The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 1q: Educational Subjects

Chapter 1q: Educational Subjects

Language Learning
148 When Christianity was first established by law, a corrupted Latin had become the common language of Western Europe.   149 It was not so with the Greek or Hebrew languages.   150 Originally, the first rudiments of Greek and Latin were taught in universities.  


151 The ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three great branches: "This general division seems perfectly agreeable to the nature of things."   152 The great phenomena of nature necessarily excite wonder: They naturally call forth mankind's curiosity to inquire into their causes.   153 In every age and country, men must have attended to one another's characters, designs, and actions.   154Different authors gave different systems of natural and moral philosophy.   155 This ancient division of philosophy into three parts was changed into five parts in most European universities.   156 In the ancient philosophy, whatever concerned the nature of the human mind or the Deity was a part of physics.   157 When those two sciences were set in opposition to one another, the comparison between them naturally created a third science called Ontology.   158 The ancient moral philosophy investigated the happiness and perfection of a man considered as an individual and a member of: In moral philosophy, the duties of human life were treated as subservient to the happiness and perfection of human life.   159 The following was the common course of philosophical education in most European universities:
  1. Logic was taught first
  2. Ontology came in second
  3. Pneumatology came in third
    • It was the doctrine on the nature of the human soul and the Deity
  4. A debased system of moral philosophy came in fourth.
    • It was immediately connected with:
      • The doctrines of Pneumatology
      • The immortality of the human soul
      • The rewards and punishments from the Deity to be expected in a life to come
  5. A short and superficial system of Physics usually concluded the course.
  160 The changes introduced by European universities into the ancient course of philosophy were all meant to: But those changes introduced the following into philosophy: These certainly did not:   161 This course of philosophy is still taught diligently in most European universities.   162Most of the improvements made in several branches of philosophy were not made in universities.   163 European public schools and universities were originally intended only for the education of churchmen. 164 In England, it becomes everyday more the custom to send young people to foreign countries immediately after leaving school, without sending them to university.  165 Such were the effects of some modern educational institutions.

Next: Chapter 1r: Ancient Educational Institutions