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PREFACE This little work contains the chief ideas gathered together for a course of lectures on the theory and history of aesthetics given at Harvard College from 1892 to 1895. The only originality I can claim is that which may result from the attempt to put together the scattered commonplaces of criticism into a system, under the inspiration of a naturalistic psychology. I have studied sincerity... more...

INTRODUCTION It is to two English scholars, father and son, Edward Pococke, senior and junior, that the world is indebted for the knowledge of one of the most charming productions Arabian philosophy can boast of. Generally looked upon as a subject of repulsive aridity, in its strange combination of the most heterogeneous philosophical systems, devoid of the grace and charm of attractive style,... more...

We may believe in the doctrine of Progress or we may not, but in either case it is a matter of interest to examine the origins and trace the history of what is now, even should it ultimately prove to be no more than an idolum saeculi, the animating and controlling idea of western civilisation. For the earthly Progress of humanity is the general test to which social aims and theories are submitted as a... more...

CHAPTER I THE COMIC IN GENERAL—THE COMIC ELEMENT IN FORMS AND MOVEMENTS—EXPANSIVE FORCE OF THE COMIC. What does laughter mean? What is the basal element in the laughable? What common ground can we find between the grimace of a merry-andrew, a play upon words, an equivocal situation in a burlesque and a scene of high comedy? What method of distillation will yield us invariably the same essence from... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. "Grau, theurer Freund, ist alle Theorie, Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum." (Faust.) There is a saying of Hegel's, frequently quoted, that "a great man condemns the world to the task of explaining him." The condemnation is a double one, and it generally falls heaviest on the great man himself, who has to submit to explanation; and, probably, the last... more...

by: Plotinus
It may seem wonderful that language, which is the only method of conveying our conceptions, should, at the same time, be an hindrance to our advancement in philosophy; but the wonder ceases when we consider, that it is seldom studied as the vehicle of truth, but is too frequently esteemed for its own sake, independent of its connection with things. This observation is remarkably verified in the Greek... 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... more...

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE CONDITIONED. The reader of Plato’s Republic will readily recall to mind that wonderful passage at the end of the sixth book, in which the philosopher, under the image of geometrical lines, exhibits the various relations of the intelligible to the sensible world; especially his lofty aspirations with regard to “that second segment of the intelligible world, which reason of... more...

CHAPTER I. OF THE RANK AND RELATIONS OF THE THEORETIC FACULTY. Although the hasty execution and controversial tone of the former portions of this essay have been subjects of frequent regret to the writer, yet the one was in some measure excusable § 1. With what care the subject is to be approached.in a work referred to a temporary end, and the other unavoidable, in one directed against particular... more...

INTRODUCTION It might seem that about Blaise Pascal, and about the two works on which his fame is founded, everything that there is to say had been said. The details of his life are as fully known as we can expect to know them; his mathematical and physical discoveries have been treated many times; his religious sentiment and his theological views have been discussed again and again; and his prose... more...