Subject Matter Quotes (4 quotes)
Definition of Mathematics.—It has now become apparent that the traditional field of mathematics in the province of discrete and continuous number can only be separated from the general abstract theory of classes and relations by a wavering and indeterminate line. Of course a discussion as to the mere application of a word easily degenerates into the most fruitless logomachy. It is open to any one to use any word in any sense. But on the assumption that “mathematics” is to denote a science well marked out by its subject matter and its methods from other topics of thought, and that at least it is to include all topics habitually assigned to it, there is now no option but to employ “mathematics” in the general sense of the “science concerned with the logical deduction of consequences from the general premisses of all reasoning.”
General preparatory instruction must continue to be the aim in the instruction at the higher institutions of learning. Exclusive selection and treatment of subject matter with reference to specific avocations is disadvantageous.
Sometimes I wonder whether there is any such thing as biology. The word was invented rather late—in 1809—and other words like botany, zoology, physiology, anatomy, have much longer histories and in general cover more coherent and unified subject matters. … I would like to see the words removed from dictionaries and college catalogues. I think they do more harm than good because they separate things that should not be separated…
The subject matter of science has been described as “judgments on which it is possible to obtain universal agreement.” These judgments do not concern individual events, which can be witnessed only by a few persons at most. They are the invariable association of events or properties which are known as the laws of science. Agreement is obtained by observation and experiment—a court of appeal to which men of all races and creeds must submit if they wish to survive.