ETHICAL STUDIES appeared in 1876, was soon out of print, and has never been re-published. For many years stray copies of the book have been eagerly sought for, but for students and the general public it has remained practically unobtainable.
Written at a time when philosophical thought in England, with some striking exceptions, was stagnant under the domination of the Utilitarian school, the volume included a brilliant and incisive criticism of what the author held to be false in the reasoning and conclusions of the prevailing English philosophy. How far the book contributed to the advance of philosophic thought in England must be left to conjecture, but that it contains matter of permanent value can hardly be doubted. In the opinion of a contemporary it 'suffered from the excess of thought and experience which it contained . . . a page of it would dilute into a hundred of any other'.1
The reasons which for over forty years held the author firm in his refusal to reprint this, his first, book may be of interest.
In 1893 he referred to it as follows: 'a book which, in the main, still expresses my opinions . . . (and) would have been reprinted had I not desired to re-write it. But I feel that the appearance of other books, as well as the decay of those superstitions against which largely it was directed, has left me free to consult my own pleasure in the matter'.2____________________