New York: J. W. Bouton and London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1881. First American Edition. 2 volumes. 8vo. 6-1/8" x 9". 464 pp. & 516 pp. bound in tan cloth stamped in black and gold. Midnight blue endpapers. Both volumes clean, tight and unmarked. Back paste down endpaper is loose in Volume I. Binding shows a touch of rubbing here and there and some light cover soil. Overall very good condition. Item #451
Vol. I covers Pre-Christian Skepticism and Vol. II, Christian Skepticism. "The primary intent of the author of this work was to fill, however imperfectly, what he considered a gap in the history of philosophy. Since the publication of Staudlin's well-known monograph on the subject ( Leipzig, 1794) no work has appeared in modern literature having for its object a complete and impartial history of Skepticism. Attempts have been made both in Germany and France to supply what has been generally recognised as a want, but they have either been partial, as in the case of Dr. Tafel's work, or abortive, as in the projected works of MM Bartholmess and Emile Saisset. Another motive that actuated the author was to suggest a new method for the investigation and classification of philosophic thinkers. Most persons must have remarked the confused appearance presented by ordinary histories of philosophy, in which thinkers of all kinds are huddled together without any regard to intellectual affinities or similarities. It seems at least worth considering whether some elementary basis of classification might not be adopted which would subdivide philosophers according to their psychological idiosyncrasies. Thus they might be arranged, as Diogenes Laertius remarked, into two main classes, Synthetic and Analytic, or using the more usual terms, Dogmatists, and Skeptics - denoting respectively those in which constructive or disintegrating instincts preponderate.
John Owen, b. 1833 d. 1896. After serving as Curate of Alvedistone, Wiltshire from 1859-60 and at Bowerchalke, Wiltshire, 1860-69 he became Rector of East Anstey, Devon where he spent the rest of his life. In this seclusion, he read widely and collected a fine library. He was interested in free thought and published a series of books on this topic of which this work was the first, followed by The Skeptics of the Italian Renaissance in 1892, The Skeptics of the French Renaissance in 1893 and The Five Great Skeptical Dramas of History in 1896.