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The Study of Mental Science

Nature volume 68, pages 197198 (02 July 1903) | Download Citation



THIS very readable little book is a collection of five lectures in which Prof. Brough has urged with force and eloquence the claims of logic and psychology to take their place in every curriculum designed to give a liberal education. He claims that the study of logic develops and brings clearly before the consciousness of the student the “natural sense of method ”which in the scientific specialist too often works in devious subterranean fashion. Logic, treated as a study of scientific method, should be taught at that stage in the educational course at which a general survey of knowledge has been made, and before the student enters upon one of the more specialised courses of study prescribed by the honours schools of our universities. This sound principle, practically interpreted, means that logic should be made an obligatory subject for all candidates in the matriculation examinations of the universities, that, for example, in the “Little-go” logic should replace “Paley,”which for the intelligent student is merely a study in one branch of logic, the study of fallacies. For psychology our author does not attempt to claim so urgent and universal importance. It is rather as a complement to the “humanities ”that he urges its claims. In the modern world “the panorama of spiritual presentation through which we move ”grows overwhelmingly rich and varied, and the mind can hope to cope with it profitably only when its knowledge of spiritual fact is systematised by analysis of psychical processes and by clear conceptions of the elements so revealed and of the laws of their conjunction. Prof. Brough is known as an enthusiast for the modern, experimental treatment of psychology, and has the merit of having introduced these methods in the University of Wales; it is therefore regrettable that he has not dwelt upon the value of psychology, so treated, as a training in accurate observation. For no other experimental science exercises so constantly, or makes so exacting demands of, the faculty of close observation and the power of voluntary control of the attention, the development of which two powers is, or should be, a prime object of all educational efforts.

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