A History of English Philosophy

A History of English Philosophy

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A History of English Philosophy

A History of English Philosophy

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to trace the history of philosophy in Great Britain from the time when it began to be written in the English language until the end of the Victorian era.

There are two ways of writing the history of philosophy. One of them sets out from the standpoint of philosophy as conceived by the writer; the other from that of the philosophers themselves. On the former method the fundamental problems of philosophy will be presented at the outset, and each step taken towards their definition and solution will then be noted; whatever is irrelevant to the main issue will be left out of sight, however important it may have been in the minds of some of the philosophers. On the latter method the subject will be approached as it appeared to each philosopher in turn, and the presentation of definite concepts and clear issues will emerge gradually as the story progresses. Each of these methods has its own advantages and its own dangers. The former concentrates upon the essential, but it is liable to miss historical proportion by stressing certain features and overlooking others. The latter keeps in close touch with the documents, but care is needed to prevent the meaning of the whole from being obscured by details.

The accounts of English thought contained in the general histories of modern philosophy have, for the most part, followed the former method and the result has often been one-sided and misleading, so that even English readers have been led to misjudge the character of their national philosophy. The other method has been followed in the present treatise. All the leading philosophical writers have been passed under review; they have been studied in their lives and in their books; and an effort has been made to seize and . . .

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