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ALFORD PROFESSOR OF MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY IN HARVARD COLLEGE.
BOSTON AND CAMBRIDGE:
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
ALVAN B. RASTY, PRINTER,
3 WATER ST., BOSTOX.
ALLEN AND FARNHAM, STEREOTYPERS
Though Dugald Stewart has not added many new truths to the Philosophy of Mind, and has hardly attempted to solve its more abstruse and intricate problems, he has done much to render it intelligible, popular, and useful. He is a great master of clear, harmonious, and ornate diction, which often rises into eloquence, and never fails to impart interest and animation to the least promising portions of his subject. But refined taste and elegant scholarship are among the least of his merits; the doctrines which he inculcates are those of vigorous common sense and sound morality, never deformed by a love of paradox, and never compromising the interests of truth by straining after novelty, or by unseasonable attempts to appear ingenious and profound. The principles of social order and good government, and the great interests of virtue and religion, were never more impressively taught, or eloquently defended, than by this professor of Scotch metaphysics, who had the honor to reckon among his pupils many who have since attained the highest distinction in the walks of science, literature, and statesmanship. His writings, though he modestly says of them that they are “ professedly elementary,” have been more generally studied than those of any English author upon the same subject during the last half century; and it is a striking proof of their merits, and of the spirit of candor and amiability which is manifested in them, that they have never been assailed by harsh or vindictive criticism. Those who controverted his opinions have always spoken of him with much respect, while his disciples appear to have regarded him, especially towards the close of his long and useful life, with affectionate veneration.
His principal work, “ The Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind," has been frequently republished in this country, and has been much used as a text-book of instruction in metaphysical science in our colleges and schools. When applied to such a purpose, however, it must be admitted that it has many redundancies and some defects. The style, with all its merits, is somewhat diffuse, the digressions are numerous, and the illustrations and citations from other authors, more copious than the subject requires, or than the patience of the reader will always warrant. . I have pruned these superfluities with great freedom, my purpose being to leave the statement of doctrine and the course of the argument encumbered with no more extraneous matter than seemed necessary for the entertainment of the pupil. Mr. Stewart's caution in the statement of his opinions may appear excessive, and it occasionally betrays him into vagueness of expression and a kind of indirect style, which leaves his meaning to be ascertained rather by inference, than from the obvious import of the language. He also takes for granted the reader's acquaintance with the writings and opinions of his more celebrated contemporaries and predecessors, thus leaving many blanks to be filled by those who are not particularly conversant with philosophical studies. I have endeavored to supply some of these deficiencies in the notes; but wishing not to swell the dimensions of the book, and at the same time to make it contain as much as possible of Stewart's own speculations, I have preferred silently to omit those passages which stood in great need of annotation, instead of introducing them with a commentary which should seem disproportioned in amount to the text. But these abridgments have been very carefully made, and I hope it will be found that they do not mar the continuity of the work, or leave any gaps which may create obscurity.
Whatever I have added to this edition, either in the text or the notes, is inclosed in angular brackets, [ ], so that the reader may easily distinguish Mr. Stewart's words from those of his commentator. For the convenience both of teachers and learners, I have also given a sort of analysis and abstract of the doctrines and arguments of the author, by prefixing to many of the paragraphs a brief statement, in italic type, of the subject to which it relates, or of the point which it is designed to prove. These headings of the sections are not inclosed in brackets, being sufficiently indicated by their nature, and by the change of type. Italics have also been freely used in the body of the work, in order to direct the student's attention to the particular words or sentences which contain the gist of the paragraph ;
a precaution which diffuse and digressive writers may often profitably adopt, in order that their readers may never be at a loss to know what they are driving at.
The first portion of Mr. Stewart's Elements” was published in 1792; and after an interval of more than twenty years," he presented to the public the second volume. It was less successful than its predecessor, as the subject of which it treats is more abstruse and forbidding than the former theme, and not so well adapted to the author's peculiar tastes and powers. The researches and speculations of later writers, moreover, especially of Sir John Herschel, Mr. J. S. Mill
, and Dr. Whewell, have deprived this later volume, in great part, of the interest and importance which it formerly possessed. I have, therefore, made comparatively little use of it in this abridgment, omitting the latter half of it altogether, and striking out large portions of the first two chapters. Mr. Stewart's own annotations, a double tier of which accompanies, and almost exceeds in quantity, the text, have also been diligently winnowed and bolted, so that they are reduced to a small portion of their primitive bulk. Translations are given of the Latin, Greek, and French citations, the original being often removed to make room for them.
The following extract from Mr. Stewart's Preface to his second volume, is a sufficient indication of the pur