« PreviousContinue »
NOTES AND ABSTRACTS.
Social Problems of the Farmer.- The July, 1902, number of the "Publications of the Michigan Political Science Association" is entitled The Social Problems of the Farmer, and is devoted to papers read at the joint meeting of the Michigan Political Science Association and the Michigan Farmers' Institutes, February 25 and 26, 1902. The meeting was one of unusual significance from the fact that it was the result of co-operation among various educational interests, namely the Farmers' Institutes, the Agricultural College of Michigan, and the University of Michigan. We summarize below several of the addresses delivered upon the occasion :
'Higher Education and the People," by Professor H. C. Adams, of the University. The relation of higher education to the people may be considered from three points of view :
First, the point of view of those who seek education. So far as the individual student is concerned, very little can be said upon the topic in hand. Were the question of education entirely, or even primarily, a personal question, there would be no answer to the argument that he who is benefited by instruction ought to pay for it. But this assumption does not present the matter in its true light. The life of each individual is bound up in the life of all. Such being the case, the advantage of an education to the individual cannot present the point of view from which the question of the relation of the higher education of the people may reasonably be discussed. It is a matter of no slight importance to the people of this state that the highest in education lies open and practically free.
Second, the point of view of those who make use of the services of experts and professional men trained at the college or university. Specialization is the rule in all progressive life, and the degree to which specialization is carried may be accepted as a measure of social advancement. An expert physician, for example, is possible only upon the basis of a highly developed science of medicine. Such a physician must avail himself of thousands of experiments in the many laboratories scattered throughout the world. Each laboratory makes its contribution; each publishes its discovery. As isolated facts, these contributions and discoveries are of slight importance, but, correlated with the contributions and discoveries of other laboratories, they build up a body of useful knowledge which, in the hands of a skilled physician, permits not only the alleviation of pain, but the control of diseases before regarded as a sentence of death.
Third, the point of view of political, social, and industrial conditions. No industry can continue to be progressive without its experts, and the higher institutions of learning which train experts are an essential factor in establishing and maintaining our present industrial efficiency. Without our schools, not only would further progress be arrested, but we should soon lose the general intelligence necessary to avail ourselves of the technical progress already made.
Certain changes are taking place which promise much for country life. I refer to the extension of rural electric lines and of local telephone service, to the wide dissemination of electric power, to rural mail delivery, and the like. I look confidently for the time when social intercourse and manufacturing on a small scale will be restored to rural communities; when this shall have been accomplished, the country rather than the town will offer the opportunity for sensible living. To whom will the country be indebted for the realization of so bright a picture? It is to the professor who, with his students, works patiently within his laboratory at the occult problems of electricity and other mechanical agencies; yet he is not entirely responsible, for without the generous support of the people he would be unable to devote his life to such a service.
It is doubtless easier to illustrate the popular advantage of higher institutions of learning by reference to the physical sciences and mechanical inventions than by
referring to the culture studies. The physical sciences minister to the conditions of life; these other branches of learning minister to life itself. Ask yourselves what it is you desire from your clergymen, your teachers, your statesmen, and you will be forced to recognize that the culture studies are in reality professional studies for these Consider this suggestion from the point of view of the clergyman. I know of no professional class which stands in greater need of a broad and comprehensive education. If the church is to serve as a center of positive influence in the community, it must touch the community at all points. The clergyman must be able to see how good roads are related to right living; how manual training and technical education bear upon the moral life of the boys and the girls; how charity is related to poverty; how industrial organization is but a phase of social organization and carries with it a moral influence; how the circulation of good books may result in fruitful thinking and healthful living; how through clubs for the young and societies for the old the roof of the church may be brought to shelter the pleasures of the people as well as their worship, and how all these agencies may be made to exert a positive influence for righteousness in the community. The clergyman, under this newer and broader interpretation of his functions, is nothing less than a social engineer, and it is imperative that he understand the complex and intricate machine which we call society.
You have doubtless heard the question frequently discussed whether our democratic form of government is likely to stand the strain of commercial prosperity. The chief danger to which we are exposed arises from the popular worship of business success. Our society is dominated by the commercial ambition. Our form of popular government is threatened by the overmastering influence of commercial interests. The cure can be accomplished only by a widespread appreciation of what makes life worth living. The worthiness of life does not depend upon conditions, but upon an intelligent interest in those things by which life is surrounded. Our universities and colleges are the guardians of this intelligent interest. The truly organized society is one in which human interests are evenly balanced. It is not desired to curb the commercial ambitions in men, for without the commercial interest there could be no industrial progress; it is, however, imperative that by the side of this interest there should flourish other interests and other aims, to the end that our magnificent industrial organization, which is the wonder of history, should not in the end crush out the ideal of high living. Institutions of learning which add to technical instruction and research, the spirit of culture and of attainment, render a direct service to the community in that they provide relief from the intensity of the demands of commercial life. From whatever point of view we look at education, it is the people who are the chief beneficiaries, partly because of the use they make of expert training, but primarily because of the influence which education exerts upon the form and spirit of society, which touches the life of the individual at every point.
"The Church and Rural Organization," by Graham Taylor, warden of Chicago Commons Social Settlement. In the organization of rural life the country church has a threefold social function. Its primary and perhaps supreme function is to keep the highest ideal of individual and community life flying like a flag, far overhead. By its worship, its example, and its prophetic aspirations it should hold aloft what is worthiest for man, woman, and child to be. To initiate agencies and movements for realizing these ideals practically and progressively is the second social function of the church, but its own organization is not to attempt to administer the social agencies thus initiated. For, neither in the form of its organization, nor in the constituency of its membership is the church adapted to be an effective executive of social movements; and, even if it were, it has a higher function, which is all its own. The final function of the church, most essential to all social and civic organization, is to generate that public spirit and self-sacrifice which serve the common interests at the cost of personal ease and gain or of class and institutional aggrandizement. Without this social self-denial no patriotic, philanthropic, or progressive organization of a community can succeed or survive. For the generation of this social power and for putting each citizen in possession of it, the community rightfully looks to the church more than to any other agency. In conclusion, the speaker urged the need of the co-operation of all religious denominations in rural social work.
Mr. Kenyon L. Butterfield, in discussing the preceding paper, urged the impor tance of the co-operation of the various institutions working for the betterment of
rural conditions. He said: "This whole program is based on the idea that there is room in rural life, and not only room, but imperative need, for the religious factor as represented by the church, for the educational factor as represented by the school, and for the business factor as represented by the farmers' organization. And not only that, but this meeting is based on the further idea that co-operation and mutual aid among all these forces are extremely desirable. This is the correct view. If the church cannot become the center for all rural activities, it can at least become the center for those activities that are more directly religious, and a center for many other activities. If the school cannot become the center of country life, it can at least take the leadership in all educational work, and no doubt can enlarge its social interests. If the farmers' organization cannot do the work of church and school, it can at least supplement them, besides doing a distinctive work relating to the practical questions of farming, of business, of legislation. Moreover, will it not be better if all will admit the necessity for the work of others, and will seek to co-operate? That is the magic word, Co-operate. We hear about the necessity of co-operation among the churches, between teachers and school patrons, among farmers as farmers. But there is need of a still higher form of co-operation between church and school and farmers' organization. This meeting has not attempted to show just how this co-operation can be brought about; it will have done its work if it has convinced a few farmers and a few educators and a few country clergymen that 'co-operation between all rural forces' is one of the twentieth-century watchwords for rural progress."
"The Dependence of Agriculture upon Transportation," by Hon. E. A. Prouty, of the Interstate Commerce Commission.-A significant point in this paper is that of the relation between the over-capitalization of railway corporations and the legal regulation of railway charges. Mr. Prouty maintained that the remedy for monopoly in transportation is the control by public agencies of transportation charges, and that over-capitalization of railway corporations interferes with such control. The great evil arising out of railway combinations lies in over-capitalization. "Ten years ago the state of Texas, believing its railway rates were unreasonable, created a commission and instructed that commission to formulate a schedule of rates which the railroads of Texas were ordered to observe. They did so, and the Supreme Court of the United States enjoined the state of Texas from enforcing those rates because they did not permit a return upon the capitalization of the Texas roads. A little bit later the state of Nebraska, smarting under what it thought unfair freight rates, made a schedule of freight rates which the roads should not exceed. The Supreme Court of the United States held that that law could not be enforced because the rates did not suffer those railroad companies to earn a fair return upon their capitalization. The experience of the state of South Dakota was exactly the same. In finding a reasonable rate, whether that question is decided by the railroad or whether it is decided by the government in revising the rate, the only thing to be considered is the capitalization of the railroad. If in time to come I am asked to fix a rate on the Great Northern Railroad, must I not take into account the fact that those $200,000,000 of of bonds with interest have got to be paid? One of the great faults in our present financial condition is over-capitalization, not only of steam railroads, but of every quasi public service." R. M.
The Evolutionary Method as Applied to Morality.—In much recent discussion about validity or objective value, writers have taken up indiscriminately two different standpoints. One question is this: What is the validity of the moral point of view as such? A distinct question is the following: How is the validity of a given moral point of view or judgment determined? Now ethical science is primarily concerned with problems of validity in the latter sense.
The historic method is a method, first, for determining how specific moral values (whether in the way of customs, expectations, conceived ends, or rules) came to be; and, second, for determining their significance as indicated in their career. assumptions are that norms and ideals, as well as unreflective customs, arose out of certain situations in response to the demands of those situations; and that once in existence they operated with a less or greater meed of success (to be determined by study of the concrete case). We are still engaged in forming norms, in setting
up ends, in conceiving obligations. If moral science has any constructive value, it must provide standpoints and working instrumentalities for the more adequate performance of these tasks. Shall we say that a defined and critical knowledge of the origin, history, and destiny of such matters in the past life of humanity is aside from the mark in our present situation?
Intuitionalism, as ordinarily conceived, makes the ethical belief a brute fact, because unrelated. Its very lack of genetic relationship to the situation in which it appears condemns it to isolation. This isolation logically makes it impossible to credit it with objective validity. The genetic theory holds that the content embodied in any so-called intuition is a response to a given active situation; that it arises, develops, and operates somehow in reference to this situation. This functional reference establishes in advance some kind of a relationship to objective conditions, and hence some presumption of validity. If the "intuition" persists, it is, within certain limits, because the situation persists. The probability is that it continues in existence simply because it continues to be necessary in function. The presumption or probability, however, must not be pushed too far. It is a well-known fact that habits endure and project themselves after the conditions which originally generated them pass over, and that under such circumstances the habits become sources of error and even of hallucination. The point of the genetic method is, then, that it shows relationships, and thereby at once guarantees and defines meaning. A given belief or intuition represents, as regards its content, a cross-section of a historic process. No wonder it becomes meaningless and obstructive when the static section is taken as if it were a complete and individualized reality.
Empiricism is no more historic in character than is intuitionalism. Empiricism is concerned with the moral idea or belief as a grouping or association of various elementary feelings. It regards the idea simply as a complex state which is to be explained by resolving it into its elementary constituents. By its logic, both the complex and the elements are isolated from a historic context. The genetic method determines the worth or significance of the belief by considering the place that it occupied in a developing series; the empirical method by referring it to its components. Elementary feelings or sensations, as the empiricist deals with them, have no inherent or intrinsic time-reference at all. Such reference is a purely external matter that attaches to the accidental way in which one of these elements happens to fall in with others; accidental because its position of antecedence or consequence is something lying wholly outside of the element itself. The empirical and the genetic methods thus imply a very different relationship between the moral state, idea, or belief, and objective reality. From the genetic standpoint, the moral idea is essentially an attitude that arises in the individual in response to the practical situation in which he is involved. It is the estimate the individual puts upon that situation. It arises as a response to a stimulus, and its worth is found in its success, as response, in doing the particular work demanded of it. The empirical theory holds that the idea arises as a reflex of some existing object or fact. Hence the test of its objectivity is the faithfulness with which it reproduces that object as copy.
The empirical method holds that the belief or idea is generated by a process of repetition or cumulation; the genetic method, by a process of adjustment. The empiricist holds that conscious customs are generated by the persistence of biological habits, and that moral practices form the cumulative effect of the customs. But more instinctive acts simply make instinct more instinctive; more acts of habit just harden an original custom. It is only through failure in the adequate working of the instinct or habit-failure from the standpoint of adjustment that history, change in quality or values, is made. Simple repetition of acts of caring for the young, however long continued, would not awaken a consciousness of obligation, or of virtue, or of any moral value, as long as the acts were habitually performed - just because there would be no need for a transformation. Some failure of instinct created the demand for a conscious attention to the nurture of the young. Only through this conscious attitude and its tension against some instinct could an ethical adaptation arise out of a physiological adaptation.
This, then, is the case for the moral significance of the genetic method: it unites the present situation with its accepted customs, beliefs, moral ideals, hopes, and aspirations, with the past. It sees the moral process as a whole, and yet in perspective
Whatever, then, can be learned from a study of the past, is at once available in the analysis of the present. It becomes an instrument of inquiry, of interpretation, of criticism as regards our present assumptions and aspirations. Thereby it brings their constitution and formation out into the light as far as may be. It eliminates surds, mere survivals, emotional reactions, and rationalizes, so far as that is possible at any given time, the attitudes we take, the ideals we form. Both empiricism and intuitionalism, though in very different ways, deny the continuity of the moralizing process. They set up timeless, and hence absolute and disconnected, ultimates; thereby they sever the problems and movements of the present from the past, rob the past, the sole object of calm, impartial, and genuinely objective study, of all instructing power, and leave our experience to form undirected, at the mercy of circumstance and arbitrariness, whether that of dogmatism or skepticism. To help us see the present situation comprehensively, analytically, to put in our hands a grasp of the factors that have counted, this way or that, in the moralizing of man- that is what the historic method does for us. If our moral judgments were just judgments about morality, this might be of scientific worth, but would lack moral significance, moral helpfulness. But moral judgments are judgments of ways to act, of deeds to do, of habits to form, of ends to cultivate. Whatever modifies the judgment, the conviction, the interpretation, the criterion, modifies conduct. To control our judgments of conduct, our estimates of habit, deed, and purpose, is in so far forth to direct conduct itself. PROFESSOR JOHN DEWEY, "The Evolutionary Method as Applied to Morality;" II: "Its Significance for Conduct,” in Philosophic Review for July, 1902. R. M.
Interesting Features of German Law.- The German civil code is entitled Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch für das Deutsche Reich ("Citizens' Book of Law for the German Empire"). It represents all those provisions of law which regulate the legal status of a person, as a private person, and his relations to others as private persons. To enable the imperial Parliament to enact such a code, an amendment to the constitution was required, which became operative in 1873. In 1874 a committee of five eminent jurists was appointed to report upon the plan and method of preparing a draft of a civil code. Upon the report of this committee, a committee of eleven members was appointed to prepare a draft of the code. The greatest scientists and practitioners were selected for membership. This committee began its work in the latter part of 1874, and drafts of the several parts of the code by the several members of the committee were completed in 1881, when the entire committee continued the work. In 1887 a first draft of a complete code was submitted to the imperial chancellor. This draft was published, and the public invited to contribute criticisms and suggestions. These were subsequently published. In 1890 a committee of twenty-two members was appointed, which submitted a second draft of the code to the Council of the empire in 1895. The Council prepared a third draft upon the basis of the first two drafts, and laid this third draft before the imperial Farliament. Parliament enacted the code in August, 1896, to take effect January 1, 1900. The new civil code is a victory of the national idea and of the modern spirit. It guarantees the equal rights of all persons. There is no distinction of class. Its great subjects are: property, the family, inheritance.
Other important codes of the German empire are as follows: code of commerce, code of negotiable instruments, the groundbook code, the code of bankruptcy, code relating to the constitution of courts, code of civil procedure, code of voluntary jurisdiction, penal code, code of criminal procedure. The body of private law and remedial justice of Germany is, with slight exceptions, incorporated in codes for the entire empire.
The doctrine of stare decisis does not prevail in Germany. As a consequence, the law contained in the 2,385 sections of the civil code will not be enlarged by volumes of decisions construing the several sections, having the sanction and force of law. If the lowest court in Germany differs on a question of law from the decision of the imperial court, it is its duty to follow its own conviction. The German jurist is not and cannot be a case lawyer. He receives special training to interpret the various sections of his codes upon general principles of law. The imperial court at Leipzig, the Reichsgericht, is the highest appellate court in Germany. In publishing