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FORCED PHILOSOPHY

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To anyone who has had the slightest acquaintance with philosophy as expressed in the writings of its disciples, the idea of philosophy, forced upon an uncongenial mind, is as crude as its ludicrous. Yet no one in this age of mechanical method and mass manner can call himself a true student, does he remain uncongenial to philosophy. For philosophy, to mention the obvious, is the circle of which all the sciences and history and literature and the segments. It is man's attempt to see the whole in a manner abstracted from the prejudices of flesh and the trivialities of custom. And thus, when properly revealed to the young mind, philosophy presents itself as a ground storehouse into which he can place and adjust those more specialized kinds of knowledge which his university experience gives him.

So the plan of the Education Committee of the Student Council would not force philosophy upon uncongenial minds. It could not. What the committee does suggest is that underclassmen gain some appreciation of the land they are entering before they study the brass on its gates. These freshmen have by their coming to Harvard implied that they are willing to attempt some philosophical appreciation of their world and of their place in their world. So the philosophy course, given in the manner suggested by the committee, a course in which some few great attempts at meta-physical and ethical understanding are interestingly delineated, would not in any sense be a superficial survey of an infinity of half demonstrated realities. Rather would it be an expression of the philosophical attitude toward modern life, an appreciation of history, science and literature in their inter-relationship as parts in the philosophical whole. Thus there would be established a necessary foundation for specialized work as well as an inspiration to individual thinking, only half-heartedly supplied by the present introductory course in philosophy.

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