Seneca and Kant: Or, an Exposition of Stoic and Rationalistic Ethics
An excerpt from the Author's PREFACE.
PHILOSOPHICAL studies, always important, have in late years acquired special significance, when the theories of the past and the institutions which embody them; when law, religion, and government, as well as history, literature, and art, are undergoing a searching criticism; when of necessity there is a constant recurrence to first principles, and all things are brought, as far as possible, to the test of right reason.
The following is a humble contribution to philosophical literature in the department of ethics. It was originally prepared as a thesis for the Doctor's degree in Michigan University, and, at the suggestion of friends, has been enlarged and made ready for the press. I have sought in the expository portions to state fairly, as well as clearly and briefly, the doctrines of the authors discussed; to put into order and connection what I have found scattered here and there; to avoid technicalities, or explain them; and to preserve, as far as may be, in an English dress the expressions used by the authors themselves.
It is precisely one hundred years since Kant's Critique of the Pure Reason was first published, his Critique of the Practical Reason following seven years later, while Stoicism arose as a distinct system more than two thousand years ago. Both systems have been widely influential, and they have had time to exhibit their fruits.It is believed that the subjects treated will be of interest not only to those whose vocation, in the pulpit, at the bar, or in the halls of instruction, constantly requires them to consider the grave problem of right, but also to that other class of thinkers who, apart from their occupation, are interested in all that has been thought by the world's great intellects of the past.
If it shall serve in any degree to make available the thoughts of two eminent leaders of thought, one in the ancient and one in the modern world; if, still more, it shall conduce to right thinking on the all-important subject of which it treats, and to right acting as well, its end will be attained.
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