A Brief History of Modern Philosophy/Preface

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Professor Harold Høffding is already well known to the English-speaking world through the translations of his Psychology, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Problems of Philosophy and his History of Modern Philosophy (2 vols.), all published by the Macmillan Company. The fact that his works are rapidly finding their way into English and other languages is the best evidence of the esteem in which his work is held and of his importance as a thinker. Born in 1843, professor of philosophy in Copenhagen since 1883, Doctor Høffding has worked over the whole field of philosophy with great thoroughness. The original (German) edition from which this translation is made appeared in 1905. It is therefore the fruit of his ripest scholarship. The book is clear, compact and comprehensive. The various schools are analyzed and criticized, and the thread of continuous development is constantly kept clearly in view. These features constitute the exceptional merit of the book as a text. The student is constantly aware that a familiar spirit is safely guiding him through the bewildering maze of philosophic problems and tentative solutions.

As a psychologist Doctor Høffding is an empirical introspectionist. He is thoroughly modern in his antipathy towards metaphysical speculation. He discovers a native tendency in man, manifesting itself in the impulse towards well-being, the source or further meaning of which is beyond our knowledge, which furnishes the basis of ethics.

Religion is the reaction of the human mind to the sense of value and represents the highest function of the human mind. As a critical empiricist he possesses a peculiar advantage in the interpretation of the trend of philosophic thought. We offer this book to the English student because of its merit, as an efficient guide to the understanding of modern philosophy.

Gettysburg, Pa.
July 20, 1912.