The philosophy of the spirit (1908) - PDF- by Horatio W. Dresser

The philosophy of the spirit 

The philosophy of the spirit


There is a tradition that certain subjects are sacred and can never become matters of scientific inquiry. One of these ineffable subjects is the relationship of God to man in the highest ranges of human experience, particularly in those beatific moments when, in expectant solitude or social worship, the soul communes with the Father. But in these self-conscious days, psychology has been triumphantly carried into all fields, and if psychological descriptions have sometimes been irreverent it is a question, not of retreat, but of the analysis which affords the most appreciative description. 

The success which has attended the psychology of religion shows that very much is to be gained by undertaking an account of the higher experiences of men. What must be said on behalf of the sacred or ineffable may be added when science has achieved its utmost. In the following pages, I have ventured to mediate between science and religion by endeavouring to be appreciatively true to the everlasting realities of the religious life while taking account of and passing beyond the results attained by modern psychology. 

If no subject should more deeply inspire our reverence than that of the presence of God, none is more worthy of our thought. Accordingly, I offer what I believe to be a contribution to the study of problems that pertain to a field midway between the philosophy of religion and constructive idealism. Advocates of various points of view may meet in this common field to study questions that are rightfully prior to the development of their special views. Each may make such qualification as he will, but all must be concerned with the issues here shown to be fundamental. 

The point from which all men must start is experience. The point on which they may all eventually agree is in the description of experience on its subjective side. What lies beyond will long be a matter of dispute, for some will maintain that experience brings us into direct relation with a higher order of being, while others will insist that it is merely a question of human analysis and of the values which analytic thought assigns. The experience which is said to give direct evidence of the presence of God is only one of a number in this regard. Hence in the following discussions,

 I have begun farther back, with the facts of universally verifiable experience, before considering the special case. I have pointed out that to understand the living flux of experience we must study the immediate side of our nature in general. Having directed attention to the immediate elements of all experience, I undertake a fresh analysis of the factors that may rightfully be supposed to enter into the experience of the divine presence, always reserving a room for that which may lie beyond psychological description. 

With the various factors well in hand, and certain misapprehensions removed, it becomes possible to assess theories, such as mysticism, which have been brought forward in explanation of the divine presence. Mysticism, although rejected, is treated more appreciatively than by most critics. It becomes clear that whether or not an experience be said to reveal the divine presence it is first a question of the theory of human nature.
Contents:

CONTENTS

I. THE SCOPE OF THE INQUIRY 1
II. THE DEFINITION OF THE SPIRIT ... 31
III. THE STARTING-POINT . . . -57
IV. THE ETERNAL TYPE OF LIFE ... 76 V. THE NATURAL AND THE SPIRITUAL . . 102
VI. THE CHANNELS OF THE SPIRIT . . .128
VII. THE IMMEDIACY OF THE SPIRIT . . .154
VIII. THE VALUE OF INTUITION . . .178
IX. A STUDY OF THE EMOTIONS . . . 199
X. THE VALUE OF FEELING .... 232
XI. THE IMPORT OF IMMEDIACY . . . 240
XII. AN ESTIMATE OF MYSTICISM . . . 272
XIII. GUIDANCE ...... 296
XIV. THE PLACE OF FAITH . . . .328 XV. THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT . . . 349
THE ELEMENT OF IRRATIONALITY IN THE HEGELIAN DIALECTIC ... 393
INDEX

  • Author: Horatio W. Dresser
  • Publication date:1908
  • Company: Putnam's Sons; London, E. Mathews

  • Download The philosophy of the spirit - 22.4 MB.

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