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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/395

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SOCIOLOGY IN ETHICAL EDUCATION.

reality, and ought to be made so in definition. The sooner this distinction is recognized, the more rapid will be the moral development of the race.

Upon what, then, can a system of ethics be based? Upon the fact of human relations. If there were only one human being in the world, there would be no need of an ethical system, because there would be no other man with whom he could have any relations. Neither would there be any need of it if the inhabitants were few, and were so scattered over the earth that no one of them, in securing for himself the necessaries of life, would ever come in contact with any of all the others. But, just so soon as any one place on the earth becomes the common abode of two, so soon relations are established between them, and there is need of principles of conduct governing each in his acts which in any way affect the other. An ethical system to control the actions of these two men alone would be very simple. But when, from increase of population, or for motives of common interest, individuals unite and form a tribe, there comes to be tribal ethics. When two tribes come in contact, intertribal relations are formed; and when tribes grow into nations, national and international ethics arise; and as the life of the individual becomes more complex within itself, and more involved in its relations to other members of the same tribe or nation, and as the nations increase in size and number, the rules governing this increased complexity must by necessity become more and still more complex, until we have the most possible complex system of ethics governing the most highly developed society. It is here, in this fact of human relations, that we find a basis for human ethics. It is the instruction of our children and youth in these relations for which we plead as a remedy for social disorders. Some recent modifications of school work point toward such instruction; but, in our judgment, none of them are calculated to satisfy the demand of our day. The moral results of the work in the kindergarten, where the little ones are unconsciously instructed in their relations to each other, can not be overestimated. Similar results ought to be produced all along the line of educational work, but these can not be secured through kindergarten methods with children beyond kindergarten age. Other methods must be invented appropriate for different ages.

If the study of human relations is so important, how can our children and youth be instructed in them? We venture to reply that this end can be attained by the introduction, in elementary and as yet undeveloped forms, of the new science of sociology, which, if not scientifically defined as the science of human relations, certainly treats of the whole realm of these relations, and no other science does. There is evidence that "the education of