Notes On British Theology And Philosophy -- By: James Lindsay

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 062:248 (Oct 1905)
Article: Notes On British Theology And Philosophy
Author: James Lindsay


Notes On British Theology And Philosophy

James Lindsay

Kilmarnock. Scotland

In his newly published work, “The Metaphysics of Nature,”1 Professor Carveth Read, M.A., Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Logic in University College, London, has made a notable contribution to British metaphysical thought.

The scope of the work may be gathered from its divisions. The two introductory chapters, dealing with “Belief and Knowledge “and “Reality and Truth,” are followed by Book J.—Canonic, dealing with the tests of truth and like matters, Book II.—Cosmology, Book III.—Psychology, and Book IV.—the Categories. The writing is solid, and yet is interesting,—very interesting, indeed, to a philosophical student, who soon finds himself in the hands of a live and competent thinker. The author of this work will be an ornament to the chair that

was occupied by Croom Robertson and Sully, and we give his work our heartiest commendation, so much have we enjoyed its perusal. One might easily be critical of points of detail, but it seems worthier, in such a case, to follow rather a certain prevailing largeness of appreciation. There is no lack of suggestiveness, nor is the author devoid of a certain humor which at times well befits the work, usually severe. One judges it certain, however, that many philosophical readers, who are not extreme idealists, will think somewhat fuller justice might have been done to the idealistic elements in our thought’s final construction of world-reality. For if we allow a world of reality outside of us, and independent of us, shaping our thought-constructions of the world, it is still in the end as the mental construction of us, as perceivers, that the world is known. But perhaps, in days when we have suffered much extreme idealistic writing, something more moderate should not be too closely scrutinized. It is at least a change from idealistic monotony and iteration, and, after all, we want to feel that the world here has some reality. Empirical Reality, our author says, “existed before any conceptual system, has survived the failure of many, and may see the passing of many more” (p. 77). Again, our author concludes “that to speak of Nature as itself the Universal Reason or Thought, is an abuse of language; that the objectifying or hypostatising of thought does not give us the differential characters of inorganic Nature; and that it does not explain the fact of Empirical Reality, where thought and sensation meet in the perceptions and experience of normal men” (p. 164). This sort of tendency Professor Read carries at times farther than we should care to go, as when, for example, he asks, on pag...

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