|1.||1. The close of the eighteenth century in England was one of those recurrent periods when speculative curiosity about the bases of human existence and human belief seems almost to have vanished from the mind. It is only in the field of political philosophy that genuine creative activity is visible; here indeed three names lend to the period real distinction. In William Godwin, a thin but acute intelligence, we find a sincere passion for liberty and equal justice that is still not unimpressive, though it is turned into the somewhat shallow channels of a rationalistic and individualistic logic which renders it an easy prey to the scornful. Quite at the opposite extreme from Godwin stands the powerful and florid personality of Burke, who was uttering noble truisms to prove that liberty is an overrated blessing, and that reforms are only justified when they involve no element of risk to men of property and breeding. Meanwhile Jeremy Bentham, engaged in trying to get an English ministry interested in the good work of reforming law and building model prisons, was already beginning to suspect that something besides ignorance and inattention lies back of that lack of passionate regard for the greatest good of|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: English and American Philosophy since 1800:A Critical Survey. Contributors: Arthur K. Rogers - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1922. Page number: 1.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.