Recent Developments in European Thought eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 337 pages of information about Recent Developments in European Thought.
of unmethodic guessing to be a philosophy very seriously.  To ‘give and receive argument’ appears to me to be of the very essence of Philosophy.  As for M. Bergson, I yield to no one in admiration for his brilliancy as a stylist and the happiness of many of his illustrations.  But I have always found it difficult to grasp his central idea—­if he really has one—­because his whole doctrine has always seemed to me to be based upon a couple of elementary blunders which will be found in the opening chapter of his Donnees Immediates de la Conscience.  We are there called on to reject the intellect in Philosophy on the grounds (1) that, being originally developed in the services of practical needs, it can at best tell us how to find our way about among the bodies around us, and is thus debarred from knowing more than the outsides of things; (2) that its typical achievement is therefore geometry, and geometry, because it can measure only straight lines, necessarily misconceives the true character of ‘real duration’.  Now, as to the first point, I should have thought it obvious that the establishment of a modus vivendi with one’s fellows has always been as much of a practical need as the avoidance of stones and pit-falls, and the alleged conclusion about the defects of the intellect does not therefore seem to me to follow from M. Bergson’s premisses, even if we had any reason, as I do not see that we have, to accept the premisses.  And as to the second point, I would ask whether M. Bergson possesses a clock or a watch, and if he has, how he supposes time is measured on them?  He seems to me to have forgotten the elementary fact that angles can be measured as well as straight lines. (I might add that he makes the further curious assumption that all geometry is metrical.) It may be that something would be left of the Bergsonian philosophy if one eliminated the consequences of these initial blunders, but I do not know what the remainder would be.  At any rate, the anti-intellectualism which M. Bergson and his disciple, Professor Carr, seem to regard as fundamental will have to go, unless different and better grounds can be found for it.  I must leave it to others to judge of the adequacy of this apology.


Varisco, The Great Problem (Macmillan).

Varisco, Know Thyself (Macmillan).

Aliotta, The Idealistic Reaction against Science (Macmillan).

Bertrand Russell, Our Knowledge of the External World (Open Court
Publishing Co.).

Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (Home University

A.N.  Whitehead, The Principles of Natural Knowledge (Cambridge Press).

G.E.  Moore, Ethics (H.U.L.).

W. McDougall, Philosophy (H.U.L.).

A.N.  Whitehead, Introduction to Mathematics (H.U.L.).

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Recent Developments in European Thought from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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