In undertaking to treat of Aristotle as the expounder of ancient educational ideas, I might, with Kapp’s Aristoteles’ Staatspaedagogik before me, have made my task an easy one. I might simply have presented in an orderly way and with a little commentary, what is to be found on the subject of education in his various works—Politics, Ethics, Rhetoric, Poetics, etc. I had two reasons, however, for not adopting this course: (1) that this work had been done, better than I could do it, in the treatise referred to, and (2) that a mere restatement of what Aristotle says on education would hardly have shown his relation to ancient pedagogy as a whole. I therefore judged it better, by tracing briefly the whole history of Greek education up to Aristotle and down from Aristotle, to show the past which conditioned his theories and the future which was conditioned by them. Only thus, it seemed to me, could his teachings be seen in their proper light. And I have found that this method has many advantages, of which I may mention one. It has enabled me to show the close connection that existed at all times between Greek education and Greek social and political life, and to present the one as the reflection of the other. And this is no small advantage, since it is just from its relation to the whole of life that Greek education derives its chief interest for us. We can never, indeed, return to the purely political education of the Greeks; they themselves had to abandon that, and, since then,
A boundless hope has passed across the earth—
a hope which gives our education a meaning and a scope far wider than any that the State aims at; but in these days, when the State and the institution which embodies that hope are contending for the right to educate, it cannot but aid us in settling their respective claims, to follow the process by which they came to have distinct claims at all, and to see just what these mean. This process, the method which I have followed has, I hope, enabled me, in some degree, to bring into clearness. This, at all events, has been one of my chief aims.
Keene, Essex Co., N.Y.