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1. Retrospect of Mental Philosophy

  • B. F. C. Costelloe
Extract

During the long period embraced in the present Retrospect, the most important incident that has happened in the philosophical circles of this country is the death of Professor T. H. Green, of Oxford—a man who for many years had been silently acquiring, not only by his power of thinking but by his strong and blameless personal character, a marked position and a unique influence among the leaders of thought in England. His philosophical position would perhaps best be defined by saying that he became the chief of that small, but notable, band of speculative students, centred mainly in Oxford, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, who are reviving the spirit of the systems of Kant and Hegel, in its application to the new scientific, political, and religious problems of the day. His distinguishing characteristics were his modesty and his earnest sense of duty—qualities perhaps not so conspicuous as they might be amongst the better known of modern psychologists. His modesty was such that he never assumed that he had mastered the secret of any writer, until he had bestowed the most extravagant labour and thought in exploring difficulties and obscurities on which the man himself had probably never bestowed a second thought. His earnestness was so thorough that he believed it to be merely his duty to struggle with the fundamental questions of the Sphinx of modern criticism, and find for himself and others not a negative but a constructive answer, no matter what toil and trouble it might cost. For he held that those who contribute, as we all in some way do, to the formation of public opinion upon the vital subjects of life and conduct, are under a terrible responsibility if they mislead their neighbours, or even if they refuse by sloth or vanity or cynicism that healthy guidance which their own attainments would enable them to give. These remarks are suggested by the fact that the first article of the April number of “Mind” is from Prof. Green's pen. Indeed it is one of the last pieces of work he ever personally sent to press; although we are glad to know that the groat Ethical work on which he had long been engaged is left with his philosophical friends in so complete a form that it will be published immediately. The April article is the second of three essays on the question, “Can there be a natural science of man?” of which the third holds the leading place in the July number. The scope of the essays, as well as of the “Prolegomena to Ethics,” to which they were in a sense introductory, will be best indicated if we quote a note added in the July number by Prof. Green's literary executor, Mr. A. C. Bradley.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
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1. Retrospect of Mental Philosophy

  • B. F. C. Costelloe
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