On the Future Prospects of Manufactures, as Connected with Scienceby@charlesbabbage

On the Future Prospects of Manufactures, as Connected with Science

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453. In reviewing the various processes offered as illustrations of those general principles which it has been the main object of the present volume to support and establish, it is impossible not to perceive that the arts and manufactures of the country are intimately connected with the progress of the severer sciences; and that, as we advance in the career of improvement, every step requires, for its success, that this connection should be rendered more intimate. The applied sciences derive their facts from experiment; but the reasonings, on which their chief utility depends, are the province of what is called abstract science. It has been shown, that the division of labour is no less applicable to mental productions than to those in which material bodies are concerned; and it follows, that the efforts for the improvement of its manufactures which any country can make with the greatest probability of success, must arise from the combined exertions of all those most skilled in the theory, as well as in the practice of the arts; each labouring in that department for which his natural capacity and acquired habits have rendered him most fit. The profit arising from the successful application to practice of theoretical principles, will, in most cases, amply reward, in a pecuniary sense, those by whom they are first employed; yet even here, what has been stated with respect to patents, will prove that there is room for considerable amendment in our legislative enactments: but the discovery of the great principles of nature demands a mind almost exclusively devoted to such investigations; and these, in the present state of science, frequently require costly apparatus, and exact an expense of time quite incompatible with professional avocations. It becomes, therefore, a fit subject for consideration, whether it would not be politic in the State to compensate for some of those privations, to which the cultivators of the higher departments of science are exposed; and the best mode of effecting this compensation, is a question which interests both the philosopher and the statesman. Such considerations appear to have had their just influence in other countries, where the pursuit of science is regarded as a profession, and where those who are successful in its cultivation are not shut out from almost every object of honourable ambition to which their fellow countrymen may aspire. Having, however, already expressed some opinion upon these subjects in another publication,(1*) I shall here content myself with referring to that work.

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Charles Babbage

English Polymath—mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, father of computers.


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by Charles Babbage @charlesbabbage.English Polymath—mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, father of computers.
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