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It has been the object of the author, who has been employed for the long period of fifty years in the department of the first philosophy class in the university of Glasgow, to endeavor, as much as possible, to remedy this defect; and while he has, in the course of his public lectures, explained the first principles of the philosophy of the human mind, he has uniformly accompanied these lectures with a system of active discipline on the part of his students, with a view to invigorate, and improve, the important habits of inquiry and of communication.
These Outlines, accordingly, consist of two parts;-the first exhibits a view of the lectures which are delivered to the students; in which the author does not lay claim to the merit of any new discoveries in the science of mind, but has endeavored to select those subjects which seemed most adapted for the employment of youth, at the commencement of their philosophical studies. Accordingly, he has not confined himself to the art of logic, or to any one department of knowledge, but has endeavored to lay before his students, in a simple and intelligible form, the elements of the science of mind, with an analysis of the different intellectual powers in the order of their connexion and dependence,-the theory of language, as illustrative of human thought,--the principles of taste and criticism, -and the means of improving the powers of communication by speech and writing, as exhibited in the best models of ancient and modern composition.
The second part—which, to the author, appears by far the most useful department of his labors-contains an account of the practical system of discipline to which the students of this class are regularly subjected, for the purpose of acquiring habits of inquiry and communication. This consists, first, of an account of the mode in which the daily examination is conducted; and, secondly, of the exercises which are regularly executed by the students, and submitted to the criticism of the professor. Neither in this part does the author claim the merit of any new discovery; because the principles on which he proceeds have been long known: but he is not aware of any public seminary, where a system of practical exertion, on the part of the students, has been enforced to such an extent as that to which he has endeavored to carry it.
In this second edition, the author has made several alteraticns, which he hopes will be considered as material improvements, when compared with the former impression of this work.
The approbation which the system of practical education has received from the public, has encouraged him to propose an extension of its principles to three additional classes, which in his estimation appear necessary for completing the course of professional study. He has ventured to recommend, that professors should be
appointed to give lectures on th ilosophy of history, on political economy, and on the improveme vf eloquence considered as an
The author has stated, at considerable length, his reasons for the introduction of these important branches into the course of general education; the principal of which is, that they have become of late years so very closely connected with the affairs of life, and with the management of public business, that the knowledge of them is quite indispensable for qualifying young men to discharge the various duties to which their station in life is likely to call them.'
It may not be uninteresting to take a glance at the situation in which the author of the Outlines acquired the valuable experience which his work is intended to communicate.
• The principal universities in Europe, it is well known, were founded during the reign of the scholastic pbilosophy, which consisted of such a mixture of the doctrines and opinions of ihe ancient pbilosophers, as it was possible to derive from corrupt copies, and inperfect translations, of their works. To these were added the numerous theological controversies which exercised the ingenuity, and employed the barbarous style, of the writers in the middle ages; and as the chief object of education was to qualify young men for the service of the church, the motley system, which has just been described, was made the sulject of study, in the schools of cathedrals, and of monasteries, as well as in other religious houses.
Although, in the earlier ages of Christianity, the doctrines of Plato were allowed to maintain a disputed authority with those of Aristotle, yet, upon the revival of learning in Europe, (more correct copies of the ancient authors having been previously discovered,) it was found that the works of the latter pbilosopher had obtained an almost exclusive possession of the schools ; and this preference is not, perhaps, surprise ing, when it is recollected that the writings of this celebrated character embrace almost every subject of buman knowledge-physics, metaphysics, ethics, logic, rhetoric, natural history, politics, and criticism.
That logic, at a particular period, and from particular circumstan. ces, should have been cultivated more than any other art or science, is not perhaps very wonderful; but that it should have taken such a hold of the minds of men as in a great measure to preclude all other studies, and to constitute the chief occupation of the learned, is certainly a singular phenomenon in the history of literature. It may not, therefore, be uninteresting to point out some of those circumstances which are supposed to have originally led to this universal reception of Aristotle's logic; as well as to the continuance of its authority, in certain academical establishments in our own times, long after the causes, now alluded to, have ceased to exist.
* This part of the Outlines will be presented separately in a subsequent dum. ber.--Ed.
The ancient history of their jourch informs us, that considerable differences of opinion, as to doctrine and ritual observances, subsisted even among the primitive Christians. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, however, when letters bad revived, and the Reformation had made some progress, the topics of religious controversy were greatly multiplied : and, as these topics, at the era in question, were always more or less associated with speculations of a metaphysical nature, the addition thus made to the number of philosophical disputes formerly agitated, not only opened a wider field for the exereise of the dialectician, but suggested the expediency of paying more attention to the manner in which the process of attack and defence might be conducted. The combatants on either side, accordingly, recurred with increased earnestness to the study of Aristotle's Analytics, which, abounding in nice distinctions and definitions, in abstract notions, and general terms, supplied them with the means of maintaining an interminable disputation, without once entering into the merits of the subject upon wbich it turned : and thus the controversialist, although incapable of securing a decisive victory, was never in danger of an irreparable defeat.
From the operation of these causes, as well as for other reasons, of which it is unnecessary to give a minute detail, the philosophy of Aristotle, and particularly the doctrine of the syllogism, had, even at a dale considerably prior to the reformation, been viewed with a degree of enthusiastic admiration, approaching to idolatry. There is, accordingly, no epithet of praise or of adulation which has not been lavishly bestowed on the talents of that writer ; nor is there any object in nature or in art, so exalted as not to have afforded to his admirers the ground of a comparison with his works, and even of a decided preference of ibose works to all created things.
It was during this triumphant period of Aristotle's authority, that the plan of education in the principal academical establishments of Europe was reduced into some sort of a system : on which account, it is not surprising that the first place in it should have been given to his logic and metaphysics. Having once obtained this place in the scheme of public instruclion, our ordinary views of human nature enable us to explain why, in certain circumstances, they should have been permitted to retain their rank, as objects of buman study, long after the causes to which they owed pre-eininence, had ceased lo exist.
In our next number we shall pursue our extracts from this interesting volume, and endeavor to give a statement of the author's peculiar method of imparting instruction.
A Manual of Chemistry, on the basis of Professor Brande's, containing
the principal facts of the Science, arranged in the order in which they are discussed and illustrated in the Lectures at Harvard College, N. E.; compiled from the works of Brande, Henry, Berzelius, Thomson, and others. Designed for the use of Students, and persons attending Lectures on Chemistry. By John W. Webster, M. D., Lecturer on Chemistry in Harvard University. Boston. 8vo. pp. 603.
We feel called on to notice this volume, as a work on a most important branch of practical education. The absolute necessity for some acquaintance with chemistry among all classes, and especially those engaged in manufactures and the arts, is so generally felt and admitted, that it has become in all institutions for education an object of special attention. We consider the study of chemistry as of great value in developing the mental energies of the young, and as attended with many excellent physical effects. The materials for study to the chemist are never exhausted: every animal, each leaf, fruit and seed, nay every stone which the earth presents may be made the subject of an instructive lesson. It has been remarked that no pursuit tends more than chemistry to the acquisition of that habit of attending to one thing at a time, which is the path to great results;--patience and systematic research, cleanliness and a love of order, are also a part of the benefits the young may derive from prosecuting chemical inquiries.
Let the future occupation of the pupil be what it may, the time spent in the acquirement of a general knowledge of this science cannot be deemed a loss in any case; for in this age of chemical invention, its importance is so manisest, that every gentleman is expected to know something of it, and the earlier in life it enlightens his mind the better; and in many female academies it is now adopted as a necessary part of a lady's education.
We have been led to make these general remarks, not as introductory to a formal review of Dr. Webster's work, but with the hope of reminding those seminaries and schools where chemistry is not yet studied, of their great omission.
Dr. Webster's work seems to be peculiarly adapted for the use of the higher class of seminaries and colleges, being most happily arranged and abounding in experimental illustrations. The plates are more numerous than in any similar work with which we are acquainted, and are executed with great neatness.
It may be satisfactory to instructers who have not had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the arrangement of this mąnual, to peruse the following extract from the advertisement prefixed to the volume.
• The basis of this work is the excellent Manual of Professor Brande ; it contains all the strictly chemical part of that work, with numerous additions from the best writers on Chemistry. All that part of Professor Brande's work which relates to Mineralogy and Geology has been omilied, its place being supplied by more ample directions for the practical student. In most cases the extracts from other writers have been given without any alteration, except where it was demanded in order to give a greater degree of uniformity to the phraseology. The extracts are designated by the first letter of tbe writer's name, and copious references are given for the convenience of those who may wish to consult the original memoirs.
As it was a leading object in the compilation of this volume to put into the hands of studenis a less expensive work than that of Brande or Henry, and at the same time to compress as inuch matter as possible into one volume, many of the less important substances and several instruments have been described in the form of notes.
The plates will be found to contain nearly all the figures contained in the volumes of Brande and Henry, with the additon of several from other sources, the whole presenting a more complete chemical appara. tus than is to be found in any chemical work with the exception perhaps of Thenard's Trarie
This volume being designed as an elementary treatise for students, the tables usually found in works on chemistry, have been omitted, but will be published in a separate volume, together with selections of the most instructive analyses which are contained in the Essays of Klaproth and the various scientific journals.'
The volume to which we have now invited the attention of our readers, is an instance of the successful improvement of the superior facilities which in this country are enjoyed by the compilers of text books for instruction. Dr. Webster's Manual contains not only the valuable substance of the most popular corresponding treatise used in England, but embraces much useful matter which no English compiler could present without infringing the rights of other authors.
It is no arrogant assumption to claim for this excellent work the credit of being the best practical treatise on chemistry, which has hitherto been offered to students on either side of the Atlantic, who receive their instruction through the medium of the English language.