Philosophy of Knowledge: an Inquiry Into the Nature, Limits, and Validity of Human Cognitive Faculty

C. Scribner's Sons

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C. Scribner's Sons
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Dec 31, 1897
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"This book designs to give a clear, accurate, and comprehensive picture of the mental life of the individual man; and also to explain this life as it appears in the light of all the resources of modern psychological science, and with the idea of "development" as essentially characteristic of this, as it is of all life, constantly kept in mind. While gratefully acknowledging my indebtedness to each of the large band of predecessors in this our common work--as well to those I have named as to the many more unnamed--I can truthfully acknowledge no special obligations to any individuals among this number. It will not require a wide acquaintance with psychological literature for the reader to discover that the points of view, the order of treatment, the discussion of the particular topics, are all independent and thoroughly the author's own. Indeed, it is my belief that there is not a page, and scarcely a line, of this treatise which does not show that all its material has been wrought anew into a distinct and characteristic organism of truth. Attention is particularly called, however, to the divisions of the book, which abandon even the appearance of retaining the old and vicious theory of faculties; to the consistent tenure of the view that the formation and development of faculty is itself the chief thing which scientific psychology has to explain; to the treatment, in particular, of the affective phenomena--the nature, classes, and tone as pleasure-pain, of the feelings, and the growth of the emotions and sentiments; to the theory of perception and of the nature and growth of knowledge which is advocated; to the discussions where psychology comes into critical contact with logic; and, above all, to the view taken of the moral sentiments and of the nature and evolution of will"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
"Though this book is called an "Introduction," no special pains have been taken to simplify or popularize its treatment. For those accustomed to think in the lines it follows, its views will, I hope, always be found clearly and candidly expressed. It is not to be expected that these views will all find acceptance with those most competent to judge. For beginners in philosophy some expressions will doubtless seem obscure, or hard to be understood. But, then, reflection is the indispensable method of philosophy; and he who does not learn to reflect over the meanings which the words employed in philosophical writings bear, cannot hope to make progress in philosophical study. For if, when entering upon this study, the plain and thoughtful man needs no special equipment besides his own powers of reflection, the keenest and most showily educated mind cannot dispense with reflection. Finally, the expert readers--if such the book should find--will not be long in discovering that the so-called "Introduction" is by no means a perfectly colorless affair. Doubtless a system of philosophy (or at least the sketch and protocol of such a system) lies concealed in these pages. If the subject were urged to the point of a confession, it would appear that the author has views of his own to which he wishes to introduce his readers. These views are to a certain large extent positive as well as critical. The attempt has been made, however, to prevent their expression in a form unreasonably and offensively dogmatic. Whether they are sound and defensible, each reader must, on due consideration, judge for himself. But a "system of philosophy" has only been suggested and sketched. The expansion and more detailed discussion of its separate departments by the same hand must abide their time"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).
"This book is an essay in the speculative treatment of certain problems, suggested but not usually discussed in the course of a thorough empirical study of mental phenomena. Inasmuch as these problems all relate to the real nature and actual performances and relations of the human mind, the essay may properly be called metaphysical. Let it be confessed, then, that the author comes forward with a treatise in metaphysics--in the more special meaning of that term. I think, however, that in spite of the marked disfavor into which all metaphysics has fallen in certain quarters, no detailed apology for asking readers for such a treatise need be offered in its Preface. Indeed, the first two chapters of the book are occupied in showing how inevitable is the demand which the science of psychology makes for a further philosophical discussion of all its principal problems. The nature of psychology, however, and the nature of philosophy, and especially the nature of the relations existing between the two, are such as to make it undesirable, if not impossible, to consider in one book all the metaphysical problems which this empirical science suggests. Indeed, the whole sphere of philosophical study scarcely does more than this. A somewhat but not wholly arbitrary selection of problems had, therefore, to be made; and their detailed discussion was then brought under the one title, "Philosophy of Mind." The reasons for the selection are made sufficiently clear in the course of the discussion itself"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
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