A History Of Freedom Of Thought (1913) by Bury, John Bagnell (1861–1927)
"IT is a common saying that thought is free. A man can never be hindered from thinking whatever he chooses so long as he conceals what he thinks. The working of his mind is limited only by the bounds of his experience and the power of his imagination. But this natural liberty of private thinking is of little value. It is unsatisfactory and even painful to the thinker himself, if he is not permitted to communicate his thoughts to others, and it is obviously of no value to his neighbours. Moreover it is extremely difficult to hide thoughts that have any power over the mind. If a man’s thinking leads him to call in question ideas and customs which regulate the behaviour of those about him, to reject beliefs which they hold, to see better ways of life than those they follow, it is almost impossible for him, if he is convinced of the truth of his own reasoning, not to betray by silence, chance words, or general attitude that he is different from them and does not share their opinions. Some have preferred, like Socrates, some would prefer to-day, to face death rather than conceal their thoughts. Thus freedom of thought, in any valuable sense, includes freedom of speech." (Chapter 1)
A History Of Freethought: Ancient And Modern (1915, 3d Edition) by Robertson, John Mackinnon (1856–1933)
"Short histories are perhaps not among the best of disciplines ; and the History of Freethought is at least as hard to write justly or master intelligently in short compass as any other. At the same time, the concise history, which is a different thing from the epitomes denounced by Bacon, has its advantages ; and I have striven in this case to guard somewhat against the disadvantages by habitual citation of authorities, and by the frequent brief discussion, in paragraphs in smaller type, of disputed and theoretical matters. These discussions can be skipped by the unleisured reader, and weighed by the student, at pleasure, the general narrative in larger type going on continuously.
Such a book could not be written without much use of the works of specialists in the history of religion and philosophy, or without debt to many other culture-historians. These debts, I think, are pretty fully indicated in the notes ; from which it will also appear, I hope, that I have striven to check my authorities throughout, and to make the reader aware of most occasions for doubt on matters of historic fact. The generalisation of the subject matter is for the most part my own affair." (Preface To The 1st Edition)
Volume 1: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/51793
Volume 2: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/52160
Freedom Of The Mind In History (1923) Taylor, Henry Osborn (1856–1941)
"In May 1920 I delivered the West Lectures at Leland Stanford Jr. University, selecting, as within the scope of the Founder’s purpose, the subject indicated by my title-page. I spoke of the free action of the human mind through history, and tried to distinguish this agency from the grosser or more palpably determined factors shaping the fortunes of our race.
Doubtless the subject lacks definiteness. It is elusive and full of snares. Though I have since devoted a good three years to this small volume, and indeed most of my life in some way to its preparation, I feel it will be found logically reprehensible, and by no means free from inconsistencies." (Preface)
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