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think (in which opinion I most fully coincide) that, so strongly as the tide of popular opinion sets against the study, the result would have been, within a few years, an almost universal neglect of that Science. Matters were accordingly left, at that time, in respect of this point, on their former footing; which I am convinced was far preferable to the proposed alteration.
But a middle course between these two was suggested, which I was persuaded would be infinitely preferable to either; a persuasion which I had long entertained, and which is confirmed by every day's observations and reflections; of which, few persons, I believe, have bestowed more on this subject. Let the study of Logic, it was urged, be made optional to those who are merely candidates for a degree, but indispensable to the attainment of academical honours; and the consequence would be, that it would speedily begin, and progressively continue, to rise in estimation and to be studied with real profit. The examination might then, it was urged, without any hardship, be made a strict one; since no one could complain that a certain moderate degree of scientific ability, and a resolution to apply to a certain prescribed study, should be the conditions of
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obtaining distinction. The far greater part would still study Logic; since there would be (as before) but few who would be willing to exclude themselves from the possibility of obtaining distinction; but it would be studied with a very different mind, when ennobled, as it were, by being made part of the passport to University honors, and when a proficiency in it came to be regarded generally as an honorable distinction. portion as the number increased of those who really understood the Science, the number, it was contended, would increase of such as would value it on higher and better grounds. It would in time come to be better known and better appreciated by all the well-informed part of society : and lectures in Logic at the University would then, perhaps, no longer consist exclusively of an explanation of the mere elements. This would be necessary indeed for beginners; but to the more advanced students, the tutors would no more think of lecturing in the bare rudiments, than of lecturing in the Latin or Greek Grammar; but, in the same manner as they exercise their pupils in Grammar, by reading with them Latin and Greek authors with continual reference to grammar-rules, so, they would exercise them in Logic by
reading some argumentative work, requiring an analysis of it on Logical principles.
These effects could not indeed, it was acknowledged, be expected to show themselves fully till after a considerable lapse of time; but that the change would begin to appear, (and that, very decidedly) within three or four years, was confidently anticipated.
To this it was replied, that it was most desirable that no one should be allowed to obtain the Degree of B. A. without a knowledge of Logic. This answer carries a plausible appearance to those unacquainted with the actual state of the University ; though in fact it is totally irrelevant. For it goes on the supposition, that hitherto this object has been accomplished ; – that every one who passes his examination does possess a knowledge of Logic; which is notoriously not the fact, nor ever can be, without some important change in some part of our system. The question therefore is, not, as the above objection would seem to imply, whether a real, profitable knowledge of Logic shall be strictly required of every candidate for a Degree, (for this in fact never has been done) but whether, in the attempt to accomplish this by requiring the form of a logical examina
tion from every candidate without exception, we shall continue to degrade the Science, and to let this part of the examination be regarded as a mere form, by many who might otherwise have studied Logic in earnest, and with advantage :-whether the great majority of candidates, and those too of a more promising description, shall lose a real and important benefit, through the attempt, (which, after all, experience has proved to be a vain attempt) to comprehend in this benefit a very small number, and of the least promising.
Something of an approach to the proposed alteration, was introduced into the Examination-statute passed in 1830; in which, permission is granted to such as are candidates merely for a testimonial, to substitute for Logic a portion of Euclid. I fear, however, that little or nothing will be gained by this; unless indeed the Examiners resolve to make the examinations in Logic far stricter than those in Euclid. For since every one who is capable of really understanding Euclid must be also capable of Logic, the alteration does not meet the case of those whose inaptitude for Science is invincible; and these are the very description of men whose (so called) logical-examinations tend to depress the Science. Those few who really are
physically incapable of scientific reasoning, and the far greater number who fancy themselves so, or who at least will rather run a risk than surmount their aversion and set themselves to study in earnest,—all these will be likely, when the alternative is proposed, to prefer Logic to Euclid; because in the latter, it is hardly possible, at least not near so easy as in Logic, to present the semblance of preparation by learning questions and answers by rote :-in the cant phrase of undergraduates, by getting crammed. Experience has proved this, in the case of the Responsive-examinations, where the alternative of Logic or Euclid has always been proposed to the candidates; of whom those most averse to Science, or incapable of it, are almost always found to prefer Logic.*
The determination may indeed be formed, and acted on from henceforth, that all who do in reality know nothing, properly speaking, of any Science, shall be rejected: all I know is, that this has never been the case hitherto.
Still, it is a satisfaction to me, that attention has been called to the evil in question,
Since this was written, the experiment has been tried. In the Examination-list for the present Term (Easter, 1831) of 125 candidates who did not aspire to the higher classes, twentyfive present Euclid for their examination, and one hundred Logic!