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CHAPTER I: Introductory Remarks - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IX - An Examination of William Hamilton’s Philosophy 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IX - An Examination of William Hamilton’s Philosophy and of The Principal Philosophical Questions Discussed in his Writings, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Alan Ryan (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979).
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among the philosophical writers of the present century in these islands, no one occupies a higher position than Sir William Hamilton. He alone, of our metaphysicians of this and the preceding generation, has acquired, merely as such, an European celebrity: while, in our own country, he has not only had power to produce a revival of interest in a study which had ceased to be popular, but has made himself, in some sense, the founder of a school of thought. The school, indeed, is not essentially new; for its fundamental doctrines are those of the philosophy which has everywhere been in the ascendant since the setting in of the reaction against Locke and Hume, which dates from Reid among ourselves and from Kant for the rest of Europe. But that general scheme of philosophy is split into many divisions, and the Hamiltonian form of it is distinguished by as marked peculiarities as belong to any other of its acknowledged varieties. From the later German and French developments of the common doctrine, it is separated by differences great in reality, and still greater in appearance; while it stands superior to the earlier Scottish and English forms by the whole difference of level which has been gained to philosophy through the powerful negative criticism of Kant. It thus unites to the prestige of independent originality, the recommendation of a general harmony with the prevailing tone of thought. These advantages, combined with an intellect highly trained and in many respects highly fitted for the subject, and a knowledge probably never equalled in extent and accuracy of whatever had been previously thought and written in his department, have caused Sir William Hamilton to be justly recognised as, in the province of abstract speculation, one of the important figures of the age.
The acknowledged position of Sir W. Hamilton at the head, so far as regards this country, of the school of philosophy to which he belongs, has principally determined me to connect with his name and writings the speculations and criticisms contained in the present work. The justification of the work itself lies in the importance of the questions, to the discussion of which it is a contribution. England is often reproached by Continental thinkers, with indifference to the higher philosophy. But England did not always deserve this reproach, and is already showing, by no doubtful symptoms, that she will not deserve it much longer. Her thinkers are again beginning to see, what they had only temporarily forgotten, that a true Psychology is the indispensable scientific basis of Morals, of Politics, of the science and art of Education; that the difficulties of Metaphysics lie at the root of all science; that those difficulties can only be quieted by being resolved, and that until they are resolved, positively awhenevera possible, but at any rate negatively, we are never assured that any human knowledge, even physical, stands on solid foundations.
My subject, therefore, is blessb Sir W. Hamilton, cthanc the questions which Sir W. Hamilton discussed. It is, however, impossible to write on those questions in our own country and in our own time, without incessant reference, express or tacit, to his treatment of them. On all the subjects on which he touched, he is either one of the most powerful allies of what I deem a sound philosophy, or (more frequently) by far its most formidable antagonist; both because he came the latest, and wrote with a full knowledge of the flaws which had been detected in his predecessors, and because he was one of the ablest, the most dfar-sightedd , and the most candid. Whenever any opinion which he deliberately expressed, is contended against, his form of the opinion, and his arguments for it, are those which especially require to be faced and carefully appreciated: and it being thus impossible that any fit discussion of his topics should not involve an estimate of his doctrines, it seems worth while that the estimate should be rendered as complete as practicable, by being extended to all the subjects on which he has made, or on which he is believed to have made, any important contribution to thought.
In thus attempting to anticipate, as far as is yet possible, the judgment of posterity on Sir W. Hamilton’s labours, I sincerely lament that on the many points on which I am at issue with him, I have the unfair advantage possessed by one whose opponent is no longer in a condition to reply. Personally I might have had small cause to congratulate myself on the reply which I might have received, for though a strictly honourable, he was a most unsparing controversialist, and whoever assailed even the most unimportant of his opinions, might look for hard blows in return. But it would have been worth far more, even to myself, than any polemical success, to have known with certainty in what manner he would have met the objections raised in the present volume. I feel keenly, with Plato, how much more is to be learnt by discussing with a man, who can question and answer, than with a book, which cannot.[*] But it was not possible to take a general review of Sir W. Hamilton’s doctrines while they were only known to the world in the fragmentary state in which they were published during his life. His Lectures, the fullest and the only consecutive exposition e(as far as it goes)e of his philosophy, are a posthumous publication; while the latest and most matured expression of many of his opinions, the “Dissertations on Reid,”[†] left off, scarcely half finished, in the middle of a sentence; and so long as he lived, his readers were still hoping for the remainder. The Lectures, it is true, have added less than might have been expected to the knowledge we already possessed of the author’s doctrines; but it is something to know that we have now all that is to be had; and though we should have been glad to have his opinions on more subjects, we could scarcely have known more thoroughly than we are now at last enabled to do, what his thoughts were on the points to which he attached the greatest importance, and which are most identified with his name and fame.
[a-a]651, 652 if
[b-b]651, 652 not
[c-c]651, 652 but
[d-d]651, 652 clear-sighted
[[*] ]See, e.g., Plato, Phædrus, in Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phædo, Phædrus (Greek and English), trans. H. N. Fowler (London: Heinemann; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1917), pp. 564-70 (275d-277a).
[[†] ]Appended to Reid’s Works, ed. Hamilton (Edinburgh: Maclachlan and Stewart, 1846), pp. 741-914.