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´╗┐Title: Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education
Author: Dewey, John, 1859-1952
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


by John Dewey

Transcriber's Note: I have tried to make this the most accurate text
possible but I am sure that there are still mistakes. Please feel free
to email me any errors or mistakes that you find. Citing the Chapter
and paragraph. Haradda@aol.com and davidr@inconnect.com are my email
addresses for now. David Reed

I would like to dedicate this etext to my mother who was a elementary
school teacher for more years than I can remember. Thanks.


     Chapter One: Education as a Necessity of Life
     Chapter Two: Education as a Social Function
     Chapter Three: Education as Direction
     Chapter Four: Education as Growth
     Chapter Five: Preparation, Unfolding, and Formal Discipline
     Chapter Six: Education as Conservative and Progressive
     Chapter Seven: The Democratic Conception in Education
     Chapter Eight: Aims in Education
     Chapter Nine: Natural Development and Social Efficiency as Aims
     Chapter Ten: Interest and Discipline
     Chapter Eleven: Experience and Thinking
     Chapter Twelve: Thinking in Education
     Chapter Thirteen: The Nature of Method
     Chapter Fourteen: The Nature of Subject Matter
     Chapter Fifteen: Play and Work in the Curriculum
     Chapter Sixteen: The Significance of Geography and History
     Chapter Seventeen: Science in the Course of Study
     Chapter Eighteen: Educational Values
     Chapter Nineteen: Labor and Leisure
     Chapter Twenty: Intellectual and Practical Studies
     Chapter Twenty-one: Physical and Social Studies: Naturalism and
     Chapter Twenty-two: The Individual and the World
     Chapter Twenty-Three: Vocational Aspects of Education
     Chapter Twenty-four: Philosophy of Education
     Chapter Twenty-five: Theories of Knowledge
     Chapter Twenty-six: Theories of Morals

Chapter One: Education as a Necessity of Life

1. Renewal of Life by Transmission. The most notable distinction between
living and inanimate things is that the former maintain themselves by
renewal. A stone when struck resists. If its resistance is greater than
the force of the blow struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise,
it is shattered into smaller bits. Never does the stone attempt to react
in such a way that it may maintain itself against the blow, much less so
as to render the blow a contributing factor to its own continued action.
While the living thing may easily be crushed by superior force, it none
the less tries to turn the energies which act upon it into means of its
own further existence. If it cannot do so, it does not just split into
smaller pieces (at least in the higher forms of life), but loses its
identity as a living thing.

As long as it endures, it struggles to use surrounding energies in its
own behalf. It uses light, air, moisture, and the material of soil. To
say that it uses them is to say that it turns them into means of its own
conservation. As long as it is growing, the energy it expends in thus
turning the environment to account is more than compensated for by
the return it gets: it grows. Understanding the word "control" in this
sense, it may be said that a living being is one that subjugates
and controls for its own continued activity the energies that would
otherwise use it up. Life is a self-renewing process through action upon
the environment.

In all the higher forms this process cannot be kept up indefinitely.
After a while they succumb; they die. The creature is not equal to the
task of indefinite self-renewal. But continuity of the life process
is not dependent upon the prolongation of the existence of any one
individual. Reproduction of other forms of life goes on in continuous
sequence. And though, as the geological record shows, not merely
individuals but also species die out, the life process continues in
increasingly complex forms. As some species die out, forms better
adapted to utilize the obstacles against which they struggled in vain
come into being. Continuity of life means continual readaptation of the
environment to the needs of living organisms.

We have been speaking of life in its lowest terms--as a physical thing.
But we use the word "Life" to denote the whole range of experience,
individual and racial. When we see a book called the Life of Lincoln
we do not expect to find within its covers a treatise on physiology.
We look for an account of social antecedents; a description of early
surroundings, of the conditions and occupation of the family; of the
chief episodes in the development of character; of signal struggles and
achievements; of the individual's hopes, tastes, joys and sufferings. In
precisely similar fashion we speak of the life of a savage tribe, of
the Athenian people, of the American nation. "Life" covers customs,
institutions, beliefs, victories and defeats, recreations and

We employ the word "experience" in the same pregnant sense. And to it,
as well as to life in the bare physiological sense, the principle
of continuity through renewal applies. With the renewal of physical
existence goes, in the case of human beings, the recreation of beliefs,
ideals, hopes, happiness, misery, and practices. The continuity of any
experience, through renewing of the social group, is a literal fact.
Education, in its broadest sense, is the means of this social continuity
of life. Every one of the constituent elements of a social group, in a
modern city as in a savage tribe, is born immature, helpless, without
language, beliefs, ideas, or social standards. Each individual, each
unit who is the carrier of the life-experience of his group, in time
passes away. Yet the life of the group goes on.

The primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of each one of
the constituent members in a social group determine the necessity of
education. On one hand, there is the contrast between the immaturity of
the new-born members of the group--its future sole representatives--and
the maturity of the adult members who possess the knowledge and customs
of the group. On the other hand, there is the necessity that these
immature members be not merely physically preserved in adequate numbers,
but that they be initiated into the interests, purposes, information,
skill, and practices of the mature members: otherwise the group will
cease its characteristic life. Even in a savage tribe, the achievements
of adults are far beyond what the immature members would be capable of
if left to themselves. With the growth of civilization, the gap between
the original capacities of the immature and the standards and customs of
the elders increases. Mere physical growing up, mere mastery of the bare
necessities of subsistence will not suffice to reproduce the life of
the group. Deliberate effort and the taking of thoughtful pains are
required. Beings who are born not only unaware of, but quite indifferent
to, the aims and habits of the social group have to be rendered
cognizant of them and actively interested. Education, and education
alone, spans the gap.

Society exists through a process of transmission quite as much as
biological life. This transmission occurs by means of communication of
habits of doing, thinking, and feeling from the older to the younger.
Without this communication of ideals, hopes, expectations, standards,
opinions, from those members of society who are passing out of the group
life to those who are coming into it, social life could not survive.
If the members who compose a society lived on continuously, they
might educate the new-born members, but it would be a task directed
by personal interest rather than social need. Now it is a work of

If a plague carried off the members of a society all at once, it is
obvious that the group would be permanently done for. Yet the death of
each of its constituent members is as certain as if an epidemic took
them all at once. But the graded difference in age, the fact that some
are born as some die, makes possible through transmission of ideas and
practices the constant reweaving of the social fabric. Yet this renewal
is not automatic. Unless pains are taken to see that genuine and
thorough transmission takes place, the most civilized group will relapse
into barbarism and then into savagery. In fact, the human young are so
immature that if they were left to themselves without the guidance
and succor of others, they could not acquire the rudimentary abilities
necessary for physical existence. The young of human beings compare
so poorly in original efficiency with the young of many of the lower
animals, that even the powers needed for physical sustentation have to
be acquired under tuition. How much more, then, is this the case with
respect to all the technological, artistic, scientific, and moral
achievements of humanity!

2. Education and Communication. So obvious, indeed, is the necessity of
teaching and learning for the continued existence of a society that we
may seem to be dwelling unduly on a truism. But justification is found
in the fact that such emphasis is a means of getting us away from an
unduly scholastic and formal notion of education. Schools are, indeed,
one important method of the transmission which forms the dispositions
of the immature; but it is only one means, and, compared with other
agencies, a relatively superficial means. Only as we have grasped the
necessity of more fundamental and persistent modes of tuition can we
make sure of placing the scholastic methods in their true context.

Society not only continues to exist by transmission, by communication,
but it may fairly be said to exist in transmission, in communication.
There is more than a verbal tie between the words common, community,
and communication. Men live in a community in virtue of the things which
they have in common; and communication is the way in which they come to
possess things in common. What they must have in common in order to
form a community or society are aims, beliefs, aspirations, knowledge--a
common understanding--like-mindedness as the sociologists say. Such
things cannot be passed physically from one to another, like bricks;
they cannot be shared as persons would share a pie by dividing it into
physical pieces. The communication which insures participation in a
common understanding is one which secures similar emotional and
intellectual dispositions--like ways of responding to expectations and

Persons do not become a society by living in physical proximity, any
more than a man ceases to be socially influenced by being so many feet
or miles removed from others. A book or a letter may institute a more
intimate association between human beings separated thousands of miles
from each other than exists between dwellers under the same roof.
Individuals do not even compose a social group because they all work
for a common end. The parts of a machine work with a maximum of
cooperativeness for a common result, but they do not form a community.
If, however, they were all cognizant of the common end and all
interested in it so that they regulated their specific activity in
view of it, then they would form a community. But this would involve
communication. Each would have to know what the other was about and
would have to have some way of keeping the other informed as to his own
purpose and progress. Consensus demands communication.

We are thus compelled to recognize that within even the most social
group there are many relations which are not as yet social. A large
number of human relationships in any social group are still upon the
machine-like plane. Individuals use one another so as to get desired
results, without reference to the emotional and intellectual disposition
and consent of those used. Such uses express physical superiority, or
superiority of position, skill, technical ability, and command of tools,
mechanical or fiscal. So far as the relations of parent and child,
teacher and pupil, employer and employee, governor and governed, remain
upon this level, they form no true social group, no matter how closely
their respective activities touch one another. Giving and taking of
orders modifies action and results, but does not of itself effect a
sharing of purposes, a communication of interests.

Not only is social life identical with communication, but all
communication (and hence all genuine social life) is educative. To be
a recipient of a communication is to have an enlarged and changed
experience. One shares in what another has thought and felt and in so
far, meagerly or amply, has his own attitude modified. Nor is the one
who communicates left unaffected. Try the experiment of communicating,
with fullness and accuracy, some experience to another, especially if it
be somewhat complicated, and you will find your own attitude toward
your experience changing; otherwise you resort to expletives and
ejaculations. The experience has to be formulated in order to be
communicated. To formulate requires getting outside of it, seeing it as
another would see it, considering what points of contact it has with
the life of another so that it may be got into such form that he can
appreciate its meaning. Except in dealing with commonplaces and catch
phrases one has to assimilate, imaginatively, something of another's
experience in order to tell him intelligently of one's own experience.
All communication is like art. It may fairly be said, therefore, that
any social arrangement that remains vitally social, or vitally shared,
is educative to those who participate in it. Only when it becomes cast
in a mold and runs in a routine way does it lose its educative power.

In final account, then, not only does social life demand teaching and
learning for its own permanence, but the very process of living together
educates. It enlarges and enlightens experience; it stimulates and
enriches imagination; it creates responsibility for accuracy and
vividness of statement and thought. A man really living alone (alone
mentally as well as physically) would have little or no occasion
to reflect upon his past experience to extract its net meaning. The
inequality of achievement between the mature and the immature not only
necessitates teaching the young, but the necessity of this teaching
gives an immense stimulus to reducing experience to that order and form
which will render it most easily communicable and hence most usable.

3. The Place of Formal Education. There is, accordingly, a marked
difference between the education which every one gets from living
with others, as long as he really lives instead of just continuing to
subsist, and the deliberate educating of the young. In the former case
the education is incidental; it is natural and important, but it is not
the express reason of the association. While it may be said, without
exaggeration, that the measure of the worth of any social institution,
economic, domestic, political, legal, religious, is its effect in
enlarging and improving experience; yet this effect is not a part of
its original motive, which is limited and more immediately practical.
Religious associations began, for example, in the desire to secure the
favor of overruling powers and to ward off evil influences; family
life in the desire to gratify appetites and secure family perpetuity;
systematic labor, for the most part, because of enslavement to others,
etc. Only gradually was the by-product of the institution, its effect
upon the quality and extent of conscious life, noted, and only more
gradually still was this effect considered as a directive factor in the
conduct of the institution. Even today, in our industrial life, apart
from certain values of industriousness and thrift, the intellectual and
emotional reaction of the forms of human association under which the
world's work is carried on receives little attention as compared with
physical output.

But in dealing with the young, the fact of association itself as an
immediate human fact, gains in importance. While it is easy to ignore in
our contact with them the effect of our acts upon their disposition,
or to subordinate that educative effect to some external and tangible
result, it is not so easy as in dealing with adults. The need of
training is too evident; the pressure to accomplish a change in their
attitude and habits is too urgent to leave these consequences wholly
out of account. Since our chief business with them is to enable them to
share in a common life we cannot help considering whether or no we are
forming the powers which will secure this ability. If humanity has made
some headway in realizing that the ultimate value of every institution
is its distinctively human effect--its effect upon conscious
experience--we may well believe that this lesson has been learned
largely through dealings with the young.

We are thus led to distinguish, within the broad educational
process which we have been so far considering, a more formal kind of
education--that of direct tuition or schooling. In undeveloped social
groups, we find very little formal teaching and training. Savage groups
mainly rely for instilling needed dispositions into the young upon the
same sort of association which keeps adults loyal to their group. They
have no special devices, material, or institutions for teaching save in
connection with initiation ceremonies by which the youth are inducted
into full social membership. For the most part, they depend upon
children learning the customs of the adults, acquiring their emotional
set and stock of ideas, by sharing in what the elders are doing. In
part, this sharing is direct, taking part in the occupations of adults
and thus serving an apprenticeship; in part, it is indirect, through the
dramatic plays in which children reproduce the actions of grown-ups
and thus learn to know what they are like. To savages it would seem
preposterous to seek out a place where nothing but learning was going on
in order that one might learn.

But as civilization advances, the gap between the capacities of the
young and the concerns of adults widens. Learning by direct sharing in
the pursuits of grown-ups becomes increasingly difficult except in the
case of the less advanced occupations. Much of what adults do is so
remote in space and in meaning that playful imitation is less and less
adequate to reproduce its spirit. Ability to share effectively in adult
activities thus depends upon a prior training given with this end in
view. Intentional agencies--schools--and explicit material--studies--are
devised. The task of teaching certain things is delegated to a special
group of persons.

Without such formal education, it is not possible to transmit all the
resources and achievements of a complex society. It also opens a way to
a kind of experience which would not be accessible to the young, if they
were left to pick up their training in informal association with others,
since books and the symbols of knowledge are mastered.

But there are conspicuous dangers attendant upon the transition from
indirect to formal education. Sharing in actual pursuit, whether
directly or vicariously in play, is at least personal and vital. These
qualities compensate, in some measure, for the narrowness of available
opportunities. Formal instruction, on the contrary, easily becomes
remote and dead--abstract and bookish, to use the ordinary words of
depreciation. What accumulated knowledge exists in low grade societies
is at least put into practice; it is transmuted into character; it
exists with the depth of meaning that attaches to its coming within
urgent daily interests.

But in an advanced culture much which has to be learned is stored in
symbols. It is far from translation into familiar acts and objects. Such
material is relatively technical and superficial. Taking the ordinary
standard of reality as a measure, it is artificial. For this measure is
connection with practical concerns. Such material exists in a world by
itself, unassimilated to ordinary customs of thought and expression.
There is the standing danger that the material of formal instruction
will be merely the subject matter of the schools, isolated from the
subject matter of life-experience. The permanent social interests are
likely to be lost from view. Those which have not been carried over
into the structure of social life, but which remain largely matters
of technical information expressed in symbols, are made conspicuous
in schools. Thus we reach the ordinary notion of education: the notion
which ignores its social necessity and its identity with all human
association that affects conscious life, and which identifies it with
imparting information about remote matters and the conveying of learning
through verbal signs: the acquisition of literacy.

Hence one of the weightiest problems with which the philosophy of
education has to cope is the method of keeping a proper balance between
the informal and the formal, the incidental and the intentional,
modes of education. When the acquiring of information and of technical
intellectual skill do not influence the formation of a social
disposition, ordinary vital experience fails to gain in meaning, while
schooling, in so far, creates only "sharps" in learning--that is,
egoistic specialists. To avoid a split between what men consciously
know because they are aware of having learned it by a specific job of
learning, and what they unconsciously know because they have absorbed it
in the formation of their characters by intercourse with others,
becomes an increasingly delicate task with every development of special

Summary. It is the very nature of life to strive to continue in being.
Since this continuance can be secured only by constant renewals, life
is a self-renewing process. What nutrition and reproduction are to
physiological life, education is to social life. This education consists
primarily in transmission through communication. Communication is a
process of sharing experience till it becomes a common possession. It
modifies the disposition of both the parties who partake in it. That
the ulterior significance of every mode of human association lies in
the contribution which it makes to the improvement of the quality
of experience is a fact most easily recognized in dealing with the
immature. That is to say, while every social arrangement is educative
in effect, the educative effect first becomes an important part of the
purpose of the association in connection with the association of the
older with the younger. As societies become more complex in structure
and resources, the need of formal or intentional teaching and learning
increases. As formal teaching and training grow in extent, there is the
danger of creating an undesirable split between the experience gained in
more direct associations and what is acquired in school. This danger was
never greater than at the present time, on account of the rapid growth
in the last few centuries of knowledge and technical modes of skill.

Chapter Two: Education as a Social Function

1. The Nature and Meaning of Environment. We have seen that a community
or social group sustains itself through continuous self-renewal, and
that this renewal takes place by means of the educational growth of the
immature members of the group. By various agencies, unintentional and
designed, a society transforms uninitiated and seemingly alien beings
into robust trustees of its own resources and ideals. Education is thus
a fostering, a nurturing, a cultivating, process. All of these words
mean that it implies attention to the conditions of growth. We also
speak of rearing, raising, bringing up--words which express the
difference of level which education aims to cover. Etymologically, the
word education means just a process of leading or bringing up. When
we have the outcome of the process in mind, we speak of education as
shaping, forming, molding activity--that is, a shaping into the standard
form of social activity. In this chapter we are concerned with the
general features of the way in which a social group brings up its
immature members into its own social form.

Since what is required is a transformation of the quality of experience
till it partakes in the interests, purposes, and ideas current in the
social group, the problem is evidently not one of mere physical forming.
Things can be physically transported in space; they may be bodily
conveyed. Beliefs and aspirations cannot be physically extracted and
inserted. How then are they communicated? Given the impossibility of
direct contagion or literal inculcation, our problem is to discover the
method by which the young assimilate the point of view of the old, or
the older bring the young into like-mindedness with themselves. The
answer, in general formulation, is: By means of the action of the
environment in calling out certain responses. The required beliefs
cannot be hammered in; the needed attitudes cannot be plastered on. But
the particular medium in which an individual exists leads him to see and
feel one thing rather than another; it leads him to have certain plans
in order that he may act successfully with others; it strengthens some
beliefs and weakens others as a condition of winning the approval of
others. Thus it gradually produces in him a certain system of behavior,
a certain disposition of action. The words "environment," "medium"
denote something more than surroundings which encompass an individual.
They denote the specific continuity of the surroundings with his own
active tendencies. An inanimate being is, of course, continuous with
its surroundings; but the environing circumstances do not, save
metaphorically, constitute an environment. For the inorganic being is
not concerned in the influences which affect it. On the other hand,
some things which are remote in space and time from a living creature,
especially a human creature, may form his environment even more truly
than some of the things close to him. The things with which a man varies
are his genuine environment. Thus the activities of the astronomer vary
with the stars at which he gazes or about which he calculates. Of
his immediate surroundings, his telescope is most intimately his
environment. The environment of an antiquarian, as an antiquarian,
consists of the remote epoch of human life with which he is concerned,
and the relics, inscriptions, etc., by which he establishes connections
with that period.

In brief, the environment consists of those conditions that promote or
hinder, stimulate or inhibit, the characteristic activities of a living
being. Water is the environment of a fish because it is necessary to the
fish's activities--to its life. The north pole is a significant element
in the environment of an arctic explorer, whether he succeeds in
reaching it or not, because it defines his activities, makes them what
they distinctively are. Just because life signifies not bare passive
existence (supposing there is such a thing), but a way of acting,
environment or medium signifies what enters into this activity as a
sustaining or frustrating condition.

2. The Social Environment. A being whose activities are associated with
others has a social environment. What he does and what he can do depend
upon the expectations, demands, approvals, and condemnations of others.
A being connected with other beings cannot perform his own activities
without taking the activities of others into account. For they are the
indispensable conditions of the realization of his tendencies. When he
moves he stirs them and reciprocally. We might as well try to imagine a
business man doing business, buying and selling, all by himself, as to
conceive it possible to define the activities of an individual in terms
of his isolated actions. The manufacturer moreover is as truly socially
guided in his activities when he is laying plans in the privacy of his
own counting house as when he is buying his raw material or selling
his finished goods. Thinking and feeling that have to do with action in
association with others is as much a social mode of behavior as is the
most overt cooperative or hostile act.

What we have more especially to indicate is how the social medium
nurtures its immature members. There is no great difficulty in seeing
how it shapes the external habits of action. Even dogs and horses have
their actions modified by association with human beings; they form
different habits because human beings are concerned with what they do.
Human beings control animals by controlling the natural stimuli which
influence them; by creating a certain environment in other words. Food,
bits and bridles, noises, vehicles, are used to direct the ways in
which the natural or instinctive responses of horses occur. By operating
steadily to call out certain acts, habits are formed which function with
the same uniformity as the original stimuli. If a rat is put in a
maze and finds food only by making a given number of turns in a given
sequence, his activity is gradually modified till he habitually takes
that course rather than another when he is hungry.

Human actions are modified in a like fashion. A burnt child dreads the
fire; if a parent arranged conditions so that every time a child touched
a certain toy he got burned, the child would learn to avoid that toy
as automatically as he avoids touching fire. So far, however, we are
dealing with what may be called training in distinction from educative
teaching. The changes considered are in outer action rather than in
mental and emotional dispositions of behavior. The distinction is not,
however, a sharp one. The child might conceivably generate in time a
violent antipathy, not only to that particular toy, but to the class
of toys resembling it. The aversion might even persist after he had
forgotten about the original burns; later on he might even invent some
reason to account for his seemingly irrational antipathy. In some cases,
altering the external habit of action by changing the environment to
affect the stimuli to action will also alter the mental disposition
concerned in the action. Yet this does not always happen; a person
trained to dodge a threatening blow, dodges automatically with
no corresponding thought or emotion. We have to find, then, some
differentia of training from education.

A clew may be found in the fact that the horse does not really share in
the social use to which his action is put. Some one else uses the horse
to secure a result which is advantageous by making it advantageous
to the horse to perform the act--he gets food, etc. But the horse,
presumably, does not get any new interest. He remains interested in
food, not in the service he is rendering. He is not a partner in a
shared activity. Were he to become a copartner, he would, in engaging
in the conjoint activity, have the same interest in its accomplishment
which others have. He would share their ideas and emotions.

Now in many cases--too many cases--the activity of the immature human
being is simply played upon to secure habits which are useful. He is
trained like an animal rather than educated like a human being. His
instincts remain attached to their original objects of pain or pleasure.
But to get happiness or to avoid the pain of failure he has to act in
a way agreeable to others. In other cases, he really shares or
participates in the common activity. In this case, his original impulse
is modified. He not merely acts in a way agreeing with the actions of
others, but, in so acting, the same ideas and emotions are aroused
in him that animate the others. A tribe, let us say, is warlike. The
successes for which it strives, the achievements upon which it sets
store, are connected with fighting and victory. The presence of this
medium incites bellicose exhibitions in a boy, first in games, then
in fact when he is strong enough. As he fights he wins approval and
advancement; as he refrains, he is disliked, ridiculed, shut out
from favorable recognition. It is not surprising that his original
belligerent tendencies and emotions are strengthened at the expense of
others, and that his ideas turn to things connected with war. Only in
this way can he become fully a recognized member of his group. Thus his
mental habitudes are gradually assimilated to those of his group.

If we formulate the principle involved in this illustration, we shall
perceive that the social medium neither implants certain desires and
ideas directly, nor yet merely establishes certain purely muscular
habits of action, like "instinctively" winking or dodging a blow.
Setting up conditions which stimulate certain visible and tangible ways
of acting is the first step. Making the individual a sharer or partner
in the associated activity so that he feels its success as his success,
its failure as his failure, is the completing step. As soon as he is
possessed by the emotional attitude of the group, he will be alert to
recognize the special ends at which it aims and the means employed to
secure success. His beliefs and ideas, in other words, will take a form
similar to those of others in the group. He will also achieve pretty
much the same stock of knowledge since that knowledge is an ingredient
of his habitual pursuits.

The importance of language in gaining knowledge is doubtless the chief
cause of the common notion that knowledge may be passed directly from
one to another. It almost seems as if all we have to do to convey an
idea into the mind of another is to convey a sound into his ear. Thus
imparting knowledge gets assimilated to a purely physical process. But
learning from language will be found, when analyzed, to confirm the
principle just laid down. It would probably be admitted with little
hesitation that a child gets the idea of, say, a hat by using it as
other persons do; by covering the head with it, giving it to others
to wear, having it put on by others when going out, etc. But it may be
asked how this principle of shared activity applies to getting through
speech or reading the idea of, say, a Greek helmet, where no direct use
of any kind enters in. What shared activity is there in learning from
books about the discovery of America?

Since language tends to become the chief instrument of learning about
many things, let us see how it works. The baby begins of course with
mere sounds, noises, and tones having no meaning, expressing, that is,
no idea. Sounds are just one kind of stimulus to direct response, some
having a soothing effect, others tending to make one jump, and so on.
The sound h-a-t would remain as meaningless as a sound in Choctaw, a
seemingly inarticulate grunt, if it were not uttered in connection
with an action which is participated in by a number of people. When the
mother is taking the infant out of doors, she says "hat" as she puts
something on the baby's head. Being taken out becomes an interest to the
child; mother and child not only go out with each other physically,
but both are concerned in the going out; they enjoy it in common. By
conjunction with the other factors in activity the sound "hat" soon gets
the same meaning for the child that it has for the parent; it becomes a
sign of the activity into which it enters. The bare fact that language
consists of sounds which are mutually intelligible is enough of
itself to show that its meaning depends upon connection with a shared

In short, the sound h-a-t gains meaning in precisely the same way that
the thing "hat" gains it, by being used in a given way. And they acquire
the same meaning with the child which they have with the adult because
they are used in a common experience by both. The guarantee for the
same manner of use is found in the fact that the thing and the sound are
first employed in a joint activity, as a means of setting up an active
connection between the child and a grownup. Similar ideas or meanings
spring up because both persons are engaged as partners in an action
where what each does depends upon and influences what the other does. If
two savages were engaged in a joint hunt for game, and a certain signal
meant "move to the right" to the one who uttered it, and "move to the
left" to the one who heard it, they obviously could not successfully
carry on their hunt together. Understanding one another means that
objects, including sounds, have the same value for both with respect to
carrying on a common pursuit.

After sounds have got meaning through connection with other things
employed in a joint undertaking, they can be used in connection with
other like sounds to develop new meanings, precisely as the things for
which they stand are combined. Thus the words in which a child
learns about, say, the Greek helmet originally got a meaning (or were
understood) by use in an action having a common interest and end. They
now arouse a new meaning by inciting the one who hears or reads to
rehearse imaginatively the activities in which the helmet has its use.
For the time being, the one who understands the words "Greek helmet"
becomes mentally a partner with those who used the helmet. He engages,
through his imagination, in a shared activity. It is not easy to get
the full meaning of words. Most persons probably stop with the idea that
"helmet" denotes a queer kind of headgear a people called the Greeks
once wore. We conclude, accordingly, that the use of language to convey
and acquire ideas is an extension and refinement of the principle
that things gain meaning by being used in a shared experience or joint
action; in no sense does it contravene that principle. When words do
not enter as factors into a shared situation, either overtly or
imaginatively, they operate as pure physical stimuli, not as having
a meaning or intellectual value. They set activity running in a given
groove, but there is no accompanying conscious purpose or meaning.
Thus, for example, the plus sign may be a stimulus to perform the act of
writing one number under another and adding the numbers, but the person
performing the act will operate much as an automaton would unless he
realizes the meaning of what he does.

3. The Social Medium as Educative. Our net result thus far is that
social environment forms the mental and emotional disposition of
behavior in individuals by engaging them in activities that arouse
and strengthen certain impulses, that have certain purposes and entail
certain consequences. A child growing up in a family of musicians will
inevitably have whatever capacities he has in music stimulated, and,
relatively, stimulated more than other impulses which might have been
awakened in another environment. Save as he takes an interest in music
and gains a certain competency in it, he is "out of it"; he is unable
to share in the life of the group to which he belongs. Some kinds of
participation in the life of those with whom the individual is connected
are inevitable; with respect to them, the social environment exercises
an educative or formative influence unconsciously and apart from any set

In savage and barbarian communities, such direct participation
(constituting the indirect or incidental education of which we have
spoken) furnishes almost the sole influence for rearing the young into
the practices and beliefs of the group. Even in present-day societies,
it furnishes the basic nurture of even the most insistently schooled
youth. In accord with the interests and occupations of the group,
certain things become objects of high esteem; others of aversion.
Association does not create impulses or affection and dislike, but it
furnishes the objects to which they attach themselves. The way our group
or class does things tends to determine the proper objects of attention,
and thus to prescribe the directions and limits of observation
and memory. What is strange or foreign (that is to say outside
the activities of the groups) tends to be morally forbidden and
intellectually suspect. It seems almost incredible to us, for example,
that things which we know very well could have escaped recognition
in past ages. We incline to account for it by attributing congenital
stupidity to our forerunners and by assuming superior native
intelligence on our own part. But the explanation is that their modes
of life did not call for attention to such facts, but held their minds
riveted to other things. Just as the senses require sensible objects
to stimulate them, so our powers of observation, recollection, and
imagination do not work spontaneously, but are set in motion by the
demands set up by current social occupations. The main texture of
disposition is formed, independently of schooling, by such influences.
What conscious, deliberate teaching can do is at most to free the
capacities thus formed for fuller exercise, to purge them of some of
their grossness, and to furnish objects which make their activity more
productive of meaning.

While this "unconscious influence of the environment" is so subtle and
pervasive that it affects every fiber of character and mind, it may
be worth while to specify a few directions in which its effect is most
marked. First, the habits of language. Fundamental modes of speech, the
bulk of the vocabulary, are formed in the ordinary intercourse of life,
carried on not as a set means of instruction but as a social necessity.
The babe acquires, as we well say, the mother tongue. While speech
habits thus contracted may be corrected or even displaced by conscious
teaching, yet, in times of excitement, intentionally acquired modes of
speech often fall away, and individuals relapse into their really native
tongue. Secondly, manners. Example is notoriously more potent than
precept. Good manners come, as we say, from good breeding or rather are
good breeding; and breeding is acquired by habitual action, in response
to habitual stimuli, not by conveying information. Despite the never
ending play of conscious correction and instruction, the surrounding
atmosphere and spirit is in the end the chief agent in forming manners.
And manners are but minor morals. Moreover, in major morals, conscious
instruction is likely to be efficacious only in the degree in which
it falls in with the general "walk and conversation" of those who
constitute the child's social environment. Thirdly, good taste and
esthetic appreciation. If the eye is constantly greeted by harmonious
objects, having elegance of form and color, a standard of taste
naturally grows up. The effect of a tawdry, unarranged, and
over-decorated environment works for the deterioration of taste, just as
meager and barren surroundings starve out the desire for beauty. Against
such odds, conscious teaching can hardly do more than convey second-hand
information as to what others think. Such taste never becomes
spontaneous and personally engrained, but remains a labored reminder of
what those think to whom one has been taught to look up. To say that the
deeper standards of judgments of value are framed by the situations
into which a person habitually enters is not so much to mention a fourth
point, as it is to point out a fusion of those already mentioned. We
rarely recognize the extent in which our conscious estimates of what is
worth while and what is not, are due to standards of which we are not
conscious at all. But in general it may be said that the things which we
take for granted without inquiry or reflection are just the things which
determine our conscious thinking and decide our conclusions. And these
habitudes which lie below the level of reflection are just those which
have been formed in the constant give and take of relationship with

4. The School as a Special Environment. The chief importance of this
foregoing statement of the educative process which goes on willy-nilly
is to lead us to note that the only way in which adults consciously
control the kind of education which the immature get is by controlling
the environment in which they act, and hence think and feel. We never
educate directly, but indirectly by means of the environment. Whether
we permit chance environments to do the work, or whether we design
environments for the purpose makes a great difference. And any
environment is a chance environment so far as its educative influence
is concerned unless it has been deliberately regulated with reference to
its educative effect. An intelligent home differs from an unintelligent
one chiefly in that the habits of life and intercourse which prevail are
chosen, or at least colored, by the thought of their bearing upon the
development of children. But schools remain, of course, the typical
instance of environments framed with express reference to influencing
the mental and moral disposition of their members.

Roughly speaking, they come into existence when social traditions are
so complex that a considerable part of the social store is committed
to writing and transmitted through written symbols. Written symbols are
even more artificial or conventional than spoken; they cannot be picked
up in accidental intercourse with others. In addition, the written form
tends to select and record matters which are comparatively foreign
to everyday life. The achievements accumulated from generation to
generation are deposited in it even though some of them have fallen
temporarily out of use. Consequently as soon as a community depends to
any considerable extent upon what lies beyond its own territory and its
own immediate generation, it must rely upon the set agency of schools
to insure adequate transmission of all its resources. To take an obvious
illustration: The life of the ancient Greeks and Romans has profoundly
influenced our own, and yet the ways in which they affect us do not
present themselves on the surface of our ordinary experiences. In
similar fashion, peoples still existing, but remote in space, British,
Germans, Italians, directly concern our own social affairs, but
the nature of the interaction cannot be understood without explicit
statement and attention. In precisely similar fashion, our daily
associations cannot be trusted to make clear to the young the part
played in our activities by remote physical energies, and by invisible
structures. Hence a special mode of social intercourse is instituted,
the school, to care for such matters.

This mode of association has three functions sufficiently specific,
as compared with ordinary associations of life, to be noted. First, a
complex civilization is too complex to be assimilated in toto. It has to
be broken up into portions, as it were, and assimilated piecemeal, in a
gradual and graded way. The relationships of our present social life are
so numerous and so interwoven that a child placed in the most favorable
position could not readily share in many of the most important of them.
Not sharing in them, their meaning would not be communicated to him,
would not become a part of his own mental disposition. There would be
no seeing the trees because of the forest. Business, politics, art,
science, religion, would make all at once a clamor for attention;
confusion would be the outcome. The first office of the social organ we
call the school is to provide a simplified environment. It selects the
features which are fairly fundamental and capable of being responded to
by the young. Then it establishes a progressive order, using the
factors first acquired as means of gaining insight into what is more

In the second place, it is the business of the school environment to
eliminate, so far as possible, the unworthy features of the existing
environment from influence upon mental habitudes. It establishes a
purified medium of action. Selection aims not only at simplifying but at
weeding out what is undesirable. Every society gets encumbered with what
is trivial, with dead wood from the past, and with what is positively
perverse. The school has the duty of omitting such things from the
environment which it supplies, and thereby doing what it can to
counteract their influence in the ordinary social environment. By
selecting the best for its exclusive use, it strives to reinforce the
power of this best. As a society becomes more enlightened, it realizes
that it is responsible not to transmit and conserve the whole of
its existing achievements, but only such as make for a better future
society. The school is its chief agency for the accomplishment of this

In the third place, it is the office of the school environment to
balance the various elements in the social environment, and to see to it
that each individual gets an opportunity to escape from the limitations
of the social group in which he was born, and to come into living
contact with a broader environment. Such words as "society" and
"community" are likely to be misleading, for they have a tendency to
make us think there is a single thing corresponding to the single word.
As a matter of fact, a modern society is many societies more or less
loosely connected. Each household with its immediate extension of
friends makes a society; the village or street group of playmates is a
community; each business group, each club, is another. Passing beyond
these more intimate groups, there is in a country like our own a variety
of races, religious affiliations, economic divisions. Inside the modern
city, in spite of its nominal political unity, there are probably more
communities, more differing customs, traditions, aspirations, and forms
of government or control, than existed in an entire continent at an
earlier epoch.

Each such group exercises a formative influence on the active
dispositions of its members. A clique, a club, a gang, a Fagin's
household of thieves, the prisoners in a jail, provide educative
environments for those who enter into their collective or conjoint
activities, as truly as a church, a labor union, a business partnership,
or a political party. Each of them is a mode of associated or community
life, quite as much as is a family, a town, or a state. There are also
communities whose members have little or no direct contact with one
another, like the guild of artists, the republic of letters, the members
of the professional learned class scattered over the face of the
earth. For they have aims in common, and the activity of each member is
directly modified by knowledge of what others are doing.

In the olden times, the diversity of groups was largely a geographical
matter. There were many societies, but each, within its own territory,
was comparatively homogeneous. But with the development of commerce,
transportation, intercommunication, and emigration, countries like the
United States are composed of a combination of different groups with
different traditional customs. It is this situation which has, perhaps
more than any other one cause, forced the demand for an educational
institution which shall provide something like a homogeneous and
balanced environment for the young. Only in this way can the centrifugal
forces set up by juxtaposition of different groups within one and the
same political unit be counteracted. The intermingling in the school
of youth of different races, differing religions, and unlike customs
creates for all a new and broader environment. Common subject matter
accustoms all to a unity of outlook upon a broader horizon than
is visible to the members of any group while it is isolated. The
assimilative force of the American public school is eloquent testimony
to the efficacy of the common and balanced appeal.

The school has the function also of coordinating within the disposition
of each individual the diverse influences of the various social
environments into which he enters. One code prevails in the family;
another, on the street; a third, in the workshop or store; a fourth,
in the religious association. As a person passes from one of the
environments to another, he is subjected to antagonistic pulls, and
is in danger of being split into a being having different standards of
judgment and emotion for different occasions. This danger imposes upon
the school a steadying and integrating office.

Summary. The development within the young of the attitudes and
dispositions necessary to the continuous and progressive life of a
society cannot take place by direct conveyance of beliefs, emotions, and
knowledge. It takes place through the intermediary of the environment.
The environment consists of the sum total of conditions which are
concerned in the execution of the activity characteristic of a living
being. The social environment consists of all the activities of fellow
beings that are bound up in the carrying on of the activities of any
one of its members. It is truly educative in its effect in the degree in
which an individual shares or participates in some conjoint activity. By
doing his share in the associated activity, the individual appropriates
the purpose which actuates it, becomes familiar with its methods and
subject matters, acquires needed skill, and is saturated with its
emotional spirit.

The deeper and more intimate educative formation of disposition
comes, without conscious intent, as the young gradually partake of the
activities of the various groups to which they may belong. As a society
becomes more complex, however, it is found necessary to provide a
special social environment which shall especially look after nurturing
the capacities of the immature. Three of the more important functions
of this special environment are: simplifying and ordering the factors
of the disposition it is wished to develop; purifying and idealizing
the existing social customs; creating a wider and better balanced
environment than that by which the young would be likely, if left to
themselves, to be influenced.

Chapter Three: Education as Direction

1. The Environment as Directive.

We now pass to one of the special forms which the general function of
education assumes: namely, that of direction, control, or guidance.
Of these three words, direction, control, and guidance, the last best
conveys the idea of assisting through cooperation the natural capacities
of the individuals guided; control conveys rather the notion of an
energy brought to bear from without and meeting some resistance from the
one controlled; direction is a more neutral term and suggests the
fact that the active tendencies of those directed are led in a certain
continuous course, instead of dispersing aimlessly. Direction expresses
the basic function, which tends at one extreme to become a guiding
assistance and at another, a regulation or ruling. But in any case, we
must carefully avoid a meaning sometimes read into the term "control."
It is sometimes assumed, explicitly or unconsciously, that an
individual's tendencies are naturally purely individualistic or
egoistic, and thus antisocial. Control then denotes the process by which
he is brought to subordinate his natural impulses to public or common
ends. Since, by conception, his own nature is quite alien to this
process and opposes it rather than helps it, control has in this view
a flavor of coercion or compulsion about it. Systems of government
and theories of the state have been built upon this notion, and it has
seriously affected educational ideas and practices. But there is no
ground for any such view. Individuals are certainly interested, at
times, in having their own way, and their own way may go contrary to
the ways of others. But they are also interested, and chiefly interested
upon the whole, in entering into the activities of others and taking
part in conjoint and cooperative doings. Otherwise, no such thing as
a community would be possible. And there would not even be any one
interested in furnishing the policeman to keep a semblance of harmony
unless he thought that thereby he could gain some personal advantage.
Control, in truth, means only an emphatic form of direction of powers,
and covers the regulation gained by an individual through his own
efforts quite as much as that brought about when others take the lead.

In general, every stimulus directs activity. It does not simply excite
it or stir it up, but directs it toward an object. Put the other way
around, a response is not just a re-action, a protest, as it were,
against being disturbed; it is, as the word indicates, an answer. It
meets the stimulus, and corresponds with it. There is an adaptation of
the stimulus and response to each other. A light is the stimulus to the
eye to see something, and the business of the eye is to see. If the
eyes are open and there is light, seeing occurs; the stimulus is but a
condition of the fulfillment of the proper function of the organ, not an
outside interruption. To some extent, then, all direction or control is
a guiding of activity to its own end; it is an assistance in doing fully
what some organ is already tending to do.

This general statement needs, however, to be qualified in two respects.
In the first place, except in the case of a small number of instincts,
the stimuli to which an immature human being is subject are not
sufficiently definite to call out, in the beginning, specific responses.
There is always a great deal of superfluous energy aroused. This energy
may be wasted, going aside from the point; it may also go against the
successful performance of an act. It does harm by getting in the way.
Compare the behavior of a beginner in riding a bicycle with that of the
expert. There is little axis of direction in the energies put forth;
they are largely dispersive and centrifugal. Direction involves
a focusing and fixating of action in order that it may be truly a
response, and this requires an elimination of unnecessary and confusing
movements. In the second place, although no activity can be produced in
which the person does not cooperate to some extent, yet a response may
be of a kind which does not fit into the sequence and continuity of
action. A person boxing may dodge a particular blow successfully, but in
such a way as to expose himself the next instant to a still harder
blow. Adequate control means that the successive acts are brought into
a continuous order; each act not only meets its immediate stimulus but
helps the acts which follow.

In short, direction is both simultaneous and successive. At a given
time, it requires that, from all the tendencies that are partially
called out, those be selected which center energy upon the point of
need. Successively, it requires that each act be balanced with those
which precede and come after, so that order of activity is achieved.
Focusing and ordering are thus the two aspects of direction, one
spatial, the other temporal. The first insures hitting the mark; the
second keeps the balance required for further action. Obviously, it is
not possible to separate them in practice as we have distinguished them
in idea. Activity must be centered at a given time in such a way as to
prepare for what comes next. The problem of the immediate response is
complicated by one's having to be on the lookout for future occurrences.

Two conclusions emerge from these general statements. On the one hand,
purely external direction is impossible. The environment can at most
only supply stimuli to call out responses. These responses proceed from
tendencies already possessed by the individual. Even when a person
is frightened by threats into doing something, the threats work only
because the person has an instinct of fear. If he has not, or if, though
having it, it is under his own control, the threat has no more influence
upon him than light has in causing a person to see who has no eyes.
While the customs and rules of adults furnish stimuli which direct
as well as evoke the activities of the young, the young, after all,
participate in the direction which their actions finally take. In the
strict sense, nothing can be forced upon them or into them. To overlook
this fact means to distort and pervert human nature. To take into
account the contribution made by the existing instincts and habits
of those directed is to direct them economically and wisely. Speaking
accurately, all direction is but re-direction; it shifts the activities
already going on into another channel. Unless one is cognizant of the
energies which are already in operation, one's attempts at direction
will almost surely go amiss.

On the other hand, the control afforded by the customs and regulations
of others may be short-sighted. It may accomplish its immediate effect,
but at the expense of throwing the subsequent action of the person
out of balance. A threat may, for example, prevent a person from
doing something to which he is naturally inclined by arousing fear of
disagreeable consequences if he persists. But he may be left in the
position which exposes him later on to influences which will lead him
to do even worse things. His instincts of cunning and slyness may be
aroused, so that things henceforth appeal to him on the side of evasion
and trickery more than would otherwise have been the case. Those engaged
in directing the actions of others are always in danger of overlooking
the importance of the sequential development of those they direct.

2. Modes of Social Direction. Adults are naturally most conscious of
directing the conduct of others when they are immediately aiming so
to do. As a rule, they have such an aim consciously when they find
themselves resisted; when others are doing things they do not wish them
to do. But the more permanent and influential modes of control are those
which operate from moment to moment continuously without such deliberate
intention on our part.

1. When others are not doing what we would like them to or are
threatening disobedience, we are most conscious of the need of
controlling them and of the influences by which they are controlled. In
such cases, our control becomes most direct, and at this point we are
most likely to make the mistakes just spoken of. We are even likely to
take the influence of superior force for control, forgetting that while
we may lead a horse to water we cannot make him drink; and that while we
can shut a man up in a penitentiary we cannot make him penitent. In
all such cases of immediate action upon others, we need to discriminate
between physical results and moral results. A person may be in such a
condition that forcible feeding or enforced confinement is necessary for
his own good. A child may have to be snatched with roughness away from
a fire so that he shall not be burnt. But no improvement of disposition,
no educative effect, need follow. A harsh and commanding tone may be
effectual in keeping a child away from the fire, and the same desirable
physical effect will follow as if he had been snatched away. But there
may be no more obedience of a moral sort in one case than in the other.
A man can be prevented from breaking into other persons' houses by
shutting him up, but shutting him up may not alter his disposition to
commit burglary. When we confuse a physical with an educative result,
we always lose the chance of enlisting the person's own participating
disposition in getting the result desired, and thereby of developing
within him an intrinsic and persisting direction in the right way.

In general, the occasion for the more conscious acts of control should
be limited to acts which are so instinctive or impulsive that the one
performing them has no means of foreseeing their outcome. If a person
cannot foresee the consequences of his act, and is not capable of
understanding what he is told about its outcome by those with more
experience, it is impossible for him to guide his act intelligently. In
such a state, every act is alike to him. Whatever moves him does move
him, and that is all there is to it. In some cases, it is well to permit
him to experiment, and to discover the consequences for himself in order
that he may act intelligently next time under similar circumstances. But
some courses of action are too discommoding and obnoxious to others to
allow of this course being pursued. Direct disapproval is now resorted
to. Shaming, ridicule, disfavor, rebuke, and punishment are used. Or
contrary tendencies in the child are appealed to to divert him from his
troublesome line of behavior. His sensitiveness to approbation, his hope
of winning favor by an agreeable act, are made use of to induce action
in another direction.

2. These methods of control are so obvious (because so intentionally
employed) that it would hardly be worth while to mention them if it were
not that notice may now be taken, by way of contrast, of the other more
important and permanent mode of control. This other method resides in
the ways in which persons, with whom the immature being is associated,
use things; the instrumentalities with which they accomplish their own
ends. The very existence of the social medium in which an individual
lives, moves, and has his being is the standing effective agency of
directing his activity.

This fact makes it necessary for us to examine in greater detail what
is meant by the social environment. We are given to separating from
each other the physical and social environments in which we live. The
separation is responsible on one hand for an exaggeration of the moral
importance of the more direct or personal modes of control of which
we have been speaking; and on the other hand for an exaggeration, in
current psychology and philosophy, of the intellectual possibilities of
contact with a purely physical environment. There is not, in fact, any
such thing as the direct influence of one human being on another apart
from use of the physical environment as an intermediary. A smile, a
frown, a rebuke, a word of warning or encouragement, all involve some
physical change. Otherwise, the attitude of one would not get over to
alter the attitude of another. Comparatively speaking, such modes of
influence may be regarded as personal. The physical medium is reduced to
a mere means of personal contact. In contrast with such direct modes of
mutual influence, stand associations in common pursuits involving the
use of things as means and as measures of results. Even if the mother
never told her daughter to help her, or never rebuked her for not
helping, the child would be subjected to direction in her activities
by the mere fact that she was engaged, along with the parent, in the
household life. Imitation, emulation, the need of working together,
enforce control.

If the mother hands the child something needed, the latter must reach
the thing in order to get it. Where there is giving there must be
taking. The way the child handles the thing after it is got, the use
to which it is put, is surely influenced by the fact that the child
has watched the mother. When the child sees the parent looking for
something, it is as natural for it also to look for the object and to
give it over when it finds it, as it was, under other circumstances, to
receive it. Multiply such an instance by the thousand details of daily
intercourse, and one has a picture of the most permanent and enduring
method of giving direction to the activities of the young.

In saying this, we are only repeating what was said previously
about participating in a joint activity as the chief way of forming
disposition. We have explicitly added, however, the recognition of the
part played in the joint activity by the use of things. The philosophy
of learning has been unduly dominated by a false psychology. It is
frequently stated that a person learns by merely having the qualities of
things impressed upon his mind through the gateway of the senses. Having
received a store of sensory impressions, association or some power of
mental synthesis is supposed to combine them into ideas--into things
with a meaning. An object, stone, orange, tree, chair, is supposed to
convey different impressions of color, shape, size, hardness, smell,
taste, etc., which aggregated together constitute the characteristic
meaning of each thing. But as matter of fact, it is the characteristic
use to which the thing is put, because of its specific qualities, which
supplies the meaning with which it is identified. A chair is a thing
which is put to one use; a table, a thing which is employed for another
purpose; an orange is a thing which costs so much, which is grown in
warm climes, which is eaten, and when eaten has an agreeable odor and
refreshing taste, etc.

The difference between an adjustment to a physical stimulus and a mental
act is that the latter involves response to a thing in its meaning;
the former does not. A noise may make me jump without my mind being
implicated. When I hear a noise and run and get water and put out a
blaze, I respond intelligently; the sound meant fire, and fire meant
need of being extinguished. I bump into a stone, and kick it to one side
purely physically. I put it to one side for fear some one will stumble
upon it, intelligently; I respond to a meaning which the thing has. I am
startled by a thunderclap whether I recognize it or not--more likely, if
I do not recognize it. But if I say, either out loud or to myself, that
is thunder, I respond to the disturbance as a meaning. My behavior has
a mental quality. When things have a meaning for us, we mean (intend,
propose) what we do: when they do not, we act blindly, unconsciously,

In both kinds of responsive adjustment, our activities are directed or
controlled. But in the merely blind response, direction is also blind.
There may be training, but there is no education. Repeated responses to
recurrent stimuli may fix a habit of acting in a certain way. All of us
have many habits of whose import we are quite unaware, since they were
formed without our knowing what we were about. Consequently they possess
us, rather than we them. They move us; they control us. Unless we become
aware of what they accomplish, and pass judgment upon the worth of the
result, we do not control them. A child might be made to bow every time
he met a certain person by pressure on his neck muscles, and bowing
would finally become automatic. It would not, however, be an act of
recognition or deference on his part, till he did it with a certain end
in view--as having a certain meaning. And not till he knew what he was
about and performed the act for the sake of its meaning could he be said
to be "brought up" or educated to act in a certain way. To have an idea
of a thing is thus not just to get certain sensations from it. It is
to be able to respond to the thing in view of its place in an inclusive
scheme of action; it is to foresee the drift and probable consequence of
the action of the thing upon us and of our action upon it. To have the
same ideas about things which others have, to be like-minded with them,
and thus to be really members of a social group, is therefore to attach
the same meanings to things and to acts which others attach. Otherwise,
there is no common understanding, and no community life. But in a shared
activity, each person refers what he is doing to what the other is doing
and vice-versa. That is, the activity of each is placed in the same
inclusive situation. To pull at a rope at which others happen to be
pulling is not a shared or conjoint activity, unless the pulling is
done with knowledge that others are pulling and for the sake of either
helping or hindering what they are doing. A pin may pass in the course
of its manufacture through the hands of many persons. But each may do
his part without knowledge of what others do or without any reference
to what they do; each may operate simply for the sake of a separate
result--his own pay. There is, in this case, no common consequence to
which the several acts are referred, and hence no genuine intercourse
or association, in spite of juxtaposition, and in spite of the fact
that their respective doings contribute to a single outcome. But if each
views the consequences of his own acts as having a bearing upon what
others are doing and takes into account the consequences of their
behavior upon himself, then there is a common mind; a common intent
in behavior. There is an understanding set up between the different
contributors; and this common understanding controls the action of each.
Suppose that conditions were so arranged that one person automatically
caught a ball and then threw it to another person who caught and
automatically returned it; and that each so acted without knowing where
the ball came from or went to. Clearly, such action would be without
point or meaning. It might be physically controlled, but it would not be
socially directed. But suppose that each becomes aware of what the
other is doing, and becomes interested in the other's action and thereby
interested in what he is doing himself as connected with the action of
the other. The behavior of each would then be intelligent; and socially
intelligent and guided. Take one more example of a less imaginary kind.
An infant is hungry, and cries while food is prepared in his presence.
If he does not connect his own state with what others are doing, nor
what they are doing with his own satisfaction, he simply reacts with
increasing impatience to his own increasing discomfort. He is physically
controlled by his own organic state. But when he makes a back and forth
reference, his whole attitude changes. He takes an interest, as we say;
he takes note and watches what others are doing. He no longer reacts
just to his own hunger, but behaves in the light of what others are
doing for its prospective satisfaction. In that way, he also no
longer just gives way to hunger without knowing it, but he notes, or
recognizes, or identifies his own state. It becomes an object for him.
His attitude toward it becomes in some degree intelligent. And in such
noting of the meaning of the actions of others and of his own state, he
is socially directed.

It will be recalled that our main proposition had two sides. One of them
has now been dealt with: namely, that physical things do not influence
mind (or form ideas and beliefs) except as they are implicated in action
for prospective consequences. The other point is persons modify one
another's dispositions only through the special use they make of
physical conditions. Consider first the case of so-called expressive
movements to which others are sensitive; blushing, smiling, frowning,
clinching of fists, natural gestures of all kinds. In themselves, these
are not expressive. They are organic parts of a person's attitude. One
does not blush to show modesty or embarrassment to others, but because
the capillary circulation alters in response to stimuli. But others
use the blush, or a slightly perceptible tightening of the muscles of
a person with whom they are associated, as a sign of the state in
which that person finds himself, and as an indication of what course
to pursue. The frown signifies an imminent rebuke for which one must
prepare, or an uncertainty and hesitation which one must, if possible,
remove by saying or doing something to restore confidence. A man at some
distance is waving his arms wildly. One has only to preserve an attitude
of detached indifference, and the motions of the other person will be on
the level of any remote physical change which we happen to note. If we
have no concern or interest, the waving of the arms is as meaningless
to us as the gyrations of the arms of a windmill. But if interest is
aroused, we begin to participate. We refer his action to something we
are doing ourselves or that we should do. We have to judge the meaning
of his act in order to decide what to do. Is he beckoning for help? Is
he warning us of an explosion to be set off, against which we should
guard ourselves? In one case, his action means to run toward him; in the
other case, to run away. In any case, it is the change he effects in
the physical environment which is a sign to us of how we should conduct
ourselves. Our action is socially controlled because we endeavor to
refer what we are to do to the same situation in which he is acting.

Language is, as we have already seen (ante, p. 15) a case of this joint
reference of our own action and that of another to a common situation.
Hence its unrivaled significance as a means of social direction. But
language would not be this efficacious instrument were it not that
it takes place upon a background of coarser and more tangible use of
physical means to accomplish results. A child sees persons with whom he
lives using chairs, hats, tables, spades, saws, plows, horses, money in
certain ways. If he has any share at all in what they are doing, he is
led thereby to use things in the same way, or to use other things in a
way which will fit in. If a chair is drawn up to a table, it is a sign
that he is to sit in it; if a person extends his right hand, he is to
extend his; and so on in a never ending stream of detail. The prevailing
habits of using the products of human art and the raw materials of
nature constitute by all odds the deepest and most pervasive mode
of social control. When children go to school, they already have
"minds"--they have knowledge and dispositions of judgment which may
be appealed to through the use of language. But these "minds" are the
organized habits of intelligent response which they have previously
required by putting things to use in connection with the way
other persons use things. The control is inescapable; it saturates
disposition. The net outcome of the discussion is that the fundamental
means of control is not personal but intellectual. It is not "moral" in
the sense that a person is moved by direct personal appeal from others,
important as is this method at critical junctures. It consists in
the habits of understanding, which are set up in using objects in
correspondence with others, whether by way of cooperation and assistance
or rivalry and competition. Mind as a concrete thing is precisely
the power to understand things in terms of the use made of them; a
socialized mind is the power to understand them in terms of the use to
which they are turned in joint or shared situations. And mind in this
sense is the method of social control.

3. Imitation and Social Psychology. We have already noted the defects of
a psychology of learning which places the individual mind naked, as
it were, in contact with physical objects, and which believes that
knowledge, ideas, and beliefs accrue from their interaction. Only
comparatively recently has the predominating influence of association
with fellow beings in the formation of mental and moral disposition been
perceived. Even now it is usually treated as a kind of adjunct to an
alleged method of learning by direct contact with things, and as merely
supplementing knowledge of the physical world with knowledge of persons.
The purport of our discussion is that such a view makes an absurd and
impossible separation between persons and things. Interaction with
things may form habits of external adjustment. But it leads to activity
having a meaning and conscious intent only when things are used to
produce a result. And the only way one person can modify the mind of
another is by using physical conditions, crude or artificial, so as
to evoke some answering activity from him. Such are our two main
conclusions. It is desirable to amplify and enforce them by placing them
in contrast with the theory which uses a psychology of supposed direct
relationships of human beings to one another as an adjunct to the
psychology of the supposed direct relation of an individual to physical
objects. In substance, this so-called social psychology has been built
upon the notion of imitation. Consequently, we shall discuss the nature
and role of imitation in the formation of mental disposition.

According to this theory, social control of individuals rests upon the
instinctive tendency of individuals to imitate or copy the actions of
others. The latter serve as models. The imitative instinct is so strong
that the young devote themselves to conforming to the patterns set by
others and reproducing them in their own scheme of behavior. According
to our theory, what is here called imitation is a misleading name for
partaking with others in a use of things which leads to consequences of
common interest. The basic error in the current notion of imitation is
that it puts the cart before the horse. It takes an effect for the
cause of the effect. There can be no doubt that individuals in forming a
social group are like-minded; they understand one another. They tend
to act with the same controlling ideas, beliefs, and intentions, given
similar circumstances. Looked at from without, they might be said to
be engaged in "imitating" one another. In the sense that they are doing
much the same sort of thing in much the same sort of way, this would be
true enough. But "imitation" throws no light upon why they so act; it
repeats the fact as an explanation of itself. It is an explanation of
the same order as the famous saying that opium puts men to sleep because
of its dormitive power.

Objective likeness of acts and the mental satisfaction found in being in
conformity with others are baptized by the name imitation. This social
fact is then taken for a psychological force, which produced the
likeness. A considerable portion of what is called imitation is simply
the fact that persons being alike in structure respond in the same way
to like stimuli. Quite independently of imitation, men on being insulted
get angry and attack the insulter. This statement may be met by citing
the undoubted fact that response to an insult takes place in different
ways in groups having different customs. In one group, it may be met by
recourse to fisticuffs, in another by a challenge to a duel, in a third
by an exhibition of contemptuous disregard. This happens, so it is said,
because the model set for imitation is different. But there is no need
to appeal to imitation. The mere fact that customs are different means
that the actual stimuli to behavior are different. Conscious instruction
plays a part; prior approvals and disapprovals have a large influence.
Still more effective is the fact that unless an individual acts in the
way current in his group, he is literally out of it. He can associate
with others on intimate and equal terms only by behaving in the way in
which they behave. The pressure that comes from the fact that one is
let into the group action by acting in one way and shut out by acting
in another way is unremitting. What is called the effect of imitation
is mainly the product of conscious instruction and of the selective
influence exercised by the unconscious confirmations and ratifications
of those with whom one associates.

Suppose that some one rolls a ball to a child; he catches it and rolls
it back, and the game goes on. Here the stimulus is not just the
sight of the ball, or the sight of the other rolling it. It is the
situation--the game which is playing. The response is not merely rolling
the ball back; it is rolling it back so that the other one may catch and
return it,--that the game may continue. The "pattern" or model is not
the action of the other person. The whole situation requires that each
should adapt his action in view of what the other person has done and is
to do. Imitation may come in but its role is subordinate. The child has
an interest on his own account; he wants to keep it going. He may then
note how the other person catches and holds the ball in order to improve
his own acts. He imitates the means of doing, not the end or thing to be
done. And he imitates the means because he wishes, on his own behalf, as
part of his own initiative, to take an effective part in the game. One
has only to consider how completely the child is dependent from his
earliest days for successful execution of his purposes upon fitting his
acts into those of others to see what a premium is put upon behaving as
others behave, and of developing an understanding of them in order that
he may so behave. The pressure for likemindedness in action from this
source is so great that it is quite superfluous to appeal to imitation.
As matter of fact, imitation of ends, as distinct from imitation of
means which help to reach ends, is a superficial and transitory affair
which leaves little effect upon disposition. Idiots are especially apt
at this kind of imitation; it affects outward acts but not the meaning
of their performance. When we find children engaging in this sort of
mimicry, instead of encouraging them (as we would do if it were an
important means of social control) we are more likely to rebuke them
as apes, monkeys, parrots, or copy cats. Imitation of means of
accomplishment is, on the other hand, an intelligent act. It involves
close observation, and judicious selection of what will enable one to do
better something which he already is trying to do. Used for a purpose,
the imitative instinct may, like any other instinct, become a factor in
the development of effective action.

This excursus should, accordingly, have the effect of reinforcing the
conclusion that genuine social control means the formation of a certain
mental disposition; a way of understanding objects, events, and acts
which enables one to participate effectively in associated activities.
Only the friction engendered by meeting resistance from others leads
to the view that it takes place by forcing a line of action contrary to
natural inclinations. Only failure to take account of the situations
in which persons are mutually concerned (or interested in acting
responsively to one another) leads to treating imitation as the chief
agent in promoting social control.

4. Some Applications to Education. Why does a savage group perpetuate
savagery, and a civilized group civilization? Doubtless the first answer
to occur to mind is because savages are savages; being of low-grade
intelligence and perhaps defective moral sense. But careful study
has made it doubtful whether their native capacities are appreciably
inferior to those of civilized man. It has made it certain that native
differences are not sufficient to account for the difference in culture.
In a sense the mind of savage peoples is an effect, rather than a cause,
of their backward institutions. Their social activities are such as to
restrict their objects of attention and interest, and hence to limit
the stimuli to mental development. Even as regards the objects that come
within the scope of attention, primitive social customs tend to arrest
observation and imagination upon qualities which do not fructify in the
mind. Lack of control of natural forces means that a scant number of
natural objects enter into associated behavior. Only a small number of
natural resources are utilized and they are not worked for what they are
worth. The advance of civilization means that a larger number of natural
forces and objects have been transformed into instrumentalities of
action, into means for securing ends. We start not so much with superior
capacities as with superior stimuli for evocation and direction of
our capacities. The savage deals largely with crude stimuli; we have
weighted stimuli. Prior human efforts have made over natural conditions.
As they originally existed they were indifferent to human endeavors.
Every domesticated plant and animal, every tool, every utensil, every
appliance, every manufactured article, every esthetic decoration,
every work of art means a transformation of conditions once hostile
or indifferent to characteristic human activities into friendly and
favoring conditions. Because the activities of children today are
controlled by these selected and charged stimuli, children are able to
traverse in a short lifetime what the race has needed slow, tortured
ages to attain. The dice have been loaded by all the successes which
have preceded.

Stimuli conducive to economical and effective response, such as our
system of roads and means of transportation, our ready command of heat,
light, and electricity, our ready-made machines and apparatus for every
purpose, do not, by themselves or in their aggregate, constitute a
civilization. But the uses to which they are put are civilization,
and without the things the uses would be impossible. Time otherwise
necessarily devoted to wresting a livelihood from a grudging environment
and securing a precarious protection against its inclemencies is
freed. A body of knowledge is transmitted, the legitimacy of which
is guaranteed by the fact that the physical equipment in which it is
incarnated leads to results that square with the other facts of nature.
Thus these appliances of art supply a protection, perhaps our chief
protection, against a recrudescence of these superstitious beliefs,
those fanciful myths and infertile imaginings about nature in which so
much of the best intellectual power of the past has been spent. If we
add one other factor, namely, that such appliances be not only used,
but used in the interests of a truly shared or associated life, then
the appliances become the positive resources of civilization. If Greece,
with a scant tithe of our material resources, achieved a worthy and
noble intellectual and artistic career, it is because Greece operated
for social ends such resources as it had. But whatever the situation,
whether one of barbarism or civilization, whether one of stinted control
of physical forces, or of partial enslavement to a mechanism not yet
made tributary to a shared experience, things as they enter into action
furnish the educative conditions of daily life and direct the formation
of mental and moral disposition.

Intentional education signifies, as we have already seen, a specially
selected environment, the selection being made on the basis of materials
and method specifically promoting growth in the desired direction. Since
language represents the physical conditions that have been subjected
to the maximum transformation in the interests of social life--physical
things which have lost their original quality in becoming social
tools--it is appropriate that language should play a large part compared
with other appliances. By it we are led to share vicariously in past
human experience, thus widening and enriching the experience of the
present. We are enabled, symbolically and imaginatively, to anticipate
situations. In countless ways, language condenses meanings that record
social outcomes and presage social outlooks. So significant is it of
a liberal share in what is worth while in life that unlettered and
uneducated have become almost synonymous.

The emphasis in school upon this particular tool has, however, its
dangers--dangers which are not theoretical but exhibited in practice.
Why is it, in spite of the fact that teaching by pouring in, learning by
a passive absorption, are universally condemned, that they are still so
entrenched in practice? That education is not an affair of "telling"
and being told, but an active and constructive process, is a principle
almost as generally violated in practice as conceded in theory. Is not
this deplorable situation due to the fact that the doctrine is itself
merely told? It is preached; it is lectured; it is written about. But
its enactment into practice requires that the school environment be
equipped with agencies for doing, with tools and physical materials, to
an extent rarely attained. It requires that methods of instruction and
administration be modified to allow and to secure direct and continuous
occupations with things. Not that the use of language as an educational
resource should lessen; but that its use should be more vital and
fruitful by having its normal connection with shared activities. "These
things ought ye to have done, and not to have left the others
undone." And for the school "these things" mean equipment with the
instrumentalities of cooperative or joint activity.

For when the schools depart from the educational conditions effective in
the out-of-school environment, they necessarily substitute a bookish, a
pseudo-intellectual spirit for a social spirit. Children doubtless go to
school to learn, but it has yet to be proved that learning occurs most
adequately when it is made a separate conscious business. When treating
it as a business of this sort tends to preclude the social sense which
comes from sharing in an activity of common concern and value, the
effort at isolated intellectual learning contradicts its own aim. We may
secure motor activity and sensory excitation by keeping an individual by
himself, but we cannot thereby get him to understand the meaning which
things have in the life of which he is a part. We may secure technical
specialized ability in algebra, Latin, or botany, but not the kind of
intelligence which directs ability to useful ends. Only by engaging in
a joint activity, where one person's use of material and tools is
consciously referred to the use other persons are making of their
capacities and appliances, is a social direction of disposition

Summary. The natural or native impulses of the young do not agree with
the life-customs of the group into which they are born. Consequently
they have to be directed or guided. This control is not the same thing
as physical compulsion; it consists in centering the impulses acting
at any one time upon some specific end and in introducing an order of
continuity into the sequence of acts. The action of others is always
influenced by deciding what stimuli shall call out their actions. But
in some cases as in commands, prohibitions, approvals, and disapprovals,
the stimuli proceed from persons with a direct view to influencing
action. Since in such cases we are most conscious of controlling the
action of others, we are likely to exaggerate the importance of this
sort of control at the expense of a more permanent and effective method.
The basic control resides in the nature of the situations in which the
young take part. In social situations the young have to refer their
way of acting to what others are doing and make it fit in. This directs
their action to a common result, and gives an understanding common to
the participants. For all mean the same thing, even when performing
different acts. This common understanding of the means and ends of
action is the essence of social control. It is indirect, or emotional
and intellectual, not direct or personal. Moreover it is intrinsic to
the disposition of the person, not external and coercive. To achieve
this internal control through identity of interest and understanding
is the business of education. While books and conversation can do much,
these agencies are usually relied upon too exclusively. Schools require
for their full efficiency more opportunity for conjoint activities in
which those instructed take part, so that they may acquire a social
sense of their own powers and of the materials and appliances used.

Chapter Four: Education as Growth

1. The Conditions of Growth.

In directing the activities of the young, society determines its own
future in determining that of the young. Since the young at a given time
will at some later date compose the society of that period, the latter's
nature will largely turn upon the direction children's activities were
given at an earlier period. This cumulative movement of action toward a
later result is what is meant by growth.

The primary condition of growth is immaturity. This may seem to be a
mere truism--saying that a being can develop only in some point in which
he is undeveloped. But the prefix "im" of the word immaturity means
something positive, not a mere void or lack. It is noteworthy that the
terms "capacity" and "potentiality" have a double meaning, one
sense being negative, the other positive. Capacity may denote mere
receptivity, like the capacity of a quart measure. We may mean by
potentiality a merely dormant or quiescent state--a capacity to become
something different under external influences. But we also mean by
capacity an ability, a power; and by potentiality potency, force. Now
when we say that immaturity means the possibility of growth, we are
not referring to absence of powers which may exist at a later time; we
express a force positively present--the ability to develop.

Our tendency to take immaturity as mere lack, and growth as something
which fills up the gap between the immature and the mature is due to
regarding childhood comparatively, instead of intrinsically. We treat
it simply as a privation because we are measuring it by adulthood as a
fixed standard. This fixes attention upon what the child has not, and
will not have till he becomes a man. This comparative standpoint is
legitimate enough for some purposes, but if we make it final, the
question arises whether we are not guilty of an overweening presumption.
Children, if they could express themselves articulately and sincerely,
would tell a different tale; and there is excellent adult authority for
the conviction that for certain moral and intellectual purposes adults
must become as little children. The seriousness of the assumption of the
negative quality of the possibilities of immaturity is apparent when
we reflect that it sets up as an ideal and standard a static end. The
fulfillment of growing is taken to mean an accomplished growth: that is
to say, an Ungrowth, something which is no longer growing. The futility
of the assumption is seen in the fact that every adult resents the
imputation of having no further possibilities of growth; and so far
as he finds that they are closed to him mourns the fact as evidence of
loss, instead of falling back on the achieved as adequate manifestation
of power. Why an unequal measure for child and man?

Taken absolutely, instead of comparatively, immaturity designates a
positive force or ability,--the pouter to grow. We do not have to draw
out or educe positive activities from a child, as some educational
doctrines would have it. Where there is life, there are already eager
and impassioned activities. Growth is not something done to them; it is
something they do. The positive and constructive aspect of possibility
gives the key to understanding the two chief traits of immaturity,
dependence and plasticity.

(1) It sounds absurd to hear dependence spoken of as something positive,
still more absurd as a power. Yet if helplessness were all there were
in dependence, no development could ever take place. A merely impotent
being has to be carried, forever, by others. The fact that dependence is
accompanied by growth in ability, not by an ever increasing lapse into
parasitism, suggests that it is already something constructive. Being
merely sheltered by others would not promote growth. For

(2) it would only build a wall around impotence. With reference to the
physical world, the child is helpless. He lacks at birth and for a
long time thereafter power to make his way physically, to make his own
living. If he had to do that by himself, he would hardly survive an
hour. On this side his helplessness is almost complete. The young of
the brutes are immeasurably his superiors. He is physically weak and not
able to turn the strength which he possesses to coping with the physical

1. The thoroughgoing character of this helplessness suggests, however,
some compensating power. The relative ability of the young of brute
animals to adapt themselves fairly well to physical conditions from an
early period suggests the fact that their life is not intimately bound
up with the life of those about them. They are compelled, so to speak,
to have physical gifts because they are lacking in social gifts. Human
infants, on the other hand, can get along with physical incapacity just
because of their social capacity. We sometimes talk and think as if they
simply happened to be physically in a social environment; as if social
forces exclusively existed in the adults who take care of them, they
being passive recipients. If it were said that children are themselves
marvelously endowed with power to enlist the cooperative attention of
others, this would be thought to be a backhanded way of saying
that others are marvelously attentive to the needs of children. But
observation shows that children are gifted with an equipment of the
first order for social intercourse. Few grown-up persons retain all
of the flexible and sensitive ability of children to vibrate
sympathetically with the attitudes and doings of those about them.
Inattention to physical things (going with incapacity to control them)
is accompanied by a corresponding intensification of interest and
attention as to the doings of people. The native mechanism of the child
and his impulses all tend to facile social responsiveness. The statement
that children, before adolescence, are egotistically self-centered, even
if it were true, would not contradict the truth of this statement. It
would simply indicate that their social responsiveness is employed on
their own behalf, not that it does not exist. But the statement is not
true as matter of fact. The facts which are cited in support of the
alleged pure egoism of children really show the intensity and directness
with which they go to their mark. If the ends which form the mark seem
narrow and selfish to adults, it is only because adults (by means of a
similar engrossment in their day) have mastered these ends, which
have consequently ceased to interest them. Most of the remainder of
children's alleged native egoism is simply an egoism which runs counter
to an adult's egoism. To a grown-up person who is too absorbed in
his own affairs to take an interest in children's affairs, children
doubtless seem unreasonably engrossed in their own affairs.

From a social standpoint, dependence denotes a power rather than a
weakness; it involves interdependence. There is always a danger that
increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of
an individual. In making him more self-reliant, it may make him more
self-sufficient; it may lead to aloofness and indifference. It often
makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to
develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone--an
unnamed form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the
remediable suffering of the world.

2. The specific adaptability of an immature creature for growth
constitutes his plasticity. This is something quite different from the
plasticity of putty or wax. It is not a capacity to take on change
of form in accord with external pressure. It lies near the pliable
elasticity by which some persons take on the color of their surroundings
while retaining their own bent. But it is something deeper than this. It
is essentially the ability to learn from experience; the power to retain
from one experience something which is of avail in coping with the
difficulties of a later situation. This means power to modify actions
on the basis of the results of prior experiences, the power to develop
dispositions. Without it, the acquisition of habits is impossible.

It is a familiar fact that the young of the higher animals, and
especially the human young, have to learn to utilize their instinctive
reactions. The human being is born with a greater number of instinctive
tendencies than other animals. But the instincts of the lower animals
perfect themselves for appropriate action at an early period after
birth, while most of those of the human infant are of little account
just as they stand. An original specialized power of adjustment secures
immediate efficiency, but, like a railway ticket, it is good for one
route only. A being who, in order to use his eyes, ears, hands,
and legs, has to experiment in making varied combinations of their
reactions, achieves a control that is flexible and varied. A chick,
for example, pecks accurately at a bit of food in a few hours after
hatching. This means that definite coordinations of activities of the
eyes in seeing and of the body and head in striking are perfected in a
few trials. An infant requires about six months to be able to gauge with
approximate accuracy the action in reaching which will coordinate with
his visual activities; to be able, that is, to tell whether he can reach
a seen object and just how to execute the reaching. As a result, the
chick is limited by the relative perfection of its original endowment.
The infant has the advantage of the multitude of instinctive tentative
reactions and of the experiences that accompany them, even though he is
at a temporary disadvantage because they cross one another. In learning
an action, instead of having it given ready-made, one of necessity
learns to vary its factors, to make varied combinations of them,
according to change of circumstances. A possibility of continuing
progress is opened up by the fact that in learning one act, methods are
developed good for use in other situations. Still more important is the
fact that the human being acquires a habit of learning. He learns to

The importance for human life of the two facts of dependence and
variable control has been summed up in the doctrine of the significance
of prolonged infancy. 1 This prolongation is significant from the
standpoint of the adult members of the group as well as from that of the
young. The presence of dependent and learning beings is a stimulus to
nurture and affection. The need for constant continued care was probably
a chief means in transforming temporary cohabitations into permanent
unions. It certainly was a chief influence in forming habits of
affectionate and sympathetic watchfulness; that constructive interest
in the well-being of others which is essential to associated life.
Intellectually, this moral development meant the introduction of many
new objects of attention; it stimulated foresight and planning for the
future. Thus there is a reciprocal influence. Increasing complexity of
social life requires a longer period of infancy in which to acquire the
needed powers; this prolongation of dependence means prolongation of
plasticity, or power of acquiring variable and novel modes of control.
Hence it provides a further push to social progress.

2. Habits as Expressions of Growth. We have already noted that
plasticity is the capacity to retain and carry over from prior
experience factors which modify subsequent activities. This signifies
the capacity to acquire habits, or develop definite dispositions. We
have now to consider the salient features of habits. In the first place,
a habit is a form of executive skill, of efficiency in doing. A habit
means an ability to use natural conditions as means to ends. It is
an active control of the environment through control of the organs of
action. We are perhaps apt to emphasize the control of the body at the
expense of control of the environment. We think of walking, talking,
playing the piano, the specialized skills characteristic of the etcher,
the surgeon, the bridge-builder, as if they were simply ease, deftness,
and accuracy on the part of the organism. They are that, of course; but
the measure of the value of these qualities lies in the economical and
effective control of the environment which they secure. To be able to
walk is to have certain properties of nature at our disposal--and so
with all other habits.

Education is not infrequently defined as consisting in the acquisition
of those habits that effect an adjustment of an individual and his
environment. The definition expresses an essential phase of growth. But
it is essential that adjustment be understood in its active sense of
control of means for achieving ends. If we think of a habit simply as
a change wrought in the organism, ignoring the fact that this change
consists in ability to effect subsequent changes in the environment, we
shall be led to think of "adjustment" as a conformity to environment as
wax conforms to the seal which impresses it. The environment is thought
of as something fixed, providing in its fixity the end and standard
of changes taking place in the organism; adjustment is just fitting
ourselves to this fixity of external conditions. 2 Habit as
habituation is indeed something relatively passive; we get used to our
surroundings--to our clothing, our shoes, and gloves; to the atmosphere
as long as it is fairly equable; to our daily associates, etc.
Conformity to the environment, a change wrought in the organism without
reference to ability to modify surroundings, is a marked trait of such
habituations. Aside from the fact that we are not entitled to carry
over the traits of such adjustments (which might well be called
accommodations, to mark them off from active adjustments) into habits of
active use of our surroundings, two features of habituations are worth
notice. In the first place, we get used to things by first using them.

Consider getting used to a strange city. At first, there is excessive
stimulation and excessive and ill-adapted response. Gradually certain
stimuli are selected because of their relevancy, and others are
degraded. We can say either that we do not respond to them any longer,
or more truly that we have effected a persistent response to them--an
equilibrium of adjustment. This means, in the second place, that this
enduring adjustment supplies the background upon which are made specific
adjustments, as occasion arises. We are never interested in changing
the whole environment; there is much that we take for granted and accept
just as it already is. Upon this background our activities focus at
certain points in an endeavor to introduce needed changes. Habituation
is thus our adjustment to an environment which at the time we are not
concerned with modifying, and which supplies a leverage to our active
habits. Adaptation, in fine, is quite as much adaptation of the
environment to our own activities as of our activities to the
environment. A savage tribe manages to live on a desert plain. It adapts
itself. But its adaptation involves a maximum of accepting, tolerating,
putting up with things as they are, a maximum of passive acquiescence,
and a minimum of active control, of subjection to use. A civilized
people enters upon the scene. It also adapts itself. It introduces
irrigation; it searches the world for plants and animals that will
flourish under such conditions; it improves, by careful selection, those
which are growing there. As a consequence, the wilderness blossoms as
a rose. The savage is merely habituated; the civilized man has habits
which transform the environment.

The significance of habit is not exhausted, however, in its executive
and motor phase. It means formation of intellectual and emotional
disposition as well as an increase in ease, economy, and efficiency of
action. Any habit marks an inclination--an active preference and choice
for the conditions involved in its exercise. A habit does not wait,
Micawber-like, for a stimulus to turn up so that it may get busy;
it actively seeks for occasions to pass into full operation. If its
expression is unduly blocked, inclination shows itself in uneasiness and
intense craving. A habit also marks an intellectual disposition. Where
there is a habit, there is acquaintance with the materials and equipment
to which action is applied. There is a definite way of understanding the
situations in which the habit operates. Modes of thought, of observation
and reflection, enter as forms of skill and of desire into the habits
that make a man an engineer, an architect, a physician, or a merchant.
In unskilled forms of labor, the intellectual factors are at minimum
precisely because the habits involved are not of a high grade. But there
are habits of judging and reasoning as truly as of handling a tool,
painting a picture, or conducting an experiment. Such statements are,
however, understatements. The habits of mind involved in habits of the
eye and hand supply the latter with their significance. Above all,
the intellectual element in a habit fixes the relation of the habit to
varied and elastic use, and hence to continued growth. We speak of fixed
habits. Well, the phrase may mean powers so well established that their
possessor always has them as resources when needed. But the phrase
is also used to mean ruts, routine ways, with loss of freshness,
open-mindedness, and originality. Fixity of habit may mean that
something has a fixed hold upon us, instead of our having a free hold
upon things. This fact explains two points in a common notion about
habits: their identification with mechanical and external modes of
action to the neglect of mental and moral attitudes, and the tendency
to give them a bad meaning, an identification with "bad habits." Many
a person would feel surprised to have his aptitude in his chosen
profession called a habit, and would naturally think of his use of
tobacco, liquor, or profane language as typical of the meaning of habit.
A habit is to him something which has a hold on him, something not
easily thrown off even though judgment condemn it.

Habits reduce themselves to routine ways of acting, or degenerate into
ways of action to which we are enslaved just in the degree in which
intelligence is disconnected from them. Routine habits are unthinking
habits: "bad" habits are habits so severed from reason that they are
opposed to the conclusions of conscious deliberation and decision. As we
have seen, the acquiring of habits is due to an original plasticity
of our natures: to our ability to vary responses till we find an
appropriate and efficient way of acting. Routine habits, and habits that
possess us instead of our possessing them, are habits which put an end
to plasticity. They mark the close of power to vary. There can be no
doubt of the tendency of organic plasticity, of the physiological basis,
to lessen with growing years. The instinctively mobile and eagerly
varying action of childhood, the love of new stimuli and new
developments, too easily passes into a "settling down," which means
aversion to change and a resting on past achievements. Only an
environment which secures the full use of intelligence in the process
of forming habits can counteract this tendency. Of course, the same
hardening of the organic conditions affects the physiological structures
which are involved in thinking. But this fact only indicates the need
of persistent care to see to it that the function of intelligence is
invoked to its maximum possibility. The short-sighted method which falls
back on mechanical routine and repetition to secure external efficiency
of habit, motor skill without accompanying thought, marks a deliberate
closing in of surroundings upon growth.

3. The Educational Bearings of the Conception of Development. We have
had so far but little to say in this chapter about education. We have
been occupied with the conditions and implications of growth. If our
conclusions are justified, they carry with them, however, definite
educational consequences. When it is said that education is development,
everything depends upon how development is conceived. Our net conclusion
is that life is development, and that developing, growing, is life.
Translated into its educational equivalents, that means (i) that the
educational process has no end beyond itself; it is its own end; and
that (ii) the educational process is one of continual reorganizing,
reconstructing, transforming.

1. Development when it is interpreted in comparative terms, that is,
with respect to the special traits of child and adult life, means
the direction of power into special channels: the formation of habits
involving executive skill, definiteness of interest, and specific
objects of observation and thought. But the comparative view is not
final. The child has specific powers; to ignore that fact is to stunt
or distort the organs upon which his growth depends. The adult uses his
powers to transform his environment, thereby occasioning new stimuli
which redirect his powers and keep them developing. Ignoring this fact
means arrested development, a passive accommodation. Normal child
and normal adult alike, in other words, are engaged in growing. The
difference between them is not the difference between growth and
no growth, but between the modes of growth appropriate to different
conditions. With respect to the development of powers devoted to coping
with specific scientific and economic problems we may say the child
should be growing in manhood. With respect to sympathetic curiosity,
unbiased responsiveness, and openness of mind, we may say that the adult
should be growing in childlikeness. One statement is as true as the

Three ideas which have been criticized, namely, the merely privative
nature of immaturity, static adjustment to a fixed environment, and
rigidity of habit, are all connected with a false idea of growth or
development,--that it is a movement toward a fixed goal. Growth is
regarded as having an end, instead of being an end. The educational
counterparts of the three fallacious ideas are first, failure to take
account of the instinctive or native powers of the young; secondly,
failure to develop initiative in coping with novel situations; thirdly,
an undue emphasis upon drill and other devices which secure automatic
skill at the expense of personal perception. In all cases, the adult
environment is accepted as a standard for the child. He is to be brought
up to it.

Natural instincts are either disregarded or treated as nuisances--as
obnoxious traits to be suppressed, or at all events to be brought into
conformity with external standards. Since conformity is the aim, what is
distinctively individual in a young person is brushed aside, or regarded
as a source of mischief or anarchy. Conformity is made equivalent to
uniformity. Consequently, there are induced lack of interest in the
novel, aversion to progress, and dread of the uncertain and the unknown.
Since the end of growth is outside of and beyond the process of growing,
external agents have to be resorted to to induce movement toward it.
Whenever a method of education is stigmatized as mechanical, we may be
sure that external pressure is brought to bear to reach an external end.

2. Since in reality there is nothing to which growth is relative save
more growth, there is nothing to which education is subordinate save
more education. It is a commonplace to say that education should not
cease when one leaves school. The point of this commonplace is that the
purpose of school education is to insure the continuance of education by
organizing the powers that insure growth. The inclination to learn from
life itself and to make the conditions of life such that all will learn
in the process of living is the finest product of schooling.

When we abandon the attempt to define immaturity by means of fixed
comparison with adult accomplishments, we are compelled to give up
thinking of it as denoting lack of desired traits. Abandoning this
notion, we are also forced to surrender our habit of thinking of
instruction as a method of supplying this lack by pouring knowledge into
a mental and moral hole which awaits filling. Since life means growth,
a living creature lives as truly and positively at one stage as at
another, with the same intrinsic fullness and the same absolute claims.
Hence education means the enterprise of supplying the conditions which
insure growth, or adequacy of life, irrespective of age. We first look
with impatience upon immaturity, regarding it as something to be got
over as rapidly as possible. Then the adult formed by such educative
methods looks back with impatient regret upon childhood and youth as a
scene of lost opportunities and wasted powers. This ironical situation
will endure till it is recognized that living has its own intrinsic
quality and that the business of education is with that quality.
Realization that life is growth protects us from that so-called
idealizing of childhood which in effect is nothing but lazy indulgence.
Life is not to be identified with every superficial act and interest.
Even though it is not always easy to tell whether what appears to be
mere surface fooling is a sign of some nascent as yet untrained power,
we must remember that manifestations are not to be accepted as ends in
themselves. They are signs of possible growth. They are to be turned
into means of development, of carrying power forward, not indulged or
cultivated for their own sake. Excessive attention to surface phenomena
(even in the way of rebuke as well as of encouragement) may lead to
their fixation and thus to arrested development. What impulses are
moving toward, not what they have been, is the important thing for
parent and teacher. The true principle of respect for immaturity cannot
be better put than in the words of Emerson: "Respect the child. Be not
too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude. But I hear the outcry
which replies to this suggestion: Would you verily throw up the reins
of public and private discipline; would you leave the young child to
the mad career of his own passions and whimsies, and call this anarchy
a respect for the child's nature? I answer,--Respect the child, respect
him to the end, but also respect yourself.... The two points in a boy's
training are, to keep his naturel and train off all but that; to keep
his naturel, but stop off his uproar, fooling, and horseplay; keep
his nature and arm it with knowledge in the very direction in which it
points." And as Emerson goes on to show this reverence for childhood
and youth instead of opening up an easy and easy-going path to the
instructors, "involves at once, immense claims on the time, the thought,
on the life of the teacher. It requires time, use, insight, event, all
the great lessons and assistances of God; and only to think of using it
implies character and profoundness."

Summary. Power to grow depends upon need for others and plasticity.
Both of these conditions are at their height in childhood and youth.
Plasticity or the power to learn from experience means the formation of
habits. Habits give control over the environment, power to utilize
it for human purposes. Habits take the form both of habituation, or
a general and persistent balance of organic activities with the
surroundings, and of active capacities to readjust activity to meet new
conditions. The former furnishes the background of growth; the latter
constitute growing. Active habits involve thought, invention, and
initiative in applying capacities to new aims. They are opposed
to routine which marks an arrest of growth. Since growth is the
characteristic of life, education is all one with growing; it has no
end beyond itself. The criterion of the value of school education is the
extent in which it creates a desire for continued growth and supplies
means for making the desire effective in fact.

1 Intimations of its significance are found in a number of writers, but
John Fiske, in his Excursions of an Evolutionist, is accredited with its
first systematic exposition.

2 This conception is, of course, a logical correlate of the conceptions
of the external relation of stimulus and response, considered in
the last chapter, and of the negative conceptions of immaturity and
plasticity noted in this chapter.

Chapter Five: Preparation, Unfolding, and Formal Discipline

1. Education as Preparation. We have laid it down that the educative
process is a continuous process of growth, having as its aim at every
stage an added capacity of growth. This conception contrasts sharply
with other ideas which have influenced practice. By making the contrast
explicit, the meaning of the conception will be brought more clearly to
light. The first contrast is with the idea that education is a process
of preparation or getting ready. What is to be prepared for is, of
course, the responsibilities and privileges of adult life. Children are
not regarded as social members in full and regular standing. They are
looked upon as candidates; they are placed on the waiting list. The
conception is only carried a little farther when the life of adults
is considered as not having meaning on its own account, but as a
preparatory probation for "another life." The idea is but another form
of the notion of the negative and privative character of growth already
criticized; hence we shall not repeat the criticisms, but pass on to the
evil consequences which flow from putting education on this basis.
In the first place, it involves loss of impetus. Motive power is not
utilized. Children proverbially live in the present; that is not only
a fact not to be evaded, but it is an excellence. The future just as
future lacks urgency and body. To get ready for something, one knows not
what nor why, is to throw away the leverage that exists, and to seek for
motive power in a vague chance. Under such circumstances, there is, in
the second place, a premium put on shilly-shallying and procrastination.
The future prepared for is a long way off; plenty of time will intervene
before it becomes a present. Why be in a hurry about getting ready for
it? The temptation to postpone is much increased because the present
offers so many wonderful opportunities and proffers such invitations to
adventure. Naturally attention and energy go to them; education accrues
naturally as an outcome, but a lesser education than if the full stress
of effort had been put upon making conditions as educative as possible.
A third undesirable result is the substitution of a conventional average
standard of expectation and requirement for a standard which concerns
the specific powers of the individual under instruction. For a severe
and definite judgment based upon the strong and weak points of the
individual is substituted a vague and wavering opinion concerning what
youth may be expected, upon the average, to become in some more or less
remote future; say, at the end of the year, when promotions are to take
place, or by the time they are ready to go to college or to enter
upon what, in contrast with the probationary stage, is regarded as the
serious business of life. It is impossible to overestimate the loss
which results from the deflection of attention from the strategic point
to a comparatively unproductive point. It fails most just where it
thinks it is succeeding--in getting a preparation for the future.

Finally, the principle of preparation makes necessary recourse on a
large scale to the use of adventitious motives of pleasure and pain. The
future having no stimulating and directing power when severed from the
possibilities of the present, something must be hitched on to it to make
it work. Promises of reward and threats of pain are employed. Healthy
work, done for present reasons and as a factor in living, is largely
unconscious. The stimulus resides in the situation with which one is
actually confronted. But when this situation is ignored, pupils have to
be told that if they do not follow the prescribed course penalties will
accrue; while if they do, they may expect, some time in the future,
rewards for their present sacrifices. Everybody knows how largely
systems of punishment have had to be resorted to by educational systems
which neglect present possibilities in behalf of preparation for a
future. Then, in disgust with the harshness and impotency of this
method, the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme, and the dose of
information required against some later day is sugar-coated, so that
pupils may be fooled into taking something which they do not care for.

It is not of course a question whether education should prepare for the
future. If education is growth, it must progressively realize present
possibilities, and thus make individuals better fitted to cope with
later requirements. Growing is not something which is completed in odd
moments; it is a continuous leading into the future. If the environment,
in school and out, supplies conditions which utilize adequately the
present capacities of the immature, the future which grows out of
the present is surely taken care of. The mistake is not in attaching
importance to preparation for future need, but in making it the
mainspring of present effort. Because the need of preparation for a
continually developing life is great, it is imperative that every energy
should be bent to making the present experience as rich and significant
as possible. Then as the present merges insensibly into the future, the
future is taken care of.

2. Education as Unfolding. There is a conception of education which
professes to be based upon the idea of development. But it takes back
with one hand what it proffers with the other. Development is conceived
not as continuous growing, but as the unfolding of latent powers toward
a definite goal. The goal is conceived of as completion,--perfection.
Life at any stage short of attainment of this goal is merely an
unfolding toward it. Logically the doctrine is only a variant of the
preparation theory. Practically the two differ in that the adherents of
the latter make much of the practical and professional duties for which
one is preparing, while the developmental doctrine speaks of the ideal
and spiritual qualities of the principle which is unfolding.

The conception that growth and progress are just approximations to
a final unchanging goal is the last infirmity of the mind in its
transition from a static to a dynamic understanding of life. It
simulates the style of the latter. It pays the tribute of speaking
much of development, process, progress. But all of these operations
are conceived to be merely transitional; they lack meaning on their own
account. They possess significance only as movements toward something
away from what is now going on. Since growth is just a movement toward a
completed being, the final ideal is immobile. An abstract and indefinite
future is in control with all which that connotes in depreciation of
present power and opportunity.

Since the goal of perfection, the standard of development, is very far
away, it is so beyond us that, strictly speaking, it is unattainable.
Consequently, in order to be available for present guidance it must be
translated into something which stands for it. Otherwise we should
be compelled to regard any and every manifestation of the child as an
unfolding from within, and hence sacred. Unless we set up some definite
criterion representing the ideal end by which to judge whether a given
attitude or act is approximating or moving away, our sole alternative is
to withdraw all influences of the environment lest they interfere with
proper development. Since that is not practicable, a working substitute
is set up. Usually, of course, this is some idea which an adult would
like to have a child acquire. Consequently, by "suggestive questioning"
or some other pedagogical device, the teacher proceeds to "draw out"
from the pupil what is desired. If what is desired is obtained, that
is evidence that the child is unfolding properly. But as the pupil
generally has no initiative of his own in this direction, the result is
a random groping after what is wanted, and the formation of habits of
dependence upon the cues furnished by others. Just because such methods
simulate a true principle and claim to have its sanction they may do
more harm than would outright "telling," where, at least, it remains
with the child how much will stick.

Within the sphere of philosophic thought there have been two typical
attempts to provide a working representative of the absolute goal. Both
start from the conception of a whole--an absolute--which is "immanent"
in human life. The perfect or complete ideal is not a mere ideal; it
is operative here and now. But it is present only implicitly,
"potentially," or in an enfolded condition. What is termed development
is the gradual making explicit and outward of what is thus wrapped up.
Froebel and Hegel, the authors of the two philosophic schemes
referred to, have different ideas of the path by which the progressive
realization of manifestation of the complete principle is effected.
According to Hegel, it is worked out through a series of historical
institutions which embody the different factors in the Absolute.
According to Froebel, the actuating force is the presentation of
symbols, largely mathematical, corresponding to the essential traits
of the Absolute. When these are presented to the child, the Whole,
or perfection, sleeping within him, is awakened. A single example
may indicate the method. Every one familiar with the kindergarten is
acquainted with the circle in which the children gather. It is not
enough that the circle is a convenient way of grouping the children. It
must be used "because it is a symbol of the collective life of mankind
in general." Froebel's recognition of the significance of the native
capacities of children, his loving attention to them, and his influence
in inducing others to study them, represent perhaps the most effective
single force in modern educational theory in effecting widespread
acknowledgment of the idea of growth. But his formulation of the notion
of development and his organization of devices for promoting it were
badly hampered by the fact that he conceived development to be the
unfolding of a ready-made latent principle. He failed to see that
growing is growth, developing is development, and consequently placed
the emphasis upon the completed product. Thus he set up a goal which
meant the arrest of growth, and a criterion which is not applicable to
immediate guidance of powers, save through translation into abstract and
symbolic formulae.

A remote goal of complete unfoldedness is, in technical philosophic
language, transcendental. That is, it is something apart from direct
experience and perception. So far as experience is concerned, it is
empty; it represents a vague sentimental aspiration rather than anything
which can be intelligently grasped and stated. This vagueness must be
compensated for by some a priori formula. Froebel made the connection
between the concrete facts of experience and the transcendental ideal of
development by regarding the former as symbols of the latter. To
regard known things as symbols, according to some arbitrary a priori
formula--and every a priori conception must be arbitrary--is an
invitation to romantic fancy to seize upon any analogies which appeal
to it and treat them as laws. After the scheme of symbolism has been
settled upon, some definite technique must be invented by which the
inner meaning of the sensible symbols used may be brought home to
children. Adults being the formulators of the symbolism are naturally
the authors and controllers of the technique. The result was that
Froebel's love of abstract symbolism often got the better of his
sympathetic insight; and there was substituted for development as
arbitrary and externally imposed a scheme of dictation as the history of
instruction has ever seen.

With Hegel the necessity of finding some working concrete counterpart of
the inaccessible Absolute took an institutional, rather than symbolic,
form. His philosophy, like Froebel's, marks in one direction an
indispensable contribution to a valid conception of the process of life.
The weaknesses of an abstract individualistic philosophy were evident
to him; he saw the impossibility of making a clean sweep of historical
institutions, of treating them as despotisms begot in artifice and
nurtured in fraud. In his philosophy of history and society culminated
the efforts of a whole series of German writers--Lessing, Herder, Kant,
Schiller, Goethe--to appreciate the nurturing influence of the great
collective institutional products of humanity. For those who learned
the lesson of this movement, it was henceforth impossible to conceive
of institutions or of culture as artificial. It destroyed completely--in
idea, not in fact--the psychology that regarded "mind" as a ready-made
possession of a naked individual by showing the significance of
"objective mind"--language, government, art, religion--in the formation
of individual minds. But since Hegel was haunted by the conception of an
absolute goal, he was obliged to arrange institutions as they concretely
exist, on a stepladder of ascending approximations. Each in its time
and place is absolutely necessary, because a stage in the self-realizing
process of the absolute mind. Taken as such a step or stage, its
existence is proof of its complete rationality, for it is an integral
element in the total, which is Reason. Against institutions as they are,
individuals have no spiritual rights; personal development, and nurture,
consist in obedient assimilation of the spirit of existing institutions.
Conformity, not transformation, is the essence of education.
Institutions change as history shows; but their change, the rise and
fall of states, is the work of the "world-spirit." Individuals, save the
great "heroes" who are the chosen organs of the world-spirit, have
no share or lot in it. In the later nineteenth century, this type of
idealism was amalgamated with the doctrine of biological evolution.

"Evolution" was a force working itself out to its own end. As against
it, or as compared with it, the conscious ideas and preference of
individuals are impotent. Or, rather, they are but the means by which
it works itself out. Social progress is an "organic growth," not an
experimental selection. Reason is all powerful, but only Absolute Reason
has any power.

The recognition (or rediscovery, for the idea was familiar to the
Greeks) that great historic institutions are active factors in the
intellectual nurture of mind was a great contribution to educational
philosophy. It indicated a genuine advance beyond Rousseau, who had
marred his assertion that education must be a natural development and
not something forced or grafted upon individuals from without, by the
notion that social conditions are not natural. But in its notion of
a complete and all-inclusive end of development, the Hegelian theory
swallowed up concrete individualities, though magnifying The Individual
in the abstract. Some of Hegel's followers sought to reconcile the
claims of the Whole and of individuality by the conception of society as
an organic whole, or organism. That social organization is presupposed
in the adequate exercise of individual capacity is not to be doubted.
But the social organism, interpreted after the relation of the organs of
the body to each other and to the whole body, means that each individual
has a certain limited place and function, requiring to be supplemented
by the place and functions of the other organs. As one portion of the
bodily tissue is differentiated so that it can be the hand and the
hand only, another, the eye, and so on, all taken together making the
organism, so one individual is supposed to be differentiated for the
exercise of the mechanical operations of society, another for those of
a statesman, another for those of a scholar, and so on. The notion
of "organism" is thus used to give a philosophic sanction to class
distinctions in social organization--a notion which in its educational
application again means external dictation instead of growth.

3. Education as Training of Faculties. A theory which has had great
vogue and which came into existence before the notion of growth had much
influence is known as the theory of "formal discipline." It has in view
a correct ideal; one outcome of education should be the creation of
specific powers of accomplishment. A trained person is one who can do
the chief things which it is important for him to do better than he
could without training: "better" signifying greater ease, efficiency,
economy, promptness, etc. That this is an outcome of education was
indicated in what was said about habits as the product of educative
development. But the theory in question takes, as it were, a short
cut; it regards some powers (to be presently named) as the direct and
conscious aims of instruction, and not simply as the results of growth.
There is a definite number of powers to be trained, as one might
enumerate the kinds of strokes which a golfer has to master.
Consequently education should get directly at the business of training
them. But this implies that they are already there in some untrained
form; otherwise their creation would have to be an indirect product of
other activities and agencies. Being there already in some crude form,
all that remains is to exercise them in constant and graded repetitions,
and they will inevitably be refined and perfected. In the phrase "formal
discipline" as applied to this conception, "discipline" refers both
to the outcome of trained power and to the method of training through
repeated exercise.

The forms of powers in question are such things as the faculties of
perceiving, retaining, recalling, associating, attending, willing,
feeling, imagining, thinking, etc., which are then shaped by exercise
upon material presented. In its classic form, this theory was expressed
by Locke. On the one hand, the outer world presents the material or
content of knowledge through passively received sensations. On the
other hand, the mind has certain ready powers, attention, observation,
retention, comparison, abstraction, compounding, etc. Knowledge results
if the mind discriminates and combines things as they are united and
divided in nature itself. But the important thing for education is
the exercise or practice of the faculties of the mind till they become
thoroughly established habitudes. The analogy constantly employed is
that of a billiard player or gymnast, who by repeated use of certain
muscles in a uniform way at last secures automatic skill. Even the
faculty of thinking was to be formed into a trained habit by repeated
exercises in making and combining simple distinctions, for which, Locke
thought, mathematics affords unrivaled opportunity.

Locke's statements fitted well into the dualism of his day. It seemed to
do justice to both mind and matter, the individual and the world. One of
the two supplied the matter of knowledge and the object upon which mind
should work. The other supplied definite mental powers, which were few
in number and which might be trained by specific exercises. The scheme
appeared to give due weight to the subject matter of knowledge, and
yet it insisted that the end of education is not the bare reception
and storage of information, but the formation of personal powers of
attention, memory, observation, abstraction, and generalization. It
was realistic in its emphatic assertion that all material whatever is
received from without; it was idealistic in that final stress fell upon
the formation of intellectual powers. It was objective and impersonal
in its assertion that the individual cannot possess or generate any true
ideas on his own account; it was individualistic in placing the end of
education in the perfecting of certain faculties possessed at the outset
by the individual. This kind of distribution of values expressed with
nicety the state of opinion in the generations following upon Locke.
It became, without explicit reference to Locke, a common-place of
educational theory and of psychology. Practically, it seemed to provide
the educator with definite, instead of vague, tasks. It made the
elaboration of a technique of instruction relatively easy. All that was
necessary was to provide for sufficient practice of each of the powers.
This practice consists in repeated acts of attending, observing,
memorizing, etc. By grading the difficulty of the acts, making each set
of repetitions somewhat more difficult than the set which preceded it,
a complete scheme of instruction is evolved. There are various ways,
equally conclusive, of criticizing this conception, in both its alleged
foundations and in its educational application. (1) Perhaps the most
direct mode of attack consists in pointing out that the supposed
original faculties of observation, recollection, willing, thinking,
etc., are purely mythological. There are no such ready-made powers
waiting to be exercised and thereby trained. There are, indeed, a great
number of original native tendencies, instinctive modes of action, based
on the original connections of neurones in the central nervous system.
There are impulsive tendencies of the eyes to follow and fixate light;
of the neck muscles to turn toward light and sound; of the hands to
reach and grasp; and turn and twist and thump; of the vocal apparatus to
make sounds; of the mouth to spew out unpleasant substances; to gag
and to curl the lip, and so on in almost indefinite number. But these
tendencies (a) instead of being a small number sharply marked off from
one another, are of an indefinite variety, interweaving with one another
in all kinds of subtle ways. (b) Instead of being latent intellectual
powers, requiring only exercise for their perfecting, they are
tendencies to respond in certain ways to changes in the environment
so as to bring about other changes. Something in the throat makes one
cough; the tendency is to eject the obnoxious particle and thus
modify the subsequent stimulus. The hand touches a hot thing; it is
impulsively, wholly unintellectually, snatched away. But the withdrawal
alters the stimuli operating, and tends to make them more consonant with
the needs of the organism. It is by such specific changes of organic
activities in response to specific changes in the medium that that
control of the environment of which we have spoken (see ante, p. 24) is
effected. Now all of our first seeings and hearings and touchings and
smellings and tastings are of this kind. In any legitimate sense of the
words mental or intellectual or cognitive, they are lacking in these
qualities, and no amount of repetitious exercise could bestow any
intellectual properties of observation, judgment, or intentional action
(volition) upon them.

(2) Consequently the training of our original impulsive activities is
not a refinement and perfecting achieved by "exercise" as one might
strengthen a muscle by practice. It consists rather (a) in selecting
from the diffused responses which are evoked at a given time those which
are especially adapted to the utilization of the stimulus. That is to
say, among the reactions of the body in general occur upon stimulation
of the eye by light, all except those which are specifically adapted to
reaching, grasping, and manipulating the object effectively are
gradually eliminated--or else no training occurs. As we have already
noted, the primary reactions, with a very few exceptions are too
diffused and general to be practically of much use in the case of the
human infant. Hence the identity of training with selective response.
(Compare p. 25.) (b) Equally important is the specific coordination of
different factors of response which takes place. There is not merely a
selection of the hand reactions which effect grasping, but of the
particular visual stimuli which call out just these reactions and no
others, and an establishment of connection between the two. But the
coordinating does not stop here. Characteristic temperature reactions
may take place when the object is grasped. These will also be brought
in; later, the temperature reaction may be connected directly with the
optical stimulus, the hand reaction being suppressed--as a bright flame,
independent of close contact, may steer one away. Or the child in
handling the object pounds with it, or crumples it, and a sound issues.
The ear response is then brought into the system of response. If a
certain sound (the conventional name) is made by others and accompanies
the activity, response of both ear and the vocal apparatus connected
with auditory stimulation will also become an associated factor in the
complex response.

(3) The more specialized the adjustment of response and stimulus to each
other (for, taking the sequence of activities into account, the stimuli
are adapted to reactions as well as reactions to stimuli) the more rigid
and the less generally available is the training secured. In equivalent
language, less intellectual or educative quality attaches to the
training. The usual way of stating this fact is that the more
specialized the reaction, the less is the skill acquired in practicing
and perfecting it transferable to other modes of behavior. According
to the orthodox theory of formal discipline, a pupil in studying his
spelling lesson acquires, besides ability to spell those particular
words, an increase of power of observation, attention, and recollection
which may be employed whenever these powers are needed. As matter of
fact, the more he confines himself to noticing and fixating the forms of
words, irrespective of connection with other things (such as the
meaning of the words, the context in which they are habitually used, the
derivation and classification of the verbal form, etc.) the less likely
is he to acquire an ability which can be used for anything except the
mere noting of verbal visual forms. He may not even be increasing his
ability to make accurate distinctions among geometrical forms, to say
nothing of ability to observe in general. He is merely selecting the
stimuli supplied by the forms of the letters and the motor reactions
of oral or written reproduction. The scope of coordination (to use
our prior terminology) is extremely limited. The connections which are
employed in other observations and recollections (or reproductions) are
deliberately eliminated when the pupil is exercised merely upon forms
of letters and words. Having been excluded, they cannot be restored when
needed. The ability secured to observe and to recall verbal forms is
not available for perceiving and recalling other things. In the ordinary
phraseology, it is not transferable. But the wider the context--that is
to say, the more varied the stimuli and responses coordinated--the more
the ability acquired is available for the effective performance of
other acts; not, strictly speaking, because there is any "transfer,"
but because the wide range of factors employed in the specific act is
equivalent to a broad range of activity, to a flexible, instead of to a
narrow and rigid, coordination. (4) Going to the root of the matter, the
fundamental fallacy of the theory is its dualism; that is to say, its
separation of activities and capacities from subject matter. There is no
such thing as an ability to see or hear or remember in general; there
is only the ability to see or hear or remember something. To talk about
training a power, mental or physical, in general, apart from the subject
matter involved in its exercise, is nonsense. Exercise may react
upon circulation, breathing, and nutrition so as to develop vigor or
strength, but this reservoir is available for specific ends only by use
in connection with the material means which accomplish them. Vigor will
enable a man to play tennis or golf or to sail a boat better than he
would if he were weak. But only by employing ball and racket, ball and
club, sail and tiller, in definite ways does he become expert in any one
of them; and expertness in one secures expertness in another only so far
as it is either a sign of aptitude for fine muscular coordinations or as
the same kind of coordination is involved in all of them. Moreover, the
difference between the training of ability to spell which comes from
taking visual forms in a narrow context and one which takes them in
connection with the activities required to grasp meaning, such
as context, affiliations of descent, etc., may be compared to the
difference between exercises in the gymnasium with pulley weights to
"develop" certain muscles, and a game or sport. The former is uniform
and mechanical; it is rigidly specialized. The latter is varied from
moment to moment; no two acts are quite alike; novel emergencies have to
be met; the coordinations forming have to be kept flexible and elastic.
Consequently, the training is much more "general"; that is to say, it
covers a wider territory and includes more factors. Exactly the same
thing holds of special and general education of the mind.

A monotonously uniform exercise may by practice give great skill in one
special act; but the skill is limited to that act, be it bookkeeping or
calculations in logarithms or experiments in hydrocarbons. One may be
an authority in a particular field and yet of more than usually poor
judgment in matters not closely allied, unless the training in the
special field has been of a kind to ramify into the subject matter
of the other fields. (5) Consequently, such powers as observation,
recollection, judgment, esthetic taste, represent organized results of
the occupation of native active tendencies with certain subject matters.
A man does not observe closely and fully by pressing a button for
the observing faculty to get to work (in other words by "willing"
to observe); but if he has something to do which can be accomplished
successfully only through intensive and extensive use of eye and hand,
he naturally observes. Observation is an outcome, a consequence, of
the interaction of sense organ and subject matter. It will vary,
accordingly, with the subject matter employed.

It is consequently futile to set up even the ulterior development of
faculties of observation, memory, etc., unless we have first determined
what sort of subject matter we wish the pupil to become expert in
observing and recalling and for what purpose. And it is only repeating
in another form what has already been said, to declare that the
criterion here must be social. We want the person to note and recall and
judge those things which make him an effective competent member of the
group in which he is associated with others. Otherwise we might as well
set the pupil to observing carefully cracks on the wall and set him to
memorizing meaningless lists of words in an unknown tongue--which is
about what we do in fact when we give way to the doctrine of formal
discipline. If the observing habits of a botanist or chemist or engineer
are better habits than those which are thus formed, it is because
they deal with subject matter which is more significant in life. In
concluding this portion of the discussion, we note that the distinction
between special and general education has nothing to do with the
transferability of function or power. In the literal sense, any transfer
is miraculous and impossible. But some activities are broad; they
involve a coordination of many factors. Their development demands
continuous alternation and readjustment. As conditions change, certain
factors are subordinated, and others which had been of minor importance
come to the front. There is constant redistribution of the focus of the
action, as is seen in the illustration of a game as over against pulling
a fixed weight by a series of uniform motions. Thus there is practice in
prompt making of new combinations with the focus of activity shifted to
meet change in subject matter. Wherever an activity is broad in
scope (that is, involves the coordinating of a large variety of
sub-activities), and is constantly and unexpectedly obliged to change
direction in its progressive development, general education is bound
to result. For this is what "general" means; broad and flexible. In
practice, education meets these conditions, and hence is general, in the
degree in which it takes account of social relationships. A person may
become expert in technical philosophy, or philology, or mathematics or
engineering or financiering, and be inept and ill-advised in his action
and judgment outside of his specialty. If however his concern with
these technical subject matters has been connected with human activities
having social breadth, the range of active responses called into play
and flexibly integrated is much wider. Isolation of subject matter
from a social context is the chief obstruction in current practice to
securing a general training of mind. Literature, art, religion, when
thus dissociated, are just as narrowing as the technical things which
the professional upholders of general education strenuously oppose.

Summary. The conception that the result of the educative process is
capacity for further education stands in contrast with some other
ideas which have profoundly influenced practice. The first contrasting
conception considered is that of preparing or getting ready for some
future duty or privilege. Specific evil effects were pointed out which
result from the fact that this aim diverts attention of both teacher
and taught from the only point to which it may be fruitfully
directed--namely, taking advantage of the needs and possibilities of the
immediate present. Consequently it defeats its own professed purpose.
The notion that education is an unfolding from within appears to have
more likeness to the conception of growth which has been set forth. But
as worked out in the theories of Froebel and Hegel, it involves
ignoring the interaction of present organic tendencies with the present
environment, just as much as the notion of preparation. Some implicit
whole is regarded as given ready-made and the significance of growth
is merely transitory; it is not an end in itself, but simply a means
of making explicit what is already implicit. Since that which is not
explicit cannot be made definite use of, something has to be found to
represent it. According to Froebel, the mystic symbolic value of certain
objects and acts (largely mathematical) stand for the Absolute
Whole which is in process of unfolding. According to Hegel, existing
institutions are its effective actual representatives. Emphasis upon
symbols and institutions tends to divert perception from the direct
growth of experience in richness of meaning. Another influential but
defective theory is that which conceives that mind has, at birth,
certain mental faculties or powers, such as perceiving, remembering,
willing, judging, generalizing, attending, etc., and that education is
the training of these faculties through repeated exercise. This theory
treats subject matter as comparatively external and indifferent, its
value residing simply in the fact that it may occasion exercise of
the general powers. Criticism was directed upon this separation of the
alleged powers from one another and from the material upon which they
act. The outcome of the theory in practice was shown to be an undue
emphasis upon the training of narrow specialized modes of skill at the
expense of initiative, inventiveness, and readaptability--qualities
which depend upon the broad and consecutive interaction of specific
activities with one another. 1 As matter of fact, the interconnection is
so great, there are so many paths of construction, that every stimulus
brings about some change in all of the organs of response. We are
accustomed however to ignore most of these modifications of the total
organic activity, concentrating upon that one which is most specifically
adapted to the most urgent stimulus of the moment. 2 This statement
should be compared with what was said earlier about the sequential
ordering of responses (p. 25). It is merely a more explicit statement of
the way in which that consecutive arrangement occurs.

Chapter Six: Education as Conservative and Progressive

1. Education as Formation. We now come to a type of theory which denies
the existence of faculties and emphasizes the unique role of subject
matter in the development of mental and moral disposition. According to
it, education is neither a process of unfolding from within nor is it
a training of faculties resident in mind itself. It is rather the
formation of mind by setting up certain associations or connections of
content by means of a subject matter presented from without. Education
proceeds by instruction taken in a strictly literal sense, a building
into the mind from without. That education is formative of mind is not
questioned; it is the conception already propounded. But formation here
has a technical meaning dependent upon the idea of something operating
from without. Herbart is the best historical representative of this type
of theory. He denies absolutely the existence of innate faculties. The
mind is simply endowed with the power of producing various qualities in
reaction to the various realities which act upon it. These qualitatively
different reactions are called presentations (Vorstellungen). Every
presentation once called into being persists; it may be driven below the
"threshold" of consciousness by new and stronger presentations, produced
by the reaction of the soul to new material, but its activity continues
by its own inherent momentum, below the surface of consciousness. What
are termed faculties--attention, memory, thinking, perception, even the
sentiments, are arrangements, associations, and complications, formed
by the interaction of these submerged presentations with one another and
with new presentations. Perception, for example, is the complication of
presentations which result from the rise of old presentations to greet
and combine with new ones; memory is the evoking of an old presentation
above the threshold of consciousness by getting entangled with another
presentation, etc. Pleasure is the result of reinforcement among the
independent activities of presentations; pain of their pulling different
ways, etc.

The concrete character of mind consists, then, wholly of the various
arrangements formed by the various presentations in their different
qualities. The "furniture" of the mind is the mind. Mind is wholly a
matter of "contents." The educational implications of this doctrine are

(1) This or that kind of mind is formed by the use of objects which
evoke this or that kind of reaction and which produce this or that
arrangement among the reactions called out. The formation of mind is
wholly a matter of the presentation of the proper educational materials.

(2) Since the earlier presentations constitute the "apperceiving organs"
which control the assimilation of new presentations, their character is
all important. The effect of new presentations is to reinforce groupings
previously formed. The business of the educator is, first, to select the
proper material in order to fix the nature of the original reactions,
and, secondly, to arrange the sequence of subsequent presentations
on the basis of the store of ideas secured by prior transactions. The
control is from behind, from the past, instead of, as in the unfolding
conception, in the ultimate goal.

(3) Certain formal steps of all method in teaching may be laid down.
Presentation of new subject matter is obviously the central thing,
but since knowing consists in the way in which this interacts with the
contents already submerged below consciousness, the first thing is
the step of "preparation,"--that is, calling into special activity and
getting above the floor of consciousness those older presentations which
are to assimilate the new one. Then after the presentation, follow the
processes of interaction of new and old; then comes the application of
the newly formed content to the performance of some task. Everything
must go through this course; consequently there is a perfectly uniform
method in instruction in all subjects for all pupils of all ages.

Herbart's great service lay in taking the work of teaching out of
the region of routine and accident. He brought it into the sphere of
conscious method; it became a conscious business with a definite aim
and procedure, instead of being a compound of casual inspiration
and subservience to tradition. Moreover, everything in teaching and
discipline could be specified, instead of our having to be content with
vague and more or less mystic generalities about ultimate ideals and
speculative spiritual symbols. He abolished the notion of ready-made
faculties, which might be trained by exercise upon any sort of
material, and made attention to concrete subject matter, to the content,
all-important. Herbart undoubtedly has had a greater influence in
bringing to the front questions connected with the material of study
than any other educational philosopher. He stated problems of method
from the standpoint of their connection with subject matter: method
having to do with the manner and sequence of presenting new subject
matter to insure its proper interaction with old.

The fundamental theoretical defect of this view lies in ignoring the
existence in a living being of active and specific functions which are
developed in the redirection and combination which occur as they are
occupied with their environment. The theory represents the Schoolmaster
come to his own. This fact expresses at once its strength and its
weakness. The conception that the mind consists of what has been
taught, and that the importance of what has been taught consists in
its availability for further teaching, reflects the pedagogue's view
of life. The philosophy is eloquent about the duty of the teacher in
instructing pupils; it is almost silent regarding his privilege of
learning. It emphasizes the influence of intellectual environment
upon the mind; it slurs over the fact that the environment involves a
personal sharing in common experiences. It exaggerates beyond reason
the possibilities of consciously formulated and used methods, and
underestimates the role of vital, unconscious, attitudes. It insists
upon the old, the past, and passes lightly over the operation of the
genuinely novel and unforeseeable. It takes, in brief, everything
educational into account save its essence,--vital energy seeking
opportunity for effective exercise. All education forms character,
mental and moral, but formation consists in the selection and
coordination of native activities so that they may utilize the subject
matter of the social environment. Moreover, the formation is not only a
formation of native activities, but it takes place through them. It is a
process of reconstruction, reorganization.

2. Education as Recapitulation and Retrospection. A peculiar combination
of the ideas of development and formation from without has given rise
to the recapitulation theory of education, biological and cultural. The
individual develops, but his proper development consists in repeating in
orderly stages the past evolution of animal life and human history. The
former recapitulation occurs physiologically; the latter should be made
to occur by means of education. The alleged biological truth that the
individual in his growth from the simple embryo to maturity repeats the
history of the evolution of animal life in the progress of forms
from the simplest to the most complex (or expressed technically, that
ontogenesis parallels phylogenesis) does not concern us, save as it is
supposed to afford scientific foundation for cultural recapitulation
of the past. Cultural recapitulation says, first, that children at a
certain age are in the mental and moral condition of savagery; their
instincts are vagrant and predatory because their ancestors at one time
lived such a life. Consequently (so it is concluded) the proper subject
matter of their education at this time is the material--especially the
literary material of myths, folk-tale, and song--produced by humanity
in the analogous stage. Then the child passes on to something
corresponding, say, to the pastoral stage, and so on till at the time
when he is ready to take part in contemporary life, he arrives at the
present epoch of culture.

In this detailed and consistent form, the theory, outside of a small
school in Germany (followers of Herbart for the most part), has had
little currency. But the idea which underlies it is that education
is essentially retrospective; that it looks primarily to the past
and especially to the literary products of the past, and that mind
is adequately formed in the degree in which it is patterned upon the
spiritual heritage of the past. This idea has had such immense influence
upon higher instruction especially, that it is worth examination in its
extreme formulation.

In the first place, its biological basis is fallacious. Embyronic growth
of the human infant preserves, without doubt, some of the traits of
lower forms of life. But in no respect is it a strict traversing of
past stages. If there were any strict "law" of repetition, evolutionary
development would clearly not have taken place. Each new generation
would simply have repeated its predecessors' existence. Development, in
short, has taken place by the entrance of shortcuts and alterations in
the prior scheme of growth. And this suggests that the aim of education
is to facilitate such short-circuited growth. The great advantage of
immaturity, educationally speaking, is that it enables us to emancipate
the young from the need of dwelling in an outgrown past. The business of
education is rather to liberate the young from reviving and retraversing
the past than to lead them to a recapitulation of it. The social
environment of the young is constituted by the presence and action
of the habits of thinking and feeling of civilized men. To ignore the
directive influence of this present environment upon the young is simply
to abdicate the educational function. A biologist has said: "The history
of development in different animals. . . offers to us. . . a series of
ingenious, determined, varied but more or less unsuccessful efforts to
escape from the necessity of recapitulating, and to substitute for the
ancestral method a more direct method." Surely it would be foolish if
education did not deliberately attempt to facilitate similar efforts in
conscious experience so that they become increasingly successful.

The two factors of truth in the conception may easily be disentangled
from association with the false context which perverts them. On the
biological side we have simply the fact that any infant starts with
precisely the assortment of impulsive activities with which he does
start, they being blind, and many of them conflicting with one another,
casual, sporadic, and unadapted to their immediate environment. The
other point is that it is a part of wisdom to utilize the products
of past history so far as they are of help for the future. Since they
represent the results of prior experience, their value for future
experience may, of course, be indefinitely great. Literatures produced
in the past are, so far as men are now in possession and use of them, a
part of the present environment of individuals; but there is an enormous
difference between availing ourselves of them as present resources and
taking them as standards and patterns in their retrospective character.

(1) The distortion of the first point usually comes about through misuse
of the idea of heredity. It is assumed that heredity means that past
life has somehow predetermined the main traits of an individual, and
that they are so fixed that little serious change can be introduced into
them. Thus taken, the influence of heredity is opposed to that of
the environment, and the efficacy of the latter belittled. But for
educational purposes heredity means neither more nor less than the
original endowment of an individual. Education must take the being as he
is; that a particular individual has just such and such an equipment of
native activities is a basic fact. That they were produced in such
and such a way, or that they are derived from one's ancestry, is not
especially important for the educator, however it may be with the
biologist, as compared with the fact that they now exist. Suppose one
had to advise or direct a person regarding his inheritance of
property. The fallacy of assuming that the fact it is an inheritance,
predetermines its future use, is obvious. The advisor is concerned with
making the best use of what is there--putting it at work under the most
favorable conditions. Obviously he cannot utilize what is not there;
neither can the educator. In this sense, heredity is a limit of
education. Recognition of this fact prevents the waste of energy and the
irritation that ensue from the too prevalent habit of trying to make
by instruction something out of an individual which he is not naturally
fitted to become. But the doctrine does not determine what use shall
be made of the capacities which exist. And, except in the case of the
imbecile, these original capacities are much more varied and potential,
even in the case of the more stupid, than we as yet know properly how to
utilize. Consequently, while a careful study of the native aptitudes
and deficiencies of an individual is always a preliminary necessity, the
subsequent and important step is to furnish an environment which will
adequately function whatever activities are present. The relation of
heredity and environment is well expressed in the case of language. If a
being had no vocal organs from which issue articulate sounds, if he had
no auditory or other sense-receptors and no connections between the two
sets of apparatus, it would be a sheer waste of time to try to teach him
to converse. He is born short in that respect, and education must accept
the limitation. But if he has this native equipment, its possession in
no way guarantees that he will ever talk any language or what language
he will talk. The environment in which his activities occur and by which
they are carried into execution settles these things. If he lived in a
dumb unsocial environment where men refused to talk to one another and
used only that minimum of gestures without which they could not get
along, vocal language would be as unachieved by him as if he had no
vocal organs. If the sounds which he makes occur in a medium of persons
speaking the Chinese language, the activities which make like sounds
will be selected and coordinated. This illustration may be applied to
the entire range of the educability of any individual. It places the
heritage from the past in its right connection with the demands and
opportunities of the present.

(2) The theory that the proper subject matter of instruction is found
in the culture-products of past ages (either in general, or more
specifically in the particular literatures which were produced in
the culture epoch which is supposed to correspond with the stage of
development of those taught) affords another instance of that divorce
between the process and product of growth which has been criticized. To
keep the process alive, to keep it alive in ways which make it easier
to keep it alive in the future, is the function of educational subject
matter. But an individual can live only in the present. The present
is not just something which comes after the past; much less something
produced by it. It is what life is in leaving the past behind it. The
study of past products will not help us understand the present, because
the present is not due to the products, but to the life of which they
were the products. A knowledge of the past and its heritage is of great
significance when it enters into the present, but not otherwise. And the
mistake of making the records and remains of the past the main material
of education is that it cuts the vital connection of present and past,
and tends to make the past a rival of the present and the present a more
or less futile imitation of the past. Under such circumstances, culture
becomes an ornament and solace; a refuge and an asylum. Men escape
from the crudities of the present to live in its imagined refinements,
instead of using what the past offers as an agency for ripening these
crudities. The present, in short, generates the problems which lead us
to search the past for suggestion, and which supplies meaning to what we
find when we search. The past is the past precisely because it does
not include what is characteristic in the present. The moving present
includes the past on condition that it uses the past to direct its own
movement. The past is a great resource for the imagination; it adds a
new dimension to life, but OD condition that it be seen as the past of
the present, and not as another and disconnected world. The principle
which makes little of the present act of living and operation of
growing, the only thing always present, naturally looks to the past
because the future goal which it sets up is remote and empty. But having
turned its back upon the present, it has no way of returning to it laden
with the spoils of the past. A mind that is adequately sensitive to the
needs and occasions of the present actuality will have the liveliest of
motives for interest in the background of the present, and will never
have to hunt for a way back because it will never have lost connection.

3. Education as Reconstruction. In its contrast with the ideas both
of unfolding of latent powers from within, and of the formation from
without, whether by physical nature or by the cultural products of the
past, the ideal of growth results in the conception that education is
a constant reorganizing or reconstructing of experience. It has all the
time an immediate end, and so far as activity is educative, it reaches
that end--the direct transformation of the quality of experience.
Infancy, youth, adult life,--all stand on the same educative level
in the sense that what is really learned at any and every stage of
experience constitutes the value of that experience, and in the sense
that it is the chief business of life at every point to make living thus
contribute to an enrichment of its own perceptible meaning.

We thus reach a technical definition of education: It is that
reconstruction or reorganization of experience which adds to the meaning
of experience, and which increases ability to direct the course of
subsequent experience. (1) The increment of meaning corresponds to
the increased perception of the connections and continuities of the
activities in which we are engaged. The activity begins in an impulsive
form; that is, it is blind. It does not know what it is about; that is
to say, what are its interactions with other activities. An activity
which brings education or instruction with it makes one aware of some
of the connections which had been imperceptible. To recur to our simple
example, a child who reaches for a bright light gets burned. Henceforth
he knows that a certain act of touching in connection with a certain
act of vision (and vice-versa) means heat and pain; or, a certain
light means a source of heat. The acts by which a scientific man in his
laboratory learns more about flame differ no whit in principle. By doing
certain things, he makes perceptible certain connections of heat with
other things, which had been previously ignored. Thus his acts in
relation to these things get more meaning; he knows better what he
is doing or "is about" when he has to do with them; he can intend
consequences instead of just letting them happen--all synonymous ways
of saying the same thing. At the same stroke, the flame has gained in
meaning; all that is known about combustion, oxidation, about light and
temperature, may become an intrinsic part of its intellectual content.

(2) The other side of an educative experience is an added power of
subsequent direction or control. To say that one knows what he is about,
or can intend certain consequences, is to say, of course, that he can
better anticipate what is going to happen; that he can, therefore, get
ready or prepare in advance so as to secure beneficial consequences and
avert undesirable ones. A genuinely educative experience, then, one
in which instruction is conveyed and ability increased, is
contradistinguished from a routine activity on one hand, and a
capricious activity on the other. (a) In the latter one "does not
care what happens"; one just lets himself go and avoids connecting the
consequences of one's act (the evidences of its connections with other
things) with the act. It is customary to frown upon such aimless
random activity, treating it as willful mischief or carelessness or
lawlessness. But there is a tendency to seek the cause of such aimless
activities in the youth's own disposition, isolated from everything
else. But in fact such activity is explosive, and due to maladjustment
with surroundings. Individuals act capriciously whenever they act under
external dictation, or from being told, without having a purpose of
their own or perceiving the bearing of the deed upon other acts. One may
learn by doing something which he does not understand; even in the most
intelligent action, we do much which we do not mean, because the largest
portion of the connections of the act we consciously intend are not
perceived or anticipated. But we learn only because after the act is
performed we note results which we had not noted before. But much work
in school consists in setting up rules by which pupils are to act of
such a sort that even after pupils have acted, they are not led to
see the connection between the result--say the answer--and the method
pursued. So far as they are concerned, the whole thing is a trick and
a kind of miracle. Such action is essentially capricious, and leads to
capricious habits. (b) Routine action, action which is automatic, may
increase skill to do a particular thing. In so far, it might be said
to have an educative effect. But it does not lead to new perceptions
of bearings and connections; it limits rather than widens the
meaning-horizon. And since the environment changes and our way of acting
has to be modified in order successfully to keep a balanced connection
with things, an isolated uniform way of acting becomes disastrous at
some critical moment. The vaunted "skill" turns out gross ineptitude.

The essential contrast of the idea of education as continuous
reconstruction with the other one-sided conceptions which have been
criticized in this and the previous chapter is that it identifies the
end (the result) and the process. This is verbally self-contradictory,
but only verbally. It means that experience as an active process
occupies time and that its later period completes its earlier portion;
it brings to light connections involved, but hitherto unperceived.
The later outcome thus reveals the meaning of the earlier, while the
experience as a whole establishes a bent or disposition toward the
things possessing this meaning. Every such continuous experience
or activity is educative, and all education resides in having such

It remains only to point out (what will receive more ample attention
later) that the reconstruction of experience may be social as well as
personal. For purposes of simplification we have spoken in the earlier
chapters somewhat as if the education of the immature which fills them
with the spirit of the social group to which they belong, were a sort of
catching up of the child with the aptitudes and resources of the adult
group. In static societies, societies which make the maintenance of
established custom their measure of value, this conception applies in
the main. But not in progressive communities. They endeavor to shape the
experiences of the young so that instead of reproducing current habits,
better habits shall be formed, and thus the future adult society be
an improvement on their own. Men have long had some intimation of the
extent to which education may be consciously used to eliminate obvious
social evils through starting the young on paths which shall not produce
these ills, and some idea of the extent in which education may be made
an instrument of realizing the better hopes of men. But we are doubtless
far from realizing the potential efficacy of education as a constructive
agency of improving society, from realizing that it represents not only
a development of children and youth but also of the future society of
which they will be the constituents.

Summary. Education may be conceived either retrospectively or
prospectively. That is to say, it may be treated as process of
accommodating the future to the past, or as an utilization of the past
for a resource in a developing future. The former finds its standards
and patterns in what has gone before. The mind may be regarded as a
group of contents resulting from having certain things presented. In
this case, the earlier presentations constitute the material to which
the later are to be assimilated. Emphasis upon the value of the early
experiences of immature beings is most important, especially because of
the tendency to regard them as of little account. But these experiences
do not consist of externally presented material, but of interaction of
native activities with the environment which progressively modifies both
the activities and the environment. The defect of the Herbartian theory
of formation through presentations consists in slighting this constant
interaction and change. The same principle of criticism applies to
theories which find the primary subject matter of study in the cultural
products--especially the literary products--of man's history. Isolated
from their connection with the present environment in which individuals
have to act, they become a kind of rival and distracting environment.
Their value lies in their use to increase the meaning of the things with
which we have actively to do at the present time. The idea of education
advanced in these chapters is formally summed up in the idea of
continuous reconstruction of experience, an idea which is marked off
from education as preparation for a remote future, as unfolding, as
external formation, and as recapitulation of the past.

Chapter Seven: The Democratic Conception in Education

For the most part, save incidentally, we have hitherto been concerned
with education as it may exist in any social group. We have now to
make explicit the differences in the spirit, material, and method of
education as it operates in different types of community life. To say
that education is a social function, securing direction and development
in the immature through their participation in the life of the group to
which they belong, is to say in effect that education will vary with the
quality of life which prevails in a group. Particularly is it true that
a society which not only changes but-which has the ideal of such
change as will improve it, will have different standards and methods
of education from one which aims simply at the perpetuation of its
own customs. To make the general ideas set forth applicable to our own
educational practice, it is, therefore, necessary to come to closer
quarters with the nature of present social life.

1. The Implications of Human Association. Society is one word, but many
things. Men associate together in all kinds of ways and for all kinds
of purposes. One man is concerned in a multitude of diverse groups, in
which his associates may be quite different. It often seems as if they
had nothing in common except that they are modes of associated life.
Within every larger social organization there are numerous minor groups:
not only political subdivisions, but industrial, scientific, religious,
associations. There are political parties with differing aims, social
sets, cliques, gangs, corporations, partnerships, groups bound closely
together by ties of blood, and so on in endless variety. In many modern
states and in some ancient, there is great diversity of populations,
of varying languages, religions, moral codes, and traditions. From this
standpoint, many a minor political unit, one of our large cities, for
example, is a congeries of loosely associated societies, rather than an
inclusive and permeating community of action and thought. (See ante, p.

The terms society, community, are thus ambiguous. They have both a
eulogistic or normative sense, and a descriptive sense; a meaning
de jure and a meaning de facto. In social philosophy, the former
connotation is almost always uppermost. Society is conceived as one by
its very nature. The qualities which accompany this unity, praiseworthy
community of purpose and welfare, loyalty to public ends, mutuality of
sympathy, are emphasized. But when we look at the facts which the term
denotes instead of confining our attention to its intrinsic connotation,
we find not unity, but a plurality of societies, good and bad. Men
banded together in a criminal conspiracy, business aggregations that
prey upon the public while serving it, political machines held together
by the interest of plunder, are included. If it is said that such
organizations are not societies because they do not meet the ideal
requirements of the notion of society, the answer, in part, is that the
conception of society is then made so "ideal" as to be of no use, having
no reference to facts; and in part, that each of these organizations,
no matter how opposed to the interests of other groups, has something of
the praiseworthy qualities of "Society" which hold it together. There
is honor among thieves, and a band of robbers has a common interest as
respects its members. Gangs are marked by fraternal feeling, and narrow
cliques by intense loyalty to their own codes. Family life may be marked
by exclusiveness, suspicion, and jealousy as to those without, and yet
be a model of amity and mutual aid within. Any education given by a
group tends to socialize its members, but the quality and value of the
socialization depends upon the habits and aims of the group. Hence, once
more, the need of a measure for the worth of any given mode of social
life. In seeking this measure, we have to avoid two extremes. We cannot
set up, out of our heads, something we regard as an ideal society. We
must base our conception upon societies which actually exist, in order
to have any assurance that our ideal is a practicable one. But, as we
have just seen, the ideal cannot simply repeat the traits which are
actually found. The problem is to extract the desirable traits of forms
of community life which actually exist, and employ them to criticize
undesirable features and suggest improvement. Now in any social group
whatever, even in a gang of thieves, we find some interest held in
common, and we find a certain amount of interaction and cooperative
intercourse with other groups. From these two traits we derive
our standard. How numerous and varied are the interests which are
consciously shared? How full and free is the interplay with other forms
of association? If we apply these considerations to, say, a criminal
band, we find that the ties which consciously hold the members together
are few in number, reducible almost to a common interest in plunder; and
that they are of such a nature as to isolate the group from other
groups with respect to give and take of the values of life. Hence, the
education such a society gives is partial and distorted. If we take, on
the other hand, the kind of family life which illustrates the standard,
we find that there are material, intellectual, aesthetic interests in
which all participate and that the progress of one member has worth for
the experience of other members--it is readily communicable--and
that the family is not an isolated whole, but enters intimately into
relationships with business groups, with schools, with all the agencies
of culture, as well as with other similar groups, and that it plays a
due part in the political organization and in return receives support
from it. In short, there are many interests consciously communicated and
shared; and there are varied and free points of contact with other modes
of association.

I. Let us apply the first element in this criterion to a despotically
governed state. It is not true there is no common interest in such an
organization between governed and governors. The authorities in command
must make some appeal to the native activities of the subjects, must
call some of their powers into play. Talleyrand said that a government
could do everything with bayonets except sit on them. This cynical
declaration is at least a recognition that the bond of union is
not merely one of coercive force. It may be said, however, that the
activities appealed to are themselves unworthy and degrading--that such
a government calls into functioning activity simply capacity for fear.
In a way, this statement is true. But it overlooks the fact that
fear need not be an undesirable factor in experience. Caution,
circumspection, prudence, desire to foresee future events so as to avert
what is harmful, these desirable traits are as much a product of calling
the impulse of fear into play as is cowardice and abject submission. The
real difficulty is that the appeal to fear is isolated. In evoking dread
and hope of specific tangible reward--say comfort and ease--many other
capacities are left untouched. Or rather, they are affected, but in such
a way as to pervert them. Instead of operating on their own account they
are reduced to mere servants of attaining pleasure and avoiding pain.

This is equivalent to saying that there is no extensive number of common
interests; there is no free play back and forth among the members of
the social group. Stimulation and response are exceedingly one-sided. In
order to have a large number of values in common, all the members of
the group must have an equable opportunity to receive and to take
from others. There must be a large variety of shared undertakings and
experiences. Otherwise, the influences which educate some into masters,
educate others into slaves. And the experience of each party loses in
meaning, when the free interchange of varying modes of life-experience
is arrested. A separation into a privileged and a subject-class prevents
social endosmosis. The evils thereby affecting the superior class are
less material and less perceptible, but equally real. Their culture
tends to be sterile, to be turned back to feed on itself; their art
becomes a showy display and artificial; their wealth luxurious; their
knowledge overspecialized; their manners fastidious rather than humane.

Lack of the free and equitable intercourse which springs from a variety
of shared interests makes intellectual stimulation unbalanced. Diversity
of stimulation means novelty, and novelty means challenge to thought.
The more activity is restricted to a few definite lines--as it is
when there are rigid class lines preventing adequate interplay of
experiences--the more action tends to become routine on the part of the
class at a disadvantage, and capricious, aimless, and explosive on
the part of the class having the materially fortunate position. Plato
defined a slave as one who accepts from another the purposes which
control his conduct. This condition obtains even where there is no
slavery in the legal sense. It is found wherever men are engaged in
activity which is socially serviceable, but whose service they do
not understand and have no personal interest in. Much is said about
scientific management of work. It is a narrow view which restricts
the science which secures efficiency of operation to movements of the
muscles. The chief opportunity for science is the discovery of the
relations of a man to his work--including his relations to others who
take part--which will enlist his intelligent interest in what he is
doing. Efficiency in production often demands division of labor. But
it is reduced to a mechanical routine unless workers see the technical,
intellectual, and social relationships involved in what they do,
and engage in their work because of the motivation furnished by such
perceptions. The tendency to reduce such things as efficiency of
activity and scientific management to purely technical externals is
evidence of the one-sided stimulation of thought given to those in
control of industry--those who supply its aims. Because of their lack
of all-round and well-balanced social interest, there is not sufficient
stimulus for attention to the human factors and relationships in
industry. Intelligence is narrowed to the factors concerned with
technical production and marketing of goods. No doubt, a very acute and
intense intelligence in these narrow lines can be developed, but the
failure to take into account the significant social factors means none
the less an absence of mind, and a corresponding distortion of emotional
life. II. This illustration (whose point is to be extended to all
associations lacking reciprocity of interest) brings us to our second
point. The isolation and exclusiveness of a gang or clique brings its
antisocial spirit into relief. But this same spirit is found wherever
one group has interests "of its own" which shut it out from full
interaction with other groups, so that its prevailing purpose is the
protection of what it has got, instead of reorganization and progress
through wider relationships. It marks nations in their isolation from
one another; families which seclude their domestic concerns as if they
had no connection with a larger life; schools when separated from the
interest of home and community; the divisions of rich and poor; learned
and unlearned. The essential point is that isolation makes for rigidity
and formal institutionalizing of life, for static and selfish ideals
within the group. That savage tribes regard aliens and enemies as
synonymous is not accidental. It springs from the fact that they have
identified their experience with rigid adherence to their past customs.
On such a basis it is wholly logical to fear intercourse with others,
for such contact might dissolve custom. It would certainly occasion
reconstruction. It is a commonplace that an alert and expanding mental
life depends upon an enlarging range of contact with the physical
environment. But the principle applies even more significantly to the
field where we are apt to ignore it--the sphere of social contacts.
Every expansive era in the history of mankind has coincided with the
operation of factors which have tended to eliminate distance between
peoples and classes previously hemmed off from one another. Even the
alleged benefits of war, so far as more than alleged, spring from the
fact that conflict of peoples at least enforces intercourse between
them and thus accidentally enables them to learn from one another,
and thereby to expand their horizons. Travel, economic and commercial
tendencies, have at present gone far to break down external barriers;
to bring peoples and classes into closer and more perceptible
connection with one another. It remains for the most part to secure the
intellectual and emotional significance of this physical annihilation of

2. The Democratic Ideal. The two elements in our criterion both point
to democracy. The first signifies not only more numerous and more
varied points of shared common interest, but greater reliance upon
the recognition of mutual interests as a factor in social control. The
second means not only freer interaction between social groups (once
isolated so far as intention could keep up a separation) but change
in social habit--its continuous readjustment through meeting the new
situations produced by varied intercourse. And these two traits are
precisely what characterize the democratically constituted society.

Upon the educational side, we note first that the realization of a form
of social life in which interests are mutually interpenetrating, and
where progress, or readjustment, is an important consideration, makes a
democratic community more interested than other communities have cause
to be in deliberate and systematic education. The devotion of democracy
to education is a familiar fact. The superficial explanation is that
a government resting upon popular suffrage cannot be successful unless
those who elect and who obey their governors are educated. Since a
democratic society repudiates the principle of external authority, it
must find a substitute in voluntary disposition and interest; these
can be created only by education. But there is a deeper explanation. A
democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of
associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. The extension
in space of the number of individuals who participate in an interest so
that each has to refer his own action to that of others, and to
consider the action of others to give point and direction to his own,
is equivalent to the breaking down of those barriers of class, race,
and national territory which kept men from perceiving the full import
of their activity. These more numerous and more varied points of contact
denote a greater diversity of stimuli to which an individual has to
respond; they consequently put a premium on variation in his action.
They secure a liberation of powers which remain suppressed as long as
the incitations to action are partial, as they must be in a group which
in its exclusiveness shuts out many interests.

The widening of the area of shared concerns, and the liberation of a
greater diversity of personal capacities which characterize a democracy,
are not of course the product of deliberation and conscious effort.
On the contrary, they were caused by the development of modes of
manufacture and commerce, travel, migration, and intercommunication
which flowed from the command of science over natural energy. But
after greater individualization on one hand, and a broader community
of interest on the other have come into existence, it is a matter of
deliberate effort to sustain and extend them. Obviously a society to
which stratification into separate classes would be fatal, must see to
it that intellectual opportunities are accessible to all on equable
and easy terms. A society marked off into classes need he specially
attentive only to the education of its ruling elements. A society which
is mobile, which is full of channels for the distribution of a change
occurring anywhere, must see to it that its members are educated
to personal initiative and adaptability. Otherwise, they will
be overwhelmed by the changes in which they are caught and whose
significance or connections they do not perceive. The result will be a
confusion in which a few will appropriate to themselves the results of
the blind and externally directed activities of others.

3. The Platonic Educational Philosophy. Subsequent chapters will be
devoted to making explicit the implications of the democratic ideas in
education. In the remaining portions of this chapter, we shall consider
the educational theories which have been evolved in three epochs when
the social import of education was especially conspicuous. The first one
to be considered is that of Plato. No one could better express than did
he the fact that a society is stably organized when each individual is
doing that for which he has aptitude by nature in such a way as to be
useful to others (or to contribute to the whole to which he belongs);
and that it is the business of education to discover these aptitudes and
progressively to train them for social use. Much which has been said so
far is borrowed from what Plato first consciously taught the world. But
conditions which he could not intellectually control led him to restrict
these ideas in their application. He never got any conception of the
indefinite plurality of activities which may characterize an individual
and a social group, and consequently limited his view to a limited
number of classes of capacities and of social arrangements. Plato's
starting point is that the organization of society depends ultimately
upon knowledge of the end of existence. If we do not know its end, we
shall be at the mercy of accident and caprice. Unless we know the end,
the good, we shall have no criterion for rationally deciding what the
possibilities are which should be promoted, nor how social arrangements
are to be ordered. We shall have no conception of the proper limits and
distribution of activities--what he called justice--as a trait of both
individual and social organization. But how is the knowledge of the
final and permanent good to be achieved? In dealing with this question
we come upon the seemingly insuperable obstacle that such knowledge is
not possible save in a just and harmonious social order. Everywhere
else the mind is distracted and misled by false valuations and false
perspectives. A disorganized and factional society sets up a number of
different models and standards. Under such conditions it is impossible
for the individual to attain consistency of mind. Only a complete whole
is fully self-consistent. A society which rests upon the supremacy of
some factor over another irrespective of its rational or proportionate
claims, inevitably leads thought astray. It puts a premium on certain
things and slurs over others, and creates a mind whose seeming unity is
forced and distorted. Education proceeds ultimately from the patterns
furnished by institutions, customs, and laws. Only in a just state will
these be such as to give the right education; and only those who have
rightly trained minds will be able to recognize the end, and ordering
principle of things. We seem to be caught in a hopeless circle.
However, Plato suggested a way out. A few men, philosophers or lovers
of wisdom--or truth--may by study learn at least in outline the proper
patterns of true existence. If a powerful ruler should form a state
after these patterns, then its regulations could be preserved. An
education could be given which would sift individuals, discovering what
they were good for, and supplying a method of assigning each to the
work in life for which his nature fits him. Each doing his own part,
and never transgressing, the order and unity of the whole would be

It would be impossible to find in any scheme of philosophic thought a
more adequate recognition on one hand of the educational significance
of social arrangements and, on the other, of the dependence of those
arrangements upon the means used to educate the young. It would be
impossible to find a deeper sense of the function of education in
discovering and developing personal capacities, and training them so
that they would connect with the activities of others. Yet the society
in which the theory was propounded was so undemocratic that Plato could
not work out a solution for the problem whose terms he clearly saw.

While he affirmed with emphasis that the place of the individual in
society should not be determined by birth or wealth or any conventional
status, but by his own nature as discovered in the process of education,
he had no perception of the uniqueness of individuals. For him they fall
by nature into classes, and into a very small number of classes at that.
Consequently the testing and sifting function of education only shows
to which one of three classes an individual belongs. There being no
recognition that each individual constitutes his own class, there could
be no recognition of the infinite diversity of active tendencies and
combinations of tendencies of which an individual is capable. There
were only three types of faculties or powers in the individual's
constitution. Hence education would soon reach a static limit in each
class, for only diversity makes change and progress.

In some individuals, appetites naturally dominate; they are assigned
to the laboring and trading class, which expresses and supplies human
wants. Others reveal, upon education, that over and above appetites,
they have a generous, outgoing, assertively courageous disposition.
They become the citizen-subjects of the state; its defenders in war; its
internal guardians in peace. But their limit is fixed by their lack of
reason, which is a capacity to grasp the universal. Those who possess
this are capable of the highest kind of education, and become in time
the legislators of the state--for laws are the universals which control
the particulars of experience. Thus it is not true that in intent, Plato
subordinated the individual to the social whole. But it is true that
lacking the perception of the uniqueness of every individual, his
incommensurability with others, and consequently not recognizing that a
society might change and yet be stable, his doctrine of limited powers
and classes came in net effect to the idea of the subordination of
individuality. We cannot better Plato's conviction that an individual is
happy and society well organized when each individual engages in those
activities for which he has a natural equipment, nor his conviction that
it is the primary office of education to discover this equipment to its
possessor and train him for its effective use. But progress in
knowledge has made us aware of the superficiality of Plato's lumping
of individuals and their original powers into a few sharply marked-off
classes; it has taught us that original capacities are indefinitely
numerous and variable. It is but the other side of this fact to say
that in the degree in which society has become democratic, social
organization means utilization of the specific and variable qualities
of individuals, not stratification by classes. Although his educational
philosophy was revolutionary, it was none the less in bondage to static
ideals. He thought that change or alteration was evidence of lawless
flux; that true reality was unchangeable. Hence while he would radically
change the existing state of society, his aim was to construct a state
in which change would subsequently have no place. The final end of life
is fixed; given a state framed with this end in view, not even
minor details are to be altered. Though they might not be inherently
important, yet if permitted they would inure the minds of men to the
idea of change, and hence be dissolving and anarchic. The breakdown of
his philosophy is made apparent in the fact that he could not trust to
gradual improvements in education to bring about a better society which
should then improve education, and so on indefinitely. Correct education
could not come into existence until an ideal state existed, and after
that education would be devoted simply to its conservation. For the
existence of this state he was obliged to trust to some happy accident
by which philosophic wisdom should happen to coincide with possession of
ruling power in the state.

4. The "Individualistic" Ideal of the Eighteenth Century. In the
eighteenth-century philosophy we find ourselves in a very different
circle of ideas. "Nature" still means something antithetical to existing
social organization; Plato exercised a great influence upon Rousseau.
But the voice of nature now speaks for the diversity of individual
talent and for the need of free development of individuality in all
its variety. Education in accord with nature furnishes the goal and the
method of instruction and discipline. Moreover, the native or original
endowment was conceived, in extreme cases, as nonsocial or even as
antisocial. Social arrangements were thought of as mere external
expedients by which these nonsocial individuals might secure a greater
amount of private happiness for themselves. Nevertheless, these
statements convey only an inadequate idea of the true significance
of the movement. In reality its chief interest was in progress and
in social progress. The seeming antisocial philosophy was a somewhat
transparent mask for an impetus toward a wider and freer society--toward
cosmopolitanism. The positive ideal was humanity. In membership in
humanity, as distinct from a state, man's capacities would be liberated;
while in existing political organizations his powers were hampered and
distorted to meet the requirements and selfish interests of the
rulers of the state. The doctrine of extreme individualism was but the
counterpart, the obverse, of ideals of the indefinite perfectibility of
man and of a social organization having a scope as wide as humanity.
The emancipated individual was to become the organ and agent of a
comprehensive and progressive society.

The heralds of this gospel were acutely conscious of the evils of the
social estate in which they found themselves. They attributed these
evils to the limitations imposed upon the free powers of man. Such
limitation was both distorting and corrupting. Their impassioned
devotion to emancipation of life from external restrictions which
operated to the exclusive advantage of the class to whom a past feudal
system consigned power, found intellectual formulation in a worship
of nature. To give "nature" full swing was to replace an artificial,
corrupt, and inequitable social order by a new and better kingdom of
humanity. Unrestrained faith in Nature as both a model and a working
power was strengthened by the advances of natural science. Inquiry
freed from prejudice and artificial restraints of church and state had
revealed that the world is a scene of law. The Newtonian solar system,
which expressed the reign of natural law, was a scene of wonderful
harmony, where every force balanced with every other. Natural law would
accomplish the same result in human relations, if men would only get rid
of the artificial man-imposed coercive restrictions.

Education in accord with nature was thought to be the first step in
insuring this more social society. It was plainly seen that economic
and political limitations were ultimately dependent upon limitations of
thought and feeling. The first step in freeing men from external chains
was to emancipate them from the internal chains of false beliefs and
ideals. What was called social life, existing institutions, were too
false and corrupt to be intrusted with this work. How could it
be expected to undertake it when the undertaking meant its own
destruction? "Nature" must then be the power to which the enterprise was
to be left. Even the extreme sensationalistic theory of knowledge which
was current derived itself from this conception. To insist that mind is
originally passive and empty was one way of glorifying the possibilities
of education. If the mind was a wax tablet to be written upon by
objects, there were no limits to the possibility of education by means
of the natural environment. And since the natural world of objects is
a scene of harmonious "truth," this education would infallibly produce
minds filled with the truth.

5. Education as National and as Social. As soon as the first enthusiasm
for freedom waned, the weakness of the theory upon the constructive side
became obvious. Merely to leave everything to nature was, after all, but
to negate the very idea of education; it was to trust to the accidents
of circumstance. Not only was some method required but also some
positive organ, some administrative agency for carrying on the process
of instruction. The "complete and harmonious development of all
powers," having as its social counterpart an enlightened and progressive
humanity, required definite organization for its realization. Private
individuals here and there could proclaim the gospel; they could
not execute the work. A Pestalozzi could try experiments and exhort
philanthropically inclined persons having wealth and power to follow his
example. But even Pestalozzi saw that any effective pursuit of the new
educational ideal required the support of the state. The realization
of the new education destined to produce a new society was, after all,
dependent upon the activities of existing states. The movement for the
democratic idea inevitably became a movement for publicly conducted and
administered schools.

So far as Europe was concerned, the historic situation identified the
movement for a state-supported education with the nationalistic movement
in political life--a fact of incalculable significance for subsequent
movements. Under the influence of German thought in particular,
education became a civic function and the civic function was identified
with the realization of the ideal of the national state. The "state" was
substituted for humanity; cosmopolitanism gave way to nationalism. To
form the citizen, not the "man," became the aim of education. 1 The
historic situation to which reference is made is the after-effects of
the Napoleonic conquests, especially in Germany. The German states felt
(and subsequent events demonstrate the correctness of the belief) that
systematic attention to education was the best means of recovering and
maintaining their political integrity and power. Externally they were
weak and divided. Under the leadership of Prussian statesmen they
made this condition a stimulus to the development of an extensive and
thoroughly grounded system of public education.

This change in practice necessarily brought about a change in theory.
The individualistic theory receded into the background. The state
furnished not only the instrumentalities of public education but also
its goal. When the actual practice was such that the school system, from
the elementary grades through the university faculties, supplied
the patriotic citizen and soldier and the future state official and
administrator and furnished the means for military, industrial, and
political defense and expansion, it was impossible for theory not to
emphasize the aim of social efficiency. And with the immense importance
attached to the nationalistic state, surrounded by other competing and
more or less hostile states, it was equally impossible to interpret
social efficiency in terms of a vague cosmopolitan humanitarianism.
Since the maintenance of a particular national sovereignty required
subordination of individuals to the superior interests of the state
both in military defense and in struggles for international supremacy
in commerce, social efficiency was understood to imply a like
subordination. The educational process was taken to be one of
disciplinary training rather than of personal development. Since,
however, the ideal of culture as complete development of personality
persisted, educational philosophy attempted a reconciliation of the
two ideas. The reconciliation took the form of the conception of the
"organic" character of the state. The individual in his isolation is
nothing; only in and through an absorption of the aims and meaning of
organized institutions does he attain true personality. What appears to
be his subordination to political authority and the demand for sacrifice
of himself to the commands of his superiors is in reality but making his
own the objective reason manifested in the state--the only way in which
he can become truly rational. The notion of development which we have
seen to be characteristic of institutional idealism (as in the Hegelian
philosophy) was just such a deliberate effort to combine the two ideas
of complete realization of personality and thoroughgoing "disciplinary"
subordination to existing institutions. The extent of the transformation
of educational philosophy which occurred in Germany in the generation
occupied by the struggle against Napoleon for national independence,
may be gathered from Kant, who well expresses the earlier
individual-cosmopolitan ideal. In his treatise on Pedagogics, consisting
of lectures given in the later years of the eighteenth century, he
defines education as the process by which man becomes man. Mankind
begins its history submerged in nature--not as Man who is a creature of
reason, while nature furnishes only instinct and appetite. Nature
offers simply the germs which education is to develop and perfect. The
peculiarity of truly human life is that man has to create himself by his
own voluntary efforts; he has to make himself a truly moral, rational,
and free being. This creative effort is carried on by the educational
activities of slow generations. Its acceleration depends upon men
consciously striving to educate their successors not for the existing
state of affairs but so as to make possible a future better humanity.
But there is the great difficulty. Each generation is inclined to
educate its young so as to get along in the present world instead of
with a view to the proper end of education: the promotion of the best
possible realization of humanity as humanity. Parents educate their
children so that they may get on; princes educate their subjects as
instruments of their own purposes.

Who, then, shall conduct education so that humanity may improve? We must
depend upon the efforts of enlightened men in their private capacity.
"All culture begins with private men and spreads outward from them.
Simply through the efforts of persons of enlarged inclinations, who
are capable of grasping the ideal of a future better condition, is the
gradual approximation of human nature to its end possible. Rulers are
simply interested in such training as will make their subjects better
tools for their own intentions." Even the subsidy by rulers of privately
conducted schools must be carefully safeguarded. For the rulers'
interest in the welfare of their own nation instead of in what is best
for humanity, will make them, if they give money for the schools, wish
to draw their plans. We have in this view an express statement of
the points characteristic of the eighteenth century individualistic
cosmopolitanism. The full development of private personality is
identified with the aims of humanity as a whole and with the idea
of progress. In addition we have an explicit fear of the hampering
influence of a state-conducted and state-regulated education upon the
attainment of these ideas. But in less than two decades after this time,
Kant's philosophic successors, Fichte and Hegel, elaborated the idea
that the chief function of the state is educational; that in particular
the regeneration of Germany is to be accomplished by an education
carried on in the interests of the state, and that the private
individual is of necessity an egoistic, irrational being, enslaved to
his appetites and to circumstances unless he submits voluntarily to the
educative discipline of state institutions and laws. In this spirit,
Germany was the first country to undertake a public, universal, and
compulsory system of education extending from the primary school
through the university, and to submit to jealous state regulation and
supervision all private educational enterprises. Two results should
stand out from this brief historical survey. The first is that such
terms as the individual and the social conceptions of education are
quite meaningless taken at large, or apart from their context. Plato had
the ideal of an education which should equate individual realization and
social coherency and stability. His situation forced his ideal into
the notion of a society organized in stratified classes, losing the
individual in the class. The eighteenth century educational philosophy
was highly individualistic in form, but this form was inspired by a
noble and generous social ideal: that of a society organized to include
humanity, and providing for the indefinite perfectibility of mankind.
The idealistic philosophy of Germany in the early nineteenth century
endeavored again to equate the ideals of a free and complete
development of cultured personality with social discipline and political
subordination. It made the national state an intermediary between the
realization of private personality on one side and of humanity on the
other. Consequently, it is equally possible to state its animating
principle with equal truth either in the classic terms of "harmonious
development of all the powers of personality" or in the more recent
terminology of "social efficiency." All this reinforces the statement
which opens this chapter: The conception of education as a social
process and function has no definite meaning until we define the kind
of society we have in mind. These considerations pave the way for our
second conclusion. One of the fundamental problems of education in and
for a democratic society is set by the conflict of a nationalistic and a
wider social aim. The earlier cosmopolitan and "humanitarian" conception
suffered both from vagueness and from lack of definite organs of
execution and agencies of administration. In Europe, in the Continental
states particularly, the new idea of the importance of education for
human welfare and progress was captured by national interests and
harnessed to do a work whose social aim was definitely narrow and
exclusive. The social aim of education and its national aim were
identified, and the result was a marked obscuring of the meaning of a
social aim.

This confusion corresponds to the existing situation of human
intercourse. On the one hand, science, commerce, and art transcend
national boundaries. They are largely international in quality and
method. They involve interdependencies and cooperation among the peoples
inhabiting different countries. At the same time, the idea of national
sovereignty has never been as accentuated in politics as it is at the
present time. Each nation lives in a state of suppressed hostility and
incipient war with its neighbors. Each is supposed to be the supreme
judge of its own interests, and it is assumed as matter of course that
each has interests which are exclusively its own. To question this is
to question the very idea of national sovereignty which is assumed to
be basic to political practice and political science. This contradiction
(for it is nothing less) between the wider sphere of associated and
mutually helpful social life and the narrower sphere of exclusive and
hence potentially hostile pursuits and purposes, exacts of educational
theory a clearer conception of the meaning of "social" as a function
and test of education than has yet been attained. Is it possible for an
educational system to be conducted by a national state and yet the full
social ends of the educative process not be restricted, constrained, and
corrupted? Internally, the question has to face the tendencies, due to
present economic conditions, which split society into classes some
of which are made merely tools for the higher culture of others.
Externally, the question is concerned with the reconciliation of
national loyalty, of patriotism, with superior devotion to the things
which unite men in common ends, irrespective of national political
boundaries. Neither phase of the problem can be worked out by merely
negative means. It is not enough to see to it that education is not
actively used as an instrument to make easier the exploitation of one
class by another. School facilities must be secured of such amplitude
and efficiency as will in fact and not simply in name discount the
effects of economic inequalities, and secure to all the wards of the
nation equality of equipment for their future careers. Accomplishment
of this end demands not only adequate administrative provision of school
facilities, and such supplementation of family resources as will
enable youth to take advantage of them, but also such modification
of traditional ideals of culture, traditional subjects of study and
traditional methods of teaching and discipline as will retain all the
youth under educational influences until they are equipped to be masters
of their own economic and social careers. The ideal may seem remote
of execution, but the democratic ideal of education is a farcical yet
tragic delusion except as the ideal more and more dominates our public
system of education. The same principle has application on the side of
the considerations which concern the relations of one nation to another.
It is not enough to teach the horrors of war and to avoid everything
which would stimulate international jealousy and animosity. The emphasis
must be put upon whatever binds people together in cooperative human
pursuits and results, apart from geographical limitations. The secondary
and provisional character of national sovereignty in respect to the
fuller, freer, and more fruitful association and intercourse of all
human beings with one another must be instilled as a working disposition
of mind. If these applications seem to be remote from a consideration
of the philosophy of education, the impression shows that the meaning
of the idea of education previously developed has not been adequately
grasped. This conclusion is bound up with the very idea of education
as a freeing of individual capacity in a progressive growth directed to
social aims. Otherwise a democratic criterion of education can only be
inconsistently applied.

Summary. Since education is a social process, and there are many kinds
of societies, a criterion for educational criticism and construction
implies a particular social ideal. The two points selected by which to
measure the worth of a form of social life are the extent in which the
interests of a group are shared by all its members, and the fullness
and freedom with which it interacts with other groups. An undesirable
society, in other words, is one which internally and externally sets up
barriers to free intercourse and communication of experience. A society
which makes provision for participation in its good of all its
members on equal terms and which secures flexible readjustment of its
institutions through interaction of the different forms of associated
life is in so far democratic. Such a society must have a type of
education which gives individuals a personal interest in social
relationships and control, and the habits of mind which secure
social changes without introducing disorder. Three typical historic
philosophies of education were considered from this point of view.
The Platonic was found to have an ideal formally quite similar to that
stated, but which was compromised in its working out by making a class
rather than an individual the social unit. The so-called individualism
of the eighteenth-century enlightenment was found to involve the notion
of a society as broad as humanity, of whose progress the individual was
to be the organ. But it lacked any agency for securing the development
of its ideal as was evidenced in its falling back upon Nature. The
institutional idealistic philosophies of the nineteenth century supplied
this lack by making the national state the agency, but in so doing
narrowed the conception of the social aim to those who were members of
the same political unit, and reintroduced the idea of the subordination
of the individual to the institution. 1 There is a much neglected strain
in Rousseau tending intellectually in this direction. He opposed the
existing state of affairs on the ground that it formed neither the
citizen nor the man. Under existing conditions, he preferred to try for
the latter rather than for the former. But there are many sayings of his
which point to the formation of the citizen as ideally the higher, and
which indicate that his own endeavor, as embodied in the Emile, was
simply the best makeshift the corruption of the times permitted him to

Chapter Eight: Aims in Education

1. The Nature of an Aim.

The account of education given in our earlier chapters virtually
anticipated the results reached in a discussion of the purport of
education in a democratic community. For it assumed that the aim of
education is to enable individuals to continue their education--or that
the object and reward of learning is continued capacity for growth. Now
this idea cannot be applied to all the members of a society except
where intercourse of man with man is mutual, and except where there
is adequate provision for the reconstruction of social habits and
institutions by means of wide stimulation arising from equitably
distributed interests. And this means a democratic society. In our
search for aims in education, we are not concerned, therefore, with
finding an end outside of the educative process to which education is
subordinate. Our whole conception forbids. We are rather concerned with
the contrast which exists when aims belong within the process in which
they operate and when they are set up from without. And the latter
state of affairs must obtain when social relationships are not equitably
balanced. For in that case, some portions of the whole social group will
find their aims determined by an external dictation; their aims will not
arise from the free growth of their own experience, and their nominal
aims will be means to more ulterior ends of others rather than truly
their own.

Our first question is to define the nature of an aim so far as it falls
within an activity, instead of being furnished from without. We approach
the definition by a contrast of mere results with ends. Any exhibition
of energy has results. The wind blows about the sands of the desert; the
position of the grains is changed. Here is a result, an effect, but not
an end. For there is nothing in the outcome which completes or fulfills
what went before it. There is mere spatial redistribution. One state
of affairs is just as good as any other. Consequently there is no basis
upon which to select an earlier state of affairs as a beginning, a
later as an end, and to consider what intervenes as a process of
transformation and realization.

Consider for example the activities of bees in contrast with the changes
in the sands when the wind blows them about. The results of the bees'
actions may be called ends not because they are designed or consciously
intended, but because they are true terminations or completions of what
has preceded. When the bees gather pollen and make wax and build cells,
each step prepares the way for the next. When cells are built, the queen
lays eggs in them; when eggs are laid, they are sealed and bees brood
them and keep them at a temperature required to hatch them. When they
are hatched, bees feed the young till they can take care of themselves.
Now we are so familiar with such facts, that we are apt to dismiss them
on the ground that life and instinct are a kind of miraculous thing
anyway. Thus we fail to note what the essential characteristic of the
event is; namely, the significance of the temporal place and order of
each element; the way each prior event leads into its successor while
the successor takes up what is furnished and utilizes it for some other
stage, until we arrive at the end, which, as it were, summarizes and
finishes off the process. Since aims relate always to results, the first
thing to look to when it is a question of aims, is whether the work
assigned possesses intrinsic continuity. Or is it a mere serial
aggregate of acts, first doing one thing and then another? To talk about
an educational aim when approximately each act of a pupil is dictated
by the teacher, when the only order in the sequence of his acts is that
which comes from the assignment of lessons and the giving of directions
by another, is to talk nonsense. It is equally fatal to an aim to
permit capricious or discontinuous action in the name of spontaneous
self-expression. An aim implies an orderly and ordered activity, one
in which the order consists in the progressive completing of a process.
Given an activity having a time span and cumulative growth within
the time succession, an aim means foresight in advance of the end or
possible termination. If bees anticipated the consequences of their
activity, if they perceived their end in imaginative foresight, they
would have the primary element in an aim. Hence it is nonsense to talk
about the aim of education--or any other undertaking--where conditions
do not permit of foresight of results, and do not stimulate a person to
look ahead to see what the outcome of a given activity is to be. In the
next place the aim as a foreseen end gives direction to the activity; it
is not an idle view of a mere spectator, but influences the steps taken
to reach the end. The foresight functions in three ways. In the first
place, it involves careful observation of the given conditions to see
what are the means available for reaching the end, and to discover the
hindrances in the way. In the second place, it suggests the proper order
or sequence in the use of means. It facilitates an economical selection
and arrangement. In the third place, it makes choice of alternatives
possible. If we can predict the outcome of acting this way or that, we
can then compare the value of the two courses of action; we can pass
judgment upon their relative desirability. If we know that stagnant
water breeds mosquitoes and that they are likely to carry disease, we
can, disliking that anticipated result, take steps to avert it. Since we
do not anticipate results as mere intellectual onlookers, but as persons
concerned in the outcome, we are partakers in the process which produces
the result. We intervene to bring about this result or that.

Of course these three points are closely connected with one another.
We can definitely foresee results only as we make careful scrutiny
of present conditions, and the importance of the outcome supplies the
motive for observations. The more adequate our observations, the more
varied is the scene of conditions and obstructions that presents itself,
and the more numerous are the alternatives between which choice may be
made. In turn, the more numerous the recognized possibilities of the
situation, or alternatives of action, the more meaning does the chosen
activity possess, and the more flexibly controllable is it. Where only
a single outcome has been thought of, the mind has nothing else to think
of; the meaning attaching to the act is limited. One only steams ahead
toward the mark. Sometimes such a narrow course may be effective. But if
unexpected difficulties offer themselves, one has not as many resources
at command as if he had chosen the same line of action after a broader
survey of the possibilities of the field. He cannot make needed
readjustments readily.

The net conclusion is that acting with an aim is all one with acting
intelligently. To foresee a terminus of an act is to have a basis
upon which to observe, to select, and to order objects and our own
capacities. To do these things means to have a mind--for mind is
precisely intentional purposeful activity controlled by perception of
facts and their relationships to one another. To have a mind to do a
thing is to foresee a future possibility; it is to have a plan for its
accomplishment; it is to note the means which make the plan capable of
execution and the obstructions in the way,--or, if it is really a mind
to do the thing and not a vague aspiration--it is to have a plan which
takes account of resources and difficulties. Mind is capacity to refer
present conditions to future results, and future consequences to present
conditions. And these traits are just what is meant by having an aim
or a purpose. A man is stupid or blind or unintelligent--lacking in
mind--just in the degree in which in any activity he does not know what
he is about, namely, the probable consequences of his acts. A man is
imperfectly intelligent when he contents himself with looser guesses
about the outcome than is needful, just taking a chance with his luck,
or when he forms plans apart from study of the actual conditions,
including his own capacities. Such relative absence of mind means to
make our feelings the measure of what is to happen. To be intelligent we
must "stop, look, listen" in making the plan of an activity.

To identify acting with an aim and intelligent activity is enough to
show its value--its function in experience. We are only too given to
making an entity out of the abstract noun "consciousness." We forget
that it comes from the adjective "conscious." To be conscious is to
be aware of what we are about; conscious signifies the deliberate,
observant, planning traits of activity. Consciousness is nothing
which we have which gazes idly on the scene around one or which has
impressions made upon it by physical things; it is a name for the
purposeful quality of an activity, for the fact that it is directed by
an aim. Put the other way about, to have an aim is to act with meaning,
not like an automatic machine; it is to mean to do something and to
perceive the meaning of things in the light of that intent.

2. The Criteria of Good Aims. We may apply the results of our discussion
to a consideration of the criteria involved in a correct establishing of
aims. (1) The aim set up must be an outgrowth of existing conditions. It
must be based upon a consideration of what is already going on; upon the
resources and difficulties of the situation. Theories about the proper
end of our activities--educational and moral theories--often violate
this principle. They assume ends lying outside our activities; ends
foreign to the concrete makeup of the situation; ends which issue from
some outside source. Then the problem is to bring our activities to
bear upon the realization of these externally supplied ends. They are
something for which we ought to act. In any case such "aims" limit
intelligence; they are not the expression of mind in foresight,
observation, and choice of the better among alternative possibilities.
They limit intelligence because, given ready-made, they must be imposed
by some authority external to intelligence, leaving to the latter
nothing but a mechanical choice of means.

(2) We have spoken as if aims could be completely formed prior to the
attempt to realize them. This impression must now be qualified. The aim
as it first emerges is a mere tentative sketch. The act of striving
to realize it tests its worth. If it suffices to direct activity
successfully, nothing more is required, since its whole function is
to set a mark in advance; and at times a mere hint may suffice. But
usually--at least in complicated situations--acting upon it brings to
light conditions which had been overlooked. This calls for revision
of the original aim; it has to be added to and subtracted from. An
aim must, then, be flexible; it must be capable of alteration to meet
circumstances. An end established externally to the process of action is
always rigid. Being inserted or imposed from without, it is not supposed
to have a working relationship to the concrete conditions of the
situation. What happens in the course of action neither confirms,
refutes, nor alters it. Such an end can only be insisted upon. The
failure that results from its lack of adaptation is attributed simply
to the perverseness of conditions, not to the fact that the end is not
reasonable under the circumstances. The value of a legitimate aim, on
the contrary, lies in the fact that we can use it to change conditions.
It is a method for dealing with conditions so as to effect desirable
alterations in them. A farmer who should passively accept things just as
he finds them would make as great a mistake as he who framed his plans
in complete disregard of what soil, climate, etc., permit. One of the
evils of an abstract or remote external aim in education is that its
very inapplicability in practice is likely to react into a haphazard
snatching at immediate conditions. A good aim surveys the present state
of experience of pupils, and forming a tentative plan of treatment,
keeps the plan constantly in view and yet modifies it as conditions
develop. The aim, in short, is experimental, and hence constantly
growing as it is tested in action.

(3) The aim must always represent a freeing of activities. The term end
in view is suggestive, for it puts before the mind the termination
or conclusion of some process. The only way in which we can define
an activity is by putting before ourselves the objects in which it
terminates--as one's aim in shooting is the target. But we must remember
that the object is only a mark or sign by which the mind specifies the
activity one desires to carry out. Strictly speaking, not the target
but hitting the target is the end in view; one takes aim by means of the
target, but also by the sight on the gun. The different objects which
are thought of are means of directing the activity. Thus one aims at,
say, a rabbit; what he wants is to shoot straight: a certain kind of
activity. Or, if it is the rabbit he wants, it is not rabbit apart from
his activity, but as a factor in activity; he wants to eat the rabbit,
or to show it as evidence of his marksmanship--he wants to do something
with it. The doing with the thing, not the thing in isolation, is
his end. The object is but a phase of the active end,--continuing the
activity successfully. This is what is meant by the phrase, used above,
"freeing activity."

In contrast with fulfilling some process in order that activity may go
on, stands the static character of an end which is imposed from without
the activity. It is always conceived of as fixed; it is something to be
attained and possessed. When one has such a notion, activity is a mere
unavoidable means to something else; it is not significant or important
on its own account. As compared with the end it is but a necessary evil;
something which must be gone through before one can reach the object
which is alone worth while. In other words, the external idea of the
aim leads to a separation of means from end, while an end which grows
up within an activity as plan for its direction is always both ends and
means, the distinction being only one of convenience. Every means is a
temporary end until we have attained it. Every end becomes a means of
carrying activity further as soon as it is achieved. We call it end
when it marks off the future direction of the activity in which we are
engaged; means when it marks off the present direction. Every divorce of
end from means diminishes by that much the significance of the activity
and tends to reduce it to a drudgery from which one would escape if he
could. A farmer has to use plants and animals to carry on his farming
activities. It certainly makes a great difference to his life whether he
is fond of them, or whether he regards them merely as means which he has
to employ to get something else in which alone he is interested. In the
former case, his entire course of activity is significant; each phase
of it has its own value. He has the experience of realizing his end at
every stage; the postponed aim, or end in view, being merely a sight
ahead by which to keep his activity going fully and freely. For if he
does not look ahead, he is more likely to find himself blocked. The
aim is as definitely a means of action as is any other portion of an

3. Applications in Education. There is nothing peculiar about
educational aims. They are just like aims in any directed occupation.
The educator, like the farmer, has certain things to do, certain
resources with which to do, and certain obstacles with which to contend.
The conditions with which the farmer deals, whether as obstacles or
resources, have their own structure and operation independently of
any purpose of his. Seeds sprout, rain falls, the sun shines, insects
devour, blight comes, the seasons change. His aim is simply to utilize
these various conditions; to make his activities and their energies
work together, instead of against one another. It would be absurd if
the farmer set up a purpose of farming, without any reference to these
conditions of soil, climate, characteristic of plant growth, etc.
His purpose is simply a foresight of the consequences of his energies
connected with those of the things about him, a foresight used to direct
his movements from day to day. Foresight of possible consequences leads
to more careful and extensive observation of the nature and performances
of the things he had to do with, and to laying out a plan--that is, of a
certain order in the acts to be performed.

It is the same with the educator, whether parent or teacher. It is as
absurd for the latter to set up his "own" aims as the proper objects of
the growth of the children as it would be for the farmer to set up an
ideal of farming irrespective of conditions. Aims mean acceptance of
responsibility for the observations, anticipations, and arrangements
required in carrying on a function--whether farming or educating. Any
aim is of value so far as it assists observation, choice, and planning
in carrying on activity from moment to moment and hour to hour; if it
gets in the way of the individual's own common sense (as it will surely
do if imposed from without or accepted on authority) it does harm.

And it is well to remind ourselves that education as such has no aims.
Only persons, parents, and teachers, etc., have aims, not an abstract
idea like education. And consequently their purposes are indefinitely
varied, differing with different children, changing as children grow and
with the growth of experience on the part of the one who teaches. Even
the most valid aims which can be put in words will, as words, do more
harm than good unless one recognizes that they are not aims, but rather
suggestions to educators as to how to observe, how to look ahead, and
how to choose in liberating and directing the energies of the concrete
situations in which they find themselves. As a recent writer has
said: "To lead this boy to read Scott's novels instead of old Sleuth's
stories; to teach this girl to sew; to root out the habit of bullying
from John's make-up; to prepare this class to study medicine,--these
are samples of the millions of aims we have actually before us in the
concrete work of education." Bearing these qualifications in mind, we
shall proceed to state some of the characteristics found in all good
educational aims. (1) An educational aim must be founded upon the
intrinsic activities and needs (including original instincts and
acquired habits) of the given individual to be educated. The tendency of
such an aim as preparation is, as we have seen, to omit existing powers,
and find the aim in some remote accomplishment or responsibility. In
general, there is a disposition to take considerations which are dear
to the hearts of adults and set them up as ends irrespective of the
capacities of those educated. There is also an inclination to propound
aims which are so uniform as to neglect the specific powers and
requirements of an individual, forgetting that all learning is something
which happens to an individual at a given time and place. The larger
range of perception of the adult is of great value in observing the
abilities and weaknesses of the young, in deciding what they may amount
to. Thus the artistic capacities of the adult exhibit what certain
tendencies of the child are capable of; if we did not have the adult
achievements we should be without assurance as to the significance of
the drawing, reproducing, modeling, coloring activities of childhood.
So if it were not for adult language, we should not be able to see the
import of the babbling impulses of infancy. But it is one thing to use
adult accomplishments as a context in which to place and survey the
doings of childhood and youth; it is quite another to set them up as a
fixed aim without regard to the concrete activities of those educated.

(2) An aim must be capable of translation into a method of cooperating
with the activities of those undergoing instruction. It must suggest the
kind of environment needed to liberate and to organize their capacities.
Unless it lends itself to the construction of specific procedures, and
unless these procedures test, correct, and amplify the aim, the latter
is worthless. Instead of helping the specific task of teaching, it
prevents the use of ordinary judgment in observing and sizing up the
situation. It operates to exclude recognition of everything except what
squares up with the fixed end in view. Every rigid aim just because
it is rigidly given seems to render it unnecessary to give careful
attention to concrete conditions. Since it must apply anyhow, what is
the use of noting details which do not count?

The vice of externally imposed ends has deep roots. Teachers receive
them from superior authorities; these authorities accept them from what
is current in the community. The teachers impose them upon children. As
a first consequence, the intelligence of the teacher is not free; it is
confined to receiving the aims laid down from above. Too rarely is
the individual teacher so free from the dictation of authoritative
supervisor, textbook on methods, prescribed course of study, etc., that
he can let his mind come to close quarters with the pupil's mind and
the subject matter. This distrust of the teacher's experience is then
reflected in lack of confidence in the responses of pupils. The latter
receive their aims through a double or treble external imposition,
and are constantly confused by the conflict between the aims which are
natural to their own experience at the time and those in which they are
taught to acquiesce. Until the democratic criterion of the intrinsic
significance of every growing experience is recognized, we shall be
intellectually confused by the demand for adaptation to external aims.

(3) Educators have to be on their guard against ends that are alleged
to be general and ultimate. Every activity, however specific, is,
of course, general in its ramified connections, for it leads out
indefinitely into other things. So far as a general idea makes us more
alive to these connections, it cannot be too general. But "general"
also means "abstract," or detached from all specific context. And such
abstractness means remoteness, and throws us back, once more, upon
teaching and learning as mere means of getting ready for an end
disconnected from the means. That education is literally and all
the time its own reward means that no alleged study or discipline is
educative unless it is worth while in its own immediate having. A
truly general aim broadens the outlook; it stimulates one to take more
consequences (connections) into account. This means a wider and more
flexible observation of means. The more interacting forces, for example,
the farmer takes into account, the more varied will be his immediate
resources. He will see a greater number of possible starting places, and
a greater number of ways of getting at what he wants to do. The fuller
one's conception of possible future achievements, the less his present
activity is tied down to a small number of alternatives. If one knew
enough, one could start almost anywhere and sustain his activities
continuously and fruitfully.

Understanding then the term general or comprehensive aim simply in the
sense of a broad survey of the field of present activities, we shall
take up some of the larger ends which have currency in the educational
theories of the day, and consider what light they throw upon the
immediate concrete and diversified aims which are always the educator's
real concern. We premise (as indeed immediately follows from what
has been said) that there is no need of making a choice among them or
regarding them as competitors. When we come to act in a tangible way we
have to select or choose a particular act at a particular time, but any
number of comprehensive ends may exist without competition, since they
mean simply different ways of looking at the same scene. One cannot
climb a number of different mountains simultaneously, but the views had
when different mountains are ascended supplement one another: they do
not set up incompatible, competing worlds. Or, putting the matter in
a slightly different way, one statement of an end may suggest certain
questions and observations, and another statement another set of
questions, calling for other observations. Then the more general ends we
have, the better. One statement will emphasize what another slurs over.
What a plurality of hypotheses does for the scientific investigator, a
plurality of stated aims may do for the instructor.

Summary. An aim denotes the result of any natural process brought to
consciousness and made a factor in determining present observation
and choice of ways of acting. It signifies that an activity has
become intelligent. Specifically it means foresight of the alternative
consequences attendant upon acting in a given situation in different
ways, and the use of what is anticipated to direct observation and
experiment. A true aim is thus opposed at every point to an aim which is
imposed upon a process of action from without. The latter is fixed and
rigid; it is not a stimulus to intelligence in the given situation, but
is an externally dictated order to do such and such things. Instead of
connecting directly with present activities, it is remote, divorced from
the means by which it is to be reached. Instead of suggesting a
freer and better balanced activity, it is a limit set to activity. In
education, the currency of these externally imposed aims is responsible
for the emphasis put upon the notion of preparation for a remote future
and for rendering the work of both teacher and pupil mechanical and

Chapter Nine: Natural Development and Social Efficiency as Aims

1. Nature as Supplying the Aim. We have just pointed out the futility
of trying to establish the aim of education--some one final aim which
subordinates all others to itself. We have indicated that since general
aims are but prospective points of view from which to survey the
existing conditions and estimate their possibilities, we might have any
number of them, all consistent with one another. As matter of fact, a
large number have been stated at different times, all having great local
value. For the statement of aim is a matter of emphasis at a given time.
And we do not emphasize things which do not require emphasis--that is,
such things as are taking care of themselves fairly well. We tend rather
to frame our statement on the basis of the defects and needs of the
contemporary situation; we take for granted, without explicit statement
which would be of no use, whatever is right or approximately so. We
frame our explicit aims in terms of some alteration to be brought about.
It is, then, DO paradox requiring explanation that a given epoch or
generation tends to emphasize in its conscious projections just the
things which it has least of in actual fact. A time of domination by
authority will call out as response the desirability of great individual
freedom; one of disorganized individual activities the need of social
control as an educational aim.

The actual and implicit practice and the conscious or stated aim thus
balance each other. At different times such aims as complete living,
better methods of language study, substitution of things for words,
social efficiency, personal culture, social service, complete
development of personality, encyclopedic knowledge, discipline, a
esthetic contemplation, utility, etc., have served. The following
discussion takes up three statements of recent influence; certain others
have been incidentally discussed in the previous chapters, and others
will be considered later in a discussion of knowledge and of the values
of studies. We begin with a consideration that education is a process
of development in accordance with nature, taking Rousseau's statement,
which opposed natural to social (See ante, p. 91); and then pass over
to the antithetical conception of social efficiency, which often opposes
social to natural.

(1) Educational reformers disgusted with the conventionality and
artificiality of the scholastic methods they find about them are prone
to resort to nature as a standard. Nature is supposed to furnish the
law and the end of development; ours it is to follow and conform to her
ways. The positive value of this conception lies in the forcible way
in which it calls attention to the wrongness of aims which do not have
regard to the natural endowment of those educated. Its weakness is the
ease with which natural in the sense of normal is confused with the
physical. The constructive use of intelligence in foresight, and
contriving, is then discounted; we are just to get out of the way and
allow nature to do the work. Since no one has stated in the doctrine
both its truth and falsity better than Rousseau, we shall turn to him.

"Education," he says, "we receive from three sources--Nature, men,
and things. The spontaneous development of our organs and capacities
constitutes the education of Nature. The use to which we are taught to
put this development constitutes that education given us by Men. The
acquirement of personal experience from surrounding objects constitutes
that of things. Only when these three kinds of education are consonant
and make for the same end, does a man tend towards his true goal. If we
are asked what is this end, the answer is that of Nature. For since
the concurrence of the three kinds of education is necessary to their
completeness, the kind which is entirely independent of our control must
necessarily regulate us in determining the other two." Then he defines
Nature to mean the capacities and dispositions which are inborn, "as
they exist prior to the modification due to constraining habits and the
influence of the opinion of others."

The wording of Rousseau will repay careful study. It contains as
fundamental truths as have been uttered about education in conjunction
with a curious twist. It would be impossible to say better what is said
in the first sentences. The three factors of educative development
are (a) the native structure of our bodily organs and their functional
activities; (b) the uses to which the activities of these organs are put
under the influence of other persons; (c) their direct interaction with
the environment. This statement certainly covers the ground. His other
two propositions are equally sound; namely, (a) that only when the
three factors of education are consonant and cooperative does adequate
development of the individual occur, and (b) that the native activities
of the organs, being original, are basic in conceiving consonance. But
it requires but little reading between the lines, supplemented by other
statements of Rousseau, to perceive that instead of regarding these
three things as factors which must work together to some extent in
order that any one of them may proceed educatively, he regards them as
separate and independent operations. Especially does he believe that
there is an independent and, as he says, "spontaneous" development of
the native organs and faculties. He thinks that this development can
go on irrespective of the use to which they are put. And it is to this
separate development that education coming from social contact is to be
subordinated. Now there is an immense difference between a use of native
activities in accord with those activities themselves--as distinct from
forcing them and perverting them--and supposing that they have a normal
development apart from any use, which development furnishes the standard
and norm of all learning by use. To recur to our previous illustration,
the process of acquiring language is a practically perfect model of
proper educative growth. The start is from native activities of the
vocal apparatus, organs of hearing, etc. But it is absurd to suppose
that these have an independent growth of their own, which left to itself
would evolve a perfect speech. Taken literally, Rousseau's principle
would mean that adults should accept and repeat the babblings and
noises of children not merely as the beginnings of the development
of articulate speech--which they are--but as furnishing language
itself--the standard for all teaching of language.

The point may be summarized by saying that Rousseau was right,
introducing a much-needed reform into education, in holding that the
structure and activities of the organs furnish the conditions of all
teaching of the use of the organs; but profoundly wrong in intimating
that they supply not only the conditions but also the ends of their
development. As matter of fact, the native activities develop, in
contrast with random and capricious exercise, through the uses to which
they are put. And the office of the social medium is, as we have seen,
to direct growth through putting powers to the best possible use. The
instinctive activities may be called, metaphorically, spontaneous,
in the sense that the organs give a strong bias for a certain sort of
operation,--a bias so strong that we cannot go contrary to it, though by
trying to go contrary we may pervert, stunt, and corrupt them. But the
notion of a spontaneous normal development of these activities is pure
mythology. The natural, or native, powers furnish the initiating and
limiting forces in all education; they do not furnish its ends or aims.
There is no learning except from a beginning in unlearned powers, but
learning is not a matter of the spontaneous overflow of the unlearned
powers. Rousseau's contrary opinion is doubtless due to the fact that he
identified God with Nature; to him the original powers are wholly good,
coming directly from a wise and good creator. To paraphrase the old
saying about the country and the town, God made the original human
organs and faculties, man makes the uses to which they are put.
Consequently the development of the former furnishes the standard to
which the latter must be subordinated. When men attempt to determine the
uses to which the original activities shall be put, they interfere with
a divine plan. The interference by social arrangements with Nature,
God's work, is the primary source of corruption in individuals.

Rousseau's passionate assertion of the intrinsic goodness of all natural
tendencies was a reaction against the prevalent notion of the total
depravity of innate human nature, and has had a powerful influence in
modifying the attitude towards children's interests. But it is hardly
necessary to say that primitive impulses are of themselves neither good
nor evil, but become one or the other according to the objects for which
they are employed. That neglect, suppression, and premature forcing
of some instincts at the expense of others, are responsible for many
avoidable ills, there can be no doubt. But the moral is not to leave
them alone to follow their own "spontaneous development," but to provide
an environment which shall organize them.

Returning to the elements of truth contained in Rousseau's statements,
we find that natural development, as an aim, enables him to point the
means of correcting many evils in current practices, and to indicate
a number of desirable specific aims. (1) Natural development as an aim
fixes attention upon the bodily organs and the need of health and vigor.
The aim of natural development says to parents and teachers: Make health
an aim; normal development cannot be had without regard to the vigor of
the body--an obvious enough fact and yet one whose due recognition
in practice would almost automatically revolutionize many of our
educational practices. "Nature" is indeed a vague and metaphorical
term, but one thing that "Nature" may be said to utter is that there are
conditions of educational efficiency, and that till we have learned what
these conditions are and have learned to make our practices accord with
them, the noblest and most ideal of our aims are doomed to suffer--are
verbal and sentimental rather than efficacious.

(2) The aim of natural development translates into the aim of respect
for physical mobility. In Rousseau's words: "Children are always in
motion; a sedentary life is injurious." When he says that "Nature's
intention is to strengthen the body before exercising the mind"
he hardly states the fact fairly. But if he had said that nature's
"intention" (to adopt his poetical form of speech) is to develop the
mind especially by exercise of the muscles of the body he would have
stated a positive fact. In other words, the aim of following nature
means, in the concrete, regard for the actual part played by use of the
bodily organs in explorations, in handling of materials, in plays
and games. (3) The general aim translates into the aim of regard for
individual differences among children. Nobody can take the principle of
consideration of native powers into account without being struck by the
fact that these powers differ in different individuals. The difference
applies not merely to their intensity, but even more to their quality
and arrangement. As Rouseau said: "Each individual is born with
a distinctive temperament. We indiscriminately employ children of
different bents on the same exercises; their education destroys the
special bent and leaves a dull uniformity. Therefore after we have
wasted our efforts in stunting the true gifts of nature we see the
short-lived and illusory brilliance we have substituted die away, while
the natural abilities we have crushed do not revive."

Lastly, the aim of following nature means to note the origin, the
waxing, and waning, of preferences and interests. Capacities bud and
bloom irregularly; there is no even four-abreast development. We must
strike while the iron is hot. Especially precious are the first dawnings
of power. More than we imagine, the ways in which the tendencies of
early childhood are treated fix fundamental dispositions and condition
the turn taken by powers that show themselves later. Educational concern
with the early years of life--as distinct from inculcation of useful
arts--dates almost entirely from the time of the emphasis by Pestalozzi
and Froebel, following Rousseau, of natural principles of growth.
The irregularity of growth and its significance is indicated in the
following passage of a student of the growth of the nervous system.
"While growth continues, things bodily and mental are lopsided, for
growth is never general, but is accentuated now at one spot, now at
another. The methods which shall recognize in the presence of these
enormous differences of endowment the dynamic values of natural
inequalities of growth, and utilize them, preferring irregularity to the
rounding out gained by pruning will most closely follow that which
takes place in the body and thus prove most effective." 1 Observation of
natural tendencies is difficult under conditions of restraint. They
show themselves most readily in a child's spontaneous sayings and
doings,--that is, in those he engages in when not put at set tasks and
when not aware of being under observation. It does not follow that
these tendencies are all desirable because they are natural; but it does
follow that since they are there, they are operative and must be
taken account of. We must see to it that the desirable ones have an
environment which keeps them active, and that their activity shall
control the direction the others take and thereby induce the disuse of
the latter because they lead to nothing. Many tendencies that trouble
parents when they appear are likely to be transitory, and sometimes too
much direct attention to them only fixes a child's attention upon them.
At all events, adults too easily assume their own habits and wishes as
standards, and regard all deviations of children's impulses as evils
to be eliminated. That artificiality against which the conception of
following nature is so largely a protest, is the outcome of attempts to
force children directly into the mold of grown-up standards.

In conclusion, we note that the early history of the idea of following
nature combined two factors which had no inherent connection with one
another. Before the time of Rousseau educational reformers had been
inclined to urge the importance of education by ascribing practically
unlimited power to it. All the differences between peoples and between
classes and persons among the same people were said to be due to
differences of training, of exercise, and practice. Originally, mind,
reason, understanding is, for all practical purposes, the same in all.
This essential identity of mind means the essential equality of all and
the possibility of bringing them all to the same level. As a protest
against this view, the doctrine of accord with nature meant a much less
formal and abstract view of mind and its powers. It substituted specific
instincts and impulses and physiological capacities, differing from
individual to individual (just as they differ, as Rousseau pointed out,
even in dogs of the same litter), for abstract faculties of discernment,
memory, and generalization. Upon this side, the doctrine of educative
accord with nature has been reinforced by the development of modern
biology, physiology, and psychology. It means, in effect, that great
as is the significance of nurture, of modification, and transformation
through direct educational effort, nature, or unlearned capacities,
affords the foundation and ultimate resources for such nurture. On the
other hand, the doctrine of following nature was a political dogma. It
meant a rebellion against existing social institutions, customs, and
ideals (See ante, p. 91). Rousseau's statement that everything is good
as it comes from the hands of the Creator has its signification only in
its contrast with the concluding part of the same sentence: "Everything
degenerates in the hands of man." And again he says: "Natural man has
an absolute value; he is a numerical unit, a complete integer and has no
relation save to himself and to his fellow man. Civilized man is only a
relative unit, the numerator of a fraction whose value depends upon its
dominator, its relation to the integral body of society. Good political
institutions are those which make a man unnatural." It is upon this
conception of the artificial and harmful character of organized social
life as it now exists 2 that he rested the notion that nature not merely
furnishes prime forces which initiate growth but also its plan and goal.
That evil institutions and customs work almost automatically to give a
wrong education which the most careful schooling cannot offset is
true enough; but the conclusion is not to education apart from the
environment, but to provide an environment in which native powers will
be put to better uses.

2. Social Efficiency as Aim. A conception which made nature supply the
end of a true education and society the end of an evil one, could hardly
fail to call out a protest. The opposing emphasis took the form of a
doctrine that the business of education is to supply precisely what
nature fails to secure; namely, habituation of an individual to social
control; subordination of natural powers to social rules. It is not
surprising to find that the value in the idea of social efficiency
resides largely in its protest against the points at which the doctrine
of natural development went astray; while its misuse comes when it is
employed to slur over the truth in that conception. It is a fact that we
must look to the activities and achievements of associated life to find
what the development of power--that is to say, efficiency--means. The
error is in implying that we must adopt measures of subordination rather
than of utilization to secure efficiency. The doctrine is rendered
adequate when we recognize that social efficiency is attained not by
negative constraint but by positive use of native individual capacities
in occupations having a social meaning. (1) Translated into specific
aims, social efficiency indicates the importance of industrial
competency. Persons cannot live without means of subsistence; the ways
in which these means are employed and consumed have a profound influence
upon all the relationships of persons to one another. If an individual
is not able to earn his own living and that of the children dependent
upon him, he is a drag or parasite upon the activities of others. He
misses for himself one of the most educative experiences of life. If he
is not trained in the right use of the products of industry, there
is grave danger that he may deprave himself and injure others in his
possession of wealth. No scheme of education can afford to neglect
such basic considerations. Yet in the name of higher and more spiritual
ideals, the arrangements for higher education have often not only
neglected them, but looked at them with scorn as beneath the level of
educative concern. With the change from an oligarchical to a democratic
society, it is natural that the significance of an education which
should have as a result ability to make one's way economically in the
world, and to manage economic resources usefully instead of for mere
display and luxury, should receive emphasis.

There is, however, grave danger that in insisting upon this end,
existing economic conditions and standards will be accepted as final.
A democratic criterion requires us to develop capacity to the point of
competency to choose and make its own career. This principle is violated
when the attempt is made to fit individuals in advance for definite
industrial callings, selected not on the basis of trained original
capacities, but on that of the wealth or social status of parents. As a
matter of fact, industry at the present time undergoes rapid and abrupt
changes through the evolution of new inventions. New industries spring
up, and old ones are revolutionized. Consequently an attempt to train
for too specific a mode of efficiency defeats its own purpose. When the
occupation changes its methods, such individuals are left behind
with even less ability to readjust themselves than if they had a less
definite training. But, most of all, the present industrial constitution
of society is, like every society which has ever existed, full of
inequities. It is the aim of progressive education to take part in
correcting unfair privilege and unfair deprivation, not to perpetuate
them. Wherever social control means subordination of individual
activities to class authority, there is danger that industrial education
will be dominated by acceptance of the status quo. Differences
of economic opportunity then dictate what the future callings of
individuals are to be. We have an unconscious revival of the defects
of the Platonic scheme (ante, p. 89) without its enlightened method of

(2) Civic efficiency, or good citizenship. It is, of course, arbitrary
to separate industrial competency from capacity in good citizenship. But
the latter term may be used to indicate a number of qualifications which
are vaguer than vocational ability. These traits run from whatever make
an individual a more agreeable companion to citizenship in the political
sense: it denotes ability to judge men and measures wisely and to take
a determining part in making as well as obeying laws. The aim of civic
efficiency has at least the merit of protecting us from the notion of a
training of mental power at large. It calls attention to the fact that
power must be relative to doing something, and to the fact that the
things which most need to be done are things which involve one's
relationships with others.

Here again we have to be on guard against understanding the aim too
narrowly. An over-definite interpretation would at certain periods have
excluded scientific discoveries, in spite of the fact that in the last
analysis security of social progress depends upon them. For scientific
men would have been thought to be mere theoretical dreamers, totally
lacking in social efficiency. It must be borne in mind that ultimately
social efficiency means neither more nor less than capacity to share
in a give and take of experience. It covers all that makes one's own
experience more worth while to others, and all that enables one to
participate more richly in the worthwhile experiences of others. Ability
to produce and to enjoy art, capacity for recreation, the significant
utilization of leisure, are more important elements in it than elements
conventionally associated oftentimes with citizenship. In the broadest
sense, social efficiency is nothing less than that socialization of mind
which is actively concerned in making experiences more communicable;
in breaking down the barriers of social stratification which make
individuals impervious to the interests of others. When social
efficiency is confined to the service rendered by overt acts, its
chief constituent (because its only guarantee) is omitted,--intelligent
sympathy or good will. For sympathy as a desirable quality is something
more than mere feeling; it is a cultivated imagination for what men have
in common and a rebellion at whatever unnecessarily divides them.
What is sometimes called a benevolent interest in others may be but an
unwitting mask for an attempt to dictate to them what their good shall
be, instead of an endeavor to free them so that they may seek and find
the good of their own choice. Social efficiency, even social service,
are hard and metallic things when severed from an active acknowledgment
of the diversity of goods which life may afford to different persons,
and from faith in the social utility of encouraging every individual to
make his own choice intelligent.

3. Culture as Aim. Whether or not social efficiency is an aim which is
consistent with culture turns upon these considerations. Culture means
at least something cultivated, something ripened; it is opposed to
the raw and crude. When the "natural" is identified with this rawness,
culture is opposed to what is called natural development. Culture is
also something personal; it is cultivation with respect to appreciation
of ideas and art and broad human interests. When efficiency is
identified with a narrow range of acts, instead of with the spirit and
meaning of activity, culture is opposed to efficiency. Whether called
culture or complete development of personality, the outcome is identical
with the true meaning of social efficiency whenever attention is given
to what is unique in an individual--and he would not be an individual if
there were not something incommensurable about him. Its opposite is
the mediocre, the average. Whenever distinctive quality is developed,
distinction of personality results, and with it greater promise for
a social service which goes beyond the supply in quantity of material
commodities. For how can there be a society really worth serving unless
it is constituted of individuals of significant personal qualities?

The fact is that the opposition of high worth of personality to social
efficiency is a product of a feudally organized society with its rigid
division of inferior and superior. The latter are supposed to have time
and opportunity to develop themselves as human beings; the former are
confined to providing external products. When social efficiency as
measured by product or output is urged as an ideal in a would-be
democratic society, it means that the depreciatory estimate of the
masses characteristic of an aristocratic community is accepted and
carried over. But if democracy has a moral and ideal meaning, it is
that a social return be demanded from all and that opportunity for
development of distinctive capacities be afforded all. The separation
of the two aims in education is fatal to democracy; the adoption of
the narrower meaning of efficiency deprives it of its essential

The aim of efficiency (like any educational aim) must be included within
the process of experience. When it is measured by tangible external
products, and not by the achieving of a distinctively valuable
experience, it becomes materialistic. Results in the way of commodities
which may be the outgrowth of an efficient personality are, in the
strictest sense, by-products of education: by-products which are
inevitable and important, but nevertheless by-products. To set up an
external aim strengthens by reaction the false conception of culture
which identifies it with something purely "inner." And the idea of
perfecting an "inner" personality is a sure sign of social divisions.
What is called inner is simply that which does not connect with
others--which is not capable of free and full communication. What is
termed spiritual culture has usually been futile, with something rotten
about it, just because it has been conceived as a thing which a man
might have internally--and therefore exclusively. What one is as a
person is what one is as associated with others, in a free give and take
of intercourse. This transcends both the efficiency which consists
in supplying products to others and the culture which is an exclusive
refinement and polish.

Any individual has missed his calling, farmer, physician, teacher,
student, who does not find that the accomplishments of results of value
to others is an accompaniment of a process of experience inherently
worth while. Why then should it be thought that one must take his
choice between sacrificing himself to doing useful things for others,
or sacrificing them to pursuit of his own exclusive ends, whether the
saving of his own soul or the building of an inner spiritual life and
personality? What happens is that since neither of these things is
persistently possible, we get a compromise and an alternation. One tries
each course by turns. There is no greater tragedy than that so much
of the professedly spiritual and religious thought of the world
has emphasized the two ideals of self-sacrifice and spiritual
self-perfecting instead of throwing its weight against this dualism of
life. The dualism is too deeply established to be easily overthrown; for
that reason, it is the particular task of education at the present time
to struggle in behalf of an aim in which social efficiency and personal
culture are synonyms instead of antagonists.

Summary. General or comprehensive aims are points of view for surveying
the specific problems of education. Consequently it is a test of the
value of the manner in which any large end is stated to see if it
will translate readily and consistently into the procedures which are
suggested by another. We have applied this test to three general aims:
Development according to nature, social efficiency, and culture or
personal mental enrichment. In each case we have seen that the aims
when partially stated come into conflict with each other. The partial
statement of natural development takes the primitive powers in an
alleged spontaneous development as the end-all. From this point of view
training which renders them useful to others is an abnormal constraint;
one which profoundly modifies them through deliberate nurture is
corrupting. But when we recognize that natural activities mean native
activities which develop only through the uses in which they are
nurtured, the conflict disappears. Similarly a social efficiency which
is defined in terms of rendering external service to others is of
necessity opposed to the aim of enriching the meaning of experience,
while a culture which is taken to consist in an internal refinement of a
mind is opposed to a socialized disposition. But social efficiency as an
educational purpose should mean cultivation of power to join freely
and fully in shared or common activities. This is impossible without
culture, while it brings a reward in culture, because one cannot share
in intercourse with others without learning--without getting a broader
point of view and perceiving things of which one would otherwise be
ignorant. And there is perhaps no better definition of culture than that
it is the capacity for constantly expanding the range and accuracy of
one's perception of meanings.

1 Donaldson, Growth of Brain, p. 356.

2 We must not forget that Rousseau had the idea of a radically different
sort of society, a fraternal society whose end should be identical with
the good of all its members, which he thought to be as much better than
existing states as these are worse than the state of nature.

Chapter Ten: Interest and Discipline

1. The Meaning of the Terms. We have already noticed the difference in
the attitude of a spectator and of an agent or participant. The former
is indifferent to what is going on; one result is just as good as
another, since each is just something to look at. The latter is bound
up with what is going on; its outcome makes a difference to him. His
fortunes are more or less at stake in the issue of events. Consequently
he does whatever he can to influence the direction present occurrences
take. One is like a man in a prison cell watching the rain out of the
window; it is all the same to him. The other is like a man who has
planned an outing for the next day which continuing rain will frustrate.
He cannot, to be sure, by his present reactions affect to-morrow's
weather, but he may take some steps which will influence future
happenings, if only to postpone the proposed picnic. If a man sees a
carriage coming which may run over him, if he cannot stop its movement,
he can at least get out of the way if he foresees the consequence
in time. In many instances, he can intervene even more directly. The
attitude of a participant in the course of affairs is thus a double
one: there is solicitude, anxiety concerning future consequences, and a
tendency to act to assure better, and avert worse, consequences. There
are words which denote this attitude: concern, interest. These words
suggest that a person is bound up with the possibilities inhering in
objects; that he is accordingly on the lookout for what they are likely
to do to him; and that, on the basis of his expectation or foresight,
he is eager to act so as to give things one turn rather than another.
Interest and aims, concern and purpose, are necessarily connected. Such
words as aim, intent, end, emphasize the results which are wanted and
striven for; they take for granted the personal attitude of solicitude
and attentive eagerness. Such words as interest, affection, concern,
motivation, emphasize the bearing of what is foreseen upon the
individual's fortunes, and his active desire to act to secure a possible
result. They take for granted the objective changes. But the difference
is but one of emphasis; the meaning that is shaded in one set of words
is illuminated in the other. What is anticipated is objective and
impersonal; to-morrow's rain; the possibility of being run over. But
for an active being, a being who partakes of the consequences instead of
standing aloof from them, there is at the same time a personal response.
The difference imaginatively foreseen makes a present difference,
which finds expression in solicitude and effort. While such words
as affection, concern, and motive indicate an attitude of personal
preference, they are always attitudes toward objects--toward what is
foreseen. We may call the phase of objective foresight intellectual, and
the phase of personal concern emotional and volitional, but there is no
separation in the facts of the situation.

Such a separation could exist only if the personal attitudes ran their
course in a world by themselves. But they are always responses to
what is going on in the situation of which they are a part, and their
successful or unsuccessful expression depends upon their interaction
with other changes. Life activities flourish and fail only in connection
with changes of the environment. They are literally bound up with these
changes; our desires, emotions, and affections are but various ways in
which our doings are tied up with the doings of things and persons about
us. Instead of marking a purely personal or subjective realm, separated
from the objective and impersonal, they indicate the non-existence of
such a separate world. They afford convincing evidence that changes in
things are not alien to the activities of a self, and that the career
and welfare of the self are bound up with the movement of persons and
things. Interest, concern, mean that self and world are engaged with
each other in a developing situation.

The word interest, in its ordinary usage, expresses (i) the whole state
of active development, (ii) the objective results that are foreseen and
wanted, and (iii) the personal emotional inclination.

(I) An occupation, employment, pursuit, business is often referred to
as an interest. Thus we say that a man's interest is politics, or
journalism, or philanthropy, or archaeology, or collecting Japanese
prints, or banking.

(ii) By an interest we also mean the point at which an object touches
or engages a man; the point where it influences him. In some legal
transactions a man has to prove "interest" in order to have a standing
at court. He has to show that some proposed step concerns his affairs.
A silent partner has an interest in a business, although he takes no
active part in its conduct because its prosperity or decline affects his
profits and liabilities.

(iii) When we speak of a man as interested in this or that the emphasis
falls directly upon his personal attitude. To be interested is to be
absorbed in, wrapped up in, carried away by, some object. To take an
interest is to be on the alert, to care about, to be attentive. We say
of an interested person both that he has lost himself in some affair and
that he has found himself in it. Both terms express the engrossment of
the self in an object.

When the place of interest in education is spoken of in a depreciatory
way, it will be found that the second of the meanings mentioned is first
exaggerated and then isolated. Interest is taken to mean merely the
effect of an object upon personal advantage or disadvantage, success or
failure. Separated from any objective development of affairs, these are
reduced to mere personal states of pleasure or pain. Educationally, it
then follows that to attach importance to interest means to attach some
feature of seductiveness to material otherwise indifferent; to secure
attention and effort by offering a bribe of pleasure. This procedure is
properly stigmatized as "soft" pedagogy; as a "soup-kitchen" theory of

But the objection is based upon the fact--or assumption--that the forms
of skill to be acquired and the subject matter to be appropriated have
no interest on their own account: in other words, they are supposed to
be irrelevant to the normal activities of the pupils. The remedy is not
in finding fault with the doctrine of interest, any more than it is to
search for some pleasant bait that may be hitched to the alien material.
It is to discover objects and modes of action, which are connected with
present powers. The function of this material in engaging activity and
carrying it on consistently and continuously is its interest. If the
material operates in this way, there is no call either to hunt for
devices which will make it interesting or to appeal to arbitrary,
semi-coerced effort.

The word interest suggests, etymologically, what is between,--that
which connects two things otherwise distant. In education, the distance
covered may be looked at as temporal. The fact that a process takes
time to mature is so obvious a fact that we rarely make it explicit. We
overlook the fact that in growth there is ground to be covered between
an initial stage of process and the completing period; that there is
something intervening. In learning, the present powers of the pupil are
the initial stage; the aim of the teacher represents the remote limit.
Between the two lie means--that is middle conditions:--acts to be
performed; difficulties to be overcome; appliances to be used. Only
through them, in the literal time sense, will the initial activities
reach a satisfactory consummation.

These intermediate conditions are of interest precisely because the
development of existing activities into the foreseen and desired end
depends upon them. To be means for the achieving of present tendencies,
to be "between" the agent and his end, to be of interest, are different
names for the same thing. When material has to be made interesting,
it signifies that as presented, it lacks connection with purposes and
present power: or that if the connection be there, it is not perceived.
To make it interesting by leading one to realize the connection that
exists is simply good sense; to make it interesting by extraneous
and artificial inducements deserves all the bad names which have been
applied to the doctrine of interest in education.

So much for the meaning of the term interest. Now for that of
discipline. Where an activity takes time, where many means and obstacles
lie between its initiation and completion, deliberation and persistence
are required. It is obvious that a very large part of the everyday
meaning of will is precisely the deliberate or conscious disposition
to persist and endure in a planned course of action in spite of
difficulties and contrary solicitations. A man of strong will, in
the popular usage of the words, is a man who is neither fickle nor
half-hearted in achieving chosen ends. His ability is executive; that
is, he persistently and energetically strives to execute or carry out
his aims. A weak will is unstable as water.

Clearly there are two factors in will. One has to do with the foresight
of results, the other with the depth of hold the foreseen outcome has
upon the person.

(I) Obstinacy is persistence but it is not strength of volition.
Obstinacy may be mere animal inertia and insensitiveness. A man keeps
on doing a thing just because he has got started, not because of any
clearly thought-out purpose. In fact, the obstinate man generally
declines (although he may not be quite aware of his refusal) to make
clear to himself what his proposed end is; he has a feeling that if
he allowed himself to get a clear and full idea of it, it might not
be worth while. Stubbornness shows itself even more in reluctance to
criticize ends which present themselves than it does in persistence and
energy in use of means to achieve the end. The really executive man is
a man who ponders his ends, who makes his ideas of the results of his
actions as clear and full as possible. The people we called weak-willed
or self-indulgent always deceive themselves as to the consequences of
their acts. They pick out some feature which is agreeable and neglect
all attendant circumstances. When they begin to act, the disagreeable
results they ignored begin to show themselves. They are discouraged,
or complain of being thwarted in their good purpose by a hard fate, and
shift to some other line of action. That the primary difference between
strong and feeble volition is intellectual, consisting in the degree
of persistent firmness and fullness with which consequences are thought
out, cannot be over-emphasized.

(ii) There is, of course, such a thing as a speculative tracing out
of results. Ends are then foreseen, but they do not lay deep hold of
a person. They are something to look at and for curiosity to play
with rather than something to achieve. There is no such thing as
over-intellectuality, but there is such a thing as a one-sided
intellectuality. A person "takes it out" as we say in considering the
consequences of proposed lines of action. A certain flabbiness of fiber
prevents the contemplated object from gripping him and engaging him in
action. And most persons are naturally diverted from a proposed course
of action by unusual, unforeseen obstacles, or by presentation of
inducements to an action that is directly more agreeable.

A person who is trained to consider his actions, to undertake them
deliberately, is in so far forth disciplined. Add to this ability
a power to endure in an intelligently chosen course in face of
distraction, confusion, and difficulty, and you have the essence of
discipline. Discipline means power at command; mastery of the resources
available for carrying through the action undertaken. To know what one
is to do and to move to do it promptly and by use of the requisite means
is to be disciplined, whether we are thinking of an army or a mind.
Discipline is positive. To cow the spirit, to subdue inclination, to
compel obedience, to mortify the flesh, to make a subordinate perform an
uncongenial task--these things are or are not disciplinary according as
they do or do not tend to the development of power to recognize what one
is about and to persistence in accomplishment.

It is hardly necessary to press the point that interest and discipline
are connected, not opposed.

(i) Even the more purely intellectual phase of trained
power--apprehension of what one is doing as exhibited in
consequences--is not possible without interest. Deliberation will be
perfunctory and superficial where there is no interest. Parents and
teachers often complain--and correctly--that children "do not want
to hear, or want to understand." Their minds are not upon the subject
precisely because it does not touch them; it does not enter into their
concerns. This is a state of things that needs to be remedied, but the
remedy is not in the use of methods which increase indifference and
aversion. Even punishing a child for inattention is one way of trying to
make him realize that the matter is not a thing of complete unconcern;
it is one way of arousing "interest," or bringing about a sense of
connection. In the long run, its value is measured by whether it
supplies a mere physical excitation to act in the way desired by the
adult or whether it leads the child "to think"--that is, to reflect upon
his acts and impregnate them with aims.

(ii) That interest is requisite for executive persistence is even more
obvious. Employers do not advertise for workmen who are not interested
in what they are doing. If one were engaging a lawyer or a doctor, it
would never occur to one to reason that the person engaged would stick
to his work more conscientiously if it was so uncongenial to him that he
did it merely from a sense of obligation. Interest measures--or rather
is--the depth of the grip which the foreseen end has upon one, moving
one to act for its realization.

2. The Importance of the Idea of Interest in Education. Interest
represents the moving force of objects--whether perceived or presented
in imagination--in any experience having a purpose. In the concrete,
the value of recognizing the dynamic place of interest in an educative
development is that it leads to considering individual children in their
specific capabilities, needs, and preferences. One who recognizes the
importance of interest will not assume that all minds work in the same
way because they happen to have the same teacher and textbook. Attitudes
and methods of approach and response vary with the specific appeal
the same material makes, this appeal itself varying with difference of
natural aptitude, of past experience, of plan of life, and so on. But
the facts of interest also supply considerations of general value to the
philosophy of education. Rightly understood, they put us on our guard
against certain conceptions of mind and of subject matter which have
had great vogue in philosophic thought in the past, and which exercise
a serious hampering influence upon the conduct of instruction and
discipline. Too frequently mind is set over the world of things and
facts to be known; it is regarded as something existing in isolation,
with mental states and operations that exist independently. Knowledge is
then regarded as an external application of purely mental existences
to the things to be known, or else as a result of the impressions which
this outside subject matter makes on mind, or as a combination of the
two. Subject matter is then regarded as something complete in itself;
it is just something to be learned or known, either by the voluntary
application of mind to it or through the impressions it makes on mind.

The facts of interest show that these conceptions are mythical. Mind
appears in experience as ability to respond to present stimuli on the
basis of anticipation of future possible consequences, and with a view
to controlling the kind of consequences that are to take place. The
things, the subject matter known, consist of whatever is recognized
as having a bearing upon the anticipated course of events, whether
assisting or retarding it. These statements are too formal to be very
intelligible. An illustration may clear up their significance. You are
engaged in a certain occupation, say writing with a typewriter. If you
are an expert, your formed habits take care of the physical movements
and leave your thoughts free to consider your topic. Suppose, however,
you are not skilled, or that, even if you are, the machine does not work
well. You then have to use intelligence. You do not wish to strike the
keys at random and let the consequences be what they may; you wish to
record certain words in a given order so as to make sense. You attend to
the keys, to what you have written, to your movements, to the ribbon
or the mechanism of the machine. Your attention is not distributed
indifferently and miscellaneously to any and every detail. It is
centered upon whatever has a bearing upon the effective pursuit of
your occupation. Your look is ahead, and you are concerned to note
the existing facts because and in so far as they are factors in the
achievement of the result intended. You have to find out what your
resources are, what conditions are at command, and what the difficulties
and obstacles are. This foresight and this survey with reference to
what is foreseen constitute mind. Action that does not involve such a
forecast of results and such an examination of means and hindrances
is either a matter of habit or else it is blind. In neither case is
it intelligent. To be vague and uncertain as to what is intended and
careless in observation of conditions of its realization is to be, in
that degree, stupid or partially intelligent.

If we recur to the case where mind is not concerned with the physical
manipulation of the instruments but with what one intends to write, the
case is the same. There is an activity in process; one is taken up with
the development of a theme. Unless one writes as a phonograph talks,
this means intelligence; namely, alertness in foreseeing the various
conclusions to which present data and considerations are tending,
together with continually renewed observation and recollection to
get hold of the subject matter which bears upon the conclusions to be
reached. The whole attitude is one of concern with what is to be, and
with what is so far as the latter enters into the movement toward the
end. Leave out the direction which depends upon foresight of possible
future results, and there is no intelligence in present behavior. Let
there be imaginative forecast but no attention to the conditions upon
which its attainment depends, and there is self-deception or idle
dreaming--abortive intelligence.

If this illustration is typical, mind is not a name for something
complete by itself; it is a name for a course of action in so far as
that is intelligently directed; in so far, that is to say, as aims,
ends, enter into it, with selection of means to further the attainment
of aims. Intelligence is not a peculiar possession which a person owns;
but a person is intelligent in so far as the activities in which he
plays a part have the qualities mentioned. Nor are the activities
in which a person engages, whether intelligently or not, exclusive
properties of himself; they are something in which he engages and
partakes. Other things, the independent changes of other things and
persons, cooperate and hinder. The individual's act may be initial in
a course of events, but the outcome depends upon the interaction of
his response with energies supplied by other agencies. Conceive mind as
anything but one factor partaking along with others in the production of
consequences, and it becomes meaningless.

The problem of instruction is thus that of finding material which will
engage a person in specific activities having an aim or purpose of
moment or interest to him, and dealing with things not as gymnastic
appliances but as conditions for the attainment of ends. The remedy for
the evils attending the doctrine of formal discipline previously
spoken of, is not to be found by substituting a doctrine of specialized
disciplines, but by reforming the notion of mind and its training.
Discovery of typical modes of activity, whether play or useful
occupations, in which individuals are concerned, in whose outcome they
recognize they have something at stake, and which cannot be carried
through without reflection and use of judgment to select material of
observation and recollection, is the remedy. In short, the root of the
error long prevalent in the conception of training of mind consists in
leaving out of account movements of things to future results in which
an individual shares, and in the direction of which observation,
imagination, and memory are enlisted. It consists in regarding mind as
complete in itself, ready to be directly applied to a present material.

In historic practice the error has cut two ways. On one hand, it has
screened and protected traditional studies and methods of teaching
from intelligent criticism and needed revisions. To say that they are
"disciplinary" has safeguarded them from all inquiry. It has not been
enough to show that they were of no use in life or that they did
not really contribute to the cultivation of the self. That they were
"disciplinary" stifled every question, subdued every doubt, and removed
the subject from the realm of rational discussion. By its nature, the
allegation could not be checked up. Even when discipline did not accrue
as matter of fact, when the pupil even grew in laxity of application and
lost power of intelligent self-direction, the fault lay with him, not
with the study or the methods of teaching. His failure was but proof
that he needed more discipline, and thus afforded a reason for retaining
the old methods. The responsibility was transferred from the educator to
the pupil because the material did not have to meet specific tests; it
did not have to be shown that it fulfilled any particular need or served
any specific end. It was designed to discipline in general, and if it
failed, it was because the individual was unwilling to be disciplined.
In the other direction, the tendency was towards a negative conception
of discipline, instead of an identification of it with growth in
constructive power of achievement. As we have already seen, will
means an attitude toward the future, toward the production of possible
consequences, an attitude involving effort to foresee clearly and
comprehensively the probable results of ways of acting, and an active
identification with some anticipated consequences. Identification
of will, or effort, with mere strain, results when a mind is set up,
endowed with powers that are only to be applied to existing material. A
person just either will or will not apply himself to the matter in hand.
The more indifferent the subject matter, the less concern it has for the
habits and preferences of the individual, the more demand there is
for an effort to bring the mind to bear upon it--and hence the more
discipline of will. To attend to material because there is something
to be done in which the person is concerned is not disciplinary in this
view; not even if it results in a desirable increase of constructive
power. Application just for the sake of application, for the sake of
training, is alone disciplinary. This is more likely to occur if the
subject matter presented is uncongenial, for then there is no motive
(so it is supposed) except the acknowledgment of duty or the value of
discipline. The logical result is expressed with literal truth in the
words of an American humorist: "It makes no difference what you teach a
boy so long as he doesn't like it."

The counterpart of the isolation of mind from activities dealing with
objects to accomplish ends is isolation of the subject matter to be
learned. In the traditional schemes of education, subject matter means
so much material to be studied. Various branches of study represent so
many independent branches, each having its principles of arrangement
complete within itself. History is one such group of facts; algebra
another; geography another, and so on till we have run through the
entire curriculum. Having a ready-made existence on their own account,
their relation to mind is exhausted in what they furnish it to acquire.
This idea corresponds to the conventional practice in which the program
of school work, for the day, month, and successive years, consists
of "studies" all marked off from one another, and each supposed to be
complete by itself--for educational purposes at least.

Later on a chapter is devoted to the special consideration of the
meaning of the subject matter of instruction. At this point, we need
only to say that, in contrast with the traditional theory, anything
which intelligence studies represents things in the part which they
play in the carrying forward of active lines of interest. Just as one
"studies" his typewriter as part of the operation of putting it to use
to effect results, so with any fact or truth. It becomes an object of
study--that is, of inquiry and reflection--when it figures as a factor
to be reckoned with in the completion of a course of events in which one
is engaged and by whose outcome one is affected. Numbers are not objects
of study just because they are numbers already constituting a branch of
learning called mathematics, but because they represent qualities and
relations of the world in which our action goes on, because they are
factors upon which the accomplishment of our purposes depends. Stated
thus broadly, the formula may appear abstract. Translated into details,
it means that the act of learning or studying is artificial and
ineffective in the degree in which pupils are merely presented with
a lesson to be learned. Study is effectual in the degree in which the
pupil realizes the place of the numerical truth he is dealing with
in carrying to fruition activities in which he is concerned. This
connection of an object and a topic with the promotion of an activity
having a purpose is the first and the last word of a genuine theory of
interest in education.

3. Some Social Aspects of the Question. While the theoretical errors
of which we have been speaking have their expressions in the conduct of
schools, they are themselves the outcome of conditions of social life.
A change confined to the theoretical conviction of educators will not
remove the difficulties, though it should render more effective efforts
to modify social conditions. Men's fundamental attitudes toward the
world are fixed by the scope and qualities of the activities in which
they partake. The ideal of interest is exemplified in the artistic
attitude. Art is neither merely internal nor merely external; merely
mental nor merely physical. Like every mode of action, it brings about
changes in the world. The changes made by some actions (those which
by contrast may be called mechanical) are external; they are shifting
things about. No ideal reward, no enrichment of emotion and intellect,
accompanies them. Others contribute to the maintenance of life, and
to its external adornment and display. Many of our existing social
activities, industrial and political, fall in these two classes. Neither
the people who engage in them, nor those who are directly affected by
them, are capable of full and free interest in their work. Because of
the lack of any purpose in the work for the one doing it, or because
of the restricted character of its aim, intelligence is not adequately
engaged. The same conditions force many people back upon themselves.
They take refuge in an inner play of sentiment and fancies. They are
aesthetic but not artistic, since their feelings and ideas are
turned upon themselves, instead of being methods in acts which modify
conditions. Their mental life is sentimental; an enjoyment of an inner
landscape. Even the pursuit of science may become an asylum of refuge
from the hard conditions of life--not a temporary retreat for the sake
of recuperation and clarification in future dealings with the world. The
very word art may become associated not with specific transformation of
things, making them more significant for mind, but with stimulations
of eccentric fancy and with emotional indulgences. The separation and
mutual contempt of the "practical" man and the man of theory or culture,
the divorce of fine and industrial arts, are indications of this
situation. Thus interest and mind are either narrowed, or else made
perverse. Compare what was said in an earlier chapter about the
one-sided meanings which have come to attach to the ideas of efficiency
and of culture.

This state of affairs must exist so far as society is organized on a
basis of division between laboring classes and leisure classes. The
intelligence of those who do things becomes hard in the unremitting
struggle with things; that of those freed from the discipline of
occupation becomes luxurious and effeminate. Moreover, the majority of
human beings still lack economic freedom. Their pursuits are fixed
by accident and necessity of circumstance; they are not the normal
expression of their own powers interacting with the needs and resources
of the environment. Our economic conditions still relegate many men to
a servile status. As a consequence, the intelligence of those in control
of the practical situation is not liberal. Instead of playing freely
upon the subjugation of the world for human ends, it is devoted to the
manipulation of other men for ends that are non-human in so far as they
are exclusive.

This state of affairs explains many things in our historic educational
traditions. It throws light upon the clash of aims manifested in
different portions of the school system; the narrowly utilitarian
character of most elementary education, and the narrowly disciplinary
or cultural character of most higher education. It accounts for the
tendency to isolate intellectual matters till knowledge is scholastic,
academic, and professionally technical, and for the widespread
conviction that liberal education is opposed to the requirements of an
education which shall count in the vocations of life. But it also helps
define the peculiar problem of present education. The school cannot
immediately escape from the ideals set by prior social conditions. But
it should contribute through the type of intellectual and emotional
disposition which it forms to the improvement of those conditions. And
just here the true conceptions of interest and discipline are full
of significance. Persons whose interests have been enlarged and
intelligence trained by dealing with things and facts in active
occupations having a purpose (whether in play or work) will be those
most likely to escape the alternatives of an academic and aloof
knowledge and a hard, narrow, and merely "practical" practice. To
organize education so that natural active tendencies shall be fully
enlisted in doing something, while seeing to it that the doing
requires observation, the acquisition of information, and the use of
a constructive imagination, is what most needs to be done to improve
social conditions. To oscillate between drill exercises that strive to
attain efficiency in outward doing without the use of intelligence, and
an accumulation of knowledge that is supposed to be an ultimate end in
itself, means that education accepts the present social conditions as
final, and thereby takes upon itself the responsibility for perpetuating
them. A reorganization of education so that learning takes place
in connection with the intelligent carrying forward of purposeful
activities is a slow work. It can only be accomplished piecemeal, a
step at a time. But this is not a reason for nominally accepting one
educational philosophy and accommodating ourselves in practice to
another. It is a challenge to undertake the task of reorganization
courageously and to keep at it persistently.

Summary. Interest and discipline are correlative aspects of activity
having an aim. Interest means that one is identified with the objects
which define the activity and which furnish the means and obstacles to
its realization. Any activity with an aim implies a distinction between
an earlier incomplete phase and later completing phase; it implies also
intermediate steps. To have an interest is to take things as entering
into such a continuously developing situation, instead of taking them
in isolation. The time difference between the given incomplete state of
affairs and the desired fulfillment exacts effort in transformation, it
demands continuity of attention and endurance. This attitude is what
is practically meant by will. Discipline or development of power of
continuous attention is its fruit. The significance of this doctrine for
the theory of education is twofold. On the one hand it protects us
from the notion that mind and mental states are something complete in
themselves, which then happen to be applied to some ready-made objects
and topics so that knowledge results. It shows that mind and intelligent
or purposeful engagement in a course of action into which things
enter are identical. Hence to develop and train mind is to provide an
environment which induces such activity. On the other side, it protects
us from the notion that subject matter on its side is something isolated
and independent. It shows that subject matter of learning is identical
with all the objects, ideas, and principles which enter as resources or
obstacles into the continuous intentional pursuit of a course of action.
The developing course of action, whose end and conditions are perceived,
is the unity which holds together what are often divided into an
independent mind on one side and an independent world of objects and
facts on the other.

Chapter Eleven: Experience and Thinking

1. The Nature of Experience. The nature of experience can be understood
only by noting that it includes an active and a passive element
peculiarly combined. On the active hand, experience is trying--a meaning
which is made explicit in the connected term experiment. On the passive,
it is undergoing. When we experience something we act upon it, we do
something with it; then we suffer or undergo the consequences. We do
something to the thing and then it does something to us in return:
such is the peculiar combination. The connection of these two phases of
experience measures the fruitfulness or value of the experience. Mere
activity does not constitute experience. It is dispersive, centrifugal,
dissipating. Experience as trying involves change, but change is
meaningless transition unless it is consciously connected with the
return wave of consequences which flow from it. When an activity is
continued into the undergoing of consequences, when the change made
by action is reflected back into a change made in us, the mere flux is
loaded with significance. We learn something. It is not experience when
a child merely sticks his finger into a flame; it is experience when the
movement is connected with the pain which he undergoes in consequence.
Henceforth the sticking of the finger into flame means a burn. Being
burned is a mere physical change, like the burning of a stick of wood,
if it is not perceived as a consequence of some other action. Blind and
capricious impulses hurry us on heedlessly from one thing to another. So
far as this happens, everything is writ in water. There is none of that
cumulative growth which makes an experience in any vital sense of that
term. On the other hand, many things happen to us in the way of pleasure
and pain which we do not connect with any prior activity of our own.
They are mere accidents so far as we are concerned. There is no before
or after to such experience; no retrospect nor outlook, and consequently
no meaning. We get nothing which may be carried over to foresee what
is likely to happen next, and no gain in ability to adjust ourselves
to what is coming--no added control. Only by courtesy can such an
experience be called experience. To "learn from experience" is to make a
backward and forward connection between what we do to things and what we
enjoy or suffer from things in consequence. Under such conditions, doing
becomes a trying; an experiment with the world to find out what it is
like; the undergoing becomes instruction--discovery of the connection of

Two conclusions important for education follow. (1) Experience is
primarily an active-passive affair; it is not primarily cognitive. But
(2) the measure of the value of an experience lies in the perception
of relationships or continuities to which it leads up. It includes
cognition in the degree in which it is cumulative or amounts to
something, or has meaning. In schools, those under instruction are
too customarily looked upon as acquiring knowledge as theoretical
spectators, minds which appropriate knowledge by direct energy of
intellect. The very word pupil has almost come to mean one who is
engaged not in having fruitful experiences but in absorbing knowledge
directly. Something which is called mind or consciousness is severed
from the physical organs of activity. The former is then thought to be
purely intellectual and cognitive; the latter to be an irrelevant and
intruding physical factor. The intimate union of activity and undergoing
its consequences which leads to recognition of meaning is broken;
instead we have two fragments: mere bodily action on one side, and
meaning directly grasped by "spiritual" activity on the other.

It would be impossible to state adequately the evil results which have
flowed from this dualism of mind and body, much less to exaggerate them.
Some of the more striking effects, may, however, be enumerated. (a)
In part bodily activity becomes an intruder. Having nothing, so it is
thought, to do with mental activity, it becomes a distraction, an evil
to be contended with. For the pupil has a body, and brings it to school
along with his mind. And the body is, of necessity, a wellspring of
energy; it has to do something. But its activities, not being utilized
in occupation with things which yield significant results, have to be
frowned upon. They lead the pupil away from the lesson with which his
"mind" ought to be occupied; they are sources of mischief. The chief
source of the "problem of discipline" in schools is that the teacher
has often to spend the larger part of the time in suppressing the bodily
activities which take the mind away from its material. A premium is put
on physical quietude; on silence, on rigid uniformity of posture and
movement; upon a machine-like simulation of the attitudes of intelligent
interest. The teachers' business is to hold the pupils up to these
requirements and to punish the inevitable deviations which occur.

The nervous strain and fatigue which result with both teacher and pupil
are a necessary consequence of the abnormality of the situation in which
bodily activity is divorced from the perception of meaning. Callous
indifference and explosions from strain alternate. The neglected body,
having no organized fruitful channels of activity, breaks forth, without
knowing why or how, into meaningless boisterousness, or settles into
equally meaningless fooling--both very different from the normal play
of children. Physically active children become restless and unruly; the
more quiescent, so-called conscientious ones spend what energy they have
in the negative task of keeping their instincts and active tendencies
suppressed, instead of in a positive one of constructive planning
and execution; they are thus educated not into responsibility for the
significant and graceful use of bodily powers, but into an enforced duty
not to give them free play. It may be seriously asserted that a chief
cause for the remarkable achievements of Greek education was that it was
never misled by false notions into an attempted separation of mind and

(b) Even, however, with respect to the lessons which have to be learned
by the application of "mind," some bodily activities have to be used.
The senses--especially the eye and ear--have to be employed to take in
what the book, the map, the blackboard, and the teacher say. The lips
and vocal organs, and the hands, have to be used to reproduce in speech
and writing what has been stowed away. The senses are then regarded as
a kind of mysterious conduit through which information is conducted from
the external world into the mind; they are spoken of as gateways and
avenues of knowledge. To keep the eyes on the book and the ears open
to the teacher's words is a mysterious source of intellectual grace.
Moreover, reading, writing, and figuring--important school arts--demand
muscular or motor training. The muscles of eye, hand, and vocal organs
accordingly have to be trained to act as pipes for carrying knowledge
back out of the mind into external action. For it happens that using the
muscles repeatedly in the same way fixes in them an automatic tendency
to repeat.

The obvious result is a mechanical use of the bodily activities which
(in spite of the generally obtrusive and interfering character of the
body in mental action) have to be employed more or less. For the
senses and muscles are used not as organic participants in having an
instructive experience, but as external inlets and outlets of mind.
Before the child goes to school, he learns with his hand, eye, and ear,
because they are organs of the process of doing something from which
meaning results. The boy flying a kite has to keep his eye on the kite,
and has to note the various pressures of the string on his hand. His
senses are avenues of knowledge not because external facts are somehow
"conveyed" to the brain, but because they are used in doing something
with a purpose. The qualities of seen and touched things have a bearing
on what is done, and are alertly perceived; they have a meaning. But
when pupils are expected to use their eyes to note the form of words,
irrespective of their meaning, in order to reproduce them in spelling or
reading, the resulting training is simply of isolated sense organs and
muscles. It is such isolation of an act from a purpose which makes it
mechanical. It is customary for teachers to urge children to read with
expression, so as to bring out the meaning. But if they originally
learned the sensory-motor technique of reading--the ability to identify
forms and to reproduce the sounds they stand for--by methods which did
not call for attention to meaning, a mechanical habit was established
which makes it difficult to read subsequently with intelligence. The
vocal organs have been trained to go their own way automatically in
isolation; and meaning cannot be tied on at will. Drawing, singing, and
writing may be taught in the same mechanical way; for, we repeat, any
way is mechanical which narrows down the bodily activity so that a
separation of body from mind--that is, from recognition of meaning--is
set up. Mathematics, even in its higher branches, when undue emphasis
is put upon the technique of calculation, and science, when laboratory
exercises are given for their own sake, suffer from the same evil.

(c) On the intellectual side, the separation of "mind" from direct
occupation with things throws emphasis on things at the expense of
relations or connections. It is altogether too common to separate
perceptions and even ideas from judgments. The latter are thought to
come after the former in order to compare them. It is alleged that the
mind perceives things apart from relations; that it forms ideas of them
in isolation from their connections--with what goes before and comes
after. Then judgment or thought is called upon to combine the separated
items of "knowledge" so that their resemblance or causal connection
shall be brought out. As matter of fact, every perception and every idea
is a sense of the bearings, use, and cause, of a thing. We do not really
know a chair or have an idea of it by inventorying and enumerating its
various isolated qualities, but only by bringing these qualities into
connection with something else--the purpose which makes it a chair and
not a table; or its difference from the kind of chair we are accustomed
to, or the "period" which it represents, and so on. A wagon is not
perceived when all its parts are summed up; it is the characteristic
connection of the parts which makes it a wagon. And these connections
are not those of mere physical juxtaposition; they involve connection
with the animals that draw it, the things that are carried on it, and so
on. Judgment is employed in the perception; otherwise the perception is
mere sensory excitation or else a recognition of the result of a prior
judgment, as in the case of familiar objects.

Words, the counters for ideals, are, however, easily taken for ideas.
And in just the degree in which mental activity is separated from active
concern with the world, from doing something and connecting the doing
with what is undergone, words, symbols, come to take the place of ideas.
The substitution is the more subtle because some meaning is recognized.
But we are very easily trained to be content with a minimum of meaning,
and to fail to note how restricted is our perception of the relations
which confer significance. We get so thoroughly used to a kind of
pseudo-idea, a half perception, that we are not aware how half-dead
our mental action is, and how much keener and more extensive our
observations and ideas would be if we formed them under conditions of
a vital experience which required us to use judgment: to hunt for the
connections of the thing dealt with. There is no difference of opinion
as to the theory of the matter. All authorities agree that that
discernment of relationships is the genuinely intellectual matter;
hence, the educative matter. The failure arises in supposing that
relationships can become perceptible without experience--without that
conjoint trying and undergoing of which we have spoken. It is assumed
that "mind" can grasp them if it will only give attention, and that this
attention may be given at will irrespective of the situation. Hence
the deluge of half-observations, of verbal ideas, and unassimilated
"knowledge" which afflicts the world. An ounce of experience is better
than a ton of theory simply because it is only in experience that any
theory has vital and verifiable significance. An experience, a very
humble experience, is capable of generating and carrying any amount of
theory (or intellectual content), but a theory apart from an experience
cannot be definitely grasped even as theory. It tends to become a mere
verbal formula, a set of catchwords used to render thinking, or genuine
theorizing, unnecessary and impossible. Because of our education we use
words, thinking they are ideas, to dispose of questions, the disposal
being in reality simply such an obscuring of perception as prevents us
from seeing any longer the difficulty.

2. Reflection in Experience. Thought or reflection, as we have already
seen virtually if not explicitly, is the discernment of the relation
between what we try to do and what happens in consequence. No experience
having a meaning is possible without some element of thought. But we
may contrast two types of experience according to the proportion of
reflection found in them. All our experiences have a phase of "cut and
try" in them--what psychologists call the method of trial and error. We
simply do something, and when it fails, we do something else, and keep
on trying till we hit upon something which works, and then we adopt
that method as a rule of thumb measure in subsequent procedure. Some
experiences have very little else in them than this hit and miss or
succeed process. We see that a certain way of acting and a certain
consequence are connected, but we do not see how they are. We do not see
the details of the connection; the links are missing. Our discernment is
very gross. In other cases we push our observation farther. We analyze
to see just what lies between so as to bind together cause and effect,
activity and consequence. This extension of our insight makes foresight
more accurate and comprehensive. The action which rests simply upon the
trial and error method is at the mercy of circumstances; they may change
so that the act performed does not operate in the way it was expected
to. But if we know in detail upon what the result depends, we can look
to see whether the required conditions are there. The method extends our
practical control. For if some of the conditions are missing, we may,
if we know what the needed antecedents for an effect are, set to work to
supply them; or, if they are such as to produce undesirable effects
as well, we may eliminate some of the superfluous causes and economize

In discovery of the detailed connections of our activities and what
happens in consequence, the thought implied in cut and try experience is
made explicit. Its quantity increases so that its proportionate value is
very different. Hence the quality of the experience changes; the
change is so significant that we may call this type of experience
reflective--that is, reflective par excellence. The deliberate
cultivation of this phase of thought constitutes thinking as a
distinctive experience. Thinking, in other words, is the intentional
endeavor to discover specific connections between something which we do
and the consequences which result, so that the two become continuous.
Their isolation, and consequently their purely arbitrary going together,
is canceled; a unified developing situation takes its place. The
occurrence is now understood; it is explained; it is reasonable, as we
say, that the thing should happen as it does.

Thinking is thus equivalent to an explicit rendering of the intelligent
element in our experience. It makes it possible to act with an end
in view. It is the condition of our having aims. As soon as an infant
begins to expect he begins to use something which is now going on as
a sign of something to follow; he is, in however simple a fashion,
judging. For he takes one thing as evidence of something else, and so
recognizes a relationship. Any future development, however elaborate
it may be, is only an extending and a refining of this simple act of
inference. All that the wisest man can do is to observe what is going on
more widely and more minutely and then select more carefully from what
is noted just those factors which point to something to happen. The
opposites, once more, to thoughtful action are routine and capricious
behavior. The former accepts what has been customary as a full measure
of possibility and omits to take into account the connections of the
particular things done. The latter makes the momentary act a measure
of value, and ignores the connections of our personal action with the
energies of the environment. It says, virtually, "things are to be just
as I happen to like them at this instant," as routine says in effect
"let things continue just as I have found them in the past." Both refuse
to acknowledge responsibility for the future consequences which
flow from present action. Reflection is the acceptance of such

The starting point of any process of thinking is something going on,
something which just as it stands is incomplete or unfulfilled. Its
point, its meaning lies literally in what it is going to be, in how it
is going to turn out. As this is written, the world is filled with the
clang of contending armies. For an active participant in the war, it is
clear that the momentous thing is the issue, the future consequences, of
this and that happening. He is identified, for the time at least, with
the issue; his fate hangs upon the course things are taking. But even
for an onlooker in a neutral country, the significance of every move
made, of every advance here and retreat there, lies in what it portends.
To think upon the news as it comes to us is to attempt to see what is
indicated as probable or possible regarding an outcome. To fill our
heads, like a scrapbook, with this and that item as a finished and
done-for thing, is not to think. It is to turn ourselves into a piece
of registering apparatus. To consider the bearing of the occurrence
upon what may be, but is not yet, is to think. Nor will the reflective
experience be different in kind if we substitute distance in time for
separation in space. Imagine the war done with, and a future historian
giving an account of it. The episode is, by assumption, past. But he
cannot give a thoughtful account of the war save as he preserves the
time sequence; the meaning of each occurrence, as he deals with it, lies
in what was future for it, though not for the historian. To take it by
itself as a complete existence is to take it unreflectively.
Reflection also implies concern with the issue--a certain sympathetic
identification of our own destiny, if only dramatic, with the outcome of
the course of events. For the general in the war, or a common soldier,
or a citizen of one of the contending nations, the stimulus to thinking
is direct and urgent. For neutrals, it is indirect and dependent upon
imagination. But the flagrant partisanship of human nature is evidence
of the intensity of the tendency to identify ourselves with one possible
course of events, and to reject the other as foreign. If we cannot take
sides in overt action, and throw in our little weight to help determine
the final balance, we take sides emotionally and imaginatively. We
desire this or that outcome. One wholly indifferent to the outcome does
not follow or think about what is happening at all. From this dependence
of the act of thinking upon a sense of sharing in the consequences
of what goes on, flows one of the chief paradoxes of thought. Born in
partiality, in order to accomplish its tasks it must achieve a certain
detached impartiality. The general who allows his hopes and desires to
affect his observations and interpretations of the existing situation
will surely make a mistake in calculation. While hopes and fears may be
the chief motive for a thoughtful following of the war on the part of
an onlooker in a neutral country, he too will think ineffectively in the
degree in which his preferences modify the stuff of his observations and
reasonings. There is, however, no incompatibility between the fact that
the occasion of reflection lies in a personal sharing in what is going
on and the fact that the value of the reflection lies upon keeping one's
self out of the data. The almost insurmountable difficulty of achieving
this detachment is evidence that thinking originates in situations where
the course of thinking is an actual part of the course of events and is
designed to influence the result. Only gradually and with a widening of
the area of vision through a growth of social sympathies does thinking
develop to include what lies beyond our direct interests: a fact of
great significance for education.

To say that thinking occurs with reference to situations which are still
going on, and incomplete, is to say that thinking occurs when things are
uncertain or doubtful or problematic. Only what is finished, completed,
is wholly assured. Where there is reflection there is suspense. The
object of thinking is to help reach a conclusion, to project a possible
termination on the basis of what is already given. Certain other facts
about thinking accompany this feature. Since the situation in which
thinking occurs is a doubtful one, thinking is a process of inquiry, of
looking into things, of investigating. Acquiring is always secondary,
and instrumental to the act of inquiring. It is seeking, a quest,
for something that is not at hand. We sometimes talk as if "original
research" were a peculiar prerogative of scientists or at least of
advanced students. But all thinking is research, and all research is
native, original, with him who carries it on, even if everybody else in
the world already is sure of what he is still looking for.

It also follows that all thinking involves a risk. Certainty cannot be
guaranteed in advance. The invasion of the unknown is of the nature of
an adventure; we cannot be sure in advance. The conclusions of thinking,
till confirmed by the event, are, accordingly, more or less tentative or
hypothetical. Their dogmatic assertion as final is unwarranted, short of
the issue, in fact. The Greeks acutely raised the question: How can we
learn? For either we know already what we are after, or else we do not
know. In neither case is learning possible; on the first alternative
because we know already; on the second, because we do not know what to
look for, nor if, by chance, we find it can we tell that it is what
we were after. The dilemma makes no provision for coming to know, for
learning; it assumes either complete knowledge or complete ignorance.
Nevertheless the twilight zone of inquiry, of thinking, exists. The
possibility of hypothetical conclusions, of tentative results, is
the fact which the Greek dilemma overlooked. The perplexities of the
situation suggest certain ways out. We try these ways, and either push
our way out, in which case we know we have found what we were looking
for, or the situation gets darker and more confused--in which case, we
know we are still ignorant. Tentative means trying out, feeling one's
way along provisionally. Taken by itself, the Greek argument is a nice
piece of formal logic. But it is also true that as long as men kept a
sharp disjunction between knowledge and ignorance, science made only
slow and accidental advance. Systematic advance in invention and
discovery began when men recognized that they could utilize doubt for
purposes of inquiry by forming conjectures to guide action in tentative
explorations, whose development would confirm, refute, or modify the
guiding conjecture. While the Greeks made knowledge more than learning,
modern science makes conserved knowledge only a means to learning, to
discovery. To recur to our illustration. A commanding general cannot
base his actions upon either absolute certainty or absolute ignorance.
He has a certain amount of information at hand which is, we will assume,
reasonably trustworthy. He then infers certain prospective movements,
thus assigning meaning to the bare facts of the given situation. His
inference is more or less dubious and hypothetical. But he acts upon it.
He develops a plan of procedure, a method of dealing with the situation.
The consequences which directly follow from his acting this way rather
than that test and reveal the worth of his reflections. What he already
knows functions and has value in what he learns. But will this account
apply in the case of the one in a neutral country who is thoughtfully
following as best he can the progress of events? In form, yes, though
not of course in content. It is self-evident that his guesses about
the future indicated by present facts, guesses by which he attempts to
supply meaning to a multitude of disconnected data, cannot be the basis
of a method which shall take effect in the campaign. That is not his
problem. But in the degree in which he is actively thinking, and
not merely passively following the course of events, his tentative
inferences will take effect in a method of procedure appropriate to his
situation. He will anticipate certain future moves, and will be on the
alert to see whether they happen or not. In the degree in which he is
intellectually concerned, or thoughtful, he will be actively on the
lookout; he will take steps which although they do not affect the
campaign, modify in some degree his subsequent actions. Otherwise his
later "I told you so" has no intellectual quality at all; it does
not mark any testing or verification of prior thinking, but only a
coincidence that yields emotional satisfaction--and includes a
large factor of self-deception. The case is comparable to that of an
astronomer who from given data has been led to foresee (infer) a future
eclipse. No matter how great the mathematical probability, the inference
is hypothetical--a matter of probability. 1 The hypothesis as to the
date and position of the anticipated eclipse becomes the material of
forming a method of future conduct. Apparatus is arranged; possibly
an expedition is made to some far part of the globe. In any case, some
active steps are taken which actually change some physical conditions.
And apart from such steps and the consequent modification of the
situation, there is no completion of the act of thinking. It remains
suspended. Knowledge, already attained knowledge, controls thinking and
makes it fruitful.

So much for the general features of a reflective experience. They are
(i) perplexity, confusion, doubt, due to the fact that one is implicated
in an incomplete situation whose full character is not yet determined;
(ii) a conjectural anticipation--a tentative interpretation of the given
elements, attributing to them a tendency to effect certain consequences;
(iii) a careful survey (examination, inspection, exploration, analysis)
of all attainable consideration which will define and clarify the
problem in hand; (iv) a consequent elaboration of the tentative
hypothesis to make it more precise and more consistent, because squaring
with a wider range of facts; (v) taking one stand upon the projected
hypothesis as a plan of action which is applied to the existing state of
affairs: doing something overtly to bring about the anticipated result,
and thereby testing the hypothesis. It is the extent and accuracy of
steps three and four which mark off a distinctive reflective experience
from one on the trial and error plane. They make thinking itself into an
experience. Nevertheless, we never get wholly beyond the trial and error
situation. Our most elaborate and rationally consistent thought has to
be tried in the world and thereby tried out. And since it can never
take into account all the connections, it can never cover with perfect
accuracy all the consequences. Yet a thoughtful survey of conditions is
so careful, and the guessing at results so controlled, that we have a
right to mark off the reflective experience from the grosser trial and
error forms of action.

Summary. In determining the place of thinking in experience we first
noted that experience involves a connection of doing or trying with
something which is undergone in consequence. A separation of the active
doing phase from the passive undergoing phase destroys the vital meaning
of an experience. Thinking is the accurate and deliberate instituting of
connections between what is done and its consequences. It notes not only
that they are connected, but the details of the connection. It makes
connecting links explicit in the form of relationships. The stimulus
to thinking is found when we wish to determine the significance of some
act, performed or to be performed. Then we anticipate consequences. This
implies that the situation as it stands is, either in fact or to us,
incomplete and hence indeterminate. The projection of consequences means
a proposed or tentative solution. To perfect this hypothesis, existing
conditions have to be carefully scrutinized and the implications of the
hypothesis developed--an operation called reasoning. Then the suggested
solution--the idea or theory--has to be tested by acting upon it. If it
brings about certain consequences, certain determinate changes, in the
world, it is accepted as valid. Otherwise it is modified, and another
trial made. Thinking includes all of these steps,--the sense of a
problem, the observation of conditions, the formation and rational
elaboration of a suggested conclusion, and the active experimental
testing. While all thinking results in knowledge, ultimately the value
of knowledge is subordinate to its use in thinking. For we live not in a
settled and finished world, but in one which is going on, and where our
main task is prospective, and where retrospect--and all knowledge
as distinct from thought is retrospect--is of value in the solidity,
security, and fertility it affords our dealings with the future.

1 It is most important for the practice of science that men in many
cases can calculate the degree of probability and the amount of probable
error involved, but that does alter the features of the situation as
described. It refines them.

Chapter Twelve: Thinking in Education

1. The Essentials of Method. No one doubts, theoretically, the
importance of fostering in school good habits of thinking. But apart
from the fact that the acknowledgment is not so great in practice as in
theory, there is not adequate theoretical recognition that all which the
school can or need do for pupils, so far as their minds are concerned
(that is, leaving out certain specialized muscular abilities), is to
develop their ability to think. The parceling out of instruction
among various ends such as acquisition of skill (in reading, spelling,
writing, drawing, reciting); acquiring information (in history and
geography), and training of thinking is a measure of the ineffective way
in which we accomplish all three. Thinking which is not connected with
increase of efficiency in action, and with learning more about ourselves
and the world in which we live, has something the matter with it just
as thought (See ante, p. 147). And skill obtained apart from thinking is
not connected with any sense of the purposes for which it is to be used.
It consequently leaves a man at the mercy of his routine habits and of
the authoritative control of others, who know what they are about and
who are not especially scrupulous as to their means of achievement.
And information severed from thoughtful action is dead, a mind-crushing
load. Since it simulates knowledge and thereby develops the poison of
conceit, it is a most powerful obstacle to further growth in the grace
of intelligence. The sole direct path to enduring improvement in the
methods of instruction and learning consists in centering upon the
conditions which exact, promote, and test thinking. Thinking is the
method of intelligent learning, of learning that employs and rewards
mind. We speak, legitimately enough, about the method of thinking, but
the important thing to bear in mind about method is that thinking is
method, the method of intelligent experience in the course which it

I. The initial stage of that developing experience which is called
thinking is experience. This remark may sound like a silly truism. It
ought to be one; but unfortunately it is not. On the contrary, thinking
is often regarded both in philosophic theory and in educational practice
as something cut off from experience, and capable of being cultivated
in isolation. In fact, the inherent limitations of experience are often
urged as the sufficient ground for attention to thinking. Experience
is then thought to be confined to the senses and appetites; to a mere
material world, while thinking proceeds from a higher faculty (of
reason), and is occupied with spiritual or at least literary things. So,
oftentimes, a sharp distinction is made between pure mathematics as a
peculiarly fit subject matter of thought (since it has nothing to do
with physical existences) and applied mathematics, which has utilitarian
but not mental value.

Speaking generally, the fundamental fallacy in methods of instruction
lies in supposing that experience on the part of pupils may be assumed.
What is here insisted upon is the necessity of an actual empirical
situation as the initiating phase of thought. Experience is here taken
as previously defined: trying to do something and having the thing
perceptibly do something to one in return. The fallacy consists
in supposing that we can begin with ready-made subject matter of
arithmetic, or geography, or whatever, irrespective of some direct
personal experience of a situation. Even the kindergarten and Montessori
techniques are so anxious to get at intellectual distinctions, without
"waste of time," that they tend to ignore--or reduce--the immediate
crude handling of the familiar material of experience, and to introduce
pupils at once to material which expresses the intellectual distinctions
which adults have made. But the first stage of contact with any new
material, at whatever age of maturity, must inevitably be of the trial
and error sort. An individual must actually try, in play or work, to do
something with material in carrying out his own impulsive activity,
and then note the interaction of his energy and that of the material
employed. This is what happens when a child at first begins to build
with blocks, and it is equally what happens when a scientific man in his
laboratory begins to experiment with unfamiliar objects.

Hence the first approach to any subject in school, if thought is to be
aroused and not words acquired, should be as unscholastic as possible.
To realize what an experience, or empirical situation, means, we have
to call to mind the sort of situation that presents itself outside of
school; the sort of occupations that interest and engage activity in
ordinary life. And careful inspection of methods which are permanently
successful in formal education, whether in arithmetic or learning to
read, or studying geography, or learning physics or a foreign language,
will reveal that they depend for their efficiency upon the fact that
they go back to the type of the situation which causes reflection out
of school in ordinary life. They give the pupils something to do, not
something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand
thinking, or the intentional noting of connections; learning naturally

That the situation should be of such a nature as to arouse thinking
means of course that it should suggest something to do which is not
either routine or capricious--something, in other words, presenting
what is new (and hence uncertain or problematic) and yet sufficiently
connected with existing habits to call out an effective response. An
effective response means one which accomplishes a perceptible result,
in distinction from a purely haphazard activity, where the consequences
cannot be mentally connected with what is done. The most significant
question which can be asked, accordingly, about any situation or
experience proposed to induce learning is what quality of problem it

At first thought, it might seem as if usual school methods measured
well up to the standard here set. The giving of problems, the putting of
questions, the assigning of tasks, the magnifying of difficulties, is
a large part of school work. But it is indispensable to discriminate
between genuine and simulated or mock problems. The following questions
may aid in making such discrimination. (a) Is there anything but
a problem? Does the question naturally suggest itself within some
situation or personal experience? Or is it an aloof thing, a problem
only for the purposes of conveying instruction in some school topic?
Is it the sort of trying that would arouse observation and engage
experimentation outside of school? (b) Is it the pupil's own problem, or
is it the teacher's or textbook's problem, made a problem for the pupil
only because he cannot get the required mark or be promoted or win
the teacher's approval, unless he deals with it? Obviously, these two
questions overlap. They are two ways of getting at the same point:
Is the experience a personal thing of such a nature as inherently to
stimulate and direct observation of the connections involved, and to
lead to inference and its testing? Or is it imposed from without, and
is the pupil's problem simply to meet the external requirement? Such
questions may give us pause in deciding upon the extent to which
current practices are adapted to develop reflective habits. The physical
equipment and arrangements of the average schoolroom are hostile to the
existence of real situations of experience. What is there similar to
the conditions of everyday life which will generate difficulties? Almost
everything testifies to the great premium put upon listening, reading,
and the reproduction of what is told and read. It is hardly possible
to overstate the contrast between such conditions and the situations of
active contact with things and persons in the home, on the playground,
in fulfilling of ordinary responsibilities of life. Much of it is not
even comparable with the questions which may arise in the mind of a boy
or girl in conversing with others or in reading books outside of the
school. No one has ever explained why children are so full of questions
outside of the school (so that they pester grown-up persons if they get
any encouragement), and the conspicuous absence of display of curiosity
about the subject matter of school lessons. Reflection on this striking
contrast will throw light upon the question of how far customary school
conditions supply a context of experience in which problems naturally
suggest themselves. No amount of improvement in the personal technique
of the instructor will wholly remedy this state of things. There must
be more actual material, more stuff, more appliances, and more
opportunities for doing things, before the gap can be overcome. And
where children are engaged in doing things and in discussing what arises
in the course of their doing, it is found, even with comparatively
indifferent modes of instruction, that children's inquiries are
spontaneous and numerous, and the proposals of solution advanced,
varied, and ingenious.

As a consequence of the absence of the materials and occupations which
generate real problems, the pupil's problems are not his; or, rather,
they are his only as a pupil, not as a human being. Hence the lamentable
waste in carrying over such expertness as is achieved in dealing
with them to the affairs of life beyond the schoolroom. A pupil has a
problem, but it is the problem of meeting the peculiar requirements set
by the teacher. His problem becomes that of finding out what the teacher
wants, what will satisfy the teacher in recitation and examination and
outward deportment. Relationship to subject matter is no longer direct.
The occasions and material of thought are not found in the arithmetic
or the history or geography itself, but in skillfully adapting
that material to the teacher's requirements. The pupil studies, but
unconsciously to himself the objects of his study are the conventions
and standards of the school system and school authority, not the nominal
"studies." The thinking thus evoked is artificially one-sided at the
best. At its worst, the problem of the pupil is not how to meet the
requirements of school life, but how to seem to meet them--or, how to
come near enough to meeting them to slide along without an undue amount
of friction. The type of judgment formed by these devices is not a
desirable addition to character. If these statements give too highly
colored a picture of usual school methods, the exaggeration may at least
serve to illustrate the point: the need of active pursuits, involving
the use of material to accomplish purposes, if there are to be
situations which normally generate problems occasioning thoughtful

II. There must be data at command to supply the considerations required
in dealing with the specific difficulty which has presented itself.
Teachers following a "developing" method sometimes tell children to
think things out for themselves as if they could spin them out of their
own heads. The material of thinking is not thoughts, but actions,
facts, events, and the relations of things. In other words, to think
effectively one must have had, or now have, experiences which will
furnish him resources for coping with the difficulty at hand. A
difficulty is an indispensable stimulus to thinking, but not all
difficulties call out thinking. Sometimes they overwhelm and submerge
and discourage. The perplexing situation must be sufficiently like
situations which have already been dealt with so that pupils will have
some control of the meanings of handling it. A large part of the art of
instruction lies in making the difficulty of new problems large enough
to challenge thought, and small enough so that, in addition to the
confusion naturally attending the novel elements, there shall be
luminous familiar spots from which helpful suggestions may spring.

In one sense, it is a matter of indifference by what psychological means
the subject matter for reflection is provided. Memory, observation,
reading, communication, are all avenues for supplying data. The relative
proportion to be obtained from each is a matter of the specific
features of the particular problem in hand. It is foolish to insist
upon observation of objects presented to the senses if the student is
so familiar with the objects that he could just as well recall the facts
independently. It is possible to induce undue and crippling dependence
upon sense-presentations. No one can carry around with him a museum of
all the things whose properties will assist the conduct of thought. A
well-trained mind is one that has a maximum of resources behind it, so
to speak, and that is accustomed to go over its past experiences to
see what they yield. On the other hand, a quality or relation of even
a familiar object may previously have been passed over, and be just the
fact that is helpful in dealing with the question. In this case direct
observation is called for. The same principle applies to the use to
be made of observation on one hand and of reading and "telling" on the
other. Direct observation is naturally more vivid and vital. But it has
its limitations; and in any case it is a necessary part of education
that one should acquire the ability to supplement the narrowness of his
immediately personal experiences by utilizing the experiences of others.
Excessive reliance upon others for data (whether got from reading
or listening) is to be depreciated. Most objectionable of all is the
probability that others, the book or the teacher, will supply solutions
ready-made, instead of giving material that the student has to adapt and
apply to the question in hand for himself.

There is no inconsistency in saying that in schools there is usually
both too much and too little information supplied by others. The
accumulation and acquisition of information for purposes of reproduction
in recitation and examination is made too much of. "Knowledge," in
the sense of information, means the working capital, the indispensable
resources, of further inquiry; of finding out, or learning, more things.
Frequently it is treated as an end itself, and then the goal becomes
to heap it up and display it when called for. This static, cold-storage
ideal of knowledge is inimical to educative development. It not only
lets occasions for thinking go unused, but it swamps thinking. No one
could construct a house on ground cluttered with miscellaneous junk.
Pupils who have stored their "minds" with all kinds of material which
they have never put to intellectual uses are sure to be hampered
when they try to think. They have no practice in selecting what is
appropriate, and no criterion to go by; everything is on the same dead
static level. On the other hand, it is quite open to question whether,
if information actually functioned in experience through use in
application to the student's own purposes, there would not be need of
more varied resources in books, pictures, and talks than are usually at

III. The correlate in thinking of facts, data, knowledge already
acquired, is suggestions, inferences, conjectured meanings,
suppositions, tentative explanations:--ideas, in short. Careful
observation and recollection determine what is given, what is already
there, and hence assured. They cannot furnish what is lacking. They
define, clarify, and locate the question; they cannot supply its answer.
Projection, invention, ingenuity, devising come in for that purpose. The
data arouse suggestions, and only by reference to the specific data can
we pass upon the appropriateness of the suggestions. But the suggestions
run beyond what is, as yet, actually given in experience. They forecast
possible results, things to do, not facts (things already done).
Inference is always an invasion of the unknown, a leap from the known.

In this sense, a thought (what a thing suggests but is not as it is
presented) is creative,--an incursion into the novel. It involves some
inventiveness. What is suggested must, indeed, be familiar in some
context; the novelty, the inventive devising, clings to the new light
in which it is seen, the different use to which it is put. When Newton
thought of his theory of gravitation, the creative aspect of his
thought was not found in its materials. They were familiar; many of
them commonplaces--sun, moon, planets, weight, distance, mass, square of
numbers. These were not original ideas; they were established facts. His
originality lay in the use to which these familiar acquaintances were
put by introduction into an unfamiliar context. The same is true of
every striking scientific discovery, every great invention, every
admirable artistic production. Only silly folk identify creative
originality with the extraordinary and fanciful; others recognize
that its measure lies in putting everyday things to uses which had not
occurred to others. The operation is novel, not the materials out of
which it is constructed.

The educational conclusion which follows is that all thinking is
original in a projection of considerations which have not been
previously apprehended. The child of three who discovers what can be
done with blocks, or of six who finds out what he can make by putting
five cents and five cents together, is really a discoverer, even though
everybody else in the world knows it. There is a genuine increment of
experience; not another item mechanically added on, but enrichment by a
new quality. The charm which the spontaneity of little children has
for sympathetic observers is due to perception of this intellectual
originality. The joy which children themselves experience is the joy of
intellectual constructiveness--of creativeness, if the word may be used
without misunderstanding. The educational moral I am chiefly concerned
to draw is not, however, that teachers would find their own work less of
a grind and strain if school conditions favored learning in the sense
of discovery and not in that of storing away what others pour into
them; nor that it would be possible to give even children and youth the
delights of personal intellectual productiveness--true and important
as are these things. It is that no thought, no idea, can possibly be
conveyed as an idea from one person to another. When it is told, it
is, to the one to whom it is told, another given fact, not an idea. The
communication may stimulate the other person to realize the question for
himself and to think out a like idea, or it may smother his intellectual
interest and suppress his dawning effort at thought. But what he
directly gets cannot be an idea. Only by wrestling with the conditions
of the problem at first hand, seeking and finding his own way out, does
he think. When the parent or teacher has provided the conditions which
stimulate thinking and has taken a sympathetic attitude toward the
activities of the learner by entering into a common or conjoint
experience, all has been done which a second party can do to instigate
learning. The rest lies with the one directly concerned. If he
cannot devise his own solution (not of course in isolation, but in
correspondence with the teacher and other pupils) and find his own way
out he will not learn, not even if he can recite some correct answer
with one hundred per cent accuracy. We can and do supply ready-made
"ideas" by the thousand; we do not usually take much pains to see
that the one learning engages in significant situations where his own
activities generate, support, and clinch ideas--that is, perceived
meanings or connections. This does not mean that the teacher is to stand
off and look on; the alternative to furnishing ready-made subject
matter and listening to the accuracy with which it is reproduced is not
quiescence, but participation, sharing, in an activity. In such shared
activity, the teacher is a learner, and the learner is, without knowing
it, a teacher--and upon the whole, the less consciousness there is, on
either side, of either giving or receiving instruction, the better.
IV. Ideas, as we have seen, whether they be humble guesses or
dignified theories, are anticipations of possible solutions. They are
anticipations of some continuity or connection of an activity and a
consequence which has not as yet shown itself. They are therefore tested
by the operation of acting upon them. They are to guide and organize
further observations, recollections, and experiments. They are
intermediate in learning, not final. All educational reformers, as we
have had occasion to remark, are given to attacking the passivity of
traditional education. They have opposed pouring in from without, and
absorbing like a sponge; they have attacked drilling in material as into
hard and resisting rock. But it is not easy to secure conditions which
will make the getting of an idea identical with having an experience
which widens and makes more precise our contact with the environment.
Activity, even self-activity, is too easily thought of as something
merely mental, cooped up within the head, or finding expression only
through the vocal organs.

While the need of application of ideas gained in study is acknowledged
by all the more successful methods of instruction, the exercises in
application are sometimes treated as devices for fixing what has
already been learned and for getting greater practical skill in its
manipulation. These results are genuine and not to be despised. But
practice in applying what has been gained in study ought primarily to
have an intellectual quality. As we have already seen, thoughts just
as thoughts are incomplete. At best they are tentative; they are
suggestions, indications. They are standpoints and methods for dealing
with situations of experience. Till they are applied in these situations
they lack full point and reality. Only application tests them, and only
testing confers full meaning and a sense of their reality. Short of use
made of them, they tend to segregate into a peculiar world of their
own. It may be seriously questioned whether the philosophies (to which
reference has been made in section 2 of chapter X) which isolate mind
and set it over against the world did not have their origin in the fact
that the reflective or theoretical class of men elaborated a large stock
of ideas which social conditions did not allow them to act upon and
test. Consequently men were thrown back into their own thoughts as ends
in themselves.

However this may be, there can be no doubt that a peculiar artificiality
attaches to much of what is learned in schools. It can hardly be said
that many students consciously think of the subject matter as unreal;
but it assuredly does not possess for them the kind of reality which the
subject matter of their vital experiences possesses. They learn not to
expect that sort of reality of it; they become habituated to treating
it as having reality for the purposes of recitations, lessons, and
examinations. That it should remain inert for the experiences of daily
life is more or less a matter of course. The bad effects are twofold.
Ordinary experience does not receive the enrichment which it should;
it is not fertilized by school learning. And the attitudes which spring
from getting used to and accepting half-understood and ill-digested
material weaken vigor and efficiency of thought.

If we have dwelt especially on the negative side, it is for the sake
of suggesting positive measures adapted to the effectual development
of thought. Where schools are equipped with laboratories, shops,
and gardens, where dramatizations, plays, and games are freely used,
opportunities exist for reproducing situations of life, and for
acquiring and applying information and ideas in the carrying forward of
progressive experiences. Ideas are not segregated, they do not form an
isolated island. They animate and enrich the ordinary course of life.
Information is vitalized by its function; by the place it occupies in
direction of action. The phrase "opportunities exist" is used purposely.
They may not be taken advantage of; it is possible to employ manual
and constructive activities in a physical way, as means of getting just
bodily skill; or they may be used almost exclusively for "utilitarian,"
i.e., pecuniary, ends. But the disposition on the part of upholders of
"cultural" education to assume that such activities are merely physical
or professional in quality, is itself a product of the philosophies
which isolate mind from direction of the course of experience and hence
from action upon and with things. When the "mental" is regarded as
a self-contained separate realm, a counterpart fate befalls bodily
activity and movements. They are regarded as at the best mere external
annexes to mind. They may be necessary for the satisfaction of bodily
needs and the attainment of external decency and comfort, but they do
not occupy a necessary place in mind nor enact an indispensable role
in the completion of thought. Hence they have no place in a liberal
education--i.e., one which is concerned with the interests of
intelligence. If they come in at all, it is as a concession to the
material needs of the masses. That they should be allowed to invade
the education of the elite is unspeakable. This conclusion follows
irresistibly from the isolated conception of mind, but by the same
logic it disappears when we perceive what mind really is--namely, the
purposive and directive factor in the development of experience. While
it is desirable that all educational institutions should be equipped so
as to give students an opportunity for acquiring and testing ideas and
information in active pursuits typifying important social situations, it
will, doubtless, be a long time before all of them are thus furnished.
But this state of affairs does not afford instructors an excuse for
folding their hands and persisting in methods which segregate school
knowledge. Every recitation in every subject gives an opportunity for
establishing cross connections between the subject matter of the lesson
and the wider and more direct experiences of everyday life. Classroom
instruction falls into three kinds. The least desirable treats each
lesson as an independent whole. It does not put upon the student the
responsibility of finding points of contact between it and other lessons
in the same subject, or other subjects of study. Wiser teachers see to
it that the student is systematically led to utilize his earlier lessons
to help understand the present one, and also to use the present to
throw additional light upon what has already been acquired. Results are
better, but school subject matter is still isolated. Save by accident,
out-of-school experience is left in its crude and comparatively
irreflective state. It is not subject to the refining and expanding
influences of the more accurate and comprehensive material of direct
instruction. The latter is not motivated and impregnated with a sense of
reality by being intermingled with the realities of everyday life. The
best type of teaching bears in mind the desirability of affecting this
interconnection. It puts the student in the habitual attitude of finding
points of contact and mutual bearings.

Summary. Processes of instruction are unified in the degree in which
they center in the production of good habits of thinking. While we may
speak, without error, of the method of thought, the important thing is
that thinking is the method of an educative experience. The essentials
of method are therefore identical with the essentials of reflection.
They are first that the pupil have a genuine situation of
experience--that there be a continuous activity in which he is
interested for its own sake; secondly, that a genuine problem develop
within this situation as a stimulus to thought; third, that he possess
the information and make the observations needed to deal with it;
fourth, that suggested solutions occur to him which he shall be
responsible for developing in an orderly way; fifth, that he have
opportunity and occasion to test his ideas by application, to make their
meaning clear and to discover for himself their validity.

Chapter Thirteen: The Nature of Method

1. The Unity of Subject Matter and Method.

The trinity of school topics is subject matter, methods, and
administration or government. We have been concerned with the two former
in recent chapters. It remains to disentangle them from the context in
which they have been referred to, and discuss explicitly their nature.
We shall begin with the topic of method, since that lies closest to the
considerations of the last chapter. Before taking it up, it may be well,
however, to call express attention to one implication of our theory; the
connection of subject matter and method with each other. The idea
that mind and the world of things and persons are two separate
and independent realms--a theory which philosophically is known as
dualism--carries with it the conclusion that method and subject matter
of instruction are separate affairs. Subject matter then becomes a
ready-made systematized classification of the facts and principles
of the world of nature and man. Method then has for its province a
consideration of the ways in which this antecedent subject matter may
be best presented to and impressed upon the mind; or, a consideration
of the ways in which the mind may be externally brought to bear upon the
matter so as to facilitate its acquisition and possession. In theory, at
least, one might deduce from a science of the mind as something existing
by itself a complete theory of methods of learning, with no knowledge of
the subjects to which the methods are to be applied. Since many who
are actually most proficient in various branches of subject matter
are wholly innocent of these methods, this state of affairs gives
opportunity for the retort that pedagogy, as an alleged science
of methods of the mind in learning, is futile;--a mere screen for
concealing the necessity a teacher is under of profound and accurate
acquaintance with the subject in hand.

But since thinking is a directed movement of subject matter to a
completing issue, and since mind is the deliberate and intentional phase
of the process, the notion of any such split is radically false. The
fact that the material of a science is organized is evidence that it has
already been subjected to intelligence; it has been methodized, so
to say. Zoology as a systematic branch of knowledge represents crude,
scattered facts of our ordinary acquaintance with animals after
they have been subjected to careful examination, to deliberate
supplementation, and to arrangement to bring out connections which
assist observation, memory, and further inquiry. Instead of furnishing a
starting point for learning, they mark out a consummation. Method means
that arrangement of subject matter which makes it most effective in use.
Never is method something outside of the material.

How about method from the standpoint of an individual who is dealing
with subject matter? Again, it is not something external. It is simply
an effective treatment of material--efficiency meaning such treatment as
utilizes the material (puts it to a purpose) with a minimum of waste of
time and energy. We can distinguish a way of acting, and discuss it by
itself; but the way exists only as way-of-dealing-with-material. Method
is not antithetical to subject matter; it is the effective direction
of subject matter to desired results. It is antithetical to random and
ill-considered action,--ill-considered signifying ill-adapted.

The statement that method means directed movement of subject matter
towards ends is formal. An illustration may give it content. Every
artist must have a method, a technique, in doing his work. Piano playing
is not hitting the keys at random. It is an orderly way of using them,
and the order is not something which exists ready-made in the musician's
hands or brain prior to an activity dealing with the piano. Order is
found in the disposition of acts which use the piano and the hands and
brain so as to achieve the result intended. It is the action of the
piano directed to accomplish the purpose of the piano as a musical
instrument. It is the same with "pedagogical" method. The only
difference is that the piano is a mechanism constructed in advance for
a single end; while the material of study is capable of indefinite uses.
But even in this regard the illustration may apply if we consider the
infinite variety of kinds of music which a piano may produce, and
the variations in technique required in the different musical results
secured. Method in any case is but an effective way of employing some
material for some end.

These considerations may be generalized by going back to the conception
of experience. Experience as the perception of the connection between
something tried and something undergone in consequence is a process.
Apart from effort to control the course which the process takes, there
is no distinction of subject matter and method. There is simply an
activity which includes both what an individual does and what the
environment does. A piano player who had perfect mastery of his
instrument would have no occasion to distinguish between his
contribution and that of the piano. In well-formed, smooth-running
functions of any sort,--skating, conversing, hearing music, enjoying a
landscape,--there is no consciousness of separation of the method of the
person and of the subject matter. In whole-hearted play and work there
is the same phenomenon.

When we reflect upon an experience instead of just having it, we
inevitably distinguish between our own attitude and the objects toward
which we sustain the attitude. When a man is eating, he is eating food.
He does not divide his act into eating and food. But if he makes a
scientific investigation of the act, such a discrimination is the first
thing he would effect. He would examine on the one hand the properties
of the nutritive material, and on the other hand the acts of the
organism in appropriating and digesting. Such reflection upon experience
gives rise to a distinction of what we experience (the experienced) and
the experiencing--the how. When we give names to this distinction we
have subject matter and method as our terms. There is the thing seen,
heard, loved, hated, imagined, and there is the act of seeing, hearing,
loving, hating, imagining, etc.

This distinction is so natural and so important for certain purposes,
that we are only too apt to regard it as a separation in existence and
not as a distinction in thought. Then we make a division between a self
and the environment or world. This separation is the root of the dualism
of method and subject matter. That is, we assume that knowing, feeling,
willing, etc., are things which belong to the self or mind in its
isolation, and which then may be brought to bear upon an independent
subject matter. We assume that the things which belong in isolation to
the self or mind have their own laws of operation irrespective of the
modes of active energy of the object. These laws are supposed to furnish
method. It would be no less absurd to suppose that men can eat without
eating something, or that the structure and movements of the jaws,
throat muscles, the digestive activities of stomach, etc., are not what
they are because of the material with which their activity is engaged.
Just as the organs of the organism are a continuous part of the very
world in which food materials exist, so the capacities of seeing,
hearing, loving, imagining are intrinsically connected with the subject
matter of the world. They are more truly ways in which the environment
enters into experience and functions there than they are independent
acts brought to bear upon things. Experience, in short, is not a
combination of mind and world, subject and object, method and subject
matter, but is a single continuous interaction of a great diversity
(literally countless in number) of energies.

For the purpose of controlling the course or direction which the moving
unity of experience takes we draw a mental distinction between the
how and the what. While there is no way of walking or of eating or of
learning over and above the actual walking, eating, and studying, there
are certain elements in the act which give the key to its more effective
control. Special attention to these elements makes them more obvious
to perception (letting other factors recede for the time being from
conspicuous recognition). Getting an idea of how the experience proceeds
indicates to us what factors must be secured or modified in order that
it may go on more successfully. This is only a somewhat elaborate way
of saying that if a man watches carefully the growth of several plants,
some of which do well and some of which amount to little or nothing, he
may be able to detect the special conditions upon which the prosperous
development of a plant depends. These conditions, stated in an orderly
sequence, would constitute the method or way or manner of its growth.
There is no difference between the growth of a plant and the prosperous
development of an experience. It is not easy, in either case, to seize
upon just the factors which make for its best movement. But study of
cases of success and failure and minute and extensive comparison, helps
to seize upon causes. When we have arranged these causes in order, we
have a method of procedure or a technique.

A consideration of some evils in education that flow from the isolation
of method from subject matter will make the point more definite.

(I) In the first place, there is the neglect (of which we have spoken)
of concrete situations of experience. There can be no discovery of
a method without cases to be studied. The method is derived from
observation of what actually happens, with a view to seeing that it
happen better next time. But in instruction and discipline, there is
rarely sufficient opportunity for children and youth to have the direct
normal experiences from which educators might derive an idea of method
or order of best development. Experiences are had under conditions
of such constraint that they throw little or no light upon the normal
course of an experience to its fruition. "Methods" have then to be
authoritatively recommended to teachers, instead of being an expression
of their own intelligent observations. Under such circumstances, they
have a mechanical uniformity, assumed to be alike for all minds. Where
flexible personal experiences are promoted by providing an environment
which calls out directed occupations in work and play, the methods
ascertained will vary with individuals--for it is certain that each
individual has something characteristic in his way of going at things.

(ii) In the second place, the notion of methods isolated from subject
matter is responsible for the false conceptions of discipline and
interest already noted. When the effective way of managing material
is treated as something ready-made apart from material, there are just
three possible ways in which to establish a relationship lacking by
assumption. One is to utilize excitement, shock of pleasure, tickling
the palate. Another is to make the consequences of not attending
painful; we may use the menace of harm to motivate concern with the
alien subject matter. Or a direct appeal may be made to the person to
put forth effort without any reason. We may rely upon immediate strain
of "will." In practice, however, the latter method is effectual only
when instigated by fear of unpleasant results. (iii) In the third place,
the act of learning is made a direct and conscious end in itself. Under
normal conditions, learning is a product and reward of occupation with
subject matter. Children do not set out, consciously, to learn walking
or talking. One sets out to give his impulses for communication and for
fuller intercourse with others a show. He learns in consequence of his
direct activities. The better methods of teaching a child, say, to read,
follow the same road. They do not fix his attention upon the fact that
he has to learn something and so make his attitude self-conscious
and constrained. They engage his activities, and in the process of
engagement he learns: the same is true of the more successful methods in
dealing with number or whatever. But when the subject matter is not used
in carrying forward impulses and habits to significant results, it is
just something to be learned. The pupil's attitude to it is just that
of having to learn it. Conditions more unfavorable to an alert and
concentrated response would be hard to devise. Frontal attacks are even
more wasteful in learning than in war. This does not mean, however, that
students are to be seduced unaware into preoccupation with lessons. It
means that they shall be occupied with them for real reasons or ends,
and not just as something to be learned. This is accomplished whenever
the pupil perceives the place occupied by the subject matter in the
fulfilling of some experience.

(iv) In the fourth place, under the influence of the conception of the
separation of mind and material, method tends to be reduced to a cut and
dried routine, to following mechanically prescribed steps. No one can
tell in how many schoolrooms children reciting in arithmetic or grammar
are compelled to go through, under the alleged sanction of method,
certain preordained verbal formulae. Instead of being encouraged to
attack their topics directly, experimenting with methods that seem
promising and learning to discriminate by the consequences that accrue,
it is assumed that there is one fixed method to be followed. It is
also naively assumed that if the pupils make their statements and
explanations in a certain form of "analysis," their mental habits will
in time conform. Nothing has brought pedagogical theory into greater
disrepute than the belief that it is identified with handing out to
teachers recipes and models to be followed in teaching. Flexibility and
initiative in dealing with problems are characteristic of any conception
to which method is a way of managing material to develop a conclusion.
Mechanical rigid woodenness is an inevitable corollary of any theory
which separates mind from activity motivated by a purpose.

2. Method as General and as Individual. In brief, the method of teaching
is the method of an art, of action intelligently directed by ends. But
the practice of a fine art is far from being a matter of extemporized
inspirations. Study of the operations and results of those in the past
who have greatly succeeded is essential. There is always a tradition, or
schools of art, definite enough to impress beginners, and often to take
them captive. Methods of artists in every branch depend upon thorough
acquaintance with materials and tools; the painter must know canvas,
pigments, brushes, and the technique of manipulation of all his
appliances. Attainment of this knowledge requires persistent and
concentrated attention to objective materials. The artist studies the
progress of his own attempts to see what succeeds and what fails. The
assumption that there are no alternatives between following ready-made
rules and trusting to native gifts, the inspiration of the moment and
undirected "hard work," is contradicted by the procedures of every art.

Such matters as knowledge of the past, of current technique, of
materials, of the ways in which one's own best results are assured,
supply the material for what may be called general method. There exists
a cumulative body of fairly stable methods for reaching results, a body
authorized by past experience and by intellectual analysis, which an
individual ignores at his peril. As was pointed out in the discussion of
habit-forming (ante, p. 49), there is always a danger that these methods
will become mechanized and rigid, mastering an agent instead of being
powers at command for his own ends. But it is also true that the
innovator who achieves anything enduring, whose work is more than a
passing sensation, utilizes classic methods more than may appear to
himself or to his critics. He devotes them to new uses, and in so far
transforms them.

Education also has its general methods. And if the application of this
remark is more obvious in the case of the teacher than of the pupil, it
is equally real in the case of the latter. Part of his learning, a very
important part, consists in becoming master of the methods which the
experience of others has shown to be more efficient in like cases of
getting knowledge. 1 These general methods are in no way opposed to
individual initiative and originality--to personal ways of doing things.
On the contrary they are reinforcements of them. For there is radical
difference between even the most general method and a prescribed rule.
The latter is a direct guide to action; the former operates indirectly
through the enlightenment it supplies as to ends and means. It operates,
that is to say, through intelligence, and not through conformity to
orders externally imposed. Ability to use even in a masterly way an
established technique gives no warranty of artistic work, for the latter
also depends upon an animating idea.

If knowledge of methods used by others does not directly tell us what to
do, or furnish ready-made models, how does it operate? What is meant by
calling a method intellectual? Take the case of a physician. No mode
of behavior more imperiously demands knowledge of established modes of
diagnosis and treatment than does his. But after all, cases are like,
not identical. To be used intelligently, existing practices, however
authorized they may be, have to be adapted to the exigencies of
particular cases. Accordingly, recognized procedures indicate to the
physician what inquiries to set on foot for himself, what measures to
try. They are standpoints from which to carry on investigations; they
economize a survey of the features of the particular case by suggesting
the things to be especially looked into. The physician's own personal
attitudes, his own ways (individual methods) of dealing with the
situation in which he is concerned, are not subordinated to the general
principles of procedure, but are facilitated and directed by the latter.
The instance may serve to point out the value to the teacher of a
knowledge of the psychological methods and the empirical devices found
useful in the past. When they get in the way of his own common sense,
when they come between him and the situation in which he has to act,
they are worse than useless. But if he has acquired them as intellectual
aids in sizing up the needs, resources, and difficulties of the unique
experiences in which he engages, they are of constructive value. In the
last resort, just because everything depends upon his own methods of
response, much depends upon how far he can utilize, in making his own
response, the knowledge which has accrued in the experience of others.
As already intimated, every word of this account is directly applicable
also to the method of the pupil, the way of learning. To suppose that
students, whether in the primary school or in the university, can
be supplied with models of method to be followed in acquiring and
expounding a subject is to fall into a self-deception that has
lamentable consequences. (See ante, p. 169.) One must make his own
reaction in any case. Indications of the standardized or general methods
used in like cases by others--particularly by those who are already
experts--are of worth or of harm according as they make his personal
reaction more intelligent or as they induce a person to dispense with
exercise of his own judgment. If what was said earlier (See p. 159)
about originality of thought seemed overstrained, demanding more of
education than the capacities of average human nature permit, the
difficulty is that we lie under the incubus of a superstition. We have
set up the notion of mind at large, of intellectual method that is the
same for all. Then we regard individuals as differing in the quantity of
mind with which they are charged. Ordinary persons are then expected to
be ordinary. Only the exceptional are allowed to have originality. The
measure of difference between the average student and the genius is a
measure of the absence of originality in the former. But this notion
of mind in general is a fiction. How one person's abilities compare in
quantity with those of another is none of the teacher's business. It is
irrelevant to his work. What is required is that every individual shall
have opportunities to employ his own powers in activities that have
meaning. Mind, individual method, originality (these are convertible
terms) signify the quality of purposive or directed action. If we act
upon this conviction, we shall secure more originality even by the
conventional standard than now develops. Imposing an alleged uniform
general method upon everybody breeds mediocrity in all but the very
exceptional. And measuring originality by deviation from the mass breeds
eccentricity in them. Thus we stifle the distinctive quality of the
many, and save in rare instances (like, say, that of Darwin) infect the
rare geniuses with an unwholesome quality.

3. The Traits of Individual Method. The most general features of the
method of knowing have been given in our chapter on thinking. They
are the features of the reflective situation: Problem, collection and
analysis of data, projection and elaboration of suggestions or ideas,
experimental application and testing; the resulting conclusion or
judgment. The specific elements of an individual's method or way of
attack upon a problem are found ultimately in his native tendencies and
his acquired habits and interests. The method of one will vary from that
of another (and properly vary) as his original instinctive capacities
vary, as his past experiences and his preferences vary. Those who have
already studied these matters are in possession of information which
will help teachers in understanding the responses different pupils
make, and help them in guiding these responses to greater efficiency.
Child-study, psychology, and a knowledge of social environment
supplement the personal acquaintance gained by the teacher. But methods
remain the personal concern, approach, and attack of an individual, and
no catalogue can ever exhaust their diversity of form and tint.

Some attitudes may be named, however,-which are central in effective
intellectual ways of dealing with subject matter. Among the most
important are directness, open-mindedness, single-mindedness (or
whole-heartedness), and responsibility.

1. It is easier to indicate what is meant by directness through negative
terms than in positive ones. Self-consciousness, embarrassment, and
constraint are its menacing foes. They indicate that a person is not
immediately concerned with subject matter. Something has come between
which deflects concern to side issues. A self-conscious person is partly
thinking about his problem and partly about what others think of his
performances. Diverted energy means loss of power and confusion of
ideas. Taking an attitude is by no means identical with being conscious
of one's attitude. The former is spontaneous, naive, and simple. It is
a sign of whole-souled relationship between a person and what he is
dealing with. The latter is not of necessity abnormal. It is sometimes
the easiest way of correcting a false method of approach, and of
improving the effectiveness of the means one is employing,--as golf
players, piano players, public speakers, etc., have occasionally to give
especial attention to their position and movements. But this need
is occasional and temporary. When it is effectual a person thinks of
himself in terms of what is to be done, as one means among others of the
realization of an end--as in the case of a tennis player practicing to
get the "feel" of a stroke. In abnormal cases, one thinks of himself not
as part of the agencies of execution, but as a separate object--as when
the player strikes an attitude thinking of the impression it will make
upon spectators, or is worried because of the impression he fears his
movements give rise to.

Confidence is a good name for what is intended by the term directness.
It should not be confused, however, with self-confidence which may be a
form of self-consciousness--or of "cheek." Confidence is not a name for
what one thinks or feels about his attitude it is not reflex. It denotes
the straightforwardness with which one goes at what he has to do.
It denotes not conscious trust in the efficacy of one's powers but
unconscious faith in the possibilities of the situation. It signifies
rising to the needs of the situation. We have already pointed out (See
p. 169) the objections to making students emphatically aware of the fact
that they are studying or learning. Just in the degree in which they
are induced by the conditions to be so aware, they are not studying
and learning. They are in a divided and complicated attitude. Whatever
methods of a teacher call a pupil's attention off from what he has to
do and transfer it to his own attitude towards what he is doing impair
directness of concern and action. Persisted in, the pupil acquires a
permanent tendency to fumble, to gaze about aimlessly, to look for some
clew of action beside that which the subject matter supplies. Dependence
upon extraneous suggestions and directions, a state of foggy confusion,
take the place of that sureness with which children (and grown-up people
who have not been sophisticated by "education") confront the situations
of life.

2. Open-mindedness. Partiality is, as we have seen, an accompaniment of
the existence of interest, since this means sharing, partaking, taking
sides in some movement. All the more reason, therefore, for an attitude
of mind which actively welcomes suggestions and relevant information
from all sides. In the chapter on Aims it was shown that foreseen ends
are factors in the development of a changing situation. They are
the means by which the direction of action is controlled. They are
subordinate to the situation, therefore, not the situation to them. They
are not ends in the sense of finalities to which everything must be bent
and sacrificed. They are, as foreseen, means of guiding the development
of a situation. A target is not the future goal of shooting; it is
the centering factor in a present shooting. Openness of mind means
accessibility of mind to any and every consideration that will throw
light upon the situation that needs to be cleared up, and that will help
determine the consequences of acting this way or that. Efficiency in
accomplishing ends which have been settled upon as unalterable can
coexist with a narrowly opened mind. But intellectual growth means
constant expansion of horizons and consequent formation of new purposes
and new responses. These are impossible without an active disposition
to welcome points of view hitherto alien; an active desire to entertain
considerations which modify existing purposes. Retention of capacity
to grow is the reward of such intellectual hospitality. The worst
thing about stubbornness of mind, about prejudices, is that they arrest
development; they shut the mind off from new stimuli. Open-mindedness
means retention of the childlike attitude; closed-mindedness means
premature intellectual old age.

Exorbitant desire for uniformity of procedure and for prompt external
results are the chief foes which the open-minded attitude meets in
school. The teacher who does not permit and encourage diversity of
operation in dealing with questions is imposing intellectual blinders
upon pupils--restricting their vision to the one path the teacher's mind
happens to approve. Probably the chief cause of devotion to rigidity
of method is, however, that it seems to promise speedy, accurately
measurable, correct results. The zeal for "answers" is the explanation
of much of the zeal for rigid and mechanical methods. Forcing and
overpressure have the same origin, and the same result upon alert and
varied intellectual interest.

Open-mindedness is not the same as empty-mindedness. To hang out a sign
saying "Come right in; there is no one at home" is not the equivalent
of hospitality. But there is a kind of passivity, willingness to let
experiences accumulate and sink in and ripen, which is an essential of
development. Results (external answers or solutions) may be hurried;
processes may not be forced. They take their own time to mature. Were
all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not
the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth
something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked.

3. Single-mindedness. So far as the word is concerned, much that was
said under the head of "directness" is applicable. But what the word is
here intended to convey is completeness of interest, unity of purpose;
the absence of suppressed but effectual ulterior aims for which the
professed aim is but a mask. It is equivalent to mental integrity.
Absorption, engrossment, full concern with subject matter for its own
sake, nurture it. Divided interest and evasion destroy it.

Intellectual integrity, honesty, and sincerity are at bottom not
matters of conscious purpose but of quality of active response.
Their acquisition is fostered of course by conscious intent, but
self-deception is very easy. Desires are urgent. When the demands and
wishes of others forbid their direct expression they are easily driven
into subterranean and deep channels. Entire surrender, and wholehearted
adoption of the course of action demanded by others are almost
impossible. Deliberate revolt or deliberate attempts to deceive others
may result. But the more frequent outcome is a confused and divided
state of interest in which one is fooled as to one's own real intent.
One tries to serve two masters at once. Social instincts, the strong
desire to please others and get their approval, social training, the
general sense of duty and of authority, apprehension of penalty, all
lead to a half-hearted effort to conform, to "pay attention to the
lesson," or whatever the requirement is. Amiable individuals want to do
what they are expected to do. Consciously the pupil thinks he is
doing this. But his own desires are not abolished. Only their evident
exhibition is suppressed. Strain of attention to what is hostile to
desire is irksome; in spite of one's conscious wish, the underlying
desires determine the main course of thought, the deeper emotional
responses. The mind wanders from the nominal subject and devotes
itself to what is intrinsically more desirable. A systematized divided
attention expressing the duplicity of the state of desire is the result.
One has only to recall his own experiences in school or at the present
time when outwardly employed in actions which do not engage one's
desires and purposes, to realize how prevalent is this attitude of
divided attention--double-mindedness. We are so used to it that we take
it for granted that a considerable amount of it is necessary. It may be;
if so, it is the more important to face its bad intellectual effects.
Obvious is the loss of energy of thought immediately available when
one is consciously trying (or trying to seem to try) to attend to one
matter, while unconsciously one's imagination is spontaneously going out
to more congenial affairs. More subtle and more permanently crippling
to efficiency of intellectual activity is a fostering of habitual
self-deception, with the confused sense of reality which accompanies it.
A double standard of reality, one for our own private and more or less
concealed interests, and another for public and acknowledged concerns,
hampers, in most of us, integrity and completeness of mental action.
Equally serious is the fact that a split is set up between conscious
thought and attention and impulsive blind affection and desire.
Reflective dealings with the material of instruction is constrained
and half-hearted; attention wanders. The topics to which it wanders are
unavowed and hence intellectually illicit; transactions with them
are furtive. The discipline that comes from regulating response by
deliberate inquiry having a purpose fails; worse than that, the deepest
concern and most congenial enterprises of the imagination (since they
center about the things dearest to desire) are casual, concealed. They
enter into action in ways which are unacknowledged. Not subject to
rectification by consideration of consequences, they are demoralizing.

School conditions favorable to this division of mind between
avowed, public, and socially responsible undertakings, and private,
ill-regulated, and suppressed indulgences of thought are not hard
to find. What is sometimes called "stern discipline," i.e., external
coercive pressure, has this tendency. Motivation through rewards
extraneous to the thing to be done has a like effect. Everything that
makes schooling merely preparatory (See ante, p. 55) works in this
direction. Ends being beyond the pupil's present grasp, other agencies
have to be found to procure immediate attention to assigned tasks. Some
responses are secured, but desires and affections not enlisted must
find other outlets. Not less serious is exaggerated emphasis upon
drill exercises designed to produce skill in action, independent of any
engagement of thought--exercises have no purpose but the production of
automatic skill. Nature abhors a mental vacuum. What do teachers imagine
is happening to thought and emotion when the latter get no outlet in
the things of immediate activity? Were they merely kept in temporary
abeyance, or even only calloused, it would not be a matter of so much
moment. But they are not abolished; they are not suspended; they are
not suppressed--save with reference to the task in question. They follow
their own chaotic and undisciplined course. What is native, spontaneous,
and vital in mental reaction goes unused and untested, and the habits
formed are such that these qualities become less and less available for
public and avowed ends.

4. Responsibility. By responsibility as an element in intellectual
attitude is meant the disposition to consider in advance the probable
consequences of any projected step and deliberately to accept them: to
accept them in the sense of taking them into account, acknowledging them
in action, not yielding a mere verbal assent. Ideas, as we have seen,
are intrinsically standpoints and methods for bringing about a solution
of a perplexing situation; forecasts calculated to influence responses.
It is only too easy to think that one accepts a statement or believes a
suggested truth when one has not considered its implications; when one
has made but a cursory and superficial survey of what further things one
is committed to by acceptance. Observation and recognition, belief and
assent, then become names for lazy acquiescence in what is externally

It would be much better to have fewer facts and truths in
instruction--that is, fewer things supposedly accepted,--if a smaller
number of situations could be intellectually worked out to the point
where conviction meant something real--some identification of the self
with the type of conduct demanded by facts and foresight of results. The
most permanent bad results of undue complication of school subjects
and congestion of school studies and lessons are not the worry, nervous
strain, and superficial acquaintance that follow (serious as these are),
but the failure to make clear what is involved in really knowing and
believing a thing. Intellectual responsibility means severe standards
in this regard. These standards can be built up only through practice in
following up and acting upon the meaning of what is acquired.

Intellectual thoroughness is thus another name for the attitude we are
considering. There is a kind of thoroughness which is almost purely
physical: the kind that signifies mechanical and exhausting drill upon
all the details of a subject. Intellectual thoroughness is seeing a
thing through. It depends upon a unity of purpose to which details are
subordinated, not upon presenting a multitude of disconnected details.
It is manifested in the firmness with which the full meaning of the
purpose is developed, not in attention, however "conscientious" it may
be, to the steps of action externally imposed and directed.

Summary. Method is a statement of the way the subject matter of an
experience develops most effectively and fruitfully. It is derived,
accordingly, from observation of the course of experiences where
there is no conscious distinction of personal attitude and manner from
material dealt with. The assumption that method is something separate
is connected with the notion of the isolation of mind and self from the
world of things. It makes instruction and learning formal, mechanical,
constrained. While methods are individualized, certain features of the
normal course of an experience to its fruition may be discriminated,
because of the fund of wisdom derived from prior experiences and because
of general similarities in the materials dealt with from time to time.
Expressed in terms of the attitude of the individual the traits of
good method are straightforwardness, flexible intellectual interest
or open-minded will to learn, integrity of purpose, and acceptance of
responsibility for the consequences of one's activity including thought.

1 This point is developed below in a discussion of what are termed
psychological and logical methods respectively. See p. 219.

Chapter Fourteen: The Nature of Subject Matter

1. Subject Matter of Educator and of Learner. So far as the nature of
subject matter in principle is concerned, there is nothing to add
to what has been said (See ante, p. 134). It consists of the facts
observed, recalled, read, and talked about, and the ideas suggested, in
course of a development of a situation having a purpose. This statement
needs to be rendered more specific by connecting it with the materials
of school instruction, the studies which make up the curriculum. What is
the significance of our definition in application to reading, writing,
mathematics, history, nature study, drawing, singing, physics,
chemistry, modern and foreign languages, and so on? Let us recur to two
of the points made earlier in our discussion. The educator's part in the
enterprise of education is to furnish the environment which stimulates
responses and directs the learner's course. In last analysis, all that
the educator can do is modify stimuli so that response will as surely
as is possible result in the formation of desirable intellectual and
emotional dispositions. Obviously studies or the subject matter of the
curriculum have intimately to do with this business of supplying an
environment. The other point is the necessity of a social environment
to give meaning to habits formed. In what we have termed informal
education, subject matter is carried directly in the matrix of social
intercourse. It is what the persons with whom an individual associates
do and say. This fact gives a clew to the understanding of the subject
matter of formal or deliberate instruction. A connecting link is found
in the stories, traditions, songs, and liturgies which accompany the
doings and rites of a primitive social group. They represent the stock
of meanings which have been precipitated out of previous experience,
which are so prized by the group as to be identified with their
conception of their own collective life. Not being obviously a part of
the skill exhibited in the daily occupations of eating, hunting, making
war and peace, constructing rugs, pottery, and baskets, etc., they
are consciously impressed upon the young; often, as in the initiation
ceremonies, with intense emotional fervor. Even more pains are
consciously taken to perpetuate the myths, legends, and sacred verbal
formulae of the group than to transmit the directly useful customs of
the group just because they cannot be picked up, as the latter can be in
the ordinary processes of association.

As the social group grows more complex, involving a greater number of
acquired skills which are dependent, either in fact or in the belief
of the group, upon standard ideas deposited from past experience, the
content of social life gets more definitely formulated for purposes of
instruction. As we have previously noted, probably the chief motive for
consciously dwelling upon the group life, extracting the meanings which
are regarded as most important and systematizing them in a coherent
arrangement, is just the need of instructing the young so as to
perpetuate group life. Once started on this road of selection,
formulation, and organization, no definite limit exists. The invention
of writing and of printing gives the operation an immense impetus.
Finally, the bonds which connect the subject matter of school study with
the habits and ideals of the social group are disguised and covered up.
The ties are so loosened that it often appears as if there were none;
as if subject matter existed simply as knowledge on its own independent
behoof, and as if study were the mere act of mastering it for its own
sake, irrespective of any social values. Since it is highly important
for practical reasons to counter-act this tendency (See ante, p. 8)
the chief purposes of our theoretical discussion are to make clear the
connection which is so readily lost from sight, and to show in some
detail the social content and function of the chief constituents of the
course of study.

The points need to be considered from the standpoint of instructor and
of student. To the former, the significance of a knowledge of subject
matter, going far beyond the present knowledge of pupils, is to supply
definite standards and to reveal to him the possibilities of the
crude activities of the immature. (i) The material of school studies
translates into concrete and detailed terms the meanings of current
social life which it is desirable to transmit. It puts clearly
before the instructor the essential ingredients of the culture to
be perpetuated, in such an organized form as to protect him from the
haphazard efforts he would be likely to indulge in if the meanings had
not been standardized. (ii) A knowledge of the ideas which have been
achieved in the past as the outcome of activity places the educator in
a position to perceive the meaning of the seeming impulsive and aimless
reactions of the young, and to provide the stimuli needed to direct them
so that they will amount to something. The more the educator knows of
music the more he can perceive the possibilities of the inchoate musical
impulses of a child. Organized subject matter represents the ripe
fruitage of experiences like theirs, experiences involving the same
world, and powers and needs similar to theirs. It does not represent
perfection or infallible wisdom; but it is the best at command to
further new experiences which may, in some respects at least, surpass
the achievements embodied in existing knowledge and works of art.

From the standpoint of the educator, in other words, the various studies
represent working resources, available capital. Their remoteness from
the experience of the young is not, however, seeming; it is real. The
subject matter of the learner is not, therefore, it cannot be, identical
with the formulated, the crystallized, and systematized subject matter
of the adult; the material as found in books and in works of art, etc.
The latter represents the possibilities of the former; not its existing
state. It enters directly into the activities of the expert and the
educator, not into that of the beginner, the learner. Failure to bear in
mind the difference in subject matter from the respective standpoints of
teacher and student is responsible for most of the mistakes made in the
use of texts and other expressions of preexistent knowledge.

The need for a knowledge of the constitution and functions, in the
concrete, of human nature is great just because the teacher's attitude
to subject matter is so different from that of the pupil. The teacher
presents in actuality what the pupil represents only in posse. That is,
the teacher already knows the things which the student is only learning.
Hence the problem of the two is radically unlike. When engaged in the
direct act of teaching, the instructor needs to have subject matter
at his fingers' ends; his attention should be upon the attitude and
response of the pupil. To understand the latter in its interplay with
subject matter is his task, while the pupil's mind, naturally, should be
not on itself but on the topic in hand. Or to state the same point in
a somewhat different manner: the teacher should be occupied not with
subject matter in itself but in its interaction with the pupils' present
needs and capacities. Hence simple scholarship is not enough. In
fact, there are certain features of scholarship or mastered subject
matter--taken by itself--which get in the way of effective teaching
unless the instructor's habitual attitude is one of concern with
its interplay in the pupil's own experience. In the first place,
his knowledge extends indefinitely beyond the range of the pupil's
acquaintance. It involves principles which are beyond the immature
pupil's understanding and interest. In and of itself, it may no
more represent the living world of the pupil's experience than the
astronomer's knowledge of Mars represents a baby's acquaintance with the
room in which he stays. In the second place, the method of organization
of the material of achieved scholarship differs from that of
the beginner. It is not true that the experience of the young is
unorganized--that it consists of isolated scraps. But it is organized in
connection with direct practical centers of interest. The child's home
is, for example, the organizing center of his geographical knowledge.
His own movements about the locality, his journeys abroad, the tales of
his friends, give the ties which hold his items of information together.
But the geography of the geographer, of the one who has already
developed the implications of these smaller experiences, is organized
on the basis of the relationship which the various facts bear to
one another--not the relations which they bear to his house, bodily
movements, and friends. To the one who is learned, subject matter is
extensive, accurately defined, and logically interrelated. To the
one who is learning, it is fluid, partial, and connected through
his personal occupations. 1 The problem of teaching is to keep the
experience of the student moving in the direction of what the expert
already knows. Hence the need that the teacher know both subject matter
and the characteristic needs and capacities of the student.

2. The Development of Subject Matter in the Learner. It is possible,
without doing violence to the facts, to mark off three fairly typical
stages in the growth of subject matter in the experience of the learner.
In its first estate, knowledge exists as the content of intelligent
ability--power to do. This kind of subject matter, or known material, is
expressed in familiarity or acquaintance with things. Then this material
gradually is surcharged and deepened through communicated knowledge or
information. Finally, it is enlarged and worked over into rationally or
logically organized material--that of the one who, relatively speaking,
is expert in the subject.

I. The knowledge which comes first to persons, and that remains most
deeply ingrained, is knowledge of how to do; how to walk, talk, read,
write, skate, ride a bicycle, manage a machine, calculate, drive a
horse, sell goods, manage people, and so on indefinitely. The popular
tendency to regard instinctive acts which are adapted to an end as a
sort of miraculous knowledge, while unjustifiable, is evidence of the
strong tendency to identify intelligent control of the means of action
with knowledge. When education, under the influence of a scholastic
conception of knowledge which ignores everything but scientifically
formulated facts and truths, fails to recognize that primary or initial
subject matter always exists as matter of an active doing, involving
the use of the body and the handling of material, the subject matter of
instruction is isolated from the needs and purposes of the learner, and
so becomes just a something to be memorized and reproduced upon demand.
Recognition of the natural course of development, on the contrary,
always sets out with situations which involve learning by doing. Arts
and occupations form the initial stage of the curriculum, corresponding
as they do to knowing how to go about the accomplishment of ends.
Popular terms denoting knowledge have always retained the connection
with ability in action lost by academic philosophies. Ken and can are
allied words. Attention means caring for a thing, in the sense of both
affection and of looking out for its welfare. Mind means carrying out
instructions in action--as a child minds his mother--and taking care
of something--as a nurse minds the baby. To be thoughtful, considerate,
means to heed the claims of others. Apprehension means dread of
undesirable consequences, as well as intellectual grasp. To have
good sense or judgment is to know the conduct a situation calls for;
discernment is not making distinctions for the sake of making them, an
exercise reprobated as hair splitting, but is insight into an affair
with reference to acting. Wisdom has never lost its association with
the proper direction of life. Only in education, never in the life of
farmer, sailor, merchant, physician, or laboratory experimenter, does
knowledge mean primarily a store of information aloof from doing.
Having to do with things in an intelligent way issues in acquaintance
or familiarity. The things we are best acquainted with are the things we
put to frequent use--such things as chairs, tables, pen, paper, clothes,
food, knives and forks on the commonplace level, differentiating into
more special objects according to a person's occupations in life.
Knowledge of things in that intimate and emotional sense suggested by
the word acquaintance is a precipitate from our employing them with a
purpose. We have acted with or upon the thing so frequently that we can
anticipate how it will act and react--such is the meaning of familiar
acquaintance. We are ready for a familiar thing; it does not catch us
napping, or play unexpected tricks with us. This attitude carries with
it a sense of congeniality or friendliness, of ease and illumination;
while the things with which we are not accustomed to deal are strange,
foreign, cold, remote, "abstract."

II. But it is likely that elaborate statements regarding this primary
stage of knowledge will darken understanding. It includes practically
all of our knowledge which is not the result of deliberate technical
study. Modes of purposeful doing include dealings with persons as well
as things. Impulses of communication and habits of intercourse have to
be adapted to maintaining successful connections with others; a large
fund of social knowledge accrues. As a part of this intercommunication
one learns much from others. They tell of their experiences and of the
experiences which, in turn, have been told them. In so far as one is
interested or concerned in these communications, their matter becomes a
part of one's own experience. Active connections with others are such
an intimate and vital part of our own concerns that it is impossible to
draw sharp lines, such as would enable us to say, "Here my experience
ends; there yours begins." In so far as we are partners in common
undertakings, the things which others communicate to us as the
consequences of their particular share in the enterprise blend at once
into the experience resulting from our own special doings. The ear is as
much an organ of experience as the eye or hand; the eye is available
for reading reports of what happens beyond its horizon. Things remote in
space and time affect the issue of our actions quite as much as
things which we can smell and handle. They really concern us, and,
consequently, any account of them which assists us in dealing with
things at hand falls within personal experience.

Information is the name usually given to this kind of subject matter.
The place of communication in personal doing supplies us with a
criterion for estimating the value of informational material in school.
Does it grow naturally out of some question with which the student
is concerned? Does it fit into his more direct acquaintance so as to
increase its efficacy and deepen its meaning? If it meets these two
requirements, it is educative. The amount heard or read is of no
importance--the more the better, provided the student has a need for it
and can apply it in some situation of his own.

But it is not so easy to fulfill these requirements in actual practice
as it is to lay them down in theory. The extension in modern times of
the area of intercommunication; the invention of appliances for securing
acquaintance with remote parts of the heavens and bygone events of
history; the cheapening of devices, like printing, for recording and
distributing information--genuine and alleged--have created an immense
bulk of communicated subject matter. It is much easier to swamp a
pupil with this than to work it into his direct experiences. All too
frequently it forms another strange world which just overlies the world
of personal acquaintance. The sole problem of the student is to learn,
for school purposes, for purposes of recitations and promotions, the
constituent parts of this strange world. Probably the most conspicuous
connotation of the word knowledge for most persons to-day is just the
body of facts and truths ascertained by others; the material found in
the rows and rows of atlases, cyclopedias, histories, biographies, books
of travel, scientific treatises, on the shelves of libraries.

The imposing stupendous bulk of this material has unconsciously
influenced men's notions of the nature of knowledge itself. The
statements, the propositions, in which knowledge, the issue of active
concern with problems, is deposited, are taken to be themselves
knowledge. The record of knowledge, independent of its place as an
outcome of inquiry and a resource in further inquiry, is taken to be
knowledge. The mind of man is taken captive by the spoils of its prior
victories; the spoils, not the weapons and the acts of waging the battle
against the unknown, are used to fix the meaning of knowledge, of fact,
and truth.

If this identification of knowledge with propositions stating
information has fastened itself upon logicians and philosophers, it is
not surprising that the same ideal has almost dominated instruction.
The "course of study" consists largely of information distributed into
various branches of study, each study being subdivided into lessons
presenting in serial cutoff portions of the total store. In the
seventeenth century, the store was still small enough so that men set up
the ideal of a complete encyclopedic mastery of it. It is now so bulky
that the impossibility of any one man's coming into possession of it
all is obvious. But the educational ideal has not been much affected.
Acquisition of a modicum of information in each branch of learning,
or at least in a selected group, remains the principle by which the
curriculum, from elementary school through college, is formed; the
easier portions being assigned to the earlier years, the more difficult
to the later. The complaints of educators that learning does not enter
into character and affect conduct; the protests against memoriter work,
against cramming, against gradgrind preoccupation with "facts," against
devotion to wire-drawn distinctions and ill-understood rules and
principles, all follow from this state of affairs. Knowledge which
is mainly second-hand, other men's knowledge, tends to become merely
verbal. It is no objection to information that it is clothed in words;
communication necessarily takes place through words. But in the degree
in which what is communicated cannot be organized into the existing
experience of the learner, it becomes mere words: that is, pure
sense-stimuli, lacking in meaning. Then it operates to call out
mechanical reactions, ability to use the vocal organs to repeat
statements, or the hand to write or to do "sums."

To be informed is to be posted; it is to have at command the subject
matter needed for an effective dealing with a problem, and for giving
added significance to the search for solution and to the solution
itself. Informational knowledge is the material which can be fallen back
upon as given, settled, established, assured in a doubtful situation. It
is a kind of bridge for mind in its passage from doubt to discovery. It
has the office of an intellectual middleman. It condenses and records in
available form the net results of the prior experiences of mankind, as
an agency of enhancing the meaning of new experiences. When one is told
that Brutus assassinated Caesar, or that the length of the year is
three hundred sixty-five and one fourth days, or that the ratio of the
diameter of the circle to its circumference is 3.1415. . . one receives
what is indeed knowledge for others, but for him it is a stimulus to
knowing. His acquisition of knowledge depends upon his response to what
is communicated.

3. Science or Rationalized Knowledge. Science is a name for knowledge in
its most characteristic form. It represents in its degree, the perfected
outcome of learning,--its consummation. What is known, in a given case,
is what is sure, certain, settled, disposed of; that which we think with
rather than that which we think about. In its honorable sense, knowledge
is distinguished from opinion, guesswork, speculation, and mere
tradition. In knowledge, things are ascertained; they are so and
not dubiously otherwise. But experience makes us aware that there is
difference between intellectual certainty of subject matter and our
certainty. We are made, so to speak, for belief; credulity is
natural. The undisciplined mind is averse to suspense and intellectual
hesitation; it is prone to assertion. It likes things undisturbed,
settled, and treats them as such without due warrant. Familiarity,
common repute, and congeniality to desire are readily made measuring
rods of truth. Ignorance gives way to opinionated and current error,--a
greater foe to learning than ignorance itself. A Socrates is thus led
to declare that consciousness of ignorance is the beginning of effective
love of wisdom, and a Descartes to say that science is born of doubting.

We have already dwelt upon the fact that subject matter, or data, and
ideas have to have their worth tested experimentally: that in themselves
they are tentative and provisional. Our predilection for premature
acceptance and assertion, our aversion to suspended judgment, are signs
that we tend naturally to cut short the process of testing. We are
satisfied with superficial and immediate short-visioned applications. If
these work out with moderate satisfactoriness, we are content to suppose
that our assumptions have been confirmed. Even in the case of failure,
we are inclined to put the blame not on the inadequacy and incorrectness
of our data and thoughts, but upon our hard luck and the hostility of
circumstance. We charge the evil consequence not to the error of our
schemes and our incomplete inquiry into conditions (thereby getting
material for revising the former and stimulus for extending the latter)
but to untoward fate. We even plume ourselves upon our firmness in
clinging to our conceptions in spite of the way in which they work out.

Science represents the safeguard of the race against these natural
propensities and the evils which flow from them. It consists of the
special appliances and methods which the race has slowly worked out in
order to conduct reflection under conditions whereby its procedures and
results are tested. It is artificial (an acquired art), not spontaneous;
learned, not native. To this fact is due the unique, the invaluable
place of science in education, and also the dangers which threaten its
right use. Without initiation into the scientific spirit one is not
in possession of the best tools which humanity has so far devised for
effectively directed reflection. One in that case not merely conducts
inquiry and learning without the use of the best instruments, but fails
to understand the full meaning of knowledge. For he does not become
acquainted with the traits that mark off opinion and assent from
authorized conviction. On the other hand, the fact that science marks
the perfecting of knowing in highly specialized conditions of technique
renders its results, taken by themselves, remote from ordinary
experience--a quality of aloofness that is popularly designated by the
term abstract. When this isolation appears in instruction, scientific
information is even more exposed to the dangers attendant upon
presenting ready-made subject matter than are other forms of

Science has been defined in terms of method of inquiry and testing. At
first sight, this definition may seem opposed to the current conception
that science is organized or systematized knowledge. The opposition,
however, is only seeming, and disappears when the ordinary definition
is completed. Not organization but the kind of organization effected by
adequate methods of tested discovery marks off science. The knowledge of
a farmer is systematized in the degree in which he is competent. It
is organized on the basis of relation of means to ends--practically
organized. Its organization as knowledge (that is, in the eulogistic
sense of adequately tested and confirmed) is incidental to its
organization with reference to securing crops, live-stock, etc. But
scientific subject matter is organized with specific reference to the
successful conduct of the enterprise of discovery, to knowing as a
specialized undertaking. Reference to the kind of assurance
attending science will shed light upon this statement. It is rational
assurance,--logical warranty. The ideal of scientific organization is,
therefore, that every conception and statement shall be of such a
kind as to follow from others and to lead to others. Conceptions
and propositions mutually imply and support one another. This double
relation of "leading to and confirming" is what is meant by the terms
logical and rational. The everyday conception of water is more available
for ordinary uses of drinking, washing, irrigation, etc., than the
chemist's notion of it. The latter's description of it as H20 is
superior from the standpoint of place and use in inquiry. It states
the nature of water in a way which connects it with knowledge of other
things, indicating to one who understands it how the knowledge is
arrived at and its bearings upon other portions of knowledge of the
structure of things. Strictly speaking, it does not indicate the
objective relations of water any more than does a statement that water
is transparent, fluid, without taste or odor, satisfying to thirst,
etc. It is just as true that water has these relations as that it is
constituted by two molecules of hydrogen in combination with one of
oxygen. But for the particular purpose of conducting discovery with a
view to ascertainment of fact, the latter relations are fundamental. The
more one emphasizes organization as a mark of science, then, the more he
is committed to a recognition of the primacy of method in the definition
of science. For method defines the kind of organization in virtue of
which science is science.

4. Subject Matter as Social. Our next chapters will take up various
school activities and studies and discuss them as successive stages
in that evolution of knowledge which we have just been discussing. It
remains to say a few words upon subject matter as social, since our
prior remarks have been mainly concerned with its intellectual aspect. A
difference in breadth and depth exists even in vital knowledge; even
in the data and ideas which are relevant to real problems and which are
motivated by purposes. For there is a difference in the social scope of
purposes and the social importance of problems. With the wide range
of possible material to select from, it is important that education
(especially in all its phases short of the most specialized) should use
a criterion of social worth. All information and systematized scientific
subject matter have been worked out under the conditions of social life
and have been transmitted by social means. But this does not prove that
all is of equal value for the purposes of forming the disposition and
supplying the equipment of members of present society. The scheme of a
curriculum must take account of the adaptation of studies to the needs
of the existing community life; it must select with the intention of
improving the life we live in common so that the future shall be better
than the past. Moreover, the curriculum must be planned with reference
to placing essentials first, and refinements second. The things which
are socially most fundamental, that is, which have to do with the
experiences in which the widest groups share, are the essentials. The
things which represent the needs of specialized groups and technical
pursuits are secondary. There is truth in the saying that education must
first be human and only after that professional. But those who utter
the saying frequently have in mind in the term human only a highly
specialized class: the class of learned men who preserve the classic
traditions of the past. They forget that material is humanized in the
degree in which it connects with the common interests of men as men.
Democratic society is peculiarly dependent for its maintenance upon the
use in forming a course of study of criteria which are broadly human.
Democracy cannot flourish where the chief influences in selecting
subject matter of instruction are utilitarian ends narrowly conceived
for the masses, and, for the higher education of the few, the traditions
of a specialized cultivated class. The notion that the "essentials" of
elementary education are the three R's mechanically treated, is based
upon ignorance of the essentials needed for realization of democratic
ideals. Unconsciously it assumes that these ideals are unrealizable;
it assumes that in the future, as in the past, getting a livelihood,
"making a living," must signify for most men and women doing things
which are not significant, freely chosen, and ennobling to those who
do them; doing things which serve ends unrecognized by those engaged in
them, carried on under the direction of others for the sake of pecuniary
reward. For preparation of large numbers for a life of this sort, and
only for this purpose, are mechanical efficiency in reading, writing,
spelling and figuring, together with attainment of a certain amount
of muscular dexterity, "essentials." Such conditions also infect the
education called liberal, with illiberality. They imply a somewhat
parasitic cultivation bought at the expense of not having the
enlightenment and discipline which come from concern with the deepest
problems of common humanity. A curriculum which acknowledges the social
responsibilities of education must present situations where problems are
relevant to the problems of living together, and where observation and
information are calculated to develop social insight and interest.

Summary. The subject matter of education consists primarily of the
meanings which supply content to existing social life. The continuity of
social life means that many of these meanings are contributed to present
activity by past collective experience. As social life grows more
complex, these factors increase in number and import. There is need of
special selection, formulation, and organization in order that they may
be adequately transmitted to the new generation. But this very process
tends to set up subject matter as something of value just by itself,
apart from its function in promoting the realization of the meanings
implied in the present experience of the immature. Especially is the
educator exposed to the temptation to conceive his task in terms of the
pupil's ability to appropriate and reproduce the subject matter in set
statements, irrespective of its organization into his activities as a
developing social member. The positive principle is maintained when the
young begin with active occupations having a social origin and use,
and proceed to a scientific insight in the materials and laws involved,
through assimilating into their more direct experience the ideas and
facts communicated by others who have had a larger experience. 1 Since
the learned man should also still be a learner, it will be understood
that these contrasts are relative, not absolute. But in the earlier
stages of learning at least they are practically all-important.

Chapter Fifteen: Play and Work in the Curriculum

1. The Place of Active Occupations in Education. In consequence partly
of the efforts of educational reformers, partly of increased interest in
child-psychology, and partly of the direct experience of the schoolroom,
the course of study has in the past generation undergone considerable
modification. The desirability of starting from and with the experience
and capacities of learners, a lesson enforced from all three quarters,
has led to the introduction of forms of activity, in play and work,
similar to those in which children and youth engage outside of school.
Modern psychology has substituted for the general, ready-made faculties
of older theory a complex group of instinctive and impulsive tendencies.
Experience has shown that when children have a chance at physical
activities which bring their natural impulses into play, going to
school is a joy, management is less of a burden, and learning is easier.
Sometimes, perhaps, plays, games, and constructive occupations are
resorted to only for these reasons, with emphasis upon relief from the
tedium and strain of "regular" school work. There is no reason, however,
for using them merely as agreeable diversions. Study of mental life has
made evident the fundamental worth of native tendencies to explore,
to manipulate tools and materials, to construct, to give expression
to joyous emotion, etc. When exercises which are prompted by these
instincts are a part of the regular school program, the whole pupil is
engaged, the artificial gap between life in school and out is reduced,
motives are afforded for attention to a large variety of materials and
processes distinctly educative in effect, and cooperative associations
which give information in a social setting are provided. In short, the
grounds for assigning to play and active work a definite place in
the curriculum are intellectual and social, not matters of temporary
expediency and momentary agreeableness. Without something of the kind,
it is not possible to secure the normal estate of effective learning;
namely, that knowledge-getting be an outgrowth of activities having
their own end, instead of a school task. More specifically, play and
work correspond, point for point, with the traits of the initial stage
of knowing, which consists, as we saw in the last chapter, in learning
how to do things and in acquaintance with things and processes gained
in the doing. It is suggestive that among the Greeks, till the rise
of conscious philosophy, the same word, techne, was used for art and
science. Plato gave his account of knowledge on the basis of an
analysis of the knowledge of cobblers, carpenters, players of musical
instruments, etc., pointing out that their art (so far as it was not
mere routine) involved an end, mastery of material or stuff worked upon,
control of appliances, and a definite order of procedure--all of which
had to be known in order that there be intelligent skill or art.

Doubtless the fact that children normally engage in play and work out
of school has seemed to many educators a reason why they should concern
themselves in school with things radically different. School time seemed
too precious to spend in doing over again what children were sure to do
any way. In some social conditions, this reason has weight. In pioneer
times, for example, outside occupations gave a definite and valuable
intellectual and moral training. Books and everything concerned with
them were, on the other hand, rare and difficult of access; they were
the only means of outlet from a narrow and crude environment. Wherever
such conditions obtain, much may be said in favor of concentrating
school activity upon books. The situation is very different, however,
in most communities to-day. The kinds of work in which the young
can engage, especially in cities, are largely anti-educational. That
prevention of child labor is a social duty is evidence on this point.
On the other hand, printed matter has been so cheapened and is in such
universal circulation, and all the opportunities of intellectual culture
have been so multiplied, that the older type of book work is far from
having the force it used to possess.

But it must not be forgotten that an educational result is a by-product
of play and work in most out-of-school conditions. It is incidental,
not primary. Consequently the educative growth secured is more or less
accidental. Much work shares in the defects of existing industrial
society--defects next to fatal to right development. Play tends to
reproduce and affirm the crudities, as well as the excellencies, of
surrounding adult life. It is the business of the school to set up an
environment in which play and work shall be conducted with reference to
facilitating desirable mental and moral growth. It is not enough just
to introduce plays and games, hand work and manual exercises. Everything
depends upon the way in which they are employed.

2. Available Occupations. A bare catalogue of the list of activities
which have already found their way into schools indicates what a rich
field is at hand. There is work with paper, cardboard, wood, leather,
cloth, yarns, clay and sand, and the metals, with and without tools.
Processes employed are folding, cutting, pricking, measuring, molding,
modeling, pattern-making, heating and cooling, and the operations
characteristic of such tools as the hammer, saw, file, etc. Outdoor
excursions, gardening, cooking, sewing, printing, book-binding, weaving,
painting, drawing, singing, dramatization, story-telling, reading and
writing as active pursuits with social aims (not as mere exercises for
acquiring skill for future use), in addition to a countless variety of
plays and games, designate some of the modes of occupation.

The problem of the educator is to engage pupils in these activities in
such ways that while manual skill and technical efficiency are gained
and immediate satisfaction found in the work, together with
preparation for later usefulness, these things shall be subordinated
to education--that is, to intellectual results and the forming of a
socialized disposition. What does this principle signify? In the first
place, the principle rules out certain practices. Activities which
follow definite prescription and dictation or which reproduce without
modification ready-made models, may give muscular dexterity, but they
do not require the perception and elaboration of ends, nor (what is
the same thing in other words) do they permit the use of judgment in
selecting and adapting means. Not merely manual training specifically
so called but many traditional kindergarten exercises have erred here.
Moreover, opportunity for making mistakes is an incidental requirement.
Not because mistakes are ever desirable, but because overzeal to select
material and appliances which forbid a chance for mistakes to occur,
restricts initiative, reduces judgment to a minimum, and compels the use
of methods which are so remote from the complex situations of life
that the power gained is of little availability. It is quite true that
children tend to exaggerate their powers of execution and to select
projects that are beyond them. But limitation of capacity is one of the
things which has to be learned; like other things, it is learned through
the experience of consequences. The danger that children undertaking
too complex projects will simply muddle and mess, and produce not merely
crude results (which is a minor matter) but acquire crude standards
(which is an important matter) is great. But it is the fault of the
teacher if the pupil does not perceive in due season the inadequacy of
his performances, and thereby receive a stimulus to attempt exercises
which will perfect his powers. Meantime it is more important to keep
alive a creative and constructive attitude than to secure an external
perfection by engaging the pupil's action in too minute and too closely
regulated pieces of work. Accuracy and finish of detail can be insisted
upon in such portions of a complex work as are within the pupil's

Unconscious suspicion of native experience and consequent overdoing of
external control are shown quite as much in the material supplied as in
the matter of the teacher's orders. The fear of raw material is shown
in laboratory, manual training shop, Froebelian kindergarten, and
Montessori house of childhood. The demand is for materials which have
already been subjected to the perfecting work of mind: a demand which
shows itself in the subject matter of active occupations quite as
well as in academic book learning. That such material will control the
pupil's operations so as to prevent errors is true. The notion that a
pupil operating with such material will somehow absorb the intelligence
that went originally to its shaping is fallacious. Only by starting with
crude material and subjecting it to purposeful handling will he gain the
intelligence embodied in finished material. In practice, overemphasis
upon formed material leads to an exaggeration of mathematical qualities,
since intellect finds its profit in physical things from matters of
size, form, and proportion and the relations that flow from them. But
these are known only when their perception is a fruit of acting upon
purposes which require attention to them. The more human the purpose, or
the more it approximates the ends which appeal in daily experience, the
more real the knowledge. When the purpose of the activity is restricted
to ascertaining these qualities, the resulting knowledge is only

To say that active occupations should be concerned primarily with wholes
is another statement of the same principle. Wholes for purposes of
education are not, however, physical affairs. Intellectually the
existence of a whole depends upon a concern or interest; it is
qualitative, the completeness of appeal made by a situation. Exaggerated
devotion to formation of efficient skill irrespective of present purpose
always shows itself in devising exercises isolated from a purpose.
Laboratory work is made to consist of tasks of accurate measurement
with a view to acquiring knowledge of the fundamental units of physics,
irrespective of contact with the problems which make these units
important; or of operations designed to afford facility in the
manipulation of experimental apparatus. The technique is acquired
independently of the purposes of discovery and testing which alone give
it meaning. Kindergarten employments are calculated to give information
regarding cubes, spheres, etc., and to form certain habits of
manipulation of material (for everything must always be done "just so"),
the absence of more vital purposes being supposedly compensated for by
the alleged symbolism of the material used. Manual training is reduced
to a series of ordered assignments calculated to secure the mastery of
one tool after another and technical ability in the various elements of
construction--like the different joints. It is argued that pupils must
know how to use tools before they attack actual making,--assuming that
pupils cannot learn how in the process of making. Pestalozzi's just
insistence upon the active use of the senses, as a substitute for
memorizing words, left behind it in practice schemes for "object
lessons" intended to acquaint pupils with all the qualities of selected
objects. The error is the same: in all these cases it is assumed that
before objects can be intelligently used, their properties must
be known. In fact, the senses are normally used in the course of
intelligent (that is, purposeful) use of things, since the qualities
perceived are factors to be reckoned with in accomplishment. Witness the
different attitude of a boy in making, say, a kite, with respect to
the grain and other properties of wood, the matter of size, angles, and
proportion of parts, to the attitude of a pupil who has an object-lesson
on a piece of wood, where the sole function of wood and its properties
is to serve as subject matter for the lesson.

The failure to realize that the functional development of a situation
alone constitutes a "whole" for the purpose of mind is the cause of the
false notions which have prevailed in instruction concerning the simple
and the complex. For the person approaching a subject, the simple
thing is his purpose--the use he desires to make of material, tool, or
technical process, no matter how complicated the process of execution
may be. The unity of the purpose, with the concentration upon details
which it entails, confers simplicity upon the elements which have to be
reckoned with in the course of action. It furnishes each with a single
meaning according to its service in carrying on the whole enterprise.
After one has gone through the process, the constituent qualities and
relations are elements, each possessed with a definite meaning of its
own. The false notion referred to takes the standpoint of the expert,
the one for whom elements exist; isolates them from purposeful action,
and presents them to beginners as the "simple" things. But it is time
for a positive statement. Aside from the fact that active occupations
represent things to do, not studies, their educational significance
consists in the fact that they may typify social situations. Men's
fundamental common concerns center about food, shelter, clothing,
household furnishings, and the appliances connected with production,
exchange, and consumption.

Representing both the necessities of life and the adornments with which
the necessities have been clothed, they tap instincts at a deep level;
they are saturated with facts and principles having a social quality.

To charge that the various activities of gardening, weaving,
construction in wood, manipulation of metals, cooking, etc., which carry
over these fundamental human concerns into school resources, have a
merely bread and butter value is to miss their point. If the mass of
mankind has usually found in its industrial occupations nothing but
evils which had to be endured for the sake of maintaining existence, the
fault is not in the occupations, but in the conditions under which
they are carried on. The continually increasing importance of economic
factors in contemporary life makes it the more needed that education
should reveal their scientific content and their social value. For in
schools, occupations are not carried on for pecuniary gain but for their
own content. Freed from extraneous associations and from the pressure
of wage-earning, they supply modes of experience which are intrinsically
valuable; they are truly liberalizing in quality.

Gardening, for example, need not be taught either for the sake of
preparing future gardeners, or as an agreeable way of passing time.
It affords an avenue of approach to knowledge of the place farming and
horticulture have had in the history of the race and which they
occupy in present social organization. Carried on in an environment
educationally controlled, they are means for making a study of the facts
of growth, the chemistry of soil, the role of light, air, and moisture,
injurious and helpful animal life, etc. There is nothing in the
elementary study of botany which cannot be introduced in a vital way in
connection with caring for the growth of seeds. Instead of the subject
matter belonging to a peculiar study called botany, it will then belong
to life, and will find, moreover, its natural correlations with the
facts of soil, animal life, and human relations. As students grow
mature, they will perceive problems of interest which may be pursued for
the sake of discovery, independent of the original direct interest in
gardening--problems connected with the germination and nutrition of
plants, the reproduction of fruits, etc., thus making a transition to
deliberate intellectual investigations.

The illustration is intended to apply, of course, to other school
occupations,--wood-working, cooking, and on through the list. It is
pertinent to note that in the history of the race the sciences grew
gradually out from useful social occupations. Physics developed slowly
out of the use of tools and machines; the important branch of physics
known as mechanics testifies in its name to its original associations.
The lever, wheel, inclined plane, etc., were among the first great
intellectual discoveries of mankind, and they are none the less
intellectual because they occurred in the course of seeking for means of
accomplishing practical ends. The great advance of electrical science in
the last generation was closely associated, as effect and as cause,
with application of electric agencies to means of communication,
transportation, lighting of cities and houses, and more economical
production of goods. These are social ends, moreover, and if they are
too closely associated with notions of private profit, it is not because
of anything in them, but because they have been deflected to private
uses:--a fact which puts upon the school the responsibility of restoring
their connection, in the mind of the coming generation, with public
scientific and social interests. In like ways, chemistry grew out of
processes of dying, bleaching, metal working, etc., and in recent times
has found innumerable new uses in industry.

Mathematics is now a highly abstract science; geometry, however, means
literally earth-measuring: the practical use of number in counting to
keep track of things and in measuring is even more important to-day
than in the times when it was invented for these purposes. Such
considerations (which could be duplicated in the history of any science)
are not arguments for a recapitulation of the history of the race or for
dwelling long in the early rule of thumb stage. But they indicate
the possibilities--greater to-day than ever before--of using active
occupations as opportunities for scientific study. The opportunities
are just as great on the social side, whether we look at the life of
collective humanity in its past or in its future. The most direct
road for elementary students into civics and economics is found in
consideration of the place and office of industrial occupations in
social life. Even for older students, the social sciences would be less
abstract and formal if they were dealt with less as sciences (less as
formulated bodies of knowledge) and more in their direct subject-matter
as that is found in the daily life of the social groups in which the
student shares.

Connection of occupations with the method of science is at least as
close as with its subject matter. The ages when scientific progress was
slow were the ages when learned men had contempt for the material and
processes of everyday life, especially for those concerned with manual
pursuits. Consequently they strove to develop knowledge out of general
principles--almost out of their heads--by logical reasons. It seems
as absurd that learning should come from action on and with physical
things, like dropping acid on a stone to see what would happen, as that
it should come from sticking an awl with waxed thread through a piece of
leather. But the rise of experimental methods proved that, given control
of conditions, the latter operation is more typical of the right way of
knowledge than isolated logical reasonings. Experiment developed in the
seventeenth and succeeding centuries and became the authorized way of
knowing when men's interests were centered in the question of control
of nature for human uses. The active occupations in which appliances
are brought to bear upon physical things with the intention of effecting
useful changes is the most vital introduction to the experimental

3. Work and Play. What has been termed active occupation includes both
play and work. In their intrinsic meaning, play and industry are by
no means so antithetical to one another as is often assumed, any sharp
contrast being due to undesirable social conditions. Both involve ends
consciously entertained and the selection and adaptations of materials
and processes designed to effect the desired ends. The difference
between them is largely one of time-span, influencing the directness
of the connection of means and ends. In play, the interest is more
direct--a fact frequently indicated by saying that in play the activity
is its own end, instead of its having an ulterior result. The statement
is correct, but it is falsely taken, if supposed to mean that play
activity is momentary, having no element of looking ahead and none of
pursuit. Hunting, for example, is one of the commonest forms of adult
play, but the existence of foresight and the direction of present
activity by what one is watching for are obvious. When an activity is
its own end in the sense that the action of the moment is complete in
itself, it is purely physical; it has no meaning (See p. 77). The
person is either going through motions quite blindly, perhaps purely
imitatively, or else is in a state of excitement which is exhausting to
mind and nerves. Both results may be seen in some types of kindergarten
games where the idea of play is so highly symbolic that only the adult
is conscious of it. Unless the children succeed in reading in some quite
different idea of their own, they move about either as if in a hypnotic
daze, or they respond to a direct excitation.

The point of these remarks is that play has an end in the sense of a
directing idea which gives point to the successive acts. Persons who
play are not just doing something (pure physical movement); they are
trying to do or effect something, an attitude that involves anticipatory
forecasts which stimulate their present responses. The anticipated
result, however, is rather a subsequent action than the production of
a specific change in things. Consequently play is free, plastic. Where
some definite external outcome is wanted, the end has to be held to with
some persistence, which increases as the contemplated result is complex
and requires a fairly long series of intermediate adaptations. When the
intended act is another activity, it is not necessary to look far ahead
and it is possible to alter it easily and frequently. If a child
is making a toy boat, he must hold on to a single end and direct a
considerable number of acts by that one idea. If he is just "playing
boat" he may change the material that serves as a boat almost at will,
and introduce new factors as fancy suggests. The imagination makes what
it will of chairs, blocks, leaves, chips, if they serve the purpose of
carrying activity forward.

From a very early age, however, there is no distinction of exclusive
periods of play activity and work activity, but only one of emphasis.
There are definite results which even young children desire, and try
to bring to pass. Their eager interest in sharing the occupations of
others, if nothing else, accomplishes this. Children want to "help";
they are anxious to engage in the pursuits of adults which effect
external changes: setting the table, washing dishes, helping care for
animals, etc. In their plays, they like to construct their own toys and
appliances. With increasing maturity, activity which does not give back
results of tangible and visible achievement loses its interest. Play
then changes to fooling and if habitually indulged in is demoralizing.
Observable results are necessary to enable persons to get a sense and
a measure of their own powers. When make-believe is recognized to be
make-believe, the device of making objects in fancy alone is too easy
to stimulate intense action. One has only to observe the countenance of
children really playing to note that their attitude is one of serious
absorption; this attitude cannot be maintained when things cease to
afford adequate stimulation.

When fairly remote results of a definite character are foreseen and
enlist persistent effort for their accomplishment, play passes into
work. Like play, it signifies purposeful activity and differs not in
that activity is subordinated to an external result, but in the fact
that a longer course of activity is occasioned by the idea of a result.
The demand for continuous attention is greater, and more intelligence
must be shown in selecting and shaping means. To extend this account
would be to repeat what has been said under the caption of aim,
interest, and thinking. It is pertinent, however, to inquire why the
idea is so current that work involves subordination of an activity to an
ulterior material result. The extreme form of this subordination,
namely drudgery, offers a clew. Activity carried on under conditions
of external pressure or coercion is not carried on for any significance
attached to the doing. The course of action is not intrinsically
satisfying; it is a mere means for avoiding some penalty, or for gaining
some reward at its conclusion. What is inherently repulsive is endured
for the sake of averting something still more repulsive or of securing a
gain hitched on by others. Under unfree economic conditions, this state
of affairs is bound to exist. Work or industry offers little to engage
the emotions and the imagination; it is a more or less mechanical series
of strains. Only the hold which the completion of the work has upon
a person will keep him going. But the end should be intrinsic to the
action; it should be its end--a part of its own course. Then it affords
a stimulus to effort very different from that arising from the thought
of results which have nothing to do with the intervening action. As
already mentioned, the absence of economic pressure in schools supplies
an opportunity for reproducing industrial situations of mature life
under conditions where the occupation can be carried on for its own
sake. If in some cases, pecuniary recognition is also a result of an
action, though not the chief motive for it, that fact may well increase
the significance of the occupation. Where something approaching drudgery
or the need of fulfilling externally imposed tasks exists, the demand
for play persists, but tends to be perverted. The ordinary course of
action fails to give adequate stimulus to emotion and imagination. So in
leisure time, there is an imperious demand for their stimulation by any
kind of means; gambling, drink, etc., may be resorted to. Or, in less
extreme cases, there is recourse to idle amusement; to anything which
passes time with immediate agreeableness. Recreation, as the word
indicates, is recuperation of energy. No demand of human nature is more
urgent or less to be escaped. The idea that the need can be suppressed
is absolutely fallacious, and the Puritanic tradition which disallows
the need has entailed an enormous crop of evils. If education does
not afford opportunity for wholesome recreation and train capacity
for seeking and finding it, the suppressed instincts find all sorts of
illicit outlets, sometimes overt, sometimes confined to indulgence
of the imagination. Education has no more serious responsibility than
making adequate provision for enjoyment of recreative leisure; not only
for the sake of immediate health, but still more if possible for the
sake of its lasting effect upon habits of mind. Art is again the answer
to this demand.

Summary. In the previous chapter we found that the primary subject
matter of knowing is that contained in learning how to do things of a
fairly direct sort. The educational equivalent of this principle is the
consistent use of simple occupations which appeal to the powers of youth
and which typify general modes of social activity. Skill and information
about materials, tools, and laws of energy are acquired while activities
are carried on for their own sake. The fact that they are socially
representative gives a quality to the skill and knowledge gained which
makes them transferable to out-of-school situations. It is important not
to confuse the psychological distinction between play and work with the
economic distinction. Psychologically, the defining characteristic of
play is not amusement nor aimlessness. It is the fact that the aim
is thought of as more activity in the same line, without defining
continuity of action in reference to results produced. Activities as
they grow more complicated gain added meaning by greater attention to
specific results achieved. Thus they pass gradually into work. Both
are equally free and intrinsically motivated, apart from false economic
conditions which tend to make play into idle excitement for the well
to do, and work into uncongenial labor for the poor. Work is
psychologically simply an activity which consciously includes regard for
consequences as a part of itself; it becomes constrained labor when the
consequences are outside of the activity as an end to which activity is
merely a means. Work which remains permeated with the play attitude is
art--in quality if not in conventional designation.

Chapter Sixteen: The Significance of Geography and History

1. Extension of Meaning of Primary Activities. Nothing is more striking
than the difference between an activity as merely physical and the
wealth of meanings which the same activity may assume. From the outside,
an astronomer gazing through a telescope is like a small boy looking
through the same tube. In each case, there is an arrangement of glass
and metal, an eye, and a little speck of light in the distance. Yet at
a critical moment, the activity of an astronomer might be concerned
with the birth of a world, and have whatever is known about the starry
heavens as its significant content. Physically speaking, what man has
effected on this globe in his progress from savagery is a mere scratch
on its surface, not perceptible at a distance which is slight in
comparison with the reaches even of the solar system. Yet in meaning
what has been accomplished measures just the difference of civilization
from savagery. Although the activities, physically viewed, have changed
somewhat, this change is slight in comparison with the development
of the meanings attaching to the activities. There is no limit to the
meaning which an action may come to possess. It all depends upon the
context of perceived connections in which it is placed; the reach of
imagination in realizing connections is inexhaustible. The advantage
which the activity of man has in appropriating and finding meanings
makes his education something else than the manufacture of a tool or
the training of an animal. The latter increase efficiency; they do
not develop significance. The final educational importance of such
occupations in play and work as were considered in the last chapter is
that they afford the most direct instrumentalities for such extension
of meaning. Set going under adequate conditions they are magnets for
gathering and retaining an indefinitely wide scope of intellectual
considerations. They provide vital centers for the reception and
assimilation of information. When information is purveyed in chunks
simply as information to be retained for its own sake, it tends to
stratify over vital experience. Entering as a factor into an activity
pursued for its own sake--whether as a means or as a widening of the
content of the aim--it is informing. The insight directly gained fuses
with what is told. Individual experience is then capable of taking up
and holding in solution the net results of the experience of the group
to which he belongs--including the results of sufferings and trials over
long stretches of time. And such media have no fixed saturation point
where further absorption is impossible. The more that is taken in, the
greater capacity there is for further assimilation. New receptiveness
follows upon new curiosity, and new curiosity upon information gained.

The meanings with which activities become charged, concern nature
and man. This is an obvious truism, which however gains meaning when
translated into educational equivalents. So translated, it signifies
that geography and history supply subject matter which gives background
and outlook, intellectual perspective, to what might otherwise be narrow
personal actions or mere forms of technical skill. With every increase
of ability to place our own doings in their time and space connections,
our doings gain in significant content. We realize that we are citizens
of no mean city in discovering the scene in space of which we are
denizens, and the continuous manifestation of endeavor in time of which
we are heirs and continuers. Thus our ordinary daily experiences cease
to be things of the moment and gain enduring substance. Of course if
geography and history are taught as ready-made studies which a person
studies simply because he is sent to school, it easily happens that a
large number of statements about things remote and alien to everyday
experience are learned. Activity is divided, and two separate worlds are
built up, occupying activity at divided periods. No transmutation takes
place; ordinary experience is not enlarged in meaning by getting its
connections; what is studied is not animated and made real by entering
into immediate activity. Ordinary experience is not even left as it
was, narrow but vital. Rather, it loses something of its mobility and
sensitiveness to suggestions. It is weighed down and pushed into
a corner by a load of unassimilated information. It parts with its
flexible responsiveness and alert eagerness for additional meaning. Mere
amassing of information apart from the direct interests of life makes
mind wooden; elasticity disappears.

Normally every activity engaged in for its own sake reaches out beyond
its immediate self. It does not passively wait for information to be
bestowed which will increase its meaning; it seeks it out. Curiosity is
not an accidental isolated possession; it is a necessary consequence of
the fact that an experience is a moving, changing thing, involving all
kinds of connections with other things. Curiosity is but the tendency
to make these conditions perceptible. It is the business of educators to
supply an environment so that this reaching out of an experience may be
fruitfully rewarded and kept continuously active. Within a certain kind
of environment, an activity may be checked so that the only meaning
which accrues is of its direct and tangible isolated outcome. One may
cook, or hammer, or walk, and the resulting consequences may not take
the mind any farther than the consequences of cooking, hammering,
and walking in the literal--or physical--sense. But nevertheless
the consequences of the act remain far-reaching. To walk involves a
displacement and reaction of the resisting earth, whose thrill is felt
wherever there is matter. It involves the structure of the limbs and the
nervous system; the principles of mechanics. To cook is to utilize heat
and moisture to change the chemical relations of food materials; it has
a bearing upon the assimilation of food and the growth of the body. The
utmost that the most learned men of science know in physics, chemistry,
physiology is not enough to make all these consequences and connections
perceptible. The task of education, once more, is to see to it that
such activities are performed in such ways and under such conditions as
render these conditions as perceptible as possible. To "learn geography"
is to gain in power to perceive the spatial, the natural, connections of
an ordinary act; to "learn history" is essentially to gain in power
to recognize its human connections. For what is called geography as a
formulated study is simply the body of facts and principles which have
been discovered in other men's experience about the natural medium in
which we live, and in connection with which the particular acts of our
life have an explanation. So history as a formulated study is but the
body of known facts about the activities and sufferings of the social
groups with which our own lives are continuous, and through reference to
which our own customs and institutions are illuminated.

2. The Complementary Nature of History and Geography. History and
geography--including in the latter, for reasons about to be mentioned,
nature study--are the information studies par excellence of the schools.
Examination of the materials and the method of their use will make clear
that the difference between penetration of this information into living
experience and its mere piling up in isolated heaps depends upon whether
these studies are faithful to the interdependence of man and nature
which affords these studies their justification. Nowhere, however, is
there greater danger that subject matter will be accepted as appropriate
educational material simply because it has become customary to teach
and learn it. The idea of a philosophic reason for it, because of the
function of the material in a worthy transformation of experience, is
looked upon as a vain fancy, or as supplying a high-sounding phraseology
in support of what is already done. The words "history" and "geography"
suggest simply the matter which has been traditionally sanctioned in the
schools. The mass and variety of this matter discourage an attempt to
see what it really stands for, and how it can be so taught as to fulfill
its mission in the experience of pupils. But unless the idea that there
is a unifying and social direction in education is a farcical pretense,
subjects that bulk as large in the curriculum as history and geography,
must represent a general function in the development of a truly
socialized and intellectualized experience. The discovery of this
function must be employed as a criterion for trying and sifting the
facts taught and the methods used.

The function of historical and geographical subject matter has been
stated; it is to enrich and liberate the more direct and personal
contacts of life by furnishing their context, their background and
outlook. While geography emphasizes the physical side and history
the social, these are only emphases in a common topic, namely, the
associated life of men. For this associated life, with its experiments,
its ways and means, its achievements and failures, does not go on in the
sky nor yet in a vacuum. It takes place on the earth. This setting of
nature does not bear to social activities the relation that the scenery
of a theatrical performance bears to a dramatic representation; it
enters into the very make-up of the social happenings that form history.
Nature is the medium of social occurrences. It furnishes original
stimuli; it supplies obstacles and resources. Civilization is the
progressive mastery of its varied energies. When this interdependence of
the study of history, representing the human emphasis, with the study
of geography, representing the natural, is ignored, history sinks to
a listing of dates with an appended inventory of events, labeled
"important"; or else it becomes a literary phantasy--for in purely
literary history the natural environment is but stage scenery.

Geography, of course, has its educative influence in a counterpart
connection of natural facts with social events and their consequences.
The classic definition of geography as an account of the earth as the
home of man expresses the educational reality. But it is easier to give
this definition than it is to present specific geographical subject
matter in its vital human bearings. The residence, pursuits, successes,
and failures of men are the things that give the geographic data their
reason for inclusion in the material of instruction. But to hold the two
together requires an informed and cultivated imagination. When the ties
are broken, geography presents itself as that hodge-podge of unrelated
fragments too often found. It appears as a veritable rag-bag of
intellectual odds and ends: the height of a mountain here, the course
of a river there, the quantity of shingles produced in this town, the
tonnage of the shipping in that, the boundary of a county, the capital
of a state. The earth as the home of man is humanizing and unified; the
earth viewed as a miscellany of facts is scattering and imaginatively
inert. Geography is a topic that originally appeals to imagination--even
to the romantic imagination. It shares in the wonder and glory that
attach to adventure, travel, and exploration. The variety of peoples and
environments, their contrast with familiar scenes, furnishes infinite
stimulation. The mind is moved from the monotony of the customary.
And while local or home geography is the natural starting point in
the reconstructive development of the natural environment, it is an
intellectual starting point for moving out into the unknown, not an end
in itself. When not treated as a basis for getting at the large world
beyond, the study of the home geography becomes as deadly as do object
lessons which simply summarize the properties of familiar objects. The
reason is the same. The imagination is not fed, but is held down to
recapitulating, cataloguing, and refining what is already known. But
when the familiar fences that mark the limits of the village proprietors
are signs that introduce an understanding of the boundaries of great
nations, even fences are lighted with meaning. Sunlight, air, running
water, inequality of earth's surface, varied industries, civil officers
and their duties--all these things are found in the local environment.
Treated as if their meaning began and ended in those confines, they are
curious facts to be laboriously learned. As instruments for extending
the limits of experience, bringing within its scope peoples and things
otherwise strange and unknown, they are transfigured by the use to which
they are put. Sunlight, wind, stream, commerce, political relations
come from afar and lead the thoughts afar. To follow their course is to
enlarge the mind not by stuffing it with additional information, but by
remaking the meaning of what was previously a matter of course.

The same principle coordinates branches, or phases, of geographical
study which tend to become specialized and separate. Mathematical
or astronomical, physiographic, topographic, political, commercial,
geography, all make their claims. How are they to be adjusted? By an
external compromise that crowds in so much of each? No other method is
to be found unless it be constantly borne in mind that the educational
center of gravity is in the cultural or humane aspects of the subject.
From this center, any material becomes relevant in so far as it is
needed to help appreciate the significance of human activities and
relations. The differences of civilization in cold and tropical regions,
the special inventions, industrial and political, of peoples in the
temperate regions, cannot be understood without appeal to the earth as a
member of the solar system. Economic activities deeply influence social
intercourse and political organization on one side, and reflect physical
conditions on the other. The specializations of these topics are for the
specialists; their interaction concerns man as a being whose experience
is social.

To include nature study within geography doubtless seems forced;
verbally, it is. But in educational idea there is but one reality, and
it is pity that in practice we have two names: for the diversity of
names tends to conceal the identity of meaning. Nature and the earth
should be equivalent terms, and so should earth study and nature
study. Everybody knows that nature study has suffered in schools from
scrappiness of subject matter, due to dealing with a large number of
isolated points. The parts of a flower have been studied, for example,
apart from the flower as an organ; the flower apart from the plant; the
plant apart from the soil, air, and light in which and through which it
lives. The result is an inevitable deadness of topics to which attention
is invited, but which are so isolated that they do not feed imagination.
The lack of interest is so great that it was seriously proposed to
revive animism, to clothe natural facts and events with myths in order
that they might attract and hold the mind. In numberless cases, more or
less silly personifications were resorted to. The method was silly, but
it expressed a real need for a human atmosphere. The facts had been torn
to pieces by being taken out of their context. They no longer belonged
to the earth; they had no abiding place anywhere. To compensate,
recourse was had to artificial and sentimental associations. The real
remedy is to make nature study a study of nature, not of fragments made
meaningless through complete removal from the situations in which they
are produced and in which they operate. When nature is treated as a
whole, like the earth in its relations, its phenomena fall into their
natural relations of sympathy and association with human life, and
artificial substitutes are not needed.

3. History and Present Social Life. The segregation which kills the
vitality of history is divorce from present modes and concerns of social
life. The past just as past is no longer our affair. If it were wholly
gone and done with, there would be only one reasonable attitude toward
it. Let the dead bury their dead. But knowledge of the past is the key
to understanding the present. History deals with the past, but this past
is the history of the present. An intelligent study of the discovery,
explorations, colonization of America, of the pioneer movement westward,
of immigration, etc., should be a study of the United States as it
is to-day: of the country we now live in. Studying it in process of
formation makes much that is too complex to be directly grasped open
to comprehension. Genetic method was perhaps the chief scientific
achievement of the latter half of the nineteenth century. Its principle
is that the way to get insight into any complex product is to trace the
process of its making,--to follow it through the successive stages of
its growth. To apply this method to history as if it meant only the
truism that the present social state cannot be separated from its past,
is one-sided. It means equally that past events cannot be separated
from the living present and retain meaning. The true starting point of
history is always some present situation with its problems.

This general principle may be briefly applied to a consideration of its
bearing upon a number of points. The biographical method is generally
recommended as the natural mode of approach to historical study. The
lives of great men, of heroes and leaders, make concrete and vital
historic episodes otherwise abstract and incomprehensible. They condense
into vivid pictures complicated and tangled series of events spread over
so much space and time that only a highly trained mind can follow and
unravel them. There can be no doubt of the psychological soundness
of this principle. But it is misused when employed to throw into
exaggerated relief the doings of a few individuals without reference to
the social situations which they represent. When a biography is related
just as an account of the doings of a man isolated from the conditions
that aroused him and to which his activities were a response, we do not
have a study of history, for we have no study of social life, which is
an affair of individuals in association. We get only a sugar coating
which makes it easier to swallow certain fragments of information. Much
attention has been given of late to primitive life as an introduction
to learning history. Here also there is a right and a wrong way of
conceiving its value. The seemingly ready-made character and the
complexity of present conditions, their apparently hard and fast
character, is an almost insuperable obstacle to gaining insight into
their nature. Recourse to the primitive may furnish the fundamental
elements of the present situation in immensely simplified form. It is
like unraveling a cloth so complex and so close to the eyes that its
scheme cannot be seen, until the larger coarser features of the
pattern appear. We cannot simplify the present situations by deliberate
experiment, but resort to primitive life presents us with the sort of
results we should desire from an experiment. Social relationships and
modes of organized action are reduced to their lowest terms. When this
social aim is overlooked, however, the study of primitive life becomes
simply a rehearsing of sensational and exciting features of savagery.
Primitive history suggests industrial history. For one of the chief
reasons for going to more primitive conditions to resolve the present
into more easily perceived factors is that we may realize how the
fundamental problems of procuring subsistence, shelter, and protection
have been met; and by seeing how these were solved in the earlier days
of the human race, form some conception of the long road which has had
to be traveled, and of the successive inventions by which the race has
been brought forward in culture. We do not need to go into disputes
regarding the economic interpretation of history to realize that the
industrial history of mankind gives insight into two important phases of
social life in a way which no other phase of history can possibly do.
It presents us with knowledge of the successive inventions by which
theoretical science has been applied to the control of nature in the
interests of security and prosperity of social life. It thus reveals the
successive causes of social progress. Its other service is to put
before us the things that fundamentally concern all men in common--the
occupations and values connected with getting a living. Economic history
deals with the activities, the career, and fortunes of the common man as
does no other branch of history. The one thing every individual must do
is to live; the one thing that society must do is to secure from each
individual his fair contribution to the general well being and see to it
that a just return is made to him.

Economic history is more human, more democratic, and hence more
liberalizing than political history. It deals not with the rise and
fall of principalities and powers, but with the growth of the effective
liberties, through command of nature, of the common man for whom powers
and principalities exist.

Industrial history also offers a more direct avenue of approach to the
realization of the intimate connection of man's struggles, successes,
and failures with nature than does political history--to say nothing of
the military history into which political history so easily runs when
reduced to the level of youthful comprehension. For industrial history
is essentially an account of the way in which man has learned to utilize
natural energy from the time when men mostly exploited the muscular
energies of other men to the time when, in promise if not in actuality,
the resources of nature are so under command as to enable men to
extend a common dominion over her. When the history of work, when
the conditions of using the soil, forest, mine, of domesticating and
cultivating grains and animals, of manufacture and distribution,
are left out of account, history tends to become merely literary--a
systematized romance of a mythical humanity living upon itself instead
of upon the earth.

Perhaps the most neglected branch of history in general education is
intellectual history. We are only just beginning to realize that the
great heroes who have advanced human destiny are not its politicians,
generals, and diplomatists, but the scientific discoverers and inventors
who have put into man's hands the instrumentalities of an expanding and
controlled experience, and the artists and poets who have celebrated his
struggles, triumphs, and defeats in such language, pictorial, plastic,
or written, that their meaning is rendered universally accessible to
others. One of the advantages of industrial history as a history of
man's progressive adaptation of natural forces to social uses is the
opportunity which it affords for consideration of advance in the methods
and results of knowledge. At present men are accustomed to eulogize
intelligence and reason in general terms; their fundamental importance
is urged. But pupils often come away from the conventional study of
history, and think either that the human intellect is a static quantity
which has not progressed by the invention of better methods, or else
that intelligence, save as a display of personal shrewdness, is a
negligible historic factor. Surely no better way could be devised of
instilling a genuine sense of the part which mind has to play in life
than a study of history which makes plain how the entire advance
of humanity from savagery to civilization has been dependent upon
intellectual discoveries and inventions, and the extent to which the
things which ordinarily figure most largely in historical writings have
been side issues, or even obstructions for intelligence to overcome.

Pursued in this fashion, history would most naturally become of ethical
value in teaching. Intelligent insight into present forms of associated
life is necessary for a character whose morality is more than colorless
innocence. Historical knowledge helps provide such insight. It is an
organ for analysis of the warp and woof of the present social fabric, of
making known the forces which have woven the pattern. The use of
history for cultivating a socialized intelligence constitutes its moral
significance. It is possible to employ it as a kind of reservoir of
anecdotes to be drawn on to inculcate special moral lessons on this
virtue or that vice. But such teaching is not so much an ethical use of
history as it is an effort to create moral impressions by means of more
or less authentic material. At best, it produces a temporary emotional
glow; at worst, callous indifference to moralizing. The assistance which
may be given by history to a more intelligent sympathetic understanding
of the social situations of the present in which individuals share is a
permanent and constructive moral asset.

Summary. It is the nature of an experience to have implications which
go far beyond what is at first consciously noted in it. Bringing these
connections or implications to consciousness enhances the meaning of the
experience. Any experience, however trivial in its first appearance, is
capable of assuming an indefinite richness of significance by extending
its range of perceived connections. Normal communication with others is
the readiest way of effecting this development, for it links up the
net results of the experience of the group and even the race with the
immediate experience of an individual. By normal communication is meant
that in which there is a joint interest, a common interest, so that one
is eager to give and the other to take. It contrasts with telling or
stating things simply for the sake of impressing them upon another,
merely in order to test him to see how much he has retained and can
literally reproduce.

Geography and history are the two great school resources for bringing
about the enlargement of the significance of a direct personal
experience. The active occupations described in the previous chapter
reach out in space and time with respect to both nature and man. Unless
they are taught for external reasons or as mere modes of skill their
chief educational value is that they provide the most direct and
interesting roads out into the larger world of meanings stated in
history and geography. While history makes human implications explicit
and geography natural connections, these subjects are two phases of
the same living whole, since the life of men in association goes on in
nature, not as an accidental setting, but as the material and medium of

Chapter Seventeen: Science in the Course of Study

1. The Logical and the Psychological. By science is meant, as already
stated, that knowledge which is the outcome of methods of observation,
reflection, and testing which are deliberately adopted to secure
a settled, assured subject matter. It involves an intelligent and
persistent endeavor to revise current beliefs so as to weed out what is
erroneous, to add to their accuracy, and, above all, to give them such
shape that the dependencies of the various facts upon one another may
be as obvious as possible. It is, like all knowledge, an outcome of
activity bringing about certain changes in the environment. But in its
case, the quality of the resulting knowledge is the controlling factor
and not an incident of the activity. Both logically and educationally,
science is the perfecting of knowing, its last stage.

Science, in short, signifies a realization of the logical implications
of any knowledge. Logical order is not a form imposed upon what is
known; it is the proper form of knowledge as perfected. For it means
that the statement of subject matter is of a nature to exhibit to
one who understands it the premises from which it follows and the
conclusions to which it points (See ante, p. 190). As from a few bones
the competent zoologist reconstructs an animal; so from the form of a
statement in mathematics or physics the specialist in the subject can
form an idea of the system of truths in which it has its place.

To the non-expert, however, this perfected form is a stumbling block.
Just because the material is stated with reference to the furtherance
of knowledge as an end in itself, its connections with the material of
everyday life are hidden. To the layman the bones are a mere curiosity.
Until he had mastered the principles of zoology, his efforts to make
anything out of them would be random and blind. From the standpoint of
the learner scientific form is an ideal to be achieved, not a starting
point from which to set out. It is, nevertheless, a frequent practice to
start in instruction with the rudiments of science somewhat simplified.
The necessary consequence is an isolation of science from significant
experience. The pupil learns symbols without the key to their meaning.
He acquires a technical body of information without ability to trace
its connections with the objects and operations with which he is
familiar--often he acquires simply a peculiar vocabulary. There is
a strong temptation to assume that presenting subject matter in its
perfected form provides a royal road to learning. What more natural
than to suppose that the immature can be saved time and energy, and be
protected from needless error by commencing where competent inquirers
have left off? The outcome is written large in the history of education.
Pupils begin their study of science with texts in which the subject
is organized into topics according to the order of the specialist.
Technical concepts, with their definitions, are introduced at the
outset. Laws are introduced at a very early stage, with at best a few
indications of the way in which they were arrived at. The pupils learn
a "science" instead of learning the scientific way of treating the
familiar material of ordinary experience. The method of the advanced
student dominates college teaching; the approach of the college is
transferred into the high school, and so down the line, with such
omissions as may make the subject easier.

The chronological method which begins with the experience of the learner
and develops from that the proper modes of scientific treatment is often
called the "psychological" method in distinction from the logical method
of the expert or specialist. The apparent loss of time involved is
more than made up for by the superior understanding and vital interest
secured. What the pupil learns he at least understands. Moreover by
following, in connection with problems selected from the material of
ordinary acquaintance, the methods by which scientific men have reached
their perfected knowledge, he gains independent power to deal with
material within his range, and avoids the mental confusion and
intellectual distaste attendant upon studying matter whose meaning
is only symbolic. Since the mass of pupils are never going to become
scientific specialists, it is much more important that they should get
some insight into what scientific method means than that they should
copy at long range and second hand the results which scientific men have
reached. Students will not go so far, perhaps, in the "ground covered,"
but they will be sure and intelligent as far as they do go. And it is
safe to say that the few who go on to be scientific experts will have
a better preparation than if they had been swamped with a large mass of
purely technical and symbolically stated information. In fact, those
who do become successful men of science are those who by their own power
manage to avoid the pitfalls of a traditional scholastic introduction
into it.

The contrast between the expectations of the men who a generation or
two ago strove, against great odds, to secure a place for science
in education, and the result generally achieved is painful. Herbert
Spencer, inquiring what knowledge is of most worth, concluded that
from all points of view scientific knowledge is most valuable. But
his argument unconsciously assumed that scientific knowledge could be
communicated in a ready-made form. Passing over the methods by which the
subject matter of our ordinary activities is transmuted into scientific
form, it ignored the method by which alone science is science.
Instruction has too often proceeded upon an analogous plan. But there is
no magic attached to material stated in technically correct scientific
form. When learned in this condition it remains a body of inert
information. Moreover its form of statement removes it further from
fruitful contact with everyday experiences than does the mode of
statement proper to literature. Nevertheless that the claims made for
instruction in science were unjustifiable does not follow. For material
so taught is not science to the pupil.

Contact with things and laboratory exercises, while a great improvement
upon textbooks arranged upon the deductive plan, do not of themselves
suffice to meet the need. While they are an indispensable portion
of scientific method, they do not as a matter of course constitute
scientific method. Physical materials may be manipulated with scientific
apparatus, but the materials may be disassociated in themselves and in
the ways in which they are handled, from the materials and processes
used out of school. The problems dealt with may be only problems of
science: problems, that is, which would occur to one already initiated
in the science of the subject. Our attention may be devoted to getting
skill in technical manipulation without reference to the connection of
laboratory exercises with a problem belonging to subject matter. There
is sometimes a ritual of laboratory instruction as well as of heathen
religion. 1 It has been mentioned, incidentally, that scientific
statements, or logical form, implies the use of signs or symbols.
The statement applies, of course, to all use of language. But in the
vernacular, the mind proceeds directly from the symbol to the thing
signified. Association with familiar material is so close that the mind
does not pause upon the sign. The signs are intended only to stand for
things and acts. But scientific terminology has an additional use. It is
designed, as we have seen, not to stand for the things directly in their
practical use in experience, but for the things placed in a cognitive
system. Ultimately, of course, they denote the things of our common
sense acquaintance. But immediately they do not designate them in their
common context, but translated into terms of scientific inquiry. Atoms,
molecules, chemical formulae, the mathematical propositions in the study
of physics--all these have primarily an intellectual value and only
indirectly an empirical value. They represent instruments for
the carrying on of science. As in the case of other tools, their
significance can be learned only by use. We cannot procure understanding
of their meaning by pointing to things, but only by pointing to their
work when they are employed as part of the technique of knowledge. Even
the circle, square, etc., of geometry exhibit a difference from the
squares and circles of familiar acquaintance, and the further one
proceeds in mathematical science the greater the remoteness from the
everyday empirical thing. Qualities which do not count for the pursuit
of knowledge about spatial relations are left out; those which are
important for this purpose are accentuated. If one carries his study
far enough, he will find even the properties which are significant for
spatial knowledge giving way to those which facilitate knowledge of
other things--perhaps a knowledge of the general relations of number.
There will be nothing in the conceptual definitions even to suggest
spatial form, size, or direction. This does not mean that they are
unreal mental inventions, but it indicates that direct physical
qualities have been transmuted into tools for a special end--the end
of intellectual organization. In every machine the primary state of
material has been modified by subordinating it to use for a purpose.
Not the stuff in its original form but in its adaptation to an end
is important. No one would have a knowledge of a machine who could
enumerate all the materials entering into its structure, but only he
who knew their uses and could tell why they are employed as they are. In
like fashion one has a knowledge of mathematical conceptions only when
he sees the problems in which they function and their specific utility
in dealing with these problems. "Knowing" the definitions, rules,
formulae, etc., is like knowing the names of parts of a machine without
knowing what they do. In one case, as in the other, the meaning, or
intellectual content, is what the element accomplishes in the system of
which it is a member.

2. Science and Social Progress. Assuming that the development of the
direct knowledge gained in occupations of social interest is carried
to a perfected logical form, the question arises as to its place in
experience. In general, the reply is that science marks the emancipation
of mind from devotion to customary purposes and makes possible the
systematic pursuit of new ends. It is the agency of progress in action.
Progress is sometimes thought of as consisting in getting nearer to ends
already sought. But this is a minor form of progress, for it requires
only improvement of the means of action or technical advance. More
important modes of progress consist in enriching prior purposes and in
forming new ones. Desires are not a fixed quantity, nor does progress
mean only an increased amount of satisfaction. With increased culture
and new mastery of nature, new desires, demands for new qualities
of satisfaction, show themselves, for intelligence perceives new
possibilities of action. This projection of new possibilities leads to
search for new means of execution, and progress takes place; while the
discovery of objects not already used leads to suggestion of new ends.

That science is the chief means of perfecting control of means of action
is witnessed by the great crop of inventions which followed intellectual
command of the secrets of nature. The wonderful transformation of
production and distribution known as the industrial revolution is the
fruit of experimental science. Railways, steamboats, electric motors,
telephone and telegraph, automobiles, aeroplanes and dirigibles are
conspicuous evidences of the application of science in life. But none
of them would be of much importance without the thousands of less
sensational inventions by means of which natural science has been
rendered tributary to our daily life.

It must be admitted that to a considerable extent the progress thus
procured has been only technical: it has provided more efficient means
for satisfying preexistent desires, rather than modified the quality of
human purposes. There is, for example, no modern civilization which is
the equal of Greek culture in all respects. Science is still too recent
to have been absorbed into imaginative and emotional disposition. Men
move more swiftly and surely to the realization of their ends, but
their ends too largely remain what they were prior to scientific
enlightenment. This fact places upon education the responsibility of
using science in a way to modify the habitual attitude of imagination
and feeling, not leave it just an extension of our physical arms and

The advance of science has already modified men's thoughts of the
purposes and goods of life to a sufficient extent to give some idea of
the nature of this responsibility and the ways of meeting it. Science
taking effect in human activity has broken down physical barriers
which formerly separated men; it has immensely widened the area of
intercourse. It has brought about interdependence of interests on an
enormous scale. It has brought with it an established conviction of the
possibility of control of nature in the interests of mankind and thus
has led men to look to the future, instead of the past. The coincidence
of the ideal of progress with the advance of science is not a mere
coincidence. Before this advance men placed the golden age in remote
antiquity. Now they face the future with a firm belief that intelligence
properly used can do away with evils once thought inevitable. To
subjugate devastating disease is no longer a dream; the hope of
abolishing poverty is not utopian. Science has familiarized men with
the idea of development, taking effect practically in persistent gradual
amelioration of the estate of our common humanity.

The problem of an educational use of science is then to create an
intelligence pregnant with belief in the possibility of the direction
of human affairs by itself. The method of science engrained through
education in habit means emancipation from rule of thumb and from the
routine generated by rule of thumb procedure. The word empirical in its
ordinary use does not mean "connected with experiment," but rather
crude and unrational. Under the influence of conditions created by the
non-existence of experimental science, experience was opposed in all
the ruling philosophies of the past to reason and the truly rational.
Empirical knowledge meant the knowledge accumulated by a multitude of
past instances without intelligent insight into the principles of any
of them. To say that medicine was empirical meant that it was not
scientific, but a mode of practice based upon accumulated observations
of diseases and of remedies used more or less at random. Such a mode of
practice is of necessity happy-go-lucky; success depends upon chance. It
lends itself to deception and quackery. Industry that is "empirically"
controlled forbids constructive applications of intelligence; it depends
upon following in an imitative slavish manner the models set in
the past. Experimental science means the possibility of using past
experiences as the servant, not the master, of mind. It means that
reason operates within experience, not beyond it, to give it an
intelligent or reasonable quality. Science is experience becoming
rational. The effect of science is thus to change men's idea of the
nature and inherent possibilities of experience. By the same token, it
changes the idea and the operation of reason. Instead of being something
beyond experience, remote, aloof, concerned with a sublime region
that has nothing to do with the experienced facts of life, it is found
indigenous in experience:--the factor by which past experiences are
purified and rendered into tools for discovery and advance.

The term "abstract" has a rather bad name in popular speech, being used
to signify not only that which is abstruse and hard to understand,
but also that which is far away from life. But abstraction is an
indispensable trait in reflective direction of activity. Situations do
not literally repeat themselves. Habit treats new occurrences as if
they were identical with old ones; it suffices, accordingly, when the
different or novel element is negligible for present purposes. But when
the new element requires especial attention, random reaction is the
sole recourse unless abstraction is brought into play. For abstraction
deliberately selects from the subject matter of former experiences that
which is thought helpful in dealing with the new. It signifies conscious
transfer of a meaning embedded in past experience for use in a new one.
It is the very artery of intelligence, of the intentional rendering of
one experience available for guidance of another.

Science carries on this working over of prior subject matter on a large
scale. It aims to free an experience from all which is purely personal
and strictly immediate; it aims to detach whatever it has in common with
the subject matter of other experiences, and which, being common, may
be saved for further use. It is, thus, an indispensable factor in social
progress. In any experience just as it occurs there is much which,
while it may be of precious import to the individual implicated in
the experience, is peculiar and unreduplicable. From the standpoint
of science, this material is accidental, while the features which are
widely shared are essential. Whatever is unique in the situation, since
dependent upon the peculiarities of the individual and the coincidence
of circumstance, is not available for others; so that unless what is
shared is abstracted and fixed by a suitable symbol, practically all the
value of the experience may perish in its passing. But abstraction
and the use of terms to record what is abstracted put the net value of
individual experience at the permanent disposal of mankind. No one
can foresee in detail when or how it may be of further use. The man of
science in developing his abstractions is like a manufacturer of tools
who does not know who will use them nor when. But intellectual tools
are indefinitely more flexible in their range of adaptation than other
mechanical tools.

Generalization is the counterpart of abstraction. It is the functioning
of an abstraction in its application to a new concrete experience,--its
extension to clarify and direct new situations. Reference to these
possible applications is necessary in order that the abstraction may be
fruitful, instead of a barren formalism ending in itself. Generalization
is essentially a social device. When men identified their interests
exclusively with the concerns of a narrow group, their generalizations
were correspondingly restricted. The viewpoint did not permit a wide and
free survey. Men's thoughts were tied down to a contracted space and a
short time,--limited to their own established customs as a measure
of all possible values. Scientific abstraction and generalization are
equivalent to taking the point of view of any man, whatever his location
in time and space. While this emancipation from the conditions and
episodes of concrete experiences accounts for the remoteness, the
"abstractness," of science, it also accounts for its wide and free
range of fruitful novel applications in practice. Terms and propositions
record, fix, and convey what is abstracted. A meaning detached from a
given experience cannot remain hanging in the air. It must acquire a
local habitation. Names give abstract meanings a physical locus and
body. Formulation is thus not an after-thought or by-product; it is
essential to the completion of the work of thought. Persons know many
things which they cannot express, but such knowledge remains practical,
direct, and personal. An individual can use it for himself; he may be
able to act upon it with efficiency. Artists and executives often have
their knowledge in this state. But it is personal, untransferable, and,
as it were, instinctive. To formulate the significance of an experience
a man must take into conscious account the experiences of others. He
must try to find a standpoint which includes the experience of others
as well as his own. Otherwise his communication cannot be understood. He
talks a language which no one else knows. While literary art furnishes
the supreme successes in stating of experiences so that they are vitally
significant to others, the vocabulary of science is designed, in another
fashion, to express the meaning of experienced things in symbols which
any one will know who studies the science. Aesthetic formulation reveals
and enhances the meaning of experiences one already has; scientific
formulation supplies one with tools for constructing new experiences
with transformed meanings.

To sum up: Science represents the office of intelligence, in projection
and control of new experiences, pursued systematically, intentionally,
and on a scale due to freedom from limitations of habit. It is the sole
instrumentality of conscious, as distinct from accidental, progress.
And if its generality, its remoteness from individual conditions, confer
upon it a certain technicality and aloofness, these qualities are very
different from those of merely speculative theorizing. The latter are in
permanent dislocation from practice; the former are temporarily detached
for the sake of wider and freer application in later concrete action.
There is a kind of idle theory which is antithetical to practice; but
genuinely scientific theory falls within practice as the agency of its
expansion and its direction to new possibilities.

3. Naturalism and Humanism in Education. There exists an educational
tradition which opposes science to literature and history in the
curriculum. The quarrel between the representatives of the two interests
is easily explicable historically. Literature and language and a
literary philosophy were entrenched in all higher institutions of
learning before experimental science came into being. The latter had
naturally to win its way. No fortified and protected interest readily
surrenders any monopoly it may possess. But the assumption, from
whichever side, that language and literary products are exclusively
humanistic in quality, and that science is purely physical in import,
is a false notion which tends to cripple the educational use of both
studies. Human life does not occur in a vacuum, nor is nature a mere
stage setting for the enactment of its drama (ante, p. 211). Man's
life is bound up in the processes of nature; his career, for success or
defeat, depends upon the way in which nature enters it. Man's power of
deliberate control of his own affairs depends upon ability to direct
natural energies to use: an ability which is in turn dependent upon
insight into nature's processes. Whatever natural science may be for the
specialist, for educational purposes it is knowledge of the conditions
of human action. To be aware of the medium in which social intercourse
goes on, and of the means and obstacles to its progressive development
is to be in command of a knowledge which is thoroughly humanistic in
quality. One who is ignorant of the history of science is ignorant of
the struggles by which mankind has passed from routine and caprice, from
superstitious subjection to nature, from efforts to use it magically,
to intellectual self-possession. That science may be taught as a set of
formal and technical exercises is only too true. This happens whenever
information about the world is made an end in itself. The failure of
such instruction to procure culture is not, however, evidence of the
antithesis of natural knowledge to humanistic concern, but evidence of a
wrong educational attitude. Dislike to employ scientific knowledge as it
functions in men's occupations is itself a survival of an aristocratic
culture. The notion that "applied" knowledge is somehow less worthy than
"pure" knowledge, was natural to a society in which all useful work was
performed by slaves and serfs, and in which industry was controlled by
the models set by custom rather than by intelligence. Science, or the
highest knowing, was then identified with pure theorizing, apart from
all application in the uses of life; and knowledge relating to useful
arts suffered the stigma attaching to the classes who engaged in them
(See below, Ch. XIX). The idea of science thus generated persisted after
science had itself adopted the appliances of the arts, using them for
the production of knowledge, and after the rise of democracy. Taking
theory just as theory, however, that which concerns humanity is of more
significance for man than that which concerns a merely physical world.
In adopting the criterion of knowledge laid down by a literary culture,
aloof from the practical needs of the mass of men, the educational
advocates of scientific education put themselves at a strategic
disadvantage. So far as they adopt the idea of science appropriate
to its experimental method and to the movements of a democratic and
industrial society, they have no difficulty in showing that natural
science is more humanistic than an alleged humanism which bases its
educational schemes upon the specialized interests of a leisure
class. For, as we have already stated, humanistic studies when set
in opposition to study of nature are hampered. They tend to reduce
themselves to exclusively literary and linguistic studies, which in turn
tend to shrink to "the classics," to languages no longer spoken. For
modern languages may evidently be put to use, and hence fall under the
ban. It would be hard to find anything in history more ironical than the
educational practices which have identified the "humanities"
exclusively with a knowledge of Greek and Latin. Greek and Roman art and
institutions made such important contributions to our civilization
that there should always be the amplest opportunities for making their
acquaintance. But to regard them as par excellence the humane studies
involves a deliberate neglect of the possibilities of the subject matter
which is accessible in education to the masses, and tends to cultivate
a narrow snobbery: that of a learned class whose insignia are the
accidents of exclusive opportunity. Knowledge is humanistic in quality
not because it is about human products in the past, but because of what
it does in liberating human intelligence and human sympathy. Any subject
matter which accomplishes this result is humane, and any subject matter
which does not accomplish it is not even educational.

Summary. Science represents the fruition of the cognitive factors in
experience. Instead of contenting itself with a mere statement of
what commends itself to personal or customary experience, it aims at a
statement which will reveal the sources, grounds, and consequences of
a belief. The achievement of this aim gives logical character to
the statements. Educationally, it has to be noted that logical
characteristics of method, since they belong to subject matter which has
reached a high degree of intellectual elaboration, are different from
the method of the learner--the chronological order of passing from a
cruder to a more refined intellectual quality of experience. When this
fact is ignored, science is treated as so much bare information, which
however is less interesting and more remote than ordinary information,
being stated in an unusual and technical vocabulary. The function which
science has to perform in the curriculum is that which it has performed
for the race: emancipation from local and temporary incidents of
experience, and the opening of intellectual vistas unobscured by the
accidents of personal habit and predilection. The logical traits of
abstraction, generalization, and definite formulation are all associated
with this function. In emancipating an idea from the particular context
in which it originated and giving it a wider reference the results of
the experience of any individual are put at the disposal of all men.
Thus ultimately and philosophically science is the organ of general
social progress. 1 Upon the positive side, the value of problems arising
in work in the garden, the shop, etc., may be referred to (See p.
200). The laboratory may be treated as an additional resource to supply
conditions and appliances for the better pursuit of these problems.

Chapter Eighteen: Educational Values

The considerations involved in a discussion of educational values have
already been brought out in the discussion of aims and interests.

The specific values usually discussed in educational theories coincide
with aims which are usually urged. They are such things as utility,
culture, information, preparation for social efficiency, mental
discipline or power, and so on. The aspect of these aims in virtue of
which they are valuable has been treated in our analysis of the nature
of interest, and there is no difference between speaking of art as an
interest or concern and referring to it as a value. It happens,
however, that discussion of values has usually been centered about a
consideration of the various ends subserved by specific subjects of the
curriculum. It has been a part of the attempt to justify those subjects
by pointing out the significant contributions to life accruing from
their study. An explicit discussion of educational values thus affords
an opportunity for reviewing the prior discussion of aims and interests
on one hand and of the curriculum on the other, by bringing them into
connection with one another.

1. The Nature of Realization or Appreciation. Much of our experience is
indirect; it is dependent upon signs which intervene between the things
and ourselves, signs which stand for or represent the former. It is
one thing to have been engaged in war, to have shared its dangers and
hardships; it is another thing to hear or read about it. All language,
all symbols, are implements of an indirect experience; in technical
language the experience which is procured by their means is "mediated."
It stands in contrast with an immediate, direct experience, something
in which we take part vitally and at first hand, instead of through
the intervention of representative media. As we have seen, the scope of
personal, vitally direct experience is very limited. If it were not
for the intervention of agencies for representing absent and distant
affairs, our experience would remain almost on the level of that of the
brutes. Every step from savagery to civilization is dependent upon
the invention of media which enlarge the range of purely immediate
experience and give it deepened as well as wider meaning by connecting
it with things which can only be signified or symbolized. It is
doubtless this fact which is the cause of the disposition to identify
an uncultivated person with an illiterate person--so dependent are we on
letters for effective representative or indirect experience.

At the same time (as we have also had repeated occasion to see) there
is always a danger that symbols will not be truly representative; danger
that instead of really calling up the absent and remote in a way to make
it enter a present experience, the linguistic media of representation
will become an end in themselves. Formal education is peculiarly exposed
to this danger, with the result that when literacy supervenes, mere
bookishness, what is popularly termed the academic, too often comes
with it. In colloquial speech, the phrase a "realizing sense" is used
to express the urgency, warmth, and intimacy of a direct experience
in contrast with the remote, pallid, and coldly detached quality of
a representative experience. The terms "mental realization" and
"appreciation" (or genuine appreciation) are more elaborate names for
the realizing sense of a thing. It is not possible to define these ideas
except by synonyms, like "coming home to one" "really taking it
in," etc., for the only way to appreciate what is meant by a direct
experience of a thing is by having it. But it is the difference between
reading a technical description of a picture, and seeing it; or between
just seeing it and being moved by it; between learning mathematical
equations about light and being carried away by some peculiarly glorious
illumination of a misty landscape. We are thus met by the danger of the
tendency of technique and other purely representative forms to encroach
upon the sphere of direct appreciations; in other words, the tendency to
assume that pupils have a foundation of direct realization of situations
sufficient for the superstructure of representative experience erected
by formulated school studies. This is not simply a matter of quantity or
bulk. Sufficient direct experience is even more a matter of quality; it
must be of a sort to connect readily and fruitfully with the symbolic
material of instruction. Before teaching can safely enter upon conveying
facts and ideas through the media of signs, schooling must provide
genuine situations in which personal participation brings home the
import of the material and the problems which it conveys. From the
standpoint of the pupil, the resulting experiences are worth while on
their own account; from the standpoint of the teacher they are also
means of supplying subject matter required for understanding instruction
involving signs, and of evoking attitudes of open-mindedness and concern
as to the material symbolically conveyed.

In the outline given of the theory of educative subject matter, the
demand for this background of realization or appreciation is met by
the provision made for play and active occupations embodying typical
situations. Nothing need be added to what has already been said except
to point out that while the discussion dealt explicitly with the
subject matter of primary education, where the demand for the available
background of direct experience is most obvious, the principle applies
to the primary or elementary phase of every subject. The first and basic
function of laboratory work, for example, in a high school or college in
a new field, is to familiarize the student at first hand with a certain
range of facts and problems--to give him a "feeling" for them.
Getting command of technique and of methods of reaching and testing
generalizations is at first secondary to getting appreciation. As
regards the primary school activities, it is to be borne in mind that
the fundamental intent is not to amuse nor to convey information with a
minimum of vexation nor yet to acquire skill,--though these results
may accrue as by-products,--but to enlarge and enrich the scope of
experience, and to keep alert and effective the interest in intellectual

The rubric of appreciation supplies an appropriate head for bringing out
three further principles: the nature of effective or real (as distinct
from nominal) standards of value; the place of the imagination in
appreciative realizations; and the place of the fine arts in the course
of study.

1. The nature of standards of valuation. Every adult has acquired, in
the course of his prior experience and education, certain measures of
the worth of various sorts of experience. He has learned to look upon
qualities like honesty, amiability, perseverance, loyalty, as moral
goods; upon certain classics of literature, painting, music, as
aesthetic values, and so on. Not only this, but he has learned certain
rules for these values--the golden rule in morals; harmony, balance,
etc., proportionate distribution in aesthetic goods; definition,
clarity, system in intellectual accomplishments. These principles are
so important as standards of judging the worth of new experiences that
parents and instructors are always tending to teach them directly to the
young. They overlook the danger that standards so taught will be merely
symbolic; that is, largely conventional and verbal. In reality, working
as distinct from professed standards depend upon what an individual has
himself specifically appreciated to be deeply significant in concrete
situations. An individual may have learned that certain characteristics
are conventionally esteemed in music; he may be able to converse with
some correctness about classic music; he may even honestly believe that
these traits constitute his own musical standards. But if in his own
past experience, what he has been most accustomed to and has most
enjoyed is ragtime, his active or working measures of valuation are
fixed on the ragtime level. The appeal actually made to him in his own
personal realization fixes his attitude much more deeply than what he
has been taught as the proper thing to say; his habitual disposition
thus fixed forms his real "norm" of valuation in subsequent musical

Probably few would deny this statement as to musical taste. But it
applies equally well in judgments of moral and intellectual worth. A
youth who has had repeated experience of the full meaning of the value
of kindliness toward others built into his disposition has a measure
of the worth of generous treatment of others. Without this vital
appreciation, the duty and virtue of unselfishness impressed upon him by
others as a standard remains purely a matter of symbols which he cannot
adequately translate into realities. His "knowledge" is second-handed;
it is only a knowledge that others prize unselfishness as an excellence,
and esteem him in the degree in which he exhibits it. Thus there grows
up a split between a person's professed standards and his actual ones.
A person may be aware of the results of this struggle between his
inclinations and his theoretical opinions; he suffers from the conflict
between doing what is really dear to him and what he has learned will
win the approval of others. But of the split itself he is unaware;
the result is a kind of unconscious hypocrisy, an instability of
disposition. In similar fashion, a pupil who has worked through some
confused intellectual situation and fought his way to clearing up
obscurities in a definite outcome, appreciates the value of clarity
and definition. He has a standard which can be depended upon. He may
be trained externally to go through certain motions of analysis and
division of subject matter and may acquire information about the value
of these processes as standard logical functions, but unless it somehow
comes home to him at some point as an appreciation of his own, the
significance of the logical norms--so-called--remains as much an
external piece of information as, say, the names of rivers in China. He
may be able to recite, but the recital is a mechanical rehearsal.

It is, then, a serious mistake to regard appreciation as if it were
confined to such things as literature and pictures and music. Its scope
is as comprehensive as the work of education itself. The formation
of habits is a purely mechanical thing unless habits are also
tastes--habitual modes of preference and esteem, an effective sense of
excellence. There are adequate grounds for asserting that the premium
so often put in schools upon external "discipline," and upon marks and
rewards, upon promotion and keeping back, are the obverse of the lack of
attention given to life situations in which the meaning of facts, ideas,
principles, and problems is vitally brought home.

2. Appreciative realizations are to be distinguished from symbolic or
representative experiences. They are not to be distinguished from
the work of the intellect or understanding. Only a personal response
involving imagination can possibly procure realization even of pure
"facts." The imagination is the medium of appreciation in every field.
The engagement of the imagination is the only thing that makes any
activity more than mechanical. Unfortunately, it is too customary to
identify the imaginative with the imaginary, rather than with a warm and
intimate taking in of the full scope of a situation. This leads to an
exaggerated estimate of fairy tales, myths, fanciful symbols, verse, and
something labeled "Fine Art," as agencies for developing imagination and
appreciation; and, by neglecting imaginative vision in other matters,
leads to methods which reduce much instruction to an unimaginative
acquiring of specialized skill and amassing of a load of information.
Theory, and--to some extent--practice, have advanced far enough to
recognize that play-activity is an imaginative enterprise. But it is
still usual to regard this activity as a specially marked-off stage of
childish growth, and to overlook the fact that the difference between
play and what is regarded as serious employment should be not a
difference between the presence and absence of imagination, but a
difference in the materials with which imagination is occupied. The
result is an unwholesome exaggeration of the phantastic and "unreal"
phases of childish play and a deadly reduction of serious occupation to
a routine efficiency prized simply for its external tangible results.
Achievement comes to denote the sort of thing that a well-planned
machine can do better than a human being can, and the main effect of
education, the achieving of a life of rich significance, drops by the
wayside. Meantime mind-wandering and wayward fancy are nothing but the
unsuppressible imagination cut loose from concern with what is done.

An adequate recognition of the play of imagination as the medium of
realization of every kind of thing which lies beyond the scope of direct
physical response is the sole way of escape from mechanical methods in
teaching. The emphasis put in this book, in accord with many tendencies
in contemporary education, upon activity, will be misleading if it is
not recognized that the imagination is as much a normal and integral
part of human activity as is muscular movement. The educative value
of manual activities and of laboratory exercises, as well as of play,
depends upon the extent in which they aid in bringing about a sensing
of the meaning of what is going on. In effect, if not in name, they are
dramatizations. Their utilitarian value in forming habits of skill to be
used for tangible results is important, but not when isolated from the
appreciative side. Were it not for the accompanying play of imagination,
there would be no road from a direct activity to representative
knowledge; for it is by imagination that symbols are translated over
into a direct meaning and integrated with a narrower activity so as to
expand and enrich it. When the representative creative imagination is
made merely literary and mythological, symbols are rendered mere means
of directing physical reactions of the organs of speech.

3. In the account previously given nothing was explicitly said about
the place of literature and the fine arts in the course of study. The
omission at that point was intentional. At the outset, there is no sharp
demarcation of useful, or industrial, arts and fine arts. The activities
mentioned in Chapter XV contain within themselves the factors later
discriminated into fine and useful arts. As engaging the emotions and
the imagination, they have the qualities which give the fine arts
their quality. As demanding method or skill, the adaptation of tools
to materials with constantly increasing perfection, they involve the
element of technique indispensable to artistic production. From the
standpoint of product, or the work of art, they are naturally defective,
though even in this respect when they comprise genuine appreciation
they often have a rudimentary charm. As experiences they have both an
artistic and an esthetic quality. When they emerge into activities which
are tested by their product and when the socially serviceable value of
the product is emphasized, they pass into useful or industrial arts.
When they develop in the direction of an enhanced appreciation of the
immediate qualities which appeal to taste, they grow into fine arts.

In one of its meanings, appreciation is opposed to depreciation. It
denotes an enlarged, an intensified prizing, not merely a prizing,
much less--like depreciation--a lowered and degraded prizing. This
enhancement of the qualities which make any ordinary experience
appealing, appropriable--capable of full assimilation--and enjoyable,
constitutes the prime function of literature, music, drawing, painting,
etc., in education. They are not the exclusive agencies of appreciation
in the most general sense of that word; but they are the chief agencies
of an intensified, enhanced appreciation. As such, they are not only
intrinsically and directly enjoyable, but they serve a purpose
beyond themselves. They have the office, in increased degree, of all
appreciation in fixing taste, in forming standards for the worth of
later experiences. They arouse discontent with conditions which fall
below their measure; they create a demand for surroundings coming up to
their own level. They reveal a depth and range of meaning in experiences
which otherwise might be mediocre and trivial. They supply, that
is, organs of vision. Moreover, in their fullness they represent the
concentration and consummation of elements of good which are otherwise
scattered and incomplete. They select and focus the elements of
enjoyable worth which make any experience directly enjoyable. They are
not luxuries of education, but emphatic expressions of that which makes
any education worth while.

2. The Valuation of Studies. The theory of educational values involves
not only an account of the nature of appreciation as fixing the measure
of subsequent valuations, but an account of the specific directions
in which these valuations occur. To value means primarily to prize, to
esteem; but secondarily it means to apprise, to estimate. It means, that
is, the act of cherishing something, holding it dear, and also the act
of passing judgment upon the nature and amount of its value as compared
with something else. To value in the latter sense is to valuate or
evaluate. The distinction coincides with that sometimes made between
intrinsic and instrumental values. Intrinsic values are not objects of
judgment, they cannot (as intrinsic) be compared, or regarded as greater
and less, better or worse. They are invaluable; and if a thing is
invaluable, it is neither more nor less so than any other invaluable.
But occasions present themselves when it is necessary to choose, when
we must let one thing go in order to take another. This establishes an
order of preference, a greater and less, better and worse. Things judged
or passed upon have to be estimated in relation to some third thing,
some further end. With respect to that, they are means, or instrumental

We may imagine a man who at one time thoroughly enjoys converse with his
friends, at another the hearing of a symphony; at another the eating of
his meals; at another the reading of a book; at another the earning of
money, and so on. As an appreciative realization, each of these is an
intrinsic value. It occupies a particular place in life; it serves its
own end, which cannot be supplied by a substitute. There is no question
of comparative value, and hence none of valuation. Each is the specific
good which it is, and that is all that can be said. In its own place,
none is a means to anything beyond itself. But there may arise a
situation in which they compete or conflict, in which a choice has to be
made. Now comparison comes in. Since a choice has to be made, we want
to know the respective claims of each competitor. What is to be said
for it? What does it offer in comparison with, as balanced over against,
some other possibility? Raising these questions means that a particular
good is no longer an end in itself, an intrinsic good. For if it were,
its claims would be incomparable, imperative. The question is now as
to its status as a means of realizing something else, which is then the
invaluable of that situation. If a man has just eaten, or if he is well
fed generally and the opportunity to hear music is a rarity, he will
probably prefer the music to eating. In the given situation that will
render the greater contribution. If he is starving, or if he is satiated
with music for the time being, he will naturally judge food to have the
greater worth. In the abstract or at large, apart from the needs of a
particular situation in which choice has to be made, there is no such
thing as degrees or order of value. Certain conclusions follow with
respect to educational values. We cannot establish a hierarchy of values
among studies. It is futile to attempt to arrange them in an order,
beginning with one having least worth and going on to that of maximum
value. In so far as any study has a unique or irreplaceable function in
experience, in so far as it marks a characteristic enrichment of life,
its worth is intrinsic or incomparable. Since education is not a means
to living, but is identical with the operation of living a life which is
fruitful and inherently significant, the only ultimate value which can
be set up is just the process of living itself. And this is not an end
to which studies and activities are subordinate means; it is the whole
of which they are ingredients. And what has been said about appreciation
means that every study in one of its aspects ought to have just such
ultimate significance. It is true of arithmetic as it is of poetry that
in some place and at some time it ought to be a good to be appreciated
on its own account--just as an enjoyable experience, in short. If it is
not, then when the time and place come for it to be used as a means or
instrumentality, it will be in just that much handicapped. Never having
been realized or appreciated for itself, one will miss something of its
capacity as a resource for other ends.

It equally follows that when we compare studies as to their values,
that is, treat them as means to something beyond themselves, that which
controls their proper valuation is found in the specific situation in
which they are to be used. The way to enable a student to apprehend the
instrumental value of arithmetic is not to lecture him upon the benefit
it will be to him in some remote and uncertain future, but to let him
discover that success in something he is interested in doing depends
upon ability to use number.

It also follows that the attempt to distribute distinct sorts of value
among different studies is a misguided one, in spite of the amount of
time recently devoted to the undertaking. Science for example may have
any kind of value, depending upon the situation into which it enters
as a means. To some the value of science may be military; it may be
an instrument in strengthening means of offense or defense; it may be
technological, a tool for engineering; or it may be commercial--an aid
in the successful conduct of business; under other conditions, its
worth may be philanthropic--the service it renders in relieving
human suffering; or again it may be quite conventional--of value in
establishing one's social status as an "educated" person. As matter of
fact, science serves all these purposes, and it would be an arbitrary
task to try to fix upon one of them as its "real" end. All that we can
be sure of educationally is that science should be taught so as to be an
end in itself in the lives of students--something worth while on account
of its own unique intrinsic contribution to the experience of life.
Primarily it must have "appreciation value." If we take something
which seems to be at the opposite pole, like poetry, the same sort of
statement applies. It may be that, at the present time, its chief value
is the contribution it makes to the enjoyment of leisure. But that may
represent a degenerate condition rather than anything necessary. Poetry
has historically been allied with religion and morals; it has served the
purpose of penetrating the mysterious depths of things. It has had an
enormous patriotic value. Homer to the Greeks was a Bible, a textbook
of morals, a history, and a national inspiration. In any case, it may
be said that an education which does not succeed in making poetry
a resource in the business of life as well as in its leisure, has
something the matter with it--or else the poetry is artificial poetry.

The same considerations apply to the value of a study or a topic of
a study with reference to its motivating force. Those responsible
for planning and teaching the course of study should have grounds
for thinking that the studies and topics included furnish both direct
increments to the enriching of lives of the pupils and also materials
which they can put to use in other concerns of direct interest. Since
the curriculum is always getting loaded down with purely inherited
traditional matter and with subjects which represent mainly the energy
of some influential person or group of persons in behalf of something
dear to them, it requires constant inspection, criticism, and revision
to make sure it is accomplishing its purpose. Then there is always the
probability that it represents the values of adults rather than those
of children and youth, or those of pupils a generation ago rather than
those of the present day. Hence a further need for a critical outlook
and survey. But these considerations do not mean that for a subject to
have motivating value to a pupil (whether intrinsic or instrumental)
is the same thing as for him to be aware of the value, or to be able to
tell what the study is good for.

In the first place, as long as any topic makes an immediate appeal, it
is not necessary to ask what it is good for. This is a question which
can be asked only about instrumental values. Some goods are not good for
anything; they are just goods. Any other notion leads to an absurdity.
For we cannot stop asking the question about an instrumental good, one
whose value lies in its being good for something, unless there is at
some point something intrinsically good, good for itself. To a hungry,
healthy child, food is a good of the situation; we do not have to bring
him to consciousness of the ends subserved by food in order to supply a
motive to eat. The food in connection with his appetite is a motive. The
same thing holds of mentally eager pupils with respect to many topics.
Neither they nor the teacher could possibly foretell with any exactness
the purposes learning is to accomplish in the future; nor as long as the
eagerness continues is it advisable to try to specify particular goods
which are to come of it. The proof of a good is found in the fact that
the pupil responds; his response is use. His response to the material
shows that the subject functions in his life. It is unsound to urge
that, say, Latin has a value per se in the abstract, just as a study, as
a sufficient justification for teaching it. But it is equally absurd
to argue that unless teacher or pupil can point out some definite
assignable future use to which it is to be put, it lacks justifying
value. When pupils are genuinely concerned in learning Latin, that is of
itself proof that it possesses value. The most which one is entitled to
ask in such cases is whether in view of the shortness of time, there
are not other things of intrinsic value which in addition have greater
instrumental value.

This brings us to the matter of instrumental values--topics studied
because of some end beyond themselves. If a child is ill and his
appetite does not lead him to eat when food is presented, or if his
appetite is perverted so that he prefers candy to meat and vegetables,
conscious reference to results is indicated. He needs to be made
conscious of consequences as a justification of the positive or negative
value of certain objects. Or the state of things may be normal enough,
and yet an individual not be moved by some matter because he does not
grasp how his attainment of some intrinsic good depends upon active
concern with what is presented. In such cases, it is obviously the part
of wisdom to establish consciousness of connection. In general what is
desirable is that a topic be presented in such a way that it either have
an immediate value, and require no justification, or else be perceived
to be a means of achieving something of intrinsic value. An instrumental
value then has the intrinsic value of being a means to an end. It may
be questioned whether some of the present pedagogical interest in the
matter of values of studies is not either excessive or else too narrow.
Sometimes it appears to be a labored effort to furnish an apologetic for
topics which no longer operate to any purpose, direct or indirect, in
the lives of pupils. At other times, the reaction against useless lumber
seems to have gone to the extent of supposing that no subject or topic
should be taught unless some quite definite future utility can be
pointed out by those making the course of study or by the pupil himself,
unmindful of the fact that life is its own excuse for being; and that
definite utilities which can be pointed out are themselves justified
only because they increase the experienced content of life itself. 3.
The Segregation and Organization of Values. It is of course possible to
classify in a general way the various valuable phases of life. In order
to get a survey of aims sufficiently wide (See ante, p. 110) to give
breadth and flexibility to the enterprise of education, there is some
advantage in such a classification. But it is a great mistake to regard
these values as ultimate ends to which the concrete satisfactions of
experience are subordinate. They are nothing but generalizations,
more or less adequate, of concrete goods. Health, wealth, efficiency,
sociability, utility, culture, happiness itself are only abstract
terms which sum up a multitude of particulars. To regard such things as
standards for the valuation of concrete topics and process of education
is to subordinate to an abstraction the concrete facts from which the
abstraction is derived. They are not in any true sense standards of
valuation; these are found, as we have previously seen, in the specific
realizations which form tastes and habits of preference. They are,
however, of significance as points of view elevated above the details of
life whence to survey the field and see how its constituent details are
distributed, and whether they are well proportioned. No classification
can have other than a provisional validity. The following may prove of
some help. We may say that the kind of experience to which the work of
the schools should contribute is one marked by executive competency in
the management of resources and obstacles encountered (efficiency);
by sociability, or interest in the direct companionship of others; by
aesthetic taste or capacity to appreciate artistic excellence in at
least some of its classic forms; by trained intellectual method, or
interest in some mode of scientific achievement; and by sensitiveness
to the rights and claims of others--conscientiousness. And while these
considerations are not standards of value, they are useful criteria
for survey, criticism, and better organization of existing methods and
subject matter of instruction.

The need of such general points of view is the greater because of a
tendency to segregate educational values due to the isolation from one
another of the various pursuits of life. The idea is prevalent that
different studies represent separate kinds of values, and that the
curriculum should, therefore, be constituted by gathering together
various studies till a sufficient variety of independent values have
been cared for. The following quotation does not use the word value,
but it contains the notion of a curriculum constructed on the idea that
there are a number of separate ends to be reached, and that various
studies may be evaluated by referring each study to its respective end.
"Memory is trained by most studies, but best by languages and history;
taste is trained by the more advanced study of languages, and still
better by English literature; imagination by all higher language
teaching, but chiefly by Greek and Latin poetry; observation by science
work in the laboratory, though some training is to be got from the
earlier stages of Latin and Greek; for expression, Greek and Latin
composition comes first and English composition next; for abstract
reasoning, mathematics stands almost alone; for concrete reasoning,
science comes first, then geometry; for social reasoning, the Greek and
Roman historians and orators come first, and general history next. Hence
the narrowest education which can claim to be at all complete includes
Latin, one modern language, some history, some English literature, and
one science." There is much in the wording of this passage which is
irrelevant to our point and which must be discounted to make it clear.
The phraseology betrays the particular provincial tradition within
which the author is writing. There is the unquestioned assumption
of "faculties" to be trained, and a dominant interest in the ancient
languages; there is comparative disregard of the earth on which men
happen to live and the bodies they happen to carry around with them.
But with allowances made for these matters (even with their complete
abandonment) we find much in contemporary educational philosophy which
parallels the fundamental notion of parceling out special values to
segregated studies. Even when some one end is set up as a standard of
value, like social efficiency or culture, it will often be found to be
but a verbal heading under which a variety of disconnected factors
are comprised. And although the general tendency is to allow a greater
variety of values to a given study than does the passage quoted, yet the
attempt to inventory a number of values attaching to each study and
to state the amount of each value which the given study possesses
emphasizes an implied educational disintegration.

As matter of fact, such schemes of values of studies are largely but
unconscious justifications of the curriculum with which one is familiar.
One accepts, for the most part, the studies of the existing course
and then assigns values to them as a sufficient reason for their being
taught. Mathematics is said to have, for example, disciplinary value
in habituating the pupil to accuracy of statement and closeness of
reasoning; it has utilitarian value in giving command of the arts
of calculation involved in trade and the arts; culture value in
its enlargement of the imagination in dealing with the most general
relations of things; even religious value in its concept of the infinite
and allied ideas. But clearly mathematics does not accomplish such
results, because it is endowed with miraculous potencies called values;
it has these values if and when it accomplishes these results, and not
otherwise. The statements may help a teacher to a larger vision of the
possible results to be effected by instruction in mathematical topics.
But unfortunately, the tendency is to treat the statement as indicating
powers inherently residing in the subject, whether they operate or not,
and thus to give it a rigid justification. If they do not operate, the
blame is put not on the subject as taught, but on the indifference and
recalcitrancy of pupils.

This attitude toward subjects is the obverse side of the conception of
experience or life as a patchwork of independent interests which exist
side by side and limit one another. Students of politics are familiar
with a check and balance theory of the powers of government. There are
supposed to be independent separate functions, like the legislative,
executive, judicial, administrative, and all goes well if each of these
checks all the others and thus creates an ideal balance. There is a
philosophy which might well be called the check and balance theory of
experience. Life presents a diversity of interests. Left to themselves,
they tend to encroach on one another. The ideal is to prescribe a
special territory for each till the whole ground of experience is
covered, and then see to it each remains within its own boundaries.
Politics, business, recreation, art, science, the learned professions,
polite intercourse, leisure, represent such interests. Each of these
ramifies into many branches: business into manual occupations, executive
positions, bookkeeping, railroading, banking, agriculture, trade and
commerce, etc., and so with each of the others. An ideal education
would then supply the means of meeting these separate and pigeon-holed
interests. And when we look at the schools, it is easy to get the
impression that they accept this view of the nature of adult life, and
set for themselves the task of meeting its demands. Each interest is
acknowledged as a kind of fixed institution to which something in the
course of study must correspond. The course of study must then have
some civics and history politically and patriotically viewed: some
utilitarian studies; some science; some art (mainly literature of
course); some provision for recreation; some moral education; and so
on. And it will be found that a large part of current agitation about
schools is concerned with clamor and controversy about the due meed of
recognition to be given to each of these interests, and with struggles
to secure for each its due share in the course of study; or, if this
does not seem feasible in the existing school system, then to secure a
new and separate kind of schooling to meet the need. In the multitude of
educations education is forgotten.

The obvious outcome is congestion of the course of study, overpressure
and distraction of pupils, and a narrow specialization fatal to the very
idea of education. But these bad results usually lead to more of the
same sort of thing as a remedy. When it is perceived that after all the
requirements of a full life experience are not met, the deficiency is
not laid to the isolation and narrowness of the teaching of the existing
subjects, and this recognition made the basis of reorganization of the
system. No, the lack is something to be made up for by the introduction
of still another study, or, if necessary, another kind of school. And
as a rule those who object to the resulting overcrowding and consequent
superficiality and distraction usually also have recourse to a merely
quantitative criterion: the remedy is to cut off a great many studies as
fads and frills, and return to the good old curriculum of the three R's
in elementary education and the equally good and equally old-fashioned
curriculum of the classics and mathematics in higher education.

The situation has, of course, its historic explanation. Various epochs
of the past have had their own characteristic struggles and interests.
Each of these great epochs has left behind itself a kind of cultural
deposit, like a geologic stratum. These deposits have found their way
into educational institutions in the form of studies, distinct courses
of study, distinct types of schools. With the rapid change of political,
scientific, and economic interests in the last century, provision had to
be made for new values. Though the older courses resisted, they have had
at least in this country to retire their pretensions to a monopoly. They
have not, however, been reorganized in content and aim; they have only
been reduced in amount. The new studies, representing the new interests,
have not been used to transform the method and aim of all instruction;
they have been injected and added on. The result is a conglomerate, the
cement of which consists in the mechanics of the school program or time
table. Thence arises the scheme of values and standards of value which
we have mentioned.

This situation in education represents the divisions and separations
which obtain in social life. The variety of interests which should mark
any rich and balanced experience have been torn asunder and deposited in
separate institutions with diverse and independent purposes and methods.
Business is business, science is science, art is art, politics is
politics, social intercourse is social intercourse, morals is morals,
recreation is recreation, and so on. Each possesses a separate and
independent province with its own peculiar aims and ways of proceeding.
Each contributes to the others only externally and accidentally. All of
them together make up the whole of life by just apposition and addition.
What does one expect from business save that it should furnish money,
to be used in turn for making more money and for support of self and
family, for buying books and pictures, tickets to concerts which may
afford culture, and for paying taxes, charitable gifts and other things
of social and ethical value? How unreasonable to expect that the pursuit
of business should be itself a culture of the imagination, in breadth
and refinement; that it should directly, and not through the money which
it supplies, have social service for its animating principle and be
conducted as an enterprise in behalf of social organization! The same
thing is to be said, mutatis mutandis, of the pursuit of art or science
or politics or religion. Each has become specialized not merely in
its appliances and its demands upon time, but in its aim and animating
spirit. Unconsciously, our course of studies and our theories of the
educational values of studies reflect this division of interests. The
point at issue in a theory of educational value is then the unity or
integrity of experience. How shall it be full and varied without losing
unity of spirit? How shall it be one and yet not narrow and monotonous
in its unity? Ultimately, the question of values and a standard of
values is the moral question of the organization of the interests of
life. Educationally, the question concerns that organization of schools,
materials, and methods which will operate to achieve breadth and
richness of experience. How shall we secure breadth of outlook without
sacrificing efficiency of execution? How shall we secure the diversity
of interests, without paying the price of isolation? How shall the
individual be rendered executive in his intelligence instead of at the
cost of his intelligence? How shall art, science, and politics reinforce
one another in an enriched temper of mind instead of constituting ends
pursued at one another's expense? How can the interests of life and the
studies which enforce them enrich the common experience of men instead
of dividing men from one another? With the questions of reorganization
thus suggested, we shall be concerned in the concluding chapters.

Summary. Fundamentally, the elements involved in a discussion of value
have been covered in the prior discussion of aims and interests. But
since educational values are generally discussed in connection with the
claims of the various studies of the curriculum, the consideration
of aim and interest is here resumed from the point of view of special
studies. The term "value" has two quite different meanings. On the one
hand, it denotes the attitude of prizing a thing finding it worth
while, for its own sake, or intrinsically. This is a name for a full
or complete experience. To value in this sense is to appreciate. But
to value also means a distinctively intellectual act--an operation
of comparing and judging--to valuate. This occurs when direct full
experience is lacking, and the question arises which of the various
possibilities of a situation is to be preferred in order to reach a full
realization, or vital experience.

We must not, however, divide the studies of the curriculum into
the appreciative, those concerned with intrinsic value, and the
instrumental, concerned with those which are of value or ends beyond
themselves. The formation of proper standards in any subject depends
upon a realization of the contribution which it makes to the immediate
significance of experience, upon a direct appreciation. Literature and
the fine arts are of peculiar value because they represent appreciation
at its best--a heightened realization of meaning through selection and
concentration. But every subject at some phase of its development should
possess, what is for the individual concerned with it, an aesthetic

Contribution to immediate intrinsic values in all their variety
in experience is the only criterion for determining the worth of
instrumental and derived values in studies. The tendency to assign
separate values to each study and to regard the curriculum in its
entirety as a kind of composite made by the aggregation of segregated
values is a result of the isolation of social groups and classes. Hence
it is the business of education in a democratic social group to struggle
against this isolation in order that the various interests may reinforce
and play into one another.

Chapter Nineteen: Labor and Leisure

1. The Origin of the Opposition.

The isolation of aims and values which we have been considering leads to
opposition between them. Probably the most deep-seated antithesis which
has shown itself in educational history is that between education in
preparation for useful labor and education for a life of leisure. The
bare terms "useful labor" and "leisure" confirm the statement already
made that the segregation and conflict of values are not self-inclosed,
but reflect a division within social life. Were the two functions
of gaining a livelihood by work and enjoying in a cultivated way the
opportunities of leisure, distributed equally among the different
members of a community, it would not occur to any one that there was
any conflict of educational agencies and aims involved. It would be
self-evident that the question was how education could contribute most
effectively to both. And while it might be found that some materials of
instruction chiefly accomplished one result and other subject matter
the other, it would be evident that care must be taken to secure as
much overlapping as conditions permit; that is, the education which had
leisure more directly in view should indirectly reinforce as much as
possible the efficiency and the enjoyment of work, while that aiming at
the latter should produce habits of emotion and intellect which would
procure a worthy cultivation of leisure. These general considerations
are amply borne out by the historical development of educational
philosophy. The separation of liberal education from professional
and industrial education goes back to the time of the Greeks, and was
formulated expressly on the basis of a division of classes into those
who had to labor for a living and those who were relieved from this
necessity. The conception that liberal education, adapted to men in the
latter class, is intrinsically higher than the servile training given
to the latter class reflected the fact that one class was free and the
other servile in its social status. The latter class labored not only
for its own subsistence, but also for the means which enabled the
superior class to live without personally engaging in occupations
taking almost all the time and not of a nature to engage or reward

That a certain amount of labor must be engaged in goes without saying.
Human beings have to live and it requires work to supply the resources
of life. Even if we insist that the interests connected with getting
a living are only material and hence intrinsically lower than those
connected with enjoyment of time released from labor, and even if it
were admitted that there is something engrossing and insubordinate
in material interests which leads them to strive to usurp the place
belonging to the higher ideal interests, this would not--barring
the fact of socially divided classes--lead to neglect of the kind of
education which trains men for the useful pursuits. It would rather lead
to scrupulous care for them, so that men were trained to be efficient in
them and yet to keep them in their place; education would see to it
that we avoided the evil results which flow from their being allowed to
flourish in obscure purlieus of neglect. Only when a division of these
interests coincides with a division of an inferior and a superior social
class will preparation for useful work be looked down upon with contempt
as an unworthy thing: a fact which prepares one for the conclusion that
the rigid identification of work with material interests, and leisure
with ideal interests is itself a social product. The educational
formulations of the social situation made over two thousand years ago
have been so influential and give such a clear and logical recognition
of the implications of the division into laboring and leisure classes,
that they deserve especial note. According to them, man occupies the
highest place in the scheme of animate existence. In part, he shares
the constitution and functions of plants and animals--nutritive,
reproductive, motor or practical. The distinctively human function is
reason existing for the sake of beholding the spectacle of the universe.
Hence the truly human end is the fullest possible of this distinctive
human prerogative. The life of observation, meditation, cogitation, and
speculation pursued as an end in itself is the proper life of man. From
reason moreover proceeds the proper control of the lower elements
of human nature--the appetites and the active, motor, impulses. In
themselves greedy, insubordinate, lovers of excess, aiming only at their
own satiety, they observe moderation--the law of the mean--and serve
desirable ends as they are subjected to the rule of reason.

Such is the situation as an affair of theoretical psychology and as most
adequately stated by Aristotle. But this state of things is reflected
in the constitution of classes of men and hence in the organization of
society. Only in a comparatively small number is the function of reason
capable of operating as a law of life. In the mass of people, vegetative
and animal functions dominate. Their energy of intelligence is so feeble
and inconstant that it is constantly overpowered by bodily appetite and
passion. Such persons are not truly ends in themselves, for only reason
constitutes a final end. Like plants, animals and physical tools, they
are means, appliances, for the attaining of ends beyond themselves,
although unlike them they have enough intelligence to exercise a certain
discretion in the execution of the tasks committed to them. Thus by
nature, and not merely by social convention, there are those who are
slaves--that is, means for the ends of others. 1 The great body of
artisans are in one important respect worse off than even slaves.
Like the latter they are given up to the service of ends external to
themselves; but since they do not enjoy the intimate association with
the free superior class experienced by domestic slaves they remain on a
lower plane of excellence. Moreover, women are classed with slaves and
craftsmen as factors among the animate instrumentalities of production
and reproduction of the means for a free or rational life.

Individually and collectively there is a gulf between merely living and
living worthily. In order that one may live worthily he must first live,
and so with collective society. The time and energy spent upon mere
life, upon the gaining of subsistence, detracts from that available for
activities that have an inherent rational meaning; they also unfit for
the latter. Means are menial, the serviceable is servile. The true life
is possible only in the degree in which the physical necessities are had
without effort and without attention. Hence slaves, artisans, and
women are employed in furnishing the means of subsistence in order that
others, those adequately equipped with intelligence, may live the life
of leisurely concern with things intrinsically worth while.

To these two modes of occupation, with their distinction of servile and
free activities (or "arts") correspond two types of education: the base
or mechanical and the liberal or intellectual. Some persons are trained
by suitable practical exercises for capacity in doing things, for
ability to use the mechanical tools involved in turning out physical
commodities and rendering personal service. This training is a
mere matter of habituation and technical skill; it operates through
repetition and assiduity in application, not through awakening and
nurturing thought. Liberal education aims to train intelligence for its
proper office: to know. The less this knowledge has to do with practical
affairs, with making or producing, the more adequately it engages
intelligence. So consistently does Aristotle draw the line between
menial and liberal education that he puts what are now called the "fine"
arts, music, painting, sculpture, in the same class with menial arts
so far as their practice is concerned. They involve physical agencies,
assiduity of practice, and external results. In discussing, for example,
education in music he raises the question how far the young should
be practiced in the playing of instruments. His answer is that such
practice and proficiency may be tolerated as conduce to appreciation;
that is, to understanding and enjoyment of music when played by slaves
or professionals. When professional power is aimed at, music sinks from
the liberal to the professional level. One might then as well teach
cooking, says Aristotle. Even a liberal concern with the works of fine
art depends upon the existence of a hireling class of practitioners who
have subordinated the development of their own personality to attaining
skill in mechanical execution. The higher the activity the more purely
mental is it; the less does it have to do with physical things or
with the body. The more purely mental it is, the more independent or
self-sufficing is it.

These last words remind us that Aristotle again makes a distinction of
superior and inferior even within those living the life of reason. For
there is a distinction in ends and in free action, according as one's
life is merely accompanied by reason or as it makes reason its own
medium. That is to say, the free citizen who devotes himself to the
public life of his community, sharing in the management of its affairs
and winning personal honor and distinction, lives a life accompanied
by reason. But the thinker, the man who devotes himself to scientific
inquiry and philosophic speculation, works, so to speak, in reason, not
simply by *. Even the activity of the citizen in his civic relations,
in other words, retains some of the taint of practice, of external or
merely instrumental doing. This infection is shown by the fact that
civic activity and civic excellence need the help of others; one cannot
engage in public life all by himself. But all needs, all desires imply,
in the philosophy of Aristotle, a material factor; they involve lack,
privation; they are dependent upon something beyond themselves for
completion. A purely intellectual life, however, one carries on by
himself, in himself; such assistance as he may derive from others is
accidental, rather than intrinsic. In knowing, in the life of theory,
reason finds its own full manifestation; knowing for the sake of knowing
irrespective of any application is alone independent, or self-sufficing.
Hence only the education that makes for power to know as an end in
itself, without reference to the practice of even civic duties, is
truly liberal or free. 2. The Present Situation. If the Aristotelian
conception represented just Aristotle's personal view, it would be a
more or less interesting historical curiosity. It could be dismissed
as an illustration of the lack of sympathy or the amount of academic
pedantry which may coexist with extraordinary intellectual gifts.
But Aristotle simply described without confusion and without that
insincerity always attendant upon mental confusion, the life that was
before him. That the actual social situation has greatly changed since
his day there is no need to say. But in spite of these changes, in spite
of the abolition of legal serfdom, and the spread of democracy, with
the extension of science and of general education (in books, newspapers,
travel, and general intercourse as well as in schools), there remains
enough of a cleavage of society into a learned and an unlearned class,
a leisure and a laboring class, to make his point of view a most
enlightening one from which to criticize the separation between culture
and utility in present education. Behind the intellectual and abstract
distinction as it figures in pedagogical discussion, there looms a
social distinction between those whose pursuits involve a minimum of
self-directive thought and aesthetic appreciation, and those who are
concerned more directly with things of the intelligence and with the
control of the activities of others.

Aristotle was certainly permanently right when he said that "any
occupation or art or study deserves to be called mechanical if it
renders the body or soul or intellect of free persons unfit for the
exercise and practice of excellence." The force of the statement is
almost infinitely increased when we hold, as we nominally do at present,
that all persons, instead of a comparatively few, are free. For when the
mass of men and all women were regarded as unfree by the very nature
of their bodies and minds, there was neither intellectual confusion nor
moral hypocrisy in giving them only the training which fitted them
for mechanical skill, irrespective of its ulterior effect upon their
capacity to share in a worthy life. He was permanently right also when
he went on to say that "all mercenary employments as well as those which
degrade the condition of the body are mechanical, since they deprive
the intellect of leisure and dignity,"--permanently right, that is,
if gainful pursuits as matter of fact deprive the intellect of the
conditions of its exercise and so of its dignity. If his statements
are false, it is because they identify a phase of social custom with
a natural necessity. But a different view of the relations of mind and
matter, mind and body, intelligence and social service, is better than
Aristotle's conception only if it helps render the old idea obsolete
in fact--in the actual conduct of life and education. Aristotle was
permanently right in assuming the inferiority and subordination of
mere skill in performance and mere accumulation of external products to
understanding, sympathy of appreciation, and the free play of ideas. If
there was an error, it lay in assuming the necessary separation of the
two: in supposing that there is a natural divorce between efficiency in
producing commodities and rendering service, and self-directive thought;
between significant knowledge and practical achievement. We hardly
better matters if we just correct his theoretical misapprehension, and
tolerate the social state of affairs which generated and sanctioned
his conception. We lose rather than gain in change from serfdom to
free citizenship if the most prized result of the change is simply an
increase in the mechanical efficiency of the human tools of production.
So we lose rather than gain in coming to think of intelligence as an
organ of control of nature through action, if we are content that an
unintelligent, unfree state persists in those who engage directly in
turning nature to use, and leave the intelligence which controls to be
the exclusive possession of remote scientists and captains of industry.
We are in a position honestly to criticize the division of life into
separate functions and of society into separate classes only so far
as we are free from responsibility for perpetuating the educational
practices which train the many for pursuits involving mere skill in
production, and the few for a knowledge that is an ornament and a
cultural embellishment. In short, ability to transcend the Greek
philosophy of life and education is not secured by a mere shifting about
of the theoretical symbols meaning free, rational, and worthy. It is not
secured by a change of sentiment regarding the dignity of labor, and
the superiority of a life of service to that of an aloof self-sufficing
independence. Important as these theoretical and emotional changes
are, their importance consists in their being turned to account in the
development of a truly democratic society, a society in which all share
in useful service and all enjoy a worthy leisure. It is not a mere
change in the concepts of culture--or a liberal mind--and social service
which requires an educational reorganization; but the educational
transformation is needed to give full and explicit effect to the
changes implied in social life. The increased political and economic
emancipation of the "masses" has shown itself in education; it has
effected the development of a common school system of education, public
and free. It has destroyed the idea that learning is properly a monopoly
of the few who are predestined by nature to govern social affairs. But
the revolution is still incomplete. The idea still prevails that a truly
cultural or liberal education cannot have anything in common, directly
at least, with industrial affairs, and that the education which is fit
for the masses must be a useful or practical education in a sense which
opposes useful and practical to nurture of appreciation and liberation
of thought. As a consequence, our actual system is an inconsistent
mixture. Certain studies and methods are retained on the supposition
that they have the sanction of peculiar liberality, the chief content
of the term liberal being uselessness for practical ends. This aspect
is chiefly visible in what is termed the higher education--that of the
college and of preparation for it. But is has filtered through into
elementary education and largely controls its processes and aims. But,
on the other hand, certain concessions have been made to the masses
who must engage in getting a livelihood and to the increased role of
economic activities in modern life. These concessions are exhibited in
special schools and courses for the professions, for engineering, for
manual training and commerce, in vocational and prevocational courses;
and in the spirit in which certain elementary subjects, like the three
R's, are taught. The result is a system in which both "cultural" and
"utilitarian" subjects exist in an inorganic composite where the former
are not by dominant purpose socially serviceable and the latter not
liberative of imagination or thinking power.

In the inherited situation, there is a curious intermingling, in even
the same study, of concession to usefulness and a survival of traits
once exclusively attributed to preparation for leisure. The "utility"
element is found in the motives assigned for the study, the "liberal"
element in methods of teaching. The outcome of the mixture is perhaps
less satisfactory than if either principle were adhered to in its
purity. The motive popularly assigned for making the studies of the
first four or five years consist almost entirely of reading, spelling,
writing, and arithmetic, is, for example, that ability to read, write,
and figure accurately is indispensable to getting ahead. These studies
are treated as mere instruments for entering upon a gainful employment
or of later progress in the pursuit of learning, according as pupils do
not or do remain in school. This attitude is reflected in the emphasis
put upon drill and practice for the sake of gaining automatic skill.
If we turn to Greek schooling, we find that from the earliest years the
acquisition of skill was subordinated as much as possible to acquisition
of literary content possessed of aesthetic and moral significance. Not
getting a tool for subsequent use but present subject matter was the
emphasized thing. Nevertheless the isolation of these studies from
practical application, their reduction to purely symbolic devices,
represents a survival of the idea of a liberal training divorced from
utility. A thorough adoption of the idea of utility would have led to
instruction which tied up the studies to situations in which they
were directly needed and where they were rendered immediately and not
remotely helpful. It would be hard to find a subject in the curriculum
within which there are not found evil results of a compromise between
the two opposed ideals. Natural science is recommended on the ground
of its practical utility, but is taught as a special accomplishment in
removal from application. On the other hand, music and literature are
theoretically justified on the ground of their culture value and are
then taught with chief emphasis upon forming technical modes of skill.

If we had less compromise and resulting confusion, if we analyzed more
carefully the respective meanings of culture and utility, we might find
it easier to construct a course of study which should be useful and
liberal at the same time. Only superstition makes us believe that the
two are necessarily hostile so that a subject is illiberal because it
is useful and cultural because it is useless. It will generally be found
that instruction which, in aiming at utilitarian results, sacrifices the
development of imagination, the refining of taste and the deepening of
intellectual insight--surely cultural values--also in the same degree
renders what is learned limited in its use. Not that it makes it
wholly unavailable but that its applicability is restricted to routine
activities carried on under the supervision of others. Narrow modes of
skill cannot be made useful beyond themselves; any mode of skill which
is achieved with deepening of knowledge and perfecting of judgment is
readily put to use in new situations and is under personal control. It
was not the bare fact of social and economic utility which made certain
activities seem servile to the Greeks but the fact that the activities
directly connected with getting a livelihood were not, in their days,
the expression of a trained intelligence nor carried on because of a
personal appreciation of their meaning. So far as farming and the trades
were rule-of-thumb occupations and so far as they were engaged in for
results external to the minds of agricultural laborers and mechanics,
they were illiberal--but only so far. The intellectual and social
context has now changed. The elements in industry due to mere custom and
routine have become subordinate in most economic callings to elements
derived from scientific inquiry. The most important occupations of today
represent and depend upon applied mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
The area of the human world influenced by economic production
and influencing consumption has been so indefinitely widened that
geographical and political considerations of an almost infinitely wide
scope enter in. It was natural for Plato to deprecate the learning of
geometry and arithmetic for practical ends, because as matter of fact
the practical uses to which they were put were few, lacking in content
and mostly mercenary in quality. But as their social uses have increased
and enlarged, their liberalizing or "intellectual" value and their
practical value approach the same limit.

Doubtless the factor which chiefly prevents our full recognition and
employment of this identification is the conditions under which so much
work is still carried on. The invention of machines has extended the
amount of leisure which is possible even while one is at work. It is a
commonplace that the mastery of skill in the form of established habits
frees the mind for a higher order of thinking. Something of the same
kind is true of the introduction of mechanically automatic operations in
industry. They may release the mind for thought upon other topics. But
when we confine the education of those who work with their hands to a
few years of schooling devoted for the most part to acquiring the use of
rudimentary symbols at the expense of training in science, literature,
and history, we fail to prepare the minds of workers to take advantage
of this opportunity. More fundamental is the fact that the great
majority of workers have no insight into the social aims of their
pursuits and no direct personal interest in them. The results actually
achieved are not the ends of their actions, but only of their employers.
They do what they do, not freely and intelligently, but for the sake of
the wage earned. It is this fact which makes the action illiberal, and
which will make any education designed simply to give skill in such
undertakings illiberal and immoral. The activity is not free because not
freely participated in.

Nevertheless, there is already an opportunity for an education which,
keeping in mind the larger features of work, will reconcile liberal
nurture with training in social serviceableness, with ability to share
efficiently and happily in occupations which are productive. And such an
education will of itself tend to do away with the evils of the existing
economic situation. In the degree in which men have an active concern
in the ends that control their activity, their activity becomes free or
voluntary and loses its externally enforced and servile quality, even
though the physical aspect of behavior remain the same. In what is
termed politics, democratic social organization makes provision for this
direct participation in control: in the economic region, control remains
external and autocratic. Hence the split between inner mental action and
outer physical action of which the traditional distinction between the
liberal and the utilitarian is the reflex. An education which should
unify the disposition of the members of society would do much to unify
society itself.

Summary. Of the segregations of educational values discussed in the
last chapter, that between culture and utility is probably the most
fundamental. While the distinction is often thought to be intrinsic and
absolute, it is really historical and social. It originated, so far as
conscious formulation is concerned, in Greece, and was based upon the
fact that the truly human life was lived only by a few who subsisted
upon the results of the labor of others. This fact affected the
psychological doctrine of the relation of intelligence and desire,
theory and practice. It was embodied in a political theory of a
permanent division of human beings into those capable of a life of
reason and hence having their own ends, and those capable only of desire
and work, and needing to have their ends provided by others. The two
distinctions, psychological and political, translated into educational
terms, effected a division between a liberal education, having to do
with the self-sufficing life of leisure devoted to knowing for its
own sake, and a useful, practical training for mechanical occupations,
devoid of intellectual and aesthetic content. While the present
situation is radically diverse in theory and much changed in fact, the
factors of the older historic situation still persist sufficiently to
maintain the educational distinction, along with compromises which
often reduce the efficacy of the educational measures. The problem of
education in a democratic society is to do away with the dualism and
to construct a course of studies which makes thought a guide of
free practice for all and which makes leisure a reward of accepting
responsibility for service, rather than a state of exemption from it.

1 Aristotle does not hold that the class of actual slaves and of natural
slaves necessarily coincide.

Chapter Twenty: Intellectual and Practical Studies

1. The Opposition of Experience and True Knowledge. As livelihood
and leisure are opposed, so are theory and practice, intelligence
and execution, knowledge and activity. The latter set of oppositions
doubtless springs from the same social conditions which produce the
former conflict; but certain definite problems of education connected
with them make it desirable to discuss explicitly the matter of the
relationship and alleged separation of knowing and doing.

The notion that knowledge is derived from a higher source than is
practical activity, and possesses a higher and more spiritual worth, has
a long history. The history so far as conscious statement is concerned
takes us back to the conceptions of experience and of reason formulated
by Plato and Aristotle. Much as these thinkers differed in many
respects, they agreed in identifying experience with purely practical
concerns; and hence with material interests as to its purpose and with
the body as to its organ. Knowledge, on the other hand, existed for its
own sake free from practical reference, and found its source and organ
in a purely immaterial mind; it had to do with spiritual or ideal
interests. Again, experience always involved lack, need, desire; it was
never self-sufficing. Rational knowing on the other hand, was complete
and comprehensive within itself. Hence the practical life was in a
condition of perpetual flux, while intellectual knowledge concerned
eternal truth.

This sharp antithesis is connected with the fact that Athenian
philosophy began as a criticism of custom and tradition as standards of
knowledge and conduct. In a search for something to replace them, it
hit upon reason as the only adequate guide of belief and activity. Since
custom and tradition were identified with experience, it followed at
once that reason was superior to experience. Moreover, experience, not
content with its proper position of subordination, was the great foe
to the acknowledgment of the authority of reason. Since custom and
traditionary beliefs held men in bondage, the struggle of reason for
its legitimate supremacy could be won only by showing the inherently
unstable and inadequate nature of experience. The statement of Plato
that philosophers should be kings may best be understood as a statement
that rational intelligence and not habit, appetite, impulse, and emotion
should regulate human affairs. The former secures unity, order, and law;
the latter signify multiplicity and discord, irrational fluctuations
from one estate to another.

The grounds for the identification of experience with the unsatisfactory
condition of things, the state of affairs represented by rule of mere
custom, are not far to seek. Increasing trade and travel, colonizations,
migrations and wars, had broadened the intellectual horizon. The customs
and beliefs of different communities were found to diverge sharply
from one another. Civil disturbance had become a custom in Athens;
the fortunes of the city seemed given over to strife of factions. The
increase of leisure coinciding with the broadening of the horizon had
brought into ken many new facts of nature and had stimulated curiosity
and speculation. The situation tended to raise the question as to the
existence of anything constant and universal in the realm of nature and
society. Reason was the faculty by which the universal principle and
essence is apprehended; while the senses were the organs of perceiving
change,--the unstable and the diverse as against the permanent and
uniform. The results of the work of the senses, preserved in memory
and imagination, and applied in the skill given by habit, constituted

Experience at its best is thus represented in the various
handicrafts--the arts of peace and war. The cobbler, the flute player,
the soldier, have undergone the discipline of experience to acquire the
skill they have. This means that the bodily organs, particularly the
senses, have had repeated contact with things and that the result of
these contacts has been preserved and consolidated till ability in
foresight and in practice had been secured. Such was the essential
meaning of the term "empirical." It suggested a knowledge and an ability
not based upon insight into principles, but expressing the result of a
large number of separate trials. It expressed the idea now conveyed by
"method of trial and error," with especial emphasis upon the more or
less accidental character of the trials. So far as ability of control,
of management, was concerned, it amounted to rule-of-thumb procedure,
to routine. If new circumstances resembled the past, it might work well
enough; in the degree in which they deviated, failure was likely. Even
to-day to speak of a physician as an empiricist is to imply that he
lacks scientific training, and that he is proceeding simply on the basis
of what he happens to have got out of the chance medley of his past
practice. Just because of the lack of science or reason in "experience"
it is hard to keep it at its poor best. The empiric easily degenerates
into the quack. He does not know where his knowledge begins or leaves
off, and so when he gets beyond routine conditions he begins to
pretend--to make claims for which there is no justification, and
to trust to luck and to ability to impose upon others--to "bluff."
Moreover, he assumes that because he has learned one thing, he knows
others--as the history of Athens showed that the common craftsmen
thought they could manage household affairs, education, and politics,
because they had learned to do the specific things of their trades.
Experience is always hovering, then, on the edge of pretense, of sham,
of seeming, and appearance, in distinction from the reality upon which
reason lays hold.

The philosophers soon reached certain generalizations from this state
of affairs. The senses are connected with the appetites, with wants and
desires. They lay hold not on the reality of things but on the relation
which things have to our pleasures and pains, to the satisfaction of
wants and the welfare of the body. They are important only for the
life of the body, which is but a fixed substratum for a higher life.
Experience thus has a definitely material character; it has to do
with physical things in relation to the body. In contrast, reason, or
science, lays hold of the immaterial, the ideal, the spiritual. There is
something morally dangerous about experience, as such words as sensual,
carnal, material, worldly, interests suggest; while pure reason and
spirit connote something morally praiseworthy. Moreover, ineradicable
connection with the changing, the inexplicably shifting, and with the
manifold, the diverse, clings to experience. Its material is inherently
variable and untrustworthy. It is anarchic, because unstable. The man
who trusts to experience does not know what he depends upon, since it
changes from person to person, from day to day, to say nothing of
from country to country. Its connection with the "many," with various
particulars, has the same effect, and also carries conflict in its

Only the single, the uniform, assures coherence and harmony. Out of
experience come warrings, the conflict of opinions and acts within
the individual and between individuals. From experience no standard
of belief can issue, because it is the very nature of experience to
instigate all kinds of contrary beliefs, as varieties of local custom
proved. Its logical outcome is that anything is good and true to the
particular individual which his experience leads him to believe true and
good at a particular time and place. Finally practice falls of necessity
within experience. Doing proceeds from needs and aims at change. To
produce or to make is to alter something; to consume is to alter. All
the obnoxious characters of change and diversity thus attach themselves
to doing while knowing is as permanent as its object. To know, to grasp
a thing intellectually or theoretically, is to be out of the region of
vicissitude, chance, and diversity. Truth has no lack; it is untouched
by the perturbations of the world of sense. It deals with the eternal
and the universal. And the world of experience can be brought under
control, can be steadied and ordered, only through subjection to its law
of reason.

It would not do, of course, to say that all these distinctions persisted
in full technical definiteness. But they all of them profoundly
influenced men's subsequent thinking and their ideas about education.
The contempt for physical as compared with mathematical and logical
science, for the senses and sense observation; the feeling that
knowledge is high and worthy in the degree in which it deals with ideal
symbols instead of with the concrete; the scorn of particulars except
as they are deductively brought under a universal; the disregard for
the body; the depreciation of arts and crafts as intellectual
instrumentalities, all sought shelter and found sanction under this
estimate of the respective values of experience and reason--or, what
came to the same thing, of the practical and the intellectual. Medieval
philosophy continued and reinforced the tradition. To know reality
meant to be in relation to the supreme reality, or God, and to enjoy the
eternal bliss of that relation. Contemplation of supreme reality was the
ultimate end of man to which action is subordinate. Experience had to
do with mundane, profane, and secular affairs, practically necessary
indeed, but of little import in comparison with supernatural objects
of knowledge. When we add to this motive the force derived from the
literary character of the Roman education and the Greek philosophic
tradition, and conjoin to them the preference for studies which
obviously demarcated the aristocratic class from the lower classes, we
can readily understand the tremendous power exercised by the persistent
preference of the "intellectual" over the "practical" not simply in
educational philosophies but in the higher schools. 2. The Modern Theory
of Experience and Knowledge. As we shall see later, the development of
experimentation as a method of knowledge makes possible and necessitates
a radical transformation of the view just set forth. But before
coming to that, we have to note the theory of experience and knowledge
developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In general, it
presents us with an almost complete reversal of the classic doctrine
of the relations of experience and reason. To Plato experience meant
habituation, or the conservation of the net product of a lot of past
chance trials. Reason meant the principle of reform, of progress, of
increase of control. Devotion to the cause of reason meant breaking
through the limitations of custom and getting at things as they really
were. To the modern reformers, the situation was the other way around.
Reason, universal principles, a priori notions, meant either blank forms
which had to be filled in by experience, by sense observations, in
order to get significance and validity; or else were mere indurated
prejudices, dogmas imposed by authority, which masqueraded and found
protection under august names. The great need was to break way from
captivity to conceptions which, as Bacon put it, "anticipated nature"
and imposed merely human opinions upon her, and to resort to experience
to find out what nature was like. Appeal to experience marked the breach
with authority. It meant openness to new impressions; eagerness
in discovery and invention instead of absorption in tabulating and
systematizing received ideas and "proving" them by means of the
relations they sustained to one another. It was the irruption into the
mind of the things as they really were, free from the veil cast over
them by preconceived ideas.

The change was twofold. Experience lost the practical meaning which it
had borne from the time of Plato. It ceased to mean ways of doing
and being done to, and became a name for something intellectual and
cognitive. It meant the apprehension of material which should ballast
and check the exercise of reasoning. By the modern philosophic
empiricist and by his opponent, experience has been looked upon just as
a way of knowing. The only question was how good a way it is. The
result was an even greater "intellectualism" than is found in ancient
philosophy, if that word be used to designate an emphatic and almost
exclusive interest in knowledge in its isolation. Practice was not
so much subordinated to knowledge as treated as a kind of tag-end or
aftermath of knowledge. The educational result was only to confirm the
exclusion of active pursuits from the school, save as they might be
brought in for purely utilitarian ends--the acquisition by drill of
certain habits. In the second place, the interest in experience as a
means of basing truth upon objects, upon nature, led to looking at the
mind as purely receptive. The more passive the mind is, the more truly
objects will impress themselves upon it. For the mind to take a hand, so
to speak, would be for it in the very process of knowing to vitiate
true knowledge--to defeat its own purpose. The ideal was a maximum of
receptivity. Since the impressions made upon the mind by objects were
generally termed sensations, empiricism thus became a doctrine of
sensationalism--that is to say, a doctrine which identified knowledge
with the reception and association of sensory impressions. In
John Locke, the most influential of the empiricists, we find this
sensationalism mitigated by a recognition of certain mental faculties,
like discernment or discrimination, comparison, abstraction, and
generalization which work up the material of sense into definite and
organized forms and which even evolve new ideas on their own account,
such as the fundamental conceptions of morals and mathematics. (See
ante, p. 61.) But some of his successors, especially in France in the
latter part of the eighteenth century, carried his doctrine to the
limit; they regarded discernment and judgment as peculiar sensations
made in us by the conjoint presence of other sensations. Locke had held
that the mind is a blank piece of paper, or a wax tablet with nothing
engraved on it at birth (a tabula rasa) so far as any contents of ideas
were concerned, but had endowed it with activities to be exercised upon
the material received. His French successors razed away the powers and
derived them also from impressions received.

As we have earlier noted, this notion was fostered by the new interest
in education as method of social reform. (See ante, p. 93.) The emptier
the mind to begin with, the more it may be made anything we wish by
bringing the right influences to bear upon it. Thus Helvetius, perhaps
the most extreme and consistent sensationalist, proclaimed that
education could do anything--that it was omnipotent. Within the sphere
of school instruction, empiricism found its directly beneficial office
in protesting against mere book learning. If knowledge comes from the
impressions made upon us by natural objects, it is impossible to procure
knowledge without the use of objects which impress the mind. Words,
all kinds of linguistic symbols, in the lack of prior presentations of
objects with which they may be associated, convey nothing but sensations
of their own shape and color--certainly not a very instructive kind of
knowledge. Sensationalism was an extremely handy weapon with which
to combat doctrines and opinions resting wholly upon tradition and
authority. With respect to all of them, it set up a test: Where are the
real objects from which these ideas and beliefs are received? If such
objects could not be produced, ideas were explained as the result of
false associations and combinations. Empiricism also insisted upon a
first-hand element. The impression must be made upon me, upon my
mind. The further we get away from this direct, first-hand source of
knowledge, the more numerous the sources of error, and the vaguer the
resulting idea.

As might be expected, however, the philosophy was weak upon the positive
side. Of course, the value of natural objects and firsthand acquaintance
was not dependent upon the truth of the theory. Introduced into the
schools they would do their work, even if the sensational theory about
the way in which they did it was quite wrong. So far, there is nothing
to complain of. But the emphasis upon sensationalism also operated to
influence the way in which natural objects were employed, and to prevent
full good being got from them. "Object lessons" tended to isolate the
mere sense-activity and make it an end in itself. The more isolated the
object, the more isolated the sensory quality, the more distinct the
sense-impression as a unit of knowledge. The theory worked not only
in the direction of this mechanical isolation, which tended to reduce
instruction to a kind of physical gymnastic of the sense-organs (good
like any gymnastic of bodily organs, but not more so), but also to
the neglect of thinking. According to the theory there was no need of
thinking in connection with sense-observation; in fact, in strict
theory such thinking would be impossible till afterwards, for thinking
consisted simply in combining and separating sensory units which had
been received without any participation of judgment.

As a matter of fact, accordingly, practically no scheme of education
upon a purely sensory basis has ever been systematically tried, at least
after the early years of infancy. Its obvious deficiencies have caused
it to be resorted to simply for filling in "rationalistic" knowledge
(that is to say, knowledge of definitions, rules, classifications, and
modes of application conveyed through symbols), and as a device for
lending greater "interest" to barren symbols. There are at least
three serious defects of sensationalistic empiricism as an educational
philosophy of knowledge. (a) the historical value of the theory was
critical; it was a dissolvent of current beliefs about the world and
political institutions. It was a destructive organ of criticism of
hard and fast dogmas. But the work of education is constructive, not
critical. It assumes not old beliefs to be eliminated and revised, but
the need of building up new experience into intellectual habitudes as
correct as possible from the start. Sensationalism is highly unfitted
for this constructive task. Mind, understanding, denotes responsiveness
to meanings (ante, p. 29), not response to direct physical stimuli. And
meaning exists only with reference to a context, which is excluded
by any scheme which identifies knowledge with a combination of
sense-impressions. The theory, so far as educationally applied, led
either to a magnification of mere physical excitations or else to a mere
heaping up of isolated objects and qualities.

(b) While direct impression has the advantage of being first hand, it
also has the disadvantage of being limited in range. Direct acquaintance
with the natural surroundings of the home environment so as to give
reality to ideas about portions of the earth beyond the reach of the
senses, and as a means of arousing intellectual curiosity, is one
thing. As an end-all and be-all of geographical knowledge it is fatally
restricted. In precisely analogous fashion, beans, shoe pegs, and
counters may be helpful aids to a realization of numerical relations,
but when employed except as aids to thought--the apprehension of
meaning--they become an obstacle to the growth of arithmetical
understanding. They arrest growth on a low plane, the plane of specific
physical symbols. Just as the race developed especial symbols as tools
of calculation and mathematical reasonings, because the use of the
fingers as numerical symbols got in the way, so the individual must
progress from concrete to abstract symbols--that is, symbols whose
meaning is realized only through conceptual thinking. And undue
absorption at the outset in the physical object of sense hampers this
growth. (c) A thoroughly false psychology of mental development
underlay sensationalistic empiricism. Experience is in truth a matter
of activities, instinctive and impulsive, in their interactions with
things. What even an infant "experiences" is not a passively received
quality impressed by an object, but the effect which some activity of
handling, throwing, pounding, tearing, etc., has upon an object, and the
consequent effect of the object upon the direction of activities. (See
ante, p. 140.) Fundamentally (as we shall see in more detail), the
ancient notion of experience as a practical matter is truer to fact that
the modern notion of it as a mode of knowing by means of sensations. The
neglect of the deep-seated active and motor factors of experience is a
fatal defect of the traditional empirical philosophy. Nothing is more
uninteresting and mechanical than a scheme of object lessons which
ignores and as far as may be excludes the natural tendency to learn
about the qualities of objects by the uses to which they are put through
trying to do something with them.

It is obvious, accordingly, that even if the philosophy of experience
represented by modern empiricism had received more general theoretical
assent than has been accorded to it, it could not have furnished
a satisfactory philosophy of the learning process. Its educational
influence was confined to injecting a new factor into the older
curriculum, with incidental modifications of the older studies and
methods. It introduced greater regard for observation of things directly
and through pictures and graphic descriptions, and it reduced the
importance attached to verbal symbolization. But its own scope was
so meager that it required supplementation by information concerning
matters outside of sense-perception and by matters which appealed
more directly to thought. Consequently it left unimpaired the scope of
informational and abstract, or "rationalistic" studies.

3. Experience as Experimentation. It has already been intimated that
sensational empiricism represents neither the idea of experience
justified by modern psychology nor the idea of knowledge suggested by
modern scientific procedure. With respect to the former, it omits the
primary position of active response which puts things to use and which
learns about them through discovering the consequences that result from
use. It would seem as if five minutes' unprejudiced observation of
the way an infant gains knowledge would have sufficed to overthrow the
notion that he is passively engaged in receiving impressions of isolated
ready-made qualities of sound, color, hardness, etc. For it would
be seen that the infant reacts to stimuli by activities of handling,
reaching, etc., in order to see what results follow upon motor response
to a sensory stimulation; it would be seen that what is learned are not
isolated qualities, but the behavior which may be expected from a thing,
and the changes in things and persons which an activity may be expected
to produce. In other words, what he learns are connections. Even such
qualities as red color, sound of a high pitch, have to be discriminated
and identified on the basis of the activities they call forth and the
consequences these activities effect. We learn what things are hard and
what are soft by finding out through active experimentation what they
respectively will do and what can be done and what cannot be done with
them. In like fashion, children learn about persons by finding out what
responsive activities these persons exact and what these persons will
do in reply to the children's activities. And the combination of what
things do to us (not in impressing qualities on a passive mind) in
modifying our actions, furthering some of them and resisting and
checking others, and what we can do to them in producing new changes
constitutes experience. The methods of science by which the revolution
in our knowledge of the world dating from the seventeenth century, was
brought about, teach the same lesson. For these methods are nothing but
experimentation carried out under conditions of deliberate control. To
the Greek, it seemed absurd that such an activity as, say, the cobbler
punching holes in leather, or using wax and needle and thread, could
give an adequate knowledge of the world. It seemed almost axiomatic
that for true knowledge we must have recourse to concepts coming from a
reason above experience. But the introduction of the experimental method
signified precisely that such operations, carried on under conditions
of control, are just the ways in which fruitful ideas about nature are
obtained and tested. In other words, it is only needed to conduct such
an operation as the pouring of an acid on a metal for the purpose of
getting knowledge instead of for the purpose of getting a trade result,
in order to lay hold of the principle upon which the science of nature
was henceforth to depend. Sense perceptions were indeed indispensable,
but there was less reliance upon sense perceptions in their natural or
customary form than in the older science. They were no longer regarded
as containing within themselves some "form" or "species" of universal
kind in a disguised mask of sense which could be stripped off by
rational thought. On the contrary, the first thing was to alter and
extend the data of sense perception: to act upon the given objects of
sense by the lens of the telescope and microscope, and by all sorts of
experimental devices. To accomplish this in a way which would arouse
new ideas (hypotheses, theories) required even more general ideas (like
those of mathematics) than were at the command of ancient science. But
these general conceptions were no longer taken to give knowledge
in themselves. They were implements for instituting, conducting,
interpreting experimental inquiries and formulating their results.

The logical outcome is a new philosophy of experience and knowledge,
a philosophy which no longer puts experience in opposition to rational
knowledge and explanation. Experience is no longer a mere summarizing
of what has been done in a more or less chance way in the past; it is a
deliberate control of what is done with reference to making what happens
to us and what we do to things as fertile as possible of suggestions
(of suggested meanings) and a means for trying out the validity of the
suggestions. When trying, or experimenting, ceases to be blinded by
impulse or custom, when it is guided by an aim and conducted by measure
and method, it becomes reasonable--rational. When what we suffer from
things, what we undergo at their hands, ceases to be a matter of chance
circumstance, when it is transformed into a consequence of our own prior
purposive endeavors, it becomes rationally significant--enlightening
and instructive. The antithesis of empiricism and rationalism loses the
support of the human situation which once gave it meaning and relative

The bearing of this change upon the opposition of purely practical and
purely intellectual studies is self-evident. The distinction is not
intrinsic but is dependent upon conditions, and upon conditions which
can be regulated. Practical activities may be intellectually narrow and
trivial; they will be so in so far as they are routine, carried on
under the dictates of authority, and having in view merely some external
result. But childhood and youth, the period of schooling, is just the
time when it is possible to carry them on in a different spirit. It
is inexpedient to repeat the discussions of our previous chapters on
thinking and on the evolution of educative subject matter from childlike
work and play to logically organized subject matter. The discussions of
this chapter and the prior one should, however, give an added meaning to
those results.

(i) Experience itself primarily consists of the active relations
subsisting between a human being and his natural and social
surroundings. In some cases, the initiative in activity is on the
side of the environment; the human being undergoes or suffers certain
checkings and deflections of endeavors. In other cases, the behavior of
surrounding things and persons carries to a successful issue the active
tendencies of the individual, so that in the end what the individual
undergoes are consequences which he has himself tried to produce.
In just the degree in which connections are established between what
happens to a person and what he does in response, and between what he
does to his environment and what it does in response to him, his acts
and the things about him acquire meaning. He learns to understand
both himself and the world of men and things. Purposive education or
schooling should present such an environment that this interaction will
effect acquisition of those meanings which are so important that they
become, in turn, instruments of further learnings. (ante, Ch. XI.) As
has been repeatedly pointed out, activity out of school is carried on
under conditions which have not been deliberately adapted to promoting
the function of understanding and formation of effective intellectual
dispositions. The results are vital and genuine as far as they go, but
they are limited by all kinds of circumstances. Some powers are left
quite undeveloped and undirected; others get only occasional and
whimsical stimulations; others are formed into habits of a routine skill
at the expense of aims and resourceful initiative and inventiveness. It
is not the business of the school to transport youth from an environment
of activity into one of cramped study of the records of other men's
learning; but to transport them from an environment of relatively chance
activities (accidental in the relation they bear to insight and thought)
into one of activities selected with reference to guidance of learning.
A slight inspection of the improved methods which have already shown
themselves effective in education will reveal that they have laid hold,
more or less consciously, upon the fact that "intellectual"
studies instead of being opposed to active pursuits represent an
intellectualizing of practical pursuits. It remains to grasp the
principle with greater firmness.

(ii) The changes which are taking place in the content of social life
tremendously facilitate selection of the sort of activities which will
intellectualize the play and work of the school. When one bears in mind
the social environment of the Greeks and the people of the Middle Ages,
where such practical activities as could be successfully carried on were
mostly of a routine and external sort and even servile in nature, one is
not surprised that educators turned their backs upon them as unfitted
to cultivate intelligence. But now that even the occupations of the
household, agriculture, and manufacturing as well as transportation
and intercourse are instinct with applied science, the case stands
otherwise. It is true that many of those who now engage in them are
not aware of the intellectual content upon which their personal actions
depend. But this fact only gives an added reason why schooling should
use these pursuits so as to enable the coming generation to acquire
a comprehension now too generally lacking, and thus enable persons to
carry on their pursuits intelligently instead of blindly. (iii) The most
direct blow at the traditional separation of doing and knowing and at
the traditional prestige of purely "intellectual" studies, however, has
been given by the progress of experimental science. If this progress
has demonstrated anything, it is that there is no such thing as genuine
knowledge and fruitful understanding except as the offspring of doing.
The analysis and rearrangement of facts which is indispensable to the
growth of knowledge and power of explanation and right classification
cannot be attained purely mentally--just inside the head. Men have to do
something to the things when they wish to find out something; they have
to alter conditions. This is the lesson of the laboratory method,
and the lesson which all education has to learn. The laboratory is a
discovery of the condition under which labor may become intellectually
fruitful and not merely externally productive. If, in too many cases
at present, it results only in the acquisition of an additional mode
of technical skill, that is because it still remains too largely but an
isolated resource, not resorted to until pupils are mostly too old
to get the full advantage of it, and even then is surrounded by other
studies where traditional methods isolate intellect from activity.

Summary. The Greeks were induced to philosophize by the increasing
failure of their traditional customs and beliefs to regulate life. Thus
they were led to criticize custom adversely and to look for some other
source of authority in life and belief. Since they desired a rational
standard for the latter, and had identified with experience the customs
which had proved unsatisfactory supports, they were led to a flat
opposition of reason and experience. The more the former was exalted,
the more the latter was depreciated. Since experience was identified
with what men do and suffer in particular and changing situations of
life, doing shared in the philosophic depreciation. This influence fell
in with many others to magnify, in higher education, all the methods
and topics which involved the least use of sense-observation and bodily
activity. The modern age began with a revolt against this point of
view, with an appeal to experience, and an attack upon so-called purely
rational concepts on the ground that they either needed to be ballasted
by the results of concrete experiences, or else were mere expressions
of prejudice and institutionalized class interest, calling themselves
rational for protection. But various circumstances led to considering
experience as pure cognition, leaving out of account its intrinsic
active and emotional phases, and to identifying it with a passive
reception of isolated "sensations." Hence the education reform effected
by the new theory was confined mainly to doing away with some of
the bookishness of prior methods; it did not accomplish a consistent

Meantime, the advance of psychology, of industrial methods, and of the
experimental method in science makes another conception of experience
explicitly desirable and possible. This theory reinstates the idea of
the ancients that experience is primarily practical, not cognitive--a
matter of doing and undergoing the consequences of doing. But the
ancient theory is transformed by realizing that doing may be directed so
as to take up into its own content all which thought suggests, and so as
to result in securely tested knowledge. "Experience" then ceases to be
empirical and becomes experimental. Reason ceases to be a remote and
ideal faculty, and signifies all the resources by which activity is made
fruitful in meaning. Educationally, this change denotes such a plan
for the studies and method of instruction as has been developed in the
previous chapters.

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

ALLUSION 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

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

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

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

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

Summary. 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

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.

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

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

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

Summary. 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

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.

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

(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

(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.

Summary. 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

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 that thing nor even to
the aggregate of known things, but to the considerations which govern

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

Summary. 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

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

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

Summary. 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,

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

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

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

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

Summary. 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

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