Philosophy and Living

By Olaf Stapledon

M.A., Ph.D.

1939

THE AUTHOR

"My childhood, which lasted some twenty-five years, was moulded chiefly by the Suez Canal, Abbotsholme, and Balliol. Since those days I have attempted several careers, in each case escaping before the otherwise inevitable disaster. First, as a schoolmaster, I swotted up Bible stories on the eve of the scripture lesson. Then, in a Liverpool shipping office, I spoiled bills of lading, and in Port Said I innocently let skippers have more coal than they needed. Next I determined to create an Educated Democracy. Workington miners, Barrow riveters, Crewe railway-men, gave me a better education than I could give them. Since then two experiences have dominated me: philosophy, and the tragic disorder of our whole terrestrial hive. After a belated attack on academic philosophy, I wrote a couple of books on philosophical subjects and several works of fantastic fiction dealing with the career of mankind. One of them, Last and First Men, is in this series."

Mr. Stapledon is also the author of A Modern Theory of Ethics, Last Men in London, Waking World, Odd John, Star Maker.

TO

MY STUDENTS IN W.E.A. CLASSES

Volume I

I. WHAT PHILOSOPHY IS

II. EXAMPLE OF DISCUSSION: PERSONAL IMMORTALITY

           i. The meaning of immortality

           ii. Emotional influence on thought about immortality

            iii. Arguments for immortality

           iv. Arguments against immortality

           v. Practical upshot of this chapter

III. MIND AND BODY

           i. The problem stated

           ii. Some implications of the problem

           iii. Interactionism

           iv. Epiphenomenalism

           v. Psycho-physical parallelism

           vi. The Double Aspect theory

           vii. The Emergence theory

           viii. Conclusions, and new questions

IV. THE EXTERNAL WORLD AND I

           i. The common-sense account

           ii. Difficulties arising out of science

           iii. The Idealist solution

           iv. The Realist solution

           v. The solution of Logical Positivism

           vi. Conclusions

           Postscript on Pragmatism

V. REASONING

           i. The scope of two chapters

           ii. What happens in reasoning

           iii. The problem of logic

           iv. Universals and Particulars

           Postscript on Truth

VI. THE SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF REASON

           i. Natural Science

           ii. Irrational determinants of thought

           iii. Irrationalism

           iv. The place of reason

VII. ETHICS

           i. Fact and value

           ii. Some distinctions and problems

           iii. Some traditional theories

           iv. Ethical Scepticism: ethnology and psycho-analysis

           v. Ethical Scepticism: Logical Positivism

           vi. The practical upshot

Volume II

VIII. PERSONALITY

           i. Some psychological principles

           ii. The dynamic individual

           iii. The upper reaches of human personality

           iv. Differences between people

           v. What is the Self?

IX. COMMUNITY

           i. Problems of social philosophy

           ii. Two theories of the nature of society

           iii. How men behave in groups

           iv. Pre-requisites of genuine community

           v. Prospects of community

X. SOCIAL CHANGE

           i. Some Idealist theories

           ii. Economic Determinism

           iii. Commentary

XI. METAPHYSICS

           i. Is metaphysics possible?

           ii. Parity of mind and matter

           iii. Idealism

           iv. Materialism

           v. The influence of biology

XII. CONCLUSIONS

           i. Conclusions thus far

           ii. Time

           iii. Mysticism

XIII. THE PRACTICAL UPSHOT

APPENDIX: SUGGESTIONS FOR READING PHILOSOPHY

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