Knowledge, Life and Reality: An Essay in Systematic Philosophy

By Trumbull Ladd George | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THE service which it is hoped that this book may in some measure accomplish, can best be explained by a reference to the life-work and life-purpose of its author. For more than a generation it has been his daily duty to observe, read, teach, and reflect, within the field covered by problems which are somewhat vaguely grouped together under the word, "philosophy." During this period the conviction has been growing that Plato, when he remarked a likeness between the fitting attitude of the soul toward these problems, and the most tender, absorbing, and important, of human personal relations, spoke to the world of men something more valuable than a taking, but extravagant hyperbole. I am well aware that this is not the popular estimate of philosophy at the present time; and the fact that it is not, is by no means wholly due to an adverse spirit in the age. It is almost equally due to the way in which its interests have been "exploited" (I use the word intelligently and deliberately) by many to whom the care of philosophic culture has been especially entrusted.

Formerly, the teachers and writers in the field of philosophy, --especially of ethics and the philosophy of 'religion, but also of general, metaphysics, and even of the allied subjects of psychology and logic,--were chiefly, and indeed almost exclusively, the presidents of our colleges and others who had received an education in theology. Many, and perhaps the majority, of their pupils and readers, were either intending to enter the ministry, or were already enjoying the opportunities, and bound by the duties, of the ministerial office. What they had to gain from the class-room, or from the reading of books on philosophy, was expected to be useful, in an important and im-

-vii-

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