26 Pages

A Search for System

WHAT are my philosophic beliefs? Why do I hold them? These are the questions I have been asked to answer in response to my acceptance of the invitation to contribute to this volume of essays. My answer must needs take the form of an account of a search whose positive results (such as they are) have issued largely through negations-a search originally motivated by two basal demands of my nature. Of course the story can here be given only in skeleton outline, and personal influences apart from which the story might have been very different cannot even be touched upon. The broad psychological causes out of which my need for philosophy arose, with which I begin, will be stated as briefly as is consistent with the purpose for which they are even mentioned. Then I shall pass on to a consideration of the beliefs themselves, together with the reasons on which they seem to me to rest.