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FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES
TO THE BEGINNING OF THE PRESENT CENTURY:
DRAWN UP FROM
Brucker's Historia Critica Philosophiæ.
BY WILLIAM ENFIELD, LL.D.
Opinionum commenta delet dies, naturæ judicia confirmat. CICERO.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Printed by J. F. Dove, St. John's-Square ;
FOR WILLIAM BAYNES, PATERNOSTER-ROW; AND
R. PRIESTLEY, HOLBORN.
IN a country which has so long held a distinguished place in the Republic of Letters as Great Britain, it is surprising that so small a share of attention should hitherto have been paid to the subject of this work. While the events of civil history have been related in every possible variety of method and language, and have been made the frequent subject of philosophical discussion, a series of facts, less adapted, indeed, to impress the imagination, but by no means less instructive, has been almost entirely overlooked. A British student, who, in his search after truth, should be desirous of taking a general survey of the rise and progress of opinions on the more important subjects of speculation, and by a fair comparison of different systems to draw legitimate conclusions for himself, would seek in vain for the necessary information in any English work. The only treatise, which might seem to promise him much assistance on this subject, is Stanley's History of Philosophy : but, to say nothing of the uncouth and obscure style in which this work is written, he would find, upon examination, that the author's plan extended little further than to the history of the Grecian sects of philosophy; and that, in executing it, he has rather performed the office of an industrious compiler, than that of a judicious critic.
When, a few years ago, I first consulted Brucker's History of Philosophy,* it was merely in hopes of obtaining from so extensive and elaborate a work, further satisfaction than I had hitherto been able to gain, respecting the opinions of the ancients; and the only use I then proposed to make of the book was, to borrow from it some assistance in drawing up a Course of Lectures to young men on the
*Edit. sec. Lipsæ, 1767.