Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/419

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EDUCATION AS A SCIENCE.

assign its elements, with a view to define them. The unconventional handling of moral culture by Bentham and James Mill is strongly illustrative of this part of the case. Mill's view of the moral sense is the theory of thorough-going derivation; and, in delineating the process of moral education, he naturally follows out that view. He takes the cardinal virtues piecemeal; for example: "Temperance bears a reference to pain and pleasure. The object is, to connect with each pain and pleasure those trains of ideas which, according to the order established among events, tend most effectually to increase the sum of pleasures upon the whole, and diminish that of pains." The advocates of a moral faculty would have a different way of inculcating temperance—which, however, I will not undertake to reproduce.

It will not be denied, as a matter of fact, that the perennial mode of insuring the moral conduct of mankind has been punishment and reward—pain and pleasure. This method has been found, generally speaking, to answer the purpose; it has reached the springs of action of human beings of every hue. No special endowment has been needed to make man dread the pains of the civil authority. Constituted as we are to flee all sorts of pain, we are necessarily urged to avoid pain when it comes as punishment. Education is not essential to this effect any more than it is essential to our avoiding the pains of hunger, cold, or fatigue.

Those who demur to the existence of a special faculty, different from all the other recognized constituents of mind—feeling, will, or intellect—are not to be held as declaring that conscience is entirely a matter of education; for, without any education at all, man may be, to all intents and purposes, moral. What is meant by the derivative theory of conscience is, that everything that it includes is traceable to some one or other of the leading factors of our nature: first of all to will or volition, motived by pain and pleasure, and next to the social and sympathetic impulses. The coöperation of these factors supplies a nearly all-powerful impetus to right conduct, wherever there is the external machinery of law and authority. Education, as a third factor, plays a part, no doubt, but we may overrate as well as underrate its influence. I should not be far out in saying that seventy-five per cent, of the average moral faculty is the rough and ready response of the will to the constituted penalties and rewards of society.

At the risk of embroiling the theory of education in a controversy that would seem to be alien to it, I conceive it to be necessary to make these broad statements, as a prelude to inquiring what are the emotional and volitional associations that constitute the made-up or acquired portion of our moral nature. That education is a considerable factor is shown by the difference between the children that are neglected and such as are carefully tended; a difference, however, that means a good deal more than education.

When the terrors of the law are once thoroughly understood, it