Modern Rationalism as Seen at Work in Its Biographies

9781150029523: Modern Rationalism as Seen at Work in Its Biographies
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1913. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VIII Scepticism And The Making Of Chakacter As Seen In Goethe, Schopenhauer, George Sand, And Shelley. (I.) Rationalism (wo presume it would be said by some of its followers) is not necessarily Scepticism. A man does not cease to be rational who believes, so long as The Rational his faith is governed by reason. Nor, on Not NECES-the other hand, does it follow that because Sarilv The a man insists on proving all things by the Sceptical. test of the intellectual that therefore he by so doing ceases to have faith. All this is true, and important. More so, indeed, than is usually insisted on in Rationalistic circles. And yet Rationalism and Scepticism are usually regarded as identical. To be a Rationalist as that term is now generally conceived, a man must necessarily turn to the sceptical, and even cultivate the sceptical. And specially so in dealing with the subjects of Religion. This is the view of Rationalists themselves. "Rationalism (says Mr. A. W. Benn in his History of Rationalism in the Nineteenth Century, Vol. I., p. 4.) is For Modern the mental habit of using reason for the Rational-destruction of religious belief." Ists IT Is. It would, we venture to think, have been more reasonable to have said that Rationalism is for the correction rather than for the destruction of religious belief. But the definition is typical of the irrational Rationalism which goes on crusade in these days. It has no conscience to be troubled by the sin of excess. But to return to our point that Rationalism as commonly regarded is associated with Scepticism. It uses reason--Rationalists themselves say--for the destruction of religious belief. So far all seems to be clear, and both sides--that is, Rationalists and ourselves--are in agreement. And now for the subject ...

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