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Contours of Canadian Thought

Contours of Canadian Thought

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Contours of Canadian Thought
    Book Description:

    McKillop explores the thought of a number of English-Canadian thinkers from the 1860s to the 1920s, decades that saw Canada's entry into the modern age.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2330-9
    Subjects: General Science, Philosophy, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Nationalism, Identity, and Canadian Intellectual History
    (pp. 3-17)

    The late Frank H. Underhill issued a challenge to Canadian historians: ‘It strikes me,’ he said, ‘that, if we are to understand ourselves better, we need to devote a great deal more study to our intellectual history, to the values, to the guiding ideas and ideals, that have influenced the minds of different groups of Canadians at different times.’¹ Underhill wrote prior to the great national awakening that was given its momentum by Expo 67. Since then, there has been intensified debate over the question of American control of Canadian resources and an intoxicating rise in nationalist feeling in almost...

  5. 2 So Little on the Mind
    (pp. 18-33)

    What are the prospects of studying the intellectual history of English Canadians today? If we were to judge from what has recently been said in other national contexts we would be forced to conclude that they are not good. Particularly in the United States, intellectual history as a subdiscipline is in a state of crisis. Robert Darnton begins his chapter on ‘Intellectual and Cultural History’ inThe Past before Us: Contemporary Historical Writing in the United States(1980) with these encouraging words: ‘A malaise is spreading among intellectual historians in the United States. Twenty years ago, they saw their discipline...

  6. 3 Science, Humanism, and the Ontario University
    (pp. 34-42)

    As with the study of the role of technology in shaping Ontario’s past and its present, there exists little scholarly examination of the place and function of science and humanistic learning in the universities of the province.¹ But the state of scholarship in higher education is such that a point of departure seems clearly to have been reached. Institutional history has reached its zenith – the way is cleared for new directions to be taken.

    In the last decade most of the older universities have had major histories written of them. The late Hilda Neatby and her colleague, Frederick Gibson,...

  7. 4 Evolution, Ethnology, and Poetic Fancy
    (pp. 43-58)

    In September 1859 Albert, prince consort, delivered a speech to a distinguished body of British gentlemen in Aberdeen, Scotland. Itself, this was scarcely a remarkable event. Albert gave many speeches during his lifetime, and many Victorian gentlemen listened patiently to such addresses. Yet this occasion was somewhat singular. The gathering to which Albert spoke comprised the elite of the British scientific community, the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Albert was its president for that year. A friend of British science throughout his life in England, and one of the architects of the Great Exhibition of 1851, he began...

  8. 5 Science, Ethics, and ‘Modern Thought’
    (pp. 59-77)

    In April 1871 an article on the French poet and critic Ste-Beuve appeared in theWestminster Review. It was for the most part highly appreciative of Ste-Beuve’s life-long commitment to ‘the critical spirit.’ In 1830 Ste-Beuve had written: ‘It is the nature of the critical spirit to be quick, suggestive, versatile, and comprehensive. The critical spirit is like a large, clear stream, which winds and spreads out around the works and monuments of poetry,’ Quoting this passage in the original French, the author of theWestminster Reviewarticle added that ‘No words could more happily or accurately describe what criticism...

  9. 6 The Research Ideal and the University of Toronto
    (pp. 78-95)

    The colleges and universities of Ontario were not founded in order to advance the state of knowledge; they came into being to promote the causes of denominational religion and to cultivate a disposition both pious and deferential in the minds of what were hoped would be the future leaders of English-Canadian society. Piety meant in fact the suspension of critical judgment and investigation in the face of the will of God as revealed in scripture. Its secular equivalent, the habit of deference, meant acceptance – equally involving the suspension of critical judgment – of existing forms of social and political...

  10. 7 The Idealist Legacy
    (pp. 96-110)

    The historian of ideas in Canada quickly discovers how central the philosophy studied at Canadian universities was in helping to bring about the intellectual and spiritual accommodations made necessary in the Victorian era. Much of that accommodation involved the interplay among certain strands of religion, science, and philosophy that found their way, as a kind of intellectual patchwork quilt, into the homes, universities, and churches of British North Americans in the nineteenth century.¹

    Readers of theLiterary History of Canadawill recognize immediately that central to this process of accommodation, and dominating philosophical inquiry generally in Canada between 1872 (when...

  11. 8 Science, Authority, and the American Empire
    (pp. 111-128)

    Whenever an intelligent undergraduate wishes to improve his prospects for a good grade in post-Confederation Canadian history, he knows that one way of doing so is to construct his assigned essay in such a manner that it contains evidence which not only documents his specific topic but also shows a relevant connection to issues presently deemed of importance. If he is fortunate enough to have a topic which allows him to criticize imperialism, or to deal with movements of social or political protest (and if he has done any secondary reading at all), chances are he knows that the evidence...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 129-154)
  13. Index
    (pp. 155-163)