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$ $ 36-57.
ON METHOD IN GENERAL.
§ 41. $ 43. $44. § 45. § 46 $ 47. § 49.
50. $ 51. $ 52. $ 53. $ 54. $ 55. $ 56. § 57.
ON METHOD IN GENERAL.
36. Method signifies literally the way to seek after a thing. The Greek philosophers used the word in this general sense, which has been retained to the present. Although writers agree substantially in assigning to the term the notion of way, a principle which determines direction, or orderly arrangement, yet the precise limitations of the way are not attributed with equal clearness and uniformity. By some, the term implies the only way in which a thing can be done. By others, Method is the only philosophical way of proceeding in an investigation, involving actually two operations, analysis and synthesis. Still others see in the word only a particular way of doing a given thing, which way may or may not depend upon the individuality of those who achieve the task. (See Appendix A, 8 225.)
37. Method in general never has respect to the mind of the learner, but always has reference to the subject studied. It assumes intellectual activities and products. It is simply the way in which the mental products are utilized and unified into science. This field is that of logic. “ I adopt the opinion of Mr. Herbert Spencer, that logic is really an objective science, like
(Jevons, Pri. Sci., p. 4, ed. 1877.)
38. The conception of Method resting upon substantial data at either end of the process, it is within the province of the term to speak of methods of business, when referring to this or that general way by which business transactions are accomplished. (See Appendix A, 8 225.)
39. “ The result has been half a century of steady and unprecedented material growth, accompanied with corresponding improvement in the structure of Government, which is probably unequalled to-day in the success with which scientific methods are made to work through popular forms." (The Nation, No. 700, p. 328, November 28, 1878.) “In a commercial country, which depends so much on the maintenance of credit, nothing is so important as that the credit should rest on solid foundations—not merely that the bases of the several transactions should be secure, but that the methods of business should be regular, legitimate, and trustworthy. The credit of an individual and of a bank depends much more on the known fact that the business done is done in a regular way, and with the habitual observance of certain rules of safe conduct, than upon a knowledge of the particular securities which accompany it.
The one fact should be certified to the public in all possible ways, the other is in its nature private. (Ibid., p. 330.)
40. In any investigation three distinct elements are presented to the inquirer : (1) The objectmatter, which is the end of the inquiry ; (2) The way
in which the activities of the examiner move forth and continue, while arriving at the end ; (3) The state or condition of the one who is putting forth the exertion to secure the end. A direct discussion suggests these questions : (1) Does Method regard immediately and solely the object-matter of the investigation, how it is finally left, or to be left, by the student, whether or not it shall be in an orderly arrangement, as of Classification (2) Or does it regard only the way in which the inquiry proceeds, as by Analysis, Synthesis, Induction, Deduction, Classification, or Generalization ? (3) Or does it consider especially the way in which the scholar, as as a particular individual, carries on his work, whether in this or that state of mind or body, or by means of these or those carefully chosen and utilized expedients and appliances which are peculiar to himself alone ?
That is, in recapitulation : (1) Does Method point sharply and first to the object investigated, in what shape, form, or condition it shall be left ? (2) Or does it indicate the direction, or way in, or over, which the energy of the mind moves in its activity ? (3) Or does it judge the characteristics which are the difference between the mind of the examiner and that of other men ? In order to answer these questions, it becomes necessary to attend to each in turn.
41. I. Consider the object-matter of study, whatever it may be, as arithmetic, botany, or grammar. The purposes of examining any ob