Mental science and methods of mental culture
This culture and instruction must be based on a knowledge of the nature of the mind and its activities. Such knowledge is not only a necessity, but this necessity is now generally realized by educators and intelligent teachers. Never before in the history of education has there been so strong and wide a demand for works treating of the nature of the mind and its culture, as at the present time. With the view of meeting this demand, the present treatise is published. Origin.
This treatise originated and grew up in the classroom. It is the result of many years of experience in the instruction of student-teachers in mental philosophy. Much of it was prepared and given to classes in written or printed notes for them to study and recite.
These notes acquired popularity outside of the school, and, by permission, were used in several other institutions. Demand was thus created for a textbook on the subject, and to meet the demand these notes have been rewritten and expanded into a complete treatise. Extent.
The work presents a complete outline of the subject of Mental Philosophy, embracing the Intellect, the Sensibilities, and the Will. The treatment of the Intellect is especially full and detailed, as the teacher's work has mainly to do with the culture and training of this faculty. The Sensibilities and Will are discussed more briefly, but their treatment is comprehensive and complete.
While aiming at conciseness and simplicity in the explanation of each topic, the object of the author has been to dis- cuss all the leading principles of the science, and thus present a complete treatment of the nature of the mind and the methods of cultivating it. The topics are so arranged that students who wish a shorter course can omit some of the less important points in the discussion; and an outline is presented, indicating a twelve or fourteen weeks' course, which gives a connected view of the whole subject. (See page 10.) The Material.
The subject of mental philosophy has been so thoroughly investigated that an author can hope to present but little that is new or original. The first object of a writer should be to state clearly the generally recognized views of the science, and this has been the primary aim in the present work; it will thus be found to agree in the main with the best thinkers of modern times.
The principal object has not been to be original in thought or expression but to be clear, accurate, and concise. Nothing was put in because it was new, and nothing was left out because it was old. I have aimed to produce a textbook that should contain, in a clear and practical form, the essential elements of mental science. I have not hesitated, however, to present such new views of the subject as my own thinking has suggested.
There will thus be found, in the treatment of nearly every topic, some new idea, or some new phase or clearer statement of an old one. Some of the points peculiar to this work are the regarding of the cognition of the sensation as an act of perception, the giving of four distinct elements to the memory, the spontaneity of recollection, the reduction of all the laws of memory to the one law of the relation of ideas, the distinct assumption and proof of two elements of the imagination, making it a combining and creating power, the formal including of the several ideas of Space, Time, etc., under the Intuitions of the True, the treatment of the Ludicrous as a rational idea, etc.
Special attention is also called to the brief but comprehensive treatment of the Will, and especially of the doctrine of the Freedom of the Will. Mental Culture. — The most striking feature of the work is the formal presentation of Methods of Cultivating the Different Faculties. This feature especially distinguishes the work from every previous treatise that has fallen under the author's notice; and, it is thought, will render it especially valuable to the teacher and educator. To this part of the subject the author has devoted special labour, and having no previous treatment to guide him, his task was a difficult and embarrassing one.
Much of what is given has been used in oral discussions in his teaching classes for many years, and in bis lectures at teachers' institutes in different parts of the State. As he was compelled by the limits of the volume to be brief, the discussions presented are mere outlines of what could be written on the subject. It is proper to remark, also, that they do not come up to the author's ideal of what could be presented; but they may serve to awaken an interest in the subject, and invite others to a fuller and more suggestive treatment of the culture of the mind. Nature of the System. — The system of philosophy here presented is similar to that of the best English and American thinkers. In its general spirit, it coincides with that of Sir William Hamilton, though it differs in many details from that illustrious author.
It also agrees in spirit with much of the best German thinking on the subject of metaphysics. In its system of thought, it is neither materialistic nor absolutely rationalistic but aims to unite what is true in both of these schemes of philosophy. It holds that the mind is an entity distinct from matter and the author of thought, rather •than that thought is a function of matter, as taught by the modern materialistic school of thinkers. It does not ignore, however, the physical basis of perception, and it, therefore, accepts one of the established facts of the materialistic school. But it rises above this school by assuming that the mind is an original source of truth and that it can originate and comprehend necessary and universal principles. It thus rises from the lowest facts of materialism to the highest facts of rationalistic philosophy.
book details :
Download 34 MB