Many writers have noted that pragmatism is the chief trait of the American character, whether this is to be attributed to the cast of mind common in emigrants to the New World, or to the conditions of life that they found and developed there. And just as pragmatism has been the dominating philosophy taught in the universities, so in pedagogy has everything been subordinated to immediate and practical ends. In America, the battle for the inclusion of science in the curriculum was easily won. Money for laboratories has been generously provided—it has always been more readily available for buildings than for the men who teach in them—and the visible successes of modern science have given it enormous prestige as an academic subject. So greatly envied is the position of the scientist in the universities that his colleagues in other departments are tempted to describe their own subjects as sciences and themselves as scientists. Thus a historian who emigrates to America may find that he has become a social scientist, and in a recent book a psychologist goes so far as to say, “Scientists study and write about people and the world in which they live”—a definition which seems to include all possible topics.

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