THE ANALYSIS OF MIND
MUIRHEAD LIBRARY OF PHILOSOPHY
"The Muirhead Library of Philosophy was designed as a contribution to the History of Modern Philosophy under the heads: first of Different Schools of Thought--Sensationalist, Realist, Idealist, Intuitivist; secondly of different Subjects--Psychology, Ethics, Aesthetics, Political Philosophy, Theology. While much had been done in England in tracing the course of evolution in nature, history, economics, morals and religion, little had been done in tracing the development of thought on these subjects. Yet 'the evolution of opinion is part of the whole evolution'.
"By the co-operation of different writers in carrying out this plan it was hoped that a thoroughness and completeness of treatment, otherwise unattainable, might be secured. It was believed also that from writers mainly British and American fuller consideration of English Philosophy than it had hitherto received might be looked for. In the earlier series of books containing, among others, Bosanquet's "History of Aesthetic," Pfleiderer's "Rational Theology since Kant," Albee's "History of English Utilitarianism," Bonar's "Philosophy and Political Economy," Brett's "History of Psychology," Ritchie's "Natural Rights," these objects were to a large extent effected.
"In the meantime original work of a high order was being produced both in England and America by such writers as Bradley, Stout, Bertrand Russell, Baldwin, Urban, Montague, and others, and a new interest in foreign works, German, French and Italian, which had either become classical or were attracting public attention, had developed. The scope of the Library thus became extended into something more international, and it is entering on the fifth decade of its existence in the hope that it may contribute to that mutual understanding between countries which is so pressing a need of the present time."
The need which Professor Muirhead stressed is no less pressing to-day, and few will deny that philosophy has much to do with enabling us to meet it, although no one, least of all Muirhead himself, would regard that as the sole, or even the main, object of philosophy. As Professor Muirhead continues to lend the distinction of his name to the Library of Philosophy it seemed not inappropriate to allow him to recall us to these aims in his own words. The emphasis on the history of thought also seemed to me very timely; and the number of important works promised for the Library in the very near future augur well for the continued fulfilment, in this and other ways, of the expectations of the original editor.
H. D. Lewis
This book has grown out of an attempt to harmonize two different tendencies, one in psychology, the other in physics, with both of which I find myself in sympathy, although at first sight they might seem inconsistent. On the one hand, many psychologists, especially those of the behaviourist school, tend to adopt what is essentially a materialistic position, as a matter of method if not of metaphysics. They make psychology increasingly dependent on physiology and external observation, and tend to think of matter as something much more solid and indubitable than mind. Meanwhile the physicists, especially Einstein and other exponents of the theory of relativity, have been making "matter" less and less material. Their world consists of "events," from which "matter" is derived by a logical construction. Whoever reads, for example, Professor Eddington's "Space, Time and Gravitation"
(Cambridge University Press, 1920), will see that an old-fashioned materialism can receive no support from modern physics. I think that what has permanent value in the outlook of the behaviourists is the feeling that physics is the most fundamental science at present in existence. But this position cannot be called materialistic, if, as seems to be the case, physics does not assume the existence of matter.
The view that seems to me to reconcile the materialistic tendency of psychology with the anti-materialistic tendency of physics is the view of William James and the American new realists, according to which the "stuff" of the world is neither mental nor material, but a "neutral stuff," out of which both are constructed. I have endeavoured in this work to develop this view in some detail as regards the phenomena with which psychology is concerned.
My thanks are due to Professor John B. Watson and to Dr. T. P. Nunn for reading my MSS. at an early stage and helping me with many valuable suggestions; also to Mr. A. Wohlgemuth for much very useful information as regards important literature. I have also to acknowledge the help of the editor of this Library of Philosophy, Professor Muirhead, for several suggestions by which I have profited.
The work has been given in the form of lectures both in London and Peking, and one lecture, that on Desire, has been published in the Athenaeum.
There are a few allusions to China in this book, all of which were written before I had been in China, and are not intended to be taken by the reader as geographically accurate. I have used "China" merely as a synonym for "a distant country," when I wanted illustrations of unfamiliar things.
Peking, January 1921.Next