The meaning of good - Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson - PDF ebook

The meaning of good

The meaning of good


An attempt at Philosophic Dialogue may seem to demand a word of explanation, if not of apology. For, it may be said, the Dialogue is a literary form not only exceedingly difficult to handle, but, in its application to philosophy, discredited by a long series of failures. I am not indifferent to this warning, yet I cannot but think that I have chosen the form best suited to my purpose. 

For, in the first place, the problems I have undertaken to discuss have an interest not only philosophic but practical; and I was ambitious to treat them in a way that might perhaps appeal to some readers who have not professed students of philosophy. And, secondly, my subject is one which belongs to the sphere of right opinion and perception, rather than to that of logic and demonstration; and seems, therefore, to be properly approached in the tentative spirit favored by the Dialogue form. 

On such topics most men, I think, will feel that it is in conversation that they get their best lights f* and Dialogue is merely an attempt to reproduce in literary form this natural genesis of opinion. Lastly, my own attitude in approaching the issues with which I have dealt was, 

I found, so little vii dogmatic, so sincerely speculative, that I should have felt hampered by the form of a treatise. I was more desirous to set forth various points of view than finally to repudiate or endorse them; and though I have taken occasion to suggest certain opinions of my own, I have endeavored to do so in the way which should be least imprisoning to my own thought, and least provocative of the reader's antagonism. It has been my object, to borrow a phrase of Kenan's, *de presenter des series d'idees se d^veloppant selon un ordre logique, et non d'inculquer une opinion ou de precher un systeme determine.' And I may add, with him, ' Moins que jamais je me sens I'audace de parler doctrinalement en pareille matiere.' In conclusion, there is one defect which is, I think, inherent in the Dialogue form, even if it were treated with far greater skill than any to which I can pretend. 

The connection of the various phases of the discussion can hardly be as clearly marked as it would be in a formal treatise; and in the midst of digressions and interruptions, such as are natural in conversation, the main thread of the reasoning may sometimes be lost. I have therefore appended a brief summary of the argument, set forth in its logical connections.
Author: Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
Publication date:1901

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