Cours de l'histoire de la philosophie: histoire de la philosophie du XVIIIe siècle, Volume 2

Pichon et Didier
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Publisher
Pichon et Didier
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Published on
Dec 31, 1829
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Pages
564
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Language
French
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"The lectures of M. Victor Cousin possess an interest seldom to be met with in philosophical publications. It is certain that philosophical views and doctrines are no longer regarded, on the continent of Europe, merely as subjects of literary curiosity or of elegant entertainment. For it is well known that they excite strong emotions of sympathy and approbation, and are listened to and read with that attention and respect which is the most satisfactory evidence of a powerful conviction of their rationality and truth, by a very numerous class of intelligent and well informed young men, who may be fairly considered to represent the flower of the rising generation in their respective countries. Philosophical lectures therefore assume, on this account, an importance which is in a great measure independent of the opinions which we ourselves may form of the truth or fallacy of their contents. For although we may consider the principles which determine our own perceptions of truth, and the foundations upon which our own convictions rest, so firmly established as to be unwilling to submit them to any further discussion or examination; yet most men naturally desire to understand the spirit and to know the principles of truth, by which the public opinion of contiguous nations is influenced, and may probably be ruled, at no very distant period. Nothing therefore that is likely to influence public opinion in France can be indifferent to the people of the United States. For if contiguity can be predicated of the spirit of different nations, as well as of their local position in space, the French nation may, in the first sense of the word, be said to be nearer neighbors to the inhabitants of America, than to those of Great Britain; and besides this, the high rank among civilized nations, which is held by France, as well as the powerful influence which the spirit of France is well known to exert on the state of public opinion throughout Europe, must necessarily render the peculiar qualities and character of that spirit at any particular epoch the source of incalculable good or evil to all contemporary nations"--Préface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
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