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MYSTICISM AND LOGIC Metaphysics, or the attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought, has been developed, from the first, by the union and conflict of two very different human impulses, the one urging men towards mysticism, the other urging them towards science. Some men have achieved greatness through one of these impulses alone, others through the other alone: in Hume, for example, the scientific impulse reigns quite... more...

Part 1 Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. Thus, a real man and a figure in a picture can both lay claim to the name 'animal'; yet these are equivocally so named, for, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. For should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the... more...

INTRODUCTION Confucius was born in the year 550 b.c., in the land of Lu, in a small village, situated in the western part of the modern province of Shantung. His name was K'ung Ch'iu, and his style (corresponding to our Christian name) was Chung-ni. His countrymen speak of him as K'ung Fu-tzu, the Master, or philosopher K'ung. This expression was altered into Confucius by the Jesuit missionaries who first carried his fame to Europe. Since the... more...

INTRODUCTION. OUR age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a... more...

INTRODUCTION The history of the evolution of life, incomplete as it yet is, already reveals to us how the intellect has been formed, by an uninterrupted progress, along a line which ascends through the vertebrate series up to man. It shows us in the faculty of understanding an appendage of the faculty of acting, a more and more precise, more and more complex and supple adaptation of the consciousness of living beings to the conditions of... more...


Religion THE APOCRYPHA Apocrypha is a Greek word, signifying "secret" or "hidden," but in the sixteenth century it came to be applied to a list of books contained in the Septuagint, or Greek translation of the Old Testament, but not in the Palestinian, or Hebrew Canon. Hence, by theological or bibliographic purists, these books were not regarded as genuine Scripture. That view was adopted by the early Greek Church, though the Western Church... more...

I THE INTELLECTUAL TEMPER OF THE AGE The present age is a critical one and interesting to live in. The civilisation characteristic of Christendom has not disappeared, yet another civilisation has begun to take its place. We still understand the value of religious faith; we still appreciate the pompous arts of our forefathers; we are brought up on academic architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, and music. We still love monarchy and... more...

ADULTERY Note on a Magistrate Written about 1764 A senior magistrate of a French town had the misfortune to have a wife who was debauched by a priest before her marriage, and who since covered herself with disgrace by public scandals: he was so moderate as to leave her without noise. This man, about forty years old, vigorous and of agreeable appearance, needs a woman; he is too scrupulous to seek to seduce another man's wife, he fears... more...

CHAPTER I. APPEARANCE AND REALITY Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it? This question, which at first sight might not seem difficult, is really one of the most difficult that can be asked. When we have realized the obstacles in the way of a straightforward and confident answer, we shall be well launched on the study of philosophy—for philosophy is merely the attempt to answer such... more...

PROLOGUE What I am anxious to attempt in this anticipatory summary of the contents of this book is a simple estimate of its final conclusions, in such a form as shall eliminate all technical terms and reduce the matter to a plain statement, intelligible as far as such a thing can be made intelligible, to the apprehension of such persons as have not had the luck, or the ill-luck, of a plunge into the ocean of metaphysic. A large portion of the... more...