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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/862

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

great confederation bound to a joint action and working to a common result; and whose members have for their common outfit a knowledge of Greek, Bo man, and Eastern antiquity and of one another. Special local and temporary advantages being put out of account, that modern nation will in the intellectual and spiritual sphere make most progress which most thoroughly carries out this programme."

From this Professor Huxley dissents and declares that he finds himself "wholly unable to admit that either nations or individuals will really advance, if their common outfit draws nothing from the stores of physical science. An army without weapons of precision, and with no particular base of operations, might more hopefully enter upon a campaign on the Rhine, than a man devoid of knowledge of what physical science has done in the last century upon a criticism of life."

To this Mr. Arnold replies by flatly repudiating the accepted interpretation of the scope of literary culture; he would even so widen it as to include all science. He says: "When I speak of knowing Greek and Roman antiquity as a help to knowing ourselves and the world, I mean more than a knowledge of so much vocabulary, so much grammar, so many portions of authors in the Greek and Latin languages. I mean knowing the Greeks and Romans, and their life and genius, and what they were and did in the world. . . . By knowing modern nations, I mean not merely knowing their belles-lettres, but knowing also what has been done by such men as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin." And further, "in the best that has been thought and said in the world, I certainly include what in modern times has been thought and said by the great observers and knowers of nature." That is, science disappears as a separate intellectual interest by its complete absorption in literature: neat but unsatisfactory.

Mr. Arnold is quite aware of his disadvantage in dealing with Professor Huxley, who is strong in both literature and science, and he repeatedly refers to the slenderness and deficiency of his own scientific attainments. But, had he been more perfectly aware of them, he would hardly have ventured upon this mode of escaping from the issues that have arisen between literary and scientific culture. Had he better understood what is meant by the scientific method, he would not have tried to stretch the literary method so as to embrace and incorporate it.

Without asserting that the relations of these two methods of culture are essentially antagonistic, it remains true that they are so profoundly different that they are not to be confounded or identified. By literature we mean, and rightly mean, the study of books of language, of the arts of expression and criticism, and familiarity with the most perfect written productions, as such, whether in prose or poetry, that have been produced in all time. And literature as a method of mental culture is simply a training in these Various acquisitions and exercises.

But the scientific method which has arisen in modern times began in an open and declared revolt against this mode of occupying the human mind. It involved new objects, new procedures, and new disciplines of thought. Seeing that the mind for ages had been arrested at verbal studies, and had failed in the production of solid knowledge, men began to demand an advance to the actual study of things. This is the essence of the scientific method, and it has achieved its great results only by repudiating the old literary occupations, and proceeding directly to the research of nature. The sciences have arisen, knowledge has been extended, power over nature conferred, and a new civilization created only by concentrating thought upon the realities of experience instead of studying