Readings in Philosophy of Education

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Readings in Philosophy of Education

Table of contents :
1. Philosophy and education (p. 1-38)

The challenge to philosophize about education / John S. Brubacher
In defense of the philosophy of education / Mortimer J. Adler

2. Human intelligence (p. 39-96)

Appropriation of truth / Bernard J.F. Lonergan
Apprehension, understanding and certitude / John Henry Newman
The dialogue / Emmanuel Mounier
Intelligence as a dyadic function / John W. Donohue
The creative attitude / Erich Fromm

3. Teaching and learning (p. 97-174)

The teacher / Thomas Aquinas
The order of learning / Mortimer J. Adler
The art of teaching / Francis C. Wade
Plato's theory of techne / John Wild
The art of communication / Raphael Demos
Creative learning / Edward J. Lavin

4. Moral education (p. 175-236)

On the Christian idea of man / Josef Pieper
Moral education / Jacques Maritain
The education of character / Martin Buber
Is virtue teachable? / Francis L. Sheerin
Philosophy of discipline / Raphael Demos

5. Christian intellectualism (p. 237-318)

On some typical aspects of Christian education / Jacques Maritain
American Catholic intellectualism -- a theologian's reflections / Gustave Weigel
The faith, the intellectual, and the perimeters / Walter J. Ong
Faith and intellectual freedom / John L. McKenzie

6. Curriculum (p. 319-380)

Philosophy of higher education / Josef Pieper
Science and the humanities / Robert J. Henle
Academic freedom / Journet Kahn
What is education? / George N. Shuster

7. Social and political education (p. 381-423)

Education : the long view / Arnold J. Toynbee
The Democratic concept and education / Etienne Gilson
Education vs. western civilization / Walter Lippman
The contemporary devaluation of intelligence / John C. Murray

Citation preview

Readings in THE PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION Edited by i n

Malcolm Carron, S.J.,

Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Education University of Detroit

Alfred D. Cavanaugh, M.A.

Assistant Professor of Education University of Detroit

Third Edition

The University of Detroit Press


Imprimi Potest





Provincial, Detroit Province Detroit, Michigan December 10, 1962

Nihil Obstat




Censor Librorum Detroit, Michigan December 29, 1962





Vic. Gen., Detroit Archdiocese Detroit, Michigan January 3, 1962

Ecclesiastical approbation is an official approval of this book for its stated purpose. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the imprimi potest, nihil obstat, and imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.

© Copyright 1959, 1960, and 1963 by Malcolm Carron, S.J. All rights reserved. No part of this book may reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine or newspaper.

PREFACE The serious undergraduate has long been hard pressed in his search for stimulating reading in the field of educational philosophy. Aside from a few standard sources, the student must rely on chapters here and there in more general philosophical treatises or peruse the many articles to be found scattered through the pages of scholarly journals. Often enough these materials either are not available or not readily accessible. With this need in mind and with no little urgency the editors selected and compiled the readings in this volume. But there are other reasons, undoubtedly more important, for this undertaking. For instance, it is hoped that this book will enable the student to be confronted and challenged by the ideas expressed so clearly and forcefully in these pages. Since the philosophy of educa¬ tion is an applied philosophy, both theoretical and practical, it has an almost limitless number of questions to ask, demanding as many answers. Its concern is a plethora of human values and all aspects of human endeavor so far as they relate directly or indirectly to education. The philosopher, whether he be the thirteenth century Aquinas or the contemporary Gilson vigorously puts his mind to the solution of these problems. His thought, therefore, presumably will provoke more thought, his questions give rise to further questions. If these readings somehow achieve this in the mind of the reader, their purpose will be amply realized. It is also the intent of the editors that the broad and diversified range of these readings should make its own specific contribution to the formulation of a positive Christian philosophy of education, the primary purpose of this book. For this reason most of the articles fall readily into the framework of the traditional scholastic approach to reality. But it should be noted that many do not. Some, for instance, appear in a neutral light simply because they have been edited and therefore lifted out of full context. And finally some selections were included for purposes of contrast which in no way implies consistency with scholastic philosophy or endorsement by the editors. The editors are indebted to the many authors and publishers re¬ presented in this volume for their kindness and cooperation in granting permission to quote copyrighted selections. The painstaking editorial aid of Miss Eileen Livernois is also deeply appreciated. M. C. A. D. C.


Part One


Part Two -


The Challenge to Philosophize About Education John S. Brubacher



In Defense of the Philosophy of Education. Mortimer J. Adler



Appropriation of Truth. Bernard J. F. Lonergan, S.J. Apprehension, Understanding and Certitude.

41 45

John Henry Newman 5.

The Dialogue. Emmanuel Mounier



Intelligence as a Dyadic Function. John W. Donohue, S. J.


The Creative Attitude. Erich Fromm




Part Three


The Teacher. Thomas Aquinas


The Order of Learning. H 3 Mortimer J. Adler


The Art of Teaching. U7 Francis C. Wade, S.J.


Plato’s Theory of Techne. 125 John Wild The Art of Communication. 151 Raphael Demos

12. 13.

Part Four

Creative Learning. Edward J. Lavin, S.J.




On the Christian Idea of Man. 177 Josef Pieper


Moral Education. 191 Jacques Maritain

Part Five

Part Six


The Education of Character. 205 Martin Buber


Is Virtue Teachable?.... 217 Francis L. Sheerin, S.J.


Philosophy of Discipline.. 227 Raphael Demos


On Some Typical Aspects of Christian Education 239 Jacques Maritain


American Catholic Intellectualism — A Theologian’s Reflections . 259 Gustave Weigel, S.J.


The Faith, the intellectual, and the Perimeters 287 Walter J. Ong, S. J.


Faith and Intellectual Freedom. 305 John L. McKenzie, S.J.


Part Seven


Philosophy of Higher Education. 321 Josef Pieper


Science and the Humanities. 337 Robert J.Henle, S.J.


Academic Freedom. 359 Journet Kahn


What is Education?. George N. Shuster



Education: The Long View. 383 Arnold J. Toynbee


The Democratic Concept and Education. 401 Etienne Gilson


Education vs. Western Civilization. 407 Walter Lippman


The Contemporary Devaluation of Intelligence 415 John C. Murray, S.J.

Part I Philosophy and Education

1 t

The Challenge to Philosophize About Education JOHN S. BRUBACHER

What is the reason for this greatly augmented interest in edu¬ cational philosophy? Perhaps the simplest answer is the rise of “pro¬ gressive education” as a cause celebre. At first, the newer educational procedures of this movement were a protest against the rather formal educational practices inherited from the nineteenth century. As the protest gained momentum, people began to see that the newer edu¬ cational practices were not just an amendment to traditional practice but involved a fundamental departure from it. In the early phases of the movement, “progressive education” met no more opposition than the inertia of convention. While the progressive concepts had difficulty in overcoming this inertia in practice, the advocates of reform won easy victories over such opposition in the field of theory during the 1920 s. As theoretical victories led to more and more victories in the field of practice, the defenders of traditional and conventional education finally took pen in hand to defend their own practices and even to go over John S. Brubacher, “The Challenge to Philosophize About Education,” in Modern Philosophies and Education, 54th Yearbook of National Society for the Study of Education, Pt. I, 1955, pp. 4- 5; 8; 12-13. By permission of publisher.


to the offensive to attack progressive education during the 1930’s. Then war intervened, causing an interlude in the strife of educational systems, and our whole energies were mobilized to resolve the international strife of political and economic ideologies. Now that there is an inter¬ lude after that war, we have returned to the conflict of educational ideologies again. Progressive versus Traditional Aims in Education While aggravated tensions — political, economic, religious, scientihc ~ are probably at the bottom of the proliferation of educational philosophies in the twentieth century, it should not escape notice that one philosophical endeavor to resolve these tensions is itself also a major cause of this proliferation. Except for the emergence of John Dewey and the persistent challenge of his pragmatism to every phase of contemporary education, it is unlikely that educational philosophy would have had anywhere near the rise to prominence it has had in this century. His writings were not only the inspiration for others who wrote in the same vein but, much more important for richness and breadth in professional literature, he provoked opponents of his view to make explicit a variety of philosophical defenses of traditional or conservative educational practices which had only been implicit thitherto. This was particularly true of the Catholic position. *




romantac wing of progressive education has attracted so much public attention, mostly unfavorable, that it has almost eclipsed the more sober and stable wing which drew its support largely from the leadership of John Dewey. Dewey, too, favored the activity program with its attendant pupil interest and freedom. But instead of grounding this program in a theory of child nature, he grounded it in his prag¬ matic theory of knowledge. Knowledge, he claimed, is the outcome of action. Confronted with a problem, an adult or child constructs in imagination a theory or hypothesis of how it might be solved. The truth or falsity of the proposed solution develops from whether or not the consequences of acting on the hypothesis corroborate it. Linder such a regime freedom and interest are necessary conditions for se¬ lecting appropriate ends and means in solving the child’s project The progressive in contrast to the traditional school, then, according to ewey, allows the child freedom to engage in interesting activities, not just because the child’s active nature demands it (although that is important) but also because only by initiating activities and noting their consequences is an investigator or learner warranted in asserting when knowledge is true. & In Dewey’s conception of the progressive school, the role of in¬ telligence is clearly instrumental. Taking his cue from Darwinian 4

evolution, he regards human intelligence as a relatively latecomer on the world scene. Consequently, the school cultivates intelligence as a tool to solve problems. This is very different from Aristotle and Newman, who would have education cultivate intelligence as an end in itself. For Dewey, taking his cue further from Darwinian evolution, there are no final educational ends in and of themselves. The ends of education are always subject to further reconstruction in the light of an uncertain and contingent future. Not everyone has the talent, or what is more necessary, the eco¬ nomic leisure to join that stratum of society known as the intelligentsia which cultivates intelligence as an end in itself. Yet everyone can employ intelligence in the management of his daily affairs. In the one case, the cultivation of intelligence leads to the education of the few; and in the other, to the education of the many. Consequently, pro¬ gressives claimed their educational philosophy to be more democratic than that of the traditionalists. Both philosophies, of course, supported the idea of education for all, but they differed on the quality of the education to be 'SO given. Thus, progressives further claimed that their more pupil-centered practices were more democratic than the teacher-centered practices of the traditional school. With the coming of the great economic depression of the 1930’s, the romantic individualists in the “progressive-education” movement were severely taken to task for lack of a social orientation. Spurred on by the vital sense of direction fascist and communist education seemed to possess, many progressives turned social-planners and championed the notion that the school should take the initiative in bringing about a new social order cured of the defects of the present. The idea that pro¬ gressive education should take a position in the van of social progress seemed entirely logical to many of its supporters. As a matter of fact, however, the left-wing group who captured “progressive education” for this cause received as much, if not more, unfavorable notice from the conservatively minded public as had the romantic individualists of the preceding decade. The traditional school considered itself the creature of the existing social order, not the creator of a new one! Those who thought that the school should take a position of leader¬ ship in reconstructing the social order were in- constant need of the protection of academic freedom. When the ship of state rocked vio¬ lently to and fro during the depression, conservatives were afraid that progressive educators might rock it just the bit further which would cause it to founder. Loyalty oaths, designed at this time to lessen the lurch by screening out “radical” teachers, became much more formidable threats to schools after the war when the world settled down to the prolonged cold war between the communist East and the democratic West.


2 In Defense of the Philosophy of Education Mortimer J. Adler

I. Introduction

The reason why a volume of this sort can come into being is that there exists a variety of doctrines about education, among which there are many apparent oppositions. If all the oppositions were only appar¬ ent, and not real, then there would be perfect agreement in the held of educational philosophy. No one supposes that to be the case. There are real disagreements and we are obligated to do something about them. Now I say that to regard these real disagreements as merely differences of opinion - each ‘thinker’ entitled to his own - is to do absolutely nothing about them. If the contributors to this volume regard them¬ selves merely as expressing their several points of view, among which no choice can be made on absolutely objective grounds of truth and falsity, then this symposium is a vicious travesty on the very notion of philosophy of education.

of of publisher

f\dlev “ll D,efe?,se of the Philosophy of Education,” in Philosophies 41st Wbook, National Society for the Study of Education Pt. I 7'200i 205-211; -213 - 236; 246 - 248. By permission of the


1. Philosophy as Knowledge or Opinion Either there is a distinction between knowledge and opinion, or everything is opinion. In the latter alternative, neither science nor philosophy has any objective status as a body of knowledge in which all men can be compelled to agree by the weight of the evidence and the demands of reason. In the former alternative, either (1) philosophy as well as science is knowledge, although the two spheres of knowledge are essentially distinct in object and method; or (2) only science is knowledge, and philosophy is opinion; or (3) there is no essential dis¬ tinction between philosophy and science as knowledge. Only if the first of these three possibilities is actually the case, to the complete ex¬ clusion of the other two, can this symposium have the significance or worth to which it pretends. For if everything is a matter of opinion, this collection of different opinions is nothing more than a literary adventure in comparative “intellectual” autobiography, and the reader must be seeking entertainment when he takes up a volume of this sort, containing so many equally entertainable views; or, perhaps, he should simply be pleased to find that at least one of the contributors confirms his prior prejudices; or, perhaps, reading a volume of this sort would be like a field trip among primitive tribes differing in their fundamental myths about the world and man — the reader, like the anthropologist, content to record the diversity and never to judge. The same results follow (even though a real distinction between knowledge and opinion be granted), if knowledge is identified with science, and opinion with philosophy, or if philosophy and science are identified with each other as knowledge of precisely the same sort. For, on the first hypothesis, philosophy is mere opinion, and although there may be genuine knowledge about education obtained by scientific re¬ reach, nothing that can be said as the result of philosophical analysis or reflection, is genuine knowledge. This first hypothesis, therefore, makes this symposium no less a travesty on the philosophy of educa¬ tion than results from supposing everything to be a matter of opinion. And, on the second hypothesis, this volume must become unintelligible to any reader who is acquainted with the literature of scientific research in the field of education. The several essays composing it are certainly not that sort of thing: They are not the reports of investigations of observable phenomena; they are not records of measurement and cor¬ relation; they do not conclude with statements of empirically verifiable findings, which can be tested by other investigators using the same method to gather the same sort of data. I do not mean that these essays may not contain knowledge of the sort indicated, but I do insist that they all contain more than that. The whole question is about what this more is. If it is not scien¬ tific knowledge, what is it? It must either be philosophical knowledge, 7

essentially distinct from the scientific knowledge that these essays also contain, or it must be mere opinion. If the writer or reader takes the latter alternative here, he is reduced to the same position which has already been rejected. If he takes the former alternative, he admits a real distinction between science and philosophy as different types of knowledge, essentially distinct in object and method. And he cannot avoid taking one of these two alternatives because the actual content of the essays composing this volume is prima facie evidence that there is something more here than scientific knowledge. Anyone who knows anything about the nature of scientific knowledge knows that a ‘sym¬ posium in the science of education would not present a picture of fundamental disagreements about principles and conclusions, but rather merely a variety of compatible and supplementary researches dealing with the same or related problems. It is this very difference between a collection of scientific researches and a symposium of philosophical essays which leads most people to think that science is knowledge and that philosophy is opinion. That such an inference is shallow and erroneous does not alter the point, namely, that both the writers and readers of this volume must recognize its distinctive character as a symposium on the philosophy of education. Acknowledging this, they must further acknowledge that philosophy is a sphere of knowledge or suffer the consequences of reducing this whole enterprise to a travestv upon its name and purpose.

2. Criteria of Philosophical Inquiry The criteria for judging the several contributions to this volume must be the critical standards appropriate to philosophical inquiry, whereby truth is'distinguished from falsity. This means, furthermore, that there cannot be many equally true, though opposed, philosophies of education. With respect to education, as with respect to every other matter which the philosopher considers, there can be only one set of true principles and conclusions. To say this is to say there is only one true philosophy of education, only one body of philosophical knowledge about education, and not a variety of equally entertainable systems,' each with its own arbitrary ‘postulates’ and ‘definitions.’ In this field, as in any other, the philosopher must proceed from principles evident to all, and from real, not nominal, definitions, to conclusions validly drawn. This does not mean that those who endeavor to do philosophical work cannot make errors; otherwise, how would there be so many false philosophies of education? It means only that philosophical truth is demonstrable — much more so than scientific findings are, and even more than the sort of mathematical conclusions which depend upon postulates, as in various modern geometries. It means that every error which is made in the philosophy of education can be shown to be false, 8

and must be rejected when it is so revealed. And, above all, it means that those who accept the obligation of being philosophers must accept nothing which has not been seen or been proved to be true, and reject nothing which has not been conclusively shown to be false. No part of what is strictly the philosophy of education is either a matter of faith or of opinion. Although philosophy differs from science in both object and method, it is like science in this fundamental respect that every one of its propositions is true only in the light of experi¬ enced fact and in terms of the canons of rational procedure. Like science, it differs not only from opinion, but also from dogmatic theology which proceeds in terms of a higher light than reason or experience can provide the light of supernatural faith, the gift of Clod who has revealed Himself to men. In short, philosophy, like science, is knowledge and, as knowledge, is entirely natural. The principles of religious education cannot be established by the philosopher. They ultimately rest upon religious (supernatural) faith, and are matters properly for the theo¬ logian. I shall return subsequently to the problem of religious educa¬ tion as that presents itself to the philosopher. Although I must hold that there is only one true philosophy of education, because no other position is compatible with the conception of philosophy as knowledge rather than as opinion, I cannot say, for the same reason, that what I am here going to offer as an account of the philosophy of education is the true one. I would not be offering it, of course, if I did not think it true, but whether it is true or false depends upon whether it does or does not satisfy all the criteria relevant to a critical judgment on philosophical work. Each reader must ultimately decide that for himself. My only insistence at this point is that these criteria must be the same for all; or, to put the matter another way, I am saying that unless all of the collaborators in this enterprise, both writers and readers, initially agree upon standards of judgment appropriate to philosophical discussion, any further argument among them becomes meaningless. *





The Problems

I am here concerned to indicate the questions about education which are for the philosopher to answer, and to distinguish them from those which are beyond the sphere of his special competence. This is im¬ portant to do because the existing literature which is called “philosophy of education” reveals the lack of such distinction: Problems which are not philosophical are treated as if they were, and men who are not philosophers try to solve philosophical problems. In either case, con¬ fusions of subject matter result and critical standards, standards of com¬ petence, become obscured. Everyone today would be shocked if a 9

theoretical chemist did not know the difference between a problem for chemical research and the problem of running a drug store, or if a practicing pharmacist did not realize that he had to have the special competence of a theoretical chemist before he tried to solve the latter’s research problems. In the field of the natural sciences we do ac¬ knowledge the significance of distinctions in subject matter and types of problems; we do recognize the requirements of technical competence for distinct intellectual tasks. It is unfortunate that, in our time, phi¬ losophy is not similarly respected either by the general public or by the ‘scholars.’ And this is particularly true in such fields as the philosophy of law or the philosophy of education in which the subject matter is constituted by a set of problems which can be solved only in the light of prior philosophical knowledge. Not all legal problems are philosophical; nor is technical competence in law sufficient for answering all questions about law, for some of them are truly philosophical. The same can be said for the problems of education: Only those which can be answered in terms of prior philosophical knowledge are philosophical; and the possession of such knowledge is indispensable to solving them. Tech¬ nical competence as an educator, or practical experience in the work of education, is not enough.

1. Theoretical and Practical Problems Distinguished The first step to be taken in defining the limited sphere of the phi¬ losophy of education rests upon the distinction between theoretical and practical problems. A theoretical question is one which asks about the nature of things, about what is the case in any realm of existence or phenomena. A practical question is one which asks about what should be done, about what men should do in any realm of action or production. 1 his distinction is currently made in other ways: We speak of questions of fact or questions of value, we speak of descriptive and explanatory formulations vs. normative. The answers to theoretical questions de¬ scribe or explain the facts; the answers to practical questions set up the norms or define the values which determine what men should do, for they are the standards whereby we discriminate between a better or worse choice in any case in which we face alternatives, and every practical problem is ultimately constituted by alternatives between which we are free to choose. If there were no alternatives between which we could freely choose, we would have no practical problems. The denial that men have free will - in this precise sense, that they can make genuine choices between alternatives - completely destroys the sphere of the practical as a domain of genuine problems worth thinking about. The ultimate problems of education, like those of law and medi¬ cine, are practical. They ate questions about what should be done to 10

educate a man — one s self or another. This does not mean, of course, that purely theoretical questions cannot be asked about education. The history of education, for example, is strictly theoretical knowledge about education, for it answers countless questions about what has been done by men in their effort to solve the practical problems of education. It describes the institutions and practices of education in different cultures, at different times, under different conditions. Similarly, the history of the philosophy of education is theoretical, because it answers questions about the general policies men have formulated for setting up educa¬ tional institutions and directing educational practices. But the policies themselves, precisely because they are policies, are not theoretical, but practical, and the general principles on which they are founded con¬ stitute the philosophy of education as a set of answers to the most general practical questions which can be asked about what is to be done educationally. It may be objected that there are still other theoretical questions about education than those which can be answered by a historian, whether of contemporary or past practices. The correlation of certain educational procedures with their educational effects can be measured; all sorts of measurements can be made of what goes on in the schools, educationally or administratively. But clearly the knowledge thus gained by empirical researches, metrical or otherwise, is scientific, not philo¬ sophical. We must grant, at once, that if there is a genuine science of education, it is a theoretical, and not a practical, science, for all of its problems are exactly like the problems of any of the other natural or social sciences. This is an extremely important point; for if the ultimate problems of education are practical, it follows necessarily that such prob¬ lems can never be solved in terms of scientific knowledge alone, though science may be of secondary or minor utility in helping to solve them. Educational practices are guided by general policies, and these policies in turn can be intelligently formulated only in terms of practical principles. Scientific knowledge, whether it be specifically the science of education or any of the other natural or social sciences, can never by itself direct educational practices or determine the formulation of educational policies for the simple reason that such knowledge is purely theoretical. It is descriptive or explanatory; it is not normative. Anyone who understands the method of science, the methodology common to all the investigative sciences, natural or social, knows that by such method no questions of value can be answered, no norms determined. (The methods of testing establish norms or standards only in the sense of averages, or the modes of normal distribution. This is theoretic knowledge, which can be interpreted practically, but the interpretation is not accomplished bv scientific research or method.) Thus we begin to see, not only the dis¬ tinct sphere of the philosophy of education, as answering questions unanswerable by science, but also the need for a philosophy of educa-


tion for without it there could be no certain determination of the basic practical principles underlying the policies which direct actual day-to-day educational practices. But it may still be objected that it has not yet been shown that philosophy can be practical knowledge, or that the philosophy of edu¬ cation does answer distinctively practical questions. That philosophy includes both theoretical and practical knowledge, whereas science is exclusively theoretical, can be shown, briefly, by the fact that the theory of the good, and the definition of the good of anything, is philosophical. We know that the nature of the good in general, or of the types and order of goods, are matters incapable of being investigated by scientific method. We know, furthermore, that every practical problem involves the. good, for every choice is between a better and a worse object, or course of action, or policy. Hence, we are faced with this dilemma: Either there is no knowledge, but only opinion, about what the good is in general, or what is a good life or a good society, in which case, of course, there is no practical philosophy; or there is such knowledge, as distinguished from opinion, and this is practical philosophy, its two major branches being ethics (concerned with the good life) and politics (concerned with the good society). If we take the latter alternative, we shall be able to define t e philosophy of education as answering certain practical questions subordinate to those of ethics and politics. If we take the former al¬ ternative, then there is no knowledge at all which answers practical questions, and educational policies are at best guesses or opinions without any foundation in demonstrably true principles; in which case, a book on the philosophy of education is not worth writing or reading. e objection remains, namely, that the philosophy of education may be both theoretical and practical. That it is practical follows from the existence of ethics and politics as branches of practical philosophy, and the recognition that philosophical questions about what should be done educationally are subordinate to questions about the conduct of life or the constitution of society. It may be said, however, that there are some theoretical questions about education which the philosopher answers, as, tor example, what education is, and what causes are operative in the process of education. There is some truth in this point, but its full significance requires analysis. Education itself, as something which goes on m the world, can be viewed either theoretically or practically. Viewed theoretical y, education may be regarded as a process taking place in the course of human development. Viewed practically, we see that this process is not purely natural, for it seldom, if ever, takes place without one man purposely employing skills and other means to help another man become educated. The production of an educated man is no more natural than the production of any other work of art, a shoe or a statue it by a purely natural process we mean one in which the exercise of human art is not one of the efficient causes. Now, of course, the de-


finition of education as the process whereby one man helps himself or another to form good habits is itself a piece of theoretical knowledge; and so is the proposition that the arts of teaching or learning are in¬ dispensable as efficient causes in this process. But these two items of theoretical knowledge about education — both philosophical truths — show us at once that education is fundamentally a practical affair, because it is not purely natural, because it is an artistic enterprise. 2. Definition of Education I shall subsequently defend the definition of education I have just given as the only true definition which can be given. Let me restate it, now more precisely than before: Education is the process by which those powers (abilities, capacities) of men that are susceptible to habituation are perfected by good habits, through means artistically contrived, and employed by any man to help another or himself achieve the end in view (i.e., good habits). I say that this definition can be proved to be true, and that the full statement of the proof will answer many funda¬ mental questions in the philosophy of education. But that is a matter reserved for subsequent discussion. Here I am concerned only to use the definition in order to formulate the problems of educational philo¬ sophy. It may be thought that I am thus involved in circular reasoning, for am I not saying that we shall first use this definition to determine the problems, and then, after proving it, we shall find that it helps us solve these very problems? Yes, but it should also be obvious that no one can define the problems of educational philosophy without first de¬ fining education itself, and that if only one true definition be possible, and that one be proved true, no vicious circularity is involved in the process. This will become apparent to the reader as he observes the use to which the definition is put. a. Practical Aspects of Education. In the first place, let me call attention to the fact that the difiinition, as its italicized words indicate, makes the problems of education practical, in three ways. (1) They are concerned with the good, for education aims to form not any sort of habits but only good habits, traditionally analyzed as the virtues. (2) They are artistic problems, problems of how to use means for pro¬ ducing certain desirable effects as ends. (3) They are ethical prob¬ lems in so far as they require us to consider the virtues and to under¬ stand their role as means in achieving the ultimate end of life, happi¬ ness; and they are political problems in so far as they require us to consider the responsibility, not simply of one man to another, but of the community to its members, with regard to helping them become educated. When, in these three ways, I say that the problems of education are practical, I am talking about the problems which any man faces 13

when he undertakes to educate himself or another, or to say what the community should do to educate its members. I am not talking about the problems of the science of education, or the history of education (both of which are purely theoretical - concerned with knowing what has happened or how it is happening now). I am talking about the prob¬ lems of education itself, concerned ultimately, not with knowing, but with actions to be taken. If such actions are to be intelligently directed, there must be knowledge of the ends to be sought and the means to be used. The range of practical problems in the field of education, therefore, includes questions about the ultimate ends of the whole process and about the means in general, These, as we shall see, are the basic problems of the philosophy of education, and in solving them it is 'practical because it directs action. In fact, the answers to these questions, constituting the philosophy of education, are the only prac¬ tical knowledge in the field of education, for no other practical judg¬ ments which educators can make have the certitude of knowledge. b. Education as a Cooperative Enterprise. In the second place, let me comment on the fact that the definition makes the process of education an artistic enterprise. I shall assume that everyone under¬ stands what it means to say that shoemaking or house-building, the writing of poetry and the painting of pictures, are artistic enterprises. Shoes and houses, poetry and pictures, do not happen naturally. They are things made by man, in the production of which definite skills or techniques are at work, and this is the fundamental meaning of art, the skill or technique which a man has for making things. An artistic enterprise is, therefore, a process in which human art is an indispensable efficient cause for the production of a certain effect — the product being aimed at. 6 It is necessary to go further, however, and see precisely what sort o artistic enterprise education is. All human arts are not the same We are all acquainted with the familiar division of the arts into fine and useful (according as the product is something enjoyed and used), and into free and servile (according as the product is an immaterial t mg, such as a poem or a piece of music, or a transformation of mat¬ ter, such as a shoe or a house, or even a statue). But, for our purposes, the only important distinction is that between the operative and the cooperative arts. The operative arts are those by which something is produced that would not happen in the course of nature without human intervention. These arts are completely productive in the sense that they are an indispensable cause of their products, whether the product be a shoe or a statue or a poem. In contrast, the cooperative arts are not completely productive, for they only assist nature in the achievement of the product at which they aim. Thus, for example, the arts of agri¬ culture and medicine are cooperative: Without human intervention, the eart produces its vegetation, and the living body possesses health and sustains itself against the forces of disease. Neither the farmer nor the 14

physician is absolutely needed. But the arts of agriculture and medicine, cooperating with natural causes, make the desired result more likely and achieve it in ways and under circumstances which more regularly satisfy human needs. The physician’s technique is a skilful way of cooperating with natural causes to sustain health and cure or prevent disease. When we understand this distinction between operative and cooperative art, we see at once that the various arts of the educational enterprise — among which, of course, the arts of teaching and learning are preeminent — are clearly cooperative, and not, as shoe-making or picture-painting, completely productive. Take the case of knowledge, which is one of the virtues, or good habits, at which education aims. The human mind naturally tends to learn, to acquire knowledge, just as the earth naturally tends to support vegetation. The arts of learning and teaching merely assist in the cultivation of a mind by cooperating with its natural processes of knowing, just as agricultural techniques assist nature in the production of vegetables. What is here seen to be true of knowledge as a good habit is equally true of every other good habit which men can form, for in every case men possess natural capacities which tend naturally toward certain developments, and the arts of edu¬ cation, the arts of human cultivation, merely cooperate with nature to achieve the desired result — a good habit rather than a bad one. *




3. Major Divisions of Education These considerations lead us, finally, to the major divisions of the educational process as defined. a. Self-Education and Education-by-Another. The hirst division has already been mentioned, self-education and education-by-another, but it is necessary to clarify this distinction by making three further points. (1) All learning is of two sorts: It is either learning by dis¬ covery, without the aid of others in respect of the matters being learned, or learning by instruction, with the aid of others in respect of the mat¬ ters being learned. Now, as we have seen, learning by discovery may, in turn, either be natural learning, totally without the benefit of art, or it may be self-education, in which some art is employed cooperatively by a man to facilitate the natural process. Learning by instruction is always education-by-another. Here it is important to observe that teaching is an art always used by one man with respect to another. No one teaches himself, even when he educates himself by using some art in his learning, for he who teaches must possess actually whatever the person being taught possesses only potentially and hence is able to learn. This being so, a man cannot teach himself, for then he would already have to possess actually what he is about to learn, which is impossible. Moreover, in every case in which one man is taught by


another, the primary activity of learning is on the part of the man who is taught.

Otherwise, teaching would not he a cooperative art.


we also see that learning by instruction should be conceived as aided discovery.

(2) Not every way in which one man causes learning in

another is teaching. I shall use the word stimulation’ for every way, other than teaching, in which one man is the cause of learning in an¬ other.

Here it is important to observe that what I have said about

teaching does not hold for stimulation. A man need not actually possess the knowledge or other habits which he succeeds in stimulating another to acquire.

Hence, although a man cannot teach himself, he

can, in a sense, stimulate himself to learn.

We now face the very diffi¬

cult problem of whether to classify learning-by-stimulation as education-by-another or as self-education. If we consider stimulation, in all its forms and varieties, as one of the educational arts, along with teaching, then learning-by-stimulation, as well as learning-by-instruction, is education-by-another.

But if the stimulation one man gives

another is not artistically contrived, and if it is not intended as an aid to that other’s learning, then, it seems to me, we should regard the stimulation as an accidental cause and classify the resultant learning as learning by discovery, whether that be a purely natural process or one of self-education. Education-by-another (i.e., leaning under in¬ struction or stimulation) must always be a process artistically planned and intentionally executed by that other. In the absence of educational artistry and intention on the part of others, all learning is by discovery. I trust it is not necessary to explain that the other need not be a man living and present; it may be a man, either dead or absent, who operates causally through books or other media of communication or influence. (3) Learning by discovery, especially self-education, may be joined with learning by instruction or stimulation (education by another) in every phase of the educational process. Neither excludes the other; on the contrary, both are usually involved in every field of learning, al¬ though at different stages or in different kinds of learning one or the other may predominate. There is only one further qualification here: It is impossible for a man to learn the same thing both by discovery and by instruction, for with respect to an identical item to be learned, discovery and instruction necessarily exclude each other as proximate efficient causes (although each may, in any case, function as auxiliary to the other). But this is not true of stimulation (in contrast to in¬ struction), for with respect to a given item one man may stimulate another to learn by discovery.

In fact, stimulation is only effective

educationally if it is completed by the work of discovery on the part of the individual stimulated. Hence we see that when education-bvanother is by instruction, self-education is either excluded entirely or subordinated as an auxiliary, but when it is by stimulation, self-edu¬ cation dominates the process. h. Types of Hahits Established hy Education.


The second division

is in terms of types of habits which are the proximate ends of the process. The basic division of habits is into intellectual and moral, according as they are habits of knowing and thinking, on the one hand, or habits.of desiring and acting, on the other. Thus, intellectual and moral education are divided, the one aiming at the intellectual, the other at the moral, virtues. But intellectual education can be further subdivided, according as the habits aimed at are habits of knowledge or of art. A habit of knowledge is a habit of knowing that, whereas a habit of art is habit of knowing how. Because every art is an intellectual virtue, every sort of artistic education is intellectual. There are as many subdivisions of artistic education as there are types of art, but principally there are three: (1) physical education, which cultivates the most basic arts, the arts of using one’s own body well as an instrument; (2) voca¬ tional education, which cultivates all the useful arts, whether simply productive or cooperative; and (3) liberal education, which cultivates a special sort of useful art, the liberal arts, the arts of learning itself, the arts of thinking well, of using language well, and so forth. It is difficult to classify that part of education which aims at the habit of any one of the fine arts: Certainly, it is intellectual education, but whether it is vocational or liberal is almost impossible to decide, except in particular cases when all the relevant circumstances are known. If we now call speculative that part of intellectual education which aims at habits of knowledge (either practical or theoretic knowledge), in contrast to artistic education, we can see at once that speculative education is usually auxiliary to artistic education, in so far as is necessary to know that in order to know how. This is obviously the case in most of the learned professions, such as law or medicine, preparation for which must com¬ bine the speculative and the vocational types of intellectual education. We can also see the artistic education, of one sort at least, is almost indispensable to speculative education, for some degree of competence in the liberal arts is prerequisite to speculative education at every stage; though not to the same degree, liberal education is also auxiliary to vocational education. Finally, we can at least see, though we cannot here discuss, the problem of the relation of moral to intellectual educa¬ tion, a relationship which may be expressed in terms of the dependence of intellectual education of any sort on the possession of moral virtues, and the dependence of moral education upon the possession of in¬ tellectual virtues, especially speculative habits of knowledge and the habit of the liberal arts. c. Individual Differences in Relation to Education. The third division is in terms of various attributes of the person being educated. In the first place, it should be noted that we are here considering only human education, not the training of brute animals. That men and animals are radically distinct in essence, differing absolutely in kind, not relatively in degree, is a proposition I shall discuss later; it is of 17

paramount importance to the philosophy of education. Strictly speak¬ ing, brutes can be trained or conditioned, but they cannot be educated, for education, whether by one’s self or by another, is always a work of reason, and brutes are irrational. In the second place, the human per¬ son, as the subject of education, may be normal or abnormal, and the abnormality may be either in excess or deficiency of the median quan¬ tities with respect to intelligence and other temperamental character¬ istics. There are also variations in the external and accidental circum¬ stances of the person to be educated: his sex, his economic status, his social background, etc. But most important of all is the division in terms of age. The subjects of education are either immature persons (whether infants, children, or adolescents) or they are mature (adults). Education is the business of a whole human life; it is not exclusively the occupation of the young. It begins with birth and ends with death. When we fully understand all the conditions of infantile and adoles¬ cent education, on the one hand, and adult education, on the other, we must realize that adult education is the most important of all the tem¬ poral phases of education; the education of youth is at best a beginning, and it can only be at its best when it pretends to be nothing else but preparatory for adult education. While it is true that the immature, precisely because their immaturity consists in deficiencies of habit and experience, need education more than adults, it is also true that the mature, precisely because their maturity is constituted by ampler ex¬ perience and by stable habits, can profit by education more genuinely than children. No philosophy of education which restricts itself to the education of the young can be adequate; worse than that, it will be distorted and misleading because the ends of education can only be defined in terms of an educated man; they cannot be properly defined in terms of a child merely in the process of becoming a man. d. Institutional or N oninstitutional Education. The fourth and and last division turns on whether education-by-another is institutional or noninstitutional. Institutional education may be of two sorts: either by institutions which are primarily created for educational purposes, such as schools, colleges, universities, and adult education institutes of various types; or by institutions which serve purposes other than edu¬ cation, such as the home or the church. This does not mean that the home and the church are not genuinely educational institutions, but only that they are not exclusively such; whereas, in contrast, what 1 shall call educational institutions (schools, colleges, etc.) have no other function than to educate. That is the sole end which their existence, personnel, and administration serve. This holds true even in the case of universities which claim to be devoted to research and the advance¬ ment of knowledge, as well, as to teaching, for the advancement of knowledge is meaningless except as increasing the scope and substance of what men can learn. By thus distinguishing exclusively educational institutions from all others involved in education, we are enabled to 18

distinguish the professional educator, whether teacher or administrator, from all other persons, such as parents or writers, who may also be en¬ gaged in the work of educating others. Educational institutions can be divided in many ways, of which 1 note these four: (1) according as they are privately endowed and operated, or maintained by state subsidies and politically controlled; (2) according to the character of the subjects being educated, i.e., whether normal or abnormal, immature or mature; (3) according to the primary educational aim of the institution, whether moral or in¬ tellectual, and if intellectual whether speculative or artistic, and if artistic, whether liberal or vocational, and so forth; and (4) in the sphere of intellectual education, according to the level of the institution with respect to the age of the persons being educated and the propor¬ tionate gradation in the substance of what is being taught, i.e., whether elementary, intermediate, or advanced.

So much for the types of in¬

stitutional education. Education-by-another which is noninstitutional may take a variety of forms, but they are difficult to classify exhaus¬ tively. Suffice it to mention the cultural agencies which the community is able to provide its members: books and libraries, radio programs and lectures, periodical literature, various types of vocational. apprentice¬ ship, and last, but not least, the law as promulgated, administered, and enforced. In addition, of course, there are such incidental operative causes as friends, or any individual who is helpful to another educa¬ tionally.

4. The Scope of Educational Philosophy These four divisions of the educational process enable us to indicate the full scope of the philosophy of education. In the hrst place, educational philosophy cannot be restricted to the consideration of education-by-another. The ends of education, which are the ultimate principles of educational philosophy, must be con¬ ceived in such a way that they hold equally for self-education and education-by-another. In the second place, in considering education-by-another, the phi¬ losopher must not confine himself to institutional education, and cer¬ tainly not to those peculiar institutions which are exclusively educa¬ tional; and if this be so, how much more is it true that educational philosophy is neither principally nor exclusively concerned with the work of the elementary or even the secondary schools. All educational institutions, from the lowest school to the university, are only one way in which the means of education are organized and become effectively operative. The philosopher of education is concerned with the means in general, and not with any mode of the means, except in relation to other modes.

I wish to emphasize this point because so much of what


currently offers itself as educational philosophy not only is not philo¬ sophical in method, but also is not properly philosophical in the scope of its subject matter, for it consists largely in a discussion of the ex¬ tremely limited aims of and the means peculiar to educational insti¬ tutions, especially the public school system at the elementary and secondary levels. It addresses itself only to professional educators; it is even written in a peculiar technical language, which is called ‘pedaguese’ and is almost totally unintelligible to anyone who has not ‘done time’ in a school of education. The most important phase of the educational process is that which can and should take place in adult life, when a mature individual is responsible for carrying on his own education, whether that be, in mode of causality, self-education, or education-by-another.

Certainly adult

education-by-another is noninstitutional for the most part.

Hence the

philosophy of education, properly conceived in scope, must address itself to any intelligent adult who, first of all, is responsible for accomplishing the completion of his own education since it can never be completed in youth or in educational institutions of any sort; who, secondly, as a parent or an elder, may be directly or indirectly re¬ sponsible for the education of youth; and who, as a citizen, shares re¬ sponsibility for the educational policies of his community, for the es¬ tablishment and administration of its educational institutions. Con¬ cerned with the ends of education and with the means in general (and their relationships), the philosophy of education has nothing to say to professional educators over and above what is addressed to any intelligent adult. There are, of course, many problems which belong peculiarly to professional educators. These problems appear at various levels and in various types; but none of these problems is philosophical, as I shall subsequently make clear. That so much current discussion is of these peculiar professional problems is due not only to the fact that the method and character of philosophical knowledge is unknown or disre¬ garded, but also to the fact that, in America today, we are blinded bv a romantic adoration of the child. We thus come to suppose that the most important problems of education concern the rearing of children, and we exaggerate the importance of the educational institutions which deal with children. But clearly the beginning of anything is not as im¬ portant as the end, and the beginning can only be well thought about in terms of the end.

The end of education is the educated man; in a

sense, therefore, the whole process of education is one of overcoming the deficiencies of immaturity.

Our interest in children should be in

them as potential adults. In this light, the educational institutions which deal with children and youth should, at every stage, be working to help the young to cease to be immature and become adults. The sig¬ nificance of this point will be- recognized only by those who realize how


much of contemporary schooling is devoted, by explicit policy, to pre¬ serving all the undisciplined waywardness, all the inchoate habits, of childhood. In the third place, the philosopher of education can discriminate among educational institutions according to the level of their prepara¬ tory operations, although he must always consider the education of youth as merely preparatory to adult education, and all education-byanother, whether or not institutional, as preparatory to self-education. The work of some of these institutions must be regarded as prepara¬ tory to the work of others; and the work of some can be regarded as terminal, so far as institutional education goes. Excluding, for the moment, the institutional care of subnormal persons, and considering only intellectual, not moral, education, we can see the reason for a tripartite division of educational institutions into schools (elementary and secondary), colleges, and universities. The first of these divisions is preparatory to further institutional education; the second is both preparatory and terminal; the third is terminal. To understand this, it must be remembered that no educational institution completes the process of education. University education is terminal only institution¬ ally. By doing the fundamental work of liberal education (the forma¬ tion of habits of liberal art), the college is preparatory to the specula¬ tive and vocational education of the graduate and professional divisions of the university; but it is also institutionally terminal, in so far as a person who is trained in the liberal arts needs no more institutional education to undertake the noninstitutional completion of his own edu¬ cation. _ And the schools, disregarding any difference between ele¬ mentary and secondary institutions, are preparatory for liberal educa¬ tion. I am aware that there are many problems here, largely raised by the fact that there are many individuals who, for one accidental reason or another, receive institutional education only on the first level, and perhaps not even all of that. There are other problems concerning the determination of the age periods for these different levels of institu¬ tional education, concerning the relation of vocational education to liberal education at various age levels, and of both to speculative edu¬ cation, but they are not capable of philosophical resolution and, therefore, the philosopher should refrain from discussing them. I shall comment on this point presently. In the fourth place, because he knows the distinction between the moral and the intellectual virtues, particularly with respect to the aetiology of these types of habit, the philosopher knows that educa¬ tional institutions cannot be primarily responsible for moral education. Institutionally, the primary responsibility for moral education lies in the home and the church and in the law-making and law-enforcing functions of the political community. Noninstitutionally, moral edu¬ cation depends upon the ministrations of elders, other than parents, 21

and of friends. So far as educational institutions go, moral education is accomplished by them secondarily and only in so far as (1) they are communities which, as such, can, by rule-making and rule-enforcement, regulate the conduct of their members; (2) the professional educators who compose the personnel of such institutions are elders who can advise and direct conduct, or otherwise stimulate the growth of moral habits; (3) strictly intellectual education (especially liberal and specu¬ lative), which is the primary work of educational institutions as places of teaching, is auxiliary to the formation of moral virtues. There are here two further questions for the philosopher to con¬ sider: One concerns the relation, in general, between moral and intel¬ lectual education, not only as to division of responsibility for each, but also as to their functional or causal interdependence; the other con¬ cerns the whole matter of religious education which is, of course, both moral and speculative, but in both respects rests upon supernatural knowledge, the ultimate source of which is Divine Revelation. The philosopher of education cannot, of course, make any essential deter¬ minations with regard to the ends or means of religious education; but he must certainly ask whether the education of a man can be com¬ pleted, morally or intellectually, without religious education. In so far as he knows, by strictly philosophical knowledge, that God exists and that man is divinely created with an immortal destiny, he knows, negatively, that the whole of natural (as opposed to supernaturally founded) education is fundamentally inadequate for the perfection of man. He knows negatively that the highest type of natural knowl¬ edge, metaphysics, is inadequate with respect to the very questions the metaphysician is able to answer in part, namely, the nature of God and the nature of man; he knows, at least, that another kind of knowl¬ edge is possible, supernatural knowledge possessed through the gift of faith, and that in this supernatural knowledge lies the possibility of more complete answers to these ultimate questions; hence, in knowing that wisdom is the highest of the speculative virtues, he also knows that natural wisdom, which is the highest end of intellectual education, is not, by itself, a complete or sufficient end for anyone who aims at the perfection of the human intellect. Again, negatively, he knows that the natural moral virtues may not be sufficient for the conduct of life, in so far as he can entertain the possibility that, without the grace of God, human weakness makes the attainment of even the natural moral virtues unlikely. These items of negative knowledge enable the phi¬ losopher to discuss the relation of secular to religious education only in the most general terms. He cannot solve any of the difficult practical problems which confront a secularized society, such as ours, in which church and state are separated, and in which there is a variety of religions, each of which should claim to be the only true one, or at least operates, in fact, as if that were the case. But at least he recognizes 22

that an educational philosophy can be adequate 'practically only if it is subalternated to moral theology.

5. Ends and Means in Education In the fifth place, and finally, the several divisions of the educa¬ tional process which it has been necessary to make (according to the type of agent operative — one’s self or another; according to the type of habit aimed at; according to the character of the subject to be educated; according to the type of agent other than one’s self which is causally operative — the various sorts of institutional and noninstitutional agencies), enable the philosopher of education to formulate basic questions about the variety of the means in general, their relation and order to one another. So far as his effort is to determine the ultimate ends of education, which are the ultimate principles of educational philosophy, the philosopher need pay no attention to these major di¬ visions of the educational process. The ultimate ends of education are the same for all men at all times and everywhere. They are absolute and universal principles. This can be proved. If it could not be proved, there would be no philosophy of education at all, for philo¬ sophy does not exist unless it is absolute and universal knowledge — absolute in the sense that it is not relative to the contingent circum¬ stances of time and place; universal in the sense that it is concerned with essentials and abstracts from every sort of merely accidental variation. Similarly, it must be said that educational means in general are the same for all men at all times and everywhere. If the ultimate ends of education are its first principles, the means in general are its secondary principles, and the scope of the philosophy of education goes no further than this — to know these first and secondary principles in an abso¬ lute and universal manner. To aim at knowing less than this, or to regard this as unknowable, is to deny that there is any philosophy of education; to aim at knowing more than this, without realizing that one ceases to function as a philosopher in so doing, is to confuse the philosophy of education with other subject matters and methods, or to confuse one’s self by trying to solve, philosophically, problems which cannot be philosophically solved. As I have already indicated, there are several types of problems about the means in general: (1) the enumeration of what they are and the definition of each; (2) their functional relationships; (3) their order to one another in various modes of coordination and subordina¬ tion. With respect to the last two sorts of problems, the various divi¬ sions of the educational process become significant in two ways. On the one hand, the division of education into moral and intellectual (and intellectual into speculative and artistic, and artistic into liberal and vocational) defines different parts of the total process by reference 23

to one or another type of good habit (or virtue) as the exclusive end of that part; and this enables us to consider the type of means which can be best employed for achieving that type of end.. On the other hand, the division of education according to the type of agent causally operative (whether one’s self or another, and if another, whether that agency be institutionalized or not, and if institutionalized, what sort of institution) gives us a classification of means in terms of aetiological considerations, and this enables us to determine how the means should be related to one another in any part of education or in the process as a whole —for they either exclude one another or they can be coopera¬ tive in various modes of coordination and subordination. Thus, for example, we know that, in intellectual education, the means in general are the exercise of one’s own powers and the cooperative activity of others helping one in the exercise of his own powers. This reveals, at once, the most fundamental truth concerning the means in general — that there is never any learning without the exercise of one’s own powers, for the second of the two fundamental means named above is always a cooperative agency and not a completely productive one. The second type of fundamental means is, therefore, always subordinate to the first, whereas the first can be independent of the second. The second can, moreover, be further subdivided according as the activity of the other agent is mediated (by the recorded word) or direct (as in personal confrontation); whether mediated or direct, the cooperative activity may take the form of teaching, in the strict sense, or the form of stimulation (which includes every other sort of guidance). Analysis, which I shall not state here, is able to show that these means are differently related in moral and in intellectual education. In moral education, cooperative activity which is both direct and stimu¬ lative is better than that which is mediated and doctrinal, whereas in intellectual education, teaching is always better than stimulation, and it can be equally effective as mediated or as direct activity. Moreover, self-education is much more indispensable in moral education than m intellectual education. When the difference between artistic and speculative education in the intellectual sphere is considered, analysis also shows that the ordering of the means in artistic education is, in part, like their ordering in moral education. The sharp distinction, with respect to the ordering of means, is, therefore, between the ex¬ tremes of moral and speculative (intellectual) education, with artistic (intellectual) education occupying a middle ground and resembling each extreme in part. Since my present aim is not to expound the philosophy of educa¬ tion, but to define its subject matter by a precise delimitation of its scope of problems, much that I have so far said must be taken as it is intended illustratively, for the purpose at hand. Were I expounding the philosophy of education, all of these points (and others not indicated) 24

would require much more precision of analysis as well as adequate demonstration. In the next section of this essay, I shall try to suggest the analytic and demonstrative mode of exposition, but I shall not be able actually to do more than suggest what it is like — and even then only for the ends, and not for the means — because precision of analysis and adequacy in demonstration is impossible within the conhnes of this volume. In this section, two steps remain to complete the definition of subject matter. Of these, the first task is to state the criteria for dis¬ tinguishing those practical problems about education which are philo¬ sophical from those which are not; and the second task is to distinguish between the ethical and political dimensions of the basic problems. 6. Principle, Policy, and Practice -1 have already implicitly indicated the criteria for distinguishing the problems of educational philosophy from all other problems rele¬ vant to education. In the first place, they are essentially practical, whereas the problems of educational science and history are essentially theoretic. But not all practical problems about education are philo¬ sophical. So, in the second place, we distinguish between those which are capable of being solved absolutely and universally, in the sense already suggested, and those which can be solved only relatively and contingently. Since solutions of the latter type are practical judgments having, at best, the status of probable opinions, and since practical philosophy, like theoretic, must consist of knowledge and not opinions, however probable, the only practical problems about education which are philosophical are those which can be solved by practical judg¬ ments which have the status of knowledge. These problems have already been identified. They concern the ultimate ends (what the processes and activities of education shoidd always and everywhere aim at) and the means in general (what activities or devices are avail¬ able for attaining each of the recognized aims, how these devices are related, and in what order they are to be used — or, in general, what means should be employed). So much is already clear. It is necessary, however, to understand these problems by contrast to other practical problems which are de¬ finitely not philosophical. In every field of practical activity, in law and medicine just as in education, there are three distinct levels of practical thinking and problem solving. They are ordered according to the degree of their proximity to or remoteness from action itself, and according to the kind of practical judgment which can be made at each of these degrees. The practical problem which is proximate to action itself is always a question about what to do in this case here and now. The type of practical judgment which answers questions of this sort is singular: It applies only to the case at hand. The immediate object 25

of such a judgment is a particular action to be performed under these unique circumstances. When it is verbally expressed, though it often is not so expressed, it takes the form of a decision. On the second level, in the direction of greater remoteness from action, is the prac¬ tical problem of what to do, not in this particular case, but in a whole class of cases, constituted by a set of contingent circumstances con¬ sidered in general. The type of practical judgment which solves prob¬ lems of this sort is general: It applies to more than a single case; it applies to a type of case, or a class of cases all of which conform to a certain pattern of generalized contingencies. Particular actions now become the remote object of such general practical judgments, which, when verbally expressed, as they frequently are, take the form of rules, statements of general 'policy. On the third level, most remote from action, is the practical problem of what to do in any and every case. Such problems completely abstract from every contingent circumstance, whether uniquely singular or generalized for a class of cases. They regard only the essential factors in the practical situation, disregarding accidental variations in the human agent and disregarding the con¬ tingent circumstances which are accidental variations in the conditions of his action. The type of practical judgment which solves problems of this sort is universal: It applies to every case. When verbally ex¬ pressed, such judgments take the form of statements of principle, the principles being practical in the same sense that rules and decisions are, for they are all judgments directive of action, either proximately or from afar. For brevity of reference, let me name these three levels, in the order indicated, as the levels of practice, of policy, and of principle. The whole analysis.can be briefly summarized as follows: Level

Problem About

Type of judgment


This case

Singular: Decision


This class of cases General: Rule


Every case

Universal: Statement of principle

Now with respect to everything practical, we must distinguish the order of execution from the order of intention or thinking. Thus, in practical thinking we must begin with the ends first, with the ultimate ends, and then, in successive steps, determine the means in general, then particu¬ larizations of these means, and finally we must decide on the singular means here and now to be employed. In the order of execution, how¬ ever, action starts always with the choice of these singular means here and now and only through many stages do we attain the ultimate ends which were first determined in the order of intention. Hence when we say that the ends (and the means in general) are the first (and 26

second) principles in the practical order, we mean they are first (and second) in order of practical thinking, not in the order of execution or action itself. This shows us two ways of viewing the three levels we have distinguished. From the point of view of thinking, the level of principles is first, and the levels of policy and practice are second and third, because until principles are determined, policy cannot be formed by general rules, nor can singular decisions be made intelligently in the light of general policy. From the point of execution, the level of practice is first in the sense that the immediate action is the first thing attained after a decision to act has been made. It is the first step taken, the proximate means.

By taking many such steps we gradually

achieve more generalized results, which reflect the successful execution of a policy, and finally we may attain to the complete result, the full realization of the ultimate ends, and this reflects the successful execution of our principles. At every stage of execution, of course, the means may be regarded as the proximate ends of action, but the true ends, the ends which are not means in any sense, are reached only in the final stage of execution. The ultimate ends are always potentially present in the means, for the means are the ends in the process of being realized. Thus, the ultimate ends are potentially involved in the general means (on the level of principles); and, in turn, the universal means, or the means in general, are potentially involved in the particularized means (on the level of policy); and these, in turn, are potentially involved in the singular means (on the level of practice). Thus, we see how, in the order of thinking, we pass progressively from the universal determinations of ends and means to particularized and singular determinations of means, in order to decide how to act in this case for the sake of achieving our ultimate ends, however, remote; whereas, in the order of execution, we pass from the least complete realization of the ultimate end (in the singular means in which it is most potential) through various stages in which it is more and more completely actualized. These considerations being understood, it will now be clear that the philosophy of education treats only of problems which are on the highest, or universal, level in the order of practical thinking about education. Problems of policy and problems of practice cannot be philosophically solved, for on both of these levels the problems are constituted by accidental factors and contingent circumstances. That is why, strictly speaking, the practical judgments which solve such problems are only more or less probable opinions, not knowledge, for it is never possible to be certain that an exhaustive enumeration of accidents or contingencies has been made. But the philosophy of edu¬ cation, which is practical knowledge, must abstract from every acci¬ dent and contingency, and hence it considers human education only in terms of what is essential to human nature, and the essential con¬ ditions and causes of human development or habit formation.


To say

that problems of policy and practice cannot be philosophically solved does not mean that the philosophy of education, which solves prob¬ lems of principle, is not practical.

If by practical thinking we under¬

stand thinking directive of action, either from afar or proximately, then educational philosophy is practical thinking about educational prob¬ lems, for it is indispensable to an intelligent formulation of educational policies and to an intelligent application of these policies in actual practice. Unless we know the principles which underlie them, our policies can be no better than rules of thumb or merely empirical, trialand-error procedures; and unless our decisions concretize policies, which are particularizations of principles, they are entirely unenlightened and arbitrary. It must also be clear that even a perfectly formulated philosophy of education would not by itself suffice for the direction of education, for it must always be supplemented by practical judgments on the levels of policy and practice. In the light of the principles, rules must be intelligently formulated and decisions intelligently made in order that the practical knowledge which the philosophy of education can offer may have its effects in guiding action. Although the phi¬ losopher of education cannot solve these problems which arise from the consideration of contingent circumstances, generalized or singular, the educator must do what he can to solve them by forming the best opinions he can in the light of all the available evidence. It is here that the experience of the educational practitioner becomes useful; for it is not by philosophical analysis, but in the light of ample prac¬ tical experience that one is able to make sound judgments in matters of policy. Here, too, all the theoretical knowledge about education which is afforded by the science and the history of education becomes useful to the practitioner who, using it judiciously in the light of his own experience, particularizes philosophical principles into rules of policy for this or that kind of case. (It should be noted that the science and the history of education remain essentially theoretic knowl¬ edge even when used by the practitioner in the making of practical judgments on the level of policy. Furthermore, it is doubtful whether such purely theoretic knowledge would be practically useful to him except in the light of his own experience as a practitioner.) On the lowest level of practical thinking, in the making of a decision in this particular case, it is primarily practical experience and the prac¬ titioner’s careful inspection of the detailed circumstances of the case in hand which help him to make a sound practical judgment. All of this can be summarized by saying that the philosopher of education moves on the same level as the philosopher of law or the political philosopher: He formulates the principles of education, but he determines no policies and makes no decisions. The legislator and the statesman formulate rules of law and governmental policies, and in doing so they must consider the kind of society they are regulating,


in so far as it differs from other societies in a variety of general acci¬ dents or contingencies. In doing this they are aided by their own practical experience and . by social science and history, as well, of course, as by legal and political philosophy. Whoever, in any com¬ munity, assumes the task of formulating its educational policies, con¬ sidering not man and society in their essential natures, but these men and this society in their contingent types, functions as do the legis¬ lator and the statesman, not as the philosopher. Finally, there is the judge, who applies rules of law to particular cases, and the official who executes governmental policies by deciding on this or that singular course of action. These men must be primarily men of experience, though of course they should be informed or directed by policy and principle. Here the analogy is with every man who is obligated to make educational decisions, whether concerning his own education or the education of another entrusted to his charge. This analogy helps us to see one further point about the philosophy of education. In political philosophy, two questions must be dis¬ tinguished. The .first asks, “What is the best form of government, absolutely speaking?” Here one tries to determine the political ideal, and in doing so must abstract from every variable or contingent circum¬ stance and consider only the essence of man and of human society. The second asks, “What is the best form of government, relatively speaking?” That is, what form of government is best for men and societies typified by these contingent circumstances or other specified situations? Now it is obvious that the best form of government, absolutely, may not be best relative to this type of society^ If the typical circumstances are inferior, the best form of government rela¬ tively will be an inferior form, absolutely speaking. Hence we see that the best form of government absolutely is that form which is best relative to a society typified by the best circumstances. The political philosopher must solve these two problems in the order named. His first task is always to define the political ideal; only after that is done can he determine the various approximations Jo it, each of which may be best relative to some typical set of inferior conditions. There are, however, two important qualifications concerning his solution of the second problem. In the first place, he can never be sure that he knows every grade of approximation or every set of con¬ tingent circumstances to which an approximation of the best must be relatively adapted; hence, his solution of the second problem is on the borderline between philosophical knowledge of principles and the sort of highly probable opinion with which practical men form policies. In the second place, the solution of the problem of what is best relative to a certain contingent type of society must never be confused with the statesman’s judgment concerning the type of this particular society and the best governmental policy proportionate thereto; for the politi¬ cal philosopher, in so far as he deals with contingencies at all, moves


only in the realm of possibilities, whereas the statesman is always con¬ cerned with the actual case even when he considers it as a case of a certain type, in order to see it in the light of a philosophical considera¬ tion of possible types. The educational parallel is perfect.

The philosopher of education

is primarily concerned with the educational ideal, with answering the question: “What is the best education absolutely, that is, for any man according to his essence?” This is the problem he solves by defining the ultimate ends and the means in general, as the absolute and uni¬ versal principles of education. But the philosopher of education must also consider a second problem, the one concerning various approxi¬ mations of the ideal, answering the question: “What is the best educa¬ tion relative to this type of man or relative to this type of society, the types of men and society differing accidentally from one another ac¬ cording to a variety of general contingencies?” As in the case of political philosophy, this second problem, unlike the first, cannot be perfectly solved, because whenever one deals with accidents and con¬ tingencies, the enumeration of the relevant factors is always imperfect, and the resultant classification of possible types is both insecure and somewhat arbitrary. Strictly speaking, the realm of the accidental and the contingent is the domain of potential infinity, both with re¬ spect to addition and division. Hence this second problem is on the borderline between philosophical knowledge and the sort of highly probable opinions which constitute the educational practitioner’s judg¬ ment when he forms a policy for this or that type of situation. Never¬ theless, it is important not to confuse the educational philosopher’s consideration of approximations to the ideal, relative to an analyzed variety of possible conditions, with the practitioner’s judgment con¬ cerning what is the best policy relative to this type of man or society. The importance of the borderline problem, considered in one way by the philosopher and in another way by the practitioner, is that it mediates between the ideal and the real, by applying the ideal to what can be actual (the variety of contingent possibilities), on the one hand, and by viewing the real as an actualization of one type of possibility, on the other. 7. Ethical and Political Problems of Education The problems of the educational philosopher have now been sharplv distinguished from the problems of the educator (whether on the level of policy or of practice).

They have also been divided in two ways.

The basic division is in terms of the two questions: “What is the best education absolutely?” and “What is the best relatively?” The other division is subordinate because, with respect to both the ideal and the variety of possible approximations thereto, consideration must first be given to the problems of the ends (or first principles) and of the means


in general (or secondary principles). Only one further division re¬ mains to be made. The problems of educational philosophy can be viewed in either the ethical or the political dimension. Thus, in the ethical dimension we are concerned with what is the best education for man, according to the essence of human nature, and what is the best education for men of different accidental types. In the political dimension we are concerned with what are the educational obligations of society to its members; and here we must consider, first, the ideal society and, then, the variety of possible approximations thereto; and in each case we must consider the educational obligations of a society to its members, first, according to their essential, or common, humanity and, second, according to types of accidental or individual differences. Two things become obvious at once. (1) In the light of the basic political truth that the political community, and all its institutions, is not the end of human activity, but a means toward the happiness or well-being of its members, we see that the political problems of education are concerned with the means, and then only with their organization or disposition. The ends of education are always proper¬ ly determined by the nature of man, taken essentially or in accidental varieties, and never by political considerations. Whenever political considerations influence the determination of the ends of education, we know that they are being improperly determined and that we are dealing with some form of political corruption. (2) Since the ends are the first principles and the means are secondary principles, the problems of educational philosophy are primarily ethical and only secondarily political. Furthermore, the ethical dimension is not limited to a consideration of the ends but also treats of the means without regard to their social organization; the political dimension is limited to a consideration of the means and only from the point of view of their social organization. It is clear, therefore, that all the basic problems of educational philosophy must first be solved in their ethical dimension before politi¬ cal questions concerning the obligations of a state to its members can be treated. conclusion.

Certain qualifications must, of course, be added to this On the one hand, it must be remembered that political

justice, the virtue of a good citizen, is one of the virtues included in the scope of moral education; hence, there is a sense in which, considering the education of the individual man essentially, we must regard him as a political agent and so refer a part of his education to the service of the political community as an end; but, in so doing, we must always remember that service of the state is only an intermediate end. He who serves the common welfare ultimately works for his own welfare. He does not serve the state, deified as an end in itself. On the other hand, it must be said that when we consider the political obligations of a community to its members, we must determine them by reference to the ultimate ends of education.


This is not inconsistent with the

conclusion reached above, for the ultimate ends having been ethically determined, the political problem can be solved by reference to them, but the solution itself deals with the social organization of the means. This concludes my account of the problems of educational phi¬ losophy (both in themselves and in their distinction from other prac¬ tical problems with regard to education) which must be solved by the practitioner, not the philosopher. I now turn to a brief exposition of the way in which the philosopher solves the problems which belong to him alone. III. The First Principles 1. General Nature of Principles of Education

In contemporary educational discussion, the chief confusions result from a failure to distinguish questions of principle from questions of policy. With respect to a question of principle, there can be only one right answer, for such questions can be answered demonstratively by philosophical knowledge. When, therefore, current controversialists are opposed concerning principles, they cannot both be right. On the other hand, men who concur in the same principles may reasonably differ in policy, for judgments of policy are not solely determined by the principles but also by the view that is taken of the practical exigen¬ cies which constitute the type of contingent situation for which the policy is being made, and such judgments depend upon a command of the facts and a judicious interpretation of them in the light of educa¬ tional experience. For a critical understanding of the positions and oppositions in contemporary educational discussion, it is absolutely necessary to separate issues concerning principles (which, being phi¬ losophical, can be resolved) from the competition of policies, all of which may have some merit — but only, of course, in so far as they are based on the right principles. Let me make this point concretely by using names to symbolize the basic opposition in educational discussion todav. Let us consider the issue between every variety of Deweyism (every shade of ‘progres¬ sive education ), on the one hand, and the position of President Hutchins and the advocates of the St. John’s curriculum (every type of ‘clas¬ sicism’), on the other hand. This is an extremely complex opposition, and it will be misunderstood by anyone who tries to simplify it. In the first place, it involves an issue on the level of principles which can be formulated as follows: Either the principles (i.e., the ends) of educa¬ tion are relative and variable, changing with the type of culture, the type of society, and many other contingent factors, or the principles of education are absolute and universal, sanctioning the same ends for men living in different cultures or societies. Moreover, this issue con¬ cerning first principles entails an issue concerning second principles, 32

or the means in general: For those who say that the ends are absolute and universal will also say that the means in general can be enumer¬ ated, related, and ordered, whereas those who say the ends are relative and variable will deny that any adequate or final account of the means in general can be given. The issue is clear-cut as stated in terms of principle, but when we move to the level of policy we find that the policies proposed by the opposing parties seem to have some ends in common and often seem to share the same view of the general means. Whether such agree¬ ments are apparent or real can only be determined by the closest analytical examination of how the opponents understand the ends or the means to which their words refer. Thus, for example, the fact that both parties seem to acknowledge that intellectual skills, the skills of learning and thinking, are an end of education does not mean that both understand the liberal arts in the same way, or that they agree about the place of liberal education in relation to other educa¬ tional ends, or that they make the same estimation of the means to be employed in achieving the ends of liberal education, or that both regard the liberal arts (the arts of using symbols of every sort) as con¬ stituting an educational objective which is the same for all men at ail times and everywhere, always having the same relation to the other basic objectives of education. Differences in educational policy will thus have two sources: first, a fundamental opposition with respect to the ends, and second, in con¬ sequence, a different understanding even of such ends as both parties appear to affirm. But there are other sources of opposition with re¬ spect to policy. Considering the conditions of a democratic society, such as the United States, existing in a world such as the present, the opponents make conflicting judgments in answer to a vast set of practi¬ cal questions about what is to be done here in America today: judg¬ ments concerning the obligations of the public school system, con¬ cerning the relation of vocational to liberal education at various levels of our educational institutions, concerning the distribution of equal education to all, concerning the role of educational institutions with respect to moral education in view of the decay of home and church as the other institutions charged with this responsibility, concerning the place of adult education in the total scheme, and so forth. Quite apart from the political dimension of the problem of policy, and attempting to particularize the means in general, the opponents make quite opposite judgments in answer to the many questions about educational procedure, its content or curriculum, its methods or de¬ vices: judgments concerning the need for discipline, both moral and intellectual, vs. the need of spontaneity and individual impulse; con¬ cerning a prescribed curriculum vs. a system of electives; concerning the motivation of students and how it is to be achieved; concerning the relative importance of actual experience and book-learning at vari33

ous levels; concerning the limitation of what can be achieved in any educational institution as compared with the scope of noninstitutional education in the years of maturity; concerning the precise content of the curriculum of studies at various institutional levels and also in adult life; concerning the role of the teacher, his authority, his methods, his functions as teacher and as stimulator or guide, the relation of the living teacher to the great teachers of the past, represented by books; concerning the relation of nonsymbolic intellectual techniques to the symbolic skills; concerning the project method vs. other ways of re¬ quiring the student’s intellectual activity as indispensable to the learning process; concerning the treatment of students of unequal ability and varying temperaments, both with respect to curriculum and teaching methods, and so forth. Now in all these issues of policy, and many others not enumerated, we must distinguish two sorts of opposition: Either (1) they follow necessarily from disagreement about the principles of education (the ends and the means in general) or (2) they arise quite independently of agreement or disagreement about the principles. In the former alternative, the disagreement may either take the form of the basic issue about the existence and character of the principles (whether absolute and universal or relative and variable) or it may take the subordinate form of a divergent understanding of a given end or a given means. In the latter alternative, the disagreement may arise from an indefinite number of factors upon which practical judgments about policy depend — the promptings of diverse practical experience, unequal emphasis upon this or that area of relevant fact, differing estimates of the probabilities with respect to competing claims that this way is more effective than that, differing evaluations of the rela¬ tive importance of apparently conflicting objectives, and so on. What¬ ever such causes be, the opposition of educational policies is not re¬ solvable philosophically in so far as the opposition arises independently of questions of principle. Such oppositions can only he resolved by educational experiment. The discussion of such issues is worth while only to the extent that it clarifies the practical alternatives and sug¬ gests ways of submitting the divergent points of policy to empirical testing. It is of the utmost importance to remember that the discussion of such issues is not philosophical, that the right practical judgment in answer to all such questions simply cannot be made by the philosopher of education. In the discussion of conflicting educational policies, the philosopher of education can go no further than such conflicts in policy can definitely be shown to result from disagreement about prin¬ ciples. He can contribute to the resolution of conflicts in policy in only two ways: Either (1) by demonstrating that one line of policy neces¬ sarily follows from the true principles, whereas another is incom¬ patible with the true principles rightly understood, or (2) where two


or several policies are seen to be compatible with the true principles, he may be able to show that one is probably better than the rest as a particularization of the principles for this type of situation. In both cases, he must make evident the connection between principles and policy, but only in the first alternative can he achieve the certitude of philosophical knowledge (by demonstration); in the second, he must be content with a probable judgment, because here he considers not merely the connection between principles and policy, but the fitness of the policy, as a particularization of principles in relation to a typical set of contingencies. These two alternatives, it will be remembered, conform to the distinction, already made, between the philosophical determination of the educational ideal (answering the question, “What is the best education absolutely?”) and the philosophical consideration of approximations to the ideal (answering the question, “What is the best education relative to this or that type of situation?”). 2. Outline of a Complete Exposition of Educational Philosophy * it

In the light of everything that has been said, we can now see that a complete exposition of the philosophy of education would include: (1) a demonstration that the first principles of education (the ends) are absolute and universal, (2) a demonstrative analysis of these ends in detail, their number, their order and relation to one another, (3) a demonstration that the secondary principles of education (the means in general) are absolute and universal, (4) a demonstrative analysis of these means in detail, their number, their order and relation to one another, (5) a demonstrative analysis of the relation between the means in general and their ends, (6) a demonstrative critique of edu¬ cational policies so far as these, in whole or in part, are incompatible with the true principles rightly understood, and (7) a less than demon¬ strative analysis of the variety of educational policies which particu¬ larize the principles for different possible types of contingent situations, attempting to say which sort of policy is probably best relative to a given set of possible contingencies. Anyone who knows anything about the stringent requirements of adequate demonstration or demonstrative analysis will appreciate at once that the philosophy of education could not be thus expounded briefly or easily for one who has to run while he reads. It is preposter¬ ous to expect any of the essays in this volume to expound the philo¬ sophy of education — if what is being asked for is genuinely philosophy (i.e., demonstrative knowledge) and not just loose talk about con¬ temporary issues in which questions of principle and of policy are in¬ tricately confused. It would take a volume of this size, or more, to state the philosophy of education demonstratively (on the first six points) and then to develop it in the direction of policies (on the seventh point). And even that would assume an audience who did not need instruction 35

in all the prior philosophical subject matters upon which the solution of problems in educational philosophy depends — such theoretical subject matters as metaphysics and the philosophy of nature and of man, such practical subject matters as ethics and politics. A treatise on the philo¬ sophy of education should not attempt to compress the whole of philo¬ sophy, theoretic and practical, within its borders, for philosophical knowl¬ edge cannot be compressed without distortions and deficiencies, and a good order of philosophical exposition requires that separate treatments be devoted to each of its objectively constituted subject matters before any attempt is made, in the light thereof, to treat the subject matters constituted by problems which depend for their solution upon all the prior subject matters. *






Let me, in conclusion, repeat the definition of education which I gave in the beginning, asserting then that it could be demonstrated. It was: Education is the process by which those powers (abilities, capacities) of men that are susceptible to habituation, are perfected by good habits, through means artistically contrived, and employed by any man to help another or himself achieve the end in view (i.e., good habits). In so far as this definition implies that education should be the same for all men (i.e., should aim at the same ends), its truth is proved by the establishment of the proposition that the ends of edu¬ cation are absolute and universal. To do that, as we have seen, re¬ quires the whole of theoretic philosophy, and this is presupposed by the philosophy of education. The definition also requires us to under¬ stand what the several ends are and how they are related to one an¬ other, for it is not sufficient to know simply that they are absolute and universal. Such understanding would involve the complete analysis of the virtues, in themselves, in relation to happiness, to other goods, and to each other. At this point, the whole of ethics is presupposed. And if we examine the definition one step further we see that it calls upon us to understand the means in general, and the social organization and employment of these means, in the process of education-by-another whereby the community cares for its members. At this point, a great deal of political philosophy is presupposed. Hence by examining the definition of education, which has been central to this whole analysis, we learn two sorts of things: first, the reasons why the philosophy of education presupposes almost all of theoretical philosophy, and most of practical philosophy; and second, that a complete understanding of the definition, through demonstration of its truth and demonstrative analysis of its parts, would be equivalent to solving the first five of the seven problems which I enumerated earlier as constituting the 36

whole of the philosophy of education. All that would remain, then, would be two problems concerning educational policy, neither of which is philosophical in the strict sense, but merely an application of phi¬ losophy to the discussion of problems which concern educational practi¬ tioners. I should like to add only two further comments. (1) Those who say that the ends of education are relative and variable are obligated (if they wish to proceed as philosophers and rationally support what they assert) to disprove, or prove the con¬ traries of, most of the propositions I have indicated as involved in the proof that the ends are absolute and universal. They can agree, of course, with the minimal definition of education as betterment, but they must deny that man is specifically (i.e., essentially) distinct from brutes if they think there is nothing specifically different about hu¬ man education, in contrast to animal conditioning. They must deny that all men have the same essential nature; that, having the same nature, they all possess the same vital powers; that the goodness of habits is determined by reference to the natural tendency of these powers. Otherwise they will not be able to maintain that what is essentially good for some men is not essentially good for others; and this they must maintain if they are to support their claim that the ends of education, directed toward human betterment, are relative to a wide variety of contingencies. (2) I regret that this essay may be unsatisfactory to many who are genuinely seeking enlightenment about the philosophy of education. I trust they will appreciate my reason for writing a defense of the philosophy of education rather than an exposition of it. I trust, also, that they will find that the analysis I have given of educational problems (as theoretic or practical, as philosophical or concerned with policies) helps them to clarify the intricate confusions in so much of contemporary discussion. At least they should learn some of the central issues about the philosophy of education, as well as the issues in it. That no adequate demonstrations have been completed is a fact better acknowledged than hidden; for that fact itself, when its causes are understood, says a great deal about the presuppositions of educational philosophy. If space had not been wanting, I should have wished to indicate the analysis of the virtues, as the several ends of education, as I did indicate the proof that the virtues, as ends, are absolute and universal; for the ethical knowledge, which educational philosophy presupposes, is of the greatest importance to all persons engaged in the work of education. In this last connection, I take the liberty of recommending to the reader of this essay an essay of mine which tries to do what I regret not having been able to do here — a dialectical or inductive demonstra¬ tion of the fundamental truths of moral philosophy, concerning happi¬ ness, the virtues, pleasure and other goods, and the relation of the 37

individual to the common good. This essay first appeared in The Review of Politics, 1941 (Vol. 3, Nos. 1, 2, 3), under the title “A Dia¬ lectic of Morals,” and (under the same title) is now published by the editors of the Review as a separate booklet.


Human Intelligence Part II




Appropriation of Truth BERNARD J. F. LONERGAN, S.J.

To appropriate a truth is to make it one’s own. The essential appropriation of truth is cognitional. However, our reasonableness de¬ mands consistency between what we know and what we do; and so there is a volitional appropriation of truth that consists in our willing¬ ness to live up to it, and a sensitive appropriation of truth that consists in an adaptation of our sensibility to the requirements of our knowledge and our decisions. The essential appropriation of truth sets a threefold problem. First, there is the problem of learning, of gradually acquiring the accumula¬ tion of habitual insights that constitute a viewpoint, and eventually of moving from lower to ever higher viewpoints. Secondly, there is the problem of identification. By insights one grasps unities and correlations; but besides the unity, there are the elements to be unified; and besides the correlation, there are the ele¬ ments to be distinguished and related. Until one gets the insight, one has no clue (apart from the directions given by a teacher) for picking out accurately the elements that are to be unified or related. But once Bernard J. F. Lonergan, S.J., Insight, (New York: Philosophical Library Inc., 1957), pp. 558- 562 .


the insight is reached, one is able to find in one’s own experience just what it is that falls under the insight’s grasp and what lies outside it. However, ability is one thing, and performance is another. Identifica¬ tion is performance. Its effect is to make one possess the insight as one’s own, to be assured in one’s use of it, to be familiar with the range of its relevance. Aristotle remarked, I think, that if one under¬ stands, one can teach. But the understanding that enables one to teach adds identification to insight. By that addition one is able to vary the elements at the demand of circumstances. One is able to put the questions that elicit from the pupil indications of his blind-spots and, then, to proceed afresh to the task of bringing him to the prior insights he must reach before he can master the present lesson. Thirdly, there is the problem of orientation. Every discovery can be formulated either as a position or as a counter-position. But counter-positions both seem obvious and yet are destined to ultimate reversal. Inasmuch as we inquire intelligently and reflect critically, we operate under the drive of the detached and disinterested desire to know. But once we have reached the truth, we are prone to find it unreal, to shift from the realm of the intelligible and the unconditioned back into the realm of sense, to turn away from truth and being and settle down like good animals in our palpable environment. In the measure that we fail to orientate ourselves towards truth, we both distort what we know and restrict what we might know. We distort what we know by imposing upon it a mistaken notion of reality, a mis¬ taken notion of objectivity, and a mistaken notion of knowledge. We restrict what we might know; for we can justify to ourselves and to others the labour spent in learning only by pointing to the palpable benefits it brings; and the demand satisfied by palpable benefits does not enjoy the unrestricted range of the detached and disinterested desire to know. The reader will note that the three problems of cognitional ap¬ propriation run parallel to the three levels in our knowing. The pro¬ blem of learning is met on the level of understanding and formulation. The problem of identification is met on the level of experience (where experience is used broadly to denote not only sense experience but also intellectual and rational consciousness). The problem of orientation is met on the level of reflection and judgment when at last we grasp that every issue closes when we can say definitively, It is so, or, It is not so, that the objective of knowing is being, that while being is a protean notion still its content is determined by intelligent grasp and reasonable affirmation and, after affirmation, by nothing else. We have cast our account of appropriation in terms of problems rather than in terms of results, and this purely dynamic viewpoint is of some importance. For it excludes all fetishism, all mistaking of means for ends. Clear definition, precise language, orderly arrange¬ ment, rigorous proof, and all other paraphernalia of cognitiQnal activity 42

possess their value. They serve to mark clearly the successive stages of advance. They consolidate in masterly fashion what at any given moment appears to be attained solidly and more or less permanently. They provide magnificent expressions of the truth that is to be appro¬ priated. But of their very nature they are static. They shed no light either on the pupil’s task of coming to appropriate them or on the in¬ vestigator’s task of going beyond them to the appropriation of further truth. Yet it is precisely that two-fold task that an account of appro¬ priation should envisage. The well-formulated system becomes mine in so far as I understand it, in so far as I can identify its empirical elements in my experience, in so far as I grasp the unconditioned or the approximation to the unconditioned that grounds a reasonable affirm¬ ation of it, in so far as my orientation permits me to be content with that affirmation as the final increment in my knowledge of the system and does not drive me to seek in the ‘already out there now’ some imaginative representation of what, after all, it really means. Exactly the same procedure governs efforts to go beyond the well-formulated system and to generate the stresses and strains in knowledge that will lead it to its replacement by a more adequate account of reality. It may be noted, further, that the three problems of appropria¬ tion are solidary. One cannot go far in understanding without turning to the problem of identification and, without understanding, one is unable to identify. Again, a mistaken orientation gives rise to pseudo¬ problems, but in the limit pseudo-problems bring about their own re¬ versal and with it the correction of the mistaken orientation. Thus, contemporary physics finds itself compelled to say that it deals with the entities that satisfy certain types of equations even though such entities and their processes defy our powers of imagination. Finally, unless one gives oneself to the effort to understand, one has no means of identifying in one’s experience what precisely is meant by the proper orientation of the detached and disinterested desire towards the uni¬ verse of truth and being. In a somewhat looser fashion, cognitional appropriation of truth is solidary with volitional and with sensitive appropriation. Bad will makes truth unwelcome, and unwelcome truth tends to be overlooked. For the appropriation of truth even in the cognitional field makes demands upon the whole man; his consciousness has to slip into the intellectual pattern of experience and it has to remain there with the minimum of distractions; his subconsciousness has to throw up the images that lead to insight; his desire to know has to be sufficiently dominant to keep ever further questions complementing and correcting previous insights; his observation and his memory have to contribute spontaneously to the presentation and the recall of relevant data in which the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of the unconditioned is to be found. Bad will, however, either prevents one from initiating an inquiry or, if that cannot be avoided, from prosecuting it earnestly and 43

effectively. For the collaboration of all our powers towards the grasping of truth, bad will substitutes their conspiracy to bring forth doubts about truth and evidence for error. Inversely, if the attainment of truth demands good will, still good will, as we shall see in the next chapter, is nothing but a willingness to follow the lead of intelligence and truth. So it is that man is boxed in; without the appropriation of truth, his will cannot be positively good; and without good will he cannot proceed to the attainment of truth. On his basic problem something has been said already in the account of genuineness as the operator of human intellectual development; and something more will be added in the chapters to follow. Human intelligence and reasonableness function as the higher integration of the sensitive flow of percepts and images, emotions and feelings, attitudes and sentiments, words and deeds. It follows that as the cognitional and volitional appropriations of truth are solidary with each other so also they condition and are conditioned by adapta¬ tions of human sensibility. Here the basic problem is to discover the dynamic images that both correspond to intellectual contents, orienta¬ tions, and determinations yet also possess in the sensitive Held the power to issue forth not only into words bu also into deeds. On this problem we have touched in asserting the necessity of either mysteries or myths; and to it we shall return in attempting to analyse the structure of history. For the moment it must suffice to draw attention to the fact that, as intellectual development occurs through insights into sens¬ ible presentations and imaginative representations, so also the intelli¬ gent and reasonable control of human living can be effective only in the measure that it has at its disposal the symbols and signs by which it translates its directives to human sensibility. Finally, unless one can carry out in deeds what one knows and wills, then the willing already is a failure and from failing will to bad will to unconcern for truth there are the easy and, unfortunately, familiar steps.





ApprehensionUnderstanding, and Certitude JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

I have said in these Introductory Chapters that there can be no assent to a proposition, without some sort of apprehension of its terms; that there are two modes of apprehension, notional and real; thirdly, that, while assent may be given to a proposition on either apprehension of it, still its acts are elicited more heartily and forcibly, when they are made upon real apprehension which has things for its objects, than when they are made in favour of notions and with a notional apprehension. The first of these three points I have just been dis¬ cussing; now I will proceed to the second, viz. the two modes of apprehending propositions, leaving the third for the Chapters which follow. I have used the word apprehension, and not understanding, because the latter word is of uncertain meaning, standing sometimes for the faculty or act of conceiving a proposition, sometimes for that of compre¬ hending it, neither of which come into the sense of apprehension. It is possible to apprehend without understanding. I apprehend what John Henry Newman, A Grammar of Assent, New York: Catholic Publica¬ tions Society, 1870, pp. 16-28; 167- 181.


is meant by saying that John is Richard’s wife’s father’s aunt’s husband, but, if I am unable so to take in these successive relationships as to understand the upshot of the whole, viz. that John is great-uncle-in-law to Richard, I cannot be said to understand the proposition. In like manner, I may take a just view of a man’s conduct, and therefore apprehend it, and, yet may profess that I cannot understand it; that is, I have not the key to it, and do not see its consistency in detail: I have no just conception of it. Apprehension then is simply an intelligent acceptance of the idea or of the fact which a proposition enunciates. “Pride will have a fall;” “Napoleon died at^St. Helena;” I have no difficulty in entering into the sentiment contained in the former of these, or into the fact declared in the latter; that is, I appre¬ hend them both. Now apprehension, as I have said, has two subject matters: according as language expresses things external to us, or our own thoughts, so is apprehension real or notional. It is notional in the grammarian, it is real in the experimentalist. The grammarian has to determine the force of words and phrases; he has to master the structure of sentences and the composition of paragraphs; he has to compare language with language, to ascertain the common ideas ex¬ pressed under different idiomatic forms, and to achieve the difficult work of recasting the mind of the original author in the mould of a translation. On the other hand, the philosopher or experimentalist aims at investigating, questioning, ascertaining facts, causes, effects, actions, qualities: these are things, and he makes his words distinctly subordinate to these, as means to an end. The primary duty of a literary man is to have clear conceptions, and to be exact and intel¬ ligible in expressing them; but in a philosopher it is a merit even to be not altogether vague, inchoate, and obscure in his teaching, and if he fails even of this low standard of language, we remind ourselves that his obscurity perhaps is owing to his depth. No power of words in a lecturer would be sufficient to make psychology easy to his hearers; if they are to profit by him, they must throw their minds into the matters in discussion, must accompany his treatment of them with an active, personal concurrence, and interpret for themselves, as he proceeds, the dim suggestions and adumbrations of objects, which he has a right to presuppose, while he uses them, as images existing in their appre¬ hension as well as in his own. In something of a parallel way it is the least pardonable fault in an Orator to fail in clearness of style, and the most pardonable fault of a Poet. So again, an Economist is dealing with facts; whatever there is of theory in his work professes to be founded on facts, by facts alone must his sense be interpreted, and to those only who are well furnished with the necessary facts does he address himself; yet a clever schoolboy, 46

from a thorough grammatical knowledge of both languages, might turn into English a French treatise on national wealth, produce, consumption, labour, profits, measures of value, public debt, and the circulating medium, with an apprehension of what it was that his author was stating sufficient for making it clear to an English reader, while he had not the faintest conception himself what the treatise, which he was translating, really determined. The man uses language as the vehicle of things, and the boy of abstractions. Hence in literary examinations, it is a test of good scholarship to be able to construe aright, without the aid of understanding the sentiment, action, or historical occurrence conveyed in the passage thus accurately rendered, let it be a battle in Livy, or some subtle train of thought in Virgil or Pindar. And those who have acquitted themselves best in the trial, will often be disposed to think they have most notably failed, for the very reason that they have been too busy with the grammar of each sentence, as it came, to have been able, as they construed on, to enter into the facts or the feelings, which, un¬ known to themselves, they were bringing out of it. To take a very different instance of this contrast between notions and facts; — pathology and medicine, in the interests of science, and as a protection to the practitioner, veil the shocking realities of disease and physical suffering under a notional phraseology, under the abstract terms of debility, distress, irritability, paroxysm, and a host of Greek and Latin words. The arts of medicine and surgery are necessarily experimental; but for writing and conversing on these subjects they require to be stripped of the association of the facts from which they are derived. Such are the two modes of apprehension. The terms of a pro¬ position do or do not stand for things. If they do, then they are singular terms, for all things that are, are units. But if they do not stand for things they must stand for notions, and are common terms. Singular nouns come from experience, common from abstraction. The apprehension of the former I call real, and of the latter notional. Now let us look at this difference between them more narrowly. 1. Real Apprehension is, as I have said, in the first instance an experience or information about the concrete. Now, when these in¬ formations are in fact presented to us, (that is, when they are directly subjected to our bodily senses or our mental sensations, as when we say, “The sun shines,” or “The prospect is charming,” or indirectly by means of a picture or even a narrative,) then there is no difficulty in determining what is meant by saying that our enunciation of a pro¬ position concerning them implies an apprehension of things, because we can actually point out the objects which they indicate. But sup¬ posing those things are no longer before us, supposing they have passed beyond our field of view, or the book is closed in which the 47

description of them occurs, how can an apprehension of things be said to remain to us? Yes, it remains on our minds by means of the faculty of memory. Memory consists in a present imagination of things that are past; memory retains the impressions and likenesses of what they were when before us; and when we make use of the pro¬ position which refers to them, it supplies us with objects by which to interpret it. They are things still, as being the reflections of things in a mental mirror. Hence the poet calls memory “the mind’s eye.” I am in a foreign country among unfamiliar sights; at will I am able to conjure up before me the vision of my home, and all that belongs to it, its rooms and their furniture, its books, its inmates, their countenances, looks, and movements. I sfee those who once were there and are no more; past scenes, and the very expression of the features, and the tones of the voices, of those who took part in them, in a time of trial or difficulty. I create nothing; I see the facsimiles of facts; and of these facsimiles the words and propositions which I use concerning them are from habitual association the proper or the sole expression. And so again, I may have seen a celebrated painting, or some great pageant, or some public man; and I have on my memory stored up and ready at hand, but latent, an impress more or less distinct of that experience. The words “the Madonna di S. Sisto,” or “the last Coro¬ nation,” or “the Duke of Wellington,” have power to revive that impress of it. Memory has to do with individual things and nothing that is not individual. And my apprehension of its notices is conveyed in a collection of singular and real propositions. I have hitherto been adducing instances from (for the most part) objects of sight; but the memory preserves the impress, though not so vivid, of the experiences which come to us through our other senses also. The memory of a beautiful air, or the scent of a particular flower, as far as any remembrance remains of it, is the continued presence in our minds of a likeness of it, which its actual presence has left there. I can bring before me the music of the Adeste Fideles, as if I were actually hearing it; and the scent of a clematis as if I were in my garden; and the flavour of a peach as if it were in season; and the thought I have of all these is as of something individual and from without, — as much as the things themselves, the tune, the scent, and the flavour, are from without, — though, compared with the things themselves, these images (as they may be called) are faint and inter¬ mitting. Nor need such an image be in any sense an abstraction; though I may have eaten a hundred peaches in times past, the impression, which remains on my memory of the flavour, may be of any of them, of the ten, twenty, thirty units, as the case may be, not a general notion, 48

distinct from every one of them, and formed from all of them by a fabrication of my mind. And so again the apprehension which we have of our past mental acts of any kind, of hope, inquiry, effort, triumph, disappointment, suspicion, hatred, and a hundred others, is an apprehension of the memory of those definite acts, and therefore an apprehension of things; not to say that many of them do not need memory, but are such as admit of being actually summoned and repeated at our will. Such an apprehension again is elicited by propositions embodying the notices of our history, of our pursuits and their results, of our friends, of our bereavements, of our illnesses, of our fortunes, which remain imprinted upon our memory as sharply and deeply as is any recollection of sight Nay, and such recollections may have in them an individuality and completeness which outlives the impressions made by sensible objects. The memory of countenances and of places in times past may fade away from the mind; but the vivid image of certain anxieties or de¬ liverances never. And by means of these particular and personal experiences, thus impressed upon us, we attain an apprehension of what such things are at other times when we have not experience of them; an apprehension of sights and sounds, of colours and forms, places and persons, of mental acts and states, parallel to our actual experiences, such, that, when we meet with definite propositions expressive of them, our apprehension cannot be called abstract and notional. If I am told “there is a raging fire in London,” or “London is on fire,” “fire” need not be a common noun in my apprehension more than “London.” The word may recall to my memory the experience of a fire which I have known elsewhere, or of some vivid description which I have read. It is of course difficult to draw the line and to say where the office of memory ends, and where abstraction takes its place; and again, as I said in my first pages, the same proposition is to one man an image, to another a notion; but still there is a host of predicates, of the most various kinds, “lovely,” “vulgar,” “a conceited man,” “a manufacturing town,” “a catastrophe,” and any number of others, which, though as predicates they would be accounted common nouns, are in fact in the mouths of particular persons singular, as conveying images of things individual, as the rustic in Virgil says, — Urbem, quam dicunt Romam, Meliboee, putavi, Stultus ego, huic nostrae similem.

And so the child’s idea of a king, as derived from his picturebook, will be that of a fierce or stern or venerable man, seated above a flight of steps, with a crown on his head and a sceptre in his hand. In these two instances indeed the experience does but mislead, when applied to the unknown; but it often happens on the contrary, that 49

it is a serviceable help, especially when a man has large experiences and has learned to distinguish between them and apply them duly, as in the instance of the hero “who knew many cities of men and many minds.” Further, we are able by an inventive faculty, or, as I may call it, the faculty of composition, to follow the descriptions of things which have never come before us, and to form, out of such passive impressions as experience has heretofor left on our minds, new images, which, though mental creations, are in no sense abstractions, and though ideal, are not notional. They are concrete units in the minds both of the party describing and the party informed of them. Thus I may never have seen a palm or a banana, but I have conversed with those who have, or I have read graphic accounts of it, and, from my own previous knowledge of other trees, have been able with so ready an intelligence to interpret their language, and to light up such an image of it in my thoughts, that, were it not that I never was in the countries where the tree is found, I should fancy that I had actually seen it. Hence again it is the very praise we give to the characters of some great poet or historian that he is so individual. I am able as it were to gaze on Tiberius, as Tacitus draws him, and to figure to myself our James the First, as he is painted in Scott’s Romance. The assassination of Caesar, his “Et tu, Brute?” his col¬ lecting his robes about him, and his fall under Pompey’s statue, all this becomes a fact to me and an object of real apprehension. Thus it is that we live in the past and in the distant; by means of our capacity of interpreting the statements of others about former ages or foreign climes by the lights of our own experience. The picture, which historians are able to bring before us, of Caesar’s death, derives its vividness and effect from its virtual appeal to the various images of our memory. This faculty of composition is of course a step beyond experience, but we have now reached its furthest point; it is mainly limited as regards its materials, by the sense of sight. As regards the other senses, new images cannot well be elicited and shaped out of old experiences. No description, however complete, could convey to my mind an exact likeness of a tune or an harmony, which I have never heard; and still less of a scent, which I have never smelt. Generic resemblances and metphorical substitutes are indeed producible; but I should not acquire any real knowledge of the Scotch air “There’s nae luck” by being told it was like “Auld lang syne,” or “Robin Gray;” and if I said that Mozart’s melodies were as a summer’s sky or as the breath of Zephyr, I should be better understood by those who knew Mozart than by those who did not. Such vague illustrations suggest intel¬ lectual notions, not images. And quite as difficult is it to create or to apprehend by description 50

images of mental facts, of which we have no direct experience. I may indeed, as I have already said, bring home to my mind so complex a fact as an historical character, by composition out of my experiences about character generally; Tiberius, James the First, Louis the Eleventh, or Napoleon; but who is able to infuse into me, or how shall I imbibe, a sense of- the peculiarities of the style of Cicero or Virgil, if I have not read their writings? or how shall I gain a shadow of a perception of the wit or the grace ascribed to the conversation of the French salons, being myself an untravelled John Bull? And so again, as regards the affections and passions of our nature, they are sui generis respectively, and incommensurable, and must be severally experienced in order to be apprehended really. I can understand the rabbia of a native of Southern Europe, if I am of a passionate temper myself; and the taste for speculation or betting found in great traders or on the turf, if I am fond of enterprise or games of chance; but on the other hand, not all the possible descriptions of headlong love will make me com¬ prehend the delirium, if I never have had a fit of it; nor will ever so many sermons about the inward satisfaction of strict conscientiousness create in my mind the image of a virtuous action and its attendant sentiments, if I have been brought up to lie, thieve, and indulge my appetites. Thus we meet with men of the world who cannot enter into the very idea of devotion, and think, for instance, that, from the nature of the case, a life of religious seclusion must be either one of unutterable dreariness or abandoned sensuality, because they know of no exercise of the affections but what is merely human; and with others again, who, living in the home of their own selfishness, ridicule as something fanatical and pitiable the self-sacrifices of generous high¬ mindedness and chivalrous honour. They cannot create images of these things, any more than children on the contrary can of vice, when they ask whereabouts and who the bad men are; for they have no personal memories, and have to content themselves with notions drawn from books or from what others tell them. So much on the apprehension of things and on the real in our use of language; now let us pass on to the notional sense. 2. Experience tells us only of individual things, and these things are innumerable. Our minds might have been so constructed as to be able to receive and retain an exact image of each of these various objects, one by one, as it came before us, but only in and for itself, without the power of comparing it with any of the others. But this is not our case: on the contrary, to compare and to contrast are among the most prominent and busy of our intellectual functions. Instinctively, even though unconsciously, we are ever instituting comparisons between the manifold phenomena of the external world, as we meet with them, criticizing, referring to a standard, collecting, analyzing them. Nay, as if by one and the same action, as soon as we perceive them, we 51

also perceive that they are like each other or unlike, or rather both like and unlike at once. We apprehend spontaneously, even before we set about apprehending, that man is like man, yet unlike; and unlike a horse, a tree, a mountain, or a monument, yet in some, though not the same respects, like each of them. And in consequence, as I have said, we are ever grouping and discriminating, measuring and sounding, framing cross classes and cross divisions, and thereby rising from particulars to generals, that is from images to notions. In processes of this kind we regard things, not as they are in themselves, but mainly as they stand in relation to each other. We look at nothing simply for its own sake; we cannot look at any one thing without keeping our eyes on a multitude of other things besides. “Man” is no longer what he really is, an individual presented to us by our senses, but as we read him in the light of those comparisons and contrasts which we have made him suggest to us. He is attenuated into an aspect, or relegated to his place in a classification. Thus his appellation is made to suggest, not the real being which he is in this or that specimen of himself, but a definition. If I might use a harsh metaphor, I should say he is made the logarithm of his true self, and in that shape is worked with the ease and satisfaction of logarithms. It is plain what a different sense language will bear in this system of intellectual notions from what it has when it is the representative of things: and such a use of it is not only the very foundation of all science, but may be, and is, carried out in literature and in the ordinary intercourse of man with man. And thus it comes to pass that individual propositions about the concrete almost cease to be, and are diluted or starved into abstract notions. The events of history and the characters who figure in it lose their individuality. States and governments, society and its component parts, cities, nations, even the physical face of the country, things past, and things contemporary, all that fulness of meaning which I have described as accruing to language from ex¬ perience, now that experience is absent, necessarily becomes to the multitude of men nothing but a heap of notions, little more intelligible than the beauties of a prospect to the short-sighted, or the music of a great master to a listener who has no ear. I suppose most men will recollect in their past years how many mistakes they have made about persons, parties, local occurrences, na¬ tions, and the like, of which at the time they had no actual knowledge of their own: how ashamed or how amused they have since been at their own gratuitous idealism when they came into possession of the real facts concerning them. They were accustomed to treat the definite Titus or Sempronius as the quidam homo, the individuum vagum of the logician. They spoke of his opinions, his motives, his practices, as their traditional rule for the species Titus or Sempronius enjoined. In order to find out what individual men in flesh and blood were, thev 52

fancied that they had nothing to do but to refer to commonplaces, alphabetically arranged. Thus they were well up with the character of a Whig statesman or Tory magnate, a Wesleyan, a Congregationalist, a parson, a priest, a philanthropist, a writer of controversy, a sceptic; and found themselves prepared, without the trouble of direct inquiry, to draw the individual after the peculiarities of his type. And so with national character; the late Duke of Wellington must have been im¬ pulsive, quarrelsome, witty, clever at repartee, for he was an Irishman; in like manner, we must have cold and selfish Scots, crafty Italians, vulgar Americans, and Frenchmen, half tiger, half monkey. As to the French, those who are old enough to recollect the wars with Napoleon, know what eccentric notions were popularly entertained about them in England; how it was even a surprise to find some military man, who was a prisoner of war, to be tall and stout, because it was a received idea that all Frenchmen were under-sized and lived on frogs. Such again are the ideal personages who figure in romances and dramas of the old 'school; tyrants, monks, crusaders, princes in disguise, and captive damsels; or benevolent or angry fathers, and spendtrift heirs; like the symbolical characters in some of Shakespeare’s plays, “a Tapster,” or “a Lord Mayor,” or in the stage direction “Enter two murderers.” What I have been illustrating in the case of persons, might be instanced in regard to places, transactions, physical calamities, events in history. Words which are used by an eye-witness to express things, unless he be especially eloquent or graphic, may only convey general notions. Such is, and ever must be, the popular and ordinary mode of apprehending language. On only few subjects have any of us the opportunity of realizing in our minds what we speak and hear about; and we fancy that we are doing justice to individual men and things by making them a mere synthesis of qualities, as if any number what¬ ever of abstractions would, by being fused together, be equivalent to one concrete. Here then we have two modes of thought, both using the same words, both having one origin, yet with nothing in common in their results. The informations of sense .and sensation are the initial basis of both of them, but in the one we take hold of objects from within them, and in the other we view them outside of them; we perpetuate them as images in the one case, we transform them into notions in the other. And natural to us as are both processes in their first elements and in their growth, however divergent and independent in their direction, they cannot really be inconsistent with each other; yet no one from the sight of a horse or a dog would be able to anticipate its zoological defiinition, nor from a knowledge of its definition to draw such a picture as would direct the eye to the living specimen. Each use of propositions has its own excellence and serviceableness, 53

and each has its own imperfection. To apprehend notionally is to have breadth of mind, but to be shallow; to apprehend really is to be deep, but to be narrow-minded. The latter is the conservative principle of knowledge, and the former the principle of its advance¬ ment. Without the apprehension of notions we should for ever pace round one small circle of knowledge; without a firm hold upon things, we shall waste ourselves in vague speculations. However, real appre¬ hension has the precedence, as being the scope and end and the test of notional; and the fuller is the mind’s hold upon things or what it considers such, the more fertile is it in its aspect of them, and the more practical in its definitions. Of course, as these two are not inconsistent with each other, they may co-exist in the same mind. Indeed there is no one who does not to a certain extent exercise both the one and the other. Viewed in relation to Assent, which has led to my speaking of them, they do not in any way affect the nature of Assent itself, which is in all cases absolute and unconditional; but they give it an external character corresponding respectively to their own: so much so, that at first sight it might seem as if Assent admitted of degrees, on account of the variation of vividness in these different apprehensions. As notions come of ab¬ stractions, so images come of experiences; the more fully the mind is occupied by an experience, the keener will be its assent to it, if it assents, and on the other hand, the duller will be its assent and the less operative, the more it is engaged with an abstraction; and thus a scale of assents is conceivable, either m the instance of one mind upon different subjects, or of many minds upon the subject, varying from an assent which looks like mere inference up to a belief both intense and practical, — from the acceptance which we accord to some accidental news of the day to the supernatural dogmatic faith of the Christian. It follows to treat of Assent under this double aspect of its subjectmatter, — assent to notions, and assent to things. *




Indefectibility of Certitude

It is the characteristic of certitude that its object is a truth, a truth as such, a proposition as true. There are right and wrong convictions, and certitude is a right conviction; if it is not right with a consciousness of being right, it is not certitude. Now truth cannot change; what is once truth is always truth; and the human mind is made for truth, and so rests in truth, as it cannot rest in falsehood. When then it once becomes possessed of a truth, what is to dispossess it? but this is to be certain; therefore once certitude, always certitude. If certitude in any matter be the termination of all doubt or fear about its truth, 54

and an unconditional conscious adherence to it, it carries with it an in¬ ward assurance, strong though implicit, that it shall never fail. Indefectibility almost enters into its very idea, enters into it at least so far as this, that its failure, if of frequent occurrence, would prove that certitude was after all and in fact an impossible act, and that what looked like it was a mere extravagance of the intellect. Truth would still be truth, but the knowledge of it would be beyond us and unattainable. It is of great importance then to show, that, as a general rule, certitude does not fail; that failures of what was taken for certitude are the exception; that the intellect, which is made for truth, can attain truth, and, having attained it, can keep it, can recognize it, and preserve the recognition. This is on the whole reasonable; yet are the stipulations, thus obviously necessary for an act or state of certitude, ever fulfilled? We know what conjecture is, and what opinion, and what assent is, can we point out any specific state or habit of thought, of which the dis¬ tinguishing mark is unchangeableness? On the contrary, any con¬ viction, false as Well as true, may last; and any conviction, true as well as false, may be lost. A conviction in favour of a proposition may be exchanged for a conviction of its contradictory; and each of them may be attended, while they last, by that sense of security and repose, which a true object alone can legitimately impart. No line can be drawn between such real certitudes as have truth for their object, and apparent certitudes. No distinct test can be named, sufficient to discriminate between what may be called the false pro¬ phet and the true. What looks like certitude always is exposed to the chance of turning out to be a mistake. If our intimate, deliberate conviction may be counterfeit in the case of one proposition, why not in the case of another? if in the case of one man, why not in the case of hundred? Is certitude then ever possible without the attendant gift of infallibility? can we know what is right in one case, unless we are secured against error in any? Further, if one man is infallible, why is he different from his brethren? unless indeed he is distinctly marked out for the prerogative. Must not all men be infallible by consequence, if any man is to be considered as certain? The difficulty, thus stated argumentatively, has only too accurate a response in what actually goes on in the world. It is a fact of daily occurrence that men change their certitudes, that is, what they con¬ sider to be such, and are as confident and well-established in their new opinions as they were once in their old. They take up forms of religion only to leave them for their contradictories. They risk their fortunes and their lives on impossible adventures. They com¬ mit themselves by word and deed, in reputation and position, to schemes which in the event they bitterly repent of and renounce; they set out in youth with intemperate confidence in prospects which 55

fail them, and in friends who betray them, ere they come to middle age; and they end their days in cynical disbelief of truth and virtue anywhere; — and often, the more absurd are their means and their ends, so much the longer do they cling to them, and then again so much the more passionate is their eventual disgust and contempt of them. How then can certitude be theirs, how is certitude possible at all, considering it is so often misplaced, so often fickle and incon¬ sistent, so deficient in available criteria? And, as to the feeling of finality and security, ought it ever to be indulged? Is it not a mere weakness or extravagance, a deceit, to be eschewed by every clear and prudent mind? With the countless instances, on all sides of us, of human fallibility, with the constant exhibitions of antagonist certitudes, who can so sin against modesty and sobriety of mind, as not to be content with probability, as the true guide of life, renouncing ambitious thoughts, which are sure either to delude him, or to dis¬ appoint? This is what may be objected: now let us see what can be said in answer, particularly as regards religious certitude.

1 First, as to fallibility and infallibility. It is very common, doubt¬ less, especially in religious controversy, to confuse infallibility with certitude, and to argue that, since we have not the one we have not the other, for that no one can claim to be certain on any point, who is not infallible about all; but the two words stand for things quite distinct from each other. For example, I remember for certain what I did yesterday, but still my memory is not infallible; I am quite clear that two and two makes four, but I often make mistakes in long addition sums. I have no doubt whatever that John or Richard is my true friend, but I have before now trusted those who failed me, and I may do so again before I die. A certitude is directed to this or that particular proposition; it is not a faculty or gift, but a disposi¬ tion of mind relatively to a definite case which is before me. Infall¬ ibility, on the contrary, is just that which certitude is not; it is a faculty or gift, and relates, not to some one truth in particular, but to all possible propositions in a given subject-matter. We ought, in strict propriety, to speak, not of infallible acts, but of acts of infallibility. A belief or opinion as little admits of being called infallible, as a deed can correctly be called immortal. A deed is done and over; it mav be great, momentous, effective, any thing but immortal; it is its fame, it is the work which it brings to pass, which is immortal, not the deed itself. And as a deed is good or bad, but never immortal, so a belief, opinion, or certitude is true or false, but never infallible. We cannot speak of things which exist or things which once were, as if they were something in posse. It is persons and rules that are infallible, 56

not what is brought out into act, or committed to paper. A man is infallible, whose words are always true; a rule is infallible, if it is unerring in all its possible applications. An infallible authority is certain in every particular case that may arise; but a man who is certain in some one definite case, is not on that account infallible. I am quite certain that Victoria is our Sovereign, and not her father, the late Duke of Kent, without laying any claim to the gift of infallibility; as I may do a virtuous action, without being impeccable. I may be certain that the Church is infallible, while I am myself a fallible mortal; otherwise, I cannot be certain that the Supreme Being is in¬ fallible, until I am infallible myself. It is a strange objection, then, which is sometimes urged against Catholics, that they cannot prove and assent to the Church’s infallibility, unless they first believe in their own. Certitude, as I have said, is directed to one or other definite concrete proposition. I am certain of proposition one, two, three, four, or five, one by one, each by itself. I may be certain of one of them, without being certain of the rest; that I am certain of the first makes it neither likely nor unlikely that 1 am certain of the second; but were I infallible, then I should be certain, not only of one of them, but of all, and of many more besides, which have never come before me as yet. Therefore we may be certain of the infallibility of the Church, while we admit that in many things we are not, and cannot be, certain at all. It is wonderful that a clear-headed man, like Chillingworth, sees this as little as the run of every-day objectors to the Catholic religion; for in his celebrated Religion of Protestants he writes as follows: — “You tell me they cannot be saved, unless they believe in your proposals with an infallible faith. To which end they must believe also your propounder, the Church, to be simply infallible. Now how is it possible for them to give a rational assent to the Church’s infallibility, unless they have some infallible means to know that she is infallible?

Neither can they infallibly know the infallibility of this means, but by some other; and so on for ever, unless they can dig so deep, as to come at length to the Rock, that is, to settle all upon something evident of itself, which is not so much as pretended.”1 Now what is an “infallible means”? It is a means of coming at a fact without the chance of mistake. It is a proof which is sufficient for certitude in the particular case, or a proof that is certain. When then Chillingworth says that there can be no “rational assent to the Church’s infallibility” without “some infallible means of knowing that she is infallible,” he means nothing else than some means which is certain; he says that for rational assent to infallibility there must be an absolutely valid or certain proof. This is intelligible; but observe how his argument will run, if worded according to this interpreta1 ii. n. 154.

Vide Note I at the end of the volume.


tion: “The doctrine of the Church's infallibility requires a proof that is certain; and that certain proof requires another previous certain proof, and that again another, and so on ad infinitum, unless indeed we dig so deep as to settle all upon something evident of itself.” What is this but to say that nothing in this world is certain but what is self-evident? that nothing can be absolutely proved? Can he really mean this? What then becomes of physical truth? of the discoveries in optics, chemistry, and electricity, or of the science of motion? Intuition by itself will carry us but a little way into that circle of knowledge which is the boast of the present age. I can believe then in the infallible Church without my own personal infallibility. Certitude is at most nothing more than in¬ fallibility pro hac vice, and promises nothing as to the truth of any proposition beside its own. That I am certain of this proposition to-day, is no ground for thinking that I shall have a right to be certain of that proposition to-morrow; and that I am wrong in my convictions about to-day’s proposition, does not hinder my having a true con¬ viction, a genuine certitude, about to-morrow’s proposition. If indeed I claimed to be infallible, one failure would shiver my claim to pieces; but I may claim to be certain of the truth to which I have already attained, though I should arrive at no new truths in addition as long as I live.

2 Let us put aside the word “infallibility;” let us understand by certitude, as I have explained it, nothing more than the relation of the mind toward given propositions: — still, it may be urged, it involves a sense of security and of repose, at least as regards these in particular. Now how can this security be mine, without which certitude is not, if I know, as I know too well, that before now I have thought myself certain, when I was certain after all of an untruth? Is not the verv possibility of certitude lost to me for ever by that one mistake? What happened once, may happen again. All my certitudes before and after are henceforth destroyed by the introduction of a reasonable doubt, underlying them all. Ipso facto they cease to be certitudes, — they come short of unconditional assents by the measure of that counterfeit as¬ surance. They are nothing more to me than opinions or anticipations, judgments on the verisimilitude of intellectual views, not the posses¬ sion and enjoyment of truths. And who has not thus been balked by false certitudes a hundred times in the course of his experience? and how can certitude have a legitimate place in our mental constitu¬ tion, when it thus manifestly ministers to error and to scepticism? This is what may be objected, and it is not, as I think, difficult to answer. Certainly, the experience of mistakes in the assents which 58

we have made is to the prejudice of subsequent ones. There is an antecedent difficulty in our allowing ourselves to be certain of something to-day, if yesterday we had to give up our belief of something else, of which we had up to that time professed ourselves to be certain. This is true; but antecedent objections to an act are not sufficient of them¬ selves to prohibit its exercise; they may demand of us an increased circumspection before committing ourselves to it, but may be met with reasons more than sufficient to overcome them. It must be recollected that certitude is a deliberate assent given expressly after reasoning. If then my certitude is unfounded, it is the reasoning that is in fault, not my assent to it. It is the law of my mind to seal up the conclusions to which ratiocination has brought me, by that formal assent which I have called a certitude. I could indeed have withheld my assent, but I should have acted against my nature, had I done so when there was what I considered a proof; and I did only what was fitting, what was incumbent on me, upon those existing conditions, in giving it. This is the process by which knowledge accumulates and is stored up both in the individual and in the world. It has sometimes been remarked, when men have boasted of the knowledge of modern times, that no wonder we see more than the ancients, because we are mounted upon their shoulders. The conclusions of one generation are the truths of the next. We are able, it is our duty, deliberately to take things for granted which our forefathers had a duty to doubt about; and unless we summarily put down disputation on points which have been already proved and ruled, we shall waste our time, and no make advances. Circumstances indeed may arise, when a question may legitimately be revived, which has already been definitely determined; but a re-consideration of such a question need not abruptly unsettle the existing certitude of those who engage in it, or throw them into a scepticism about things in general, even though eventually they find they have been wrong in a particular matter. It would have been absurd to prohibit the con¬ troversy which has lately been held concerning the obligations of New¬ ton to Pascal; and supposing it had issued in their being established, the partisans of Newton would not have thought it necessary to re¬ nounce their certitude of the law of gravitation itself, on the ground that they had been mistaken in their certitude that Newton discovered it. If we are never to be certain, after having been once certain wrongly, then we ought never to attempt a proof because we have once made a bad one. Errors in reasoning are lessons and warnings, not to give up reasoning, but to reason with greater caution. It is absurd to break up the whole structure of our knowledge, which is the glory of human intellect, because the intellect is not infallible in its conclusions. If in any particular case we have been mistaken in our inferences and the certitudes which followed upon them, we are 59

bound of course to take the fact of this mistake into account, in making up our minds on any new question, before we proceed to decide upon it But if while weighing the arguments on one side and the other and drawing our conclusion, that old mistake has been allowed for, or has been, to use a familiar mode of speaking, discounted, then it has no outstanding claim against our acceptance of that conclusion, after it has actually been drawn. Whatever be the legitimate weight of the fact of that mistake in our inquiry, justice has been done to it, before we have allowed ourselves to be certain again. Suppose I am walking out in the moonlight, and see dimly the outlines of some figure among the trees; — it is a man. I draw nearer, — it is still a man; nearer still, and all hesitation is at an end, — I am certain it is a man. But he neither moves, nor speaks when I address him; and then I ask myself what can be his purpose in hiding among the trees at such an hour. I come quite close to him, and put out my arm. Then I find for certain that what I took for a man is but a singular shadow, formed by the falling of the moonlight on the interstices of some branches or their foliage. Am I not to indulge my second certitude, because I was wrong in my first? does not any objection, which lies against my second from the failure of my first, fade away before the evidence on which my second is founded? Or again: I depose on my oath in a court of justice, to the best of my knowledge and belief, that I was robbed by the prisoner at the bar. Then, when the real offender is brought before me, I am obliged, to my great confusion, to retract. Because I have been mistaken in my certitude, may I not at least be certain that I have been mistaken? And further, in spite of the shock which that mistake gives me, is it impossible that the sight of the real culprit may give me so luminous a conviction that at length I have got the right man, that, were it decent towards the court, or consistent with self-respect, I mav find myself prepared to swear to the identity of the second, as I have already solemnly committed myself to the identity of the first? It is manifest that the two certitudes stand each on its own basis, and the antecedent objection to my admission of a truth which was brought home to me second, drawn from a hallucination which came first, is a mere abstract argument, impotent when directed against good evi¬ dence lying in the concrete. 3 If in the criminal case which I have been supposing, the second certitude, felt by a witness, was a legitimate state of mind, so was the first. An act, viewed in itself, in itself is not wrong, because it is done wrongly. False .certitudes are faults because thev are false, not because they are supposed certitudes. They are, or may be, 60

the attempts and the failures of an intellect insufficiently trained, or off its guard. Assent is an act of the mind, congenial to its nature; and it, as other acts, may be made both when it ought to be made, and when it ought not. It is a free act, a personal act for which the doer is responsible, and the actual mistakes in making it, be they ever so numerous or serious, have no force whatever to prohibit the act itself. We are accustomed in such cases, to appeal to the maxim, “Usum non tollit abusus;” and it is plain that, if what may be called functional disarrangements of the intellect are to be considered fatal to the recognition of the functions themselves, then the mind has no laws whatever and no normal constitution. I just now spoke of the growth of knowledge; there is also a growth in the use of those faculties by which knowledge is acquired. The intellect admits of an educa¬ tion; man is a being of progress; he has to learn how to fulfil his end, and to be what facts show that he is intended to be. His mind is in the first instance in disorder, and runs wild; his faculties have their rudimental and inchoate state, and are gradually carried on by practice and experience to their perfection. No instances then whatever of mistaken certitude are sufficient to constitute proof, that certitude itself is a perversion or extravagance of his nature. We do not dispense with clocks, because from time to time they go wrong, and tell untruly. A clock, organically considered, may be perfect, yet it may require regulating. Till that needful work is done, the moment-hand perhaps marks the half-minute, when the minutehand is at the quarter-past, and the hour-hand is just at noon, and the quarter-bell strikes the three quarters, and the hour-bell strikes four, while the sun-dial precisely tells two o’clock. The sense of certitude may be called the bell of the intellect; and that it strikes when it should not is a proof that the clock is out of order, no proof that the bell will be untrustworthy and useless, when it comes to us adjusted and regulated from the hands of the clockmaker. Our conscience too may be said to strike the hours, and will strike them wrongly, unless it be duly regulated for the performance of its proper function. It is the loud announcement of the principle of right in the details of conduct, as the sense of certitude is the clear witness to what is true. Both certitude and conscience have a place in the normal condition of the mind. As a human being, I am unable, if I were to try, to live without some kind of conscience; and I am as little able to live without those landmarks of thought which certitude secures for me; still, as the hammer of a clock may tell untruly, so may my conscience and my sense of certitude be attached to mental acts, whether of consent or of assent, which have no claim to be thus sanctioned. Both the moral and the intellectual sanction are liable to be biassed by personal inclinations and motives; both require and admit of discipline; and as it is no disproof of the authority 61

of conscience that false consciences abound, neither does it destroy the importance and the uses of certitude, because even educated minds, who are earnest in their inquiries after the truth, in many cases remain under the power of prejudice or delusion. To this deficiency in mental training a wider error is to be attributed, — the mistaking for conviction and certitude states and frames of mind which make no pretence to the fundamental condition on which con¬ viction rests as distinct from assent. The multitude of men confuse together the probable, the possible, and the certain, and apply these terms to doctrines and statements almost at random. They have no clear view what it is they know, what they presume, what they suppose, and what they only assert. They make little distinction between cre¬ dence, opinion, and profession; at various times they give them all perhaps the name of certitude, and accordingly, when they change their minds, they fancy they have given up points of which they had a true conviction. Or at least bystanders thus speak of them, and the very idea of certitude falls into disrepute. In this day the subject-matter of thought and belief has so in¬ creased upon us, that a far higher mental formation is required than was necessary in times past, and higher than we have actually reached. The whole world is brought to our doors every morning, and our judgment is required upon social concerns, books, persons, parties, creeds, national acts, political principles and measures. We have to form our opinion, make our profession, take our side on a hundred matters on which we have but little right to speak at all. But we do speak, and must speak, upon them, though neither we nor those who hear us are well able to determine what is the real position of our intellect relatively to those many questions, one by one, on which we commit ourselves; and then, since many of these questions change their complexion with the passing hour, and many require elaborate consideration, and many are simply beyond us, it is not wonderful, if, at the end of a few years, we have to revise or to repudiate our con¬ clusions; and then we shall be unfairly said to have changed our certitudes, and shall confirm the doctrine, that except in abstract truth, no judgment rises higher than probability. Such are the mistakes about certitude among educated men; and after referring to them, it is scarcely worth while to dwell upon the absurdities and excessess of the rude intellect, as seen in the world at large; as if any one could dream of treating as deliberate assents, as assents upon assents, as convictions or certitudes, the pre¬ judices, credulities, infatuations, superstitions, fanaticisms, the whims and fancies, the sudden irrevocable plunges into the unknown, the obstinate determinations, — the offspring, as thev are, of ignorance, wilfulness, cupidity, and pride, — which go so far to make up the 62

history of mankind; yet these are often set down as instances of certitude and of its failure.

4 I have spoken of certitude as being assigned a definite and fixed place among our mental acts; — it follows upon examination and proof, as the bell sounds the hour when the hands reach it, — so that no act or state of the intellect is certitude, however it may resemble it, which does not observe this appointed law. This proviso greatly diminishes the catalogue of genuine certitudes. Another restriction is this: — the occasions or subject matter of certitude are under law also. Putting aside the daily exercise of the senses, the principal subjects in secular knowledge, about which we can be certain, are the truths or facts which are its basis. As to this world, we are certain of the elements of knowledge, whether general, scientific, historical, or such as bear on our daily needs and habits, and relate to ourselves, our homes and families, our friends, neighbourhood, country, and civil state. Beyond these elementary points of knowledge lies a vast subject-matter of opinion, credence, and belief, viz. the field of public affairs, of social and professional life, of business, of duty, of literature, of taste, nay, of the experimental sciences. On subjects such as these the reasonings and conclusions of mankind vary, — “mundum tradidit disputationi eorum;” — and prudent men in consequence seldom speak confidently, unless they are warranted to do so by genius, great experience, or some special qualifications. They determine their judgments by what is probable, what is safe, what promises best, what has verisimilitude, what impresses and sways them. They neither can possess, nor need certitude, nor do they look out for it. Hence it is that — the province of certitude being so contracted, and that of opinion so large — it is common to call probability the guide of life. This saying, when properly explained, is true; however, we must not suffer ourselves to carry a true maxim to an extreme; it is far from true, if we so hold it as to forget that without first principles there can be no conclusions at all, and that thus probability does in some sense presuppose and require the existence of truths which are certain. Especially is the maxim untrue, in respect to the other great department of knowledge, the spiritual, if taken to support the doctrine, that the first principles and elements of religion, which are universally received, are mere matter of opinion; though in this day, it is too often taken for granted that religion is one of those subjects on which truth cannot be discovered, and on which one conclusion is pretty much on a level with another. But on the contrary the initial truths of divine knowledge ought to be viewed as parallel to the initial truths of secular: as the latter are certain, so too are the former. I


cannot indeed deny that a decent reverence for the Supreme Being, an acquiescence in the claims of Revelation, a general profession of Christian doctrine, and some sort of attendance on sacred ordinances, is in fact all the religion that is usual with even the better sort of men, and that for all this a sufficient basis may certainly be found in prob¬ abilities; but if religion is to be devotion, and not a mere matter of sentiment, if it is to be made the ruling principle of our lives, if our actions, one by one, and our daily conduct, are to be consistently directed towards an Invisible Being, we need something higher than a mere balance of arguments to fix and to control our minds.

Sacrifice of

wealth, name, or position, faith and hope, self-conquest, communion with the spiritual world, presuppose a real hold and habitual intuition of the objects of Revelation, which is certitude under another name. To this issue indeed we may bring the main difference viewed philosophically between nominal Christianity on the one hand, and vital Christianity on the other. Rational, sensible men, as they con¬ sider themselves, men who do not comprehend the very notion of loving God above all things, are content with such a measure of probability for the truths of religion, as serves them in their secular transactions; but those who are deliberately staking their all upon the hopes of the next world, think it reasonable, and find it necessary, before starting on their new course, to have some points, clear and immutable, to start from; otherwise, they will not start at all. They ask, as the preliminary condition, to have the ground sure under their feet; they look for more than human reasonings and inferences, for nothing less than the “strong consolation,” as the Apostle speaks, of “those immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,” His counsel and His oath. Christian earnestness may be ruled by the world to be a perverseness or a delusion; but as long as it exists it will pre-suppose certitude as the very life which is to animate it. This is the true parallel between human and divine knowledge; each of them opens into a large field of mere opinion, but in both the one and the other the primary principles, the general, fundamental, cardinal truths are immutable. In human matters we are guided by probabilities, but, I repeat, they are probabilities founded on certainties. It is on no probability that we are constantly receiving the informations and dictates of sense and memory, of our intellectual instincts, of the moral sense, and of the logical faculty.

It is on no probability that we

receive the generalizations of science, and the great outlines of history. These are certain truths; and from them each of us forms his own judgments and directs his own course, according to the probabilities which they suggest to him, as the navigator applies his observations and his charts for the determination of his course.

Such is the main

view to be taken of the separate provinces of probability and certainty in matters of this world; qnd so, as regards the world invisible and


future, we have a direct and conscious knowledge of our Maker, His attributes, His providences, acts, works, and will, from nature, and revelation; and beyond this knowledge lies the large domain of theology, metaphysics, and ethics, on which it is not allowed to us to advance beyond probabilities, or to attain to more than an opinion. Such on the whole is the analogy between our knowledge of matters of this world and matters of the world unseen; — indefectible certitude in primary truths, manifold variations of opinion in their application and disposition.




5 The Dialogue EMMANUEL


Every experience leads us to the vital conclusion that thought only begins where there is a free passage for the mind between receptivity and initiative. Imagination unfortunately persists in placing thought in an immobile schema: the receptivity of the watchful eye, a recording disc, or inversely, as a purely autonomous creator which fabricates objects from its own substance. The inner dialectic of thought is a constant coming and going between perception and response, assimila¬ tion and invention, passivity and activity. The capacity for reflection indicates the mobility and penetration of which thought is capable in this dual activity. Thus when we say that thought is dialogue, we mean this quite strictly. We never think alone. The unspoken thought is a dialogue with someone who questions, contradicts or spurs one on. This inner debate, however complicated and prolonged — it may last a lifetime — is quite different from rumination, which is a wandering around the same spot.

Even if immobilised by crisis from time to time, the inner

dialogue moves towards an aim.

It is, in spite of its interiorisation,

Emmanuel Mounier. The Character of Man, 1956 by Harper & Row, Publishers, Incorporated. the publisher.


pp. 252-255. Copyright© Reprinted by permission of

realistic thought. Its coherence is made of social encounters and solid experience. It has the same pattern as the elementary behaviour of. thought, which is both conversation and meditation. ■ There are therefore two elements in the complex act of thought. The first element of the dialogue is that of offosition. In opposi¬ tion thought becomes aware of its limits and its aspirations. We have met it at each crisis in the growth of personality. It shapes practically the whole of adolescent thinking. Every great discovery of the mind, said Bergson, starts with a ‘No’. Yet this ‘no’ is already framing the affirmations which will grow from it, like the plant from its seed; only those who have never experienced the dialectic of discovery will re¬ proach young men of twenty for the negative character of their first statements of position. They may perhaps settle down into an attitude of opposition. This egocentric fixation perpetuates some rebellious dissatisfaction of child¬ hood: there is an excessive affectivity, sustained by the constant need of all weak natures, to find, like the child, a sort of borrowed strength by opposition. There are persons who always need, to use one of de Maistre’s favourite formulae, ‘to fire their ideas point-blank’ upon someone or upon another idea. ‘Polemics are my natural style’, declared Chateaubriand, ‘I must have an adversary somewhere.’ ‘To think', said Alain, ‘is to say no.’ And we know how their common ancestor, Abelard, found it difficult to distinguish thinking from pugnacity. But apart from this particular case, and the even rarer one of the perverse type, the refusals which the adolescent projects on every side are an explosive ascesis, already overflowing with the love of positive values, to which he is appealing in the midst of his inspired fury. For in living thought, opposition cannot exist in an isolated state, but only in relation to an actual or budding affirmation. A concrete thought consists of the confrontation of two ideas in a flexible antithesis, radically different from the ‘all or nothing’ of petrified thought. One dominates the other without eliminating it, for this inner adversary serves as a springboard from which it can surpass itself. Thus in the heart of affirmation lurks the questioning irony, to dislocate its nar¬ rowness, and the methodical doubt, which unsettles assurance, not to dissolve it, but to throw it forward towards wider understanding. If affirmation loses its hold, the latent antithesis gathers strength and compromises the established equilibrium. If the relaxation is temporary, this danger only stimulates the momentarily disconcerted affirmation to reassert its authority by a fresh test: then progress is made. Thus a living faith experiences, one after the other, without getting lost in any of them, all the doubts that might be put forward by its opponents, and often more lucidly than they do: this perpetual coming and going, in which each rhythmical return still moves a step forward, is the mental hygiene of faith. But in a mind without authority it creates a 68

morbid oscillation between objection and affirmation. This weakness appears in its elementary form in the phenomenon of inversion of ideas.13 A person is driven to an obsessive longing for something which is repugnant to him, even to an irresistible drive to realise it: blasphemous ideas invade the believer as he enters church or approaches the sacraments, a mother has an urge to drown the child she adores, an honest, prudish woman is attacked by obscene impulses. This affective ambivalence is always directed towards a preferred activity, which leads one to suspect that it is fear of action which throws them into such embarrassment. We should not confuse these scrupulous, obsessional types with minds of a dialectic turn, like Plato, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Proudhon, who may, to a superficial glance, seem somewhat similar. Their acute sense of the journeyings of thought and their naturally great virtuosity give an astonishing quality to their work. But it develops a vast pattern instead of marking time or becoming immobilised in opposi¬ tion. Yet even in them we find two poles of temperament, those for whom thought is a sword cutting off an alternative (Kierkegaard), and those for whom it is essentially synthesis.14 Affirmation without the rebellious seed which bursts through every¬ thing, to make a way for life, the inner accomplice of disconcerting reality, will sooner or later drift towards the autistic circle. . This extreme is represented by the paranoiac affirmation: it has become nothing but a compact block of opposition: since it has refused vital opposition, it has become opposition itself, an opposition without future, brutal and infertile like a lump of matter. The taste for paradox fluctuates on the edge of these two forms of opposition: sometimes a purely paranoiac aggressiveness, sometimes a lively awareness that truth, like life, uses a dialectic of dislocation in order to reproduce itself and make progress. The intelligence that has stiffened into con¬ trariness withers. Systematic depreciation and negativism are embryo¬ nic forms of psychastenia or paranoia, with a poor prognosis. Intelligence which knows nothing of struggle dies another kind of death. Such are the irritating tribe of conciliatory spirits, the ‘broad-minded’ accepting peace at any price, always accepting the last opinion they have heard, respectful of everything because they respect nothing, ready to betray everything to enjoy the false truce of unison. Living thought has also a factor of communication and, directly connected, a factor of expansion and conquest. The love of truth is a self-communicating love. A faith that is not missionary is a dead faith. The need for proof, for collective agreement, are basic com¬ ponents of thought: they are totally lacking in some madmen, and are obliterated in thoughts of a schizoid nature, which are intoxicated by their own affirmation. We rediscover the dual movement of thought in this fervour of communication: availability and affirmation. The 69

effort at communication is constantly working on the forjms of expression and stripping spontaneous thought of its false ideas, its utopias, its complications. This is the stumbling block of the schizoid, hence his defects of style, over-profusion, mannerism, obscurity. But the forces of affirmation struggle ambiguously with the powers of response for the disinterested zeal for truth is blended with an ego¬ centric utilisation of thought. And instinct stands by waiting to take control of the operation. In convincing others, wrote Peguy,t lies the idea of victory, and in persuasion the desire to overcome may be stronger than the joy of communicating. Knowledge also fosters the instinct of possession and aggressiveness. In propaganda or in teaching some enjoy the sense of domination so much that they transform the service of truth into a temporal government of minds, an imperialism which is one of the most cruel in history. The highest activity of thought, considered as a form of social life, is comprehension. It commits us, cruv &kq “rij ipvxn ■ It is, says Bleuler, something that happens ‘between one whole and another whole’. It conciliates availability and affirmation. Doubly disinterested, for it opens twice upon the outer world, on a truth to be gained and on a neighbour to be discovered. Yet it mobilises all the forces of the mind to their highest power of concentration. Neither the acquisition of impersonal knowledge, nor the imposition of one’s own views, re¬ quires such a skilful use of one’s capacities nor such a strength of personal qualities. Like the sociologists, we consider that the social act is creative of the intellectual act, but to the materialist psycho¬ sociologist this act is a simple echo of the environment: in a personal psychology it is a highly organized response inseparable from a dialogue. In this response are found, one in the other, personal autonomy, the social link and the progressive universality of the mind.





Intelligence as a Dyadic Function JOHN W.




find that he must navigate over fairly choppy waters. There is, for instance, a certain difficulty affecting the choice of a procedure in view of current styles and standards in philosophical discourse. Most academic philoso¬ phers today do not share the enthusiasm of philosophers of education for the brisk survey of a wide landscape.

They prefer to level the sights of

a highly sophisticated erudition on circumscribed problems of a quite technical, even largely linguistic nature.

Indeed a logical analyst would

doubtless be scandalized by a topic so spacious as the present one.


this sort of climate a brief paper on the educational resonances of a particular philosophy of man must choose between alternative paths. It may elect to examine thoroughly a minute patch of the canvas and thereby run the risk of producing a statement which will not seem John Donohue, S. J. “From a Philosophy of Man: Reflections on Intelligence as a Dyadic Function,” Educational Theory, Vol. IX, No. 3 (July, 1959) pp. 140151. By permission of author and publisher.


especially relevant or it may attempt a glancing and superficial resume of a theme both more sizable and more pertinent.

I have chosen this

latter course but with no notable sang-froid. Moreover, an enterprise of this sort assumes, as do most essays in educational theory, that formal philosophy really counts for something in education and this is a conviction worth some examination. assumption can be understood in two ways. is quite warranted.


Theoretically, I think, it

That is to say, philosophy is at least potentially

significant for educational practice.

Historically, however it is not so

clear that philosophers have actually constituted much of a makeweight so far as education is concerned.

In any historic concretization of the

educational enterprise we can distinguish two phases, not perfectly separated but interpenetrating and mutually influential.

Dewey im¬

plied the distinction when he remarked in Liberalism and Social Action that the end-products of a total education (of which schooling is but one part) are “dominant habits of mind and character.” Or as the older formula had it: intellectual and moral virtues. For convenience’s sake we might call one of these two phases the technical, using the term loosely as a label for the whole process whereby through the acquisition of certain skills and information a young person becomes virtuoso enough to cooperate productively in some of the myriad roles of man’s many communities. The other aspect is that guidance or moral phase which aims at helping this same young person become virtuous enough to fufill these roles with consistent responsibility. Now it does not seem that philosophers have, as a rule, been very influential in determining the character either of this technical or of this moral moment in historic educational practices.


njen have always realized what the social scientists have more recently detailed in showing us how the aims and content of the technical or academic phase of an education usually reflect and are decided in terms of the total way of life which the older people in a given society are handing on to their children.

In this sense, any education is literally

traditional although not necessarily conservative.

For if a particular

way of life places a premium upon conventional procedures and the status quo, that is what will be transmitted but if the adult generation esteems adventuresome or pragmatic qualities and encourages inven¬ tiveness and restless zeal for improvement, that, too, will be communi¬ cated.

But in any event, technical education in any culture seems to

present itself as a chief instrument of social continuity and as such is shaped by the people’s common way of life rather than by the philo¬ sopher’s recommendations. On the other hand, neither has that conceptualization of moral standards and ideals which structures the process of character educa¬ tion generally originated with the professional philosophers.


frequently it has been the work either of the religious societal form


whose precise function includes the provision.of an ethical and finalistic interpretation of human experience or of social movements which have assumed something of the aura of a religion. We must grant, of course, that those profound historic tremors which, from time to time, shake the consciousness of the human com¬ munity are decisive for education and if a philosophy catches and articulates their note it will have a strong appeal.

Thus, if you like,

the passion for national self-determination may have found a ration¬ alization in certain philosophies with a nationalistic strain.

One thinks

of Gentile’s career in Italy, for instance, or of the way Hegelianism was employed at times in Germany.

Even more striking has been the

Marxist formulation of the widespread hunger not merely for bread but for social justice. Nevertheless, so far as education is concerned, it seems to me that we should count as the authentic source of primary influence in these cases, precisely those deep though unsystematized per¬ ceptions and feelings to which a whole era may vibrate and which have been more often awakened by the lives and teachings of heroes, by technical and scientific transformations, by new geographical discoveries or developments in arts and letters than by philosophers. Historic cultures, in short, do not generally seem to have taken the intellectualization of their educational practice from consciously philosophical sources. These remarks must be hedged against misunderstanding.


are not intended to argue, for instance, that the sole or even the main function of a philosopher should be to conceptualize the consciousness of his age although surely all great philosophers achieve this to some extent. Nor would I maintain that the degree to which a philosophy colors educational aims and practices is the criterion of its truth.


philosophical quest, like the scientific quest and the artistic quest, has its own goals and a considerable job of transposition is needed before the relevant findings of this inquiry are in position to be operative in the concrete work of education.

No doubt this job of transposition and

formulation is the distinctive task of that meditating and interdisciplinary discipline par excellence, the philosophy of education. But even when it has been accomplished we cannot be sure that these philosophical deliverances actually will be operative. to ignore them.

The most of men may choose

At least, this is what the historic record suggests but

your true philosopher might conclude that it only proves that the most of men are no more likely to be authentic savants than authentic saints.

II The reservations above having been noted, we can go on to ask a particular question of the philosophy of Man.


The question is this:

What is the full register of human intelligence?

Or, if speaking of

intelligence seems to prejudge a philosophical issue, what is the full range of those activities commonly called intelligent and what are im¬ plications of the evidence which in themselves they constitute?


will be understood, I hope, that when hereafter I speak of intelligence I use the conventional short-hand term which, translated, means “man in his intelligent activity.”

There is no intention of hypostatizing the

mind; it is not reason that thinks but men who use their intelligences in manifold ways. The present question can be focused by dramatizing it as a con¬ frontation of the two most widely heard American educational theorists of the past half-century: John Dewey and Robert Maynard Hutchins. We may think of each of them as responding to our question with an answer which is two-fold, having an affirmative and a negative facet. Dewey would strongly affirm the value of pragmatic, problem-solving, instrumental intelligence.

Together with this affirmation there would

go the rejection as purely illusory of what Aristotle called the nous theoretikos, the power for a kind of thought whose truth has a criterion other than that of success in action.

From Hutchins, on the other hand,

we would get an affirmation of the value of the speculative activity of intelligence, that power which takes hold of real things by grasping their intelligible aspect.

Together with this affirmation there would

go, not so much a theoretical rejection of practical intelligence, as a neglect of it amounting to an effective dismissal. No doubt both our protagonists in certain places qualify those theses which elsewhere they systematically exaggerate for didactic purposes.

Here, however, we are

simply employing Dewey and Hutchins as symbols of polar positions on the scope of intelligence. Each of these theories has a worthwhile point of view and without subscribing to every detail of their individual analyses, one can readily applaud the affirmations of both. But I would, for my part, deplore their negations or exclusions. In both cases, it seems to me that a concentration on a particular insight has meant the formulation of a theory of intelligence which is so strongly monistic in bent as to quite impoverish the concrete phenomena and to cover rather than discover certain of its implications. For this reason, there¬ fore, I find each of these interpretations insufficient as an answer to the question proposed.

The theory to which, instead, I would myself

adhere, maintains that human intelligence is pluralistic in its function and that the vital apprehension of valid knowledge is, in the concrete order, polymorphic.

Intelligence, so to say, has more than one note

and more than one key. Its register embraces both instrumental and contemplative approaches to reality and each of these is genuinely fruitful. If we turn for a moment to the psychologist we will be reminded that our cognitive experience first presents itself to reflection as a mar-


vellously rich, though confused, complex. It enfolds sensation and imagination each of them ministering to and neither of them identical with intelligence.

It includes intuition, reasoning and memories as

well as the. making of hypotheses and systems.

In the living person

it takes on distinctive colorations from such factors as sex, age, habitat and individual history. It is often intertwined with a profound affective disposition which, as Rousselot pointed out, itself heightens perception and provides man with a quasi-new “power of abstraction,” a new formal object.

Thus the optimist is stirred by and draws from all things

their smiling aspect and the pessimist will say with Jacques in As You Like It: “I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs.”1 The psychologist himself may not be interested in analyzing this com¬ plex into its several factors for the sake of regrouping them thereafter in a synthesis. He may simply be content with delineating as accurately as possible the intellectual syndromes.

It would seem defensible, how¬

ever, for the philosopher to attempt such analyses so long as he makes his abstractions from actual experience and is not unmindful that, since the elements abstracted are never perfectly isolated in the concrete, the abstract formula is necessarily partial. It is here proposed that one such analysis of our intellectual ex¬ periences confirms a celebrated thesis enunciated in the sixth book of the Nicomachean Ethics. According to that thesis the manifold expres¬ sions of human intelligent activity point to a fundamental division between two archetypical expressions of intelligence, the practical and the speculative, neither one of which can be reduced to the other. This does not mean a distinction between two minds but rather between two modes or manners of intelligent action. There is a practical valence of intelligence which shows itself in the arts and technics as well as in scientific experimentation and in the solving of not a few problems in human relationships. Moreover, the validation of all these ways-means or ends-means activities lies in their degree of actual success.


there is also another primary form of intelligent action for which it is nowadays somewhat hard to find a non-derogatory label since such terms as “speculative, theoretical, contemplative” are, in certain milieus at least, rather overcast. Let us call it, again for convenience’s sake, the insightful or meditative intelligence — a prehensive power which can penetrate to a true, though not of course to an exhaustive under¬ standing of things as they really are. When men think in this fashion they apprehend to comprehend and the knowledge generated may well be'quite useful. Yet even if it were not, it would still be an immanent enrichment and a value or end in itself. The philosophical thinking, even of the strict experimentalist, involves refined expressions of this reflective function and it has its everyday actualizations in all those 1 Pierre Rousselot, “Amour Spirituel et Synthese Aperceptive,” Revue de Philosophic, XVI (March, 1910), 225-240.


cases which indicate that often we do know more about nature than just its instrumental characteristics. In a moment we shall consider some of those phenomena in a little detail, suggesting in a rudimentary way bits of the experiential evidence whose exigencies and hints are best accounted for by a theory of basic pluralism in the ways of knowing.

I say best accounted for because

while monistic explanations may be and have been given I must confess that they seem to me forced and inadequate.

But first of all, by way

of preamble, it might be wise to make clear just what questions are not under discussion at the present time. It is not now, for instance, a question as to whether or not any knowledge exists at all.

For the purposes of this paper the affirmative

reply is assumed as inevitable if only because the contradictory pro¬ position blows itself out of the water.2 In the second place, there is no question here as to whether or not some of this knowledge is knowledge of a real world existing independently of the knower.

Doubtless this

issue, though rather obsessional in character, has been central in modern philosophy but since there must be limits to any paper I am here as¬ suming the realist proposition which holds that there is some immediate knowledge of extra-mental reality.

Parenthetically, it might be added

that anyone who works with people would probably accept at least the existence of other human beings. If a hermit says he is a solipsist he may only be rated exotic but a teacher who would make the same claim might well appear oddly inconsistent.

Finally, there is no con¬

cern at present to defend the non-physical or immaterial character of intellection although the writer is personally persuaded that a further analysis of either one of these two functions of intelligence, the practical or the insightful, will point to the non-materiality of their source. The base from which our thesis on the dyadic function of in¬ telligence is projected is, to give it a thumping title, that of a realistic historical personalism.

Realistic because it is convinced that man-the-

knower can escape the narrow world of the strict sense-empiricist without having recourse to the idealistic claim for knowing intelligible essences immediately, in themselves, as the proper object of human understanding.

In the perspective adopted here it is maintained that

all natural knowledge in some way takes its rise from experiences in¬ volving sensory awareness but that it can issue in something more than the reorganization of this material of sense experience since the in¬ telligible reality of things can be grasped in and through that sensory impact.

Secondly, this philosophy calls itself historical because it in¬

sists that the world men know is a world in forward process, a world moving and evolving and that man himself, as one Christian thinker 2See the succinct argument on this point in: Francis H. Parker, “Realistic Epistemology” in John Wild (ed.), The Return to Reason (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1953), p. 152.


has put it, “Is so constituted that he can actuate and express himself only in such a process . . . history is indeed the matrix in which human nature is realizing itself.”3

Finally, our philosophy is person-

alistic because its central concern is with the human person who develops in that process and progressively actualizes therein his physical, social, rational, moral potential.

A personalism of this sort is not individualistic

in the pejorative sense for it recognizes in man an essential social dimension and understands, as Sturzo puts it, that man cannot exist, nor develop nor live his life outside the social forms. Ill For those even casually acquainted with contemporary American educational theory no very lengthy exposition or defense of the prag¬ matic function of intelligence is necessary.

We shall, therefore, limit

ourselves here to two points — both indicating the precise area in which it would seem that the pragmatic principle of verification can be ac¬ cepted by anyone and also underscoring a worthwhile intellectual atti¬ tude to which the pragmatic concern, at its deepest level, is sincere witness.

For it is to the educational implications of these two points

that we shall afterwards appeal. What sort of experience most clearly manifests the practical in¬ telligencer1

Were ours an absolutely fixed and immobile universe there

would, of course, be nothing either to make or to do and therefore neither any need for a practical intelligence nor any way of knowing of its existence since it would never be called into exercise.

So far

as I know, however, once the fabled Parmenides is left behind no philosopher is ever found holding for such a perfectly motionless and immutable world. Moreover, during the past hundred years men have been coming to an ever more-detailed and profound understanding of their own essential situation in a web of processes.

They know

themselves to be living in a universe which in its human as well as infrahuman dimensions is constantly evolving.

This conviction tran¬

scends systematic divergencies and is shared by a variety of humanisms although it is made to rest on different bases in the different cases. For the Marxist it follows upon the dialectical interpretation of history; for the instrumentalist, from the universalization of the Darwinian hypothesis.

For the Christian the evidences both of biological and

social evolution fit into a much wider view of cosmic process whose full significance is be grasped only in terms of a theology of history. But at any event it is clear enough that in a moving world, men who are themselves in motion will be continually confronted with the 3Robert C. Pollock, “History is a Matrix,” Thought, XXVI (Summer, 1951), 206 - 7. Iam much indebted to the work of Professor Pollock for an appreciation of the significance of process — social, historical, cosmic - for this is a theme which he has brought forward with great penetration.


need to deliberate and choose.

A great many of these deliberations

will be concerned precisely with the selection of ways and means for the appropriation of desired ends.

But how shall we know whether

a concrete deliberation and a concrete choice of a particular means has been sound except by noting whether in practice what we aimed at as a correct course of action actually turned out to be such?

It will

be generally held, I believe, on all sides — by Thomists, Marxists or experimentalists — that at least in the realm of practical judgments on concrete measures (prescinding for the moment from the ethical validity of the goal and the means) the truth of a plan of action is in its success.4 Some of these concrete measures are creative and pertain to the, zone of things to be produced.

The primitive hunter wandering through

the forest wonders if a log on the bank is long enough and strong enough to bridge the stream.

He tries it out and if he actually gets

across his hypothesis has been confirmed. Or one can imagine the sort of task that confronts the officers of a professional education group as they plan for its annual meeting.

They want to book the gathering

into a hotel which will be comfortable and adequately supplied with meeting rooms while at the same time reasonable in price and con¬ venient in location.

They want a program which will allow for variety

in the papers and freedom for the writers while at the same time main¬ taining some sort of coherent pattern and realistic standards of length. Eventually they finish the cutting and trimming, the weighing and deliberating and decide upon a particular program for a particular hotel in a particular city. This decision is a practical judgment and if, as a matter of fact, the hotel does turn out to be both agreeable and moderate and the program both flexible and instructive then the com¬ mittee’s judgments were good and therefore true for it is just in this happy concordance of the practical decision on means with the directive desire of the goal sought that the truth of the practical reason resides. Somewhat similar situations are verified in certain concrete moral issues where a particular dilemma is resolved in terms of basic moral convictions antecedently determined.

Suppose that a school adminis¬

trator is persuaded that his work with young people must be built upon a relationship of friendship incarnated in an open-hearted kindness. It has become evident that one of the students who had formally re¬ sponded to this attitude is now growing progressively more withdrawn and hostile and is exerting a harmful influence on the school com¬ munity itself.

What decision must be taken?

Must the student in

question be dismissed in the interests of the common good?

Or if he

4For a development of this theme in Thomism (where, perhaps, some would not expect to find it) see from the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas himself the Commentary on the Nichomachean Ethics, Book VI, lecture 2 as well as Summa Theologica, I 79, 11-12; I-II, 57, 5. An excellent popular exposition will be found in Joseph D. Hassett, S.J., et al., The Philosophy of Human Knowing, (Westminster: The Newman TPress, 1954), pp. 116-123.


can yet be retrained, does a truly rational kindness demand that he be firmly disciplined or is there more real hope in a policy of for¬ bearance?

If the principal sincerely follows his own conscience his

decision will be subjectively right but its objective truth will depend upon whether or not the course of action adopted really does best serve those imperatives of justice and love which are his master-guides. Dewey, for one, would of course go much beyond this.

For him

all thought originates in necessity rather than wonder and all thinking is in some sense a problem solving. Not only would he explain in terms of its success the truth of that practical intelligence which is deployed in the ordering of concrete means to determined productive or ethical goals but he would reconstruct the whole philosophical ex¬ planation of experience from that base and dismiss whatever could not somehow be brought within this orbit.

But my concern at this

point is rather to advise those of an excessively rationalistic bent not to underestimate the mind’s pragmatic role.

If one lives in the past

one may be inclined to nurture only a narrowly contemplative function of intelligence but if one lives in history one cannot ignore its operative power.

For me the central intuition which is the nuclear value of

the instrumentalist outlook is found in this reminder that reality is not completely disclosed by meditation — some of its facets must be ap¬ proached in and through overt action — and that in any event the career of thought is indeed instrumental to the whole of human existence and loses its plenary richness if divorced from that existential context. Once I have correctly perceived it, I do indeed know that the object across the room is a chair and there is no particular reason why I should say that this awareness is not knowledge or even that it is not useful. But I also know more about that chair when I sit in it. The example is trivial but there is another area in which the principle is enormously significant. For as Maritain has remarked the pragmatic intuition finds its fullest application in the moral order.

There is

a whole realm in which knowledge not completed by action is thin and unreal.

Only the compassionate man, for instance, really knows

what compassion is.

It is no wonder that problems of human conduct

were the ones that most engaged the mind and heart of John Dewey. Whenever he talks of knowledge the thought of its moral implications is not far away. Thus he observed in Moral Principles in Education that the whole business of the teacher is to see to it that the greatest possible number of ideas acquired by young people are so acquired as to become true motive forces of conduct.

And in this he would

have been understood by Emmanuel Mounier, the great French Chris¬ tian Personalist, who wrote:

“A thought which does not lead to a

decision is incomplete thought.”5

Not false, indeed, but incomplete.

5Emmanuel Mounier, The Character of Man, trans. Cynthia Rowland (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1956), p. 264.


IV The second half of the thesis I should like to maintain asserts that there is an authentic knowledge, a truth, which is not the child of practical activity and not expressed in operational formulae. Such a claim is obviously staked in highly contested territory under heavy fire from convinced experimentalists in general and positivists in par¬ ticular.

The latter, for instance, quite rightly suspect that to admit

the possibility of meaningful propositions other than those verifiable by appeal to an activity of the bodily senses is to open the door to metaphysical and theological statements — something they most certainly do not wish to do.

Conversely, a thesis like ours would be established,

I suppose, if there were demonstrated the existence of a distinctive philosophical method which, while not that of the physical sciences, is still valid and even scientific in the broad sense of productive of knowledge. Instead of moving, as the physical sciences do, from ex¬ plicit knowledge of one fact to explicit knowledge of another, philosophy as thus conceived would be the movement, under the intellect’s own dynamism from implicit to explicit knowledge in one and the same case. But its starting point, the data from which its insights are drawn, would be experiential. Since this whole matter of the range of intelligence is complex it is susceptible of a variety of approaches and discussion at various levels of intensity with the temperatures varying accordingly.6 I should like for my part here simply to underline two quite ordinary experiences which for me point inescapably to the acquisition of truth through a non-pragmatic function of intelligence.

For I do not see that ex¬

periences of this sort can be adequately explained in operational terms nor yet explained away. “Non-pragmatic,” does not, of course, mean “non-active” for in these experiences one is not at all intellectually passive in the sense in which the seeing eye or a spinning tape recorder 6Logical positivism, for instance, is controverted in E. L. Mascall’s little book, Words and Images (New York: The Ronald RresS Company, -1957). Again, the defense of a pluralism of ways of knowing has obvious links with the central position of immediate realism and for a succinct exposition of that view I cannot do better than how to Parker’s essay in the symposium, Return to Reason, which was mentioned in note 2, above or to R. J. Henle, S.J., Method in Metaphysics (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1951). All these places argue that our cognitive interaction with the universe begins indeed with a sensory experience but that sense experience itself is more that the experience of sense-objects. For as Mascall puts the point: Perception is not identical with sensation but rather is “primarily an intellectual act, an act in which the mind utilizes the phenomenon as an ohjectum quo and passes through it to grasp the concrete trans-sensible reality, whose nature is that not of sensible but of intelligible being.” Op. cit., p. 121. This may strike some of us as a very dark saying indeed. But in any case I am here bypassing these basic technical discussions for two good reasons. First, because I am not competent to improve upon the expositions I have just mentioned. And secondly, because the best that even a competent person could manage in a few pages would be an epitome of a complex argument and such epitomes are likely to misrepresent a case as much as to serve it.


are passive. The knower is dynamic but his activity is immanent rather than instrumental and its fruits are secured without manipulations. The cases proposed here are no more than fragments suggesting the line a full-scale argument might take. One is the experience of the simple insight into intelligibility and the second is the experience of weighing values against each other. Let us take first a homely illustration of the awareness of general truths in a concrete situation. Here is a woman dividing some apples because they seem too large to give to her young children whole. But as she does so, is she not simultaneously though unreflectively aware that any whole is greater, and necessarily greater than its parts? Does she not apprehend that pattern of intelligibility particularized in this existential gesture? Or take another example just as ordinary — seeing the point of a joke. After a number of press items had reported zoo experiments with simian finger-painters a wordless cartoon showed a picture gallery at the opening of a new exhibition. The walls were hung with swirling canvases and beneath one of them, center of an attentive knot of bearded men and studious women wearing heavy glasses stood the painter — a chimpanzee sporting a beret and clutching a cocktail glass. If you find it funny at all, you will do so in a glance. You will not ratiocinate, much less manipulate and if someone else fails to get the point explanations won’t help much. There are other instances, still rather common but more significant, of this meditative insight. One finds it strikingly demonstrated in the frequent intuitions of artists and scientists. In these cases the truth seized does not originate in the process of verification and its meaning is not, or need not be verifiability. A careful study of the phenomena has shown that the creative intuition does often develop while the artist or scientist is struggling with a problem but the moment of insight is itself quite distinct from the hard business of working up the rich vein of experience out of which, in a flash of vision, the truth is drawn. Generally, in fact, this intuition comes in a period of relaxation when the thinker has turned to other matters or even reports that he was doing nothing. Subsequently it may be checked in practice — if, for example, it was the key to a procedure — or objectified in the finished poem, song, or picture. But this only confirms, it does not constitute the insight which in its purest form is a moment of self-validating knowledge precisely because it is a moment of sheer understanding: one has the answer because one sees that this is the way things are and must be. Quite similar is the apprehension of meaning in the events of our own personal history. This has both its everyday mani¬ festations and others of a highly critical sort in the course of a successful psycho-analytic therapy. A generation ago, we are told, such therapy made much of “acting-out” on the grounds that this emotional reliving in analysis of past situations was the avenue to release from neurotic


forces. Since the mid-twenties, however, the accent has been on the importance of a moment of insight when the patient suddenly under¬ stands the significance of matters he has been discussing for months.7 There may, of course, be antecedent pragmatic tentatives on the part of the analyst seeking to set up a situation in which such insight can flower but the insight itself is quite a different thing. Ordinary life presents all of us with similar experiences and indeed the instant of vision which great art often affords the beholder is not dissimilar. The second sort of common experience to which I would appeal is that in which intelligence is found not directing action but evaluating it and proposing goals antecedently. Often enough our lives confront us with a situation of choice which must be resolved in part by appraising different aims. In Dewey’s ethical theory one knows the value of an end only in relation to the means. But if this were always true we could never appreciate a value in itself, or weigh one value against another, independently of whatever means, so as to conclude that value A is always superior to value B or that A is a real and B only a pseudo¬ value. Yet as a matter of fact we do just this with the conviction, besides, that we are dealing in aspects of truth. That is to say, we do decide that certain things are valuable whether people actually seek them or not and we do balance one line af action against another and appraise A as the better even though B may have been biologically and socially more successful. Let us suppose that during the Korean war you had in a senior group two highly endowed young men. Both are drafted and one of them accepts the burden responsibly and goes off to die on some frozen plateau while rescuing wounded under fire. He leaves his parents a posthumous Medal of Honor to display on the piano. The other by a cunning but technically legal stratagem evades the draft and lives to play his own piano and to gratify the community with charming compositions. Whose was the better choice? On a strict pragmatic reckoning (which, to be sure, many a sincere pragmatist would not be willing to follow in this case) certainly the second man’s since within a purely temporal perspective it is better for the individual to be comfortably and productively alive than honorably dead. It may be objected that if everyone followed the second example the nation would be imperiled and consequently even the individual’s happiness placed in jeopardy. To which our student might not unreasonably reply that not everyone is smart enough to dodge the draft; that a 7For instances of insight in the course of productive work, see the three papers, “Varieties of Insight in Humans,” “The Period of Frustration in Creative En¬ deavor,” and “The Nature of Insight,” by Eliot Dole Hutchinson which are re¬ printed in: Patrick Mullahy (ed.), A Study of Interpersonal Relations, (New York: Hermitage Press, 1949), pp. 386-445. For the role of similar insight in analytic therapy see: Clara Thompson with the collaboration of Patrick Mullahy, Psychoanalysis: Evolution and Development (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1952), p. 240.


limited Far Eastern War is not clearly an imminent national peril and anyhow, why should he take considerations of patriotism and the larger context into account? What antecedent imperative is there for es¬ teeming either one of these alternatives more than the other? Our point here, however, does not depend on which of these lines of rea¬ soning is wisest and best. The illustration can be built up with the sides weighted in whatever way you wish. Like all illustrations it may obscure as much as it illuminates. My point is that we do, as a matter of fact, weigh one value against another before and apart from prag¬ matic criteria and we do decide that generous altruism is in itself better than cautious legalism; that a courageous dedication is finer than a circumscribed prudence which refuses commitment. Moreover, we are able to evaluate goals apart from the means. As Brand Blanshard once suggested, the value of a beautiful mountain-top view does not itself vary because in one case you climbed by foot to see it and in the other you rode. What these experiences all require, it would seem, is recognition of the fact that there are other than instrumental criteria of truth; that sometimes at least we do know one action to be right and another wrong; or one action to be better than another antecedent to their ob¬ served consequences. One might, indeed, argue that past experiences have provided me with a working hypothesis in favor of generosity or that the area of consequences can be so enlarged as to prove that altruism is actually always more successful than egotism. But this, I think, would take quite some proving and in any case the very attempt to do so, if carefully scrutinized, suggests a latent conviction independent of all pragmatic norms, about the superiority of what most men would call the nobler choice. None of this is to deny, of course, that dis¬ interested knowledge can, once achieved, be employed instrumentally but only to say that the way to its acquisition is not the via yragmatica. There is not a great deal of room left for indicating a few of the educational reverberations of the positions sketched here. But then no great harm is done if these implications are merely suggested rather than spun out in detail for they are not particularly arcane. They are, conventionally enough, of two sorts: those which recommend certain fundamental attitudes and others more specific. At the general level, for instance, I should say that a sumultaneous and equitable insistence on both the technical and the meditative functions of manthe-thinker means a rejection of all exclusivistic, “nothing but ...” theo¬ ries., If countless people testify to the existence of a certain range of experience, there must be no discarding of large chunks of this and no forcing of them into a uniform mold. To refuse process and the possibility of the intellectual control of that process is unsatisfactorv. To diminish intelligence by admitting no more than its instrumental uses is equally unsatisfactory. One should rather hold, I believe, the


difficult middle way which is defined precisely by its integration and harmonization of both these functions which singly find an exclusive accent in other traditions. Pointing up these general implications by specific cases once again calls for troublesome choice. One can select only a few instances and after our earlier comment, we feel constrained to ask what relevancy the thesis here has for important current problems even though the more conventional applications are closer at hand and obvious. One current problem is that of the content of secondary and col¬ legiate education in this anxious hour of scientific and technological competition with the Soviet Union. Here my first comment only echoes what has been broadcast in dozens of declarations since the fall of 1957. That is to say, if one is to acknowledge the full register of intelligence then all its possibilities must be exploited — those for historical and literary skills, for artistic effort and philosophical thinking as well as those for mathematical, scientific and technical enterprise. All onesided educational programs fall short of the ideal although a situa¬ tion of crisis may make them essential for survival. For one who maintains a dyadic function, of man in his intelligent action it is as necessary to cultivate the practical as the speculative intellect. It is not a question of choosing between a contemplative attitude and an active orientation but of holding both in an organic synthesis. I do not think that the experiences of historical, philosophical and theological thinking or the appreciation, as distinct from the production of art, find their raison d’etre in the method of hypothesis, test and check. Conversely, neither do I believe that instrumental thinking finds its ful¬ fillment in talk. It seems a pity, therefore, that so many young Ameri¬ cans fail to get either from their home or their school any thorough introduction to the methods and rewards of truly creative work. The adolescent may pick it up for himself by tinkering with a car and adults with enough time and money may pitch into do-it-yourself activities. But in our schools there is, by and large, nothing even so good as what Eton is said to have. For in this English secondary school whose academic curriculum would terrify many an American collegian, there has been an honored tradition of creative extra-curriculars. These “drawing-schools” and “schools of mechanics” as they are called, provide a very sizeable percentage of the student-body with some chance for serious wood and machine work; for clay-modelling and pottery-making; for painting in oils and water-colors. Apart from our technical and trade schools I am not aware that we do anything of equal caliber to an equal extent. Yet I am prepared to argue that this work-activity — which is an archetypical case of pragmatic intelligence — is profoundly humanistic. It nourishes both the individual and the social potentiali¬ ties of man. It has resources of intellectual, moral and religious signi¬ ficance. Indeed, the concept of work can be widened to include the 84

whole ethical endeavor to impose a noble pattern upon the stuff of one’s life. Here again, as we suggested before, the pragmatic insight is verified for here above all is it true that by their fruits you shall know them.8 For my second application I turn to another contemporary problem of major concern — that of segregation. I realize that this particular application is indirect and somewhat remote. Nevertheless, it is not entirely tenuous and I deliberately select this instance in preference to others of a more direct sort just because the segregation question is so current and also thus far not much attended to by American philo¬ sophies of education. I do not think it will be denied by those acquinted with the literature, that the hard core of the Southern case for segregation is racism. Scientifically the theory is untenable but beneath the talk about the Southern way of life or the two parallel cultures or States’ Rights, racism is what one finds. Now as Myrdal pointed out, racism itself arose only with the shift in the last few centuries from theological to biological thinking. One may doubt that it will ever be definitely expelled, however, just by showing that it is biologically disreputable. The whole discussion must also be joined at the philosophical and theological levels because the issue is above all a moral one and certain apologies for segregation are actually hooded in the trappings of a de¬ based religious sentiment. It will hardly help if a segregationist is brandishing a Bible in your face to start talking about logical analysis. For history does not wait until everyone is educated to the tools of analysis. Even if it did the tools are still not enough for the job. One who reads through the briefs for the Appellees in the cases from South Carolina and Virginia which were among the four decided on May 17, 1954, will come upon two central points in the defense of the biracial educational system. Schools are the means — to use Dewey’s phrase again — of social continuity. Or as a Southern Attorney General would probably put it: they transmit the people’s way of life. But the Southern way of life, one argument runs, is built on the biracial premise. Or again: the American tradition calls for state and local control of education. Therefore the Supreme Court should keep out. Now if I were to argue with a segregationist in terms of pragmatic theory of value I think I should find myself hard pressed. You admit, I fancy him saying, that the schools are means whereby a community continues itself and its way of life. But educational biracialism is part of us and our way of life. Perhaps you feel that we should reconstruct that way of life but to do so to the extent of abolishing segregation would be to destroy community peace. On the other hand, segregation meets the criterion of social success. It keeps peace and without peace 8A theme and a Scriptural phrase of which Irving Babbitt was characteristically fond for Babbitt thought himself both as an ethical humanist and as a positivist.


all progress is impossible. It is true that the Negro resents the situation but there are many more whites than Negroes in the South and, on the balance, which would be better: to satisfy the Negro minority or the white majority? You say that the South must consider the problem in the wider terms of the whole American ethos and the position of the nation in the eyes of world opinion. But why should it? This could be carried much further, but the difficulty posed is sufficiently clear from what has been said. Either an end is determined by the pragmatic process of evaluation so that a course of action is right if it meets the criterion of biological or social success or the value is determined by a meditation on the very character of man in the total complexus of all his relationships, a reflection which will penetrate to a grasp of at least certain values inherently excellent. Arguing from the first position I doubt that one would ever resolve the theoretical conflict although practical exigencies and the passage of time might diminish the tension and force a compromise. If, on the other hand, one could demonstrate the difference between a Negro’s deprivation of a human right and a white man’s deprivation of a cultural prejudice, the case might be different and a solution on the level of theory might issue in a solution on the level of practice. But this in turn supposes that man’s intelligence functions as more than a biological tool — although it is also that. It supposes an intelli¬ gence which will do justice to the facts both of process and of order without volatilizing either or reducing one to the other. In Adventures of Ideas Whitehead remarks that the religion which will succeed is the one “which can render clear to popular understanding some eternal greatness incarnate in the passage of temporal fact.”9 In somewhat the same fashion may we not say that a philosophy of education which will really respond to modern man’s sense of totality must not interpret intellectual enterprise monistically. For it is the glory of man as thinker, I believe, that he is indeed able to relate himself to a moving world which he can both change and understand. Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (New York: Macmillan, 1933),

p. 41.



I /,

The Creative Attitude ERICH


In talking about creativity, let us first consider its two possible meanings: creativity in the sense of creating something new, something which can be seen or heard by others, such as a painting, a sculpture, a symphony, a poem, a novel, etc., or creativity as an attitude, which is the condition of any creation in the former sense but which can exist even though nothing new is created in the world of things. The first kind of creativity, that of the artist, is conditioned by a number of factors; by talent (or, if you like, you may say also, by the genes), by study and practice, and by certain economic and social conditions which permit a person to develop his talent through study and practice. In this chapter I shall deal not with this kind of crea¬ tivity but with the second, the creative attitude — or, as we might also say, with creativity as a character trait. What is creativity? The best general answer I can give is that creativity is the ability to see (or to he aware') and to respond. This answer may seem to describe creativity in simple terms. Many people will say: “If that is creativity, then certainly I am creative, for I am Erich Fromm’s “Creative Attitude,” pp. 44 - 54, in Creativity and its Cultiva¬ tion edited by Harold Anderson. Copyright © 1959 by Harper & Row, Publish¬ ers, Incorporated. Reprinted by permission of publisher.


aware and respond to things and to people. Am I not aware of what happens on the way to my office? Do I not respond with a friendly smile to the people I come in contact with, or do I not see my wife and respond to her wishes?” Indeed, this is what most people believe, and yet their idea is erroneous. In fact, it would be much closer to the truth to state that most people are not aware of, and do not respond to, anything. Obvi¬ ously, in order to proceed, we must examine what goes on in the process of seeing and responding, and what makes the difference between creative and noncreative attitudes. Let us assume that a person sees a rose and states: “This is a rose,” or, “I see a rose.” Does he really see a rose? Some do indeed, but most do not. Then, what is the experience of the latter? I would describe it this way: they see an object (the rose), and state that the object they see falls under the concept “rose,” and hence that they make a correct statement in saying: “I see a rose.” Although it seems that the emphasis in this statement is on the act of seeing, it is really on the act of cognition and verbalization. The person who thus states that he sees a rose is actually stating only that he has learned to speak, that is, to recognize a concrete object and to classify it under the proper word for its class. Seeing, here, is not really seeing, but an essentially mental act. What, then, is seeing in the real meaning of the word? Perhaps I can explain it best by mentioning a concrete example. A woman who had been preparing peas in the kitchen enthusiastically tells a friend whom she sees later in the morning: “I experienced something wonderful this morning; I saw for the first time that peas roll.” Many people, on hearing this, would feel somewhat uncom¬ fortable and begin to wonder what is the matter with the woman who says this. They take it for granted that peas roll, and their only surprise is that somebody can be surprised at it. But what they really experience in seeing peas roll is a confirmation of the mental knowledge they have that a round body rolls on an inclined and relatively smooth surface. This fact of seeing peas roll is just a confirmation of knowl¬ edge, rather than the full perception of rolling peas by the whole person. It is striking to see the difference between this kind of adult behavior and the attitude of a two-year-old child toward a rolling ball. The child can throw this ball on the floor again and again and again, seeing it roll a hundred times, and never be bored. Why? If seeing a ball roll is merely a mental act confirming the knowledge that balls roll, one experience is enough. There is nothing new in the second and third and fiftieth experience. In other words, one gets bored in seeing it again and again; but for the child this is primarily not a mental experience but a delight in really seeing the ball rolling, a delight which many of us still feel when we watch a tennis game and see


the ball bouncing back and forth. If we are fully aware of a tree at which we look — not of the fact this is correctly called a tree, but of this tree, in its full reality, in its suchness — and if we respond to the suchness of this tree with our whole person, then we have the kind of experience which is the premise for painting the tree. Whether we have the technical skill to paint what we experience is another question, but no good painting is ever done unless there is first a full awareness and responsiveness toward the particular object. To view it from still another angle, in conceptual knowledge the tree we see has no individuality; it stands there only as an example of the genus “tree”; it is only the representative of an abstraction. In full awareness there is no abstraction; the tree retains its full con¬ creteness, and that means also its uniqueness. There is only this one tree in the world, and to this tree I relate myself, I see it, I respond to it. The tree becomes my own creation. What we experience when we see people is not customarily different from what we experience when we see things. What goes on when we believe we see a person? We see, first of all, marginal things. The color of his skin, the way he is dressed, his social class and education, whether he is friendly or unfriendly, useful or not useful. What we want to know first is his name. The name permits us to clasisfy him, just as we classify the flower by saying that is a rose. The way we perceive him is not too different from the way in which he perceives himself. If we ask him who he is, his first answer will be to tell us that his name is Jones, and if we show that we do not feel fully informed about him yet, he will add that he is a married man, father of two children, and a doctor. Anyone who even then does not feel that he knows this man is obviously lacking in perspicacity, or inordinately intrusive. We see in the concrete person an abstraction, just as he sees an abstraction in himself and in us. We do not want to see more. We share the general phobia of being too close to a person, of penetrating through the surface to his core, and so we prefer to see little, no more than is necessary for our particular dealings with the other person. This kind of marginal knowledge corresponds to an inner state of indifference in our feeling toward the other person. But this is not all. We do not see the person only marginally and superficially. In many ways we also see him unrealistically. We see him unrealistically in the first place because of our projections. We are angry, project our anger at the other person, and think he is angry. We are vain and perceive him as vain. We are afraid and perceive him as afraid. And so on. We make him the coathanger for the many suits which we do not like to wear ourselves, and yet we think this is all he, and are not aware that these are only the clothes which we put on him. Aside from projecting, we do a lot of distorting with the other person, because our own emotions 89

make us incapable of seeing the other person as he is. The three most important facts which lead to this result correspond to the three basic “sins” in Buddhist ethics: greed, folly, and anger. It is needless to explain that, if we greedily want something from another person, we cannot see him objectively. We see him distorted by what our greedy expectation wants him to be, our anger forces him to be, or our folly imagines him to be. To see the other person creatively means to see him objectively, that is, without projections and without distortions, and this means overcoming in oneself those neurotic ‘ vices which necessarily lead to projections and distortions. It means to wake up fully to the awareness of reality, inside and outside of oneself. To put it in other words: only if one has reached a degree of inner maturity which reduces projection and distortion to a minimum can one experience creatively. The experience of seeing the reality of a person occurs sometimes as a sudden and surprising experience. I have seen a person a hundred times, and suddenly, when I see him for the hundred and first time, I see him fully, I feel as if I had never quite seen him before. His face, his movements, his eyes, his voice assume a new, more intense, more concrete reality by the difference between his new view and the previous one. I learn the difference between seeing and seeing. The same happens with well-known scenery or a well-known painting or any other well-known object. To see a person or a thing in this sense of utmost reality is the condition for giving a realistic response. Most responses are as unreal and purely mental as most awarenesses. If I read in the newspaper of a famine in India, I hardly respond, or, if I do respond, I do so with a thought; with a thought that it is too bad, with a thought of regret, or even a thought of pity. It is different if I see a person suffering in front of me. There I react with my heart, with my hands and my legs. I suffer with him, I have the impulse to help, and I carry out the impulse. Even when confronted with the con¬ creteness of another person’s suffering or another person’s happiness, however, many people react only marginally. They think the proper feeling, they do the proper action, and yet they remain distant. To respond in a realistic sense means that I respond with my real human power, that of suffering, of joy, of understanding, to the reality of the “object” which experiences something. I respond to the person as he is; to the experience of the other person as it is. I respond not with my brain or my eyes or my ears. I respond as the whole person I an}. I think with my belly. I see with my heart. When I respond to an object with the real powers in me, which are fitted to respond to it, the object ceases to be aji object. I become one with it. I cease to be the observer. I cease to be the judge. This kind of response occurs 90

in a situation of complete relatedness, in which seer and seen, observer and observed, become one, although at the same time they remain two. Conditions for Creativity What are the conditions of the creative attitude, of seeing and responding, of being aware and being sensitive to what one is aware of?

First of all, it requires the the capacity to he puzzled.

still have the capacity to be puzzled.


Their whole effort is one of

attempting to orient themselves in a new world, to grasp the ever-new things which they learn to experience.

They are puzzled, surprised,

capable of wondering, and that is what makes their reaction a creative one. But once they are through the process of education, most people lose the capacity of wondering, of being surprised. They feel they ought to know everything, and hence that it is a sign of ignorance to be surprised at or puzzled by anything.

The world loses it charac¬

teristic of being full of wonder and is taken for granted. The capacity to be puzzled is ,indeed the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science. The French mathematician Poncare expressed this succinctly. “Scientific genius,” he said, “is the capacity to be surprised.” Manv scientific discoveries are made in just this manner. The scientist observes a phenomenon which many others have seen before him without being puzzled, without stopping to be surprised.

He has the

capacity to be surprised; the obvious becomes a problem, his mind starts working, and this is the beginning of his discovery.

What makes

him a creative scientist is only partly his ability to solve the problem. It is to a large extent his ability to be puzzled by what the average scientist takes for granted. The second premise for the creative attitude is the ability to con¬ centrate. This is a rare ability in our Western culture. We are always busy, but without concentration.

When we do one thing, we

are already thinking of the next thing, of the moment when we can stop doing what we are doing now. things at the same time.

We do, if possible, many

We eat breakfast, listen to the radio, and

read the newspaper, and perhaps at the same time we carry on a conversation with our wife and children. same time, and we do nothing.

We do five things at the

Nothing in the sense that we do it

as a manifestation of our real powers, of which we are the masters. If one is truly concentrated, the very thing one is doing at this moment is the most important thing in life.

If I talk to someone, if I read

something, if I walk — whatever it is, if I do it in a concentrated fashion, there is nothing more important than what I am doing in the here and now.

Most people live in the past or in the future.

is no past or future as a real experience. now.

But there

There is only the here and

Quite obviously, there can be no true awareness and no true


response except in the here and now, that is to say, in the attitude of full commitment to whatever I do, see, feel at this very moment. Speaking of what “I” do and feel raises another problem, namely, that of the experience of “1of the experience of self, which is another condition of the creative attitude.

It is true that the word

“I” is one of the last words a child learns in the development of his capacity to speak, but once he has learned it, he uses it glibly. expressing an opinion, for instance, we say, “I think


this or that.

If one analyzes this opinion, however, one might discover that the person onlv voices what he has heard from someone else, what he has read in the newspaper, what he was taught by his parents when he was a child.

He is under the illusion that it is he who thinks

of this, when actually it would be more correct if he said: It thinks in me.” He has about the same illusion a record player would have which, provided it could think, would say,

I am now

playing a Mozart symphony,” when we all know that we put the record on the record plaver and it is only reproducing what is fed into it. What holds true of thinking is true of feeling.

Let us assume that

we ask a person who attends a cocktail party how he feels, and he answers, “I feel fine; I feel very happy.” Yet, when we see him leave the cocktail party, he may suddenly look sad, feel tired; he may have a dream the following night which is nothing but a nightmare.


he really felt happy? If we examine the phenomenon, this would appear to be true: he saw himself drinking, smiling, talking among other people who drank, smiled, and talked, and he concluded from that that he must feel fine and be happy, just as everybody else did. He may feel sad, bored, indifferent, but he thinks the feelings which are put into him by the situation, by the expectations of the appro¬ priate feeling on this occasion. The sense of 1, or the sense of self, means that I experience myself as the true center of my world, as the true originator of my acts. This is what it means to be original. Not primarily to discover something new, but to experience in such a way that the experience originates in me. To feel a sense of self, a sense of identity, is a necessity for every human being. of self.

We would become insane unless we had such a sense

But this sense of identity differs according to the social

structure of the culture in which we live.

In a primitive society,

where the individual has not yet emerged as an individual, the feeling of “I” can be described in terms of “I is we.”

My sense of identity

exists in terms of my being identified with the group.

As man pro¬

ceeds in the process of evolution and emerges as an individual, his sense of identity becomes separated from that of the group. a separate individual must be'able to feel “I.”


He as

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about this sense of self. There are some psychologists who believe that the sense of self is nothing but a reflection of the social role which is ascribed to him, nothing but the response to expectations others have about him.


though it is true that, empirically speaking, this is the kind of self most people in our society experience, it is nevertheless a pathological phenomenon, the result of which is deep insecurity and anxiety and a compulsion to conform. One can overcome this anxiety and com¬ pulsive conformism only by developing the sense of self which I have been discussing before, where I experience myself creatively as the originator of my acts. This, however, does not mean at all that I become egocentric or narcissistic.

On the contrary, I can experience

myself as “I” only in the process of my relatedness to others or, to refer to our main topic, on the basis of a creative attitude. If I am isolated and unrelated, I am so full of anxiety that I can not possibly have a sense of identity and of self. What I experience in this case is rather a sense of proprietorship over my person. I feel then, “My home is my castle.

My property is me.

All that I possess, including

my knowledge, my body, my memory — this constitutes me.


is not an experience of self in the sense described above, namely, the self as agent of creative experience, this is an experience of self based on a sense of holding on to my person as a thing, as a possession. The person with this kind of attitude is in reality a prisoner of himself, shut in and necessarily frightened and unhappy. In order to acquire a genuine sense of self, he has to break out of his person. He has to give up holding on to himself as a thing and begin to experience himself only in the process of creative response; paradoxically enough, if he can experience himself in this process, he loses himself. He transcends the boundaries of his own person, and at the very moment when he feels “I am” he also feels “I am you,” I am one with the whole world. Another condition of creativeness is the ability to accept conflict and tension resulting from polarity, rather than to avoid them. This idea is very much in contrast to the current climate of opinion, in which one attempts to avoid conflict as much as possible.

All modern

education tends to spare the child the experience of conflict.


thing is made easy, everyone is tolerant. Ethical norms are leveled out in such a way that there is rare occasion to experience conflict between desire and norm. There is a general superstition that con¬ flicts are harmful, and that hence they should be avoided. The oppo¬ site is true.

Conflicts are the source of wondering, of the development

of strength, of what one used to call “character.”

If one avoids con¬

flicts, one becomes a smoothly running machine, where every affect is immediately leveled off, where all desires become automatic, where all feelings become flattened out.

Not only are there conflicts of a


personal and accidental nature, as it were; there are conflicts deeply rooted in human existence.

I refer here to the conflict between the

fact that, at the same time, we are tied to the animal kingdom by our body, its needs, and its final destruction, we transcend the animal kingdom and nature through our self-awareness, imagination, and cre¬ ativeness.

We represent all potentialities the human race has or will

ever have, and yet in this short life we realize only an infinitesimally small part of these potentialities.

We plan and foresee, and yet we

are subject to accidents which are completely independent of our will and planning. To be aware of these conflicts, to experience them deeply, to accept them not just intellectually but in feeling, is one of the condition for creativity. To deny them or to experience them only intellectually leads to marginal and superficial experience, which excludes creativity.

It must be added here that we try to ignore not

only conflicts but also polarities. These polarities exist in many levels. They are found individually as polarities of temperament. Socially the most important polarity is that between men and women.


have we done with it? In a false concept of equality, which amounts more and more to a concept of sameness, we have reduced this polarity.

Inasmuch as

man in modern society transforms himself more and more into a thing, men and women are transformed more and more into things, and hence the polarity between them becomes increasingly reduced. Men and women are practically the same, and their difference remains important only in the purely sexual sphere.

In this process erotic

attraction, which is a result of the cosmic polarity between the male and the female poles, is greatly reduced in intensity. Love is trans¬ formed into pleasant comradeship and loses the truly erotic and pas¬ sionate character which is the very source of its creativeness. We have, indeed, witnessed a great advance in modern culture in the achieve¬ ment of equality between the sexes, and we have made rapid advances even in the achievement of racial equality.

But we cannot be quite

proud of this achievement. Although in one sense it is obviously good, we have paid for it by the neglect of true differences and pol¬ arities. Originally the idea of equality meant that we are all equal in the sense that each man is a thing in itself and must not be made into a means for the ends of others.

Or, to put it into religious

language, that each man is a child of God, and no other man must be a god or master to him. Equality meant that we each have the same human dignity in spite of the fact that we are different; it meant the right to develop one’s differences, and yet the principle that no one has a right to use differences for the exploitation of others. Today, equality means sameness. It means not to be different from the herd, and the general fear is that differences would threaten equality. I am sure that only if this point of view is overcome, if


sameness is replaced again by true equality, can creativity develop. There is another way in which the condition of creativeness can be phrased. I refer to the willingness to be born every day; Indeed, birth is not a single process taking place when the child leaves its fetal existence and starts to breathe by itself.

This event is not even

as decisive as it seems in a biological sense.

Although the newborn

child breathes by itself, it is just as helpless and dependent on mother after birth as it was when it formed a part of her body. sense of biological development, birth has many steps.

Even in the It begins with

the leaving the womb; then it means leaving mother’s breast, mother’s lap, mother’s hands.

Each new ability, the ability to talk, to walk,

to eat, means at the same time leaving a former state. by a peculiar dichotomy.

Man is governed

He is afraid of losing the former state,

which is one of certainty, and yet he wants to arrive at a new state which gives rise to the possibility of using his proper forces more freely and more completely. Man is always torn between the wish to regress to the womb and the wish to be fully born.

Every act of birth

requires the cqurage to let go of something, to let go of the womb, to let go of the breast, to let go of the lap, to let go of the hand, to let go eventually of all certainties, and to rely upon one thing: one’s own powers to be aware and to respond; that is, one’s own creativity. To be creative means to consider the whole process of life as a process of birth, and not to take any stage of life as a final stage. Most people die before they really are fully born. Creative¬ ness means to be born before one dies. The willingness to be born — and this means the willingness to let go of all “certainties” and illusions — requires courage and faith. Courage to let go of certainties, courage to be different and to stand isolation; courage, as the Bible puts it in the story of Abraham, to leave one's own land and family and to go to a land yet unknown. Courage to be concerned with nothing but the truth, the truth not only in thought but in one’s feelings as well. only on the basis of faith.

This courage is possible

Faith not in the sense in which the word

is often used today, as a belief in some idea which cannot be proved scientifically or rationally, but faith in the meaning which it has in the Old Testament, where the word for faith (Emuna) means cer¬ tainty; to be certain of the reality of one’s own experience in thought and in feeling, to be able to trust it, to rely on it, this is faith.


out courage and faith, creativity is impossible, and hence the under¬ standing and cultivation of courage and faith are indispensable con¬ ditions for the development of the creative attitude. Let me say again that creativity in this sense does not refer to a quality which particularly gifted persons or artists could achieve, but to an attitude which every human being should and can achieve. Education for creativity is nothing short of education for living.


Part III Teaching and Learning


i /,


The Question Treats of the Teacher, and in the First Article We Ask: Can a Man or only God Teach and Be Called Teacher? Difficulties:

It seems that only God teaches and should be called a teacher, for 1. In St. Matthew (23:8) we read: “One is your master”; and just before that: “Be not you called rabbi.” On this passage the Gloss comments: “Lest you give divine honor to men, or usurp for yourselves what belongs to God.”

Therefore, it seems that only God is a teacher,

or teaches. 2. If a man teaches, he does so only through certain signs.


even if one seems to teach by means of things, as, when asked what walking is, he walks, this is not sufficient to teach the one who asks, unless some sign be added, as Augustine proves. He does this by showing that there are many factors involved in the same action; hence, one will not know to what factor the demonstration was due, whether to the substance of the action or to some accident of it. Furthermore, one cannot come to a knowledge of things through a sign, for the knowledge of things is more excellent than the knowledge of signs, since the knowledge of signs is directed to knowledge of things as a means to an end.

But the effect is not more excellent than

St. Thomas Aquinas, “Question Eleven: The Teacher,” Truth, trans. by J. V. McGlynn, S.J., II, (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1953), pp. 77-90.


its cause. Therefore, no one can impart knowledge of anything t( another, and so cannot teach him. 3. If signs of certain things are proposed to someone by a man the one to whom they are proposed either knows the things whicf the signs represent or he does not. taught them.

If he knows the things, he is no

But if he does not know them, he cannot know the

meanings of the signs, since he does not know the things. For a man whe does not know what a stone is cannot know what the word stone means But if he does not know the meaning of the terms, he cannot learn any thing through the signs.

Therefore, if a man does nothing else tc

teach than propose signs, it seems that one man cannot be taughi by another. 4. To teach is nothing else than to cause knowledge in another in some way. But our understanding is the subject of knowledge. Now sensible signs, by which alone, it would seem, man can be taught do not reach the intellective part, but affect the senses only. fore, man cannot be taught by a man.


5. If the knowledge is caused by one person in another, thf learner either had it already or he did not. If he did not have ii already and it was caused in him by another, then one man create: knowledge in another, which is impossible.

However, if he had it

already, it was present either in complete actuality, and thus it cannot be caused, for what already exists does not come into being, or it was present seminally (secundum rationed seminales).

But such semi

nal principles cannot be actualized by any created power, but are im planted in nature by God alone, as Augustine says. true that one man can in no way teach another.

So, it remain:

6. Knowledge is an accident. But an accident does not change the subject in which it inheres. Therefore, since teaching seems to be nothing else but the transfer of knowledge from teacher to pupil, one cannot teach another. 1t Tbe Gloss, on Romans (10:17), Faith then cometh by hearing,’ says: “Although God teaches man interiorly, the preacher proclaim: it exteriorly.’ But knowledge is caused interiorly in the mind, noi exteriorly in the senses. by another man.

Therefore, man is taught only by God, noi

8. Augustine says: “God alone, who teaches truth on earth, hold: the teacher’s chair in heaven, but to this chair another man has the relation which a farmer has to a tree.”

But the farmer does not make

the tree; he cultivates it. And by the same token no man can be saic to teach knowledge, but only prepare the mind for it. 9. If man is a real teacher, he must teach

the truth.


whoever teaches the truth enlightens the mind, for truth is the ligh of the mind. If, therefore, man does teach, he enlightens the mind


But this is false, for in the Gospel according to St. John (1:9) we see that it is God who “enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.”

Therefore, one man cannot really teach another.

10. If one man teaches another, he must make a potential knower into an actual knower. potency to act.

Therefore, his knowledge must be raised from

But what is raised from potency to actuality must

be changed. Therefore, knowledge or wisdom will be changed. How¬ ever, this is contrary to Augustine, who says: “In coming to a man, wisdom is not itself changed, but changes the man.” 11. Knowledge is nothing else but the representation of things in the soul, since knowledge is called the assimilation of the knower to the thing known. But one man cannot imprint the likeness of things in the soul of another. For, thus, he would work interiorly in that man, which God alone can do.

Therefore, one man cannot

teach another. 12. Boethius says that teaching does no more than stimulate the mind to know.

But he who stimulates the understanding to know

does not make 'it' know, just as one who incites someone to see with the eyes of the body does not make him see. Therefore, one man does not make another know.

And so it cannot properly be said that he

teaches him. 13. There is no scientific knowledge without certitude.


wise, it is not scientific knowledge but opinion or belief, as Augustine says.

But one man cannot produce certitude in another by means of

the sensible signs which he proposes. For that which is in the sense faculty is less direct than that which is in the understanding, while certainty is always effected by the more direct.

Therefore, one man

cannot teach another. 14. The intelligible light and a species are all that are needed for knowledge. But neither of these can be caused in one man by another.

For it would be necessary for a man to create something,

since it seems that simple forms like these can be produced only by creation. Therefore, one man cannot cause knowledge in another and, so, cannot teach. 15. As Augustine says, nothing except God alone can give the mind of man its form.

But knowledge is a form of the mind.


fore, only God can cause knowledge in the soul. 16. Just as guilt is in the mind, so is ignorance.

But only God

cleanses the mind of guilt, according to Isaias (43:25): I am he that blots out thy iniquities for my own sake.” Therefore, God alone cleanses the mind of ignorance.

And, so, only God teaches.

17. Since science is certain knowledge, one receives science from him whose words give him certainty. does not give anyone certainty.

However, hearing a man speak

Otherwise, anything that one person


says to another would of necessity be clearly certain.

Now, one reaches

certitude only when he hears the truth speaking within him.


to be certain, he takes counsel with this interior voice even about those things which he hears from men.

Therefore, not man but the truth

speaking within, which is God, teaches. 18. No one learns through the words of another those things, which, if asked, he would have answered, even before the other spoke. But even before the teacher speaks, the pupil, upon being questioned, would answer about the matters which the teacher proposes. For he would be taught by the words of the teacher only in so far as he knew that matters were such as the teacher claimed.

Therefore, one man is

not taught by the words of another. To the Contrary: 1. In the second Epistle to Timothy (1:11) we read: “Wherein I am appointed a preacher ... and teacher of the Gentiles.” man can be a teacher and can be called one.


2. In the second Epistle to Timothy (3:14) it is said: “But con¬ tinue thou in those things which thou has learned, and which have been committed to thee.” Of this the Gloss savs: “From me as from a true teacher.” We conclude as before. 3. In one place in Matthew (23:8, 9) we find: “One is your Father” and “One is your master.” But the fact that God is our Father does not make it impossible for man truly to be called father.


wise, the fact that God is our teacher does not make it impossible for man truly to be called teacher. 4. The Gloss on Romans (10:15), “How beautiful over the moun¬ tains ...,” reads: “They are the feet who enlighten the Church.” Now it is speaking about the Apostles. Since, then, to enlighten is the act of a teacher, it seems that men are competent to teach. 5. As is said in the Meteorology, each thing is perfect when it can generate things like itself. But scientific knowledge is a kind of perfect knowledge. Therefore, a man who has scientific knowledge can teach another. 6. Augustine says that just as the earth was watered by a fountain before the coming of sin, and after its coming needed rain from the clouds above, so also the human mind, which is represented by the earth, was made fruitful by the fountain of truth before the coming of sin, but after its coming it needs the teaching of others as rain coming down from the clouds. Therefore, at least since sin came into the world, man is taught by man. Reply:

There is the same sort of difference of opinion on three issues:


on the bringing of forms into existence, on the acquiring of virtues, and on the acquiring of scientific knowledge. For some have said that all sensible forms come from an external agent, a separated substance or form, which they call the giver of forms or agent intelligence, and that all that lower natural agents do is prepare the matter to receive the form. Similarly, Avicenna says that our activity is not the cause of a good habit, but only keeps out its opposite and prepares us for the habit so that it may come from the substance which perfects the souls of men.

This is the agent

intelligence or some similar substance. They also hold that knowledge is caused in us only by an agent free of matter.

For this reason Avicenna holds that the intelligible

forms flow into our mind from the agent intelligence. Some have held the opposite opinion, namely, that all three of those are embodied in things and have no external cause, but are only brought to light by external activity. For some have held that all natural forms are in act, lying hidden in matter, and that a natural agent does notfiing but draw them from concealment out into the open. In like manner, some hold that all the habits of the virtues are implanted in us by nature.

And the practice of their actions

removes the obstructions which, as it were hid these habits, just as rust is removed by filing so that the brightness of the iron is brought to light. Similarly, some also have said that the knowledge of all things is con-created with the soul and that through teaching and the external helps of this type of knowledge all that happens is that the soul is prompted to recall or consider those things which it knew previously. Hence, they say that learning is nothing but remembering. But both of these positions lack a reasonable basis.

For the first

opinion excludes proximate causes, attributing solely to first causes all effects which happen in lower natures.

In this it derogates from the

order of the universe, which is made up of the order and connection of causes, since the first cause, by the pre-eminence of its goodness, gives other beings not only their existence, but also their existence as causes.

The second position, too, falls into practically the same


For, since a thing which removes an obstruction is a mover

only accidentally, as is said in the Physics, if lower agents do nothing but bring things from concealment into the open, taking away the obstructions which concealed the forms and habits of the virtues and the sciences, it follows that all lower agents act only accidentally. Therefore, in all that has been said we ought to hold a middle position between these two, according to the teaching of Aristotle.


natural forms pre-exist in matter not actually, as some have said, but only in potency. They are brought to actuality from this state of potency through a proximate external agent, and not through the first agent alone, as one of the opinions maintains.


Similarly, according

to this opinion of Aristotle, before the habits of virtue are completely formed, they exist in us in certain natural inclinations, which are the beginnings of the virtues.

But afterwards, through practice in their

actions, they are brought to their proper completion. We must give a similar explanation of the acquisition of knowl¬ edge.

For certain seeds of knowledge pre-exist in us, namely, the

first concepts of understanding, which by the light of the agent intellect are immediately known through the species abstracted from sensible things.

These are either complex, as axioms, or simple, as

the notions of being, of the one, and so on, which the understanding grasps immediately.

In these general principles, however, all the con¬

sequences are included as in certain seminal principles.

When, there¬

fore, the mind is led from these general notions to actual knowldge of the particular things, which it knew previously in general, and, as it were, potentially, then one is said to acquire knowledge. We must bear in mind, nevertheless, that in natural things some¬ thing can pre-exist in potency in two ways. In one, it is in an active and completed potency, as when an intrinsic principle has sufficient power to flow into perfect act.

Healing is an obvious example of this,

for the sick person is restored to health by the natural power within him. The other appears in a passive potency, as happens when the internal principle does not have sufficient power to bring it into act. This is clear when air becomes fire, for this cannot result from any power existing in the air. Therefore, when something pre-exists in active completed potency, the external agent acts only by helping the internal agent and pro¬ viding it with the means by which it can enter into act. Thus, in healing the doctor assists nature, which is the principal agent, by strengthening nature and prescribing medicines, which nature uses as instruments for healing.

On the other hand, when something

pre-exists only in passive potency, then it is the external agent which is the principal cause of the transition from potency to act. fire makes actual fire of air, which is potentially fire.


Knowledge, therefore, pre-exists in the learner potentially, not, however, in the purely passive, but in the active, sense. Otherwise, man would not be able to acquire knowledge independently.


fore, as there are two ways of being cured, that is, either through the activity of unaided nature or by nature with the aid of medicine, so also there are two ways of acquiring knowledge. In one way, natural reason by itself reaches knowledge of unknown things, and this way is called discovery; in the other way, when someone else aids the learner’s natural reason, and this is called learning by instruc¬ tion. In effects which are produced by nature and by art, art operates in the same way and through the same means as nature.


For, as


nature heals one who is suffering from cold by warming him, so also does the doctor.

Hence, art is said to imitate nature.

takes place in acquiring knowledge.

A similar thing

For the teacher leads the pupil

to knowledge of things he does not know in the same way that one directs himself through the process of discovering something he does not know. Now, in discovery, the procedure of anyone who arrives at the knowledge of something unknown is to apply general self-evident principles to certain definite matters, from these to proceed to par¬ ticular conclusions, and from these to others.

Consequently, one

person is said to teach another inasmuch as, by signs, he manifests to that other the reasoning process which he himself goes through by his own natural reason.

And thus, through the instrumentality, as

it were, of what is told him, the natural reason of the pupil arrives at a knowledge of the things which he did not know. Therefore, just as the doctor is said to heal a patient through the activity of nature, so a man is said to cause knowledge in another through the activity of ther learner’s own natural reason, and this is teaching.


one is said to teach another and be his teacher. This is what the Philo¬ sopher means when he says: “Demonstration is a syllogism which makes someone know." But, if someone proposes to another things which are not included in self-evident principles, or does not make it clear that they are included, he will not cause knowledge in the other but, perhaps, opinion or faith, although even this is in some way caused by inborn first principles, for from these self-evident principles he realizes that what necessarily follows from them is to be held with certitude, and that what is contrary to them is to be rejected completely, and that assent may be given to or withheld from whatever neither follows necessarily from nor is contrary to self-evident principles.

Now, the light of

reason by which such principles are evident to us is implanted in us by God as a kind of reflected likeness in us of the uncreated truth. So, since all human teaching can be effective only in virtue of that light, it is obvious that God alone teaches interiorly and principally, just as nature alone heals interiorly and principally.


both to heal and to teach can still be used in a proper sense in the way we have explained.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Since Our Lord had ordered the disciples not to be called teachers, the Gloss explains how this prohibition is to be understood, lest it be taken absolutely. For we are forbidden to call man a teacher in this sense, that we attribute to him the pre-eminence of teaching, which belongs to God.

It would be as if we put our hope in the


wisdom of men, and did not rather consult divine truth about those things which we hear from man.

And this divine truth speaks in

us through the impression of its likeness, by means of which we can judge of all things. 2. Knowledge of things is not produced in us through knowledge of signs, but through knowledge of things more certain, namely, principles.

The latter are proposed to us through signs and are applied

to other things which were heretofore unknown to us simply, although they were known to us in some respect, as has been said.

For knowl¬

edge of principles produces in us knowledge of conclusions; knowledge of signs does not. 3. To some extent we know the things we are taught through signs, and to some extent we do not know them.

Thus, if we are

taught what man is, we must know something about him beforehand, namely, the meaning of animal, or of substance, or at least of being itself, which last concept cannot escape us.

Similarly, if we are taught

a certain conclusion, we must know beforehand what the subject and predicate are. We must also have previous knowledge of the principles through which the conclusion is taught, for “all teaching comes from pre-existing knowledge,” as is said in the Posterior Analytics.


the argument does not follow. 4. Our intellect derives intelligible likenesses from sensible signs which are received in the sensitive faculty, and it uses these intel¬ ligible forms to produce in itself scientific knowledge. For the signs are not the proximate efficient cause of knowledge, but reason is, in its passage from principles to conclusions, as has been said. 5. In one who is taught, the knowledge did not exist in complete actuality, but, as it were, in seminal principles, in the sense that the universal concepts which we know naturally are, as it were, the seeds of all the knowledge which follows.

But, although these seminal

principles are not developed to actuality by any created power, as though they were infused by a created power, that which they have in a primitive way and virtually can develop into actuality by means of the activity of a created power. 6. We do not say that a teacher communicates knowledge to the pupil, as though the knowledge which is in the teacher is numerically the same as that which arises in the pupil.

It is rather that the knowl¬

edge which arises in the pupil through teaching is similar to that which is in the teacher, and this was raised from potency into act, as has been said. 7. As the doctor is said to cause healing, although he works ex¬ teriorly, while nature alone works interiorly, so man is said to teach the truth, although he declares it exteriorly, while God teaches in¬ teriorly. 8. When Augustine proves that only God teaches, he does not


intend to exclude man from teaching exteriorly, but intends to say that God alone teaches interiorly. 9. Man can truly be called a true teacher inasmuch as he teaches the truth and enlightens the mind.

This does not mean, however,

that he endows the mind with light, but that, as it were, he cooperates with the light of reason by supplying external help to it to reach the perfection of knowledge.

This is in accordance with Ephesians

(3.8-9): To me, the least of all the saints, is given this grace ... to enlighten all men, ...” 10. Wisdom is twofold, created and uncreated. Man is said to be endowed with both and to improve himself by advancing in them. Uncreated wisdom, however, cannot be changed in any way, whereas in us created wisdom can be changed for some extrinsic reason, though not by reason of anything intrinsic to it. We can consider this capacity for change in two ways. In one way, according to the relation which it has to eternal things, and in this way it is entirely unchangeable. In the other, according to the existence which it has in the subject, it is changed for some extrinsic reason when the subject which has wisdom in potency is changed into a subject having it in act.

For the

intelligible forms in which wisdom consists are both likenesses of things and forms perfecting the understanding. 11. In the pupil, the intelligible forms of which knowledge re¬ ceived through teaching is constituted are caused directly by the agent intellect and mediately by the one who teaches.

For the teacher

sets before the pupil signs of intelligible things, and from these the agent intellect derives the intelligible likenesses and causes them to exist in the possible intellect. Hence, the words of the teacher, heard or seen in writing, have the same efficacy in causing knowledge as things which are outside the soul.

For from both the agent intellect

receives intelligible likenesses, although the words of the teacher are more proximately disposed to cause knowledge than things outside the soul, in so far as they are signs of intelligible forms. 12. Intellectual and bodily sight are not alike, for bodily sight is not power which compares, so that among its objects it can proceed from one to another.

Rather, all the objects of this sight can be

seen as soon as it turns to them. Consequently, anyone who has the power of sight can look at all visible things, just as one who has a habit of knowledge can turn his attention to the things which he knows habitually. Therefore, the seeing subject needs no stimulus from another to see something, unless, perhaps, someone else directs the subject’s attention to some object by pointing it out or doing some¬ thing of the sort. But, since the intellective power can compare, it proceeds from some things to others. As a result, it does not have the same relation to all intelligible objects of consideration.


Rather, the mind sees certain

things immediately, those which are self-evident, in which are con¬ tained certain other things which it can understand only by using reason to unfold those things which are implicitly contained in princi¬ ples.

Thus, before the mind has the habit, it is not only in accidental

potency to know these things, but also essential potency.

For the mind

needs a mover to actualize it through teaching, as is said in the Physics. But a man who already knew something habitually would not need this.

Therefore, the teacher furnishes the pupil’s intellect with a

stimulus to knowledge of the things which he teaches, as an indis¬ pensable mover, bringing the intellect from potentiality to actuality. But one who shows some thing to bodily sight prompts it to action as a nonessential mover.

And one who has the habit of knowledge

can in this way receive a stimulus from someone to consider something. 13. The whole certainty of scientific knowledge arises from the certainty of principles.

For conclusions are known with certainty when

they are reduced to the principles. Therefore, that something is known with certainty is due to the light of reason divinely implanted within us, by which God speaks within us.

It comes from man, teaching

from without, only in so far as, teaching us, he reduces conclusions to the principles. Nevertheless, we would not attain the certainty of scientific knowledge from this unless there were within us the certainty of the principles to which the conclusions are reduced. 14. Man, teaching from without, does not infuse the intelligible light, but he is in a certain sense a cause of the intelligible species, in so far as he offers us certain signs of intelligible likenesses, which our understanding receives from those signs and keeps within itself. 15. When it is said that nothing but God can form the mind, this is understood of its basic form, without which mind would be considered formless, no matter what other forms it had. This is the form by which it turns toward the Word and clings to Him. It is through this alone that rational nature is called formed, as is clear from Augustine. 16. Guilt is in the affections, on which only God can make an impression, as will appear later. But ignorance is in the understanding, on which even a created power can make an imprint.

For the agent

intellect impresses the intelligible species on the possible intellect, and through the mediation of this latter, scientific knowledge is caused in our soul by sensible things and by the teaching of man, as has been said. 17. One has the certainty of scientific knowledge, as has been said, from God alone, who has given us the light of reason, through which we know principles.

It is from these that the certainty of

scientific knowledge arises. Nevertheless, scientific knowledge in a certain Sense be caused" in us by man, as has been said.



18. Before the teacher speaks, the pupil would, if asked, answer about the principles through which he is taught, but not about the conclusions which someone is teaching him. Hence, he does not learn the principles from the teacher, but only the conclusions. *




In the Second Article We Ask: Can One Be Called His Own Teacher? Difficulties :

It seems that he can, for 1. An activity should be ascribed more to the principal cause than to the instrumental cause. But in us the agent intellect is, as it were, the principal cause of the knowledge which is produced in us. But man who teaches another is, as it were, an instrumental cause, furnish¬ ing the agent, intellect with the instruments by means of which it causes knowledge. Therefore, the agent intellect is more the teacher than another man. If, then, because of what a speaker says we call him the teacher of the one who hears him, the hearer should in a much fuller sense be called his own teacher because of the light of the agent intellect. 2. One learns something only in so far as he acquires certain knowledge.

But such certitude is in us by reason of the principles

which are naturally known in the light of the. agent intellect. There¬ fore, the agent intellect is especially fitted to teach. We conclude as before. 3. To teach belongs more properly to God than to man. it is said in Matthew (23:8): “For one is your master.”

Hence, But God

teaches us in so far as He gives us the light of reason, by means of which we can judge about everything.

Therefore, we should attribute

the activity of teaching especially to that light. follows as before.

The same conclusion

4. It is more perfect to learn something through discovery than to learn it from another, as is clear in the Ethics, If, therefore, a man is called teacher in virtue of that manner of acquiring knowledge by which one learns from another so that the one is called the teacher of the other, he should with much greater reason be called a teacher in virtue of the process of acquiring knowledge through discovery, and so be called his own teacher. 5. Just as one is inspired to virtue by another and by himself, so also he gets to know something by discovering for himself and by learning from another. But those who attain to works of virtue without having another as an instructor or a lawgiver are said to


be a law unto themselves, according to Romans (2:14): “For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law ... they are a law to themselves.”

Therefore, the man

who acquires knowledge by himself ought to be called his own teacher. 6. The teacher is a cause of knowledge as the doctor is a cause of health, as has been said.

But a doctor heals himself.


one can also teach oneself. A.

To the Contrary: 1. The Philosopher says that it is impossible for one who is teaching to learn.

For the teacher must have knowledge and the

learner must not have it.

Therefore, one cannot teach himself or

be called his own teacher. 2. The office of teacher implies a relation of superiority, just as dominion does. But relationships of this sort cannot exist between a person and himself. For one is not his own father or master. There¬ fore, neither can one be called his own teacher. Reply:

Through the light of reason, implanted in him and without the help of another’s instruction, one can undoubtedly acquire knowledge of many things which he does not know.

This is clear with all

those who acquire knowledge through discovery.

Thus, in some sense

one can be a cause of his own knowledge, but he cannot be called his own teacher or be Said to teach himself. For in physical reality we find two types of active principles, as is clear from the Philosopher. Now, there is one type of agent which has within itself everything which it produces in the effect, and it has these perfections in the same way as the effect, as in equivocal causes.

Then, there is a certain type of agent in which there pre¬

exists only a part of the effect. An example of this type is a movement which causes health, or some warm medicine, in which warmth exists either actually or virtually. But warmth is not complete health, but a part of it. The first type of agent, therefore, possesses the complete nature of action.

But those of the second type do not, for a thing

acts in so far as it is in act. Hence, since it actually contains the effect to be produced only partially, it is not an agent in the perfect sense. But teaching implies the perfect activity of knowledge in the teacher or master. Hence, the teacher or master must have the knowl¬ edge which he causes in another explicitly and perfectly, as it is to be received in the one who is learning through instruction.


however, knowledge is acquired by someone through an internal princi¬ ple, that which is the active cause of the knowledge has the knowledge to be acquired only partially, that is, in the seminal principles of knowl-


edge, which are the general principles. Therefore, properly speaking, we cannot call a man teacher or master because of such causality. Answers to Difficulties:

1. Although to some extent the agent intellect is more the principal cause than another’s teaching, the knowledge does not pre-exist in it completely, as it does in the teacher. follow.

Hence, the argument does not

2. A like solution should be given to the second difficulty. 3. God knows explicitly everything which man is taught by Him. Hence, the character of teacher can suitably be applied to God. The case is not the same with the agent intellect, for the reason already given. 4. For the one learning a science, to learn it by discovery is the more perfect way of acquiring the knowledge, because it shows that he is more skillful in the acquisition of knowledge.

However, for the

one causing the knowledge, it is more perfect to cause it by means of instruction. For a teacher who knows the whole science explicitly can teach it to a pupil more readily than the pupil himself could learn it from his own rather general knowledge of the principles of the science. 5. A law has the same relation to matters of action as a principle has to speculative matters, but not the same as a teacher. Consequently, if he is a law unto himself, it does not follow that he can be his own teacher. 6. A doctor heals in so far as he has health, not actually, but in the knowledge of his art. But the teacher teaches in so far as he has knowledge actually. Hence, he who does not have health actually can cause health in himself because he has health in the knowledge of his art.

However, it is impossible for one actually to have knowledge

and not to have it, in such a way that he could teach himself.




The Order Of Learning MORTIMER J.


There are two basic principles which, it seems to me, help us determine the order of learning, and to adjust that subjective order to the objective order of subject-matters. The first of these is the very nature of teaching itself. Teaching, like agriculture and like medicine, is a cooperative art, not a simply productive art, transforming the obediential potentialities of inert matter. Teaching, as a cooperative art, must work with the determinate po¬ tentialities of living matter — and the rules of teaching must be adapted to the very nature of learning. Let me expand a little on this point. Hippocrates, who perfectly understood the nature of healing as an art cooperating with nature, distinguished three modes of therapy, and ordered them according to the degree in which they were co¬ operative — the best being the most cooperative with living matter, the worst being operative upon living matter as if it were dead and inert. He placed the control of regimen (the patient’s diet, hours of Mortimer J. Adler, “The Order of Learning,” Address delivered at the dinner of the Western Division of the American Catholic Philosophical Association in San Francisco, April 19, 1941.


sleep and work, climate, etc.) first; second, and as auxiliary to regimen, he placed medication, the introduction of foreign substances into the body to work as catalysts do; last and recommended only as a last resort in extremity, he placed surgery, which is, strictly speaking, operative rather than cooperative, and therefore does violence to nature. Teach¬ ing is like healing. The basic modes of teaching can, therefore, be compared to the three types of therapy which Hippocrates distinguished. Indoctrination does violence to the mind, as surgery does violence to the body: one puts something in by force, as the other takes something out by force. Lectures and text-books are like medicine — only secondbest as a method of teaching, and then good only as auxiliary to the prime procedure, which is the dialectical way, the way of teaching which conforms to the order of discovery in learning. The Socratic method is, in a sense, the only right method of teaching. Socrates is the prototype of the teacher, as Hippocrates is the prototype of the healer — for both had a proper respect for nature, and understood the subordina¬ tion of themselves as artist. This is the meaning of Socrates’ description of himself as a midwife in the birth of knowledge. The second principle is the basic distinction between discovery and instruction as types of learning. Discovery is learning without a teacher; instruction is learning with a teacher's aid. But both are, as learning, essentially the same, and the order of learning must be essen¬ tially the same, therefore, whether the learner proceeds by discovery or by instruction. Furthermore, what is most important of all, since the teacher is always only a cooperative cause, and never a primary or sole cause, of learning, the intellectual activities which occur without aid in the case of discovery must be going on also in the case of in¬ struction. From these two principles, we can conclude that the order of teach¬ ing must follow the order of learning, and that this order is primarily the order of discovery, for, as we have seen, even in learning by in¬ struction, the primary causes of learning are the same sort of acts which cause discovery, when the learning goes on without a teacher’s aid. The significance of this point — which I think is of the greatest im¬ portance — may not be grasped unless it is put into contrast with the now prevalent error. Today, in most cases, teaching proceeds as if the order of teaching should follow the order of knowledge, the objective order of knowledge itself, even though we know that this objective order cannot be followed in the process of discovery. In fact, it is completely reversed. Instruction which departs from the order of discovery also departs from the order of learning, for the way of discovery is the primary way of the mind to truth, and instruction merely imitates nature in imitating discovery. The objective structure of knowledge in no way indicates the processes of the mind in growth. Now the order of discovery is primarily inductive and dialectical, 114

not deductive and scientific.

Let me explain.

The usual distinction

between induction and deduction — going from particulars to universals or universals to particulars — has always seemed to be somewhat super¬ ficial, if, in fact, it is correct at all. Rather, it seems to me, the deductive order is going from what is more knowable in itself to what is less knowable in itself; and thus there is an objective foundation for less intelligible truths in more intelligible ones — the intelligibility being intrinsic to the object known, being secundum se, not quoad nos. In contrast, the inductive order is going from what is more knowable to us to what is less knowable to us.

Thus, the deductive order is

the demonstration of conclusions from prior principles, or, where de¬ monstration does not take place, the analytical expansion of prior truths in terms of their consequences; whereas the inductive order is the dis¬ covery of self-evident principles, on the one hand, and, on the other, it is the inferential procedure whereby every basic existential proposi¬ tion is known — for no existential proposition (concerning God, or substance, or the diversity of essences) can be demonstrated deductively. All a -posteriori inferences are inductive, not deductive, and these are among the most fundamental inferences of the mind in the discovery of truth about things. The other fundamental step is the intuitive induction of first principles. Therefore, the methods of teaching any subject-matter should be primarily inductive and dialectical, rather than deductive and simply expository, for the former method is a conformity of teaching to the order of learning, as that is naturally exhibited in the order of discovery, which teaching must imitate as a cooperative art; whereas the latter method is a conformity of teaching to the order of knowledge itself, and this is an order which should not determine teaching, for it does not determine learning. can be quickly drawn:

The practical implications of this conclusion

First, for any subject-matter, and for philosophy preeminently (pre¬ cisely because it is wisdom and the most difficult sort of knowledge to possess by way of speculative habit), teaching must be by the Socratic method. Second, the Socratic, or dialectical, method is the only way to avoid the substitution of verbal memory for intellectual habit. puts questions before answers.

It always

It does not rest when a student gives

a verbally right answer, but always tries to undermine the right answer to test it, for if it is just parrot-like speech, the answer will not stand the dialectical attack. It places the highest value on questions, rather than upon answers; for a question in search of answers is an educational dynamo, whereas an answer in search of the question it answers is an educational dud. Third,



of course,


lectures and

text-books are

taboo, for the most part, because lectures usually are deductive or


analytical expositions following the order of knowledge, rather than dialectical inquiries adapted to the order of discovery; and text-books are even worse than lectures as manuals for the memory, rather than challenges to the mind. Fourth, right teaching must be done either without any books, if the teacher is a Socrates, or, if the teacher is not Socrates, the only books he can use to good effect are the very greatest books, on a given subject, which have ever been written, for only such books will be above both himself and his students; only such books will stimulate him to inquire and thus to lead his students in inquiry; only such books will pose both teacher and students problems, rather than give them simply codified, and readily memorizable, answers. Fifth, the simplest test for right teaching, — well-ordered as an aid to learning, — is this: that the teacher should find himself actively engaged in discovery of the truth, at the same time that he is helping his students (though they be moving at a lower level) to make dis¬ coveries also, proportionate to their age and condition. When the teacher proceeds by the wrong method — by lecture — expositions and quizzes on text-books or manuals — it seldom, if ever, happens that the teacher himself learns anything new. His state of mind is not an inquiring one. That shows he is not really doing the work of a teacher, for the work of a teacher must conform to the work of learning, and this can only take place if the teacher is really learning at the same time that he teaches. Finally, it is only by such dialectical and inductive procedure, that the truth is learned, not in complete abstraction from the problems it solves or the errors is corrects, but in the context of complicated alternatives. This again is the trouble with text-books. They seldom make the problems live, or state the errors vigorously enough to make them real dangers and real obstacles to the mind.


> /,

The Art of Teaching FRANCIS C. WADE, S. J.

The subject of education has gr> But we have to remember that the true sense of this connection is as follows: acting justly, bravely, all acting well, is not just and brave and good unless corresponding to the truth of real things; it is the virtue of prudence in which this truth of real things becomes effective, fertile, and decisive. This doctrine of the priority of pru¬ dence has an immense “practical” importance. It includes, for instance, the educational principle that education and self-education aiming at moral development must be rooted in the virtue of prudence, that is to say, the ability to see objectively the realities surrounding our acts, and to make them decide our course of action. Furthermore, the classical doctrine of the virtue of prudence offers the only chance to overcome radically the phenomenon of “moralism.” The substance of moralism, which most people regard as a thing peculiarly Christian, is that it severs what we are from what we ought to do, that it proclaims a duty without perceiving and without showing that duty is rooted in what we are. On the contrary, the nucleus as well as the proper con¬ cern of the doctrine of prudence is as follows: to prove as necessary of prudence what we ought to do is decided by what we are. Moral¬ ism says: good is what agrees with reality; it should be because it corresponds with reality. (It is perhaps important to per-ceive here the distinctly inner connection of “Christian” moralism with modern voluntarism.) And a third “practical” and “actual” point must be intimated. The fundamental attitude of justness (in the sense of agreement with reality), of objectivity, as expressed in the classical doctrine of prudence, was summarized in the Middle Ages in the following sentence, a sentence both grand and simple: Wise is man if all things taste to him as they really are. Now it is an important 181

experience of modern psychology or, more exactly, of modern psycho¬ therapy that a man to whom things do not taste as they are, who instead tastes in all things nothing but himself because he looks only at himself — that this man has lost not only the real capacity for justice (and for all moral virtue) but also his psychical sanity. Thus a whole group of psychical diseases is substantially due to such ego¬ tistic lack of objectivity. Such experience sanctions and illumines the ethical realism of the doctrine of the priority of prudence. Pru¬ dence is one of the spiritual regions where the mysterious connection between sanity and sanctity, between illness and sin becomes visible. A psychological theory which does not wilfully overlook them is likely to see very deep connections here. The ethical doctrine of prudence should be able to illumine in an amazing way the central notion of self-deception (which is nothing but a lack of objectivity in perceiving reality, and which is rooted in the will).

Ill Prudence and justice are more closely connected than appears at first sight. Justice, we have said, is the ability to live truly “with others.” Now it is easy to see that this ability to live in community (which nearly signifies the ability live at all) depends upon the ob¬ jective perception and acknowledgment of reality. This means that this ability depends upon prudence. Only an objective man is just; and injustice and the lack of objectivity mean, even in the very usage of language, almost the same thing. It is prudence in which the real capacity for being good is rooted; only the prudent man has, in presupposition, the capacity for being good. This is why prudence ranks so high. But the rank of justice is based on the fact that justice is the highest and truest mode of this goodness itself. Such a statement must be emphasized since “Christian” middle-class people have for some generations proclaimed altogether different things as the primary and true criterion of a good man, specifically, “morality” so-called. A good man is primarily just. Man as a member of the community has the task of realizing justice. One can almost say that it is not so much the individual who represents justice (although, naturally, and strictly speaking the person alone can be “virtuous”), but We, the social entity, the people; which means that justice is the perfection of the We. Now, the structure of each commonwealth is based on three funda¬ mental relations; and if these three relations are right we can say that justice rules in it. First, there are mutual relations of the members; the justness of these relations corresponds to the exchange of justice Qustitia commutativa). Second, there are the relations of the whole to the members; the justness of .these relations corresponds to distributive 182

justice (justitia distributiva). Third, there are the relations of the individual members to the whole We; the justness of these relations corresponds to “legal” justice (justitia legalist). These things may sound very natural, is if they were a matter of course. But they are not a matter of course. The social doctrine of individualism, for example, sees only one of these three relations, namely, the mutual relations of the individual members. Individualism does not acknowledge the true independence of the social whole, and, therefore, it knows of no actual connection of the individuals to the whole, nor of the whole to the individuals. And accordingly the justitia commutativa is the unique form of justice which individualism knows of, if it is con¬ sistent. On the other hand, anti-individualism has created a “universalistic” social doctrine which frankly denies any existence of rela¬ tions among individuals as individuals, and which, in consequence, declares the justitia commutativa to be an “individualistic misconcep¬ tion.” The reality of the “totalitarian state” shows that such an “aca¬ demic theory” is not inclined to remain on the level of mere “theory”; its coercive power hardly admits “private” relations among individuals who merely cdme together as functionaries to serve the ends of the state. St. Thomas Aquinas also says that the whole moral life of man is closely bound to the bonum commune; the justitia legalis, therefore really has a very particular rank and place. But we must not overlook the ambiquity of this statement of St. Thomas. One of its senses is this: there is a true obligation of the individual with respect to the common weal, and this obligation comprises the whole man. The other sense is this: all individual virtue has an importance for the common weal. This means that the common weal needs the virtue of all individuals, that it cannot be realized unless the individual mem¬ bers of the community are good, not only just, but good, virtuous in the most individual and secret and, so to speak, “private” way.

IV Another error about justice (at bottom quite liberalist but not at all limited to the era of liberalism) declares: it is possible to be just without having to be brave. This is not so much an error about the nature of justice as an error about the real structure of “this” world, in which justice is to be realized. For “this” world is constructed in such a manner that justice, and good generally, could not be success¬ ful of its own accord without the fighting man, ready to die for it. Evil is mighty in “this” world: this fact becomes manifest in the necessity for fortitude which means readiness to endure injuries for the sake of the realization of good. So, St. Augustine says, fortitude itself is an irrefutable witness of the existence of evil in the world. 183

Now it is a bad and false answer to the liberalist error to believe that it is possible to be brave without being just. Fortitude as a virtue is present only where justice is intended. Who is not just cannot be brave in the strict sense. Thomas Aquinas says: “The praise of fortitude depends upon justice” (Swtnwa Theologica, II, II, 123, 12). This means: simultaneously I may praise anyone for his fortitude only if I can praise him for his justice. True fortitude, therefore, is essen¬ tially connected with the will to justice. It is no less important to perceive that the idea of fortitude is not identical with the idea of an aggressive fearlessness at all costs. There even is a sort of fearlessness which is opposed to the virtue of fortitude. Here we must consider the place occupied by fear in the structure of human existence. The common and mitigating foreground-talk of everyday life is based on the denial of the existence of anything terrible. The terrible is pushed back into the realm of mere appearances. This mitigation, effective (or not effective) at all times, today finds a remarkable counterpart in the fact that in the philosophical, psycho¬ logical, and poetical literature of our time no conception plays such a large part as the conception of fear. Another counterpart of that everyday attempt at making human existence harmless and “fearless” is a new stoicism which has found an imposing human representative and a fascinating formulation in literature. This new stoicism is “pro¬ claimed” above all by a group of men who consider the events of the last wars as a destruction which includes the promise and the threat of new, still greater, and apocalyptic catastrophes. And the thesis is: life is always terrible, but there is nothing so terrible that a strong man could not endure with greatness. But if you read the books, for example, of Ernst Juenger, who is one of the most remarkable heads of this new “Stoa,” you have to agree that nearly all dreams of these “adventurous hearts” are dreams of anxiety. To this question the ultimate and most profound Christian answer is: the notion of the fear of the Lord. But this conception runs the risk of being depleted, deprived of its reality, and concealed by the Christian common-consciousness. The fear of the Lord is not the same as “respect” for the absolute God, but real fear in the strict sense of the word. The common signification of fear, anxiety, fright, horror and terror is that they are all different answers to the different man¬ ners of the diminution of being, the ultimate one of which is annihila¬ tion. It is not at all the way of Christian theology to deny the existence of the fearsome in human life; furthermore, the Christian doctrine of life does not say that man should not or must not fear the fearsome. But the Christian asks for the ordo timoris; he asks for what is really and ultimately fearsome; and he is afraid of fearing perhaps that which is not at all really and definitely fearsome. That which is properly fearsome comes to this: the possibility of man’s fear of this possible separation from the Ultimate Origin of being, to which the fear of the 184

Lord is the adequate answer. This fear which accompanies all human life, even that of the saint, as a real possibility, is a fear that cannot be overcome by any manner of “heroism.” On the contrary, this fear is the presupposition of all genuine heroism. The fear of the Lord as a fear is to be endured and suffered right up to the definite security of the Eternal Life. When fortitude saves us from loving our life in such manner that we lose it — then this implies that the fear of the Lord, as a fear of losing Eternal Life, is the basis of all Christian forti¬ tude. It should be considered, however, that the fear of the Lord is the negative counterpart of the hopeful love of God. St. Augustine says: all fear is the feeling of love. The fear of the Lord is the “fulfillment” of the natural anxiety of man with respect to the diminution of being and of annihilation. All moral goodness is likewise a sort of extension of natural inclina¬ tions. And man fears the nihil by nature. And as the natural desire for life in community is accomplished in the virtue of justice, and as the natural desire for self-dependence is perfected in the virtue of magnanimity, and as the natural impulse for enjoyment is perfected in the virtue of temperance — so the natural anxiety of annihilation be¬ comes also destructive, unless perfected in the fear of the Lord. The fact that the fear of the Lord in its proper form as “timor filialis" is a gift of the Holy Ghost and not, as for example, with the cardinal virtues, the natural fulfillment of a natural human faculty — this fact implies that only realized supernatural perfection is able to free man from the tyranny of unsatisfied anxiety. As it is, the destructive effect of this unsatisfied anxiety and its tyranny are proved not only in ethical spheres, but also in the sphere of the natural psychical life — as psychiatry may confirm. Here is once more a point clearly revealing the coherence of sanity and sanctity. The distinctness, however, is limited to the fact of this coherence: in what precise manner sanity and sanctity and above all guilt and illness are inter¬ woven and on which terms this connection becomes effective — a state¬ ment about this is hardly possible. In any case the “sanity” of justice, of magnanimity, of temperance, of fear of the Lord, and of all virtue consists in their conforming to the objective reality, both natural and supernatural. Compliance with reality is the principle of both sanitv and goodness.

V Earlier we noted that the natural desire for enjoyment can be¬ come destructive. This fact is concealed by the liberalist thesis: man is good. Enlightened liberalism, by virtue of its most fundamental presuppositions could not acknowledge the possible existence in man of a revolt of inferior spiritual forces against the government of mind; 185

it denies that man has lost the spontaneous inner order of his nature through original sin. And so, judged from this aspect, the virtue of temperance necessarily passes for something nonsensical and object¬ less. For the virtue of temperance presupposes that the above-men¬ tioned destructive revolt of the senses against the mind is possible and is perceived as possible. This depletion of the virtue of temperance by enlightened liberalism the common doctrine of many Christians (I will not say the doctrine of the Church, nor even theology) has countered by an over-accentuation of this very virtue. So for the Christian common consciousness the virtue of temperance, in its typical forms of chastity and abstinence, has become the conspicuous and alldominating trait of the Christian idea of man. Now this answer of Christianity has, nevertheless, remained a child of its adversary, that is, of liberalism. This dependence upon the liberalistic-individualistic adversary becomes manifest in so far as the virtue of temperance is the most “private” among the four cardinal virtues; temperance refers to the individual as an individual. So the most “private” virtue passes for the most Christian virtue. In classical theology, however, this “private” > character of temperance was the very reason for declaring this virtue to be the last instead of the first of the four cardinal virtues. The overvaluation of temperance has had very considerable effects and extensions. The fact, for example, that in our everyday usage of language the words “sensuality,” “passion,” “desire,” “inclination” have received a very negative meaning although they are ethically neutral conceptions, is partly due to this overvaluation of temperance. But if by the word “sensuality” is exclusively meant sensuality as re¬ volting against the spirit and by “passion” exclusively bad passion, and by “desire” exclusively mutinous desire — then, of course, there are no names left for the non-mutinous sensuality, which St. Thomas says belongs to virtue. And this defect of the usage of language strongly inclines toward a dangerous confusion of notions, even of life itself. On the other hand, this defect of the usage of language has arisen from a confusion of notions and of life. Perhaps it may be good to cite here an example from the Summa Theologica which shows what the “Universal Doctor” thinks of this matter. It is an example, not a principle, but an example which il¬ lustrates a principle. In the Summa Theologica {Summa Theologica, I, II, 22-48) there is a chapter about the fassiones animae, the pas¬ sions of the soul. The expression involves all motions of the sensuous faculty, such as love, hate, desire, delight, sadness, fear, and anger. One of the approximately twenty-five questions of this chapter deals with the “remedies against grief and sadness” QSumma Theologica, I, II, 38). In five special articles St. Thomas enumerates five such remedies. Before mentioning them we should like to pose the ques¬ tion: What information could be given today by the moral common consciousness of Christianity concerning the “remedies against the sad186

ness of soul?” Everyone may answer the question himself. The first general remedy mentioned by St. Thomas is: any sort of delight, for sadness is like a weariness of the soul, but delight is like a rest. The second remedy: tears! The third remedy: the compassion of friends. The fourth: the contemplation of truth (which is more able to alleviate grief the more a man loves wisdom). As to the fifth remedy mentioned by St. Thomas, we should bear in mind that we have a textbook of theology before us, and certainly not an ordinary one. The fifth re¬ medy against sadness of soul is sleeping and bathing, for a sleep and a bath cause a feeling of well-being in the body which reacts upon the soul. Naturally, St. Thomas is well acquainted with the possibilities and necessities of a supernatural overcoming of human sorrow; he is even of the opinion that there are forms and degrees of human sorrow which can only be overcome by supernatural energies. But St. Thomas, on the other hand, does not think of putting aside natural possibilities — for example, sleeping and bathing. And he does not at all feel em¬ barrassed to speak about them in the midst of a theological discourse.

VI All four of the cardinal virtues — prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance — are principally connected with the natural sphere of human reality. But as Christian virtues they grow out of the fertile ground of faith, hope, and charity. Faith, hope, and charity are the answer to the reality of the Triune God which is supernaturally re¬ vealed to the Christian by the revelation of Jesus Christ. And the three theological virtues are not only the answer to that reality, hut they are at the same time the faculty and the source of this answer; they are not the answer itself but they are, so to speak, also the mouth which alone is able to give this answer. All three theological virtues are closely connected one with another; “they are,” as St. Thomas says in his tract about hope, “flowing back into themselves in a holy ring; who by hope has been led to charity has also a more perfect hope, just as his faith is stronger than before” QQuaest. disp. de spe, 3 ad 1). As the cardinal virtues are rooted in the theological virtues the super¬ natural ethos of the Christian differs from the natural ethos of the gentleman, that is, the naturally noble man. This origin itself, the manner and means of the coherence of natural and supernatural virtue, is expressed in the well-known sentence that grace does not destroy nature but presupposes and perfects it. This sentence seems to be very clear and really is so. But its clarity cannot affect the impossi¬ bility of making a mystery comprehensible by a simple statement. And there is nothing more mysterious than the manner in which God acts in man, and man in God. Nevertheless, the difference between a Christian and gentleman 187

becomes clearly manifest and in many ways. The Christian can, for example, appear to act contrary to natural prudence because in his acting he must conform to realities which only faith perceives. Inci¬ dentally, about this supernatural prudence St. Thomas has written a sentence which, I think, is particularly important for the Christian of today. “Obviously,” St. Thomas says, “the natural virtue of prudence presupposes quite a degree of acquired knowledge.” Now, when the theological virtues augment in a supernatural manner the cardinal vir¬ tues, what about prudence? Does grace replace the natural knowledge of natural things? Does faith supersede the objective estimate of the concrete situation or the concrete deed, or does it replace it? In this case, how can grace and faith be useful to the “plain man,” who does not possess this knowledge which is sometimes rather difficult? To these questions St. Thomas gives, I think a quite grand, and also most consoling, answer: “The men who require the advice and counsel of others can, providing they are in a state of grace, advise themselves in so far as they ask for the advice of other people and they (this is most important) are able to distinguish a good counsel from a bad one” QSumma Theologica, II, II, 47, 3). If they are in the state of gracel It goes without saying why this answer is consoling in the present situation of the plain Christian. The difference between a Christian and a gentleman is especially evident in the gap dividing Christian fortitude from the natural bravery of the gentleman. This point really closes the consideration of the Christian idea of man. The difference between a Christian fortitude and a merely natural fortitude lies eventually in the theological virtue of hope. All hope says: it will turn out well, it will end well. Super¬ natural hope says: for the man who stays in the reality of grace it will turn out well in a manner which infinitely exceeds all expectation; for this man it will end with nothing less than Eternal Life. Now it may come to pass that in an era of temptation to despair, all imminent and secular prospects for a “happy end” become gloomy. So it can come to pass that there is nothing left to the natural man limited to nature than the desperate fortitude of an “heroic end.” And particularly the true gentleman will consider this way as the only possibility; for he of all persons will be able to renounce the “way out of happiness” (as Ernst Juenger says). In short, sometimes it may happen that supernatural hope remains the unique possibility of hope at all. This is not to be understood in any sense of “eudaemonism,” it is not a question of anxiety about a last possibility of subjective happi¬ ness. The Biblical sentence “Although he would kill me, I would not tremble, but would plead my ways in his sight” (Job, 13, 15) is far from a “eudaemonic” anxiety about happiness. No, the Christian hope is first and above all the existential adjustment of man to fulfillment, to the ultimate realization, to the fullness of being (to which, of course, the fullness of happiness or rather of beatitude corresponds). If then


all natural hopes sometimes become senseless, it means that supernatural hope for man remains truly the unique possibility of adjusting his be!n§' The desPerate fortitude of the “heroic end” is at bottom “nihil¬ istic,” since it believes that it can suffer the unknown. Christian forti¬ tude, however, is fed by hope for the abundant reality of Life, for the Eternal Life, for a new heaven and for a new earth.


The subject of this lecture is Moral Education. I do not pretend to treat this question in a complete manner, I wish only to emphasize certain points that seem to me especially important from the philo¬ sophical angle. There are four main points which I should like to discuss. First: the nature and the limitations of the domain and function of the school with regard to moral education. Second: the concrete, existential relationship between morality and religion. Third: the basic role of the family in moral education. Fourth: the moral teaching in the school.

I Before coming to my first point, I should like first of all to make it clear that a sharp distinction must be made between two essential parts of moral education, namely the direct formation of the will, or of Jacques Maritain, “Moral Education,” in A College Goes to School: Cen¬ tennial Lectures. St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1945, pp. 3-25. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.


the dynamism of human desires and freedom, and the indirect moral formation by means of the intellect’s enlightenment. And the former depends basically not on the school and the university, but on the family — and on that spiritual family which is the Church. At this point we may observe that education broadly understood — I do not mean teaching — we may observe that educational training is in reality less an ethical art than a moral virtue implying a large part of art; it is in its very roots the practical wisdom (or, in Aristotelian terms, “prudence”) of the head of the family. Because this particular ethical wisdom must necessarily involve a great deal of knowledge and a great deal of art and technical preparation as an essential in¬ gredient, especially with regard to the intellectual formation of the child, it happened in antiquity that the father of the family shifted the responsibility of the art of teaching onto the pedagogue, who was a slave of the father of the family. From that time on, the pedagogue was to grow and develop in a singular manner, and to emancipate himself. Please do not believe I am suggesting that schools and col¬ leges should be considered slaves of the paterfamilias: I mean that the historical development and freeing of the school, while assuming more and more importance, did not and could not annihilate the normal link which relates the school to the family, and that the part of the school in education concerns essentially knowledge and intellectual development. The school and the university constitute an educational sphere of their own, which is autonomous both with regard to the family and to the state — there takes place here that great humanistic privilege which is academic liberties, but in which the educational rights of the family and the educational rights of the political community have to be respected, and in actual fact intertwine. The school is not an organ either of the family or of the civil community; its position is free, not subservient, yet subordinated to superior and more primordial rights: subordinated, I should like to say, to the family’s rights as regards primarily morality, to the states rights as regards primarily intellectual equipment. Thus we understand the fact that in proportion as the child grows, the emphasis of this double subordination changes: the school, which at the beginning is more subordinated to the con¬ cerns of the family than to those of the political community, becomes finally, with university teaching, more subordinated to the concerns of the political community than to those of the family. Because family refers primarily to man as a living being, to be born both to physical and to moral life, whereas the political community refers pri¬ marily to man as a rational being, therefore it is entitled to make special requirements with regard to the acquisition of knowledge, and to see to it that instruction be given to and received by all. I do not mean by making school and college education everywhere a part of the public services of the cities or the states; I mean by exerting control 192

over it, and by helping or subsidizing privately endowed institutions. No doubt, the political community is interested too in the acquisition of moral virtues. But on the one hand it is here confronted with rights more fundamental than its own, namely, the rights of the family and those of the Church, which by virtue of its mission spiritually to beget man for eternal life, possesses a full right to education — to be exercised in accordance with just civil laws. On the other hand, the very possibilities of the political community in matters of moral education are of no greater extent than those of the school, which has to do, by its very nature, with intellectual enlightenment more than with any direct formation of the will. At this point I must stress the distinction between the will, prac¬ tical reason and speculative reason. Speculative reason deals with knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone; practical reason, with knowl¬ edge for the sake of action and good human conduct; the will, with action itself and human conduct itself. When I say that school and college education is primarily concerned with knowledge and intel¬ lectual enlightenment, I do in no wise mean that it is only concerned with speculative knowledge and speculative reason: on the contrary, I am convinced that our present school and college education is too much taken up by theoretical knowledge, and that the part of ethics and morality in it needs to be strongly developed and emphasized. What I mean is that this practical part does not essentially deal with the direct formation of the inner powers of desire and will of conscience and freedom, but does essentially deal with the formation and en¬ lightenment of practical reason: that is, with teaching about the nature and principles and the very science of morality, and with that im¬ mense part of human knowledge which bears on human manners and human conduct.

II My second point deals with the concrete, existential relationship between morality and religion. Here a preliminary remark must be made. I just spoke of practical reason and moral teaching. As con¬ cerns now the will itself and the moral virtues, as having to be acquired and exercised by the individual person, ethical knowledge is indeed indispensable, yet, as a matter of fact, far from sufficient. For if it is a question of right applications to and right judgment on particular cases, practical reason itself depends on the rectitude of the will and on the decisive trend of our very freedom. The melancholy saying of Aristotle, contrasting with the Socratic doctrine that virtue is only knowledge, is to be recalled in this connection. “To know,” he said, “does little or even nothing for virtue.”1 1 II Ethic.; cf. Saint Thomas Aquinas, III Sent., dist. 35, 9.2, a. s.


What does a great deal for virtue is love: because the root hin¬ drance to moral life is basic egoism, and the chief yearning of moral life, liberation from oneself; and only love, being the gift of oneself, is able to remove this hindrance and to bring this yearhing to ful¬ fillment. But love itself is surrounded by our central egoism and in perpetual danger of becoming entangled in and recaptured by it, whether this egoism makes the ones we love a prey to our devouring self-love, or merges them in the ruthless self-love of the group, so as to exclude all other men from our love. Love does not regard ideas or abstractions or possibilities; love regards existing persons. God is the only Person whom human love can fly to and settle in, so as to embrace also all other persons and be freed from egotistic self-love. If a man actually loves another human being by that love which in some degree always consists in dying for the one loved, he actually loves God, and God first, at least in that manner in which all beings, even an atom or a grain of wheat, love God more than themselves. Yet the natural love of God cannot be stabilized in man so as to love God above everything in an efficacious fashion, and to love also all men, and in some manner all beings, unless it is perfected by love of charity. At this point we may observe that a profound link exists between the sense of love and the sense of sin. For both love and sin are mysteries the meaning of which is definitely seizable only with re¬ ference to God, and both depend on those depths of human personality and human freedom where man feels fully responsible for himself and is able to dispose of himself or give himself for some eternal pledge and through some irrevocable decision. In his book on The Bourgeois Man, Werner Sombart insists that man, in the rationalistic-capitalistic age, has become deprived of the sense of Being and the sense of Love. He became deprived, too, of the sense of Sin. Truly, we lost at the same time the sense of these three basic realities. Now to recover them is a matter of emergency for civilization. The sense of Love, the sense of Sin, the sense of Being, will be recovered at the same time, for they are intrinsically connected with each other. Or, rather, if we consider not the order of time, but the order of natural priorities, and if we remember that normally the curve of human achievements starts in the reason and ends in the will, we should say that the first to be recovered is the sense of Being, which primarily depends on the dyna¬ mism of speculative reason, then the sense of Sin, which primarilv depends on the dynamism of conscience and practical reason, and then the sense of Love, which primarily depends on the dynamism of the will and inner tendencial powers. The previous considerations enlighten the question of the rela¬ tionship between morality and religion. The core of morality is human reason, insofar as reason is the proximate rule of human actions. The core of religion is divine love, that is, indivisibly, love of God and brotherly love. Christianity .fastens the moral to the supramoral — 194

the moral order and the moral virtues to the theological order and the theological virtues, the greatest of which is charity. Christianity makes law appendent to love, and in this way it saves morality. For not only are reason and law, even the law of God, powerless to drag the heart of man to action if it is not quickened by love, but the very perfection of moral life and human life is suprahuman and supramoral, being perfection in love. We are wounded by sin indeed, and at the same time called upon to perfection, and there is no morality without striving toward self-perfection. If we aim at the moral ideal of the honest and sensible man, our average common behavior will drop down below morality. It will be lifted up to morality if the supramoral call and inspiration of the saints pass through our laborious and defective human life. Thus we may understand the paradox that natural law exists, as the very basis of morality, and that nevertheless no effort of reason to establish among men a firm system of morality based only on natural law has ever been able to succeed; that moral philosophy is a fundamental and necessary requirement of culture and civilization, and that never¬ theless moral philosophy is unable to ground good conduct of men if it is not backed up by faith. I am not pretending that a man who believes only in reason cannot have a genuine ethics of his own and a high standard of moral life. Nor am I pretending that a religious man cannot be morally perverted, or that religious men have always a standard of moral conduct worthy of their faith. That’s nonsense! Religious men know they are sinners; but they also know that while staggering along we may climb the road to renascence and spiritualiza¬ tion. What I maintain is that with regard to the average behavior of mankind, morality without religion undermines morality, and is able to sustain human life for but a few generations.

Ill In order to come to my third point: the basic role of the family in moral education, I should like to recall that nothing in human life is of greater importance than intuition and love, and neither intuition nor love is a matter of training or learning. Yet education must be primarily concerned with them. As for love, the question is above all to liberate the spiritual energies of the soul, those energies of good¬ ness which are badly repressed by the false realism and vulgarity of the wicked philosophy of life which is current today. Contrarily to the precept of Descartes, who, in his previsory rules of Morals, decided to imitate the customs and doings of his fellow-men, we must first of all encourage personal conscience not to hesitate to disagree with col¬ lective behavior for the sake of truth, on the condition, of course, that it is certainly a question of truth.

Such is the rule of the Gospel: “Do


not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.”2 The first step to be taken by everyone who wishes to act morally, and to keep alive in himself the sources of love, is to make up his mind not to act according to the general customs and doings of his fellow-men. Love, human love as well as divine love, is not a matter of training or learning, for it is a gift; the love of God is a gift of nature and of grace: that is why it can be the first precept. How could we be com¬ manded to put into action a power which we have not received or may not first receive? Charity, or that of love of God which is com¬ munion in friendship, is a grace-given virtue, and grows, like other virtues, by its own acts. There are no human methods or techniques of getting or developing charity, no more than any kind of love. There is nevertheless education in this matter: an education which is provided by trial and suffering, and which primarily consists in re¬ moving impediments and obstacles to love, and first of all sin, and in developing moral virtues. The help of educators is obviously needed here. As is the case with that which concerns in general the direct formation of the will, the educational sphere involved is first of all the family. Is not family love the primary pattern of any love uniting a community of men? Is not fraternal love the very name of that neighborly love which is but one with the love of God? No matter what deficiencies the family group may present in certain particular cases; no matter what trouble and disintegration the economic and social conditions of our day have brought to family life, the nature of things cannot be changed. And it is an essential law of the nature of things both that the vitality and virtues of love develop first in the family and that moral and religious training is first at work in the family. Not only the examples of the parents, and the rules of conduct which they inculcate, and the religious habits and inspiration which they further, and the memories of their own lineage which they convey, in short the educational work which they directly perform, but also, in a more general way, the common experiences and common trials, efforts, sufferings and hopes, and the daily labor of family life, and the daily love which pushes forward in the midst of slaps and kisses, constitute the normal fabric where the feelings and the will as of the child are naturally shaped. The society made up by his parents, his brothers and sisters, is the primary human society and human environment in which, consciously and sub¬ consciously, he becomes acquainted with love and from which he receives his ethical nourishment. Here both conflicts and harmonies have educa¬ tional value; a boy who has experienced common life with his sisters, a girl who has done so with her brothers, have gained unawares invaluable and irreplaceable moral advance as regards the relationship between the sexes. Over and above all, family love and brotherly love create in 2 Matt. XXIII, 3.


the heart of the child that hidden recess of tenderness and repose the memory of which man so badly needs, and in which perhaps after years of bitterness, he will immerse himself anew each time a natural trend to goodness and peace awakens in him. Father’s and mother’s love is the natural fostering of the sources of love within the child. If they love God, the child will also know through them the very countenance of such a love, and never forget it. I am aware that the examples of the parents are not always good, nor their educational work always well directed, nor their very love for their children always genuine, nor the life of the family group always heartening.

We all know that the worst abuses and psychic

deviations and unjust sufferings are possible in family life and edu¬ cation. French novelists, notably Francois Mauriac and Philippe Heriat, made clear what power of moral destruction a bourgeois family may display, and how the despotic love of some mothers may ruin the life of their sons. The history of family, all through the centuries, is no prettier than any human history. What I maintain is that nature exists and nothing can get rid of nature. There are freaks in nature; then exceptional measures must be taken. But let us speak of what happens as a rule. Even at the most mediocre average level, nature at play in family life has its own spontaneous ways of compensating after a fashion for its own failures, its own spontaneous processes of self-regulation, which nothing can replace, and provides the child with a moral formation and an experience of mutual love, however de¬ ficient it may be, which nothing can replace. Many birds fall from the nest. It would be nonsense to undertake to destroy all the nests fairly well prepared by mother-birds, and to furnish the forests of the world with better conditioned artificial nests, and improved cages. It is not my purpose to speak now of the other educational sphere directly concerned with the moral shaping of man, namely the Church, acting by means of its teaching, precepts, sacraments, and liturgy, and its spiritual training and guidance, as well as by its manifold initiatives and undertakings, youth movements and organizations. Suffice it to say that here again we are confronted with the law of love proper to family, this time the very family of God, since grace causes men to be of the lineage of God, and, according to St. Paul, “fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”3 To grow in the love of God, and, by the same token, of our fellow-men, is the serious business in this household. St. Paul also says: “He that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law.”4 So that all the moral work by means of which Christianity endeavors to bring up the human person, is cen¬ tered upon the development, strengthening and purification of that brotherly love which actually enables us to become the neighbor of any man, by having pity on him and caring for his wounds. 3 Ephes. II, 19. 4 Rom. XIII, 8.


As concerns finally the role of school and college education with regard to love as the very soul of moral life, two principles which I consider basically important find here a particular application. On the one hand, with regard to direct influence on the will, the role of the school amounts above all to that premoral training which de¬ pends not on teaching, but on the humble policy, common life and discipline of the school: here the basic mood should be given in actual fact by constant attention to the requirements of the rules of justice in the school-community, and to the requirements of sincere fellowship and brotherly love. On the other hand, with regard to the indirect action on the will by means of intellectual enlightenment, the role of school and college education is momentous indeed, insofar as teaching of true or false knowledge has efficacy to liberate or hamper the spiritual energy of love within the soul. For it is by the fallacies of pseudo-science and false philosophy of life that love trying to find its way amidst the jumbled world of passions and instincts is often withered and killed. Nowhere is the vigilance and genuine information of the intellect of greater practical import. All errors which make fun of goodness, all those practical sophistries which keep moving in our atmosphere, and avail themselves of cheap Dar¬ winism, cheap Machiavellianism or so-called realism to make youth despair of the power of truth and love, should be thoroughly dis¬ cussed and accurately criticized. The existence and power of evil should be frankly faced: and faced also the existence and power of God, which are greater. The true laws of being and of human ex¬ istence, which are hidden to an empiricist gaze, but which reason and faith perceive, and which finally imply that evil is a bad payer and that love has the last word, should be contemplated without flinching and elucidated. A teaching which, not by empty idealistic words, but by dint of intellectual strength and exact disquisition of reality, inspires trust in goodness and generosity, is surely not enough to awaken the wellsprings of love in the depths of human freedom, but it is efficacious to protect them, when they are present, and to set them free. IV At this point we may consider more closely the question of moral teaching in the school and the college. This is the fourth and final part of my lecture. I pointed out a moment ago that as regards the actual acquisition of moral virtues, ethical knowledge is indeed indis¬ pensable, yet far from being sufficient. It is equally fair to reverse the statement, and to say: ethical knowledge is indeed far from being sufficient, but it is indispensable. To know, if it is a question of speculative knowledge, does little for virtue: the little it does, nevertheless, is beyond question, because, 198

on the average, knowledge — I mean knowledge which deals with objects of most worth” — cleans and pacifies the mind; moreover speculative knowledge establishes the metaphysical principles concern¬ ing nature and the world which are the foundations of the ethical truths concerning human freedom and conduct. And to know these ethical truths, that is to possess practical and moral knowledge, to have practical reason enlightened and sound, does a great deal for virtue, I mean on an average. Virtue is not a by-product of knowl¬ edge, but true moral knowledge is a condition for virtue. “Human conduct is of its very nature reasonable and enlightened conduct, else it is not truly human.”5 Thus moral sciences are at the core of any true humanism. The education of man, therefore, necessarily involves a careful and extensive moral teaching. And since teaching is the proper job of the school and the college, obviously moral teaching concerning both personal and civic morals must be an essential part of the curriculum. The absence or poverty of such teaching in formal education is a great misfortune. Filling this gap will probably be one of the chief concerns of the reformation needed by our time. Moral teaching should be pursued all through formal education. The trouble starts with the question of the nature and content of this teaching. Many efforts have been made in the last century, especially in Europe, with hopes which proceeded from Kantian in¬ spiration, to build in and for schools a morality of their own, dis¬ connected from any religious creed and based on pure reason. The result was thoroughly disappointing. Sociologism and positivism were to nibble and consume the ethics of pure reason. Moreover, an ethics which, like that of Kant, ignores nature, good and the trend to happi¬ ness, and conceives of itself as merely lawgiving by virtue of cate¬ gorical imperatives, suffers from an internal incurable weakness. There exists, nevertheless, a natural law. And there is a valid moral philosophy. Is it not possible to found on natural law and moral philosophy a consistent moral teaching in the school and the college? My answer is, yes and no. Natural law is unwritten and unsystematized law — too natural, so to speak, to become a subject of school-teaching without losing its most human truth, inexpressible in the manner of a code. Moral philosophy is philosophy — too highly and delicately rationalized to become a subject of school-teach¬ ing (except at the time when it is taught as philosophy) without losing its most valuable truth, which depends on all the principles and proofs of philosophical reason. I would state, therefore, that in a good college curriculum moral philosophy should be taught — both through lectures and seminars — during the last two college years. But I think that during the years which precede philosophical training, no special teaching and courses should be given on morality abstractedly detached 5 Gerald B. Phelan.


from its religious environment. Natural morality, however, natural law, and the great ethical ideas conveyed by civilization, should be taught during these years. They are the very treasure of classical humanism; they must be communicated to the youth,.not as a subject of special courses, but as embodied in the humanities and liberal arts, especially as an integral part of the teaching of literature, poetry, fine arts and history. This teaching should be permeated with the feeling and concern of such values. The reading of Homer, Aeschylus, So¬ phocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, Demosthenes, Plutarch, - Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius (better to read them carefully in translation than to learn their language and to read only bits), the reading of Vergil, Terence, Tacitus and Cicero, of Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Milton, Pascal, Racine, Montesquieu, Goethe, Dostoevski, feeds the mind with the sense and knowledge of natural virtues, honor, pity, of the dignity of man and of the spirit, the greatness of human destiny, the entangle¬ ments of good and evil, the caritas humani generis, more than any course in natural ethics. It conveys to the youth the moral experience of mankind. So much for natural morality. Another point deals with morality as backed up by faith and involving supernatural life. I previously discussed the unbreakable relationship which, in actual existence, links morality with religion. Truth to tell, merely natural or rational ethics, if it is taken as a complete system of morality, is abstract ethics, dealing with a possible man, not with man in his concrete and real existential status. Ethics is able really to constitute a full practical science only on the condition that it be a body of knowledge religiously backed up. Moral teaching, therefore, if it is to be a genuine enlightenment of practical reason, must not leave religion out of account; it must be given with a religious inspiration. This does not mean that moral rules should be presented only as dictated by religion. On the contrary, the reasons which make them necessary for human life should be ceaselessly stressed, as well as their natural foundations and suitabilities. Morality is steeped in intelligence, the goal is to awaken moral intelligence in the pupil. I think that the discussion of concrete instances, taken from ordinary life, and of particular 'points of conscience is better calculated to sharpen ethical awareness as well as to interest the child than more emphasis on general principles. Discussions of this kind, relying upon the natural moral instinct of the youth, and asking his active participation, seem to me especially adapted for the first years of training in moral knowledge. Later on deeper and more general considerations would be embarked upon. Conformably to the chief importance of the matter, such moral teaching, both rationally developed and re¬ ligiously inspired, should form the subject of special courses in the curriculum of schools and colleges. It has moreover to remain distinct — I mean after the years of early formation — from religious training itself, which implies many 200

other subject-matters than morality and must be more concerned with God than with man. Shall I run counter to the conventions of con¬ temporary education if I say that this religious training should not .only be given in the family and the church-community, independently of the life of the school, but should also be connected with this very life as an integral part thereof? In any case, this is my own convic¬ tion. If we are firmly and positively assured that religion is but error and superstition, this conviction will of course appear to us as non¬ sense. In the opposite case, I do not see how we can pretend that God has less right to have His place in the school than Euclid or Professor John Dewey. All serious-minded observers agree that the split between religion and life is the root spiritual disorder from which we suffer today. It is preposterous to make this split begin from childhood on and to maintain it in our education system by cutting off religious training from the training proper to schools and colleges. Youth is aware that school and college education is in charge of furnishing their minds with each and every knowledge required by the realities of life. If religious knowledge is disconnected from this education, it is tiormal to deem it something separate and additional, either superfluous or merely related to private sentimentality. It is the very right of the child and the youth to be equipped through his formal education with religious knowledge as well as with any knowledge which plays an essential part in the life of man. *



Such are the principles which dominate the question. They are, to my mind, grounded in the nature of things. If they are still dis¬ regarded by many, this is, in my opinion, mainly as a result of the difficulties involved in their application, and because of the inter¬ ference of other principles, such as the lay or merely temporal character of the state. Yet I am convinced that these difficulties may be overcome without the latter principle being denied or imperiled. With the denomina¬ tional schools, colleges or universities, the problem of religious training and of moral teaching given in connection with religion is obviously solved from the very start. Even the whole structure of education should be inspired by the very philosophy of life and the fundamental outlook proper to the denomination of the school, which is a prominent ad¬ vantage from the religious and spiritual point of view. The problem is rather to avoid youth’s being ignorant or even distrustful of those who are educated in other lines and who will be their fellow-citizens, and to assure among all that mutual understanding which is required by civic friendship and co-operation in the temporal common good. This problem can be easily solved by establishing regular contacts between students of the diverse schools and colleges: either in youth201

camps and youth-organizations, or during some periods of common work (for instance, educational visits or travels, common exercise in physical training, etc.), or, as concerns especially universities, by con¬ ferences or congresses of students. Now, if it is a question of non-denominational schools, colleges and universities, either privately endowed or founded by the city or the state, this time the problem of mutual acquaintance and under¬ standing among youth belonging to different spiritual families is solved from the start. It is the problem of religious and religiously-inspired moral teaching which makes difficulties. The general solution con¬ sists in having religious training and moral teaching given by diverse teachers, who belong to the different religious creeds in which the stu¬ dents share.

V What I have discussed in all my previous remarks is what moral teaching should normally be. Now, before concluding, I must add that, as regards moral education, we don’t find ourselves in normal conditions. The modern world has met with a complete failure in moral education. As a result, the task of moral re-education is a matter of public emergency. Every serious observer recognizes the fact that children have not only to he trained in behavior, in manner, proper conduct, law observance and politeness, but that this very training remains deficient and precarious if genuine inner formation is not given. In order for teachers in public schools not to face discipline and violence, the theory that children must begin by letting loose and exhausting the instincts of the primitive man does a rather feeble good turn; frank recognition of the authority of teachers, and strong moral principles, that is, taught in utter trust in their truth, surely do more for school discipline than the eventual intervention of police force. I think therefore that, owing to circumstances, additional emphasis should be brought to the teaching of natural morality. The normal way of giving this teaching, which is, as I have pointed out, to have it embodied in the humanities, literature, and history, does not suffice in the face of the tremendous degradation of ethical reason which is today observable. For the moment the evil is still more in intelligence than in behavior, I mean in still civilized countries. Exhausted and bewildered by dint of false and dehumanized philosophy, reason con¬ fesses thorough impotence with regard to the justification of any ethical standard. The question is to recover natural and rational adherence of the mind to the most elementary values of human life, to justice, to pity, to freedom. To such a disease of human intelligence and con¬ science, special remedies should be given, not only by the badly needed revival of religious faith, but also by a revival of the moral 202

power of reason. Accordingly, if teachers may be found whose reason is less sick than that of their students, special teaching should be pro¬ vided, in schools and colleges, for the principles of natural morality. At this point I should like to suggest that, according to the nature of things, the field in which natural morality feels most at home, and least deficient, is the field of our temporal activities, or of political, civic and social morality: because the virtues at play in this field are essentially natural virtues, directed toward the good of civil life or of human civilization, even when they are strengthened by more divine ones; whereas, in the field of personal morality, natural virtues, and the whole trend of moral life, and the very impulse toward the ends of this life, cannot be embraced by reason with regard to our real system of conduct in actual existence, unless divine love, which is charity, and the supratemporal destiny of the human person, and the Gospel’s virtues, which are grace-given virtues, be also taken into account, and in the first place. As a result, the teaching of natural morality will be inclined, in virtue of its own object, to lay stress on what may be called the ethics of political life and of civiliza¬ tion. Which is all to the good (for here it enjoys its maximum strength and practical truth), on the condition that the teaching of natural morality resist the temptation of neglecting enlightenment about the very root of morality, which is personal morality, and above all the temptation of warping and perverting all its work by making itself a tool of the state and a mere shaping of youth according to the col¬ lective pattern supposedly needed by the price, greed or myths of the earthly community. Such are the considerations which I wished to offer to you about moral education. This was a rather abstract philosophical discussion, deprived of all charm. I am all the more grateful for your kind and generous attention.


The Education of Character MARTIN


1 Education worthy of the name is essentially education of character. For the genuine educator does not merely consider individual functions of his pupil, as one intending to teach him only to know or be capable of certain definite things; but his concern is always the person as a whole, both in the actuality in which he lives before you now and in his possibilities, what he can become. But in this way, as a whole in reality and potentiality, a man can be conceived either as personality, that is, as a unique spiritual-physical form with all the forces dormant in it, or as character, that is, as the link between what this individual is and the sequence of his actions and attitudes. Between these two modes of conceiving the pupil in his wholeness there is a fundamental difference. Personality is something which in its growth remains es¬ sentially outside the influence of the educator; but to assist in the moulding of character is his greatest task. Personality is a completion, only character is a task. One may cultivate and enhance personality, but in education one can and one must aim at character. Reprinted with permission of The Macmillan Company from Between Man and Man by Martin Buber, pp. 104-117.


However — as I would like to point out straightaway — it is advisable not to over-estimate what the educator can even at best do to develop character. In this more than in any other branch of the science of teaching it is important to realize, at the very beginning of the discussion, the fundamental limits to conscious influence, even before asking what character is and how it is to be brought about. If I have to teach algebra I can expect to succeed in giving my pupils an idea of quadratic equations with two unknown quantities. Even the slowest-witted child will understand it so well that he will amuse himself by solving equations at night when he cannot fall asleep. And even one with the most sluggish memory will not forget, in his old age, how to play with x and y. But if I am concerned with the education of character, everything becomes problematic. I try to explain to my pupils that envy is despicable, and at once I feel the secret resistance of those who are poorer than their comrades. I try to explain that it is wicked to bully the weak, and at once I see a sup¬ pressed smile on the lips of the strong. I try to explain that lying destroys life, and something frightful happens: the worst habitual liar of the class produces a brilliant essay on the destructive power of lying. I have made the fatal mistake of giving instruction in ethics, and what I said is accepted as current coin of knowledge; nothing of it is trans¬ formed into character-building substance. But the difficulty lies still deeper. In all teaching of a subject I can announce my intention of teaching as openly as I please, and this does not interfere with the results. After all, pupils do want, for the most part, to learn something, even if not over-much, so that a tacit agreement becomes possible. But as soon as my pupils notice that I want to educate their characters I am resisted precisely by those who show most signs of genuine independent character: they will not let themselves be educated, or rather, they do not like the idea that somebody wants to educate them. And those, too, who are seriously labouring over the question of good and evil, rebel when one dictates to them, as though it were some long established truth, what is good and what is bad; and they rebel just because they have experienced over and over again how hard it is to find the right way. Does it follow that one should keep silent about one’s intention of educating character, and act by ruse and subterfuge? No; I have just said that the difficulty lies deeper. It is not enough to see that education of character is not introduced into a lesson in class; neither may one conceal it .in cleverly arranged intervals. Education cannot tolerate such politic action. Even if the pupil does not notice the hidden motive it will have its negative effect on the actions of the teacher himself by depriving him of the directness which is his strength. Only in his whole being, in all his spontaneity can the educator truly affect the whole being of his pupil. For educating characters you do not need a moral genius, but you do need a man who is wholly alive 206

and able to communicate himself directly to his fellow beings. His aliveness streams out to them and affects them most strongly and purely when he has no thought of affecting them. The Greek word character means impression. The special link between man’s being and his appearance, the special connexion be¬ tween the unity of what he is and the sequence of his actions and attitudes is impressed on his still plastic substance. Who does the im¬ pressing? Everything does: nature and the social context, the house and the street, language and custom, the world of history and the world of daily news in the form of rumour, of broadcast and news¬ paper, music and technical science, play and dream — everything together. Many of these factors exert their influence by stimulating agreement, imitation, desire, effort; others by arousing questions, doubts, dislike, resistance. Character is formed by the interpenetration of all those multifarious, opposing influences. And yet, among this infinity of form-giving forces the educator is only one element among innu¬ merable others, but distinct from them all by his will to take part in the stamping of character and by his consciousness that he represents in the eyes of the growing person a certain selection of what is, the selection of what is “right”, of what should be. It is in this will and this consciousness that his vocation as an educator finds its fundamental expression. From this the genuine educator gains two things: first, humility, the feeling of being only one element amidst the fullness of life, only one single existence in the midst of all the tremendous inrush of reality on the pupil; but secondly, self-awareness, the feeling of being therein the only existence that wants to affect the whole person, and thus the feeling of responsibility for the selection of reality which he represents to the pupil. And a third thing emerges from all this, the recognition that in this realm of the education of character, of wholeness, there is only one access to the pupil: his confidence. For the adolescent who is frightened and disappointed by an unreliable world, confidence means the liberating insight that there is human truth, the truth of human existence. When the pupil’s confidence has been won, his resistance against being educated gives way to a singular happening: he accepts the educator as a person. He feels he may trust this man, that this man is not making a business out of him, but is taking part in his life, accepting him before desiring to influence him. And so he learns to ask. The teacher who is for the first time approached by a boy with somewhat defiant bearing, but with trembling hands, visibly openedup and fired by a daring hope, who asks him what is the right thing in a certain situation — for instance, whether in learning that a friend has betrayed a secret entrusted to him one should call him to account or be content with entrusting no more secrets to him — the teacher to whom this happens realizes that this is the moment to make the first conscious step towards education of character; he has to answer, 207

to answer under a responsibility* to give an answer which will probably lead beyond the alternatives of the question by showing a third possi¬ bility which is the right one. To dictate what is good and evil in general is not his business. His business is to answer a concrete ques¬ tion^ to answer what is right and wrong in a given situation. This, as I have said, can only happen in an atmosphere of confidence. Con¬ fidence, of course, is not won by the strenuous endeavour to win it, but by direct and ingenuous participation in the life of the people one is dealing with — in this case in the life of one’s pupils — and by assuming the responsibility which arises from such participation. It is not the educational intention but it is the meeting which is edu¬ cationally fruitful. A soul suffering from the contradictions of the world of human society, and of its own physical existence, approaches me with a question. By trying to answer it to the best of my knowledge and conscience I help it to become a character that actively overcomes the contradictions. If this is the teacher’s standpoint towards his pupil, taking part in his life and conscious of responsibility, then everything that passes between them can, without any deliberate or politic intention, open a way to the education of character: lessons and games, a conversation about quarrels in the class, or about the problems of a world-war. Only, the teacher must not forget the limits of education; even when he enjoys confidence he cannot always expect agreement. Confidence implies a break-through from reserve, the bursting of the bonds which imprison an unquiet heart. But it does not imply unconditional agree¬ ment. The teacher must never forget that conflicts too, if only they are decided in a healthy atmosphere, have an educational value. A con¬ flict with a pupil is the supreme test for the educator. He must use his own insight wholeheartedly; he must not blunt the piercing impact of his knowledge, but he must at the same time have in readiness the healing ointment for the heart pierced by it. Not for a moment may he conduct a dialectical manoeuvre instead of the real battle for truth. But if he is the victor he has to help the vanquished to endure defeat; and if he cannot conquer the self-willed soul that faces him (for victories over souls are not easily won), then he has to find the whole word of love which alone can help to overcome so a difficult situation.

2 So far I have referred to those personal difficulties in the education of character which arise from the relation between educator and pupil, while for the moment treating character itself, the object of education, as a simple concept of fixed content. But it is by no means that. In order to penetrate to the real difficulties in the education of character we have to examine critically the concept of character itself. 208

Kerschensteiner in his well-known essay on The Concept and Edu¬ cation of Character distinguished between “character in the most gener¬ al sense”, by which he means “a man’s attitude to his human surround¬ ings, which is constant and is expressed in his actions”, and real “ethical character”, which he defines as “a special attitude, and one which in action gives the preference before all others to absolute values”. If we begin by accepting this distinction unreservedly — and undeniably there is some truth in it — we are faced with such heavy odds in all education of character in our time that the very possibility of it seems doubtful. The “absolute values” which Kerschensteiner refers to cannot, of course, be meant to have only subjective validity for the person concerned. Don Juan finds absolute and subjective value in seducing the greatest possible number of women, and the dictator sees it in the greatest possible accumulation of power. “Absolute validity” can only relate to universal values and norms, the existence of which the person concerned recognizes and acknowledges. But to deny the presence of universal values and norms of absolute validity — that is the conspicuous tendency of our age. This tendency is not, as is sometimes supposed, directed merely against the sanctioning of the norms by religion, but against their universal character and absolute validity, against their claim to be of a higher order than man and to govern the whole of mankind. In our age values and norms are not permitted to be anything but expressions of the life of a group which translates its own needs into the language of objective claims, until at last the group itself, for example a nation, is raised to an absolute value — and moreover to the only value. Then this splitting up into groups so pervades the whole of life that it is no longer possible to re-establish a sphere of values common to mankind, and a commandment to man¬ kind is no longer observed. As this tendency grows the basis for the development of what Kerschensteiner means by moral character steadily diminishes. How, under these circumstances, can the task of educating character be completed? At the time of the Arab terror in Palestine, when there were single Jewish acts of reprisal, there must have been many discussions between teacher and pupils on the question: Can there be any suspension of the Ten Commandments, i.e. can murder become a good deed if com¬ mitted in the interest of one’s own group? One such discussion was once repeated to me. The teacher asked: “When the commandment tells you Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour’, are we to interpret it with the condition, ‘providing that it does not profit you’?” Thereupon one of the pupils said, “But it is not a question of my profit, but of the profit of my people.” The teacher: “And how would you like it, then, if we put our condition this way: ‘Provided that it does not profit your family’?” The pupil: “But family — that is still something more or else like myself; but the people — that is 209

something quite different; there all question of I disappears. The teacher: “Then if you are thinking, ‘we want victory’, don’t you feel at the same time, ‘I want victory’?” The pupil: “But the people, that is something infinitely more than just the people of to-day. It includes all past and future generations.” At this point the teacher felt the mo¬ ment had come to leave the narrow compass of the present and to invoke historical destiny. He said: “Yes; all past generations. But what was it that made those past generations of the Exile live? What made them outlive and overcome all their trials? Wasn t it that the cry Thou shalt not’ never faded from their hearts and ears?” The pupil grew very pale. He was silent for a while, but it was the silence of one whose words threatened to stifle him. Then he burst out: And what have we achieved that way? This!” And he banged his fist on the newspaper before him, which contained the report on the British White Paper. And again he burst out with “Live? Outlive? Do you call that life? We want to live!” I have already said that the test of the educator lies in conflict with his pupil. He has to face this conflict and, whatever turn it may take, he has to find the way through it into life, into a life, I must add, where confidence continues unshaken — more, is even mysteriously strengthened. But the example I have just given shows the extreme difficulty of this task, which seems at times to have reached an impas¬ sable frontier. This is no longer merely a conflict between two genera¬ tions, but between a world which for several millennia has believed in a truth superior to man, and an age which does not believe in it any longer — will not or cannot believe in it any longer. But if we now ask, “How in this situation can there be any education of character?”, something negative is immediately obvious: it is senseless to want to prove by any kind of argument that nevertheless the denied absoluteness of norms exists. That would be to assume that the denial is the result of reflection, and is open to argument, that is, to material for renewed reflection. But the denial is due to the disposition of a dominant human type of our age. We are justified in regarding this disposition as a sickness of the human race. But we must not deceive ourselves by believing that the disease can be cured by formulae which assert that nothing is really as the sick person imagines. It is an idle undertaking to call out, to a mankind that has grown blind to eternity: “Look! the eternal values!” To-day host upon host of men have everywhere sunk into the slavery of collectives, and each col¬ lective is the supreme authority for its own slaves; there is no longer, superior to the collectives, any universal sovereignty in idea, faith, or spirit. Against the values, decrees and decisions of the collective no appeal is possible. This is true, not only for the totalitarian coun¬ tries, but also for the parties and party-like groups in the so-called democracies. Men who have so lost themselves to the collective Mo¬ loch cannot be rescued from it by reference, however eloquent, to 210

the absolute whose kingdom the Moloch has usurped. One has to begin by pointing to that sphere where man himself, in the hours of utter solitude, occasionally becomes aware of the disease through sud¬ den pain: by pointing to the relation of the individual to his own self. In order to enter into a personal relation with the absolute, it is first necessary to be a person again, to rescue one’s real personal self from the fiery jaws of collectivism which devours all self-hood. The desire to do this is latent in the pain the individual suffers through his dis¬ torted relation to his own self. Again and again he dulls the pain with a subtle poison and thus suppresses the desire as well. To keep the pain awake, to waken the desire — that is the first task of everyone who regrets the obscuring of eternity. It is also the first task of the genuine educator in our time. The man for whom absolute values in a universal sense do not exist cannot be made to adopt “an attitude which in action gives the preference over all others to absolute values”. But what one can inculcate in him is the desire to attain once more to a real attitude, and that is, the desire to become a person following the only way that leads to this goal to-day. But with this the concept of character formulated by Kerschensteiner and deriving, as we know, from Kant is recognized to be useless for the specifically modern task of the education of character. Another concept has to be found if this task is to be more precisely defined. We cannot conceal from ourselves that we stand to-day on the ruins of the edifice whose towers were raised by Kant. It is not given to us living to-day to sketch the plan for a new building. But we can perhaps begin by laying the first foundations without a plan, with only a dawning image before our mind’s eye.

3 According to Kerschensteiner’s final definition character is “funda¬ mentally nothing but voluntary obedience to the maxims which have been moulded in the individual by experience, teaching, and self¬ reflection, whether they have been adopted and then completely assimi¬ lated or have originated in the consciousness through self-legislation”. This voluntary obedience “is, however, only a form of self-control”. At first, love or fear of other people must have produced in man “the habit of self-conquest”. Then, gradually, “this outer obedience must be transformed into inner obedience”. The concept of habit was then enlarged, especially by John Dewey in his book, Human Nature and Conduct. According to him charac¬ ter is “the interpenetration of habits”. Without “the continued opera211

tion of all habits in every act” there would be no unified character, but only “a juxtaposition of disconnected reactions to separated situ¬ ations”. With this concept of character as an organization of self-control by means of the accumulation of maxims, or a system of interpene¬ trating habits, it is very easy to understand how powerless modern edu¬ cational science is when faced by the sickness of man. But even apart from the special problems of the age, this concept can be no adequate basis for the construction of a genuine education of character. Not that the educator could dispense with employing useful maxims or furthering good habits. But in moments that come perhaps only seldom, a feeling of blessed achievement links him to the exlorer, the inventor, the artist, a feeling of sharing in the revelation of what is hidden. In such moments he finds himself in a sphere very different from that of maxims and habits. Only on this, the highest plane of his activity, can he fix his real goal, the real concept of character which is his concern, even though he might not often reach it. For the first time a young teacher enters a class independently, no longer sent by the training college to prove his efficiency. The class before him is like a mirror of mankind, so multiform, so full of contradictions, so inaccessible. He feels “These boys — I have not sought them out; I have been put here and have to accept them as they are — but not as they now are in this moment, no, as they really are, as they can become. But how can I find out what is in them and what can I do to make it take shape?” And the boys do not make things easy for him. They are noisy, they cause trouble, they stare at him with impudent curiosity. He is at once tempted to check this or that trouble-maker, to issue orders, to make compulsory the rules of decent behaviour, to say No, to say No to everything rising against him from beneath: he is at once tempted to start from beneath. And if one starts from beneath one perhaps never arrives above, but every¬ thing comes down. But then his eyes meet a face which strikes him. It is not a beautiful face nor particularly intelligent; but it is a real face, or rather, the chaos preceding the cosmos of a real face. On it he reads a question which is something different from the general curiosity: “Who are you? Do you know something that concerns me? Do you bring me something? What do you bring?” In some such way he reads the question. And he, the young teacher, addresses this face. He says nothing very ponderous or im¬ portant, he puts an ordinary introductory question: “What did you talk about last in geography? The Dead Sea? Well, what about the Dead Sea?” But there was obviously something not quite usual in the question, for the answer he gets is not the ordinary schoolboy answer; the boy begins to tell a story. Some months earlier he had stayed for a few hours on the shores of the Dead Sea and it is of this he tells. He adds: “And everything looked to me as if it had been 212

created a day before the rest of the creation.” Quite unmistakably he had only in this moment made up his mind to talk about it. In the meantime his face has changed. It is no longer quite as chaotic as before. And the class has fallen silent. They all listen. The class, too, is no longer a chaos. Something has happened. The young teacher has started from above. The educators task can certainly not consist in educating great characters. He cannot select his pupils, but year by year the world, such as it is, is sent in the form of a school class to meet him on his life’s way as his destiny; and in this destiny lies the very meaning of his life’s work. He has to introduce discipline and order, he has to establish a law, and he can only strive and hope for the result that discipline and order will become more and more inward and autonomous, and that at last the law will be written in the heart of his pupils. But his real goal which, once he has well recognized it and well remembers it will influence all his work, is the great character. The great character can be conceived neither as a system of maxims nor as a system of habits. It is peculiar to him to act from the whole of his substance/’ That is, it is peculiar to him to react in accordance with the uniqueness of every situation which challenges him as an active person. Of course there are all sorts of similarities in different situ¬ ations; one can construct types of situations, one can always find to what section the particular situation belongs, and draw what is appropriate from the hoard of established maxims and habits, apply the appropriate maxim, bring into operation the appropriate habit. But what is untypical in the particular situation remains unnoticed and unanswered. To me that seems the same as if, having ascertained the sex of a new-born child, one were immediately to establish its type as well, and put all the children of one type into a common cradle on which not the individual name but the name of the type was inscribed. In spite of all similarities every living situation has, like a new-born child, a new face, that has never been before and will never come again. It demands of you a reaction which cannot be prepared before¬ hand. It demands nothing of what is past. It demands presence, re¬ sponsibility; it demands you. I call a great character one who by his actions and attitudes satisfies the claim of situations out of deep readiness to respond with his whole life, and in such a way that the sum of his actions and attitudes expresses at the same time the unity of his being in its willingness to accept responsibility. As his being is unity, the unity of accepted responsibility, his active life, too, coheres into unity. And one might perhaps say that for him there rises a unity out of the situations he has responded to in responsibility, the indefinable unity of a moral destiny. All this does not mean that the great character is beyond the ac¬ ceptance of norms. No responsible person remains a stranger to norms. But the command inherent in a genuine norm never becomes a maxim



and the fulfillment of it never a habit. Any command that a great character takes to himself in the course of .his development does not act in him as part of his consciousness or as material for building up his exercises, but remains latent in a basic layer of his substance until it reveals itself to him in a concrete way. What it has to tell him is revealed whenever a situation arises which demands of him a solution of which till then he had perhaps no idea. Even the most universal norm will at times be recognized only in a very special situation. I know of a man whose heart was struck by the lightning flash of


shalt not steal” in the very moment when he was moved by a very different desire from that of stealing, and whose heart was so struck by it that he not only abandoned doing what he wanted to do, but with the whole force of his passion did the very opposite.

Good and

evil are not each other’s opposites like right and tett. The evil ap¬ proaches us as a whirlwind, the good as a direction. There is a direc¬ tion, a “yes”, a command, hidden even in a prohibition, which is re¬ vealed to us in moments like these. In moments like these the command addresses us really in the second person, and the Thou in it is no one else but one’s own self.

Maxims command only the third person, the

each and the none. One can say that it is the unconditioned nature of the address which distinguishes the command from the maxim. In an age which has become deaf to unconditioned address we cannot overcome the dilemma of the education of character from that angle. But insight into the structure of great character can help us to overcome it. Of course, it may be asked whether the educator should really start “from above”, whether, in fixing his goal, the hope of finding a great character, who is bound to be the exception, should be his starting-point; for in his methods of educating character he will always have to take into consideration the others, the many. To this I reply that the educator would not have the right to do so if a method in¬ applicable to these others were to result. In fact, however, his very insight into the structure of a great character helps him to find the way by which alone (as I have indicated) he can begin to influence also the victims of the collective Moloch, pointing out to them the sphere in which they themselves suffer — namely, their relation to their own selves. From this sphere he must elicit the values which he can make credible and desirable to his pupils. That is what insight into the structure of a great character helps him to do. A section of the young is beginning to feel today that, because of their absorption by the collective, something important and irre¬ placeable is lost to them — personal responsibility for the life and the world. These young people, it is true, do not yet realize that their blind devotion to the collective, e.g. to a party, was not a genuine act of their personal life; they do not realize that it sprang, rather, from the fear of being left, in .this age of confusion, to rely on them-


selves, on a self which no longer receives its direction from eternal values. Thus they do not yet realize that their devotion was fed on the unconscious desire to have responsibility removed from them by an authority in which they believe or want to believe. They do not yet realize that this devotion was an escape. I repeat, the young people I am speaking of do not yet realize this. But they are begin¬ ning to notice that he who no longer, with his whole being, decides what he does or does not, and assumes responsibility for it, becomes sterile in soul. And a sterile soul soon ceases to be a soul. This is where the educator can begin and should begin. He can help the feeling that something is lacking to grow into the clarity of consciousness and into the force of desire. He can awaken in young people the courage to shoulder life again. He can bring before his pupils the image of a great character who denies no answer to life and the world, but accepts responsibility for everything essential that he meets. He can show his pupils this image without the fear that those among them who most of all need discipline and order will drift into a craving for aimless freedom: on the contrary, he can teach them in this Vvay to recognize that discipline and order too are starting-points on the way towards self-responsibility. He can show that even the great character is not born perfect, that the unity of his being has first to mature before expressing itself in the sequence of his actions and attitudes. But unity itself, unity of the person, unity of the lived life, has to be emphasized again and again. The confusing contradictions cannot be remedied by the collectives, not one of which knows the taste of genuine unity and which if left to themselves would end up, like the scorpions imprisoned in a box, in the witty fable, by devouring one another. This mass of contradic¬ tions can be met and conquered only by the rebirth of personal unity, unity of being, unity of life, unity of action — unity of being, life and action together. This does not mean a static unity of the uniform, but the great dynamic unity of the multiform in which multiformity is formed into unity of character. To-day the great characters are still “enemies of the people”, they who love their society, yet wish not only to preserve it but to raise it to a higher level. To-morrow they will be the architects of a new unity of mankind. It is the longing for personal unity, from which must be born a unity of mankind, which the educator should lay hold of and strengthen in his pupils. Faith in this unity and the will to achieve it is not a “return” to individualism, but a step beyond all the dividedriess of individualism and collectivism. A great and full relation between man and man can only exist between unified and responsible persons. That is why it is much more rarely found in the totalitarian collective than in any historically earlier form of society; much more rarely also in the au¬ thoritarian party than in any earlier form of free association. Genuine education of character is genuine education for community.


In a generation which has had this kind of upbringing the desire will also be kindled to behold again the eternal values, to hear again the language of the eternal norm. He who knows inner unity, the innermost life of which is mystery, learns to honour the mystery in all its forms.

In an understandable reaction against the former domina¬

tion of a false, fictitious mystery, the present generations are obsessed with the desire to rob life of all its mystery. The fictitious mystery will disappear, the genuine one will rise again. A generation which honours the mystery in all its forms will no longer be deserted by eternity. Its light seems darkened only because the eye suffers from a cataract; the receiver has been turnd off, but the resounding ether has not ceased to vibrate. To-day, indeed, in the hour of upheaval, the eternal is sifted from the pseudo-eternal. That which flashed into the primal radiance and blurred the primal sound will be extinguished and silenced, for it has failed before the horror of the new confusion and the questioning soul has unmasked its futility. Nothing remains but what rises above the abyss of to-day’s monstrous problems, as above every abyss of every time: the wing-beat of the spirit and the creative word. But he who can see and hear out of unity will also behold and discern again what can be beheld and discerned eternally. The edu¬ cator who helps to bring man back to his own unity will help to put him again face to face with God.


I n

Is Virtue Teachable? FRANCIS L.



By way of introduction to the subject of this paper it may be remarked that there seems to be no necessity here to establish the existence of acts of will, as distinct from all other psychic phenomena, nor to demonstrate that the will, under certain conditions, is able to act freely. It is here assumed that the existence of will and of free will are scientifically proved facts and that this assumption conforms to the common conviction of the members of this Philosophical As¬ sembly. However, it is useful to recall in summary certain points con¬ cerning the will and free volition. The will is the ability to elicit in¬ ternal acts, whose peculiar characteristic is that they are inclinations toward some object or course of action, which has been intellectually conceived as desirable, or aversions from some object or course of action intellectually perceived as undesirable. These inclinations and aver¬ sions are quite distinct from acts of cognition and also from acts of feeling or of muscular tension, which may or may not accompany Francis L. Sheerin, S.J., “The Development of the Will: Is Virtue Teach¬ able?” Proceedings of the Western Division of the American Catholic Philo¬ sophical Association, April, 1941, pp. 63 - 73. Published by the Morago Quarterly, St. Mary’s College, California, 1941.



They are distinct likewise from the actions of mind or body,

through which they are carried into execution. Before an act of volition takes place, some object must first be apprehended by the intellect. The mind must advert to the presence of an object and find in it some sort of good, which may be its plea¬ surableness, its utility, its honesty. Thereupon there may occur some act of will to obtain or enjoy that object. The good, which the intel¬ lect has perceived in the object, moves the will to action and is there¬ fore called the motive of the will. The motive is one of the causes of the act of volition, the other cause being the will itself, and there can be no act of will without previous intellectual apprehension of a motive. From this it follows that, were the mind clearly to perceive in an object only good and completely, perfectly satisfying good, an act of the will toward that object would necessarily follow. However, when the intellect finds in an object or in each of several objects only a limited degree of goodness or aspects both of desirability and of un¬ desirability, motive for volition is indeed presented to the will, but it is not a compelling motive in favor of any of the objects concerned. In these cases the will is physically free and has the power of choice. It determines itself to will or not will the object, to will this one or that one. Now to develop the will means precisely to expedite the use of this ability to elicit physically free acts of will, namely to expedite voli¬ tion when those conditions are present in which the will must de¬ termine itself to act or not act, to chose one object rather than another. Further we are to consider the expediting of free volition under a particular aspect, indicated by the subtitle of this paper: “Is Virtue Teachabler1” Virtue is habit, that is, a stable and persistent tendency to act well. Moral virtue, of which there is question when speaking of virtue of the will, is a stable and persistent tendency to elicit acts of will, which have been recognized as ethically good, that is, which have been recognized as conforming to the norm of morality. It should be noted here that, though moral virtue be habit, a fixed and persistent tendency of the will, it is in no way to be con¬ fused with mere mechanical action or willing without perception of the moral goodness or evil of the object. An act of will, which is made freely, but without advertence to the mind to its morality, is a morally indeliberate act and has no moral character whatever. For a virtuous act to have any moral value, it must occur with advertence of the mind to its moral goodness or evil; and it must occur also under those con¬ ditions in which it is possible to choose either to elicit or not elicit the act. Hence the will is endowed with virtue if it have a stable and persistent tendency to choose that which is ethically good, in cases where the mind has first adverted to the ethical good or evil of an action and has perceived motives for and against the action.


We are therefore to consider precisely this point: the development by a teacher in a pupil of a lasting tendency freely to choose that which is known to be ethically good.

We are to consider the matter

solely from the viewpoint of Philosophy and not from that of the Art of Pedagogy. Our inquiry seeks to discern the causes which bring about development of moral virtue in the will and which must be taken into account by an educator. Questions concerning the suitability of particular devices, by which these causes may be brought into play with different types of pupils, are problems of Pedagogy and do not come within the scope of this paper. The task of the educator is to equip the will with an abiding tendency to make ethically good choices, so that the pupil is inclined to will that which is morally right, not merely once in a while, but persistently, whenever occasion demands. But since the will does not act, except under the influence of a motive which has been perceived by the intellect, it cannot be equipped persistently to choose the ethi¬ cally good, unless it have a permanent motive for doing so and be lastingly aware of the motive. Hence to develop virtue, the teacher must provide the, pupil with motive for ethically good choice, which is in itself permanently valid and which has permanent appeal to the will of the individual pupil. This motive moreover must be firmly fixed in the pupil’s memory in such a way that it will always come to mind when there is need of its influence. Motive must be set before the will, which in itself is always a valid reason for ethically good choice, because only such a motive can induce the will to tend persistently toward choosing what is morally good. To motivate a good act, reasons might be given a pupil, which serve as inducement only because of some peculiar set of circumstances; but such motives cannot permanently incline the will to choose what is morally right. Thus, to persuade a child to be truthful, one might say: if you tell the truth, you will please your parents; but this obviously is no reason for telling the truth when untruthfulness need not affect the parents. To develop dency toward morally good choice, it is necessary that be given to the will, which holds good, not merely on or because of some peculiar set of circumstances, but

a lasting ten¬ motive for it one occasion which of its

very nature has enduring validity under all conditions. The pupil must be led to know the basic reasons why some objects or courses of action are always good and others always evil, regardless of circum¬ stances, why still others may be good or evil on account of their sur¬ rounding conditions. Only thus can the will be permanently inclined to choose certain objects and to reject others. However a motive, which is good in itself, does not move the will of a particular individual, except under the condition that it is good also for the individual. There is no reason why that, which is good in itself, should move my will, unless it also be and appear


good for me. of


This does not mean that self interest must be the motive


The fact that an action is advantageous to me

need not be the motive of my doing it, but it is an indispensable prerequisite in order that the action be the object of my volition. Love for another may be the entire motive why I choose to do a given action, but it can in no way motivate me, except under the condition that love for another is also conducive to my own well being. Now though every motive, which is universally good in itself, is also good in relation to the individual, this fact may not be apparent to the individual. Hence the educator must not only present to the pupil motive for ethically good choice, which is permanently valid in itself, but must also give reason why action upon that motive is perpetually linked with the pupil’s most valuable interests. Furthermore, since only a motive which is known by the mind can influence the will, no motive can be persistently effective toward inducing ethically good choice, unless the mind be permanently aware of it. Now the mere fact that a motive has once been grasped by the mind is no assurance that it will at all times be present to influence volition. It is essential that the educator so instill motives into the pupil’s memory that they remain there permanently and in such fashion that they will be recalled to mind whenever necessity requires them. To secure this fixation of motives in the mind it is fundamentally necessary that the pupil be eventually led to an intellectual under¬ standing of them and an intellectual conviction of their validity. Mo¬ tivation through appeal to the imagination or the sensible emotions can be useful for provoking immediate volition, but it does not have a permanent effect upon the will. Moreover in order that motives may always be in readiness to function in the future, they cannot be allowed to remain as isolated units in the pupil’s mind, but must be so associated there with other ideas and principles of life, that they may always remain among the pupil’s persistent thoughts. Now so many are the valid motives for ethical conduct, that not only would it be too long a process to teach them all, but their very multiplicity would prevent their being long remembered by the pupil. Hence the motives of ethically good choice must be united within a general philosophy of life. The pupil must be given a valid motive of limitless value, which contains within itself sufficient motive power or applicability for all particular resolutions of the will. It is to be noted that, although each distinct type of morality has its own specific motive, which is not that of any other, nevertheless there exists an objective, hierarchical order among all the motives of moral conduct. They are all inter-related as parts of a whole. Thus veracity, gratitude, obedience, religion all have their own motives, which however are so many partial aspects of the general motive of justice. Magnanimity, patience, constancy have each their particular motives,



which unite in the more comprehensive motive of fortitude. Modesty, sobriety, chastity, eutro'phiu have distinct motives, but they are all em¬ braced by the broader motive of temperance. Thus the many specific motives of diverse types of moral conduct converge in higher and more universal motives; and, as motives become more general, so too do they become fewer in number and more extensive in their range of appli¬ cation, until they are absorbed in one single comprehensive motive, which is the basis of every form of virtue. For the fixation of motive as a recurrent, active influence in the memory of the pupil, the educator must attend to this objective hier¬ archy of motives. On account of the personal difficulties of individual pupils, it may be necessary to insist upon the specific motive of some particular virtue, for example, obedience, and to impress that pre¬ cise motive upon the mind. But as soon as it is feasible, the pupil should be led on to an appreciation of more general motives, onward until the fundamental and most comprehensive motive of moral con¬ duct is imparted to the mind. This one motive can provide induce¬ ment for every kind of morally good choice, for in its remembrance the remembrance of particular motives is virtually contained. Toward effecting this result, there should be set before the pupil an ultimate objective or aim, which, during the whole course of life, remains a goal not merely desirable, but absolutely necessary of attainment. The pupil must be shown that certain objects of choice are always good and worthy of choice, because they lead to the attainment of this goal, while others are always evil and must be rejected, because they inevitably prevent its attainment. A traveller, who knows clearly the destination of the journey and the correct turns on the highway, is ready for persistent choice of the right course on the road to the journey’s end. So, too, the pupil has permanent equipment for ethi¬ cally good choice through knowing which objects lead toward and which away from the ultimate goal of life. Nevertheless a motive and its application to concrete circumstances are two different things. In consequence a motive is not likely to be recalled unless it has been made practical, that is, unless it has been associated in the mind with future occasions for its use, so that, when, these occur, they may stimulate its remembrance. Hence the educator must bring the pupil to foresee in what future circumstances the mo¬ tive is to be employed. The pupil then, by associating the motive with these future occasions, may be more likely to recall it when they become actual. But no matter how excellent and how firmly fixed in memory be the motive, the pupil in the course of life will inevitably be impressed with opposite motives, which will tend to obscure and sup¬ plant the motive for ethically good volition. Lastly therefore in order to offset the incurrence of opposing motives and to secure retention of the motive for good, the educator must convince the pupil of the


advantage of two things: one is the necessity of avoiding the occasions of evil, the other the need of some periodic self examination and re¬ consideration of the aim and motive, which should be the permanent guide and incentive of the will. What has been said so far leads to the conclusion that supplying permanent motive power and securing its lasting retention are essential causes of the development of the will in virtue.

The invention of

effective means for doing this pertains to the Art of Pedagogy and does not concern the philosophic study of the principles of will training. Certainly the devices to be employed, the methods, form and order to be observed in teaching and perpetuating motives must vary with individual pupils, because account must be taken of the individual’s mental development and previous possession of motives. But through¬ out all the variations of pedagogic technique, the aim of the educator, who would train the will of a pupil in virtue, must be to impart motive of permanent value to the mind of the pupil, in such a manner that it remain there permanently and may be remembered when the pupil has need of its influence. This fixation of motive in the mind of the pupil is indispensable, but it is only one part of the teacher’s task; for the will is not fully endowed with virtue or lasting tendency to choose what is ethically right, merely because the intelligence knows that the real good of the individual is attained in that choice. Virtue is acquired by the will only if it repeatedly choose those objects, in which reason says the good exists. The other and no less necessary part of the teacher’s task is therefore to induce the pupil actually to will those choices, which are recognized as ethically good. It is a debated point among psychologists whether, from repeated exercise of the will, there develops any intrinsic strengthening or ha¬ bituation in the will itself; and thus far at least there seems to be no con¬ clusive evidence in favor of an affirmative answer. However, for our present purpose it is not necessary to discuss this question; because on the one hand, since habitual volition without perception of a moral motive would ‘have no moral value, an affirmative answer would not permit us to dispense with the teaching of permanent motive, while on the other hand, should the correct answer be negative, it still remains true that, for the development of virtue, there must be added to the intellectual grasp of motives exercise of the will by the pupil in acting upon them. The necessity of this exercise for the development of virtue arises, in the first place, from the fact that no motive, which is put before the will by the human mind, is compelling in its influence. Con¬ sequently no matter how enticing be the motive for ethically good acts presented to the will, there is no permanent inclination of the will toward right conduct, unless the will determine itself to act upon that motive.

A magnet placed before a balanced needle forces the


needle to point permanently toward it, but no motive offered to the will by the human mind has any such irresistible power. The pre¬ sentation of motives does not coerce the will to turn one way more than another. Only by its own action does the will incline toward a motive, which is an inducement to the election of morally good acts. One may know what is the ultimate goal of human life and which are the means to attain it; but unless the will absolutely resolve to achieve that end, it has no permanent tendency toward choosing the means to reach it, that is, toward eliciting acts which are morally good. Indeed failure to develop virtue often occurs because the pupil wills perhaps at some time to act upon a good motive, but does not will absolutely to act upon it at all times and in all circumstances. In the second place motives possess persistent power to move an individual will in so far as the individual has personally experienced and appreciated their value. Now the good is not the object of the intellect, but of the will. One gains experience of the good and enjoys it, not by knowing that it exists somewhere, but by willingly embracing it. Thus the pupil comes to personal experience and enjoyment of the good to be derived from following a motive, only by willing to act upon it. The full conviction therefore that the pupil’s personal good is to be gained by acting upon a given motive of conduct — and hence the effective power of the motive to move the individual will — is not the result of mere theoretical assent to abstract reasons show¬ ing that the good of the individual is there, but is the gradual outcome of actual experience of finding it there through repeatedly willing to act upon that motive. In the third place the repeated exercise of will in acting upon a motive further assures permanent retention of that motive as an active influence in the mind. By abstract reasoning one may have been theoretically convinced that one’s good is found in acting upon a given motive of conduct. But actually to find one’s good by ac¬ ting upon that motive is to obtain, additional proof that one’s good is there. This experimental proof, more forcibly than any other, strengthens one’s intellectual grip bn the truth that it is good to act uppn that motive. In addition repeated willing to act upon a motive involves three things:, first, repeated recall of the motive to mind; second, repeated association of it with the actual circumstances of the moral choices one must make; third, repeated integration of the motive into the general framework of one’s code of conduct. These results are all factors, which tend to give the motive greater permanence as an object likely to be recalled by the memory, while at the same time they weaken the corresponding position of opposing motives. Fourthly, many personal obstacles to the development of virtue in a pupil are overcome only by exercise of the will in acting upon motives of ethical conduct. It is only through such exercise that many imaginary fears and difficulties are dissipated and often it is only through


such exercise that the pupil learns that the sacrifices involved in choosing what is ethically right have their compensations; and it is only through such exercise that one may come to the permanent conviction that there is real good to be derived from choosing not to adopt that course of action, which is pleasurable or seems more immediately satisfying. Fifthly, it must be kept in mind that, especially within the earlier age limits, it is necessary to demand the compliance of pupils with rules of discipline and other constraints, in order to initiate the devel¬ opment of the will in virtue. Just as our knowledge of life begins through the senses, so too the earliest motivation of our conduct springs from the appeal of sense pleasure and enjoyment. Pupils do not at once appreciate the value of moral motives in contrast to the allure of more immediate delights nor do they, of their own initiative, begin to act upon ethical principles. Pupils must first be constrained; but whatever external compulsion be used to govern their conduct, it must be made to appear reasonable, so that it becomes a means to incite the will to do what is right for motives, which can become permanent. Only in defiance of facts and of the psychology of learning and with cruelly disastrous result would an educator allow free rein to all the pupil’s impulses toward self expression. The educator therefore must use suitable means to induce the pupil to act willingly upon motives of ethical conduct. By counsel, by precept, by rules of discipline, by example, by the creation of conditions which call for the choice of some ethical good, and by showing the motive of these inducements, the teacher must strive to bring about exercise of the will by the pupil. But care must be had that the student does will to act on the good motive, which is proposed; and it is only the student who can do this, for the power of choice resides entirely in the pupil. It follows therefore that the answer to the question, “Is Virtue Teachable?” can be neither an unqualified negative nor a simple affirmative. Virtue is teachable indirectly, in as much as the teacher influences its development by imparting knowl¬ edge of virtuous motive to the pupil’s intelligence and by persuading and assisting the pupil’s will to resolve to act upon such motive always; but it is not teachable directly, because no effort of the teacher can force the pupil’s will to adopt a persistent tendency toward ethically good choice. In this sense it is true that all will training is essentially self training and that the work of the educator in the development of will and teaching of virtue is an external, subsidiary striving to induce, assist and direct the self training of the pupil. This, however, is true not only of volitional, but also of intellectual training, since only the pupil can do the thinking and the willing; but it is even more true of will training, because, whereas argument may be furnished to the intellect, which compels mental assent, no motive can be proposed to the will, which necessitates volition. The external efforts of the educator therefore will be of ultimate avail in developing will and


teaching virtue only in so far as they procure the willing cooperation of the pupil with motives, which can endure as lasting principles of ethical action in later life. Many cases of later deterioration of those, who gave the appearance of virtue in school, may be but the normal result of the pupil’s real attitude toward disciplinary direction. There was either inward unwillingness to submit to regulation or there was willingness to comply only so long as external constraints could be enforced. But even granted that there is cooperation on the part of the pupil, with the result that development of virtue does take place, this virtue is no absolute guarantee of the perseverance of the pupil in ethical rectitude; for the freedom of the will remains, together with the recurrence of motives opposed to the motives of ethically good choice. The only assurance of the perseverance of the pupil lies in the pupil’s own freely chosen persistence in abiding by the motives of right conduct. For this persistence effects greater appreciation of the motives and greater security of their presence in the memory, whereas freely allowing them to be obscured and replaced by opposing motives results gradually in moral collapse. The mystery of the aban¬ donment of earlier good habits and of the final moral failure of persons, in whom virtue had once been developed, would be explained, could one trace in the history of a soul the gradual adoption of the ideals and motives of an unethical environment. In conclusion it must be remarked that, although a study of will training from the viewpoint of Psychology and Ethics is necessary, it is also entirely inadequate for the actual task to be accomplished. Psychology and Ethics are ignorant of the actual conditions of existing human wills, which are in a state, not of pure, but of fallen nature. They are not cognizant of the true quality of the end to be achieved in human life nor of the true mean, in which the moral virtues actually consist. They are not aware of the all-important aids of divine grace for keeping motives freshly in mind and for actually making good choices. It is not by the principles of Psychology and Ethics alone, but only by the additional application of those of Theology, that actually existing wills can be successfully developed in virtue. There is no need to do more than point out this two-fold corollary: first, that therefore the presence of students in a religious school is of supreme importance, even though the student’s major be mathematics; and second, that the capital subject in the curriculum of such schools is not Philosophy, but Theology.




Philosophy of Discipline RAPHAEL


Orders are ways of getting things done. Imagine a robber holding up a man on the highway; the robber says: “Empty your pockets at once” while simultaneously raising his fist at the man. So with an order issued by the government; there is the order-utterance and there is the threat of punishment which corresponds to the raising of the fist. The man refuses to oblige the robber, and the upraised fist comes down upon him; or the citizen refuses to comply with the law and the punishment ensues. Nevertheless there is an important dif¬ ference between the two kinds of command. To be sure, both are ways of getting things done, but the bully may not properly be said to punish even while enforcing compliance. Only those vested with

authority, such as parents, schoolmasters and governments, may be said to punish. Power (effectiveness) does not by itself constitute authority. At the same time, validity is not enough; authority must be accompanied with power, if we are to speak properly of orders with threats of punish¬ ment. Of course, all punishment involves suffering by the person pun¬ ished. But here we must be careful to avoid confusion. We say Raphael Demos, “Some Reflections on Threats and Punishments,” A Review of Metaphysics, XI (September, 1957), pp. 224-236.


that a man has been punished by nature, when he now suffers pain because he has ignored the conditions of healthy living. of natural punishment is to use metaphor.

But to speak

No punishment can be

natural; one might even say that it has to be unnatural, that is to say, arranged and contrived by the human will. But even this reservation is insufficient. We speak of social sanctions, and these certainly are expressions of human attitudes. Yet to speak of social penalties is to speak loosely, if especially we are referring to social disapproval and ostracism ensuing upon the violation of a social code. Suffering is not punishment if it is simply a consequence of attitudes; to be punishment, it must have been anticipated as a warning or threat. In using the word ‘order’, I have had a special point in mind. Not all commands involve a threat of punishment. For instance, in a community consisting of completely loyal members, a leader may issue commands without threatening. The Ten Commandments do not re¬ fer to punishment. Orders are precisely those commands which have a threat annexed to them. I have said that punishments may not be considered independently of the commands to which they are attached; and I have thence drawn the conclusion that what we judge is not the punishment but the command. Now, however, I am saying that it is part of the meaning of an order that it should have the threat of punishment attached to it; this consideration introduces a new con¬ sequence without affecting the preceding one. On the one hand, in any •particular case, what we query is the justification of the order; and if the latter is justified so is the punishment which ensues upon its violation. But one may. query the general structure of commandpunishment; one may ask whether threats are, in general, justified as ways of getting things done. Perhaps coercion is not the best wav of influencing the actions of human beings; perhaps advice and ex¬ planation are preferable. Granted, even, that after a given man’s character has been formed, threats may be agreed to be necessary ways and punishments too, it may be urged that our system should be changed so that from the outset, greater stress should be laid on a moral upbringing so that resort to force may be rendered unnecessary. In short, let us distinguish particular orders from the general principle of ordering; when dealing with the first, we judge the command and not the punishment; when dealing with the second, it is proper to question threats and punishments as such. It should be clear from the above that in speaking of legal law as an order I am not taking the side of Austin (author of The Province of Jurisprudence') against his critics. Austin defines laws as the com¬ mands of a sovereign — commands to which punishment is ‘annexed;’ but, as I have already said, commands must be validly issued in order to be laws. I need hardly add that I am not here engaged in the general theory of legal law. Whether all legal law must have punish¬ ment annexed to it, in order to be law — whether, for instance, we may


properly speak of international law — is irrelevant to my purpose.


I do say is that some legal law at any rate entails threats of punishment. Nor do I imply that, because of this fact, legal law is an order against the wishes of the public.

For, at least in most cases, the law is in¬

tended to create conditions by which to enable the public to realize its wishes. But to admit this as a fact is not to deny that there is a coercive element in law, as for instance in the laws governing traffic. I must now try to meet several objections to the view of punish¬ ment I have expounded. What I have so far said about orders and threats of punishment fails to make clear why punishment should be actually administered. In fact, my analysis involves a paradox: I have said that a threat is a way of getting a thing done, but the punishment is administered only when and after the thing has not been done. (We sometimes hear of parents or tyrants administering punishments as a precautionary measure, but we do not regard such action as proper.) Now, since the punishment is administered after the thing has not been done (when, for instance, the law has been violated), how can the punish¬ ment be properly described as part of the process of getting things done? It is no answer to say that the punishment is a way of getting what is wanted done in the future; for I have characterized punishment as an element of the command already given and violated. At this point it will be useful to distinguish between specific and general orders. Thus, a law is a general order, and this not only because it is addressed to all the citizens but because it covers actions at any time. An order is specific when it concerns a particular action at a particular time to be done by a particular person (for instance ‘shut the door immediately’ addressed by a father to his child). The problem I have been dis¬ cussing is acute for specific orders particularly. Why, then, does one punish? Is it a question of consistency? (“I will punish you because I told you I would, and you heard me say so.”) It is, and more. There is a difference between genuine and pseudo threats, and it is a difference in the logical behavior of the utterance. It is part of the meaning of a genuine threat (as contrasted with the other sort) that it will be carried out. (I mean ‘will be,’ not 'ought to be’ carried out.) Some teachers are only bluffing when they threaten, and some parents intend to punish when they threaten but are too indulgent, and weaken when faced with the job of actually carrying out the threat. The pupil or child soon learns not to take such threats ‘se¬ riously/ that is to say, it regards these threats as phony. There are cases when the parent may deliberately refrain from punishing, as when it happens that the child catches pneumonia at a time after it has violated the order. Yet we still say the threat was genuine; this is because such extenuating circumstances are implied in the threat. The punishing is implied in the threat which, in turn, is implied



or expressed in the order. Now, the child ordered to close the window may ask, “Why should I close the window?” In thus asking for a justification of the order it may mean, “Why should- I close it rather than you (since you are nearer the window)” or it may mean that the air in the room will become stuffy if the window is closed. The regula¬ tion that schoolboys should turn off the lights at ten is justified by the fact that unless they do, they will not get the necessary amount of sleep. But the school regulation against cheating may well be justified by the principle that cheating is bad. In other words, the question of justification may be answered in terms either of principles or of con¬ sequences, depending on the general position of the moralist. An order may be arbitrary even when issued by legitimate au¬ thority; it is arbitrary when no justifying reasons exist in the mind of the person ordering. An arbitrary order is never justified; that is to say, is never right. *





What I have done so far is to state a position, and I must now go back to make necessary distinctions. An order is an imperative-utterance with the special proviso that the utterance entails (pragmatically) a threat.

The threat may be

shown, as when the teacher threatens the pupil with a ruler, or it may be uttered. Orders are ways a person has of getting things done by another person; also what is done is either an action or a for¬ bearance from action.

An order is a communication

to somebody

who is presumed to hear and understand it. No order can be given to an insane person or to an infant. In like manner, it may be a valid excuse when a schoolboy truthfully protests, “I was not in the hall when you announced the new regulations (and I was not told to be at the hall at that time).” Indeed, the fact that, as I have said earlier, a threat is something announced as a warning implies that an order is a communication. A pro-consul operating in occupied territory may get things done by his subjects, by bringing them to the point of near-starvation and so weakening their will that they conform to his desires.

The result is a consequence of his measures;

but there has been no order because there has been no communica¬ tion between mind and mind. Orders (and all imperatives) must be distinguished from requests, prayers, beggings, or askings. A man will ask a woman to marry him; in some societies, a father will tell his daughter to marry a certain man.

What the contrast brings out is that all orders are categorical,

while requests are hypothetical. “Will you come with me to lunch (if you) please?” But when you are given an order, you are expected to comply with it whether you please or not. Of course, whether an utterance is an order or not is not determined by its grammatical


form alone, and sometimes by it not at all. The whole context of the utterance must be taken into account. As we know, an invitation from royalty, no matter how courteously phrased, is a command.


the utterance to a servant ‘take this lamp upstairs, please,’ the w'ord ‘please’ may indicate no more than conventional politeness. But the converse may be true. ‘Shut the door,’ when uttered in a gentle tone of voice, may be only a request. It does not follow from the fact that the person ordered under¬ stands the order (‘do this or else’), that therefore the order is merely a statement of a disjunction. I have in mind an interesting analysis of imperatives (by H. G. Bohnert, in Philosophy of Science, 1945) according to which an imperative “Run” addressed to a person inside a house on fire is to be construed as a disjunctive proposition, “You run or you burn.” But, in fact, an order is the exercise of pressure on the person ordered by the person ordering.

When the govern¬

ment orders its subjects to pay taxes with the threat that if they don’t they will be thrown into jail, the government is not bargaining with its subjects, it is not saying, “You may either pay your taxes or get into jail; it is all the same to me which you prefer, so have your choice.” The government wants its taxes paid and is trying to get them paid. The threat (in the order) is a force exerted upon the person so that he will do what he is the function of divine makes an ‘impact’ upon will not even listen to

ordered to do. punishment is human beings. advice, because

Theologians have argued that to ensure that the divine law Aristotle says that young people they are ruled by passion; the

threat of punishment makes them attend to the advice; they get the point that you really mean what you are saying. When a school prefect orders the pupils to turn their lights out at ten o’clock p.m., his saying so is a way by which he induces them to do so. Thus, force is a property of the order-utterance. We are told that words have an emotive meaning; I will add that they may have a motive meaning too. Any construction of an order as being merely the state¬ ment of a disjunction omits this essential element of force. However, these remarks must not be taken as a total dismissal of the view that an order is a statement. In its explicit form an order is indeed a hypo¬ thetical (if you do this, you will be punished) which is used cate¬ gorically. But of this more below. Usually, rewards and punishments are treated together; in fact, both are communications and inducements. A reward means giving, a punish¬ ment means depriving. Yet they differ in even more important ways. It is, I think, significant that while individuals and private bodies offer rewards (Nobel prizes, etc.), they do not punish; and that, while governments punish violations of the law, they do not offer rewards for compliance with it, nor indeed any rewards. Now, the business of government is carried out by coercion; it relies on the stick, not on the carrot. Rewards are carrots, inducements of the type of beggings or requests,


but stronger than these because combined (if the solecism be per¬ mitted) with the “threat” of a benefit to the doer. The fundamental difference between the two arises from the fact that orders are cate¬ gorical while offers of rewards are hypothetical (‘if you wish it etc.). In a sense hard to define, an order is an undertaking; it is not just a resolution, not just the expression of a resolve or decision (i.e., to punish you). It is not a promise, yet it is like a promise, (a) It is not a promise, obviously, because a threat does not create a moral obligation for the person threatening; so, if I fail to carry out my threat against you, you have no moral claim against me. It would be an improper use of language to say, “I promised to punish you. ’ Why is it that I am bound to another person when I have made a promise to him but not when I have threatened him? I suggest that it is because a promise is to confer a benefit whereas a threat is to inflict an injury. (b) But these differences must not tempt us to ignore the simi¬ larities. Both promises and threats are made to another (New Year’s resolutions are not properly called promises to oneself; and a masochist does not threaten himself with injury). More important, both are commitments. But what is a commitment? In threats no less than in promises I bind myself and, inasmuch as both are addressed to the public, in both promises and threats, I stake my reputation. Both may be construed as oaths, viz., “I swear to meet you tomorrow,” or, “I swear that I will punish you.” Likewise, the statement, “I know that, etc.,” may be construed as an oath, viz., “I swear that such and such is the case” (although here there is no undertaking to do anything). In all three — promises, threats, and claims to know — one may be said to guarantee something. Finally, we must consider anew the very basis of this article, namely the view that' orders are ‘ways of getting things done.’ Is it true — as I have urged — that orders are forces or causes, endowed with ‘motive’ meaning? Mr. R. M. Hare has made an important distinction between ‘telling someone to do something’ and ‘getting him to do it’ (The Language of Morals, p. 13). The first is advice, a guide to action by an appeal to reason; the second is to affect another causally and so a form of coercion. By ‘telling’; Mr. Hare means prescribing, saying what one should better do, or ought to do. Now, it may be urged that my own account of threats is wrong in that I have con¬ fused ‘getting someone to do something’ with ‘telling him to do it.’ Obviously, to threaten is not to ‘make’ someone do something, nor to force him to do it. But before we proceed, it may be useful to analyse compulsion or coercion (‘making’), contrasting these notions with other relevant ones. Suppose, on seeing a bully beating a child, I run up to him, hold his arms tight, and so prevent him from beating the child. This is an application of naked force, by the employment of obviously physical


means. Suppose, also, I yell (that is, make a loud but meaningless noise) at a person walking toward the edge of a precipice, and the person actually stops. His stopping is a reflex action; my voice has shocked him and paralyzed his limbs. I will call this too an example of coercion and indeed of coercion by physical means, although the physical force is not as obvious as in the preceding case. This, too, is a case of what Mr. Hare would call causal influence.


we are not entitled to call such shouting either an order or a threat. In addition to physical coercion (of either sort) there is another kind of coercion which I will call psychological or moral. I have in mind seduction, as when a person is mesmerized or hypnotized. Here, too, I say, a person is made to do (or believe) something, although the boundaries are not easy to mark clearly.

What shall

we say of a man who gives up his alcoholic habits upon finding his mother in tears (provoked by these habits)? Is it a case of se¬ ductive compulsion or of seduction persuasion? Are tears influences or are they arguments? Do his mother’s tears paralyze his will? Sug¬ gestion also is a form of seduction; is its effect on a susceptible person purely a causal effect? Whatever the answer may be, I will say that threats do not get their results through seduction: in short, threats are not coercive, whether physically or psychologically. At the other end of the scale, we find pure moral imperatives: “relieve the sufferings of others,” “love thy neighbor as thyself,” “say the truth,” and so on. These are clearly instances of ‘telling’ or re¬ commending — in short they are an appeal to reason. The person acting upon such advice is being persuaded, he is not being coerced. His decision is an act of will ‘listening to and obeying reason’ (Aristotle, Nic. Ethics, 1102b32).

A man who acts on advice, acts from choice;

a man who acts because he is seduced is constrained. (However there are degrees of ‘influence’ even in ‘telling’; in the passage just cited, Aristotle speaks of exhortation and reproof.) Now, if threats do not get a man to do something, does it follow that they are instances of ‘telling’? My own proposal is that we have a gamut of human rela¬ tionships and that threats lie somewhere between the two extremes but are not identical with either; they are near the seductive kind of coercion at one end, and near the other end when telling takes the form of reproof or exhortation. A threat is an appeal to man’s reason; at the same time, in threatening a person with punishment you put fear into his heart.

I will now try to prove this point.

Consider the case of a man who is intimidated into doing some¬ thing; this would be an instance of what I have called seduction. Surely the response to a threat should not be described as intimida¬ tion. But yet is it so clear that people who yielded to Senator McCarthy’s threats were not acting as a result of intimidation? Threats have the same relation to fear which rewards and flatteries have to pleasure; and the reader may be reminded of Plato’s definition of courage as


the ability to withstand both fear and pleasure.

It would seem then

that threats operate as quasi-seductions. • Now consider the arguments against this interpretation of threats. When I threaten another person — so it may be said — that person responds from a consideration of the threatened consequences of his disobedience. He does not act from fear but in view of the fearfulness of the consequences. Indeed, the use of threats entails a regard for the other person as a rational being who is capable of choice. For a threat ‘puts it up’ to the person threatened, who may decide to under¬ go the suffering rather than obey. Before we try to decide as to these two views, let us look at some other relevant points. If I warn you of impending disaster, I bring to your attention a condition existing independently of my will; when I threaten you with disaster, I myself create the condition which you must consider; and I create it through my own utterance. Thus, I warn you that if you go on with your habit of reckless driving, you will soon involve yourself in a serious accident; but I threaten you if I say: stop or I will shoot. Consider now persuasion by argument; here too — as in warning — I reveal (I do not make) the reasons which lead you to act. Threats, then, may be contrasted with both warnings and persuasions and contrasted in the following fashion: when I threaten, I make a reason which you must take into account. Now I grant that in threatening, I make (or bring about) a con¬ dition by my utterance; the sticking point is whether the condition is a reason for the person threatened. Surely it is not merely a reason. As I pointed out. above, when the government orders and threatens, it does so in order to get its citizens to act in a certain way; the govern¬ ment intends its threats to operate as forces or pressures, not as bar¬ gaining points; it means to constrain the person in the sense that he will do what the government asks him to do irrespective of whether he wills it or no. The order itself is a disjunction (either you obey, or you will be punished) and therefore a statement; but the statement itself is used in the threat as an exercise of force, and in causal fashion. This is to consider the threat from the point of view of the person uttering it; how does the threat look from the point of view of the person threatened? Does he respond from a consideration of the fear¬ fulness of the consequences, or does he respond simply out of fear? The truth, I believe, is that he does both. The use of threats is based on a recognition of the fact that human beings are both rational and subject to passions. We act from impulse and feeling and also for a reason at one and the same time. Nor does the former necessarily inhibit the latter. The fear Qf God is the beginning of wisdom. Indeed the very meaning of the phrase ‘fear of God’ includes understanding of the power and fearfulness of God as well as actual fear of him. If it be objected that I have proved too much, I will reply that whatever may happen in the case of pure appeals to reason, at any rate in the


case of threats, this is their job — both to appeal to reason and to arouse fear. That is to say, when appeals to reason also arouse feelings, this is accidental; but threats are not doing their job unless they appeal to feeling as well as to reason. Thus, threats are at once advice and exercise of pressure; or, alternatively, they lie somewhere between se¬ duction and rational persuasion.

To identify them with either is to

ignore nuances of difference in order to achieve easy simplification.


Part V Christian Intellectualism

On Some Typical Aspects of Christian Education JACQUES


I If we wish to perceive what a Christian philosophy of education consists of, it is clear that the first thing to do is to try to bring out what the Christian idea of man is. The Christian idea of man has many connotations and implica¬ tions. Let us point out some of them. For Christianity there is no transmigration; the immortality of the soul means that after the death of its body the human soul lives forever, keeping its own individuality. It is not enough, moreover, to say that the human soul is immortal; faith holds also that the body will rise up and be united with the soul again; and Thomas Aquinas goes so far as to insist that in the state of separation from its body the soul is no doubt a substance, but one in which human nature does not come to completion; therefore the separate soul does not Jacques Maritain, “On Some Typical Aspects of Christian Education,” in The Christian Idea of Education, ed. Edmund Fuller. New Haven: Yale Uni¬ versity Press, 1957, pp. 173 - 198. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.



constitute a person. All this means that soul and body compose one single substantial unit; as against Hinduism and Platonism, Christianity forcefully emphasizes the unity of the human being, and any recur¬ rence of Platonism — for instance the way in which Descartes (“I or my mind”) separated the soul (that is, according to him, the Thought or the Mind) from the body (that is, according to him, geometrical Extension) and lodged the mind in the pineal gland, like a water¬ works engineer in the midst of his machines — is but a distortion of the Christian idea of man. Similarly any education of the Cartesian or angelistic type, any education dealing with the child as with a pure mind or a disembodied intellect, despising or ignoring sense and sensation, punishing imagina¬ tion as a mere power of deception, and disregarding both the uncon¬ scious of the instinct and the unconscious of the spirit, is a distortion of the Christian idea of education. Christian education does not worship the human body, as the ancient Greeks did, but it is fully aware of the importance of physical training as aiming at a sound balance of the whole human being; Christian education is intent on making sense-perception, which is the very basis of man’s intellectual life, more and more alert, accurate, and integrated; it appeals con¬ fidently to the deep, living power of imagination and feeling as well as to the spiritual power of reason; it realizes that in the development of the child hand and mind must be at work together; it stresses the properly human dignity of manual activity. At this point I am not thinking only of the educational value that the various sorts of crafts taught on the campus have even for future doctors, lawyers, or businessmen. What I mean to say is that, in a more fundamental way, Christian education knows that despite the basic unity of the educational process the task of the school in preparing the young person for adult life is twofold. On the one hand it must provide the equipment in knowledge required by that kind of work — both of the hand and the mind — which the ancients called servile because it is more obviously manual, and which in reality is not servile at all but rather the common human work, the kind of work most natural to man. On the other hand the school must provide the equipment in knowledge required by that kind of activity — both of the hand and the mind — which the ancients called liberal because it is more obviously mental, and which should rather be characterized as more exacting human work. I shall come back to this question at the end of my lecture, my point being that in our age genuine liberal education should cover both of the two fields I mentioned. Thus does Christianity lay stress on the fact that man is flesh as well as spirit. But the Christian idea of man has further, and deeper, connotations. Christian faith knows that human nature is good in itself but that it has been put out of order by original sin; 240

hence it is that Christian education will recognize the necessity of a stern discipline, and even of a certain fear, on the condition that this discipline, instead of being merely external — and futile — should appeal to the understanding and the will of the child and become self-discipline, and that this fear should be respect and reverence, not blind animal dread. And Christian faith knows that supernatural grace matters more than original sin and the weakness of human nature, for grace heals and superelevates nature and makes man participate in divine life itself; hence it is that Christian education will never lose sight of the grace-given equipment of virtues and gifts through which eternal life begins here below. Aware as it is of the fact that in the educational process the vital principle which exists in the student is the “principal agent,” while the causality exercised by the teacher is, like medicine, only cooperating and assisting activity, Christian education does not only lay stress on the natural spirituality of which man is capable, it does not only found its entire work on the inner vitality of human nature; it makes its entire work rest also on the vital energies of grace and on the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity; and if it is true to its highest aim, it turns man toward grace-given spirituality, toward a participation in the freedom, wisdom, and love of the saints. A Christian philosophy of man does not see man as a merely natural being; it sees man as a natural and a supernatural being, bearing in itself the pitiful wounds of Adam and the sacred wounds of the Redeemer. There is no natural perfection for man. His per¬ fection is supernatural, the very perfection of that love which is a diffusion of Gods love in us, and the example of which Christ gave us in dying for those he loved. The task of the Christian is to enter Christ’s work: that is to say, in some way to redeem his fellow men, spiritually and temporally; and redemption is achieved by the Cross. Accordingly, Christian education does not tend to make a man naturally perfect, an athletic, self-sufficient hero with all the energies and beauty of nature, impeccable and unbeatable in tennis and foot¬ ball as well as in moral and intellectual competitions. It tries to develop as far as possible natural energies and virtues, both intellectual and moral, as tied up with, and quickened by, infused virtues, but it counts more on grace than on nature; it sees man as tending toward the perfection of love despite any possible mistakes and missteps and through the very frailty of nature, praying not to be put to trial and sensing himself a failure, but being at the same time more and more deeply and totally in love with his God and united with Him. Christian education does not separate divine love from fraternal love, nor does it separate the effort toward self-perfection and personal salvation of others. And Christian education understands that at every level of human life, from the moral situation of the monk to that of the poet or the political leader, the Christian must take risks more 241

or less great, and is never sheltered, and at the same time must be prepared to fight to the finish for his soul and life in God, using the weapons of the Cross every day. For it is up to us to make any suffering imposed by nature or by men into a merciful cross, if only we freely and obediently accept it in love. And furthermore the cross is there, at each and every moment in our life when we have to under¬ go that rending and agony in which, even with respect to small things, the choice between good and evil consists. All this does not concern adult life only or adult education only; it begins in a more or less dim way very early for man. That is why the integral idea of Christian education, the idea of Christian edu¬ cation in its wholeness and as a lifelong process, already applies to the child in a way adapted to his condition, and must guide school education as to the general orientation of the educational process and the first beginnings which the child is capable of. II I should like to distinguish in Christian education two categories of requirements. In the first place Christian education involves all those requirements which characterize in general any genuine edu¬ cation truly aiming at helping a child or man attain his full formation or his completeness as a man. I have discussed these general points on other occasions and -do not intend to do so today. In the second place Christian education, insofar as it is precisely Christian, has a number of specific requirements, dependent on the fact that the young person with whom it is concerned is a Christian and must be prepared to lead his adult life as a Christian. It is with respect, to this second category of re¬ quirements that I shall now submit some observations. The first point will have to do with the curriculum in general; the second, with the development of Christian intelligence; the third, with the ways in which religious knowledge and spiritual life are to be fostered. The first point has to do with the problem of Christian culture recently raised by Mr. Christopher Dawson in several interesting and challenging articles.1 Is a curriculum in the humanities fitted to the education of a Christian if it is only or mainly occupied with the Graeco-Roman tradition and pagan or merely secular authors? Before tackling the question I cannot help remembering that the teacher in philosophy of the Angelic Doctor was the pagan Aristotle. In a more general way, and in relation to deeper considerations, I should like to observe that in general one of the aspects of the uni¬ versality proper to Christianity is the fact that Christianity encom¬ passes the whole of human life in all its states and conditions; Chris1Cf. Christopher Dawson, “Education and Christian Culture,” The Com¬ monweal (Dec. 4, 1953); “Problems of Christian Culture,” The Commonweal (April 15, 1955).


tianity is not a sect, not even in the sense of a sect dedicated to the purest perfection. Let us think for instance of those Essenes who a few centuries before Christ lived up to high moral standards and about whom we have learned many interesting details from recent archeo¬ logical discoveries. The Essenes were a closed group, a sect. Chris¬ tians are not a sect, and this is the very paradox of Christianity; Chris¬ tianity says, Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, and Chris¬ tianity gives this precept not to a closed group but to all men, what¬ ever their state of life may be, even to those among us who are most deeply engaged in the affairs and seductions of this world. That is why, required as they are to tend to the perfection of love, Christians, as I observed a moment ago, have to confront the world and to take risks at every stage or degree of human existence and human culture. They are not of the world but they are in the world, as really and profoundly in as any man can be. They must be secluded from nothing, save from evil. All the riches of Egypt are theirs. Every¬ thing valuable for man and for the human mind belongs to them, who belong to Christ. Coming now to education and our problem of Christian culture in the curriculum, I would say that in my opinion what is demanded is to get rid of those absurd prejudices which can be traced back to the Renaissance and which banish from the blessed land of edu¬ cational curricula a number of authors and matters under the pre¬ text that they are specifically religious, and therefore not “classical,” though they matter essentially to the common treasure of culture. The writings of the Fathers of the Church are an integral part of the humanities as well as, or more than, those of the Elizabethan drama¬ tists; St. Augustine and Pascal matter to us no less than Lucretius or Marcus Aurelius. It is important for young people to know the history of astronomy or the history of Greek and Latin literature, but it is at least as important for them to know the history of the great theological controversies and the history of those works about spiritual life and mystical experience which have been for centuries jewels of Christian literature. Yet, it is my conviction as well as Christopher Dawson’s that, once this point has been clearly established, the curriculum in the humani¬ ties of a Christian college must deal still more than that of a secular college with the whole of human culture. The significant thing, and what causes our approach to be Christian, is the perspective and in¬ spiration, the light in which all this is viewed.2 To know the great 2“. . . the sociological problem of a Christian culture is also the psycho¬ logical problem of integration and spiritual health. I am convinced that this is the key issue. Personally I would prefer a Ghetto culture to no religious culture at all, but under modern conditions the Ghetto solution is no longer really practicable. We must make an effort to achieve an open Catholic cul¬ ture which is sufficiently conscious of the value of its own tradition to be able to meet secularist culture on an equal footing.” Dawson, “Problems of Christian Culture,” p. 36.


works produced by the human mind in any spiritual climate — and not only as a matter of information but in order to understand their significance and to situate them in the great starry universe of the intellect — is a requirement of that very universality of Christianity which I just spoke of. To tell the truth, that with which the traditional, classical Graeco-Roman humanities are to be reproached is mainly their narrowness and 'provincialism. In our age the humanities do not only extend beyond literature; they extend beyond the Western world and Western culture, they must be concerned with the achievements of the human mind in every great area of civilization; nay, more, with the prime and basic human apperceptions and discoveries which are obscurely con¬ tained in the myths and symbolic imagination of primitive men. Our watchword should be enlargement, Christian-inspired enlargement, not narrowing, even Christian-centered narrowing, of the humanities. The history of civilizations, and anthropology, may play in this connection — here again I am in agreement with Christopher Dawson — a basic introductory part, if they are viewed and understood in an authentic philosophical and theological light. Incidentally, I should like to touch upon another question, which does not have to do with the humanities but rather with that notion of Christian inspiration and Christian light which I just alluded to. It is obvious that any matter dealing with the meaning of existence or the destiny of man can be illumined by Christian inspiration. But what about all these matters in which no metaphysical or moral value is involved? Has the notion of Christian inspiration or the idea of Christian education the slightest significance when it comes to the teaching of mathematics, astronomy, or engineering? The answer, I think, is that there are of course no Christian mathematics or Christian astronomy or engineering; but if the teacher has Christian wisdom, and if his teaching overflows from a soul dedicated to con¬ templation, the mode or manner in which his teaching is given — in other words, the mode or manner in which his own soul and mind perform a living and illuminating action on the soul and mind of another human being — will convey to the student and awaken in him something beyond mathematics, astronomy, or engineering: first, a sense of the proper place of these disciplines in the universe of knowl¬ edge and human thought; second, an unspoken intimation of the immortal value of truth, and of those rational laws and harmony which are at play in things and whose primary roots are in the divine Intellect. The second point relating to the requirements of Christian edu¬ cation as such is concerned with the development of Christian intel¬ ligence. May I recall a saying of a great Dominican friar, Father Clerissac, who was my first guide and to whom I shall always feel indebted? “La vie chretienne est a base d’intelligence,’’ he said. “In¬ telligence is the very basis of Christian life.” If it is true that school training has primarily to do with the intellect and the equipment of 244

intelligence, this saying of Father Clerissac is for Christian educators a clear warning of the particular importance of school training, assuming that school training does not prove false to its ideal essence. In this connection, what is true of education in general is especially true of Christian education. It is a sacred obligation for a Christian school or college to keep alive the sense of truth in the student; to respect his intellectual and spiritual aspirations and every beginning in him of creative activity and personal grasping of reality; never, as St. Thomas puts it, to dig a pit before him without filling it up; to appeal to the intuitive power of his mind, and to offer to him a unified and integrated universe of knowledge. It is not irrelevant to expose at this point an illusion which seems to me to be particularly insidious. Just as it is often believed that in society no human person, no man invested with public office and charged with applying the law, but only the law itself, that abstract entity which is the law, has to be obeyed and to exert authority, so it is often believed that in the school no human person, no man invested with teaching authority and charged with conveying science, but only science or scholarship itself, that abstract entity which is science or scholarship, has to be listened to and to exercise the task of instructing minds. As a result, many teachers hold that it is their duty to dissemble and put aside as far as possible, or even to atrophy, their own convictions, which are the convictions of a given man, not the pronouncements of abstract science or scholarship. And since these so-called pronouncements exist only in the books written by the various scholars, and in the form (as a rule, and especially when it comes to the humanities and philosophy) of conflicting statements, the task of the teacher, modestly throwing himself into the shade, boils down to presenting to the student a carefully and objectively prepared picture of incompatible opinions, between which only sub¬ jective taste or feeling appears apt to choose. What is the effect of such teaching? To blunt or kill all that I have just described as requiring a sacred attention from the teacher, and to make the student grope from pit to pit. The first duty of a teacher is to develop within himself, for the sake of truth, deep-rooted convictions, and frankly to manifest them, while taking pleasure, of course, in having the student develop, possibly against them, his own personal convictions. Let me now turn our attention toward a distinction which has, to my mind, crucial practical importance; namely, the distinction which I have emphasized elsewhere between natural intelligence, or intel¬ ligence with its native power only, and intelligence perfected by intel¬ lectual virtues, that is by those acquired qualities or energies which are peculiar to the scientist, the artist, the philosopher, etc. My con¬ tention is that intellectual virtues and skills, which are terribly ex¬ acting and require therefore an absorbing special training, are to be 245

acquired during the period of graduate or advanced study, whereas school and college education is the proper domain of natural intel¬ ligence, which thirsts for universal knowledge and progresses more spontaneously than technically or scientifically, in vital' unity with imagination and poetic sensibility. Hence the notion of basic liberal education, which is concerned with universal knowledge because it has es¬ sentially to do with natural intelligence, and which does not try to make the child into a scholar, a physicist, a composer, etc., albeit in a diminutive way, but endeavors only to make him understand the meaning and grasp the basic truth of the various disciplines in which universal knowledge is interested. As a result, the scope of the liberal arts and the humanities would be greatly enlarged, so as to comprise, according to the requirements of modern intelligence, physics and the natural sciences, the history of sciences, anthropology and the other human sciences, with the history of cultures and civilizations, even technology (insofar as the activity of the spirit is involved) and the history of manual work and the arts, both mechanical and fine arts. But on the other hand, and to compensate for this enlargement, the manner of teaching and the quantitative, material weight of the cur¬ riculum, as regards each of the disciplines in question, would be made less heavy: for any effort to cram the mind of the student with facts and figures, and with the so-called integrity of the subject matter, by dint of useless memorization or shallow and piecemeal information, would be definitely given up; and the great thing would be to develop in the young person genuine understanding of, and active participa¬ tion in, the truth of the matter, and those primordial intuitions through which what is essentially illuminating as to the basic verities of each dis¬ cipline learned is definitely and unshakablv possessed. As applied to Christian education, the aforementioned remarks have, it seems to me, a special bearing on the teaching of philosophy and theology, both of which should be the keystone of the edifice of learning in a Christian college, dedicated as it is, by definition, to wisdom. Common sense and natural intelligence, sharpened bv the infused virtue of faith, are enough — not to be a philosopher and a theologian, to be sure — but to understand philosophy and theology, intelligently taught. Philosophical training, as I see it, might be com¬ posed of two main courses, supporting one another: on the one hand, a course in the relatively few basic philosophical problems, as viewed and illumined in the perspective of Christian philosophy and as re¬ lated to the most pressing questions with which the age is concerned; on the other hand, a course in the history of philosophy, intent on bringing out the central intuition in which every great system originates and the more often than not wrong conceptualization which makes these systems irreducibly antagonistic. As to theology, it is not to form a future priest or minister that it has to be taught in a Christian college, it is to equip laymen’s reason 246

in such a way that they will grasp the content of their own faith in a deeper and more articulate manner, and use the light and wisdom of a supremely unified discipline to solve the problems with which a Christian is confronted in the accomplishment of his mission in temporal society. This theological training, as I see it, should be especially connected with the problems raised by contemporary science, by the great social movements and conflicts of our age, and by anthropology, comparative religion, and the philosophy of culture. I should like to have special seminars in which students in philosophy and theology would meet representatives of the most various schools of thought: scientists, artists, missionaries, labor leaders, managers, etc. For it is not with books, it. is with men that students must be made able to discuss and take their own stand. An inviolable rule would be that, after such meetings, the discussion should continue in further seminars between the students and the teachers of the college, until they have completely mastered the problem and brought out the truth of the matter. I should like to make a final remark in relation to our present question, namely, the question of the development of Christian intel¬ ligence. This remark deals with the Holy Scripture, especially the Old Testament, and modern exegesis. During-college years Christian youth should be given serious knowledge, of the meaning of exegesis, and of the distinction to be made between what is valid result and discovery and what is arbitrary construction in the exegetical comments of our contemporary scholars. They should be shown how the main problems of exegesis can be solved in the light of a sound theory of divine inspiration, and how our approach to the Biblical text is thus made at the same time more realistic and purer. The question here is not to cultivate vain learning but to go in — with greater awareness of all that is human in the human instrument and greater faith in the divine truth taught by the principal author — for that assiduous reading of the Scriptures which has been a sacred custom in Protes¬ tant countries and is no\v being practiced more and more among Catho¬ lics, and which is an invaluable asset of Christian life. I believe, moreover, that the contact with the Holy Scripture must be at the same time so full of reverence and so deeply personal that it is not advisable to make the teaching of which I am speaking part of the compulsory matters of the curriculum. It would be much better to have this teaching given, as an elective matter, to students really eager to get it, who would constitute for this purpose one of those selforganized groups whose importance I shall stress in a few moments. There is a third and final point to be made in the second part of this lecture: it has to do with the ways in which religious knowledge and spiritual life are to be fostered in a Christian school or college! It has often been remarked that, in eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury France, for instance, a number of the most violent adversaries 247

of religion had been in their youth either seminarians or pupils of great Jesuit colleges. This is no serious argument against the methods of the seminaries and of the Jesuit Fathers, for, as an old saying puts it, quid, quid recipitur, ad modum recipientis recipitur, anything that is received is received according to the mood and capacity of the re¬ ceiver. Yet a more general and surprising fact remains,- namely the fact of the religious ignorance in our contemporary world of a great number, I would say of a majority of people educated in religious schools and denominational colleges. Why is this so? Because, in my opinion, religious teaching, however carefully given, remains too much of a separate, isolated compartment, and is sufficiently integrated neither with the intellectual interests nor with the personal life of the students. As a result, it is received by many in the most superficial stratum of the soul and forgotten almost as soon as it has been shallowly memorized. It is through its vital connections with philosophy and theology that religious training can be really integrated with the general mental activity and the intellectual interests of the student. Though a Chris¬ tian college in which the cosmos of knowledge is not crowned by theology may have the best courses in religion, the religious teaching it metes out is but a leaf which goes with the wind. But it is especially about the integration of religious training in the personal life of the students that I should like to say a few words now. My contention is that the proper way in which such an integration may be achieved is the development of liturgical life on the campus and the participation of the student population in the liturgy of the Church.3 The succession of feasts which celebrate divine mysteries and the events of our redemption, or commemorate the days on which the saints have been born to eternity, the prayers, the songs, the sacred rites of liturgy, compose a kind of immense and uninterrupted sign through which the heaven of religious truths symbolically penetrates our daily life. Breathing in this kind, of heaven provides the student with the oxygen he needs to have the religious teaching given in the classroom integrated with the depths of his own personal life. I do not wish to see all the students of a Christian college, dressed like monks, officiating in the chapel. Nor do I wish to hear all of them, on Sundays, collectively answer the priest at Mass — I am afraid the automatic display of the vociferations of boys or the cooing of girls is more liable to disturb than to quicken adoration and thanks¬ giving. What I wish is to have liturgical study groups freely organized on the campus, and to have a certain number of the members of these 3Cf. ibid.., p. 35: “. . . it seems to be clear that the key of the problem is to be found not in philosophy but in worship.... In that case the fundamental ‘classics’ are not St. Thomas and St. Augustine, but the Bible, the Missal, the Breviary and the Acta Sanctorum.” Let us replace “not, but” by “not only, but also,” and all this is true.


groups, inspired by the example of the Benedictine monks, form sorts of brotherhoods and choirs in order actively to participate in liturgical ceremonies, especially in the celebration of High Mass. Thus, I assume, a sufficient emulation or stimulation regarding liturgical life would take place in the whole student population. The best things must develop on a free basis. It is so with liturgical life, it is so with daily attendance at Mass and the reception of Holy Communion. (I note in passing the striking improvement which it has been possible to observe in the student population of Notre Dame, after it was decided to give the Eucharist in all the chapels of the campus and at any time in the morning to any student desiring to receive it.) In the groups of which I am now speaking, whose aim would be the knowledge and practice of liturgy, a brief seminar would be held every day on the lives of the saints men¬ tioned in the Breviary. Next to these liturgical groups there would be other groups, proba¬ bly fewer in number but exercising a more important action as a hidden ferment, which would be dedicated to studying the doctrine of theologians and great spiritual writers on mental prayer and mystical experience, and learning the rudiments of contemplative wisdom. I think that the most useful task of such groups would be to foster among their members that daily reading of the Gospel which is the normal way toward wordless prayer and the very nourishment of spiritual life.

Ill In the third and last part of my lecture, I should like to discuss two issues: first, concerning the moral formation of the youth; secondly, concerning liberal education for all. With respect to the first issue, it is to be noticed that school or college education is only a part and a beginning of man’s education, especially because it is more concerned with intelligence and knowledge than with the will and moral virtues, or with telling young people how to think than with telling them how to live. According to the nature of things, moral education is more the task of the family, assisted by the religious community to which it belongs, than the task of the school. Now what is normal in itself is not always what occurs most often in fact. As a matter of fact, it is too easy to observe today that, especially in the social and moral conditions created by our industrial civilization, the family group happens frequently to fail in its moral duty toward children, and appears more liable either to wound them or at least to forsake them in their moral life than to educate them in this domain. Thus the school has, in some imperfect and partial way, to try to make up for the lacks of the family group in the moral 249

f. formation of youth. But what can be the power and efficacy of teaching and classrooms in such matters? It is at this point that we may realize the crucial importance of the grouping of students in self-organized teams. In an essay written for the Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education I have already insisted on the part to be played by these teams in the life of that kind of republic which the school or the college is. The teams in question are different in purpose and in structure from the study groups whose role is also essential in academic life and some examples of which we have just considered. These self-organized teams, of which I am now speaking, are responsible for the discipline of their members and their progress in work. They are formed by the students themselves, without any interference from school authorities; thev elect their own captains; they have regular meetings — which no teacher attends — in which they examine and-discuss how the group behaves and the questions with which it is confronted. Their captains, on the other hand, as repre¬ sentatives of each team, have regular contacts with the school authorities, to whom they convev the suggestions, experiences, and problems of the group. So the students are actually interested in the organization of studies, the general discipline, the “political life” of the school or the college, and they can play a sort of con¬ sultative part in the activitv of the educational republic.4 But in a Christian college — and this is my point — the selforganized teams which I have just described would also have another and more essential function. They would have to enforce and carrv into being, in all occasions and incidents of daily existence, the require¬ ments of Christian charity. It is on the exercise of mutual charity that the attention of everyone in them would be focused. And so these teams would make up in some way for what might be lacking in the moral education provided by the family — and they would be, so to speak, workshops in the evangelical rules of mutual love. To make things more precise, let me point out a custom which the teams in question might find the greatest advantage in borrowing from the daily life of religious orders. The custom I have in mind is that of the chapter in which all the members of a religious community gather together for the purpose of a common self-examination. Each one must make known the faults — not, of course, the faults depending on the forum internum, the inner tribunal of conscience, but those depending on the forum externum — that he has committed during the day; and each one has similarly to make known the same kind 4From my essay “Thomist Views on Education,” Modern Philosophies and Education, National Society for the Study of Education, Yearbook 54 Pt. I (University of Chicago Press, 1955), p. 77.


of external, visible faults or mistakes he has observed in others. There is thus a sort of general wash, presided over by the abbot or prior, who metes out the soap of suitable exhortation: thereafter everyone goes back smart and lively into his own cell. Welt, our self-organized teams, as I see them, would imitate this wise custom, fittingly adopted or modified, and hold chapters of their own — I know of Christian families which did so for many years, and with considerable moral profit - laying stress especially on all that concerns the requirements of mutual respect and love in the matters of conscience, be they serious or minor, of which the group is made aware. And the captain of the team would play the part of the prior in giving the moral direction and explanations he deems necessary. The benefit of the custom is two¬ fold: I mean to say, on the one hand the development of the sense of responsibility and moral awareness, and the progress in Christian charity; and on the other hand the psychological relief caused by the fact of giving expression to that perception and experience of the lacks of others which, if it had to remain repressed, might, slight as the matter may be, embitter one’s soul. AH this talk about self-organized teams is not simply theoretical. I have personally known a place in which the experiment was made, and with full 'success. I have emphasized the importance of two different kinds of selforganized groups: the self-organized teams of students of which I just spoke, concerned with the moral and political life of the educa¬ tional republic, and operating independently from teachers; and the self-organized study groups, which could and should develop in con¬ nection with a large variety of matters, and in which the teachers play a necessary part, but more as counselors and guides than as pro¬ fessors and lecturers. When I think of the necessity of these diverse self-organized groups and of the way in which they are likely to grow in actual fact, in proportion as their significance is recognized, I come to the idea that the educational structure of future schools and co 1kg es will be different from the present one: instead of one single system, there would be two coordinated systems of forces or formative energy — two nervous systems, so to speak, confronting and complementing one another; the first system being composed of those various centers, starting from above, of teaching authority which are the faculties, de¬ partments, schools or institutes; the second being composed of those various centers, starting from below, of autonomous study and selfdiscipline which are our freely self-organized groups or teams of stu¬ dents. The unity which schools and universities are looking for5 is not a unity of mechanical centralization; it is a spontaneous, starstudded unity of harmony in diversity. To conclude my lecture I have still a few remarks to submit about 5Cf. John U. Nef, The Universities Look for Unity, New York, 1943.


f. the other issue that I have mentioned, namely the question of liberal education for all. The notion of liberal education for all is, in my opinion, one of those concepts which are in themselves close to the requirements of natural law, and appear obviously valid once we think them over, but which were long repressed, so to speak, or prevented -from being uttered in consciousness, because social conditions and social prejudice, condemning the greater number of men to a kind of enslaved life, made such concepts impracticable, which is as much as to say un¬ thinkable. This concept of liberal education for all is a late fructifica¬ tion of a Christian principle, it is intimately related to the Christian idea of the spiritual dignity of man and the basic equality of all men before God. “Education directed toward wisdom, centered on the humanities, aiming to develop in people the capacity to think cor¬ rectly and to enjoy truth and beauty, is education for freedom, or liberal education. Whatever his particular vocation may be, and what¬ ever special training his vocation may require, every human being is entitled to receive such a properly human and humanistic education.6 No educational philosophy should be more dedicated to the ideal of liberal education for all than the Christian philosophy of education. Coming now to practical application, I must first of all make clear that, in saying “liberal education for all,” it is of basic liberal education — basic liberal education for all — that I am thinking. This concept of basic liberal education has already been stressed in a preceding part of my lecture. It gives practical value and feasibility to the concept of liberal education for all. For on the one hand basic liberal education, covering as it does the field of the achievements of the human mind in science as well as in literature and art, has nothing to do with the old notion of liberal education as an almost exclusively literary education. On the other hand the resulting broadening of the matters of the curriculum is compensated for by a considerable allevia¬ tion in the very approach to these matters, which is henceforth adjusted to the needs and capacity of natural intelligence — more intuitive, therefore, and freed from any burden of pseudo science. Furthermore, if it is a question of college years, it appears that the college has to insure both basic liberal education in its final stages and the develop¬ ment of a particular state of capacity: so it would be normal to have the college divided into a number of fields of concentration or fields of pri¬ mary interest, each one represented by a given school (or “institut,” in the French sense of this word). In effect, this would be to have the college divided into a number of schools of oriented hu¬ manities all of which would be dedicated to basic liberal educa¬ tion, but each of which would be concerned with preparatory 6“Thomist Views on Education,” Modern Philosophies, p. 77.


study in a particular field of activity, thus dealing with the begin¬ nings and first development of a given intellectual virtue or a given intellectual skill. And basic liberal education rather than this preparatory study would be the primary aim. But precisely in order to make basic liberal education fully efficacious, the man¬ ner in which it would be given, and the teaching organized, would take into consideration the particular intellectual virtue, or the particular intellectual skill, to be developed in the future scientist or businessman, artist, doctor, newspaperman, teacher, lawyer, or specialist in government.7 But what about the main difficulty, namely the fact that for many boys and girls intellectual life, liberal arts, and the humanities are only a bore, and that as a result liberal education, in proportion as it is extended to a greater and greater number of young people, seems condemned to degenerate and fall to lower and lower levels? I am far from believing that all the boys and girls in question should be rated as duller students. In any case it may be answered that good educational methods are intended to stimulate the natural interests and intelligence of normal students, not to make the dull ones meet the standards. The clear maxim in these matters is, as Mortimer Adler put it in his seminars,on education, “The best education for the most gifted person in the community is, in its equivalent form, the best education for all.” As a rule, to ask men to maintain themselves at a level of real humanity is to ask a little too much of them, a little more than they are capable of. That is why what have been called heterogeneous schools or classes (segregating the brighter and the dul¬ ler) must be considered a bad solution in every respect. Better to have homogenous courses — I mean adapted, according to the principle I just mentioned, to the highest possible level with respect to the capacity, not of the duller, but of the good average student; and to assist in a special way the brighter students by allowing them freely to group together in extracurricular units — study clubs or academies — under some tutorial guidance. All that is true, but it is insufficient and does not reach the root of the matter. It is necessary to go further. As long as the problem is posed in classical education’s usual terms, I mean in terms of the student’s greater or lesser capacity to enjoy the pure activities of the intellect and progress in them in other words, as long as pure intel¬ lectual activity is considered the only activity worthy of man, and those who do not enjoy it are considered to be necessarily duller — no really satisfactory answer can be given. A deeper and more general principle must be brought to the fore. What principle? The Chris¬ tian principle of the dignity of manual activity. This principle, which 7 Ibid., p. 81.


f.. the monks of former times perfectly understood, was long disregarded by reason of social structure and ideological prejudice, both of which kept more or less the imprint of the times when manual labor was the job of slaves (as is still manifest in the expression “servile work”). As against such prejudice, let us not forget that St. Paul made a living as a tent-maker — not to speak of Jesus Himself, Who was a carpenter. The principle of the dignity and human value of manual work is now in the process or being at last realized by common consciousness. We have to understand that genuine manual work is neither the work of a beast of burden nor that of a robot, but human work in which both body and mind are at play — as they are also in the intellectual work of a writer, a lawyer, a teacher, a doctor, etc., who cannot per¬ form his own task without a certain dose of bodily exertion. The difference is that in one case (manual work) bodily activity plays the part of a (secondary) “principle agent” activated by the mind, and in the other case (intellectual work) the part of a merely “instrumental agent” moved by the mind. So both are, like man, made of flesh and spirit; manual work and intellectual work are equally human in the truest sense and directed toward helping man to achieve freedom. We have good reasons to believe that a general rehabilitation of manual work will characterize the next period of our industrial civilization. If we take all these things into consideration, we shall see that such a crucial change in perspective, which is Christian in itself and in its first origin, will inevitably reverberate in education, and must be of special interest for the Christian philosophy of education; and we shall realize better the bearing of the remarks that I submitted at the beginning of this lecture, when I observed that the task of the school in preparing the young person for adult life must involve a twofold function: on the one hand it must provide the equipment in knowledge required by the vocations and activities which consist mainly of manual work; on the other hand it must provide the equipment in knowledge required by those vocations and activities which consist mainly of intellectual work. These things have been recognized for centuries, but in creating an invidious opposition between a so-called popular education, pre¬ paring for manual vocations, and liberal education. My point is that in a somewhat distant future liberal education, on the contrary, will permeate the whole of education, whether young people are prepared for manual or for intellectual vocations. In other words popular edu¬ cation must become liberal, and liberal education must become popular. Is it not clear that liberal education for all” means liberal education for prospective manual workers as well as for prospective intellectual workers? The very possibility of this supposes considerable changes in our social and educational structures, a result of which would be to make some more democratic, probably gratis equivalent of our present colleges available to all. 254

The uni-polar conception of liberal education would then be re¬ placed by a bipolar conception; and here we have the answer to our problem. We would no longer have to choose between either obliging students unconcerned with disinterested knowledge to trudge along in the rear of classes which are a bore to them or diverting them toward other and supposedly inferior studies by reason of a lack, or a lesser capacity. We would have these students enter into a different but equally esteemed and appreciated system of study, and steer spon¬ taneously, by reason of a positive preference, enjoyment, and capacity, for a type of liberal education which, while remaining essentially con¬ cerned with humanities, prepares them for some vocation pertaining to manual work — not, of course, by- making them apprentices in any of the innumerable manual vocations but rather by teaching them, theoretically and practically, matters concerning the general categories into which manual service can be divided, such as farming, mining, craftsmanship, the various types of modern industrial labor, etc. Thus education, especially college education, would be organized around two opposite centers, a center of manual service training, and a center of intellectual service training, each one with its own various institutes or schools of oriented humanities. And though intellectual service is in itself' or in its nature more spiritual and therefore of greater worth than manual service, the fact remains that with respect to man and therefore to the humanities the one and the other are equally worthy of our esteem and devotion and equally apt to help us fulfill our destiny. They would be on a completely equal footing in the educational system. As I see it, the choice between the two master directions I have just pointed out would take place preferably at the end of high school, possibly earlier or later. And the two centers in question could mate¬ rialize either in one single, sufficiently large institution or in a variety of different colleges, vocational institutes, or advanced schools special¬ izing in one matter or another. The important thing, moreover, is that in any case manual service training as well as intellectual service training should be permeated with liberal arts and the humanities, though in a different way. Of course some dull or lazy or psychologically inept people would always be found in one place as well as in the other. But I am con¬ vinced that interest, intellectual curiosity, and understanding with respect to the whole field of the humanities and liberal arts would exist as a rule in the students of the manual service training as well as in those of the other center, on the condition that the mode or way of approach be fittingly adapted. For if to most of these students matters pertaining to disinterested knowledge, the liberal arts, and humanities are liable to appear a bore, it is only insofar as they are matters of formal teaching. If the approach becomes informal and unsystematic, everything changes for them. 255

f.. In my book Education at the Crossroads I laid stress on the division between the activities of learning and the activities of flay in the school, and on the essential part which play has in school life.8 For play possesses a value and worth of its- own, being activity of free expansion and a gleam of poetry in the very field of those energies which tend by nature toward utility. Now I would like to go much farther than I did in that book, and, while broadening considerably the notion of the activity of play so as to comprise in it the notion of informal and unsystematic learning, I would submit that, on the one hand, training in matters which are of most worth and have primacy in importance may take place through the instrumentality of the activities of play as well as of the activities of learning; and, on the other hand, the relationship between activities of learning and activities of play would be reversed or opposite in the schools of the intellectual service training center and in those of the manual service training center. In the first case the humanities, liberal arts, and philosophy are matters of formal learning; and craftsmanship, for instance, and any kind of manual work, including painting and sculpture, are matters of informal learning or play. In the second case it is the manifold field of manual service training which would be a matter of formal and systematic learning, whereas the humanities, liberal arts, and philosophy would be matters of informal learning or play: a situation which would in no way mean any diminution in intrinsic importance but which would quicken and set free the intel¬ lectual interest and understanding of the category of students in ques¬ tion with respect to these things. My working hypothesis, then, is that in the schools of the manual service training center education in all matters pertaining to the hu¬ manities and liberal arts would be surprisingly successful if it were given not by way of formal teaching but by way of play and informal learning. With respect to informal learning, I would say that the teaching ("formal teaching) of gardening, for instance, offers every opportunity to give students, by way of digressions or comments, a most fruitful informal and unsystematic teaching in botany and biology, not to speak of economics, the history of architecture, the history of civilization, etc. It is the same with the teaching (formal teaching) of the various skills and. kinds of knowledge required from labor by modern industry and the informal and unsystematic teaching of phy¬ sics and chemistry, nuclear physics, engineering, mathematics. With respect to play, I would say that facilities given to students to read great books of their own choice and for their own pleasure, then seminars in these readings, in literature, in philosophy, then con¬ certs and theatrical performances with appropriate comments, all these 8Cf. Education at the Crossroads (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1943), p. 55.


things conceived of and managed as a preparation for having the adult worker make profitable use of his leisure time constitute a genuine education in the humanities and intellectual life in the form of that activity of free expansion which characterizes play. You will, I hope, excuse me for having indulged in dreams of my own regarding the future of our school system. As to myself, I am grateful to you for hearing on the subject of education a man who feels more and more, in growing old, that he is unable to educate any¬ body, but badly needs to be educated himself.


American Catholic Intellectualism A Theologian’s Reflections



The intellectual life is neither committed to Christianity nor does it antecedently reject it. That it is not committed to Christianity is clear enough from history. Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, Moses Maimonides, Ibn Sina and Einstein were not Christians but no one would deny that they were scholars. That the Christian can be a scholar is just as plain. Abelard, Aquinas, Copernicus, Galileo, Erasmus, New¬ ton and Newman were Christians and no one would deny that they were creative intellectuals. This very simple truth is often ignored by Catholic apologetes. Some give the impression that Christian faith inclines to make every Christian an intellectual; that scholarship is an inevitable byproduct of Christian commitment. This is hardly true. In the long history of the Church we note a double tendency, and both tendencies are dynamic in every period. There are those, who with Kempis, would rather feel compunction than be able to define it. There are others like Aquinas who believe that the disinterested contemplation of truth is the highest form of Christian life. The presence of these two tenGustave Weigel, S.J., “American Catholic Intellectualism” in Review of Politics Vol. 19 (1957) pp. 275 - 307. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.


fs dencies produces a tension for the Catholic who wishes to be an in¬ tellectual. He finds many Christian thinkers urging him on in his work of scholarship, but there are others who look on him with suspicion as a fifth columnist. Galileo certainly met with ecclesiastical opposi¬ tion and even Aquinas was faced with the hostility which always con¬ fronts an innovator. To put it quite simply, faith by its own inner essence does not produce scholars. On the other hand it does not exclude them from its community. The call to scholarship is independent of the call to faith. However, if the Christian is a scholar, his intellectual life will be in function of his faith. What is the place of the intellectual in the Church? That is one of the questions we wish to discuss.

I Father Antonin Sertillanges, O.P., wrote a book earlier in the present century called The Intellectual Life. It is a “pep-talk” for Catholics with ambition to the life of scholarship. It was a valuable work and even today many of the things Sertillanges said are still relevant. However, the French Dominican only gave instructions how to lead the intellectual life from the standpoint of the Christian principles of behavior. . He did not try to give us the meaning of scholarship in the theoretic world-vision of Catholicism. Instead of working out a theory from general Catholic sources, perhaps we can see how certain significant Catholic intellectuals looked on their own work. In the earliest days of the Church, Origen was certainly the greatest of the Christian intellectuals. Beside him, Justin and Clement are smaller figures. Origen was from childhood bright. He became what we would call today a high school teacher at the age of seventeen. At eighteen the Bishop of Alexandria gave him the task of instructing the cate¬ chumens of the city, and in the course of this work, Origen developed into a Christian intellectual, opening his own philosophical school where learning was pursued and given a Christian orientation. The case of Origen is important. During his entire career in Alexandria, he was a layman. In spite of the fact that there were Christian intellectuals before him, Justin, Pantaenus and Clement for example, yet it is in Origen that we find the first Christian attempt to confront reflexly the question of secular science in its relation to Christian belief and practice. The earlier Christians, by and large, were uneducated men and it need not be surprising that they showed no great concern for the secular learning of their day. The only group which manifested familiarity with the thought-schemes of the time were the Gnostics and they were sectarians not accepted by orthodox Christians. 260

r In this atmosphere Origen developed his own vision of learning. He was in many respects like the Christian educators who later fol¬ lowed him in time. He approached the problem of learning from a strictly pragmatical standpoint. He was not initially interested in the formation of young men in secular learning for its own sake. He was more anxious to form true Christians. However, he saw that it could not be done solidly unless they were versed in the natural sciences of their contemporaries and predecessors. Origen therefore taught “holy mathematics: unambiguous geometry, so dear to all, and heaven-roving astronomy.”1 In the formation of the per¬ fect Christian, Origen wanted the Christian prepared by all the knowl¬ edge that mankind had achieved, with or without the aid of revelation. His enthusiastic student, Gregory Thaumaturgus, says Nothing was undiscussed, nothing was kept secret, nothing in¬ accessible. We were allowed to study any doctrine; Greek or alien, eternal or secular, divine or human. In all freedom we could wander among them all, examine them all, and so enjoy the good things of the soul ... Briefly, for us it was like a park, a replica of God’s great Paradise.2 * /. For Origen, then, the intellectual life was the true preparation for Christian wisdom. The Christian intellectual would not stop with the nuggets of knowledge found outside of revelation. He would take these and build them into the vision produced immediately bv revelation. What limits Origen in his theory of the intellectual life is his own understanding of it. For him, the intellectual life perfects the individual and its purpose is to produce the perfect man. He did not envisage the intellectual life as the development of an objective discipline. He had a polymathic conception of science. The true scientist was the man who formed in himself a vision of wisdom which drew from all the disciplines. He was not to dedicate himself to the exclusive pursuit of one. Origen would not oppose a predilec¬ tion for one discipline over the others, but even with this predilection the others must also be known in order to culminate in the total vision. Hence, the pursuer of a fragment of science cannot stop there. He must ultimately get into theology as the last and source of universal synthesis. In Origen, knowledge is pursued for the individual. It is the individual in whom the vision is produced. Origen has no concept of science as a communal achievement. His ultimate justification 1Trans. from the Greek of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Panegyric on Origen, c. 8, MG 10, 1077 c. 2Trans. from the Greek of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, op. cit., c. 15, MG 10, 1096 a-b.


f... of the intellectual life is that, in its total amplitude, it is identical with the highest form of Christian existence. There is no pure love of scientific investigation. Science enriches the life of the scientist and, since it necessarily needs revelation for its own completeness, the intellectual life culminates in Christian sainthood. In a word, for Origen, science is a function of perfect Christian livin-g but not a justifiable enterprise if unrelated to the Christian absorption of it into something different. It is not a limited career which the Chris¬ tian can adopt, though it is a necessary phase of Christian evolution. Science ultimately is always Christian. Origen has no concept of a science which can stand alone. Any single science is a part of a whole, and that whole is the true science, and it will always be Christian. Needless to say, this is not the contemporary view of science. Consequently Origen cannot solve our problems directly. He does, however, give us lights to solve our own question. It would be well worthwhile to study Augustine’s attitude to the intellectual life. However, he was too unsystematic in his own pronouncements on the intellectual life to permit us a well-defined view. He was certainly a contemplative of things intellectual. He certainly believed that it could be a career for a Christian, since he never felt the need of making apologies for having been a professor of rhetoric. He had also studied the philosophies of his day and commented on them. However, he believed that the knowledge proper to a Christian was more mystical than logical. He did not quarrel with logical knowledge and favored its cultivation. But he was not interested in it except in as far as it prepared and stimu¬ lated the Christian to meet Cod with something like immediacy in the depths of the individual’s own soul. He could understand a Christian being a professor of any discipline, because the disciplines formed a part of the social structure of his universe. What he did not seem to understand was that Christian contemplation could be anything else than divine contemplation. Except for theology cul¬ minating in mysticism, Augustine’s attitude to the disciplines was one of pragmatic tolerance. The Christian could engage in them but they would not be his specific Christian activity whereby he was sanctified and brought to God. There was good in scientific lore, but it was ancillary, propaedeutic, apologetic, and not self-justifying. There is a parallel between Augustine’s attitude to secular learning and Augustine’s attitude to marriage. Marriage was not bad but hardly the best thing. Given the weakness of men, it is better that they marry than sin through incontinence. So too in the realm of the spirit, the pursuit of secular knowledge was a good far better than ignorance and barbarism, but yet it should lead and cede to divine contemplation. The mind of the monks of the desert is clear enough. They 262

saw no value in secular knowledge and ignored it altogether. As monasticism became cenobitic, secular learning was cultivated in the monasteries, especially in the West, where the monasteries for cen¬ turies were the only centers of learning and education. Yet monastic science was not secular science, nor did it pretend to be so. The first step, toward a chemistry, other than a prosaic pharmacy, was alchemy and it was looked upon with suspicion though there were monks and religious who pursued it. The thirteenth century saw the rise of the universities. The monasteries and the cathedral schools lost their dominion over things intellectual. Superficially, one would say that science had now be¬ come secular, for of the four university faculties, three were explicitly of this world: arts, medicine and law. It is undoubtedly true that in these three faculties the laymen were kings. This was especially true in medicine, and only less true for arts and law. Yet theology was the queen of the faculties and the ultimate norm for all. Not only that, the universities were clerical institutions with charters from the Church, and under Church control they were exempt from the jurisdiction of the civil government. The Philosophy of the Middle Ages, which has maintained its significance in our time, is not the product of the faculties of arts, but the philosophy which can be derived from the theology of St. Thomas. The mediaeval intellectual was in a broad sense clerical, even though not necessarily a cleric with tonsure and orders. The great intellectual names of the period are, with few exceptions, men of the clergy. Yet, in this time, there is a break with the tradition of Augustine, though not a revolutionary break. In the Summa, Aquinas makes many references to the sciences. In one place3 he teaches that studiousness is a virtue. Moreover, he says, that the study of philoso¬ phy for itself is licit and praiseworthy.4 He gives a theological reason for this position by stating that the laudability of such study comes from its search for the truth which God revealed to the philosophers through the works of creation. Moreover, St. Thomas defends the right of a religious order to dedicate its members to study.5 His treatment of the theme is interesting. In one of the objections to his position he proposes the difficulty that the religious is a professor of Christian perfection. The Gentiles had professors of philosophy and Aquinas adds that even in his own time there were some seculars who called themselves pro¬ fessors of the sciences. However, the religious cannot follow the ex¬ ample of Gentiles or seculars. Against such difficulties St. Thomas justifies the study of letters with three arguments. He supposes that divine contemplation is 3Summa Theologica, II, II, q. 166. 4Summa Theologica, II, II, 167, 1, ad 3. 5Summa Theologica, II, II, 188, 5.


! the true work of the religious.


However, intellectual pursuits pre¬

pare the religious for such contemplation and prevent him from making errors in it. Then, too, the religious who include preaching in their work must study in order to preach adequately. Finally, there is an ascetical value in the study of the sciences, for they steer man away from the disorderliness of the flesh. In this defense of science Aquinas clearly considers it as a means to contemplative piety and valid preaching. Science is a means for the religious; definitely not his end. Given the context of the dis¬ cussion this is as it should be, for the religious by definition is pursuing a goal which is not the natural good of scientific study.


St. Thomas says, philosophers as such, remain within the secular limits of philosophy. If the religious pursues the same study, he must restrict himself to the themes which are religiously relevant. He himself was a perfect example of this doctrine. He never was a pure philosopher, for he philosophized in function of his theology or in defense of the faith. Hence, for Thomas, the high light of mediaeval Christianity, the pursuit of the intellectual life as a secular commitment is licit and laudable. Such a commitment is not proper to religious, but thev too can study letters as a means toward their religious goals, contem¬ plation and preaching. In St. Thomas, the Christian justification of a secular dedication to learning comes from the fact that knowledge is a human good. All truth is from God, and in the achievement of any truth, man achieves God at least partially. Even the knowledge derived from the observation of creation is divine in its source because creation is itself a divine revelation according to the Epistle to the Romans. Hence, the study even of the natural sciences is an indirect encounter with God, man’s true end. In St. Thomas, we find secular intellectual life given full citizen¬ ship in the city of God. What Aquinas did was a lasting achieve¬ ment, for never since has it been seriously challenged. Yet the doctrine of the great doctor is not complete for our time, though the substantial elements are already there. The Middle Age related secular learning very closely to theology and piety. The effort at neutrality, so typical of intellectual activity today, is com¬ pletely missing in mediaeval thought.

It is indeed true that Aquinas

and others of that time clearly distinguished the methods and limits of theology and non-theological sciences. It was primarily St. Thomas who made two different intellectual areas of contemplation, reason and faith, thus enabling later secular science to develop as it has. But if Aquinas distinguished, he did not wish to separate. Faith and reason for him were distinct, each with its own rights and privileges, but true wisdom can come only from their collaboration; not from their separate activities in unconcerned isolation.


Aristotelian physics

illuminated the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that presence gave a new light to Aristotelian physics. But there is the rub. Aris¬ totle would certainly have been glad that his physical theories were helpful in Christian theology, but he probably would have resented the Thomist assumption that Christian faith could give to Aristotle’s doctrine new data, valid correctives or limitations. This difficulty was already confusedly felt in the Middle Ages. Siger of Brabant is always associated with the “double-truth” theory, though he was less interested in it than others of his contemporaries. It can be questioned if there ever was a serious faith in double truth. What actually was being defended was the autonomy of philosophy and the non-theological sciences. In following their methods these sciences, according to Siger, should be free to come to any conclusion validly derived from the methods and assumptions of the disciplines, no matter what theology thought about it. Men like Siger and Boethius of Dacia were not opposed to reconciling philoso¬ phical and theological findings. Siger certainly made efforts to do so. However, the legitimacy and liceity of following secular learning according to the laws of its own structure was being upheld, though few of the men involved in the controversy were fully aware of it. Certainly Thomas, Albert the Great, and Bonaventure rejected the position of Siger. No matter what Aristotle said, if it went con¬ trary to the faith, it had to be expurged or reinterpreted. The¬ ology was the norm of valid teaching even in the disciplines beyond theology.

II This position became the working first principle for Catholics from then onwards. The clearest proof on record is the Galileo case. His physical doctrines were condemned qua physical doctrines not because of the methodological invalidity of his physical arguments, but because of the supposed incompatibility of Galileo’s theses with theological findings. The Galileo incident was unfortunate for Catholic ism. Galileo was condemned by the Roman Inquisition by the new culture forming in the west. As a result the simply cut itself off from the supervision of theology and

intellectualbut upheld new science faith. This

did not mean that the practitioners of the new learning necessarily dropped faith. Most of them did not. But they worked in their own way, nor did they submit the assumptions or findings of their disciplines to the judgment of theologians. As time went on, it became difficult to see how this could have been done even if the scientists had been willing to do it. The language and objectives of


r^ science and the language and preoccupations of theology became so different that effective communication between the two was very difficult. For a Catholic engaged in intellectual life this situation could be trying.

The principle of St. Thomas that theology had the power

of veto in all the other sciences was not analyzed to see precisely what it meant. It became for churchmen an absolute principle with unlimited applicability. The result was that ecclesiastical intellectualism, based on the widest interpretation of the Thomistic principle, became isolated from the intellectual life of the surrounding world. In its isolation, the Baroque version of the mediaeval category-system was retained, although these categories were gradually becoming quite meaningless to the world at large. The old questions were still discussed; the old points of departure were still accepted.

A serious

attempt to understand just what the new science tried to be or do was not made and it was always assumed that its problematic and methodic were basically identical with those of the Catholic philoso¬ phers and theologians. If the chemist spoke of substance, then obviously he was to be judged in the light of Aristotle’s doctrine on substance. If the psychologist spoke of unconscious thought-processes, this must be labeled nonsense; in scholastic philosophy thought is conscious by de¬ finition and unconscious knowledge is an absurdity. In the late nine¬ teenth century, in spite of the impact of Hegel on German thought, the majority of German Catholic seminarians never read a word of him, nor were they ever told what he was getting at. He was simply labeled as an adversary to a Baroque or mediaeval thesis which was discussed by the seminarians and their professors in its Baroque or mediaeval purity. Catholic ecclesiastical intellectualism was energetic enough. Bril¬ liant men were industriously active in it. However, it was not the intellectualism of the world at large. There it was unknown as the secular intellectualism was unknown to it. The Church, however, can never be a closed-in preserve. It is God’s presence in the whole world. Its children live in the world, open to the world’s action. There were Catholics working in the intellectual life as constructed by the world. Catholic theologians were suspicious of them but were glad that some of our people were in contact with the “enemies of faith.” Some Catholic scientists were churchmen, and they accepted the principle that theology has vetopower over the sciences. Such churchmen divided into two groups: one group concretely preoccupied with the apparent opposition of their science to the theology they sincerely admitted; the other group abstractly admitting the veto of theology, but existentially oblivious of it. But it was the Catholic layman in the secular intellectual world who was in an anomalous position. He knew no theology and found



the ways of the new science satisfactory. He felt no need to reconcile his science with a theology of which he knew little or nothing. When this man talked, the theologians held their peace until he touched some point they considered vital to their theology. Then they dis¬ creetly attacked him by appealing, of course, to "their theology, an appeal the scientist did not understand. Nor could he understand why his case should be tried beyond the jurisdiction of his own field. It seems safe to say that the Catholic community did not have too many representatives in the world of the new learning. When Galileo was condemned by the Church, the new science almost literallv left the church. Kepler, Newton, Farraday, Rumford, Maxwell, Kelvin, Planck, Einstein, Darwin, Huxley, Marx, Durkheim, Von Ranke’ Mommsen, Freud, Adler, Jung were outside of the community of the Church. Many of the Catholics who do loom importantly in the story of the new learning like Pasteur, Volta, Ampere and Fermi were not close to the Catholicism to which they were still attached in varying degrees. There will be no one who will deny that science and learning are today secularized. One exception, of course, is theology, but even in this discipline the theologian of our day is forced to recognize the relevance of’ sciences which have developed without his assist¬ ance and perhaps even against his protest. Ever since the First World War, a new temper is to be found both in the world of the sciences and in the Church. The intellect¬ uals of today do not quarrel with religion and many modern Catho¬ lics, clerical and lay, have entered into secular intellectual life with enthusiasm. So many of these men are deeply religious and patently devoted to the Church. Some feel no tension in their two devotions. Pope after Pope has repeated the Thomistic doctrine that there can be no conflict between natural knowledge and the knowledge of faith. With this principle, many Catholic intellectuals are quite content. They resent any insinuation coming from Catholic or non-Catholic that their faith is in any way an obstacle to their faithful pursuit of sciences, which nevertheless on formal principle, deny any veto-power to the¬ ology. There are others who vaguely feel some division in their souls because of their double allegiance to faith and secular learning. They are even trying to overcome the division so that the two allegiances will fuse. Our moment is propitious to such endeavors because science is giving a new importance to religion and the Church is blessing Catholic scientists over and over again. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences includes not only Catholics but non-Catholics as well. Ill What is the theological attitude to the present situation? I would say that it is confused. To date, no theology of the intellectual life, 267

r... as we know it, has appeared.

Sertillanges’s little book is far too ex-

hortatory and too antiquated to be called a theological analysis ot cur¬ rent intellectualism. The pontifical pronouncements, though many, have not yet been gathered into a corpus of doctrine. Hence, different Catholic theologians approach the question from different points of view. Let us see some of these attitudes as concretized on the American scene where the weak presence of Catholics in national scholarship is a Catholic problem. In this country there are theologians who consider the problem an apologetic one. It is a fact that in the United States, where the Catholics form something between a fifth to a third of the population, the proportion of Catholics in American scholarship is nowhere near the overall figure. The Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural affairs, for example, has a membership of fewer than three hundred persons. The Commission has anxiously kept its eyes open to enlist all distinguished Catholic scholars. There are distinguished Catholic intellectuals in the land who are not members of the organiza¬ tion, but even if they were in its company, its numbers would not be spectacularly swelled. It has been my fortune to visit rr>any of the large universities of the country. On these campuses there are thousands of students and hundreds of professors. On the student level, I have come to expect a Catholic population of at least a fifth of the total in the average eastern university, but on the faculties there are rarely enough to make up a twentieth of the whole. Of course, the situation is different in our Catholic institutions where both faculty and students are well over ninety per cent Catholic. Yet, more than fifty, perhaps as much as seventy-five per cent of the Catholic college and university student population are not in these Catholic centers, and consequently they study where the Catholic scholar is not numerically conspicuous. How does the American Catholic theologian apologize for this indisputable lack of Catholic intellectuals? Some initially try to deny that there is a lack, but the more attention they give to the statistics relevant to the situation, the less they are inclined to insist on this approach. Some point to a supposedly large number of invisible schol¬ ars, but since these are invisible there is so little you can say about them. They certainly cannot be numbered. When pressed for con¬ crete instances, the apologetes of the invisible intellectuals point to many studious Catholics. But intellectualism means more than stu¬ diousness; it means scholarship. In Thomistic terms, studiousness is a habit but it is distinct from the habit of science. There are other theologian apologetes who analyze the situation with a more subtle tactic. They admit that a paucity of Catholic intellectuals in secular disciplines is a fact and they admit that it can be regretted. However, the regret need not be a wail. There is a sufficiency of Catholic scholarship in theology and it is most productive.


To take the acceptance of secular society as a norm for valid Catholic scholarship is, for these apologetes, an error. Scholarship is a medium for the attainment of truth. But truth is identical with the genuine teaching of the Catholic Church. We can point to many who are giving this teaching clearly and logically.

Their exact number is un¬

important. American Catholic scholarship from this point of view has not failed. It has been eminently successful. This position rests on tacit assumptions; some dubious, others irrelevant. From the standpoint of faith, the simplest Baltimore Catechism gives the truth. Yet no one would call it a monument of theological scholarship. In the approach of the apologetes of truth, truth always means ultimate credal truth.

But with the ex¬

ception of theology, the intellectual disciplines are not constructed to arrive at such truth. Even in theology, the mere repetition of particular truths of faith is not enough. Theology is a scholarship no less than other sciences. If the truths of theology are not meditated in the con¬ text of their sources, Scripture and tradition, if they are not correlated with other truths in and out of the field and with the concerns of contemporary man, the enterprise is not truly theological, not scholarly. Besides, the problem of the scarcity of Catholics in intellectual life is not primarily a question of theology. The intellectual life spreads over a wide field of interests. Wherever there are Catholics there will be some kind of theology. But even for it, its orthodoxy is no proof of its scholarly worth. If all that can be said for the American Catholics is that they have spokesmen of orthodoxy, then indeed is it admitted that we are not engaged in scholarship. There is a third type of theologian who does not consider Amer¬ ican Catholic weakness in scholarship a theological problem at all. Such theologians point out that in France, in the German-speaking lands, and in Italy, many Catholics are engaged in every phase of the intellectual life. There is nothing in Catholicism which is an obstacle to scholarly dedication in any field. The American Catho¬ lic problem is a sociological one, not theological. The peculiar situa¬ tion of a Church, whose historical roots are a non-intellectual prole¬ tariat, gathered from all over Europe and only recently rising to eco¬ nomic conditions requisite for scholarly dedication, is the cause of our poor intellectual showing. Let therefore the sociologists examine the phenomenon and guide us to something better. Basically these theologians are right. However, there is one point which they must consider before they make the problem the exclusive concern of the sociologists. The problem is indeed sociological but one dimension of it is specifically religious. The intellectual is an explorer into the yet unfamiliar areas of truth. Because the areas are unfamiliar, the scholar is in great part on his own. His only staff is the method of scholarship, something not understood or appreciated by society at large.


Society exists in

f... terms of set structures erected by the past to meet problems of the past.

Society and those who direct it are attached to these structures.

They have become accustomed to take them for granted and have adjusted their lives to such a degree that they seem to be the structures of life itself. To question the structure or to criticize it, is for them equivalently an invitation to suicide. Change is hazardous and always entails the acquisition of new habits of existence and operation — a laborious and irritating process. Only when the existing structure collapses into complete inefficiency is there a willingness to reconstruct. Before that time, society and directories are loath to make changes. In Catholicism this is perhaps truer than in other societies. The Church must, by divine mission, guard the deposit of faith. Any novelty, even when it is only renovation rather than innovation, is suspected.

It seems that, to keep the deposit of faith, it is safest to

keep all of its expressions not only formally but even materially as we received them from the past. This is clearly seen in liturgy.

The ankle-length tunic was a

quotidian dress of the Romans. The priest today still wears it as an alb, though the tunic, as a garment, has long gone out of use. The later Romans wore an overcoat which, like the Spanish-American poncho, covered the whole man. In most parts of the West this article of clothing has totally disappeared but the priest still wears it in the stylized form of the chasuble. Actions which once were meaningful from their immediate physical circumstances are retained though the circumstances are completely changed. Since the old meaning can no longer explain, a symbolism is found to justify some¬ thing originally quite unsymbolic. Thus the priest still washes his hands in a strictly symbolic washing at the point of the Mass where the ancient priest, having handled food and drink, washed his hands of necessity. In liturgy this hardening of ancient usage is no defect but a virtue. The ancient, merely by being ancient, has a solemnity and venerability recommending it to religious rite. The nature of liturgy is symbolism and through symbolism ancient actions can be given meanings they did not have in their origins. But not all of religion is liturgical. Most of it is a form of living to be exercised beyond liturgy. Yet even here, there will be a spontaneous tendency to keep the older way until it just can no longer be- kept alive. The same conservatism of the Church carries with it a tendency to be conservative of things not essential to its being. To this tendency the scholar is a threat. He studies phenomena and tries to get at their meaning according to the categories his discipline of scholarship currently employs. To study is to judge. To judge is to criticize. But criticism makes the criticized thing a defendant at the bar rather than the judge. When this is done


the phenomenon under study loses its inviolability. Hence, it is that the mere act of criticism of anything accepted is an act of lese mujeste for those who consider that that which obtains is normative and privileged. You cannot judge the king by the law because the king is above the law; the king can do no wrong. This explains the suspicion people have against the intellectual. The cold, calm, ivory-tower contemplative is potentially subversive. He seems to live in isolation and on a plane far removed from pedestrian life. Yet he threatens the structure of man’s work-a-day world. The highly abstract studies of Einstein and the theoretical physicists produced the atom bomb which quite literally can render the whole earth uninhabitable. There is a paradoxical quality in this suspicion of the intellectual. Every people has respect for knowledge. The professional knower, with us, the scientist, is not without honor in his community. The people do not want him extirpated. He is useful not only in a crassly pragmatic sense, but in a higher way, for learning is a superior human good. The collectivity wants it. This produces conflict for the directors of society. They simul¬ taneously want and do not want the intellectual. The solution adopted by ahd large is to isolate him in a controlled quarantine. In some sense he must exist for the good of the society, but his subversive power must be carefully neutralized. What the intel¬ lectuals do within their own quarantined confines bothers the di¬ rectors not at all. But what leaks out of the intellectual precinct must be carefully dammed and filtered lest it swamp the general community. For their own purposes the directors will use as much of what they want in the intellectual reservoirs. The rest must not be circulated freely in the commonwealth. The perfect situation from the director’s point of view is to have the intellectual sav on his authority what the director wants him to say, and no more. Un¬ fortunately the intellectual cannot do this indefinitely, for it denatu¬ ralizes him. When scholarship is restricted to the activity of a bureau for the defense of government through public relations, it dies. When the survival of a community is at stake, intellectualism goes to sleep. Primum est vivere; deinde fhilosofhare. When Russia was invaded by the Germans, the ideologues in government shelved their ideology. They made the most elemental appeal to the people. They went back to a notion irreconcilable with their ideas, and called the people to defend holy Russia. The people were called upon to defend their Russian existence, not Marxian scientism. American Catholicism, until very recently, has always had the feeling of being a beleagured community. An ubiquitous, formidable enemy was threatening its very existence. Loyal defense was needed, not a divisive effort of criticism. Everything that was, took on a holy aspect; to be loved and died for.

Such an atmosphere was not propitious to


American Catholic intellectualism.



Yet the increased social power of

the Catholic group and its greater economic independence have grad¬ ually diminished our sensation of siege.

The very fact that the Catholic

Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs can now honestly recognize and publicly discuss the dearth of Catholic intellectuals shows that our Catholic body is no longer exclusively concerned with mere survival. Our young Catholics are not worried about defense. They want to expand Catholic life as a life. Intellectualism therefore must assume greater proportions in our collectivity. With no inten¬ tions of being revolutionary, many Catholics are advocating an intellectualistic change in our own existence. This, however, is dangerous position.

The new voices are ex¬

posing themselves to the hostility of some of our own of them, because of an immature need for security, have no shortcomings, and become resentful when out quite plain inadequacies in our collective being.

people. Some insist that we anyone points Others, fearful

of what evils may come from a greater number of intellectuals in our midst, look with alarm at the mere discussion of the problem. Intellectuals are perforce critical and those who command them must commend their commands with something more than an ipse dixit. The prospect of more intellectuals in the Catholic community may also disturb some of the clergy. They by the essential struc¬ ture of the Church, are in positions of command. They have also achieved some degree of intellectual formation, if only the training of the seminary. That the seminary is not the locus of high scholarly endeavor some will candidly recognize and others unwillingly suspect, even if incapable of admitting it explicitly. Hence, many of these truly excellent men are ill at ease in the company of scholars. They cannot enter confidently into the dialogue because thev do not even know the language. So many of them went through a course of learning where the points of departure and the categories employed were totally alien and irrelevant to the scholarly discourse of the time we live in. Willingly or unwillingly caught in situations of challenge, they may try either haughtily or angrily to bluster their way through an encounter with scholars, but they come out knowing that the impression left was not good. The result uncomfortable feeling of frustrating inadequacy producing a tance to re-enter such situations, and a strong resentment for

of it is an reluc¬ those

who put them ill at ease. This resentment occasions a relatively bitter campaign against the intellectual fraternity through sneers, in¬ nuendoes and accusations, calculated to make the scholars suspect in the general Catholic community. Such members of the clergy will be the foes of intellectualism and the stout champions of democratic “common sense.” And they are in command. Sincerely they will feel an obliga¬ tion to use the resources of authority to repress the scholars. Sin-


r cerely and with the best of intentions they will try to strait-jacket the intellectuals by setting up arbitrarily their own rules and their own supervised centers for intellectualism — a domesticated intellectualism incapable of being a threat. I am not referring to the supervision which the Church must by its mission exercise over its own schools. This we expect and respect. The magisterium must teach Christ’s revelation and keep its eye on those who teach it in her name. I am thinking rather of those areas of intellectual research where the magisterium itself gives amplest freedom. Here some churchmen can feel the tempta¬ tion to curtail the liberty granted by the Church herself. It is at this point of a strictly sociological situation that theology enters in. Why do some churchmen insist that they can tell the intellectual what he has to find and say even in the fields of un¬ revealed truth? It is because of the principle always honored in the Church that theology is the norm to which all the disciplines must conform and theology in its turn must always conform to the doctrine of the magisterium. Why did churchmen of the past reject as valid the findings of palaeontologists who gave us vast numbers for the years of the history of the world? Not on palaeontological grounds, for the ecclesiastics were utterly innocent of any palaeontological train¬ ing. Their rejection derived from their theology — a poor theology, as we know today. The principle that theology has veto-power over all the arts and sciences was taken absolutely and without restriction. Some even took it in the sense that any theologian could correct and criticize the work of a scientist without the theologian himself being an adept in the science under consideration. Such use of the principle has proved embarrassing to Catholics in recent times. Brashly some individual theologian will declare a certain scientific statement to be false, and yet as the years go on the statement is accepted by all men, Catholics included. Until the statement has been socially validated by universal consensus, the people at large and the Catholic scientist in particular suffer needlessly from internal conflict. They do not wish to go counter to their faith nor yet can they fly in the face of propositions validly achieved in the sciences. Such validity is measured not by a norm outside of the science but only by the principles and methods intrinsic to the science itself. What is the meaning of the principle that theology is the norm of all the sciences? It certainly cannot mean that the scientist must constantly submit his work to the theologians. Such a submission would be quite senseless because the theologian qua theologian does not know the formal significations attached by scientists to their sym¬ bols, even when those symbols are words which are used by men in general. Substance in chemistry does not mean what substance means in philosophy. It certainly has a more precise meaning than


the word has in common usage, where it can mean anything or everything. The problem of the transposition of a statement of one science into a valid statement meaningful in another science is com¬ plex.

It is not only a problem of linguistics but of inter-disciplinary

semantics. It certainly cannot be done on a common-sense basis because the propositions at stake are not common-sense statements. Scientific affirmations cannot be reduced to common-sense. The tacitly assumed postulate of so many non-intellectuals that they can, is false and vicious. St. Thomas was keenly aware that each science had its own methodology and principles. According to him the first principles of a particular science are not necessarily to be proved in that science. They can be derived from some other science, metaphysics ultimately. In the days of St. Thomas the sciences were much more homogeneous in method than they are today. Aristotelian physics is philosophical physics. Today physics is empirical and mathematical. In the thir¬ teenth century a philosopher could discuss a physical statement because it was formally a philosophical affirmation. That is not true today. Much of the philosophic cosmology found in our Catholic schools today suffers from the ignoring of this basic truth. A scientific judgment is valid if it conforms to the principles and methodology of its own science. The truth of the statement is not guaranteed by its validity. For. centuries the scholastics have taught with Aristotle that a good conclusion is not necessarily a true one, nor is a true conclusion necessarily a good one. Logic teaches us how to infer correctly, but logic itself cannot discover new truth; it only gives rationally valid transpositions of the old. Right infer¬ ence is what we demand of the scientist. We justifiably hope that the result will be truth. Nor are the inferential techniques exactly the same in the different sciences. The logic sufficient for philo¬ sophical work is insufficient for work in mathematics, and it would be presumptuous to criticize the mathematician in the exclusive light of Aristotle’s meager Organon. The old text-books notwithstanding, not every inference can be reduced to a syllogism in the mode and figure of barbara. The principle that theology is the norm for all sciences, meta¬ physics included, cannot mean that the theologian can deny or affirm the rightness of the conclusion of a non-theological scientific inferential process. Theology is the discipline of ultimate truth and it is not formally concerned with truths which are less than ultimate. If a particular science makes an ultimate affirmation, that science is acting theologically, and the theologian then has. every right to deal with the proposition. He can show by theological method that the pro¬ position in question is badly derived theologically and thus merits no theological respect. The theologian can also call it false in the light of the data which certainly base theology as a discipline. When this


A happens, theology is not exercising some singular privilege bestowed on it from without. It is functioning in accord with its own inner structure. sicist but

It is not discussing a physical statement made by a phy¬ a theological statement proffered by a physicist. The¬

ology has no jurisdiction over the physicist but it has full jurisdic¬ tion over a theological proposition, and physics has none. If theology has jurisdiction, a fortiori the magisterium has it, for the theologian operates in function of the magisterium on which he totally depends for his data. The veto-power of theology is the veto-power of the ultimate over the proximate. As long as the proximate science deals with the proximate, the ultimate discipline is not involved. When the proximate discipline makes an ultimate statement, that statement is either invalid or if conceivably valid, in harmony with the findings of the science of the ultimates. This is not some arbitrary pronounce¬ ment of the theologians or the Church, but the obvious meaning of proximate and ultimate. If a scientist says there is no ultimate science, he is making an ultimate statement. The principle that theology is the negative norm and in some sense a positive norm for all the disciplines can only refer to the realm of the ultimate statements. It never meant that theology is competent to criticize the work of the proximate sciences. The the¬ ologian knows no physics even though he has the right to judge any ultimate statement made by a physicist. As long as the physicist gives answers to the problems of the area of proximate human con¬ cern the theologian has no competence and no authoritv to criticize the physicist and his theses. Therefore, the relationship of theology to the other disciplines offers no difficulty in the abstract. In the concrete it does. A pro¬ position of faith is necessarily expressed in some language, at some point in the history of that language. An historical moment of lan¬ guage supposes the world-image which that moment has for the group which uses the language. Statements are effective communication to the degree that they can adjust to such an image. The proposition de¬ notes its own sense which may be timeless but connotes a cultural corpus of postulates whose whole substance as a corpus is purelv temporal. The dogma may have no intention of asserting the con¬ notation at all, but it is difficult to separate by analysis the denotation and the connotation, for they fuse in the statement. Hence, theologians face the risk of reading connoted mythology into denoted truth. This certainly happened in the Galileo case. The theologians thought that the revelation of God’s creation of the world included the cosmicimage of the people who expressed that revelation in language. The¬ ology in its later advance clearly rejected the cultural image surround¬ ing the revelational communication as irrelevant to the dogmatic truth. The modern believer has no quarrel with Galileo.


f... But cannot the theologians of today make the same generic mistake of their predecessors in the days of Galileo?

What is more, are they

not prone to do so? I do not think that the danger today is as great as then. The one and perhaps only good which resulted from the Galileo incident was the chastening of the theologians. Today more than ever, the rationale and meaning of the sciences-is understood. The propositions of the proximate sciences wish only to be proximate, no matter what they sound like to the man on the street. The the¬ ologian knows this now and he is not so inclined to see theological meaning in scientific assertions nor scientific content in theological statements. Because the inclination is in favor of the non-theological interpretation of scientific formulae, the theologian is much calmer in the presence of expressions which formerly would have driven him to arms. Sigmund Freud did not believe in theism’s God, but that does not mean that the Freudian scientific theory of psychiatry is in any sense theological or atheological. The religious intranquilities rising from Freudian approaches to the psyche were relatively short¬ lived and dynamic psychology did not have to wait as long as the new physics to receive the Church’s blessing. There are at least two pronouncements of the present Pope which confirm these observations. Speaking to the Fifth International Con¬ gress of Psychotherapy and Psychology on April 13, 1955, he said: We certainly should not find fault with Depth-psychology because it takes as its own the content of religious psychic processes; because it makes every effort to analyze them and reduce them to a scientific system, even though this type of research be new and its terminology unknown in the past. We raise this last point because it is so easy to come to misunderstandings, for psychology gives a completely new meaning to already existing expressions. In and out of psychiatry we look for prudence and discretion in order to avoid false interpretations and to render possible mutual understanding. It is the proper function of your science to shed light on the questions of the existence, structure and operational modes of psychic dynamics. If the results of your endeavor prove positive, there is no need to declare them irreconcilable with reason or faith.6 The second affirmation of the Pontiff is no less pertinent. It is taken from the allocution to the Richelieu Center of Sorbonne Stu¬ dents, April 9, 1953. In your studies and scientific research rest assured that no con6Trans. from the French, Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Vatican City), 45 (1953),


tradiction is possible between the certain truths of faith and estab¬ lished scientific facts. Nature, no less than revelation, proceeds from God, and God cannot contradict Himself. Do not be dis¬ mayed even if you hear the contrary affirmed insistently, even though research may have to wait for centuries to find the solu¬ tion of the apparent opposition between science and faith.7 In both of these statements and in the context which surrounds them, we find an affirmation that theology is the norm of the other disciplines. But it is evident from the Pope’s words that he does not understand the principle as a despotic domination of theologians over non-theological disciplines. Both citations make it clear that the valid statements of a science need not be rejected just because theology has valid statements which seem to go contrary to the scientific pro¬ positions. The seeming impasse only calls for renewed research in both disciplines. To use the words of the Pontiff, “the certain truths of faith” and “established scientific facts” never cancel each other out. In the totality of being they harmonize. The theologian will investigate to see to what degree and in what sense he has certainly achieved a truth of faith and the scientist will see to what degree and in what sense the scientific fact is established. It seems that in basic theological theory our time has overcome any possible conflict between the proximate sciences and theology. Ultimate propositions, no matter where they come from, belong to the jurisdiction of theology, the science of the ultimate. That is the meaning of the principle that theology is the ultimate norm of all sciences. Statements of less than ultimate concern are controlled by the several non-theological sciences themselves. Such propositions demand from the theologian his respectful hearing; they do not tolerate his criticism. However, the problem created by the numerical smallness of Ameri¬ can Catholic intellectuals will not he solved merely by clarifying the meaning of the primacy of theology. As we have seen, the problem is essentially sociological with theological positions involved.

IV There is a quasi-theological preoccupation which can attempt to play a part in the solution of the problem. The sociological need of Catholics in the diverse intellectual fields is so obvious that it is widely seen. Some Catholic masters in secondary and college schools feel that Catholic absenteeism in scholarship is harmful to the Catholic society, but this feeling is based on the supposition that the harm 7Trans. from the French, Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Vatican City), 45 (1953), 277.


f.. derives from the fact that current secular science does not teach the lessons of the Church. Hence, they urge their students to enter into intellectual life to be apostles, as they say. Now this counsel, noble in its intentions, is actually perverse. Behind it stands the American folk-dictum: if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. The counselprs seem to conceive the Catholic scholar’s task to be double. First of all he should use scholarlv method to j introduce into sciences Catholic teachings which are really derived outside of them, and negatively he should refute, in scholarly fashion, the work done by those whose findings apparently are hostile to the faith.

There is secondly a more human task.

The Catholic scholar

should try to become respected and liked by the other members of his fraternity, so that as a result, they will either become Catholics or at least be friendly to Catholicism. The root sin of this conception of the role of the Catholic scholar is that it is once more an attempt to domesticate science and knowl¬ edge. If we cannot control science by an appeal to the normative power of theology, we shall bore from within so that, because of our representatives, future science will admit what the present intel¬ lectuals will not. For St. Thomas and Catholic thinkers in general, contempla¬ tion is the highest activity of man. The highest form of contem¬ plation is divine, but the contemplation of the finite is still contem¬ plation and superior to external activity. In this light the apostolate of the intellectual is not to defend theological positions but to be a contemplative of finite truth. Any apologetic or missionary byproduct of such work is not of the essence; cannot be the theology urging the scholar in his work. What is more, to propose this as the motive for Catholic participation in American scholarship is self-de¬ feating. Once the intellectuals become aware of such dynamism in Catholic scholarly work, they will ignore it and ignore the men pro¬ ducing it. The fifth columnist betrays himself and he need not be surprised if he is then treated as a traitor. The intended apostolate of the intellectual can be only one — the rational contemplation of truth, finite or infinite. This is a high human endeavor, worthy and justified in itself. The scholar, looks for truth as framed by his discipline. That is why he is a scholar. Since scholarship is not solipsistic, the scholar extends the vision of truth not only in himself but also in society. The Catholic scholar’s apostolate is therefore to contemplate, to dedicate himself zealously and whole-heartedly to the investigations of his discipline. This will sanctify him and sanctify society through him. Any other apostolic good which sprouts as a side-issue from his scholarly work will be incidental, even if highly desirable. Even if the incidental offshoots are not forthcoming, the scholar is justified by his scholarly pursuit. However, this missionary preoccupation of some Catholic recruiting


agents for the intellectual life is more a sociological, than theological aspect in our Catholic community. It shows that a significant part of the community does not really know the true good of scholarship and therefore tries to attract young people to it with a good which is not its proper object. This is disorientation, not genuine guidance.

V This missionary preoccupation manifests clearly the sociological character of the problem of American Catholic intellectualism. It seems that the basic fact is that scholarship is not widely esteemed in our Catholic community, and this lack of esteem comes from a widespread ignorance of what the thing really is. No one will say that intel¬ lectualism in the abstract is anywhere suppressed in our Catholic circles. We are all convinced that it is a good and our tradition has always favored it. Catholics at large expect at least their priests to be learned and we have always made much of those Catholics, clerical or lay, who have distinguished themselves in science. Yet, with all this in favor of scholarship, the number of Catholics who take it up in America is small.' It is not for me to deal with the sociological pro¬ blem. Others properly equipped must do that, but I would like to point out certain non-theological but yet religious elements in the sociological phenomenon. I have already tried to show what are the theological considerations which affect the issue. I make a postulate to explain our situation. The postulate has already been stated. The general Catholic community in America does not know what scholarship is. Instead of a true concept, false conceptions are prevalent. One common persuasion among us is that intellectual is the same as intelligent. The boy or girl who does well at school, in the sense that with ease he wins high marks, is considered by many to be a scholar, not a professional scholar, of course, for he is too young for that, but substantially the same as the adult scholar with only an age differential against him. Yet it should be very plain to all that not all intellectuals are markedly intelligent and most intel¬ ligent men are not intellectuals. Others consider a studious temperament to be scholarship. A sin¬ cere affection for reading and acquiring knowledge would thus be the essence of intellectualism. But studiousness is not scholarship, even though the scholar must to some degree be studious. The de¬ dicated reader of works of history does not by that fact become an historian. The dilettante who reads widely in all fields or even in one field is not a scholar. An effective desire to know what is going on does not make an intellectual. For all these men the Spaniards have a word. They are intellectualoids. Yet in vast areas of our


f. American Catholic community, the intellectualoid is given the place of the intellectual. Another common persuasion among our people is that smart boys should go into the priesthood. Those students who distinguish them¬ selves in high school are always asked if they intend to study for the priesthood. Actually the seminaries get a good percentage of them. What is not recognized, often not even by the priests, is that priestly formation need not be scholarly nor is scholarship its true aim. There can be no doubt that many of those who do enter seminaries have the basic equipment for intellectual achievement, but their studies will not necessarily canalize these powers into scholarship. The seminary wants to train ministers of the Church. It hopes that some of them will become scholars but it does not consider it its function to make them so. Another source of disorientation is the manner of teaching philo¬ sophy in our Catholic colleges. Rightly Catholic colleges make much of their philosophy course. It is undoubtedly one of the richest of the liberal arts. In Catholic institutions it is held up as a high point of scholarship, all other secular disciplines being inferior to it. But what many a student experiences in these courses makes him vilipend philosophy and consequently scholarship which is supposed to be identical with it. Much stress is placed on the use of reason, but the student is discouraged from using it originally. His problems and the precise problems of his time are not considered. Instead, a scheme of questions carried over from the past is proposed to him. The questions are treated mathematically; to each word in the question a definition is given a priori. The. definitions are then analyzed and compared. Finally a synthetic residue of all the definitions is given as an answer to the question. The process is so mechanical that there is no doubt that an IBM machine could give the right answers. It is not without reason that many text-books of philosophy in Catholic colleges are bare schematisms. A verbalized scheme is offered and to this philosophy is often reduced. The search for meaning and the exhilarating spiritual experience of intellectual discovery have no place in such courses. In their place, verbal formulas are previously constructed as answers to questions the student did not raise and whose historical significance he does not know. The questions of his time are not ventilated; they are dismissed by the easy declaration that the corollaries of answers to ancient questions will solve them. The thought of thinkers nearer to our time is presented in strangling epitomes, constructed through a logical reduction, made in the light of principles the thinker himself was unaware of or explicitly refused to use All the insights and enriching pointers involved in 'the original thinkers work are leached out in the reductive presentation of his thought. It is hardly surprising that he comes out of the process looking slightly silly.


This is not creative philosophy, not valid scholarship. If this is mtellectualism, the average student is quite right in wanting no part of it. Yet, if in his innocence he asks for something different, although he knows not what, the look of scandalized horror on the teacher’s face prevents him from making the petition again. Subtly he is given the impression that he has just denied his faith, which is the last thing the student wants to do. With a sigh, he goes back to memorize the text-book’s definition of the terms of his thesis and construct out of them a syllogism winding up in a foregone conclusion, for the definitions were originally so made that this and only this conclusion could be reached. If the student asks how this definition came into being, he is told that it represents what the author means by the word. Now who can quarrel with that? Usually the teacher also has a strong apologetic drive in him. He is always preparing the student for a debate with the adversaries of faith. In fact, much of the problematic selected for philosophical consideration is taken from the field of religious or ethical polemic. It would seem that for not a few teachers of philosophy the objective of the courses is to supply the logical refutations for all possible objec¬ tions to the tenets of the Church. These the student is to file away and extract from hi's files when the opportunity calls for it. It is not too extreme to say that in many cases the classes of philosophy are used to form defending debaters of Catholic positions. Philosophy is not envisaged as a personal quest for truth but rather as a pre¬ digested apologetic of religious belief. Young men, firm in their faith and lovers of debate, esteem this highly, but they escape the encounter with scholarship. Some of these apologetic preoccupations flow over into the other subjects of college instruction, though they are not so conspicuous there because the fields are in the main theologically neutral. How¬ ever, because of the general defense-mentality of the teachers for all problems, there is a marked preference for solutions given in the past. This is often labeled as conservatism, but it really is not. It is tutiorism. Older solutions have proved to be perfectly consonant with theological thinking. A new solution has no such guarantee, even though on the face of it it seems neutral enough. But one never knows. Better to stick to the answer we know is existentially innocuous. If this stand were merely conservative, there would be nothing objectionable in it. Any conservative quite rightly refuses to make changes until the new unquestionably shows its superiority over the old. But the tutiorist is not considering the proposed problem in itself. He always looks at the possible repercussion of a concrete solution on the field of theological controversy. The concrete solution in his proper field might satisfy the principles of the discipline beautifully and the teacher sees this readily enough. But one must be so careful; it might have implicit relevance to questions the theologians wrestle with. Hence 281

r,, he feels safer if he does not accept the new solution.

If the years

prove that it is theologically innocent, there will be time enough to accept it. Of course, by that time the solution is commonplace, and the problem no longer vital. Tutiorism is a real danger in Catholic teaching circles.

It pro¬

duces a palpable tendency to eliminate movement and'fluidity from the questions of the disciplines. There is a strong urge to make questions timeless with timeless answers. New questions are prefer¬ ably reduced to old ones and hence they need not be answered anew, because the old answer is already there.

This deep-freeze technique

gives the students the impression that there really are no new ques¬ tions. Contemporary men only rediscover in their time the eternal questions already eternally answered in the past. It is interesting to see the reaction of not a few Catholic students to a discussion in which they are engaged. They hear some man’s thought being expressed, and with joy they come to a gradual re¬ cognition. The man is a materialist! Now there is perfect serenity in the young man’s soul because the thinker has been reduced to a timeless verbalism, and that was taken care of in the classroom treatment of the spirituality of the soul. The students have been trained immediately to stick any thought into pigeonholes constructed for them in college. Once the idea is in its pigeonhole, it can be ignored. It has already and forever been examined. Such students simply do not enter into the living thought of the living thinker. Rather, they substitute for it a lifeless abstraction which was included in a once-and-for-all given dictionary of definitions. In this unabridged and unrevisable dictionary there are bad words and good words. As soon as the dictionary word is applied to a phenomenon, the phenomenon is eo if so judged. If the man is a materialist, he is no good and his doctrine is absurd. There is no scholarly task to be done now. It was done long ago. But as Kant said quoting a French Abbe, there is no such thing as philosophy. There are only philosophers. Materialism does not historically show up as ever the same thing. There are Aristotelian materialism, Epicurean materialism, Stoic materialism, Feuerbachian materialism, Marxian materialism and a Patristic materialism. These various visions cannot be reduced to a common affirmation. It is not at all explanatory to call an idea materialism. Unless you tell me whose materialism is under consideration, I simply do not know what you are talking about. The materialism of the monk Faustus of Riez in the fifth century has nothing in common with the mechanistic materialism taught by some nineteenth century thinkers. To this kind of observation, the bright student impatiently replies that every¬ one knows that the essence of materialism is the denial of the spiritual. But if the eager student reads the thoughts of men labeled as materialists, he will find that not one denied the existence of the spiritual. All


that use did that

the bright student can answer to that is that they did not rightly the word spiritual, which on ultimate analysis means that they not use the dictionary he was given in his college days. By dictionary he judges all things.

VI In our American Catholic body as a sociological phenomenon we find a religious influence in its outlooks on scholarship. In as far as theology itself affects the problem, there is no reason to account for the small number of American Catholic intellectuals. In the con¬ stant theological tradition there is an enthusiastic approval and justi¬ fication of inteUectualism. The principle that theology is the norm for all the disciplines has been clarified especially by the present Pope so that the principle does not interfere, with the' scholar’s un¬ hampered work in a non-theological field of study. If theology has no part in causing a lack of American Catholic scholars, yet certain religious preoccupations in our Catholic com¬ munity do have a part. These religious elements do not totally explain the phenomenon under consideration. There are other factors which are not religious and these should be examined by those who are competent for such analysis. The religious though not theological factors at work in preventing greater numbers of scholars are principally two. The first is a vague widespread persuasion that young people with manifest capacity for scholarship should be directed to the priestly or religious life. This persuasion does not favor the swelling of Catholic scholarly ranks be¬ cause it is not in general the function of priestly and religious training to produce scholars. Secondly, it overlooks the secular dimensions of current scholarship, distracting the attention of youngsters away from the appeal of the secular disciplines. The more important feature of our American Catholic body is its obsession with the apologetic defense of Catholic positions, ever looking to verbal debate with opponents who are only projections of subjective fear. This defense mentality produces insecurity in the general body. Orthodoxy is a constant preoccupation, producing an abiding compulsion to make this orthodoxy capable of overcoming unrecognized deviations within the group and critical attacks from without. In consequence of this obsession philosophy and the disciplines are often used not as opportunities for the calm contemplation of truth but rather as occasions to defend theological orthodoxy. The disciplines can thus become denaturalized and tutiorism may become common. A debating defender of Catholic causes is produced rather than a novice in scholarship.




The insecurity animating the apologetic spirit of Catholic teachers makes them prone to undermine the real work of intellectualism. They wish to prevent the students from meeting thought which has not yet been apologetically sterilized. Instead of making the disciplines an intellectual encounter with the real as it swims into our experience, they prefer to petrify it by reducing it to a logical scheme of abstact verbalisms. ' The student is habituated not to consider the existent real with its confusions, effervescence and rich variety. He is taught to look spontaneously for a given atemporal scheme of. terminological coordinates which he can superimpose on reality, concentrating on the scheme and ignoring the reality. The schemes are a heritage from an unexamined past where they were made under the pressures of that moment buf not necessarily relevant to our day. The student in consequence feels an unreality in his vision of the real. Mem¬ orization has been valued over direct investigation. A contemporary thought must not be analyzed for what it contains but quickly cate¬ gorized so that it will fall into a place in the prefabricated scheme. Once in its place, it can be ignored, because knowing is reduced to categorizing, and the categories were justified once and for all. This kind of training leads away from scholarship. The postu¬ late of all scholarly investigation is the nagging existence of mystery. The training of not a few young Catholics makes them believe that there is no mystery. It is all objectively clear and the category schemes of the past can make it manifest. If that is so, there is nothing more to be done. It has been done already and why waste time doing it over again? Better to dedicate one’s life to something more rewarding.

VII The practical question is what are we to do about it. I can see no easy, quick and certain answers. It may be presumed that we are mature enough not to expect that all can be changed by appropriate legislation. It would certainly be imprudent, if not im¬ pudent, for some few intellectuals representing no one but themselves to approach the bishops with a demand that they decree reforms. The ordinaries are vexed with so many immediate problems of urgency that a blurry thing like a program for fomenting scholarship can hardly loom large among their worries. Besides you cannot produce scholars by fiat nor can you get rid of the spiritual deficiencies in¬ herent in a sociological situation by laws. Even manifestos directed to the heads of Catholic educational agen¬ cies are of dubious efficiency. Since they can be interpreted as censures of their own institutions, they may even irritate the people in power and render them hostile to any appeal for help.


A few voices can rarely change the mental attitudes of an in¬ definite group if it is not already psychologically near to the message carried by those voices. It is hard to see how a man obsessed with apologetic concerns for orthodoxy can overcome his obsession just because some one points out to him that his preoccupation is needless and harmful. Rather, he will consider the pointers as unorthodox and with angry attack attempt to repel them. Perhaps the only thing that can be done and the only thing that need be done is to draw attention to the inadequacy of our intellectual situation in the present. This must be stressed in season and out. What is required is a general awareness of what we need and an awareness that the need is not being filled. The more we become aware of it, the nearer we shall be to the moment when the situation will be better. Our moment is more propitious than we think. The young people studying in the universities vaguely feel that something is not right and that feeling is conducive to discovering what is right. Our hope is in the youth, not in the generation actually in possession of the field. The older generation cannot give us too much because most of them were not properly stimulated nor effectively orientated. Yet among them there are many who want Something better and they will do all in their power that the new generation get what they needed and did not receive. Esteem for scholarship will not be produced by legislation or even constructions of programs. It is a matter of creative love. To love you must be acquainted. To look for new acquaintances, there must be dissatisfaction with what is at hand. If the small band of Catholic scholars persistently testifies to what it sees, these two necessary conditions for a more widespread acceptance of the life of scholarship will be realized. At the moment we can dangle no at¬ tractive rewards to entice the new generation. We can however ap¬ peal to the generosity and spirit of adventure which are abundantly churning in young people. But one error we must avoid. There must be no urging of youth to a life of scholarship with the whip of the Church's need. If this is the motive we propose, we shall not produce the scholars we want. It is essential to woo young men and women to this vocation because it is good in itself. It must not be sought because of a good extrinsic to it. There is not need to propose the good of secular contemplation as a merely natural good. Our long Christian tradition shows that it is a laudable Christian career. It is a true Christian vocation and an effective means of sanctification. Not only it is licit but highly praiseworthy, for next to the contemplation of God, the contempla¬ tion of God’s creation is the noblest action of man.


This we must preach.

This our youth must hear.


they will be attracted, and from then on the attraction does what no plan can do. Above all we must avoid quarrels and contro¬ versies.

Our message must be serene and our disinterestedness trans¬


If others wish to quarrel, let them see to it.

do so. We are all in the hands of God.

We shall rtot

If the Lord wants a more

dynamic scholarly group in the American Church, He will raise it up and no man can get in His way. If He does not want it, no man will be able to produce it. It is not arrogance to believe that the interest already aroused for this cause is already a manifestation of God’s action among us. Let Him bring to term what He has begun.


f. /f

The Faith, The Intellectual, and the Perimeters WALTER J.

ONG, S. J.

The effective Catholic intellectual has commonly been situated on the Church's perimeter, between the Faith and its surroundings. This is noteworthy even in the case of St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist, the most intellectual or speculative of the New Testa¬ ment writers. Paul in great part deals with the frontier between New Testament teaching and the pre-New-Testament mind, John with the frontier between New Testament teaching and Hellenized Judaism — the latter itself a phenomenon of the frontier between reason and revelation. The special intermediary role of the intellectual in the economy of Revelation is even more evident when one turns to the major noninspired figures. St. Augustine’s importance to Christian culture, like that of the Greek Fathers and thinkers on whom he draws, exists in terms of his success in fecundating with the truths of Christianity the rhetorical tradition which had summed up the pagan achievement. Similarly, the significance of St. Albert the Great and Reprinted with permission of The Macmillan Company from Frontiers in American Catholicism by Walter J. Ong. Copyright 1957 by Walter J. Ong.



St. Thomas Aquinas centers upon their assimilating to the Christian tradition the Aristotle who even in Albert's and Thomas’ own day was forbidden in the University of Paris curriculum and some of whose most basic doctrines — no creation, no Providence, and perhaps no immortality for the human soul — will always remain radically and unalterably opposed to Catholic teaching. Without quite sharing our present-day perspectives, St. Thomas Aquinas nevertheless hints at the special role of the intellectual in the Church when he suggests that the maximum achievement of the theologian can be only negative: theology exists to defend the faith from its enemies. That is to say, in the last analysis the intellect can never finally and positively explicate the mysteries of the Faith, but only deal with the potentially infinite objections against them. In a very real sense, at the center of Catholic life, there is nothing for the soul to do but, through Jesus Christ, to contemplate and love God, who needs no explanation but is Himself Explanation of all. All the explicatory work, the travail of the intellect which we ordinarily understand by the intellectual life, is peripheral to the central concern here. In this sense, the faith is speculatively neuter, and that possessed by the uneducated illiterate quite as acceptable as that of any bishop or theologian. Nevertheless, peripheral activity around this quiet but not passive center of faith is necessary and obligatory. For, so long as the world endures in its present state, the mission which is the Incarnation and the Church is never concluded. Christ is continually in the state of being sent to the world, because the world is continuously becoming — which means that He is continually taking possession of what has heretofore not encountered His redemptive action. This taking pos¬ session must occur in the intellectual dimension as well as in the social or economic or any other dimension. Indeed, the intellect (with the will, which depends on it) being what it is, the crown of man’s powers, Christ’s taking possession of the realm of the intel¬ lect is in a way the most important and glorious of the works of the redemption. The taking possession cannot possibly be something real¬ izable once for all. Rather, it is the matter of endless adjustment, accomplished within the dialectical movement — something best likened to a conversation between two persons — which governs the relation of the natural and the supernatural and manifests its living tensions in the kaleidoscope of uneasily paired terms which strew the path of Catholic intellectual history: St. Paul’s freeman and slave, Jew and pagan, Christian and unconverted Jew, St. Augustine’s City of God and City of the World, the two swords of ecclesiastical and of civil authority. In terms of the dialectic or dialogue between the City of God and the City of Man, the situation of the Catholic intellectual in the United States would seem particularly happy. The United States


a country of dialogue, or dialogues, a land of cultural pluralism, where Catholics are constantly rubbing elbows with those not of IS

the faith One would expect that Catholic thought in the United Mates would have great speculative advances and would have developed a certain intellectual suppleness and resilience. The fact that up to the present this has so little been the case, the fact that Catholic thought in America has commonly lagged behind that of European countries and has fought shy of contact with American intellectual movements, is a fact which needs some explanation, or at least com¬ ment.

II It is commonly believed that there is something in the American temper or heritage, non-Catholic or Catholic, which is unfavorable to speculation. Nevertheless, there has been a great deal of intel¬ lectual activity in the United States within the past hundred years. The work of Josiah Royce, William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, Justice Holmes, John Dewey, Louis D. Brandeis, and many others cannot be brushed aside as insignificant. Moreover, the intellectual work of such men has been relevant not merely to the surroundings of the Church in America, to the milieu in which the Church in America is situated, but to the internal economy of the Church in America and to the real and tremendous achievement realized by American Catholics. In their educational procedures and aims, more practical and in many ways more successful socially than anything that Catholic or non-Catholic Continental Europe has ever been able to manage, American Catholics exhibit many of the very traits w'hich a mind such as Dewey’s set out to deal with and channel. It is of course evident that Catholics could not string along with Dewey’s kind of naturalism, which has much in it diametrically opposed to the faith. Still, it is worthy of observation that, faced with their own behavior and the doctrines of Dewey which do something both to explain and to foster this behavior, they have felt called on to focus their attention on what was wrong in Dewey rather than to trv to assess and assimilate his real contribution to America’s understanding of herself. This dominantly negative approach to Dewey has been only a part of the larger pattern of rejection which has commonly char¬ acterized Catholic theorists reaction to the American environment, particularly in educational matters — a pattern of rejection which operates on the conscious theoretical level at the very time an op¬ posed pattern of acceptance is operating, to good purpose and with wonderful effect, on the subconscious level. It is almost as though American Catholics had made up their minds to theorize not about


r. their real modes of action but only about what they do not do or what they do under protest. The results of the negative attitude in evidence here are, some of them, well known. Many American. Catholics take evident plea¬ sure in hearing themselves told by persons such as Robert Maynard Hutchins that they have capitulated too far to American- educational objectives and procedures. But they often blink the fact that some of their finest achievements have resulted from their capitulations. American Catholic tourists roam the world looking, generally in vain, for fine parish schools like their own, unaware that it is the scorned leveling process in American education as well as the peculiarly Ameri¬ can institution of coeducation which has made such schools possible for the first time in Catholic history. Among other things which it has done, coeducation has opened vast reserves of woman power for the teaching of boys in a maneuver unknown to more “traditional” and more illiterate Catholic cultures. The unnecessary mystification of issues in evidence here has not been the only result of the tendency of Catholic theorists to approach America negatively. A more lamentable result has been that there is nowhere any comprehensive theory of Catholic education as realized or realizable on the American scene written by a Catholic out of any deep understanding of the significance of the United States and her own peculiar institutions — which Catholics have assimilated so well, and for which they actually have such positive and even chauvinist enthusiasm. While our practical energy has gone into the Church’s tremendous contribution toward making America significant, our more specifically intellectual energy seems to have been regularly channeled into prescribing what was wrong with things, into “viewing with alarm.” Much of this situation has in truth, been inevitable, being due to the antagonism generated by reaction among Catholics as a minority group in a culture which has been in great part Protestant in orienta¬ tion. The hostility of this culture, although usually more genteel than savage, and often paradoxically benevolent, has given a squint to Catholic thought in America which could lead Catholics to com¬ placent intellectual suicide. “Students of philosophy,” writes an Ameri¬ can priest reviewing with typical approval a study of Stalin by another American priest, “should examine Stalin’s ideas to discover their theo¬ retical fallacies.” That those who think merely of innoculating a popular culture against the evils of Communism should take this blindly negative approach is perhaps understandable. But that a student of philosophy, presumably a humble searcher for wisdom, should be so high-handed is, at the least, astonishing. One wonders where we would have been had St. Thomas set out to “examine Aristotle’s ideas” simply “to discover their theoretical fallacies.” St. Thomas, being not a philosopher but a theologian, would seem to have the


maximum warrant for such procedure, in view of his defense-of-theFaith outlook mentioned above, but his actual technique is far more humble and rewarding: he goes to Aristotle, at the time often popu¬ larly supposed to be the enemy of all that was Christian, to see if, even with all his major errors, Aristotle may perhaps know some things which Thomas does not.

Ill Pride often attacks persons in terms of assets or riches which thev actually possess. One way in which it can attack Catholics is by leading them to believe that they are dispensed from cultivating a humble curiosity about God’s creation because by reason of their faith they have surety regarding their own relationship to God through Christ threat it is a in the lics in

in His Church. This kind of attitude constitutes a permanent to the intellectual apostolate of the Church in all ages, but particularly ominous threat in the United States today. For United States, intellectual isolationism is practicable for Catho¬ ways in which it is not in many other countries, and, at the

same time, the permanent problems of Catholic intellectual life, gener¬ ated by the interaction of the Church with her, environment, are in a way posed in the United States with an urgency greater at the present time than perhaps anywhere else in the world. The reason for the practicability of isolationism in the United States is the freedom of the academic tradition from state domina¬ tion. Catholic universities, as well as secondary schools, are in com¬ plete control of their own programs, setting their own examinations — unlike France, where all examinations, beginning with those for the bachot or high-school diploma, are set and administered on a nation-wide basis. Not only Catholic high schools and universities, but all high schools and universities in the United States, statesupported universities included, are scholastically autonomous, coming to an understanding with one another not through a common examining board, but rather by membership in voluntary, nongovernmental stand¬ ardizing agencies, such as the North Central Association, which the universities and secondary schools, state-supported as well as privately supported, have set up themselves and which are so respected that very few first-rate institutions feel that they can exempt themselves from membership. The standardization enjoined by these agencies is less dictatorial and more flexible than most state-imposed standardiza¬ tion. Practically the only examinations encountered bv any student not set up by the institution which he is attending are the examina¬ tions set by the individual state boards which one must pass to practice medicine or law in the state in question. Even these examinations, passed in one state, are not necessarily honored in another — for the




United States remains radically a union of forty-eight sovereign re¬ publics. The freedom from crushing centralization in evidence here is one of the most real and refreshing — and, to Europeans, one of the least known — aspects of American culture. Catholic educators are among the firmest believers in the many obvious advantages of this decentralized — and to a Frenchman chaotic — freedom, particularly in a country the size of the United States, where all centralization is commonly looked on as something to be avoided as much as is humanly possible. But if the autonomy of each educational unit has given the Church a freedom which she has enjoyed in few countries — notable exceptions being the British Empire and the Low Coun¬ tries — it has also created the danger that the Catholic intellectual may find himself unable to carry on a dialogue with others because of unfamiliarity with their state of mind owing to lack of real intel¬ lectual contact. Intellectual isolationism is all the more a threat for the Catholic in America because his business and social contacts with non-Catholics are so manifold. Precisely because there are so many contacts of this sort with Protestants and other non-Catholics to be exploited, the zealous Catholic is, more often than not, invited to minimize real intellectual developments and to think of intellectual issues largely at second hand in terms of carefully worked-out explanations with which “informed” Catholics are familiar. This is all right except when one wants to develop a real intel¬ lectual life, which must, of necessity, have some sort of avant-garde formation — that is, a curiosity about questions which have as yet no answers worked out, or which have not even been formulated fruitfully as questions. It is a commonplace that the avant-garde of thought has an importance today greater than ever before. This is due not so much to the fact that the contemporary mind is revo¬ lutionary as to the fact that it is also highly conservative. With historical knowledge more accessible than ever before, at its best the contemporary mind, more than any earlier mind, feels its activity as taking place at a kind of wave front, for it feels the present as growing out of the past. This is why, as Pere Jean Danielou has so well put it, all thinking which does not have historical dimen¬ sion, however true it may be, is simply ineffective today. Mathe¬ matics and mathematical physics itself are not exempt from the pres¬ sure of historical thinking. Einstein felt compelled to produce a book detailing the actual development of his theory of relativity in his own mind and that of his associates. For physical and mathematical dis¬ covery, too, takes place in time. There is a “front” even of the most abstract kind of thought. The human mind has, in our day, achieved an awareness of this age-old fact more explicit and acute than ever before.


IV «

Because of America s special symbolic value in an economy of fronts, the problem of the Church’s interactions with her environ¬ ment can be said to be posed in a way more urgently in the United States than it is anywhere else today. For the American Catholic intellectual, this awareness of thought as a front between the past and the future, sharpened by his general love for all frontiers which is part of his pioneer American heritage, reinforces, and is itself re¬ inforced by, the position of Catholic intellectual activity on the front between Revelation and the natural world. His very religious com¬ mitments make him more than ever what every American secretly wishes to be or to have been (at least by proxy in his ancestors, real or fictitious): a frontiersman, a man situated where an active culture is thrusting forward at its periphery and effecting a transmutation of the areas with which it is surrounded. To a certain extent, it is true, the sense of history is less explicit in the United States than in Continental Europe. The United States has preserved the more static, abstract, so-called “objective” interest in reality which the Anglo-Saxon world had already acquired in the Middle Ages, *ylien it was producing so many more than its share of logicians. This interest contrasts with intellectual interests in Con¬ tinental Europe, which has always remained rather closer to the tra¬ dition of a real dialectic or dialogue, or even rhetoric, and has pro¬ duced the series of philosophers running from Hegel through Kirkegaard to Bergson, the Phenomenologists, and the Existentialists, while the English-speaking world continues to produce its formal logician, nurturing no original theorists of becoming or of history comparable to Hegel or Bergson. (Toynbee is not a philosopher of history in the sense in which Hegel was, for, moving rather within the common pre-Christian circular or cyclic framework, his history tends to show that becoming is not really becoming at all but only ends where it began.) Speculation in the United States largely follows the British pattern. Nevertheless, from the beginning a sense of movement has been felt at every level of awareness on the American scene. One remembers Toqueville’s admiration at the fact that even uneducated laborers in American shipyards were anxious to point out to him that American ships were built with little attention to permanence because, even in the America of his day, everyone was quite aware that the ships would be out of date long before their cheaply con¬ structed hulls and tackle could get seriously out of order. In keeping with this awareness of movement, American thought itself is quite conscious in its own way of its own peculiar commitments to the future. If it is true that a strict Aristotelian formalism has been able to flourish in the United States as nowhere else today, it is also true that the American love of the frontier readily translates itself in more


f. obscure ways from the geographical and social to the intellectual realm, sensitizing the American spirit to the frontiers which exist there.

V If the fact of this translation, as it affects Catholics, is not very clearly or urgently apprehended by what we may call the general well informed Catholic consciousness, nevertheless it is registered by .this consciousness in quite discernible ways. The first half of the twentieth century will doubtless go down in history as the age when American Catholics were specializing in symbols of frontier or borderline operations. Their idols (the word is hardly too strong) include not only figures such as Chesterton, Waugh, Greene, Mrs. Clare Boothe Luce, and numbers of converted Communists and other converts who have appeared in England and the United States to testify to the religio-intellectual charge at the borderline between the Church and her surroundings, as well as similar figures in France — Peguy, Bloy, Ernest Psichari, and the like — but most especially two Europeans who have been first borrowed and more recently simply annexed by the English-speaking Catholics of North America, MM. Gilson and Maritain. There can be little doubt that Professor Gilson has been spon¬ sored by American Catholics not only out of admiration for his superb scholarship, but also out of some deep-felt emotional need. American Catholics commonly think of M. Gilson simply as a Thomist, but the author of Thomism himself has credited much of his interest in philosophy and inspiration to Bergson; and Bergson’s sense of history, of a present which is and has always been the frontier where the past moves into the future, is undoubtedly one of the things which give M. Gilson his appeal to the contemporary American Catholic mind. For this mind, Gilson helps symbolically to endow even the reputed static qualities of the Middle Ages, and with them the similar qualities imputed (mistakenly) by Americans to Europe in general, with the sense of movement in history so congenial to the American sensibility. As a symbol, M. Gilson affects the American Catholic mind ap¬ parently well below the threshold of consciousness, for he himself appears much more explicitly aware of the necessity of establishing a dialogue between the Faith and America and more inclined ex¬ plicitly to view his own work as contributing to this dialogue than are his own American backers. So far as I have observed, American Catholics seem quite unaware that the title of M. Gilson’s Gifford Lectures which they so widely read, The Unity of Philosophical Ex¬ perience, is a take-off and commentary on the title of an earlier series of Gifford Lectures by one of their fellow citizens, William James,


The Varieties of Religious Experience.

It is fascinating to note that

in this exchange of views — at a distance of some years — it is James whose sense of history was not very compelling and who studies the various manifestations of drives common to all, or many individuals, focusing on an an-historical diversity, whereas Gilson focuses on the unity envinced within movement or history, and thus gives comfort to the American Catholic unconscious in its own orientation toward movement. The other favorite symbol of borderline activity, Professor Maritain, has been sponsored even more than Professor Gilson in the United States, where he is now more eminent than in his own country. Emerging from the same European-medieval context as Gilson, and thus giving American Catholics the assurance of continuity with the past that they need, Maintain puts the American Catholic ethos in contact less with the movement of history than with something else in its surroundings: the post-Newtonian scientific developments of a generation or two ago. It may fairly be said that he predigested these developments for American Catholic consumption. On the whole, his work in this field has been more widely attended to in America than his own more valuable work on Church-state relationships, which has had to compete with the parallel work of an American Jesuit, Father John Courtney Murray.

VI The task of bringing the Catholic mind into fertile intellectual contact with America has been complicated by the involved and pain¬ ful adjustment of this mind to romanticism, and that not only in art and literature — here the adjustment came rather easily to the Catholic sensibility — but in the. realm of intellect itself. The age of romanticism was marked by its own real and dis¬ tinctive intellectual achievement. The earlier, the preromantic ages had labored to conceive knowledges which were as explicit and clear as possible, so that intellectual developments from antiquity through the age of rationalism represent in the large a movement from the mythological or cryptically symbolic interpretation of reality toward greater abstraction and more clear-cut formalism. This was as it should have been, for such a movement is the characteristic movement demanded by explanation and science. Indeed, romanticism, although it moved in somewhat the op¬ posite direction, was itself impossible except after such developments. Man needed a pretty full-blown science and rational philosophy and the feeling these engendered of some mastery over the universe before he could afford to own to himself the limitations of his knowledge. The romantic age marked, among other things, the acknowledgment




in some sort of these limitations and a deliberate plunge back into the obscurity of symbolic as against abstract awareness. With the romantic age, man put aside to some extent his forms and abstractions to fumble again with the great mass of undigested impressions which resisted formalization. This sort of thing had been done before — in a sense had always'been going on in the cabala and "other forms of occultism, in mystical theology, and elsewhere — but never before had it been done so deliberately or on so large a scale. With roman¬ ticism, the unclassified and apparently unclassifiable aspects of reality, which included all the depths of immediate experience, became inter¬ esting to the whole world. Not that preceding ages prided themselves in becoming rigid and unreal and abstractly remote in their intellectual activity. They felt their pursuit of formalism to be a fascinating pursuit of reality, as indeed it was up to a point. At its best, romanticism never questioned the preromantic, rationalist, intellectual performance for what it un¬ doubtedly achieved. It merely made evident the limitations of the achievement to a degree unrealized in earlier times. The preromantic intellect had pursued light and had sought to illuminate the darkness with which man was surrounded. But it had not eliminated the darkness. With the romantic age came the acknowledgment of the fact that the darkness could never be effectively done away with, and the determination to face the dark as dark. From this time on, it becomes increasingly possible to talk about what is acknowledged to be obscure and intellectually recalcitrant. Coleridgean speculation, terminating in work such as Bergson’s, comes into its own. Interest in the clearer forms of being is supplemented, or even replaced, by interest in mystery as such and in the vagaries of becoming. Intellectual romanticism thus described has left a permanent mark on the Western mind, forcing adjustments not yet completed. It has discovered evolution and the fascinations of the history of thought. There is no doubt that one of the functions of scholars such as MM. Gilson and Maritain, both of whom propose an understanding of reality which, however unyielding in its rationality, is exceedingly respectful to the counterclaims of evolution and history, has been to import into the United States an adjustment to this intellectual romanticism already worked out, at least in its larger aspects, in Europe. The United States was conceived and cradled in the Age of Reason as no European country had ever been. The intellectual tradition of the early Colonies was rife with “logic,” which asserts itself not only in the rationalism of a Jefferson, but even more among the Puritans, as well as among later Evangelicals such as the Methodists, who, like the Puritans, were products of the logical tradition typified by Peter Ramus. Not only the United States, but the Church herself in the United States has important relationships with this tradition. For here the


Church was, as in no European country, formed by the post-Tridentine seminary training which had been conceived within the scientizing framework inherited by the Renaissance from the medieval university and subtly transmuted by the eighteenth century into reason. The Catholic sensibility in the United States was given its characteristic orientations largely by the catechism, a product of Trent, rather than by the complex agglomerate of pre-Christian so¬ cial customs and observances made over in accordance with Chris¬ tian teaching such as one finds in European Catholic history or in that of Latin America. This is not to say that the American Catholic sensibility was not influenced by ritual and custom or that the older European Catholic sensibility was insensitive to dogma. It is merely to say that in the complex of abstract statement and ritual ob¬ servance which defines Catholic teaching and determines its rela¬ tion to the natural world, the American Catholic sensibility is more at home with the abstract code. Ritual observances bind to time and space. And in a nation come into being on the move” and conserved by telecommunication and airplanes, the whole psychological framework relating man to time and space is radically new. Thus the religious procession plays a decidedly minor role in the ethos of American Catholicism, and it has frequently been pointed out that there is practically no tradition of local saints or devotions (outside the spheres of French and Spanish cultural influences): the American Catholic’s devotions are typically to the individual members of the Holy Family, which, like his own family, he regards as transportable, or, more specifically, often to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, present around the world.


are devotions which he and his fathers have learned and fostered largely through the abstract code of their catechism. The resulting religious sensibility, at least up to now, is symbolically and artistically impoverished and unproductive in its abstractness, but it is remarkably orthodox, for it is based on an approach to the Faith which is about as scientized and standardized as an approach to what transcends reason can well be. Nevertheless, if the United States was cradled in the repose of rationalism, it matured in the nineteenth century world filled with the sense of movement (which included and terminated in a sense of history) marking romanticism and postromanticism. But because of his double charge of “reason,” one national and the other religious, the American Catholic has been exceedingly slow to register the ro¬ mantic emphasis. He has in many ways reacted more slowly than the European Catholic because of his American rationalism, and more slowly than other Americans because of his Catholic rationalism. This is one reason why the Church in America is more legalistic in performance and more formalistic in general intellectual outlook than anywhere else in the world — with the possible exception of the Iberian pen-


r, insula.

Interest in outdoor nature, a romantic interest so characteristic

of the English-speaking world that even in Ireland Jesuit bird watchers publish notes in the national Jesuit monthly, is still viewed without enthusiasm in American Catholic circles, where manifestations of this interest are at best tolerated. This fact is manifest in orientation not only at the scientific level but also at the level of practical sociology.

Scouting, for ex¬

ample — in it's various forms certainly a product of romanticism — was accepted by American Catholics with great reluctance, and then chiefly for negative reasons — to keep Catholic youth away from troops operated under non-Catholic sponsorship. The American Catholic, like all Americans, enjoys scenery. But he is not a promoter of the Great Outdoors which to him, in some mysterious way, seems to have been turned over by its Creator to the Protestants. The American Catholic’s slowness in intellectually assimilating the romantic heritage has given his attitude toward his Faith an in¬ valuable reasoned stability, but it has not always guaranteed the re¬ levance of his apologetic to the American actuality. The difficulties here can be seen, for example, in connection with the American Catho¬ lic stress on the natural law, the law of reason, generated by the widespread conviction that what is wrong with the non-Catholic world generally is “relativism” or “subjectivism,” and that for this reason any effective apologetic must concentrate in season and out on pro¬ mulgating this law of reason, as a reassertion of immutable principles. But shot into enemy territory whose topography is not too well understood, this kind of apologetic can miss its intended mark, or even ricochet. For, in the United States, stress on the natural law has often rather uniformly been stress on the “rights” which favor employers over employees — the so-called “right-to-work” laws of some American states, which are really “union-busting” laws seriously re¬ stricting the right to organize, show the bias often imparted to the notion of right. Asserting the rights of labor in the United States has thus paradoxically, in point of historical fact, been often a matter of attacking those who based their case on the natural law, and this fact is connected with — although it by no means entirely explains — the late Oliver Wendell Holmes’s suspicion of the natural law, the late Louis D. Brandeis’s record of dissenting decisions on the Supreme Court, and Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr’s persistent sharpshooting at the Catholic natural-law emphasis. For, however we may wish the facts to have been, it has fallen out that the postromantic world, sensitized to patterns of develop¬ ment, and not the world of rationalism, devoted to fixity and stability, has been the world witnessing the progressive betterment of the condition of the working classes. This fact does not deny the importance, historical as well as theoretical, of natural-law speculation in implementing present-day interests and improvements, but it in-


finitely complicates the picture and suggests

that the presence of

the Church to the American intellectual can perhaps be strength¬ ened by a more sensitive approach to non-Catholic American culture than that which can see nothing in it but undifferentiated relativism and/or subjectivism. VII The assimilation of romanticism by Catholic thought in the United States involves what this same assimilation involves elsewhere, that is, in great part the utilization of the findings of anthropology, psycho¬ logical analysis, and paleontology — this last particularly for the evo¬ lutionary data which it now supplies in such abundance as prenotes to a history of material being in its mysterious sequences from the time of its creation in its relatively undifferentiated forms until the advent of man. In terms of this history, these three fields of anthropology, paleontology, and psychological analysis (with its “collective memory”) are tending to merge, or at least to pool their findings in such a way as to provide the occasion for a great wealth of new metaphysical insights. However, it ihust be admitted that, to date, the defensive men¬ tality inherited from post-Reformation Catholicism . d intensified in their predominantly Protestant surroundings has brought l!k Catho¬ lics of the United States, more than those elsewhere, to see these developments, and a great many others, as productive of nothing more than “difficulties,” and hence as annoyances to be dealt with by being somehow demolished, rather than as exciting occasions for enriching their own understanding of the universe in the light of their faith. Fortunately, this defensive mentality is now being super¬ seded by a more positive approach, which will probably continue to grow as the American Catholic mind grows in its sense of history — a sense, that is, which involves not simply an interest in facts and a moralistic theory that history “teaches lessons,” but rather an insight into the process of becoming apprehended in its real and irreversible details as this process relates to metaphysics and to a whole Welt¬ anschauung. After all, if certain species of being — the dinosaur or the pterodactyl — appear at a certain point in the evolution of material being and thereupon disappear as species never to reappear, we are face to face with a metaphysical problem concerning the significance of this special kind of foredoomed existence. And we now know that the story of material being — until we get to man — is a story of this sort of thing. American Catholic thought need not necessarily concern itself specifically with dinosaurs or pterodactyls, but it seems unlikely that it can mature until it succeeds in dealing with America itself and America’s particular place along the irreversible trajectory which history


f... is describing.

This is not to call for chauvinism or for a specializa¬

tion in “Americanology” based on the belief that

this country is

called by God to lead the rest of a benighted world to salvation.


fact, one of the difficulties facing the Catholic sensibility in the United States is precisely the tendency of many Catholics to let their under¬ standing of the United States be defined by something like such jingo¬ ism. The need for a Catholic appreciation of America in its historical setting arises not from the demands of patriotism but from the fact that one’s intellectual maturity today is tied up with one s insight into and acceptance of one’s own history in relation to the whole of history. The inability of Catholic culture in America to produce — with some few exceptions — anything in philosophy or theology other than textbooks is intimately connected with an inability of the culture to “find” itself intellectually in relation to the whole panorama of human, and Catholic, activity unfolding from creation till now and including the phenomenon of America in its sweep. Moreover, while the United States has no mission, and no pos¬ sibility, of making over the rest of the world into a kind of imita¬ tion of herself, nevertheless, the fact remains that many of the more significant developments affecting world culture are at present con¬ centrated in the United States in a special way, so that, to some extent, an understanding of the United States is necessary for an understanding of the direction being taken by the whole contem¬ porary world. The obvious instances of such developments are those in the field of technology, but, I believe, at least equally important are those in the field of “human relations” or “personal relations.” If American Catholic thought can address itself more and more to such developments in the real milieu in which it finds itself, bringing its attention explicitly to bear on the realities through which Revela¬ tion engages the American around it, real progress can be hoped for. Not a little progress can, indeed, already be reported: for example, in the work of the far-seeing laymen engaged in publishing the peri¬ odical Cross Currents, or of those responsible for the book Catholicism in America, a collection of articles reprinted from the weekly Common¬ weal; or in the current orientation of the magazine Thought at Fordham University, or in the Institute for Social Order at Saint Louis University and its forward-looking publication Social Order. If Catholic thought is to move further along these lines of con¬ tact with the American reality, what it needs is to envision a real Christian mystique of technology and science. That is, it needs to develop a real spiritual insight into technology and science which at least attempts to discover and discuss the philosophical and theological meaning of the technological and scientific trend which marks our age. It is certain that a mature understanding of this trend can never be arrived at until the American Catholic sensibility can transcend the impoverished frames of thought which can discern in post-Re-


naissance, or even in all postmedieval, developments nothing more than the progressive secularism and materialization of society. For only in certain ways is this age involved with the secular and material more than other ages. On the one hand, the Church as a whole is freer of secular (in the sense of direct political) influence than she has ever been in her history, and, on the other, this age is the age of victory over the tyranny of matter greater than the world has ever before known. Our present concern over becoming materialistic is some¬ thing, after all, not only new but long overdue, and in this sense a real spiritual achieverrfent of the twentieth century. In a similar way, this age, so often denounced as impersonal, has paid more explicit attention to the person than any other age in history. The philo¬ sophical movement known as personalism is a distinctive twentieth century product. The problem of the American Catholic sensibility vis-a-vis the the technological and scientific world is no doubt in great part liturgi¬ cal. Perhaps what is ultimately needed is to augment our sacramentals with new ones. The older sacramentals — holy water, in¬ cense, the various blessings — represent in great part an assimilation and consecration by the Church of observances pagan or secular in origin and tied most often to nature symbolism. Our age — and in the United States perhaps more than in any other place to date — has overlaid the nature symbols in the human consciousness with symbols from the mechanical and commercial world. Advertisements, it has been frequently remarked, show how far the automobile has become psychologically a substitute for woman (wife or mother). Security has become associated with insurance policies more than firesides. The aggressive man is faced with symbolic abstractions mechanistically processed, such as the “crushing” effect of “monopo¬ lies” or the “steamroller methods” of “big business,” rather than with saber-toothed tigers and mastodons. The later mechanico-commercial symbolism has not exactly displaced the earlier nature symbolism, but has rather effectively overlaid it. Balder may still die in every rotation of the seasons, but his death has curious complications since the world became steam heated and air conditioned. In the face of these developments, although some hints may be found in a book such as The Mass of the Future, by the American liturgist Father Gerald Ellard, S.J., the precise direction which litur¬ gical developments will take is very hard to predict, for the lively symbols which inhabit the American imagination — the Coca-Cola girl, Dagwood and Blondie, the voice of the laboratory, the Gallup poll, the Great Book, the real-estate business, the funeral parlor, the gadget, and so many other symbols of popular culture which interest the anthropologist — spring from psychological depths which the Ameri¬ can Catholic mind, has yet to explore in their religious implications. At the present stage, the American Catholic sensibility is often the


. f„

victim of a kind of liturgical sluggishness, which leaves it quite un¬ aware how far its own forms of thought are being controlled by the symbolism of the industrial world to which it affects a studied in¬ difference.

Often the same Catholics, lay and clerical, who refer

without second thought to their “parish plant” where “a good Catholic product” is being “turned out” will resist to the last ditch any inclusion in church art of symbols referring to contemporary industrial or techno¬ logical existence. As a foundation for their own intellectual self-possession, Catho¬ lics in the United States need a mystique of more than technology and science. They need also a Christian mystique of such things as sports and lunch clubs — the two important avenues into the male world kept open by American Catholicism — and indeed a mystique of the whole social surface which is a property of life in the United States. This social surface is maintained in great part by the arts of communication in the peculiar and highly developed conditions in which these arts exist in the United States. Here what the ancient world knew as “rhetoric” or “oratory” — the art of swaying other men, conceived as more or less the crown of all education — long ago migrated from the faculties of languages into the university courses in commerce and finance, where it is taught under labels such as “advertising,” or “copy writing,” or “merchandizing” and “marketing” and “salesmanship.” This twentieth century rhetoric, like all rhetoric, has a strong personalist torque — it has ultimately to face the problem of dealing with the individual as an individual — and has given rise to the American stress on personal relations and personnel problems and adjustments which has appeared as one of the great, and not entirely unsuccessful, compensatory efforts of a mechanistic civilization, grown self-conscious, to deal with its own peculiar shortcomings. American Catholics need a mystique of this peculiar American personalism, too. Catholic thought here could con¬ ceivably make a real intellectual contribution to the United States by bringing to bear on this area of personalist activity the phenome¬ nological analysis closely connected with European personalism, except that American Catholic thought is even more uninformed about phe¬ nomenology than American non-Catholic thought is. But there are interesting signs that some American Catholic philosophers are be¬ coming interested in phenomenology and even in dialogue as a con¬ dition and frame of philosophical thinking. Catholics in the United States could well do with a mystique, too, of American optimism, which they have by now assimilated perhaps more thoroughly than their Protestant neighbors, the origi¬ nators of the optimism. This American optimism is psychologically linked with the hopeful facing into the future which so far has marked the American mind. Such facing into the future can be naive, but it has, or can have, profound relevance to the Catholic outlook.


For the restauratio of all things in Christ, of which the Popes speak in recent encyclicals, is something which lies not behind but ahead. Although the Church transcends history in the sense that her mission is being fulfilled at all times, and although this mission is to restore all things to their Origin, nevertheless the restoration is effected in the future, not in the past. Creation returns to God not by retracing its steps, not by moving back toward Christ at the intersection of the Old and the New and thence back through the Old, but rather by moving forward with Christ in the continued action of the Incarnation. Not only is a reverse movement impossible, but, looking back, one can assign no point at which the full restauratio was effected. The route of this return through the future is what chiefly sanctifies creation, for, as St. Thomas Aquinas views it, things go out from God bv nature and return, not by nature, but through Christ, by what we would today call a supernatural route (although the term “supernatural” was, of course, not exploited by St. Thomas). At the end of this route, things are not at the same pass that they were at in the beginning, for at the end the supernaturalization is more complete, and the Church more perfect in her complement of souls. There was a time at the turn of the century when the Catholic consciousness in America seemed on the point of taking explicit intellectual cognizance of the forward-looking habits endemic in the American state of mind. But the circumstances terminating in the letter, “Testem benevolentiae,” of Leo XIII to Cardinal Gibbons, without effecting the condemnation of anything in the United States, abruptly killed off the dialogue between the Church and America which Hecker, Archbishop Ireland, Orestes Brownson, and others had initiated, and dealt a blow to American Catholic self-confidence from which the American Catholic mind has never effectively recovered. Since then, the American Catholic has lived the myth of America, but he has hardly dared to speculate as to its meaning in relation to his faith, or to the spiritual, interior life which this faith demands of him. Today, when our world perspectives are enlarging, so that Ameri¬ ca can be seen as part of the general movement of the human spirit through history, meaningful in terms of the over-all trajectory of history, should the American Catholic intellectual succeed in returning to his roots in his own American world, he will doubtless better succeed in thinking through his connections with the rest of mankind, and in living out his own tinv share of the total life of Christ.


I i,

Faith and Intellectual Freedom JOHN L. MCKENZIE, S.J.

Intellectual freedom, by the definition of the words themselves, means freedom to think; in common usage, however, people under¬ stand it to mean freedom to think out loud. It is not merely a synonym for freedom of speech; intellectual freedom means the absence of constraint upon those processes of which are usually called intel¬ lectual and the expression of ideas issuing from those processes. In common usage, again, the name intellectual is given to those activities which revolve about learning, and learning is the professional business of scholars. By implication, then, common usage seems to suggest that intellectual freedom means not only the absence of restraint upon thought and expression in intellectual questions, but also the com¬ petence to speak on these questions. One is not free to drive a car unless one has the competence to drive. If intellectual freedom is the freedom to speak in matters of learning, this freedom can scarcely belong to the unlearned; and by the unlearned I mean those who lack specialized learning in the area which comes under discussion. The attitude which prevents people from attempting what they are incomReprinted from The Critic, Vol. XX, No. righted 1961 by the Thomas More Association. publisher.


1, pp. 8-10; 68-71. Copy¬ By permission of author and

petent to do is called responsibility. There are laws which prevent the incompetent from driving a car; there is nothing but personal responsibility, aided by a vague and not always active social pressure, which prevents the incompetent from expressing opinions when they are not informed.

Where such incompetence is a threat to society,

as it is in the practice of medicine, law and some other professions which are called learned, society restrains such incompetence by law, and surely no one thinks that society is unduly restraining intellectual freedom. If we are to reach an understanding of intellectual freedom and responsibility, we must admit that intellectual freedom and respon¬ sibility are not the business of the scholar alone, but of every one. Each individual person has the freedom to think and to speak upon matters in which he is competent, and he ought to have the respon¬ sibility to keep silent on matters where he has no competence. I realize, of course, that rigid observance of this principle would be a fatal blow to most casual conversation, and would reduce the speech of all of us to an alarming degree; one w onders whether this would be an unmixed disaster. But we all recognize the difference between the casual light conversation of our hours of relaxation, when it amuses us to play with ideas which are too large for us to handle, and earnest discussion, especially if earnest discussion includes public ut¬ terance orally or in writing. Unguided ideas can be as dangerous as unguided automobiles. Every genuine scholar is aware of this, and of the responsibility which it imposes. The acquisition of competence in any field of learning comes only through prolonged and patient submission to a demanding discipline. One who has acquired com¬ petence does not insult his colleagues by intruding into a field w ch is not his own. In this way the discipline of scholarship imp ca certain humility upon those who practice it; I say a certain hurm, v, for it would be ridiculous to say that scholars are any more or am less proud, vain and self-opinionated than the rest of men. But I have found that they are not likely to exhibit these defects in their professional work, because they know that their colleagues will not stand for it. The humility which ought to ornament the scholar can and ought to be the fruit of a genuine liberal education; the values of liberal education seem to consist less in teaching students what they know than in teaching them what they do not know — and how to find out the truth which they do not know. From such a genuine education should come a balanced judgment which enables its possessor to define his own areas of competence very clearly and to act with responsibility outside his areas of competence. The educated man respects truth by not as¬ suming that it can be reached cheaply. I do not imply that this hu¬ mility and respect for truth are exclusively the fruits of a liberal edu¬ cation; they are character traits, and unfortunately education is not


a character building process. Among my acquaintances there are some v\ ho without a liberal education have an excellent sense of intellectual freedom and responsibility, and there are some who have spent half or most of their, lives in academic institutions without learning that when one has nothing to say, it is the best thing to say. Intellectual freedom and responsibility of the scholar, then, are not isolated phenomena in human society; the scholar shows them in his life and work and in the manner demanded by that life and work. The scholar’s competence assures him a greater freedom than others may claim; it is an axiom of social ethics that responsibility grows with freedom. We must look for reasons which justify the freedom of the scholar. Now the existence of scholarship rests on the assumption that man does not know everything. The scholar is freed from other engagements and supported by society so that he may organize and communicate the knowledge which we have and discover if he can the truths which we do not know — which is to say in longer words that society expects from the scholar the two functions of teaching and research. In our western society the customary seat of scholarship is institutions of higher learning, but the location is merely accidental, particularly the location of the work of research. t ft 1

It is easy to make a false distinction between teaching and research. For reasons which are not easy to analyze, it is the common experience of scholars that one who devotes himself entirely to investigation and abandons teaching is in danger of producing barren research; there are exceptions, but there are also well established probabilities. It is likewise a common experience that research within the degree in which it is possible to the individual generally improves his teaching. For the teacher who is not a student is not a teacher; and even if, as so often and so unfortunately happens, he is not granted time for re¬ search, his own personal control of current research in his field is the indispensable price of maintaining competence as a teacher. And it is risky to attempt to establish a primacy of one or the other; perhaps it is best to say simply that a university is an institution populated entirely by students, some of whom teach. While some men give more time to research and others more time to teaching, it is mis¬ leading to think of these as two distinct and opposed activities; they are two elements in a single activity, which is most simply and accurately described as learning. If research and teaching are a single activity, then neither should a false distinction be made between freedom of research and freedom of teaching. Both research and teaching are resolved into the in¬ vestigation and the proposition of'knowledge, and differ not in their material so much as in their intended audience; the investigator ad¬ dresses primarily his colleagues in teaching and research, the teacher primarily addresses students who have not yet received the fullness


of academic training.


I have said elsewhere that there appears to

be no restraint upon intellectual freedom beyond the restraints which lie











and criticized, but it seems to stand up. No one is free to say anything which he knows to be false, or which is offensive to prudence, justice or charity. The judgment of the .truth of what he says in his own field is primarily the responsibility of the scholar as scholar; but he knows he does not work alone, and if his judgments have not been submitted to his own criticism and the criticism of his colleagues, he is not a genuine scholar. The judgment of the pru¬ dence, justice and charity of what he says is the area where the scholar s personal responsibility as a member of society is operative. I see no reason why his responsibility to maintain these virtues in his work should differ from the responsibility of any one — by which I mean that he must make his own decision, remembering here also that the wise man takes counsel. It is here that I raise the ugly question of the possibility of sup¬ pressing the truth, which scholarship regards as the cardinal sin against the mind — and it is. To be honest, no reason appears why the truths of scholarship should enjoy a sacred immunity which is not enjoyed by truths in other human affairs, for no one questions the principle that at times the truth may be and ought to be suppressed. We should add that it is dangerous to suppress the truth, that it is impossible to suppress it permanently, and that one may suppress it for a time only when there are compelling reasons which demonstrate that more harm will be done by revealing it than by suppressing it. For when a point has been reached where suppression of the truth is a recommended action, we can no longer think of what will do more good, but only of what will do less harm. Normally the sup¬ pression of the truth is an exceptional means of reaching an end; and scholars generally are convinced that the occasion for suppressing the truth arises more rarely in scholarship than it does elsewhere. More frequent and more urgent is the problem of suppressing not the truth, but opinion and discussion. Since scholarly opinion and discussion are the only means by which the scholar hopes to arrive at the truth, the compulsion which would demand their suppression can scarcely be less. We must admit, I think, that the scholar’s dedication to the truth can sometimes mask motives which are less noble; and the need for personal responsibility becomes evident. Scho¬ lars believe that they should enjoy the liberty which all men concede each other of saying something which they think is true but which because of their ignorance is false; scholars, like other men, must pay the usual penalty if they make a habit of doing this. Responsibility imposes upon the scholar the obligation of employing every resource of method and technique, every criticism of his own and of his col¬ leagues, to secure him against proposing falsehood. If he is careful, he will


propose opinion as opinion and not as established truth; if he is respon¬ sible, he will not cry that academic freedom is raped because some one questions his right to propose half-baked untested opinions. If he is respon¬ sible, he will often realize that an opinion which is sound in the scholarly sense of the word is premature; he will then wisely attempt to lay the ground for the proposition of his opinion rather than rush into print, almost baiting his readers. Scholars are often accused by laymen of a patho¬ logical desire to publish; I think the charge is grossly exaggerated, and among the competent scholars of my acquaintance I do not know one who has not suppressed more of his own opinions than he has published. These men know that freedom demands responsibility, and they honor the learned profession by a respect for the truth which forbids them to toy with unformed and uncriticized opinions. It seems to me that the same principles govern teaching. Teaching, except on the highest graduate levels, addresses a group to whom the most advanced scholarship is almost by definition premature. The good teacher will leave his students aware that at best he can give them the current work of scholars and prepare them to accept further advances without shock or surprise. Between the teaching of safe and secure and antiquated falsehoods and the most recent and novel and venturesome* .hypotheses the good teacher must steer a careful course. He is wise if he remembers that learned hypotheses have scarcely ever been erected into principles without substantial modi¬ fications; to give his students no more than the most recent hypotheses serves them as poorly as to pretend that nothing has been discovered since the teacher himself was in graduate school. The good teacher does not raise in the minds of his students questions which he has not helped them equip themselves to answer; and he never forgets that, while the teacher teaches, it is the students who learn. You will observe that I have not presented an ideal of intel¬ lectual freedom without restraint; you will observe also that I have presented the personal responsibility of the scholar as the only effective restraint. By this is meant not only the personal responsibility of the individual scholar, but the responsibility of the body of scholarship. Scholars are able to submit the hypotheses of their colleagues to rigorous testing and criticism which is beyond the ability of those who are not scholars; and the non-scholarly public can be assured that opinions which survive this process have been as well examined as is humanly possible. The public can also be assured that scholars find this examination a pleasure as much as a duty. The collective responsibility of scholars answers the question which one might raise: if the scholar fails in his responsibility, should not some other agency intervene, as it does in the practice of medicine and law, to prevent the irresponsible scholar from doing harm? It should be noticed that the body which polices the practice of medicine and law is proximately the professions themselves; public authority


r... supports and authenticates their judgments, but it does not attempt to form them. An external agency could intervene, it seems, only on the assumption that scholarship as a body had proved its lack of com¬ petence and responsibility; and if this assumption were ever verified, it is doubtful whether any one could be sure what he is doing. It is the conviction of scholars that some degree of incompetence and ir¬ responsibility must be tolerated in scholarship, as it is tolerated in all human affairs, in order that the activity itself can be maintained. Freedom of opinion and discussion are the essential means by which scholarship achieves its ends; scholars believe that in academic examina¬ tions, learned societies and the exchange of opinion in learned books and journals, adequate means exist to prevent the incompetent and the irresponsible from abusing the freedom of scholarship. They are convinced that the investigation and communication of truth cannot be promoted by the suppression of free discussion and opinion. When scholarly activity is suppressed, when the carefully considered opinions of scholars are rejected by those who have not examined these opinions critically, scholars wonder whether it is they or the external agency which is acting irresponsibly. I have set forth the principles of intellectual freedom as I under¬ stand them without reference to the Church and the Catholic scholar. Do these principles have validity for the Catholic scholar without further modification? Many people, both inside and outside the Church, think they must be modified, and substantially. It would surprise many Catholics to find that they agree with many non-Catholics that the Catholic scholar does not enjoy intellectual freedom. The easiest way to show how utterly false this belief is would be to review the history of Catholic scholarship, but this is not possible here or verv often elsewhere; the most practical demonstration of the intellectual freedom of the Catholic scholar is its exercise, and this is the demon¬ stration which scholars prefer to employ. In exercising their freedom they also show their responsibility. Whether Catholic scholars have always and everywhere enjoyed full intellectual freedom is another and a historical question; it scarcely differs in principle from the historical question whether scholars of any description have always and everywhere enjoyed full intellectual freedom. Of course they have not. Freedom, whether intellectual or political or religious or anything else, must be affirmed and exercised; far from being the naturally instinctive condition of man, freedom must be achieved and main¬ tained. My thesis that the Church as such imposes no restraint upon intel¬ lectual freedom beyond the general principles of restraint is possibly enough of a surprise to many to require some elaboration. This re¬ straint, if it were to exist, could be found only under two heads: dogma and discipline. Dogma is the belief of the Church as she herself has defined it, and it is the faith professed and accepted by


every one who calls himself a Catholic.

The scholar does not submit

dogma to criticism and examination because it is neither his office nor does it lie in his power to define what the Church believes; only the Church herself can do this, and she does it only through quite well identified organs. No one speaks for the Church except the Holy Father and an ecumenical council and the bishops together, and only these speak for the Church as a whole. In the individual diocese the bishop and no one else speaks for the Church, although the state¬ ments of the individual bishop are not irreformable, as are the state¬ ments of the Holy Father and the ecumenical council when they are made with due solemnity. When the scholar accepts the faith, he, like all members of the Church, accepts it as a dogmatic faith; like other members of the Church also, he does not accept it as a scholarly con¬ clusion. Through the Church the scholar apprehends those truths which no scholarship ever attains and on which a way of life is founded. The Catholic scholar, like all scholars, has to accept his way of life from another source than himself. Catholic scholars would prefer that their fellow Catholics do not think of them as existing in a state of tension with the teaching of the Church by their very profession of scholarship. To the Catholic scholar the Church is life: the life communicated from God through His Son Jesus Christ, Who is one with the Church which is His body, a life integral with God and one’s fellow man, an assurance that one has grasped the ultimate reality which gives meaning to all reality. The scholar whose work lies in areas closely related to the reality of the Church considers himself fortunate that his investigations never fail to show him anew the grandeur of the Church and to confirm him in his faith in the Church as the extension of the Incarnation. Far from feeling tension with the Church, he finds that she is a principle of freedom because she is a principle of confidence and not of fear. For the Church is a principle of life, and freedom is the fullness of life. But the scholar does examine the meaning of the dogma which he accepts; when he does it, he is enjoying a freedom canonized many centuries ago as faith seeking understanding. Here tension can arise not with the Church but with some of her individual members. For his investigations may disclose that a very old and popular under¬ standing of dogma is a false interpretation. He may find that the pro¬ gress of learning in other areas requires a different interpretation from the one commonly accepted. Since dogma does not stand in isolation from human knowledge and human activity, he may discover new relations of dogma to knowledge and life. When he proposes these conclusions, he is surprised to find that they are frequently met with shock, hurt and resentment. Here he must be aware of a basic difference between his own scholarly attitude towards knowledge and the attitude frequently exhibited by others. To the scholar knowledge


f... is constantly growing understanding. The front of the advance of knowledge he conceives as extremely fluid, moving forward here, re¬ versing itself elsewhere, modifying and abandoning earlier positions; but the movement is always forward.

Truth is as inexhaustible as

reality itself, and the scholar believes that comprehension is an im¬ possible ideal. Generally, when one learns something new, one must also unlearn something old. The scholar has made this his way of life and thinking, and he should not be surprised if some think it neo-Kantian subjectivism. Yet what is the mission of the scholar in the Church?

I conceive

it to be the mission of the scholar in society at large: the investigation and communication of knowledge. The Church is by her divine mission equipped neither to pursue knowledge nor to retard its pursuit. But she should pursue her own mission under more favorable condi¬ tions if those who do her work are as free of ignorance as contemporary learning can make them; if her members do not suffer difficulties in understanding their faith which arise from ignorance, and do not cherish opinions which learning has shown to be false; if she is able to speak to the contemporary world with a deeper familiarity with its lan¬ guage and a more secure grasp of its ideas and its problems. The scholar can serve the Church by helping to create these con¬ ditions for her ministry, and the Church traditionally has left this to her scholars. Again this can be best shown by a simple enumeration of her scholars, which cannot be done here. By what principle can any one affirm that these great men did their work so well that they have left nothing for contemporary scholars to do? Is it likely that they themselves would approve the erection of their work into a kind of pseudo-dogma, which permits modern scholars to do no more than repeat traditional learning? It is inconceivable that the need and the possibilities of creative scholarship are any less now than they were at any time in the past; and it is also inconceivable that the Church no longer produces men capable of creative scholar¬ ship. It should not be surprising that one cannot think of a single scholar who deserves the name of creative in modern times who has not been under attack precisely for his originality; it should not be surprising because one can say the same thing of every creative scholar in the Church during the last eighteen centuries. Time has vindicated the services of the scholar to the Church, but it has not dulled the attack. The second head under which restraint of intellectual freedom in the Church may be conceived is discipline. It must be understood that the Church does not claim and does not possess in her discipline the infallibility which she has in defining her beliefs. No Catholic doubts that the Holy Spirit works in the discipline of the Church, but He does not work in the same way as He does in her teaching. The Church is not protected by a specific charisma against imprudence


and unfairness in her discipline; she is protected by the prudence, intelligence, justice and supernatural charity of the men to whom her discipline is committed. The historian is free to point out instances in the past when her discipline has not been exercised with the full¬ ness of these virtues; and their absence at definite times and places in the past is no assurance that they are always exhibited in the present. That we are much slower to point them out in the present is not mere cowardice, at least not always; our reluctance to do so arises from caution founded in the knowledge that we are incompletely informed. I dare say many share my conviction, for example, that there can never be a good prudential or pastoral reason for the Church in the United States to remain silent on interracial justice or to permit its practice to reflect the patterns of segregation. I suppose that we who are so convinced believe that a Church which preserves itself by accepting segregation is not preserving itself as the Catholic Church. And I would point out that the hundreds of people who have said things like this are a living testimonial to the Catholic belief that discipline is not above criticism. It would be altogether dishonest to say that ecclesiastical discipline has never been a restraint upon intellectual freedom; it would be equally dishonest to say that the imposition of restraint by ecclesiastical authority has never been unwise, imprudent or unfair. The Catholic scholar recognizes this, but it does not alarm him. He knows that none of his non-Catholic colleagues in scholarship expects to find a world where intellectual freedom is never endangered by imprudence, unfairness and folly, nor is the Catholic scholar so simple as to expect to find such a world. He is encouraged by a long collective experience which shows that the discipline of the Church is better secured against imprudence, unfairness and folly than any other administrative di¬ scipline known to history. After so long a time and so many turns of fortune, it becomes clear that intellectual freedom survives in the Church, as it survives today, only because the discipline of the Church, while it may fail in judgment or even in virtue in isolated instances, ultimately cherishes and defends the freedom of its scholars. If he takes the long view, as a scholar ought, he knows that freedom of discussion and opinion will never perish in the Church, even though it may seem to be under suspicion in his own time. The discussion up to this point has turned upon principles; we live in a real world, and it would be unrealistic in the extreme to omit what is now and has always been the greatest threat to intel¬ lectual freedom. This threat is not peculiar to the Catholic community, for it springs from some deep and atavistic and not very attractive human passions. The one word which I think best defines this threat is fear of knowledge, which is ultimately fear of truth. Man seeks truth, although I think Aristotle overestimated his desire to know; but his more primitive impulses move him to seek security first, and truth




insofar as it contributes to his security.


Security is attained by the

conviction that one possesses the truth, whether one possesses it 01 not. To point out error is to threaten security, and it arouses another atavistic passion besides. For man finds security also in a life of ordered routine; few men are adventurers. He prefers, that his ac¬ tivities fall into a pattern to which he can become accustomed, and he prefers that his thinking also fall into a pattern which will not be disturbed. The scholar disturbs the pattern and demands that man revise his thinking, and thus he is a threat both to security and to routine. Nowhere does man cherish security and routine more than in his religious life, for security and routine liberate him from the neces¬ sity of thinking about religion. I fear that Catholics are more open to this habit of mind than others, for the Church makes a total demand upon its members, and the members are ready to ask for a total return — now. They like to think that the Church has answers to all questions and solutions to all problems and directions for all situations; and if she has not, some will create them and present them as her teaching. Thus they are secure in their thinking, be¬ cause the Church has done it all for them; they are secure in their decisions, because the Church has made them all for them. I am aware that I present a caricature rather than a portrait; but it is really difficult to describe without caricature an attitude of mind which is a flight from reason. I think that no one will deny that there is a reality which I have caricatured, unless he is ready to claim that never in his life has he fled from reason; and I make no such claim for myself. The scholar therefore is considered a threat to the faith of the unlearned because he proposes opinions and conclusions which cannot be reconciled with popular beliefs. For some reason, it seems to make no difference that these popular beliefs have never been ex¬ amined either by the faithful or by many of their instructors; and I suspect the reason is fear of knowledge, fear that examination might impose a change in the routine which gives security. Nevertheless, since even the most serene faith cannot entirely wall itself from the world of reality, a reason can be found why the scholar should not disturb popular belief even when it is in error, for it is alleged that it is better to leave people in an error which they have so long cherished and from which they have reaped so much devotion, rather than shock and disturb them. This principle by logical dexterity can be maintained together with another favorite principle, the principle that error has no right to exist. When the principle is applied, it means that the scholar may propose nothing which might possibly be er¬ roneous, while the faithful are free to retain errors as long as they are old errors and not new errors.

Equivalently the principle means

that error has no right to exist unless it is my error. 314

The fear of disturbing the good faith of the laity is regarded as a sufficient motive for invoking the hierarchy with petitions to arrest those scholarly discussions and opinions which the petitioners judge to be disturbing. Whether it be wise or prudent or not, the hierarchy is likely to think that if many people say they are disturbed, they are disturbed; they may even think that if a few people say many are disturbed, then many are disturbed. The hierarchy is aware that the Church does not answer all questions and solve all problems; but it may judge that scholarship, which is a long term project after all, can in a concrete situation be deferred until the panic dies. The scholar cannot make decisions which belong to the hierarchy, but he thinks the hierarchy can profit by consulting him; if the scholar is consulted, he will submit respectfully that the history of the Church shows no instance where the suppression of intellectual freedom did not work as much harm as good, and he doubts whether it can be presumed that any situation will be resolved by these means with any other result. For the suppression of intellectual freedom is a practical vote of no confidence in scholarship; it carries with it an assumption which cannot be rationalized away that scholarship no longer exhibits com¬ petence and responsibility. Such imputations are found in statements in the popular press made by clergymen and laymen who do not qualify by training and achievements as scholars and who, to be candid, seem quite ready to speak with authority in areas where they have no competence. I have said earlier that such behavior is ir¬ responsible, and I say it again. That many scholars or most scholars have abandoned their loyalty to the Church and their professional integrity as scholars is a charge so sweeping and so profound in its implications that it demands more evidence than I have seen adduced. And it is a charge which cannot be refuted; frankly, I have no idea how I would demonstrate my loyalty to the Church and to the standards of scholarly integrity. I doubt whether those who make such charges could demonstrate their own loyalty any more easily. The idea that the Church is a living encyclopedia of all knowl¬ edge is such a desperate distortion of her genuine reality that one scarcely knows where to take hold of it. This misconception can arise, it seems, only from a fairly comprehensive ignorance of what genuine knowledge and the processes of scholarship are, and an un¬ willingness to admit that professional scholars understand these pro¬ cesses any better. The Church is a way of life for the unlearned and the learned. She teaches what she has learned, which is not the sum total of all possible knowledge. She cannot give the scholar sound methods and techniques of investigation, nor has she ever pre¬ tended to give them. To attempt to solve problems by an appeal to the teaching of the Church where her teaching is not relevant is as much a disservice to the Church as to ignore her teaching where it 315

is relevant, for her teaching is distorted by both the one and the other. The faith of many has been shaken when the teaching of the Church was reduced to less than its full truth; the faith of just as many or more has been shaken when unenlightened teachers imposed upon them as beliefs of the Church things which are not true.. What I am describing is a threat to intellectual freedom arising from a kind of mob panic.

Witch hunting is an ugly word, but it

describes an ugly phenomenon which will not vanish if we pretend it does not exist. The hunters will hunt until there are no more witches, and then they will hunt each other. Outbreaks of this kind are prevented only by firm leadership, and scholars themselves must be willing to assume their part in leadership; they cannot sit in their ivory towers and weep because others do not defend them. I conceive the part of scholars in leadership to be precisely their scholarly work; by producing the best and finest fruits of learning they must con¬ vince the general public that scholarship is worth cherishing. They will preserve their intellectual freedom best by its responsible exercise. This means first of all that they are meticulous in their scholar¬ ship; that they proceed by sound method and through investigation; that their exposition is well reasoned; that they propose conclusion as conclusion, opinion as opinion, fact as fact, and hypothesis as hy¬ pothesis. Where there are hostile observers ready to pounce on a careless scholarship, the scholar must take care to give them no occa¬ sion; and this may mean that the scholar will postpone his publication until he can ground it more firmly and set it forth with more con¬ viction. It means also that the scholar must never forget that he is a mem¬ ber and a servant of the society which frees him from other respon¬ sibilities and supports him in the investigation and communication of knowledge. I have no desire to get bogged down in a discussion of useful research and useless research, which have become bad words among scholars; useful research has'come to mean research which produces a better face cream or a better tire. But I remind my col¬ leagues in scholarship that we have all learned the difference between research which we think will be a genuine advance and research which has no merit except that it gives us something to publish. What is a genuine advance, of course, must be judged by scholars and not by the general public, which is less likely to see the value of a critical edition of the fragments of the exegetical work of Theodore of Mopsuestia. Genuine research finds its way quickly enough into the structure of knowledge; scholars who never get beyond the fringe of discipline ought to engage in self-examination. The responsible exercise of intellectual freedom means that scholars are willing to talk to others besides their fellow scholars and to show the general public the value and meaning of scholarly work. This is a delicate area; all the learned disciplines with which I am acquainted 316

are infested to some degree with headline hunters whose excesses often drive their colleagues into the opposite direction. We cannot forget that if the public sees no public service in the work of scholars, it may lose interest in supporting them; whatever may be true of other cultures, our contemporary society seems unwilling to support a college of mandarins. Hence scholars ought to regard the interpretation of their work to the general public as a legitimate and necessary part of tneir profession. If they are to do this, they must strive for more lucidity and persuasion in their style than one usually finds in learned journals; literary craftsmanship, like solid research, comes only through prolonged hard work. They must be aware that the general public is not prepared for what they have to communicate, and they must without patronizing dispose their readers or hearers to a sympathetic understanding. If scholars are too busy or too proud to communicate their research to the public, they leave this communication to the mountebanks, who are ready and willing to do it. Hence I cannot agree with those who believe that scholars should form a secret society and conceal their deliberations from the public, lest the public be shocked; an honest and careful presentation of scholarly work will not shock any except those who want to be shocked, and others will be pleased that scholars are doing what they are paid to do. By such means the scholar may demonstrate that intellectual free¬ dom does not belong to him alone nor is it given him for his own personal convenience and advancement; it is a social good which belongs to the entire society, whether we mean the political society or the culture or the Church. The society, recognizing the social importance of intellectual freedom, will protect it. Intellectual free¬ dom involves risk, of course; freedom of any nature involves risk, to be a living human being involves risk. There is no more reason for diminishing the risk by suppressing intellectual freedom than there is for suppressing political freedom or, were it possible, moral freedom. Whatever man accomplishes he accomplishes because God has made him accomplishes as a scholar he free scholar. If he loses his tentialities will be destroyed

a responsible free agent; whatever man accomplishes because he is a responsible intellectual freedom, his intellectual po¬ just as surely as his moral or political

potentialities are destroyed by the loss of moral or political freedom. Faith can never be preserved at the cost of the mind.


Part VI Curriculum


Philosophy of Higher Education JOSEF PIEPER

I The word “Academic”, which the Athenians of the fourth century B.C. used to name Plato’s school — along with the building, the garden and the community living and philosophizing there — is some¬ thing fortuitous. It is merely an external mark, and has nothing to do with the very nature of the school, and much less does the world in¬ clude any comment on the school’s meaning. As is well known, the word “academy” simply originated from the nearness of Plato’s school to the grove of an Athenian hero named Akademos. Concerning our words “academy” and “academic”, the question is this: Are they perhaps also based on a merely fortuitous, superficial and arbitrary correspondence between our universities and the school of Plato at the grove of Akademos? This would not be unusual. There are more than enough of such insignificant connections with classical antiquity. We talk very lightly and thoughtlessly of Apollotheaters, Jupiter-lamps and Mercury-insurance, and in these matters nobody would ask us to show a special inner connection with the gods Josef Pieper, “On the Idea of ‘The Academic’,” Thought, XXX (September, 1955), pp. 577- 594. 321

f... of antiquity. In the case of the word and the idea academic does the relationship to antiquity have any different meaning? Does it imply more than a fortuitous connection? If not, it would not have any meaning to discuss the “idea of the academic” from the viewpoint of the cultural heritage of the Occident which might be included in that name. The exact truth is that the concept “academic” is a distinctively Occidental concept.

First of all, we have some reasons to maintain

that a factual historical continuity exists between our universities and the original academy of Plato, from which every academic business all over the world has got its name. Here, then, is something special. It is not enough to trace modern universities to medieval ones. For these are scarcely thinkable without the presupposition of, and even the model of Byzantine education. Immediately before the foundation of the first European universities, the imperial university was recon¬ structed in Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine Monomachos; this act was really the resuscitation of something that had existed for a long time, namely, that imperial academy which, under this name, had been founded six hundred years before (425) by the Emperor Theodosius II, and more or less expressly as an offspring to the school of Plato in Athens which was in existence at that identical time. The proper intellectual authorship in this first Christian university, it is true, has to be attributed to a woman, the daughter of an Athenian philosopher and herself of higher philosophic education, probably a pupil of the Platonic Academy, a woman who, later on, in the course of an adventurous life, mounted the imperial throne of Constantinople — the Empress Eudocia, before her baptism named Athenais. The same Eudocia wrote the poetical story of the magician Cyprianus, which has been called the first poetical formation of the Dr. Faustus subject. Indeed, it is highly surprising how the threads of tradition are tied together here; and among others is this one connecting the school of Plato with those educational establishments which, following its lead, are down to our day called “academic.” More important than this factual continuity is another matter. Plato’s school has always been understood and been said to be the obligatory ideal and prototype of our universities. When the human¬ ists spoke of “platonissare,” they meant almost the same as “academicum se facere.” Of course it is not true that Plato was “rediscovered” only at the beginning of modern times. One might, on the contrary, want to know why the Platonic tradition, because of its deliberate exclusiveness, even lost, to a certain degree, its sound intellectual de¬ velopment. However we answer that question, it remains true that the dominating figure of the Middle Ages was the Platonist, St. Au¬ gustine, who planned every one of his secluded communities of learning after the model of the garden near the grove of Akademos. And one of the most influential founders of Occidental education, named 322

Alcuin, the friend of Charlemagne, spoke of “Athens” as of a kind of summary and epitome of his extensive plans. meant to him the city of Plato’s Academy.

Of course Athens

This is why the word “academic,” up to our time and in every language of the Western world, involves a claim and a norm, the meaning of which seemingly cannot be extinguished, unless the spiritual substance of the Western World itself is destroyed. This possibility, however, has become visible in our epoch as an acute danger which ^ t^reatfnm§ us not only from without. In this way the question, hat does^ academic mean?’ (which, when first raised, might sound like a very academic question) has an importance even in the field of present political realities.

II Anyone who asks for the meaning of the concept “academic” finds himself led therefore to the Athenian school of Plato. Of course, this cannot mean that the concrete realization of modern academic education ought to be recognizable in the concrete realization of Plato’s Academy, or vice versa. But it does mean that the inner characteristics of the school of Plato have also to be the inner forming forces and qualities of our universities, provided these are legitimately to be called places of academic education. To say this is to say something very fundamental and very radical, indeed something concerning the root of the matter. For, however }"0u imagine the teaching that went on and whatever you imagine to have been the plan and the program (there are quite different opinions on these points), one thing is undeniable and in fact un¬ denied, namely, that Plato s school in Athens was a philosophical school and that accordingly its inner characteristics were philosophy and the philosophical way of looking at the world. From this fact a first element of a definition would follow: “academic” means “philosoph¬ ical, an academic education is a philosophical education, at least an education based on philosophy. Of course the next question is, What does “philosophical” mean? And in order to answer we must have Plato in mind, Plato and the ancients as a whole. “Philosophical” at first means no more than “theoretical.” This statement seems to be more or less banal and colorless. Yet, once you make up your mind to take it seriously, it assumes a very critical and aggressive and almost revolutionary meaning. Exactly what do “theoretical” and “theory” mean? The essence of theoria is to be directed to truth and nothing else. This is said in the Metaphysics of Aristotle (II, 933b), who on this point completely agrees with his teacher Plato; and the medieval commen¬ tator Thomas Aquinas does not offer any qualification. 323

All of them

f. maintain that philosophy and especially metaphysics as the most philo¬ sophical discipline are theoria in the full and unlimited sense, scientia veritatis in its ultimate meaning. To consider a matter philosophically thus means that one ex¬ plicitly turns away from all that is ordinarily called ‘‘practical life” and the “fulfillment of the real tasks of life” (which terms, by the way, seem to imply that the mere perception of truth in itself is not a “real” task). In this way the old definition of philosophy as a purely “theoretical” approach to reality omits what, on the contrary, is essential to the modern concept of philosophy: the aspect of the power of knowledge, of the potentia humana, with which Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum (Ic3) identified true science; the aspect of practicability, of application, of utilization; the orientation to a “prac¬ tical philosophy,” which would enable us to become maitres et possesseurs de la nature, as Descarters says QDiscours, c. 6). From the viewpoint of ancient philosophy this starting point of Bacon and Des¬ cartes is simply unphilosophical, because- it touches or rather destroys the purity of theoria. Insistence on the theoretical character of philosophy is not only in opposition to modern thinking; but the challenge it presents is of everlasting force. Finally, it is not by mere chance that the history of Occidental philosophy begins with the laughter of a slave, a girl who saw the philosopher Thales fall into a cistern while he was gazing at the stars. Regarding her laughter, Plato made the remark (Theaetetus 174) that neither this laughter nor its cause will ever disappear; always, he says, the philosophizing man will cause laughter, the laughter not only of Thracian maids, but of “the many” in general, because that strange figure will always continue to be trapped in many kinds of dilemmas. To be somehow strange in the eyes of the many and to live far from practical everyday life and to be secluded from the world — all that seems to accompany the genuine philosopher, and this association should not be understood as something fortuitous, but as a dowry originating from the inmost nature of philosophy because “philosophical” means “theoretical.” No doubt, this is a rather sharpened formulation. Nevertheless I think it hits exactly the heart of the philosophical attitude and consequently the concept “academic.” The essence of the concept comes to light in this formulation much more precisely than in any attempt to demonstrate the inner legitimacy of academic education by showing its practicability, its im¬ portance for technological-economic-military practice or for any practice whatsoever. It is, finally, just not very sensible to defend the academic character of the university by saying: Look, universities are not very academic! But it is exactly this absurdity to which all such attempts lead, always providing that you consider the matter from the viewpoint of the original conception of the “academic.” The kind of defense for 324


which the argument of practicability is decisive merely bertays the heart of the academic life which it hopes or pretends to protect. It already has taken sides with the Thracian maid and “the many,” hoi folloi. Let us sum up. Up to now we have considered two points. Point one: If the word academic” is more than a word, then it must originally mean nothing more or less than “philosophical,” so that academic education would mean philosophical education and the academic character of university education would depend on the philosohical attitude in the light of which even the special sciences are studied. Point two: “Philosophical” means “theoretical” — not as if this claims to be an exhaustive definition of philosophy; but a very essential element is named by it. Whenever you inquire phi¬ losophically, you look at reality in a purely receiving attitude, and this receiving-hearing — which, by the way, is a very high form of action and realization — happens without any respect to practice, power, application, utilization.

Ill It seems to be high time to make a real mark of interrogation and to formulate some objections, which are already waiting. Isn’t it absurd to restrict the idea of the “academic” to that likewise restricted concept of philosophy and theoria? Does not every university student enter a certain profession and job, in which the acquired knowledge has to be used? Isn’t the intention of all university education to produce physicians, chemists, lawyers, politicians of. excellent ability? How then shall it be un-academic to think a little of these aims? And furthermore, what might be the concrete distinguishing mark of a phi¬ losophical study — let us say, of chemistry? As to the first objection, it may be said, that our universities in fact are establishments of professional and vocational instruction, which certainly was not the case with Plato’s school in the grove of Akademos. And in this fact I grant that we see a certain un-academic element of the modern and likewise of the medieval universities. But universi¬ ties, at least in Europe, unanimously claim to be more than mere establishments of professional instruction. What could this “plus” be? What could legitimate this claim — unless the philosophicalacademic element? To be sure, that claim usually does not mean that there should be a separate “academic” sphere alongside professional instruction, but that in a true university professional instruction itself should have an academic character. But, it will be objected, does it not according to your own defini¬ tion contradict academic education to be concerned with the aims of practice? It is rather difficult to phrase rightly the answer. “Ex325

plicitly to intend that something shall not happen” and ‘‘not explicitly to intend that something shall happen” — these apparently are two different things. There exist aims which you just do not attain, if you explicitly intend to attain them; there exist goods which come into our possession only in the way that they are “added” (Matt. 6:33). When Our Lord says: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose it, shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33), of course He does not formulate a merely rhetorical antithesis; on the contrary, the sentence expresses a fact not at all restricted to the religious sphere. But to return to our subject: the professional ability of the physician, scientist, lawyer certainly is a highly welcome result of academic education. But perhaps things work in such a way that no such ability results (none that exceeds the level of mediocrity and of mere techniques), unless the presupposition of a completely “un¬ selfish,” purely theoretical study is given (“unselfish,” i.e., unconcerned with that practical result). Is it not possible that practical efficiency would depend upon the fact that theoria in its pure form was realized in advance? This may sound unrealistic and a little like “romanticism.” But to speak quite seriously, it is not probable that research deprived of its purely theoretical foundation, e.g., by the dictate of a totalitarian working state, would become at the same time sterile? Which means that the research would not produce precisely that utility, although (no, because) it was exclusively and “absolutely” intended. With this the answer to the second question is already given in part: What would be the concrete difference between the philosophical and the non-philosophical study of a special science? The difference is this purely “theoretical” approach to the subject. The difference is given by that peculiar view which is directed to the depth of real things, in which they no longer appear as such and such things, usable or unusable for such and such ends, but just as “beings.” This leaving the restricted region of particular aspects for the open sky of reality as a whole, where the being occurs as being; this astonishment, con¬ sidering the inexhaustible depth of the world considering the mystery of being; the forgetting. of all practical aims, a for¬ getting which happens to the astonished human being - all this clearly characterized the inner structure, the attitude, the atmosphere of a philosophically studied special science. The difference is a con¬ dition of being perfectly free from any connection with utility aims; and both originally and properly this freedom is what is meant bv academic freedom, which therefore by definition is extinguished once the sciences become the mere arrangement of a social power trust, no matter how it may be organized. Again, in this formula, “academic freedom,” “academic” can be interchanged with philosophical. The special sciences for their part certainly can be used with respect to utility aims; it would not at all contradict the essence or the dignity of the special sciences. Let us 326

speak quite concretely — a government may very well say: in order to realize a five-year plan, we need physicists to catch up with the start that foreign countries have on us; or, we need medical scientists to work out more effective preventives of certain epidemics. But to say we need philosophers to develop, defend, propagate a certain ideology — this cannot be said unless philosophy itself is at the same moment destroyed. There can be no philosophical theoria unless it is free. We do not speak here of a mere logical or psychological incompatibility of theoria on the one side and utilization on the other side. But we do maintain that this connection is simply deadlv, that philosophical theoria is destroyed by utilization. Philosophy is either free or it is not philosophy, whereas the special sciences are free only when carried on in a philosophical, i.e., in an academic manner. Once more, freedom’ in this connection means exclusively an independence from the aims of practice; of course, philosophy cannot be “free” of obligations to the norm of objective truth. But the in¬ dependence we speak of is a presupposition if men are to carry out this obligation. To be sure, the said difference between the academic and the non-academic waj of study — the factual difference as well as the difference in principle — has become almost imperceptible nowadays. This is the fact that characterizes our present situation. Let us put the question in the form of a “test”: “What is the difference between the chemical institute of a university and the chemical institute of a big industrial plant?” As things are today, we must expect no answer (perhaps university people would ironically say: the industrial insti¬ tutes enjoy far better financial conditions). This would mean that the distinctive character of academic education and the meaning of academic freedom can no longer be recognized — a fact which is indeed obvious in some proposals for university reform. The academic character of the university cannot be preserved or restored, for instance, by the mere addition of “general education” to professional instruction, though of course general education is some¬ thing very desirable. The academic character of a university is con¬ stituted exclusively by this, that every science is studied in an academic, i.e., in a philosophical way. The question here is not so much phi¬ losophy in the sense of a special subject (which, we may remark, can be studied in an absolutely unphilosophical way), but philosophy as a general modus of consideration, as a fundamental attitude toward reality.

IV Philosophy and philosophizing in this ancient sense live from a hidden root, of which we now have to speak. 327

At the same time

the conception of the “academic” will also be shown as something deeper than one might have supposed at first view. We are acustomed to say and to think that if you want to you can consider a matter from several different points of view — from the historical, psychological, sociological, and also the philosophical. This quite common phrase is based on the opinion that the philosophical point of view can be arbitrarily realized; that all that is required is an intellectual operation in order to start the philosophical considera¬ tion of a subject. Plato, Aristotle, Thomas and Augustine had a widely different and even an opposite opinion. If a pupil had asked them how to take a philosophical view of something, he probably would have been asked: “Is it natural, familiar to you that you are to regard the world as something divine in some sense, or at least as something venerable in itself; or are you, on the contrary, accustomed to see the world as the scene and the raw material for human activity?” This question is tied up with the possibility of philosophical theoria. For it is simply not feasible for a man to consider the world “theo¬ retically, in the undiminished meaning of this word, when the world is nothing more for him than a place for his action. Theoria in the full ancient sense cannot be realized, unless the world is looked upon as creation. Since it is true that the concepts “theoretical,” “philosophical,” and academic” are essentially connected and that “academic freedom” means simply the freedom of theoria from aiming at and being subjected to practice, then it is clear that the whole academic sphere is based on a somewhat unexpected foundation and that without this foundation it is deracinated and cannot exist. Perhaps one might say that all this belongs more to a “history of ideas than to real concrete history. As to the freedom of science, one might perhaps think that this freedom was never endangered by the decay of metaphysical ideas but only by very real powers. Now. it is exactly these real powers which are viewed in the original conception of the “academic.” The inner structure of Plato’s academy rests on the insight that the sphere of freedom, constituted by theoria, cannot be maintained against the demonic force of that will to power which attempts to make the whole world the field of centralized utilization plans; that the freedom of theoria is defenseless and without any protection, unless it betakes itself to the immediate protection of the gods. Plato apparently knew that it would be hopeless from the beginning to try to withdraw a special sphere of life from the powerful will to utility, unless that sphere were transferred to the ownership of the gods.

This is precisely what happened in Plato’s Academy,

which was a congregation of believers and worshipers, thiasos, a com¬ munity assembling at fixed times in order to sacrifice. In fact, there existed in Plato s Academy the office of one “making ready for the sacrifice.” 328


The particulars are little known; especially, • we do not know precisely what was the theological dignity of the Muses, to whom that Platonic cult was dedicated. In any case the Muses have to be thought of as real powers in the religious sphere, to whom modern phrases such as “temple of the Muses,” “temple of arts and sciences” are related as a bad, cheap imitation to reality; whereas the true cor¬ respondence would be with the angels. It is especially interesting to see that, even juridically, the in¬ dependence of the Platonic Academy from the political power was exclusively based on its sacred character. The sentence, Caesar non est sufra grammaticos, which was still valid in the epoch of the Roman Emperors, becomes understandable only on the presupposition that grammarians belong to or still pass as belonging to the sacrum, which was not impeachable by any political power. Yet it should not be forgotten that to this fact of the external juridical order there corresponds an inner fact of great importance — the fact, namely, that the religious performance of the cult, merely by itself, by its own power and before and independently of all juridical rules, makes men free and exempts them from being bound in any way to the immediate aims of practical life. The cult in itself con¬ stitutes, from within, that factual juridical asylum and refuge, and simultaneously that field of immunity, that sanctuary of leisure (schole) and school. We take the Occidental conception of the “academic” much too superficially when we separate it from those inner and remaining origins. These origins would still remain valid and efficient, even if the political power had long ago destroyed as “liberal nonsense” the juridical unimpeachability of that academic asylum. Even if there no longer existed any academic institution as a public reality, even then the idea of the “academic” could be realized out of those metaphysical sources, in a cell of contemplation — realized as the attitude of theoria, the freedom of which, it is true, would perhaps have to stand the test as defenseless witness to truth. This is, at the same time, the ultimate definition of the concept “academic.” V We still have to clarify the outline of this picture which could be given as a blueprint. There are two contrasting figures, the char¬ acterization of which will probably render our subject clearer. The first figure must be cited as the person who plainly and explicitly denies the idea of the “academic,” and the second, a much more dangerous figure, as one who affirms that idea, but insincerely and deceit¬ fully. The first figure is that of the “worker” or “functionary” or “official”; the second is that of the sophist. 329

What does the conception of the “worker” (functionary, official), mean in this connection? First of all, it would of course be a serious misunderstanding to think that the working people would be considered as the counterpart of the academic. Oh the contrary we are convinced that the simple man of the people, the “man in the street,” provided he preserves his true simplicity, is able to contemplate in his own way “the whole of the world” and is thus able to realize the very heart of the academic attitude. We have not in mind any social determina¬ tion of the “academic” nor of its counterpart. What then do we understand by the “worker” if not the working class? We mean a certain general ideal of man, which has been formulated in Germany especially by Ernst Junger. This ideal of “the worker” certainly did find a concrete realization. But the range of this realization is not identical with the social group known as the working class; and no statistical survey of social conditions can inform us at all as to whether a man is a “worker” in the sense of that ideal. It is this ideal, and this exclusively, of which we are speaking here. Now, what does this ideal of the “worker” mean? It means that “service” and “social function” are taken to be the total substance of a truly human life. It means that the complete absorption of the individual in the organizational framework of social planning would be the proper fulfillment of human existence. This ideal is especially prospering in the sphere of totalitarian regimes. In order to get an idea of the concrete power and influence of that ideal, one must perceive the almost religious fervor with which the "transformation of the individual into the worker” is customarily proclaimed by its followers. E. Junger went so far as to say that man thereby reaches a condition in which “he can be immolated without hesitation.” It goes without saying that the attitude of philosophical theoria and the exclusive attitude of the fulfillment of any “plan” whatsoever completely contradict each other. The basic ideal of the worker, as expressed by Junger, is to take the appeasement of the necessities of life and adorn that appeasement with heroic symbols and elevate it to the metaphysical rank of a step in a process of salvation. Whereas the idea of the “academic,” on the contrary, supposes that the true richness of man does not consist in his becoming maitre ~et possesseur

de la nature, a master and owner able to satisfy every need.

This mastery and possession is not unimportant, of course; to a certain extent, it is even simply necessary. Nevertheless the ultimate and proper richness of man does not consist in this. In what, then, does it consist? In his ability to see what is, to see real things! It con¬ sists in the fact that man is able to perceive things themselves, not onlv as something useful or detrimental, as something usable or useless, but as something being. The idea of the academic includes the thesis that the true richness of man consists in his being capax universi, in his ability, as a receiving-perceiving subject, to come up to the whole 330


of all real things — in St. Thomas’ formula, convenire cum omni ente. The incompatibility of the idea of the academic with the ideal of Junger’s “worker” is thus clear. But it has also become clear that the power of that opposition cannot be overcome by what we usually call the “merely academic attitude,” nor by the powers of merely humanistic education and culture, but, if at all, exclusively out of the origin and source of the truly academic attitude, i.e., by the force of theoria which opens itself to the venerable treasures of creation. It is this mere “humanism,” cut off from such an origin, which characterizes the sophist — this and something else. The sophist is a timeless figure. The fight of Socrates and Plato against Protagoras and Gorgias will never be finished. And whoever appeals to the school of Plato will have to engage in the fight, for the Platonic Academy was an antisophistic institution. “Academic” means “antisophistic.” But what, in the concrete, is a sophist? There exist several different types. There is for instance the relativist Protagoras, who was the first one to formulate the fundamental principle of every sophistic humanism: man is the measure of all things. There is Hippias, who knows how to nonplus by polyhistoric knowledge. There is Prodicos, who is clever at making conceivable from below anything that is higher; he knows how to dress down whatever is great and to show that the average is the true reality. Last and not least, there is Gorgias, the nihilist, fascinating by formalistic elegance, who adorns nothingness with the sonorous magic of haute litterature. All these Sophists have in common something that separates them from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. To be concrete, what is common to the Sophists is to deny the following positions: the primary form of human cognition is theoria, directed to being in itself and aiming at nothing but truth; the human mind thus receives its measure from reality, as does a person who is hearing; and, further on, man depends on the “Ancients,” whose word is something venerable and in a special way “true,” not only because of its antiquity but because and in so far as there is preserved in it a message on the true essence of the world, handed down from the gods — i.e., because and so far as the doctrine of the Ancients is a vehicle of an original revelation and tradition concerning the structure of reality as a whole. The sophists stand against all this. Any obligation to the Ancients and to a tradi¬ tion must seem simply unreasonable to the enlightened, critical and autonomous subject. And as to the deeper and prior obligation of spirit to the norm of objective reality, the sophist says that form is much more important than content. The sophist perhaps has no presentiment that it is exactly through this twofold boundlessness that he becomes liable to and we may say ripe for the impact of totalitarian powers. Whosoever denies the inner obligation of spirit to truth makes possible and even provokes the obliga¬ tion to the foreign and improper aims of any practice whatsoever. 331

Perhaps the sophist is not prepared to meet the figure of the “worker” on his own grounds, and perhaps this meeting would be very unwelcome to him. But this does not make it impossible that the connection between the two forms of degeneration' tegarding the true relations of things should exist and effectively work its way through, I should say, even in the political sphere. So that, for instance, the' decay of aca¬ demic freedom not only cannot be stopped by a sophistically degenerated

Geisteswissenschaft, but that decay will even be thereby accelerated. Yet perhaps it should be somewhat more precisely indicated how this sophistical degeneration of academic life might appear in the concrete. First of all, it is merely a matter of course that the simple accumulation of scientific data — which, by the way, has been blamed enough — is more allied to the polyhistoric Hippias than to Plato. Second¬ ly, it may be a somewhat moot point whether the systematic scientific knowledge of a closed special discipline and branch may be called academic in the original sense. I should say that so far as “the expert” catches sight of his subject as something simply “being,” i.e., in so far as he is able to transcend the closed region of fixed aspects and thus reach the philosophical dimension, only then and only so far is he truly an academic figure. Thirdly, a certainly sophistical phenomenon is the mere “highbrow”; the merely “sophisticated” man of literature, arts, journalism; the “writer” (in the manner of Confucius: “Whose form surmounts his contents, he is a writer”). “Rhetoric” in this sense is the proper domain of the Sophists, who, as Socrates or Plato says, are far from calling a man “powerful in speech” because of his veracity. Yet all this is still harmless and rather indifferent. Mere polvhistorism, isolated expertism, empty formalism and irresponsible highbrowism — these sophistical degenerations do not yet reach the ultimate opposition to the idea of the “academic.” We still .have to speak of the ultimate opposition, in which, under the guise of the academic, the substance of the “academic” is betrayed. I have in mind here any education, any study, any institu¬ tion of learning, which is not founded upon veneration. Whenever the element of criticism, which may appear in many different forms (for instance, in the form of an allegedly “objective” indifference to the reality of what is venerable; or in the denunciatory attitude of the mere will for deterioration, which is something rather common in the field of sociology and psychology; or even as simple cynicism, as in certain forms of nihilistic existentialism), whenever that element of criticism has become so characteristic that the attitude of veneration is dissolved by it, then we have the extreme form of anti-academic sophistry. Then the heart of the academic attitude is destroyed. Let us remember once again the answers to two questions. First, what has to be imagined as the object of this veneration? The answer is “being itself,” which possesses the character of venerability because it exists, or better because it is created. As a further subject of venera332

tion we must include the “Ancients,” and by them we do not mean the “pioneers” in special sciences, since these pioneers are in general obsolete and more or less forgotten; but the “Ancients” mean the re¬ presentatives of “integral tradition,” in which the world as a whole is interpreted, and that before any human effort of thinking. The second question is, Why is veneration the heart of the idea of the academic and why is the very substance of the academic approach injured when veneration is no longer realized? Because without vener¬ ation theoria in its full unweakened sense cannot be effected, and because theoria is the decisive element of the philosophical act, which in its turn constitutes the substance of the “academic.” Herewith the circle closes, in the conception of theoria, the inner possibility of which is destroyed by the “sophist,” whereas its real achievement necessarily contradicts all the utility plans of Junger’s “worker.” Thus the “sophist” and Junger’s “worker” appear as the typical and representative figures opposed to the idea of the idea of the “academic.” VI f

Now a kind of epilogue, quite separate, just a “coda,” a new question, to which, moreover, I confess I have not a clear and definitive answer. In Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus, the Thracian maid represents “the many.” This can only be interpreted to mean that, according to Plato, the opposite of philosophy and of the philosophical attitude is the average, practical, workaday man, the majority, the multitude, the mass. And this would not only mean that the realization of philosophical theoria is not everybody’s cup of tea, but that this realization takes place against and in spite of the many; that it belongs to the essence of the matter that philosophy should be unpopular, in both senses: not liked, as well as “unintelligible,” inconceivable. The question that comes up is this, Does it therefore belong to the substance of the “academic” to be something segregated and divorced from “the many”? If so, what would that mean? Considering the explosive problems involved by the catchword “democracy,” it goes without saying that we are entering an area that is like a sea full of mines. This circumstance, however, does not dispense us from asking the question and taking respectful account of the fact that the question has been affirmatively answered by the great Occidental tradition: yes, the academic sphere certainly is a region segregated from the many. This for instance is the reason for Plato’s dislike of the written word: that it is unable to keep silence against those to whom silence is the best answer. The root of this dislike is not a general decision from the beginning, but a kind of experience with people, a very 333



fundamental experience with human nature.


“What more beautiful

could have been done by us in ou,r lifetime than to bring to light the essence of things for everybody?” This is an exclamation of the aging Plato in his seventh letter; but with some resignation he adds that his opinion on this subject is that it is impossible to speak or write “before the many.”

When in the Politics Aristotle mentions

the “vulgar irritation” of certain musical forms and says that the “multitude of slaves” was susceptible to it, he means “the many”; it would simply be an incorrect interpretation to understand the con¬ ception “slave” as if it meant something that could be made to dis¬ appear by the liberation of the slaves or by any social progress what¬ ever. Even the Christian Doctor of the Church, Thomas Aquinas, speaks of the “silly multitude” (multitudo stultorum) who rush after money but do not consider that wisdom cannot be purchased. Also the old distinction between “exoteric” and “esoteric” comes into play here, a distinction completely foreign to modern thinking. Who still understands why, as Clement of Alexandria says (Strom, 5, 21), barbarians as well as Greeks kept secret “the fundamental doctrines about reality”? It may be noted, however, that Goethe very seriously declared this incapacity of distinguishing “exoteric” from “esoteric” to be evil and a catastrophe. Let us hear the opposing arguments: The exclusiveness of learned people, which is merely an anachronism, is one reason why the gulf between the social classes has deepened, and by no means should it be further encouraged; there has to be an elite, but it is dangerous to separate and isolate it and to advance an “elite-consciousness”; more than others the elite has to keep contact with the workaday reality of “the many”; the idea of the academic here formulated is something undemocratic and even unchristian — and so on. What reply is to be made to these objections? If “democratic” is understood in such a way that “aristocratic” is thereby excluded, then indeed the idea of the “academic” is an “undemocratic” idea. For it means that there are actual differences of rank among men and that the many, the average man, the majority, and “common sense” cannot be taken as an authority with regard to what is ultimately true, good and worthwhile for men. As for the exclusiveness of learned people, the academic attitude is certainly meant to be an attitude which differs from the attitude of the many, but it is not an attitude toward the many, not in the least an attitude which is concerned with the many. Moreover, the many and the academic sphere are not to be taken in the sense of different social strata. No doubt the “Thracian maid” represents the many, but she does not at all represent a social stratum. She may belong to any social stratum and apparently she does; likewise, suceptibility to the “vulgar irritation of certain musical forms” may be found in any social stratum.

And what about the misgiving the Christian might 334

feel when he hears about “discrimination against the many”?


about the suspicion that in this way contempt for the little and simple man might be encouraged? I should answer: first of all, “the many” means anything but the simple man, though the man of “the many” as an individual person might of course be included. The idea of the academic means simply this, and it very resolutely means it: you cannot help the man of “the many” by accepting his world and his way of life, but only by showing him that the banality in the average life of the masses is radically insufficient and inhuman. When we mention the sphere of the many, we do not have in mind the real world of the working people. Of course not. But we do think of that make-believe world which is ordinarily taken for reality by the many. We do think of that feigned sham-world of empty stimulation, serving the vain satisfaction of public boredom and get¬ ting the applause of the many — a world that has a radical incapacity for reflection, leisure, silence and contemplation, and because of this incapacity is perpetually drawn into the streets and dissipated. Every¬ body knows what we are speaking about here: it is the mere sensations of sports and circuses, the latest novelties in entertainments, the epi¬ demic forms of mere time-killing, and so on. Indeed, it fe in part by putting a limit to these claims and by saying No to that make-believe world that the truly academic sphere is distinguished and segregated from the sphere of “the many.” It is not for the sake of segregation and “distinction,” but in order to preserve the real and true world of creation from being cheapened that this barrier has to be erected; and because the real world is fundamentally much more fascinating than any sensation ever can be. The self-distinction of the academic sphere,, which originates in the feeling of an undeserved richness and has nothing to do with pre¬ sumption, ought to be recognized as something essential and indispens¬ able and therefore it should be advanced and encouraged. After these remarks and hints the question concerning the con¬ nection between “academic” and “esoteric” of course still remains open and unanswered. It is merely asked. It seems to me that so many elements of the original substance of the “academic” have to be re¬ covered that an exhaustive answer is impossible. But to see and weigh the question itself and its meaning — this, at least, is indispensable.



> i,

Science and the Humanities ROBERT J. HENLE

The Problem The problem which I am about to discuss has been described as the dichotomy, in our modern culture, between “the sciences” and “the humanities” with the resulting split of Western intellectual life into two polar groups, having little mutual understanding and less comunication.1 Obviously this is an intricate and complicated problem.


are some elements or aspects which I would like to eliminate and with which I will not here be concerned. There may be- too few scientists or engineers in our society. We are perhaps neglecting Editor's note: This article is a revised version of an address delivered before the national meeting of the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs at the University of Villanova, May 14, 1960. 1Cf. C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, the Rede Lecture 1959 (Cambridge University Press, 1959); Frederick Burkhardt, Science and the Humanities, Antioch College Founders Day Lecture (Yellow Springs: The Antioch Press, 1959); Gerald Holton, “Modern Science and the Intellectual Tradition,” Science, Vol. 131 (April 22, 1960), pp. 1187-1192. Robert J. Henle, S.J., “Science and the Humanities,” in Thought (Winter, 1960) XXXV, No. 139, pp. 513 - 536. By permission of publisher.


r.. “pure” or “basic” research, too much taken up with “hardware” and not enough concerned with scientific theory. Perhaps there is a serious imbalance in the distribution of financial support among the disciplines. I am here going to ignore all these and similar questions. I shall understand the problem to be one of the interrelationships between “science” and the “humanities” in our total 'culture. But again I would limit this. I do not think we should be immediately con¬ cerned with the outlook and attitudes or the education of each indi¬ vidual in our society. We might, for example, argue that the aver: age college student simply does not know enough science or that more or a different kind of mathematics should be taught in high school. This sort of question is not at the heart of the problem. Rather the problem immediately concerns the outlook and views of the intellec¬ tual leaders, of scholars, researchers, writers, thinkers, educators, and, by derivation and consequently, the structure and content of educa¬ tion and the ideas current throughout the society. Fundamentally, we are dealing with the basic ideas, the values, the general views, the understanding and knowledge possessed and held by the intellectuals and scholars; held and possessed not only individually, which of course must be so, but also in mutual understanding, in communication, in conscious agreement — that is, socially — so that we can speak of a “common” culture. For is not our attention here directed to an assertion that in current Western Society such a “common” culture does not exist, has not been achieved or, having been achieved on some older basis, is now being destroyed and that the cause lies somewhere in the results of the “scientific revolution,” usually dated as of the seventeenth century and in the indeterminate position of “science” itself in our culture?2 This new science which came into being within a previously existing and, in a very fundamental sense, unified culture, has not transformed our culture by being properly assimilated within the total culture. No one, I think, will deny that modern Western culture — and more recently all the world cultures — have been radically and eruptively affected by the scientific revolution, but many are saying that science still lies within our culture too much like an undeveloped pearl in an oyster, a foreign body, an irritant, even though it be a stimulant to action.

Historical Parallels For the sake of perspective I should like to remark that this is not the first time this sort of problem has been faced in Western ^Historians of science usually speak of the scientific revolution of the seven¬ teenth or of the sixteenth and seventeenth century; Snow speaks of the “scientific revolution which is currently going on. Both uses are quite legitimate.



culture. Our culture has been successively disrupted by intellectual and spiritual revolutions, by the incursion of strange gods and of foreign ideas. We can think of the inrush of Greek culture into Rome; of the clash between the wisdom of the Gospel and the wisdom of the World, of the invasion of the Gothic — of Norman and Teuton — into Europe, of the confrontation of Aristotle, Averroes and Augustine in thirteenth-century Paris, of Scholasticism and the New Learning, and so on. In all these cases there was a period of struggle between extreme positions. Cato wished to expel the Greek rhetoricians and exile them from Rome forever. What, cried Tertullian, has Christ to do with Aristotle or Jerusalem with Athens? This was his rhetorical rejection of Aristotle and Athens, but his pagan contemporaries would have echoed it as a rejection of Christ and Jerusalem. Yet in this confrontation, the active assimilation was so complete that Christianity itself seemed to become simply Roman and Greek. In the three great cultural crises of Christian thought prior to the sixteenth century — classical culture versus Revelation, early me¬ diaeval culture versus the Aristotelian-Arabian invasion, later mediae¬ val culture versus the New Learning of the Humanists — the oppo¬ sitions were overcome and the opposing factors brought to a richer cultural synthesis by an active, intelligent and discriminating effort on the part of Christian intellectuals.3 A similar labor lies ahead of Christian intellectuals today — for we have not yet carried out this discriminating assimilation of the results of the scientific revolution; we have not done so, specifically, in Christian culture nor in Western culture generally. Let me just refer here to a neat case-example. The second article of St. Thomas’ Summa Theologiae asks “whether sacred doctrine is a science” (JJtrum Sacra Doctrina sit scientia'). This is a question which would not and could not have been asked in tenth-century Christian culture. In this question, the Aristotelian theory of scien tific knowledge is confronted with the tradition of Christian doctrine — a sort of pinpoint epitome of the Aristotelian crisis of the thirteenth century. St. Thomas does not reject Aristotle’s theory nor deny its appli¬ cability in the matter of sacred doctrine. He treats both with the most careful respect and, by a sharp analysis, produces a genial solu¬ tion, which, at the same time, transforms both Sacra Doctrina and the Aristotelian Epistemology. 3An interesting illustration of what has amounted almost to an identification of classical and Christian education is afforded by the Gaume controversy. Abbe Gaume attacked the use of the pagan classics in the lower years of seminary edu¬ cation; he was opposed vigorously by the distinguished Bishop of Orleans, Mon¬ signor Dupanloup, who, finally, was supported by direct instructions from Rome.


Approaches to a Solution


Concern over the nonassimilation of “science” has been displayed in many different intellectual quarters and has been variously in¬ terpreted. For some the proper reconstruction of a common culture will be achieved only when it is recognized that science, while not the whole of culture, is the most important part and should determine and give meaning to all the rest.4 This interpretation rests on an assumption that the “scientific method” is “the only reliable method for discovering something, or anything, that can be called ‘truth’.” In this view, “Scientific research is directed at the whole of nature, at its most minute events and its farthermost galaxies. There is no special ‘scientific field’; no aspect of the atom, no aspect of life, no aspect of time or space, can be con¬ ceived as lying outside its purview. Science would cease to be science and its victories over the unknown would decrease were it to fail to explore the whole of nature for exploration’s sake. But no inter¬ pretation of the atom or of life or of time or of space can be accepted as other than mere speculation until it has been verified by accept¬ able scientific method.”5 Thus, in its crudest form, this position denies any independent knowledge value to philosophy or the humanities and, of course, to Revelation and theology. Philosophy may be allowed to be of some indirect value. As imaginative speculation, it suggests solutions, stimulates investigation, arouses the critical mind. It was all right and even useful for the philosophers of sixth-century Greece to put forth their guesses about the celestial situation. How explain the pin points of light that could be seen in the heavens on any Grecian night? Perhaps a black envelope, irregularly punctured, was between us and ever-burning fires; perhaps they were reflections from lights we could not see. This was all very well until the scientific astronomers found out the facts. Thus when the fifth-century scientists proved that the moon shone with reflected light there was no longer room or need for philosophical speculation. know the facts.

Philosophy is finished as soon as we

We can allow too that the humanities are useful, even necessary, but not in order to know or understand. Poetry may refine the emo¬ tions, stimulate feeling, like music, soothe the savage breast; but we do not know anything through it. For this position the matter has already been settled in principle; See Bentley Glass, Science and Liberal Education (Baton Rouge' Louisiana State University Press, 1960). .r ^0mer W. smith ‘‘Objectives and Objectivity in Science,” The Yale Scien¬ tific Magazine, Vol. XXIII, No. 5 (February 1949), p. 2.


A it remains to reconstruct our culture. Some of the proponents of this view think we have failed to do so because of the powerful oppo¬ sition of “organized” religion.6 In any case, culture should be re¬ constructed on a scientific base. There are various mitigated forms of this position, and I would incline to place John Dewey here, which really makes use of two meanings of “scientific method” not in any clear-cut way but in a sort of double-talk. “Scientific method” is simply the natural method of intelligent inquiry, and so on, and so may apply in any discipline in which intelligent inquiry is carried on, but ultimately it turns out that “intelligent inquiry” is really only a generalization of the basic pattern of specialized natural science, -not of human knowing taken in its full generality. The program of these people is then to put science, taken in a fairly narrow sense, at the center of culture and to derive from it or at least check by it all the fundamental ideas and principles of culture — particularly of ethics. Science would, in this new culture, play all the knowledge roles played by philosophy, theology and the humanities in prescientific culture. Burkhardt reports, without specific references, an opinion in which science is pretty, well relegated “to furnishing services and material goods.”7 While one does not find this position put forth in a theo¬ retically developed fashion, it does translate what seems to be the attitude of some humanists. Science is only the theoretical side of technology and has about as much to do with general intellectual culture as a theory of army logistics or a system for winning on the races. There are others, especially among those concerned with educa¬ tion, who seem to take a sort of “quantified” view of the problem. Individuals in our culture do not possess enough knowledge of sci¬ ence or, on the other hand, of the humanities. What then we have to do is provide a sufficient number of courses from each discipline in our general education. Others, likewise mostly among the educators, think we will solve the problem by “humanizing” the sciences, by teaching them in a “liberal” way and so really getting rid of the division by making science much the same sort of thing as the other humanities. On this side it is pointed out that when we speak of the “liberal arts and sciences,” the phrase should mean the “liberal arts and the liberal sciences.” Scientists often object to this as being a subterfuge which substitutes the history of science or some vague talk about science for genuine scientific training. 6Oscar Riddle, The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought (New York: Van¬ tage Press. 1954). 7Op. cit., p. 26.


History of Culture and the Problem of Specialization Here I should like to digress for a moment into the history of culture. This history can be and has been read in many different fashions. There is Comte’s reading which fits it into the three stages, theological, philosophical, positivistic. One can see it as a long up¬ ward struggle against “the dogmatic, other-wordly, super-naturalistic, tender-minded, rationalistic, parochial . . .” toward “the critical, worldly, naturalistic, fact-minded, empirical, experimental, and universally ap¬ plicable ways of thinking.”8 In general, this is the pattern adopted by Logical Positivists.9 A very similar reading is used by the Deweyites; in fact the Deweyite history of culture can be written in a series of stereotypes. Whenever anyone is discovered in previous history who seems to espouse the empirical scientific method or a “democratic” view, he is seen as opposed to his own culture, daringly challenging ancient superstitions and tyrannies, as ahead of his time, a forerunner and a pro¬ phet. This stereotype, in some cases, almost reduces itself to a set verbal formula: Though a devout Franciscan monk living in the thirteenth century, he wrote, “of the three ways in which men think they acquire knowledge of things, authority, reason and experience, only the last is effective. .. .”10 ... it is significant that within only two centuries Christopher Co¬ lumbus had dared to contradict the teaching of traditional philosophy and theology with evidence derived from the senses.11 These a priori readings of history and the imposition of their stereotypes on historical data produce distortion of fact, often both incredible and amusing,12 no less than did the imposition of the He¬ gelian pattern on the history of philosophy. Yet there are no doubt various legitimate ways of reading the history of culture - individually inadequate but mutually supplementary. 8Herbert Feigl, Aims of Education for Our Age of Science: Reflections of a Logical Empiricist” in Modern Philosophies and Education, Fifty-fourth Year¬ book (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1955). 9 See also the interpretation of the history of philosophy presented in Part One of Hans Reichenbach s The Rise of Scientific Philosophy (Berkeley and Los An¬ geles: University of California Press, 1951). “I- N. Thut, The Story of Education (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957) p. 208 (itahcts added). 11lhid., p. 210 (italics added). 12As an example which I find both incredible and hilarious, I quote the following from John Dewey s How We Think (New York: Heath, 1910, pp. 5 - 6> Men thought the world was flat until Columbus thought it to be round. The earlier thought was a belief held because men had not the energy or the courage to question what those about them accepted and taught, especially as it was suggested and seemingly confirmed by obvious sensible facts. The thought of Columbus was a reasoned conclusion. It marked the close of study into facts of scrutiny and revision of evidence, of working out the implications of various hypotheses, and of comparing these theoretical results with one another and with known facts. Because Columbus did not accept unhesitatingly the current traditional theory, because he doubted and inquired, he arrived at his thought. Skep¬ tical of what, from long habit, seemed most certain, and credulous of what seemed

ES anAisTsSf •


“uU Pr°du“ eviden“ for both his 342

A I should like to suggest that the history of Western culture can quite properly be read as a development and deployment of an in¬ creasing number of disciplines through the discovery and elaboration of different modes or wavs of knowing. Historians of philosophy have asked whether Thales’ implicit question, “What’s it all made of?” or “What’s basic in everything?” was a philosophical or physical or chemical question. When Thales spoke of “water” or “liquid” was he proposing a metaphysical prin¬ ciple, an ultimate entative stuff, or a state of matter (liquid as op¬ posed to solid or gaseous), or a chemical substance something like our H2O. This topic is always an excellent discussion piece for the classroom. I think, however, that the truth of the matter is that Thales’ question is all of these at once and yet none of them. We might argue in a plain-man sort of way that we are asking a simple straightforward question to which we want a straightforward answer. But the simplest questions turn out to be indeterminate. We find that we really cannot define a question until we have given an answer; that the answers we arrive at often define or redefine our question. Progress becomes possible only when it is seen that there is no single total answer to such a question; that it must be broken down not simply into partial questions but into different levels of questions. So we can thus derive a rather simple paradigm for the advance¬ ment of knowledge: question — method of solution or discovery — answer, in which all three parts are homogeneous and mutually de¬ termining. If it is asked, “What is it made of?” and the answer given is CaHsOa, we know at once that the question was understood to be a chemical question and, by the same token, we know that the answer could be found only by a chemical method. In this history of culture questions are constantly being turned into multiple ques¬ tions by the discovery of new methods, of new answers and even of suspicions of new answers. Intellectual progress has been possible only because of an increasing multiplicity of methodologies and dis¬ ciplines. Established methods and theories act, to a greater or lesser extent, as a prison to the mind and a drag on the imagination.13 The emer¬ gence of a new method, or a new idea of organization in .knowledge generally brings in a period of confusion and readjustment as well as a new surge forward in discovery and understanding. The de¬ velopment of a geometrical mode of thinking in early Greece led to all the Phythagorean confusions between mathematical and physical analyses of real objects. The introduction of the full Aristotelian

13See my “The Health Organization Research Program,” in Conference: Techniques of Research (Saint Louis: Saint Louis University, 1960).


logic into western Europe set the pattern of University teaching for almost three centuries.

The successful application of mathematics

to problems of motions set off a wildly enthusiastic effort to apply mathematics everywhere. One Anglican divine attempted to paral¬ lel Newton’s Philosofhiae Naturalis Princifia Mathematica with a Theologiae Christianae Princifia Mathematica in which, it is said, he tried to work out mathematical formulae for the degrees of heav¬ enly glory. Gradually the new methods came to be understood and the new disciplines more clearly marked out. The question-method-answer formula is sharply defined and typical problems identified. Mean¬ while, the resulting expansion of discovery, of knowledge and under¬ standing goes on apace. Two relevant considerations can now be drawn from this historical digression. First, we must point out that in a period of creative intellectual development, not merely of material extension of well-established disciplines, we cannot hope to arrive at a truly clear and well-defined pattern of disciplines within a common culture. We are in such a period now and, specifically, with reference to science. I agree with Snow that what is now going on in science deserves to be called a new “revolution,” not merely a continuation of the “revolution” of the seventeenth century. If we seek, then, a neat formula to solve our present problem, we will not find one, and the reason why we will not lies in the progressive and creative differentiation through which Western culture continues to go. Secondly, the formal diversification of knowledge has been one of the essential factors in the vast expansion of knowledge. This formal diversification and this material accumulation of knowledge have now reached the point where the present level of culture and its continuing expansion are possible only through extreme specializa¬ tion. It may once have been possible for intelligent scholars to encom¬ pass many fields of learning, but it is no longer possible. For exam¬ ple, in the seventeenth century how much mathematics was there to know? I would guess that an intelligent person could have mas¬ tered it in a matter of months. One moved to the frontiers of dis¬ ciplines very quickly, when Boyle’s law was a discovery and not simply one of many items in an elementary textbook, when Torri¬ celli’s experiment was eagerly studied by the best men of the time rather than simply repeated endlessly in high school classrooms. Things are vastly different now. We need not overwhelm ourselves with statistics, yet they do stroke out the problem boldly. There are now some 50,000 scientific and technical journals publishing something 344

like 1,200,000 articles annually. Annually there appear some 60,000 new science books and about 100,000 research' reports.14 The problem of cultural dichotomy with which we are dealing is often thought of as resulting from specialization or, at least, from overspecialization. It is now clear, I think, that we cannot eliminate specialization from the world of scholarship. At the upper levels of all disciplines we continue to need specialists, who will make them¬ selves continually more and more specialized with a kind of intense intellectual asceticism. We cannot think of producing any significant number of firstrate scholars who, at the level of scholarship, will be in any true sense generalists or universal scholars. Moreover, even if we could do so, we would not solve our problem, for to locate two disciplines within a single mind is not to establish their interrelation or their value. Indeed, if the question of principle is not solved, such a situa¬ tion would result either in an inner intellectual dichotomy with in¬ sulated intellectual compartments, as sometimes is seen in religious scientists, or in far worse confusion. The solution cannot lie either in eliminating or in mixing specialization at the highest level'of scholar-

A Problem of Knowledge Now every conception of the role science should play in our intel¬ lectual culture and of the way it should be assimilated into our com¬ mon culture rests upon an evaluation of the sort of knowledge science is. We cannot determine whether science should supersede philosophy or whether it should be entirely subordinated to the humanities with¬ out deciding, at least implicitly, what sorts of knowledge we have in these disciplines. I propose to approach the general problem through this question which I believe is the primary and commanding ques¬ tion in the entire discussion. What sorts of knowledge do we human beings have? Moreover, if the reading of cultural history which I have suggested is at all sound, the solution to this knowledge ques¬ tion will likewise illumine the historical situation to which we have come. If now we reflect on the proposed question, it appears to be a very special type of question. We would, for example, have to ask, “What sort of knowledge is chemistry?” Yet this is not a chemical question which can be studied by chemical methods and answered in chemical terms. We cannot ask a chemist, qua chemist, to determine the nature of chemical knowledge. We are asking a question that is outside chemistry, that looks at the totality of chemistry; the chem14Gerald Holten, op. cit., p. 1187; cf. Conway Zirkle, “Our Splintered Learning and the Status of Scientists,” Science, CXXf, No. 3146 (April 15, 1955), pp. 513-519.


ist as such is within chemistry.

Moreover, the very problem' is to

define a chemist as a knower. By the same token and even more clearly, the question as to the value and place of chemical knowledge in the totality of culture is not a chemical question. What sort of questions then are these? These questions have traditionally been called philosophical and are still so considered espe¬ cially in Catholic philosophical circles. I accept this as a philosophi¬ cal task and therefore as the responsibility of the philosopher, in particular, of the epistemologist. But one is immediately faced with difficulties which cannot be ignored and, which cannot, either, be permitted to block us. For this decision forces us to take a stand about the nature of philosophy and the validity of its claims to judge all knowledge, even its own, according to its nature as knowledge. This claim to some sort of intellectual jurisdiction over other and indeed autonomous disciplines arouses understandable resentment. Yet, in all honesty, the issue cannot be avoided; the problem is philosophical and must be so handled. Moreover, the task makes an almost impossible demand upon the philosopher himself, fife must, of course, be trained and experienced in philosophical method and philosophical thinking. But he cannot answer these “knowledge” questions out of some pure philosophical theory of his own. There is no a priori answer. The task demands a philosophical examination, not dictation, of what the scientist, the humanist and even the theologian do as knowers. There is no neat pattern that lays all this out in advance. We cannot find some pre¬ cious formula in St. Thomas and by it instruct the sociologist how he should go about the business of sociological thinking. The phi¬ losopher is dependent upon the actual existence of disciplines for the development of his theory. Hence, the work of the epistemologist is never done; he must be careful to maintain an open theory, ready to develop with the appearance of new disciplines. The progressive differentiation of knowledge provides the philosopher with new data; the new disciplines are new subjects of study for the epistemologist as a new species of insect is a new subject of study for the biologist. If we can establish a sound philosophical theory of knowledge, it will be an indispensable tool in the reconstruction of culture and the reintegration of human knowledge; indeed, it is itself one form of integration, for, if fully and properly carried out, it is an ordering and an interordering of all our knowledges.

Ways of Knowing The fundamental option here is between a theory of one formal intellectual discipline and one formal valid methodology and a theory 346

r which allows for many formally different disciplines and recognizes formally different and valid methodologies. Of the first type Des¬ cartes is the first modern proponent as he had succeeded in uniting geometry and algebra into a single discipline so he thought he would be able to connect all human knowledge in a single concatenation, homogeneous in method and formality, thus achieving a single human science of all things. This dream has haunted modern philosophy and is the ideal proposed by many contemporary thinkers. There would not be different kinds of knowledge, only knowledge of different things. On the other side is the Aristotelian and the Thomistic tradi¬ tion which sees in the whole of human knowing a unity in formal diversity. Aristotle gives us a neat example of this sort of theory in the first part of the Physics where he discovers an intrinsic difference between the mode of defining used by the mathematician and that used by the philosopher. This difference gives rise to two formally different conceptual schemes, which cannot simply be added together or translated into each other. It seems to me that the facts of human knowing experience demand and dictate a pluralistic epistemology. It is quite common to pose general cultural questions, as does the title of thjs article itself, in terms of dichotomies: “Science and Religion”; “Science and General Culture”; “Science and Common Sense,” and so on. We cannot, however, really make a fundamental approach to the basic problem as long as we think of it within the limits of any simple dichotomy like the title of this article, “Science and the Humanities.” These dichotomies set the problems inadequately and, in their very statement, already exclude or confuse elements es¬ sential to a solution. Moreover, the general terms used bear so many vague meanings and are used, by university administrators, by educational theories, by others, to include such a variety of actual disciplines that we are forced to begin with a fresh division. If I may be allowed to anticipate a bit, the term “humanities” is used to include things like plays, literary criticism, philology, and so forth, which cannot be put in the same epistemological category. Again, when one talks of “Science versus the Humanities,” sometimes “philosophy” is thought of falling within the “humanities,” sometimes as falling within “science,” sometimes it is simply ignored. I propose to extricate myself entirely from all these confusions and these vague preconceived groupings of individual disciplines by attempting to identify the basic formal differences in modes of knowl¬ edge within our refined culture. This will give us, then, an episte¬ mological tool for classifying the various given disciplines and for determining their interrelationships. 347

f. I suggest that we can identify at least five formally distinct re¬ fined15 ways of knowing (the order of presentation is irrelevant): 1.

The Humanistic way of knowing


The Scientific way of knowing


The Philosophical way of knowing


The Mathematical way of knowing


The Theological way of knowing

I propose this division as a generic one only.

There may he for¬

mal differences within these types (e.g., “ethical” and “metaphysical” within “philosophical”; “biological” and “physical” within “scientific”) which give rise to a multiplicity of individual disciplines. Moreover, at this point I am prescinding from practical and applied knowledge. Again, these modes are all modes of knowing the “real.”


logic” is, therefore, not being considered. I am maintaining that these five ways of knowing are irreducibly different, that they, therefore, give rise to formally different groups of disciplines which involve formally different methodologies, that these disciplines are radically autonomous, though not wholly so, that they are independent yet are interrelated in a variety of different ways. The nub and the rub of the situation lie in the fact that these differences are formal, not simply material; that there is an overlap of subject matter under a difference of form. This may well be illustrated by asking where in the University we can find out about “man”? The philosophy department offers a “Philosophy of Man”; there are courses on human anatomy, human learning, cul¬ ture, and so on. “Man” appears to be split up and divided throughout the University; he is subject matter for many different disciplines. Having merely indicated that there are the mathematical mode and the theological mode, I will leave these in the background with¬ out giving them further attention. I will attempt to give a brief description of the three modes since some understanding of these differences is essential for our purpose here.

The Humanistic Mode Here I am discussing the kind of knowledge and understanding we possess through the experience of reading a novel, watching a plav, 15The word “refined” is not just a chance piece of rhetoric. I use this term to designate the knowledge elaborated by and in formal disciplines as opposed to the matrix of “natural” knowledge which arises as undifferentiated but genuine knowledge in man’s unreflective encounter with reality. Out of this basic matrix all refined or disciplined knowledge develops by reflection and by systematic return to and extension of experience. - .


r contemplating a painting, meditating on a poem.

I am limiting my¬

self here strictly to the knowledge aspect of this experience and I am dealing with the experience itself, not with subsequent analysis or conceptual reformulation of the experience. As a kind of knowing we can describe this experience both sub¬ jectively and objectively. Subjectively it is characterized by an in¬ tegral and unified operation of all man’s conscious powers; under¬ standing of this sort arises only in a context of imagination and emo¬ tion, of intellect and will operating in mutual interdependence. Whereas emotion impedes philosophical thinking, it is a necessary condition for humanistic understanding; whereas scientific definition aims at exact and purely intellectual terms, humanistic insight requires the rich flow of creative imagery. If we now examine the kind of object which correlates with this humanistic knowledge experience, certain common characters can be identified. Whether the object is a painting, a song, or the imagi¬ native experience evoked in the reading of a novel, the object is, in the main, particularized and concrete. It is not man but this man, Oedipus or Hamlet, that strides across the players’ stage; it is not red and purple in general, but these reds and these purples that integrate into the object of artistic contemplation. Moreover, the object is precisely object here insofar as it is sense-presented, as in painting, or imaginatively held before consciousness, as in a novel. The object is not a pure intelligibility, consciously and reflectively removed from the conditions of sense and imagination. In humanistic experience, the object is created essentially within the sensible and sensitive activities of man. To isolate any aspect of the object from this level of presentation, to translate it into purely intelligible characters, is precisely to submit it to scientific or philoso¬ phical treatment and so to terminate the humanistic experience as such. In this brief description, I am really pointing to a very rich sort of knowledge experience which we all have had to a greater or lesser extent. Reflection on this sort of knowledge reveals, I submit, that this description is a valid one and that in this experience we attain an understanding which cannot simply be translated into purely in¬ tellectual knowledge. Humanistic knowledge cannot be reduced to purely abstract conceptual knowledge, nor can any purely intellec¬ tual discipline substitute for it. The understanding of human life we derive from Homer or Shakespeare can never be substituted for by psychology or philosophy or theology. 349


The Scientific and Philosofhical Modes These two ways of knowing show at least one common difference from the humanistic mode.

Both of them seek the pure intelligibility,

extracted from the context of the here and now, of the sensible, of the imaginative and the concrete. Hence they develop into purely intel¬ lectual conceptual systems. In order to deal briefly, and somewhat superficially, with the dis¬ tinction between the philosophical and the scientific mode, let us consider a rather simple paradigm of a conceptual system of this sort. If we examine any purely intellectual discipline we will find that (1) the discipline has a distinctive set of terms and of definitions, of con¬ ceptual meanings; (2) it expresses itself in a set of generalizations (principles, laws, formulas); (3) it attempts some kind of “explana¬ tion,” some level of general theory which organizes the data, the con¬ cepts and the generalizations of the discipline and (4) it employs some sort of methodology taken in the broad sense to include the intellectual attitudes and habits as well as the characteristic technical procedures. We can discern a certain homogeneity between the parts of the discipline. The generalizations will employ the concepts appro¬ priate to the discipline. Physics will generalize about “mass” and “force”; philosophy about “essence” and “existence.” The generaliza¬ tion and the concepts will be logically related as data and as deduc¬ tions to the explanatory level of the discipline. Finally, the methodology will condition all three levels and, in turn, will be determined by them. Philosophical problems require philosophical methods; chemi¬ cal methods yield chemical generalizations. I intend now, using this paradigm as an analytic tool, to assert two fundamental differences between the type of discipline I am calling philosophical and the type I am calling scientific. If we examine the philosophical disciplines we find that the effort is to transpose to the purely intellectual level the ontological charac¬ teristics of the given reality. A philosophical concept is the result of an effort to understand things in their own nature, not, of course, adequately, but without substitution, addition or distortion. Such concepts I call “ontological.” They can be illustrated in ordinary natural knowledge by such an understanding as that of “ob¬ long,” not mathematicized but viewed simply as a quality of a bodv, the way we can all perceive it prior to our learning geometry. The non-mathematical concept of “oblong” is simply an understanding of the way oblong things really are; there is an exact correspondence between the character understood and the character realized in things. It is, however, typical of science that its distinctive concepts are not thus “ontological.” These concepts are the result of a method which indeed manipulates data drawn from reality but which adds to the resulting concept something not simply imposed by reality, 350

or substitutes something for the original deliverance, by a sort of redefining process. Thus the concept of time actually used in me¬ chanics is not a concept which is intended to reveal intelligibly the nature of time; it is rather a measure of time, resulting from some system and device for measurement and, therefore, bypassing the vexed question of the real nature of time. Such are the concepts of “mass,” “center of gravity”; of “economic cycle”; of “species” in zoology, and so on. A very simple illustration is afforded by a concept like that of “intelligence quotient.” When I say, “John has an [I.Q. of 110]”, I am not thinking directly and solely of some ontological qualifica¬ tion of John as I am when I say, “John is a rational being” or “John is a substance.” There is no “110” written into his intelligence, nor does a “quotient” form part of his reality. The concept, of course, relates to John, but only through a complex set of operations which are, at least partially, arbitrary and which leave results within the final concept itself. Such concepts, then, express reality obliquely, as inextricably bound up in selected operations; they are “constructural.” A parallel -distinction can be drawn between the generalizations of science and those of philosophy. In philosophy principles must arise through a grasp of their intelligible ground.

Thus, the meta¬

physical principles of finality and causality must be empirical in the sense that their ground is found in experienced reality but not in the sense that an unknown connection is factually established in¬ directly. Where no intelligible grounds can be discovered, generali¬ zation must be empirical in this second sense. The law of gravitation is just such a generalization. By a complex series of observations, measurements, and correlations it is established that “Every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle with a force which is directly proportional to the product of the masses of the par¬ ticles and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.” Newton did not so generalize because he saw any intelligible necessity why this rather intricate mathematical relationship should obtain. He simply established that it did obtain. The ontological ground remains hidden. As Ernest Mach wrote: “The Newtonian theory of gravitation, on its appearance, disturbed almost all investigators of nature because it was founded on an un¬ common unintelligibility. People tried to reduce gravitation to pres¬ sure and impact. At the present day gravitation no longer disturbs anybody; it has become a common unintelligibility.”16 It is altogether appropriate that where the conceptual scheme is only an oblique transcription of the real, a sort of radar-conceptuali16Ernst Mach, History and Root of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy, English translation by Jourdain (Chicago, 1911), p. 56, quoted in James B. Conant, Ow Understanding Science, p. 115.


zation17 of the real world, the generalization should typically be of this factual-empirical type. Thus a homogeneity is discernible in the paradigm; constructural concepts (—) factual-empirical generalizations in constructural terms (—) explanations derived from and connected with reality through constructural patterns (—) an indirect, oblique methodology.18

Some Conclusions On the view which I have just briefly reported, certain important observations can be made about those disciplines which employ, at least typically, the “scientific” mode of knowing. a. Such disciplines cannot be expected to yield an ultimate ex¬ planation of reality. They cannot do duty for metaphysics. The fac¬ tual results of scientific inquiry can be inserted in a metaphysical framework but they cannot determine that framework. b. For the same reason they cannot supply the formal principles or structure of an ethics. Their findings may be relevant to ethics (e.g., a scientific psychology may make the determination of responsi¬ bility more accurate); but they cannot generate an ethical system. c. Taken in a strict sense, a science is a homogeneous abstract system of concepts, laws, theories and explanations, a pure intellectual system intrinsically self-contained and autonomous. A science, there¬ fore, cannot be formally made into a humanity; the distinction is imposed by the fact of two disparate modes of knowing. This is science formally taken. d. Though scientific disciplines are constructural in their, concep¬ tual schemes they are nonetheless knowledge of the real world and are in constant touch with the world of “fact.”19 Scientific knowing moves from fact and forward to new fact; it progressively uncovers facts. The total result of several centuries of scientific investigation has been a vast accumulation of facts, observed facts, inferred facts, tested facts. Now, to a certain extent, it is possible to separate these liTime for May 16, 1955 (p. 73) quoted Carl Anderson as saying that there is no way to see the atom or examine it at first hand. “It must be studied by in¬ direct evidence, and the technical difficulty involved has been compared to asking a man who has never seen a piano to describe a piano from the sound it would make falling downstairs in the dark.'’ (Italics added.) 18For a fuller explanation see my A Thomistic Explanation of the Relations between Science and Philosophy, Bulletin of the Albertus Magnus Guild, Vol. Ill, No. 4, pp. 4 - 6. Cf. also, E. F. Caldin, The Power and Limits of Science (Lon¬ don: Chapman and Hall, 1949); Jacques Maritain, The Degrees of Knowledge (New York: Scribner’s, 1959); Gavin Ardley, Aquinas and Kant (New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1950); George Klubertanz, “The Doctrine of St. Thomas and Modern Science,” Sapientia Aquinatis (Rome: Ofhcium Libri Catholici, 1955), pp. 98- 104. 19I realize the rather naive use of the highly ambiguous term “fact”; I would beg the reader to take it in a very simple way as the illustrations indicate.


A facts from the formal scientific system. Thus we can teach children the general pattern of the solar system without teaching them astro¬ physics. It is thus possible to put these facts together into a sort of “scientific story” or “scientific picture” of the world in which we live. When we put the facts together in a chronological order, pre¬ senting the dynamic evolutionary movement of the universe, we can call the result a sort of “story.” When we take a static view of the universe and expose it in terms of scientific fact, we can call the re¬ sult a sort of “description” or “picture.” In determining detailed factual content of this “story” and this “picture” science has the com¬ manding role. e. Because science is correlated with reality in an exact, detailed and controlled way, and because it is a fact-finding, fact-controlling, fact-organizing enterprise, it is also a superb instrument for the con¬ trol and reconstruction of man’s environment. I do not mean this simply in regard to “physical” realities; science has important tech¬ nical applications to man, to his emotions, his thinking, his social life, and so forth. It thus gives rise to or serves technology, techniques, and various professions. f. We can also think of science not as a formal system, nor simply as a way of kpowing, nor even as a vast theory for practical achieve¬ ments but now as an enterprise of human beings, like mountain climb¬ ing, falling in love or fighting wars. So seen, it is an activity that arises out of the enthusiastic questing of man, springing from his imagination and his creative insights, carried on despite opposition, discouragement, even repeated failures, by dogged persistence, by hard work and hard thinking to high achievement. Thus viewed it is indeed a human thing, a revelation of the spirit of man.

A Program We are now prepared to return to the general problem of the place of science in modern culture. From the viewpoint of the history of culture, the scientific mode has given us a whole set of new disci¬ plines by which we can extend our knowledge. But our epistemologi¬ cal examination indicates that while these disciplines cannot be dis¬ pensed with, they must be put alongside of, not in place of or over, the other disciplines which arise from other valid and autonomous ways of knowing: humanistic, philosophical, mathematical, theologi¬ cal.

A complete modern culture must find places of honor for all

these disciplines. What I have called the scientific “story” and “picture” of the uni¬ verse, since it is the most accurate and complete factual account of the universe in which we live, should become part of the common knowledge of all adults in our culture. This can be done, even 353


though we cannot provide that all adults will have a mastery or even, for that matter, an introduction to all the sciences which contribute to this story. The educated adults of the fourteenth century had some such factual picture; they conceived that the world, for example, was spherical and at rest in the center of the material universe, although many of them knew little of the scientific arguments for these factual conclusions. To present our modern story to all adults is all the more feasible since we have reached a point where a fairly coherent, complete and certain account can be offered. On the other hand, it must be remembered that this account, dis¬ tilled from the sciences, cannot be the total account. No matter how detailed and how accurate the account of science may become, the ultimate questions of the ontological status and meaning of the to¬ tality and each thing viewed existentially remain beyond reach of the scientific mode. Yet, again the scientific “story” lies open to a completion within a larger general framework drawn from philoso¬ phy and theology. However much one may disagree with the meth¬ ods of du Nouy and Teilhard de Chardin, they have in fact shown that the factual conclusions of science do lie open to integration into the parallel framework set forth by other disciplines. Moreover, con¬ trary to the hasty conclusions of some modern writers, theology and philosophy contain within them insights and principles adequate to realign their syntheses with the factual determinations of science.20 This integration and this realignment will give our culture a common world view that can belong to both specialist and nonspecialist. A truly humanistic acceptance and understanding of the entire scientific enterprise will amount to a reintegration of science into our total society and culture. But this effort has not been made and is, I think, largely responsible for the bipolarization of which Snow com¬ plains. The humanists have not applied humanistic understanding to the industrial, technological and scientific revolutions. Until they do, 20Some, like Burkhardt, see the progress of science as forcing the retreat of religion or philosophy from one position after another: “But this dualistic view never quite established peace — even after western religious creeds gave up their attachment to specific astronomical and cosmological beliefs.” — Op. cit., p. 24. The truth of the matter is that theology and philosophy in the West have been able to shift from one scientific “story” to “another” because both were open to relationships with any factual determination of the universe. The principles were already clearly formulated in the two greatest theologians of the West, Augustine and Aquinas. It is often forgotten that the Aristotelian astronomy to which Scholas¬ ticism was attached was accepted as against systems which factually seemed closer to the biblical account. One need only read St. Thomas, S.T., 1, 66 - 74, to find a constant exposition of theology in relationship to the opiniones of men, of philo¬ sophers, geographers, and so on, and various expressions of the indeterminacy of theology in reference to such matters. Theology is constantly prepared to renovate what it borrows from human learning. It is, of course, true that individuals and schools have not carried on this work in a constant and enlightened manner. And of course, there lies across the beginning of the modern period the shadow of the and of dSlogy0^^ Unfortunate this case was’ il remains atypical of the Church


A science will remain outside and alongside a large segment of our culture. The reconstruction of that dimension of our culture which is the product of the humanistic mode of understanding must always be under way. Humanistic culture is, to be sure, traditional; it main¬ tains the insights of the great writers, the great artists, the creatively thoughtful and expressive humanists. But it is the task of humanistic workers not only to maintain this tradition but to bring the whole of contemporary human life under humanistic consideration and to transmit this contemporary understanding to the men of our time in novels, poems, biographies, histories, paintings, and so on. Science as an activity of human beings as well as a vast techno¬ logical movement is a truly human concern which falls under this sort of consideration. The humanistic mind can deal thus with science and scientists without itself becoming scientific just as the humanistic tradition has dealt with mystics and mysticism without becoming mysti¬ cal theology and a political theory and Holton that and the scientists remark:

with statesmen and wars without becoming either or a theory of military strategy. I agree with Snow our humanists have not yet so interpreted science to us. There is a large measure of truth in Holton’s

r /, .

“This view of modern man as a puny, irrelevant spectator lost in a vast mathematical system — how far this is from the exaltation of man that Kepler found through scientific discovery: “Now man will at last measure the power of his mind on a true scale, and will realize that God, who founded everything in the world on the norm of quantity, also has endowed man with a mind which can comprehend these norms!” Was not the universe of Dante and Milton so powerful and “gloriously romantic” precisely because it incorporated, and thereby rendered meaningful, the contemporary scientific cosmology alongside the current moral and esthetic conceptions? Leaving aside the question of whether Dante’s and Milton’s contemporaries, by and large, were really living in a rich and fragrant world of gladness, love, and beauty, it is fair to speculate that if our new cosmos is felt to be cold, inglorious, and unromantic, it is not the new cosmology which is at fault but the absence of new Dantes and Miltons.”21 Allied to the humanistic understanding is another one of which I have said all too little in this article, namely, the historical. I have not given it a place alongside the five modes listed earlier because I do not think history makes use of any generically different ways of knowing. In fact, it can move in various modes, though its com¬ monest form is the humanistic. 21Op. cit., p. 1192 (italics added).


But history is a unique discipline; in one sense different from all others, in another sense embracing them and all their subject matters, for even the most abstract and timeless theory has a history, and, indeed, a human history.

History, therefore, can be thought

of as a sort of universal dimension which measures all other disci¬ plines in its own peculiar way. Thus, science in all its aspects lies within history and is subject to historical investigation.22 Some excellent work is now being done in the history of science, in the United States. But there remains a great deal to be done before we achieve a truly integrated history of culture within which science can find its place. The elaboration of such a history will again be a unified interpretation of our culture to ourselves and will thus contribute to the removal of radical di¬ visions. Finally, I return to what I have asserted is the central problem — the epistemological one. I have only suggested in this paper the main lines of what I conceive to be a valid basic approach. A great deal remains to be done here. I have argued elsewhere23 that our current theories of knowledge are too narrowly conceived to ground an epis¬ temology adequate to this twentieth century of Western and world culture. While I would maintain the soundness of the basic approach here advocated, I would equally strongly urge that our epistemology must remain open, open to new developments not only in correlative sciences but in all disciplines insofar as they are subject matter and problems for the epistemologist.

Some Educational Suggestions I said earlier that the problem to be discussed was not directly an educational one. However, any program for the reconstruction of culture necessarily entails some educational directives. If the “story” and “picture” of the universe given us by science is to be the common possession of all adults, the scientific story and picture should be taught throughout elementary and secondary edu¬ cation as we have taught, say, the geography of our own countrv.24 The humanistic studies should be expanded throughout the edu¬ cational system, so that a wider range of matters are included. I would think here of a range between an extreme literary” kind of humanism 22I; Bernard Cohen, the eminent historian of science, is quoted as saying that in the history of science he sees “a unity of all human creativity and a medium in science can regain the humanizing dimensions so often lost in purely formal presentations. — The Birth of a New Physics, I. Bernard Cohen (New York: Double¬ day, 1960), front fly-leaf.

2^Philo5Thy,of Knowledge and Theory of Learning,” Educational Theory, VIII, No. 4 (October, 1958), 193 - 199. 24Dr. Carlton W. Berenda at the University of Oklahoma has been developing just such a presentation for elementary and secondary school teachers. .7TTT


A on the one side and a rich cultural anthropology on the other side.25 The humanistic assimilation of science could be transmitted within such a range. While we cannot expect to give those who do not specialize in science an extensive quantitative grasp on a scientific discipline strictly as a formal discipline, genuine experience of scientific knowledge (me¬ thodology, conceptual systems, laws, and explanations), systematically and purely conducted, should be part of at least every collegiate education. This experience, however, will remain sterile and without meaning unless it is brought under reflective and comparative study through epistemological analysis. Within collegiate education, final interpretation of the disciplines and of our culture should be achieved in at least two general courses — a theory of knowledge and a history of culture. Many institutions have attempted to do something of this sort in survey or general-problem courses in Freshman or Soph¬ omore year. I am convinced that neither of these things can be done effectively until after the college student has covered a range of systematic disciplines and has achieved some degree of specialization in at least one discipline. I would suggest that we reorder our col¬ legiate program so that the student completes most of his specialized major in Sophomore and Junior years rather than in Junior and Senior years, thus leaving ample time in Senior year for serious work in epistemological and historical interpretation and integration. To round out these comments, which have been largely directed to science, every collegiate student should have some sound personal experience of each of the great modes of human knowledge as well as a personal grasp on the main substantive results of each mode. The Senior year envisioned above could then be a year of balanced inte¬ gration and personal conquest of intellectual maturity.

25For a fuller explanation of why I think cultural anthropology can be intimately related to humanistic learning see "A Philosopher’s Interpretation of Anthropology’s Contribution to the Understanding of Man,” Anthropological Quarterly, XXXII, No. 1 (January 1959), 22-40.




Academic Freedom JOURNET KAHN I say, then, that it is a matter of primary importance in the cultivation of those sciences, in which truth is discoverable bv the human intellect, that the investigator should be free, independent, unshackled in his movements; that he should be allowed and enabled, without impediment, to fix his mind intently, nay exclusively, on his special object, without the risk of being distracted every other minute in the process and progress of his inquiry, by charges of temerarious¬ ness, or by warnings against extravagance or scandal. Cardinal John Henry Newman Christianity and Scientific Investigation To define academic freedom and to delineate its exact extent is no easy task. Like many a moral problem, it involves synthesis of numerous historical and social facts, the abstraction of proximate prin¬ ciples of action and a more than human prudence in applying such principles to the existing situation. These are talents and virtues beyond the actual accomplishments, often beyond the ability of proJournet Kahn, “The Threat to Academic Freedom,” in Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, XXX (April, 1956), pp. 160- 166


fessional philosophers. • Perhaps we are not to blame.

Pcritical pru¬

dence and patience with respect to historical details require, in the order of exercise, a disposition and training which, while not opposed to the search for speculative first principles, are, at the very least, quite different in outlook and aim.

But the philosopher’s attempt to bring

forth certain basic principles of the practical order, even where his empirical justification relies more upon intuitions that arise from social concern rather than scientific analysis, is perhaps a worthy endeavour. In the vast proliferation of articles, books and pamphlets written within the past ten years on the subject of academic freedom, the absence of precision and clarity in the principles justifying an often sincere and accurate practical conviction would offer sufficient grounds for philosophical “intervention” even where the philosopher is not fullv armed with empirical weapons. The obligation of the Catholic phi¬ losopher to consider such questions as the rights of education in rela¬ tion to society and the state, the relation of religious belief and theology to academic freedom, would appear to be at hand. For the current threat to the academic freedom of secular universities must not find the Catholic teacher unconcerned simply because his own institution is “safe.” Further, some of the most intelligent and ardent champions of academic freedom today are sincerely convinced that Catholic edu¬ cational institutions either enjoy no such freedom whatsoever or pos¬ sess a freedom greatly restricted in scope. Accordingly, I should like to approach this subject with a dis¬ tinction that appears to be of fundamental importance, that between freedom from external interference in the work of teaching and learn¬ ing and an interior freedom which one might define as the unlimited access, on the part of teacher and student, to an intellectual heritage upon which discovery and discussion may be based. Certainly the state has some function with regard to education. It may require that certain courses be taught in the university when the common good of political society so demands. The state mav very well require that mathematics be taught somewhere and at some time, but it can in no way prescribe the very truths that are to be taught in such courses. Its prescriptions remain exclusively in the order of exercise. Specification of the object proceeds from the very science itself; or better, the knowledge of the essential connection of properties with subject is required to conform to the real object and to it alone. The slightest attempt to tamper with objects on the part of the state is a crime against the natural light of intelligence in which alone all probative evidence is resolved. Such practices, whether they originate from a fascist regime, the Kremlin, over-enthusiastic devotees of capital¬ ism and free enterprise on boards of trustees, over-zealous members of religious groups or private agencies of self-appointed custodians of the public interest, are nothing short of attempts at perversion of the natural order in things intellectual. By aggravation and by external 360

r pressure they not only destroy the academic peace and calm so neces¬ sary for scientific objectivity, but they attempt to reach into .the inner¬ most recesses of the speculative intellect to manipulate its findings, to destroy its spontaneous freedom. But if the state does enjoy certain rights with respect to the con¬ trol of educational institutions, i.e., with respect to tne estaonsnment or discontinuance of programs of instruction, the question may be asked on what principle such a right is founded. If we admit the proper end of civil society as the attainment of an immanent morality on the part of its members, and if, as in most societies, such an end is greatly facilitated, if not made possible, by the use of practical technological achievements, then whatever educational means conduce to this effort will be within the jurisdiction of governmental authority. Pure mathematics is a requisite for mathematical physics, which is a requisite for engineering, and society needs engineers. The com¬ mon good demands, then, that there he available a sufficient number of such theoretical courses at educational institutions. But their con¬ tent, what is to he taught as true, lies completely outside of political jurisdiction. The same principle holds with respect to those positive sciences, some knowledge of which is essential to the art of governing and being governed, such sciences as sociology, political science, psychology, an¬ thropology. Here we are concerned with certain technical instruments of the political art which is, in turn, subordinated to political prudence. But this right of the governing body touches upon only a very small part of the university curriculum and views it under the aspect of its immediate technical utility. If we hold that the primary aim of the university is the development, or at least the initiation, of the habits of the speculative intellect and a consequent contribution to the common good of speculative knowledge, it becomes difficult to see the role played by the state in relation to such a transcendent aim. The aim of political society is a moral one and immanent at that. The aim of the university is essentially speculative, transcending the order of the goods of this life and enabling its bearer to share somewhat in the nature of ultimate happiness. The question remains whether the establishment of an entire intellectual community, that is with exclusively speculative ends, is in any way the function of political society which aims only at a life devoted to the exercise of moral virtue. It is by no means evident that the content of speculative knowl¬ edge has any profound effect upon the moral life of the individual or society as a whole. Universal truths lack motive power in the eliciting of human actions, and this is true even of the general princi¬ ples of moral science itself. In contrast to the appropriate instruments for the development of the moral virtues, such as the knowledge of natural law, life in the family and in the community, and the gift of grace, speculative knowledge is of little or no use. 361

The speculative

v .f,.

intellectual habits are by no means necessary for the life of virtue, nor do these habits in their very essence demand a previous achievement of sanctity. One might cite innumerable instances in human nature of the unhappy union of intellectual genius and moral depravity. But when it is a question not simply of an analysis of the relation of the virtues but rather of the relation between the active and contemplative life, when it is a question of a state or condition of being, then the love of the good and the total moral structure that it implies are of paramount importance. If, as St. Thomas states, the motive force that propels us towards contemplation is our love for God and our neighbor, then the moral virtues will be indis¬ pensable in terms of the human dispositions required for entrance into that state. The violence and impetuosity of the passions is a primary hindrance to the devotion to speculative pursuits, and so there is a very real sense in which, at the level of existential demands rather than in the definition of essences, we pursue speculative truth well only to the extent that we are good men. Conversely, although the intellectual virtues are defined in their very essence only in relation to objective truth and independently of the good of man, the active use of these virtues falls under the direc¬ tion of appetite. “We use science and the other intellectual virtues,’’ states St. Thomas, “when our will so commands.” It would follow from this that there are certain virtues of the moral order that regulate, not simply by way of disposition but in an essential manner, the very use of reason. It would be difficult to delineate these virtues and to show their relation to intellectual rectitude, but there is at least one clear case in St. Thomas of a moral virtue that is essentially connected with the intellectual life. In its primary function, studiousness (_studiositas) is a part of temperance and, like the virtue of sense appetite, aims at restraint of natural desire. But the natural desire involved here has as its object, not the physical goods that sustain the individual and the species, but the good of knowledge which is truth. And in the case of this virtue, it is not so much a matter of avoiding intellectual gluttony, a vice indeed from which most learners are exempt, but rather of positive right direction “in applying the cognitive power in this or that way to this or that thing.” As an example, let us grant that logical science, possessd as a virtue, essentially involves the ability to select the type of proof appropriate to the science in question — one does not seek mathematical rigor in literarv criticism nor self¬ evidence in the principles of theological reasoning. But what, if not a moral virtue whose object is the intellectual good itself, will guarantee that the actual exercise of intellect will not occur contrarv to this virtue? It is, in short, a case of what we today term “intellectual honesty,” the analysis of which may very well reveal an entire system of moral virtues relating to the intellectual life and guaranteeing its faithful application. 362

If, then, the moral virtues of both the active and contemplative life are related to the pursuit of speculative knowledge (the one bv way of disposition, the other by way of use), would it not follow that the moral attainments of an academic community might have some effect upon society in general in fostering its moral growth, in serving as an exemplar for the formation of such virtues as honesty, courage in the face of difficulties, patience, justice, and in providing the ideal of a life dependent upon material goods only to the extent that they further more ultimate spiritual aims? It is thus that institutions of learning, in addition to furnishing the needs of a complex technological society, enter into the very fabric of the moral common good. From this point of view, such institutions may not be of absolute necessity. But their desirability would seem to be beyond question, and if the legislator in establishing the academic community no longer explicitates such moral utility, it is nevertheless within his unconscious intent. Until recent years, and especially at the level of public-school instruction, this intimate link between the moral and the intellectual life assumed a perverted form in society’s demand upon the teacher to conform to a fixed blue print for the formation of sanctity, in reality nothing more than a rigid code of social mores of puritanical origin. Today the distortion of an essentially sound principle receives another form in the assumption that the moral integrity of the aca¬ demic profession is contingent upon the holding of certain “orthodox” positions in the fields of political science, economics, history and phi¬ losophy, which convictions alone can guarantee the perpetuation of existing forms of government and economic practices. Whether the impetus towards such conformity comes about as a result of psycho¬ logical pressure exerted by a society at large fearful of its own political vitality, whether it stems from the influence of special economic inter¬ ests, or whether it is the net effect of legislative investigation into sub¬ versive academic activities and the establishing of special loyalty oaths for the teaching profession, such a tendency reveals the attempt of an extra-academic body, in the interest of moral utility, to specify the very objects related to the search for truth. Thus the confusion between the morality of the active and contemplative life threatens to des¬ troy the freedom of scholarship and teaching — the right to ar¬ rive conclusions on the basis of evidence and rational method alone. This is not to claim that all members of the teaching profession are paragons of studiousness. It is simply to say that the specific moral failing of intellectual dishonesty is not confined to the upholder of a special political or economic theory, and that his fault can be judged only by a group familiar by long experience with and training in the proper methods of the science involved and who are motivated by the concern for truth unhampered by short range utili¬ tarian interests. The case of the faculty member discovered to be a member of the Communist party offers no special problem other than directing



our attention towards a re-examination of his professional integrity, with the possibility of a favorable judgment by no means excluded. Membership in an organization dedicated to indoctrination and dis¬ tortion of truth can reasonably lead us to sus-pect professional incom¬ petence, but to conclude to such conviction, without examination of the individual case by a group of professionally qualified peers, is pure injustice. The reasoning of Sidney Hook that ideas are plans of action and that, therefore, intellectual commitment to a political ideology that demands distortion of natural truth ipso facto involves the committed to the practise of such intellectual subversion, assumes a metaphysical link between belief and action foreign to both the scholastic concep¬ tion of the prudential order and to human experience itself. Between the simple entertaining of an idea involving no issuance in action and the efficacious belief which is the conclusion of practical reasoning, there lies an area of sincere conviction perfectly compatible with non¬ activity along practical lines. The reasons for such ineffectiveness in the latter case may be accidental, but very often it occurs by virtue of a natural reason and conscience sufficiently strong to escape the demands of total political commitment. Consistencv has never been the outstanding characteristic of human nature, and to argue, as does Mr. Hook, from the universal — the clearly stated academic aims of international Communism — to either the guilt or unreliability of everv American party member in academic life, is to conceive of ethical science as involving no more than the subalternation of particulars to universal. Such a device saves a good deal of time and effort, but when justice is at stake, it is well to be equipped with something more than formal logic. The questions of the necessity of legislative investigation of sub¬ versive activities in American universities, of the desirability of special loyalty oaths for teachers, cannot be answered by purely philosophical means. But it is of importance to call attention to the grave threat to academic freedom that is involved whenever an extra-academic po¬ litical authority, even when acting in a legal manner, seeks indirectly to determine educational policy, to prescribe what shall be taught and to establish standards of professional fitness. Despite the voci¬ ferous and articulate opposition of many individual teachers and the courageous stand of the American Association of University Professors, there is ample evidence that in no few colleges and universities there exists a widespread atmosphere of over-cautiousness and fear with re¬ spect to the expression of what might be considered unpopular views. Such an atmosphere may in the end prove more damaging to the un¬ constrained collective search for scientific objectivity and its communica¬ tion than the handful of conspiratorial professors who have not vet managed to accomplish the ruin of the intellectual vitality of American youth. 364

A But the threat to academic autonomy may proceed not only from immoderate and over-zealous legislators but from an exaggerated notion of the role of institutions of higher learning in maintaining the par¬ ticular economic and political structures in which they exist.


there is a genuine relationship between higher education and political society according to which, as Aristotle remarked, “the citizen should be moulded (by education) to suit the form of government under which he lives cannot be denied. But this obligation of the university is fulfilled essentially, as noted above, by the teaching of such subjects as history, economics, political science, civics and sociology which fur¬ nish the technical knowledge necessary for intelligent participation as citizen or ruler within a particular type of society and government. Further, the ruling body, in the event of a general decay of political morale when it stems from a failure to recognize the basic principles upon which the spirit of democracy is founded, may require that the schools share in the revitalization of society by calling attention to the intellectual and spiritual heritage upon which political democracy rests. But only the deepest sort of pessimism would attempt to justify the exercise of this right of government in our day, and it may very well be maintained that as long as higher learning remains faithful to the ideals of truly liberal education, such interference will never be neces¬ sary. In any event, in either of the above cases, the rights of society relate to the exercise in the establishment of such courses of instruction, in no way to the specification of their content. This distinction between the orders of exercise and specification can, however, be abused to defeat the very ends of academic freedom. Boards of trustees may use their supervisory power, not to coerce the teaching body to slant its findings towards positions furthering their own interests, but to systematically eliminate from the faculty any member who maintains divergent political and economic views. Even ignoring the fact that such a position degrades the teacher to the level of hired propagandizer, one may ask whether under such con¬ ditions a university any longer exists. No one would question the right to organize an instructional community to further the practical aims and beliefs of those who establish it, but an explicit policy of refusal to hire those of different conviction thereby brands such a group as non-academic. The freedom of teacher and student is not the free¬ dom to sell one’s services elsewhere or to buy in a different market (education is not, after all, a commercial venture), it is the right to teach and learn in an institution dedicated to the discovery and dis¬ semination of truth regardless of its acceptability to special interests. If the sincere believer in democracy and capitalism on the board of trustees cannot consciably agree to employment by the university of a professionally competent socialist, then tbe trustee has no choice but to hand in his resignation. education.

He is no longer concerned with university


Such intellectual coercion, whether on the part of boards of trustees, legislative investigators or society at large relates to external forces that impinge upon academic freedom. Are there forces at work within institutions of learning themselves, that perhaps more effectively stifle the free inquiry of intelligence? Internal forces that limit speculative research and communication are much more difficult to discover especial¬ ly at a time when attention is directed to the enemy without. They are many and varied, as Russell Kirk points out, ranging from the mis¬ directing of educational aims involved in confusing vocational and pro¬ fessional training with the liberal arts, to such a fact as the inadequate salaries paid to professors which does so much damage to academic dignitv and prestige ....



What is Education? GEORGE N.


“Truth,” said Pestalozzi the optimist, indicating therewith his ap¬ proach to education, “is a medicine which takes hold.” This metaphor appears to find wide endorsement. The Pragmatist may have his ver¬ sion of “truth,” and the Thomist another, but they seem to agree here, even if (to venture a debatable generalization) the first judges by the value of the medicine and the second by the value of the truth. Pessimists also appear not to dissent, save when they are devotees of total negation; and it is to them one naturally turns for comment on the ills of our time. “There is in man,” Georges Bernanos wrote, “a secret and incomprehensible hatred, not only of his fellowman but of himself.” This hatred thought to be more than a mere absence of love, is thus viewed as the hidden malignant malady of the human will, and truth flowering in affection alone can cure it. For H. G. Wells, on the other hand,.as his final treatise reveals, man’s tragic difficulty lies in his mind’s inability to adapt itself to the constantly changing conditions that result from its own inventiveness. He has gone into the cellars of nature and come up with its headiest wine. cope with the power intoxication that this induces.

But he cannot This view, if

George N. Shuster. “What is Education?” Reprinted by permission from Daedalus (journal of the American Academv of Arts and Sciences), Vol. 88, No. 1 (1959), pp. 25 - 39.


correct, would seem to .suggest that one kind of truth at leaJt is, a fate¬ ful poison.

The medicine has taken hold, but it is evil.


unless there be another kind of truth no antidote can be found.

From Knowledge Imparted To Exploration Shared Should we not then say, somewhat tritely, that the schools must seek what man tries to find? And if we discuss education in such a context, should we not consider what it is as a process before we attempt to define its concern with truth? At any rate, this is what we shall proceed to do. The schools constitute a kind of arc, the extremities of which are rooted in wholly disparate functions. At the outset, the teacher is a person who tells children what it is considered desirable they should know — verbal symbols, the multiplication table, the names of rivers and seas, the phrases expressing civic, ethical, and religious beliefs. A little later there will be consideration of what Paul Weiss calls “the mastery of techniques” — of diction and reckoning, of accuracy, of the progression of thought from data to conclusions. At the other end of the academic span there is, however, in principle no concern with the imparting of knowledge. The scholar in his study, the monk in his cell, the scientist in his laboratory — if you will, the poet under his tree — for all of these the dialogue is starkly between the self and P.eality. Moses is on his mountain, Pascal in his room. To make such conversation possible in terms of scholarship may well be the central assignment of the university. And if one would see what the cost is, inside or outside of academic walls, one has only to study the lives of four men who perhaps best represent the aspirations of modernity — Van Gogh, Kierkegaard, Einstein, and Planck. Only gradually, sometimes with agonizing slowness, will the thrill and the terror of discovery, or pseudo discovery, be communicated and begin to travel back over the line of the arc. Some discovered values never disappear from education, and others do not enter into its purview at all. Between the grade school and the research institute lie the reaches of education in which there takes place a sort of fusion between ex¬ ploration shared and knowledge imparted. The reputable college, for example, must at least upon occasion be akin to Augustine’s Cassiciacum, where in goodly fellowship problems like that of “the happy life” were discussed in the give and take of dialogue. Yet even the best of such institutions will normally be busy with things thought rather than with man thinking. Carlyle held that one must be content with enough happiness to get one’s work done. Manifestly, education in its intermediate stages keeps busy giving young people sufficient knowledge (and it may be insufficient wisdom) to perform useful service in the world. Catering to utility, as a matter of fact, may tempt the fully academic mind to derisory or even ribald comment. But if all 368

r of us on campuses are quite honest, will we not admit that a great deal of what we do is cognate in character and purpose? At any rate, scrutiny will reveal how closely the three concerns — knowledge, inquiry, and usefulness — are intertwined. A great many young women, for instance, are trained to teach in nursery and grade schools. I think it quite probable that my own college, while little more than a secondary school, was graduating teachers fully as able to impart the kind of instruction needed as it is now doing when it has become a sedate and rather exacting college of liberal arts. Why not? If your task is to teach addition and subtraction, you need to know about these and not about the calculus, which is in the course of study only because it is believed to give the student as a person insight into an aspect of reality that she will then know about but not use. Even more notable is the fact that we have added to the training program a great deal of information about theoretical and applied psychology. Obviously this, whatever its value, is not supposed to be taught in turn. It is part of the course of study because of our ope that when the teacher has learned something of what research workers have found out about children, she will see these in a broader and clearer perspective than would otherwise be the case. Nor is the situation fundamentally very different with college teaching, thoiigh at first sight it may seem otherwise. No one has as yet proved, or is likely to do so, that there is any genuine relation¬ ship between earning a doctorate by writing a treatise on the sources of Samson Aqonistes and teaching a course in Milton to juniors. Granted a reasonable amount of aesthetic intelligence, one no doubt could manage a wholly satisfactory semester with only the text and a convenient manual. The academic accessories probably do little more than befog the student s mind. But the fact that the instructor has the long trek to the doctorate behind him does, unless he be a dolt, enable him and his students to see each other in a wholly different and more invigorating light than either would otherwise manage, for through this companionship a young man at a desk will gain some insight into the processes of the exploration of the knowable. Fichte thus instructed the scholar: he is to forget what he has accomplished as soon as it is accomplished, and is to think constantly of what he must still do.”. To have lived for some time in communion with such a scholar will be for many a young person as exhilarating, and one must immediately add as humbling, as standing on a Darien peak. It appears unlikely that the situation is wholly different insofar as other callings are concerned. A candidate for appointment to the foreign service will have to know whatever that service at the time deems important, including how to write and speak a foreign language. But having painfully mastered Spanish, he will normally find himself in Timbuctoo or Saigon as a vice-consul, dutifully writing out visa prescriptions or practicing minor roles in the eternal drama of corn369



The average chemist will become a member of some 'chain

gang of scientists marshaled like a posse for ferreting out a new ex¬ plosive or antibiotic. And the political scientist, fresh from the study of the arcana of government, will be fortunate if he can pass a civil service examination and proceed daily to chores with the Housing Authority of the Bureau of Budget. But if somewhere along the road such a student has caught a glimpse of the “city’’ as seen by a man for whom the span between Plato and Quincy Wright does not exhaust the vision of that “city” as it has been or may be, he will not sleep without dreams.

"Closeted With The Unknown" I believe we may therefore conclude that as education proceeds it does not lose sight of the purposiveness implicit in its beginnings — namely the imparting of knowledge — but will, when it is wisely con¬ ceived, also reckon constantly with the ultimate objective, which is sharing the life of the scholar, poet, and saint. As a matter of fact, it will be driven to do so by the passion of the best students it serves. These will question the knowledge of their teachers but never the awe of them as they stand on the brink of discovery. Thoreau in his time asked whether Concord could not “hire some Abelard to lecture us.” The query seems to be universal, save possibly when men have become uninhibitedly utilitarian. It seeks wisdom for the many through the contemplation of the one. And whether the answer be given in terms of experimental science, or in those of the speculative intellect as with the Greeks, or in those of the prophecy embedded in the Hebraic tradition, or in those of mysticism either Christian or Oriental, it will be in the final analysis the celestial fruit of a wedding between the “I” and the “Thoifi” to use Martin Buber’s pertinent phrasing. We begin with the communication to others of the easilv known in order that at long last we may find ourselves closeted with the unknown. Only if we are so placed, at least waveringly, hesi¬ tatingly, fleetingly, can we mortal beings acquire the sense of comedy and tragedy, of the holy and the profane, that give, us the stature to which it is our destiny to aspire. Perhaps we may now venture to define the liberal arts as follows: a course of study designed to encourage tentatively integrated learning about a man’s most fruitful insights into himself and the reality about him, so that a student may feel the texture of the. known in order to be able to realize, sooner or later, that this is only the garment of the unknown. If the known were the whole of being, we should have no answer to Newman’s question about Scaliger: how could so much learning have passed through the mind of one man — and why did it pass?

Aquinas in his day held that the ultimate properties of being 370

A must remain unknown, just as the potential existence of a human creature cannot cease to be enigmatical. To think of molecular movement going on constantly inside a baseball thrown to a hitter is merely to tease oneself out of thought. If the psychiatrist could map out his patient’s psyche, the therapeutic task would be less impossible. He cannot do so. In the final analysis there is relatively little we can really know of other men, save that we aspire to the truth about them. Let me add a few comments that regrettably are more addicted to the vice of generalization than could be wished. First, the educator must realize that what the storerooms of the past contain is indis¬ pensable treasure. Of necessity he will challenge the accusation of pedantry constantly leveled against him, but he cannot function un¬ less this charge is in some measure justified. He must have books about him that few other men read. The genesis and progression of ideas he will observe with a reverence other men do not feel. Indeed, one may go so far as to say that the great teacher has a genuine affection for the past, which makes the sharp lighting up of any of its moods or features a memorable experience. But he must avoid like the plague every form of dotage leading to the assumption that he or any other human being exists for the sake of knowing what is already known. How often, indeed, does research undertaken by the fraternity of educators seem a tedious adding up of figures in old ledgers! One need not assert that it is valueless even so, but the teaching scholar will not live for his students if he be merely afraid of becoming an unwise virgin with no oil in the lamp. Yesterday must be for him the coast line on which he can stand before plunging into the un¬ plummeted and perilous sea of tomorrow. Therefore, secondly, edu¬ cation must accept as a kind of law that even the rediscovery of the past must have relevance for the present. A man will be worth his salt if he sees quite clearly that his life will be worth while only if at some moment at least he is visited by a creative and illuminating intuition of reality, personal and not mimicked. This, I think, can be seen occurring again and again in the experience of Whitehead or Hocking, but it is no doubt the fire that brings wisdom into being wherever it is enkindled. At any rate, age is meaningless if this virility be present in the teacher, and that youth knows instinctively. Thus gifted, the scholar will realize that Kierkegaard’s grasp of the meaning of Hegel, or Einstein’s insight into the principles of relativity, came to them as young men. He will not disparage what is called the “creative,” though he will cling to his role of critic. Because he himself has passed through the open door of the mind, he will respect pioneer intel¬ lectual effort, no matter how seemingly revolutionary or unexpected the forward thrust may be. It follows that education is in part the preservation not merely of what has been learned but also of the traditions, the methods of 371



These are several, not singular.

No doubt a major- edu¬

cational mishap has been the assumption that the always salutary debate about what should be selected for the classroom from the vast accumulation of the known involves agreement as to a certain formula for learning to know it. There are educators whose pedagogical dogmas brook no criticism.

But as a matter of fact one individual’s best way

of learning may be quite different from another’s.

One nation, to

some extent conditioned by historical environment, will not learn most adequately in the same way another nation does. We may note in passing that this is probably the principal discovery made by the Soviets in their satellite areas. Why should anybody take it for granted that all teachers must subscribe, for their souls’ salvation, to a single formula? But if any teacher be a canny person, he will certainly weigh methods that have proved useful for other teachers, and he will be as objective in evaluating them as a purchasing agent is when examining samples of leather. He will consider the advice of Comenius and Kirchensteiner, Loyola and Dewey, Ulich and Livingstone. It will not occur to him that all sound educating is contained in an approximation to a full comprehension of one aspect of education.

"What is Truth?” Therewith we come to the meaning of the terms in Pestalozzi’s maxim. What shall we say about truth? And what about the medicine that takes hold? In other words, how shall education conceive of the real and the good? What then is truth? You will not expect me to put the questions in terms of philosophical inquiry, as if perchance I felt able to improve upon Spinoza. What will be under discussion here is this: when education declares that its function is to find and to teach truth, to what is it committing itself? The completely frank answer in terms of the actual existing situation is: to not very much. There are vast numbers of students and teachers, at all academic levels, for whom the task assigned is merely to absorb and emit a speci¬ fied quantity of information, in the hope that a sufficient amount will be retained by the student to make possible his academic survival after examination. Of course it is expected that the data imparted will be reasonably accurate from the giver’s and the receiver’s point of view' - that the class will not say le escargots or assert that Shakespeare began his career by writing The Tem-pest. Therewith truth has become accuracy in the mnemonic reproduction of determinable data. It is of considerable interest to note that the majority of the vocal critics of our schools are like most of those school’s supporters in seeming not to want more of education than this. The difference between them is merely one of emphasis on certain facts as being more valuable than others. 372

r It is probably evident from what has been said that this version of “truth” seems inadequate to me, though I should not wish to be thought ignoring the kernel of realism that is in it. Nor does it seem less injudicious to isolate, as some have, what Pestalozzi may have meant by


To assume that “good citizens” can be made

to emerge from the schools as hot cross buns do from a bakerv is to take a benign view indeed of human nature and the teaching profes¬ sion. This happens to be what never happens. To be sure, good schools are often effective conditioning devices. If youngsters can be induced to absorb moral maxims into their blood streams at a sufficientlv early age, the effect may be relatively lasting. But in this realm it is especially pertinent to bear in mind Heidegger’s phrase, das irn Sagen Ungesagte — that which the sayer has not said. The moral faideia of me scnools will congeal in the psyches of young scholars like a lump of indigestible fat in the pottage unless it can be fused with the drift of the intellect and the genuine drive of the will. Character is never formed as aught save conscience; and this is, not a recipe book but a living commitment to sublimation of the self. That most reasonably gifted men and women wish to make that commitment is, I think, fortunately true. Yet all experience seems to indicate that what can be done from without to intensify this desire and direct it to good ends — that is, by the family, the school, and the church — is to awaken joy and pride in belonging. A youngster who is jubilantly confident of the stature of his preparatory school will wish to be worthy of it, and this longing may endure through life. And it seems indubitable that the influence of the church is proportionate to its ability to evoke affectionate trust in its practice of the holy life. This may seem as if man were here being doomed to becoming “organization man.” Aris¬ totle long since so doomed him, as the evidence required. What alone matters is the quality of his gregariousness. “Truth” as education must conceive of it is, then, primarily aware¬ ness of the vital activity of the receptive, creative human mind face to face with reality in the whole of its illusory overtness and its revealing concealment. It is on the one hand “man thinking” and on the other that which can be seized and held in thought. "Truth" therefore cannot be for any wise teacher merely “what he troweth,” to borrow Newman’s words, because while awareness must be vividly personal it is nevertheless bound to the whole with hoops firmer than steel. Here is a brief comment on a characteristic, though not alwavs re¬ cognized, trait of Aquinas taken from a recent book by Josef Pieper: The same intrepidity made him ask, in his Commentary on the Book of Job, whether Job’s conversation with the Lord God did not violate reverence — to which he gave the almost outrageous answer that truth does not change according to the standing of the person to whom it is addressed. He who 373

speaks truthfully is invulnerable, no matter who may be his adversary. What is here meant by “truth” is a firm grip on some part of reality.

The earth does spin round; there was a process of evolution,

though we may never fully know how it operated.

The right to discover

and report such truths is the most inviolable of rights. But if a man proceeds to assert that any part of the true is the whole, if he construes his article as being the encyclopedia, he is as gravely in error as would be the planner who believed that if he built a city of skvscrapers there would he no traffic problem.

The Pressure of Technology. Accordingly, here are the poles between which education moves in practice: the scholar’s free, creative, but rigorously controlled aware¬ ness of the cosmic or human verity that he holds with awe in his hands, and his humble, submissive realization that this little, precious though it be, is only like one of the diamonds on Cecil Rhodes’ plain. This is why, to think in contemporary terms it is utterly senseless and lifedestroying to hold that education can be either purely scientific or not concerned with science. In the wake of the eerie excitement caused by Russia’s ability to push a satellite into outer space, we seemed for a time wholly to forget that for years education in the United States has been veering strongly to a onesided concern with engineering and other forms of applied science, and that we were in grave danger of losing our collective dedication to the deeper forms of contemplation, whether they were concerned with mathematics or psychoanalysis, meta¬ physics or pure poetry. . Having been told over and over again that the United States could have sent a rocket to the moon years ago had it been so minded and willing to foot the bill, whv should we now imagine that safety can be found only in thicker dabs of science on the schoolboy’s bread? The reason why the veering alluded to has taken place is of course this: the impact of scientific discovery on our modes of living is so great that we are all caught up into a Heraclitean world. Cellulose fiber makes growing cotton on sun-parched fields a dubiously profitable venture, and vegetable oils deprive the cow of a major reason for being. Indeed, one by one the animals become superfluous save when dead. I can think of no statement that more vividly indicates the change that has already taken place in the human environment. It would be in¬ credibly stupid of the educator not to do what he can to make young scholars aware of the steps by which the mind of man has moved thus far. Yet who can doubt that stern appraisal of our people’s ability to live in the world that is now its companion, day in and out, will reveal 374

equally glaring weaknesses — widespread inability to cope with the leisure that is the byproduct of technology, and a resulting softness of mind, heart, and hand; the lack of impulse to enter into the cultural worlds of other peoples, past and present, that has so often led to manifestations of puerile gullibility or assumed superiority, or (what is even worse) to the isolation of the American in environments that he has been expected to influence or indeed improve; and above all a hankering after spurious kinds of “peace of mind,” as if these might not prove to be the ultimate enfeebling narcotics. If what has been said is in a measure correct, a number of con¬ clusions are suggested, some few of which will be advanced here with the requisite intrepidity.

Singling Out The Adventurous First, it must be obvious that education can proceed in its full glory and significance only insofar as it is concerned with those for whom it is not merely an obligation, to be met by trudging more or less wearily to school, but^also primarily and increasingly an adventure. Young scholars must be chosen and not simply endured. While Maritain and the Harvard Report on General Education in a Free Society are quite right in holding that some measure of liberal education is the privilege of all citizens, it remains as certain as anything can well be that even in the most democratic of societies many will fail to move beyond the stage at which knowledge is communicated fact, either because they are unable to do so or because the journey does not interest them. Those who are eager and able to embark on the adventure of education should be singled out as soon as possible, freed of crip¬ pling economic handicaps, and made to realize that the training of the mind is at least as rigorous as the training of the body. To continue to accept the lowest common pupil denominator as the norm is to doom the potential intellectual power of the nation to turning somer¬ saults around the statue of Huckleberry Finn. One happy result of emphasis on pupil selectivity would be that at long last we should be able to train teachers in a relatively rational manner. There are candidates for the profession able and willing to go with unquenchable enthusiasm to the task of guiding the un¬ folding creative mind. Others will be more at home with the larger numbers for whom awakened interest is the only lure. And there will be some who, sensing perhaps a vocation akin to that of nursing, will concern themselves with young people who are in a sense anormal, because of either handicaps or some now, exception having duly been colleges and preparatory schools, no that of the university can tell what

lesion of the will. As things are made for the most fortunate of teacher working at a level below it is he is expected to accomplish.


He will know only that his work is with youth and he usually will find himself in as impossible a situation as is the driver of a twentv-fourmule team some of whose charges are halt and lame while others are eager for the road. It is no wonder that problems of teacher morale exist, particularly in schools compelled to assemble in the same rooms youngsters who should no doubt be in jail and the sons and daughters of parents who have long been devotedly interested in the progress of the human intelligence.

Freedom For Teacher And Student Some clarification of what is meant by the freedom of the teacher seems highly desirable at this point. What Aquinas and many others have said about the inviolability of the mind when it is aware of truth must be supported, even when the cost is as tragically heavy as it has been in Hungary. This freedom is the inner radiance of every free society. It is the “single string,” to use Donne’s phrase, that cements scholar and teacher in comradeship and mutual respect. But one cannot conclude that the same freedom should be claimed for the imparting of information unless this is actually the communication of truth in the sense defined. The assertion may need a word of comment. For instance, the historian who might contend that the Roman limes was a deposit of quicklime should be free to say so only until somebody finds him out. Or again, a mathematician who has not in a measure kept abreast of developments in his held can hardly claim a natural right to remain in a state of ignorance. But a student of the Roman past who advances a new hypothesis concerning the nature and func¬ tions of the limes based on evidence fresh or old must have complete freedom to publish it, no matter how startling the contentions or how inconclusive the argument may seem. Failure to make this distinction, admittedly difficult to arrive at though it be in concrete instances, is responsible for a widespread reputable skepticism about academic free¬ dom. This failure is no doubt rooted in a too uncritical readiness to apply standards indispensable for research to the lower schools. One may argue that this is the less dangerous course. Yet the fact remains that the maxim, “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” regardless of quality, performance, or vigorous elation, is unquestionably a reason why the profession of teaching has fallen into some disrepute. Is it not more injurious than the difference between the salary paid to the president of Amherst College and that of the chairman of General Motors? Conversely, the proper freedom of a pupil does not consist in doing what he wishes. I am persuaded that, once young people have pro¬ gressed beyond the years with which Madame Montessori was con¬ cerned, they rather wistfully expect someone to tell them what to do and how.

This does not mean, to be sure, that they will wear hair 376

r shirts with pleasure.

But few statements can be made with greater

assurance (or have so been made) than that pupil satisfaction and response are far greater in exacting high schools like Hunter or Brooklyn Technical than they are in makeshift mental factories for which the football season is the major academic event. But there is a kind of freedom at higher levels to which the fledgling young scholar has every right to lay claim. This is on the one hand freedom to respect as a person, regardless of his ancestry or the affiliations of his family. The right to gross discourtesy is not one of the attributes of the teaching profession. On the other hand, the student should have the feeling that his own dawning awareness of part of reality will be accorded mature critical respect. Who has really learned to teach who has not at some time realized that a young mind can light up a scene that has hitherto been dark? When I dealt with a class concerned with some aspects of English verse, it was not a commentary by a distin¬ guished critic that I used to clarify a stanza by Marvell but an essay written by a Harvard senior.

The Abrasiveness of One’s Fellows It is at this point that the marvelous utility of student discussion should be adduced. Young people do not suffer one another’s foolishness gladly. Indeed, they are loath to accept the mutual exchange of wisdom. Very rarely can a college student talk as an equal with a teacher. He can speak at, back to, about, around a revered instructor; but the generations dig their moats and lower only certain drawbridges. Each young person dealing with others, however, under the aegis of edu¬ cation, has in the company of his fellows a priceless abrasiveness, a hugging and pushing aside, an abrupt and vigorous way of proceeding from enmity to affection and back again, which are all like sprouting combative antlers of the mind. How good and fruitful the college campus is (as Newman indicated a century ago) on which thought etches itself out in jagged contour during student debate! Can we not all look back gratefully and see ourselves limping by reason of the bruises earned in such struggles and the depths that had to be leaped over, but still having in the end weary but exhilarated companionship? Alas that we should lose this skill later on! I am sadly reminded that in the days of yore Henry Mencken and Stuart Sherman, the first a stout brew of Nietzsche and Sim-plicissimus, the second a glass of pure humanistic port, were wont to assail each other with uninhibited vehemence. It was not a pleasant spectacle for anyone who liked them both, for neither was any longer young. But if I had my way no student would graduate who had not had a similar glorious row at some time. Finally there is the harassing but unavoidable ground on which “truth” and “medicine” meet. The educated person will not always 377

be driven by inherited impulses or find himself unable to get away from the screen on which are flashed pictures of his subconscious mind. Virtues, whether of the practical or speculative life, are disciplines. The Latin-speaking students of Aristotle referred to each of these as habitudo, as a form of thought and action to which one voluntarily has grown accustomed. For the great Greek, even as for Confucius, wisdom could never be synonymous with knowledge. The knower might be all else than wise in his knowing. There is no graver peril to which modern man can be exposed than surmising that phronesis is auto¬ matically built into his practical application of the insights that he has acquired. As he succumbs to this error, he becomes a thing that can be used rather than a man deciding of what use he can be. This we have seen with implacable clarity in the moral callousness of the gifted — scientists and engineers, jurists and writers — who have served tyrants. We shall see it even more plainly in the manipulation of minds by new and subtler forms of propaganda.

Education Incomplete Without Theology On what basic convictions the commitment to virtue is to rest be¬ comes therewith the query that must be put, even though the answers given may prove so stormily different that many will turn aside per¬ suaded that life is too brief to justify the quest of a decision. I shall say no more here than to remind you that Max Planck, under the torment of Nazism, joined Newman in believing education without theology incomplete. Assuredly this affords one gateway to the final dialogue between oneself and reality. That dialogue will have for its theme where the last boundary is, what foundation lies below the deepest cellar into which we can look. Perhaps a man will decide that there is neither boundary nor fundament. A large number have so concluded. The “disinherited mind,” of which Erich Heller speaks, indeed seems, oddly enough, the response of the intellectual West to the great Christians of the Russian East, alive in the days before a sinister form of dialectic made its successful bid for power. The con¬ viction that we are of the warp and woof of the here and now, and have no wedding garment for a feast elsewhere, has been freely arrived at by men of genius. The university must respect their testimony. It must have full liberty to attest to that respect. But if education is to be what I have said it is, namely “awareness of the vital activity of the receptive, creative mind face to face with reality in the whole of its illusory overtness and its revealing conceal¬ ment,” how can it complete its assignment unless it throws light from every available source on the questions asked by Albert Einstein eight years ago about modern scientific man: “Has he not in an effort cha¬ racterized by being intellectual only forgotten his responsibility and his 378

r dignity? A man who is inwardly free and loyal to his conscience can it is true, be destroyed, but he cannot be turned into a slave or a blind tool.

These things Max Horkheimer had in mind when, re¬

turning to Germany from exile to become rector of the bombed-out University of Frankfurt, he established chairs of Protestant and Catholic theology without being personally a devotee of either. He believed that some light might be cast on the queries of Einstein by a discipline that has played and still plays a mighty role in the drama of the West. lost assuredly he was not thinking of an acrimonious debating society, nor did he acquire one. The European university seems to realize, tar better than our truncated experience will permit, that a theological faculty consists of educated men and not of self-appointed functionaries either in a kind of hypothetical Office of the Inquisition or in a club of intellectuals the primary activity of which is to blackball the parson. It is not too much to say that the immaturity, or it might be better to say the incompleteness, of American culture manifests itself at no point so clearly as it does when religious issues are under discussion. ere are many reasons why this is so, but the principal one un¬ doubtedly is that theology has been studied so far away from the main stream of university life. Quite without knowing it, we have agreed with Tito and Rqkosi in banning religion to the rectory. Therefore Catholic theologians are widely and falsely identified in the public mmd with rigorous censorship, while Protestants, with comparable ab¬ surdity, are deemed to be a dwindling hortatory minority who have not made up their minds whether God exists or not. As for the anti¬ theologians, need one refrain from saying that their inability to span the gulfs that stretch between themselves is no less scandalous than is the scandal of religious divisiveness? The statement that a faculty of theology must include representatives of every form of theology thus identifying the proposed venture with absurdity - is admittedly difficult to confute. But it is perhaps in reality no more arresting than would be the contention that an antitheological faculty of phi¬ losophy must include every kind of antitheologian. The fact of the matter is that thinking in theological terms, even amidst the turmoil of recent social tragedy, has attained heights of pertinence and influence that cannot be whisked out of being. It is at least probable that the books of Pere Teilhard de Chardin will outlive those of Sartre. American education could face the ultimate questions concerning the nature of human existence with the same willingness to discuss the whole of the evidence that I find elsewhere in the world. The numerous deep-rooted atavistic impulses with which manv Ameri¬ can scholars embark on life do not seem a replica of the Great Wall. I shall confess that to me it appears rather odd that we may all be blown to kingdom come because of some resolve to end the debate about power powerfully, before the American university has a fair chance to talk about whether man is immortal. Not that a faculty 379


resolution on the subject would be particularly reassuring.

But at

least if I were a young, inquisitive person, I should prefer to be slain on such tremendous scene after having weighed all the evidence con¬ cerning my survival. It seems a pity to deprive the fledgling American intellectual of that opportunity.


Part VII Social and Political Education

27 Education: The Long View ARNOLD J . TOYNBEE

Education is a specifically human activity. Unlike other animals, man inherits something over and above what is transmitted to him automatically by physical and psychic heredity. He inherits a culture which the members of the rising generation acquire, not as an automatic birthright, but through being inducted into it by their elders. Human culture is not built into human minds; it is a mental tool that is trans¬ mitted, held, and operated by them, and it is detachable and variable. Our minds are like handles to which alternative systems of culture can be fitted. Our culture does resemble our physical and psychic constitution in that it changes in the course of transmission; but its rate of change is incomparably faster than nature’s. Even when the intentions of all concerned are conservative, the transmitting generation never succeeds in handing on its cultural heritage in quite the form in which it received it from its predecessors; and the time span of One generation is infinitesimally short compared to the age of the human race. In most human societies in most times and places so far, education, in the broad sense of the transmission of a cultural heritage, has been unselfconscious and unorganized activity.

People have mostly acquired

Arnold J. Toynbee’s “Conclusions,” pp. 269 - 289 in Education in the Per¬ spective of History by Edward D. Myers, New York: Harper & Row, 1960. Copyright © 1960 by Edward Myers. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.


their ancestral culture in the way in which they learn their mother tongue.

They associate with their elders and learn from' them un¬

consciously, while the elders, on their side, are hardly more conscious of being teachers. This unsophisticated kind of education continues to plav an im¬ portant part even in societies in process of civilization in which or¬ ganized and formal systems of education have come to be estaonsned. Even in educational institutions in which the official staple is book learning, the forming of habits and the training of character are still largely left to be taken care of by the spontaneous effects of the social relations between the rising generation and its elders; and what the child brings with him from his home may count for as much as what is deliberately impressed upon him at school. The importance of the home’s contribution comes to light when an educational institution that has been the preserve of some privileged minority is thrown open to a wider public. One of the most effective privileges hitherto has been the privilege of being heir to a richer cultural heritage than is accessible to the unprivileged majority, and this richer heritage is trans¬ mitted through the family as well as through schools and colleges. This becomes apparent when children with a poorer cultural heritage are admitted to the minority’s schools. They find it difficult to obtain as much benefit as their privileged schoolfellows obtain from the same course of formal education, because they bring less with them. To him that hath shall be given. This is not just, but it is one of the facts of life, ft takes more than one generation for a family that has made its way out of a less privileged into a more privileged social class to acquire the full cultural heritage of the class to which it has won ad¬ mission. A society enters on the process of civilization as soon as it can afford to maintain a minority, however small, whose time and energy is not wholly taken up in producing food and the other primary neces¬ sities of life. This leisured minority is the social milieu in which an unorganized and unself-conscious apprenticeship in the older genera¬ tion’s way of life comes to be supplemented, more and more, by the organized and self-conscious kind of instruction which is what we com¬ monly mean today in our society when we use the word "education.” This development, which is one of the accompaniments of civilization, is what makes possible the enrichment of the cultural heritage that the word civilization implies. But the introduction of formal educa¬ tion has several awkward consequences. One consequence is that education becomes a burden on the mind. In the act of making it formal we make it cumulative. The successive generations are recorded and handed on, while the capacity of a single human mind in a single lifetime remains within constant natural limits. How is a limited human mind to cope with a cultural heritage that is perpetually increasing in bulk? This problem is aggravated when 384

r people begin deliberately to extend the range of human knowledge by systematic research. There will be a temptation to try to facilitate the acquisition of the growing heritage by simplifying its content at the cost of impoverishing it. For educational purposes the culture may be reduced to a conventional form in which it will tend to become impersonal, secular, and abstract; and in this process the living essence of the culture may slip out of the educational net. The apprenticeship for life may be ousted by a course of instruction set by syllabus. Ordeals that are initiations into successive stages of life mav shrivel into examinations in arbitrarily selected bodies of cut-and-dried knowl¬ edge. Another consequence of formalizing education is to make it esoteric. When poetry, sacred or secular, is preserved over a series of generations by being committed to memory or to writing, the work of art “freezes” the language in which it is conveyed. Of all man’s cultural tools, his living language is perhaps the one that changes most rapidly. It quickly parts company with the language of a work that has become a classic, and the classical language soon becomes archaic and finally ceases to be intelligible to anyone who has not had the leisure to devote himself to the study of it. Mastery of a language that still enjoys high cultural prestige but is at the same time a dead” language for all but a learned minority gives this minority a monopoly that carries power with it and that may therefore come to be prized and clung to for its own sake. This may happen even when the transmission of a classical literature is still oral. History shows that in societies in which the human mind’s natural powers of memory have not been weakened by dependence on written records, large bodies of literature can be handed down, word perfect, for centuries by memorization, unaided by writing. And indeed, many societies, long after they have acquired the art of writing, have cherished a strong and persistent prejudice agains committing to writing, anything that is felt to be of social and cultural value — for instance, laws and, still more, liturgies. Writing seems usually to have come into use first of all for prosaic practical purposes such as the recording of inventories, contracts, and correspondence. It has to become well es¬ tablished and familiar before people can bring themselves to use it for higher cultural ends. The earliest scripts have been the clumsiest and the most com¬ plicated and therefore the most difficult to read and write. So, when the scribe’s monopoly of understanding a classical language is reinforced by a monopoly of manipulating an archaic script, he becomes doubly entrenched in his position of privilege, and acquires a vested interest in opposing the literary use of the vulgar tongue of his own day con¬ veyed in a system of writing which is easily mastered. The Egyptian hieroglyphic script, the Sumerian cuneiform, and above all, the vast array of Chinese characters are examples of scripts that have been misused to defeat the purpose of the art of writing by 385

making it a barrier to communication instead of a channel for it..


this reason the invention of the alphabet has been a turning point in the history of education, if we think of this history as being the story of the effort to make formal, as well as spontaneous, education one of the fundamental rights of all men instead of leaving it to remain the privilege of a minority. Yet, during 3,000 years since the discovery of the principle of analyzing the sounds of human speech into their elements, by the unknown genius to whom the invention of the alpha¬ bet is due, this principle has never been applied with complete rationality. Every known version of the alphabet retains letters that are superfluous because they are duplicates or compounds, and lacks letters required for conveying some of the sounds that occur in the language to which this version of the alphabet has been geared. Successive breaches in the scribe’s monopoly have been made from various motives. For instance, the government of a widespread empire, embracing all, and perhaps more than all, the domain of an entire civilization, may find the traditional privileged minority inadequate or unsuitable for supplying the imperial government with the adminis¬ trators that it needs; and then this government may deliberately call into existence a new class of educated people to fill or supplement the ranks of its administrative hierarchy. In China at the turn of the second and the last Century B.C., the imperial government entered into an alliance with the Confucian school of philosophers, whose literary stock-in-trade was the classics that Confucius had canonized. The result was a considerable extension of the educated class in China and a concomitant broadening of this class’s social basis. A wholly new “intelligentsia” may be called into existence by an imperial government that has become converted to an alien culture or has brought an alien culture in with it. This was one of the effects of the “reception” of Western culture in Russia and after the reign of Peter the Great, and of the introduction of Western culture into India by the British raj. Missionary religions, again, have called into existence new corpora¬ tions of educated clerics in their zeal to propagate themselves to the ends of the earth; and their leaders, looking upon the whole human race as prospective converts, have been perhaps the first people in the world to Conceive of universal education. In China, in particular, the inventions of printing and paper appear to have been stimulated bv the eagerness of Buddhist missionaries to bring spiritual enlightenment within the reach of the masses. The vision of universal education was caught by the higher re¬ ligions before the economic means had been provided for translating it from an ideal into a reality. During these first 5,000 years of the history of civilization, one- of the most characteristic, and most ugly, features of this new way of life has been the monopoly of its amenities, spiritual as well as material, by a small minority of the members of 386

societies in process of civilization.

This blot on the scutcheon of

civilization during its first phase has not been due solely to the selfishness of the ruling minority. Even if all the members of this group had succeeded in rising above their natural human egotism and had tried with all their might to share their cultural heritage with the unprivileged majority of their fellow human beings, they would have been defeated, before the Industrial Revolution, by the smallness of the economic surplus remaining in hand after the satisfaction of elementary economic needs. This revolution started in the Western World about two hundred years ago and, since then, has been increasing in momentum and com¬ municating itself from the Western peoples to the rest of mankind. In animal all but live as

a pre-industrial agricultural economy, in which human and muscle power has not been reinforced by mechanical power, a small minority of the members of society are condemned to a peasantry whose puny production cannot provide amenities

beyond such common necessities as food, clothing, and shelter for more than a small minority. This injustice was made intolerable by the ap¬ pearance in the world of higher religions that divined and proclaimed the infinite spiritual values of every human soul, irrespective of the social class in which it has been placed by the accident of birth. An injustice that has long since been intolerable has now been made un¬ necessary by the Industrial Revolution, which has brought it within our economic power at last to provide the amenities of civilization for mankind in the mass always supposing that we do not use the new power generated by the progress of technology for the self-destruction of the human race. Our present Industrial Revolution is, of course, only one in a long series of technological advances; but it is perhaps the first since the invention of agriculture that has been potent enough to provide ap¬ preciable social and cultural benefits for all members, of a society that has made it. At the dawn of civilization, the agricultural yield was increased in the river valleys of Southwest Asia and Egypt by the in¬ vention of water control. In the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., the quality of the yield was increased in Greece by the invention of special¬ ization in luxury crops to be traded in exchange for staple foodstuffs and raw materials. These too were brilliant economic revolutions, but they were comparatively minor ones in their material effect. Our present-day Industrial Revolution is the first that has opened up the prospect of providing the material means for raising the standard of living of the world’s vast peasantry above the neolithic level that was attained round the rim of the Fertile Crescent during the age preceding the dawn of civilization there. This present possibility of bringing the benefits of civilization to the whole of the great unprivileged majoritv of the human race carries with it a moral command to execute the act of justice that is now at last within our power. This is the new require¬ ment with which mankind, and consequently the ancient human in387

stitution of education, is confronted today. The educational problems involved are of the same order of magnitude as the requirement itself. One problem is presented by the unalterable and inescapable fact that a human being has a strictly limited capacity. The maximum natural endowment of ability and energy that can be in action over the maximum effective life span is something that is fixed within very narrow limits of marginal variability. On the other hand, human knowledge is cumulative in science and technology. In the humanities as well, knowledge tends to accumulate within the time spans of particular civilizations and higher religions, and sometimes outlives the disintegration and disappearance of these social matrices of humane culture. This accumulation of culture confronts the givers and receivers of formal education with a Psyche’s task of ever-increasing difficulty; and this difficulty confronts all individuals alike, in every civilization and in every social class. In modern times Western civilization has been sensationally success¬ ful in deliberately and systematically extending the bounds of knowledge and in applying its knowledge of non-human nature to the practical purpose of increasing human power over man’s non-human environ¬ ment. One of the devices by which these successes have been achieved has been specialization. And there is a temptation to carry specializa¬ tion to still greater lengths as a possible means of coping with the over¬ whelming mass of new knowledge that specialization has won for us. At the present time this temptation is reinforced by the new demand of governments and non-governmental corporations and foundations for specialists in natural science and technology, now that technological and scientific knowledge is expected to count for more than military prowess and administrative skill in the arena of international power politics. Any state or people that succumbs to this temptation seems likely to defeat its own purpose. The modern marriage of technology with science has proved fruitful because science has been pursued primarily for its own sake, without any immediate view to a practical application of its discoveries. And even the disinterested pursuit of science becomes sterile if it runs in narrow ruts. Specialization in particular branches of natural science soon runs dry if it is cut off from its source in com¬ prehensive and philosophical scientific thinking. Moreover, even a scientist who takes the whole of nonhuman nature into his purview cannot afford to leave human nature out of it. “The proper studv of mankind is man” because man’s dealings with himself and with his human neighbors are the part of man’s business in which he has been conspicuously unsuccessful thus far; and the penalty for failure here becomes heavier, the greater the power over non-human nature that the advance of natural science places in man’s hands for him to wield, in his perversity, against himself. The need for balancing an education in natural science and technology with an education in the humanities


has been recognized and acted upon by, for instance, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most distinguished educational institutions of the present day; and the wisdom of this broad-minded policy has been recognized in the educational world. This should be noted and taken to heart by the advocates of extreme specialization in the various branches of technology and natural science, who suppose such specialization to be a key to dominance in the competition for power between states. Meanwhile, the ocean of knowledge has grown to an immeasurable size, not only in natural science but in the humanities as well. In the past, when various civilizations were living more or less in isolation from one another, a humane education demanded no more than mastery of the “classical” language, literature, and philosophy of some single civilization — for example, the Chinese classics for the peoples of Eastern Asia and the Greek and Latin classics for the peoples of the West. Since modern Western civilization has made its impact on the rest of the world, however, the children of other civilizations have been finding that a mastery of their own ancestral culture is no longer enough to enable them to hold their own. If they are to survive “under the strenuous conditions of modern life” (to quote a phrase from the Cove¬ nant of the League of Nations), they must now learn something about the West, to whom new knowledge has given a temporary dominance over other peoples. Under Western pressure, the non-Western peoples have been stealing a march on the Westerners in broadening the tradi¬ tional range of their education in the humanities. And the West, in its turn, is going to have to follow its unintended pupils’ example.


in our lifetime, we are seeing the West rapidly losing its recently won supremacy, as one non-Western people after another acquires the West¬ ern technological and scientific know-how and thereby begins to re¬ capture its normal position in the world, a position that was temporarilv lost when the modern West took the world by storm through taking it by surprise. The non-Western peoples’ self-education in Western knowledge may be proving effective, for the moment, as a key to the recovery of power, but it is a shallow knowledge, compared to their traditional edu¬ cation in their ancestral humanities, and this new knowledge will prove a poor exchange for the old unless it is deepened. The typical West¬ ernized — or, as he might prefer to say, modernized — non-Westerner of today has qualified himself for the exercise of some modern Western profession — say, medicine or engineering — and he has learned his profession in some Western language, but he is likely to be ignorant of the Greek and Latin classics, which are the source of the modern West’s secular culture, and ignorant of Christianity, which is the source of an agnostic or atheist Westerner’s spiritual outlook, as well as of his ethical principles. So the non-Western convert to Western civiliza¬ tion will have abandoned his own ancestral cultural heritage without 389

1 having succeeded in acquiring its Western equivalent. But the peoples of the world cannot learn to understand each other if they confine their at¬ tention to the present surface of life and ignore the historical depths. We cannot truly know a person, a people, a civilization, or a religion without knowing something about its history; and here, by yet another route we are again brought face to face with the problem created by the inordinate increase in the quantity of our knowledge. Today our knowledge of the past is increasing at an unprecedented rate, and this at both ends of its ever lengthening vista. The archeo¬ logists are making history exhuming buried and forgotten civilizations as fast as the politicians are making it by taking new action for con¬ temporary historians to study. The public records produced in the United Kingdom during the Second World War, which lasted less than six years, are said to equal in quantity all the surviving records produced previously by the United Kingdom and its component states, the kingdoms of England and Scotland. The wartime records of one single government department in London would extend, it is said, for seventeen miles if the files were stacked on edge and placed in a row as tightly as they could be packed. The records of archeological ex¬ cavations are also formidably extensive; and, in between, our knowledge of comparatively well-known periods in the histories of the civilizations and the religions has been increased and, in the process, transformed by the study of previously unknown or neglected documents and by the reinterpretation of previously familiar ones. In the meantime, economics has opened up the study of an aspect of human activity that was previously ignored; anthropology and so¬ ciology have opened up the study of the structure of human society and the nature of human culture at all levels, from the most primitive to the least uncivilized. And psychology has added a new dimension to the study of human nature. The Greek sciences of epistemology, logic, and ethics had explored the rational and purposeful surface of the human psyche; psychology is probing the irrational and emotional depths; and here, once more, the questing human mind finds itself confronted by infinity. To borrow a phrase from the Gospel according to St. John, “the World itself could not contain the books that should be written” by a competent psychologist if he were to set himself to make an exhaustive record of all the psychic events that occur in a single psyche within the shortest period of time that the subtlest re¬ cording instruments can measure. This immense and growing mass of knowledge about man and his nonhuman environment daunts the minds that are exposed to it and throws them on the defensive. In self-defense we are tempted to ask ourselves again whether our institutions for formal education can¬ not simply reject the greater part of this formidable load, or, short of that, divide it up into packages that can be distributed among different pairs of shoulders without risk of breaking any backs. The reply to 390

r this cry of distress has to be in the negative: “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” (“I am a human being, so I cannot be indifferent to anything that has to do with human life and human nature”). Every man, woman, and child alive today is living in a world in which mankind is faced with the extreme choice between learning to live together as one family and committing genocide on a planetary scale. Neither the human race nor any living member of it can afford to ignore the present human situation. We must cope with it if we are not to destroy our¬ selves; in order to cope with it we must understand it; and trying to understand it commits each and all of us to making some acquaintance with at least three vast realms of knowledge: a knowledge of nonhuman nature, a knowledge of human nature; and a knowledge of the characters and histories of the local and temporary cultures — some relatively primi¬ tive, others relatively advanced — that man has created and transmitted and modified and discarded in the course of the ages that have passed since his pre-human ancestors became human. Formal education’s mini¬ mum task has thus become a big undertaking in our dav; and every child will have a strenuous course of formal as well as informal education to run in order to grow up into being an effective citizen of our new world. How, then, are our educational institutions to convey this over¬ whelmingly massive heritage of knowledge to a puny and ephemeral human mind? The task would be an intimidating one even if we could confine it to the education of the privileged heirs of the Western cultural tradition. These, if anyone, should be receptive to an education of this comprehensive kind; for it is they who have called into existence the world-wide social framework within, which the whole human race is now living. This has started as a Western framework (though, no doubt, it will turn into a very different one); and the privileged minority in the Western society has played the chief part in giving it its present shape. Thus they, if anyone, ought to feel at home in it. Yet how hard it is, today, to educate even this favored minority to cope with what is its own heritage! And before we have seen our way to solving even this limited educational problem, we have to plunge on into the still more difficult problems of educating the unprivileged majority of Westerners and the huge non-Western majority of the human race, for whom the present Western framework of their life is something alien and uncongenial. Clearly this educational task is a tremendous one. Yet we cannot afford to shy away from it or to exclude any part of the human race from its scope. We have to help mankind to educate itself against the danger of its destroying itself; and this is a duty that we dare not repudiate. This is not the first time that an educational task of this nature, and even of something like this magnitude, has confronted human beings who have found themselves responsible for the destinies of large portions of the human race. It may be true that the whole human race, in all the habitable regions on the surface of the globe, 391

has never been drawn together into a single world-wide society before this was achieved, in the course of the last few centuries, by Western initiative. All the same, in the past, there have been unifications on a scale that, short of being truly ecumenical, has been great enough to seem ecumenical to the people involved. Nineteen hundred years ago the Chinese Empire seemed to the inhabitants of the Chinese Em¬ pire, and the Roman Empire to the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, to embrace virtually the whole of the civilized world. Both societies were mistaken in their picture of themselves — as is demonstrated by the mere fact that these two “ecumenical” empires were coexisting, almost unknown to each other, at opposite ends of the same continent. Nevertheless, the educational problems that these predecessors of ours encountered as a result of unification on a subcontinental scale are sufficiently like our own truly ecumenical problem of the present day to be worth our notice. A glance at these partial precedents may perhaps at least give us warning of some of the pitfalls that we have to avoid, even if it does not throw as much light on the positive edu¬ cational policies that we ought to pursue. In the Chinese Empire in its first bout, under the Ts’in and Han dynasties, as well as in the Roman Empire, there was an attempt to extend the range of formal education from the privileged minority that had previously monopolized it to a wider circle. In both cases this attempt miscarried, in the sense that it failed to teach the whole population of an “ecumenical” empire how to live together permanently as a single family. Both empires went to pieces (though both were put together again temporarily after an interregnum). In both cases, the same two reasons for the miscarriage can be discerned within the field of education — though of course these reasons are only part of the explanation of what happened. One reason was that the former privileged minority’s traditional system of education was impoverished in the process of being dis¬ seminated. It degenerated into a formal education in book learning, divorced from a spontaneous apprenticeship for life. The test of having been initiated into the traditional culture came to be the mastery of an arbitrarily selected and canonized corpus of classical literature, and the test of this mastery came to be an ability to imitate the original. In fact, the art of playing with words was substituted for the art of living. A second reason for the miscarriage was that the range of formal education was limited, in both cases, to the humanities. Though both the Greeks and the Chinese of the “classical” age had made additions to mankind’s technological equipment, and the Greeks had also been pioneers in the discovery of pure mathematics, and physical science, an aristocratic prejudice against “the useful arts” outlived the aristocratic regime in both societies. Accordingly, nothing was done in either society to try to raise the economy above the purely agricultural level at which it had always remained in Eastern Asia and to which it had been reduced 392

f again in the Greco-Roman world when the effects of the agricultural revolutions in Greece in the sixth century B.C. and in Italy in the second century B.C. had been offset by the incorporation into the Greco-Roman world of large economically backward areas in North¬ west Africa and in the European hinterlands of the Mediterranean. The same aristocratic prejudice inhibited the Greeks from making that marriage between science and technology which was consummated in the modern Western world in and after the seventeenth century with such fruitful results. The consequence, in both the Greco-Roman world and Eastern Asia, was that a swollen educated class remained parasitic on a peasantry whose productivity had not been stepped up to carry the additional load; and this increase in the peasantry’s social burden was not compensated for by any cultural benefits that the peasantry could appreciate. The cut-and-dried book learning in the classics, to which the privileged minority’s culture had been reduced, was not made accessible to the peasants, and if it had been, it would probably not have proved attractive to them. In these circumstances it is not surprising that in both cases the peasantry revolted and the “ecumenical” empire, and the civilization embodied in it, collapsed. In this story from the past there are lessons for us today. One lesson is that we must try to keep the several essential subjects of education in balance with each other. Undoubtedly the most im¬ portant subject of all is man. The human race could not survive if, in each generation, we did not learn from our predecessors at least a modicum of the art of managing our relations with our fellow human beings and with ourselves. This is the essence of a humane education, but it cannot be learned just from a study of “the humanities” in book form. In the present-day world, it is true, a considerable amount of book learning has come to be a necessary part of everyone’s education. At the same time, the essence of a humane education has still to be acquired mainly through the informal apprenticeship that is the heart of education in all societies and all social classes at all levels. This is what makes and keeps us human. Book learning in “the humanities” can be a valuable supplement to it, but can never be a substitute for it. And it must be remembered that while an apprenticeship in the art of living with one’s fellows is an indispensable part of the education of every human being born into the world, the bookish supplement to it originally came into existence as a vocational education for ad¬ ministrative officials in government service and for ministers of the higher religions. These are two highly specialized occupations; and, though the range of “the liberal professions” has considerably increased pari passu with the increasing complexity of civilization in the modern age, these walks of life seem unlikely ever to provide employment for more than a small fraction of the human race or to find more than a small fraction willing and able to seek its vocation in them. If we were to try to force mankind in the mass to undergo a formal 393

literary education, not merely up to the elementary or the ^secondary stage, but up to the standard required in order to qualify for one of the liberal professions, we should ruin the higher levels of this branch of education in trying to bring them down to within the capacity of people with no special aptitude for rising to them, and at the same time we should be running the risk of alienating the mass of mankind from the idea of formal education of any kind. We must recognize that there is a diversity in human gifts, and that this diversity is valuable








those who are attracted to the humanities and those who are attracted to natural science. But “intellectuals” of both types are a rather small minority in every class, society, and race. What line of higher education an individual should follow ought to be a matter, not of privilege, but of personal aptitude. Most human beings in all races, societies, and classes are born with a practical bent, and these, when they reach the stage of more advanced education, will feel most at home if they turn from book learning toward an apprenticeship in technology, irrespective of what their family’s social position may happen to be. This does not, of course, mean that formal education should be depreciated or neglected; for, in a world in which peoples inheriting widely different ways of life have suddenly to learn how to live as one family, there are obvious tasks for formal education in the spheres of technology, science, and the humanities. Our first need is to com¬ municate effectively with each other; and, in a world that is still a babel of mutually unintelligible languages, every child should be expected, whatever his vocation is going to be, to learn at least one other language besides his mother tongue. This is not an excessive demand, as is shown by the fact that in Switzerland every child does already learn two other languages, and in Holland three, as a matter of course. The incentive is greatest for those, like the Dutch, whose mother tongue happens not to be a world language, so that they will be strangers in the wide world if they do not make the effort to become polyglots. The Englishspeaking peoples tend to be spoiled by the handicap of happening to speak a world language as their mother tongue. Americans also tend to think of the rest of the human race as being potential immigrants whose business it is to learn how to live the American way of life, and the first step toward this, as Americans see it, is to learn the English language. Today, however, it is the Ameri¬ cans turn to come on to other peoples’ ground if America is to hold her own in her world-wide competition with Russia.

Since the Second

World War, an important new profession has made its appearance in American life. There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans working abroad in the service, not only of the United States Govern¬ ment, but of the great American commercial corporations and cultural foundations. These American citizens on service in non-English-speaking countries have been caught at a disadvantage by the traditional Amerb 394

can aversion to the learning of foreign languages.

On the other hand,

Russia enjoys the advantage of a traditional mastery of foreign languages up to almost Swiss and Dutch standards, and this tradition seems now to have revived in Russia after a lapse during the early years after the revolution of 1917.

It looks as if the Russians are likely to be the

unintentional promoters of a new movement in the United States to make the learning of foreign languages one of the staples of American education. But it is not only the English-speaking peoples who need a stimulus in this direction. In a world that has to be “one world” now if it is to continue to exist, there is room for improvement even in those countries in which the standard of proficiency in learning foreign languages stands at its highest today in all classses. But the world cannot become “one world” in spirit merely bv improving its means of intercommunication. Closer acquaintance may produce hostility instead of friendship so long as different peoples, and different classes within the same community, have such unequal shares in the amenities of civilization as they still have. This inequality has been the consequence of poverty; poverty has been the consequence of technological backwardness; and this backwardness has been over¬ come by the modern marriage of technology with science. The world needs to educate its scientific-minded “intellectuals” and the technological-minded majority of its people to work together with a view to raising the minimum standard of material life for all mankind to a hitherto undreamed of level. Now that we have discovered how to tap atomic energy, there is no reason why every Indian peasant should not soon be as well off as a present-day Illinois farmer. A rise in material well-being of this magnitude might perhaps not be altogether good for the peasant s soul; but without a considerable rise above his present depressingly low level of material existence he will be unable to achieve the spiritual welfare that is the true end of man. The greatest blessing that technological progress has in store for mankind is not, of course, an accumulation of material possessions. The amount of these that can be enjoyed effectively by one individual in one lifetime is not great. But there is not the same narrow limit to the possibilities of the enjoyment of leisure. The gift of leisure mav be abused by people who have had no experience of making use of it. Yet the creative use of leisure by a minority of the leisured minority in societies in process of civilization has been the mainspring of all human progress beyond the primitive level. In our still archaic industrial society, leisure continues to be thought of, by all but a privileged minority, in its negative aspect of “unemployment” in gainful labor; and for the industrial worker, the prospect of unemployment is at present a nightmare because it carries with it a loss of income and, worse still, a loss of self-respect. In our world an unemployed worker feels as if he were an outcast from the working community. The Greeks had a truer vision in seeing in leisure the greatest of all human goods; and they did indeed use leisure 395


for worthy ends — as is witnessed by the fact that the Greek word for leisure has provided most of the modern Western languages with their word for “school.” In our world, the dawning age of automation is soon going to provide ample leisure for all industrial workers without loss of income or self-respect or social esteem. No doubt, if this unheard-of leisure is thrust into their hands suddenly, they will partly misuse it to begin with. But sooner or later we shall surely be able to salvage some of it for employment on adult education of a formal kind.

Our informal apprenticeship in life is,

of course, lifelong; our experience of life educates us, whether we will this or not. But, in the poverty-stricken civilizations of these first few thousand years, formal education, even for a privileged minority, has usually come to an end at the close of adolescence, if not earlier; and this has had an unfortunate consequence. The student has been sur¬ feited with book learning at a stage of life at which he has not yet acquired the experience to take advantage of this, and he has then been starved for book learning at a later stage in which, if he had been given the opportunity, he could have made much more of it in the light of his growing experience. In the rich society of the future, we shall be able to afford to offer part-time adult education to every man and woman at every stage of grown-up life. Already, in Denmark, a highly civilized people that has had the intelligence to carry out an agricultural revolu¬ tion has used some of its modest profits, Greek fashion, for providing voluntary adult higher education for itself in the admirable Danish high schools (which are schools for grown-up persons, not for children). A Danish farmer will save money for years to enable himself to take a six-months’ or twelve-months’ course, and he will make it a point of honor to choose his subject with an eye to raising the level of his culture and not with an eye to improving his economic position. In this presentday Danish institution we have a foretaste of an educational advance that will be open to the whole of mankind in the coming age of “atoms for peace,” automation, and the leisure that will be generated by an abundance of scientifically directed mechanical power. But the quality of education of all kinds depends on the quality of the people who give it, and there has been a paradoxical tendency for quality to deteriorate as the formal element in education has increased in importance. The spontaneous apprenticeship in life, which was the only form of education known to early man, was given bv the leaders of the community. The child received it from his parents, and the young man from the community’s priests and captains. The edu¬ cational functions of these leaders were inseparable and indistinguishable from the rest of their activities, and therefore shared in their general prestige. But when a separate formal kind of education makes its ap¬ pearance, it brings into existence a new class of professional teachers who work, like other professional men and women, for pay; and, in most societies in process of civilization thus far, both the pay and the 396

status of the professional teacher have been lower than has been war¬ ranted by the lip service that society has paid to the value of formal education.

This has sometimes set up a vicious circle, in which the

depression and discontent of the teaching profession has deterred able people from entering it, and has thereby led to a further lowering of its standards and status, leading in turn to deeper depression and dis¬ content.

The lowness of the status of the teaching profession in the

present-day Western world has been satirized in George Bernard Shaw’s trenchant and telling epigram: “If you can, do; if you can’t, teach.” It is true that, in the Western world, the status of the teaching profession varies appreciably from country to country. In Austria a professor’s wife used to rank with a colonel’s, while in Prussia she ranked with a major s.

If anyone had thought of grading her in Eng¬

land, she probably would have ranked no higher than a captain’s wife' there, whereas in Scotland she certainly would have ranked as high as a major general’s. Before the salaries of professors in the United Kingdom were evened out by subventions from the public purse to counteract the effects of inflation, poor Scotland used to pay her pro¬ fessors higher salaries than rich England cared to dole out in remunera¬ tion for the same work. Today, an English professor no longer gains an increase in monetary income if he is posted to a Scottish university; but his wife is still astonished at the deference — out of all proportion to her slender purchasing power — with which she is treated in the stores that she honors with her distinguished patronage. Perhaps one reason why the status of professors remains high in Scotland, is that they still trail some clouds of glory from an ecclesiastical past. Until recently, the ambition of every Scottish peasant family was to send a son into the Presbyterian ministry. The enterprise called for immense effort and self-sacrifice; and the professor was the good genius who won the whole family’s gratitude by helping the aspiring student on his arduous road. This cannot, however, be the whole ex¬ planation, for the status of professors has also been comparatively high in France and Germany, where the professor has been, not a semiecclesiastical hierophant, but the civil servant of a secular state. And anyway, in the modern Western world, these instances of a relatively high status for teachers are exceptional. The relatively low status to which they have been depressed in most English-speaking countries outside Scotland is more typical of their status in the Western world as a whole. What, then, can be done today to raise the Western teaching pro¬ fession’s status and standards? Here Russia may be doing the West another unintentional service by giving Western observers the impres¬ sion that she treats her professors as grandees. Perhaps this impression, whether or not it is correct, may spur America into raising the status of the American teaching profession as an inescapable move in her com¬ petition with Russia for world power. This is not the best conceivable 397


motive for an educational reform; but it is to be welcomed^ if it does move the American people to give American teachers large increases of salary and of leisure.

America can already afford to be generous to her

teachers, without needing to wait for the superabundance that is to be expected from “atoms for peace.” But a substantial improvement in the teaching profession’s material conditions of life would not be enough in itself. It would merely be an enabling condition to open the way for a rise in the degree of esteem in .which teachers are held in their own estimation as well as in the public’s. This esteem cannot be high unless both the public and the profession become convinced of two things: first, that the teaching pro¬ fession is performing a valuable public service, and, second, that it is maintaining a high professional standard in its work.

The first of these

two conditions will be fulfilled if it is realized that, in the present critical chapter of history, the teaching profession does have an indispensable part to play in helping the human race save itself from self-destruction by helping it to grow into one family in which the odious traditional division between the privileged and the unprivileged will have been abolished. Here is a field in which the teacher of languages and the teacher of technology can both prove their worth. As for the profes¬ sional standard to which the teacher can rise, this will depend on the amount of the leisure that is granted to him and on the use to which he puts it. Since man in process of civilization first deliberately set himself to extend the bounds of human knowledge by purposeful and system¬ atic research, it has been recognized that a university teacher must be given the opportunity to be a part-time researcher too if he is to retain his intellectual vitality and to communicate it to his pupils. We now have enough material resources to be able to offer the same opportunity to teachers not only at the university level but also at all levels below it. Nothing could do more to increase the teaching profession’s efficiency, prestige, and self-respect. When we think of research, we should, of course, think of it in the widest terms. In the field of re¬ search into physical nature, no one would dispute the con¬ tention that the telescope is as valuable and as honorable an instrument as the microscope. In the field of the humanities, there has recently been a tendency for the microscopists to claim a monopoly of the label “research” for their own kind of work and to refuse the title to their brethren the telescopists. Yet it is surely obvious that the Newtons and Einsteins have done no less to increase our knowledge and understanding of the universe than their fellow scientists who have discovered previously undetected planets or galaxies. It is also obvious that this truism holds good for the humanities as well as for physical science. Research, of whatever kind, is good for teaching, because it sets a standard of precision and thoroughness which the researcher-teacher 398

will exact from himself and demand from his pupils. But here, as so often before, we are brought back to the problem set by the limits of the capacity of human minds.

Even if formal education is to

become lifelong, how can a single mind in a single lifetime acquire an education that will be exact and at the same time comprehensive? We cannot do without either of these conditions in a world that has become one world” and that has also become scientific in its intel¬ lectual standards. Perhaps the solution will be for everybody — pupil and teacher, researcher and “practical” man or woman alike — to operate in two intellectual dimensions simultaneously. Everybody needs a glimpse of the bird’s-eye view, with a radius of hundreds of miles, that one catches from a jet plane flying in the stra¬ tosphere. Everybody also needs to have a glimpse of the worm’s-eye view, with the depth of thousands of feet, that one catches by sifting the succes¬ sive strata that are brought to the surface by an oil prospector’s drill as it burrows into the bowels of the earth. The capacity of a single human mind is narrowly circumscribed; it can never succeed either in surveying the whole surface of the globe or in probing the globe’s interior to the center. Yet at least it need not confine itself to either of these intellectual quests exclusively. It can sample both, and such intellectual catholicity will be a liberal education. Let our students survey the history of all mankind all over the face of the planet since the age when man’s pre-human ancestors first became human; but at the same time let them scrutinize the history of some local short-lived tribe or parish. Let them learn to communicate with their neighbors in languages that are not their own mother tongues; but at the same time let them master in detail the structure of some particular language and the art of some particular poet. This dual approach to the problem of education seems the most promising that we can make in the huge and complex new world into which we are being carried today by the rushing current of history.


28 The Democratic Concept and Education ETIENNE GILSON

From the time of its origins, which, for Western civilization, is that of ancient Greece, free and liberal speculation has always been made possible by the existence of a leisured class whose members, if they felt so inclined, could dedicate themselves to speculative research and to contemplation. For this reason, Aristotle says, the first men to philosophize were priests. The remark clearly applies to the middle ages, when nobody could become a scholar unless he was a cleric. When both in Greece and in modern societies laymen became interested in learning, the existence of lay philosophers, scientists, and scholars of any sort was made possible either because they themselves belonged to the aristocracy of their time, which was the case for Francis Bacon and for Descartes, or else because some enlightened members of that aristocracy provided them with the intellectual leisure necessary for disinterested speculation. The Florence of the Medici, Elizabethan England, the France of Louis XIV, where writers, artists, and scientists of all countries stood a fair chance of being supported by the King or nobility, are so many outstanding examples of what aristocratic socieEtienne Gilson, “Education and Higher Learning,” pp. 316- 324. From A Gilson Reader by Anton C. Pegis. Copyright, 1957, by Doubleday & Company, Inc. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.


ties can do for liberal knowledge. This type of culture ^vas truly liberal, because it was not expected to bring about any practical results either for those who paid for it or for those who were being paid to produce it. Princes would then find it natural to favor the development of the arts and the sciences simply because they knew that beauty and truth were good things to be enjoyed for their own sake. Artists and scientists had no idea, of making a fortune out of their work. So long as their protectors gave them enough to live, they considered themselves highly privileged, as indeed they were, since they were free to live a wholly unpractical life, the only one in which they were interested. The kind of education that befits such a type of aristocratic culture is easy to define: it is the education of the elite, by an elite, and for an elite. In such circumstances, education is the received method whereby an aristocracy recruits its future members or, at least, the competent body of citizens who, sharing in the benefits of the prevailing social system, are interested in insuring its survival. No wonder, then, that at the very times when it gave birth to a Dante, a Shakespeare, or a Descartes, Europe had practically no system of public schools; so much so, that by far the larger number of its inhabit¬ ants were illiterate. Aristocracy is a great producer of higher learning and of liberal knowledge, only it keeps it to itself; it is a spring rather than a stream. Not so in democratic societies, whose systems of education naturally follow the rule of their political life. What they want is an education of the whole people, given by men who themselves belong among the people and, consequently, intended for the greater benefit of the people in its entirety. This time we find ourselves confronted with a powerful system of intellectual irrigation whose streams are visible everywhere; the only questions are: Where is the spring? Where are the sources? Can there still be sources in a society whose natural ten¬ dency is to universalize education and, consequently, to equalize it? This is a genuine issue, which we must have the courage to face, not in any spirit of criticism, and still less of hostility, toward democracy, but with the sincere desire to understand its educational problems and thus throw some light on its difficulties. There are several interrelated reasons why, whereas aristocracies were more interested in creating intellectual culture than in spreading it, democracies seem to be more eager to distribute higher learning than to create it. Among these reasons there is a particularly obvious one. If our school system exists, not in view of a chosen minority, but in view of all, its average level should answer the average level of the population as a whole. Hence the unavoidable consequence that the best gifted among the pupils will be discriminated against. Nor should we imagine that creative minds will multiply in direct proportion to the growth of the school population. The reverse is much more likely to happen. In aristocratic 402


yf societies, genius has often found access to higher culture, even under adverse circumstances; in democratic societies, it will have no higher culture to which to gain access. Since equality in ignorance is easier to achieve than equality in learning, each and every teacher will have to equalize his class at the bottom level rather than at the top one, and the whole school system will spontaneously obey the same law! It is anti-democratic to teach all children what only some of them are able to learn. Nay, it is anti-democratic to teach what all children can learn by means of methods which only a minority of pupils are able to follow. Since, as has been said, democracy stands for equality, democratic societies have a duty to teach only what is accessible to all and to see to it that it be made accessible to all. The overwhelming weight of their school population is therefore bound to lower the center of gravity in their school systems. The first peril for democracies, there¬ fore, is to consider it their duty, in order to educate all citizens, to teach each of them less and less and in a less and less intelligent way. *





Besides the general lowering of its level, another consequence follows from this democratic treatment of education at the hands of the State; namely, its predominantly practical character. Nothing is more logical; and this time, since all citizens are part and parcel of the democratic State, all we have to do is to consult ourselves in order to know its will. Time and again, we have heard fathers say with solemn gravity: I want my son to get a job.” A perfectly legitimate desire indeed. At the end of their studies, good students should get jobs that will turn them into citizens equally useful to themselves, to their future families, and to their country. Since such is the wish of the vast majority of its citizens, the democratic State will naturally tend to give them what they want; that is, a sound, practical education with no frills. This is what all teaching States are now doing, and they do it pretty well. Once more, I am not citicizing; I am merely trying to observe facts, and the outstanding fact, in this case, is that what we agreed to call “liberal knowledge,” precisely because it has no practical usefulness, is bound to be eliminated together with the frills. The steady decline of classical studies, in Europe as well as in America, is a clear instance of what I have in mind. Even their strongest sup¬ porters can not pretend that classical humanities are practically useful in everyday life; those among us who try to defend them on this ground are simply betraying their cause. Even if classical humanities may be put to practical use, this cannot be the reason why they should be taught. Such an aristocratic type of education simply cannot be universalized. As a consequence, no room can be made for it in the programs of schools which must cater to all citizens. So we teach them too little, 403


or too late, which is little better than not to teach them at a|. Why complain? Liberal knowledge, Newman says, is to itself its own end; in our industrial age, contemplation is a luxury which very few States can afford to subsidize. The cold truth is that the practical uselessness which recommended liberal education to Cardinal Newman’s mind today justi¬ fies its exclusion from the curriculum of Our democratic schools. Even societies cannot have their cake and eat it. Yet there should be somebody to make the cake, and it is to be feared that, unless they re-examine their own educational problem, de¬ mocracies will soon find themselves with nothing to eat. First of all, democratic education rests upon the principle of equality applied to the human understanding. But this application is a fallacy of the well-known type, which consists in applying to two different orders what is true of only one of them. The notion of democracy is a social one; it expresses the common will of a people to deal with its own members as if all men were born free and equal. On the contrary, human understanding is a fact of nature, and whether we like it or not, facts of nature are not equal. Nature is not democratic. Physical and intellectual inequalities can be corrected, or compensated; the democratic State can see to it that even the less gifted among its citizens be given a fair chance to learn and to know something; it can narrow the gap that separates creative genius from merely normal intellects, and even from abnormally backward ones; above all, democracy can prevent natural inequalities from begetting social privileges sometimes worse than the natural ones; yet, when all is said and done, nature can be corrected, not suppressed. Understanding is not equal in men. Intel¬ lectual life is just what it is, not what society would like it to be. Unless democracies accept its laws just as they are, they may well turn out an always larger number of teachers, they will have less and less to teach. We are simply forgetting that intellectual superiority and fitness for speculative knowledge are one and the same thing. In this sense, liberal knowledge is the only source of all practically useful knowledge, without any exception. Classical humanities are not the only relevant example. As a token of the general nature of the problem, I beg to quote the growing misconception of what science, itself actually is. On June 16, 1952, the continental edition of the British Daily Mail announced to its readers that the United States had their first atom submarine “nearly ready.” To this the same newspaper added the following personal comment of the President of the United States: “The day that the propellers of this new submarine first bite into the water will be the most momentous day in the field of atomic science, since the first flash of light down in the desert seven years ago.” A typically democratic statement indeed, in which “science” merely means “engineering.” The first flash of light in the field of atomic science did not shine in any desert seven years ago, but in the minds 404

of Einstein and of other scientists who were speculating about the structure of matter and not looking for atom bombs or for atom sub¬ marines. True science is liberal knowledge; scientists seek after it for its own sake; engineers put it to practical use; they do not want to know in order to know, but in order to make. Yet it is a positive and wellestablished fact that the more speculative and liberal it is, the more fruitful scientific knowledge proves to be in its practical applications. Pasteur saved millions of human lives although he himself was not a physician. Nearer home, I do not think that Dr. Banting, who was a physician, even intended to find a specific for diabetes; yet when he first isolated insulin, the specific was found. Science found it; medicine applied it. If this be true, our democratic system of education now finds itself at a crossroad. It has done wonders in the past and we do not want it to undo them. There must be an education for the millions; the learning included in this type of mass education should be both prac¬ tical and simple, that is to say, adapted to the general needs and to the average intellectual aptitudes of its pupils; yet, at the same time, even a thoroughly democratic system of education should not allow its ceaselessly growing body to lead its head. Unless they themselves provide, not a new aristocratic social class, but their own intellectual elite, which is something different, the social and technical progress of which our"'modern democratic States are so justly proud will soon come to an end. In peace and war, the powerful industrial equipment of the greatest among modern nations can be rendered obsolete at any time by the abstract speculation of some unknown scientist using a few sheets of paper and a pencil in the solitude of his own study. Nor should we forget that the times of the greatest national perils are also those when foreign scientists are no longer an available commodity. This is not for democracies a matter of choice. None of them can hope indefinitely to consume the products of natural aristocracy without adding its own contribution to the common good. What we need, within our present system of universal education, is another system, this time of selection, whose proper object will be not to thwart the best gifted intellect which it is our task to educate. Unless it follows such a policy, no nation can hope to prosper for a very long time. True democracy in education certainly consists in insuring the intellectual survival of even the unfit; it cannot possibly consist in preventing the natural superiority of the fittest from bearing their fruits to the greater benefit of all. This obvious truth should not be so hard to understand. There is nothing less democratic, in the usual sense of the word, than sports and games. Championship is the triumph of carefully cultivated na¬ tural inequalities. There is no point in pretending that, in a democracy, every citizen should be able to beat Olympic records. We simply could not do it, however hard we might try, but we do not resent the fact. We 405

do not ask our directors of athletics to prevent some studeiits from running as fast as they can because if they did they would run faster than the others. We do not consider it democratic to set athletic standards as low as possible. On the contrary, we fully realize the fact that the exceptional performances of a few world champions act as a fruitful challenge whose effects are actually felt in all stadiums and on all athletic fields. What is democratic, here as everywhere else, is to keep both competition and selection as widely open as possible, and then to set up the highest conceivable standard as a standing invitation to all. In short, the only sound policy for any de¬ mocracy is to raise the average level of its people by cultivating the ex¬ cellency of the best among its citizens. What we understand so well concerning the education of the body, could we not understand it concerning the education of the mind? Unless we do, we shall go on drifting along the same way which has already led us to make pedagogy the judge of learning. It can be concisely described in Shakespeare’s terse words: “My foot my tutor.” High school programs adapted to the kind of pupils they receive; uni¬ versity programs adapted to the kind of pupils that high schools are permitted by law to provide; and no provision made for the free deve¬ lopment of liberal knowledge under all its forms, whose creative activity is the life and blood of any system of education! Things have gone so far that I might cite several countries in which, despairing as it were of saving higher learning, their governments have erected, outside uni¬ versities, new institutions specialized in research work, where scholars seek but do not teach, while university professors teach but do not seek. I beg to say that, in so far as public education is concerned, wholly to surrender to this new tendency would be nothing less than the beginning of the end. The remedy we need should not consist in killing the patient. Since it is the course of nature that education derives its substance from the creative activity of a few speculative minds, let us rather help nature to follow its course. Where there is no higher learning, the presence of creative minds becomes less probable, intel¬ lectual light ceases to shine, routine and pedantry set in, and living truths shrivel into desiccated formulas. Then we begin complaining about the general decay of studies, as if students could still take an interest in matters which, even for those who teach them, have already lost their meaning. The situation needs attention, but it is not desperate. All we have to do in order to mend it is to refuse to allow our edu¬ cational body to grow too big for its soul, and to remember that its soul is liberal knowledge, itself the source of higher learning.




29 Education vs. Western Civilization WALTER LIPPMAN

It was once the custom in the great universities to propound a series of theses which, as Cotton Mather put it, the student had to defend manfully. I should like to revive this custom by propounding a thesis about the state of education in this troubled age. The thesis which I venture to submit to you is as follows: That during the past forty or fifty years those who are responsible for education have progressively removed from the curriculum of studies the Western culture which produced the modern democratic state; That the schools and colleges have, therefore, been sending out into the world men who no longer understand the creative principle of the society in which they must live; That, deprived of their cultural tradition, the newly educated Western men no longer possess in the form and substance of their own minds and spirits, the ideas, the premises, the rationale, the logic, the method, the values or the deposited wisdom which are the genius of the development of Western civilization; Reprinted from The American Scholar, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 1941. Copyright © 1941 by the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. By permission of the publisher.


That the prevailing education is destined, if it continues,rto destroy Western civilization and is in fact destroying it; * That our civilization cannot effectively be maintained where it still flourishes, or be restored where it has been crushed, without the revival of the central, continuous, and perennial culture of the Western world; And that, therefore, what is now required in the modern edu¬ cational system is not the expansion of its facilities or the specific re¬ form of its curriculum and administration but a thorough reconsidera¬ tion of its underlying assumptions and of its purposes. I realize quite well that this thesis constitutes a sweeping indict¬ ment of modern education. But I believe that the indictment is justified and that there is a frima facie case for entertaining this indictment. Universal and compulsory modern education was established bv the emancipated democracies during the 19th century. “No other sure foundation can be devised,” said Thomas Jefferson, “for the pre¬ servation of freedom and happiness.” Yet as a matter of fact during the 20th century the generations trained in these schools have either abandoned their liberties or they have not known, until the last desperate moment, how to defend them. The schools were to make men free. They have been in operation for some sixty or seventy years and what was expected of them they have not done. The plain fact is that the graduates of the modern schools are the actors in the catastrophe which has befallen our civilization. Those who are responsible for modern education — for its controlling philosophy — are answerable for the results. They have determined the formation of the mind and education of modern men. As the tragic events unfold they cannot evade their responsibility by talking about the crimes and follies of politicians, business men, labor leaders, lawyers, editors and generals. They have conducted the schools and colleges and they have educated the poli¬ ticians, business men, labor leaders, lawyers, editors and generals. What is more they have educated the educators. They have had money, lots of it, fine buildings, big appropriations, great endowments and the implicit faith of the people that the school was the foundation of democracy. If the results are bad, and indubitably they are, on what ground can any of us who are in any way responsible for education disclaim our responsibility or decline to undertake a pro¬ found searching of our own consciences and a deep re-examination of our philosophy. The institutions of the Western world were formed by men who learned to regard themselves as inviolable persons because they were rational and free. They meant by rational that they were capable of comprehending the moral order of the universe and their place in this moral order. They meant when they regarded themselves as free that within that order they had a personal moral responsibility to perform 408

i their duties and to exercise their corresponding rights. From this con¬ ception of the unity of mankind in a rational order the Western world has derived its conception of law - which is that all men and all communities of men and all authority among men are subject to law', and that the character of all particular laws is to be judged by whether they conform to or violate, approach or depart from the rational order of the universe and of man’s nature. From this conception of law was derived the idea of constitutional government and of the consent of the governed and of civil liberty. Upon this conception of law our own institutions were founded. This, in barest outline, is the specific outlook of Western men. This, we may say, is the structure of the Western spirit. This is the formation which distinguishes it. The studies and the disciplines which support and form this spiritual outlook and habit are the creative cultural tradition of Europe and the Americas. In this tradition our world was made. By this tradition it must live. Without this tradition our world, like a tree cut off from its roots in the soil, must die and be replaced by alien and barbarous things. It is necessary today in a discussion of this sort to define and identify what we mean when we speak of Western culture. This is in itself ominous evidence of what the official historian of Harvard University has called “the greatest educational crime of the century against American youth, — depriving him of his classical heritage.” For there will be many, the victims of this educational crime, who will deny that there is such a thing as Western culture. Yet the historic fact is that the institutions we cherish — and now know we must defend against the most determined and efficient attack ever organized against them - are the products of a culture which, as Gilson put it, is essentially the culture of Greece, inherited from the Greeks by the Romans, transfused by the Fathers of the Church with the religious teachings of Christianity, and progressively en¬ larged by countless numbers of artists, writers, scientists and philosophers from the beginning of the Middle Ages up to the first third of the nineteenth century. The men who wrote the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights were educated in schools and colleges in which the classic works of this culture were the substance of the curriculum. In these schools the transmission of this culture was held to be the end and aim of education. Modern education, however, is based on a denial that it is neces¬ sary or useful or desirable for the schools and colleges to continue to transmit from generation to generation the religious and classical culture of the Western world. It is, therefore, much easier to say 409

what modern education rejects than to find out what modern edu¬ cation teaches. Modern education rejects and excludes from the cur¬ riculum of necessary studies the whole religious tradition of the West. It abandons and neglects as no longer necessary the study of the whole classical heritage of the great works of great men. Thus there is an enormous vacuum' where until a few decades ago there was the substance of education. And with what is that vacuum filled: it is filled with the elective, eclectic, the specialized, the accidental and incidental improvisations and spontaneous curiosities of teachers and students. There is no common faith, no common body of principle, no common body of knowledge, no common moral and intellectual discipline. Yet the graduates of these modern schools are expected to form a civilized community. They are ex¬ pected to govern themselves. They are expected to have a social conscience. They are expected to arrive by discussion at common pur¬ poses. When one realizes that they have no common culture is it astounding that they have no common purpose? That they worship false gods? That only in war do they unite? That in the fierce struggle for existence they are tearing Western society to pieces? They are the graduates of an educational system in which, though attendance is compulsory, the choice of the subject matter of education is left to the imagination of college presidents, trustees and professors, or even to the whims of the pupils themselves. We have established a system of education in which we insist that while everyone must be educated, yet there is nothing in particular that an educated man must know. For it is said that since the invention of the steam engine we live in a new era, an era so radically different from all preceding ages that the cultural tradition is no longer relevant, is in fact misleading. I submit to you that this is a rationalization, that this is a pretended reason for the educational void which we now call education. The real reason, I venture to suggest, is that we reject the religious and classical heritage, first, because to master it requires more effort than we are willing to compel ourselves to make, and, second, because it creates issues that are too deep and too contentious to be faced with equanimity. We have abolished the old curriculum because we are afraid of it, afraid to face any longer in a modern democratic society the severe discipline and the deep, disconcerting issues of the nature of the universe, and of man’s place in it and of his destiny. I recognize the practical difficulties and the political danger of raising these questions and I shall not offer you a quick and easy remedy. For the present discussion all I am concerned with is that we should begin to recognize the situation as it really is and that we should begin to search our hearts and consciences. We must confess, I submit, that modern education has renounced the idea that the pupil must learn to understand himself, his fellow 410

men and the world in which he is to live as bound together in an order Tresult fT?“V^ hi$toPresent A* a result The'611? the modern $school has become bound conceivedesires' the world ind^v^aCeiWhere thC Chl,ld’when he §rows UP- must compete with other retnd ]A fV ^p88 6 f?r 6X1Stence- And so the education of his reason and of his will must be designed primarily to facilitate his career. By separating education from the classical religious tradition the school cannot train the pupil to look upon himself as an inviolable person because he is made in the image of God. These very words oug t ey are the noblest words in our language, now sound archaic! ihe schools cannot look upon society as a brotherhood arising out of a conviction that men are made in a common image. The teacher has no subject matter that even pretends to deal with the elementary and universal issues of human destiny. The graduate of the modern school knows only by accident and by hearsay whatever wisdom mankind has come to in regard to the nature of men and their destiny. P°r me vital core of the civilized tradition of the West is bv definition excluded from the curriculum of the modern, secular de¬ mocratic school. The school must sink, therefore, into being a mere training ground for personal careers. Its object must then be to equip individual careerists and not to form fully civilized men. The utility of the schools must then be measured by their success in equipping specialists for successful rivalry in the pursuit of their separate voca& tions. Their cultural ideal must then be to equip the individual to deal practically with immediate and discrete difficulties, to find by trial and error immediately workable and temporarily satisfactory expedients. hor if more than this were attempted the democratic secular school would have to regard the pupil as having in him not merely an ambition but a transcendent relationship that must regulate his ambition. Ihe schools would have to regard science as the progressive discovery of this order in the universe. They would have to cultivate Western tradition and transmit it to the young, proving to them that this tradi¬ tion is no mere record of the obsolete fallacies of the dead but that it is a deposit of living wisdom. But the emancipated democracies have renounced the idea that the purpose of education is to transmit the Western culture. Thus there is a cultural vacuum, and this cultural vacuum was bound to produce, in fact it has produced, progressive disorder. For the more men have become separated from the spiritual heritage which binds them together, the more has education become egoist, careerist, specialist and asocial. r In abandoning the classical religious culture of the West the schools have ceased to affirm the central principle of the Western philosophy of life — that man s reason is the ruler of his appetites. They have reduced reason to the role of servant to man’s appetites. The working philosophy of the emancipated democracies is, as a celebrated modern 411


psychologist has put it, that “the instinctive impulses determin^ the end of all activities ... and the most highly developed mind is but the instrument by which those impulses seek their satisfaction.” The logic of this conception of the human reason must lead pro¬ gressively to a system of education which sharpens the acquisitive and domineering and possessive instincts. And in so far as the instincts, rather than reason, determine the ends of our activity the end of all activity must become the accumulation of power over men in the pursuit of the possession of things. So when parents and taxpayers in a democracy ask whether education is useful for life they tend by and large to mean by useful that which equips the pupil for a career which will bring him money and place and power. The reduction of reason to an instrument of each man’s personal career must mean also that education is emptied of its content. For what the careerist has to be taught are the data that he may need in order to succeed. Thus all subjects of study are in principle of equal value. There are no subjects which all men belonging to the same civilization need to study. In the realms of knowledge the student elects those subjects which will presumably equip him for success in his career; for the student there is then no such thing as a general order of knowledge which he is to possess in order that it may regulate his specialty. And just as the personal ambition of the student rather than social tradition determines what the student shall learn, so the inquiry and the research of the scholar becomes more and more disconnected from any general and regulating body of knowledge. It is this specialized and fundamentally disordered development of knowledge which has turned so much of man’s science into the means of his own destruction. For as reason is regarded as no more than the instrument of men’? desires, applied science inflates enormously the power of men's desires. Since reason is not the ruler of these desires, the power which science places in men’s hands is ungoverned. Quickly it becomes ungovernable. Science is the product of intel¬ ligence. But if the function of the intelligence is to be the instrument of the acquisitive, the possessive and the domineering impulses, then these impulses, so strong by nature, must become infinitely stronger when they are equipped with all the resources of man’s intelligence. That is why men today are appalled by the discovery that when modern man fights he is the most destructive animal ever known on this planet; that when he is acquisitive he is the most cunning and efficient; that when he dominates the weak he has engines of oppression and of calculated cruelty and deception no antique devil could have imagined. And, at last, education founded on the secular image of man must destroy knowledge itself. For if its purpose is to train the intelligence of specialists in order that by trial and error they may find a satisfying solution of particular difficulties, then each situation and each problem 412


has to be examined as a novelty. This is supposed to be "scientific.” But in fact it is a denial of that very principle which has made possible the growth of science. For what enables men to know more than their ancestors is that they start with a knowledge of what their ancestors have already learned. They are able to do advanced experiments which increase knowledge be¬ cause they do not have to repeat the elementary experiments. It is tra¬ dition which brings them to the point where advanced experimentation is possible. This is the meaning of tradition. This is why a society can be progressive only if it conserves its tradition. The notion that every problem can be studied as such with an open and empty mind, without preconception, without knowing what has already been learned about it, must condemn men to a chronic childish¬ ness. For no man, and no generation of men, is capable of inventing for itself the arts and sciences of a high civilization. No one, and no one generation, is capable of rediscovering all the truths men need, of developing sufficient knowledge by applying a mere intelligence, no matter how acute, to mere observation, no matter how accurate. The men of any generation, as Bernard of Chartres put it, are like dwarfs seated on the shoulders of giants. If we are to "see more things than the ancients and things more distant it is "due neither to the sharpness of our sight nor the greatness of our stature” but “simply because they have lent us their own.” For individuals do not have the time, the opportunity or the energy to make all the experiments and to discern all the significance that have gone into the making of the whole heritage of civilization. In developing knowledge men must collaborate with their ancestors. Other¬ wise they must begin, not where their ancestors arrived but where their ancestors began. If they exclude the tradition of the past from the cur¬ ricula of the schools they make it necessary for each generation to repeat the errors rather than to benefit by the successes of its predecessors. Having cut him off from the tradition of the past, modern secular education has isolated the individual. It has made him a careerist — without social connection — who must make his way — without benefit of man s wisdom — through a struggle in which there is no principle of order. This is the uprooted and incoherent modern “free man” that Mr. Bertrand Russell has so poignantly described, the man who sees surrounding the narrow raft illumined by the flickering light of human comradeship, the dark ocean on whose rolling waves we toss for a brief hour; from the great night without, a chill blast breaks in upon our refuge; all the loneliness of humanity amid hostile forces is concentrated upon the individual soul, which must struggle alone, with what of courage it can com¬ mand, against the whole weight of the universe that cares nothing for its hopes and fears.



This is what the free man, in reality merely the freedrand up¬ rooted and dispossessed man, has become. But he is not ^thev stoic that Mr. Russell would have him be. To “struggle alone” is more than the freed man can bear to do.

And so he gives up his freedom and

surrenders his priceless heritage, unable as he is constituted to overcome his insoluble personal difficulties and to endure his awful isolation.


u The Contemporary Devaluation of Intelligence JOHN COURTNEY MURRAY, S.J.

The phenomenon of contemporary life with which I attempt to deal is so Protean in its manifestations, so subtle,, so pervasive, that its full exploration would be a lengthy business. I am not even sure that I name it aptly. One could give it other names: the decay of meta¬ physics, the despair of reason, the loss of the full object of thought, the narrowing of man’s mental vision, the disappearance of the “Tran¬ scendental into the “Unknown,” the embrace of purposelessness, the triumph of the Irrational, or perhaps most generally, man’s absence from himself. However one may name the phenomenon, its frightening reality is beyond question. Consider these testimonies to it, selected at random, without pretense of completeness. At the conclusion of his book, Political Thought from Spencer to Today, Ernest Barker years ago spoke of “a certain trend of an antiJohn C. Murray’s “The Contemporary Devaluation of Intelligence,” pp. 153 162, in Goals for American Education by Lyman Bryson, et al. Copyright 1950 by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers.



intellectualism which is one of the features of the age.”

Hh detects

the trend in certain currents of political thought that incline to depreciate the element of rationality that had traditionally been supposed to ani¬ mate the structures and processes of political life. Increasingly, he says, men seek the origins of the State in irrational forces, and look to these same forces for the achievement of the purposes of the State.


same flight to the irrational, then noted in the field of political theory, was even more strikingly the dynamism of the political movements that convulsed the world after Barker wrote. The great political myths of our century, the pseudo-religious creeds of Fascism, Nazism, and Com¬ munism, are, for all their differences, characterized by the same exultant dethronement of intelligence as the ultimate dynamic and norm of social life, and the enthronement of a subrational element of human nature (blood or race) or of some material determinant of human life (class, the economic order). The whole power of these movements lies in their demand for the unconditional surrender of individual reason and conscience unto absorption in irrational mass-feelings and unto blind, irrational obedience to a power beyond reason or reason’s juridical in¬ carnation which is law. I do not have to elaborate this subject. In the field of jurisprudence, too, our phenomenon appears. In the school of sociological jurisprudence it appears in the substitution for the concept of “rights” of the concepts of “interests,” whose characteristic is that they possess no absolute value and are determined and measured by no fixed rational norm. “Justice” is a balancing, more or less mechani¬ cal, of “interests” into a more or less stable equilibrium of forces. And natural rights, as Dean Pound has said, “mean simply interests that we think ought to be secured,” because of their recognition at the moment as social values. An even more profound denial of rationality in law is made by the school of legal realism, in which the so-called “is element” in law is pushed to the exclusion of the “ought element”; that is, law ceases to be reason (what ought to be) and becomes simply the factual will of the legislator (what is), that is, law because it is a threat of the application of state force. In this theory “rights” become, in Karl N. Llewellyn's phrase, “factual terms, nothing more”; they evidence simply the existence of a particular pattern of social behavior; they are therefore, Llewellyn says, “statements of the result likely in a given case.” Without going farther into the subject, let me say, in the words of a distinguished law teacher, that we are witnessing today in the field of jurisprudence a “contest between the force and validity of principles, precedents, reason, free will, and impartial justice” and “the impact of emotion, irrationalism, bias, environment, and juristic skepticism in the legal order.” In the field of religion the contemporary discount of reason and in¬ telligence is perhaps most obvious in Barthian neo-orthodoxy, with its tendency to a radical separation of the domains of reason and religious faith, to the denial of the possibility of a natural theology and of a natural



law and morality, and to the complete exclusion of reason from any instrumental function *in regard of faith, just as human effort is excluded from any instrumental function in regard of the “coming of the King¬ dom. From another point of view, and in another form, intelligence is seen at a discount in what today remains of Liberal Protestantism on the Schleiermacher model, in which religion” becomes simply “re¬ ligiosity, the Sinn und Geschmak fuer das Unendliche, that issues from the region of sentiment wherein man chances to have experience of his dependence — an experience, however, that possesses no intellectual content, and connotes no rational knowledge of God, Who is for reason, on Kantian grounds, forever unknowable. There are other instances of man’s loss of grip upon his own intellect and its potentialities. Professor John U. Nef, for instance, pointed to one when he spoke of the loss of the common cultural inheritance in the intellectual sense, which existed among the learned and cultured down to the nineteenth century”; this loss of grip upon the mind’s historic achievements argues, I think, some more profound loss of grip of the mind upon itself. Furthermore, we have all noted that particularly insidious attack upon the rational that emanates from the more un¬ disciplined tneonsis and 'practitioners of the “depth psychologies” — those, I mean, who deny the dualism in human nature, and in the single quest for unconscious motivations rising from subrational depths in man deny, too, or diminish to a vanishing point, the determinate influence of the choices of rational freedom. All of us, moreover, are aware, of the devaluation of intelligence evident in Marxism — in its atheistic postulate, in its determinist interpretation of history as ruled by the “objective” factors of material environment, in its concept of the spiritual life of man as secondary to, and derivative from, the sheerly materially con¬ ditioning factors of human life, in its reduction of intelligence to the degrading position of a mere tool for the manipulation of economic pro¬ cesses, and in the denial to intelligence of freedom to pursue any quests other than that of furthering the dialectic movement toward the Marxist social ideal. However, not unduly to prolong this paper, let me cite just one more expression of the modern abdication of intellect — the recent article by Professor W. T. Stace, “Man Against Darkness” (Atlantic Monthly, September, 1948). Its central thesis is the statement of what purports to be a fact: “Belief in the ultimate irrationality of everything is the quintessence of what is called the modern mind.” It is science, says Professor Stace, that has ushered in this belief, not by reason of anything it has proved or disproved, but simply by reason of its domination of men’s minds, in consequence of which there has grown up in the minds of men “a new imaginative picture of the world,” as “purposeless, sense¬ less, meaningless.” Moreoyer, from this scientific view of reality men have drawn the consequence: “If the scheme of things is purposeless and meaningless, then the life of man is purposeless and meaningless,



Everything is futile, all effort is in the end worthless.”


further consequences are relativism in morals and determinism in human action in general.

This is the modern situation, says Professor Stace.

It is to be accepted as simply “there”; and man’s duty is to face honestly the question it puts to him: “Can he grasp the real world as it actually is, stark and bleak, without its romantic or religious halo, and still retain his ideals, striving for great ends and noble achievements?” I do not know whether Professor Stace is practicing a bit of Socratic midwifery or stating his own convictions. At all events, I have not seen a better statement of how the “noble mind is here o’erthrown.” The abdication of intelligence is threefold. There is first the abdication involved in acceptance of irrationality as ultimate in all nature, whether material or human. There is secondly the abdication in¬ volved in accepting the ultimate irrationality of all things by a “belief” that is itself known to be that it is quite irrational to believe, that the world Science can ask of man

irrational; for Professor Stace seems to know for science to assert, and for us on its word of nature and of man is an irrational world. and of the world only limited questions; it

cannot therefore give to the problem of man and the world a complete answer. For its limited purposes it can disregard the problems of finality in nature and of the destiny of man; but because science disregards the questions, is it rational to suppose that they are not meaningful questions or that no answer to them is possible? Finally, there is the last abdica¬ tion — this time a fortunate one. It is the abdication that Dostoievsky’s Kirilov refused to make and therefore killed himself. If human life is without sense, direction, meaning, purpose, it is because there is no God; and if there be no God, as Kirilov saw, then the intelligent thing is suicide. The absolute atheist must know himself to be the ultimate, divine, since there is no other ultimate, no other divinity. And if he is divine, he is absolutely independent, a se; and if he is such, he must have an act wherein to express this independence. And there is no other such an act than the subordination of his own existence to his sovereign freedom: “I shall kill myself,” said Kirilov, “to prove my independence and my terrible new freedom.” Professor Stace’s modern man refuses this last conclusion from his premises; it is his final irratio¬ nality. (I call it a fortunate one, because the sober fact remains — how¬ ever recalcitrant the Humes and Huxleys, the Sartres and Staces may choose to be about it — that it is not necessary for a man to believe in hell in order to go there.) I cite Professor Stace primarily in testimony to the reality of the phenomenon which I began to describe; if it be not a despair of reason, a devaluation of the power of intelligence, irrationally to accept an irrational “belief in the ultimate irrationality of everything,” concepts have all lost all meaning. Secondly, I want his testimony to the fact that science” is somehow at the root of this appalling situation. If this be the fact, close scrutiny must be bent on the thing called “science”


by those who have at heart the cause of intelligence as well as of religion. It would, of course, be untrue to suppose that atheism or ethical relativism or determinism was somehow an intrinsic exigence of the scientific spirit; and it would be naive to imagine that science is singly to blame for the fact, noted by Professor Stace, that man today so largely finds his life hollow at the center.” The secularist assumption that is now so widespread is not ordinarily, if ever, reached by man as the term of a scientific induction, much less of a metphysical journey; it is usually a starting point adopted in obedience to the pressures of a climate of opinion. And certainly there are no resources in scientific method to validate the extraordinary illation that is the crucial point of Professor Stace s analysis of the modern temper — the illation from the purposelessness of the world of nature (as supposedly established by science) to the parallel purposelessness of the life of man. The monistic view of reality that underlies such an illation is a philosophical position, and all the empirical data that scientific method may accumulate must always fall short of its proof or disproof. Finally, the form of militant, scientific atheism that looms today as the successor, far more dangerous than they, of yesterday’s critical and agnostic atheism, does not owe its basic inspiration to science. It springs, as Maritain and others have pointed out, from an obscure, passionate, subrational re¬ sentment against God, to Whom man refuses forgiveness for the fact of evil in the world; it springs, too, from a resentment against Chris¬ tianity, whose followers have faltered so badly in the war they should have waged against injustice and the frustration of human freedom. This said, one must still agree with Professor Stace that science has in fact, though not of necessity, had much to do with the creation of the darkness,” the “stark and bleak” world, with which modern man feels himself confronted. If one accepts, say, as phenomen¬ ologically correct, Comte’s division of the ages of the world into the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive, one must realize that each age has had its special temptation. The temptation of the the¬ ological age, in an era of highly simple, agrarian culture, was to super¬ stition — an irrational worship of the unknown in nature, and an ignorant identification of it with the divine. The temptation of the metaphysical age, as it ran out in the eighteenth century era of surging social revolution; was to rationalism — an irrational worship of reason as capable of destroying forever the concept of the unknown, the mys¬ terious, the divine. The proper temptation of our positive, scientific age, in an era of industrial, urban, mass civilization, has been to skepti¬ cism — a disinclination to worship anything at all, a disposition to stand before the unknown neither in awe nor in anger but in total disinterest. This skepticism doubtless is the result of sheer materialism — the immersion of the human spirit in matter unto the “loss” of itself and its power to perceive the realities of the spiritual world.


But it

is also in part the obverse of that illusion of total knowledge that science has tended to create. So knowing has man become, that in strange, paradoxical fashion he has managed to lose contact with the fundamental thing in him that knows — his own spiritual, intelligent soul.

He has learned so much about the realities that he can measure

and transform into mathematical equations, that he has lost sight of the world whose higher realities measure him. And he has so deepened his knowledge of the nature that he has in common with the animal, that he has tragically cut himself off from contact with that “high point of the soul” wherein he is most himself, a human person. He has come to suffer an hypertrophy of one part of his reason — the part that guides his hand and the tools it fashions, the part that deals with the fugitive realities of matter, space, and time. And in consequence of an old, mysterious law that somehow dictates that the discovery of new values should at least for a time bring about the depreciation of older ones, man has strangely come loose from the part of himself whereby he inhabits the invisible kingdom of the spirit, that escapes the contingencies of matter, space, and time. “Western man,” says Gabriel Marcel, the Christian existentialist, “behaves officially more and more as if what I have called the higher soul were a survival, a useless relic of a fossilized species.” For this higher soul science has no use. It cannot be the object of science because it is its subject; and it cannot be the tool of science because its proper search is for the essence of things, their “form,” and their finality; and for essences and finalities science has no concern. There¬ fore this higher soul has been left to atrophy, and the result has been the mutilation of man, a life “hollow at the center,” a loss of ultimate purpose, a despairing involvement in the purposelessness of a material world upon which man was destined to stamp his own purposes. Origi¬ nally, under the intoxication of the “Cartesian dream,” man took the sword of science to slay with it his material enemies and make himseK “master and owner of the forces of nature”; actually, it seems that with it he has simply slit his own intellectual throat, and now he must either offer himself in meaningless enslavement to the ultimate irration¬ ality of everything, or else stand helpless, head in hands, waiting for some repetition of the miracle of St. Denis of Paris, that will enable him to walk, headless, to some possibly human goal. In saying all this, I am not for one moment decrying science or any of its works. By all means let it be Prometheus, to light fires on the earth; the God of Abraham, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, does not begrudge man fire or other creations of His human genius. On the contrary, He, the Creator and Lord of Creation, has made man in His own image, that man may be himself a creator and a lord of creation. I believe, with Paul Claudel, that “Nature must hear in the depths of her being the orders we bring her in the name of God”; and I know that it is by the techniques of science that those orders are


issued, commanding that nature be harnessed to the purposes of'man and made to serve his dignity. All that is understood. What troubles me, as it troubles Professor Stace, is that on his account (which ex¬ periences of my own have verified) science has not proved to be Pro¬ metheus, bringing light and warmth to the life of man. Its legacy has been darkness, the death of the spirit in that which is highest in it, and a stark, bleak world in which man wanders with futile steps to a destiny that is nothingness. Professor Stace has the intelligence to dismiss the complacency of the Russells and the Deweys with the remark: It is not likely that science, which is basically the cause of our spiritual troubles, is likely also to produce the cure for them.” I agree, with the reservation that science is not basically the cause of our spiritual troubles, and therefore all the more cannot be the cure for them. This whole situation, thus inadequately described, is highly signifi¬ cant for the problem of the goals of education. Initially, I suppose, it raises the question of the suppositions of education. Is one antecedently to consent to such a domination of the human mind by science as will result in a concept of the material world as purposeless and in a concept of man as so continuous with matter that his life is likewise purposeless? Is one to agree that the sole “truth” accessible to man is the “truth” of the quantitative relations between entities (whose nature and finality remain unknowable), that is the quest of science? Is there no other rational technique for reaching reality than scientific method? Must one deny that there is a power inherent in intelligence to perceive metaphysical truth and falsity, moral value and unvalue, by an intellectual intuition that may indeed lack the hard clarity of insight into a mathematical equation but that possesses nonetheless an absolute certainty? According to one’s answers to these questions, one will have a set of assumptions on which to predicate the educa¬ tional process. And since the questions are so widely propounded, it will at least be well to be clear about the answers before one enters a classroom. In regard of the goals of education, the problem about reduces itself to this: are we to educate men to live in darkness, or to find the light? Professor Stace takes the former alternative. His position seems to be that “honesty” demands that man relinquish “the Great Illusion,” God as existent, and as the end of man, and as actively wil¬ ling the subordination of the forces and processes of nature .to both the temporal and the transcendent end of man. Professor Stace further maintains that it is possible for “very highly educated” men “to live moral lives without religious convictions,” as it is possible for the cultured intelligence to provide “a genuine secular basis for morals to replace the religious basis which has disappeared.” On this new basis human ideals are possible of conception and even of achievement. The ultimate goal of education therefore will be to coax men out of their


childish illusions, turn them aside from being “sham civilize^ beings” (i.e., men who live out of a sense of religious sanction for human and moral obligations), and form them into “genuinely civilized beings,” who will live “decent lives” in a sense beyond the dreams of Pelagius. Be good, Pelagius said, because goodness is possible to the inherent resources of human intelligence and will. ' Be decent, say his successors, even in spite of the fact that the scientific intelligence assures you of what Pelagius denied, that a decent life is ultimately as futile and meaningless as an indecent one; for both end in ashes. This may be an extreme statement of the matter; but I think one should be grateful to Doctor Stace for having given such an extreme statement. It clarifies the issues that, are often obscured in less forthright presentations. In one or other form and in varying degrees of dilution the same philosophy of life (and therefore of edu¬ cation) is very widely held today. Professor Stace’s prime merit lies in his exposition of the frank dogmatism of the view. He makes it clear that we have here to do not with a reasoned view, but with an imaginative picture” of the world of man, that has been precipitated out of a climate of opinion and got itself unthinkingly accepted. In other words, he has called attention, perhaps unwittingly, to what is really “the Great Illusion” of our times — the illusion that the life of man is purposeless, or, if it have a purpose, that that purpose is consummated in time, and has no transcendent reference. Having no more use for illusions than Professor Stace, I suggest that a cardinal task of education is to turn all the forces of the critical intelligence (understanding intelligence in its full scope, and including all the forms of intellectual critique) upon that Great Illusion, than which no more hollow one has ever clouded and crippled the spirit of man. The scrutiny of this illusion must also lead to the analysis of the climate of opinion which generated it; there is a task of intellectual history here to be done. Professor Stace speaks of science having operated “the greatest revolution in human history”; well, we have had enough of experience to know that revolutions always destroy too much, and never, until counter-revolution sets in, achieve a just balance of values. I suggest then that it is time for the counter¬ revolution. By a curious inversion modern philosophy, as influenced by modern science, has become as false as was medieval science, as influenced by medieval philosophy. E. I. Watkin has said: “It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the medieval Catholic and the modern secularist keep a different eye open on the world. Where one sees, the other is blind; where one is blind, the other sees.” The difference, I should add, is that the medieval eye, in that era of world history, had not yet been opened; but the modern eye has deliberately shut itself. The need today is that both eyes be opened, each to gaze clearly and unafraid at all there is to see, each knowing at once the scope and the limits of its field of vision - the scientific eye seeing



the totallty °f observable or conceivable relationships between the quan¬ tities of matter or energy that fall under its scrutiny; and the eye of reflective intelligence, aware of all that science sees, seeing in turn, to what depth it may, into the natures of things, their ends, their order, their character of “vestige” or “image” of the Supreme Realitv,