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The Service of Unified Knowledge

Nature volume 141, page 1133 (25 June 1938) | Download Citation

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Abstract

SOME time ago (November 18, 1936) we discussed, under the above heading, Mr. H. G. Wells's “Idea of a World Encyclopaedia”, a project designed “to hold men's minds together in something like a common interpretation of reality”. Six months later (May 29), we published an article discussing Prof. Dobrowolski's scheme for paving the way for such a common interpretation by equipping every university with a “faculty of general knowledge”. A full translation of its author's own account of the scheme appeared later in the Sociological Review (October 1937), including a description of the organization, subject-matter, time-tables and method of instruction of “Universitas Rediviva”, a working model of the proposed faculty of general knowledge in operation in Warsaw. In the meantime, Mr. H. G. Wells has outlined in his address at Nottingham to Section L (Education) of the British Association, his ideas as to the informative content of the kind of liberal education that might be expected to produce minds capable of being held together by his world encyclopaedia. The importance of such a “holding together of men's minds” has been clearly seen by the creators of the modern dictatorial regimes. In democracies it is equally important but much more difficult to achieve. Both Wells and Dobrowolski would probably subscribe to A. N. Whitehead's dictum: “There can be no successful democratic society till general education conveys a philosophic outlook”(“Adventures of Ideas”. Cambridge: University Press, 1933).

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https://doi.org/10.1038/1411133a0

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