« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
universities upon the last two generations of our young scholars. But in Great Britain and throughout the rest of the world, French is the favorite foreign language.
There is a fitness to the French language. Its grammar is simple, though not so simple as that of Italian or Spanish. Its vocabulary, in which the Latin originals are often clearly discernible, is easy to acquire and retain. Its orthography, while not phonetic, is based on rigid principles, the same combination of letters being, with rare exceptions, always pronounced alike. The firmness of its mechanism makes French a satisfactory language to foreigners. Until the last fifty years there was no very serious alteration in either the grammar or the vocabulary since the close of the sixteenth century; so that it has been eminently worth while to know French because a command of the language enabled one to read readily in the literature of the last three hundred years. What is still more remarkable, from the earliest time of its history, eight hundred and fifty years ago, there has been no break in the seamless unity of French literature. Its characteristics have been the same from age to age. It has been a living organism, marked by the same excellence, the same defects, at all stages of its development. Monsieur Brunetiére in his fine essay entitled: "Le Caractére Essentiel de la Litterature Francaise" sums up the distinguishing quality of French literature in the word "social;" meaning that it has, in the main, and more than any other literature, been produced with direct consideration of the tastes and needs of an immediate circle of readers. French is marked by a noble distinction and courtly grace. It has the urbane quality which comes from city life. It has that lucidity, that definiteness and positiveness, which seem also to be the results of high pressure existence in a metropolis.
Let us turn now to the study of German. Consider how the modern German immigrant comes pressed by neither hunger nor his conscience, but most often to escape irksome military service. He invariably brings with him a good common school education -a significant fact. Although the Germans in America have not produced many great political men, they have filled this country with good men, which is infinitely better. After educated Americans had become acquainted with German educational methods.
German literature, and German science, they enthusiastically advocated educational reform based upon the German models. It is no exaggeration to speak of a gradual "Germanization" of most of the greater American colleges. Although Great Britain is generally regarded as the mother of the United States, Germany has, from an intellectual standpoint, become more and more the second mother of the American Republic. More than any other country Germany has made the universities and colleges of America what they are to-day-a powerful force in the development of American civilization.
And may we not speak here of the far-reaching influence exerted by the Central Verein about which it has been said, and justly, that "perhaps no other Catholic organization in the United States can point to a greater number of positive results, tending to promote the welfare of our fellowmen. It has been a firm support of the youthful and flourishing Church and has nobly contributed towards its gratifying development. For decades it has unflinchingly labored in the interest of the parochial school and for the preservation of the German language." Chiefly under its influence was founded the Leo House, an institution in New York for Catholic immigrants, by which thousands have been rescued from bodily and spiritual perdition.
The interdependence of two nations with so much in common in their past, and so many ties in the present, cannot fail to be an important factor in the future. Allied for the industrial development of the parts of the world hitherto remote from commerce, and united in many matters of education and training, Germany and America may well move forward in harmony, each maintaining all of its independence of method and thought and action, yet both gaining strength from a better understanding and mutual self-help by which each may supplement the needs of the
It has been said by a noted diplomat that "the United States at a time not very far off will have a hundred million of inhabitants, and among the national peculiarities will be found German thoroughness, reliability and faithfulness."
Wherever they are found, the Germans are remarkable for the possession of those elements of character which always contribute
to their worldy prosperity. The aim of the intelligent German coming to the shores of the Western hemisphere is to become a good American. In his children he sees and educates Americans. He is eager to have them master the English tongue as completely and as rapidly as possible, besides prizing and trying to perpetuate the mother language,—the legacy of home and youth. Not because there is any desire to exact undue homage to the German language, not because there is the faintest intention of making German a universal language is there the agitation for the German, but because in the words of Charles V.: "As many languages as you know so many times are you a man.”
Finally, the substitution of Spanish for commercial reasons and of Italian for social intercourse has much in its favor, and should be brought about in particular localities where the need for a change exists, but this substitution should not be general, that is. should not be operative in all our schools.
The Philosophy Section held its two meetings as per program with an attendance of fifty at the first meeting and of seventy-five at the second. This attendance represented over forty colleges from over twenty-five different states. Two papers were read of a very superior character, one on "The Kantian Ought," by the Reverend Timothy Brosnahan, S. J., Professor of Ethics at Loyola College, Baltimore, Md.; the other on "The Educational Value of Scholastic Philosophy as an Undergraduate Training," by the Reverend M. J. Ryan, D. D., Professor of Metaphysics at St. Bernard's Seminary, Rochester, N. Y. The Right Reverend Thomas Hickey, D. D., Bishop of Rochester, was pleased to honor us with his presence at the reading of this paper. The papers were followed by a most interesting and valuable discussion, participated in by a dozen or more of the members of the section. As a result of these two meetings the College Conference may rest assured that it has made no mistake in inaugurating the Philosophy Section. At the first meeting the chairman appointed a Committee on Nominations consisting of the Very Rev. M. A. Hehir, C. S. Sp., the Very Rev. B. P. O'Reilly, S. M. and the Reverend Father Robison, S. J., with instructions to report at the following meeting. In due time this Committee reported the nomination of the following officers of the Philosophy Section: The Reverend Charles Macksey, S. J., chairman; the Reverend Patrick Cummins, O. S. B., vice chairman, and the Very Rev. Bernard P. O'Reilly, S. M., secretary. The report was, on due motion and second, accepted by the Section and the nominees declared the officers of the Section for the following
CHARLES MACKSEY, S. J.,
THE KANTIAN OUGHT
REV. T. BROSNAHAN, S. J., LOYOLA COLLEGE, BALTIMORE, MD.
Within the last twenty-five years ethical controversies so far at least as they are confined to the English language-have come to range more and more around the meaning and the nature of the idea expressed by the word "ought." English Ethics since the times of Hobbes, that is to say, since the time that the England of the Reformation began to form for itself a systematized philosophy of conduct, has been distinctively hedonistic and utilitarian. It constituted pleasure and pain the ultimate norms of morality toward which man must of psychological necessity tend, "quite apart from any sense of duty" as Spencer says (Principles of Ethics, vol. 2, app. c); and made good and evil consist in the external consequences of his actions. The few examples of intuitional ethics that appeared as protests, like one or two bright colored flowers in a monochrome field of green, only served to bring into greater prominence the hedonistic character of English Ethics. Now utilitarianism, when egoistic, must repudiate the word "ought" and the underlying idea. It is unmeaning-if it is not absurd-to say that I ought to seek pleasure in all my actions, if psychologically I can do nothing else, and if no motive of mine to act is or can be otherwise than good. In fact, Bentham, the most straightforward and logical of English Hedonists tells us in a spurt of hedonistic fury that "the talisman of arrogancy, indolence and ignorance, is to be found in a single word, an authoritative imposter It is the word 'ought'-'ought' or 'ought not,' as circumstances may be * * * If the use of the word be admissible at all, it ought to be banished from the vocabulary of morals." (Deontology, vol. 1, p. 31). Nor does the concept of ought find any legitimate place
* * *