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dc.contributor.authorHallett, Harold Fosteren
dc.date.accessioned2019-02-15T14:28:54Z
dc.date.available2019-02-15T14:28:54Z
dc.date.issued1930en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/34607
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractTHE following essay is essentially metaphysical: it is an attempt towards providing a corrective for the phenomenalism which, in one form or another, directly or inversely, prevails in our era. Though I am an Englishman, my belief in metaphysics as the source of genuine knowledge of the Real is naked and unashamed; but metaphysics must not be conceived as remote from the most fundamental interests of the spirit of m an: the circle of human knowledge returns upon itself, and its most remote point is therefore to be found among our most intimate and deeplyfelt concerns. Here as elsewhere it is incompleteness that gives the sense of distance; and similarly it is incompleteness in the form of an overweening phenomenalism that drives the human mind to the pictorial, and therefore inadequate, metaphysics of popular theology and superstition. T o the negations of naturalism the spirit must oppose affirmations: if possible, adequate affirmations, but in any case affirmations. Thus where naturalism would confine human existence to the period between birth and death (and rightly, taking duration to be the sole meaning of existence), the spirit (equally rightly) demands something more. But not rightly if it too accepts the ultimacy of temporal existence, and thence infers a life after death (and even before birth) conceived as more of a similar kind. But the affirmation is but an illegitimate form of the correct refusal to accept a limited period of time as an adequate expression of human reality. Nevertheless it is surely clear that no one really desires an immortal existence thought of as an infinitely extended persistence through time. The dull round of endeavour and failure, of trust and deception, of achievement and recurrent dissatisfaction, while ‘to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day’, can only be an intolerable oppression to the alert imagination. Dusty death itself would be better than such immortality. ‘T o think of life as passing away is a sadness, to think of it as past is at least tolerable.’1 Our vaunted immortal hopes are but dallyings with eternity; they cannot slake ‘the undying thirst that purifies our mortal thought’ ; but even that thought, so purified, may become ‘a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters’. Other source of satisfaction for us there is none; an immortality of ever-increasing insight and enjoyment may, indeed, seem less tantalizing, but that is not the destiny of beings cast upon this bank and shoal of time, however it may be in the strong level flight of angelic existence. For us, temporal life is largely repetitive and accumulative, with but few periods of that triumphant consciousness which is our reality and our highest good. And what we really desiderate is always more reality, and less of the idle repetition that belongs to mere time, and, with accumulation, is still the characteristic even of our duration. Our good is our eternity.en
dc.description.abstractThe description of the essay as A Spinozistic Study rather than as ‘A Study of Spinoza’ is intended to be significant, and is connected with what I have already said about the aim of the work. A Spinozistic study cannot fail also to be in some considerable measure a study of Spinoza, while many a study of Spinoza has failed simply because it has not been a Spinozistic study. But the distinction thus drawn does not imply that it is intended to put aside critical exposition in favour of biased defence, or even of insistence upon a mere ipse dixit (though no modern philosopher has a stronger claim than Spinoza to the dogmatic mantle of Aristotle); it means that I prefer philosophy itself to the mere history of philosophy, and the creative spirit to the inert letter of an unfinished system.en
dc.description.abstractT he purpose of the book is thus not limited to a precise and conservative exposition of the views of a philosopher long dead, and, it may be thought, superseded, with respect to a set of topics far removed from the living thought of our own day. Such inquiries would in themselves be respectable and, however misleading when wrongly estimated, even valuable in no mean degree; here they are not to my taste, and in this study of the underlying principles of the system of Spinoza my aim has rather been to discover clues to the solution of some ultimate problems that in recent times have come into the focus of philosophical attention (though not always as problems), and which can only be met on the plane of metaphysics. Thus where I have found it necessary to discuss important points of interpretation, scholarship, use, or criticism in detail, I have done so by way of ‘Excursus’, and I hope that by this device, without failing to satisfy the just demands of exact scholarship, I have prevented the main argument from becoming too academic or overloaded with minutiae. The general reader may thus, if he wishes, avoid discussions which happen to lie beyond his immediate requirements, by occasionally omitting an Excursus.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.ispartofAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2019 Block 22en
dc.relation.isreferencedbyen
dc.titleAeternitas - a Spinozistic studyen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePrize Essayen


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