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To avoid any misunderstanding as to the scope of the present book, let me say at the outset that with the exception of the Appendix, it is a critique, rather than a history. I have attempted not merely to summarize, but to estimate, present philosophical tendencies; and my criticism is throughout based on the realistic philosophy which I set forth constructively only at the end.
Since my method has been critical rather than expository I shall doubtless be charged with having committed the error personae, with having attributed to certain writers views which they would not recognize as their own. Be this as it may, I have in any case formulated the views which I have criticised, so that the merits of the question may always be in the foreground of study. I have assumed it to be more important to discover whether certain current views were true or false than to discuss with painstaking nicety the question of their attribution.
Furthermore, I realize that I have given to the several tendencies which I have discussed the relative emphasis which is characteristic of Anglo-American thought. This appears in the importance which I have attached to the blend of "critical” or Kantian, with metaphysical or Hegelian motives in idealism; in my identification of realism with the "new" or non-dualistic realism; and in the
prominence which I have given both to realism and to pragmatism. The difference in respect of distribution and
emphasis between an Anglo-American and a Continental survey of contemporary philosophy may be observed from a comparison of the present volume with Ludwig Stein's excellent book, Die Philosophische Strömungen der Gegenwart.
Portions of the present book are reprinted from periodicals; and I have made due acknowledgment in the proper places. I desire also gratefully to acknowledge the help of my friends Professor E. B. Holt, Professor E. G. Spaulding, Dr. M. P. Mason, Dr. H. M. Sheffer, and Dr. Günther Jacoby.
RALPH BARTON PERRY.
CAMBRIDGE, September, 1911.
CHAPTER III. THE SCOPE AND METHOD OF SCIENCE
$1. Naturalism and Natural Science