College Women and the Social Sciences: Essays

College Women and the Social Sciences: Essays

College Women and the Social Sciences: Essays

College Women and the Social Sciences: Essays

Excerpt

The social sciences have assumed so important a place in the curriculum of higher education in America, that it is easy to forget that the entire development has taken place within living memory. No disciplines have evolved more swiftly. The classics and the mathematics have been two thousand years in the making. Art and music were already ancient studies when the university took cognizance of them. But the social studies, which have now sprung to first place in the American curriculum, had no precedent in early periods.

Mediaeval educationists would fable that they were sprung from the union of Apollo with Ancestral Earth. The predecessor in the sacred academy was moral philosophy, which, uniting with natural philosophy, produced the whole brood of social studies. The inexorable march of science, converging from the most distant realms of the universe upon the greatest problem of all -- the inner nature of man -- came at last to the point where it appeared possible to record and to generalize upon the behavior of men in groups. Here it was confronted by philosophy, with its branches of metaphysics, aesthetics, and ethics, and by philosophy's daughter, psychology.

The social sciences that resulted from this meeting of minds are thus temporary compromises between the inevitable record of science and the emotional quality in man. For at least a century to come, it may be predicted . . .

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