Pedagogics as a System
by Karl Rosenkranz
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6
Home - Random Browse

Therefore we see that in the vegetable world we do not possess a being that can be educated—for no individual of it can realize within itself the species; its realization of the species is a continual process of going out of itself in new individuals, but no activity of return to itself, so as to preserve the identity of an individual.


Feeling is a unity of the parts of an organism everywhere present in it; feeling is also an ideal reproduction of the external surroundings; feeling is therefore a synthesis of the internal and external. Aristotle joins locomotion and desire to feeling, as correlates; how desire is a more explicit recognition of the unity of the external and internal than the first form of feeling is; feeling reproduces the external without destroying its externality, while nutrition receives the external only after it has destroyed its individuality and assimilated it; desire is the side of feeling that unfolds into will.

With feeling or sensibility we come to a being that reacts on the external world in a far higher manner, and realizes a more wonderful form of individuality.

The animal possesses, in common with the plant, a process of assimilation and nutrition. Moreover, he possesses a capacity to feel. Through feeling, or sensation, all of the parts of his extended organism are united in one centre. He is one individual, and not a bundle of separate individuals, as a plant is. With feeling, likewise, are joined locomotion and desire. For these are counterparts of feeling. He feels—i.e., lives as one indivisible unity throughout his organism and controls it, and moves the parts of his body. Desire is more than mere feeling. Mere feeling alone is the perception of the external within the being, hence an ideal reproduction of the external world. In feeling, the animal exists not only within himself, but also passes over his limit, and has for object the reality of the external world that limits him. Hence it is the perception of his finiteness—his limits are his defects, his needs, wants, inadequateness—his separation from the world as a whole. In feeling, the animal perceives his separation from the rest of the world, and also his union with it. Feeling expands into desire when the external world, or some portion of it, is seen as ideally belonging to the limited unity of the animal being. It is beyond the limit, and ought to be assimilated within the limited individuality of the animal.

Mere feeling, when attentively considered, is found to contain these wonderful features of self-activity: it reproduces for itself the external world that limits it; it makes for itself an ideal object, which includes its own self and its not-self at the same time. It is a higher form than mere nutrition; for nutrition destroys the nature of such externality as it receives into itself, while feeling preserves the external in its foreign individuality.

But through feeling the animal ascends to desire, and sees the independent externality as an object for its acquisition, and through locomotion it is enabled to seize and appropriate it in a degree which the plant did not possess.


The various forms of feeling—its specialization: (a) touch, the feeling of mere limits, the indifferent external independence of the organism and its surroundings; (b) taste, feeling of the external object when it is undergoing dissolution by assimilation; (c) smell, the feeling of chemical dissolution in general; (d) hearing, the feeling of the resistance of bodies against attacks: sound being vibration caused by elastic reaction against attacks on cohesion; (e) seeing, the feeling of objects in their independence, without dissolution or attack; plant life, nutrition, a process in which the individuality is not preserved either in time or in space; animal life, as feeling, preserves its individuality as regards space, but not as regards time.

Having noted these important characteristics of the lower orders of life, and found that reaction from the part against the whole—from the internal against the external—belongs to plant life and animal life, we may now briefly mention the ways in which feeling is particularized. In the lower animals it is only the feeling of touch; in higher organisms it becomes also localized as seeing, hearing, taste, and smell. These forms of sense-perception constitute a scale (as it were) of feeling. With touch, there is reproduction of externality, but the ideality of the reproduction is not so complete as in the other forms. With taste, the feeling cognizes the external object as undergoing dissolution, and assimilation within its own organism. We taste only what we are beginning to destroy by the first process of assimilation—that of eating. In smell, we perceive chemical dissolution of bodies. In seeing and hearing, we have the forms of ideal sensibility. Hearing perceives the attack made on the individuality of an external thing, and its reaction in vibrations, which reveal to us its internal nature—its cohesion, etc. In seeing, we have the highest form of sense-perception as the perception of things in their external independence—not as being destroyed chemically, like the objects of taste and smell; not as being attacked and resisting, like the objects which are known through the ear; not as mere limits to our organism, as in the sense of touch.

Sense-perception, as the developed realization of the activity of feeling, belongs to the animal creation, including man as an animal.

We have not yet, therefore, answered the question of capacity for education, so far as it concerns a discrimination between man and the brute. We have only arrived at the conclusion that the vegetable world does not possess the capacity for education, because its individual specimens are no complete individuals, but only transitory phases manifesting the species by continual reproduction of new individuals which are as incomplete as the old ones. Plant life does not possess that self-activity which returns into itself in the same individual—if we may so express it; it goes out of one individual into another perpetually. Its identity is that of the species, but not of the individual.

How is it with the animal—with the being which possesses sensibility, or feeling? This question recurs. In feeling there is a reaction, just as in the plant. This reaction is, however, in an ideal form—the reproduction of the external without assimilation of it—and especially is this the case in the sense of sight, though it is true of all forms of sensation to a less degree.

But all forms of sensibility are limited and special; they refer only to the present, in its forms of here and now. The animal cannot feel what is not here and now. Even seeing is limited to what is present before it. When we reflect upon the significance of this limitation of sense-perception, we shall find that we need some higher form of self-activity still before we can realize the species in the individual, i.e., before we can obtain the true individual—the permanent individuality.

The defect in plant life was, that there was neither identity of individuality in space nor identify in time. The growth of the plant destroyed the individuality of the seed with which we began, so that it was evanescent in time; it served only as the starting-point for new individualities, which likewise, in turn, served again the same purpose; and so its growth in space was a departure from itself as individual.

The animal is a preservation of individuality as regards space. He returns into himself in the form of feeling or sensibility; but as regards time, it is not so—feeling being limited to the present. Without a higher activity than feeling, there is no continuity of individuality in the animal any more than in the plant. Each new moment is a new beginning to a being that has feeling, but not memory.

Thus the individuality of mere feeling, although a far more perfect realization of individuality than that found in plant life, is yet, after all, not a continuous individuality for itself, but only for the species.

In spite of the ideal self-activity which appertains to feeling, even in sense-perception, only the species lives in the animal and the individual dies, unless there be higher forms of activity.


Representation is the next form above sense-perception. The lowest phase of representation is recollection, which simply repeats for itself a former sense-perception or series of sense-perceptions; in representation the mind is free as regards external impressions; it does not require the presence of the object, but recalls it without its own time and place; fancy and imagination are next higher than recollection, because the mind not only recalls images, but makes new combinations of them, or creates them altogether; attention is the appearance of the will in the intellect; with attention begins the separation of the transient from the variable in perception; memory is the highest form of representation; memory deals with general forms—not mere images of experience, but general types of objects of perception; memory, in this sense, is productive as well as reproductive; with memory arises language.

Here we pass over to the consideration of higher forms of intellect and will.

While mere sensation, as such, acts only in the presence of the object—reproducing (ideally), it is true, the external object, the faculty of representation is a higher form of self-activity (or of reaction against surrounding conditions), because it can recall, at its own pleasure, the ideal object. Here is the beginning of emancipation from the limitations of time.

The self-activity of representation can summon before it the object that is no longer present to it. Hence its activity is now a double one, for it can seize not only what is now and here immediately before it, but it can compare this present object with the past, and identify or distinguish between the two. Thus recollection or representation may become memory.

As memory, the mind achieves a form of activity far above that of sense-perception or mere recollection. It must be noted carefully that mere recollection or representation, although it holds fast the perception in time (making it permanent), does not necessarily constitute an activity completely emancipated from time, nor indeed very far advanced towards it. It is only the beginning of such emancipation. For mere recollection stands in the presence of the special object of sense-perception; although the object is no longer present to the senses (or to mere feeling), yet the image is present to the representative perception, and is just as much a particular here and now as the object of sense-perception. There intervenes a new activity on the part of the soul before it arrives at memory. Recollection is not memory, but it is the activity which grows into it by the aid of the activity of attention.

The special characteristics of objects of the senses are allowed to drop away, in so far as they are unessential and merely circumstantial, and gradually there arises in the mind the type—the general form—of the object perceived. This general form is the object of memory. Memory deals therefore with what is general, and a type, rather than with what is directly recollected or perceived.

The activity by which the mind ascends from sense-perception to memory is the activity of attention. Here we have the appearance of the will in intellectual activity. Attention is the control of perception by means of the will. The senses shall no longer passively receive and report what is before them, but they shall choose some definite point of observation, and neglect all the rest.

Here, in the act of attention we find abstraction, and the greater attainment of freedom by the mind. The mind abstracts its view from the many things before it, and concentrates on one point.

Educators have for many ages noted that the habit of attention is the first step in intellectual education. With it we have found the point of separation between the animal intellect and the human. Not attention simply—like that with which the cat watches by the hole of a mouse—but attention which arrives at results of abstraction, is the distinguishing characteristic of educative beings.

Attention abstracts from some things before it and concentrates on others. Through attention grows the capacity to discriminate between the special, particular object and its general type. Generalization arises, but not what is usually called generalization—only a more elementary form of it. Memory, as the highest form of representation—distinguishing it from mere recollection, which reproduces only what has been perceived—such memory deals with the general forms of objects, their continuity in time. Such activity of memory, therefore, does not reproduce mere images, but only the concepts or general ideas of things, and therefore it belongs to the stage of mind that uses language.


Language marks the arrival at the stage of thought—at the stage of the perception of universals—hence at the possibility of education; language fixes the general types which the productive memory forms; each one of these types, indicated by a word, stands for a possible infinite of sense-perceptions or recollections; the word tree stands for all the trees that exist, and for all that have existed or will exist. Animals do not create for themselves a new world of general types, but deal only with the first world of particular objects; hence they are lost in the variety and multiplicity of continuous succession and difference. Man's sense-perception is with memory; hence always a recognition of the object as not wholly new, but only as an example of what he is mostly familiar with. Intellectual education has for its object the cultivation of reflection; reflection is the Platonic "Reminiscence," which retraces the unconscious processes of thought

Language is the means of distinguishing between the brute and the human—between the animal soul, which has continuity only in the species (which pervades its being in the form of instinct), and the human, soul, which is immortal, and possessed of a capacity to be educated.

There is no language until the mind can perceive general types of existence; mere proper names nor mere exclamations or cries do not constitute language. All words that belong to language are significative—they "express" or "mean" something—hence they are conventional symbols, and not mere individual designations. Language arises only through common consent, and is not an invention of one individual. It is a product of individuals acting together as a community, and hence implies the ascent of the individual into the species. Unless an individual could ascend into the species he could not understand language. To know words and their meaning is an activity of divine significance; it denotes the formation of universals in the mind—the ascent above the here and now of the senses, and above the representation of mere images, to the activity which grasps together the general conception of objects, and thus reaches beyond what is transient and variable.

Doubtless the nobler species of animals possess not only sense-perception, but a considerable degree of the power of representation. They are not only able to recollect, but to imagine or fancy to some extent, as is evidenced by their dreams. But that animals do not generalize sufficiently to form for themselves a new objective world of types and general concepts, we have a sufficient evidence in the fact that they do not use words, or invent conventional symbols. With the activity of the symbol-making form of representation, which we have named Memory, and whose evidence is the invention and use of language, the true form of individuality is attained, and each individual human being, as mind, may be said to be the entire species. Inasmuch as he can form universals in his mind, he can realize the most abstract thought; and he is conscious. Consciousness begins when one can seize the pure universal in the presence of immediate objects here and now.

The sense-perception of the mere animal, therefore, differs from that of the human being in this:—

The human being knows himself as subject that sees the object, while the animal sees the object, but does not separate himself, as universal, from the special act of seeing. To know that I am I, is to know the most general of objects, and to carry out abstraction to its very last degree; and yet this is what all human beings do, young or old, savage or civilized. The savage invents and uses language—an act of the species, but which the species cannot do without the participation of the individual.

It should be carefully noted that this activity of generalization which produces language, and characterizes the human from the brute, is not the generalization of the activity of thought, so-called.

It is the preparation for thought. These general types of things are the things which thought deals with. Thought does not deal with mere immediate objects of the senses; it deals rather with the objects which are indicated by words—i.e., general objects.

Some writers would have us suppose that we do not arrive at general notions except by the process of classification and abstraction, in the mechanical manner that they lay down for this purpose. The fact is that the mind has arrived at these general ideas in the process of learning language. In infancy, most children have learned such words as is, existence, being, nothing, motion, cause, change, I, you, he, etc., etc.

But the point is not the mere arrival at these ideas. Education does not concern itself with that; it does not concern itself with children who have not yet learned to talk—that is left for the nursery.

It is the process of becoming conscious of these ideas by reflection, with which we have to concern ourselves in education. Reflection is everywhere the object of education. Even when the school undertakes to teach pupils the correct method of observation—how to use the senses, as in "object-lessons"—it all means reflective observation, conscious use of the senses; it would put this in the place of the naive spontaneity which characterizes the first stages of sense-perception.

We must not underrate these precepts of pedagogy because we find that they are not what it claims for them—i.e., they are not methods of first discovery, and of arrival at principles, but only methods of reflection, and of recognizing what we have already learned. We see that Plato's "Reminiscence" was a true form of statement for the perception of truths of reflection. The first knowing is utterly unconscious of its own method; the second or scientific form of knowing, which education develops, is a knowing in which the mind knows its method. Hence it is a knowing which knows its own necessity and universality.


Education presupposes the stage of mind reached in productive memory; it deals with reflection; four stages of reflection: (a) sensuous ideas perceive things; (b) abstract ideas perceive forces or elements of a process; (c) concrete idea perceives one process, a pantheistic first principle, persistent force; (d) absolute idea perceives a conscious first principle, absolute person.

We have considered in our psychological study thus far the forms of life and cognition, contrasting the phase of nutrition with that of feeling, or sensibility. We have seen the various forms of feeling in sense-perception, and the various forms of representation as the second phase of intellectual activity—the forms of recollection, fancy, imagination, attention, and memory. We draw the line between the animals capable of education and those not capable of it, at the point of memory defined—not as recollection, but as the faculty of general ideas or conceptions, to which the significant words of language correspond.

With the arrival at language, we arrive at education in the human sense of the term; with the arrival at language, we arrive at the view of the world at which thought as a mental process begins. As sense-perception has before it a world of present objects, so thought has before it a world of general concepts, which language has defined and fixed.

It is true that few persons are aware that language stands for a world of general ideas, and that reflection has to do with this world of universals. Hence it is, too, that so much of the so-called science of education is very crude and impractical. Much of it is materialistic, and does not recognize the self-activity of mind; but makes it out to be a correlation of physical energies—derived from the transmutation of food by the process of digestion, and then by the brain converted into thought.

Let us consider now the psychology of thinking, or reflection, and at first in its most inadequate forms. As a human process, the knowing is always a knowing by universals—a re-cognition, and not simple apprehension, such as the animals, or such as beings have that do not use language. The process of development of stages of thought begins with sensuous ideas, which perceive mere individual, concrete, real objects, as it supposes. In conceiving these, it uses language and thinks general ideas, but it does not know it, nor is it conscious of the relations involved in such objects. This is the first stage of reflection. The world exists for it as an innumerable congeries of things, each one independent of the other, and possessing self-existence. It is the stand-point from which atomism would be adopted as the philosophic system. Ask it what the ultimate principle of existence is, and it would reply, "Atoms."

But this view of the world is a very unstable one, and requires very little reflection to overturn it, and bring one to the next basis—that of abstract ideas. When the mind looks carefully at the world of things, it finds that there is dependence and interdependence. Each object is related to something else, and changes when that changes. Each object is a part of a process that is going on. The process produced it, and the process will destroy it—nay, it is destroying it now, while we look at it. We find, therefore, that things are not the true beings which we thought them to be, but processes are the reality. Science takes this attitude, and studies out the history of each thing in its rise and its disappearance, and it calls this history the truth. This stage of thinking does not believe in atoms or in things; it believes in forces and processes—"abstract ideas"—because they are negative, and cannot be seen by the senses. This is the dynamic stand-point in philosophy.

Reflection knows that these abstract ideas possess more truth, more reality, than the "things" of sense-perception; the force is more real than the thing, because it outlasts a thing,—it causes things to originate, and to change, and disappear.

This stage of abstract ideas or of negative powers or forces finally becomes convinced of the essential unity of all processes and of all forces; it sets up the doctrine of the correlation of forces, and believes that persistent force is the ultimate truth, the fundamental reality of the world. This we may call a concrete idea, for it sets up a principle which is the origin of all things and forces, and also the destroyer of all things, and hence more real than the world of things and forces; and because this idea, when carefully thought out, proves to be the idea of self-determination—self-activity.

Persistent force, as taught us by the scientific men of our day, is the sole ultimate principle, and as such it gives rise to all existence by its self-activity, for there is nothing else for it to act upon. It causes all origins, all changes, and all evanescence. It gives rise to the particular forces—heat, light, electricity, magnetism, etc.—which in their turn cause the evanescent forms which sense-perception sees as "things."

We have described three phases:—

I. Sensuous Ideas perceive "things." II. Abstract Ideas perceive "forces." III. Concrete Idea perceives "persistent force."

In this progress from one phase of reflection to another, the intellect advances to a deeper and truer reality[14] at each step.

Sense-ideas which look upon the world as a world of independent objects, do not cognize the world truly. The next step, abstract ideas, cognizes the world as a process of forces, and "things" are seen to be mere temporary equilibria in the interaction of forces; "each thing is a bundle of forces." But the concrete idea of the Persistent force sees a deeper and more permanent reality underlying particular forces. It is one ultimate force. In it all multiplicity of existences has vanished, and yet it is the source of all particular existence.

This view of the world, on the stand-point of concrete idea, is pantheistic. It makes out a one supreme principle which originates and destroys all particular existences, all finite beings. It is the stand-point of Orientalism, or of the Asiatic thought. Buddhism and Brahminism have reached it, and not transcended it. It is a necessary stage of reflection in the mind, just as much as the stand-point of the first stage of reflection, which regards the world as composed of a multiplicity of independent things; or the stand-point of the second stage of reflection, which looks upon the world as a collection of relative existences in a state of process.

The final stand-point of the intellect is that in which it perceives the highest principle to be a self-determining or self-active Being, self-conscious, and creator of a world which manifests him. A logical investigation of the principle of "persistent force" would prove that this principle of Personal Being is presupposed as its true form. Since the "persistent force" is the sole and ultimate reality, it originates all other reality only by self-activity, and thus is self-determined. Self-determination implies self-consciousness as the true form of its existence.

These four forms of thinking, which we have arbitrarily called sensuous, abstract, concrete, and absolute ideas, correspond to four views of the world: (1) as a congeries of independent things; (2) as a play of forces; (3) as the evanescent appearance of a negative essential power; (4) as the creation of a Personal Creator, who makes it the theatre of the development of conscious beings in his image. Each step upward in ideas arrives at a more adequate idea of the true reality. Force is more real than thing; persistent force than particular forces; Absolute Person is more real than the force or forces which he creates.

This final form of thinking is the only form which is consistent with the theory of education. Each individual should ascend by education into participation—conscious participation—in the life of the species. Institutions—family, society, state, church—all are instrumentalities by which the humble individual may avail himself of the help of the race, and live over in himself its life. The highest stage of thinking is the stage of insight. It sees the world as explained by the principle of Absolute Person. It finds the world of institutions a world in harmony with such a principle.

[1] The parallelism between these two sciences, Medicine and Education, is an obvious point, which every student will do well to consider.

[2] This will again remind the student of the theories of treatment in medicine in diseases which, in the seventeenth century, were treated only by bleeding and emetics, are now treated by nourishing food, and no medicines, etc.

[3] The teacher will do well to consider the probable result of the constant association with mental inferiors entailed by his work, and also to consider what counter-irritant is to be applied to balance, in his character, this unavoidable tendency.

[4] The age at which the child should be subject to the training of school life, or Education, properly so-called, must vary with different races, nations, and different children.

[5] The best educator is he who makes his pupils independent of himself. This implies on the teacher's part an ability to lose himself in his work, and a desire for the real growth of the pupil, independent of any personal fame of his own—a disinterestedness which places education on a level with the noblest occupations of man.

[6] See analysis.

[7] Asiatic systems of Education have this basis (see Sec. 178 of the original).

[8] The definition of freedom here implied is this: Mind is free when it knows itself and wills its own laws.

[9] Perhaps, however slow the growth, there is real progress in liberating the imprisoned soul (?)

[10] "When me they fly, I am the wings."—Emerson.

[11] The story of Peter Schlemihl, by Chamisso, may be read in the English translation published in "Hedge's German Prose Writers."

[12] That is, punishment is retributive and not corrective. Justice requires that each man shall have the fruits of his own deeds; in this it assumes that each and every man is free and self-determined. It proposes to treat each man as free, and as the rightful owner of his deed and its consequences. If he does a deed which is destructive to human rights, it shall destroy his rights and deprive him of property, personal freedom, or even of life. But corrective punishment assumes immaturity of development and consequent lack of freedom. It belongs to the period of nurture, and not to the period of maturity. The tendency in our schools is, however, to displace the forms of mere corrective punishment (corporal chastisement), and to substitute for them forms founded on retribution—e.g., deprivation of privileges. See secs. 42 and 43.

[13] Faust; Part I., Scene I. "How all weaves itself into the Whole! Each works and lives in the other! How the heavenly influences ascend and descend, and reach each other the golden buckets!"

[14] Hume, in his famous sketch of the Human Understanding, makes all the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds: impressions and ideas. "The difference between them consists in the degrees of force and liveliness with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought and consciousness. Those perceptions which enter with the most force and violence we may name impressions, and under this name include all our sensations, passions, and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul. By ideas, I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning." "The identity which we ascribe to the mind of man is only a fictitious one."

From this we see that his stand-point is that of "sensuous ideas," the first stage of reflection. The second or third stage of reflection, if consistent, would not admit the reality to be the object of sense-impressions, and the abstract ideas to be only "faint images." One who holds, like Herbert Spencer, that persistent force is the ultimate reality—"the sole truth, which transcends experience by underlying it"—ought to hold that the generalization which reaches the idea of unity of force is the truest and most adequate of thoughts. And yet Herbert Spencer holds substantially the doctrine of Hume, in the words: "We must predicate nothing of objects too great or too multitudinous to be mentally represented, or we must make our predications by means of extremely inadequate representations of such objects—mere symbols of them." (Page 27 of "First Principles.")


Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6
Home - Random Browse