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On Compromise   By: (1838-1923)

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ON COMPROMISE

'It makes all the difference in the world whether we put Truth in the first place or in the second place.'

WHATLEY

ON COMPROMISE

BY

JOHN MORLEY

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON

1908

This Edition first printed 1886

NOTE.

The writer has availed himself of the opportunity of a new edition to add three or four additional illustrations in the footnotes. The criticisms on the first edition call for no remark, excepting this, perhaps, that the present little volume has no pretensions to be anything more than an Essay. To judge such it performance as if it professed to be an exhaustive Treatise in casuistry, is to subject it to tests which it was never designed to bear. Merely to open questions, to indicate points, to suggest cases, to sketch outlines, as an Essay does all these things, may often be a process not without its own modest usefulness and interest.

May 4, 1877.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY.

Design of this Essay The question stated Suggested by some existing tendencies in England Comparison with other countries Test of this comparison The absent quality specifically defined History and decay of some recent aspirations Illustrations Characteristics of one present mood Analysis of its causes (1) Influence of French examples (2) Influence of the Historic Method (3) Influence of the Newspaper Press (4) Increase of material prosperity (5) Transformation of the spiritual basis of thought (6) Influence of a State Church

CHAPTER II. OF THE POSSIBLE UTILITY OF ERROR

Questions of a dual doctrine lies at the outset of our inquiry This doctrine formulated Marks the triumph of status quo Psychological vindication of such a doctrine Answered by assertion of the dogmatic character of popular belief And the pernicious social influence of its priests The root idea of the defenders of a dual doctrine Thesis of the present chapter, against that idea Examination of some of the pleas for error I. That a false opinion may be clothed with good associations II. That all minds are not open to reason III. That a false opinion, considered in relation to the general mental attitude, may be less hurtful than its premature demolition IV. That mere negative truth is not a guide V. That error has been a stepping stone to truth We cannot tell how much truth has been missed Inevitableness is not utility

CHAPTER III. INTELLECTUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE POLITICAL SPIRIT.

The modern disciplina arcani Hume's immoral advice Evil intellectual effects of immoral compromise Depravation that follows its grosser forms The three provinces of compromise Radical importance of their separation Effects of their confusion in practical politics Economy or management in the Formation of opinion Its lawfulness turns on the claims of majority and minority over one another Thesis of the present chapter Its importance, owing to the supremacy of the political spirit in England Effects of the predominance of this spirit Contrasted with epochs of intellectual responsibility A modern movement against the political spirit An objection considered Importance to character of rationalised conviction, and of ideals The absence of them attenuates conduct Illustrations in modern politics Modern latitudinarianism Illustration in two supreme issues Pascal's remarks upon a state of Doubt Dr. Newman on the same Three ways of dealing with the issues Another illustration of intellectual improbity The Savoyard Vicar Mischievousness of substituting spiritual self indulgence for reason

CHAPTER IV. RELIGIOUS CONFORMITY.

Compromise in Expression Touches religion rather than politics Hume on non resistance Reason why rights of free speech do not exactly coincide with rights of free thought Digression into the matter of free speech Dissent no longer railing and vituperative Tendency of modern free thought to assimilate some elements from the old faith A wide breach still remains Heresy, however, no longer traced to depravity Tolerance not necessarily acquiescence in scepticism Object of the foregoing digression The rarity of plain speaking a reason why it is painful Conformity in the relationship between child and parent Between husband and wife In the education of children The case of an unbelieving priest The case of one who fears to lose his influence Conformity not harmless nor unimportant

CHAPTER V... Continue reading book >>




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