Philosophical Essays.

STEWART Dugald (1810)

£1500.00  [First Edition]

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First Edition. 4to. xii, [1 (errata slip)], lxxvi, 590, [1 (advertisement leaf)] pp. Edges uncut. Preliminaries lightly browned, errata slip browned, occasional foxing / spotting in the text. Original boards lined with blue paper (paper spine renewed and with repairs to the joints).


Edinburgh: by George Ramsay and Company, for William Creech, and Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh; T. Cadell, and W. Davies, Strand, [etc.], London.

This work was part of the ongoing debate, held particularly between Francis Jeffrey and Dugald Stewart, that had begun with Stewart's publication of An Account of the Life and Writings of Thomas Reid (1803).


In the lengthy (two-chapter) Preliminary Dissertation to the present work, Stewart noted, "I have always been convinced, that it was a fundamental error of Aristotle (in which he has been followed by almost every logical writer since his time) to confine his views entirely to reasoning or the discursive faculty, instead of aiming at the improvement of our nature in all its various parts. ... If this remark be well founded, it obviously follows, that in order to prepare the way for a just and comprehensive system of logic, a previous study of our nature considered as one great whole, is indispensably requisite. To establish this fundamental principle, and to exemplify it in some of its practical applications, was one of the main objects I had in view when I first entered upon my inquiries into the Human Mind; ..." (pp. lxvii-viii).


The text is in two parts. Part I contains 5 essays: "On Locke's Account of the sources of Human Knowledge, and its influence on the doctrines of some of his successors"; On the Idealism of Berkeley"; "On the influence of Locke's authority upon the Philosophical systems which prevailed in France during the latter part of the eighteenth century"; "On the metaphysical Theories of Hartley, Priestley, and Darwin"; On the tendency of some late Philological speculations". Part II contains four more extended essays: "On the Beautiful"; "On the Sublime"; "On Taste"; "On the culture of certain intellectual habits connected with the first elements of Taste".


Jeffrey's response to this, published in the Edinburgh Review, contended that practical improvements in science, that is observation and experiment, could be achieved without the hindering unwieldiness of such a methodology as the philosophy of the mind. In this rebuttal, however, Jeffrey was more aligned with Hume than with either Stewart or Reid.


Provenance: John Leaper Newton, J.P., D.L. (1754-1819), of Mickleover, Derbyshire, High Sheriff 1798, assumed the name of Newton by royal licence in 1798, with signature "J. J. Newton" on the flyleaf and 19th-century armorial bookplate on the pastedown.

Stock Code: 54093

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