"It is unfortunate that Sir William Hamilton did not undertake fully to digest his metaphysical opinions into system, and to publish them as one orderly and connected whole. He had a system, for he was eminently a methodical and self-consistent thinker; but it was built up piecemeal, and so given to the world, at various times, in successive articles in the Edinburgh Review; in copious notes, appendices, and other additions to these articles when they were republished as a volume of "Discussions," and again, when these "Discussions" passed to a second edition. I have endeavored, in the present volume, to prepare a text-book which should contain, in his own language, the substance of all that he has written upon the subject. For this purpose, the "Lectures on Metaphysics" have been taken as the basis of the work; and I have freely abridged them by striking out the repetitions and redundancies in which they abound, and omitting also, in great part, the load of citations and references that they contain, as these are of inferior interest except to a student of the history of philosophy, or as marks of the stupendous erudition of the author. The space acquired by these abridgments has enabled me to interweave into the book, in their appropriate place and connection, all those portions of the "Discussions," and of the Notes and Dissertations supplementary to Reid, which seemed necessary either to elucidate and confirm the text, or to supplement it with the later and more fully expressed opinions of the author"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).