"As the title suggests, this translation from the original French undertakes an extensive examination of the books contained in M. Cousin's (1829) lectures on John Locke's Essay on the human understanding. An introduction by the translator and a series of appendices are also included in this work. At the time when the influence of the Cartesian philosophy in France was giving way to the new spirit of the 18th century, nothing was more natural than the ready reception of the system of Locke, claiming as it did--and to a certain extent, justly--to be a fruit of the movement of independence, and of the experimental method. Thus put upon the road of Empiricism, the activity of the French mind continued to develope its principles, and carry out its consequences to their last results. Cousin asserts a two-fold developement of reason or intelligence: the first primitive, unreflective, instinctive; the second ulterior, reflective, voluntary. The former he terms spontaneous reason, spontaneity of reason, or briefly, spontaneity; the latter, reflective reason, reflection of reason, or briefly, reflection. By the spontaneity of reason, is meant "that developement of reason anterior to reflection, that power of reason to seize upon truth at first sight, to comprehend it, and to admit it, without asking or giving an account of its doing so," In this distinction between spontaneous and reflective intelligence; in the recognition of the former as anterior to, and supposed by, the latter--as containing the three great elements of thought--and immediately and positively cognizant of the infinite, no less than of the finite;--it is here that we find the principle which, with its consequences, constitutes and determines the peculiar system of M. Cousin"--Introduction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
"Explains that the eighteen lectures that compose this volume have in fact the particular trait that they present a regular exposition of the doctrine which was at first fixed in our mind, which has not ceased to preside over our labors. This book, then, contains the abridged but exact expression of our convictions on the fundamental points of philosophic science. In it will be openly seen the method that is the soul of our enterprise, our principles, our processes, our results. Under these three heads, the True, the Beautiful, the Good, we embrace psychology, placed by us at the head of all philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, natural right, even public right to a certain extent, finally theodicea, that perilous rendezvous of all systems, where different principles are condemned or justified by their consequences. It is the affair of our book to plead its own cause. We only desire that it may be appreciated and judged according to what it really is, and not according to an opinion too much accredited. We declare that eclecticism is very dear to us, for it is in our eyes the height of the history of philosophy; but the source of that light is elsewhere. Eclecticism is one of the most important and most useful applications of the philosophy which we teach, but it is not its principle. Our true doctrine, our true flag is spiritualism, that philosophy as solid as generous, which began with Socrates and Plato, which the Gospel has spread abroad in the world, and which Descartes put under the severe forms of modern genius. May our voice be heard by new generations as it was by the serious youth of the Restoration!"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
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