Beacon Lights of History, Volume 14 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 372 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 14.
moulded into forms of moral nature so superior to our own that the account of their goodness almost savors of romance; and it is reasonable to infer that what has even now happened on a small scale may, under kindred conditions, ultimately happen on a large scale.  Prolonged studies, showing among other things the need for certain qualifications above indicated, but also revealing facts like that just named, have not caused our author to recede from the belief expressed nearly fifty years ago that “the ultimate man will be one whose private requirements coincide with public ones.  He will be that manner of man who, in spontaneously fulfilling his own nature, incidentally performs the functions of a social unit; and yet is only enabled so to fulfil his own nature by all others doing the like.”

Before taking leave of the “Principles of Sociology,” we should caution the reader against a misconception that might seem, at first sight, to find some warrant in the following remark of a sympathetic reviewer:  “Like Aristotle, he [Mr. Spencer] has had to delegate large portions of his work to be done for him by others.”  As our author has himself pointed out in “Facts and Comments,” the reviewer’s reference will be rightly interpreted by those who know that the work delegated by Aristotle to others was simply the collection of materials for his Natural History, not the classification of those materials, much less the drawing of inductions from them.  As not one reader in ten knows this, however, wrong impressions are likely to be made by the reviewer’s remark.  Mr. Spencer’s name being especially associated with the “Synthetic Philosophy,” the sentence quoted will suggest to many the thought that large portions of that work were written by deputy.  This, of course, the reviewer did not mean to say.  The work to which he referred is entitled “Descriptive Sociology, or groups of sociological facts, classified and arranged by Herbert Spencer, compiled and abstracted by David Duncan, Richard Scheppig and James Collier,” eight parts of which have thus far appeared.  Knowing that he should be unable to read all the works of travel and history containing the facts he should need when dealing with the science of society, Mr. Spencer engaged these gentlemen—­first one, then two, then three—­to read up for him and arrange the extracts they made in a manner prescribed.  With much material he had himself accumulated in the course of many years, our author incorporated a much larger amount of material derived from the compilations just mentioned when writing the “Principles of Sociology.”


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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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