Dissertations Moral and Critical: On Memory and Imagination. On Dreaming. The Theory of Language. On Fable and Romance. On the Attachments of Kindred. Illustrations on Sublimity

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W. Strahan, and T. Cadell, and W. Creech at Edinburgh, 1783 - Aesthetics - 655 pages
"Having, for some years, by circumstances of a particular nature, known to my Friends, but of no importance to the Publick, been hindered from executing those more extensive plans of Moral Speculation, which I once projected; and being averse and unaccustomed to idleness; I thought I might amuse myself, in a way not wholly unprofitable to others, by transcribing and correcting certain papers, written a good while ago; which several persons, who had read 'them, were pleased to approve, and had advised me to publish. Some of these are contained in this volume: others may possibly appear hereafter. They were at first composed in a different form: being part of a Course of Prelections, read to those Young Gentlemen, whom it is my business to initiate in the Elements of Moral Science. This, I hope, will account for the plainness of the style, for the frequent introduction of practical and serious observations; for a more general use of the pronouns I and You than is perhaps quite proper in discourses addressed to the Publick, and for a greater variety of illustration, than would have been requisite, if my hearers had been of riper years, or more accustomed to abstract inquiry. The Reader will be disappointed, if he expect to find in this book any nice metaphysical theories, or other matters of doubtful disputation. Such things the Author is not unacquainted with but they suit not his ideas of Moral Teaching; and he has laid them aside long ago. His aim is, to inure young minds to habits of attentive observation; to guard them against the influence of bad principles; and to set before them such views of nature, and such plain and practical truths, as may at once improve the heart and the understanding, and amuse and elevate the fancy. In the Dissertation on Language there are indeed some abstruse inquiries, that may seem to have little of a practical tendency. But the subtleties inseparable from that part of Science are not, even in the early part of life, hard to be understood, when explained, in a simple style, and with a due regard to the gradual expansion of the human intellect. To which I may add, that a philosophical examination of the principles of grammar is a most profitable exercise to the mental powers of young people; and promotes, more perhaps than any other study within their sphere, clearness of apprehension and; correctness of language"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
 

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