The St. Louis Congress of Arts and Science

Hugo Münsterberg

To THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE : By chance, I had at first overlooked Professor Dewey's reply (SCIENCE, November 20) to my letter concerning the St. Louis Congress (SCIENCE, October 30). My answer thus comes late, but fortunately, the matter itself needs no further word, since all the questions involved, as far as they are of scientific import, were fully disposed of in my long letter. But Professor Dewey, in spite of the friendly tone of my answer, has now introduced in a most surprising manner a personal element, and that forces me to send a word of reply after all. He does not discuss the statements of my letter, by which practically all of his previous objections are proved futile, but he now turns the question so as to make it appear that I have made claims in my May article in the Atlantic Monthly which I had no right to make; he even ends with the climax that excuses are due from me to the editor and the readers of the Atlantic.

I had claimed in the Atlantic that the program of the congress adopted by the proper authorities involved a certain philosophical standpoint and a certain logical view of the sciences. When Professor Dewey expressed in his first remarks the idea that the program might exclude those who hold other views, I used the chief part of my reply to show that such a fear is unjustified. I showed that a man may have any views as to the logical relations of the sciences, and yet contribute in his special section with full freedom in spite of the framework of our program. It is evident that my article and my letter harmonize perfectly. But Professor Dewey considers the fact that I did not speak of the philosophical bearing once more in my letter as a kind of confession that such bearing does not and probably never did exist.

I did not repeat my assertion because I had stated the case very fully in the Atlantic; but there was not the slightest reason to withdraw a single word. No one who understands anything of methodology can see the program without observing that it has a meaning as a whole only when certain philosophical views are accepted. In the meetings of the boards for final decision I explained the logical reasons for this specific classification fully, and, accustomed to the rhythmical attacks of Professor Dewey on my philosophy, I pointed out why a philosophy like his would appear to me an unsatisfactory basis for the work of the congress and why an idealistic program was essential. Perhaps I may add an external proof of the correctness of my assertions. When my exposition of the situation had appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the director of the congresses asked me to allow it to be reprinted as a pamphlet for official distribution —in short, if Professor Dewey insists that apologies are due in connection with my Atlantic Monthly essay, it seems clear that they are not due to the editor and to the readers, but to the contributor.

December 3, 1903.


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