By: Thomas Davidson
In my Volume on Aristotle in this series, I tried to give an account of ancient, classical, and social Education; in the present volume I have endeavored to set forth the nature of modern, romantic, and unsocial Education. This education originates with Rousseau.
With much reluctance I have been obliged to dwell, at considerable length, on the facts of his life, in order to show that his glittering structure rests, not upon any broad and firm foundation of well-generalized and well-sifted experience, but upon the private tastes and preferences of an exceptionally capricious and self-centered nature. His Emile is simply his selfish and unsocial self, forcibly withheld, by an external Providence, in the shape of an impossible tutor, from those aberrations which led that self into the a "dark forest " of misery. If my estimate of Rousseau's value as an educator proves disappointing to those who believe in his doctrines, I can only say, in excuse, that I am more disappointed than they are.