22 Pages

The Way of Opinion

THERE is an element of scepticism in all philosophy, and the degree of emphasis which is given to this element is largely determined by the accidents of personal and social history. In America the sceptical element has never been prominent. The moral seriousness of democratic life has kept it in abeyance. In pragmatism, as well as in neo-Hegelianism, it might easily have bulked larger; and it would not require a very perverse ingenuity to exhibit William James and Josiah Royce as descendents of lEnesidemus. That is not how they viewed themselves, however, and it is not in that direction that their influence has mainly tended. The realistic movement of recent years is even more decidedly dogmatic in temper, and had its origin in a revolt against certain idealistic theories-notably that of the essentiality of relations-which were believed to have sceptical implications.