Download Cambridge Before Darwin: The Ideal of a Liberal Education, by Martha McMackin Garland PDF

By Martha McMackin Garland

During this significant contribution to the highbrow background of Cambridge collage, Dr Garland takes as her major topic the increase of a particular academic perfect in early Victorian Cambridge, the way it loved a second of triumph, after which the way it fell below the effect of a brand new set of demanding situations. the tale revolves round the careers of a bunch of 'conservative reformers', led via the Trinity dons Whewell and Sedgwick. They have been the self-designated prone of a refurbished model of conventional Cambridge values within the new surroundings of a swiftly industrializing England, and took as their perfect a common unified middle of data established upon arithmetic, classics and ethical philosophy. They needed to maintain this basic constitution simply because they believed it corresponded to the constitution of the human brain and its psychological colleges. For them, trust within the concord of technological know-how and faith was once half and parcel in their primarily vast Church spiritual perspectives.

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Additional resources for Cambridge Before Darwin: The Ideal of a Liberal Education, 1800-1860

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They have to transmit the civilization of past generations to future ones, not to share and show forth all the changing fashions of intellectual caprice and sub­ tlety. They ought not, therefore, rapidly or easily to introduce changes into the subjects of their study. They ought to wait till novelties have been well discussed and firmly established, before they adopt them into their elementary course. I am here, of course, not speaking ofprofessional education . .

Beyond that Order they apply to nothing. 2 9 Or again : I have not the smallest confidence in any result which is essentially ob­ tained by the use of imaginary symbols. ao Mathematics - the core ef 'permanent studies' The desire, then, to keep Cambridge mathematics essentially Eucli­ dean was strong, both because of the explicitness of the logical processes in geometry and because of its applicability to the exten­ sional world. Some, however, of this Cambridge group stood the problem on its head : if algebra and analysis were not rigorous, rather than being rejected, these branches of thought should be reformed.

54 Indeed Whewell assumed that the Cambridge undergraduate should learn about the 'modern sciences' and that many would go on to pursue research in them. 56 A modern student ofWhewell, Robert E. Butts, summari­ zes his position thus : Fundamental Ideas are what the activity of mind contributes to knowing. Whewell likens some of them . . to Kant's forms of intuition. Others . . play for Whewell something akin to the role of Kant's categories . Furthermore, in its treatment ofsome of the Fundamental Ideas, especially space and time, Whewell's account of their epistemological status deviates little from Kantian theory .

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