Thursday, August 04, 2005

"'twas bliss to be alive": The emergence of Hopkins...

Came across this by Josiah Royce, in Neil Coughlan's wonderful book Young John Dewey, page 48, about the emergence of Johns Hopkins in the 1880s:

The "conflict" between "classical" and "scientific" education was henceforth to be without significance for the graduate student...The beginning of the Johns Hopkins University was a dawn wherein "'twas bliss to be alive." The air was full of rumors of noteworthy work done by the older men of the place, and of hopes that one might find a way to get a little working power one's self...No, the academic life was something much more noble and serious than such "discipline" had been in its time. The University wanted its children to be, if possible, not merely well-informed, but productive. She preached to them the gospel of learning for wisdom's sake, and of acquisition for the sake of fruitfulness. One longed to be a doer of the word, and not a hearer only, a creator of his own infinitesimal fraction of a product, bound in God's name to produce it when the time came.

Coughlan sets out in dramatic fashion the two major influences on the young Dewey at Hopkins, the neo-Hegelianism of George Sylvester Morris, and the experimental psychology of G. Stanley Hall. Out of this intellectual conflict Dewey began to formulate his own thought.

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