ALFRED WILLIAM BENN (1843–1915)
The History Of English Rationalism In The Nineteenth Century (1906)
"The appearance of this work suggests an increasing tendency on the part of English writers to trace the historical development of the different phases of intellectual progress. Before his death Sir Leslie Stephen had added his English Utilitarians to his earlier treatise on English Thought in the Eighteenth Century. Mr. Merz has recently completed the first part of his great undertaking in description of European Thought in the Nineteenth Century. Now from Mr. Benn we have an account of English rationalism in the century which has just ended. Like the other writers mentioned, Mr. Benn has understood his task seriously. It is almost superfluous to remark that the work before us is characterized by a broad outlook, extensive information, and insight into the phenomena with which it deals. Indeed, at times the reader questions whether the scope of the discussion is not too extended. Civil history, party politics, electoral manœuvers, the relations of England to foreign nations, are all cited in explanation of the ebb and flow of unbelief, as well as science and philosophy, literature and criticism, and the religious motives proper. Rationalism in the eighteenth century is elaborately discussed as a prelude to its nineteenth century developments. Attention is directed not only to thought in Britain, but to the changes of opinion throughout the European world. And the details of religious evolution are considered so fully that at times there is danger of their obscuring the account of thought at large.
In fine, The history of English Rationalism is an important work, broadly planned and elaborately executed..." (A. C. Armstrong, The Philosophical Review, 11/1907)
Early Greek Philosophy (1908)
122 pages long.
Modern England: A Record Of Opinion And Action From The Time Of The French Revolution To The Present Day (1908)
"The scope and limits of the present work are to some extent indicated by its second title. A record of opinion and action, as distinguished from a record of events, deals especially with those elements of history which are determined by mental causes, by human feelings, human reason, and human will, rather than by those unconscious agencies which the great historians of antiquity were wont to group together under the names of fortune or fate. In pursuance of this method I have omitted masses of detail which bulk very largely in the pages of most English Histories, such as the particulars of battles and sieges, incidents in the lives of great personages possessing merely biographical interest. Court pageants, and so forth. On the other hand, this economy of space has enabled me to include some intellectual events that other historians have altogether omitted, and to give a much greater relative prominence to those general tendencies by which social changes are ultimately determined. In particular, I have devoted special attention to that widespread disintegration of theological beliefs which Nietzsche has called the greatest event of modern history, bringing into view on the one side its antecedents in the philosophy, science, and scholarship of the age, and on the other side its reaction on literature and politics." (Preface)
History Of Modern Philosophy (1912, 1st Edition) ✓
The Greek Philosophers (1914, 2nd Edition)
"On the whole, I fear that my acquaintance with the modern literature of the subject will be found rather limited for an undertaking like the present. But I do not think that wider reading in that direction would have much furthered the object I had in view. That object has been to exhibit the principal ideas of Greek philosophy in the closest possible connexion with the characters of their authors, with each other, with the parallel tendencies of literature and art, with the history of religion, of physical science, and of civilisation as a whole. To interpret all things by a system of universal references is the method of philosophy ; when applied to a series of events this method is the philosophy of history ; when the events are ideas, it is the philosophy of philosophy itself." (Preface To The First Edition)
Suggest and discuss books to read (all languages welcome!)
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1 Book To Go: Bryant
1 Book To Go: Bryant