Recent Works In Metaphysical Science -- By: Noah Porter

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:17 (Feb 1848)
Article: Recent Works In Metaphysical Science
Author: Noah Porter


Recent Works In Metaphysical Science

Noah Porter

The three works of which we have given the titles, are all of them of great interest to students of metaphysical or ‘speculative’ science. The first two especially deserve notice, as marking a new point in the history of the sciences in Great Britain. For they are fitted to wipe away the double reproach which has rested upon English students up to the present time, that they either did not care to acquaint themselves with the speculations of the continental philosophers, or were incompetent to appreciate and criticise them. The publication of Morell’s History and the favor with which it has been received effectually refutes the first reproach; and an attentive study of the second work will dissipate, if it does not demolish, the other. The third work is too valuable for the American student not to deserve a friendly recognition.

The history of Morell is published in two handsome 8vo. volumes. It has passed to its second edition, which has received additions important in their extent and value. The author, as we are informed, is yet a young man who has devoted the beginnings of his manhood principally to metaphysical studies, and hopes to make these studies the occupation of his life. He has studied in the schools of Scotland, of Germany and of France, and has had the means of fully acquainting himself with the philosophers of the continent, not merely by reading their writings, but by hearing them in their lecture-rooms, and by mingling in their circles. These advantages he seems to have used with great diligence, and with an honest and impartial spirit. His work shows him to be a candid and truth-loving man, who aims to be unbiassed by any prejudices except an honorable attachment to the truth as distinguished from error, to science as opposed to scepticism, and to faith in that which is immortal and spiritual as contrasted with that which is earthly and sensual. His mind is clear, comprehensive and just, and his style is natural, graceful and easy. If there be any defects worth naming, they are that his intellect though superior does not evince the highest vigor and acuteness, and that his style lacks closeness, energy and point.

In the preface to the first edition, the author has given some account of his own philosophical studies and of the history of his opinions, as the most ready explanation of his object in preparing the work, and also of the character of the work itself, as indicated by the purpose for which it was written. He tells us that at first he studied Locke with

interest but without entire satisfaction, that he next read Brown and became an enthusiastic admirer ...

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