Disciplined Intelligence

Disciplined Intelligence: Critical Inquiry and Canadian Thought in the Victorian Era

A. B. McKillop
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 287
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Disciplined Intelligence
    Book Description:

    Concentrating on the thought of Canada's major scientists, philosophers, and clerics - men such as William Dawson and Daniel Wilson, John Watson and W.D. LeSeur, G.M. Grant and Salem Bland - A Disciplined Intelligence begins by reconstructing the central strands of intellectual and moral orthodoxy prevalent in Anglo-Canadian colleges on the eve of the Darwinian revolution. These include Scottish common sense philosophy and the natural theology of William Paley. The destructive impact of evolutionary ideas on that orthodoxy and the major exponents of the new forms of social evolution - Spencerian and Hegelian alike - are examined in detail.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6892-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction to the Carleton Library Edition
    (pp. xiii-xxxiv)
    A. B. McKillop

    Works of history arise out of authorial disposition as well as opportunity and interpretive conjuncture.A Disciplined Intelligence: Critical Inquiry and Canadian Thought in the Victorian Erais no exception. It is the result of a particular sensibility, time, and circumstance. Readers of the Carleton Library edition of the book may wish, therefore, to learn how this particular work of intellectual history came about, its relationship to the fields of intellectual and religious history in Canada, and the historiographical impact it appears to have had.

    The book originated as a doctoral dissertation for the Department of History at Queenʹs University...

  5. 1 Education and Intellect
    (pp. 1-22)

    In 1853 Matthew Arnold wrote a troubled letter to his close friend Arthur Hugh Clough. ʺYou certainly do not seem to me sufficiently to desire and earnestly strive towards—assured knowledge—activity—happiness. You are content tofluctuate—to be ever learning, never coming to the knowledge of the truth. This is why, with you, I feel it necessary to stiffen myself—and hold fast my rudder.ʺ¹ One of Arnoldʹs biographers, Lionel Trilling, has adduced from this statement and similar ones by Arnold that what he feared, not only in Clough but in himself and others, was ʺthe driving restless...

  6. 2 The Colonial Philosophers
    (pp. 23-58)

    In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the primary function of Anglo-Canadian educators was to show their students and readers that a properly conducted inquiry into the world of nature, whether physical or human, would reveal the wondrous handiwork of God. One group was of cardinal importance in this endeavour: the men hired by college and university officials to set forth the principles of mental and moral philosophy. Like their religious and scientific colleagues, these colonial philosophers were also given the responsibility of defending Christian orthodoxy and protecting religious values against the erosion that resulted from heterodox intellectual speculation....

  7. 3 The Uses of Natural Theology
    (pp. 59-92)

    Nowhere was the connection between nature, mind, and God more in evidence in the middle of the nineteenth century than in the thought of those Britishers who found themselves at British North American colleges and universities teaching the lessons that could be learned through the study of nature herself. What makes their thought of great interest and importance is the fact that most of the colleges at which these men held positions had come into existence as functioning institutions precisely at a time when ʺscience,ʺ in its modern sense, was beginning to challenge, to an unprecedented degree and on a...

  8. 4 The Veils of Isis
    (pp. 93-134)

    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 some-what 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...

  9. 5 A Critical Spirit
    (pp. 135-170)

    Everybody, wrote Sara Jeannette Duncan in 1887, talked about ʺthe age.ʺ Moreover, they did so almost as if it had an existence independent of the actual lives of men. This, she argued, indicated an attitude as curious and interesting as anything men in fact said of their age. ʺForgetting, apparently that we are part and parcel of it, and individually responsible for its having done those things which it ought not to do, and left undone those things which it ought to have done, we elect ourselves a grand jury to indict and try the age.ʺ¹ Miss Duncan was writing...

  10. 6 The Secret of Hegel
    (pp. 171-204)

    In Victorian England and America, it had been the literary imagination which first took notice of philosophical movements on the Continent, particularly in Germany. It is impossible, for example, to understand the thought of Coleridge, Carlyle, or Emerson without some knowledge of German philosophy of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.¹ In the 1840s and 1850s Sir William Hamilton became the first philosopher to make the British intelligentsia aware of the relevance of the Kantian categories and the ʺcategorical imperativeʺ to the Common Sense tradition. Later, J. Hutchison Stirlingʹs provocatively titled book,The Secret of Hegel(1865), had sought...

  11. 7 The Sadness and Joy of Knowledge
    (pp. 205-228)

    By the 1890s the old orthodoxy of ideas, founded on constraint and dominated by a myth of concern that was largely closed, had been shattered. Common Sense had been dismissed as faulty in its psychology and inadequate in its conception of mind; it was incapable of meeting the needs and challenges of an age of inquiry and analysis. The Paleyite natural theology had in large measure been replaced by an equally teleological, but dynamic, Hegelian conception of social evolution. The Baconian ideal in science had also proved inadequate under the onslaught of the Darwinian method. A new era of scientific...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 229-232)

    By the twentieth century, the moral imperative in Anglo-Canadian thought was much more complex than its equivalent in the 1850s. At the beginning of university life in Canada, the force of moral authority had almost exclusively been one of constraint, a force bent on preventing ʺintellectual anarchyʺ of different varieties. By the advent of the 1920s, the word ʺintellectualʺ no longer was defined in terms of an eighteenth-century faculty psychology; by then, inquiry of an intellectual sort was seen as synonymous with the objective pursuit of knowledge. By then, too, the principle of critical inquiry had largely—at least in...

  13. Abbreviations
    (pp. 233-234)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 235-274)
  15. A Bibliographical Note
    (pp. 275-278)
  16. A Bibliographical Note, 2001
    (pp. 279-282)
  17. Index
    (pp. 283-292)