22 Pages

Philosophy and its History

THE influences that have moulded an intellectual history are not always recoverable by the subject of that history. It becomes difficult, therefore, to comply with the request of the Committee to set forth "the psychological causes as well as the logical reasons" for philosophical conclusions. In the present instance the writer finds it quite impossible to identify the primary source of his abiding interest in the history of opinion. A like devotion to the historical point of view has been shared by others of his group-graduate students and young Docenten-in the university and professional school. But they also are unable to explain the origin of their preference. In the teaching of the place and time there was little to awaken interest in historical study in any field of inquiry. Was the impulse then due to the influence of that factor in thought-intangible, yet most real-which is called "the spirit of the time"? If this was the case, through what channels, by what means did the time-spirit exert its influence on scholars beginning their intellectual careers? For themselves the question remains without an answer, although they realize the fact to be explained.