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“The notion that education consists in the authoritative inculcation of what the teacher deems true may be logical and appropriate in a convent, or a seminary for priests, but it is intolerable in universities… the worthy fruit of academic culture is an open mind, trained to careful thinking, instructed in the methods of philosophic investigation…” Charles W. Eliot, Inaugural Address, 1869.
This book comprises five essays by Harvard graduate students who, in a seminar led by Paul Buck, explored the nature of the intellectual revolution described by President Eliot. Best summarized as a radical change of purpose on the part of the teaching faculties—from that of inculcating deduced principles of truth to that of teaching students how to derive truth from a close study of actual experience—the pursuit of the empirical ideal resulted in a number of unexpected and contrasting approaches. These studies examine the role individual social scientists played in implementing the ideal of inductive reasoning in their respective disciplines and, in so doing, advance our understanding of today’s university.