Go to Page Number Go to Page Number
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

New York: Macmillan, 1917. Pp. xxi+ 355. 1

The New Statesman, 9 (22 Sept 1917) 596

Miss Sinclair’s book has all the charm which the fresh and interested mind of an outsider, turned upon the achievements of a technical art or science, can give. She approaches philosophy somewhat as Samuel Butler approached biology; perhaps partly for this reason, her essay on Butler is the most successful in the book. 2 She considers in turn the constructions of Vitalism, Pragmatism, Neo-Realism, and the “New Mysticism” of Evelyn Underhill and others. 3 At her best in criticising the spirit of philosophies, rather than in attacking their technical defences, Miss Sinclair writes very much to the point in discussing Butler, Pragmatism and Mysticism; she comes off very well in her discussion of the animism of Mr. McDougall, which she treats sympathetically; 4 she is at her weakest in her analysis of the New Realism. We may instance the fact that she consistently refers to the Principles of Mathematicsas the Principia Mathematica; to the latter work she makes no reference at all. 5

At times the author appears to impose her prejudices rather than to unfold an argument. She objects to both Bradley’s and Russell’s logic as “thin,” without adducing any very satisfactory reasons why a logic ought to be “thick.” 6 (Mr. E. B. Holt’s realistic logic is certainly thick enough.) 7 She objects to the Idealism “of Balliol” for the same reason. 8 Her accord with Hegel is contained in the statement that Ultimate Reality must be Spirit– where definitions of both Reality and Spirit are much to seek. The same lack of definition is found in her use of the word “Consciousness,” her examination of the realistic theory of illusions of sense. We have the right (and the desire) to hear from her about the relation of Existence to Value. But it is to be hoped that she will write more such essays; the book displays critical clairvoyance, and it is both intelligent and interestingly written; in fact, it is one of the most interesting books of philosophy that have appeared for several years.

Published By:   Johns Hopkins University Press