Great Visions of Philosophy: Varieties of Speculative Thought in the West from the Greeks to Bergson

Great Visions of Philosophy: Varieties of Speculative Thought in the West from the Greeks to Bergson

Great Visions of Philosophy: Varieties of Speculative Thought in the West from the Greeks to Bergson

Great Visions of Philosophy: Varieties of Speculative Thought in the West from the Greeks to Bergson

Excerpt

The introductory chapter of this book, and those chapters dealing with Democritus and Plato, were delivered orally in Chicago sixteen years ago when I was appointed Carus Lecturer. Miss Elisabeth Carus has kindly overlooked my long delay in completing the book, and I permit myself the pleasure of expressing not only gratitude for her patience but also my great respect for her father, the late Dr. Paul Carus, editor of The Monist, who rendered many services to philosophy in America and in whose memory the Carus Lectureship was established.

My book is designed according to the pattern usually followed by works on comparative religion, the authors of which, regardless of their own beliefs, aim to set forth with relative impartiality the various types of the world's religious doctrine, stressing the over-all conclusions rather than the reasons adduced for them. But religions, regardless of their differences from one another, have two characteristics in common: (1) they are philosophies that have been "put across," accepted by a group and wrought into a way of life as well as a way of thought; (2) they are all of them idealistic in that they hold to some measure of identity between the real and the ideal. This identity may be embodied in one or more personal deities, or in some impersonal background such as the Buddhistic Nirvana and Karma, or even in the Marxian dogma that the later stage of a world process is superior to the earlier.

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