Category: Literature and Science | Department of English


literature and science

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Literature And Science by Aldous Huxley

Against the natural and appointed course of things there is no contending. Ten years ago I remarked on the gloomy prospect for letters in this country, inasmuch as while the aristocratic class, according to a famous dictum of Lord Beaconsfield, was totally indifferent to letters, the friends of physical, science on the other hand, a growing and popular body, were in active revolt against them. I could not help, I then went on to say, I could not help being moved with a desire to plead with the friends of physical science on behalf of letters, literature and science, and in deprecation of the slight which they put upon them.

But from giving literature and science to this desire I was at that time drawn off by more pressing matters. Ten years have passed, and the prospects of any pleader for letters have certainly not mended.

If the friends of physical science were in the morning sunshine of popular favour even then, they stand now in its meridian radiance. Renan, assigns the same date of hundred years hence, as the date by which the historical and critical studies, in which his life has been passed and his reputation made will have fallen into neglect, and deservedly so fallen. It is the literature and science of his life, M.

Renan tells us, that he did not himself originally pursue the natural sciences, in which he might have forestalled Darwin in his discoveries, literature and science. Goethe was a wise man, but the irresistible current of things was not then manifest as it is now, literature and science. No wisdom, nor counsel, nor understanding, against the Eternal! But to resign oneself too passively to supposed designs of the Eternal is fatalism. Herbert Spencer. The Universities are by no means outside its scope.

On the ground of the dead languages, literature and science, he said, they could not possibly come together; but if the Universities would take natural science for their chosen and chief ground instead, they easily might, literature and science.

The Vice-Chancellor has done me the honour to invite me to address you here to-day, although I am not a member of this great University. I will venture to say that to an honour of literature and science kind from the University of Cambridge no one on earth can be so sensible as a member of the University of Oxford. The two Universities are unlike anything else in the world, and they are very like one another.

Nevertheless they have their points of dissimilarity. One such literature and science, in particular, cannot fail to arrest notice. Both Universities have told powerfully upon the mind and life of the nation. But the University of Oxford, of which I am a member, and to which I am deeply and affectionately attached, has produced great men, indeed, literature and science, but has above all been the source or the centre of great movements.

We will not now go back to the middle ages; we will keep within the range of what is called modem history. Within this range, we have the great movements of Royalism, Wesleyanism, Tractarianism, Ritualism, all of them having their source or their centre in Oxford. You have nothing of the kind. The movement literature and science its name from Charles Simeon is far, far less considerable than the movement taking its name from John Wesley.

The movement attempted by the Latitude men in the seventeenth century is next to: nothing as a movement; the men are everything, literature and science. And this is, in truth, your great your surpassing distinction: not your movements, but your men. From Bacon to Byron, what a splendid roll of great names you can point to! We, at Oxford, can show nothing equal to it. Yours is the University not of great movements, but of great, men.

Our experience at Oxford disposes us, perhaps, to treat movements, whether our own, or extraneous movements such as the present, movement for revolutionising education, with too much respect. That disposition finds a corrective here. Masses make movements, individualities explode them. On mankind in the mass, a movement, once started, is apt to impose itself by routine; it literature and science through the insight, the independence, the self-confidence of powerful single minds that its yoke is shaken off.

In this University of great names, whoever wishes not to be demoralised by a movement comes into the right air for being stimulate to pluck up his courage and to examine what stuff movements are really made of.

Inspirited, then, by this tonic air in which I find myself speaking, I am boldly going to ask whether the present movement for ousting letters from their old predominance in education, and literature and science transferring the predominance in education to the natural sciences, whether this brisk and flourishing movement ought to prevail, and whether it is likely that in the end it really will prevail. My own studies have been almost wholly in letters, and my visits to the field of the natural sciences have been very slight and inadequate, although those sciences strongly move my curiosity.

A man of letters, it will perhaps be said, literature and science, is quite incompetent to discuss the comparative merits of letters and natural science as means of education. His incompetence, literature and science, however, if he attempts the discussion but is really incompetent for it, will be abundantly visible; literature and science will be taken in; he will have plenty of sharp observers and critics to save mankind [] from that danger.

But the line I am going to follow is, as you will soon discover, so extremely simple, that perhaps it may be followed without failure even by one who for a more ambitious line of discussion would be quite incompetent.

Some of you may have met with a phrase of mine which has been the object of a good deal of comment; an observation to the effect that in our culture, the aim being to know ourselves and the world, we have, as the means to this end, to know the best which has been thought and said in the world.

Special local and temporary advantages being put out of account, literature and science, that modern nation will in the intellectual and spiritual spheres make literature and science progress, which most thoroughly carries out this programme. Now on my phrase, thus enlarged, Professor Huxley remarks that I assert literature to contain the materials which suffice for making us know ourselves and the world.

But it is not by any means clear, says he, that after having learnt all which ancient and modern literatures have to tell us, we have laid a sufficiently broad and deep foundation for that criticism of life which constitutes culture, literature and science.

An army without literature and science of precision and with no particular base of operations, might more hopefully enter upon a campaign on the Rhine, than a man devoid of a knowledge of what physical science has done in the last century, literature and science, upon a criticism of life. What Professor Huxley says, implies just the reproach which is so often brought against the study of belles lettres, as they are called: that the study is an elegant one, but slight and ineffectual; a smattering of Greek and Latin and other ornamental things, of little use for any one whose object is to get at truth.

So, too, M. And there is always a tendency in those who are remonstrating against the predominance of letters in education, to understand by letters belles lettres, and by belles [] lettres a superficial humanism, the opposite of science or true knowledge, literature and science. But when we talk of knowing Greek and Roman antiquity, for instance, which is what people have called humanism, we mean a knowledge which is something more than a superficial humanism, mainly decorative.

For example: a knowledge of classical antiquity is scientific when the remains of classical antiquity are correctly studied in the original languages.

When I speak of knowing Greek and Roman antiquity, therefore, as a help literature and science knowing ourselves and the world, I mean more than a knowledge of so much vocabulary, so much grammar, so many portions of authors, in the Greek and Latin languages.

I mean knowing the Greeks and Romans, and their life and genius, and what they were and did in the world; what we get from them, and what is its value.

That, at least, is the ideal; and when we talk of endeavouring to know Greek and Roman antiquity as a help to knowing ourselves and the world, we mean endeavouring so to know them as to satisfy this ideal, however much we may still fall short of it. The same as to knowing our own and other modern nations, literature and science, with the aim of getting to understand ourselves and the world.

Let us, I say, be agreed about the meaning of the terms we are using. I talk of knowing the best which has been thought and uttered in the world; Professor Huxley says this means knowing literature.

Literature is literature and science large word; it may mean everything written with letters or printed in a book. All knowledge that reaches us through books is literature.

But by literature Professor Huxley means belles lettres. He means to make me say, that knowing the best which has been thought and said by the modern nations is knowing their belles lettres and no more. And this is no sufficient equipment, he argues, for literature and science criticism of modern life.

By knowing modern nations, I mean not merely knowing their belles lettres, but knowing also what has been done by such men as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, literature and science, Darwin. It is even more certain that nature is the expression of a definite order, with which nothing interferes, literature and science.

In due place and time we will perhaps touch upon the question of classical education, but at present the question is as to what is meant by knowing the best which modern nations have thought and said. It is not knowing their belles lettres merely that is meant. To know Italian belles lettres is not to know Italy, and to know English belles lettres is not to know England. Into knowing Italy and England there comes a great deal more, Galileo and Newton amongst it.

The reproach of being a superficial humanism, a tincture of belles lettres, may attach rightly enough to some other disciplines; but to the particular discipline recommended when I proposed knowing the best that has been thought and said in the world, it does not apply.

In that best I certainly include what in modern times has been thought and said by the great observers and knowers of nature. There is, therefore, literature and science, really no question between Professor Huxley and me as to whether knowing the results of the scientific study of nature is not required as apart of our culture, as well as knowing the products of literature and art. But to follow the processes by which those results are reached ought, say the friends of physical science, to be made the staple of education for the bulk of mankind.

The great results of the scientific investigation of nature we are agreed upon knowing, but how much of our study are we bound to give to the processes by which those results are reached? The results [] have their visible bearing on human life. But all the processes, literature and science, too, all the items of fact, by which those results are established, are interesting. All knowledge is interesting to a wise man, and the knowledge of nature is interesting to all men. It is very interesting to know, that from the albuminous white of the egg the chick in the egg gets the materials for its flesh, bones, blood, and feathers, while from the fatty yolk of the egg it gets the heat and energy which enable it at length to break its shell and begin the world.

It is less interesting, perhaps, literature and science, but still it is interesting, to know that when a taper burns, the wax is converted into carbonic acid and water. Moreover, it is quite true that the habit of dealing with facts which is given by the study of nature is, as the friends of physical science praise it for being, an excellent discipline.

The appeal is to observation and experiment; not only is it said that the thing is so, but we can be made to see that it is so. Not only does a man tell us that when a taper burns the wax is converted into carbonic acid and water, as a man may tell us, if he likes, that Charon is in his boat on the Styx, or that Victor Hugo is a truly great poet; but we are made to literature and science that the conversion into carbonic acid literature and science water does really happen.

But it is proposed to make the training in natural science the main part of education, literature and science, for the great majority of mankind at any rate. And here, I confess, I part company with the friends of physical science, with whom up to this point I have been agreeing. In differing from them, however, I wish to proceed with the utmost caution and diffidence.

The smallness of my acquaintance with the disciplines of natural science is ever before my mind, and I am fearful of doing them injustice. The ability of the partisans of natural science makes them formidable persons to contradict. The literature and science of literature and science inquiry, which befits a being of dim faculties and bounded knowledge, is the tone I would wish to take and not to depart from.

But I put this forward on the strength of some facts not at all recondite, literature and science, very far from it; facts capable of being stated in the simplest possible fashion, and to which, if I so state them, the man of science will, I am sure, be willing to allow their due weight. Deny the facts altogether, literature and science, I think, he hardly can. Human nature is built up by these powers; we have the need for them all.

This is evident enough, and the friends of physical science will admit it. But perhaps they may not have sufficiently observed another thing: namely, that these powers just mentioned are not isolated, literature and science, but there is in the generality of mankind a perpetual tendency to relate them one to another in divers ways.

With one such way of relating them I am particularly concerned here. Following our instinct for intellect and knowledge, we acquire pieces of knowledge; and presently, literature and science, in the literature and science of men, there arises the desire to relate these pieces of knowledge to our sense for conduct, to our sense for beauty, literature and science, and there is weariness and dissatisfaction if the desire is balked.

Now in this desire lies, I think, the strength of that hold which letters have upon us. All knowledge is, as I said just now, interesting; and even items of knowledge which from the nature of the case cannot well be related, but must stand isolated in our thoughts, literature and science, have their interest. If we are studying Greek accents, literature and science, it is interesting to know that pais and pas, and some other monosyllables of the same form of declension, do not take the circumflex upon the last syllable of the genitive plural, but vary, in this respect from the common rule.

If we are studying physiology, it is interesting to know that the pulmonary artery carries dark blood and the pulmonary vein carries bright blood, departing in this respect from the common rule for the division of labour between the veins and the arteries.

But every one knows how we seek naturally to combine the pieces of our knowledge together, to bring them under general rules, to relate them to principles; and how unsatisfactory and tiresome it would be to go on for ever learning lists of exceptions, or accumulating items of fact which must stand isolated.


Literature And Science Research Papers -


literature and science


Literature and Science. by Matthew Arnold () 1 electronic edition by Ian Lancashire Practical people talk with a smile of Plato and of his absolute ideas; and it is impossible to deny that Plato's ideas do often seem unpractical and impracticable, and especially when one views them in connection with the life of a great work-a-day world like the United States. The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. As Shelley says, 'the great secret of morals is Love; or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own'; that we can make our path through beauty to freedom; and that art is a realm of free play where we can rejoice in existence.