The Philosophy Of Knowledge. -- By: Jacob Cooper
BSac 55:217 (Jan 1898) p. 190
The Philosophy Of Knowledge.1
New Brunswick, N.J.
A spurious science has never ceased to throw down the challenge to those who believe more than it is possible to prove by the senses, to make good their position. Such science proudly boasts that it will accept nothing that will not submit to the tests of the laboratory or the measuring-line of mathematics. This boast has been made so often, and with such a parade of audacious hypotheses, that those who make it have deceived themselves into a belief of its legitimacy, and imposed upon weak followers who have neither the ability nor the patience to sift the arguments by which it is sustained.
Professor Ladd in his new book “The Philosophy of Knowledge” calmly accepts the challenge, and boldly “carries the war into Africa.” He meets materialists and agnostics on their own ground. With remarkable fairness, which argues supreme confidence in his own position, he admits all the data of physical science; states its fundamental laws with more force than Büchner or Lamarck, and then builds up his own theory of metaphysics from such axiomatic principles as must be assumed alike in every department of inquiry if we would build up any system of reasoned knowledge. One marked trait of Professor Ladd, which may be seen in all his books, but is especially manifest in this, is, that he is not afraid of the truth. And justly. For what is true can never contradict itself, no matter in what province of thought it may be employed. Hence if any dogma can be proved to be false, however widely disseminated, there is but one duty left to him who discovers its falsity; that is, to abandon it himself, and to expose it to public reprobation. Some persons seem always afraid for the ark of God; and well they might, if they considered only the character of the oxen who drew it. But if the truths which lie hidden there are those according to which the world was created and is governed, then, while it makes no difference to those truths how we are affected toward them, yet it is of the utmost consequence
BSac 55:217 (Jan 1898) p. 191
whether we accept them and work them into the texture of our thought and action.
This book of Professor Ladd’s is the most distinctly metaphysical of any that has seen the light in our country. It is a difficult book to read. The style is not always clear and flowing. There are many infelicities of diction marring the beauty of the thought, which is always vigorous and directed to a definite purpose. In reading this work the thought will obtrude itself: Is speculative philosophy necessarily wedded to an obscure style? Cannot the principles ...
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