Reference > Cambridge History > Later National Literature, Part II > Later Philosophy > The Journal of Speculative Philosophy
  His Attack on Agnosticism The Improvement of Philosophical Teaching  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XVII. Later Philosophy.

§ 14. The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.

Like all Hegelians and most believers in the adequacy of one system, Harris frequently thinks he has gained insight when he has translated a fact into his own terminology 14 ; and the allegoric method of interpreting works of art and great literary masterpieces, notably Dante’s Divine Comedy and Goethe’s Faust, easily lent itself to that result. Still the general result of Harris’s theoretic as well as his practical activity was undoubtedly to broaden the basis and subject matter of American philosophy. His Journal of Speculative Philosophy (1867–93) the first journal in the English language devoted exclusively to philosophy, made the thought of Plato and Aristotle as well as that of the German philosophers accessible to American readers. When it was objected that America needed something more original, he justly replied that an originality which cherished its own idiosyncrasies was despicable. His conviction that a worthy originality can come only through deep acquaintance with the best of ancient and modern thought stands justified by at least one fact. The most original American thinkers, Peirce, Royce, James, and Dewey, were also the most learned, and their first philosophic papers appeared in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.   21

Note 14. Harris, for instance, believed that he found a new insight into the nature of light when he characterized it as “a point making itself valid outside of itself.” See a similar account of gravity, in Psychologic Foundations of Education, p. 22. [ back ]

  His Attack on Agnosticism The Improvement of Philosophical Teaching  

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