Alexander Bain Quotes
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What renders a problem definite, and what leaves it indefinite, may best be understood from mathematics. The very important idea of solving a problem within limits of error is an element of rational culture, coming from the same source. The art of totalizing fluctuations by curves is capable of being carried, in conception, far beyond the mathematical domain, 65 where it is first learned. The distinction between laws and coefficients applies in every department of causation. The theory of Probable Evidence is the mathematical contribution to Logic, and is of paramount importance.
The arguments for the two substances - mind and body - have, we believe, entirely lost their validity; they are no longer compatible with ascertained science and clear thinking. One substance with two sets of attributes, two sides (a physical and a mental), a double-faced unity, would appear to comply with all the exigencies of the case.
He that could teach mathematics well, would not be a bad teacher in any of the rest [physics, chemistry, biology, psychology] unless by the accident of total inaptitude for experimental illustration; while the mere experimentalist is likely to fall into the error of missing the essential condition of science as reasoned truth; not to speak of the danger of making the instruction an affair of sensation, glitter, or pyrotechnic show.
Those that can readily master the difficulties of Mathematics find a considerable charm in the study, sometimes amounting to fascination. This is far from universal; but the subject contains elements of strong interest of a kind that constitutes the pleasures of knowledge. The marvellous devices for solving problems elate the mind with the feeling of intellectual power; and the innumerable constructions of the science leave us lost in wonder.