Naturalistic Studies in the Education of the Citizen
THE DEMAND FOR instruction in the natural sciences as an essential constituent of a curriculum of humanistic studies is not a new theme. It is necessarily the educational creed of any powerful social group or community whose prosperity depends on the application and extension of scientific knowledge. Huxley was its prophet when industrial capitalism was approaching its zenith in mid-Victorian England. It had also been voiced in an earlier phase of capitalistic enterprise, when the Marquis of Worcester wrote The Century of Inventions, and Boyle reiterated his eloquent plea that "the goods of mankind may be much increased by the naturalist's insight into the trades." It assumed the dimensions of a nation-wide, though, alas! ephemeral movement when the Heads of Enquiries were drawn up by the Invisible College, and was even endorsed by the nation's epic poet. Referring to Milton's brief experience as a schoolmaster in Aldersgate, Johnson remarks in his Lives of the Poets:
The purpose of Milton was to teach something more solid than the literature of the schools by reading those authors that treat of physical subjects, such as the Georgick and astronomical treatises of the ancients. . . . But the truth is that knowledge of external nature and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes are not the great or frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether
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Publication information: Book title: Dangerous Thoughts. Contributors: Lancelot Hogben - Author. Publisher: W W Norton & Company Inc. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1940. Page number: 104.