British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J.S. Mill

British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J.S. Mill

British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J.S. Mill

British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J.S. Mill

Excerpt

This volume has in some degree the character of an anthology. It contains, in chronological order, an abridgement of John Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding; the whole of Bishop Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge and of the first of his Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, together with extracts from the second and third; very nearly the whole of the first book of David Hume Treatise of Human Nature, as well as a few passages from his Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding; and comparatively brief extracts from Thomas Reid Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man and John Stuart Mill Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy. These writings have not, however, been selected at random. The reason for bringing them together is that they all deal with the same type of philosophical question, that they approach these questions from the same general standpoint, and that the various answers which they give to them reflect upon one another. They may thus be regarded as successive contributions to a single philosophical enquiry. The direction is fixed by Locke. Berkeley follows Locke a certain distance, and then diverges from him. Hume, continuing the line of Berkeley, introduces new themes of his own. The passages by Reid are included because they challenge an important assumption which is made by Locke and accepted without question by Berkeley and Hume. The selections from the work of John Stuart Mill are taken from a book in which he is attacking one of the more prominent disciples of Reid. They are not directly polemical, but set out Mill's own views on two of the fundamental points at issue. And these views are in one instance a development of Berkeley's and in the other a development of Hume's.

The branch of philosophy to which these works belong is that which goes by the name of the Theory of Knowledge. And what the Theory of Knowledge is supposed to tell us is first what know-

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