Mirror of Literature,  9 (1827), 428–30.






Mathematics, Scientific Practitioners, Nomenclature, Reasoning, Natural Philosophy, Amusement, Physiology

    Observes that individuals should remember that not all share their knowledge, or their pleasure in it. Despite his delight in 'absolute certainty', the mathematician should not 'support every assertion with a demonstration'; he would probably be 'believed more firmly without the demonstration' (428–29). Classifies three types of pedant: the ignorant, the semi-learned, and the learned. The 'whole art' of the ignorant pedant consists in 'talking unintellibibly, and using a certain bead-roll of scientific terms'. The semi-learned pedant 'knows a little not generally known', and thinks himself so wise that he will not 'degrade himself to refute an opponent'. Describes the 'semi-learned pedant in natural philosophy, who is for ever amusing one with deductions, and inductions, and what not', and who will give a learned disquisition on any subject arising in conversation. (429) Learned pedants are neither so numerous nor so culpable. The learned pedant's conduct arises 'from an underrating of his own talents, which leads him to believe that all are equally as learned and wise as himself' (430).

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