Modest British Metaphysician


Brit F.H. Bradley was a modest self-effacing being. One has to look no further than his dedication where he referred to his magnum opus Appearance and Reality as an unworthy volume to his friend with initials E.R.. Evidently anonymity was sometimes preferred even in the pre Google days.

He also charactrizes his work a “desultory handling of perhaps the chief questions in metaphysics.” He honestly states that his index is not a true comprehensive index, but more of collection of references that may have been of special interest to Sir Bradley.

In his Preface, his definition of the term metaphysics should withstand the test of time. What is metaphysics? Metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct. I interpret this as conclusions reached by common sense and instinct are often mistaken and erroneous.

Also in the Preface, the term negative had the connotation of implying an attitude of active questioning. Nowadays negative frequently means critical of or unpleasant. Ahhh, how our language morphs into new and different forms over time.


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