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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/97

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

as much as the sugar we eat, the beer we drink or the tobacco we smoke. The education of a single man who makes a scientific discovery with industrial applications pays back to the community the entire cost of his university since its establishment. And surely the moral and intellectual influence of the university is entirely incommensurate with its cost. But Professor Ladd believes that our political leaders 'are as good as the people who tolerate them deserve,' and that in general we are in a condition of 'degradation, social and moral,' so it is perhaps no wonder that he does not altogether approve of our universities.

 

THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION.

It is somewhat interesting to notice that at almost the same time last month, the American Philosophical Society, established in 1743, held a general meeting in Philadelphia, and a newly established American Philosophical Association held its first meeting in New York City. A hundred and fifty years ago all the sciences were parts of philosophy, and it was natural for a society established primarily for the promotion of useful knowledge to call itself a philosophical society. Now we have some twenty sciences, each maintaining a separate national society. The last of all the groups of special students to organize themselves is that of students of philosophy, and they not unnaturally take the name in which the American Philosophical Society has historic rights.

As a matter of fact students of philosophy have for some years met as a branch of the American Psychological Association, and it is gratifying that nearly a hundred teachers of philosophy in our colleges and universities have found it possible to organize a national society. It is also worthy of note that the Philosophical Association will meet next winter at Washington, in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and its affiliated societies, thus indicating its intention to be a truly scientific society. There has certainly been a tendency for a branch of knowledge, when it became reasonably definite, to split off from philosophy, leaving to that discipline those subjects regarding which agreement is impossible. But students of philosophy are now finding a definite field that can be cultivated by scientific methods, whereas students of the special sciences discover the need of examining certain presuppositions that properly belong to philosophy. There is undoubtedly at present a rapprochement between philosophy and the sciences, of which the newly established Philosophical Association is a sign and to which it will contribute. The first meeting, held at Columbia University, was decidedly successful. Over forty members were present and some twenty papers were presented and discussed. Professor J. E. Creighton, of Cornell University, presided, and is succeeded in the chair by Professor A. T. Ormond, of Princeton University.

In the March issue of this Journal we published an article on the American Philosophical Society, established by Franklin and 'held in Philadelphia for the promotion of useful knowledge.' The oldest of American societies, it has for more than a century and a half maintained its activity and usefulness. The general meeting held last month in the old hall of the society brought together members from all parts of the country and a large and interesting program. There may be some question as to whether the Philosophical Society should undertake to retain the national character which it very properly assumed when first established, or whether the time has not now gone by when special papers on all the sciences can to advantage be presented on one program, but it is certain that the