The Philosophy of John Norris of Bemerton (Classic Reprint)

The Philosophy of John Norris of Bemerton (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Philosophy of John Norris of Bemerton

Among the men in all the ages who have been 'lovers of the sight of truth,' there are some whose interest for later generations lies not in great discoveries of new aspects Of that truth, nor in bringing to expression the half-thoughts of those who were before them, but rather in the meaning of their failure, in the significance of what they did not attain. Of these is John Norris of Bemerton. A follower of Plato and the Schoolmen, yet with a quick interest in the science and mathematics of his own day, he attempted to give an account of reality which should reconcile philosophy and science with religion, but succeeded only in making clear the difficulties of his chosen theories, and in helping to point out the way which later philosophies were to take. From one point of View Norris is the last upholder of the tradition of Platonic idealism, from another he is the forerunner of mod ern idealistic theories. Revealing the inadequacy of the one by his very insistence upon it, he is blinded to the possibility of the other. Not through timidity, for he adopted Male branche's theory in spite of the scorn with which it was re ceived by some of his contemporaries, but rather through a too great reverence for the past, he fails to make any real advance, and leaves to others the task of determining the future.

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