical phenomena. But in all ultimate moral matters, it tended to reinstate the principle of authority. It made for efficiency of organization more than did any of the types of philosophy previously mentioned, but it made no provision for free experimental modification of this organization. Political democracy, with its belief in the right of individual desire and purpose to take part in readapting even the fundamental constitution of society, was foreign to it.

3. Educational Equivalents. 
It is not necessary to consider in detail the educational counterparts of the various defects found in these various types of philosophy. It suffices to say that in general the school has been the institution which exhibited with greatest clearness the assumed antithesis between purely individualistic methods of learning and social action, and between freedom and social control. The antithesis is reflected in the absence of a social atmosphere and motive for learning, and the consequent separation, in the conduct of the school, between method of instruction and methods of government; and in the slight opportunity afforded individual variations. When learning is a phase of active undertakings which involve mutual exchange, social control enters into the very process of learning. When the social factor is absent, learning becomes a carrying over of some presented material into a purely individual consciousness, and there is no inherent reason why it should give a more socialized direction to mental and emotional disposition. There is tendency on the part of both the upholders and the opponents of freedom in school to identify it with absence of social direction, or, sometimes, with merely physical unconstraint of movement. But the essence of the demand for freedom is the need of conditions which will enable an individual to make his own special contribution to a group interest, and to partake of its activities in such ways that social guidance shall be a matter of his own mental attitude, and not a mere authoritative dictation of his acts. Because what is often called discipline and "government" has to do with the external side of conduct alone, a similar meaning is attached, by reaction, to freedom. But when it is perceived that each idea signifies the quality of mind expressed in action, the supposed opposition between them falls away. Freedom means essentially the part played by thinking—which is personal—in learning:—it means intellectual initiative, independence in observation, judicious invention, foresight of consequences, and ingenuity of adaptation to them.

But because these are the mental phase of behavior, the needed play of individuality—or freedom—cannot be separated from opportunity for free play of physical movements. Enforced physical quietude may be unfavorable to realization of a problem, to undertaking the observations needed to define it, and to performance of the experiments which test the ideas suggested. Much has been said about the importance of "self-activity" in education, but the conception has too frequently been restricted to something merely internal—something excluding the free use of sensory and motor organs. Those who are at the stage of learning from symbols, or who are engaged in elaborating the implications of a problem or idea preliminary to more carefully thought-out activity, may need little perceptible overt activity. But the whole cycle of self-activity demands an opportunity for investigation and experimentation, for trying out one's ideas upon things, discovering what can be done with materials and appliances. And this is incompatible with closely restricted physical activity. Individual activity has sometimes been taken as meaning leaving a pupil to work by himself or alone. Relief from need of attending to what any one else is doing is truly required to secure calm and concentration. Children, like grown persons, require a judicious amount of being let alone. But the time, place, and amount of such separate work is a matter of detail, not of principle. There is no inherent opposition between working with others and working as an individual. On the contrary, certain capacities of an individual are not brought out except under the stimulus of associating with others. That a child must work alone and not engage in group activities in order to be free and let his individuality develop, is a notion which measures individuality by spatial distance and makes a physical thing of it.

Individuality as a factor to be respected in education has a double meaning. In the first place, one is mentally an individual only as he has his own purpose and problem, and does his own thinking. The phrase "think for one's self" is a pleonasm. Unless one does it for one's self, it isn't thinking. Only by a pupil's own observations, reflections, framing and testing of suggestions can what he already knows be amplified and rectified. Thinking is as much an individual matter as is the digestion of food. In the second place, there are variations of point of view, of appeal of objects, and of mode of attack, from person to person. When these variations are suppressed in the alleged interests of uniformity, and an attempt is made to have a single mold of method of study and recitation, mental confusion and artificiality inevitably result. Originality is gradually destroyed, confidence in one's own quality of mental operation is undermined, and a docile subjection to the opinion of others is inculcated, or else ideas run wild. The harm is greater now than when the whole community was governed by customary beliefs, because the contrast between methods of learning in school and those relied upon outside the school is greater. That systematic advance in scientific discovery began when individuals were allowed, and then encouraged, to utilize their own peculiarities of response to subject matter, no one will deny. If it is said in objection, that pupils in school are not capable of any such originality, and hence must be confined to appropriating and reproducing things already known by the better informed, the reply is twofold. (i) We are concerned with originality of attitude which is equivalent to the unforced response of one's own individuality, not with originality as measured by product. No one expects the young to make original discoveries of just the same facts and principles as are embodied in the sciences of nature and man. But it is not unreasonable to expect that learning may take place under such conditions that from the standpoint of the learner there is genuine discovery. While immature students will not make discoveries from the standpoint of advanced students, they make them from their own standpoint, whenever there is genuine learning. (ii) In the normal process of becoming acquainted with subject matter already known to others, even young pupils react in unexpected ways. There is something fresh, something not capable of being fully anticipated by even the most experienced teacher, in the ways they go at the topic, and in the particular ways in which things strike them. Too often all this is brushed aside as irrelevant; pupils are deliberately held to rehearsing material in the exact form in which the older person conceives it. The result is that what is instinctively original in individuality, that which marks off one from another, goes unused and undirected. Teaching then ceases to be an educative process for the teacher. At most he learns simply to improve his existing technique; he does not get new points of view; he fails to experience any intellectual companionship. Hence both teaching and learning tend to become conventional and mechanical with all the nervous strain on both sides therein implied.

As maturity increases and as the student has a greater background of familiarity upon which a new topic is projected, the scope of more or less random physical experimentation is reduced. Activity is defined or specialized in certain channels. To the eyes of others, the student may be in a position of complete physical quietude, because his energies are confined to nerve channels and to the connected apparatus of the eyes and vocal organs. But because this attitude is evidence of intense mental concentration on the part of the trained person, it does not follow that it should be set up as a model for students who still have to find their intellectual way about. And even with the adult, it does not cover the whole circuit of mental energy. It marks an intermediate period, capable of being lengthened with increased mastery of a subject, but always coming between an earlier period of more general and conspicuous organic action and a later time of putting to use what has been apprehended.

When, however, education takes cognizance of the union of mind and body in acquiring knowledge, we are not obliged to insist upon the need of obvious, or external, freedom. It is enough to identify the freedom which is involved in teaching and studying with the thinking by which what a person already knows and believes is enlarged and refined. If attention is centered upon the conditions which have to be met in order to secure a situation favorable to effective thinking, freedom will take care of itself. The individual who has a question which being really a question to him instigates his curiosity, which feeds his eagerness for information that will help him cope with it, and who has at command an equipment which will permit these interests to take effect, is intellectually free. Whatever initiative and imaginative vision he possesses will be called into play and control his impulses and habits. His own purposes will direct his actions. Otherwise, his seeming attention, his docility, his memorizings and reproductions, will partake of intellectual servility. Such a condition of intellectual subjection is needed for fitting the masses into a society where the many are not expected to have aims or ideas of their own, but to take orders from the few set in authority. It is not adapted to a society which intends to be democratic.


True individualism is a product of the relaxation of the grip of the authority of custom and traditions as standards of belief. Aside from sporadic instances, like the height of Greek thought, it is a comparatively modern manifestation. Not but that there have always been individual diversities, but that a society dominated by conservative custom represses them or at least does not utilize them and promote them. For various reasons, however, the new individualism was interpreted philosophically not as meaning development of agencies for revising and transforming previously accepted beliefs, but as an assertion that each individual's mind was complete in isolation from everything else. In the theoretical phase of philosophy, this produced the epistemological problem: the question as to the possibility of any cognitive relationship of the individual to the world. In its practical phase, it generated the problem of the possibility of a purely individual consciousness acting on behalf of general or social interests,—the problem of social direction. While the philosophies which have been elaborated to deal with these questions have not affected education directly, the assumptions underlying them have found expression in the separation frequently made between study and government and between freedom of individuality and control by others. Regarding freedom, the important thing to bear in mind is that it designates a mental attitude rather than external unconstraint of movements, but that this quality of mind cannot develop without a fair leeway of movements in exploration, experimentation, application, etc. A society based on custom will utilize individual variations only up to a limit of conformity with usage; uniformity is the chief ideal within each class. A progressive society counts individual variations as precious since it finds in them the means of its own growth. Hence a democratic society must, in consistency with its ideal, allow for intellectual freedom and the play of diverse gifts and interests in its educational measures.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Vocational Aspects of Education

1. The Meaning of Vocation. 
At the present time the conflict of philosophic theories focuses in discussion of the proper place and function of vocational factors in education. The bald statement that significant differences in fundamental philosophical conceptions find their chief issue in connection with this point may arouse incredulity: there seems to be too great a gap between the remote and general terms in which philosophic ideas are formulated and the practical and concrete details of vocational education. But a mental review of the intellectual presuppositions underlying the oppositions in education of labor and leisure, theory and practice, body and mind, mental states and the world, will show that they culminate in the antithesis of vocational and cultural education. Traditionally, liberal culture has been linked to the notions of leisure, purely contemplative knowledge and a spiritual activity not involving the active use of bodily organs. Culture has also tended, latterly, to be associated with a purely private refinement, a cultivation of certain states and attitudes of consciousness, separate from either social direction or service. It has been an escape from the former, and a solace for the necessity of the latter.

So deeply entangled are these philosophic dualisms with the whole subject of vocational education, that it is necessary to define the meaning of vocation with some fullness in order to avoid the impression that an education which centers about it is narrowly practical, if not merely pecuniary. A vocation means nothing but such a direction of life activities as renders them perceptibly significant to a person, because of the consequences they accomplish, and also useful to his associates. The opposite of a career is neither leisure nor culture, but aimlessness, capriciousness, the absence of cumulative achievement in experience, on the personal side, and idle display, parasitic dependence upon the others, on the social side. Occupation is a concrete term for continuity. It includes the development of artistic capacity of any kind, of special scientific ability, of effective citizenship, as well as professional and business occupations, to say nothing of mechanical labor or engagement in gainful pursuits.

We must avoid not only limitation of conception of vocation to the occupations where immediately tangible commodities are produced, but also the notion that vocations are distributed in an exclusive way, one and only one to each person. Such restricted specialism is impossible; nothing could be more absurd than to try to educate individuals with an eye to only one line of activity. In the first place, each individual has of necessity a variety of callings, in each of which he should be intelligently effective; and in the second place any one occupation loses its meaning and becomes a routine keeping busy at something in the degree in which it is isolated from other interests. (i) No one is just an artist and nothing else, and in so far as one approximates that condition, he is so much the less developed human being; he is a kind of monstrosity. He must, at some period of his life, be a member of a family; he must have friends and companions; he must either support himself or be supported by others, and thus he has a business career. He is a member of some organized political unit, and so on. We naturally name his vocation from that one of the callings which distinguishes him, rather than from those which he has in common with all others. But we should not allow ourselves to be so subject to words as to ignore and virtually deny his other callings when it comes to a consideration of the vocational phases of education.

(ii) As a man's vocation as artist is but the emphatically specialized phase of his diverse and variegated vocational activities, so his efficiency in it, in the humane sense of efficiency, is determined by its association with other callings. A person must have experience, he must live, if his artistry is to be more than a technical accomplishment. He cannot find the subject matter of his artistic activity within his art; this must be an expression of what he suffers and enjoys in other relationships—a thing which depends in turn upon the alertness and sympathy of his interests. What is true of an artist is true of any other special calling. There is doubtless—in general accord with the principle of habit—a tendency for every distinctive vocation to become too dominant, too exclusive and absorbing in its specialized aspect. This means emphasis upon skill or technical method at the expense of meaning. Hence it is not the business of education to foster this tendency, but rather to safeguard against it, so that the scientific inquirer shall not be merely the scientist, the teacher merely the pedagogue, the clergyman merely one who wears the cloth, and so on.

2. The Place of Vocational Aims in Education. 
Bearing in mind the varied and connected content of the vocation, and the broad background upon which a particular calling is projected, we shall now consider education for the more distinctive activity of an individual.

1. An occupation is the only thing which balances the distinctive capacity of an individual with his social service. To find out what one is fitted to do and to secure an opportunity to do it is the key to happiness. Nothing is more tragic than failure to discover one's true business in life, or to find that one has drifted or been forced by circumstance into an uncongenial calling. A right occupation means simply that the aptitudes of a person are in adequate play, working with the minimum of friction and the maximum of satisfaction. With reference to other members of a community, this adequacy of action signifies, of course, that they are getting the best service the person can render. It is generally believed, for example, that slave labor was ultimately wasteful even from the purely economic point of view—that there was not sufficient stimulus to direct the energies of slaves, and that there was consequent wastage. Moreover, since slaves were confined to certain prescribed callings, much talent must have remained unavailable to the community, and hence there was a dead loss. Slavery only illustrates on an obvious scale what happens in some degree whenever an individual does not find himself in his work. And he cannot completely find himself when vocations are looked upon with contempt, and a conventional ideal of a culture which is essentially the same for all is maintained. Plato (ante, p. 88) laid down the fundamental principle of a philosophy of education when he asserted that it was the business of education to discover what each person is good for, and to train him to mastery of that mode of excellence, because such development would also secure the fulfillment of social needs in the most harmonious way. His error was not in qualitative principle, but in his limited conception of the scope of vocations socially needed; a limitation of vision which reacted to obscure his perception of the infinite variety of capacities found in different individuals.

2. An occupation is a continuous activity having a purpose. Education through occupations consequently combines within itself more of the factors conducive to learning than any other method. It calls instincts and habits into play; it is a foe to passive receptivity. It has an end in view; results are to be accomplished. Hence it appeals to thought; it demands that an idea of an end be steadily maintained, so that activity cannot be either routine or capricious. Since the movement of activity must be progressive, leading from one stage to another, observation and ingenuity are required at each stage to overcome obstacles and to discover and readapt means of execution. In short, an occupation, pursued under conditions where the realization of the activity rather than merely the external product is the aim, fulfills the requirements which were laid down earlier in connection with the discussion of aims, interest, and thinking. (See Chapters VIII, X, XII.)

A calling is also of necessity an organizing principle for information and ideas; for knowledge and intellectual growth. It provides an axis which runs through an immense diversity of detail; it causes different experiences, facts, items of information to fall into order with one another. The lawyer, the physician, the laboratory investigator in some branch of chemistry, the parent, the citizen interested in his own locality, has a constant working stimulus to note and relate whatever has to do with his concern. He unconsciously, from the motivation of his occupation, reaches out for all relevant information, and holds to it. The vocation acts as both magnet to attract and as glue to hold. Such organization of knowledge is vital, because it has reference to needs; it is so expressed and readjusted in action that it never becomes stagnant. No classification, no selection and arrangement of facts, which is consciously worked out for purely abstract ends, can ever compare in solidity or effectiveness with that knit under the stress of an occupation; in comparison the former sort is formal, superficial, and cold.

3. The only adequate training for occupations is training through occupations. The principle stated early in this book (see Chapter VI) that the educative process is its own end, and that the only sufficient preparation for later responsibilities comes by making the most of immediately present life, applies in full force to the vocational phases of education. The dominant vocation of all human beings at all times is living—intellectual and moral growth. In childhood and youth, with their relative freedom from economic stress, this fact is naked and unconcealed. To predetermine some future occupation for which education is to be a strict preparation is to injure the possibilities of present development and thereby to reduce the adequacy of preparation for a future right employment. To repeat the principle we have had occasion to appeal to so often, such training may develop a machine-like skill in routine lines (it is far from being sure to do so, since it may develop distaste, aversion, and carelessness), but it will be at the expense of those qualities of alert observation and coherent and ingenious planning which make an occupation intellectually rewarding. In an autocratically managed society, it is often a conscious object to prevent the development of freedom and responsibility, a few do the planning and ordering, the others follow directions and are deliberately confined to narrow and prescribed channels of endeavor. However much such a scheme may inure to the prestige and profit of a class, it is evident that it limits the development of the subject class; hardens and confines the opportunities for learning through experience of the master class, and in both ways hampers the life of the society as a whole. (See ante, p. 260.)

The only alternative is that all the earlier preparation for vocations be indirect rather than direct; namely, through engaging in those active occupations which are indicated by the needs and interests of the pupil at the time. Only in this way can there be on the part of the educator and of the one educated a genuine discovery of personal aptitudes so that the proper choice of a specialized pursuit in later life may be indicated. Moreover, the discovery of capacity and aptitude will be a constant process as long as growth continues. It is a conventional and arbitrary view which assumes that discovery of the work to be chosen for adult life is made once for all at some particular date. One has discovered in himself, say, an interest, intellectual and social, in the things which have to do with engineering and has decided to make that his calling. At most, this only blocks out in outline the field in which further growth is to be directed. It is a sort of rough sketch for use in direction of further activities. It is the discovery of a profession in the sense in which Columbus discovered America when he touched its shores. Future explorations of an indefinitely more detailed and extensive sort remain to be made. When educators conceive vocational guidance as something which leads up to a definitive, irretrievable, and complete choice, both education and the chosen vocation are likely to be rigid, hampering further growth. In so far, the calling chosen will be such as to leave the person concerned in a permanently subordinate position, executing the intelligence of others who have a calling which permits more flexible play and readjustment. And while ordinary usages of language may not justify terming a flexible attitude of readjustment a choice of a new and further calling, it is such in effect. If even adults have to be on the lookout to see that their calling does not shut down on them and fossilize them, educators must certainly be careful that the vocational preparation of youth is such as to engage them in a continuous reorganization of aims and methods.

3. Present Opportunities and Dangers. 
In the past, education has been much more vocational in fact than in name. (i) The education of the masses was distinctly utilitarian. It was called apprenticeship rather than education, or else just learning from experience. The schools devoted themselves to the three R's in the degree in which ability to go through the forms of reading, writing, and figuring were common elements in all kinds of labor. Taking part in some special line of work, under the direction of others, was the out-of-school phase of this education. The two supplemented each other; the school work in its narrow and formal character was as much a part of apprenticeship to a calling as that explicitly so termed.

(ii) To a considerable extent, the education of the dominant classes was essentially vocational—it only happened that their pursuits of ruling and of enjoying were not called professions. For only those things were named vocations or employments which involved manual labor, laboring for a reward in keep, or its commuted money equivalent, or the rendering of personal services to specific persons. For a long time, for example, the profession of the surgeon and physician ranked almost with that of the valet or barber—partly because it had so much to do with the body, and partly because it involved rendering direct service for pay to some definite person. But if we go behind words, the business of directing social concerns, whether politically or economically, whether in war or peace, is as much a calling as anything else; and where education has not been completely under the thumb of tradition, higher schools in the past have been upon the whole calculated to give preparation for this business. Moreover, display, the adornment of person, the kind of social companionship and entertainment which give prestige, and the spending of money, have been made into definite callings. Unconsciously to themselves the higher institutions of learning have been made to contribute to preparation for these employments. Even at present, what is called higher education is for a certain class (much smaller than it once was) mainly preparation for engaging effectively in these pursuits.

In other respects, it is largely, especially in the most advanced work, training for the calling of teaching and special research. By a peculiar superstition, education which has to do chiefly with preparation for the pursuit of conspicuous idleness, for teaching, and for literary callings, and for leadership, has been regarded as non-vocational and even as peculiarly cultural. The literary training which indirectly fits for authorship, whether of books, newspaper editorials, or magazine articles, is especially subject to this superstition: many a teacher and author writes and argues in behalf of a cultural and humane education against the encroachments of a specialized practical education, without recognizing that his own education, which he calls liberal, has been mainly training for his own particular calling. He has simply got into the habit of regarding his own business as essentially cultural and of overlooking the cultural possibilities of other employments. At the bottom of these distinctions is undoubtedly the tradition which recognizes as employment only those pursuits where one is responsible for his work to a specific employer, rather than to the ultimate employer, the community.

There are, however, obvious causes for the present conscious emphasis upon vocational education—for the disposition to make explicit and deliberate vocational implications previously tacit. (i) In the first place, there is an increased esteem, in democratic communities, of whatever has to do with manual labor, commercial occupations, and the rendering of tangible services to society. In theory, men and women are now expected to do something in return for their support—intellectual and economic—by society. Labor is extolled; service is a much-lauded moral ideal. While there is still much admiration and envy of those who can pursue lives of idle conspicuous display, better moral sentiment condemns such lives. Social responsibility for the use of time and personal capacity is more generally recognized than it used to be.

(ii) In the second place, those vocations which are specifically industrial have gained tremendously in importance in the last century and a half. Manufacturing and commerce are no longer domestic and local, and consequently more or less incidental, but are world-wide. They engage the best energies of an increasingly large number of persons. The manufacturer, banker, and captain of industry have practically displaced a hereditary landed gentry as the immediate directors of social affairs. The problem of social readjustment is openly industrial, having to do with the relations of capital and labor. The great increase in the social importance of conspicuous industrial processes has inevitably brought to the front questions having to do with the relationship of schooling to industrial life. No such vast social readjustment could occur without offering a challenge to an education inherited from different social conditions, and without putting up to education new problems.

(iii) In the third place, there is the fact already repeatedly mentioned: Industry has ceased to be essentially an empirical, rule-of-thumb procedure, handed down by custom. Its technique is now technological: that is to say, based upon machinery resulting from discoveries in mathematics, physics, chemistry, bacteriology, etc. The economic revolution has stimulated science by setting problems for solution, by producing greater intellectual respect for mechanical appliances. And industry received back payment from science with compound interest. As a consequence, industrial occupations have infinitely greater intellectual content and infinitely larger cultural possibilities than they used to possess. The demand for such education as will acquaint workers with the scientific and social bases and bearings of their pursuits becomes imperative, since those who are without it inevitably sink to the role of appendages to the machines they operate. Under the old regime all workers in a craft were approximately equals in their knowledge and outlook. Personal knowledge and ingenuity were developed within at least a narrow range, because work was done with tools under the direct command of the worker. Now the operator has to adjust himself to his machine, instead of his tool to his own purposes. While the intellectual possibilities of industry have multiplied, industrial conditions tend to make industry, for great masses, less of an educative resource than it was in the days of hand production for local markets. The burden of realizing the intellectual possibilities inhering in work is thus thrown back on the school.

(iv) In the fourth place, the pursuit of knowledge has become, in science, more experimental, less dependent upon literary tradition, and less associated with dialectical methods of reasoning, and with symbols. As a result, the subject matter of industrial occupation presents not only more of the content of science than it used to, but greater opportunity for familiarity with the method by which knowledge is made. The ordinary worker in the factory is of course under too immediate economic pressure to have a chance to produce a knowledge like that of the worker in the laboratory. But in schools, association with machines and industrial processes may be had under conditions where the chief conscious concern of the students is insight. The separation of shop and laboratory, where these conditions are fulfilled, is largely conventional, the laboratory having the advantage of permitting the following up of any intellectual interest a problem may suggest; the shop the advantage of emphasizing the social bearings of the scientific principle, as well as, with many pupils, of stimulating a livelier interest.

(v) Finally, the advances which have been made in the psychology of learning in general and of childhood in particular fall into line with the increased importance of industry in life. For modern psychology emphasizes the radical importance of primitive unlearned instincts of exploring, experimentation, and "trying on." It reveals that learning is not the work of something ready-made called mind, but that mind itself is an organization of original capacities into activities having significance. As we have already seen (ante, p. 204), in older pupils work is to educative development of raw native activities what play is for younger pupils. Moreover, the passage from play to work should be gradual, not involving a radical change of attitude but carrying into work the elements of play, plus continuous reorganization in behalf of greater control. The reader will remark that these five points practically resume the main contentions of the previous part of the work. Both practically and philosophically, the key to the present educational situation lies in a gradual reconstruction of school materials and methods so as to utilize various forms of occupation typifying social callings, and to bring out their intellectual and moral content. This reconstruction must relegate purely literary methods—including textbooks—and dialectical methods to the position of necessary auxiliary tools in the intelligent development of consecutive and cumulative activities.

But our discussion has emphasized the fact that this educational reorganization cannot be accomplished by merely trying to give a technical preparation for industries and professions as they now operate, much less by merely reproducing existing industrial conditions in the school. The problem is not that of making the schools an adjunct to manufacture and commerce, but of utilizing the factors of industry to make school life more active, more full of immediate meaning, more connected with out-of-school experience. The problem is not easy of solution. There is a standing danger that education will perpetuate the older traditions for a select few, and effect its adjustment to the newer economic conditions more or less on the basis of acquiescence in the untransformed, unrationalized, and unsocialized phases of our defective industrial regime. Put in concrete terms, there is danger that vocational education will be interpreted in theory and practice as trade education: as a means of securing technical efficiency in specialized future pursuits. Education would then become an instrument of perpetuating unchanged the existing industrial order of society, instead of operating as a means of its transformation. The desired transformation is not difficult to define in a formal way. It signifies a society in which every person shall be occupied in something which makes the lives of others better worth living, and which accordingly makes the ties which bind persons together more perceptible—which breaks down the barriers of distance between them. It denotes a state of affairs in which the interest of each in his work is uncoerced and intelligent: based upon its congeniality to his own aptitudes. It goes without saying that we are far from such a social state; in a literal and quantitative sense, we may never arrive at it. But in principle, the quality of social changes already accomplished lies in this direction. There are more ample resources for its achievement now than ever there have been before. No insuperable obstacles, given the intelligent will for its realization, stand in the way.

Success or failure in its realization depends more upon the adoption of educational methods calculated to effect the change than upon anything else. For the change is essentially a change in the quality of mental disposition—an educative change. This does not mean that we can change character and mind by direct instruction and exhortation, apart from a change in industrial and political conditions. Such a conception contradicts our basic idea that character and mind are attitudes of participative response in social affairs. But it does mean that we may produce in schools a projection in type of the society we should like to realize, and by forming minds in accord with it gradually modify the larger and more recalcitrant features of adult society. Sentimentally, it may seem harsh to say that the greatest evil of the present regime is not found in poverty and in the suffering which it entails, but in the fact that so many persons have callings which make no appeal to them, which are pursued simply for the money reward that accrues. For such callings constantly provoke one to aversion, ill will, and a desire to slight and evade. Neither men's hearts nor their minds are in their work. On the other hand, those who are not only much better off in worldly goods, but who are in excessive, if not monopolistic, control of the activities of the many are shut off from equality and generality of social intercourse. They are stimulated to pursuits of indulgence and display; they try to make up for the distance which separates them from others by the impression of force and superior possession and enjoyment which they can make upon others.

It would be quite possible for a narrowly conceived scheme of vocational education to perpetuate this division in a hardened form. Taking its stand upon a dogma of social predestination, it would assume that some are to continue to be wage earners under economic conditions like the present, and would aim simply to give them what is termed a trade education—that is, greater technical efficiency. Technical proficiency is often sadly lacking, and is surely desirable on all accounts—not merely for the sake of the production of better goods at less cost, but for the greater happiness found in work. For no one cares for what one cannot half do. But there is a great difference between a proficiency limited to immediate work, and a competency extended to insight into its social bearings; between efficiency in carrying out the plans of others and in one forming one's own. At present, intellectual and emotional limitation characterizes both the employing and the employed class. While the latter often have no concern with their occupation beyond the money return it brings, the former's outlook may be confined to profit and power. The latter interest generally involves much greater intellectual initiation and larger survey of conditions. For it involves the direction and combination of a large number of diverse factors, while the interest in wages is restricted to certain direct muscular movements. But none the less there is a limitation of intelligence to technical and non-humane, non-liberal channels, so far as the work does not take in its social bearings. And when the animating motive is desire for private profit or personal power, this limitation is inevitable. In fact, the advantage in immediate social sympathy and humane disposition often lies with the economically unfortunate, who have not experienced the hardening effects of a one-sided control of the affairs of others.

Any scheme for vocational education which takes its point of departure from the industrial regime that now exists, is likely to assume and to perpetuate its divisions and weaknesses, and thus to become an instrument in accomplishing the feudal dogma of social predestination. Those who are in a position to make their wishes good, will demand a liberal, a cultural occupation, and one which fits for directive power the youth in whom they are directly interested. To split the system, and give to others, less fortunately situated, an education conceived mainly as specific trade preparation, is to treat the schools as an agency for transferring the older division of labor and leisure, culture and service, mind and body, directed and directive class, into a society nominally democratic. Such a vocational education inevitably discounts the scientific and historic human connections of the materials and processes dealt with. To include such things in narrow trade education would be to waste time; concern for them would not be "practical." They are reserved for those who have leisure at command—the leisure due to superior economic resources. Such things might even be dangerous to the interests of the controlling class, arousing discontent or ambitions "beyond the station" of those working under the direction of others. But an education which acknowledges the full intellectual and social meaning of a vocation would include instruction in the historic background of present conditions; training in science to give intelligence and initiative in dealing with material and agencies of production; and study of economics, civics, and politics, to bring the future worker into touch with the problems of the day and the various methods proposed for its improvement. Above all, it would train power of readaptation to changing conditions so that future workers would not become blindly subject to a fate imposed upon them. This ideal has to contend not only with the inertia of existing educational traditions, but also with the opposition of those who are entrenched in command of the industrial machinery, and who realize that such an educational system if made general would threaten their ability to use others for their own ends. But this very fact is the presage of a more equitable and enlightened social order, for it gives evidence of the dependence of social reorganization upon educational reconstruction. It is accordingly an encouragement to those believing in a better order to undertake the promotion of a vocational education which does not subject youth to the demands and standards of the present system, but which utilizes its scientific and social factors to develop a courageous intelligence, and to make intelligence practical and executive.


A vocation signifies any form of continuous activity which renders service to others and engages personal powers in behalf of the accomplishment of results. The question of the relation of vocation to education brings to a focus the various problems previously discussed regarding the connection of thought with bodily activity; of individual conscious development with associated life; of theoretical culture with practical behavior having definite results; of making a livelihood with the worthy enjoyment of leisure. In general, the opposition to recognition of the vocational phases of life in education (except for the utilitarian three R's in elementary schooling) accompanies the conservation of aristocratic ideals of the past. But, at the present juncture, there is a movement in behalf of something called vocational training which, if carried into effect, would harden these ideas into a form adapted to the existing industrial regime. This movement would continue the traditional liberal or cultural education for the few economically able to enjoy it, and would give to the masses a narrow technical trade education for specialized callings, carried on under the control of others. This scheme denotes, of course, simply a perpetuation of the older social division, with its counterpart intellectual and moral dualisms. But it means its continuation under conditions where it has much less justification for existence. For industrial life is now so dependent upon science and so intimately affects all forms of social intercourse, that there is an opportunity to utilize it for development of mind and character. Moreover, a right educational use of it would react upon intelligence and interest so as to modify, in connection with legislation and administration, the socially obnoxious features of the present industrial and commercial order. It would turn the increasing fund of social sympathy to constructive account, instead of leaving it a somewhat blind philanthropic sentiment.

It would give those who engage in industrial callings desire and ability to share in social control, and ability to become masters of their industrial fate. It would enable them to saturate with meaning the technical and mechanical features which are so marked a feature of our machine system of production and distribution. So much for those who now have the poorer economic opportunities. With the representatives of the more privileged portion of the community, it would increase sympathy for labor, create a disposition of mind which can discover the culturing elements in useful activity, and increase a sense of social responsibility. The crucial position of the question of vocational education at present is due, in other words, to the fact that it concentrates in a specific issue two fundamental questions:—Whether intelligence is best exercised apart from or within activity which puts nature to human use, and whether individual culture is best secured under egoistic or social conditions. No discussion of details is undertaken in this chapter, because this conclusion but summarizes the discussion of the previous chapters, XV to XXII, inclusive.

Chapter Twenty-four: Philosophy of Education

1. A Critical Review. 
Although we are dealing with the philosophy of education, DO definition of philosophy has yet been given; nor has there been an explicit consideration of the nature of a philosophy of education. This topic is now introduced by a summary account of the logical order implied in the previous discussions, for the purpose of bringing out the philosophic issues involved. Afterwards we shall undertake a brief discussion, in more specifically philosophical terms, of the theories of knowledge and of morals implied in different educational ideals as they operate in practice. The prior chapters fall logically into three parts.

I. The first chapters deal with education as a social need and function. Their purpose is to outline the general features of education as the process by which social groups maintain their continuous existence. Education was shown to be a process of renewal of the meanings of experience through a process of transmission, partly incidental to the ordinary companionship or intercourse of adults and youth, partly deliberately instituted to effect social continuity. This process was seen to involve control and growth of both the immature individual and the group in which he lives.

This consideration was formal in that it took no specific account of the quality of the social group concerned—the kind of society aiming at its own perpetuation through education. The general discussion was then specified by application to social groups which are intentionally progressive, and which aim at a greater variety of mutually shared interests in distinction from those which aim simply at the preservation of established customs. Such societies were found to be democratic in quality, because of the greater freedom allowed the constituent members, and the conscious need of securing in individuals a consciously socialized interest, instead of trusting mainly to the force of customs operating under the control of a superior class. The sort of education appropriate to the development of a democratic community was then explicitly taken as the criterion of the further, more detailed analysis of education.

II. This analysis, based upon the democratic criterion, was seen to imply the ideal of a continuous reconstruction or reorganizing of experience, of such a nature as to increase its recognized meaning or social content, and as to increase the capacity of individuals to act as directive guardians of this reorganization. (See Chapters VI-VII.) This distinction was then used to outline the respective characters of subject matter and method. It also defined their unity, since method in study and learning upon this basis is just the consciously directed movement of reorganization of the subject matter of experience. From this point of view the main principles of method and subject matter of learning were developed (Chapters XIII-XIV.)

III. Save for incidental criticisms designed to illustrate principles by force of contrast, this phase of the discussion took for granted the democratic criterion and its application in present social life. In the subsequent chapters (XVIII-XXII) we considered the present limitation of its actual realization. They were found to spring from the notion that experience consists of a variety of segregated domains, or interests, each having its own independent value, material, and method, each checking every other, and, when each is kept properly bounded by the others, forming a kind of "balance of powers" in education. We then proceeded to an analysis of the various assumptions underlying this segregation. On the practical side, they were found to have their cause in the divisions of society into more or less rigidly marked-off classes and groups—in other words, in obstruction to full and flexible social interaction and intercourse. These social ruptures of continuity were seen to have their intellectual formulation in various dualisms or antitheses—such as that of labor and leisure, practical and intellectual activity, man and nature, individuality and association, culture and vocation. In this discussion, we found that these different issues have their counterparts in formulations which have been made in classic philosophic systems; and that they involve the chief problems of philosophy—such as mind (or spirit) and matter, body and mind, the mind and the world, the individual and his relationships to others, etc. Underlying these various separations we found the fundamental assumption to be an isolation of mind from activity involving physical conditions, bodily organs, material appliances, and natural objects. Consequently, there was indicated a philosophy which recognizes the origin, place, and function of mind in an activity which controls the environment. Thus we have completed the circuit and returned to the conceptions of the first portion of this book: such as the biological continuity of human impulses and instincts with natural energies; the dependence of the growth of mind upon participation in conjoint activities having a common purpose; the influence of the physical environment through the uses made of it in the social medium; the necessity of utilization of individual variations in desire and thinking for a progressively developing society; the essential unity of method and subject matter; the intrinsic continuity of ends and means; the recognition of mind as thinking which perceives and tests the meanings of behavior. These conceptions are consistent with the philosophy which sees intelligence to be the purposive reorganization, through action, of the material of experience; and they are inconsistent with each of the dualistic philosophies mentioned.

2. The Nature of Philosophy. 
Our further task is to extract and make explicit the idea of philosophy implicit in these considerations. We have already virtually described, though not defined, philosophy in terms of the problems with which it deals; and we have pointed out that these problems originate in the conflicts and difficulties of social life. The problems are such things as the relations of mind and matter; body and soul; humanity and physical nature; the individual and the social; theory—or knowing, and practice—or doing. The philosophical systems which formulate these problems record the main lineaments and difficulties of contemporary social practice. They bring to explicit consciousness what men have come to think, in virtue of the quality of their current experience, about nature, themselves, and the reality they conceive to include or to govern both.

As we might expect, then, philosophy has generally been defined in ways which imply a certain totality, generality, and ultimateness of both subject matter and method. With respect to subject matter, philosophy is an attempt to comprehend—that is, to gather together the varied details of the world and of life into a single inclusive whole, which shall either be a unity, or, as in the dualistic systems, shall reduce the plural details to a small number of ultimate principles. On the side of the attitude of the philosopher and of those who accept his conclusions, there is the endeavor to attain as unified, consistent, and complete an outlook upon experience as is possible. This aspect is expressed in the word 'philosophy'—love of wisdom. Whenever philosophy has been taken seriously, it has always been assumed that it signified achieving a wisdom which would influence the conduct of life. Witness the fact that almost all ancient schools of philosophy were also organized ways of living, those who accepted their tenets being committed to certain distinctive modes of conduct; witness the intimate connection of philosophy with the theology of the Roman church in the middle ages, its frequent association with religious interests, and, at national crises, its association with political struggles.

This direct and intimate connection of philosophy with an outlook upon life obviously differentiates philosophy from science. Particular facts and laws of science evidently influence conduct. They suggest things to do and not do, and provide means of execution. When science denotes not simply a report of the particular facts discovered about the world but a general attitude toward it—as distinct from special things to do —it merges into philosophy. For an underlying disposition represents an attitude not to this and that thing nor even to the aggregate of known things, but to the considerations which govern conduct.

Hence philosophy cannot be defined simply from the side of subject matter. For this reason, the definition of such conceptions as generality, totality, and ultimateness is most readily reached from the side of the disposition toward the world which they connote. In any literal and quantitative sense, these terms do not apply to the subject matter of knowledge, for completeness and finality are out of the question. The very nature of experience as an ongoing, changing process forbids. In a less rigid sense, they apply to science rather than to philosophy. For obviously it is to mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology, history, etc. that we must go, not to philosophy, to find out the facts of the world. It is for the sciences to say what generalizations are tenable about the world and what they specifically are. But when we ask what sort of permanent disposition of action toward the world the scientific disclosures exact of us we are raising a philosophic question.

From this point of view, "totality" does not mean the hopeless task of a quantitative summation. It means rather consistency of mode of response in reference to the plurality of events which occur. Consistency does not mean literal identity; for since the same thing does not happen twice, an exact repetition of a reaction involves some maladjustment. Totality means continuity—the carrying on of a former habit of action with the readaptation necessary to keep it alive and growing. Instead of signifying a ready-made complete scheme of action, it means keeping the balance in a multitude of diverse actions, so that each borrows and gives significance to every other. Any person who is open-minded and sensitive to new perceptions, and who has concentration and responsibility in connecting them has, in so far, a philosophic disposition. One of the popular senses of philosophy is calm and endurance in the face of difficulty and loss; it is even supposed to be a power to bear pain without complaint. This meaning is a tribute to the influence of the Stoic philosophy rather than an attribute of philosophy in general. But in so far as it suggests that the wholeness characteristic of philosophy is a power to learn, or to extract meaning, from even the unpleasant vicissitudes of experience and to embody what is learned in an ability to go on learning, it is justified in any scheme. An analogous interpretation applies to the generality and ultimateness of philosophy. Taken literally, they are absurd pretensions; they indicate insanity. Finality does not mean, however, that experience is ended and exhausted, but means the disposition to penetrate to deeper levels of meaning—to go below the surface and find out the connections of any event or object, and to keep at it. In like manner the philosophic attitude is general in the sense that it is averse to taking anything as isolated; it tries to place an act in its context—which constitutes its significance. It is of assistance to connect philosophy with thinking in its distinction from knowledge. Knowledge, grounded knowledge, is science; it represents objects which have been settled, ordered, disposed of rationally. Thinking, on the other hand, is prospective in reference. It is occasioned by an unsettlement and it aims at overcoming a disturbance. Philosophy is thinking what the known demands of us—what responsive attitude it exacts. It is an idea of what is possible, not a record of accomplished fact. Hence it is hypothetical, like all thinking. It presents an assignment of something to be done—something to be tried. Its value lies not in furnishing solutions (which can be achieved only in action) but in defining difficulties and suggesting methods for dealing with them. Philosophy might almost be described as thinking which has become conscious of itself—which has generalized its place, function, and value in experience.

More specifically, the demand for a "total" attitude arises because there is the need of integration in action of the conflicting various interests in life. Where interests are so superficial that they glide readily into one another, or where they are not sufficiently organized to come into conflict with one another, the need for philosophy is not perceptible. But when the scientific interest conflicts with, say, the religious, or the economic with the scientific or aesthetic, or when the conservative concern for order is at odds with the progressive interest in freedom, or when institutionalism clashes with individuality, there is a stimulus to discover some more comprehensive point of view from which the divergencies may be brought together, and consistency or continuity of experience recovered. Often these clashes may be settled by an individual for himself; the area of the struggle of aims is limited and a person works out his own rough accommodations. Such homespun philosophies are genuine and often adequate. But they do not result in systems of philosophy. These arise when the discrepant claims of different ideals of conduct affect the community as a whole, and the need for readjustment is general. These traits explain some things which are often brought as objections against philosophies, such as the part played in them by individual speculation, and their controversial diversity, as well as the fact that philosophy seems to be repeatedly occupied with much the same questions differently stated. Without doubt, all these things characterize historic philosophies more or less. But they are not objections to philosophy so much as they are to human nature, and even to the world in which human nature is set. If there are genuine uncertainties in life, philosophies must reflect that uncertainty. If there are different diagnoses of the cause of a difficulty, and different proposals for dealing with it; if, that is, the conflict of interests is more or less embodied in different sets of persons, there must be divergent competing philosophies. With respect to what has happened, sufficient evidence is all that is needed to bring agreement and certainty. The thing itself is sure. But with reference to what it is wise to do in a complicated situation, discussion is inevitable precisely because the thing itself is still indeterminate. One would not expect a ruling class living at ease to have the same philosophy of life as those who were having a hard struggle for existence. If the possessing and the dispossessed had the same fundamental disposition toward the world, it would argue either insincerity or lack of seriousness. A community devoted to industrial pursuits, active in business and commerce, is not likely to see the needs and possibilities of life in the same way as a country with high aesthetic culture and little enterprise in turning the energies of nature to mechanical account. A social group with a fairly continuous history will respond mentally to a crisis in a very different way from one which has felt the shock of abrupt breaks. Even if the same data were present, they would be evaluated differently. But the different sorts of experience attending different types of life prevent just the same data from presenting themselves, as well as lead to a different scheme of values. As for the similarity of problems, this is often more a matter of appearance than of fact, due to old discussions being translated into the terms of contemporary perplexities. But in certain fundamental respects the same predicaments of life recur from time to time with only such changes as are due to change of social context, including the growth of the sciences.

The fact that philosophic problems arise because of widespread and widely felt difficulties in social practice is disguised because philosophers become a specialized class which uses a technical language, unlike the vocabulary in which the direct difficulties are stated. But where a system becomes influential, its connection with a conflict of interests calling for some program of social adjustment may always be discovered. At this point, the intimate connection between philosophy and education appears. In fact, education offers a vantage ground from which to penetrate to the human, as distinct from the technical, significance of philosophic discussions. The student of philosophy "in itself" is always in danger of taking it as so much nimble or severe intellectual exercise—as something said by philosophers and concerning them alone. But when philosophic issues are approached from the side of the kind of mental disposition to which they correspond, or the differences in educational practice they make when acted upon, the life-situations which they formulate can never be far from view. If a theory makes no difference in educational endeavor, it must be artificial. The educational point of view enables one to envisage the philosophic problems where they arise and thrive, where they are at home, and where acceptance or rejection makes a difference in practice. If we are willing to conceive education as the process of forming fundamental dispositions, intellectual and emotional, toward nature and fellow men, philosophy may even be defined as the general theory of education. Unless a philosophy is to remain symbolic—or verbal—or a sentimental indulgence for a few, or else mere arbitrary dogma, its auditing of past experience and its program of values must take effect in conduct. Public agitation, propaganda, legislative and administrative action are effective in producing the change of disposition which a philosophy indicates as desirable, but only in the degree in which they are educative—that is to say, in the degree in which they modify mental and moral attitudes. And at the best, such methods are compromised by the fact they are used with those whose habits are already largely set, while education of youth has a fairer and freer field of operation. On the other side, the business of schooling tends to become a routine empirical affair unless its aims and methods are animated by such a broad and sympathetic survey of its place in contemporary life as it is the business of philosophy to provide. Positive science always implies practically the ends which the community is concerned to achieve. Isolated from such ends, it is matter of indifference whether its disclosures are used to cure disease or to spread it; to increase the means of sustenance of life or to manufacture war material to wipe life out. If society is interested in one of these things rather than another, science shows the way of attainment. Philosophy thus has a double task: that of criticizing existing aims with respect to the existing state of science, pointing out values which have become obsolete with the command of new resources, showing what values are merely sentimental because there are no means for their realization; and also that of interpreting the results of specialized science in their bearing on future social endeavor. It is impossible that it should have any success in these tasks without educational equivalents as to what to do and what not to do. For philosophic theory has no Aladdin's lamp to summon into immediate existence the values which it intellectually constructs. In the mechanical arts, the sciences become methods of managing things so as to utilize their energies for recognized aims. By the educative arts philosophy may generate methods of utilizing the energies of human beings in accord with serious and thoughtful conceptions of life. Education is the laboratory in which philosophic distinctions become concrete and are tested.

It is suggestive that European philosophy originated (among the Athenians) under the direct pressure of educational questions. The earlier history of philosophy, developed by the Greeks in Asia Minor and Italy, so far as its range of topics is concerned, is mainly a chapter in the history of science rather than of philosophy as that word is understood to-day. It had nature for its subject, and speculated as to how things are made and changed. Later the traveling teachers, known as the Sophists, began to apply the results and the methods of the natural philosophers to human conduct.

When the Sophists, the first body of professional educators in Europe, instructed the youth in virtue, the political arts, and the management of city and household, philosophy began to deal with the relation of the individual to the universal, to some comprehensive class, or to some group; the relation of man and nature, of tradition and reflection, of knowledge and action. Can virtue, approved excellence in any line, be learned, they asked? What is learning? It has to do with knowledge. What, then, is knowledge? How is it achieved? Through the senses, or by apprenticeship in some form of doing, or by reason that has undergone a preliminary logical discipline? Since learning is coming to know, it involves a passage from ignorance to wisdom, from privation to fullness from defect to perfection, from non-being to being, in the Greek way of putting it. How is such a transition possible? Is change, becoming, development really possible and if so, how? And supposing such questions answered, what is the relation of instruction, of knowledge, to virtue? This last question led to opening the problem of the relation of reason to action, of theory to practice, since virtue clearly dwelt in action. Was not knowing, the activity of reason, the noblest attribute of man? And consequently was not purely intellectual activity itself the highest of all excellences, compared with which the virtues of neighborliness and the citizen's life were secondary? Or, on the other hand, was the vaunted intellectual knowledge more than empty and vain pretense, demoralizing to character and destructive of the social ties that bound men together in their community life? Was not the only true, because the only moral, life gained through obedient habituation to the customary practices of the community? And was not the new education an enemy to good citizenship, because it set up a rival standard to the established traditions of the community?

In the course of two or three generations such questions were cut loose from their original practical bearing upon education and were discussed on their own account; that is, as matters of philosophy as an independent branch of inquiry. But the fact that the stream of European philosophical thought arose as a theory of educational procedure remains an eloquent witness to the intimate connection of philosophy and education. "Philosophy of education" is not an external application of ready-made ideas to a system of practice having a radically different origin and purpose: it is only an explicit formulation of the problems of the formation of right mental and moral habitudes in respect to the difficulties of contemporary social life. The most penetrating definition of philosophy which can be given is, then, that it is the theory of education in its most general phases.

The reconstruction of philosophy, of education, and of social ideals and methods thus go hand in hand. If there is especial need of educational reconstruction at the present time, if this need makes urgent a reconsideration of the basic ideas of traditional philosophic systems, it is because of the thoroughgoing change in social life accompanying the advance of science, the industrial revolution, and the development of democracy. Such practical changes cannot take place without demanding an educational reformation to meet them, and without leading men to ask what ideas and ideals are implicit in these social changes, and what revisions they require of the ideas and ideals which are inherited from older and unlike cultures. Incidentally throughout the whole book, explicitly in the last few chapters, we have been dealing with just these questions as they affect the relationship of mind and body, theory and practice, man and nature, the individual and social, etc. In our concluding chapters we shall sum up the prior discussions with respect first to the philosophy of knowledge, and then to the philosophy of morals.


After a review designed to bring out the philosophic issues implicit in the previous discussions, philosophy was defined as the generalized theory of education. Philosophy was stated to be a form of thinking, which, like all thinking, finds its origin in what is uncertain in the subject matter of experience, which aims to locate the nature of the perplexity and to frame hypotheses for its clearing up to be tested in action. Philosophic thinking has for its differentia the fact that the uncertainties with which it deals are found in widespread social conditions and aims, consisting in a conflict of organized interests and institutional claims. Since the only way of bringing about a harmonious readjustment of the opposed tendencies is through a modification of emotional and intellectual disposition, philosophy is at once an explicit formulation of the various interests of life and a propounding of points of view and methods through which a better balance of interests may be effected. Since education is the process through which the needed transformation may be accomplished and not remain a mere hypothesis as to what is desirable, we reach a justification of the statement that philosophy is the theory of education as a deliberately conducted practice.

Chapter Twenty-five: Theories of Knowledge

1. Continuity versus Dualism. 
A number of theories of knowing have been criticized in the previous pages. In spite of their differences from one another, they all agree in one fundamental respect which contrasts with the theory which has been positively advanced. The latter assumes continuity; the former state or imply certain basic divisions, separations, or antitheses, technically called dualisms. The origin of these divisions we have found in the hard and fast walls which mark off social groups and classes within a group: like those between rich and poor, men and women, noble and baseborn, ruler and ruled. These barriers mean absence of fluent and free intercourse. This absence is equivalent to the setting up of different types of life-experience, each with isolated subject matter, aim, and standard of values. Every such social condition must be formulated in a dualistic philosophy, if philosophy is to be a sincere account of experience. When it gets beyond dualism—as many philosophies do in form—it can only be by appeal to something higher than anything found in experience, by a flight to some transcendental realm. And in denying duality in name such theories restore it in fact, for they end in a division between things of this world as mere appearances and an inaccessible essence of reality.

So far as these divisions persist and others are added to them, each leaves its mark upon the educational system, until the scheme of education, taken as a whole, is a deposit of various purposes and procedures. The outcome is that kind of check and balance of segregated factors and values which has been described. (See Chapter XVIII.) The present discussion is simply a formulation, in the terminology of philosophy, of various antithetical conceptions involved in the theory of knowing. In the first place, there is the opposition of empirical and higher rational knowing. The first is connected with everyday affairs, serves the purposes of the ordinary individual who has no specialized intellectual

pursuit, and brings his wants into some kind of working connection with the immediate environment. Such knowing is depreciated, if not despised, as purely utilitarian, lacking in cultural significance. Rational knowledge is supposed to be something which touches reality in ultimate, intellectual fashion; to be pursued for its own sake and properly to terminate in purely theoretical insight, not debased by application in behavior. Socially, the distinction corresponds to that of the intelligence used by the working classes and that used by a learned class remote from concern with the means of living. Philosophically, the difference turns about the distinction of the particular and universal. Experience is an aggregate of more or less isolated particulars, acquaintance with each of which must be separately made. Reason deals with universals, with general principles, with laws, which lie above the welter of concrete details. In the educational precipitate, the pupil is supposed to have to learn, on one hand, a lot of items of specific information, each standing by itself, and upon the other hand, to become familiar with a certain number of laws and general relationships. Geography, as often taught, illustrates the former; mathematics, beyond the rudiments of figuring, the latter. For all practical purposes, they represent two independent worlds.

Another antithesis is suggested by the two senses of the word "learning." On the one hand, learning is the sum total of what is known, as that is handed down by books and learned men. It is something external, an accumulation of cognitions as one might store material commodities in a warehouse. Truth exists ready-made somewhere. Study is then the process by which an individual draws on what is in storage. On the other hand, learning means something which the individual does when he studies. It is an active, personally conducted affair. The dualism here is between knowledge as something external, or, as it is often called, objective, and knowing as something purely internal, subjective, psychical. There is, on one side, a body of truth, ready-made, and, on the other, a ready-made mind equipped with a faculty of knowing—if it only wills to exercise it, which it is often strangely loath to do. The separation, often touched upon, between subject matter and method is the educational equivalent of this dualism. Socially the distinction has to do with the part of life which is dependent upon authority and that where individuals are free to advance. Another dualism is that of activity and passivity in knowing. Purely empirical and physical things are often supposed to be known by receiving impressions. Physical things somehow stamp themselves upon the mind or convey themselves into consciousness by means of the sense organs. Rational knowledge and knowledge of spiritual things is supposed, on the contrary, to spring from activity initiated within the mind, an activity carried on better if it is kept remote from all sullying touch of the senses and external objects. The distinction between sense training and object lessons and laboratory exercises, and pure ideas contained in books, and appropriated—so it is thought—by some miraculous output of mental energy, is a fair expression in education of this distinction. Socially, it reflects a division between those who are controlled by direct concern with things and those who are free to cultivate themselves.

Another current opposition is that said to exist between the intellect and the emotions. The emotions are conceived to be purely private and personal, having nothing to do with the work of pure intelligence in apprehending facts and truths,—except perhaps the single emotion of intellectual curiosity. The intellect is a pure light; the emotions are a disturbing heat. The mind turns outward to truth; the emotions turn inward to considerations of personal advantage and loss. Thus in education we have that systematic depreciation of interest which has been noted, plus the necessity in practice, with most pupils, of recourse to extraneous and irrelevant rewards and penalties in order to induce the person who has a mind (much as his clothes have a pocket) to apply that mind to the truths to be known. Thus we have the spectacle of professional educators decrying appeal to interest while they uphold with great dignity the need of reliance upon examinations, marks, promotions and emotions, prizes, and the time-honored paraphernalia of rewards and punishments. The effect of this situation in crippling the teacher's sense of humor has not received the attention which it deserves.

All of these separations culminate in one between knowing and doing, theory and practice, between mind as the end and spirit of action and the body as its organ and means. We shall not repeat what has been said about the source of this dualism in the division of society into a class laboring with their muscles for material sustenance and a class which, relieved from economic pressure, devotes itself to the arts of expression and social direction. Nor is it necessary to speak again of the educational evils which spring from the separation. We shall be content to summarize the forces which tend to make the untenability of this conception obvious and to replace it by the idea of continuity. (i) The advance of physiology and the psychology associated with it have shown the connection of mental activity with that of the nervous system. Too often recognition of connection has stopped short at this point; the older dualism of soul and body has been replaced by that of the brain and the rest of the body. But in fact the nervous system is only a specialized mechanism for keeping all bodily activities working together. Instead of being isolated from them, as an organ of knowing from organs of motor response, it is the organ by which they interact responsively with one another. The brain is essentially an organ for effecting the reciprocal adjustment to each other of the stimuli received from the environment and responses directed upon it. Note that the adjusting is reciprocal; the brain not only enables organic activity to be brought to bear upon any object of the environment in response to a sensory stimulation, but this response also determines what the next stimulus will be. See what happens, for example, when a carpenter is at work upon a board, or an etcher upon his plate—or in any case of a consecutive activity. While each motor response is adjusted to the state of affairs indicated through the sense organs, that motor response shapes the next sensory stimulus. Generalizing this illustration, the brain is the machinery for a constant reorganizing of activity so as to maintain its continuity; that is to say, to make such modifications in future action as are required because of what has already been done. The continuity of the work of the carpenter distinguishes it from a routine repetition of identically the same motion, and from a random activity where there is nothing cumulative. What makes it continuous, consecutive, or concentrated is that each earlier act prepares the way for later acts, while these take account of or reckon with the results already attained—the basis of all responsibility. No one who has realized the full force of the facts of the connection of knowing with the nervous system and of the nervous system with the readjusting of activity continuously to meet new conditions, will doubt that knowing has to do with reorganizing activity, instead of being something isolated from all activity, complete on its own account.

(ii) The development of biology clinches this lesson, with its discovery of evolution. For the philosophic significance of the doctrine of evolution lies precisely in its emphasis upon continuity of simpler and more complex organic forms until we reach man. The development of organic forms begins with structures where the adjustment of environment and organism is obvious, and where anything which can be called mind is at a minimum. As activity becomes more complex, coordinating a greater number of factors in space and time, intelligence plays a more and more marked role, for it has a larger span of the future to forecast and plan for. The effect upon the theory of knowing is to displace the notion that it is the activity of a mere onlooker or spectator of the world, the notion which goes with the idea of knowing as something complete in itself. For the doctrine of organic development means that the living creature is a part of the world, sharing its vicissitudes and fortunes, and making itself secure in its precarious dependence only as it intellectually identifies itself with the things about it, and, forecasting the future consequences of what is going on, shapes its own activities accordingly. If the living, experiencing being is an intimate participant in the activities of the world to which it belongs, then knowledge is a mode of participation, valuable in the degree in which it is effective. It cannot be the idle view of an unconcerned spectator.

(iii) The development of the experimental method as the method of getting knowledge and of making sure it is knowledge, and not mere opinion—the method of both discovery and proof—is the remaining great force in bringing about a transformation in the theory of knowledge. The experimental method has two sides. (i) On one hand, it means that we have no right to call anything knowledge except where our activity has actually produced certain physical changes in things, which agree with and confirm the conception entertained. Short of such specific changes, our beliefs are only hypotheses, theories, suggestions, guesses, and are to be entertained tentatively and to be utilized as indications of experiments to be tried. (ii) On the other hand, the experimental method of thinking signifies that thinking is of avail; that it is of avail in just the degree in which the anticipation of future consequences is made on the basis of thorough observation of present conditions. Experimentation, in other words, is not equivalent to blind reacting. Such surplus activity—a surplus with reference to what has been observed and is now anticipated—is indeed an unescapable factor in all our behavior, but it is not experiment save as consequences are noted and are used to make predictions and plans in similar situations in the future. The more the meaning of the experimental method is perceived, the more our trying out of a certain way of treating the material resources and obstacles which confront us embodies a prior use of intelligence. What we call magic was with respect to many things the experimental method of the savage; but for him to try was to try his luck, not his ideas. The scientific experimental method is, on the contrary, a trial of ideas; hence even when practically—or immediately—unsuccessful, it is intellectual, fruitful; for we learn from our failures when our endeavors are seriously thoughtful.

The experimental method is new as a scientific resource—as a systematized means of making knowledge, though as old as life as a practical device. Hence it is not surprising that men have not recognized its full scope. For the most part, its significance is regarded as belonging to certain technical and merely physical matters. It will doubtless take a long time to secure the perception that it holds equally as to the forming and testing of ideas in social and moral matters. Men still want the crutch of dogma, of beliefs fixed by authority, to relieve them of the trouble of thinking and the responsibility of directing their activity by thought. They tend to confine their own thinking to a consideration of which one among the rival systems of dogma they will accept. Hence the schools are better adapted, as John Stuart Mill said, to make disciples than inquirers. But every advance in the influence of the experimental method is sure to aid in outlawing the literary, dialectic, and authoritative methods of forming beliefs which have governed the schools of the past, and to transfer their prestige to methods which will procure an active concern with things and persons, directed by aims of increasing temporal reach and deploying greater range of things in space. In time the theory of knowing must be derived from the practice which is most successful in making knowledge; and then that theory will be employed to improve the methods which are less successful.

2. Schools of Method. 
There are various systems of philosophy with characteristically different conceptions of the method of knowing. Some of them are named scholasticism, sensationalism, rationalism, idealism, realism, empiricism, transcendentalism, pragmatism, etc. Many of them have been criticized in connection with the discussion of some educational problem. We are here concerned with them as involving deviations from that method which has proved most effective in achieving knowledge, for a consideration of the deviations may render clearer the true place of knowledge in experience. In brief, the function of knowledge is to make one experience freely available in other experiences. The word "freely" marks the difference between the principle of knowledge and that of habit. Habit means that an individual undergoes a modification through an experience, which modification forms a predisposition to easier and more effective action in a like direction in the future. Thus it also has the function of making one experience available in subsequent experiences. Within certain limits, it performs this function successfully. But habit, apart from knowledge, does not make allowance for change of conditions, for novelty. Prevision of change is not part of its scope, for habit assumes the essential likeness of the new situation with the old. Consequently it often leads astray, or comes between a person and the successful performance of his task, just as the skill, based on habit alone, of the mechanic will desert him when something unexpected occurs in the running of the machine. But a man who understands the machine is the man who knows what he is about. He knows the conditions under which a given habit works, and is in a position to introduce the changes which will readapt it to new conditions.

In other words, knowledge is a perception of those connections of an object which determine its applicability in a given situation. To take an extreme example; savages react to a flaming comet as they are accustomed to react to other events which threaten the security of their life. Since they try to frighten wild animals or their enemies by shrieks, beating of gongs, brandishing of weapons, etc., they use the same methods to scare away the comet. To us, the method is plainly absurd—so absurd that we fail to note that savages are simply falling back upon habit in a way which exhibits its limitations. The only reason we do not act in some analogous fashion is because we do not take the comet as an isolated, disconnected event, but apprehend it in its connections with other events. We place it, as we say, in the astronomical system. We respond to its connections and not simply to the immediate occurrence. Thus our attitude to it is much freer. We may approach it, so to speak, from any one of the angles provided by its connections. We can bring into play, as we deem wise, any one of the habits appropriate to any one of the connected objects. Thus we get at a new event indirectly instead of immediately—by invention, ingenuity, resourcefulness. An ideally perfect knowledge would represent such a network of interconnections that any past experience would offer a point of advantage from which to get at the problem presented in a new experience. In fine, while a habit apart from knowledge supplies us with a single fixed method of attack, knowledge means that selection may be made from a much wider range of habits.

Two aspects of this more general and freer availability of former experiences for subsequent ones may be distinguished. (See ante, p. 77.) (i) One, the more tangible, is increased power of control. What cannot be managed directly may be handled indirectly; or we can interpose barriers between us and undesirable consequences; or we may evade them if we cannot overcome them. Genuine knowledge has all the practical value attaching to efficient habits in any case. (ii) But it also increases the meaning, the experienced significance, attaching to an experience. A situation to which we respond capriciously or by routine has only a minimum of conscious significance; we get nothing mentally from it. But wherever knowledge comes into play in determining a new experience there is mental reward; even if we fail practically in getting the needed control we have the satisfaction of experiencing a meaning instead of merely reacting physically.

While the content of knowledge is what has happened, what is taken as finished and hence settled and sure, the reference of knowledge is future or prospective. For knowledge furnishes the means of understanding or giving meaning to what is still going on and what is to be done. The knowledge of a physician is what he has found out by personal acquaintance and by study of what others have ascertained and recorded. But it is knowledge to him because it supplies the resources by which he interprets the unknown things which confront him, fills out the partial obvious facts with connected suggested phenomena, foresees their probable future, and makes plans accordingly. When knowledge is cut off from use in giving meaning to what is blind and baffling, it drops out of consciousness entirely or else becomes an object of aesthetic contemplation. There is much emotional satisfaction to be had from a survey of the symmetry and order of possessed knowledge, and the satisfaction is a legitimate one. But this contemplative attitude is aesthetic, not intellectual. It is the same sort of joy that comes from viewing a finished picture or a well composed landscape. It would make no difference if the subject matter were totally different, provided it had the same harmonious organization. Indeed, it would make no difference if it were wholly invented, a play of fancy. Applicability to the world means not applicability to what is past and gone—that is out of the question by the nature of the case; it means applicability to what is still going on, what is still unsettled, in the moving scene in which we are implicated. The very fact that we so easily overlook this trait, and regard statements of what is past and out of reach as knowledge is because we assume the continuity of past and future. We cannot entertain the conception of a world in which knowledge of its past would not be helpful in forecasting and giving meaning to its future. We ignore the prospective reference just because it is so irretrievably implied.

Yet many of the philosophic schools of method which have been mentioned transform the ignoring into a virtual denial. They regard knowledge as something complete in itself irrespective of its availability in dealing with what is yet to be. And it is this omission which vitiates them and which makes them stand as sponsors for educational methods which an adequate conception of knowledge condemns. For one has only to call to mind what is sometimes treated in schools as acquisition of knowledge to realize how lacking it is in any fruitful connection with the ongoing experience of the students—how largely it seems to be believed that the mere appropriation of subject matter which happens to be stored in books constitutes knowledge. No matter how true what is learned to those who found it out and in whose experience it functioned, there is nothing which makes it knowledge to the pupils. It might as well be something about Mars or about some fanciful country unless it fructifies in the individual's own life.

At the time when scholastic method developed, it had relevancy to social conditions. It was a method for systematizing and lending rational sanction to material accepted on authority. This subject matter meant so much that it vitalized the defining and systematizing brought to bear upon it. Under present conditions the scholastic method, for most persons, means a form of knowing which has no especial connection with any particular subject matter. It includes making distinctions, definitions, divisions, and classifications for the mere sake of making them—with no objective in experience. The view of thought as a purely physical activity having its own forms, which are applied to any material as a seal may be stamped on any plastic stuff, the view which underlies what is termed formal logic is essentially the scholastic method generalized. The doctrine of formal discipline in education is the natural counterpart of the scholastic method.

The contrasting theories of the method of knowledge which go by the name of sensationalism and rationalism correspond to an exclusive emphasis upon the particular and the general respectively—or upon bare facts on one side and bare relations on the other. In real knowledge, there is a particularizing and a generalizing function working together. So far as a situation is confused, it has to be cleared up; it has to be resolved into details, as sharply defined as possible. Specified facts and qualities constitute the elements of the problem to be dealt with, and it is through our sense organs that they are specified. As setting forth the problem, they may well be termed particulars, for they are fragmentary. Since our task is to discover their connections and to recombine them, for us at the time they are partial. They are to be given meaning; hence, just as they stand, they lack it. Anything which is to be known, whose meaning has still to be made out, offers itself as particular. But what is already known, if it has been worked over with a view to making it applicable to intellectually mastering new particulars, is general in function. Its function of introducing connection into what is otherwise unconnected constitutes its generality. Any fact is general if we use it to give meaning to the elements of a new experience. "Reason" is just the ability to bring the subject matter of prior experience to bear to perceive the significance of the subject matter of a new experience. A person is reasonable in the degree in which he is habitually open to seeing an event which immediately strikes his senses not as an isolated thing but in its connection with the common experience of mankind.

Without the particulars as they are discriminated by the active responses of sense organs, there is no material for knowing and no intellectual growth. Without placing these particulars in the context of the meanings wrought out in the larger experience of the past—without the use of reason or thought—particulars are mere excitations or irritations. The mistake alike of the sensational and the rationalistic schools is that each fails to see that the function of sensory stimulation and thought is relative to reorganizing experience in applying the old to the new, thereby maintaining the continuity or consistency of life. The theory of the method of knowing which is advanced in these pages may be termed pragmatic. Its essential feature is to maintain the continuity of knowing with an activity which purposely modifies the environment. It holds that knowledge in its strict sense of something possessed consists of our intellectual resources—of all the habits that render our action intelligent. Only that which has been organized into our disposition so as to enable us to adapt the environment to our needs and to adapt our aims and desires to the situation in which we live is really knowledge. Knowledge is not just something which we are now conscious of, but consists of the dispositions we consciously use in understanding what now happens. Knowledge as an act is bringing some of our dispositions to consciousness with a view to straightening out a perplexity, by conceiving the connection between ourselves and the world in which we live.


Such social divisions as interfere with free and full intercourse react to make the intelligence and knowing of members of the separated classes one-sided. Those whose experience has to do with utilities cut off from the larger end they subserve are practical empiricists; those who enjoy the contemplation of a realm of meanings in whose active production they have had no share are practical rationalists. Those who come in direct contact with things and have to adapt their activities to them immediately are, in effect, realists; those who isolate the meanings of these things and put them in a religious or so-called spiritual world aloof from things are, in effect, idealists. Those concerned with progress, who are striving to change received beliefs, emphasize the individual factor in knowing; those whose chief business it is to withstand change and conserve received truth emphasize the universal and the fixed—and so on. Philosophic systems in their opposed theories of knowledge present an explicit formulation of the traits characteristic of these cut-off and one-sided segments of experience—one-sided because barriers to intercourse prevent the experience of one from being enriched and supplemented by that of others who are differently situated.

In an analogous way, since democracy stands in principle for free interchange, for social continuity, it must develop a theory of knowledge which sees in knowledge the method by which one experience is made available in giving direction and meaning to another. The recent advances in physiology, biology, and the logic of the experimental sciences supply the specific intellectual instrumentalities demanded to work out and formulate such a theory. Their educational equivalent is the connection of the acquisition of knowledge in the schools with activities, or occupations, carried on in a medium of associated life.

Chapter Twenty-six: Theories of Morals

1. The Inner and the Outer.
Since morality is concerned with conduct, any dualisms which are set up between mind and activity must reflect themselves in the theory of morals. Since the formulations of the separation in the philosophic theory of morals are used to justify and idealize the practices employed in moral training, a brief critical discussion is in place. It is a commonplace of educational theory that the establishing of character is a comprehensive aim of school instruction and discipline. Hence it is important that we should be on our guard against a conception of the relations of intelligence to character which hampers the realization of the aim, and on the look-out for the conditions which have to be provided in order that the aim may be successfully acted upon. The first obstruction which meets us is the currency of moral ideas which split the course of activity into two opposed factors, often named respectively the inner and outer, or the spiritual and the physical. This division is a culmination of the dualism of mind and the world, soul and body, end and means, which we have so frequently noted. In morals it takes the form of a sharp demarcation of the motive of action from its consequences, and of character from conduct. Motive and character are regarded as something purely "inner," existing exclusively in consciousness, while consequences and conduct are regarded as outside of mind, conduct having to do simply with the movements which carry out motives; consequences with what happens as a result. Different schools identify morality with either the inner state of mind or the outer act and results, each in separation from the other. Action with a purpose is deliberate; it involves a consciously foreseen end and a mental weighing of considerations pro and eon. It also involves a conscious state of longing or desire for the end. The deliberate choice of an aim and of a settled disposition of desire takes time. During this time complete overt action is suspended. A person who does not have his mind made up, does not know what to do. Consequently he postpones definite action so far as possible. His position may be compared to that of a man considering jumping across a ditch. If he were sure he could or could not make it, definite activity in some direction would occur. But if he considers, he is in doubt; he hesitates. During the time in which a single overt line of action is in suspense, his activities are confined to such redistributions of energy within the organism as will prepare a determinate course of action. He measures the ditch with his eyes; he brings himself taut to get a feel of the energy at his disposal; he looks about for other ways across, he reflects upon the importance of getting across. All this means an accentuation of consciousness; it means a turning in upon the individual's own attitudes, powers, wishes, etc.

Obviously, however, this surging up of personal factors into conscious recognition is a part of the whole activity in its temporal development. There is not first a purely psychical process, followed abruptly by a radically different physical one. There is one continuous behavior, proceeding from a more uncertain, divided, hesitating state to a more overt, determinate, or complete state. The activity at first consists mainly of certain tensions and adjustments within the organism; as these are coordinated into a unified attitude, the organism as a whole acts—some definite act is undertaken. We may distinguish, of course, the more explicitly conscious phase of the continuous activity as mental or psychical. But that only identifies the mental or psychical to mean the indeterminate, formative state of an activity which in its fullness involves putting forth of overt energy to modify the environment.

Our conscious thoughts, observations, wishes, aversions are important, because they represent inchoate, nascent activities. They fulfill their destiny in issuing, later on, into specific and perceptible acts. And these inchoate, budding organic readjustments are important because they are our sole escape from the dominion of routine habits and blind impulse. They are activities having a new meaning in process of development. Hence, normally, there is an accentuation of personal consciousness whenever our instincts and ready formed habits find themselves blocked by novel conditions. Then we are thrown back upon ourselves to reorganize our own attitude before proceeding to a definite and irretrievable course of action. Unless we try to drive our way through by sheer brute force, we must modify our organic resources to adapt them to the specific features of the situation in which we find ourselves. The conscious deliberating and desiring which precede overt action are, then, the methodic personal readjustment implied in activity in uncertain situations. This role of mind in continuous activity is not always maintained, however. Desires for something different, aversion to the given state of things caused by the blocking of successful activity, stimulates the imagination. The picture of a different state of things does not always function to aid ingenious observation and recollection to find a way out and on. Except where there is a disciplined disposition, the tendency is for the imagination to run loose. Instead of its objects being checked up by conditions with reference to their practicability in execution, they are allowed to develop because of the immediate emotional satisfaction which they yield. When we find the successful display of our energies checked by uncongenial surroundings, natural and social, the easiest way out is to build castles in the air and let them be a substitute for an actual achievement which involves the pains of thought. So in overt action we acquiesce, and build up an imaginary world in, mind. This break between thought and conduct is reflected in those theories which make a sharp separation between mind as inner and conduct and consequences as merely outer.

For the split may be more than an incident of a particular individual's experience. The social situation may be such as to throw the class given to articulate reflection back into their own thoughts and desires without providing the means by which these ideas and aspirations can be used to reorganize the environment. Under such conditions, men take revenge, as it were, upon the alien and hostile environment by cultivating contempt for it, by giving it a bad name. They seek refuge and consolation within their own states of mind, their own imaginings and wishes, which they compliment by calling both more real and more ideal than the despised outer world. Such periods have recurred in history. In the early centuries of the Christian era, the influential moral systems of Stoicism, of monastic and popular Christianity and other religious movements of the day, took shape under the influence of such conditions. The more action which might express prevailing ideals was checked, the more the inner possession and cultivation of ideals was regarded as self-sufficient—as the essence of morality. The external world in which activity belongs was thought of as morally indifferent. Everything lay in having the right motive, even though that motive was not a moving force in the world. Much the same sort of situation recurred in Germany in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; it led to the Kantian insistence upon the good will as the sole moral good, the will being regarded as something complete in itself, apart from action and from the changes or consequences effected in the world. Later it led to any idealization of existing institutions as themselves the embodiment of reason.

The purely internal morality of "meaning well," of having a good disposition regardless of what comes of it, naturally led to a reaction. This is generally known as either hedonism or utilitarianism. It was said in effect that the important thing morally is not what a man is inside of his own consciousness, but what he does—the consequences which issue, the charges he actually effects. Inner morality was attacked as sentimental, arbitrary, dogmatic, subjective—as giving men leave to dignify and shield any dogma congenial to their self-interest or any caprice occurring to imagination by calling it an intuition or an ideal of conscience. Results, conduct, are what counts; they afford the sole measure of morality. Ordinary morality, and hence that of the schoolroom, is likely to be an inconsistent compromise of both views. On one hand, certain states of feeling are made much of; the individual must "mean well," and if his intentions are good, if he had the right sort of emotional consciousness, he may be relieved of responsibility for full results in conduct. But since, on the other hand, certain things have to be done to meet the convenience and the requirements of others, and of social order in general, there is great insistence upon the doing of certain things, irrespective of whether the individual has any concern or intelligence in their doing. He must toe the mark; he must have his nose held to the grindstone; he must obey; he must form useful habits; he must learn self-control,—all of these precepts being understood in a way which emphasizes simply the immediate thing tangibly done, irrespective of the spirit of thought and desire in which it is done, and irrespective therefore of its effect upon other less obvious doings.

It is hoped that the prior discussion has sufficiently elaborated the method by which both of these evils are avoided. One or both of these evils must result wherever individuals, whether young or old, cannot engage in a progressively cumulative undertaking under conditions which engage their interest and require their reflection. For only in such cases is it possible that the disposition of desire and thinking should be an organic factor in overt and obvious conduct. Given a consecutive activity embodying the student's own interest, where a definite result is to be obtained, and where neither routine habit nor the following of dictated directions nor capricious improvising will suffice, and there the rise of conscious purpose, conscious desire, and deliberate reflection are inevitable. They are inevitable as the spirit and quality of an activity having specific consequences, not as forming an isolated realm of inner consciousness.

2. The Opposition of Duty and Interest. 
Probably there is no antithesis more often set up in moral discussion than that between acting from "principle" and from "interest." To act on principle is to act disinterestedly, according to a general law, which is above all personal considerations. To act according to interest is, so the allegation runs, to act selfishly, with one's own personal profit in view. It substitutes the changing expediency of the moment for devotion to unswerving moral law. The false idea of interest underlying this opposition has already been criticized (See Chapter X), but some moral aspects of the question will now be considered. A clew to the matter may be found in the fact that the supporters of the "interest" side of the controversy habitually use the term "self-interest." Starting from the premises that unless there is interest in an object or idea, there is no motive force, they end with the conclusion that even when a person claims to be acting from principle or from a sense of duty, he really acts as he does because there "is something in it" for himself. The premise is sound; the conclusion false. In reply the other school argues that since man is capable of generous self-forgetting and even self-sacrificing action, he is capable of acting without interest. Again the premise is sound, and the conclusion false. The error on both sides lies in a false notion of the relation of interest and the self.

Both sides assume that the self is a fixed and hence isolated quantity. As a consequence, there is a rigid dilemma between acting for an interest of the self and without interest. If the self is something fixed antecedent to action, then acting from interest means trying to get more in the way of possessions for the self—whether in the way of fame, approval of others, power over others, pecuniary profit, or pleasure. Then the reaction from this view as a cynical depreciation of human nature leads to the view that men who act nobly act with no interest at all. Yet to an unbiased judgment it would appear plain that a man must be interested in what he is doing or he would not do it. A physician who continues to serve the sick in a plague at almost certain danger to his own life must be interested in the efficient performance of his profession—more interested in that than in the safety of his own bodily life. But it is distorting facts to say that this interest is merely a mask for an interest in something else which he gets by continuing his customary services—such as money or good repute or virtue; that it is only a means to an ulterior selfish end. The moment we recognize that the self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action, the whole situation clears up. A man's interest in keeping at his work in spite of danger to life means that his self is found in that work; if he finally gave up, and preferred his personal safety or comfort, it would mean that he preferred to be that kind of a self. The mistake lies in making a separation between interest and self, and supposing that the latter is the end to which interest in objects and acts and others is a mere means. In fact, self and interest are two names for the same fact; the kind and amount of interest actively taken in a thing reveals and measures the quality of selfhood which exists. Bear in mind that interest means the active or moving identity of the self with a certain object, and the whole alleged dilemma falls to the ground.

Unselfishness, for example, signifies neither lack of interest in what is done (that would mean only machine-like indifference) nor selflessness—which would mean absence of virility and character. As employed everywhere outside of this particular theoretical controversy, the term "unselfishness" refers to the kind of aims and objects which habitually interest a man. And if we make a mental survey of the kind of interests which evoke the use of this epithet, we shall see that they have two intimately associated features. (i) The generous self consciously identifies itself with the full range of relationships implied in its activity, instead of drawing a sharp line between itself and considerations which are excluded as alien or indifferent; (ii) it readjusts and expands its past ideas of itself to take in new consequences as they become perceptible. When the physician began his career he may not have thought of a pestilence; he may not have consciously identified himself with service under such conditions. But, if he has a normally growing or active self, when he finds that his vocation involves such risks, he willingly adopts them as integral portions of his activity. The wider or larger self which means inclusion instead of denial of relationships is identical with a self which enlarges in order to assume previously unforeseen ties.

In such crises of readjustment—and the crisis may be slight as well as great—there may be a transitional conflict of "principle" with "interest." It is the nature of a habit to involve ease in the accustomed line of activity. It is the nature of a readjusting of habit to involve an effort which is disagreeable—something to which a man has deliberately to hold himself. In other words, there is a tendency to identify the self—or take interest—in what one has got used to, and to turn away the mind with aversion or irritation when an unexpected thing which involves an unpleasant modification of habit comes up. Since in the past one has done one's duty without having to face such a disagreeable circumstance, why not go on as one has been? To yield to this temptation means to narrow and isolate the thought of the self—to treat it as complete. Any habit, no matter how efficient in the past, which has become set, may at any time bring this temptation with it. To act from principle in such an emergency is not to act on some abstract principle, or duty at large; it is to act upon the principle of a course of action, instead of upon the circumstances which have attended it. The principle of a physician's conduct is its animating aim and spirit—the care for the diseased. The principle is not what justifies an activity, for the principle is but another name for the continuity of the activity. If the activity as manifested in its consequences is undesirable, to act upon principle is to accentuate its evil. And a man who prides himself upon acting upon principle is likely to be a man who insists upon having his own way without learning from experience what is the better way. He fancies that some abstract principle justifies his course of action without recognizing that his principle needs justification.

Assuming, however, that school conditions are such as to provide desirable occupations, it is interest in the occupation as a whole—that is, in its continuous development—which keeps a pupil at his work in spite of temporary diversions and unpleasant obstacles. Where there is no activity having a growing significance, appeal to principle is either purely verbal, or a form of obstinate pride or an appeal to extraneous considerations clothed with a dignified title. Undoubtedly there are junctures where momentary interest ceases and attention flags, and where reinforcement is needed. But what carries a person over these hard stretches is not loyalty to duty in the abstract, but interest in his occupation. Duties are "offices"—they are the specific acts needed for the fulfilling of a function—or, in homely language—doing one's job. And the man who is genuinely interested in his job is the man who is able to stand temporary discouragement, to persist in the face of obstacles, to take the lean with the fat: he makes an interest out of meeting and overcoming difficulties and distraction.

3. Intelligence and Character. 
A noteworthy paradox often accompanies discussions of morals. On the one hand, there is an identification of the moral with the rational. Reason is set up as a faculty from which proceed ultimate moral intuitions, and sometimes, as in the Kantian theory, it is said to supply the only proper moral motive. On the other hand, the value of concrete, everyday intelligence is constantly underestimated, and even deliberately depreciated. Morals is often thought to be an affair with which ordinary knowledge has nothing to do. Moral knowledge is thought to be a thing apart, and conscience is thought of as something radically different from consciousness. This separation, if valid, is of especial significance for education. Moral education in school is practically hopeless when we set up the development of character as a supreme end, and at the same time treat the acquiring of knowledge and the development of understanding, which of necessity occupy the chief part of school time, as having nothing to do with character. On such a basis, moral education is inevitably reduced to some kind of catechetical instruction, or lessons about morals. Lessons "about morals" signify as matter of course lessons in what other people think about virtues and duties. It amounts to something only in the degree in which pupils happen to be already animated by a sympathetic and dignified regard for the sentiments of others. Without such a regard, it has no more influence on character than information about the mountains of Asia; with a servile regard, it increases dependence upon others, and throws upon those in authority the responsibility for conduct. As a matter of fact, direct instruction in morals has been effective only in social groups where it was a part of the authoritative control of the many by the few. Not the teaching as such but the reinforcement of it by the whole regime of which it was an incident made it effective. To attempt to get similar results from lessons about morals in a democratic society is to rely upon sentimental magic.

At the other end of the scale stands the Socratic-Platonic teaching which identifies knowledge and virtue—which holds that no man does evil knowingly but only because of ignorance of the good. This doctrine is commonly attacked on the ground that nothing is more common than for a man to know the good and yet do the bad: not knowledge, but habituation or practice, and motive are what is required. Aristotle, in fact, at once attacked the Platonic teaching on the ground that moral virtue is like an art, such as medicine; the experienced practitioner is better than a man who has theoretical knowledge but no practical experience of disease and remedies. The issue turns, however, upon what is meant by knowledge. Aristotle's objection ignored the gist of Plato's teaching to the effect that man could not attain a theoretical insight into the good except as he had passed through years of practical habituation and strenuous discipline. Knowledge of the good was not a thing to be got either from books or from others, but was achieved through a prolonged education. It was the final and culminating grace of a mature experience of life. Irrespective of Plato's position, it is easy to perceive that the term knowledge is used to denote things as far apart as intimate and vital personal realization,—a conviction gained and tested in experience,—and a second-handed, largely symbolic, recognition that persons in general believe so and so—a devitalized remote information. That the latter does not guarantee conduct, that it does not profoundly affect character, goes without saying. But if knowledge means something of the same sort as our conviction gained by trying and testing that sugar is sweet and quinine bitter, the case stands otherwise. Every time a man sits on a chair rather than on a stove, carries an umbrella when it rains, consults a doctor when ill—or in short performs any of the thousand acts which make up his daily life, he proves that knowledge of a certain kind finds direct issue in conduct. There is every reason to suppose that the same sort of knowledge of good has a like expression; in fact "good" is an empty term unless it includes the satisfactions experienced in such situations as those mentioned. Knowledge that other persons are supposed to know something might lead one to act so as to win the approbation others attach to certain actions, or at least so as to give others the impression that one agrees with them; there is no reason why it should lead to personal initiative and loyalty in behalf of the beliefs attributed to them.

It is not necessary, accordingly, to dispute about the proper meaning of the term knowledge. It is enough for educational purposes to note the different qualities covered by the one name, to realize that it is knowledge gained at first hand through the exigencies of experience which affects conduct in significant ways. If a pupil learns things from books simply in connection with school lessons and for the sake of reciting what he has learned when called upon, then knowledge will have effect upon some conduct—namely upon that of reproducing statements at the demand of others. There is nothing surprising that such "knowledge" should not have much influence in the life out of school. But this is not a reason for making a divorce between knowledge and conduct, but for holding in low esteem this kind of knowledge. The same thing may be said of knowledge which relates merely to an isolated and technical specialty; it modifies action but only in its own narrow line. In truth, the problem of moral education in the schools is one with the problem of securing knowledge—the knowledge connected with the system of impulses and habits. For the use to which any known fact is put depends upon its connections. The knowledge of dynamite of a safecracker may be identical in verbal form with that of a chemist; in fact, it is different, for it is knit into connection with different aims and habits, and thus has a different import.

Our prior discussion of subject-matter as proceeding from direct activity having an immediate aim, to the enlargement of meaning found in geography and history, and then to scientifically organized knowledge, was based upon the idea of maintaining a vital connection between knowledge and activity. What is learned and employed in an occupation having an aim and involving cooperation with others is moral knowledge, whether consciously so regarded or not. For it builds up a social interest and confers the intelligence needed to make that interest effective in practice. Just because the studies of the curriculum represent standard factors in social life, they are organs of initiation into social values. As mere school studies, their acquisition has only a technical worth. Acquired under conditions where their social significance is realized, they feed moral interest and develop moral insight. Moreover, the qualities of mind discussed under the topic of method of learning are all of them intrinsically moral qualities. Open-mindedness, single-mindedness, sincerity, breadth of outlook, thoroughness, assumption of responsibility for developing the consequences of ideas which are accepted, are moral traits. The habit of identifying moral characteristics with external conformity to authoritative prescriptions may lead us to ignore the ethical value of these intellectual attitudes, but the same habit tends to reduce morals to a dead and machinelike routine. Consequently while such an attitude has moral results, the results are morally undesirable—above all in a democratic society where so much depends upon personal disposition.

4. The Social and the Moral. 
All of the separations which we have been criticizing—and which the idea of education set forth in the previous chapters is designed to avoid—spring from taking morals too narrowly,—giving them, on one side, a sentimental goody-goody turn without reference to effective ability to do what is socially needed, and, on the other side, overemphasizing convention and tradition so as to limit morals to a list of definitely stated acts. As a matter of fact, morals are as broad as acts which concern our relationships with others. And potentially this includes all our acts, even though their social bearing may not be thought of at the time of performance. For every act, by the principle of habit, modifies disposition—it sets up a certain kind of inclination and desire. And it is impossible to tell when the habit thus strengthened may have a direct and perceptible influence on our association with others. Certain traits of character have such an obvious connection with our social relationships that we call them "moral" in an emphatic sense—truthfulness, honesty, chastity, amiability, etc. But this only means that they are, as compared with some other attitudes, central:—that they carry other attitudes with them. They are moral in an emphatic sense not because they are isolated and exclusive, but because they are so intimately connected with thousands of other attitudes which we do not explicitly recognize—which perhaps we have not even names for. To call them virtues in their isolation is like taking the skeleton for the living body. The bones are certainly important, but their importance lies in the fact that they support other organs of the body in such a way as to make them capable of integrated effective activity. And the same is true of the qualities of character which we specifically designate virtues. Morals concern nothing less than the whole character, and the whole character is identical with the man in all his concrete make-up and manifestations. To possess virtue does not signify to have cultivated a few namable and exclusive traits; it means to be fully and adequately what one is capable of becoming through association with others in all the offices of life.

The moral and the social quality of conduct are, in the last analysis, identical with each other. It is then but to restate explicitly the import of our earlier chapters regarding the social function of education to say that the measure of the worth of the administration, curriculum, and methods of instruction of the school is the extent to which they are animated by a social spirit. And the great danger which threatens school work is the absence of conditions which make possible a permeating social spirit; this is the great enemy of effective moral training. For this spirit can be actively present only when certain conditions are met.

(i) In the first place, the school must itself be a community life in all which that implies. Social perceptions and interests can be developed only in a genuinely social medium—one where there is give and take in the building up of a common experience. Informational statements about things can be acquired in relative isolation by any one who previously has had enough intercourse with others to have learned language. But realization of the meaning of the linguistic signs is quite another matter. That involves a context of work and play in association with others. The plea which has been made for education through continued constructive activities in this book rests upon the fact they afford an opportunity for a social atmosphere. In place of a school set apart from life as a place for learning lessons, we have a miniature social group in which study and growth are incidents of present shared experience. Playgrounds, shops, workrooms, laboratories not only direct the natural active tendencies of youth, but they involve intercourse, communication, and cooperation,—all extending the perception of connections.

(ii) The learning in school should be continuous with that out of school. There should be a free interplay between the two. This is possible only when there are numerous points of contact between the social interests of the one and of the other. A school is conceivable in which there should be a spirit of companionship and shared activity, but where its social life would no more represent or typify that of the world beyond the school walls than that of a monastery. Social concern and understanding would be developed, but they would not be available outside; they would not carry over. The proverbial separation of town and gown, the cultivation of academic seclusion, operate in this direction. So does such adherence to the culture of the past as generates a reminiscent social spirit, for this makes an individual feel more at home in the life of other days than in his own. A professedly cultural education is peculiarly exposed to this danger. An idealized past becomes the refuge and solace of the spirit; present-day concerns are found sordid, and unworthy of attention. But as a rule, the absence of a social environment in connection with which learning is a need and a reward is the chief reason for the isolation of the school; and this isolation renders school knowledge inapplicable to life and so infertile in character.

A narrow and moralistic view of morals is responsible for the failure to recognize that all the aims and values which are desirable in education are themselves moral. Discipline, natural development, culture, social efficiency, are moral traits—marks of a person who is a worthy member of that society which it is the business of education to further. There is an old saying to the effect that it is not enough for a man to be good; he must be good for something. The something for which a man must be good is capacity to live as a social member so that what he gets from living with others balances with what he contributes. What he gets and gives as a human being, a being with desires, emotions, and ideas, is not external possessions, but a widening and deepening of conscious life—a more intense, disciplined, and expanding realization of meanings. What he materially receives and gives is at most opportunities and means for the evolution of conscious life. Otherwise, it is neither giving nor taking, but a shifting about of the position of things in space, like the stirring of water and sand with a stick. Discipline, culture, social efficiency, personal refinement, improvement of character are but phases of the growth of capacity nobly to share in such a balanced experience. And education is not a mere means to such a life. Education is such a life. To maintain capacity for such education is the essence of morals. For conscious life is a continual beginning afresh.


The most important problem of moral education in the school concerns the relationship of knowledge and conduct. For unless the learning which accrues in the regular course of study affects character, it is futile to conceive the moral end as the unifying and culminating end of education. When there is no intimate organic connection between the methods and materials of knowledge and moral growth, particular lessons and modes of discipline have to be resorted to: knowledge is not integrated into the usual springs of action and the outlook on life, while morals become moralistic—a scheme of separate virtues.

The two theories chiefly associated with the separation of learning from activity, and hence from morals, are those which cut off inner disposition and motive—the conscious personal factor—and deeds as purely physical and outer; and which set action from interest in opposition to that from principle. Both of these separations are overcome in an educational scheme where learning is the accompaniment of continuous activities or occupations which have a social aim and utilize the materials of typical social situations. For under such conditions, the school becomes itself a form of social life, a miniature community and one in close interaction with other modes of associated experience beyond school walls. All education which develops power to share effectively in social life is moral. It forms a character which not only does the particular deed socially necessary but one which is interested in that continuous readjustment which is essential to growth. Interest in learning from all the contacts of life is the essential moral interest.