JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON QUOTES

American theologian & philosopher (1870-1954)

Philosophy, like science, consists of theories or insights arrived at as a result of systemic reflection or reasoning in regard to the data of experience. It involves, therefore, the analysis of experience and the synthesis of the results of analysis into a comprehensive or unitary conception. Philosophy seeks a totality and harmony of reasoned insight into the nature and meaning of all the principal aspects of reality.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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God is a wider consciousness than we are, a pure intelligence, spiritual life and actuality. He is neither one nor many, neither man nor spirit. Such predicates belong only to finite beings.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, "Fichte's Conception of God", The Philosophical Review, vol. 4, 1895

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Science ... is organized common sense.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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The more serious poetry of the race has a philosophical structure of thought. It contains beliefs and conceptions in regard to the nature of man and the universe, God and the soul, fate and providence, suffering, evil and destiny. Great poetry always has, like the higher religion, a metaphysical content. It deals with the same august issues, experiences and conceptions as metaphysics or first philosophy.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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It is doubtful whether our present system of popular education does not retard independent or self thinking as much as it promotes it. All genuine education is self-education. It will incite the individual to think for himself, by rethinking what the race's great thinkers have already thought for him, thus enabling him to go ahead under his own mental steam.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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Magic is the ancestor of technology, the ancestor of what we call applied science. Medicine springs from it. The individual medicine man or Big Medicine among the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent was a man who, by reason of special ability and training, was able to do things that the ordinary individual could not do in the way of controlling mysterious forces of nature. The word "medicine" was applied not merely to what we call medicine, but to rain making, cloud making, wind making, getting strength into the war party, harming their enemies, etc. When we want anything done in what we call the arts of technology, we go to a special individual, e.g., physician, engineer, carpenter, plumber, who has a special training. The medicine man was a man technically trained and able to control mysterious forces. Of course, the ordinary member of the tribe as a hunter, fisher, etc., had his training, and he could do the ordinary things in the ordinary way. But if he wanted anything special done, he went to the medicine man--the Shaman.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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Death is not regarded as a natural affair by primitive man. Death is believed to be due to the intervention of some malevolent or at least not well disposed power. Normally it should not take place. So we have all through history crude explanations of death, as e.g., the influence of the serpent, the devil, sin.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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Skepticism literally means a thoughtful inquiry, the looking at a problem in a disinterested spirit, the surveying of a question from many sides. In this sense it is the very essence of philosophy and science.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy

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God is the Absolute Idea, a circle that returns upon itself, not a straight line projected indefinitely.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Typical Modern Conceptions of God

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Metaphysics is the clearing house for all fundamental philosophical problems.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Man and the Cosmos: An Introduction to Metaphysics

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This is the very heart of true morality--not to struggle, not to fight with any weapons, for one's self alone--but to struggle and to fight for the common interest, to wield the power of brain and good right arm if need be for one's family, for the ordered community of life, for the state, for moral principles, humanity, and the common good.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address

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If the spiritual values of human existence at its highest term of development and achievement do not endure, amidst all the changes and chances of this mortal universe, there seems to be no stable or coherent meaning in existence. Then the universe is irrational--indeed it is no universe at all.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Man and the Cosmos: An Introduction to Metaphysics

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The only religion which seems to have a function in time of war is the tribal religion which invokes a God as the exclusive protector of the nation which calls upon him.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address

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No generation can do another generation's work for it. What we human beings can do at most is to mark out the pathway a little clearer for the generations to come after, and put legible signboards at the points where the greatest dangers have threatened us, in the hope that our posterity will read, understand, and be warned.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address

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Immediate knowledge tells us only that God is, not what he is. But if God is not an empty Being beyond the stars, he must be present in the communion of human spirits, and, in his relation to these, he is the One Spirit who pervades reality and thought. Hence there can be no final separation between our immediate consciousness of him and our mediated knowledge of reality.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Typical Modern Conceptions of God

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A system of philosophy, or metaphysics, is a union of a world view and a life view in one harmonious, complete, integral conception. In so far as any man strives to attain, by rational inquiry, a consistent and comprehensive view of life and reality, he is a metaphysician.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Man and the Cosmos: An Introduction to Metaphysics

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Our obligation to the will of God is our obligation to the laws of practical reason.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Typical Modern Conceptions of God

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Faith in the continuance and enhancement of the intrinsic values--faith in truth, in beauty, in friendship, in love and harmony of life--in short, faith in reason and the worth of spiritual life--such faith is only another name for faith in the persistence of spiritual individuality. For, I repeat, these values are real only as functions of personal experience and deed. To have faith in the permanence of intrinsic values is to assume the enduring reality of selves who know truth, feel beauty, who love and win spiritual harmony.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Man and the Cosmos: An Introduction to Metaphysics

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Human progress is not an uninterrupted march forward. It is a slow and devious movement with haltings and twistings. The pathway of man ascends and descends, wanders off into mazes. At times the trail seems to lose itself in the wilderness of human passion and folly. But inch by inch it goes forward with halting steps.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address

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The state is the nursing mother of human culture.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address

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