Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER III.: OPERATIONS WHICH, IN THE CHARACTER OF AN ART, ARE PERFORMABLE IN RELATION TO DISCOURSE, OR LANGUAGE IN GENERAL. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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CHAPTER III.: OPERATIONS WHICH, IN THE CHARACTER OF AN ART, ARE PERFORMABLE IN RELATION TO DISCOURSE, OR LANGUAGE IN GENERAL. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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OPERATIONS WHICH, IN THE CHARACTER OF AN ART, ARE PERFORMABLE IN RELATION TO DISCOURSE, OR LANGUAGE IN GENERAL.
1. Learning. 2. Using or employing. 3. Teaching. 4. Improving or ameliorating.—These are so many operations capable of being performed, and the three first at least actually and continually performed in relation to everything that bears the name of art.
The order in which these several operations are brought to view, or in which their names are made to precede each other, is (it will readily be observed) the order of priority in respect of performance. Whatsoever be the operation in question, a man must have learned to perform it before he can perform it; he must have known how to perform it before he can teach it, and thereby enable another to perform it; and unless it be by some extraordinary and extraordinarily felicitous accident, he must not only have learned it, but be in use to practise it, to practise it in the state in which he finds it, before he will be able to make improvements in it, i. e. to raise it up to a higher and better state than that in which it had happened to him to find it.
To a first glance, as applied to all these several operations, the observation seems to present the aspect of correctness. But upon a closer view, to confine it in every part within the pale of truth, it will be found to require sundry limitations, but for which it would be liable to give birth to errors of such a nature as to exercise or practise a pernicious influence.
1. The truth of it is throughout confined to the several operations taken singly, of which the vast aggregate called by the name of the art in question is comprised. Of those particular operations, it will, in almost every instance, happen that a number, more or less considerable, may be found, of which one and the same person may, in one and the same day, or even hour, while he is occupied in learning one, be occupied in practising, with advantage, a second, teaching a third, and making improvement in a fourth.
2. From a too extensive and unlimited adoption given to it as applied to learning and practising, has arisen that most pernicious and foolishly devised clog to productive industry, the English statute concerning apprenticeships.* Be the art what it may, how (it was asked) can a man practise it well unless he have learned to practise it? Therefore, be the art what it may, seven years shall he have been employed in learning it before he is allowed to practise it.
3. Applied to the art of teaching, considered in its relation to the operation of learning, and, at the same time, applied to language considered as the particular subject of these general operations, it has ever been pressing, and continues to press, as a dead weight upon the intellectual branch of education. To learn it, has been said, is the duty of the ignorant; to teach is the privilege of the knowing, the skilful, the learned, the advanced in age. Assign to those who are destitute of instruction the function of administering it; unite in the same individual the opposite and incompatible functions of scholar and master,—the consequence is too obvious to require mention, and almost two ridiculous to admit of it!
At length, by bold experience acting in despite of superficial wisdom, the discovery has been made that, for the function of teacher, he who, at the same time, and in the same seat of instruction, is acting in the character of learner, is not merely in as high degree adapted, but in a much superior degree.
Applied to the operation of making improvement, considered in its relation to that of learning, to that of practising, and even to that of teaching, this same effusion of superficial wisdom, is an instrument which, in the hands of envy, the offspring of imbecility and indolence, is never-failingly employed in the endeavour to nip in the bud the blossoms of active genius. Its language is—be the art what it may, not merely to teach it, but even to practise it in the perfection to which it has, in these times, been brought forward, (not to speak of merely learning it,) requires all the ability that a man of consummate talent can hope to possess. Who are you who pretend to improve it?—who are you, who, not content with equaling, pretend to have risen above those whom the whole world admires as seated on the highest pinnacle of eminence?
It is the same instrument which, in the hands of the ruling few, self-clothed in the robe of superior wisdom, is employed in covering with contempt the claims and exertions of the subject many.
Applying to art in general, these, same instructions would be found applicable, with indisputable propriety, to that master art, the art of discoursing, of which the product is discourse itself or language. To the art itself,—to the fruit or produce of it,—to the instrument of it,—to all these distinguishable, howsoever intimately connected, senses, are both these words, discourse and language, wont to be applied.
Teaching, learning, practising, or choosing for use, on the occasion of the use made of the names by which these several operations, considered as having language for their common subject, are designated, the state in which language is tacitly and impliedly considered as being taken in hand, and made the subject of the operation, is the exact state in which it happens to be at the time—by improvement, in so far as it is considered as taking place, the language is considered as being brought out of that state into a better.
A language like any other work or subject,—a language is good in proportion as the several qualities which, on any account, are desirable in it, are found to be in it.
In the instance of language, what those qualities are, it will be the business of the next chapter to endeavour to show.
As to improvement, it has two distinguishable subjects: 1. The work itself, language; 2. The several other operations, viz. teaching, learning, and employing, performable in relation to that work.
Of these operations, teaching and learning are correlative; and, for the reception of any improvement, of which the mode of performing them is susceptible, they must wait hand in hand. But, in both these instances, improvement considered as applied to the instrument itself, and improvement considered as applied to the mode of teaching and learning, are perfectly distinguishable.
In regard to employing, on the occasion of improvements, relative to the employing the work, improvements considered as made in the work itself, and improvements considered as made in relation to the mode of employing it in the character of an instrument of discourse, will be apt to coincide, and become difficultly, if at all distinguishable.
[* ] 5 Elizabeth, chap. iv. The portion of this statute that relates to apprenticeship is repeated by 54 Geo. III. cap. 96.—Ed.