38 Chapters
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The Superstition of Necessity (1893)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

Lest my title give such offense as to prejudice unduly my contention, I may say that I use the term in the way indicated by its etymology: as a standing-still on the part of thought; a clinging to old ideas after those ideas have lost their use, and hence, like all superstitions, have become obstructions. For I shall try to show that the doctrine of necessity is a survival; that it holds over from an earlier and undeveloped period of knowledge; that as a means of getting out of and beyond that stage it had a certain value, but, having done its work, loses its significance. Halting judgment may, indeed, at one time have helped itself out of the slough of uncertainty, vagueness, and inadequacy on to ground of more solid and complete fact, by the use of necessity as a crutch; once upon the ground, the crutch makes progress slower and, preventing the full exercise of the natural means of locomotion, tends to paralyze science. The former support has become a burden, almost an intolerable one.

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Democracy and America from Freedom and Culture (1939) (on Thomas Jefferson)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

I make no apology for linking what is said in this chapter with the name of Thomas Jefferson. For he was the first modern to state in human terms the principles of democracy. Were I to make an apology, it would be that in the past I have concerned myself unduly, if a comparison has to be made, with the English writers who have attempted to state the ideals of self-governing communities and the methods appropriate to their realization. If I now prefer to refer to Jefferson it is not, I hope, because of American provincialism, even though I believe that only one who was attached to American soil and who took a consciously alert part in the struggles of the country to attain its independence, could possibly have stated as thoroughly and intimately as did Jefferson the aims embodied in the American tradition: “the definitions and axioms of a free government,” as Lincoln called them. Nor is the chief reason for going to him, rather than to Locke or Bentham or Mill, his greater sobriety of judgment due to that constant tempering of theory with practical experience which also kept his democratic doctrine within human bounds.

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The Moral Self from Ethics (1932)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

The self has occupied a central place in the previous discussions, in which important aspects of the good self have been brought out. The self should be wise or prudent, looking to an inclusive satisfaction and hence subordinating the satisfaction of an immediately urgent single appetite; it should be faithful in acknowledgment of the claims involved in its relations with others; it should be solicitous, thoughtful, in the award of praise and blame, use of approbation and disapprobation, and, finally, should be conscientious and have the active will to discover new values and to revise former notions. We have not, however, examined just what is the significance of the self. The important position of the self in morals, and also various controversies of moral theory which have gathered about it, make such an examination advisable. A brief reference to the opposed theories will help to indicate the points which need special attention.

A most profound line of cleavage has appeared in topics already discussed. Some theories hold that the self, apart from what it does, is the supreme and exclusive moral end. This view is contained in Kant’s assertion that the Good Will, aside from consequences of acts performed, is the only Moral Good. A similar idea is implicit whenever moral goodness is identified in an exclusive way with virtue, so that the final aim of a good person is, when summed up briefly, to maintain his own virtue. When the self is assumed to be the end in an exclusive way, then conduct, acts, consequences, are all treated as mere means, as external instruments for maintaining the good self. The opposed point of view is found in the hedonism of the earlier utilitarians when they assert that a certain kind of consequences, pleasure, is the only good end and that the self and its qualities are mere means for producing these consequences.

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The Construction of Judgment from Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

In terms of the ideas set forth in the last chapter, judgment may be identified as the settled outcome of inquiry. It is concerned with the concluding objects that emerge from inquiry in their status of being conclusive. Judgment in this sense is distinguished from propositions. The content of the latter is intermediate and representative and is carried by symbols; while judgment, as finally made, has direct existential import. The terms affirmation and assertion are employed in current speech interchangeably. But there is a difference, which should have linguistic recognition, between the logical status of intermediate subject-matters that are taken for use in connection with what they may lead to as means, and subject-matter which has been prepared to be final. I shall use assertion to designate the latter logical status and affirmation to name the former. Even from the standpoint of ordinary speech, assertion has a quality of insistence that is lacking in the connotation of the word “affirmation.” We can usually substitute the phrase “it is held” or “it is said” for “it is affirmed.” However, the important matter is not the words, but the logical properties that are characteristic of different subject-matters.

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General Propositions, Kinds, and Classes (1936)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

In an earlier article I called attention to the fact that Mill stated that since abstract terms are sometimes singular and sometimes general, it might be better to put them in a “class apart.” I argued that this class apart was that of universal if-then propositions; abstract terms being, when they have logical import, the content of such propositions. I stated that confusion has arisen in logical theory because such propositions are not definitely and consistently marked off from propositions that are general in the sense of generic, that is, referring to kinds, the latter being designated linguistically by common nouns instead of abstract nouns. I added that “contemporary logical writings are full of the confusion of the generic (general) and the universal, in spite of the common nominal recognition of the ambiguity of all.”1I propose here to illustrate this last statement as a means of effecting recognition of a difference in logical form between two kinds of propositions both of which are termed general.2

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