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  • The Central Problem of Philosophy
  • F. E. Sparshott (bio)
F. E. Sparshott

Assistant Professor of Ethics, Victoria College, University of Toronto; author of An Enquiry into Goodness and Related Concepts (1958)


1. By an “experience,” an expression often used in this paper, I mean something that happens to you as it seems to you when it happens—i.e. a happening as seen “from the inside” and not by a third party.

2. By J. H. Mueller in the American Journal of Sociology, 1946.

3. Clive Bell, Art (London, 1914). For a different (and unsympathetic) interpretation by a careful critic, see H. Osborne, Theory of Beauty (London, 1952), 68.

4. Here and in all that follows, sometimes one and sometimes another of the four “notes” of my experience is used. There is no system in this.

5. Was it Mozart? I don’t remember. But I noticed that my original audience assumed that it was.

6. Les Forma élémentaires de la vie réligieuse, passim.

7. This and other quotations from Professor Lewis are from his essay “On Poetic Truth” in his Morals and Revelation (London, 1951), 232–53.

8. H. H. Farmer, Revelation and Religion (London, 1954), chap. 1.

9. See W. W. Jaeger, Aristotle (Oxford, 1948), 117ff. Text in Aristotelis Fragmenta Selecta (Oxford, 1955), Carmina 4.

10. See Jaeger, Aristotle, 106ff. Text, loc. cit., Carmina 2.

11. That is, in the English-speaking philosophical world; but see P. A. Michelis, An Aesthetic Approach to Byzantine Art (London, 1955).

12. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Ia IIae q. 63; Q. Disp. de Virtute q. 1 a. 10. Augustine, The City of God, V, 12ff.

13. Tractatus 6.44: “Nicht wie die Welt ist, ist das Mystische, sondern dass sie ist.”

14. “Ou mathein ti dein, alia pathein” (De Philosophia, Frag. 15 Ross).

15. It always amazes me how well I dream, considering how badly I draw.

16. Cf. Martin Buber, I and Thou (Edinburgh, 1937), 7ff.

17. I owe this phrase to an article by Albert Votaw in Horizon (Sept., 1949).

18. The Will To Power, II.1. ad init. (Schlechta, 680). The translation is adapted from that of G. A. Morgan, What Nietzsche Means (Harvard, 1941).

19. My paper shows at this point the influence of M. Untersteiner’s discussion of Protagoras in The Sophists (New York, 1954). “Fas est et ab hoste doceri.”

20. N. R. Campbell, Physics: The Elements (Cambridge, 1920), 132.



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