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Readers acquainted with my larger books on Psychology will meet much
familiar phraseology. In the chapters on habit and memory I have even
copied several pages verbatim, but I do not know that apology is needed
for such plagiarism as this.
The talks to students, which conclude the volume, were written in
response to invitations to deliver 'addresses' to students at women's
colleges. The first one was to the graduating class of the Boston Normal
School of Gymnastics. Properly, it continues the series of talks to
teachers. The second and the third address belong together, and continue
another line of thought.
I wish I were able to make the second, 'On a Certain Blindness in Human
Beings,' more impressive. It is more than the mere piece of
sentimentalism which it may seem to some readers. It connects itself
with a definite view of the world and of our moral relations to the
same. Those who have done me the honor of reading my volume of
philosophic essays will recognize that I mean the pluralistic or
individualistic philosophy. According to that philosophy, the truth is
too great for any one actual mind, even though that mind be dubbed 'the
Absolute,' to know the whole of it. The facts and worths of life need
many cognizers to take them in. There is no point of view absolutely
public and universal. Private and uncommunicable perceptions always
remain over, and the worst of it is that those who look for them from
the outside never know _where_.
The practical consequence of such a philosophy is the well-known
democratic respect for the sacredness of individuality,--is, at any
rate, the outward tolerance of whatever is not itself intolerant. These
phrases are so familiar that they sound now rather dead in our ears.
Once they had a passionate inner meaning. Such a passionate inner
meaning they may easily acquire again if the pretension of our nation
to inflict its own inner ideals and institutions _vi et armis_ upon
Orientals should meet with a resistance as obdurate as so far it has
been gallant and spirited. Religiously and philosophically, our ancient
national doctrine of live and let live may prove to have a far deeper
meaning than our people now seem to imagine it to possess.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., March, 1899.
TALKS TO TEACHERS.
I. PSYCHOLOGY AND THE TEACHING ART
The American educational organization,--What teachers may expect from
psychology,--Teaching methods must agree with psychology, but cannot
be immediately deduced therefrom,--The science of teaching and the
science of war,--The educational uses of psychology defined,--The
teacher's duty toward child-study.
II. THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Our mental life is a succession of conscious 'fields,'--They have a
focus and a margin,--This description contrasted with the theory of
'ideas,'--Wundt's conclusions, note.
III. THE CHILD AS A BEHAVING ORGANISM
Mind as pure reason and mind as practical guide,--The latter view the
more fashionable one to-day,--It will be adopted in this work,--Why
so?--The teacher's function is to train pupils to behavior.
IV. EDUCATION AND BEHAVIOR
Education defined,--Conduct is always its outcome,--Different
national ideals: Germany and England.
V. THE NECESSITY OF REACTIONS
No impression without expression,--Verbal reproduction,--Manual
training,--Pupils should know their 'marks'.
VI. NATIVE AND ACQUIRED REACTIONS
The acquired reactions must be preceded by native ones,--Illustration:
teaching child to ask instead of snatching,--Man has more instincts than
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