9781855068254

Scottish Common Sense Philosophy

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  • ISBN13:

    9781855068254

  • ISBN10:

    1855068257

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-09-15
  • Publisher: Thoemmes
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Summary

The Scottish Common Sense School of philosophy emerged during the Scottish Enlightenment of the second half of the eighteenth century. The School’s principal proponents were Thomas Reid, James Oswald, James Beattie and Dugald Stewart. They believed that we are all naturally implanted with an array of common sense intuitions and these intuitions are in fact the foundation of truth. Their approach dominated philosophical thought in Great Britain and the United States until the mid nineteenth century. In recent years philosophers have renewed their appreciation of the notion of common sense. In particular, discussions of common sense intuitions are integral to contemporary epistemological foundationalism.

Scottish Common Sense Philosophy: Sources and Origins is a 5-volume collection of writings by and about philosophers in the eighteenth-century Scottish Common Sense School. The writings by Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart are readily available in recent editions and facsimile reprints so this series focuses on less accessible and less well-known items.

Oswald’s Appeal appears here in print for the first time in any form since 1772. Volume 2 is the first reset printing of Beattie’s Essay in over 100 years, and is the only edition to contain annotations that trace the major changes that he made to the text. Almost all of the responses in volumes 3 and 4 appear here in print for the first time since their original publication. These include reviews, pamphlets and excerpts from books. Also included is previously unpublished discussion of Beattie’s Essay by Dugald Stewart. The final volume is a bibliography of around 80 Scottish philosophers from the early eighteenth century to the close of the nineteenth century. Unlike the 1932 bibliography of Scottish philosophers offered by T. E. Jessop, which selectively presents only the philosophical writings by the various Scottish philosophers, this volume attempts to catalogue all of the writings by these philosophers in all of their editions.





Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction xv
An Appeal to Common Sense in Behalf of Religion
BOOK I.
Mankind in all ages have paid too little regard to the authority of common sense.
Introduction
1(8)
Learned and unlearned have a strong propensity to pursue far-fetched discoveries, to the neglect of truths more obvious and useful
9(6)
The sages of antiquity neglected obvious truths of the greatest moment to the interests of virtue, through an absurd inclination to employ their reasoning powers on improper subjects
15(3)
Christian divines did, in contradiction to common sense, and to the detriment of religion, subject the most sacred and obvious truths to the refinements of reasoning
18(3)
BOOK II.
By setting aside the authority of common sense, modern philosophy gives occasion to universal scepticism.
According to the modern hypothesis, primary truths must be deduced from the testimony of sense, or the axioms of the schools, by trains of subtile reasoning
21(9)
Upon the modern hypothesis, it is impossible to arrive at full satisfaction concerning truths the most obvious and important
30(5)
In consequence of the modern hypothesis, writers, of distinguished character have run into the utmost licentiousness of reasoning, in contradiction to evident and important truths
35(3)
BOOK III.
To banish scepticism, and establish the belief of primary truths, it is necessary to depart from the modern hypothesis, and to have recourse to the authority of common sense.
It is impossible to make a rational account of our belief of many truths of great importance, without having recourse to common sense
38(7)
Late writers of genius and industry have failed in their attempts to account for the natural sentiments of mankind, through a shiness to quit the modern hypothesis in favour of common sense
45(8)
The success of divines and philosophers in establishing the primary truths of religion, would have been much greater than it is, if they had betaken themselves to the authority of common sense
53(8)
BOOK IV.
Common sense perceives and pronounces upon all primary truths with the same indubitable certainty with which we perceive and pronounce on objects of sense by out bodily organs.
Rational beings perceive and pronounce on many realities in nature, which being no objects of sense, are hid from the irrational
61(7)
By the discernment peculiar to rational beings, called common sense, we perceive all primary truths in the same manner as we perceive objects of sense by our bodily organs
68(6)
Primary truths of religion and morality are as much objects of common sense as other primary truths
74(4)
Through the primary truths of religion and morality are not equally attended to, they are equally self-evident with other primary truths
78(5)
Our knowledge and belief of all primary truths are derived, not from sensation, or reflection upon sensation, but from that power of perceiving and judging peculiar to rational beings, called common sense
83(4)
BOOK V.
The judgment of commons sense will be decisive with men of sound understanding.
It is easy to distinguish truths which have, from those which have not, the authority of common sense
87(5)
By hesitating about truths which have the authority of common sense, one falls, under the censure of folly or madness
92(5)
BOOK VI.
All objections to the authority of common sense are groundless
Variety of opinions is not incompatible with common sense
97(5)
Prejudices and passions may suppress, but cannot extinguish common sense
102(3)
The same subject continued
We have a right to appeal from common opinion, which is often on the side of error, to common sense, which is always on the side of truth
105(9)
BOOK VII.
The assertions of sceptics and infidels ought to be tried at the bar of common sense.
Reasoning with sceptics and infidels about primary truths doth more harm than good
114(6)
The best office to be done for sceptics or infidels is, to divert them from reasoning, and put them on judging of primary truths by their inherent evidence
120(4)
The same subject continued
124(7)
LETTERS.
Letter I.
131(1)
Letter II.
132(2)
Letter III.
134(1)
Letter IV.
135(1)
Letter V.
136(4)
Letter VI.
140(3)
Letter VII.
143(8)
BOOK I.
Of the authority on which we admit primary truths.
Reason requires our admitting primary truths on its authority alone, under the penalty of being convicted of folly and nonsense if we do not
151(4)
The same subject continued
155(2)
The same subject continued
157(3)
It is a reproach to a man of sense, to have recourse to any other authority than the simple dictates of reason for the belief of primary truths
160(4)
We have the authority of reason more full and complete for the belief of primary truths, then for the belief of any truths deductible from them by the art of reasoning
164(5)
We ought never to despair of mens giving up idle reasonings, and admitting primary truths on the authority of reason
169(4)
BOOK II.
Of the Being of God.
The being of God is too obvious and sacred a truth to be subjected to the reasonings of men
173(3)
Too much encouragement hath been given to the cavils of sceptics, by entering into reasonings about the being of God
176(3)
The chief effect of analogical reasoning for the being of God is, to put the gross absurdity of the contrary supposition in its full light
179(2)
Any one above the level of an idiot, may see the invisible perfections of God from the visible harmony of the universe
181(2)
A man of sense will rest in the belief of one God, till be sees ground to suspect that more than one exist
183(3)
BOOK III.
Of the Attributes of God.
To acknowledge the being, and dispute the attributes of God, betrays great stupidity, or gross prevarication
186(4)
The experience men have of the goodness and justice of God, renders all hesitation about these attributes utterly inexcusable
190(3)
The little sense men have of the goodness and justice of God must be imputed to the badness of their hearts
193(2)
It is impossible to conceive, that a being of absolute perfection should do wrong, or should not, in all cases, do what is right and fit to be done
195(4)
That their guilt is atrocious who deny what is due to the Deity, may, with safety, be appealed to those who retain the least sense of what is due to a benefactor or parent, a sovereign or judge
199(3)
BOOK IV.
Of Providence.
It is impossible for created beings to exist, or act, independently of their creator, for one moment of time
202(5)
Particular dispensations of Providence take place, without the least infringment of general laws
207(3)
Without pretending to comprehend the plan of God, we see plainly, that all things are so ordered, as to favour our pursuit of virtue and happiness
210(3)
BOOK V.
Of Moral Government.
The phantastical notions of divine goodness propagated of late, are condemned by the phenomena from without, and the voice of conscience from within
213(2)
It is impossible that the supreme ruler should sacrifice justice to the happiness of his creatures
215(4)
The supreme ruler hath a right to govern his creatures with a just regard to merit and demerit
219(4)
All know enough of the supreme excellence of moral worth, to silence their murmurs against its being the ultimate end and object of the divine government
223(3)
While men are disaffected to their duty, they must be dissatisfied with the plan of God
226(5)
BOOK VI.
Of Moral Obligation.
It is nonsense to doubt our obligation to behave with propriety towards every intelligent being with whom we are connected
231(5)
It is nonsense to doubt our obligation to serve God with the ability we have, and apply to him for what we have not
236(3)
To ask, or expect, that God should enable us to do what he hath already put in our power to do, is folly and presumption
239(6)
To aim at becoming ruly wise and good, without a continual dependence on a divine direction and influence, is a vain and chimerical project
245(5)
BOOK VII.
Of Conscience.
We have a feeling, as well as perception, of moral excellence
250(3)
A sense of merit and demerit is essential to a rational being
253(3)
The moral sense may be in full exercise, when conscience does not act at all
256(3)
To bear witness to our fulfilment or non-fulfilment of known obligation, is the province of conscience
259(2)
The sentence of conscience is always according to truth, and therefore must stand
261(3)
It is impossible to decline the authority, or escape the tribunal, of conscience
264(5)
BOOK VIII.
Of a Future Judgment.
To maintain a curious debate about a future judgment, when we ought to be employed in preparing for so awful an event, is unpardonable folly
269(6)
The same subject continued
275(4)
The same subject continued
279(2)
The same subject continued
281(3)
BOOK IX.
A refutation of Objections to the evidence of Primary Truths.
The belief of primary truths is founded on grounds that are indisputable; but that of bigots is not
284(4)
All primary truths, however various in other respects, have the same, that is, absolute evidence
288(4)
In judging of any subject, no regard must be had to arbitrary suppositions, when opposed to known facts or indubitable truths
292(3)
Our ideas of divine truth are not more obscure or imperfect, than are our ideas of numberless realities in nature on which we proceed without hesitation
295(3)
The little attention we give to the primary truths of religion and morality, and not any defect of evidence, is the true cause of the weakness of our belief
298(3)
The behaviour of sceptics towards their master in heaven, is nothing different from the behaviour of dishonest servants towards their earthly masters; and the remedy for both is the same
301(3)
CONCLUSION.
Address to men of sense and probity.
1.
304(2)
2.
306(5)
3.
311(3)
4.
314

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