Pitt-Rivers George - Conscience & fanaticism


Author : Pitt-Rivers George Henry Lane-Fox
Title : Conscience & fanaticism An essay on moral values
Year : 1919

Link download : Pitt-Rivers_George_-_Conscience_and_fanaticism.zip

In presenting this little volume to the public I am fully conscious of my presumption in introducing my personal views in a region where many hundreds of better qualified writers have devoted their best efforts. Since, however, no apology can justify a profitless task, if such it be, or add to its utility, if indeed it possesses any, I will not attempt to make one. If I have contributed in ever so slight a degree towards an understanding of the mental state or attitude we cali fanaticism, for the purpose of guarding against the catastrophes it begets, I shall have achieved my purpose. It is unfortunately inevitable that a discussion which involves current opinions and beliefs must necessarily encounter strong prejudices and opposition, but it is less on this account that this little work is likely to fail than for the reason to which Hume attributed the failure which attended the publication of his "Treatise of Human Nature," which he described as his guilt " of a very usual indiscretion, in going to the press too early." A circumstance which prevented that " unfortunate literary attempt from reaching such distinction as even to excite a murmur among the zealots." Needless to say, lhave relied for my interpretation of human notions and ideas, and the conduct which results from them, very largely upon the works of past and contemporary writers ; and my indebtedness to those with whom I differ no less than those with whom I agree is but very inadequately acknowledged in my references to the works of sorne of them. The earlier portions of the essay are devoted chiefiy to an examination of moral ideas, the latter portions more exclusively to the facts of nature and of mind from which they derive their meaning. Throughout I have attempted to keep the argument as free as possible from the thin air of philosophical and scholastic dialectic, and as far as possible in terms of common usage and thought. With this end in view, and for the sake of brevity, the authors to whose works I have referred most frequently have been selected either because they are better known or because their opinions are more widely held than in the case of others. But in any case no claim to exhaustive or even adequate treatment can be made for so slight a review of so vast a subject. ...

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