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WITH HELPS TO THE STUDY OF
THOMAS H. HUXLEY
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
In two essays upon the life and work of Descartes, which will be found in the first volume of this collection, I have given some reasons for my conviction that he, if any one, has a claim to the title of father of modern philosophy. By this I mean that his general scheme of things, his conceptions of scientific method and of the conditions and limits of certainty, are far more essentially and characteristically modern than those of any of his immediate predecessors and successors. Indeed, the adepts in some branches of science had not fully mastered the import of his ideas so late as the beginning of this century.
The conditions of this remarkable position in the world of thought are to be found, as usual, primarily, in motherwit, secondarily, in circumstance. Trained by the best educators of the seventeenth century, the Jesuits; naturally endowed with a dialectic grasp and subtlety, which even they could hardly improve; and with a passion for getting at the truth, which even they could