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The current issue of "The Saturday Evening Post" contains an editorial, "Mobilized Knowledge", in which the following paragraph from Dr. Josiah H. Penniman, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, is used for a text:--"A university today is a glorified factory. It is a mammoth corporation, dealing not in a single product or group of products, but in the principles and products of all knowledge. It has added to its traditional strength because it has learned how to organize knowledge in such fashion that the fundamentals of the several fields can be brought to bear upon a given situation in almost any field.... Universities have released the scientific spirit for use in business and in other affairs of life. It is a great service and one for which business, in particular, has shown gratitude." The "Post" develops this, showing the extreme beneficence of business. And then it moves to the evident raison d'etre of the editorial--the proper appreciation of pure science.

Of course this is a reaction to Herbert Hoover's recent plea for material aid in that field. But he stressed a rather different point. His interest was, after all, in pure science. The interest of the "Post" is not. Believing with Dr. Penniman that a "university is a glorified factory" it suggests that "in giving money, prudent men desire to know in advance what knowledge it will buy what benefits it will confer." And here through the veneer the old surface shows. If the gown is to be guildered it must be a useful gown.

Perhaps pragmatism is to be the essential philosophy of the western world. Surely materialism itself is not far removed from this science which must swing back to man, which cannot direct itself into the unknown for the pleasure and splendor of the voyage Most successful adventures have had the pawn shop behind them, but with the pawn shop forgotten.

If the university is to be a factory, and those gentlemen and scholars who brought libraries to the colonies in America would probably groan at the word, then pure science will develop better soap and shoes and sealing wax, and call the job complete. But if the university is to be something even higher than business could imagine something finer than business could really effect, then pure science will continue to function as an organism of honest research into the whys and wherefores of this odd, but necessary universe.

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