Winds Of Doctrine eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about Winds Of Doctrine.
the need of insisting, in ethics, on ethical judgments in all their purity and dogmatic sincerity.  Such insistence, if we had heard more of it in our youth, might have saved many of us from chronic entanglements; and there is nothing, next to Plato, which ought to be more recommended to the young philosopher than the teachings of Messrs. Russell and Moore, if he wishes to be a moralist and a logician, and not merely to seem one.  Yet this salutary doctrine, though correct, is inadequate.  It is a monocular philosophy, seeing outlines clear, but missing the solid bulk and perspective of things.  We need binocular vision to quicken the whole mind and yield a full image of reality.  Ethics should be controlled by a physics that perceives the material ground and the relative status of whatever is moral.  Otherwise ethics itself tends to grow narrow, strident, and fanatical; as may be observed in asceticism and puritanism, or, for the matter of that, in Mr. Moore’s uncivilised leaning towards the doctrine of retributive punishment, or in Mr. Russell’s intolerance of selfishness and patriotism, and in his refusal to entertain any pious reverence for the nature of things.  The quality of wisdom, like that of mercy, is not strained.  To choose, to love and hate, to have a moral life, is inevitable and legitimate in the part; but it is the function of the part as part, and we must keep it in its place if we wish to view the whole in its true proportions.  Even to express justly the aim of our own life we need to retain a constant sympathy with what is animal and fundamental in it, else we shall give a false place, and too loud an emphasis, to our definitions of the ideal.  However, it would be much worse not to reach the ideal at all, or to confuse it for want of courage and sincerity in uttering our true mind; and it is in uttering our true mind that Mr. Russell can help us, even if our true mind should not always coincide with his.

In the following pages I do not attempt to cover all Mr. Russell’s doctrine (the deeper mathematical purls of it being beyond my comprehension), and the reader will find some speculations of my own interspersed in what I report of his.  I merely traverse after him three subjects that seem of imaginative interest, to indicate the inspiration and the imprudence, as I think them, of this young philosophy.


“The solution of the difficulties which formerly surrounded the mathematical infinite is probably,” says Mr. Russell, “the greatest achievement of which our own age has to boast....  It was assumed as self-evident, until Cantor and Dedekind established the opposite, that if, from any collection of things, some were taken away, the number of things left must always be less than the original number of things.  This assumption, as a matter of fact, holds only of finite collections; and the rejection of it, where the infinite is concerned, has been shown to remove

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Winds Of Doctrine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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